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Entwined Destines – Episode Seven Mr. & Mrs. Octavius!?
Estate of Otto Octavius outside of New York City, afternoon
"I now pronounce you man and-," Said the Justice of the Peace when gunfire rang out. Everyone in attendance screamed or otherwise panicked as the gangster called Hammerhead and his gang appeared on the scene.
"Time's up Doc!" Hammerhead said aiming his tommy gun squarely at Dr. Octopus.
"How dare you interrupt my nuptials you hard headed neanderthal!" Dr. Octopus said stepping in front of Aunt May. He tossed aside his tuxedo coat to reveal his four metallic arms which were itching for a fight. "Prepare to feel the wrath of a superior intellect!"
"Save the big words Doc this time you're mine," Hammerhead said. He was about to fire when a strand of webbing from the ceiling snagged his weapon.
Spider-Man and Ghost Spider dropped down taking Hammerhead and his men completely by surprise. The webbed duo made quick work of the poorly trained goons. When Hammerhead turned his back to charge Ghost Spider, (his signature move) who happened to be closer than Spider-Man to him, Dr. Ocotpus throttled Hammerhead with two of his metal arms strangling the villain into unconsciousness. Ghost Spider and Spider-Man then covered Hammerhead and his goons in webbing.
"Now that our distraction is taken care off shall we continue, my dear?" Dr. Octopus said taking Aunt May's hand in one of his human hands.
"You can't marry him Anu-, lady. He's a criminal." Spider-Man said a note of desperation detectable in his voice.
"Many people say and your girlfriend are criminals, young man. Why should I listen to anything you have to say about my dear Otto?" Aunt May said unswayed by Spider-Man's words which wounded him deeply.
"But I-," Spider-Man began only to be cut off by Ghost Spider who placed a hand on his shoulder. She knew this was neither the time nor the place.
"We should be going." Ghost Spider said. "Sorry to interrupt your wedding."
"It's quite alright, Ghost Spider is it?" Dr. Ocotpus said. He offered his hand to Ghost Spider who merely looked at it before slapping it away before she backed out of the room. She and Spider-Man grabbed the webbed up baddies and left.
After Spider-Man and Ghost Spider dropped the incapacitated criminals off with a group of police who were waiting nearby just in case anything funny happened at Dr. Octopus' wedding they retreated to a secluded area nearby which was protected from prying eyes by a grove of trees. Taking off his mask Peter glared at Gwen. He was livid.
"Why did you stop me?" Peter demanded.
"Because telling her not to marry him wouldn't have worked," Gwen said.
"Maybe if I had unmasked she would have seen reason." Peter speculated.
Gwen shook her head. "If you had unmasked things would have only become worse."
"How can things get any worse!? My aunt is marrying Dr. Freakin' Octopus!" Peter ranted.
"If Aunt May knew you were Spider-Man and I'm Ghost Spider then Dr. Octopus could turn her against us far more easily and isolated her completely. Like it or not she believes in him. We have to play this smart, Peter or we'll lose." Gwen said placing her gloved hands on Peter's shoulders. She locked eyes with him. "Do you have faith in me?"
"Of course I do. How could you even ask such a question?" Peter said.
"I know we can keep Aunt May safe and expose whatever scheme Dr. Octopus has in mind if we remain calm," Gwen said. She leaned forward until their foreheads touched. "Think Peter with Aunt May being married to him we'll have complete access to Ock's property, personal files, the whole sha-bang. We can lay bare his ever secret. We can bury him with his dirt."
"That's not actually a bad idea," Peter admitted. "You're devious," Peter added with a grin his first such in some time.
"I do my best," Gwen said with a grin of her own. "Come along we better show our support for the happy couple. Besides Aunt May is still like your mother we should let her know we haven't turned our back on her."
"Right," Peter said. Aunt May deserved their support, his support, regardless of how misguided her choice of groom was.
"Okay, here's my plan," Gwen said leaning in even closer.
Inside, a short time later
"Peter, Gwen I'm so happy you came." Aunt May said when the pair entered the makeshift reception hall in their civilian clothes.
