The Spider Chapter 6

The Spider: Begin


Chapter 6: The Cat's Mark

The next week and a half was weird for me and my life. I was now officially a part of the Baxter Foundation. I spent most of my time there these days coming home only late in the night. May and Ben didn't approve of it at first, but once they found out the work I was doing could have lives they begrudgingly understood.

In reality however I actually spent an hour or so with the FF before going off on patrol as Spider-man, Sue understood though, after all that was part of the deal. This way I got to be a hero and a scientist. Ha, and Peter always said this was hard.

I still remember the first day I came to the Baxter Building as Peter Parker and not Spider-man. I had to fight through the giant crowd gathered outside and into the lobby. And even then the guards wouldn’t let me go up, so Johnny had to personally come down and cler me through.

I’m pretty sure my picture was going to be in the front page tomorrow though, ‘Mysterious Boy enters Baxter Building?!’ hopefully they didn’t get a good enough shoot.

“So Peter, how did your aunt and uncle take it?” Johnny asked.

I shrugged, “as well as you can expect. I think they are still mad I lied to them but the fact I got a job here seems to make them happy.”

“Good man, heck maybe one day you should come clean to them you know? Tell them who you really are?” Johnny lead me through the elevator doors into a large hallway.

“Yeah, not going to happen. They freak out if I’m late from a friend's place, can you imagine what they could do if they knew I was Spider-man?”

Johnny shrugged, “if you think so,” he stopped before a door and pressed his hand on the palm scanner next to it, “welcome to your new home.”

My eyes went wide, “woah,” I blinked as I looked around the large nearly empty room. I had a large monitor and computer system up against one wall, a table and a few tools, but other than that it was completely empty, “this is so cool!”

Johnny grinned, “I thought you’d think that. Anyway make yourself at home, my lab is just three doors down and Sue’s is right opposite to yours. Reed’s further down the hall but, ah, maybe don’t go there unless he gives you permission. Guy is freaky when it comes to personal space.”

I nodded as I put my bag on the chair and took out my notes, “this is great Johnny, I have many things I want to test out...hey, do you think you can help me out?”

Johnny blinked, “me? What do you mean?”

“Well last night I came up with a theory on how your powers work, I want to test it out,” I explained as I looked around my lab, god it feels weird saying that, and found a geiger counter. It was a complex one with a customizable setting, I would need to change its internal working though for it to detect the energy signatures I wanted it to.

“Wait what? You think you know how my powers work? That’s crazy man! Even Reed can’t figure that out!”

I shrugged, “it’s only a theory man, chill out,” I began working on the geiger counter, adding a thin filament of nickel to the counter. The people on my Earth had a theory, that Johnny’s powers, and the rest of the FF for that matter, we're dimensional energies. And their accident allowed them to control that energy. And since it looked like I was dealing with the Ultimate FF, who gained powers from teleporting that looks to be the case now as well.

If I recall correctly Johnny’s powers were once super charged by a place called the Negative Zone, it allowed his flames to grow so powerful he couldn’t switch them off. But that was just a theory, and now I would need to test it off.

I pointed the meter at Johnny, “go flames.”

“It’s called Flame on,” Johnny grumbled as he turned up the heat, covering himself in flames.

I looked at the geiger counter and watched as the reading grew, and I smiled, “perfecto!”

“So? What did you find out?” Johnny asked switching off his flames.

“I think you’re powers are coming from another dimension, and your body right now is serving as some kind of portal, well not portal, more like a reverse sponge.”

“Wait, how could you possibly know this? What did you do to the geiger counter?”

“I added a layer of nickel to it,” I pointed at the nickel patch, “this detected the amount of heat you gave off. And the counter to detected your fire, which is radiating outwards, but not in harmful amount. So you’re power bursts out, and irradiated, you’re not absorbing anything out here in the air, so it must be coming from inside you, and when it reacts with our atmosphere it explodes, behaving like fire. You’re not a fireball, you’re basically leaking white phosphorus like radiation.”

