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 four
Emily David’s Diary, 17th January 1973:
My best friend, Allison, came over today. Sat me down and had a talk. She said she & the girls all thought I was making a big mistake, rushing into marriage- she said some nasty things. Said Norman had a mean nature, and it would spread to me as well. Said he cared more about money than people. Said I’d be miserable.
I thought it was a nasty thing for her to do. She said all she wanted was to help me, but I told her to leave, and she did…I’m not sure if I’ll even see her again. But what sort of thing was that for a friend to do?
4th June 2003
Christine’s birthday was the third of June. She requested a day off, and got it. It was the first good day of the year.
When she returned to work, however, she found seven empty wine bottles stacked in the kitchen. Slightly more surprisingly, Bernard was also there. He was sitting in the corner drinking a cup of coffee.
“Hi,” she said automatically.
“Hello,” he replied.
Christine found herself pulling up a chair next to him. She felt tired now, tired and discouraged. It was returning to work which had done it. “Remember you said to come to you if I wanted to hear any stories?”
“Perhaps you could tell me about Harry’s mother.”
“Ah.” Bernard put his coffee cup down. “What would you like to know?”
“The basics, really. How did she die?”
“It was a very long time ago,” Bernard said thoughtfully. “My memory might not be entirely reliable.” Christine waited. “It was an illness. Heart problems, you see. The pregnancy didn’t help, but she wasn’t one to dwell on it. Not until the child was born. Her world seemed to get a little darker then.” He picked his coffee cup up and stared at her over the rim of it.
“Postpartum depression?” Christine asked.
“Who knows. Bit late to consider those things now. Either way, the girl- she’s a girl in my head- I doubt she had anywhere to turn to. Certainly not her husband. She had an unhappy marriage, a fairly serious heart condition, and a child to raise. I wasn’t surprised when she died, you know. Sad but not surprised.”
“Oh,” Christine said glumly.
Bernard leaned forward as if about to reveal a dark secret, but all he actually said was, in a low voice, “You keep an eye on her son, Christine.”
Christine blinked. “Alright,” she said stupidly, and then she found herself back in reality, saying, “I suppose I had better clean this kitchen.”
“You do that,” Bernard answered. He got up to leave, but Christine suddenly realised something.
“I don’t actually know her name.”
“Emily,” Bernard answered.
Christine repeated it to herself. “Thank you,” she said.
He left the room, and Christine rose from her chair and began to shift the glass bottles to the trashcan.
you keep an eye on her son, christine
She sighed. Her mind would not allow her to think about Emily; when she thought of the word dead she thought of her husband. And she didn’t, couldn’t, think about that.
7th June 2003
A few days later, in the evening, Christine took five minutes off. She lay on the sofa where a corpse had been recently found, and let thoughts pushed away back into her mind.
Hello, Emily, I’m Christine. I’m sorry but I really can’t look after your son at all: this is just a job, and I have enough problems of my own without worrying about anyone else’s. I am sorry, but I am convinced you couldn’t possibly have been a worse mother than I have been.
Music drifted in from the corridor.
You know, Emily, a lot of things have happened to me, and I feel guilty for dwelling on them, because others have it harder. I don’t know if that’s a stupid thing or not. I used to want to be somebody- I wanted all sorts of things that I didn’t get, and got a couple of things which I stupidly lost. Perhaps it was the same for you.
She then realised she was speaking in her head to a dead woman, and the thought made her jump. But not much. She simply rose from the sofa, craziness burning at the back of her brain, and went to locate the source of the music. She stopped in front of Harry’s room; the music was blaring out from there.
Harry opened the door. “What?” he demanded, and Christine realised she had nothing to say. It was as if all conversations were now regulated to her head.
“The music is quite loud,” she said stupidly. “Can’t you turn it down?”
Harry stared at her like she’d grown another head. “Why?”
“Fine. It doesn’t matter,” she found herself saying, although her voice seemed to be coming from far away. She glanced into Harry’s room, and was surprised to find that it looked like any average young man’s room. There were even socks strewn about the floor.
“Alright,” Harry said. “Fine. I’ll turn it down.” He ducked back into his room and flicked a switch: the music went off.
“You didn’t have to do that,” Christine said wearily. “You’re my boss.”
Harry said, “Are you all right?”
Christine stared in befuddlement. She hadn’t expected that.
