Faith In Humanity -Aftermath, part 1

Title: Faith In Humanity
Author: sarah531
Rating: PG13 bordering on R
Fandom: Spider-Man movieverse
Author’s Notes: A while back I attempted a Spider-Man movieverse fanfic called Everyone Has A Choice, and I never finished it. This is that fic mashed down and rebuilt. It has something bordering on a plot now. :p
Summary: After the Queensboro Bridge incident, everyone involved struggles through the aftermath. Ursula Ditkovich was not involved, but she struggles through the aftermath nonetheless. And an unhappy middle-aged woman, after taking a job at the Osborn manor, suddenly finds herself an unwilling participant in the battle for a young man’s soul.

Prologue

FAITH IN HUMANITY
Aftermath, part 1

29th November 2002

Ursula Ditkovich sat in front of the television, a pen posed over a small purple book in her lap. It was November 30th, it was cold enough to snow, and the city was alive with fear or wonder or panic or something.

But she wasn’t out in the city. She was inside. She had been inside for hours, ever since the hostage situation had come up- she had turned on the TV to see what was going on, and stayed there. She could have ran outside, hailed a cab, gone to the bridge- but she hadn’t. She had been too…

…afraid. Although she hated to admit it. Or hated to admit it out loud.

I was afraid, she wrote in her diary. Sort of. Just because lots of people were in trouble, and lots of people could have died, and they probably would have done if Spider-Man hadn’t saved them. Anyway. It’s all over now.

She stared distractedly out of the window.

Diary. I really wish something would happen to me. Something big and exciting and important. I don’t know what, but I want it so bad. It’s like I’m staring at the television screen and it’s all in there instead. All of the important stuff is hiding in there. None of it feels real. I mean…actually, no.


Either it doesn’t feel real, or I don’t.

She sighed. She was just having a brief moment of unhappiness- she knew it would pass. But the moments, they always caught her at inconvenient times. Like when an armoured madman had taken a cable car hostage and fought with Spider-Man above the Queensboro bridge.

She resumed writing.

No, wait. I…don’t know. Let’s leave it at that. I just wish I had gone to the bridge, seen it for myself. The TV said people were throwing stuff at the Green Goblin, and I wish I’d done that, too. But I didn’t, and I guess that’s the end of it.

She reached out and switched the television off. The room went very quiet.

I wouldn’t, would I? If it happened again. I’d just stay here.


I don’t…you know…I’ve got no faith in myself anymore.

*****

1st December 2002:

Houses aren’t the only things that get haunted.

I didn’t mean to it was an accident it was your fault this is your fault

His nightmares came in blue and red. This one was all red: there had been a lot of blood, after all.

how can you say not to tell this is your fault what have you DONE

There was the horrible sound of something sharp coming out of flesh, and approaching sirens in the distance, and ringing in the ears. Footsteps, panicked breathing-

I have done nothing to require asking for forgiveness for-

Spider-Man, otherwise known as Peter Parker, woke up. He shook his head to clear it, looked around dizzily, and promptly fell off the bed. From his new position on the floor he considered the fact that that had been at least his fifth nightmare since That Night, and if they continued he would go crazy.

He stumbled around the room, taking off his pyjamas and replacing them with his red-and-blue costume. Over that he put his street clothes, and then he took a look at himself in the mirror. He looked perfectly ordinary, and he would have felt perfectly ordinary if not for the voices flickering in his head.

this is your fault this is your fault this is my fault

He sighed. He went to the cupboard on the other side of the room, and removed a small box. The box had belonged to his uncle, it now belonged to him, and sitting inside when he unlocked it were four Spider-Man masks. He put one on.

this is my fault-

He took it off again.

He remained staring into the mirror for a very long time.

*****

The World And Superhumanity by Anna D. Webb:

The sudden and shocking appearance of a geniune Superhuman had predictable, in a way, consequences for the world. It shook the fields of science and politics to their very foundations. How does a human being develop the power to lift cars and stick to walls? And how does one country convince another that they will not use said human being as a weapon? Even today the answers to these questions are only vaguely sketched.

Then, of course, we reach the difficult cases of such figures as the Green Goblin, the Sandman, and Doctor Octopus. The last’s identity is confirmed and known by most: Dr Otto Octavius, a scientist and specialist in fusion. He is now dead. The Goblin we will cover in chapter three. All these characters posed clear threats to the people of New York- all the public confrontations that they were involved in nearly led to tragedy. How, then, does a figure of authority convince others that these other, clearly dangerous Superhumans will be kept in check? How does a President convince the world?

…The truth- harsh as it may be- is simply that very few reasonable measures could be taken. Take the Green Goblin as an example- he wore bulletproof armour, carried explosives, and had superhuman strength. No-one knew his real identity- he was a man virtually impossible to arrest. Other suggestions for taking him out of the picture smack of desperation- anti-aircraft missiles, specially designed bullets- but the question still remains: if a Superhuman chooses to behave in a negative manner, then what can be done? Are the normal justice procedures still applicable? What does one do with a person who can hold up cable cars?

