It had been a few days since the mall incident and Monday was already here. Peter struggled to get out of bed managing to get up in time for a shower and breakfast. He was getting used to the late night patrols and for some reason he seemed to have more energy. Just when he was about to leave there was a ring at the door. "Don't worry Aunt May I'll get it" Peter shouted as he opened the door. On the other side was a tall black man wearing what looked like tactical suit over which he wore a long black leather trench-coat. Peter managed to spot the pistol the man had on his right hip. His most prominent feature though was the eye patch he wore over his left eye. Peter went wide eyed and speechless at the sight of him.
"Peter dear who is it?" Aunt May turned the corner and sighted their visitor. "Oh Nickolas it's so good to see you please come in" Peter was now thoroughly confused. This was Nick Fury; the director of SHIELD, in his house, and Aunt May was talking to him as if they were old friends. "Peter this is…"
"Nick Fury; the director of SHEILD, former super spy, one of the most powerful and influential men in the world!" Peter said with excitement in his voice his eyes still wide
"Well Peter I am glad you have such a high opinion of me, but you left out one thing" Fury said with a smirk "I was also your dad's old collage room-mate" it was at this moment that Peter's jaw went through the floor. "Sorry I can't stay May but I do need to have a word with Peter, I will drop him off at school."
"Well alright, that should be better than him walking, what with all these hooligans running amuck lately" May nodded as she turned back into the kitchen.
Fury put his arm around Peter's shoulder "Alright son come with me, we have some things to discuss." Peter now had gone from being totally impressed with the man to partly scared for his life. The only thing that gave him any solace was that his spider sense wasn't going off. Fury led him to a black van that was parked outside of Peter's house. Opening the door he directed Peter to sit in the back seat while he sat in the seat that was back to back with the driver. After closing the door Fury snapped his fingers and a panel rose up separating the driver from the back of the van. "You have been making quite the name for yourself Peter, a young up and coming news photographer and the only person to consistently get pictures of Spider-man in action. That's very impressive for someone who isn't even eighteen yet."
Peter smiled nervously at the compliment coming from the intimidating man. "Umm thank you sir."
Fury lifted his head and looked right at Peter, "Though I would like to know how you, and only you, are able to get all those pictures of Spider-man wherever and whenever he appears."
"Umm well umm you know trade secret and all that" Peter laughs obviously nervous.
"Peter in my line of work nothing stays a secret from me for very long. My job is all about knowing people's secrets. But I do have a favor to ask of you." Fury stated his eye drilling into Peter
"What's that sir?" Peter managed to get out while his mind was racing. 'Does he know I am Spider-man?'
Fury smirked. "I need you to tell Spider-man to meet me at Dock 17 on the Hudson River 6pm, tell him it is about The Avengers Initiative." Just then the van pulled up to Middleton High and Peter moved to get out of the van and just as he was about to shut the door Fury made one last comment. "Oh and Peter, I got my eye on you" he said pointing to his one good eye before pulling the door shut leaving a stunned Peter behind as the van pulled away.
'I think my life just became a lot more complicated.' Peter thought as he walked into the school. Then when he saw Liz giggling over the latest picture of Spider-man he sighed to himself. 'Yup defiantly more complicated.' Peter kept replaying the conversation he had with Fury in his head throughout the day stressed out that his secret was going to get out. He also was really excited about the mention of The Avengers Initiative. The Avengers were the greatest heroes in the world, Iron-man, Thor, and Captain America making the key members, with SHEILD agents like Hawkeye and Black-Widow doing more behind the scenes work.
Then at lunch Liz was able to sense that something was wrong. "Petey? What's up? You look like something is bothering you." Liz asked her voice heavy with concern.
"It's complicated Liz. This morning one of my dad's old friends came by and we talked a bit." Peter said flatly unsure if he should tell her exactly who the 'friend' was.
