Humble Beginnings of a New Career: Part 1 of 6

Author's Note: This is just a small message to anybody who reads my stuff. I used to pick a day and make that "story update day", but it's been getting increasingly difficult to do that. From now on, chapters will just be posted when they're finished, which is hopefully soon after the previous chapter was finished.

My name is Jessica Drew. Some people (well, most people, actually) call me Spider-Woman. I... well, I don't really call myself much. That is the burden of not being the person you were born as.

Jessica swung onto a building which overlooked the remains of the Baxter Building. Once, the think tank was taller than every building around it. After the result of an attack by weird aliens, however, it had been reduced to a mere shadow of its former self.

But that's not what Jessica was there for.

She was watching Johnny Storm, Human Torch and member of what was once the Fantastic Four (probably the stupidest name in existence, in Jessica's opinion). She felt sorry for him. His father had died in the tidal wave that had destroyed much of New York, he and his sister had become estranged because of it. Not to mention his best friend, the Thing, left; as well as his sister's boyfriend. Everyone he knew pretty much abandoned him. He'd found a home in the house of Jessica's 'cousin', Peter Parker, and began posing as one of his cousins.

He also had a crush on Jessica.

Okay... I should probably go talk to him...

She crawled down the building and sat above him for a few minutes, not saying anything. He didn't move, either, he just watched as SHIELD agents went though his former home. The thought of some government agents poking their way though stuff that wasn't theirs almost made Jessica cringe. She wouldn't be able to stand Fury's lackey's running through her stuff.

"Johnny..." she said before he cut her off.

"You don't have to say anything, Jessica. I knew you were back there the whole time."

"Johnny..."

"You're not really Pete's cousin, are you?"

"Who... what brought that up?"

He turned around. "I've had a little time to think about it. Pete never mentions you, Aunt May doesn't even know who you are, plus Gwen mentioned something about how you weren't really related to Pete. So, who are you, really?"

"I'm... Heh, this is gonna sound weird... I'm his clone."

Johnny smiled. "Really?" He laughed. "To think, I thought you were his secret girlfriend, or something."

"But, it's not just that. I have all of his memories up until the time I was born. I'm... I dunno... I'm basically him wrapped up in a girl's body." Jessica pulled down her mask. "I'm not actually... Well... I mean that I'm not really just his clone anymore."

"That's obvious."

She looked up at him. "What?"

"You carry yourself differently, you act different. Pete's not exactly a secretive kinda guy, if you catch my drift. I mean, he can hold a secret identity and all, and he did keep his connection to you a big secret, but he's not exactly able to keep what he's feeling in, y'know?"

"Yeah, I know. I do have memories of all that."

Jessica and Johnny stood there for a few minutes, not doing anything. Eventually, she just jumped back on the wall and started to crawl up to the roof.

"Hey, Jessica," Johnny shouted. She stopped. "I still owe you a movie."

Jessica laughed. "Yeah, you do. You'll know where to find me, okay?"

"I will?"

"Yeah. Home."

What the hell did I just do? God! God*$#&, I'm so stupid! I'm not trying to be like Peter, I'm trying to be... me! But... who is me? Who am I? Normally, I'd say Jessica Drew, but I don't even know if that's who I am anymore. Maybe I should calm down a little. After all, just because I'm trying not to be like Peter doesn't mean I can't take a few hints from him, right? He's been more sucessful at this superheroing stuff than I have. He's been around sixteen and a half years longer than me.

Peter Parker knew something was wrong the minute he woke up to a doorbell ringing. He walked upstairs, found that Johnny was still not there, and passed Bobby, who was currently passed out on the couch with a pizza box in his lap.

Ah, life in a superhero halfway house...

SHIELD had done a decent job of patching up the house after the attack. It barely looked like it had been damaged. Except for the occasional bad plaster job over the occasional hole.

He opened the door and saw, to his amazement, it wasn't who he was expecting outside the door.

"Hi, Peter," Jessica said, waving lightly. Peter was glad she was in normal clothes other than her Spider-Woman costume, but that didn't shake his surprise.

"What are you doing here?" he blurted out in surprise.

She frowned. "That was nice."

"Sorry." He ran a hand through his hair. "What I meant was..."

"What you meant was 'why am I here?'."

Peter shrugged. "Okay, that's what I meant."

"I'd kinda like a place to stay."

"A place to stay? Look, Jessica, you don't know a lot about what's been going on here, but, I mean, Gwen's living here again, Johnny lives here, Bobby Drake lives here—we've got a little, like Gwen says, a little Avenger's Mansion here."

"Actually, I did know. Johnny told me."

"Johnny told you?"

"Gonna repeat everything I say?"

"Gonna repeat everything you say?"

"Okay, now you're just pissing me off, Peter, stop it."

"C'mon, it was funny."

Peter heard footsteps. He turned around and saw Gwen walking down the stairs. "Peter, who are you talking to?" She saw Jessica. "Who's she, and why does she look familiar?"

He moved out of the door way and let Jessica walk in. "This is Jessica Drew. She's my cousin."

"He's being humble," Jessica said, "I'm his clone, too."

Gwen stopped dead in her tracks. "Whoa, his clone? As in share the same DNA and stuff?"

Peter asked, "And stuff?"

"Well, aren't clones supposed to be one hundred percent the same as the original?"

"Except in my case, I'm only... ninety percent?" Jessica said. "Eighty? How much of you does a second X chromosome make up, exactly?"

"I don't know," Peter said. "Look, why don't you two go shoot the &%#& for a minute while I go wake up Aunt May. After all, and I hate to admit it, but if it hadn't been for Doc Ock, you two wouldn't be here right now."

Jessica scowled. "Don't remind me. If I could have strung that guy up with webs, I would have."

"Whoa, that's a hurtful thought," Gwen said, giggling.

Peter shook his head and walked upstairs. Aunt May was already awake and putting on her slippers when he went in her bedroom. "Who's here, Peter?"

"She told me you met her doing the tidal wave last year. She's dressed kinda like me, but her costume's a kinda reddish-black, or something like that, she's got long brown hair. She said she saved you and somebody else."

May looked around the room as if in thought, then said, "Oh, yes. She was kind of cryptic."

"Aunt May, she's my clone. Another me who's chromosomes were changed to make her female."

"God... and she's here?"

"She asked for a place to stay."

"Another superhero in the house? Another costume to clean? Another mouth to feed?" May sighed. "She can stay, Peter."

Jessica's voice came from right outside the room. "That's a relief."

Peter turned around to see her standing in the doorway. "How long have you been standing there?"

"Long enough to hear Aunt May say I can stay."

"My God," May stuttered. "You look like Peter, but..."

"Like he was born a girl."

"Yes."

I couldn't believe it. Living with my 'cousin'/biological origin, his girlfriend, Aunt May and two other superheroes. Peter said this place was almost a nightmare before I came. I can only imagine what it's gonna be like while I'm here. Especially with Johnny living here, too. Wow, this might have been a stupid idea.