Note: I felt that the Green Goblin could do with some establishing before jumping into the main bulk of the team up.
Vermin. That's what they'd called him.
The bullies on the schoolyard had been merciless with their taunts and ruthless with their fists, never giving poor Edward Whelan a moment of peace or a chance to shine, and though his body was very different all these years later, his mind was very much the same, as he sat amidst filth and slime, sucking his thumb and sobbing terribly like he had all those years prior.
"Sh... sh... shouldn't ha... have hurt her!" Edward said in between sobs, clawed fingers still warm and red with the blood of the strange, Greek woman who'd tried to follow him down into his home. These tunnels.... this labyrinth, there was something strange and evil about it, and as Vermin sat in the dark drenched in filth and the tears still flowing like a waterfall from his eyes, he knew that he wasn't alone. "She... she was trying to h-help us!" In the stinking, black dark of the sewers, Vermin felt safe. The people upstairs couldn't easily get to him down here, the rays of burning heat that came from the sky would no longer blind him... and down here he was among friends.
Red, hungry eyes peered out from the dark on all sides, belonging to the rats and other vile creatures that called this place home, and also kept Edward company... so Edward wasn't truly alone, of course there was also the voices. The ones that spoke to Edward in his mind and told him to do rather unsavory things, they'd told him to attack the woman that had followed him, to share his 'condition'... at least that's what the doctors had called it when the accident had happened. He'd been looked after up in the HYDRA Helicarrier, well fed by the doctors and the nurses... maybe Vermin had made a mistake when he'd escaped, maybe the people that he'd attacked had really been trying to help h-
"She wasn't going to help us, Edward." The voice in Edward's mind finally said, spoken words not only echoing in Vermin's ears, but also echoing the feelings of doubt that had been flowing through the beast's mind. "Elektra was going to hurt us. That's all anybody does to us. Hurts us." The tears returned and began to flow more frequently, as Vermin popped his thumb out of his mouth before grasping the sides of his head with both hands as he began to shake on the floor and in turn started to scream, thrashing sewer water everywhere as his legs chopped through the air.
"Leave me alone!" Vermin howled, scaring away the rats that had been keeping him company. "Please!" He begged before sitting upright and wiping his face clean of urine with his arm fur. "Pleeeeaaassseeee.... who are you?"
The voice chuckled in Edward's mind, not from amusement but from the pure cruelty that seemed to rest within the speaker's voice.
"I'm your friend, Edward." It said in a tone that only helped to inspire more fear in the creature's heart. "Your only friend. Now. Stand up." Vermin did as he was asked, jumping to his feet like a trained soldier running into a superior officer. "Hurry up and move along. People are coming for you... and we need to get to the safe place."
Edward's ears, pink and edged perked up at the words. A safe place? Could it be true? "S... safe place?"He repeated with a pinch of hope hanging on the edge of his lips.
"Yes. I'll guide you there." Somewhere in the back of Vermin's mind, the sound of almost operatic music could be heard. "Now. You know what to do if you run into anyone on the way?"
The human pupils in Edward Whelan's eyes vanished, replaced by a murderous red similar to the rats that he'd been spending so much time with.
"Killll themmm..." Vermin hissed, claws slowly extending as that dark beast in the creature's heart relished the opportunity for some bloodshed. An audible scream escaped the monster's mouth as his last, true traces of humanity vanished, and the creature vanished into the shadows along with it.
It was a Monday, a day unlike any other and one capable of inspiring an astonishing amount of despair in almost everyone that the dreadful day encountered.
Norman Osborn wasn't a man known for smiling, that particular expression he saved for his alter ego, yet whenever the self made billionaire woke up screaming in his office at 5 in the morning, completely unsure of how he got there, he always calmed down at the thought of another wonderful week of work that was on its way. Right now Norman was smiling, not because it was a Monday, but because he was flying, soaring over the bird poop covered rooftops that were dotted all over New York, all while being dressed like a Goblin and all while standing on top of a metal bat. The Green Goblin let out an almost maniacal laugh before leaning forward and letting his humming glider bring him down, closer to the streets that he protected.
