Title: Faith In Humanity
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.
Emily, part two
4th February 2003
It was a thoroughly beautiful morning- sunny, warm, calm- and Harry had decided to ruin it for himself by going for a walk in the graveyard. He needed time to think.
He’d had an interesting dream last night. He’d been walking through a forest carrying a box of photographs, and every so often one or two would fly out. At first he chased after them, and even managed to retrieve them a couple of times; but eventually they’d almost all gone and he’d given up. Various other things had randomly popped up in the dream, as well- the old apartment with blood dripping from the ceiling, the Goblin (was it really only yesterday that all that had happened?) speaking with his father’s voice, instead…
He was sick of waking up terrified in the middle of the night. He knew that was what he had done after his mother died, so it was only to be expected really…but the dreams were always so real.
As he walked down the long path that led eventually to the graveyard, he argued with himself.
The Goblin is a complete lunatic- he tried to kill MJ, for God’s sake. And you believed him? You actually believed that nutcase?
But you knew anyway…you knew…he just confirmed it…doesn’t matter how crazy he is, if anyone would know, he would…
You’re being an idiot. How do you know you just don’t want to kill somebody? The only way this ends, Harry, is in you becoming a murderer. And you’re okay with that?
Of course not! No!
He stopped there. He’d reached the graveyard now, anyway. He finally became aware of his surroundings- trees, cloudless sky, a bunch of flowers clasped in his hands. He wished very, very much that it wasn’t so sunny.
He found the grave he was looking for. He stayed a few metres away from it, as if he was scared…which he was. This was his father, made of stone.
“I brought these,” he said very quietly, and he stepped forward and put the flowers down. Then he stepped back again, and dug his hands into the pockets of his coat.
“I’m sorry,” he finally said, mostly because he couldn’t really think of anything better. “I…I should’ve tried harder, in school and things. I knew I was disappointing you and yet I acted lazy anyway. I screwed everything up.”
There wasn’t any answer, obviously. He looked around. Other people were in the graveyard now, and he felt almost annoyed, like they were intruding. But of course they weren’t, and he wasn’t being fair. He started to leave, walking past groups of these other people as he did so. Sometimes, someone would catch his eye and nod at him- and surprised, he would nod back. It occured to him that everyone in this place had something in common- grief. He’d never felt particularly connected to the rest of the world before, and it felt odd- people who he didn’t know acknowledging him merely because they understood.
He kept walking, through the sun and the shade, until he reached the pathway again.
When he got back to the house, Christine was in the kitchen, cleaning it up.
“I was wondering if you’d been kidnapped,” she said to him. “Your butler let me in. Where have you been?”
He didn’t quite feel like telling her, but the words came out anyway. “Visiting the graveyard.”
She gave him a look filled with sympathy, but when she opened her mouth all she said was “At this time of the morning? Even before you’d had your breakfast?”
“I can have my breakfast whenever I want,” he said, and noted how sullen he sounded. “I’ll have beans on toast, please, Mrs Steinhauer.”
With a sigh she began preparing it for him. Harry went through to the living room and picked up the phone. He dialled Peter’s number- his new number, Peter had rung and told him what it was the other day- but there wasn’t any answer.
Maybe he was at school, or at the library. Well, it didn’t matter. He had work to do.
“What happened yesterday?” Christine asked suddenly.
“What?” Harry said stupidly.
“You know what. Come on, what happened? That…that man…” She looked suddenly very stricken indeed. “The papers said he smashed a window open. Did you get it fixed already?”
Harry suddenly noticed that she looked almost close to tears. He flinched. “He smashed the window and came in here, said we needed to talk, but…Spider-Man showed up and dragged him off before he said anything.”
Christine gawped. “Oh.” She still looked stricken, and now slightly frightened. “What,” she said, in a slightly trembly voice, “did he want with you? What did either of them want?”
“Nothing,” Harry muttered.
“That’s not all I’ve read in the papers,” Christine continued, words rushing from her mouth. “I’ve read about you. Before I came here, I read, you know…about your father.”
“So has everybody in the city.” Harry said disconnectedly.
“What happened?” she said again.
“Spider-Man killed him, remember?” He sounded downright angry now. “That’s all I know about anything.”
He stormed off. Christine was left alone in the room. She felt oddly like bursting into tears, or worse, laughing –I’ve got no money, my kid hates me, my husband’s dying and I’m working for a madman. She then realised she was still holding a tin of baked beans, and she returned to the kitchen and put it away.
The house seemed horribly quiet. She sat down on the sofa and looked around, warily, as if she feared the walls might close in.
there was a dead body in this room once
That sudden thought made her tense, like her brain had found one little piece of information filed away and brought it out again as a warning. She’d read the papers, she’d known what she was getting into…
there was a dead body right here on the sofa
She jumped up like the house was burning down around her. She stared giddily around, wondering if she wasn’t cracking up, and hurried from the room.
