Note: This story takes place after the events of Civil War, One More Day, and Secret Invasion. For those who aren't familiar with these storylines, there's a brief description of how those and other storylines affect this story in the References section at the end of each chapter. This story also takes place before the events of Amazing Spider-Man #590-591.
Peter Parker looked down from the top story of one of New York's countless skyscrapers and contemplated his life.
Of course, Peter wasn't actually inside said skyscraper, as most people would be if they were on its top story. He was positioned on its vertical outer wall, his feet higher than his head, looking up at the busy streets of New York through tinted one-way mirrors. No one passing by at that moment, even if they could have seen that high up, would've recognized him as Peter, but rather as the legendary costumed vigilante known to the world as Spider-Man.
Peter's back was beginning to ache from clinging to the building and from maintaining his upside-down position, so he took a moment to readjust himself in a right-side-up fashion, and happened to catch a glimpse of his reflection in one of the building's many windows. Sometimes, even after all these years, the sight of himself in brightly-colored, arachnid-themed tights still made him laugh on the inside. As a nerdy teenager who had just received all the physical benefits of a radioactive spider bite, he had known next to nothing about fashion, and had arduously designed and sewn the costume himself. Thrilled at the amazing abilities he had been afforded, he had gone for the effect of a grandiose, larger than life character with an elaborate costume to reflect that, rather than the more practical uniforms that many of his fellow superheroes seemed to favor. Today, he had to admit to himself that the costume did look a bit ridiculous, but looking back, he wasn't sure what he'd change. Come to think of it, he still knew next to nothing about fashion.
Thinking back to his early days as Spider-Man always came with reflections upon his double life in general and the remorseful recollection of his selfish choice which had cost Uncle Ben his life. Why was Peter Spider-Man? Is this what he really wanted out of life, or was there something more? Of course, he knew full well the answer to the first question and had gone over it in his head time and time again. After learning the hard way an unforgettable lesson about power and responsibility, all attempts he had made to give up being Spider-Man had ultimately proven futile, and he continued his constant battle against crime and evil as a means to atone for his mistake and make sure his power was being put to good use. But did he really want to spend his whole life as a down-on-his-luck, out-of-work photographer-by-day/masked crimefighter by night with his closest companions being an elderly aunt, a best friend with a history of mental instability, and a bunch of unregistered fugitive superheroes?
He didn't think so.
Peter let out a small sigh. He knew where this train of thought was leading him, because it had led him here before. What he really wanted was a girlfriend, maybe even eventually a wife—a loving and beautiful female companion with whom he could freely share the stresses and pains and joys of the double life such as the one he lived, and every other part of his life as well. Unfortunately, he had never completely recovered from the heartbreak of Gwen's death long ago or from his break-up with Mary Jane, and he didn't know Carlie or any other girls well enough yet to get involved in such a serious relationship at this point. That being the case, his romantic possibilities were seriously, depressingly limited.
A cry for help. Just about any time he happened to be swinging innocently across the rooftops of New York, any time he took the opportunity to sit down on the side of any given building and really think about his life, there was always some sort of robbery or mugging or assault that would require the attention of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Peter was almost surprised he hadn't heard one sooner.
The scream had come from the alley a few yards away from the building on which he was perched. Suddenly alert and moving quickly, Peter shot out a sticky but strong strand of webbing and swung down to the scene of the crime. A small gang of mean-looking thugs were closing in on a terrified young woman in a rather hostile way. Peter couldn't tell whether their intention was theft or rape or something else, but he didn't wait to find out. He mentally braced himself for the battle and swung into action.
There's only three of them, Peter thought to himself. This should be a cinch.
"Thank you for calling Spidey's twenty-four hour crimefighting service," he said as he dropped down to the ground in the middle of the three startled thugs. "How may I help you today?" He was always trying to think of new quips and lame jokes to use during his fights; this was a new one that he had tried a few different variations of already. He had become notorious for his wit and sarcasm among criminals and fellow crimefighters alike, and they usually helped him to maintain a lighthearted attitude instead of being scared or depressed by the dangerous work he did.
