Peter's world is rocked when a mysterious warrior named Slayer shows up who is intent on training him to be a real fighter. But along with this man comes demonic figure who wants him to make him an...
Chapter 9: A New Path
Night fell over New York as rain, thunder, and lightning erupted from the sky. But as the late hours set in, an eerie calm fell over the bustling city. The malevolent actions of Hotshot had been thwarted. Many innocent souls were now safe. However, few would ever know how close they came to oblivion.
One of the elite few who knew all too well was Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of crime. Having given Hotshot the power he so recklessly embraced, he spent the rest of the night secluded in Vanessa's bedroom where nobody dared disturb him. His only hope rested with Spider-Man, a pesky kid who had caused him a lot of frustration. Eventually, Fisk succumbed to exhaustion and fell asleep in a chair next to his wife's empty bed. Images of Hotshot's demonic face haunted him. The memory of his wife's soul being stolen by that monster hung strong. No matter how he recalled it, this whole ordeal was his fault.
"Vanessa..." he groaned in his sleep.
Suddenly, a hard burst of thunder awoke the crime lord from his slumber. Gasping at the shock, he remembered his surroundings. But something was different this time.
A strange mist hung in the air. No windows had been opened. No alarms had been set off. Yet there was an ominous sensation within the room. And as Fisk gazed over the bed his mouth hung open with amazement.
"Vanessa!" Fisk exclaimed, feeling around her warm skin.
It was really her. His dying wife was back, her flesh now warm with life. However, something didn't feel right. Suddenly, a small slip of paper stuck to her shoulder with a familiar webbing substance caught his attention.
Dear Fat Crime Lord:
Here's you're wife back, soul and all. Hotshot's gone and so is the stone. I don't know if its power fully cured her. But regardless, it should buy her some time, so I guess there's still hope. Just don't forget, you're the one who nearly killed her with your arrogance. And even though I helped you, I'm still going to see to it that your tuchas is locked away for your crimes.
Sincerely, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man
His face contorting with frustration, the Kingpin crumpled up the paper and tossed it aside. Even after saving the woman he loved, Spiderman had a way of pushing his buttons. This ordeal may have been over, but his battle with Spider-Man was just beginning.
"Little punk," he muttered, "Still has no idea who he's dealing with."
Setting aside his anger, he focused his attention back on Vanessa. He had nearly destroyed everything trying to save her. But if it bought her more time in the end, then so be it.
"Don't worry, Vanessa. We'll find another way. I promise you with every penny and resource I've got...we'll find a way."
Peter Parker was flat out tired. He had just gone toe to toe with a demon and came out victorious. Hotshot had everything going for him. Yet even when he thought Aunt May and Mary Jane had been lost, he still found the strength to succeed. It didn't just make him a hero, it made him a warrior. And it was a great feeling.
When the battle ended, Slayer helped Peter put the pieces back together. First, he transported them back to Queens so he could put Aunt May and Mary Jane in their beds. Slayer used his power to make sure Mary Jane's mother didn't suspect anything and that the Kingpin got a special note from him. And while he took care of Vanessa Fisk and Elektra, Peter had a quiet moment with his loved ones. Having lost his parents, Uncle Ben, and Gwen to his life under the mask, fighting Hotshot had been a sobering experience. But as he laid Mary Jane safely in her bed, he couldn't help but smile.
"Hnn...Peter?" she groaned, stirring from her state.
Her head pounding, the beautiful redhead opened her eyes to see her boyfriend hovering over her with an affection smile.
"Hey," said Peter, his heart skipping a beat.
"Ugh, my head. Did I fall asleep watching afternoon talk shows again?"
"Told you that stuff was bad for you," grinned Peter.
"Guess that makes me a bad girlfriend for not listening."
"No, it just makes you another victim of mindless media trash."
Mary Jane laughed, the life clearly back within her soul. It brought a tear to Peter's eye, remembering how close he had come to losing her. Gently stroking her face, he soaked up her soothing warmth.
"Sorry...guess that means it's too late for a make-up date," she said, resting back on her bed.
"It's okay," assured Peter, "For all the times I've blown you off for being Spider-Man, I deserve it."
"You could have woken me up, you know."
"I know. But then I wouldn't get to tuck you in like this."
Mary Jane couldn't help but smile. Even in disappointment, he was still so sweet. She was lucky to have him in her life, more than she would ever know.
"I love you," she said, her drowsiness taking over.
"I love you too, Mary Jane," said Peter, placing a soft kiss on her forehead, "Sleep tight."
