Now, to the reviewers' box...

To jla2snoopy: Don't worry, there will be something coming up. It won't be an Austin story, but it will be a Doc Ock story. Due to strict parents, resuming college, a needy baby brother, and limited spare time, the updates might take a little longer, but The Trickster will not fail you!

To Agent Silver: I don't remember that--I've been so hung up on Spider-man 2 (and its villian, wink wink) that it's been such a long time since I saw the first movie.

Oh yeah, I am considering making the Austin series into a trilogy. As soon as my Muse visits me again and I get to write it.

Now to the story! As my tale draws to a close, what will the future hold for the two star-crossed lovers? Read and review while you can, because this is the last chapter!

Chapter 10: Epilogue: Spider-Girl and Octopus Junior

"Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind."
--William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

8:00 am. The Daily Grind, a café near Empire State University.

May stirred her cappuccino with her biscotti. "Austin, let's get to the point. I love you, but I have to break up with you. I can't be selfish."

"Selfish?" Austin asked. "You're the most unselfish person I know."

"Don't you understand what happened a few days ago? I'm Spider-girl, and like my father did, I will always have enemies. Any boyfriend I have will be in grave danger. I love you too much for you to be kidnapped or killed."

"I can defend myself, you know."

"And our fathers—let's face it, they've never been the best of friends."

"What about them?"

"I had a fight with my father because I was dating you," May confessed. "We smoothed it over, but he still isn't thrilled."

"Your father should respect that we are able to make our own decisions. So should mine."

"You never told your father yourself, Austin? He just found out from my friends?"

"Why does everyone insist on calling him my father, just because I look like him, May? What he did was knock my mother up when they were both drunk. Then he didn't show up or even try to contact me for fourteen years. What kind of a father is that? I'm not ready for a relationship with him, and I'm not sure I ever will. The question is: will I be able to control myself?"

"What do you mean by that?" asked May.

Austin sighed heavily. "Noreen was right. It's in my blood, and it's on my back."

"You didn't ask for what happened to you four years ago. Everyone has choices over what they what they want to do with their life. There was something your father told my father once—that intelligence is a gift, a privilege—"

"—to be used for the good of mankind," Austin completed.

"Maybe you will do that someday, Austin," May said. "You're not your father."

"What happened to Noreen?"

"No one knows. She pulled out of college yesterday and no one's seen her since. She was like a sister to me. Let's not talk about that."

Austin took her hand. "Whatever dangers you face, I want to face them with you. No matter what."

Then Austin glanced at the next table. The newest edition of The Daily Bugle was laying on it. There was yet another picture of Noreen, in her Green Goblin getup. The headline read: "Girl Goblin Strikes Again: Two Dozen Designer Dresses Stolen From Shopping Mall"…

"On the way down
I saw you
And you saved me from myself
And I won't forget the way you loved me
On the way down
I almost fell right through
But I held onto you"

--Ryan Cabrera, "On the Way Down"

And so they walked down to the university, spider's daughter and octopus' son, facing the future with odds stacked against them, hand in hand, going their solitary ways.