He can beat your strength alone. That is because he has strength of his own. But if the two could be combined…
The insidious whisper filled Norman Osborn's head but he no longer tried to deny the voice. No, the Goblin had done far too much for him. The distinction between them was false at best – and what was the point when being the Goblin made him so much more?
No, the voice was right. Parker had strength. And it didn't take much to figure out where he'd gotten it.
"But we don't know," Norman whispered back to the empty room. "We don't know how it will react with the formula. It could be dangerous. It could kill us."
The formula was unproven as well.
"This isn't the same."
Then Harry came home like a dog with its tale between its legs, shoulders slumping, reciting a story of woe about Peter loving Mary Jane. And as he embraced his son and gave him false comfort, the voice murmured again.
He is the answer. He can test it.
"It will be alright, son." Norman assured Harry. "I'll make it up to you. Right the wrongs. Rebuild our relationship."
Harry was smiling when a moment later Norman's hand closed like a vice over his wrist and dragged him over to the mirror.
When Harry woke from his blackout, he found himself in a glass chamber. Beyond the glass he could see glimmering metal racks, outfitted with what he assumed were weapons. Shuddering, he then noticed his reflection in the curved surface of the glass. H stumbled back with a gasp, realizing that he'd been stripped down to his underwear.
Had his father done this? No. That would be too creepy.
It was a dream. It had to be.
First he pinched himself, but that failed to wake him. Then he scratched his arms until he scored the skin, but the vision failed to disappear. It was only after throwing himself into the glass wall and tumbling back down, his shoulder aching, that he began to accept the idea that it might be real.
"Dad?" He called out. This had to be a mistake, he thought. His father would get him out of this. Even if he was embarrassed to be seen in his underwear, better than being stuck in a glass tube. "Dad?!" He called louder when there was no response, his voice echoing weirdly against the glass. He wondered how soundproof it was, if anybody could even hear him.
How had he ended up in here anyway?
Trying to keep calm he sat down on the floor of the chamber. So he was in a weird secret room in some kind of glass tube, practically naked. There had to be an explanation. Maybe… maybe he'd stumbled into the room? Maybe there was contamination of some sort and getting rid of his clothing and quarantining him was the only solution?
That had to be it. It was for his own safety. Then his neck began to tingle and, peering at the reflection in the glass, he noticed a red, swollen patch of skin from a bite of some sort. Maybe that was it, he reasoned. Maybe he'd gone poking around a lab and gotten bitten by something and now he might be infected somehow.
Except, a lingering voice in the back of his mind whispered, except he hadn't gone poking around any labs. He'd come home… he'd seen Peter with Mary Jane and then he'd come home and met his father and then…
"Dad!" He called out again, starting to panic and trying to force down the memories that were drifting back.
His father's hand on his wrist, the mirror, he was being dragged, the room, something against his neck and then…
"DAD!" He pounded the glass with his fists, nearly breaking his hands. Frustrated, he slid down the glass and back onto the floor. It was starting to get cold and he wished he had anything, even a robe or a sheet, to cover up.
The room, the pinch of an injection, then darkness…
He touched the spot where the bite was again and a wave of nausea hit him. There were no corners in the chamber but he knelt off to one side, hoping that if he vomited, it wouldn't get everywhere. Leaning against the glass, he started to dry heave when he heard a voice.
"My apologies Harry. It took me some time to find what I needed."
"Dad!" He propped himself up against the glass, tossing away any concerns or accusations in favor of simply getting out. "Dad, thank God! You've got to get me out of here! I think I got bitten by something…"
"You did." Norman suddenly appeared in front of the chamber, holding a large vial of a lurid green fluid. "One of our experimental spiders, to be exact. I left it in the chamber while you were sleeping and removed it once it had done its job. You crushed it while I was busy, unfortunately, but it had fulfilled its purpose."
