"You are needed,"
Spider-man choked as the water he had been drinking suddenly went down the wrong pipe. His lungs burned as he coughed, trying to get the liquid out of his lungs as he searched for the sudden voice that scared off a few years of his life.
He spun around but saw no one. Just an empty rooftop that he was using as a pit stop to take a break. After all, he could hardly save the city on an empty stomach.
"You are needed," the voice repeated. Peter noted that it sounded...familiar. Like someone he knew but hadn't seen, or in this case, heard in a long time.
"Uhh, hello?" Peter questioned, still searching for the source of the voice. He was needed? For what? He hadn't heard anything on the police scanner about trouble, if anything it was a slow day, so he was more than a little puzzled by a mysterious disembodied voice telling him trouble is afoot.
"You are needed, Spider-man. Once your work is done...then you will have to choose," the voice said in a soft whisper and Peter almost thought she sounded sad. Peter felt a sense of foreboding at that. What work? What did he need to do? What choice was she talking about?
"What do I need to do?" He asked carefully, trying not to give his consent to whatever bout of apparent insanity he was having.
"What you have always done," The voice answered, except this time it was much closer. Directly over his shoulder. A cold chill raced down his spine, like someone pressed and ice cube and traced it. His body tensed and the only reason he didn't lash out was because he didn't feel his spidey-sense tingling.
Slowly, he craned his neck to look behind him. What he saw made his jaw drop in utter confusion. He stared and stared, his mind trying to reject what he was seeing but denial was losing its leg to stand on and reality was giving it a nice, hard shove. Eventually, after minutes, Peter managed to pick his jaw off the floor.
"I am not in NYC anymore," Peter said flatly. In the past two years he's become very familiar with New York's skyline, he knew it by heart, both day and night. What he was looking at was certainly not his home city. The skyline was all wrong; the Avengers tower was missing, the only skyscraper with a letter on it was one with a giant W. Unless half a dozen skyscrapers were torn down and twice that number had been erected in the past five minutes, he wasn't in New York.
So, where was he? Clearly in another big city, but which one? Sandiego? LA? Boston? Chicago?
Suddenly, Peter realized he was absolutely freezing. He crossed his arms and rubbed his biceps in a vain attempt to warm up before blowing out an annoyed breath, making a cloud of fog form. He could cross LA and Sandiego off the list because they never experienced winter, so he had been told.
What about this made any sense? He hears and a disembodied voice telling him that he's needed for something and when he looks around, he's been teleported or something to a different city entirely? One that had to quite the trip away because it was nearing Summer time in New York a few minutes ago.
What was the purpose? It clearly wasn't to keep him out of the way for any baddy and their villainous intentions because he found himself on a rooftop in the middle of somewhere. It would be smarter just to lock him in a hole somewhere. He didn't have any letter of demands or threatening blackmail because if someone kidnapped him, Peter assumed the first thing they would do was take off his mask.
If he was drugged then the question was of what and why. Peter felt fine; no grogginess or any kind soreness. Unless it was a tasteless hallucinogenic, Peter hadn't been drugged. Teleportation was more likely because he didn't think he lost any time. He was just in one place and then another with the blink of an eye.
That voice and what she said were the only clues that he had.
"What did she mean? 'I'm needed?'" Spider-man questioned, cradling his head in his hands and trying not to shiver. For what? Why was he here? What situation was so desperate that he was the go-to-guy instead of Captain America, or Iron Man, or any one of a thousand heroes?
Why was he, Peter Benjamin Parker, needed?
Peter's thoughts were interrupted by sirens going off. Snapping to attention, all thoughts of his current problems being shelved, he used his enhanced hearing and realized that they were police sirens. Peter tapped his ear, flicking on the earpiece that was tuned into the police radios, wanting to know what crime he could expect to stop. However, he only heard static.
Peter groaned again in annoyance before clicking it off. He didn't have a way to change the frequency in the field because he never expected to fight crime outside of New York.
"Guess I'm doing this the old fashion way," he commented to himself before he shot out a web and swung off the building. Idly, he tried to pay attention to names of streets as he swung by, hoping to luck out and recognize a famous one. It was also in the effort to take his mind off of just how cold it was. Spandex was not meant to keep the cold out and it cut right through Peter like a knife.
'I should know better by now. The only luck I have is the bad kind,' he thought to himself with a self-deprecating grin underneath his mask. You would think that karma would throw him a bone considering all the people he's saved but the universe needed a chew toy and that seemed to be him on most days.
Peter followed a cop car racing through the streets for a couple of minutes before it reached its destination. Surrounding a bank, there were half a dozen cop cars parked in front, blocking the exits and setting up a perimeter. A quick glance at the writing on top as he landed on a gargoyle gave him his first clue as to where he was.
'Gotham's first national bank, huh?' Peter thought, trying to think if he had ever heard the name of the city. From his birds-eye view, he saw that the city was a big one and on an island. So it was a major city based on size alone and there were only a handful of cities that were built on islands.
Peter wasn't an expert in geography but he couldn't recall any other major city in America that was on an island. He would have assumed that he was out of the country, Canada maybe, but he saw an American flag flapping in the wind on a flag post.
"What's going on here," he asked aloud, getting annoyed by the slowly increasing number of questions he had while the answers weren't budging from zero.
One of his questions was answered a moment later when the doors of the bank were suddenly thrown open and a flood of people came running out.
Spider-man's eyes narrowed, all of the people running out of the bank were dressed identically. They all wore masks of a smiling clown, a purple suit with an orange vest and black dress shoes.
However, what was more eye-catching was what they wore over their clothing.
For a brief moment, Spider-man thought that they were terrorists, but that was quickly disproven when he heard all of the people screaming for help as they ran towards the police. A man with a mustache that looked like he was in his fifties was calling out over a megaphone for them to stop where they were until they called a bomb squad.
Naturally, the small horde of people didn't listen and continued to rush to the police line.
Spider-man sprung into action. He leaped off the building and swung over the small plaza. With a little flare, he landed in between the mob and police. That seemed to give them some pause because most of them slowed before Spider-man held up his hands in a reassuring gesture.
"Hey there folks! I know you've had a bit of a scare but try to take a deep breath," Spider-man said to the stunned crowd in a friendly voice. The small mob stopped in their tracks, either because they listened to him or they were surprised by his sudden appearance. It didn't matter because it gave him the opening he needed.
Unfortunately, thanks to the...Goblin..., Spider-man knew a thing or two about explosives. He wasn't an expert but after giving the vests a critical look over, he saw that they weren't as complicated as they appeared. Sure, there were a lot of wires and flashing lights but absolutely nothing was attached to the deadbolt lock that prevented the victims from taking them off. Meaning, that if he ripped them off, the vests wouldn't go boom.
Taking a deep breath, he took a step forward, "I'm going to get you out of those vests, okay?" He said in a voice that he hoped sounded reassuring. "But I need all of you to stay very still. I have to do this fast and I can't do that if you're running around. Please...just trust me," he said as he took another step forward.
Normally he would have let out a quip to put himself at ease in the tense situation but these guys seemed on the edge of hysterics. Some of them were crying, begging for help while others looked like it was taking all of their self-control to not rip at the vest to get it off. The rest looked like they were going to make a break for it.
Peter couldn't see their faces but a long moment past, everyone holding their breath, and he took that as consent.