"Oh, I am sorry. I guess something like that brings back a lot of memories." Liz sighed with sympathy putting her hand over Peter's. Peter had already told her about how his parents had died when he was very young, and his uncle's murder.
"Petey if you ever want to talk I will be there defiantly to listen." Liz looks said with a sympathetic tone
"Thanks Liz, it means a lot to me." Peter nods as the bell rings and he goes to finish the rest of his school day.
Later that afternoon Peter in is Spider-man suit overlooked the docks on the Hudson side of the city, trying to get up the nerve to go down to the meeting spot. Six o'clock was fast approaching and he really didn't want to get a scary man like Nick Fury angry at him. 'Screw it' Peter thought as he swung down to the warehouse by dock 17.
Right as he hit the ground Nick Fury steps out of the warehouse, "Well I was starting to think you might not show."
"Well I got your message." Peter said as Fury led him into the warehouse. "And I can never say no to such a nice invitation." He joked to cover up his nerves
"I am sure of the Peter." Fury said flatly his voice tinted with definite knowledge.
"When did you find out?" Peter turned to him so the facing each-other.
"Not going to do the standard denial or cover up?" Fury smirks slightly surprised
Peter takes off his mask "Like you said before knowing secrets is your job. As if a kid like me could fool an experienced super spy like you for very long if at all. But my real question is what are you going to do now that you know?"
"I am going to do nothing." Fury answered making Peter tilt his head in confusion. "Nothing official that is, technically you are still underage and I have no jurisdiction over you. That being said I do think you are doing a great job at what you do and I would not be opposed to giving you some extra help under the table as it were. You have great potential Peter, but don't let it go to your head."
"With great power there comes great responsibility." Peter quoted
"That's very true Peter. It's good that you have learned that lesson, it is the most important one a person has to learn." Fury tossed Peter what looked like a cell phone. "That is a SHIELD communicator; it's tied to your genetic fingerprint and is totally un-hackable, well to anyone outside of SHIELD. Use it to get in contact with me, ask for One-Eyed Eagle. I have some work to do but I will be keeping tabs on you. Now get out of here and go do what you do best"
Peter pulled his mask on and clicked the communicator to his web cartage belt as he swung out the opened doors of the warehouse. He had a lot to think about now. He was finally getting some recognition as a real hero! But would that change how he does things. He didn't want to get become a womanizing narcissist like Tony Stark, or a really uptight solider like Steve Rodgers. He wanted to remain the hero he always was, sticking with the morals that he had all the way through his journey so far.
It had been a few days since Peter's encounter with Nick Fury and so far he made good on his promise to give Peter some help. A couple days after their meeting a package arrived for Peter containing a sizable quantity of the chemicals he used to make his webbing. Those chemicals were fairly expensive and a note attached said "this should last you a while" with no signature. He told Aunt May that it was an advanced chemistry set that Fury got him as a gift. May thought nothing of it and didn't say anything else.
Now it was Thursday and school was just getting out, Peter was a little worried because Liz hadn't been in school that day so he decided to go over to her family's condo to check up on her and bring her the school work she missed.
Once he got up to her floor they rang the bell to her family's high-rise condo. Peter heard her voice through the door "Coming"; she sounded like she was really tired. Liz opened the door and seeing who it was she smiled weakly. "Oh hey Petey. What beings you by?" she was dressed in short work-out shorts and a white tank-top, her face was beat red and she was sweating profusely.
"Well you weren't in school today and we were worried about you so we decided to drop by and see how you were doing." Peter smiled trying to cheer Liz up.
"Hey Liz who's that at the door?" Peter heard a voice call from inside the condo.
Liz turned and waved Peter in. The two of them came into the condo's living room where two other girls were sitting. Both girls had brown hair and rather athletic bodies. One was very tan while the other had a pale but clear complexion. "Petey this is Amara and Kitty, they are the friends of mine I told you about that I met over the summer, girls this is Petey." She said motioning between the two groups.