Johnny blinked, “woah, that’s-that’s amazing! Holy shit Peter that was so freaking cool! Here, this is Reed’s email ID, send your theory to him I’m sure he would love to hear it!”

I nodded to Johnny and did just that. Honestly Peter’s mind was amazing, I had the theory, but Peter’s intelligence made it all happen.

After that I meet Reed, Ben and Sue for dinner. We talked a bit about the things I would work on and how I could help. Reed took a look at my findings and needless to say he was impressed, though I could detect a hint of distrust in his tone of voice which honestly confused the hell out of me.

As the week went by the legend of Spider-man only grew in time. Thanks to my timings at the Baxter building I was able to go out on patrol on nights. I must have stopped three muggings a day, on top of all the other things.

People talked about me like I was an urban legend, of the things Spider-man was rumoured to have done. They had correctly guessed that I was the one who took out the GST block party a week ago and that I had something to do with their arrest, but the rest of the rumors were all pretty weird.

Some thought I was a demon from hell out to punish the wicked, I’m pretty sure that one was a troll just making waves for fun. But others thought I was a mad man with a box, one theory suggested I was a member of the FF that didn’t like publicity and got my powers the same way they did.

People even started to take pictures of me, hell I was the meme of the week! Even people in school were talking about me like I was a God. It honestly made my kind of shy to be around people knowing how much they loved Spider-man.

Honestly though I found the crimes that are committed on the streets to be minor and few inbetween. I needed a new criminal project, and soon. I had been following the GST trial closely and it looked like Matt pretty much had the whole thing in the bag. The evidence wasn’t immeuble in court though, which was sad, but the drug bust in the warehouse was more than enough to have them all sent to jail.

I had kept up with my training with Colleen, who had now taught me all the kata’s she knew for the sword. It was a blessing and a curse to have a brain like mine, I memorised the kata’s in seconds, though I’ll admit it does take me a while to actually apply them to combat.

Colleen moved me up on her class list, I was now in the third hour classes and had just began hand to hand training. I could tell she was still holding back, not willing to teach me everything a Hand ninja would know, but that’s fine, sooner or later Colleen wouldn’t able to help herself, she would teach me just to know that she could.

Call it warrior’s pride or whatever you wish, but I knew her, she was after all my sensei.

Though one incident over the last week did stick out to me. I had a run in with Felicia, only we were both in costume.

I was swinging down Wall Street when I hear a window break open. I landed on the opposite building and watched as a figure dressed in black shimmed along the side of the building and landed on the roof of  shorter building next to. I narrowed my eyes and smiled, she still wore a black tracksuit and a mask. It was honestly kind of cute.

I swung towards her and dropped down, “heya Kitty!”

The Black Cat turned around as I grabbed her around the waist and rolled around the roof. I ended up on top with her below between my arms. I grinned, “we really have to stop meeting up like this.”

“Spider?” she blinked, “what are you doing here?”

“Oh you know how it is, I was in the neighborhood, though I should stop by,” I looked at her belt and found a pouch stuffed full, “have you been stealing again?”

“What I do isn’t any business of yours,” she growled.

“Ah, yeah it is. Hero, theif, see how it works?” I asked.

“Sorry Spider, but I don’t have time to flirt,” she kneed my groin causing me untold pain. I knelt down in pain as she crawled away and ran to the roof’s edge and jumped.

“Not this time!” I yelled as I shoot a web line at her and pulled her back into the roof. She grunted in pain and quickly got up, drawing a knife and slicing my webbing.

“Hey, this stuff is expensive you know!” I chuckled.

“I’m sure you can cover it,” she smiled as I got on my feet and we circled each other. She lunged forward first with a swipe of her blade. I easily avoid it, caught her forearm and twisted it around to her back, turning her around and grabbing at her hips.

“You know Cat, you can do so much more fighting for the good guys,” I whispered.

“What makes you think I’m not?”

“Stealing isn’t usually what good guys do,” I told her.

