Marvel: Crossroads

A/N: Make no assumptions about this story, even if you read it when I originally uploaded it. It is not set in the comics universe, or the movie universe, it exists as a standalone world. And feel free to give me feedback.

Chapter 1:

Cars whizzed by, the drivers inside not giving a second thought to the street they had just passed. Nor did they care to glance over at what was happening. A passerby on foot would possibly hear the muffled screams of a young woman, and the grunts of her attackers. But the everyday person had learned that it was best not to get involved in these matters. It would only get you mugged, robbed, beaten or worse, killed.

Luckily for this woman, Peter Parker was not the everyday person.

"Shut the bitch up, will you!" One man ordered as his lackeys tried to hold the woman down. Dressed in almost all black clothing, they looked the part. Their attentions were so focused on the woman that none of them saw the shadow crawl across the rooftop.

Not the brightest tools in the shed, Peter Parker thought to himself as he clung to the wall, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Wearing his trademark red and blue spandex suit, he would have looked out of place in an alley under most circumstances, until about four years ago. Now he was most certainly these guy's idea of a nightmare. Okay...Punisher is their idea of a nightmare...maybe Daredevil...Cage...Okay, maybe I'm just a bad dream to them. But I'll have to do.

"I said shut her up!" the man repeated angrily as he rifled through her purse. The men stopped moving when they became illuminated in the lights of a car as it pulled into the driveway outside. Once the lights flicked off, they resumed.

Well, maybe I can have some fun, at least. He mused to himself. He began to whistle to the tune of the Jaws theme song, louder and louder. That most certainly got their attention.

"Who...what's there?" One frightened man stuttered as he drew a knife out from his jacket pocket.

"It came from over there!" Another said with fear dripping in his voice. The man knelt down to pick up a pipe from the ground, and hefted it like a baseball bat. " think it's him..?"

"The spider?" the first man asked, going back-to-back with the other two. "I dunno...this is Daredevil territory, ain't it?"

"But I hear from John that the Spider's in cahoots with the devil," said the second man as he glanced around in all directions. "I hear if he bites you, you turn into a spider."

"He's not a vampire, morons," said the third man, who was still holding the woman tight. "He's just some dumb-ass who wants to play hero. I say, if it's him, we kill him." The man finished as he pulled a gun out from his jacket.

"Wow, Carl, you didn't say anything about killin' her or anyone," The first man said, the fear growing in his voice.

"I didn't say anything about getting caught by guy in a unitard either, Tony," Carl snapped back. All three men scanned the area, looking for their stalker.

"I hear he can make himself invisible..." One of them muttered.

"No," Peter chuckled from the darkness, "that would be the Invisible Woman you're thinking of. But I get you confusion, we're both young, smart and good-looking." He paused briefly, "Don't tell the Human Torch I said that again, he'll kill me." As silent as a whisper, he moved across the roof, using the shadows to his advantage.

"Show yourself!" Carl barked back, still looking around for his stalker.

"And ruin the fun?" Peter chuckled as he lowered himself to the ground, using a fire-escape to conceal his body. He slid behind a dumpster bin, crouched, ready for the perfect moment.

"Come out," Carl yelled as he pointed the gun at the woman's head. "Or I'll blow her fucking head off!" Now was the moment he was waiting for.

"Surprise!" Peter shrieked as he launched himself from behind the dumpster. He used a line of webbing to propel himself from his current position towards the looming figures of the three men and their captive. With a single punch, the first man, Tony, fell to the ground, holding his jaw. With a tiny thwip, he sent the second man, who had shown intelligence by running away, to the ground by sticking his feet together. "Man, you guy's gotta up your game," Peter mocked. "You used to be a challenge, now you're a dime a hundred on these streets." Something went click Behind Peter, as a buzzing sensation filled his head.

He leaned to the side, using his superhuman flexibility and speed, combined with his honed reaction time. The bullet whizzed by his ribcage, missing by a hair. Peter spun around, ready to take out the man, but the man fell to the ground with a solid Thunk!

"Hey Cap," Peter smiled as the First Avenger stepped out from the shadows, where he had been watching from. A blue and white suit of bullet proof Kevlar covered most of the Captain's body, save for his distinctly red gloves and head, which had the cowl pulled back, revealing his blonde hair and strong facial features. In his left hand he carried his trademark shield, which was adorned with his stars and stripes insignia.

"Been a while since I was on this street," said Captain America as Peter knelt down to help the woman up from the ground. She was in her early twenties or late teens, with dark brown hair, and a single white stripe running down the side of her mane. He held out a hand, but she refused it, standing up on her own strength instead of his.

"You okay?" Peter asked the woman.

"M' fine, sugar," The woman replied in a thick southern accent before she walked out of the alley, leaving the two heroes to talk in private. Something that Peter was not entirely looking forward to.