"Aren't you going to read me a bedtime story?"
"Maybe some other time, Princess," he laughed, "I'll see you tomorrow."
"Can't hardly wait."
Smiling one last time, Mary Jane nodded off into a world of dream. For a moment, Peter watched her sleep peacefully. It tore at his heart that she came so close to death because of him, first with Norman Osborn and again with Hotshot. He saved her now, but what about the next time? It was a lot to think about, but Peter didn't dwell on it. For now, he just wanted to admire the beauty before him.
I'll always be there for you, MJ...always.
After ensuring Mary Jane was tucked in, Peter returned to his house where he stashed away his costume and changed back into his clothes from earlier that day. He was so tired that he just wanted to sleep on through the weekend. But before he could rest, he made one last quick check on Aunt May.
After bringing her back, he carefully laid her on the couch in the living room so that she wouldn't be too startled when she woke up. He hoped she didn't have any memory of Hotshot. His horrid gaze still sent shivers down his spine, even though the demon madman was gone. But as long as MJ and Aunt May were safe, he could care less.
"Good night, Aunt May," he said, kissing her softly on the cheek, "Sorry you had to get caught up in this. I promise I'll protect you. I owe Uncle Ben that much."
Leaving her to sleep, Peter retreated downstairs to his lab where the lights were still on and his computer was still running. His clock radio read midnight, making sleep seem all the more appealing. But as he powered down his stuff, a familiar purple mist formed.
"Don't bother trying to surprise me, I know you're there," said Peter.
"Killjoy," smirked Jack, stepping out from the shadows.
He was no longer in his warrior attire. Now he was a simple man, dressed in old jeans and his Joe Montana San Francisco 49ers jersey. If Peter didn't know better, he'd mistake him for an average guy on the streets. But he already knew Jack Robinson was so much more.
"So what's the story?" asked Peter, "Am I in the clear or should I look into taking an impromptu flight to Fiji?"
"Sorry to cancel your vacation plans, but you're fine," grinned Jack, "I got Mrs. Fisk back safe and sound, although I doubt there will be little love lost between Spider-Man and the Kingpin."
"Figures," sighed Peter, "What about that Elektra chick?"
"She's fine too. Doesn't remember much, but she remembers enough to make her think twice about working for Fisk again. She's even offered to 'thank' me for freeing her from enslavement as a part of her personal assassin's code."
"Thank you? How does she..."
But Peter stopped upon quickly putting the pieces together. The grin on Jack's face said it all. Even after nearly having his soul stolen, his appetite for vice knew no bounds.
"Actually, I'd rather not know," said Peter.
"You sure? She's pretty hot."
"I'm sixteen, Jack. I have the internet."
"Fair enough," shrugged the warrior, "But trust me, when the day comes for you and MJ, you'll need my training more than ever."
"I'll...remember that," said Peter, blushing profusely.
"She'll thank you for it in the long run."
Wanting to get away from further embarrassment, Peter changed the subject.
"What about SHIELD and Colonel Eye Patch?" he inquired.
"You mean, Fury?" said Slayer, "Don't worry about him. Last I checked his boys were scoping out the church where it happened. But they won't find anything. Fury is a hell of a soldier, but an expert mystic he is not."
"Good. I'm already on thin ice with that guy as it is," said Peter with great relief, "So I guess everything's back to normal?"
"You're a wall crawling teenager who runs around in tights. How in the hell is that normal?" joked Slayer.
"Point taken," chuckled Peter, "But seriously...will Aunt May and Mary Jane remember any of this?"
"Not in the slightest," assured Slayer, "I cast a spell to make them think it was just a bad dream. Trust me they'll sleep easier at night not knowing what happened."
"That's a relief," said Peter, his demeanor shifting, "I know I'm not going to forget this mess anytime soon."
"I would hope not," said Slayer, placing a hand upon his pupil's shoulder, "You saved your family, your home, and found your inner warrior spirit. Even when everything was gone and there was nothing left to fight for, you took on the forces of darkness. You...a kid from Queens...swinging from skyscrapers and fighting for what he believes in."
Peter blushed again, but this time in a good way. Many times, he wondered if his powers were a burden rather than a blessing. His life had become so complicated under the mask. From his triumphs to his failures, he had always endured a great deal of doubt. But after going up against a real demon, he could be proud of what he accomplished. And in his heart, he knew Uncle Ben would be as well.
"You've got the heart of a warrior, kid. Don't ever let anybody tell you otherwise," said Jack, giving him a friendly punch to the chest.
"Thank you, Slayer. Does this make me a black belt or something?"