Kicking forward, Peter approached the first victim and grabbed the two deadbolts and yanked them off with his super-human strength. The steel crumpled underneath his grip before he dropped them to the ground. Reaching out, he attached his hand to the vest and slid it upwards and once it was clear of the victims head, he threw it upwards as high as he could.
Thankfully, he was right and there wasn't an explosion so there was nothing holding him back from brushing past to the next victim with the speed of a bullet. Doing the same to the woman, he tossed the vest into the air before sending up a web, connecting the two in mid-air.
As he moved through the crowd, moving as fast he could, the other vest joined them before the final one was in the air. Once all of them were in the clear, Peter shot out a strand of webbing and grabbed onto the vest of explosives before throwing them towards the entrance of the bank to make sure they got clear of the crowd.
It was then that he noticed another person dressed in a neon purple suit sneaking off with a very large duffel bag on his back in a window of the bank.
Spider-man glanced back at the stunned circle of police officers, "you take care of these guys. I'll go deal with the clown college rejects," he said to the man with a microphone and a mustache. Unlike his colleagues, the older man was pinning a soul-searching gaze on him that almost made him squirm.
Without another word, Spider-man attached two webs to pillars in front of the large entrance door and launched himself through them. The door was knocked open, slamming into the wall as Peter sailed through and a loud bang echoed in the large lobby.
He landed on the front desk but he didn't see anyone. They shut off the lights, leaving the sizable building pitch black. The only light source were the red and blue cop cars from outside, making the shadows dance but Peter couldn't peer into the dark shadows even when he tried. However, tilting his head to the side, he heard the faint sounds of footsteps and a door closing.
With an inhuman jump, Spider-man launched himself across the lobby and made his way to the back of the building. He made sure to stick to the walls and ceiling, just in case the bank robbers left him a little surprise.
'Though, at least they're being smart about it and not charging through the front door.' Spider-man thought to himself, feeling a little conflicted about the signs of increased intelligence in criminals. On one hand, smarter criminals meant more work to him. On the other, he wouldn't have his faith in humanity chipped away every day by the stunning lack of common sense.
Spider-man sighed as he disabled a claymore mine by snapping the trip wire and sealing it in a bubble of webbing. These guys definitely knew what they were doing and he was willing to bet that they weren't just packing explosives.
Sticking to the ceiling, he made his way to the back door and heard voices through the door. Rolling his shoulders, he webbed the sides of the door before launching himself through it much like before. His feet hit the push lock with enough force the door was almost knocked off its hinges and sent one man flying.
Spider-man skidded to a halt in between the remaining three, all of them looking at him with wide eyes beneath their masks. Peter was looking right back at them, a quip on his tongue but it died on his lips when he noticed something.
These guys were wearing suicide vests too.
Feeling a more than a little panic, Spider-man realized that he didn't have time to yank off the vests before one of them had the chance to detonate. Instead, with a fury of fists, Spider-man struck out.
While one of the bank robbers was recovering from getting slammed with the door, Spider-man punched the closest one to him in the jaw. The bank robber's head snapped to the side, the tension leaving his body as he dropped like a sack of potatoes.
His spidey-sense flashed, warning him that danger was coming from behind him, so he jumped upwards. He nearly jumped two stories high, giving him more than enough room to do a tight half back flip, so his head was facing the pavement. Right when the bank robbers started to point their guns up, Peter used two webs and covered the barrels.
He was too late to pull the weapons out of their hands because one of them pulled the trigger, making a loud bang ring out in the alley. While the bank robber managed to fire off his gun, the bullet failed to get past Spider-man's webbing. It was as strong as steel while being stretchy like elastic to those that had enough strength to tug at it.
A bullet didn't, making the gun barrel explode outwards in the man's hands. The other bank robber was either smart enough not to fire off a shot or was too busy watching his friend stumble backward, his eyes wide as he looked down at the ruined weapon.
It made it so very easy for Peter to close the distance between them once he landed. He planted a fist in the bank robber with a gun's stomach, making all the breath in his explode out of his mouth in a rugged gasp before he slid past him and slugged the shell-shocked bank robber in the temple, dropping him.
Looking around, the alleyway was now filled with groaning bodies, he let out a breath of relief. Now that he had a moment, he gave the vest a look over and saw that they were different than the victims on the other side of the bank.
These bombs were more complicated. Wires were wrapped around the deadlocks in a messy knot and the wire was connected to the bomb by...by...oh man...by a single, oh so very thin stripped wire.
If that wire had slipped out during the fight...boom...
Peter had uncountable close calls since he put this mask on but it still got his heart pumping away knowing that he had been one move away from meeting the reaper.
Walking over, he grabbed the nearest bank robber that he hit with the door and lifted him so they were eye to eye. The man seemed terrified but he quickly schooled his emotions before taking a swing at Spider-man. He didn't even look away as he caught the man's fist with a grip of steel.
Just like that, the fight left the man's eyes.
"Now, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you didn't strap on those bombs because it's the newest winter fashion," Spider-man began as he lifted the man into the air with ease, holding him by his jacket. The bank robber couldn't see it but Peter's eyes were trained on the wire connected to the bomb. He wouldn't do anything to put either of them at risk, but the bank robber didn't know that he knew about the thin wire.
"N-no," the man said, struggling to keep the fear out of his voice. "That whack job Joker put them on us! Told us to rob the bank and-" the man cut himself off with a click.
Spider-man sighed theatrically as he shook his head. "Ahh, don't be like that! Don't stop when you're getting to the good part," he said, making his voice go higher like a child whining. He gave the man a little shake, not enough to hurt him but enough to remind him that he was dealing with someone that could squish him. Also to give him a little dose of fear that they might explode.
Not that he would, but what the guy didn't know wouldn't hurt him.
"Okay! Okay! H-he told us to meet him at the docks! We were supposed to rendezvous with the others and then he would let us go! That's all I know, I swear!" The man shouted, starting to squirm in his grip.
Spider-man's eyes narrowed beneath the one-way mirror lend, "others?" He questioned, pulling the man closer to his reflective eyes.
"Y-yeah! Others, he grabbed like twenty of us and said that we had to rob a bank or he'd kill us!" The man shouted, doing his best to seem as pathetic as possible. However, Spider-man saw right through that. He caught a glimpse of the bank vault, everything about this heist was clean.
He didn't know who these guys were, but they had experience and nothing about them screamed civilian.
"How many teams are there," Peter demanded to know and the man whimpered in response. Peter gave him a little shake, scaring the daylights out of him as he told him to stop or they'd blow up.
"Then tell me what you know! Which banks, how many groups and which docks you're meeting the Joker at," Peter demanded to know, cutting to the chase. He did not have time to be gentle with this guy right now, not when there was a string of bank robberies to stop.
"F-Fine! Ah, I, I think there're four teams of five, except us since we only use four guys! I don't know which banks they are robbing- I swear! Me and the boys were told to rob this one or he'd kill us! And, and, I don't know where we were supposed to bring the money to! I just know we were supposed to bring it to the docks! That's all I know, I swear it! I swear!" The man cried out and the cogs in Peter's brain were turning furiously.
He didn't know this cities layout and his radio wasn't working, so it would be a little more challenging than normal but he already had a couple of half-baked plans turning around in his head. One of the perks of being a genius and impulsive. He needed a map of the banks to start...
