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Another Strand In The Great Web – Episode Eleven Web of Shadows Day One Part I: Strange Bedfellows

A Town on Western Long Island, morning

"Try again I know you can do better tiger, attack me." Spinneret urged assuming a defensive stance. "I won't even use my Spider Sense this time."

Spider-Man carefully aimed a flying tackle at Spinneret which she easily sidestepped. Spinneret hit Spider-Man in his back with a spinning elbow that sent him flying off course. Spider-Man tumbled through the adjacent doorway into the dining room of their practice house where he landed in an undignified heap.

"I'm sorry. Did I hurt you?" Spinneret said rushing to help Spider-Man up.

"I'm fine thank you very much," Spider-Man said not accepting her help he got to his feet on his own. He looked at Spinneret and sighed. He should not be anger with her. This was in no way her fault. "I'm the one who is sorry red." He sighed. "Without my Spider Sense, I'm unless."

"That isn't true." Spinneret insisted. "You're still Spider-Man with or without your warning sense. You just have to be more careful until it returns is all. Treat it as a challenge."

"It has been a week. What if it never comes back? What do I do then?" Spider-Man said.

"We'll think of something together." Spinneret said emphasizing the word we. "In the meantime, we keep training."

"I know you hate crime fighting. That you would much rather be at home with Little May. That you are only accompanying me on every patrol because you are worried I might get hurt if I were on my own." Spider-Man said.

"Not every patrol. Felicia and Johnny have each went on a couple with you." Spinneret said using humor in an attempt to lighten the mood which did not work.

"I'm such a failure," Spider-Man said his head hung low. "You, Little May and Aunt May would be better off without me."

"I never want to hear you say you're a failure again or that we'd be better off with you." Spinneret said sternly. She took off her mask and placed her hands on Spider-Man's shoulders. "You are Peter Parker the best person I've ever known. Not many people would have detonated that EMP bomb knowing it could affect them as well as their opponents, yet you did. You always put the well-being of others before your own well-being. You always find a way to do the right thing not matter the personal price. You inspire everyone around you to be a better person including me. I love you my hero Mr. Parker." Mary Jane slipped up the bottom of Peter's mask so she could kiss him.

While Peter and Mary Jane shared a tender moment a shadow crept silently down the staircase of the old house. Into the dining room it glided until it was mere inches from the unsuspecting couple. They broke their kiss a moment before it pounced enveloping Mary Jane who pushed Peter away. Unlike Peter who could not have sensed its attack even if his Spider Sense was working Mary Jane could because she had never been bonded to the Symbiote, unlike her husband.

"Peter run," Mary Jane gasped as inky blackness covered her body from top to bottom. Something akin to a gust of wind flew through the doorway and impact Mary Jane as well as the Symbiote which shuddered for a moment.

"I'm not leaving you," Spider-Man said.

"Then you will either become one with us or die Spider-Man." The Vemon possessed Mary Jane hissed. Her body was covered by a shiny black costume nearly identical to the one Spider-Man himself had once worn when he owned the Symbiote. The most notable differences where her flowing white hair and elongated black fingers that ended in razor sharp claws.

"Fight this thing MJ," Spider-Man said.

"The one you call Mary Jane is gone." The Vemon possessed Mary Jane hissed.

"I don't believe you," Spider-Man said.

"She is part of us now she belongs. Become one with us." The Vemon possessed Mary Jane hissed.

"Who are you?" Spider-Man asked working on a hunch. "Because you're not Venom."

This thing was not acting like the Venom he knew. Since when did the Symbiote desire more than one host at a time? Something was very wrong here.

"How very observant of you Spider-Man." The Vemon possessed Mary Jane hissed. "As with your wife the entity you call Venom is part of us now it belongs."

"Who are you? What are you?" Spider-Man demanded.

