If you’re lurking out there…say hi? I miss having comments. :p
(And honestly, the fic’s not bad. Got a lot of character stuff, at least. Think of it like missing bits from inbetween the movies…)
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 six
Emily David’s Diary, 4th January 1975:
I have noticed that I only turn to this diary when something bad happens. Today my mom died. I just looked back through the diary and the last thing I said about her I called her a bitch. She wasn’t a bitch! Oh fuck, I’m the most pathetic person in the world. I don’t know what to do now. Norman called me from the office and tried to comfort me but it didn’t work. Oh Christ I feel just like a little kid and I want to cry.
I think I will. I’m going to scream and hit my head til I go mad.
13th July 2003
Christine did not think much about her childhood. She had not been close to her older brother or her now-dead father, she had not had many friends, and her mother had commited sucide at the age of forty-seven. On the 13th of July 1984, exactly eighteen years ago. On a beautiful summer’s day.
And then, after that, more misery for her- a failed marriage, an absent son, and a dying husband.
You do not complain, you do not complain.
But whenever she went over her problems in her mind, a nasty streak of things could be worse ran through them. Her son could be dead- she could be jobless and impoverished- any number of things could have happened but had not.
Hell, she could be dead. The night she had met the Goblin, he might have cut her throat.
And then she felt something. A tiny movement in the corner of her eye, like footsteps in the room. A shudder running through the house, into the mirror, into her. For one split second she was plunged into coldness, and she backed away.
“That was strange,” she said out loud. She glanced back at the mirror, half expecting to see a different reflection there- her mother’s, perhaps- but there was only her. She went forward cautiously, and put her hand on the glass.
There were footsteps behind her- she definately heard them, this time- and suddenly she was so scared she couldn’t turn around. If you turn around, a voice in her head said, you’ll die, just like your weakling mother. Go!
She went. She ran from the room and raced down the stairs, eyes half closed and hands gripping her cleaning cloth. In the corridor she gasped for breath, and then she ran right out of the house, got into the car and went home.
She didn’t fully regain her senses until later, when she reasoned with herself. Whatever ghosts lived up there in the Osborn manor had nothing to do with her. She was not the heroine of some gothic novel, she was being an idiot, and she was going straight back into work tomorrow.
14th July 2003
She didn’t. She woke up in the middle of the night with a splitting headache, and called in sick.
“It’s stress,” Ricky said helplessly, doing his best to console her. “Because of what day it was yesterday. Christine?”
“I’m all right,” she said glumly. Those three words might have been her catchphrase. “I’m just going to check my email.” But she stayed at the computer for almost an hour, staring at the screen the same way she had done in the library.
Jimmy, yesterday was the day your grandmother died, she wrote. Perhaps for her sake, you will email me back.
She chewed her finger.
And don’t get Lisa to do it for you. You know perfectly well we need to talk.
Suddenly, her hands were flying over the keys.
How can you stay away? Listen to me, kid, I’m your mother, you have to listen, please. You don’t even know what life is like now. Ricky’s dying, you know that, and you still won’t call. Dying! And I have a job as a housekeeper in a house where somebody died. There’s only a kid there now, bit younger than you, an alcoholic and an orphan. Mom dead and father murdered, in fact.
Listen…it just seems like everyone’s lives are so difficult, and we can either check out like my mom did or stay in the game. Please answer. Please.
She didn’t hit the send button straight away. She read and reread. She said not said sorry, or I love you.
Although a part of her badly wanted to, she did not add those extra words. She pressed send, sat back and watched, and realised uncomfortably that she wanted to make her son feel guilty. She wanted to make him suffer for ignoring her.
She wanted to hurt him.
oh, there’s something in that house that preys on Bad Parents-
Her head pounding, she retreated. She felt like she was going mad.
Emily David’s Diary, 13th January 1975:
Me and Norman went to the funeral. My brothers were there, and my grandma & grandpa, and they gave us both…looks. Not nasty looks, but I can’t describe them properly. It was just that I felt so, so cut off when they looked at me like that. Like I was floating out in space and someone cut the wire.