"Now let me go," the man demanded, breaking Spider-man from his thoughts.
"Hm? Oh, sure," he dismissed by throwing the man up lightly and webbing him by his hands and the wire so it wouldn't explode even if it was jostled. As the man cursed Spider-man, Peter reached in and grabbed the bank robber's cell phone. He needed it more than him right now.
He walked over and did the same to the other bank robbers, securing both them and the bombs. Spider-man also made sure to leave a nice note in the snow about how his webbing dissolves into a powder after a few hours and to be careful when disarming the bombs. He even added a little smiley face for good measure.
"Now, adios muchachos," Spider-man said in a goodbye, jumping up onto the fire escape and using the extent of what he learned in Spanish class. However, before he could swing away, a voice called out to him.
"Wait," a single word from a rough, scratchy voice and Peter obeyed instantly. He heard it over the bank robber's cursing and the groans of the others, so Peter looked over his shoulder and saw someone walking into the alley with two others at his side.
At first, he thought it was some villain that wanted to pick a fight and get their teeth kicked in, but he saw that it was the guy with the mustache and a microphone from before. He was flanked by two police officers, both their guns aimed at his chest and Spider-man resisted the urge to sigh. It really got old being treated as badly as the criminals that he helped the police catch.
The man stopped some feet away and pinned that soul searching gaze at him. Spider-man had to remind himself that he was wearing a mask because the look just cut right through him. It felt like he was standing before Nick Fury instead of a police commissioner.
"Who are you," the man demanded in a gruff voice and Spider-man stood a little straighter in response.
"I'm just your friendly neighborhood Spider-man. Well, not this neighborhood, but I was in town when I saw these jokers stealing their tuition for their next semester of clown college." He responded in a flippant tone but he was on edge. Jeez, what did this guy go through to earn a stare like that? He's met gods that were less intimidating.
The man stared at him for a moment longer before he raised his hand. Spider-man tensed but relaxed when he saw it was a gesture for the police officers to put their guns away. Both of them looked unsure for a moment before they followed the man's orders.
"You're not with Batman," the man declared and that made him pause for a moment.
Was this 'Gotham' already being protected by a hero? He didn't know every hero on the planet, but he heard of most through the grapevine and he liked to think he would have heard of a hero who's name was so similar to his own. That and the fact that Gotham was a sizable city, so Batman would be one of the more well-known heroes simply because his actions would affect a larger number of people at their hometown.
Thus, like him, he would be a more widely known hero. New York had nearly twenty million people in it, so when they would send out a tweet or post a video on Youtube, it generated more attention because people in New York would look at it and share it with their friends that were out of state. Then it would spread across the nation if the news was crazy enough.
"No. No, I am not. More of a solo guy myself, but I'm sure he's a swell guy." Spider-man said absentmindedly, trying to think of a reason why he wouldn't have heard of Batman. He was having some trouble and that wasn't a good sign.
'Where am I?' Peter questioned, he brow scrunching up beneath his mask. The more he learned, the less everything made sense.
'I'll figure it out later,' Spider-man decided. He still had some robberies to stop and bust the mastermind.
Surprising the man with a mustache, Spider-man webbed the radio strapped to his belt and caught it. Both of the police officers whipped their guns back out, but the man lowered them by placing a hand on their wrists as he watched the teenager.
"I'm going to borrow this for a bit. The fashion disasters said that they were told to rob the bank by some guy that put suicide vests on them. Though these guys put them on the guys and gals I saved, but he also said that there's going to be another three robberies tonight. I'll bust them, you cuff 'em," Spider-man said as he leaped high and was about to swing away but he paused when he heard the man call out to him again.
"Why are you doing this?" He asked barely raising his voice but it seemed to carry in the alleyway. Spider-man paused, knowing the meaning behind the question.
Luckily, it was a question he had asked himself hundreds of times. When things were at their darkest when being Spider-man meant nothing but pain and heartache, why would he put it on and save others? Even when it came at his own expense.
"Because...with great power comes great responsibility," he answered simply. He didn't know how else to explain it but that to use uncle Ben's final words. Spider-man knew he was failing epically to explain what that phrase meant to him but he just couldn't put it in words. Yet again, he became painfully aware of the burden that was placed on his shoulders due to a freak accident.
However, he had to bear it. It was his responsibility.
To his surprise, the man's face showed some elements of approval.
Standing a little straighter, Spider-man swung off into the night and within seconds he was gone.
James Gordon took a cigarette out of the box and lite it with his old lighter. Taking a deep breath, savoring the feeling of the smoke filling his lungs before he let it all out in a long, weary, sigh.
"Sir," asked the officer on his right, looking helplessly confused. Gordon idly realized that he was the new transfer from Boston, so he probably wasn't use to men in masks doing the police's job for them. It was a very different experience from seeing it on your tv screen compared to seeing it in real life.
"With great power comes great responsibility, huh," Gordon mused to himself, taking another drag. He turned over the phrase in his mind for a couple of seconds and he decided that he liked it. It was a good phrase; a good code. One that would steer whoever followed it in the right direction.
It said a lot about the kid if he followed it. Hell, it said a lot about him that he had those powers and the first thing he did has become a hero instead of another villain that only cared for himself, or desired to see everyone around him dead or worse. Especially in this city that just seemed to breed the worst kind of villains.
"You heard him, tonight's going to get even busier than we thought! Alert all units and I want the addresses of every bank in the city and I wanted it yesterday. Also, arrest these clowns; these are the Rosso brothers; they've been robbing banks since you were in training." Gordon barked at the officers, making them spring into action, as he turned to his car.
Even though he knew he had a long night ahead of him, he couldn't help but think about how unhappy Batman would be when he hears that someone's in his stomping grounds.
"Hello there! License and registration please," Spider-man asked, holding his hand out expectantly through the window that he just punched in. The driver let out an impressive string of curses, the rude fellow.
"Do you kiss your mother with that mouth? Sheesh, I'm at an impressionable age you know," he said as he grabbed the man's shirt and slammed him forward. His head bounced off the steering wheel and when he leaned back to hold his broken nose, it gave Spider-man the chance to web the loose wire so it wouldn't blow up.
"Excuse me, beg your pardon," he said as he pulled him out of the vehicle. The man let out a shout as he flailed helplessly into the air before being suspended by a web. With that done, Peter slid into the truck and slammed on the breaks. The car lurched and the tires skidded, trying to comply with the demand, before coming to a stop nearly fifty feet later.
After turning the truck off, he strolled out, clicked the beeper to lock the doors before tossing the keys to a cop that pulled up. The man fumbled with the keys for a moment before giving Spider-man a helpless look. Peter responded by giving him the fingers guns and clicking his tongue. That was still cool, right?
Yeah, finger guns were always cool.
After making his exit, he swung upwards onto a building and pulled out the iphone he lifted from the bank robber. He pulled up the map function and entered in the name Gotham and searched for banks in the city.
Spider-Man looked at for a moment, trying his best to ignore how much the island looked like New York...wow...it was on the east coast and everything...No, no! Deal with that later! Focus!
'Alright, just one group left,' Spider-man thought to himself, shaking his head free of the stray thoughts. The police already caught one when he was scrambling to figure out just where he was going. It was for that reason he found this police chase and stopped his second team of bank robbers.