The two girls turned to each other. "Petey?" Kitty said "as in Peter Parker? The photographer who gets all those amazing pictures of Spiderman?"
Peter recognized the Kitty as the girl he saved from Electro at the mall and decided to try and play it cool. "Um yeah that's me." That did not go as he expected.
The two girls on the couch started screaming and talking so fast that Peter had no way of understanding them. That was until a voice came from the kitchen. "What on earth are you girls screaming about?" out of the kitchen walks another girl and as Peter turns his head his jaw drops to the ground. She stood about 5 foot 5 and had short, dark red hair that went down to about her chin. She was dressed in a tight midriff tank top and tight skinny jeans and walked with a confidence that few women could. She walked right up to Peter and put her finger under his chin and closed his gaping mouth with an audible clack. "Don't get your hopes up Peter, I am already taken." She said as she showed him an engagement ring on her left ring finger.
"I… but… its…I…and you… um." Peter said trying to be coherent and the other three girls giggling at his discomfort. That was until Liz came to his rescue.
"Petey don't you have to work at the Bugle today?" Liz said with a wink giving Peter a way out of the situation.
Peter looked down at his watch realizing that he did have to work today. "Oh crap I'm going to be late!" he yelled as he ran towards the door. "Thanks Liz you're the best." He yelled back as he left the condo.
"Now I can see why you still like him." Amara teased while Liz blushed wishing Peter were still there.
Down at the Bugle Peter got off the elevator just in time to hear one of Jamison's famous rants. "Ms. Brant get me those articles for tomorrow's front page, I need them in 6.28 seconds. And Foswell! WHERE IS FOSWEL?! I need that write up of Nick Fury's announcement 30 minutes ago!" Jamison rampaged downing a cup of coffee in a single gulp.
"Here are the articles you wanted, Foswel is at the Home Land Security headquarters right now and Fury's press conference there doesn't start till 5 o'clock tomorrow." Betty Brant replied calmly to her constantly irritated boss. Jamison takes the articles and walks off into his office grumbling something incoherent to anyone. Betty turns to Peter who had just walked onto the floor. "Oh hey Peter right on time, Robbie has some files and photos that need to be organized. They are on the desk in your cubicle." Robbie had convinced Jamison to not only let Peter shadow some of the Bugle's reporters but also hire him as an intern during the school year to do some of the menial things that had to get done. Often it would be sorting old files and databases or compiling information from the various reports and wires they had access to. Robbie even managed to get Peter a cubicle he could work at. Robbie would just leave what he wanted done in the cubicle and Peter would get it back to him as soon as it was done.
"Thanks Betty I will get right on that" Peter smiled as he turned to his cubicle. Luckily for him it was on the far side from Jamison's office so he didn't have to deal with his boss's constants screaming and near stroke inducing rants. Sitting down in his chair he quickly got to work. It felt good to him to have a steady job like this he could do and in addition to the freelance pictures he got of Spider-man; it was really helping him and his aunt get out of debt. He spent nearly 30 minutes working on the files Robbie left for him before a tap on the wall of his cubicle caught his attention.
Turning to see the source of the noise he saw a woman who looked to be no older than 20 wearing a black mini-skirt and silky white blouse. She had a knock out body that was all well-toned and in perfect shape. His eyes moving up he noticed her clear slightly pale, flawless skin, her long platinum blonde hair and then finally her eyes. Her emerald green eyes met his gaze and Peter immediately knew who this woman was.
"Peter Parker?" she asked, to which Peter nodded slowly. "My name is Felicia Hardy, and I, I, uh, have you ever had one of those moments where there is something really important that you have to say but you just can't seem to find the easiest way to say it?" again Peter nods, causing Felicia to smile slightly before bending down and whispering into Peter's ear "I am sorry." She gives him one last little smile before turning and leaving the cubicle. As she walked off Peter heard her sigh to herself. "Now I just have one more person I really need to apologize to."