"It's Spider-Man!" yelled one of the thugs, a long-haired man in a dirty brown jacket who appeared to be the leader of the group. "Get him!" He reached into his jacket, presumably for a gun, and the two other thugs wielded knives that they had already been using to intimidate their victim.
"Thank you, Captain Obvious!" Peter replied to the head thug's exclamation, punching him forcefully in the face before he could get his gun out. "It's good to know I can always count on those amazing powers of observation you have. I just wish you'd use them for good instead of evil! I mean, wouldn't Captain Obvious be a cool name for a superhero?" The thug was still struggling for his gun, so Peter also took the liberty of delivering a swift kick to knock his feet out from under him. "Come to think of it, I should have called myself Captain Obvious instead of Spider-Man."
Okay, the Captain Obvious thing was a tangent and it was getting a little lame. Better go back to the crimefighting service bit. Especially since the other two thugs were coming at him with their knives.
"That's two severe beating combos with a side order of justice, coming right up," Peter said as he webbed the face of the thug to his right and, thanks to the warning of his trusty spider-sense, easily dodged a knife blow from the other thug on the left. "Please drive through to the second window to collect your order." Having successfully blinded one thug with his webbing, it was an easy matter to knock him down with a well-placed kick to the stomach, so Peter wouldn't have to worry about him staggering around blindly with a knife in his hands.
"You're in luck," Peter said, turning toward the last thug still standing. "Today's special is a double helping of pain at no extra charge!"
"Do you ever shut up?" the man asked angrily, charging at Peter and swinging his knife carelessly.
"Not if I can help it!" the masked hero retorted. Avoiding the knife with the help of his spider-sense, Peter grabbed the man's arm and held the knife away from himself. Then he delivered a few light blows (well, they were light compared to the full capacity of Peter's strength) to the man's head and chest and pushed him to the ground. The thug was out cold.
"Thank you for dining with us, and have a nice day!" Peter addressed the pile of thugs as he began to web them up. Then he remembered their victim, and looked back to the far corner of the alley to see if she was still there. She was. He walked a little bit closer to make sure she was safe. "Are you all right?" he asked.
Before the woman could answer, he noticed something about her which he hadn't had time to think about from a distance in the midst of battle. A redhead, Peter thought to himself, sighing inwardly. Out of all the young women in New York, why'd she have to be a redhead? And a pretty one, at that. It's not like I needed another reminder of my nonexistent love life.
"I…I think so, yes," the woman replied shakily, though obviously relieved to have been rescued. "Thank you."
"No need to thank me, just doing my job," Peter replied, and immediately winced. Even for someone with his taste in jokes, a corny superhero cliché like that was pretty low. "Um, ma'am, you should probably call the police, and then make sure you can get home safely. These streets are a dangerous place to be." With that, he shot another webline up to the top of the building he had come from and swung away.
He patrolled around the city for a little while longer, but found no more clients in need of Spidey's twenty-four hour crimefighting service, so Peter thought it was about time to head back home, to the lowly apartment he shared with his roommate, NYPD officer Vin Gonzales. On his way home, though, he happened to pass by another inconspicuous apartment which he shared with several more colorful characters than Vin, the one which had been covertly leased to them by the Rand Corporation under the name of Samuel Sterns. Peter figured it wouldn't hurt to see who was currently there and stop in for a moment to say hi.
"I'm tellin' ya, Doc, I've seen a lot of weird stuff in my time, but whenever you start babbling about all that mystical mumbo jumbo, it just goes over my head." Logan wore plain blue jeans and a white undershirt and stood casually by the outer window. He had not shaved or brushed his hair today, but somehow it retained its familiar angular shape.
Dr. Stephen Strange, arrayed as usual in his elaborate blue uniform with the regal red cape, sat on the couch to the side. "You would do well not to discount the mystic arts, Logan," Strange spoke calmly. "There are many forces at work in the universe by which one may perceive things that would otherwise easily go unseen."
"Yeah?" Logan asked sarcastically. "Like what?"
"Like that presence behind you, for instance," Strange replied.
Logan turned around to see his teammate, the amazing Spider-Man, hanging upside-down on their window. "What the heck—" Logan began in frustration, realizing that he had missed the obvious. He turned back to Strange. "How long has he been there?"