'Just need to nab these last guys and find out which docks they're bringing the money to.' Unfortunately, there were a few different docks in Gotham and he already knocked out the other bank robbers so they couldn't point him in the right direction. That was a mistake, Peter needed to work on that.
He turned the radio up as he climbed onto a vantage point, listening for news of the next robbery.
"We have gunshots on Main street-"
"Suspicious activity in-"
"Car chase on Wayne street, in hot pursuit-"
"Alarm tripped at antique store-"
"Wow," Spider-man, sounding a bit dazed. Was it just because he was here or was it always this crazy? From the sound of it, there was enough crime going on tonight to fill up his quota for the week.
"Agh...I'm not getting any sleep tonight...or figuring out where the hell I am," he said with a sigh as he straightened out from his crouch. He looked down at his new phone and saw that it had finally finished loading all the banks. Parker luck struck again; no signal when he wanted to use a phone for something other than candy crush.
He saw nearly a dozen dots.
Pursing his lips, he thought about it for a moment. He couldn't swing by every bank and check if they had been robbed, while he was at the wrong one the right one could get away scot free.
Putting the radio near his mouth, he pressed the button and said, "Spider-man here. Just busted some guys that were robbing, uh, Welsfargo. Can someone tell me which banks are being watched?" He asked and with that question he heard the chatter on the radio cease.
He stared at it for a few moments, waiting for an answer. When the silence stretched on and on, he started to wonder if the thing was busted.
"We're stretched thin right now, but we can have a squad car outside of every bank if you take the upper half of Gotham," Spider-man heard a familiar voice say.
"Roger, roger," he said, taking a glance at the phone and saw that he had seven banks in his half.
With a destination set, he swung off the building.
He swung by the first two, giving them a quick look over. From what he saw, things seemed relatively normal. People went in then they came out clutching their purse or man-purse/satchel. It was really telling at the level of crime this city had when people's first instinct when having money was expecting to be mugged.
He swung by the third bank and saw it was much the same if a little more dead than the others. From his window seat, he saw the teller playing bejeweled on her phone, the heathen, and the security guard struggling to stay awake. There weren't any customers, so they could afford to slack off a little.
Spider-man was about to leave, going to check his other banks, but paused when a woman walked through the door.
And boy, was she a woman.
Short raven black hair with bright blue eyes. Her skin was white, with a healthy tan to it, but she seemed more of a night owl. A strong jaw that lead to a pointed chin. Kissable lips that were painted black, matching her eye shadow. A cute as a button nose that was flanked by cheekbones that most girls would murder for. He couldn't see her body underneath the black trench coat she wore, but she moved with a cat-like grace that seemed familiar to him.
All in all, 10/10. Would stare creepily through a window again.
She strode across the lobby, earning the attention of both the teller and the security with her high heels clacking on the floor with confidence. He watched in some amusement as the security's guards mouth drop and the teller just turned green with envy. Not that Peter had any room to talk, but he was a perfectly healthy teenage boy. It was his excuse and he was sticking with it.
"Hello, I was hoping to open up an account, if it wouldn't be any trouble," the woman said with a sly grin that would make most men go weak at the knees and, judging by the air of confidence she carried herself with, she knew it too. The teller, Amy based on her name tag, stammered out that it wouldn't be any trouble at all.
However, with his enhanced hearing, he heard the security guard telling his mate to check out the beauty that just walked in. While he couldn't make out the response, he managed to guess that it was agreement when the security camera moved towards her.
It was as he straining his hearing, trying to hear the conversation between them that he heard something else entirely. It almost sounded like a...blowtorch? It was a steady 'foosh' that was accompanied by little pops.
'What...ah!' Spider-Man wondered before it clicked. The old distraction technique! He almost, totally, fell for it.
Slowly, Spider-man pushed on the window using his adhesive ability to keep his grip, and slowly he opened the window. After a few seconds and a mini heart attack when the window made a squeak, earning a glance from the black haired woman, it was open enough for him to crawl through.
He was grateful for the change in temperature. Most of his body was starting to go numb from swinging around the city in this weather.
After making note where the security cameras were, he made his way behind the lobby by crawling on the ceiling. Spider-man followed the sound of the blowtorch that was slowly growing louder. Finally, he found the source of it in the vault room. Peeking through a little window above the door, he saw exactly what he was expecting to see.
Four men were in the room, two had guns pointed at the door while the other two were working on getting through the door.
It was a different approach to the usual heist, that much he would give them. Waiting until the had a skeleton crew, using a distraction and putting up a photo in front of the security camera to make the cameraman think nothing was wrong. They entered through the floor, probably through the sewer. Because there was always a sewer beneath the vault. Why no one saw that designs flaw was just beyond him.
Cracking his neck and limbering up, Spider-man gripped the door frame and jumped up lightly. "Maximum effort," he said, quoting a friend, before he swung himself into the door. The plywood door exploded into a shower of splinters, earning a surprised shout from the gunmen before they thought to pull the trigger. By the time the room erupted in gunfire, Spider-man was already in the room.
His foot connected to the chest of one gunman, knocking the wind out of him and sending the man backward. As Spider-man was carried forward by his momentum, he grabbed the barrel of the gun that the second man carried.
The man pulled the trigger and Peter felt like he just put his hand on a stove, but he ignored it in favor of pulling the gunman towards him, ripping the gun out of his hands but carrying him by the strap around his shoulders. The gunman was pulled off balance by Spider-Man grabbing the gun and he started to follow him with his momentum. Once the gunman was close enough, completely off balance due to Spider-man's momentum, Spider-man lashed out and socked him in the face, rattling his teeth.
Spider-man landed on his feet and looked over his shoulder at the last two men. Both were looking at him with a stunned expression, clearly unprepared for a man in tights kicking the door in and incapacitating their guards in seconds.
Popping out the magazine, Spider-man spin on his heel and threw both the gun and the magazine at the men. Both smacked them in the face, breaking them from their stupor to let out cries of pain, but as they went to grip their faces, Peter webbed their hands together. To make extra sure they didn't get away, he webbed their hands to the ceiling along with their two unconscious friends.
"Well, that was easy," he commented to himself as he turned the blowtorch off. Perhaps it was just the gap in strength thanks to his spider-like abilities or it was just a matter of perspective since he's been dealing with highly trained soldiers or jerks in super suits recently. Guys like these just seemed so...easy in comparison. He almost felt like a bully.
"Now, just gotta arrest that woman," he said, dusting his hands of splinters. He knew he was going to be picking them out of his suit for days.
Spider-man started to walk out of the room when he saw the security guard running down the hallway with his pistol out, frantically calling for backup. Knowing what was coming, Spider-man just held up a hand and pointed at the room that he just left, "just stopped a bank robbery. You're welcome," he said a little more patronizingly than he had intended.
The man just blinked and, surprise surprise, he didn't believe him. Sometimes having a mask was just a pain in his butt; who knew it would make him seem so untrustworthy?
"Put your hands in the air freak!" The man, Jim, screamed as he gestured pointedly with his gun.
"Hey, words hurt! And I did your job for you, take a look," he refuted, gesturing to the room again. Unfortunately, Jim wasn't having any of it, assuming that it was a trap. Very smart of him, Spider-man would have been proud of it wasn't so terribly inconvenient.