"What have you got for me today, New York?!" He yelled excitedly to nobody in particular, not quite knowing why he was so happy, nor why he was missing this particular 9 o'clock meeting in the morning. Gunfire gave the Goblin an answer, the noise bouncing between buildings and being met with screams. Norman's smile faded completely, replaced by concern as he quickly adjusted his flight path towards the sounds of violence, glider belching flames as he zipped across the skyline like a buzzing bluebottle. Arriving at his destination above a local bank, Norman was able to quickly and easily piece the situation together, catching sight of a vehicle accelerating away from the scene as it left behind a pair of bullet wounded police officers lying on the ground.
Again, Norman laughed before shooting after the escaping vehicle... but this was not a laugh of warmth. It was a laugh of barely controlled anger that turned into a mad giggle as the Goblin reached into the purple satchel hanging by his shoulder and pulled out an exploding pumpkin bomb. It was rush hour in New York, and the streets were already packed with cars and irritated drivers, yet the escaping Van didn't seem to care as it plowed through, knocking everything and everyone aside as it passed by, leaving in its wake a number of injuries, but thankfully no fatalities. Not far behind, Norman caught sight of himself in the vehicle's rear view mirror and knew that the passengers had seen him.
"@%£*!" The criminal in the car's side seat moaned before winding down the window and producing an almost comically large shotgun. "Hobie!" He called to the vehicle's driver. "It's the Hobgoblin!"
Blasts of lead shot up from the car, with Norman forced to actually duck down in order to avoid the attack. Irritated beyond belief, Norman shot his glider forward and hovered just above the front of the moving car, before turning towards it, smoking pumpkin bomb still rattling in his gloved hand, a non lethal contraption of course, but painful none the less. The Green Goblin's grin subsided, turning outright menacing, and he would forever remember the look of horror on the driver's face as a treasured memory.
"It's GREEN GOBLIN!" He cackled before chucking the damned thing.
It wasn't a long ride back to Oscorp Tower from any point in New York, but it definitely felt like one. Norman felt a pit of despair begin to grow in his stomach as the building loomed over the horizon, and he began to ponder if there were any real benefits to his secret identity. There was the money of course. That brat he called a son... as well as the Sinister Six team that he secretly lead, but other than that? Zilch. As the Green Goblin, Norman was despised, called a public menace by every newspaper from the Daily Bugle to the Daily Globe... and he loved it. Yet as Norman Osborn, beloved billionaire and humanitarian worker, he was completely miserable! Just another boring billionaire superhero like Obadiah Stane, Justin Hammer and Batman! The media called the Goblin insane, but he knew he was going to end up that way if he had to take part in this charade for another moment!
"What a life!" The Goblin chucked to himself as he slowed his flight upon getting closer to the tower, the whole experience of his inner thought beginning to make him feel depressed. As he hovered by the building's entrance, the sound of crying caught Norman's attention, and earned the Goblin's curiosity. He hit the brakes on his glider and shot down towards the ground in the hopes that he'd find something that would cheer him up. Finding himself in the Oscorp Tower's Reception, Norman noticed all of the people staring at him, ever the center of attention regardless of what outfit he was wearing. Ignoring the crowds quickly forming, the local hero found the source of the tears to be a young girl, busy sobbing to herself by the reception desk. Jumping off his glider, Norman strolled over, exaggerating his walk as all eyes glared at him.
"Excuse me, sir." A security guard started to say to Norman's left.
"Talk to the hand!" Gobby yelled before pulling a fake, green hand out of his satchel and tossing it to the man before continuing onward. The little girl looked up as Norman approached, and a small smile replaced the frown that had been upon her face.
"Are you a superhero?" She sniffed as Norman knelt down in front of her.
"You could say that, I guess!" The Goblin said, cheerful as he spoke with his daft, purple hat dangling and wobbling in front of his face. "Though I prefer to think of myself as a cosplay enthusiast!"