“That’s what you think. You’re definition of good and bad needs to be reworked Spider. I only steal from those who deserve it.”

“Like a small time jewelry store?”

“A front for a mafia Uptown.”

“And the office of the Wall street guy you broke into?”

“He’s a broker, you really think he isn’t dirty?”

“So what? You’re a modern day Robin Hood?”

“No, I said I steal from the rich, I never said I gave to the poor,” she broke out of my grip and kicked me back. She ran to the roof and turned around and blew me a kiss, “next time Spider,” and them jumped down, landing on the roof of another building before jumping away into a alley and away for sight.

I sighed as I got back on my feet, she really was a handful. I pulled out the pendrive I picked from her satchel and grinned, the score was all tied up. I broke the pen drive and threw the pieces away, I doubt it will be of any use now.

And so after all that, I still find myself stuck once more in school, which I am quickly coming to find is the most boring part of my life. I was stuck in history class ignoring my teacher who was going on and on about how much world war 2 sucked.

I sighed as I skimmed through my text book, looking at all the pretty pictures and gruesome deaths. I stopped at a picture of Captain America and blinked, ‘that’s right, he’s a war hero in this world isn’t he?’

I turned to chapter of my book that dealt with Steve Rogers and looked at all the pictures and details. It looked a lot like in the movies, Peggy, that german scientist being killed, Bucky ‘dying’, all the good stuff.

But then I noticed something, in one of the photos, Steve was posing with his army buddies sitting on boxes with bombs on them, the words, ‘Property of Hitler’ spray painted on the side. But what I found most curious was the man standing next to Steve with the Canadian flag on his jacket.

He looked feral with mutton chops and a cigar between his teeth. I immediately had a feeling I knew this man but I couldn’t be sure, I looked down to the names listing the soldiers in the pictures and landed my eyes on a name I didn’t expect to see here;

‘James Howlett’

James Howlett, the real name of Logan, also known as the Wolverine. Fuck, mutants were real in this world. They were fucking real...oh shit, oh fuck me in the ass! I am so fucked! What if a psychic read my mind?! Oh fuck! I need to add, ‘blocking out mental assholes who don’t respect a person’s mental privacies’ onto my list.

I wondered if Charles has established his school yet, were Scott and Jean his students? Is Magneto made a public outing? No, not at all. If they did mutants would be the talk of the town and Spider-man would have just been dismissed as a mutant. No, mutants were still hidden in this world, they weren’t even urban legends just yet.

“Mr. Parker,” I heard the teacher call out my name.

I sighed and looked up at her, “yes?”

“Are you paying attention?”

“...Ah, yes?”

“Really? Then tell me who lead Hitler’s science and development branch?”

I blinked, wait, wasn’t that Hydra? “The Red Skull ma’am, he also renamed the branch into Hydra.”

“Very good Peter, but his name wasn’t Red Skull, what was his real name?”

I blinked, “what do you mean his real name wasn’t Red Skull?”

“What I mean is that it was just a moniker he went by, he does have a real name you know?”

“Yeah but that’s the name he chose,” I shrugged, “the name he chose wasn’t the name his parents gave him. They probably expected him to be a nice little boy and be an angle to everyone he meets. But h wasn’t, he was a jew hating nazi and because of that his actions deserve to be called by the name his choice. His name is and will always be the Red Skull.”

“That’s a….very unique answer Mr. Parker,” the teacher sighed, “fine, let’s just move on.”

I nodded as she went back to her lesson. I looked around and saw people staring at me from the side. MJ gave me a smile, Harry and Flash looked bored and Liz was texting someone on her phone.

My eyes then landed on the newest addition to our class, the beautiful and glamorous Felicia Hardy, she was always aloof, never talked to anyone and the envy of all girls and desires of all boys. She was the biggest loner in the school, before me of course, and right now she was looking right at me.

I meet her gaze and didn't back done. We looked at me like I had just told her something profoundly interesting, her emerald eyes didn’t blink and I didn’t either. Was this a contest or something? Was she trying to gauge me? Did she know? No, no of course she didn’t. And even if she did I knew who she was as well, mutually assured destruction.

