The Writer Formerly Known as the Trickster extends her fond farewells with one or two final twists...until the next thrilling story!

Epilogue: In the End, by Otto

"Things aren't the way they were before

You wouldn't even recognize me anymore

Not that, you knew me back then

But it all comes back to me

In the end

I kept everything inside

And even though I tried, it all fell apart

What is meant to be

Will eventually be a memory of a time

I tried so hard, and got so far

But in the end, it doesn't even matter

I had to fall, to lose it all

But in the end, it doesn't even matter..."

Linkin Park, "In the End"

Of course, I know intellectually that Parker might choose to break the promise he swore to me before his silent God. But I know Parker, and I know he will keep his oath. Why, you ask, my dear readers? Because Parker clings to his ideals as he clings to walls—almost nothing can pull him off. He has proven himself always ready to sacrifice himself for them, for what he knows as simple human decency, for what I know as traditional morality.

But I too have ideals—ideals which I am always ready to sacrifice lesser men for. I think the ends justify the means; he thinks the means are as important as the ends, thereby blunting any effectiveness he might have in fulfilling his own ideals.

The idealistic and the practical. Perhaps someday, Parker will realize that in all the essential aspects, we're not as different as he would make us out to be.

And perhaps someday I will understand why even though everything is truly a shade of gray, some things should remain black and white.

I race towards the emergency shaft, using my actuators to speed back through the hallway.

Osborn is still stuck in the control panel. Good. He deserves whatever he gets. "I can hear your tentacles clanking around, Octavius!" he shouts. "Blast you, get back here and help me out!"

I ignore him, finally reaching the shaft.

When I get there, the lid is propped open, and I see the man Osborn called Dillon crawling in, muttering, "Ha, I figured there'd be some escape hatch or emergency exit or something in this joint in case it went haywire—"

Oh, I won't stand for this. With an actuator's pincers, I pick Dillon up by the collar, pluck him out of the shaft, and throw him on top of his employer. "Stand aside, you microcephalic miscreant," I address him, "and let your intellectual superior pass!"

"Hey!" Dillon yells, "that shaft is my only chance!"

"Correction, Dillon," I tell him, wrapping my actuators around myself for protection, "Was your only chance! Now it's mine!"

Stretching and coiling my actuators around me from head to toe as a defensive cocoon, I shut the lid, and pray to Parker's silent God to save me in one piece.

And at precisely that moment, Rosslyn Island vanished off the map in a blaze of thermonuclear fire.

I look up to see the shaft opening, and I am rather unceremoniously dumped into the ocean, my actuators uncoiling and madly paddling towards the nearest stretch of shore.

And when I find myself washed up on the coast of Rhode Island an hour later, I shield my eyes from the sun and distantly spot Parker and May sitting safely on the shore. He has pulled his mask off and seems to be talking to her. She nods her head, seemingly accepting.

Well, I think, I was right. Which is an experience as predictable as the sun rising, but it is difficult to improve on perfection.

My reverie is interrupted by a morbidly obese, drunken brown-haired man in glasses and swimming trunks, accompanied by a lovely redhaired wife, their white dog, a chubby blonde teenage son, and a chubby brunette teenage daughter also wearing glasses and holding a small toddler. "Hey," the man says, "get lost. We're fishing here."

I briefly contemplate the manifold pleasures of throttling the fat man for daring to speak in such a way to Doctor Octopus. But those pleasures can wait.

Overhead a few miles south, I spot a shining green helicopter, bearing the insignia of OsCorp Industries, hovering ahead. Knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that Norman Osborn had escaped from the burning wreck of Rosslyn Island in his personal helicopter, I look around to find a few metal trash cans. They are not much, but in the arms of Doctor Octopus and with a suitable motivation, any innocent object, from a yellow taxi door on down, can be used as a weapon of revenge.

Using an actuator, I pick up one trash can, hurtling it towards the direction of the helicopter's rotor blade. The first trash can I throw is overshot too long; the second falls short, but finding the range with the assistance of my actuators' artificial intelligence systems, the third trash can hits the rotor blades, separating it from the main body of the aircraft with deadly accuracy and my bitter vengeance.

I smile as the disabled helicopter, with Norman Osborn presumably inside, falls to the waiting waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and explodes on impact.