"We have gone by different names throughout history but our most infamous is Legion, for we are many." The Vemon possessed Mary Jane laughed darkly. "Long have we waited here seeking a worthy vessel to house our magnificence, convey us to the masses." Legion inclined Mary Jane's head slightly before it again spoke. "We should thank you Spider-Man because of you, we have the perfect vessel to meet our needs to spread ourself far and wide. Venom would never have come here if not for its desire to avenge itself upon you. If only you had not callously discarded an entity who sought only to aid you none of this would be happening. Humanity is doomed due to your arrogance."

"I'll stop you," Spider-Man said. He lashed out at Legion but was effortlessly swatted away by a black tendril which refused to let go.

"Poor deluded hero. Become one with us." Legion declared.

Spider-Man felt the black ooze flow up his left leg reaching his knee. He desperately struggled to break free but to no avail. So this was it he thought. He was about to be taken over by an evil entity possessed Venom Symbiote and there was no way he could stop it.

"Urrgggghhh," Legion cried out in pain. It staggered back a step clutching Mary Jane's head in her hands.

Spider-Man landed on the floor once released from the tendril that he held him. Meanwhile Legion quickly recovered from its strange spell. Legion stood still it took one look at Spider-Man. It shook Mary Jane's head then bolted out of the dining room and smashed through an exterior window leaving the house.

"Need to find them," Peter said struggling to his feet.

{Let me help you, Peter.} A voice in Peter's head said. {I can restore your strength along with your lost Spider Sense.}

Peter glanced down at his left leg which was covered to his thigh in black material. Part of the Venom Symbiote was apparently still on him. Wonderful, as if things could not be worse.

"Get off me," Spider-Man said forcefully. No way would he let this thing be part of his life again.

{Please Peter accept my help.} The voiced within begged. {I am sick. I will die without you. We need each other, more than ever before.}

"I don't trust you," Spider-Man said.

{I saved you, for the second time and you still mistrust me. I am offended.} The voice within said.

"Wait, for the second time. When was the first?" Spider-Man asked.

{In the bell tower when you rejected me. You were weak, hurt, had passed out, would have died if I had not taken you from that place at what I thought would be the cost of my own life. I only went to Eddie later because I was dying. I never wanted him only you.} The voice within said. {How could you treat me so badly? All I ever wanted was to help you. Please, Peter, accept my help. We can only stop Legion if we work together.}

Spider-Man paused he had no idea the Symbiote saved him at the risk of its own life back in the bell tower. After he tried to kill it a living thing out of fear. Something he swore he would never do. Suddenly he felt terribly guilty.

"Look if I do accept your help I can't guarantee I'll want you in my life when this over. But I do promise if not I'll help you find somebody who does. Somebody who is a good person not unstable like Eddie or Gargan were. Can you accept that?" Spider-Man said.

{While I would rather have you, Peter. I will accept your proposal if there is no other option.} The voice within said.

"Okay," Spider-Man asked. "Do we have a deal?"

{We have a deal.} The voice within said.

"I'm ready," Spider-Man said.

The Venom Symbiote rapidly spread across Spider-Man's body. It reformed the black suit with white accents Spider-Man had once worn. Spider-Man looked down at his form and stretched his body experimentally. He felt stronger, more agile, more ready for whatever might come his ways than he had in ages.

Outside

Mary Jane under the direction of Legion infected everyone she came in contact with. Unlike with Mary Jane, these poor souls became classic versions of Venom complete with long tongues and green slime dripping fangs. These infected then rampaged through the neighborhood infecting others in turn while Mary Jane headed westward towards New York City in her quest for more victims.

When Spider-Man saw what was happening he contacted Aunt May on his smartphone. Thank goodness it had not been damaged in the tussle with Legion. "Aunt May," Spider-Man said. "MJ and I are are having a lovely day." He lied. "Look can you and Jarvis take Little May to his place In Jeresy tonight? Everything is fine. We just want some alone time. Sorry I've got to go, thanks." Spider-Man ended the conversation cutting off Aunt May's questions about his lost Spider Sense. Good, his family was safe, other than MJ, now to deal with Legion. The only question was how?