Finally she blinked and turned away. I did as well as we both turned to the board, I didn’t know what that was about, but I knew it wasn’t over by a long shot.

At the end of the class I gathered my stuff and got ready to leave, but just then I heard Felicia call out, “hey Muscles, wait up.”

I blinked, was she calling me? No, that was stupid, I ignored it and walked out when suddenly she grabbed my shoulder and turned me around. She hissed, “I told you to wait up.”

I raised an eyebrow, “did you just call me Muscles?”

“Yeah, duh,” she snorted.

“Are you serious?” I asked blinking, “because I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’m apparently skinny as fuck. If you want muscles, Flash is your guy.”

“Ha! Finally something we can both agree on Parker!” Flash called as he slipped between me and Felicia grinning at her, “so, you want something babe?”

“Not from you meat head,” Felicia snorted, “move, I was talking to Muscles over here”

“Wait, you’re serious? Are you crazy? Parker’s puny! He can’t even lift a dumbbell!” Flash laughed, and a few other kids watching this little confrontation did as well. I just rolled my eyes, if only they knew.

“If you think that then you’re blind,” Felicia smiled sly as she walked past Flash and slipped into my comfort zone. I blinked in confusion as she suddenly pressed her hand up against my peck and pressed, “don’t let the baggy clothes fool you, Muscles is packing something tight under these.”

She was stalking me like a prey, her eyes daring me to say something, I knew the rest of the school still thought I was a wimpy kid, despite my personally shifting over the last month. Guess she thought I wouldn’t stand up for myself, she was wrong.

“You know Felicia if you’re going to cup a feel you should at least buy me dinner first,” I smiled.

She raised her eyebrows in surprise before smirking, “well Muscles what would you like to eat?”

“You?”

Felicia smirked, “going a little fast there Muscles.”

“Says the woman rubbing her fingers round my nipples.”

“Am I? Oops,” she stepped back, “I do need to talk to you though. Have a moment?”

“Lunch?”

“Starving.”

“Lead the way,” I motioned following behind her. I looked at Flash’s jaw hang out and closed it. I smiled at hmi and followed Felicia to the lunch room.

“I don’t like her,” MJ narrowed her eyes as she saw Peter leave with that new girl.

“What a surprise,” Liz said rolling her eyes, “I wonder why that is.”

“It’s not like that,” MJ blushed and denied.

“Yeah, keep telling yourself that sweetie, maybe one day it’ll be true,” Liz turned to Flash, “what exactly were you thinking?”

“Babe? Nothing, I was just being friendly to the new girl is all-”

“-Save it Flash,” Liz growled, “if I find you ever flirting with that bitch we are done understand?”

“But Liz-”

“-Understand?!”

Flash sighed, “yes.”

“Come on, I want to see where they’re going,” MJ grabbed Liz’s hand following them.

“Oh relax would you, Parker’s finally getting some attention, let the geek enjoy it for a while,” Liz replied rolling her eyes only to have MJ completely ignore her.

Felicia and I sat down opposite each other in the middle of the lunch hall. I could feel the people looking at us, usually I would sit in a corner to avoid detection, but Felecia had chosen this table. Was she making a statement? Maybe, but why? And for what reason?

I took out my lunch and ate. Felicia raised an eyebrow at the PB&J sandwich, “is that seriously all you brought to eat?”

I shrugged, “I eat more at work. A friend of mine and I end up eating out most of the time. It’s easier and since the office pays for it I don’t have to worry about lunch per say.”

“Hm,” she hummed, “where do you work?”

“Someplace special,” I smiled.

“You aren’t going to tell me?”

“Are you going to tell me you’re life story?”

Felicia smirked, “no, I guess not. So Muscles, tell me, why exactly do people avoid you?”

I snorted, “please don’t call me that, it’s really silly. If you’re going to give me a nickname make it cooler, like...Pete, or Petey. Muscles makes me sound so arrogant.”

