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Entwined Destines – Episode Three Truth and Consequences
Apartment of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, late morning
Peter rolled over in bed sunlight poured through the partially open blinds onto his face waking him from his slumber. He felt sore all over and slightly disorientated. He was going to stay in bed, it was a Saturday if memory severed him correctly, when he smelt a delicious aroma. Gwen must be cooking her world famous pancakes. She was quite the catch, beautiful, smart and she could cook. He was a very lucky man.
"I see my brave soldier is finally awake," Gwen said smiling. She entered their bedroom with a breakfast tray on which was placed a tall glass of milk and a plate filled with pancakes topped by syrup, bacon and scrambled eggs.
"What do you mean finally awake?" Peter asked sitting up in bed pillows at his back so Gwen could place the tray on his lap.
"I let you sleep in until noon. I thought you needed the extra rest after last night." Gwen said.
"Last night," Peter said slowly recalling what had befallen him. "The last thing I clearly remember is some Green Goblin ripoff using a device to disorientate me, then nothing. How did I get home I wonder?" He questioned aloud.
"I saved you," Gwen said. "Now eat before your breakfast gets cold. You need to regain your strength. I have no idea what that device did to you. I think it might have induced a form of spider-sense scrambling. In essence, it functioned on you like a bio-weapon would."
"No really Gwen, how did I get home? Do you any idea?" Peter asked. "Hey, you know about the spider-sense scrambler?"
"Sure do," Gwen said.
"How?" Peter asked again. "No offense but you couldn't have saved me. That Grey Goblin guy would have made mincemeat of you in a heartbeat. You're tough but not that tough, Gwen. So, how do you know about the device?"
"A little ghosty told me." Gwen snapped.
"Jeez, no need to get hostile. Hey did you cut and dye your hair?" Peter asked noticing Gwen's pink tips and much shorter bobbed hairstyle.
"Yup, I cut off my silly long hair it kept getting in the way. I also dyed the tips. I felt like a change. Do you like it?" Gwen asked playing with her newly shortened hair.
"Um, it's different," Peter said picking his words carefully. "If you like it I like it."
"By the way, I found this in your pocket," Gwen said showing Peter the engagement ring he had bought in its black valet box.
"Oh," Peter said.
"I hope you don't mind I tried it on," Gwen said. "I wanted to make sure it fits before I said yes."
"Uh, what?" Peter said.
"I said I'll be your wife, Peter Parker you crazy, wonderful man. It's an engagement ring, isn't it?" Gwen said.
"Well, yeah, it is," Peter said.
Gwen put the ring on her finger admiring the sparkle of the modest stone. "We're going to make a great team you and I. I can't wait to make things official," Gwen said. "Once you finish your breakfast we can go window shopping for wedding stuff. Then I can post pics of my engagement on social media so all my friends and family can see. Doesn't that sound like fun?"
"Sure does," Peter said deeply confused but happy with the whole situation. "Um, Gwen are you okay?"
"I'm right as rain. Why ever do you ask?" Gwen said.
"It's just, well, you're acting kind of peculiar," Peter said.
"Peculiar you say," Gwen said quirking an eyebrow a mischievous grin on her face. "You mean peculiar like this?"
Gwen jumped straight up onto the ceiling. She clung there by her legs her upper body hanging downward. Peter startled by her display of superhuman acrobatics knocked his tray onto the floor running the lovely prepared breakfast.
"You're cleaning that up, Peter. Plus you're buying me supper. I put a lot of work into your breakfast. I think I deserve a reward after you basically destroyed my masterpiece." Gwen said with a frown.
"What the hell is going on, Gwen!" Peter shouted now out off bed and on his feet.
"You might what to put on some clothes, Pete, or not. Ghost Spider likes what she sees." Gwen said licking her lips.
Peter looked down at himself and saw that he was buck naked. He instinctively covered his crotch with his hands. His face blushed a deep red from embarrassment.
Gwen could not stifle a laugh. "Peter, don't bother covering yourself up. I've seen you in the buff many times before as you've seen me." She said. "Besides, I'm studying to be a medical doctor. Male anatomy is nothing new to me. Although I must say yours is, nicely proportioned."
"Wait, you called yourself Ghost Spider," Peter said his embarrassment all but forgotten.
"Yup I'm her she's me. We're one in the same." Gwen said.