"Its purpose?" Harry pressed his hands against the glass, frowning. His father wasn't opening the chamber and he was beginning to dislike the thread of their conversation. "This wasn't…"
"An accident?" Norman grinned. "No Harry. I'm afraid not. You see – I think it's time you started to grow up Harry. Get involved in the family business. Help out your dear old dad. I'm doing this for your own good, you know."
"Doing what?" Harry's voice escalated in pitch. "What is this, some kind of experiment?! I don't want to do this, now get me out!"
"Shhhh, Harry." Norman pressed a few buttons on a consol near the chamber and inserted the green vial into part of the machinery.
"What are you doing?" He looked over at the green fluid and felt faint. "Take that out of there! What are you doing!" He slapped the glass with his hands, though he knew it wouldn't break and doubted his father would stop.
"Helping you out Harry. Making you… better."
"I don't want to be better, I want to leave!" He pleaded. "Let me out, we'll pretend this never happened…"
"You mean you don't want to one-up that runty little friend of yours, Parker?" Norman taunted.
"Pete?" Harry frowned and stood back. "What's Pete got to do with this?"
"You mean you live with the brat and you haven't figured it out by now?" Norman scoffed. "He's Spider-Man, you idiot. He's stealing your girl, he's ruining my – no, our – business, interfering with my plans… I'd hoped assaulting that fusty aunt of his would convince him that helping instead of hurting was in his best interest, but thanks to you I have a much better idea – and much grander plans. Who better to strike at him than his best friend, after all? He'd never suspect…" Norman's eyes flashed green.
"Have you been taking that stuff?" Harry looked on, horrified to the point where his mind barely processed the idea of Peter as Spider-Man, then realized what was about to happen as his father's hand hovered over a button. "No! No, no, no, no!" He screamed and his breathing began to accelerate. "Let me out, I don't want this, let me out!"
"Hush Harry." Norman pressed the button and Harry froze at the sound of hydraulics pumping, coming to life. "As I said, it's for your own good."
Harry pounded against the glass, ramming into it like an animal in a cage, though he knew it would be to no avail. With a hiss the green gas poured in from every side, creeping down his nose and mouth, into his lungs, burning, suffocating. At first he tried to hold his breath, pinch his nose shut, but it was everywhere, getting into his system through every seam and orifice in his body, setting his veins on fire. Overcome, he passed out onto the floor of the chamber as the verdant billows obscured his body.
When the process was finished and the gas dissipated, Norman opened the chamber and retrieved the body of his son. He hadn't died which was a positive first step towards the treatments being combined. And luckily he was unconscious; Norman had been wary that the boy would attack him like he'd attacked Stromm, but the doses he'd given Harry together with the bite had apparently overwhelmed his system. The man also noted with distaste that sometime before he'd passed out, Harry had puked.
"Always cleaning up your messes," he muttered.
He took Harry over to a table and strapped him down, hooking him up to testing equipment to measure his various vital signs. Once he was finished, Norman double-checked the straps. It might be a while before Harry realized how grateful he ought to be and he didn't want the boy causing a scene and wrecking anything in the interim.
As he checked he noticed that the formula was already beginning to work its reshaping skill on Harry's body. Already his torso was tightening and faint evidence of muscular was beginning to emerge.
Norman leered and traced a finger down Harry's side. All that remained was to make sure that Harry stayed the faithful son while he made sure he could safely treat himself, and ensure that Harry would do what he needed to in order to become Norman's strong right hand and help his father take care of the problem that Peter presented.
While Harry rested, Norman cleaned up the lab, discarding the materials into hazardous waste containers without ever realizing the spider had a surfeit of X chromosomes.
A/N: As indicated in an earlier story, I'm trying my hand at a much darker P/H fic that includes a little N/H. So this fic will be going up in rating pretty quickly to M. It is going to deal with gender-twisting and the like, but I'm not looking to create a typical mpreg or girl!Harry fic. Rather, I'm hoping to explore the darker side of what it might mean to mix DNA types and issues of changing identity, control, manipulation and such.
So we'll see how it goes. And if you waiting on other fics – they're being written/beta-ed. Promise.