"I don't have time for this," he said, webbing the guards gun before he had a chance to react. The man just gaped at him but Peter jumped over him and ran towards the lobby. Unsurprisingly, the woman was gone.
Knowing that he couldn't waste any time, he launched himself out of the building. A quick scan of the dark, snow covered streets told him that the woman was gone. Cursing to himself, he ran up the building, sticking to the walls with such strength that duck-tap would be jealous.
With a flip with flare, he landed on top of the bank and searched for a clue from his bird's eye view.
"Agh...she got away," he said, not seeing any tell-tale signs of someone fleeing. It seemed she was smart as she was beautiful because he didn't have a clue which direction he needed to head to now.
Now he had a bank robber with a suicide vest running about. She was smart, or at the very least clever, so hopefully she would go to the police to get the thing off before the mastermind found out she failed. And hopefully, she wouldn't be in a public place in case-
Spider-Man felt a tingle in the back of his neck, warning him that danger was behind him. It was faint, so it wasn't a bullet, but Spider-man rolled out of the way all the same. The moment he did so, he heard a loud crack that left his ears ringing. It actually took him a moment to realize that someone was talking to him through the white noise.
"-managed to dodge that," a woman's voice said with a...seductive edge to it. It sounded very familiar.
Turning around, he saw the woman behind him. The most notable difference was that she shed the overcoat and revealed a skin tight leather suit with a pilots cap with cat ears and goggles. Unfortunately, a suicide vest blocked his view and he noticed it looked significantly more complicated than the others. More wires, more locks, three different timers...he had no idea what most of it did, but he was willing to bet that they were redundancies. She also had a whip in her hands.
"Huh...you know, I think I had a dream that started off like this once..." Spider-man said absentmindedly. He had, except it had been Black Cat instead of whoever this knockoff was. The resemblance was there, but it was mostly in the cat-like mannerisms and the skin tight clothes that revealed a rather...impressive figure.
However, once he looked past that it was clear that they were different people. For one, this cat person hadn't tried to shove her tongue down his throat. Yet.
The woman let out a laugh that sounded like a purr, "cute. But this won't be ending like your dream did," she said before she drew back her hand and Spider-man felt his spidey-sense tingle. Turning slightly, he dipped out of the way of the whip that was trying to hit him in the chest.
The crack sounded again, making his ears ring but he didn't press the attack. He angled his body sideways to provide a smaller target but he didn't attack because the woman seemed faintly surprised.
"Ohh...I'm going to go ahead and assume you can keep doing that," the woman said, sounding thoughtful. She tilted her head to the side, considering him lightly. If he was anything like every other cape in this crazy world, then he either had superpowers or spent his entire life training on some island somewhere. She was going to bet on the former simply because it takes serious reflexes to dodge anything like he did.
Selina Kyle didn't like taking risks as much as one would think. Sure there was a thrill jumping off a building without a plan, or getting in a good fight, or ripping off a gang boss for the fun of it. Those were risks but they were the fun kind of risks.
Fighting an unknown cape when she had a bomb strapped to her chest did not sound like a fun kind of risk.
"You...are the first person to realize that," Peter said, sounding a bit surprised. "Usually, they just start screaming for me to hold still like I'm going to help them kill me." he continued and earned a chuckle from the woman.
"Now then, how about we end this before anyone gets hurt? I'll take that bomb off you, and you go do whatever beautiful women do while dressed up in cats costumes. That way, everyone wins!" Peter said, putting as much enthusiasm as he could into the sales pitch.
"Sounds tempting, but that madman Joker was very through with me," she said, scowling in distaste. Spider-man idly made note of the name of the man who did this. With the ones before, he thought the name was an insult.
"I pick a lock, I explode. I pull a wire, I explode. I tamper with the bomb, I-you get the picture. The only way this thing comes off is if I deliver what's in this banks vaults," she gestured underneath them before she pinned a glare at Spider-man. "Not that I can anymore, thanks for that by the way," she added sarcastically.
"No problem, being a menace is what I do," Spider-man shot back as he turned over the woman's dilemma. Unlike with all the other goons, he couldn't just secure a wire so it wouldn't explode. It sounded like he was right, the bomb was full of redundancies. The only way to deactivate it was to know how or...
"Okay, how about this. I take off that vest and you tell me which docks this Joker guy is at," he offered, crossing his arms over his chest.
That gave the woman something to think about. She gave him a long look, consider him.
Based on his voice, he was a teenager. What age exactly, she couldn't tell but she was guessing around seventeen or so. His suit did nothing to hide his physique, so she saw that he was well muscled, despite his scrawny nature. He held himself well enough. There was that awkwardness that every teenager had when they saw her but there weren't any rookie jitters, which was very reassuring.
She didn't know how much experience he had being a hero, not much since she never heard of him before and she made it her business knowing every hero and their sidekick, but he gave the impression that he knew what he was doing.
Not only that, but he dodged her sneak attack. She made sure her approach was silent, only Batman and a handful of others would have noticed her. Based on how Selina didn't see any kind of reaction until she was attacking, she figured he wasn't on that short list. Which meant that he was just that fast and his reflexes were that sharp.
"Hmmm, tempting offer but what makes you think I'm going to trust my life to a punk kid who's trying to be the next Batman?" She asked, trying to rile him. Just trying to get a read on the kid.
'There's that name again,' Spider-man thought. He really needed to Google this guy.
"You don't have to trust me. If that thing blows up, I'll die with you. And I like living. A lot. Now that I think about it, living is probably my second favorite thing to do." He said, knowing that there was nothing he could say that could gain her trust. If she was anything like Black Cat, which she was, then words were next to worthless.
"Second favorite?" The woman asked, sounding thoroughly amused. This kid was interesting.
"I'm an awkward bundle of hormones known as the teenage boy. You get three guesses."
The woman threw back her head and laughed. It quickly died off into chuckles but she looked at him with a fond expression, "you're no Batman, but you are a treat. Fine, what's your plan to get this thing off me?" She asked, walking to him with a sway in her hips.
'Doc Ock in a speedo. Doc Ock in a speedo. Doc Ock in a-' Spider-man resisted the cringe from the mental image before he began explaining. 'It's simple really, we just disarm the bombs at the same time."
"Ohh...is that all," she said drily, sounding like she didn't think much of his plan. She stopped in front of him, uncomfortably close. She leaned in, checking her appearance in his reflective eyes and brushed some snow that gathered on her shoulders, flicking her hand down towards her breasts. She didn't even need to see his eyes to know where they were looking.
"Er-yeah. Just give me a minute and I can figure out which wires will blow us up and which won't. Then we pull them at the same time," Spider-man said, with a shrug and raised his hands to start messing with the wires. A gesture asking for permission and once he received it in the form of a quick nod, he began fiddling with the wires.
He was going to deduce which wires did what by his spidey-sense. It acted on a simple principle; the more danger he was in, the stronger the tingle. It even warned him which direction the danger was coming from.
Peter learned to put a little more faith in the ability, considering it his greatest power. He lost count of how many times he took a hit because he failed to act on the warning, or had been too slow. He was still miles and miles away from mastering the ability, but he was getting a better grip on it.
At first, he looked for red wires, because that's what it always is in the movies but he quickly saw that there weren't any. The bombs were a mess of yellow, orange, green, purple and white. All of them were hooked up to various clocks that housed the explosives. He traced each wire with his finger, acting like he was going to pull it and the tingle in the back of his neck would intensify.
