Disclaimer: I don't own Spider-man, X-men, or any related characters except Nikki Parker. (I've still never figured out what the point is of these disclaimer things. Obviously we don't own the characters or these stories would be published and in comic books.) Please let me know what you think! Read and Review!


Prologue

At a chillingly calm pace, the group of inky black shadows floated forward, attempting to surround their frightened victim in utter darkness.

A young girl backed up slowly. Her eyes, filled with sheer terror, darted this way and that in their sockets, desperately looking for an escape between her cold enemies. Her fingers finally met the wall behind her and she pressed herself up against it, wishing that the ground would just swallow her up right there.

Trying to talk her way out of it had been useless and judging by the ruthlessness in their eyes, this whole thing would end without even a fight.

Just as one of them almost had her, the girl threw her arms up in front of her face and screamed.


"Nikki!"

Peter sat straight up in bed, a cold sweat running down his face. He had been watching the whole scene play out helplessly until her scream ripped through his sub-consciousness and jolted him back into reality.

Panting hard, Peter leaned back against the headboard of his bed and tried to calm down.

"Peter? Honey, are you ok?"

He glanced over at his wife who was gazing up at him with concern. Peter took another deep breath to relax and shook his head. "I don't know. I guess I just can't seem to get over the fact that she's—" His voice nearly cracked and he broke off.

"She's gone?" Mary Jane finished for him softly. Peter just nodded.

It occurred to him that it was exactly two years to the day that his daughter, Nicole Parker, had disappeared. Their two other children, Ben and May, had never really recovered.

Now Ben was ten and May was fifteen, the same age Nikki had been when she vanished. Peter, who had been extremely overprotective for a while afterward, finally began to admit that even Spider-Man couldn't be watching them twenty-four seven.

So Peter was very slowly learning to let go. After all, May was now patrolling the streets with him as Spider-Girl and there was only so much you could do to keep her safe.

Nicole Parker had always seemed reserved and almost aloof toward him, but she still had a bit of a rebellious air about her. She and Peter had gotten into a bitter argument with him on the evening she had vanished.

Peter had immediately gone to look for her. Strangely though, he never found her and returned home cold, wet, and utterly miserable.

He could still remember MJ's hopeful face when he swung in through the door many hours later. Her eyes read his through the mask and the tears streaming down her cheeks were almost more than he could bear.

In desperation he had even contacted Professor Xavier in hopes that his daughter had been seen by one of the students there. No such luck.

Now, Peter glanced at the clock by his bed. It was 5:15.

With a grunt of disappointment, he smacked the alarm button to turn it off and rolled out of bed. MJ watched him silently before falling asleep again.

Peter Parker yawned as he walked into the hallway and to the kitchen. He checked May's room and Ben's room one by one on his way, lingering for a moment to watch his peacefully sleeping children.

A smile crept up his face as he remembered how May had nabbed three bank robbers just last night. She and Ben were both still sleeping soundly, undisturbed by his earsplitting scream. He finally turned and continued his trek to the kitchen.

He crept noiselessly down the steps. A quick shiver shot up his spine as his bare feet touched the icy linoleum floor and he remembered the biting winds he'd endured during his nightly vigil.

Peter started some coffee and slumped down exhaustedly into a chair, staring vacantly out the window. His mind slowly went over the nightmare that had woken him.

He knew that there wasn't any chance of it being real; Nikki had been "presumed dead" a long time ago. But he still wished there was even the slightest, smallest, tiniest possibility she was alive.

Suddenly a loud ring startled him out of his wistful thoughts. Picking the phone off the hook, Peter felt his pulse quicken as he recognized the voice on the other end.

"Mr. Parker, I believe we may have located your daughter."