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Dissonance, 4/9: Fantastic

Title: Dissonance, 4/9: Fantastic
Author: htbthomas
Fandom: Spider-Girl
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2.010 words
Summary: May 'Mayday' Parker, daughter of Spider–Man, crosses dimensions and meets the family that never knew her. A Spider–Girl x Spider–Man crossover.
A/N: More adding of an older story to LJ.  Please feel free to ignore, or review if you are so inclined!
Previous Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3
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The walk up to Mayday’s floor went one slow step at a time. Peter had taken the stairs purposely, so that he had more time to think.

Should I worry her? Maybe I need more time to process the results… The last couple of hours, while she slept, he had analyzed and re-analyzed the data…

When you compare the two side by side, the latest sample has clearly degenerated from the first,” Tony commented.

Yes, it has.” Peter agreed worriedly. “Is it possible that this could be an anomaly? Could the second sample have been contaminated somehow?”

I find it highly unlikely, but you’re the one with more training in genetics. My specialty lies more in engineering and robotics.”

They both turned toward a beeping on the console. Tony touched the intercom button. “Yes, Stark here.”

Jarvis’ voice, sounding as clear as if he were in the room, announced, “Mr. Stark, Director Hill for you in the videoconference room.”

Inform her that I’ll be right there.” He turned back to Peter. “I need to take this, excuse me.”

Of course,” Peter nodded and went back to studying the samples. The metal doors slid shut with a quiet hiss behind Stark.

Well, Mayday said this is what I do for a living in her world,” he thought aloud. “Let’s get to it…”

In fact, I could probably use the other me’s help right now, he mused. He had decided the only way to know for sure whether her cell structure was really degenerating was to take a fresh sample.

For the second time in as many minutes, he wondered, Should I worry her? We’re all just barely getting to know her… During the time Mayday had been with them, all of the emotion he had suppressed at the loss of his baby daughter had come flooding back. And there was the predicament. He had hoped to have at least a few days with her, to have some small recompense for the years he had lost with her dimensional twin. But if her very existence here was putting her in danger, then she absolutely had to leave as soon as possible.

He stopped halfway up the last flight of stairs before her floor, and rested his head against the smooth wall. My little girl… how can I lose you again, so soon?

He closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. Feeling a surge of fatherly protection, he decided that he would find a way to return her to her home, and soon. But she deserved to enjoy her time here, and so he would not bother her with these problems yet.

Quickly covering the distance between the stairwell access and her room, Peter knocked softly on the door. Almost before he had finished, Mayday opened it, leaving his hand hanging in mid-air.

She was dressed in the clothes Mary Jane had lent her: a long-sleeved top and low-slung pants. They looked to be a perfect fit. “Hi! Did I startle you?” She grinned at his amazement, then gestured for him to enter.

“A little. I barely left the stairwell – how did you know I was coming?” he asked curiously as he stepped into the room.

She closed the door behind him. “My ‘spider-sense’ has always been pretty sensitive. My dad used to comment that it was more fine-tuned than his was.”

Peter suddenly wondered – he had just developed a set of new powers, and a more sensitive spider-sense was part of it. Did she have any of the others…?

She anticipated his next question, as she continued, “The other power that is different from my dad’s is a sort of ‘magnetic’ ability. I can attract and repel objects – kind of like a heightening of our ability to stick to walls.”

That was a new one to him. But it would sure be a nice power to have… “Anything else?”

“No, not really. Just small things. My dad was a lot stronger than me in his prime, but I am probably more agile. It’s a little hard to really compare, though. With my dad’s missing limb, he’ll never be able to show me everything he could do…” The way Mayday looked at Peter was almost like a challenge.

Spider vs. spider, eh? “Well, I was thinking that we could go see Reed Richards this afternoon. He has more experience in inter-dimensional travel than Tony or I do. Do you want to take the ‘Spider Express?’ We could always take the subway…”

She was suddenly at the window, her long-sleeved shirt already partially unbuttoned to reveal her costume. She flashed him Mary Jane’s brilliant smile and asked, “What are we waiting for?”

“HOO – HA!” Mayday’s cry rang out across the canyons of skyscrapers. “Catch me if you can, old man!”

Hoo – Ha? He would have to ask her about that one, later. She certainly had exuberance, and a fluid grace to her web-swinging that was distinctly feminine. And she wasn’t kidding about her agility! It’s like seeing the gymnastics of The Black Cat, times ten. “Don’t get so cocky! And hey! Who are you calling an old man!” he called after her.

Her laughter was infectious. They raced all the way to the Baxter Building. Apparently, the place was in the same location in her dimension, because she never once asked for directions.

They touched down on the rooftop, with Peter barely behind her. She looked around curiously for an entrance. He nodded to an access door. “They know we’re coming. So we can skip reception this time.”