“Hm, no, I don’t think so, I like the name.”

I rolled my eyes, “I had a feeling you were going to say that.”

“Now, are you going to answer my question or keep deflecting?”

I shrugged, “nothing to tell really. They don’t like me, I’m kind of antisocial, plus I’m pretty smart so they tend to avoid me. A friend once told me it’s because they are scared of me, but I don’t really think that’s true.”

“Maybe, maybe not,” Felicia took out her own lunch, a box of chicken salad, “but you know what I think?”

“That you should eat more than just a salad?”

“A girl has to keep her figure you know,” she smiled.

“Something tells me you can do that even while eating burgers,” I smiled back.

“Checking me out have you?”

“Just as much as you have been me,” I reply back.

“You know I think I’m starting to understand why they were weary of you. You’re very perceptive, and also dangerous.”

I blinked, “how so?”

“You said it yourself, I’m been observing you. You don’t behave like a teenager, you’re ignored but you don’t mind, in fact you like it sometimes. Kids don't’ like being ostrichsized, we hate it, but you, you're used to it. And you’re also smart. Smart enough to be in college right now, but for some reason you’re here...hiding...a child genius would be put on a spot light, but a teenager who smart and still in school? No, you’re hiding something Muscles, I’m going to find out what exactly that is.”

I couldn’t help the shock that came over me. I stared at this gorgeous girl before me and realised she was probably the closest person to finding out my secret identity. I knew I should be afraid, curious even, but I couldn’t help myself, I was impressed.

“You know Felicia, I think I’m in love,” I smiled.

“Sorry Muscles, you’re not my type,” she smiled back.

I shrugged, “I figured. So, why did you want to talk? Just to tell me you think I’m dangerous? Or is it actually something important?”

Felicia sighed, “no, there is actually a reason. Mr. Goldberg,” our physics teacher, “told me I needed to improve my grades, I started pretty late so I need to catch up. He suggested I ask you for help.”

“Which is when you started to creep on me,” I concluded.

“Yup,” she nodded as she ate a piece of boiled chicken, “though I have to admit I was actually not going to bother at all, I don’t need to waste hours of my life listening to some know it all lecture me. I’m already suffering in school for that.”

“So you have judged me worthy, I’m honoured,” I chuckled.

“No, not really. I wasn’t going to bother, until I heard what you said,” I looked confused and she explained, “in history, you talked about how the names you pick best represents the people we really are. How the names we have are the hopes and burdens our parent has on us. It really struck a chord with me, so I figured, why not? You sound interesting enough after all.”

I raised an eyebrow, I take back what I said, I don’t think I’m in love, I know I’m in love. Damn, if only she was actually interested in Peter Parker.

“So you want me to tutor you?”

“Pretty much, yeah.”

“Hm, well I don’t really have much time,” which was true, I had Colleen’s classes, Baxter building stuff and being Spider-man to add into the mix. It would be difficult to include her into that but…I’m curious. She’s made me curious and I want to learn more about this silver haired girl, “I can manage one hour after school. Sorry, but no more.”

“Wow, so I’m only worth an hour of your time? You know half these boys would kill for a chance to spend time with me everyday.”

“Yeah, well they aren’t me, and I do have a life of my own you know.”

“Like what?”

“A job.”

“Oh, right, the mysterious job,” she said sarcastically.

I blinked, “you think I’m lying?”

“Yes.”

“Why would I lie about having a job?”

“Because you don’t want people to know how lonely you really are?”

“Didn’t you just say I didn’t mind being alone?”

“Also said you wanted to blend in, give people no reason to suspect you.”

I laughed, “okay, you got me there Felecia. But I am serious, I only have an hour to spend, sorry.”

“It’s fine, I don’t think I can stand you for more than an hour away,” she huffed munching on her vegetables.

“Well and the truth comes out at last,” I snorted, “by the way you look like a cow if you keep munching on that leaf any longer.”

