They got a new apartment. New part of the city, new number on the door, new view. They bought new appliances, Peter sewed himself a new suit. The world was as fresh as they could make it. There was no way they could recapture their married life. The change in the timeline, the shift in memories, so much of the things they'd imbued with their lives were lost. So, they might as well start fresh.

"Do you miss her?" Mary Jane asked suddenly, while they were still unpacking and unboxing, the old with the new.

"Like I miss Gwen." Peter said it quickly, not wanting to keep her in suspense, but not having wanted to bring it up over. He wanted it done with. "It's impossible."

MJ shook her head. "Felicia's not dead."

Peter pushed a hand through his hair. "It's still… impossible. We had a few months together. We got along, we had fun—I knew all that already. But I didn't have you to compare it to. You're my wife. Forever. How can that compare to something that happened… in a dream?"

Mary Jane sat down on the couch. She liked that he was assuring her, really she did—but she didn't know if that was what she wanted. "I just want you to be happy, you know? Don't be responsible. Be happy."

He sat down beside her. "I don't lie to you, MJ. Nothing makes me happier than coming through that door and seeing you. If something hurts, is that I took our marriage for granted enough to let it slip away. That's what hurt you. Hurt Felicia. I'm not going to do that again. I hit the jackpot, MJ. I'm never going to forget that."

Mary Jane wound herself around Peter and it felt too good, too right, too true to be anything but real. Not nostalgia and not duty, just them. Two people in love. They'd been dead, they'd been erased from history, they'd been separated, but in the end, even the devil himself couldn't keep them apart.

It would make a hell of a story for the kids. Some day. And the great thing about coming from a broken home like MJ's was that there was no question whose parents the little monsters would be named after. Ben if it was a boy, May if it was a girl.

She liked the latter more than the former. Peter, Mary Jane, and May. They'd been a family once. They could be again.


She didn't blame him for stopping. There were no flashing police lights to draw him away, no screaming or gun shots to run toward. Just a nice, normal patrol the two of them were on. Practically exercise. And then he saw the billboard of Mary Jane, barely advertising the perfume she was hawking, and he stopped dead.

"Well, I didn't know that was there," Black Cat said obviously.

Spider-Man shook his head. "It's alright. Just took me by surprise."

"We'll go around it on the way back."

"We don't have to."

"Do you want to?"

He looked at her, his expression impossible to read through the mask and yet it was so easy to tell what he was thinking. "I want to not make you feel jealous. There's nothing to be jealous of."

Felicia sat heavily on an air conditioning duct. "She was your wife. You were her husband. For years."

He stood there, ever the stoic. "And I let it go. I can't have been a very good husband if I did that. That's the one thing you really promise when you get married. Never to let go."

"Tell me I'm not a do-over."

He stepped onto the duct, crouching beside her. "You are nothing like a do-over. You're the woman I'm in love with. Everything else is just memories. I can learn from those, but I can't bring them back."

Felicia reached up and gently undid her mask, taking it off to look at him with her own eyes. He took off his mask too. So readily, so easily. She could almost believe he wouldn't her.

God, why'd she always have to have these doubts? Feel like the good-time girl, the hot chick, the cheerleader who got ditched at prom so the nerd could date another nerd. She had the heart of a nerd. She just wanted to have fun too.

"If you could do it all over again," she asked, "would you take the deal?"

"Felicia." His eyes were earnest, looking into her with such strength. He always looked away before. Or didn't meet her eyes in the first place. "I can't do it all over again. That's the whole point. What's done is done. Me and MJ are over. I'm here, now, with you. You're happy. I'm happy. We're in love. All we can do is live in the moment, Cat. You taught me that."

"Yeah. Suppose I did." And somehow, she believed that far more than if he'd said yes. "Hey. Long as you've got the mask off…" She tapped at her lips.

He obliged her eagerly. All the billboard could do was stand there, its paint slowly fading.

C. One year later…

It wasn't The Hangover. She had smoky memories of what happened when they were to Felicia's apartment. The feel of Felicia's soft clothes giving way to softer lace underwear, to even softer skin. The smell of her perfume, surprisingly subtle, only detectable when she was close enough to kiss. Her breathy little moans, uncovered by Mary Jane as she kissed and caressed and ownedFelicia. The tasteof her, strong but not vulgar, and otherwise indescribable.

She would've thought sex with the Black Cat would be so pornographic as to be unerotic. All screaming orgasms and sex toys and beaver shots and, God, squirting,gross. But it was just… nice. Soft and pleasurable. And here she thought men only liked Felicia because she had breasts with their own gravitational field. No. Oh no. Felicia was downright fun.

"Holy shit," Felicia said after, sprawled on her fucking waterbedin nothing but stockings. Mary Jane could've sworn up a storm, she looked so goddamn good. "I had no idea you were up for anyof that. I thought this was going to be PG-13; I thought you were straight.Thatwas not straight. You've been holding out on me, Ms. Watson."