"Not a terribly long time," Strange admitted. "You might open the window for him, you know."
Grudgingly, Logan opened the window and allowed Spider-Man to come in. "What do you want, webhead?"
"Nice to see you too, Wolverine," Spider-Man answered, entering the apartment that sufficed as the secret headquarters of the unofficial New Avengers and standing next to Wolverine. "How's it going, guys?"
"All is well for the time being, Spider-Man," Doctor Strange answered. "It seems to be a rather quiet day for crises and the like. But what brings you here at this time? Is there some matter that would require our attention?"
"No, not really," Spider-Man said. "I already took down about five giant killer robots today and stopped Dr. Doom from taking over the world, so things are pretty much good. I just thought I'd swing by for a bit and see what you guys were doing. Although, come to think of it, I'm pretty thirsty after all that fighting." He walked over to the refrigerator in the corner of the room, hopeful for what he might find inside.
Logan continued to stare skeptically at Spider-Man. "He is joking about those robots and Doom, right?"
"I am fairly certain that he is," Doctor Strange replied.
"Hard to tell with him."
"I believe it is safe to assume that he is serious no more than, say, twenty-five per cent of the time," said Strange, adding a bit of his own dry humor.
"Hey, I heard that," Spider-Man called back from the fridge. "And, for your information, I don't joke all the time. Like, there was that one time when I serious. Don't you guys remember that one time?"
"I rest my case," said Doctor Strange.
Spider-Man selected a cold can of soda, seated himself on the couch next to Doctor Strange, and pulled up the lower part of his mask, revealing his mouth. He popped the lid of the soda can and asked, "So, what are you guys doing today?"
Logan shrugged. "Looks like a whole lot of nothing so far," he said.
"As I said, it's been a rather quiet day," Doctor Strange answered. "I suppose, like you, we merely came to 'hang out'."
"Wow," said Spider-Man between sips of soda. "Am I the only one who thinks it's pretty sad when big, powerful superheroes like us have nothing else to do but sit around and talk? The supervillains must be slacking off today. They should be ashamed of themselves. Not that I'm complaining."
Logan shrugged again. "Maybe it's just that a superhero hideout is the coolest place any of us have to hang out," he suggested. "'Course, I could always go back to the X-Mansion."
"Whoa!" Spider-Man exclaimed suddenly. "Are you saying that we're only cool because we're superheroes and that we're not cool as our civilian identities?"
"You said it, not me," Logan pointed out.
"What?" Spider-Man asked. "I wouldn't say that. I'll have you know that I was just as cool before I became a superhero as I am now."
"I'm sure you were," Logan muttered sarcastically under his breath.
"In fact," Spider-Man continued, seemingly stuck on this issue of coolness for reasons unknown to Logan. "In my civilian identity, I'm a very wealthy and attractive man who has at least three extremely hot supermodel cheerleader girlfriends."
Logan gave Spider-Man a look of mock contempt. "I don't even have to smell it in your blood to know that one's a lie," he said.
There was a moment of silence in which Spider-Man feigned a look of dejection. Then he quietly said, "Man, I gotta find myself a girlfriend."
Reed Richards was fascinated.
It is difficult to determine whether Reed Richards was actually inside Four Freedoms Plaza, headquarters to the Fantastic Four, or not. Certainly his body was there, in one of the many sections of his laboratory, seated in the time travel device with various equipment and appartus hooked up to his brain. However, with the new 'observe only' mode he had installed in the time machine, he was able to visit different periods of time as an invisible, intangible presence, thereby eliminating the danger of inadvertently altering or disrupting the timestream by anything he might do during his explorations.
Of course, even without the protective measures of the 'observe only' feature, there wasn't much danger right now of his significantly altering history, because he wasn't presently observing any specific period of time. Having combined the time observer with his interdimensional travel technology, Reed—or at least his mental presence as the machine made it appear—was in the midst of the timestream, going backward and forward and into other realities as it pleased him. Though he tried to be modest, sometime he was still astounded by the wonders he could invent with his immense intelligence. Standing here in the middle of the timestream, walking around it as if he were merely in antigravity, was an amazing experience. The power to go whenever and see whatever he wanted to was somewhat intoxicating—it reminded him of the Watcher, a cosmic being who his team had encountered many times—but it was also humbing to consider himself compared to all this vastness, and it was relaxing to be able to come here—if he could even call it here, since he wasn't exactly in a place—and escape from the stresses of the reality in which he actually lived.