She glared, if looks could kill I would be dead. She swallowed and sighed, “so Muscles, what else are you busy with that you can’t spare time for friends?”

“Well let’s see, my job mostly,” I shrugged, “it’s in Manhattan so it takes a long time for me to travel. I also go to…ah, well, self defence classes, so yeah, that.”

“Self defense class,” she raised an eyebrow, “who would be stupid enough to pick on little oh you?”

“Flash,” I shrugged.

“Oh, right,” she looked over my shoulder, “you mean the big blonde guy who's filling in the role of the average high school bully?”

I turned around and spotted Flash glaring me and MJ glaring at Felicia. The moment MJ noticed I was looking at her she turned away, while Flash just growled.

I snorted, “yeah that’s him.”

“Hm, looks like he has only two brain cells to spare.”

“Maybe less,” I shrugged.

“What type of martial arts are you learning?” she asked curiously.

“Kendo,” I shrugged.

“You do know that’s not actual self defence class right?” Felicia snorted, “it’s just swinging a sword.”

“Hey it’s a lot more complicated than that, believe me.” Plus I seem to recall I kicked your ass with it a couple of nights ago yeah?

“Okay, let’s say you’re in a fight and you don’t have a sword. Wouldn’t your skills be useless?”

“No, not at all, kendo isn’t just wielding a sword, there are also other aspects to it. Plus I’ve just started learning hand to hand taijutsu so my classes aren’t a complete waste of time,” and considering just who my teacher was I wouldn’t dismiss her style so quickly.

The silver haired girl shrugged, “you’re wish, don’t come crying to me if some punk with a knife shanks you.”

“Hm, don’t see see that happening,” I finished my sandwich, “tell me Felecia, what type of martial arts to do you practise?”

She raised an eyebrow, “what makes you think I practise martial arts?”

“The fact that you sound like you know what you’re talking about?” I raised an eyebrow.

She chuckled, “yeah, fine, no point denying it anyway. I practise judo and taekwondo,” she shrugged.

“Well you certainly have the legs for taekwondo,” I shrugged.

“Perv.”

“Stalker.”

“Weirdo.”

“Same thing,” I chuckled. We talked some more, she basically questioned me on everything, what I like, what I didn’t, and I made sure to know just as much about her that she now knew about me.

Lunch was over too quickly for my liking. We said our goodbyes and went to our separate classes.

I was looking forward to the hour of tutoring I would spend with Felicia, I didn’t bother paying attention during last period history. That is until my Spider sense went off and I ducked to the left to avoid a paper ball.

I turned around and saw MJ looking at me in surprise. But she quickly squashed her surprise and began writing something down in her book before showing it to me.

What’s with you and Hardy?

I rolled my eyes, I quickly wrote back a reply.

She wanted me to tutor her in physics after school.

MJ looked surprised.

Can I join? I need help as well.

I’ll talk to Felicia and tell you, she did ask first.

Okay.

I was strange seeing MJ jealous, or at least I think it’s jealousy I’m sensing, but I would be lying if I didn’t feel happy. After all this was the first time someone was feeling jealous because of me, kind of a proud moment.

After class ended I meet up with Felicia outside the school where she took me to a coffee shop a block away. She greeted the owner with a smile and made light conversation with him before we sat down near the back away from everyone else.

“Been here often?” I asked her.

“Just once or twice,” she shrugged, “mom knows the owner, kind of a family friend. I figured we can get some studying done here.”

“You do know the library is open till 5 right?”

“I told you Muscles, I don't’ want to be in that place more than I need to. Now, do you want something?”

I thanked her for the offer but declined. We got to work, I found out while Felicia was smart in her own way, physics was not her friend. It took a long time for me to explain the basics to her, but I think she understood it in the end.

I did find out something interesting though, when the barista lady came over with Felicia’s order, her eyes were glued to woman’s rear. Was Felicia Hardy in this world gay? No, not the way she was groping me earlier...hm, bi-sexual huh? She just gets hotter and hotter.