Using my actuators, I make my way back to May's unnoticed. Felicia is gone as well, to parts unknown. I light the fireplace, and toss the two hidden envelopes I had created to ensure Parker's cooperation into the flames. I carefully write May a letter.

My dearest May:

I regret that I must take my leave of you at this time. You make me want to become a better person, a person whom I will never be. I will never be the kind of man whom you deserve, for life with me will always be fraught with danger, lies, and the shadow of my destiny. I cannot tell you where I am going, how I am going to get there, or what I am going to do once I arrive, for I do not know myself. All I know is that whenever I see roses in bloom, I will remember the gentle nature and unconditional love of a woman who is more than I will ever deserve.

Dr. Otto Octavius

I seal the letter inside the envelope, inscribing it with To May Parker, gently place it on her bedroom's dresser, and climb out of the window as carefully as I came in.

I hail a taxi, retracting my actuators underneath my coat. Opening a newspaper, I see that there seems to be an important scientific conference at Empire State University that I should like to visit, including some very interesting inventions and equipment I should like to see...

I fiddle with my wedding ring, and tell the driver, "Take me to the university convention center. I have some business there..."


Coda: The View, by Peter

"As life gets longer, awful feels softer,

Well it feels pretty soft to me.

And if it takes shit to make bliss,

Well I feel pretty blissfully.

If life's not beautiful without the pain,

Well I just would rather never ever see beauty again.

For every good deed, there has already been a crime committed.

For every step we take, we might as well been seated!"

Modest Mouse, "The View"

I'm letting you guys know right now, this blog is now on indefinite hiatus. You know why as well as I do. I've failed to live up to my own standards again. I've formed this relationship with you, my fans, and I don't even know who you really are. I've been talking to an image, just as you have. And for that image, I neglected my job, my schoolwork, my family. For that image, I neglected to realize until too late that while I was so busy looking out the front door for enemies after my loved ones, my archenemy was able to sneak into the back window.

Power always has its price. Even if you manage to escape its corrupting influence to follow the path of a superhero, it will cost you everything you hold dear. Including your relationships with all the ones you love, your family and friends.

I thought I was keeping her safe, when I was really keeping her in the dark. I thought I was protecting her by denying her that dangerous knowledge, when I was only denying her the power to make her own choices about how to handle it, denying her my confidence that she could. But the truth will always out. I can't believe it took a broken alliance with Doctor Octopus and battles with all those other supervillains to do it. I should be grateful that only May knows about my secret now, as opposed to the whole world.

I enter the bedroom carefully on my crutches, knocking first. She sits on her bed, head in hands. I sit next to her, placing an arm around her shoulders.

"I know this is hard for you," I say, swinging the leg with the cast onto the bed.

"What can I say, Peter?" she asks, holding a letter in her hands. "I just found out that I've been lied to constantly. I just found I've been played for a gullible old fool. I thought I was pretty damn street-smart for an old lady. Smarter than what I proved to be, at any rate."

"Octopus won't hurt you anymore, Aunt May," I tell her. "I'll make sure of it."

She turns to look at me. "I'm not talking about Otto, dear."

I walk out of the room, head hung, and feel my cell phone vibrating in my pocket. That ringtone can only mean one thing. Felicia!

I hurry out to the courtyard to take it. "Spidey speaking," I whisper.

"You're—you're what? Pregnant? Look, I'll do right by the kid. I'm not the richest man in the world, but nobody's going to have any reason to call me the Amazing Spider-Deadbeat. I promise you."

What she says next nearly makes me drop the phone. I lose it. I just lose it.

"What! You were having sex with him at the same time?!"

What is it with my girlfriends banging my archenemies? First Gwen and Goblin, now this, hell if Mary Jane isn't screwing Venom right now. Just my Parker luck, I guess. Or maybe not...

I see someone else, who had apparently invited herself in the complex, step out of the shadows of the courtyard's willow tree, the sunshine dancing on her dark red hair—

"Mary Jane!"

She just laughs and pulls a Sharpie from her purse, scribbling her name on my cast. "Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot! Just think, when I become a famous supermodel and actress, you can sell that thing on eBay."

Well, I'm sure all you bloggers enjoyed this little story but right now I have a lot of recovering to do, previously neglected loved ones to spend time with, another situation to take care of, and a score to settle...