Though I discussed these issues in the first edition of my book, there will always be more points to be made about the subject, and perhaps we will never know the answers to all of our questions…

*****

1st December 2002:

Mary Jane Watson opened her eyes.

She was mildly surprised to find herself mostly alone. She had awoken once to find a small gang of journalists standing by her hospital bed (they had retreated as soon as she had begun screaming) and the previous night she had awoken in a cold sweat, convinced something terrible was lurking in the corridor and coming to get her. It had happened once already, after all. There were only two people whom she badly wanted to see- one of them in particular- and neither of them had even phoned her yet. She had spent many long hours worrying about why they hadn’t: things were about to be explained.

Her mother was in the room, looking down at her. She had a pinched, worried look about her, and a newspaper was sticking out of her bag.

MJ sat up. “Hey, Mom,” she said, but she got only a smile in return. Her mother fished the newspaper out of her bag, holding it out of reach.

“I brought you another newspaper, dear.”

“Thanks,” MJ said. “Am I mentioned anywhere?”

“Only a couple of times, dear, and not by name. You’re ‘the victim’.”

Well, that’s just great, she thought. Out loud she said, “Well, can I have it?”

But her mother still held it out of reach. “I think there may be…something you should know, darling. You see,” and now Mary Jane was starting to feel worried herself, “you remember young Harry Osborn?”

“Mum, of course I remember him, I dated him-”

“Well-”

She was suddenly afraid. “Nothing’s happened to him, has it?”

“Well,” her mother said again, and handed her the newspaper. Mary Jane took it, not sure whether she should read it right away and as fast as she could, or wait for just a second – but whatever she decided on, her eyes were way ahead of her, and she saw the headline.

DEATH OF MILLIONAIRE BUSINESSMAN; SPIDER-MAN PRIME SUSPECT

She hastily scanned the rest of it: Harry was fine…he’d seen Spider-Man walking in with his father’s body, apparently…okay, maybe he wasn’t fine, but he wasn’t hurt or anything…it had happened a couple of nights ago but had escaped widespread attention due to the super-powered battle she had recently been a witness to. And Harry was ‘being comforted by friends’, so that was why he and Peter hadn’t come right away…

“Oh God…” Mary Jane murmured. Then she folded the newspaper. “It couldn’t have been Spider-Man who did it. It just couldn’t have been.”

“Well, dear,” her mother said, in her quiet voice, “I’ll always be grateful to him…very grateful to him, for saving you- but nobody’s all good…”

“It couldn’t have been him,” Mary Jane repeated. She glanced down at the newspaper again. “Look, it says no-one saw him actually killing him…not stabbing him or anything…”

“They found stab wounds on the body.”

“But they don’t know who made them! It was…” Suddenly she was sure she knew the answer, and couldn’t understand why no-one else had. “Of course! Maybe the Green Goblin took him…was holding him hostage or something…and then killed him, and Spider-Man thought he’d better return the body, because he would-” She was shouting now, and her mother motioned for her to be quiet. “Yes,” she said thoughtfully. “That’s what the papers think…”

“I have to go and see Harry.”

“No, dear. You’ll probably be let out tomorrow, but you can’t just get out of bed. You can phone.”

So as soon as her mother left, she did. Norman Osborn’s voice, on the answering machine, greeted her.

*****

The Daily Bugle, 30th November 2002:

It is CLEAR to this editor that this most recent incident ends the controversy over Spider-Man once and for all. What man, when confronted over the dead body he is holding, turns and runs? Unless, of course, he was the murderer- so it should be clear to anyone with an ounce of intelligence that Spider-Man at least had a hand in Norman Osborn’s death, even if he did not deliever the fatal blow himself. In no way was he an innocent bystander returning a corpse to family members; the very idea is laughable.

Photographic evidence makes it clear that the glider used by the Green Goblin was the same one mysteriously stolen from Oscorp Industries at the beginning of the year: to this editor, the events leading to Osborn’s death on the same night as the Bridge Incident seem obvious. Spider-Man and the Goblin have been working together all this time- it is beyond the realms of all rational thought to assume that two superpowered human beings will suddenly unleash themselves on the world seperately within weeks of each other- and clearly they decided that ransacking the country’s foremost military contractor was a good idea. Gradually the two of them turn against each other- since neither of them seem pocessed of an entirely civilised mind- and this is what leads to the near-tragedy at the bridge. Osborn is murdered that same night merely because- having failed in his attempt to kill his rival- Spider-Man returns to help himself to whatever weapons are lying around. Osborn- a man known to spend virtually all his time in the office- catches him in the act, and is murdered for his trouble. In an act of pure vindictiveness, Spider-Man returns the body to his victim’s family: this is what you get when you mess with us.

It is downright WRONG to suggest, as some have been doing, that Osborn was in way helping or connected to the Goblin: the glider was stolen, and besides that there is not a shred of evidence, other than the fact that one died on a night when the other was flying through the sky attempting to murder women and children. It is downright offensive to claim that a prominent, upstanding, recently murdered citizen had befriended a monster and indulged in criminal activity- especially when his child is still very much alive and reading newspapers!