Soon the hour came to an end and I was actually ad to see her pack her things. As we left the coffee shop I decided to ask her about MJ.

“I told a friend of my mine I was going to tutor me today and she asked if she could join. Do you mind?”

“That depends, who is the friend?”

“Mary Jane.”

“Ah, her, she likes you.”

I shrugged, “maybe.”

“You know?” Felicia looked surprised.

“Yup, what? Did you think you were the only observant person in the world?”

“No...so, what do you plan on doing?”

I shrugged, “I don’t know. What makes you think I should do anything at all?”

“She likes you.”

“And she hasn’t told me or even asked me out. Before school started we were close, like really close. But then she became popular and I was pushed away. She’s okay though, can’t complain.”

Felicia shrugged, “fine, you do whatever you want Muscles, I couldn’t care less. But I need to pass my physics paper, so if you start spending my tutoring time making out with the redhead I swear I’ll kick her ass.”

I shrugged, “fine with me.”

And with that we parted. I went to training with Colleen and then to the Baxter building for an hour or so before swinging into night as Spider-man. I arrived at home around 9 and pretended to go to bed.

When I was sure May and Ben wouldn’t try and disturb me I snuck out in costume and continued my parole.

It was a long night filled with crime and terror. For now I was basically on damage control, stopping crimes from happening, but I knew the root of the problem still existed and until I could figure who I should hit next it would remain.

For the next week or so this was my schedule. I had school and then tutoring with Felicia and MJ. The redhead didn't like the platinum blonde much, but she didn’t make the tutoring session any more difficult than it already was. In the end I actually managed to raise up the grades of both girls.

My time with the FF was always interesting. Most of the time I assisted Reed or Sue in one of their projects, I would give my advice or helped them out on their calculations. I was basically a temp with the added bonus of pay and time to do my own thing.

My first invention was something I’m actually quite proud off to be honest. Ben Grimm was actually the one who inspired me. He was trying to read the latest sports illustrated issue but kept dropping the tiny magazine due to his huge hands. He even got so frustrated he tore it by accident.

I honestly felt bad for the guy, there was so much about him that would make anyone feel suicidal, but he kept on going and for that I’m proud to call him my friend. But maybe there was something I could do to help.

So I got to work and invented the SA, or Scan and Adapt. It wasn’t a groundbreaking feat of scien or anything like that. It was actually a very basic idea.

I made an elastic frame lined with intense image projectors that could serve to create a sheet of light that could work like a screen. It was a sort of pseudo-hologram, able to exist only within the frame itself, but it was exactly what I needed.

I then put two cameras on the back of the frame and worked on a very basic programing for the system. And when it was done I presented it to Ben.

It was Thursday night and the FF had gathered around their dining table for dinner. You will never believe what they were having. If you guessed pizza, you were right.

“We should really start cooking our own food,” Sue said munching on a slice.

“Great idea sis, only one problem, none of us know how to cook,” Johnny shrugged.

“Hm, maybe we should hire a maid?” Reed suggested, “so we have enough funds for that Sue?”

“No, we are barely making it as it is,” Sue sighed, “if we don't’ get a product we can market we might need to slim things down.”

Are you planning on firing the kid?” Ben asked as he used a wrench to pick up a slice before eating it.

“I hope not, but it just might come to that,” Sue sighed.

“Where is Peter anyway?” Johnny asked, “I haven’t seen him all day.”

“He’s working on a personal project,” Reed explained, “he didn’t tell me what though. I hope he isn’t doing something stupid in there.”

“Hey guys! Glad you’re all here!” I ylled out charging into the den with a grin on my face.

“Hey Peter, care for a slice?” Johnny asked.

“Pizza? Again? You guys should really hire a chief or something, eating this much carbs might not be healthy,” I warned, I loved pizza as much as the next guy, but there is something called too much of a good thing.

“Agreed, anyway where were you? Reed told you us were working on something?” Sue asked.

“Yeah I did!” I grinned as I held up a black frame the size of my palm, “ta-da!”