"Sorry, we're late. Traffic was murder," Gwen said hugging the older woman who had gotten up from her seat.
"Peter I hope you no longer object to our union?" Dr. Octopus said getting up from his own seat.
"I'd be lying if I said I was 100% behind your marriage to my aunt. I'm still not sure I trust you, Otto. However, I'll give you a chance." Peter said shaking one of Dr. Octopus' organic hands.
"Thank you, Peter." Dr. Octopus said ending their handshake. "May I ask what prompted this change of heart on your part?"
"Not what, who," Peter said smiling at Gwen. "Gwen helped me see possibilities I hadn't considered."
"Truly a remarkably perceptive young lady, and a beautiful one as well." Dr. Octopus said. He took one of Gwen's hands and the kissed the back of it lightly.
"Dr. Octavius you flatter me." Gwen gushed.
'Damn you're a good actress, Gwenie. If I didn't know better I'd believe you like this creep.' Peter thought.
"Please, my dear call me Otto. If everything goes well between you and Peter we'll soon be family after all." Dr. Octopus said.
"You have a real charmer here May," Gwen said.
"Isn't he though." Aunt May said giggling.
"There's just one thing I'm a bit worried about," Peter said.
"Oh," Dr. Octopus said.
"Gwen and I heard from the police when we arrived at the estate that Ghost Spider & Spider-Man broke up an attempt by Hammerhead to crash your wedding," Peter said.
"They did with an assist from yours truly." Dr. Octopus said proudly while puffing out his chest.
"Well, I've been thinking. Why is Hammerhead targeting you, Otto? This isn't the first time he's gone after you since your release from prison a few days ago from what I understand." Peter went on.
"Peter, please," Aunt May said.
"No May, he has every right to be concerned." Dr. Octopus said. "To answer your question I have no idea why that uncouth ruffian has become obsessed with me."
"Really," Peter said incredulously. "Because I find your denial hard to swallow."
"Peter, remember we agreed on no negativity," Gwen said taking Peter by his arm. "You must forgive him, Otto. He's worried about May's safety given the rash of attacks. Surely you understand?"
"I do indeed, my dear." Dr. Octopus said. "I assure you both no harm will come to May while I draw breath."
"I have an idea," Gwen said brightening a bit. "Would it be okay if Peter and I spend some of our free time here at your estate? Until we're sure the latest crisis has blown over."
"Mi casa su casa," Dr. Octopus said spreading all eight of his human arms wide. "What else is family for if not to help each other during trying times."
"Thank you, Otto. Your gesture will help put our minds at ease." Gwen said smiling sweetly.
New York City
Over the next three days, our heroes had a busy time as they faced off against first the Vulture and then the Molten Man. It turned out the Vulture who attacked Empire State University was not the original but an imposter named Professor Clifton Shallot. Shallot's research funding was cut and he decided revenge against the university was his best option. After caging Shallot the duo stumbled upon a robbery of rare meteor fragments committed by the Molten Man, real name Mark Raxton, in a desperate attempt to cure his deteriorating condition. A quick-thinking Ghost Spider was able to net Molten Man with heat resistant webbing (which Spider-Man had whipped up) when they confronted him on the docks. Her actions prevented Molten Man from diving into the cold water below which might have spelled certain death given his high temperature based state coupled with his recent sickness. The pair then took Molten Man to the Fantastic Four who they hoped could stabilize him given enough time.
A rooftop in Manhattan, night
"Do you really think Reed, Sue and the others can help Mark? Poor guy was barely holding his form together when we arrived at the Baxter Building." Ghost Spider said as the pair sat side by side. Their feet dangled over the edge of the roof on which they were perched.
"I sincerely hope so. He deserves a normal life." Spider-Man said.
Ghost Spider moved closer to Spider-Man. She put her head on his shoulder. "That's one of the things I love about you most. You don't hold grudges. Many self-styled heroes wouldn't give a former enemy like Molten Man the benefit of the doubt let all own help him."
"I believe everyone deserves a second chance if not a third or a fourth chance," Spider-Man said putting an arm around Ghost Spider.