Spider-man was so absorbed in his task that he nearly jumped out of his suit when the woman spoke.
"If we're going to risk death together, you can call me Catwoman," she introduced herself suddenly. Spider-man took a moment to calm his heart that threatened to punch its way out of his chest before responding.
"I'm Spider-man, but most people call me annoying," he introduced, deciding against his usual introduction. He already used it once tonight.
"Yeah, you definitely aren't with Batman. Though, the whole assuring me with mutual destruction was a step in the right direction," Catwoman said thoughtfully, moving her arms so Spider-man could reach a wire. He humphed before he realized that the wire was one that controlled one of the bombs.
"Found one," he said before memorizing the wire and continuing his search for the other two.
"Really?" Catwoman questioned, making note that he just lightly touched the wires before moving on. Despite how casually she was acting, she had some reservations about letting a kid disarm a bomb that was strapped to her chest. Spider-man's reassurance of mutual death and their mutual love of life was the only reason he was letting him near her.
Spider-man made a noise of agreement but Catwoman wanted an answer.
"How," she pushed.
"Because I know everything not counting all the things I don't know," he responded carelessly. He grabbed another wire and he felt the tingling in the back of his neck intensify. "Found another," he informed before searching for the last wire.
Catwoman rolled her eyes and scoffed, "wow. Dodging questions. You sure Batman isn't your role model? No need to be ashamed about it, there are worse people to look up to than one of the founders of the Justice League." She commented in a dry tone, giving Spider-man a dull stare. It was then that she saw his pause.
'Justice League,' Peter silently questioned. Did she mean the Avengers? He's heard some weird names for them before; freaks and show offs being the chief among them, but never the 'Justice League.' He doubted she meant the Fantastic Four or the X-men, but who else could she mean?
She mentioned it so casually that he doubted it was some secret group of heroes...or maybe it was a group so small that the media just overlooked it? That sounded plausible but when he added up all the other evidence...
Peter shook his head, trying to get rid of the thoughts. He could deal with later, preferably when he wasn't disarming a bomb.
As if fate agreed with him, he found the last wire.
"Three wires for three bombs," he stated after going over all the wires again, just to make sure he hadn't missed one or misjudged. Catwoman looked at him with some hesitation and Spider-man caught the look.
"Don't tell me you're getting cold feet?" He asked and earned a small glare for his teasing tone. Taking the hint, Spider-man switched lanes, "look, you aren't going to die here. I'm going to take this bomb off, you'll tell me where to find the Joker, I'll introduce him to thunder and lightning before I wrap him up with a bow for the boys in blue. It'll be fine, I promise. Pinky promise," he reassured, holding up a pinky.
Catwoman looked down at the kid for a moment before a slow smile tugged at her lips. Yeah, this kid was a real treat.
"You're a good kid," she admitted before she wrapped her pinky around his. It was rare to see in this city. Most kids went one of two ways; they learned to only care about them and their own and those that learned to only care for themselves. It was rare, too rare, to see a kid care about someone that they don't know.
Peter grinned beneath his mask. She really did remind him of Black Cat, a few rough edges, and criminal intentions, but there was good in her. It just needed to be brought out.
"Alright, let's do this." He said, grabbing two of the wires. Catwoman grabbed the last one. They made eye contact and Spider-man felt his heart try to jump out of his chest. Taking a deep breath, he calmed his nerves.
"Three...two...one!" Spider-man said, yanking the wires with Catwoman. For a brief moment, he worried that he had messed up when he heard a beep, but let out a long sigh of relief when there was no following explosion. He heard Catwoman let out a sigh at the same time before she all but jumped out of the suicide vest and throwing it away from her.
They watched it for a moment and relaxed when it didn't explode.
"See? Told you," Spider-man said in an 'I told you so' tone, placing his hands on his hips. "Now, where's this Joker guy?"
Catwoman let out a soft sigh before she shook her head, "sorry kid, but I'm not going to send you to that psychopath. Just wait for B-" she started but she was cut off when Spider-man threw his hands up in exasperation.
"We had a deal-"
"I never shook on it."
"You pinkie swore!"
"Look, kid, I'm grateful that you got the bomb off me. I am. That's why in not letting you anywhere near the Joker! If you lose then death will be the kindest thing he'll do to you! Just find Batman. He'll deal with him. He always does," She said, sounding frustrated. She also left out that Batman would sit him down and rip him a new one for being a hero in Gotham. He had issues when it came to sharing, not that she had any room to talk.
"I'll be fine," he implored sounding just as frustrated. He knew he was young, even though he was seventeen, but it was downright annoying when people used his age against him. He got it. He was still, technically, a kid but he saw enough and did enough.
Peter Parker put the man in Spider-man.
"You-" Catwoman began before she bit her tongue and huffed out a breath. Really, why was she even getting worked up about this kid? Yeah, he was a good one, but she wasn't exactly known for her altruistic nature. Half her mind said it was because she knew how much of a lunatic the Joker was. The other half said it was just...wrong to send this kid off to his fate after what he did for her.
Seriously, did he not know what kind of monster he was trying to pick a fight with? The entire graveyards the Joker filled as collateral damage in his fight against the Dark Knight? How could he live in Gotham and not hear all the horror stories about this murderous psychopath?
Catwoman let out a groan, throwing her head up to the night sky in exasperation, "Bats, you're a terrible influence." She muttered to herself before looked back at Spider-man, who just stared at her with those creepily large reflective eyes of his.
"Fine, I'll tell you on one condition. I'm going with you," she stated before he had a chance to protest.
"Why," Spider-man demanded, thrown off by the sudden shift in tone. One moment she's stonewalling him and the next she wants to tag along, he didn't get it. Girls were just so confusing.
"Because I'm, unfortunately, developing a conscious and sending a kid to his death goes against it. I'm sure you've racked up a nice amount of experience with dealing with thugs, but the Joker...he a different kind of monster. You're just stubborn enough that I'll know you'll go find him anyway, but at least this way I can pull your ass out of the fire." She stated as she curled up her whip that she dropped.
Spider-man opened his mouth to protest that he could take care of himself, again, but he closed it. It was pointless, she clearly wasn't going to budge on the issue. Her tagging along was the best he was going to get.
"Okay. Where are we going?"
"I'll give you directions. Wouldn't want you trying to leave this cat behind," Selina said, her teasing tone returning. She looked thoroughly pleased with herself when Peter froze, caught planning to do exactly that.
"So, do you have a Spider car? Bug mobile?" She questioned and she could feel Spider-Man's annoyance roll off him in waves.
"First off, spiders aren't bugs; they're arachnids. Secondly, I have something so much better than a car," he said before walking towards the edge of the building. Out of curiosity, Catwoman followed.
"Hold on tight," he instructed and Selina did so with some reluctance. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she idly noted that Spider-man felt solid. Everything about him was corded muscle and she felt it shift underneath her hands; the kid was lanky but god, every inch of him was dense chiseled muscle.
Before she had time to really think about it, Spider-man jumped off the building. The familiar sense of vertigo rose in her gut before she heard a 'twick' and felt the ice cold wind hitting her face instead of plummeting down to the pavement. When she opened her eyes, she saw lights of the city pass her by.
With a grin, she began telling Spider-man where to go.