As Reed floated leisurely through all the different realities, he was entertained by sights which were usually familiar in at least some degree, but which were all vastly different in their own way. He saw a world in which he and all the other superheroes he knew were much younger, as if their adventures had begun only in the past decade or so, and he witnessed another world in which he recognized similarities to his teammates in what looked like 17th century England. Reed, whose mind was always racing to gain more knowledge and to examine all the different possibilities of a different event or circumstance, was thrilled at each new and different point in time and space he encountered.
After exploring the multiverse for a while, Reed heard a familiar voice calling to him from beyond the deepest reaches of space and time. "Reed? Are you in there?" asked his wife, Sue. "It's time for dinner."
"I'm several realities away right now, honey," Reed said, hoping that he had worked out all the bugs in the time machine's communicator so that he would still be heard despite the delicate separation of his body and mind. "I'll be there as soon as I can."
"Don't be too long, or your stew will get cold," Sue warned him.
Reed began to make his way back to his own reality, relishing the opportunity for further exploration, but also relishing the opportunity to eat dinner with his family and enjoy his wife's cooking. He had arrived at his own rightful place in space and time and was about to depart from the machine entirely when he noticed something very strange only a relatively short while back in the timestream from the present. It looked like the dividing point between two different realities, which was actually fairly common, but instead of a neat, clean separation like usual, this was an uneven rift, as if something had been torn out or removed from the timestream. But that wasn't possible, was it?
Dinner could wait a little bit longer. Reed had to see exactly what this was about. He moved closer, curious and apprehensive about exploring whatever strange reality or anomaly in time existed inside the rift. He peered inside and saw three figures surrounded by infinite blackness. If he had had to guess who he would have seen inside this rift in the timestream, these three figures would have been very far down on his list.
On one side was Spider-Man—or, at least, someone in a Spider-Man costume. Reed couldn't know for sure because the man had his mask off, revealing a brown-eyed, brown-haired, and very anguished face, and Reed didn't know what Spider-Man looked like under his mask. Standing next to Spider-Man, holding him tightly and also very clearly distraught, was an attractive red-haired woman who Reed didn't recognize. And across from them, facing them, torturing and taunting them, was a looming, ominious, sinister crimson figure who Reed had encountered a time or two before in his many adventures and superhero battles.
What would a being as powerful as Mephisto want with Spider-Man? Reed asked himself curiously. And why would it create a rift in time? What exactly is going on here? There was only one way to find out. Thankful that he could see and hear what was going on without the possibility of being seen or heard himself, Reed stood by silently and watched the proceeding transaction with fascination and awe.
"So you're sayin' Spider-Man is supposta be married?" Ben asked skeptically at the dinner table.
"Man, if a chump like Spider-Man can get a wife, then why can't I?" Johnny asked in mock indignation.
"Prolly 'cause Spider-Man's actually smarter than a rock, unlike some guys I can think of," Ben shot back.
"Says the guy who's about as handsome as a pile of rocks...because he is a pile of rocks," Johnny retorted.
"Boys!" Sue shouted. She knew that her brother and Ben were only teasing each other and didn't mean their insults, but she preferred to eat her dinner in some semblance of peace. "Please, not at the table."
"Sure, Suzie," Ben answered gruffly. "But I sure hope Matchstick knows what time it's gonna be right after dinner." Of course, they all knew that Ben was referring to his trademark clobberin' time.
Reed was seated at the circular dinner table next to his wife, Sue, who was feeding a small chunk of beef stew to their toddler daughter, Valeria. Next to Valeria's hi-chair sat her older brother, Franklin, and on the other side of the table were Ben and Johnny. Reed realized that allowing the two of them to sit next to each other at dinner was probably a mistake.