"But how?" Peter said taking his hands off his junk. Gwen didn't point this out as she was enjoying the once again unobstructed view.
"Osborn," Gwen said her voice taking on a serious tone along with her facial expression. "Him and his creepy assistant Donald Menken. They waylaid me in Europe when I was on my trip there this past summer. I thought he was being nice but Norman must have slipped something in my coffee when he pretended to bump into me at that Paris Cafe. Next thing I knew they had me at a secret facility I think in a former Eastern Bloc Country, but I'm not sure. There they subjected me to experiments for weeks. I guess they wanted to make me a sleep agent by replicating your spider powers then suppressing my memories of the whole ordeal. But, as I've recently remembered, my programming didn't take. I refused to kill you or hurt innocent people. Being a cold-blooded killer isn't in my makeup. Osborn and Meken labeled 'Project Ghost Spider' a failure. They released me with their trigger commands intact in case they 'required my services later', monsters. Somehow, my psychiatrist, Bart Hamilton found out. I don't know how. He reactivated my Ghost Spider persona along with my mentally suppressed powers. He tried to use me against you but I rebelled. I could never seriously harm you. I love you too much for that, Peter. He's also this new Grey Goblin."
"Yet you beat me up as I recall." Peter correctly pointed out. "And I love you too, Gwen."
"Yeah, about that," Gwen said laughing nervously. "You know I can be the jealous type. When I saw you with Black Cat, I mean Ghost Spider saw you, she sort of lost her shit." She paused here for a moment. "Which reminds me. Stay away from Black Cat from now on. You're mine. If we encounter her again I'll do the ahem interacting."
"Yes ma'am," Peter said with a goofy grin. "Did you say 'we'?"
"I sure did," Gwen said. "Besides being your fiancee I'm your new partner in crime prevention. Together our foes don't stand a chance. Our first order of business should be stopping Grey Goblin. Dr. Hamilton knows our secret identities. Shall we pay the not so good doctor a visit?"
"Let's go," Peter said.
"Pull on some pants and we'll be on our way. Unless you want to give old Mrs. Stavich in the next building over a show. I hear she bought a new pair of high power binoculars just to see your cute tushy." Gwen said with a wink. Peter yelped running out into the hallway and then the bathroom where he immediately wrapped a towel around his waist. Gwen dropped from the ceiling laughing all the time.
Peter and Gwen never did locate Bart Hamilton in spite of their efforts. That Saturday, as Spider-Man and Ghost Spider respectively, they conducted an extensive searched of his home and office without luck. Not a speck of information about Gwen, Peter, Ghost Spider, Spider-Man, the Green or Grey Goblins or anything else suspicious was anywhere to be seen. Furthermore, Dr. Hamilton himself seemed to have vanished from the face of the Earth without leaving behind so much as a single trace. With a little prompting from Gwen, her father Captain George Stacy pulled a few strings and had Dr. Hamilton declared a missing person before the usual forty-eight-hour waiting period was up. Even with police assistance, Dr. Hamilton's whereabouts remained elusive. When no leads were found or new information was forthcoming in two weeks the investigation became a cold case.
Empire State University, afternoon
Peter and Gwen had been called to the Dean's Office for some unknown reason. Both sat nervously as they waited for the Dean and his assistants to join them. Gwen glanced over at Peter.
"What do you suppose they called us here to discuss?" Gwen asked.
"You've got me," Peter said.
"Sorry to keep you waiting, Ms. Stacy and Mr. Peter." The Dean of Science said entering his office. He was an elderly man of East Asian descent with short grey hair who wore thick glasses. He was flanked on either side by two middle-aged people who he introduced to Gwen and Peter as lawyers of the University. One was a brown haired woman the other a black haired man. "Are either of you aware that Professor Miles Warren took his own life last night?" The Dean asked after sitting in his seat.
Gwen gasped in shock Peter did likewise. "We had no idea," Gwen said a second later answering for both of them.
"Tragic as Professor Warren's untimely death is, what does it have to do with us?" Peter asked.
"Mr. Warren wrote a rather troubling and extensive suicide letter." The Dean answered. "In said letter, which he electronically forwarded to my personal e-mail address minutes before his death, he alleged that you Mr. Parker and you Ms. Stacy blackmailed him into giving you both letter grades of A. You accomplished this by using fraudulent allegations of sexual harassment against Ms. Stacy by the late Professor Warren backed up by videos Mr. Parker shot. " The Dean paused here before he continued to let his words sink in. "Is it true both of you have withdrawn from Professor Warren's class you were previously enrolled in yet have received letter grades of A? This in spite of not completing the term."