"No," said Jack, shaking his head, "It only means that I've taught you all I can. Now that you're a warrior, you can fight your battles on your own terms. You don't need me to show you anymore."
"But...you only trained me for a month," said Peter, shocked that this was the end, "Hell, I still can't beat you when we spar and..."
But Slayer silenced him. He had prepared for this moment since day one. Peter Parker was a truly special kid. But he was still so young in a world so complicated.
"Your path is clear now, Peter Parker," said the warrior, "I trained you in order to show you that path. Now that you've found the warrior within, I can't go any further. You must continue the journey on your own."
"But where else am I going to learn how to kick ass like you?"
"I taught you to teach yourself," Jack went on, "Now you must learn how to fight like Spider-Man, not Slayer. I'm sorry, but this is the way it has to be. A true warrior must find himself. You'll make mistakes along the way. Everybody does. But it's just a matter of how you learn from those mistakes and use them to grow stronger over time. That, my friend, is the essence of a true warrior."
A sad look fell over Peter, but at the same time he was hopeful. He still couldn't wrap his head around some of the concepts Jack had taught him. But he took comfort in knowing he had everything he needed to continue his training. Being a hero was nice, but being a warrior was much more meaningful.
"I take it this means you're leaving?" said Peter.
"You have your battles, I have mine," affirmed Slayer.
"But what if Hotshot or some other monster comes back and..."
"Don't worry about the future now, Parker," said Jack, cutting him off, "You've got too much to live for in the present."
"Right...sorry," he said, rubbing the back of his neck, "Old habits die hard, I guess."
"I'm a drunk, kid. Believe me, I understand," laughed Slayer, "Just leave the darker fights to me and you take care of the crazy costumed nut jobs who try to blow up the city."
"Consider it done!" said Peter confidently.
The two warriors shared a good laugh. Their paths had crossed so unexpectedly, yet the impact they left on one another could never be expressed. Slayer showed Peter a new path in life. Many of the doubts that had plagued him under the mask now seemed minuscule. He had a new drive to take with him when he put on the mask. And he wouldn't forget that anytime soon.
For Slayer, a man who rarely made friends, it was nice knowing there was an ally out there. He had seen something within this kid from day one and now he had no more doubts. Peter Parker was special, more than even he could ever see.
"So I guess this is the point in the movie where I say 'so I guess this is goodbye?'" joked Peter.
"As if Hollywood could ever get it right," laughed Slayer, "But just promise me one more thing before I go."
"As long as it doesn't involve being your pot connection in New York, name it."
"Treasure your time with MJ," said Jack with a conflicted look, "She loves you more than anything. Don't make the same mistakes I did and cherish every last moment you have together. You've got a strength I'll never have, Peter. Promise me you'll use it well."
"I promise," said Peter, respectfully bowing to the man who had taught him so much.
Taking his pupil on his word, Jack Robinson prepared to make his final leave. Purple mist formed around him, taking him back to the shadows where he fought his battles. But before he faded, he cast Peter Parker a smile.
"Goodbye, Spider-Man. It was a great honor fighting by your side," he said as the mist consumed him.
"Same here, Slayer. Thanks for showing me the way."
"Just be sure you don't forget it. You have the power. It's just a matter of how you use it."
And with a final wave goodbye, the mysterious warrior known as Slayer faded from sight. All was quiet for Peter Parker once more, but the smile on his face never faded. He had been bitten by a spider, become a superhero, and gone up against a real demon. His life was a mess in and out of the mask, but now he was more certain than ever of his path.
I'll say it once and I'll say it again...I've got some luck. I came close to losing everything this time, but I still put on the mask. Guess being a hero is a good excuse for running around in a costume...but being a warrior is much better way to honor Gwen and Uncle Ben. At least now I know I can keep on fighting without going crazy. And who knows? There just may be a future for Spider-Man yet.
Closing his trunk, giving his mask one last glimpse, Peter Parker retreated to bed for some well deserved rest. Tomorrow would bring a whole new set of challenges. No matter what he did, his fight never ceased. Only this time, he was ready to take it on. As a warrior, it wasn't just his responsibility...it was also his honor.
AN: That's it! My first Spider-Man fic is over! What did you think? Please tell me! Send me your feedback via email or post it on the fanfiction website. I hope you enjoyed this fic. Look out for plenty more from me. Until next time, thank you all very much for reading and I wish you all the best.
SOUL WARRIORS IS OVER! BUT THE REVIEWS NEVER STOP!
A soul is only as strong as the will it drives.