"I know it sounds outlandish," Reed said between bites of delicious beef stew. "But from what I've been able to observe, Spider-Man was once married to this woman—her name was Mary Jane Watson—but he agreed to give up his marriage in exchange for Mephisto healing his injured aunt and making everyone forget his true identity."
"Whoa, wait a second," Johnny said again, even more surprised than he had been before. "Spider-Man was married to Mary Jane Watson?!? The chick from the Lobster-Man movie? Red hair, hot body?"
"That sounds like who I saw," Reed answered.
Sue kicked him under the table.
"Except for the hot body part, I mean," Reed amended. "Just the red hair and the name."
Johnny slammed his fist on the table in frustration. "What does Spider-Man have that I don't?" he wondered aloud.
"Maybe a personality?" Ben suggested sarcastically.
"Shut up, Rockface," Johnny replied.
Ignoring their bickering, Sue commented, "Well, I don't think it sounds too outlandish. After all, rifts in the time/space continuum and that sort of thing aren't really anything new to us. And since we didn't know anything about who Spider-Man was under the mask, I never tried to assume whether he was married or not."
"Well, Stretch, I guess your story would explain why I can't seem ta remember Webhead's real name for the life o' me," Ben said. "Even though I remember him unmasking during the whole Civil War thing."
"What do you mean you don't remember his name?" asked Johnny. "Everyone saw it on TV. It was...um..." Johnny's eyes widended at the realization that what Reed and Ben were saying made all too much sense. "Um, okay, that's a little creepy. Hey Reed, you didn't find out Spider-Man's real name, did you?" Johnny asked. "I'd like to give that guy a piece of my mind."
"I did learn his real name," Reed replied. "But it's not mine to tell. At least not yet. Not until I figure out what we're going to do about all this."
"You're gonna tell Spider-Man what happened and help him get his wife back, arn'tcha, Daddy?" Franklin asked innocently, fascinated by such an intriguing conversation.
"Well, that's one possible option we have," Reed answered.
"But Reed," Sue protested. "From what you said you saw, Spider-Man chose to give up his marriage in order to save his aunt's life. Shouldn't we honor his decision and not burden him with the knowledge of what he had in..." she searched for the right term, and wasn't completely sure that she'd found it. "...a past life?"
"I've considered that," Reed answered. "And it does make sense. But what also makes sense is that, if some cosmic demon had tampered with my life and erased my marriage from existence—" He glanced lovingly at Sue. "—then I would want to do something about it if at all possible."
"Yeah, but what's he gonna do?" asked Ben.
"Spider-Man has been a good friend and ally of ours many times in the past," Reed said. "Should he want to somehow try to undo the rift in the space/time continuum and reclaim those lost years of his marriage, I think we should help him."
"Great," said Ben. "We're gonna have another fight where our powers won't do squat 'cause we're up against some big cosmic magic guy who can just cast a spell on us anyways."
"We've fought magic users before and come out on top," Reed pointed out, painfully remembering the time when his archrival, Victor von Doom, had gained mastery of the mystic arts and used it to attack and torture their family. "Besides, if it does come to a battle with Mephisto, I think I may know how to handle him."
"If it comes to that," Sue countered. "But that's not the issue. The issue is that Spider-Man has a right to privacy and to the decision he made. We have no right to make this decision for him."
"Exactly," Reed agreed. "That's why he's going to make it himself."
"Huh?" asked Ben.
"Johnny," Reed said. "Go fly around the city and see if you can find Spider-Man. Tell him we'd like to talk to him."
Of course Peter was thankful for his loyal companions in the New Avengers, but that wasn't the sort of companionship he really longed for most. Well, okay, Spider-Woman had been pretty hot, and it would kind of be fitting in a rather obvious way for them to get together, but he didn't think he stood a chance with her, especially since she had turned out to be a Skrull. Having gotten his free soda and with nothing left to say to Wolverine and Doctor Strange, he had departed from the New Avengers' apartment and began to head towards his own.
