The arc welder hissed as Doctor Otto Octavius, also known as Doctor Octopus in the hero-and-villian world of New York City, shut it off. He lifted the welder's mask off of his face, wiping his sweating brow. Exhausted and hot, he went to open the basement window just a little more. It was unseasonably warm in the city for this time of year, and the July heat seemed like it was never going to end.

He was just sitting down to rest when he heard footsteps and a tinny voice squeak, "Sir?"

Doctor Octopus turned around. Standing in front of him was a street urchin, who couldn't have been older than seven or eight years old. He was grimy, trembling, and holding a white envelope in his hand.

Trying not to intimidate the child, he hid his tentacles behind his back as best as he could. "What do you have there, son?" he asked.

"Er, it's a letter for you, sir. I was asked specifically to see that it got in your hands, even though you were really hard to find. I spent... a week looking for your hideout."

He took the letter from the child's hand. "Are they paying you?"

"They promised they'd pay me ten dollars if I got it to you."

Doc Ock snorted. Ten dollars was barely enough for dinner at McDonalds, let alone a new pair of pants or shoes. He opened his wallet, took out a wad of cash, and put it in the kid's hand. "Don't tell them I gave you that," he growled. "Now get!"

The child nodded a thank you and ran up the basement stairs. No longer concerned with the messenger, Doctor Octopus focused on the letter. It was very official looking, with a security window, as they do with more professional letters. The return address stated, "Octavius and Harbringer, Attorneys at Law. Travis, Virginia." He eyed his last name suspiciously. Surely this couldn't be from who he thought it was.

Ripping it open with one of his actuators, he read the letter.

Dr. Otto Octavius,

I sincerely regret to inform you that your brother, Mr. Alfred Samuel Octavius, has recently passed away from a terminal illness. I was informed by Mr. Octavius himself that you were estranged with him and had not spoken for several years.

However, before he passed away, he requested that I send you this notice. Your name is on the will, and he begged me to ask you to attend the reading of the will, if not the memorial service that has been arranged. He told me that it was a very important matter. I also have some papers of his that he requested I give you.

The memorial service of Alfred Octavius and the reading of his will be on July 29th. You will be more than welcome to stay in one of the guest bedrooms of Mr. Octavius's home.

Included is reimbursement for travel expenses. If you cannot make it, there is no need to send it back.

Sincerely yours,

Ted Harbringer

Attorney At Law

Indeed, there was a check made out to him in leiu of $200. Alfred must have made out better than he had originally thought.

He tossed the letter aside scornfully. His brother would only take notice of him when he was dying? Convienent as always. He didn't particularly care that his brother was dead; he had no emotion towards the news at all. The only sadness he felt was the realization that there were very few left in his family line with the name Octavius. At one time he had wanted to have children of his own, but that dream was so long ago it was blurred.

Doc Ock was intrigued by his name being mentioned in the will. What could Alfred possibly want to give him after nearly 15 years of estrangement? Whatever it was, he had to know.

The following day, he packed a week's worth of luggage, used the check to obtain a rental car, and began the long drive down to Virginia.

Unfortunately, what the super-villian thought to be just an errand out of town turned into something far beyond anything that he had ever feared... or hoped for.