"I swear, first time with another woman. Although I saw Wolverine with this Japanese woman one time? And, uh—that led to some weird dreams."

"Good as me?" Felicia asked, moving to Mary Jane's cheek with a kiss.

"You area dream. I don't think anyone's good as you. You could teach Peter a thing or two about eating a girl out."

"I think I did," Felicia quipped, dashing herself on the shores of Mary Jane's body, slumping across the naked woman like a blanket. MJ let the cat burglar snuggle her head into her cleavage, feeling singularly appreciated. Whatever else Felicia did, she knew how to make a girl feel wanted. "Heh. Bet Peter wishes he were here now. He'd beg us to take him back. Even he's not neurotic enough to prefer punching the Shocker to this." Felicia punctuated the statement with a slap to Mary Jane's round ass.

Mary Jane yowled appreciatively and wrestled Felicia a little closer, taking a look around. Felicia's apartment was more spartan than she'd expected—maybe the kind of place a thief would ditch in sixty seconds? No photos, no mementos—just a surprising number of cat posters.

Mary Jane supposed everyone needed a reminder to 'hang in there'.

"I wish he were here," she said, running her hand down Felicia's smooth back. If she was lezzing it up for the night, she was going to get the most of it—and she always had kinda wanted to feel up the Black Cat a little. "Seeing the two of us, he'd definitelybeg us to let him take off his little footie pajamas. Join the party."

"Mmm, you could have him." Felicia gently butted her head against Mary Jane, MJ's little kitten. "As long as I get to watch."

"Nah. He's all yours—do you know what a relief it would be to me for him to go out on patrol with a partner watching his back?"

"Even knowing there'd be rooftop quickies?"

"Better you than some skank—"

"—I am some skank—"

"Or Carlie Cooper!" they both said at once.

Mary Jane cried with laughter and Felicia kissed her over and over again, until MJ had rolled on top of her and pinned her hands to the headboard. The bed rocked beneath them, drawing their bodies together before separating them, the slight friction deliciously warm.

"Oooh… getting aggressive," Felicia moaned, rocking her hips up and sending another wave through the waterbed. "I knew you had to have a little biteto get that ring around your finger."

"Shh…" Mary Jane dropped a quick kiss onto her lips. "You know, that's not the worst idea you've ever had."

"What is the worst idea I've ever had?"

"Pretty much every costume you've ever worn except the classic one."

"Yeah… why do I keep thinking things are the new black? Black is the new black, same as the old black. But I'm a restless kitty. Keep trying to improve on perfection."

"I'm sure your plastic surgeon's grateful."

"I've never—"

MJ silenced her with another kiss. If she'd known how effective it was, she would've been heteroflexible years ago. "Keep shutting up. What if us two had a little superhero team-up of our own? One of us, he might be able to resist… but the two of us? You said it yourself. Even he's not that neurotic."

"You're talking about a threesome," Felicia replied, superhero enough to need to state the obvious every five seconds. MJ gave a nod. "And then… we share him?" Another nod. "So, a ménage a trois. We're just going to share him. Like that show, Three's Company."

"That wasn't actually the plot of—"

"How's it going to work?" Felicia asked. "You get him on days that begin with T, I get him on days that begin with S?"

"You wanna talk post-threesome logistics?"

"I don't want to get shut out. I don't want to spend a few weeks falling in love with you two, just for you to decide I'm a third wheel, like that summer I spent with Cable and Deadpool."

Mary Jane gave her a reassuring kiss, collapsing next to her on the pillow. For a moment, she was reminded of sleepovers back in high school. "You know us. We'd never do that. Even if I never fall in lurvewith you, let's face it: I'm a slut. I would love to be your friend with benefits. And Peter, he's never liked having to choose between us. Break one of our hearts? No way. You know he's going to fight for us."

"So, you and me, that can be as casual or as serious as we want—"

"I'm never going to complain if you don't get me something for Valentine's."

"But with Peter—"

"Well… you never have been much for the domestic scene." Mary Jane put her arms around Felicia's ribs and pulled her close. She'd had stuffed animals that were less fun to cuddle. "And I can't exactly foil a bank robbery. So… You get the spider, I get the man. If you want to spend an afternoon lazing around the house with us, making pasta and watching TV, that's fine. And if you just want to swing off buildings, race headlong into insane danger, and make double entendres, that's fine too. No commitment. No judging. The three of us just do whatever we can to take care of each other." Mary Jane laughed. "You're an ex-con with a taste for kinky sex, he's a guilt-ridden vigilante, and I'm an actress.Clearly we need all the help we can get."

Felicia flashed a smile. "Okay then. Let's do it."


"Yeah. He should be coming home from patrol soon. When he does, we make him an offer he can't refuse."

It'd been a long time since Mary Jane had smiled so wide. "I'll get my coat."

To be continued in The Gwen Stacy Syndrome.