"You still haven't given us a response," said Captain America in a matter-of-fact voice. Peter's heart sank. He had hoped that Captain America had just been in the area and wanted to help, but no, he had ulterior motives. "It's been two years, soldier."

"Hmph," Peter sighed as he leaned against the wall. "I dunno, Cap. It's not like I'm ungrateful or anything, but I dunno if it's for me. You guys are the heavy hitters who get hit heavily. Me? I'm just someone who catches thieves like flies."

"That's not true." Said Captain America as he placed a hand on Peter's shoulder. "I've talked with the police, the Firefighters and everyone else. They all tell me you're a godsend. The Avengers could use someone like you, to keep us honest." He looked around the street and said, "back in my day, this street was for the elite social class. The building behind us used to be a prestigious theatre. Now it's a hideout for the everyday thug."

"And that's my point," said Peter as he followed Cap's gaze, "The Avengers are so busy dealing with intergalactic conquerors and inter-dimensional demons to be worried about the little guy."

"I used to be the little guy," Captain America remarked. "You're right. We do need to take a step back every now and then, but sometimes we need to look at the larger picture as well."

"And you do a fine job of that," Peter replied with a slight grin under his mask. "But it's just not for me right now. I've got to much to handle between work, high school and web-swinging."

"I'm sure Tony could find you a position in his company, or at the Baxter building." Captain America said with confidence. "If I learn anything from the television, it's that high school's pretty rough nowadays."

"Yeah, but school's got one thing Reid and Tony can't offer me," Peter replied as he shot a web-line to the adjacent rooftop. He prepared to swing as Captain America replied.

"What's that?" he said.

"Hot cheerleaders," Peter remarked as he shot up into the night. He could hear the distinct sound of Cap's deep, bellowing laughter as he sped along the rooftop, thinking about what had transpired that day, a few years ago.

Two years ago, the sinister six had been running a-muck in New York again. He'd arrived halfway through a battle between the group and the Avengers. Iron Man, Captain America and Hawkeye versus Dr Octavious, The Green Goblin, Mysterio, The Lizard, Electro, and Rhino. Within minutes, Hawkeye was brought down, leaving Captain America and Iron Man against six of Spider-man's most dangerous villains.

He swung in without a moment's hesitation for his own safety. He used his knowledge of his enemy's weaknesses, both Physical and emotional to divide and conquer. He'd even managed to save his personal hero, Iron Man, from receiving a 100 000 volt shock from Electro.

He had nearly fainted when after all was said and done, Iron Man had come up to him and thanked him. And his knees almost gave out when he asked Peter if he wanted to join the Avengers. He was so happy he couldn't think strait. He told Iron Man that he would have to think about it over night.

And one day had made all the difference in the world.

Just one day. One hour. One minute. One second.

Every time he closed his eyes he could still see that blinding flash of light. Whenever the wind caught his bare skin, it felt like a monstrous shock-wave. Sirens wailed in his ears as people screamed out of pain and out of loss. Children cried aloud for their parents. Parents dug through the debris in vain attempts to recover their children, falling to the ground if they succeeded. Ash still fell through the air like snow on a winter's eve.

"Why didn't you stop him?"

That question had come from a small child as he tugged on the arm of his hero. The child's eyes where covered in tears, and his face was covered in grime.

"Why couldn't you save them?"

He was still haunted by that child's eyes. Those deep, piercing eyes, so full of pain and sorrow that no child, no human should have to face. They seemed so familiar, they were like a reflection of his own pain. Pain that was as familiar to him as his own arms and legs. Something that had become an integral part of his body and being.

He cleanly landed on the roof of the house that he shared with his Aunt May. He slid through the window with ease. He'd had so much practice over the past four years, it had become muscle memory.

He sighed as he glanced around his room. He saw the books piled somewhat neatly on his desk, ready for him to study with. Not that he needed to study, he had the highest student average in midtown high school. Pictures lined the walls of his bedroom, pictures of his friends and family, of his Parent's wedding, of His Aunt and Uncle, a play-date with Harry Osborne. Him hanging out with Gwen Stacey in the back of her dad's cruiser.

On his bedside table was a framed picture of him fishing with his Uncle Ben. He picked it up and smiled a rare smile. It had been taken on his tenth birthday, as a memory of a present from his beloved Uncle. He gazed at his Uncle's fading face, trying to recall every inch of it. From the hairs on his chin to the wrinkles behind his eyes. Careful not to let any tears fall on the frame, peter set it down and began to change for the night.

He gently laid his head down on his pillow and closed his eyes, preparing for sleep. His Uncle's last words came to mind.

"Always remember Peter, that with great power, comes great responsibility."