And lastly, there is this compelling titbit dug up by YOURS TRULY- the unnamed young victim taken hostage at the Queensboro bridge allegedly had a brief relationship with Norman Osborn’s teenage son Harry, barely a month before she nearly met her doom. There is footage of the two of them at the World Unity Festival. Did she perhaps have a bigger part in the drama than any of us realised? Perhaps we shall never know- the young lady refuses to give interviews- but surely it cannot be mere coincidence.

*****

4th December 2003:

Mary Jane had been released from hospital on the 2nd December, and since returning to her home she hadn’t dared venture out of it. It wasn’t due to any fear of supervillains or monsters, but just the fact that now every single person in the neighbourhood knew what had happened to her. Things were made a hundred times worse by the fact that someone…she suspected it was her father, in fact, she knew it was her father…had sent a photograph of her at her graduation to the Daily Bugle. So now almost everyone had an image of her in the back of their mind. She desperately hoped people would forget about it soon- she thought she might well dye her hair, put it back to a more natural colour, in order to help things along.

But finally she had gathered her courage and gone Christmas shopping. The world felt strange to her as she battled with the crowds and breathed the cold air: the lights seemed brighter, the people seemed happier. More Christmas spirit in the air. This must be how everyone feels, she thought, once they’ve avoided death. She paused for one split second on the streets- no-one seemed to notice- and glanced at the sky. Nothing was coming out of it to blow the ground apart.

The word Victim flickered in her head.

Stupid, she thought back. It could have happened to anyone.

Yeah, it could. So why you? And that stopped her dead.

Why her, indeed? A monster running loose in town- it came to her? Why? What was important, special, about her?

She resumed walking, heading for the electronics shop on the corner, barely thinking about where her feet were going. Why her? She took a deep breath and went over the facts in her head. Spider-Man had been at the bridge; she had been kidnapped by the Goblin; the two were obviously enemies. She had recently kissed Spider-Man, in an alleyway, in plain view of, say, someone watching from the rooftops. Obviously, what had happened was…

…the woman you love!

She felt suddenly like crying, but held it back. She pinched her nose, blinked, and continued on her way. She would deal with this later, work out what she thought about it, maybe even talk about it, but she couldn’t do it now. She made it to the electronics shop and bought a nice camera for Peter’s Christmas present, and then went home. She let herself in, sank down on the sofa, and cried. Only for a minute or so, however- there was a note left on the arm of the sofa for her. She picked it up and read it, drying off her tears.

Peter from next door called. He wants to know how you are. Says he’s sorry he didn’t call before, he’s been busy, with his aunt & things. Says tomorrow he’s going to Norman Osborn’s funeral, will understand if you’re not going.


-Mom

Peter’s aunt! In all the chaos, she’d forgotten about that. Last time she’d seen the woman she’d been in hospital, and now, with a sick feeling rising in her stomach, she knew why. The night after the Goblin had gone to the Parker’s house, he’d gone right to hers, so…wrong house first time. And a lovely old lady could have been killed because of it. Dear god, what world had she suddenly found herself in? Suddenly there were monsters right on her doorstep.

She took a deep breath. Well, there’s no monsters there now, kid. Pick yourself up.

She picked herself up, and went upstairs. She went through her wardrobe, pulled out all the black clothes, and dropped them on a pile on the floor. She heard her mother closing the front door downstairs, and dropping shopping bags on the floor.

“MJ?” she called worriedly.

“I’m here.” MJ called downstairs. She pulled one of the dresses out of the pile.

…why didn’t you wear the black dress? My father loves black.

She changed into it and examined her reflection in the mirror. It was a pretty dress, but it also looked like it was designed exclusively for funerals. It belonged on the body of someone who’d given in to grieving. She made a mental note to discard of it as soon as the funeral was done: she didn’t plan to give into anything, and hoped and prayed she wouldn’t.

She went downstairs.

“Mom?” she said. “I’m wearing this to the funeral.”

“You’re going, then, dear?” her mother asked. She still had a worried look in her eyes, and MJ understood why.

“I’ll be fine, Mom. I’m only going because of Harry and Peter, and I won’t go out for a drink or anything. I’ll come right back home.”

“You can go where you want,” her mother said quietly. “You’re a grown woman.”

“Mom…”

MJ gave her a quick, slightly awkward hug. Madeline Watson stared at her, seemingly now on the verge of tears.

“You’ve creased your dress,” she said.

MJ smoothed it down. “That better?”

“Yeah.”

MJ turned to go, but her mother spoke then, in a voice MJ had never heard her use.

“Mary? If I ever found the man who did that to you…took you from me, put you in hospital…I swear I would kill him.”

MJ stared, half frightened and half awed.

“Okay,” she whispered, and went upstairs to change.

******

The Daily Bugle, 5th December 2002:

IN OTHER NEWS: The funeral of businessman and Oscorp founder Norman Osborn took place today; there are rumours of a reward being offered for information about the circumstances of his death and Spider-Man’s involvement. [see comment, page 17] A Manhattan shopkeeper who asked not be named claims to have spotted the Green Goblin on top of a building two days ago: this is just one of many claims…