It wasn't long before he saw the signal. This was New York, home to all the major superheroes, and Four Freedoms Plaza was in a pretty central location. So when Peter saw the giant flaming insignia of a spider in the sky, he knew it wasn't terribly out of the ordinary. Johnny Storm, a.k.a. the Human Torch, had often used this method when either he personally or the entire Fantastic Four needed to get in touch with Spider-Man. He was not too surprised, though he was curious about what the summons was for this time.
"It's not quite my own Spider-Signal, but it works, "Peter said to himself as he webbed his way over the rooftops. It wasn't long before he arrived at Four Freedoms Plaza and, just as he had suspected, saw the flaming figure of the Human Torch circling overhead. "You rang?" he asked, landing gracefully on the roof of the building.
"Spidey, old pal!" the Torch greeted him, flaming off and landing gently on the roof in front of his guest. "Glad you could make it." He smiled widely and extended a hand in a friendly gesture.
"Um, thanks, Torch," Peter answered, awkwardly starting to return the handshake. He touched the Torch's hand for a quick moment, got the stinging sensation one gets when one burns one's hand on a hot oven without an oven mitt, and instinctively pulled his hand back. In his experience, most other superheroes didn't usually greet each other with such formalities, but whatever. "So, um, what's going on? You guys need help stopping Dr. Doom or something? 'Cause I'm actually pretty good at that. Just ask Wolverine."
"Spider-Man," the Torch said seriously, ignoring the other's banter. "Reed wants—or, well, all of us want, I guess—to talk to you about something. Something important."
"Uh, okay," Peter answered cautiously. It was never easy to respond to a statement as frustratingly vague or as somberly spoken as that one was. Curiosity continued to well up inside of Peter. He noticed that, for whatever reason, the Torch wasn't returning his comical banter like usual. Maybe he was just distracted by the apparent weightiness of whatever it was they had to talk about, but Peter thought he detected a hint of something more. Was it jealousy?
"You, uh, you want to be a little more specific about that, Torch?" Peter asked.
The Human Torch opened the roof hatch that led into the interior of the Fantastic Four's headquarters. "Spider-Man, please come inside."
Inside, Peter sat down in the private laboratory of Reed Richards with the world-famous team of adventurers known as the Fantastic Four. Johnny Storm took a seat next to his sister, Susan Storm Richards, more commonly known as the Invisible Woman. Next to her was the extremely intelligent and extremely pliable Reed Richards, Mister Fantastic, and on the other side of him sat probably the most easily recognizable of the four, Ben Grimm, the super-strong orange behemoth known as the Thing. Spider-Man had encountered, fought alongside, and even fought against the Fantastic Four more times than he could count throughout their respective superhero careers. Peter remembered trying to join them when he was much younger and had first gotten his powers. He liked to think that their relationship had matured a lot since then.
"Uh, hey guys," Peter awkwardly addressed the four of them. "Sorry I'm late for our weekly game night. I'm up for anything we play as long as it's not Twister, because I'm pretty sure Mister Fantastic had an unfair advantage last time."
"Spider-Man," said Reed tersely. "I've recently discovered something important that you may want to know about."
"Yeah, I kind of got that impression from the Torch," Peter said, realizing how serious his allies were being and deciding to at least try to refrain from witty banter for the time being. "What's going on?"
"You see, that's the problem," Reed answered. "We're not sure if we should tell you."
Peter was confused. "So you invite me in here and tell me there's something that I might want to know, but you might not be able to tell me?"
Reed. explained. "While you might
want to know it, it's also possible that you might not want to know
it. I've discovered..." He pasued in search for the right words.
"We've discovered some information from a reliable source.
Information about you, but that you most likely have no knowledge
"Did I inherit a million dollars?" Peter asked. Oops. So much for refraining from witty banter.
"No," said Reed. He sighed deeply. "I know this sounds strange to you. I know that there's no way I can reasonably explain how we know something about you that you yourself don't know, and then give you the option of whether or not to learn it."
"Yeah, not that I don't trust you, but all of this does sound a little crazy," Peter said. "Isn't there something you can give me to go on? A hint, or a piece of proof, or something?"
"How about that I know your name is Peter Parker?" Reed asked.
Peter sat up in alarm. That got his attention. "Uh, yeah, that would do it," he said.
