"There is no balance!"
"What the?" the man shot up in bed at the sound of the voice and looked round the room for its source. Kaine was no stranger to voices in his head, when he had been 'born' in the Jackals lab and the cellular degeneration had set in, it was basically all he heard but since the event the press had dubbed spider-island, his disease had ceased and he was now a fully functional human.
The fact he looked exactly like Peter Parker was a slight problem so to distance himself he shaved his hair, not bald but very short and he'd also let his facial hair grow slightly until he had stubble lining his mouth and under his chin. Kaine had spent most of his life hating Parker for what he'd put him through although deep down he knew it wasn't really Peter's fault. He hadn't walked up to that maniac Miles Warren and asked "Hey would you mind making a psychotic clone of myself." Since the events of spider-island he had decided to get as far away from New York as possible and was on his way to Huston in Texas. He'd stopped briefly in North Carolina to switch bus's and thwarted a robbery that happened to be taking place although he had been brutal to the robbers in question at least he hadn't killed any of them and that was a step forward. Kaine had checked into a small hotel on the outskirts of Charlotte to wait for the bus to Huston the next day he thought no one would know who he was here let alone track him down to this hotel. Obviously he was wrong.
"Who's there?" he growled getting out of the bed, quickly scanning the room with his enhanced eyesight.
"Calm down Kaine I'm not here to harm you" came a warm voice. It was then Kaine recognized it.
"Julia?" he questioned lowering his guard slightly.
Madame Webb stepped out of the shadows looking at him curiously. She had been interested in this man ever since she'd seen him kill the Queen. In her vision it had been Peter who had killed her and she was shocked when this man had been the one to do it. It was only afterwards she'd discovered this man was a clone of Peter Parker the original Spider-man or 'the centre of the web' as she sometimes called him. Although he was Peter's exact double physically his personality was a whole other matter. He was cold, calculating and ruthless but at least he was trying to better himself.
"Why are you here?" Kaine asked as he pushed past her and pulled a drink out of the minibar.
"The web is unbalanced" she replied watching as Kaine pulled the bottle cap of his drink.
"That's just a synonym of what you said the first time" he growled before taking a gulp of larger. "I don't know if Peter puts up with this mysterious bullshit but I'm not Peter so either get to the point or get out" he continued fixing her with a stern glare.
"As you know I'm connected to the web. The thing that connects us all" she began.
"Oh god not this crap again" Kaine replied sighing and sitting at the foot of the bed.
"Every web in every reality has its own centre" Madame Webb continued ignoring Kaine. "It's own Peter Parker if you prefer" she said noticing the puzzled look on Kaine's face.
"In one of the other parallel reality's the balance has been broken and the centre doesn't exist."
"So? No offense Webb but I don't really care what happens in another dimension" Kaine replied taking another gulp of beer.
"Then let me try and make you care" she replied curtly, this man definitely was no Peter Parker. "It's true that other centres of the web die in other realities all the time but this is different. Normally when one dies another is ready to take its place. In this reality there was never a centre for some abnormal reason" she continued.
"Again Webb's I'm having trouble seeing how this concerns me" Kaine replied tossing the empty bottle into the trashcan.
"The Web is what connects every one of us and although it is exceedingly hard to kill it can happen. If one of the Webs falls it will very quickly drag the others with it."
"By 'us' I guess you mean Spider-people" Kaine replied scoffing.
"Believe what you want but this is very real and if we don't put a centre in quickly we will fall" Julia replied gravely.
"Ok say I buy your story what exactly do you want me to do about it? I'm not exactly a reality changer. Anyway you said it yourself there was never a center so how come this has suddenly turned into a problem now?" Kaine asked lying back on the bed.
"I want to send you to this reality to plug the hole and it is a problem now because before I had no contact with it. The Web is always getting bigger and it has expanded to this reality" she replied simply.
"Whoa, whoa" Kaine began, shooting upright. "You want to send me to some other dimension to save something I doubt even exists? Why not ask Parker? As you said he's a center I'm pretty sure he's a better candidate than me" he replied eyeing Madame Webb.
"I cannot send Peter. If I could I wouldn't be here talking to you. He is this reality's center if I send him then the same problem that is in the other reality will occur here" she replied.
"Wait so your telling me there isn't one person in the whole of that freaking dimension who can step up and become this center thing? Why don't you do it?" Kaine insisted.