“Great.” As they entered the doorway, Mayday nonchalantly slipped her mask off of her head.

“Hey, wait a minute!” he said, alarmed. “Maybe it’s not such a big deal where you come from, but here, identities are pretty necessary, even among friends!”

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” she flushed scarlet. “The Storms, the Richardses and the Grimms have always been like family to us. I figured we’d be meeting them in regular clothes, not in costume.” She started to replace the mask.

“Well…” he regretted overreacting. He peeled his mask off as well. “Actually, our families are close here, as well. They all know my identity, except the children… Johnny only a little while though… It was quite a funny story…”

“My dad and Mr. Storm are pretty tight. I think the only one who’s never seen me out of costume is Franklin… Is there a Franklin?” she asked, a little strangely. They both began to remove their street clothes from their web packs.

“Yes, and baby Valeria,” he added, slipping his shirt over his head.

“Baby Valeria…” she murmured, pulling her pants over her tights.

Within moments, they were ready. They opened a door into the main laboratory. Mayday looked around curiously. Reed Richards was across the room, working on some project. It probably seems old hat to her. From her descriptions, technology is considerably more advanced among the superhero set in her world.

“Web Head!” a voice called from the other direction.

“Flame Brain!” Peter called back jovially to his best friend.

The two men embraced, patting each other on the back. Johnny Storm turned on the charm as he addressed his ‘daughter.’ “And this little lady must be Mayday. Well, we know where the looks come from, don’t we?” Johnny smirked, elbowing him in the ribs.

“At least there’s a woman who’ll have me…” Peter shot right back.

“Can I help it if I can’t decide between my blondes, brunettes and redheads?” he boasted. “Tell me, Mayday, which kind finally captured the heart of the Fabulous Human Torch?”

“Um, none of those…” Mayday answered with a barely repressed grin.

“Huh? I thought you told me she said I had kids in her world?” Johnny accused Peter.

“Oh, you’re married, Mr. Storm… to a Skrull shape-changer named Lyja.” The smile was full-blown now.

I’m not the only one who likes to take the wind out of his sails! Peter laughed heartily at the look on Johnny’s face.

After the shock, his face darkened. “Lyja…” He recovered quickly, however. “I guess you’re right, Pete. Things are pretty different where she comes from.”

“You’re still married to the Skrull woman, but I’m missing a leg…” Peter balanced his hands as if they were scales.

“Peter! You’re here already.” Reed Richards finally looked up from his work. He walked over with a purposeful stride. “Young Mayday. I’m very interested in studying your genetic makeup.”

“Oh, okay, I guess I can be poked and prodded a little longer,” she said. “Actually, doc, I think I might be coming down with something. You got any Tylemol?”

“Tyle – MOL?” Johnny said curiously. Peter winced inwardly – she was already experiencing symptoms…

“I think we can find something suitable – excuse me, gentlemen. This will only be a few minutes.” The scientist and the teenager moved back over to the main work area.

Peter and Johnny walked toward the windows. “It’s easy to believe that Reed would find it easier to function through a robotic substitute,” Johnny gestured back with his thumb. “The guy practically is one already.”

“It’s funny how many things are so different yet the same,” Peter started.

“Oh?”

“Well, from what I can tell, everything in her universe was exactly the same as ours, until about the time of her birth. Then, it seems everyone’s lives took different courses.”

“That’s odd. Have you pinned it down to one particular moment in time?”

Peter nodded. “Did I ever tell you about ‘The Gathering of the Five?’”

Johnny screwed up his face in thought, and then shook his head. “Doesn’t sound familiar.”

“It happened a few months after we thought little May had died. The Green Goblin had brought together five people bearing mystical objects for a strange ritual. He was trying to gain some sort of ultimate power… the usual thing, really. I defeated him, but the Scriers got him away before the police could. That day I discovered that my Aunt May was not really dead, but had been kidnapped and drugged. An actress, who had been pretending to be my Aunt May, was the one who had really died.” Peter spoke with difficulty. It seemed that most of the horrific events of his life had been engineered by Norman Osborn.

“I wish I could say, ‘This stuff only happens to you,’ but we both know that’s not true,” his friend commiserated.

“I tried to retire for a while after that. But one thing led to another, and I was back in the game again.” Peter sighed.

“I remember that…” Johnny affirmed. “So what was different about it in her world?”

“Well, she tells me that my double stopped the ceremony, but not without cost. A resulting explosion killed the Green Goblin, and took his leg as well. The other Peter had no choice but to retire.” He looked over the city, his eyes not focusing on anything in particular. “A sometime enemy slash ally of mine named Kaine returned baby May to them. However, Aunt May is not alive in that dimension.”