Batman picked up a thug by the throat before slamming him down on a crate, making it explode in a cloud of dust and splinters. Turning on his heel, he turned around and grabbed the pipe aimed at his head before yanking it out of the man's hands as he planted a fist into his stomach, almost lifting him off the ground. The second thug fell to his knees, gasping for breath but Batman didn't hesitate to hit him in the temple with the makeshift weapon, knocking him out.
Silently, he turned around and observed the building filled with bodies of groaning men and women. Most of them had arms or legs jutting out at unnatural angles, making sure they couldn't use the guns that laid near them even if they wanted to.
"Just finished up at warehouse thirteen," he heard Robin say over his com.
"Same here with the Gunners," Batgirl reported.
"Regroup at the clock tower," he commanded, tapping on his ear. Both his apprentices confirmed before the line went dead.
Stepping over the groaning bodies, dropping a tracker for the police to pick up on, his mind turned over the last few hours. Thanks to the bugs he planted in every major gang's hideouts, he knew about the gang war that was about to be sparked tonight before it could get started.
It was going to be a mess. A war zone in the streets of Gotham.
Italian crime families fighting amongst themselves. The Irish against the Ukrainians. The Mexican cartel against the Colombian drug runners. Countless of smaller gangs that smelled blood in the water and saw the opportunity to expand their power.
Thankfully, Commissioner Gordon acted on the information he received. They busted and arrested quite a number of Italian gangsters and the Bat-family stopped the Irish, Cartel, Colombians and numerous other gangs along the way. They couldn't stop everything, not with so few, but they avoided the worst of it by stopping the major crime factions.
Dozens of arrests were being carried out, several criminal families being busted on gun charges and reckless endangerment. Before the night was over, more than a few criminal families would put where they belong for a good, long, while.
Unfortunately, a number of gangs, such as the Penguins, Yakuza, Hanoi Ten and the Bloods attacked their rivals and expanded. Dozens were dead all across the city and more would continue to die because this battle wasn't going to end tonight. The balance of power was collapsing and there was blood in the water.
Then he hears that there have been numerous bank robberies all across the city.
Batman didn't believe in coincidences. This was planned. While he and the police were distracted with trying to stop the city becoming a battlefield, someone was trying to rob several banks across the city. Hundreds of millions of dollars if his estimates were correct, and he knew they were.
What's more, all of the bank robbers were wearing suicide vests yet every one of them were professional thieves.
'The money is a means to the end,' Batman deduced as he hopped into the Batmobile. 'Too much work is going into this for money to be the aim. The question is, what's the money for?'
"Just got a report from the police; all of the bank robberies have been stopped," Batgirl informed over the radio. Batman's eyes narrowed, the police were stretched thin as it was and the only way the robberies could have been stopped was if the police were already outside the door.
"Some guy named Spider-man stopped three of them," she continued, answering Batman's question before he had a chance to ask.
That made his eyes narrow even more. A hero operating in his city without his knowledge or, much more importantly, his permission?
"Is he crazy?" Robin asked, sounding a mix of impressed and exasperated. Even Superman knew to stay out of Gotham.
"Don't know, I'm not finding anything on the web about him so he might be a new hero," she continued and Batman listened intently. He knew he never heard of a 'Spider-man' before so he had to be either a new hero or a very well kept secret. He was betting on the former.
However, if he was a fresh hero, then how had he managed to stop three bank-robbing that had bombs stopped to their chests? Likely a Meta-human. Based on the name alone, Batman deduced spider-like powers.
"But Commissioner Gordon seems to put some stock in him since he put him on patrol on several banks," Batgirl summarized, feeling a little awkward calling her father by their last name. No matter what identity she took, he was always dad to her.
That gave Batman a pause. There were precious few that he trusted as much as James Gordon. While it could be because the police were stretched too thin, but Batman knew for fact that if Gordon thought 'Spider-man' would get in the way he would arrest him in a heartbeat. So, he had enough skill, or talent, that he could handle professional criminals.
"Find out what you can but it's not a priority for now. Let him take some pressure off the police while we find out who's responsible for all this chaos." Batman ordered before he sped off into the night.
"This the place?" Spider-man asked as he touched down on a tall yellow crane that overlooked the docks. He felt the death grip on his throat vanish before Catwoman gave the affirmative.
"Yeah, we're supposed to meet up at dock six and inside a container to exchange the money for getting the bombs off us," she explained, glad to have something solid beneath her.
Selina was no stranger to heights but Spider-man flipped and twisted enough that her stomach was in knots. She was sure he did it on purpose.
"Neat, but before we do this, is this guy just a regular human?" Spider-man asked and earned a risen eyebrow from Catwoman.
"He has a couple dozen screws missing and a penchant for mass murder, but yeah, I guess so." She answered, "why?"
Spider-man shrugged, "just making sure I don't hit him too hard." With that, he jumped off the crane towards dock six. A quick web to slow his fall and pull him to his destination, he landed with little sound. He focused his hearing and heard footsteps on metal; hoping that it was the Joker and not some security guard, Spider-man crawled through a window and up on the ceiling.
"Puddin, it's past the deadline," a woman's voice reached his ears. He tried to find the source but it was difficult with all the metal containers. It was high pitched so it carried and Peter could only describe it as bubbly.
"Haha! I suppose it is..." A man voice responded and Spider-Man thought it sounded...unhinged. One of the downsides of putting on a mask and fighting crime was that he dealt with crazy on the regular. He could spot it a mile away and this guy's voice just oozed crazy. There was just this constant chuckle in his voice like he thought everything was funny in a horribly deranged way.
"You going to push the button, puddin?" The woman asked and Spider-man heard a loud smack. His head snapped to the source, the woman falling down made enough noise that he knew which container it was.
"You...!" The man's voice started before he paused, "Harley, my sweet, no I'm not going to press the button just yet. Haha, they're just running a little late is all! It would be a shame to blow up all that money," he continued in a less angry voice but Spider-man could hear the fury building up beneath the surface.
The woman, Harley, apparently couldn't.
"Yeah! Sorry Mista J, I got a little excited," she apologized and the Joker let out another laugh.
"Quite alright my dear, I know how you get with red buttons."
As they had their conversation, Spider-Man made lowered himself above the contained. Then, with a flip with some flare, he jumped in front of it and went to grab the handle but stopped himself. The only things he knew about the Joker was that he was crazy and liked explosives. For all he knew, the guy placed a claymore or something at the entrance.
Raising his hand into a fist, he lightly rapped his knuckles against the door, "room service!" He called out, throwing on a Spanish accent.
The two went silent before the Joker let out a laugh.
"See Harley? I told you, just running a little-" he said as he opened the door. He was cut off by Spider-man's fist flattening his nose.
"PUDDIN," Harley screamed as the Joker stumbled backward, blood dripping down his stark white skin. Spider-man walked into the container and he took a moment not observe his newest opponents.
The Joker was dressed like those he coerced into working for him. The only difference he noticed was that his hair was a moss green and his lips were a ruby red, making his white skin stand out even more.
Harley was wearing a one piece dress that cut off mid thigh with several layers of frills. It hugged her torso, cupping her breasts but exposing a fair amount of cleavage before the deep red and blue reached her shoulders and puffed out into white sleeves. Her face was heavy with white makeup, though her lips were painted ruby red and her eyes had black eyeshadow. Her blonde hair was in pigtails, one dyed red while the other was black.