Gwen did not know how to respond nor did Peter. While she had told Peter they needed to withdraw from Professor Warren's class last week she had not told him why. She only said she had a very important reason. Reluctantly, Peter did acquiesce to Gwen's demands.
Gwen took a deep breath. 'Oh boy, this was going to hurt.' She thought. 'Best plunge right in.'
"Professor Warren invited me to his home for supper one night two weeks ago. I thought he was being nice because of my recent trauma. I was wrong." Gwen said taking another breath. She felt like the walls were closing in on her. She had not suffered from a panic attack in almost two months, 'Breathe Gwen breathe you've got this girl,' She told herself. "Mr. Warren attempted to sexually assault me. I fought him off and told him if he ever tried such a thing again, to me or anyone else, I'd report him. Peter had nothing to do with the incident. He wasn't even there and there never were any videos taken." Parker tried to make eye contact with Gwen but she refused to return his gaze.
"I see," The Dean said his expression like those of his colleagues was unreadable. "Unfortunately things have progressed beyond a simple internal university matter. Very serious allegations have been leveled against you Ms. Stacy and you Mr. Parker. This is now a criminal matter. Until it is resolved you are both hereby suspended from attending classes at Empire State University."
In the hallway outside a few minutes later, Peter said to Gwen in a low voice leaning in close as they strolled away arm in arm. "Why didn't you tell me about Professor Warren?"
"I thought you'd hurt him or worse," Gwen whispered back. "Besides I had just discovered my powers. I handled the situation myself. That old perv trying to mack on me was what triggered my mental break."
"You were right, I would have kicked his ass, dirty old man," Peter whispered.
"While I'm sorry he's dead," Gwen whispered. "I'm also pissed he screwed us in death like he tried to screw me in life. I'm very tired of being a victim."
"I agree with you. If he did screw us or take his own life that is." Peter whispered as they exited the Faculty of Science Building.
"What are you suggesting?" Gwen whispered.
"It wouldn't be the first time a foe tried to frame me for a crime," Peter whispered his voice even lower.
"You think this could be spider related?" Gwen said her voice matching his very low volume.
"Uh-huh," Peter whispered.
"I wonder," Gwen whispered. "If Dr. Hamilton's mysterious disappearance is linked to this somehow?"
"I don't know," Peter said. "But, I fully intend to find out."
"Correction, we fully intend to find out," Gwen said lacking the fingers of her right hand around those of Peter's left. The ex-science students joined the crowd of fellow young people their minds swimming with troubling possibilities.
Secret Laboratory of Miles Warren hidden somewhere in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York
Miles Warren clad in a pristine white lab coat worked feverishly on his cloning project. He had already experienced limited success when he grew a clone of him to maturity a couple of days ago. Sadly, the clone did not live long. However, it gave him an idea. A means by which he could continue his work unimpeded by the petty concerns of his university commitments, and hopefully greatly accelerate his rate of progress. He had used the husk to stage his own "death" by shooting a bullet from the old revolver he kept through its head. Better yet he wrote a letter blaming his tragic demise on that little tease Gwen Stacy and her dunderhead boyfriend Peter Parker. He could hardly believe that clumsy duntz Parker was really Spider-Man. Parker's sheer ineptitude was a convincing cover indeed.
"Once I possess his powers in a young, healthy clone of my own body I'll teach him who is the master and who is the student." Miles Warren said looking through a desk mounted electronic microscope at one of his latest cellular cultures, in this case of Gwen's genome. Miles Warren noted a near identical mutation in Gwen's DNA to Peter's own. "Mr. Menken you've been holding out on me. What kind of employer deceives his employee? Well, now this is an added bonus." He had intended Gwen's clone, after the required mental conditioning, to merely serve as his ideal domestic partner in spite of the code name and spider themed costume he wanted to give her. Now it would seem she could assist him in destroying Spider-Man and his own apparent partner, "splendid."
To Be Continued
A special thank you to my loyal readers for making this my second most successful Spider-Man related stories (in terms of both favorites & follows as well as hits), and in such a relatively short time. I am humbled by your continued support.