Peter's mind was racing. He knew exactly what she meant when she said she was sorry. She was apologizing for what her father had done to Uncle Ben. It wasn't hard to connect the two, the article describing Frank Hardy's arrest and Spider-man's debut as a hero also mentioned how Ben Parker had died in the arms of his nephew. Peter decided even back in the prison that he would not hold the sins of Frank Hardy against his daughter Felicia. But the fact that she was making such an effort to apologize like this made head spin. He didn't know what to think. Just after the prison incident Cat had said that she hated him (Spider-man) and said some horrible things to him. Peter knew who that last person was that Felicia said she had to apologize to and perhaps he would get his answers when Spider-man meets the Black Cat later that night.
When Peter was out on his nightly patrol he still couldn't get Black Cat out of his mind. As he stood on the corner of a tall skyscraper watching over the city he wondered when Cat would make her appearance. Not that he would have to wait long when Cat lands behind him and walks out of the shadows. Peter hearing her landing turns to face her. "Hey there Cat it's been a while." Peter said anxious to hear what Cat is going to say to him.
Black cat smiled slightly but in her eyes Peter could tell she didn't have her usual confidence. She was still unsure of herself and most likely more nervous about what she was going to say then she was in all of her previous heists put together. "Spider I have some things I need to tell you, and it is really important that you let me finish." She sat down on the ledge of the building and let her feet dangle as she continued. "Back in the prison I said some things I shouldn't have. I realize that now. After everything I went back and visited my father and he said some things to me, some things I didn't really want to hear." She sighed trying to maintain the courage to continue. "He told me that it was his choice to stay, that he accepted his punishment and he regrets taking Ben Parker's life. He urged me to turn my life around, to not follow his path as a thief, he didn't want to see me in jail or worse making the same mistake as he did and having the blood of an innocent person on my hands." She turned and stood back up coming so she was looking directly at Spider-man. "It took a while to sink in, to figure out what I really wanted, but one thing my father said to me kept running through my head. He told me that we are all responsible for what we do, for the actions that we take. Then I also remembered something you said once, that with great power comes great responsibility." She turned around again looking out over the city. "I met Ben Parker's nephew today, you know him Peter, the kid that always takes pictures of you. I needed to put a face to what my dad was saying, to who my dad had hurt. I have to tell you Spider that was the most terrifying thing I have ever done. Though he was kinda cute." She joked causing Peter to blush under his mask. "I don't want to be responsible for some family being torn apart. Not like that. Seeing Peter cemented a decision I have made." She paused turning to look at Spider-man once more.
"And what decision was that Cat?" Peter asked anxious for the answer.
She took one step closer to Peter. "I want to be a hero. I want to be like you. I want to make sure that other people don't have to go through the same pain that my father had caused the Parkers to go through. And I was wondering if you would help me, help keep me on the right path?" She looked down at her feet fearing her hero's response.
All the things she had said stunned Peter. Never in his life, in a million years, would he have expected this from Black Cat. Now she wanted to become a hero? To be like him? And she wanted him to help her!? All of this had his so stunned he almost forgot to answer the question. "Yes." He said, and Cat looked up at him her eyes wide with excitement. "Yes Cat I will help you be a hero. But I have to warn you it can be a rough and sometimes thankless job. Some people will love you for what you do others will hate you."
She took another step towards Peter and wrapped her arms around him. "The whole world can hate me if they want so long as I still have you." She lifted his mask just above his mouth and gave him a deep passionate kiss.
'Yup my life is for sure way more complicated now.' Peter thought as Cat deepened the kiss. 'And I have a feeling that I might just enjoy it.'
A/n there it is! I am much more happy with this compared to the original. I didn't change much on Felicia's confession and apology because I did really like how that went and being able to see a more vulnerable side of her character. The next chapter will be an brand new chapter dealing with Fury's big press conference and Cat cementing her role as a hero. Looking forward to seeing you all there!