"Wait a sec," Ben commented, mentally searching for the name's association. "Peter Parker?!? The guy who takes the pictures of Spider-Man and sells 'em to the Bugle?"
"Well, uh, not anymore, exactly," Peter said, embarrassed. "You see, I—"
"Hey, Reed," Johnny interjected. "How come we didn't make secret identities and get rich selling pictures of ourselves? It's brilliant!"
"Well, I'm not exactly rich," Peter admitted. He turned back to Reed, anxious to learn exactly what all this was about. "Come on, Reed. Where are you going with all of this?"
Well," Reed said. "Long story short, I happened to discover something that happened to you, but which I have reason to believe you have no memory of. The knowledge of what I found might be something that you would be happy to know, but it also has the potential to be a great burden to you. That's why we decided we would give you the option of whether to listen to it or not."
"I gotta say, Reed, it's not really fair to get a guy's curiosity up with something like that and then expect him to make an unbiased choice."
Reed shook his head. "I know it's not fair, and I'm sorry for that. Without knowing what this information is, there's no way you could know whether or not it's something you'd want to know. The power of suggestion in my telling you of it makes you want to lean toward the option of hearing it, regardless of what the consequences may be to you. I know it's not fair to you...but it's all we could do."
Peter thought. He didn't know what to say. What could anyone say to a proposal like this? What choice did he have? If he didn't listen to whatever this was, not knowing would nag at him for some time to come, quite possibly even the rest of his life, depending on how serious it actually was. And, even if this was a hard pill to swallow, he had faced unpleasant and shocking news before, and always managed to get over it somehow sooner or later. He remembered the remorse he had felt at the deaths of Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacey. He remembered the shock of learning that his parents were still alive and the loss he had felt when he realized that it wasn't really them at all. He remembered the hurt and betrayal he had experienced when the truth had come out about the children Gwen had had with Norman Osborn. Somehow, though, he had still been able to carry on through it all.
"Sure," Peter said with a deep breath and even deeper thoughts behind it. "Tell me what you know."
Reed looked at him with a straight face and an anxiety that showed itself in his hesitation. "Peter, there's no easy way to tell you this, but..." He paused once again, and then decided to get it over with. "You're supposed to be married."
To be continued...
Spider-Man unmasked himself on public television in compliance with the Superhuman Registration Act during the events of Civil War. The Kingpin then took advantage of this by hiring an assassin to kill Peter Parker, but the assassin mistakenly shot Aunt May instead. In order to save his aunt's life, Peter made a deal with Mephisto to have his marriage erased in exchange for saving Aunt May's life and making everyone forget his secret identity during the events of One More Day.
Carlie Cooper and Vin Gonzales are part of the supporting cast of Brand New Day, the follow-up to One More Day.
Spider-Man joined the New Avengers in New Avengers #3. Since the events of Civil War, the New Avengers have been fugitives from the law.
Peter Parker became Spider-Man and inadvertently helped cause his Uncle Ben's death in Amazing Fantasy #15.
Spider-Man's first girlfriend, Gwen Stacey, was killed by the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #121.
The 'observe-only' mode of Reed's time machine was found in chapter one of the novel Fantastic Four: War Zone by Greg Cox.
Reed's exploration through the multiverse in this chapter contains references to the Ultimate Marvel universe and the Marvel 1602 series.
Mary Jane Watson starred in the Lobster-Man movie in Amazing Spider-Man #s 484-486.
Dr. Doom used sorcery to attack and torture the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #s 497-500.
Spider-Woman, a founding member of the New Avengers, was revealed to be the Skrull Queen Veranke in disguise in New Avengers #40.
Spider-Man tried to join the Fantastic Four in Amazing Spider-Man #2.
Peter Parker's parents, who had been previously thought deceased, were shown to be apparently alive in Amazing Spider-Man #365. They were later revealed to be robots, not Peter's real parents.
Spider-Man learned that Gwen Stacey had given birth to Norman Osborn's children in Amazing Spider-Man #509-514.
Author's Note: If you like this story so far, then watch the video trailer I made for it at .com/watch?v=UZEvLWjv6UE.