Peter’s eyes closed. “Is it terrible that I’m envious of that other me? I love my Aunt May dearly, don’t get me wrong. I don’t know what I’d do without her. But seeing the girl, no, woman, Mayday has become…”

“Hey, buddy, it’s natural to wonder what might have been. You’re lucky that you can be with her now, even if it’s only for a little while.” Johnny placed a gentle hand on his shoulder.

“But that’s not all. Johnny, I’m really worried about her. I mentioned to Reed over the phone that there seem to be some serious problems with her cellular integrity. It seems to be degenerating at a more accelerated rate than normal.”

“Hang on, brainiac,” Johnny tried to lighten the conversation. “Slow down a little. I get enough of that from Reed. What’s going on?”

“I wanted Reed to verify what Stark and I found out. It looks like being in this dimension is tearing her apart. The longer she stays, the more serious it will become.”

A light went on in Johnny’s eyes. “So the headache…”

“Is just the beginning, I fear.” With a note of pleading in his voice, Peter added, “Don’t say anything to her. I hope we can get her home before the damage is irreparable.”

“You will, you always find a way, somehow.”

“Uncle Pete!” A young boy shot toward him, tackling him around the legs.

Peter determinedly wiped the worry from his face, and lifted the little boy high into the air. “How’s my favorite little superhero?”

“Great! Did you get any pictures of Spidey today?”

“Not today, Franklin, but the day’s still young.” He looked behind Franklin to see Susan Richards, carrying her little girl Valeria, and Ben Grimm, the Thing.

“Nice ta see ya, pal.” Ben gestured with his oversized hands. “Where’s the girl?”

“She’s still with Reed…” But just as he said the words, the two came into sight.

As they came close enough for conversation, Reed gave his analysis. “You are right, Peter, she is a fascinating subject.”

“Reed,” Susan chided. “She’s a human being, and a lovely girl at that.” Susan smiled warmly at Mayday and held out her free hand. “Hello, dear. I’m Susan Richards. This is my daughter, Valeria, and the little boy who would like to be Peter’s shadow is our son, Franklin.”

“Nice to meet you,” Mayday said distractedly. For some reason she was staring at Franklin, almost as if she were memorizing every detail.

“And I’m Ben Grimm, or as most folks like to say, ‘the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing.’ Uh, Mayday?”

She seemed to snap out of it. “Oh! I’m sorry. I’m not really feeling like myself today. We’ve met before, Mr. Grimm, in my world.” She looked around at everyone. “Our families are pretty close…”

“Well, dear, it looks like some things are the same no matter what dimension.” Susan guided Franklin over to her a little reluctantly. “Franklin, honey. Say hello to Mayday. She is Uncle Pete’s ‘daughter’ from another world.”

The two looked at each other, Franklin with mild interest, Mayday with intensity. I wonder what she finds so fascinating with him? Peter thought, filing it away for later.

“Nice to meet you, Franklin. The ‘you’ of my world is older than me, though.”

He brightened. “And taller, too?”

“Much taller.”

This seemed to please him. “Are we friends?”

“Yes, and we work together often, too.”

“Cool. Does your other dad know Spider-Man, too?”

She grinned. “About as well as your ‘Uncle Pete’ does.”

“He’s the greatest! Do you know him, too?”

“Oh, yes. And I agree, he is the greatest,” she said proudly, looking askance at Peter.

The adults in the group watched this exchange with amusement. Peter felt a pressure on his heart. He sent a silent message with his thoughts to his other self: Peter Parker, you lucky bastard…

The conversation continued around him, unheard, until Reed came close and murmured, “Peter, if you don’t mind…”

They moved away from the group. Reed handed him a disc. “This contains my findings. But I am afraid your original analysis was correct. Based on the results you sent over earlier, her body is suffering from stresses that are only growing by the hour.”

“My God. Is there anything you can do?”

“We have a portal we use to go into the Negative Zone. Perhaps I can tune it to her dimension… I have enough of a sample for a preliminary trial. But it might take several days to calibrate it correctly.”

“Right now, you are our only hope. Do what you can.”

Reed nodded gravely, and headed back to his workstation.

As they swung home, he watched for signs that she was feeling worse. If he didn’t know better, he would say that she was in prime condition. She seemed in high spirits after their visit. But if she was his daughter in any way, he knew how much physical pain could be hidden from loved ones…

A strong tingling jerked him back to reality. Mayday had also staggered in mid-swing. They turned as one, and caught sight of a pair of heavy green wings flashing in the setting sun.

A/N: I want to thank jenskott for clueing me into the fact that the 616 and 982 Marvel Universes diverged with “The Gathering of the Five.” The scene between Peter and Johnny is a tribute to Spider-Girl #49.

Also, if you haven’t already read it, I highly recommend the 5-part limited series Spider-Man / Human Torch published in 2005. It is a hilarious look at Peter and Johnny’s evolving rivalry/friendship.



Next: Chapter Five

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