{That which he stole from me may remain vulnerable to fire and sound. Unfortunately so are we while bonded.} The voice within offered.

"Ah, thanks, partner," Spider-Man said in his mind.

Spider-Man went back to his house. He emerged a few minutes later with a backpack flamethrower he had rigged up in case of just such a situation. The Infected retreated before the onslaught, however, damage to neighboring homes and property proved extensive by the time Spider-Man cleared the street. Thinking fast he tagged three retreating infected with a spider tracers.

"Oops," Spider-Man said with a chuckle. "I hope my homeowner's insurance covers this." Spider-Man checked his smartphone which displayed where the tagged infected were headed by way of GPS. He had introduced the backup tracking program a few months ago and was thankful he had because he was unsure if his Symbiote based Spider Sense would have picked up on the tracers in the same way his old Spidey Sense did. "Darn it they're heading towards the city. Just what I don't need."

New York City, One hour later

By the time Spider-Man arrived in lower Manhattan, after getting a ride on the roof of a passing truck, the area was in turmoil. Infected were everywhere. Hundreds perhaps thousands of them swarmed through the streets.

"How could Legion infect so many people so quickly?" Spider-Man wondered aloud atop a highrise building that overload the pandemonium below. "It must be replicating Symbiote matter at an exponential rate. If it keeps up its current pace New York will be overrun in two perhaps three days tops. This is bad very bad."

Spider-Man knew both the Fantastic Four and the Avengers were on missions off-world. Saving the city was up to him. Where to start though? He drew a blank as did the Symbiote.

Spider-Man glanced up. He spotted the SHIELD Helicarrier. Maybe his old bosses in SHIELD could be of help. It was worth a shot.

SHIELD Helicarrier, sometime later

"You've got some nerve showing up here after the Raft Debacle, Spider-Man. I should have you arrested and thrown in the brig." Maria Hill said when Spider-Man was brought before. This was following a brief skirmish on the upper deck with agents and automated defense platforms.

"Do you have any idea what is going on down there?" Spider-Man asked. On either side of him stood a heavily armed SHIELD agent.

"We are monitoring the situation." Maria Hill said. Hill had returned to organization following the departure of Tony Stark and the mysterious disappearance of former Director Nick Fury. Although many within SHIELD remained distrustful of Hill because of her support of disgraced Registration Act.

"Monitoring the situation," Spider-Man said in disbelief. "You need to do something."

"I am under strict orders to monitor the situation until further notice." Maria Hill said.

"Orders from whom?" Spider-Man asked.

"Acting Director Coulson." Maria Hill answered.

"May I speak with him?" Spider-Man said.

"He is presently Harlem overseeing a field assignment with Special Agent Luke Cage." Maria Hill said.

"Then that is where I'm going," Spider-Man said.

{Be careful Peter. They mean us harm.} The voice within warned a split second before his Spider Sense kicked in.

"Not so fast." Maria Hill said eyeing his black costume suspiciously. "How do we know you aren't infected?"

"Would I be here asking for help if I was infected?" Spider-Man scoffed.

"I'm afraid we can't let you leave until we run some tests." Maria Hill said rising from her seat.

"I see," Spider-Man said.

With astonishing quickness, Spider-Man disarmed the rifle-wielding guards. He then used a web line to pull Hill's sidearm from her hand. He webbed all three up then left.

"Sorry, but I have a city to save. I have no time to stay here and chat." Spider-Man said dodging agents on his way out. He leaped from the deck of the Helicarrier snagging the spire of a building as he fell with a web line.

To Be Continued

Author's Note -

Can you guess who will be the next "Venom"? Here is a hint – It is always sunny in Philadelphia. And remember Flash is already Agent Toxin, so it won't be him. Although he might just show up in this storyline anway. Hey it involves Symbiotes.