There was also an angry red hand print on one of her cheeks.
"Ohhh...sorry, I got my job mixed up again. What I meant to say is surrender now so I don't have to wash your blood out of my suit," he said in a light tone but there was anger building up in his chest.
It wasn't because Joker hit a woman. He believed in equality and, man or woman, if Peter thought you deserved it then you got hit.
It was because he hit her when they had some kind of relationship based on the conversation he overheard and her nickname for the man. Most likely they were lovers-or, at the very least, Harley was in love with the Joker.
And the Joker knew it. He had to. He wasn't a romantically inept teenager like Peter was. The Joker knew that Harley loved him and he hit her.
You...you don't hurt the people that love you. Sometimes it was unavoidable, like how he lied to Aunt May to keep her out this dangerous part of his life because if she knew then she'd be at the front of every crowd, trying to help him when he was being beaten, just like... However, physical abuse, or emotional, was just...reprehensible. There was no reason for it. No excuse.
A relationship was based on respect, trust, and love. To twist that, to use violence to...
In the two years that Spider-man existed, there were few crimes that haunted him more than domestic ones. Those were the ones that kept him up at night. He came to expect cruelty and evilness from his villains, it became all too clear how far they were willing to go just to hurt him or reach their goals.
But domestic violence was different. It was normal people, people he was trying to protect and...it was hard sometimes. There have been times that he saves someone from a mugging or falling debris, but he sees them a week later while they're beating their kids. That's what made it hard.
Peter glared down at the Jokers rising form, cupping a hand over his broken nose.
"You're not Batman," the Joker noted as he rose, his voice muffled by his hand.
"No, I'm not. He sounds like a swell guy though if he kicks your sorry ass," Spider-Man said as he clenched his hands into fists. "I'll be sure to buy him a soda or something after I throw you in the loony bin where you belong."
The Joker laughed at that, removing his hand and revealing a crazed smile with blood stained teeth. "Who are you," he demanded to know, raising a hand that stopped Harley from marching the war path.
"Does nobody watch the news in this city? I'm Spider-man, for crying out loud!" He said, feeling confused and exasperated in equal measures. Not to toot his own horn, but he was nearing the top ten of the favorite superheroes in gossip magazines. Maybe the people he spoke to tonight just didn't enjoy trashy literature, but it was becoming increasingly disturbing that no one knew who he was. If not by name then by his iconic costume.
"Never heard of you! Now go away!" Joker commanded before he pulled out a Tommy gun from absolutely nowhere. His spidey-sense gave him a moment's warning and he jumped backward as he let his instincts guide him.
The Joker pulled the trigger, cackling madly, and Spider-man contorted his body. He dipped his shoulder out of the way of one bullet while leaning to the side to dodge a bullet that passed under his armpit. He felt the wind hit him from the bullet but he was otherwise unharmed.
He jumped into the air and started twisting his body out of the path of the bullets. Even in the beginning, gunfire had been more of an annoyance that a problem thanks to his spidey-sense and superhuman reflexes.
However, he couldn't dodge every bullet from a machine gun firing this close, especially with so little room to maneuver, and he felt a sharp stinging pain across the side of his thigh and a similar, though more painful wound, above his hip. His hand dipped down, feeling hot blood against his palm and a growing wetness on his back told him that the bullet had gone all the way through.
Knowing that this couldn't go on else he'd be shot in a more vital area, he shot a bullet of webbing at the Joker. He was aiming for the barrel of the gun, but his missed because he was moving around so much. Instead, it hit him in the chest, knocking the wind out of him.
"PUDDIN," Harley screamed again as she charged him with an oversized hammer, apparently uncaring that she was walking into gunfire. Luckily for the both of them, as the Joker was knocked back, the barrel of the gun was pointed upwards.
Spider-man tensed, ready to dodge the swing aimed at his head but he didn't need to. Before Harley could close the distance, Catwoman entered the container and kicked her in the stomach, sending her sprawling with the Joker.
She let out a grunt before looking up at who attacked her. Her jaw dropped and an unexpected emotion entered her eyes. Betrayal.
"Cats?! What are you hitting me for?" She demanded as she rose, the Joker behind her. He touched the webbing that splattered across his chest and onto the biceps of his arms. He looked a little panicked when he couldn't move his hand away from it.
"I don't want to hit you, darling. I want to hit that asshole behind you for strapping a bomb to me," Catwoman answered in a hiss. Harley looked shocked at that, hesitantly giving a look over her shoulder.
"Mistah J?" She questioned meekly but she didn't ask the question that was on her mind.
"I told you, I needed the best thieves in the city! Of course, I included Selina," the Joker responded and Catwoman went stiff at the mention of her name. A quick glance and Spider-man saw that she had paled, her suspicions confirmed that he knew her identity. He couldn't see beneath her gloves but he knew that she gripped her whip with white knuckles.
"But she's my friend!" Harley argued though it sounded more like a child making a stand for herself than an adult.
"She would have been fine," the Joker said, dismissing the issue entirely.
"But...," Harley tried to speak up, fidgeting from one foot to the other, "Cat's is my friend." She repeated, glancing at Catwoman and missing the thoroughly annoyed look from the Joker. His eyes narrowed and Spider-man didn't even need his spidey-sense to warn him.
The Joker reached into his pocket and withdrew a small ball. Knowing what he planned to do, Spider-man reacted with superhuman reflexes and webbed his hand to the ball so he couldn't throw it on the ground.
The Joker looked a bit shocked by that as he glanced at his web covered hand but he simply changed plans. Since he couldn't throw it on the ground, the Joker slammed his fist into the side of the storage container, cracking the ball and smoke flooded the room. Spider-man shot forward before the Joker could escape and reached out blindly into the smoke.
Spider-man grabbed the Joker by the collar through the smoke and punched him in the stomach before he had a chance to flee. He caught air for a moment, folding on the punch, and Spider-man tossed him out of the container. He rolled on the ground, getting his arms and hands even more caught up in the sticky webbing.
"You! You ruined a perfectly good plan," Joker accused as Spider-man walked out of the smoke filled container. "I barely even got started! I made sure Bats was busy and everything..." he trailed off, the last part sounding like a pouting child. He even stuck out his lip to complete the image.
"Ohhhhh, man, I am so not sorry. Plus, being a menace and stopping the bad guy's plans is kind in the superhero handbook," Spider-man replied flippantly before he webbed Joker's legs together.
"Well, Spider-man," Joker spat the name out with surprising venom, "I'll make sure my next plan involves dealing with you once I get out of Arkham...again!" He threatened dramatically before he threw his head back and laughed. "It's going to be so much fun! You joke around unlike Bats, always so serious that one. I-" He continued but was cut off by Spider-man webbing his mouth.
"Sorry, my hand slipped," he said before turning back to the container. He couldn't say he was too shocked to see that it was empty of both smoke and the girls.
'Man, I need to tell Cat that I found her twin or something,' he thought to himself as he shook his head. They had so much in common, including their love for the ninja disappearing act. He was still learning how to pull that off himself.
'Now that's over and done with, I can finally figure out where I am,' He thought to himself as he notified the police that the Joker had been captured. With his work done here, Spider-man swung off into the night in search for answers and a first-aid kit.
I've also posted this story at Spacebattles. There, my name is cut down to TheMountainJew.