23rd February 2003
Christine attempted to put the whole incident behind her, and did a reasonably good job. February began to slip by quickly. Harry had his 20th birthday on the 19th and Christine was left with the unenviable task of cleaning the house after the party, turfing out the last few drunk, mouthy teens (“…fine, we’ll fucking go then! What are you, his fucking mommy?”) and not waking Harry, who had the mother of all hangovers, up in the morning. He had not thanked her for any of it: she assumed he had simply forgotten.
Unfortunately, on the 23rd, the whole incident was dragged up again. Christine entered a room, duster in hand, to find Harry sitting on the sofa reading the newspaper. “He’s dead,” he said as she came in.
He handed the newspaper to her, and she read it.
Bart Hamilton, 43, apparently the man behind the Green Goblin, was dropped off by Spider-Man outside the police station, tied up. The police behaved in a responsible manner: after a failed attempt to capture the wall-crawler, they took Hamilton into custody. The next morning, however- after an intense questioning (during which allegedly the police learned ‘nothing useful’) -he was discovered dead in his cell.
Christine looked up sharply. Harry just gave a grim little smile.
The cause of death is so far unknown, but it is strongly suspected to be a drug overdose. Spider-Man is wanted for questioning in relation to the incident, but the police are not optimistic about tracking him down.
Christine handed the paper back. “Well,” she said absently. “That’s…not good.”
“No,” Harry said. “It’s not.”
“What’re you going to do?” And then, because she couldn’t help herself, and because she was quietly afraid that somehow Harry knew about the passenger she had had in her car only three weeks ago, although he couldn’t possibly, she said, “What’s going on? Why do all these people come here? Why…do they come to you?” She stopped herself short of saying what the hell was your father mixed up in?
“I don’t know,” Harry said.
Emily David’s Diary, 15th September 1972
Me again. I don’t write in this diary enough. When I started it I wanted it to be the ultimate chronicle of my life, with everything thrown in there, but it isn’t really. You haven’t even met my family. There is my mom, Linda, my older brothers Andrew and Tom, one set of grandparents, and me. And before he died there was my dad: he was called Harold.
Since I figure I should be chronicling or something, here’s something that happened to me today. It’s small and stupid, but I thought it deserved writing down. Then one day I can tell my kids about it, or something. I wouldn’t remember it otherwise. Memory’s not too good.
Anyway- I work in a cafe downtown. It’s alright kinda work, pays my way and things. But today I ran into a girl I knew from college, and showed her my engagement ring. I always feel like I’m saying ‘look how rich I am now!’ when I show it to anyone. It’s a massive diamond thing. It’s beautiful. But also very, well, extravagant.
I also said to her- and this is the stupid part, ‘don’t tell my man you saw me here, he thinks I quit, ‘cos he says it’s beneath me’. She looked shocked. And I suppose it does sound a bit shocking, in a way. I don’t know.
Maybe I should quit. I don’t know. It’s starting to feel like there’s two sides to me, the Emily who writes and acts and tells jokes, and the Emily who will be a Wife. I don’t know. Oh, that’s the third time in one entry that I’ve said ‘I don’t know’. But I don’t.
It’s like I’m being drawn into a whole new world. You know?
12th March 2003
Just as spring was beginning to close in and the days gradually getting longer, Christine found herself having a conversation, albeit a very short one, with Bernard the butler. She had barely exchanged three words with him, despite the fact they were essentically co-workers- he was barely around, it seemed. Or he blended into the background. Either way, as she was walking down the driveway on her way home, he was sitting on the garden bench, almost as if waiting.
“How are you finding the house?” he asked.
Christine stopped walking, surprised. “Oh,” she said. “Oh, um, fine.”
“Recent events haven’t discouraged you?”
Christine stared at him, suddenly a bit cold. “You mean the…um, no. No, I mean…” She couldn’t explain her feelings: she was not scared of working in the house, only wary. After all, in less than a year the house had been host to both a mysterious murder and an attack by a supervillain. “I’m not discouraged.”
“Good.” Bernard said, “That wouldn’t do. Needs a bit more humanity in it, this house does.”
“I see,” Christine said helplessly.
“It’s stood on it’s own for so long. No love in it since Harry’s mother died.” He was very still while he was talking. “Almost eighteen years ago now, and I remember it clearly. I’ve been here for a while, Mrs Steinhauer.”
“Come see me, if you want to hear any stories. Or if you have any difficulties with the house. I could use another friendly face around here.”
It seemed that was his last word on the matter: he said nothing else, and Christine murmured a goodbye and hurried away. She climbed into her car (it had been cleaned, and she always kept the doors locked now) and drove off down the road.
On her way home she replayed the conversation in her mind, trying to discern if there was any hidden meaning, hidden warning. Christine did not know why she expected a warning; she supposed it was simply because the facts, when added up together, made a slightly chilling scene for an outside observer. Woman takes position of housekeeper in haunted house, meets supervillain, is scared. Stays because the money is needed to help her sick husband…
She sighed. And carried on.