"I cannot. I merely keep the web intact. I cannot intervene in something like this as I'm not the centre and no, although there are other people bound to the web in this dimension, none of them are strong enough to become its center yet. That's where you come in."
"Foget it I'm not going to live in some fucked up reality simply to plug some imaginary hole" Kaine replied angrily.
"It will not be permanent of course. It's just temporary as I said none of them are strong enough to be the centre yet. One of them is showing great promise but it would take to long for any of them to get the necessary strength and experience to take over" Julia replied exasperatedly.
"Forget it I'm not some inter-dimensional plumber" Kaine snapped again.
"I'm sorry but this is bigger than both of us and although I wanted to get your compliance I see that isn't going to happen" Madame Webb sighed waking up to Kaine and placing her hand on his forehead.
"Wait what are you do…." Kaine began before he collapsed.
"What the?" Kaine shot up in bed sweat streaming down his face. "Did I dream all that?" he mumbled putting his hand on his forehead. It was then he looked round the room he was in. "This isn't the room I was in last night" he thought getting up and looking round the clean bright room. "That bitch" he growled as he pulled the curtains and realized he was no longer in North Carolina.
"Webb if you can hear me you better get your fucking ass here and zap me back now!" he yelled furiously. "She's not coming back" he thought angrily to himself after he'd waited a few minutes. Looking round the room he spied his backpack. "Time to put some clothes on then find Webb" he growled to himself as he pulled out a pair of jeans, a white T-shirt and a black jacket. He'd just finished dressing when he noticed something else at the bottom of the bag. The red lenses of his costume stared back at him.
He'd decided to keep Peter's stealth suit after he'd worn it during the whole Spider-Island fiasco but he hadn't really been keen on the whole black and blue colour scheme and he'd made a few modifications. The costume was now mainly red with a large black spider on the chest, a black mask and red eyepieces. For a minute he hesitated he wasn't sure whether he should put it on under his civvies in case he needed it. "Well if this is another dimension who knows what's out there" he thought as he quickly stripped down and pulled the suit on and putting his civvies back on over the top. He then walked out of the room.
"Are you checking out sir?" the young girl at the counter asked him as he descended the stairs.
"Yes, here's my key" Kaine said handing her the small metal object and walking towards the door. Then he stopped and turned back to the girl at the reception. "I know this might seem like an odd question but where exactly am I?"
The girl giggled slightly before replying "Rough night out?" She asked amused.
"You have no idea" Kaine replied trying not to lose his patience.
"You're at the hotel El Dorado near Trinity Place in West Gotham" the woman replied.
"Thank's" Kaine muttered before turning back to the door and leaving without another word.
Helena stared out of one of the many windows down at the harbour below. Since the Birds Of Prey had reformed their base of operations had changed to Kord Tower.
"Penny for your thoughts?"
She turned as a red haired woman in a wheelchair approach a laptop perched on her knees.
"It's nothing Oracle. It's been so calm recently I just feel a little up tight because of the lack of action" she replied.
"I know what she means" Dinah piped up from her seat on the opposite side of the room. "It's been unusually quiet recently its un-nerving."
"Maybe all the bad guys are on vacation?" Hawk suggested sarcastically as he flicked through the TV channels. The rest of the Birds rolled their eye's at the only male member of their team.
"Doesn't look like you'll be bored much longer we've got a problem" Oracle said as she turned back to the computer screen.
"What is it?" Helena asked peering to see the glowing pc screen.
"I just intercepted a police call saying that a bank down town is getting attacked by some pretty heavy hitters. Give me a minute and I'll pull up the security camera's outside the bank" the red-head said as she began clicking away on the keyboard. "Oh shit" she exclaimed as the screen brought up the security camera feed.
"What is it?" Helena asked again, craning her neck to see the screen.
"Isn't that Shiva?" Oracle asked turning the screen to face Huntress.
"Shit" Helena cursed as she watched the dark haired Asian woman, surrounded by what must have been mercenaries enter the bank.
"Well time to go to work" Hawk said getting up from his chair and stretching his neck. Helena pulled of her shirt to reveal the purple costume beneath and threw it to the floor.
"It looks like she's got quite a few men and….Who the hell is that?"
Huntress moved quickly to Oracles side and watched as a masked individual engaged Shiva's men.