"Even Dr. Ock?" Ghost Spider teased.
"Now you're just being silly," Spider-Man said. "But yeah, even Ock assuming he actually has changed, which I doubt."
A pleasant silence descended over the pair. They sat there enjoying each others company. Ghost Spider snuggled in closer while Spider-Man gently tightened his grip on her.
"I wish this could last forever." Ghost spider said.
"Me too," Spider-Man said. "Sitting here with you everything else melts away until there is nothing but us; no supervillains, no Jameson, no ESU investigation, no money problems, no Doc Ock husband of Aunt May, only our unbearable bond of partnership, of love."
"You are such a hopeless romantic." Ghost Spider said. "Don't ever change."
"Promise to always stay with me and I promise I never will," Spider-Man said.
"I promise to be by your side forever and ever and ever." Ghost Spider said. "We'll never be apart."
A distant explosion followed closely by a bone-rattling shock wave shattered the nighttime silence shaking Spider-Man and Ghost Spider from their pleasant time together. An enormous plume of orange fire and black smoke dominated the southern horizon like a massive torch. Both heroes were on their feet in less than a second.
"What the heck!?" Ghost Spider exclaimed.
"It came from the south," Spider-Man said stating the obvious.
"Wait, didn't that use to be the Oscorp Building?" Ghost Spider said pointing at the blazing remnants of what had been an office tower.
"Oh no," Spider-Man said dread building within him. "Harry and MJ could be in there! Harry told me he was going to pull an all-nighter working on a new top-secret project he hopes will save the company." Since Norman Osborn's untimely demise the fortunes of Oscorp had reached an all-time low. Saddled with rapidly increasing debt and lacking direction few gave the young acting CEO Harry Osborn much of a chance.
"What are we waiting for let's go!" Ghost Spider said diving off the rooftop she caught the nearest suitable structure with a web line and swung away Spider-Man hot on her heels.
What remains of Oscorp Headquarters
Harry Osborn regained consciousness with a coughing groan. His entire body ached. He lay face down a nasty gash on his forehead. He raised his head blinking blood from his eyes. Smoke, dust, and fire obscured his field of vision.
Harry's mind drew a blink. Where was he? What was happening? It took him a moment to remember. His secret project the exosuit he had modeled after Spider-Man in the style of Ironman was being tested when that thief Black Cat interfered. She ruined everything when she attacked the security guards then tried to unhook the suit from its tether to the power cell. Before he could properly disengage the charge cables or stop her a chain reaction feedback loop occurred resulting in the huge explosion which knocked him out.
Harry painfully struggled to his feet. He almost collapsed from the head rush he received. The floor was covered with debris which had not so long about been the walls and ceiling of Oscorp Tower.
His eyes scanned his surroundings for any signs of Black Cat. She was nowhere to be seen nor was his exosuit. No doubt that bitch had managed to pilfer it. What he did see were the bodies of his security guards and scientists. He could tell by their oddly angled necks, shredded torsos and other gruesome inquires they were dead most killed by falling debris or the explosion itself. So many brilliant, wonderful people gone. What a waste of life. As far as Harry could figure he only survived because he was thrown clear by the initial blast. Dumb luck was with him tonight it would seem.
'I'll make you pay bitch.' Harry silently vowed.
Harry limped away headed for the doorway. He was halfway there when he heard a terrible creaking sound overhead. He barely had enough time to put up his hands before a section of the floor above fell on him.
In front of the burning half destroyed Oscorp Building, not long afterward
"Stay back ma'am it isn't safe." A uniformed male police officer said as he held back a frantic Mary Jane.
"My fiancee is in there! He's the CEO! I went out to get him a late supper! I have to get inside!" Mary Jane said struggling against the officer like a woman possessed while the fire trucks arrived.
Overhead Spider-Man and Ghost Spider swung into the inferno. They decided to split up so they could cover more ground. Fifteen minutes later they had taken a dozen people each to safety (thank you fire resistant webbing) but no Harry.
"I'm going in one more time," Spider-Man declared.