There was laughter, but only between Norman and the girl. Looking around, they had drawn a crowd, a crowd of ice cold faces that were not amused.
"Leave her alone, freak!" Someone yelled. "Someone call Mysterio!" Another person yelled. "Let's grab him!"
Norman ignored them, but not happily.
"Where's your meemaw?" He asked gently, taking the little girl's hand in his glove as he spoke. The girl showed him, gripping the Goblin's hand and practically dragging him into a back office where the door locked automatically behind them.
"Life Model Decoy stasis code: 2359." In the office a woman stood up from her seat and the next thing Norman knew the young girl had collapsed to the ground, still as a statue. "Welcome to HYDRA, Mister Osborn."
There was a crisis, at least that's how it sounded when the female agent explained the situation. Something to do with a walking bio bomb walking around New York and infecting everyone he came into contact with.
"So you need MY help?" Norman asked the lady, who was keeping her face well hidden beneath the shadows caused by the office blinds. He flexed his arm and got a crazy look in his eyes. "You came to the right man for the job!" He said with a subdued cackle.
"Not quite." The agent answered, interrupting Norman's laughter with a stern look and an honest answer. "We already have two Hyperlethal agents in pursuit of Doctor Whelan."
The agent reached into her pocket, and for a brief moment Norman thought she was going to shoot him, but instead she simply produced a transparent packet, containing a few loose strands of brown hair.
"Mister Osborn. Your task for this mission is much more important."
"An antidote." Baron Zemo said, holding a small vial of a ghastly green substance in his gloved hand, while the other hand tightly gripped the metal sword that was being used as a makeshift cane to keep the elderly superhero standing after a rather vicious injury. "And they had YOU fashion it?" The Green Goblin stood perched upon his glider as it hovered low above the water. The unconscious woman, Elektra, lay on the vehicle's wing, still suffering from her rather terrifying transformation into one of Vermin's minions.
"They did!" Norman said loudly, almost boasting as his voice traversed the tunnels. "And it was easy! Took me about twenty minutes and now I'm here!" A dumb smile spread on the Goblin's face, and Zemo wasn't sure whether he could be trusted. He looked up at Norman Osborn, a man that he already despised in his normal attire... and then he looked at the aching bite mark on his leg, which he'd been careful to keep clear of the sewer and took the risk. "Is that mask stuck to your face?" The Goblin asked, watching curiously as Zemo pulled a syringe from his belt and sucked up the antidote before injecting it into himself.
"Shut up and pass me your hat." The Baron snapped, holding an outstretched hand towards his new partner. Norman blinked, surprised for a few seconds before doing as he was asked, passing his purple party hat over which Zemo quickly ripped apart and fashioned into a bandage around his leg wound.
"Be careful where you walk with th-" Norman began to say, only to find himself being interrupted.
"Yes. Thank you. I'm not an idiot." Zemo snapped, beginning to walk down the tunnel with his back to the Goblin. "Very good job. You can go now." Watching his ally leave, Norman quickly programmed his glider to take the injured Elektra to safety before jumping into the sewer and chasing after his partner.
"Hold up, partner!" The Goblin yelled, almost mocking as he spoke. "We've got a caper to solve!"
Not too far ahead, Edward Whelan found himself scurrying across the ground like his namesake, a rat running in the shadows, avoiding the light.... until the light found him. It appeared, blinding at the end of the tunnel ahead... and Edward felt the fur on his back stick up on end.
"Not too far now, Edward." The voice in his mind said gently. "Just a little bit further." Scared of the light but terrified of the speaker, Edward ventured forward and found himself blinded at the end of the tunnel.
"Wh... where are we?" He asked, slinking back into the dark where he felt safe. "Where have you brought me?"
"New York's Water Treatment Facility." The voice answered with a nasty chuckle. "Here, Edward, you'll be able to share your gifts with everyone... and make them just like you."
A look of dread passed over Vermin's face, human pupils returning once again. "M...m...monsters?" He whimpered. For one final time the voice let out a nasty chuckle.
"No, Edward." It said. "Mutants."