“Not really,” she said. “I’m tired.” She was. She was also near tears, but she knew that breaking down would do her no good. “I’d like to go home early, if that’s alright.”
Harry nodded. “Yeah,” he said. “Alright.” He looked tired too, tired and sad, like he almost always did. And also, incredibly young, all of a sudden.
Christine retreated to get her things. On the way, she passed the mirror, and saw a miserable, pale old woman looking back at her. She sighed, and gathered her bag, and walked back across the room. Harry was lying on the sofa now, listening to his iPod instead.
you keep an eye on her son, christine
“What are you listening to?” she found herself asking.
Harry removed one of his earplugs. “Dunno, actually. Nothing good.”
“You don’t know?”
“My ex-girlfriend, when she wasn’t my ex-girlfriend…she put a bunch of unnamed stuff on here, and I dunno how to get rid of it. It’s on shuffle,” he said vaguely. He pulled the other earplug out.
Christine remained where she was. She had sent her son an iPod, in the Christmas of 2002, and had recieved nothing in return.
“Anything good on there?”
Christine was silent, preparing to say goodnight and leave, but somehow she couldn’t. Emily was staring at her from her picture frame.
“I like music.” she said quietly. “I used to want to be a music teacher. When I was little.”
“Yeah,” Harry said morosely. “Guess lots of people wanted to be things they never got to be.”
Christine paused. “What’s your favourite song?” she asked, keeping her tone light.
Harry thought about it for a few seconds. “Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen.”
I’m just a poor boy nobody loves me, Christine sung in her head. “That’s a good song,” she said out loud. “Yeah.”
“What’s your favourite then?”
“I’m an Elvis fan,” She grinned. “Got it off my son. He could do a mean Elvis impression.” Her face clouded just for a second. “Sing something,” she said recklessly.
“Any old thing. I bet you could.”
He gave her a suspicious look. “Why?”
“It might cheer you up.”
He rolled his eyes, just a bit. “What should I sing?” But he wasn’t angry with her, or sneering at her…or firing her.
“Whatever you like,” Christine said, feeling faintly embarrassed now. “And I can advise you on how badly you’re singing it.”
Harry gave a vague grin. “Alright,” he said, to Christine’s surprise, and he launched into Johnny Cash’s Hurt. Christine listened intently: he was actually rather good. Not brilliant by any stretch of the imagination, but not bad. And hell- he was smiling. A bit.
After the third verse, he trailed off. Christine realised she was grinning like a loon.
“That was good,” she said truthfully.
“You gonna put me on Broadway?”
“Maybe some other time.”
The conversation slowed to a stop.
“I’d better be going,” Christine said. “Goodnight,”
“Night,” Harry said, putting the earplugs in again. “See ya tomorrow.”
Christine headed for the door. She waited for Harry to call her back or say something to her, but he didn’t. She went out of the room, down the stairs, outside and to her car.
Emily David’s Diary, 3rd February 1973:
I have been a married woman for several days now. It’s…how do I put this…it’s a good life. Everything I want, I get. Parties, clothes, shoes, people tidying up after me. I used to be a waitress, for crying out loud. Cooking and waitressing for very little money. I keep looking around me and how impossible it is that this is now my life.
Nonetheless, it is my life. I’m married I’m married I’m married I’M MARRIED.
11th June 2003
Christine was cleaning a desk when a spider- a small black one, like the one she had previously encountered in the kitchen- ran out from behind a pile of paper. She glared at it crossly, and wondered what to do. She hated the thought of having to pick it up- what if it ran up her sleeve?- but she didn’t want to just leave it, either. It was getting in the way.
“You alright?” a voice asked.
She turned around and saw Harry. “Just another spider,” she said, and swept a pile of dust from the table.
“I’ll get rid of it for you,” he said. He picked up a newspaper from the sofa, and rolled it up- and Christine, in annoyance, snatched it from him. “Come on,” she said. “It’s never done a thing to you.”
Harry turned away sullenly, and Christine gritted her teeth and gingerly cupped her hands around the spider. She went to the only open window, released it onto the windowsill, closed the window again, and resumed work.
“It shows a mean nature, to kill creatures like that,” she said, to break the silence. She sounded different from how she had intended- like a disapproving schoolteacher, or a mother, or something- and embarrassed, she turned away and continued her work.
“I’m going out,” Harry muttered. There was something in his voice she couldn’t read. If she had to make a guess, she would have said it was worry.
“Yes,” she answered. “Sir.”
The door closed.