"Are you sure that's wise? The structure is pretty unstable." Ghost Spider correctly observed of the swaying tower of flame.
"Harry is still in there. I have to try." Spider-Man said.
"I know," Ghost Spider said. She pulled up the bottom part of her mask then did the same to the bottom part of Spider-Man's mask. She planted a kiss on his lips. "For good luck." She said pulling away.
"Don't worry, I'll be right back. You look after the crowd gathered out front." Spider-Man. He added to himself. 'I hope.'
Ghost Spider retreated to where the crowd of onlookers and those who had been rescued were gathered including Mary Jane. "I don't care what Jameson says you and Spider-Man are heroes." One of the men Ghost Spider rescued said. Everyone present loudly agreed.
"We try our best." Ghost Spider said her mind elsewhere. 'Come on Peter find Harry and get out of there.' She thought.
"Did you see my fiancee in there? He's Harry Osborn?" Mary Jane said grabbing Ghost Spider's arm.
"I'm sorry. We didn't find him" Ghost Spider said. "My partner thinks he might be able to locate more survivors which is why he went back inside. I'm here to help the authorities get people to a safe distance in case the building starts to collapse."
"Spider-Man has to find Harry, he just has to." Mary Jane said.
"If there is a way to save Mr. Osborn he'll find it." Ghost Spider said.
"The building is collapsing! Get back, everyone!" A female firefighter announced.
Ghost Spider had to physically restrain Mary Jane who made a mad dash for the burning building as she helped herd the others to a safe distance. She was thankful as it took her mind off other things. Mary Jane was fiercely pounding Ghost Spider's torso when the building finally collapsed. Mary Jane then broke down crying. Her body went limp. Ghost Spider carefully set Mary Jane down on the ground. Ghost Spider felt numb. How would she ever face life without Peter? She found the very notion unbearable.
Slowly a figure caked in dirt emerged from the resulting cloud of dust and smoke. Spider-Man carried the unconscious Harry in his arms. He passed Harry to the nearest EMTs as Mary Jane rushed to Harry's side. Ghost Spider threw her arms around her love holding him tight.
"Hell of a night, eh Ghostie?" Spider-Man said.
"Hell of a night, Spidey." Ghost Spider agreed a sense of profound relief flooding her mind.
The Fisk Building
"I trust my father's debt is paid in full?" Black Cat asked.
"Yes, it is, child," Fisk said from his position seated behind his expansive desk. "I extend my thanks. Oscorp may never recover from the loss of not only the exosuit but also their headquarters. Bravo on a job well done."
"The destruction of Oscorp Tower was an accident. I'm a thief and a damn good one. What I'm not is a sadistic killer like you of those you often employ. I take no pleasure in the deaths or suffering of others" Black Cat said an expression of disgust on her face.
"No doubt," Fisk said. "You may take your leave child." Without another word exchanged between them Black Cat left Fisk's office.
Spencer Smythe emerged into the office once Black Cat was gone. "I'm surprised she made good on her promise." He wheezed.
"I'm not," Fisk said. "The girl is talented. A pity she is not more morally flexible. I could make much use of someone with her abilities."
"Be that as it may we, at last, have the Oscorp exosuit in our possession." Spencer wheezed. "I can now construct my masterpiece. The Ultimate Spider-Slayer!"
"This Ultimate Spider-Slayer had better deliver, Smythe. I have expended a lot of resources and time on our project." Fisk said.
"Fear not, it shall deliver the desired results." Spencer wheezed. "Years of trial and error were involved but I finally discovered what my Spider-Slayers were lacking; a brain capable of higher reasoning, a human brain. With my brain taken from my failing body to guide it nothing will stop my Ultimate Spider-Slayer, nothing! Spider-Man and Ghost Spider are as good as finished!"
To Be Continued
Next up my original storyline "The Ultimate Spider-Slayer"!
Author's Note -
The changes are starting to pile up to the general 616 canon, eh folks. Doc Ock married Aunt May and Molten Man survived his first "death". Like ripples on the surface of a pond, the established pattern of time will increasingly be disrupted due to Gwen's continued proactive presence. Stay tuned for more.