Johnny raised an eyebrow, “so ah, what does it do?”

“I’ll show you,” I quickly went to the living room and grabbed a TIMES magazine. I put the magazine on the table and held up the frame, “I call this the Scan and Adapt,” I stretched the frame out to the three times it’s size and placed it over the magazine and gave a command, “scan.”

The frame turned alive as a blue screen appeared in the frame. Slowly an image of TIME magazine cover spread in the frame. I held the frame up and smiled, “ta-da!”

Reed raised an amused eyebrow, “and...the point is?”

I rolled my eyes, “the frame can expand to the size of a black board or shrink to the size of my palm. It scans documents and stores it away in your phone or whatever memory space you wish for. It can also quick scan, you just have to show a page for a fraction of a second for the SA to store its image away, here see.”

I had Sue hold the frame up as I flipped the pages in the magazine one by one. In a minute I was done scanning the 100 or so pages in the magazine.

“Save scanned pages as TIMES issue October 2011,” I spoke, a tick mark appeared on the screen. The images all complied themselves into a digital magazine which appeared in my library in the device.

“So...you basically created an advanced version of the Kindle?” Johnny asked unimpressed.

I grumbled, “no, I created a device that can compile and adapt books in seconds. And we can also use it as a smart board. It’s like comparing you to a birthday candle Johnny.”

“Okay okay, no need to get so defensive,” Johnny held up his hands in surrender.

“It also has another purpose,” my voice turned soft as I handed the extra large SA to Ben, “you don’t have to worry about tearing any more book now Ben. It’s very hard to break, and if you do it’s not a problem, you can just adapt all the stored data into a new one.”

Their faces were ones of shock when they realised what I was implying.

Y-you did this for me kid?” Ben asked.

I nodded, “yeah, figured you’re like was hard enough as it is. I realised I could help make it better. I know it’s not much but-”

-Oh shut it kid,” Ben got down and wrapped my in a hug, careful not to break my bones, “thanks kid. Really, I owe you.

“Peter, that’s amazing,” Reed said in awe, “we didn't even...I didn’t even realise what Ben’s going through.”

I shrugged, “you have your problems to worry about. You might not seem different like Ben does, but you all have your issues too right?”

“Alright, when did the fifteen year old become the most mature person in the group?” Sue asked with a chuckle.

“Maybe he always was,” Reed got out of his chair and wrapped me up in a hug as well, “you’re a good kid Peter.”

“Thanks Strech,” I smiled adapting Ben’s nickname for the genius.

You know this is really amazing,” Ben said swiping the screen to turn the pages in the digital magazine.

“We could probably patent it and sell the rights of production to Amazon or someone,” Sue speculated, “we would have some issues though, with the likelihood of piracy so high. Maybe we should add a security system that prevents someone to exchange scanned data. It won’t stop it completely, but it should be enough to stop any large complaints.”

“Think we can make some money out of this?” Johnny asked.

“Oh most definitely,” Susan grinned, “congrats Peter, you just saved your job.”

“Wait what?!” I cried out, “what do you mean?!”

They were planning on firing you,” Ben chuckled.

“Giant rock man says what now?!”

“We weren’t planning on firing you, just thinking about it,” Sue defended. My jaw was open in shock, “relax, I said you just saved yourself didn’t I?”

I sighed, that was a long day. Sue took the SA to a couple of patent lawyers and managed to get the ball rolling on making some profit off of it. I was excited to finally have a patent to my name and some cash for the co-owning rights. Looks like it was my lucky day.

Sunday came too soon for me. I woke up late, I had been out all night fighting crime after all. I went down for breakfast and saw Ben sitting in front of the TV watching the NEWS. I was about to ignore him and leave but then I saw it;

Stark Expo to be opened to public on Friday!

Today was the 30th of October, November would be starting soon and with it the events of Iron Man 2. I knew what was going to happen. And I knew I had to take full advantage of it. I had a plan for Justin Hammer, I need to make sure it happens.

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