A few moments earlier
"What a dump" Kaine thought as he walked down the road. This place Gotham, wherever the hell it was looked like New York's ugly twin brother. Although it must have been about 2pm a mist hung in the air making it seem like it was about to go dark at any moment. He walked out into what seemed like a main road. Lots of people made their way down the street browsing the shop windows as they did so. Suddenly a booming noise echoed from down the street and people began to push past him hurrying away from whatever was going on. Curious, Kaine pushed past the people who ran into him as he made his way towards the commotion.
As he rounded a corner he saw a group of masked men run into a building. A woman stood outside with a few of the others. "Probably keeping watch for the police" Kaine thought as he watched the group. "Don't get involved it's not your problem" he told himself and was about to walk away when another explosion rang out sending debris flying in all directions. He watched in horror as a large chuck of brick and mortar flew towards the panicking crowd. Instinctively the Parker side of him took over and he shot a webline from each wrist catching the debris and pulling it to the ground. "I may not be Peter Parker and I may not be Spider-man but I'm no fucking monster. Not anymore" Kaine thought as he pulled the mask out of his jacket pocket. He didn't have time to take his civvies off and don the full suit so just the mask would have to do. Without any hesitation he launched himself at the men.
They barely had time to register they were under attack before Kaine landed on them in a flurry of blows. Kaine quickly dispatched two of them by grabbing the backs of their heads and slamming their faces into the pavement. Another turned round hurriedly, shocked by the speed and ferocity of the attack and turned his uzi towards Kaine but he wasn't quick enough. Kaine's arm shot out grabbing the man by the wrist before he could aim. The man cried out in pain and dropped the gun as Kaine applied pressure and felt the bones in the man's wrist shatter under his strength. He then quickly delivered a punch to the man's head before jumping backwards and flipping over in the air, aiming to land behind the last man who had begun to train his gun on him. The man pulled the trigger and the muzzle flashed as the automatic fire shot out. As he span through the air Kaine could see the bullets as the whizzed past him and adjusted his body accordingly to avoid any that came a bit too close for comfort. Landing behind the man he wrapped his arm around his neck and brought his other hand over the man's face. Using his spider-like ability to stick to walls he clung to the man's face then tore his hand away ripping a bloody hand print into the man's face.
A long time ago this had been known as the mark of Kaine, only used if he intended to kill the person but now it was simply a way of incapacitating someone. The man screamed and dropped to his knees clutching his bleeding face.
Kaine turned his attention to the woman who was watching his performance with slight amusement. She was medium height, obviously of Asian descent and had long black hair. He straightened up and stared at her through the red lenses of his mask.
"Your agility truly is impressive" the woman remarked "your speed likewise but you seem to lack any form of training." Kaine didn't acknowledge her comments at all and jumped at her aiming a blow to her stomach. To his surprise she moved nimbly to one side and threw a jab towards his neck. Instinctively the buzzing in his head went off to let him know of the danger and in mid-air he grabbed her arm and as he landed he used the impact to throw her over his shoulder. The woman was taken by surprise at this and only just managed to land on her feet.
"It seems I was mistaken you combat reflexes are not as bad as I thought" she said eyeing him.
"Not really but thanks to my spider-sense I know what you're about to do before you do it" Kaine thought. He could see by the way she was looking at him now that she was treating him as an actual threat.
This time the woman went on the offensive spinning on her left foot and aiming a roundhouse kick towards his head. Ducking quickly under the blow Kaine brought his fist up attempting to uppercut her. She quickly brought her arm round to push his blow to the side. Unfortunately she hadn't counted on his super-human strength. She was able to soften the blow but Kaine still heard a crack as his fist came into contact with her jaw and she stumbled back. Not giving her time to recover he leapt over her. One of his stingers snapped out of his wrist and he stabbed the woman in the left shoulder. She cried out as the spear-like object penetrated her skin and spun round lashing out but the blow was clumsy the venom already taking effect and Kaine easily dodged it.
"What did you do?" the woman asked shaking her head trying to stop the swimming sensation being caused by the venom before throwing another punch. Kaine caught her fist in his and pushed forward snapping her wrist back and breaking the ligaments. The woman cried out briefly then passed out as the venom took complete effect. The stinger retracted and Kaine quickly made his way inside the bank to take care of the rest of them.
Note: I just sat down and thought up the most random DC/Marvel cross-over I could and this is what sprang to mind. I know Kaine doesn't have a spider-sense anymore but I decided to let him keep it.