There’s so much stuff I’ve never mentioned, diary. Now is as good a time as any. My mom died from a heart condition- Romano-Ward Syndrome, that’s the one. Not well known, but it did it’s job and killed her. She went into cardiac arrest and died.
Here’s the kicker, diary. I have it too. Kid has a 50% chance of inheriting it: my brothers don’t have it but I do. It’s one of those things that beats away in the background of my life: I don’t bring it up in casual conversation, try not to think about it, but this has brought it all up again. It probably won’t kill me, and Norman says he doesn’t care about it, but…it is there, and it will always be there, and my mother is dead.
24th July 2003
Christine and Harry sat on opposite sides of the Mask Room. Harry was drinking from a glass of wine, Christine was doing nothing. It was quiet.
It was also ten ‘o clock at night. Christine had finished her work. Harry didn’t know why she was still in the house, and why he hadn’t told her to go home.
Christine said, out of the blue, “You look like your mother, you know,”
Harry stared at her. She gestured to the portrait of the brown-haired woman on the wall, and then back to Harry. He was drunk out of his mind, but he was beginning to think that she was as well. “No I don’t.”
“She died when I was little.”
“Yeah. Bernard told me.”
“My dad said she got sick, and she didn’t want to get better.” Harry said, words rushing out of him. “Said sometimes she wouldn’t take her pills, or go to the doctor’s.”
“I’m sorry,” Christine said, but Harry barely heard her.
“She was weak.” It was the drink talking, and when he was drunk he cared little for other people’s reactions, but at the expression on Christine’s face he tried to backtrack.
But he hadn’t meant anything. He’d sounded like his father, in fact.
Christine looked at him with something that might have been fury. She started to say something, then changed her mind and started again. “I thought you’d like to know,” she said quietly, “that my mother killed herself at the age of forty-seven. Many years ago. Still hurts.”
Harry was the one lost for words now. He put his glass down on the nearest table, and wondered what he ought to do.
“Oh,” he said eventually. “Sorry.”
“And of course,” Christine went on wearily, “you’ve just said exactly what I’ve loathed myself for thinking about her, so there. Now go throw your drink away, young man, and go to bed. I want to get home before midnight.”
Harry had no intention of doing anything of the sort. “You’re not my…babysitter,” he said eventually, after three failed attempts to pronouce the last word.
Christine did not answer with No, I’m your friend– which was probably just as well, as Harry would most likely have forgotten it by morning. “No,” she said, “but you pay me to be around and clean your house. And god knows where my next paycheck will come from if I get here tomorrow and find you face-down in a pool of your own vomit. Bed. Now.”
Harry mumbled something that sounded a bit like you’re not my, but she ignored it. She watched as he struggled up from the sofa, and staggered down the hall. Feeling a bit stupid, she followed him, just in case he fell over.
“Why’d your mom do it?” he suddenly asked, stopping in his tracks. He leaned against the wall. “Did she get sick, like mine?”
Christine stared at him in frustration. She was glad frustration was all it was: if anyone else had asked that question she’d have been livid. She decided not to consider why she was making exceptions for Harry.
“No. She was just depressed. Over my father, and over money, and then one of her friends died- it just got worse and worse and we didn’t notice.” She blinked, just a bit. “She did it in July, in the middle of summer. I never understood that at all- how it could be all sunny outside and cheerful, with kids running about with ice creams and people talking about holidays- and then…doing that.” She looked up at him. For a split second she wanted to say you’re lucky you don’t remember what happened to your mom, but then she realised that that statement wasn’t true.
“I don’t think my mom was depressed,” Harry said, still slurring his words a bit. “She just gave up. Didn’t want to fight for us.” He paused for a second. “But she was sick,” he added helplessly. “She probably hated being sick…”
“Yes,” Christine said, in mild despair. There was silence for five seconds. She wanted to say something sensible and reassuring and good, like I’m sure if your mother could see you now she’d be proud. But she couldn’t. What she wanted to say the most was Harry, no mother ever gives up on their children. But that one wasn’t true: she had proof. Hell, she practically was proof.
“Go on,” she said. “Get some sleep.”
He staggered down the corridor to his room with barely a backward glance, and she heard a thudding noise. She sighed, and stood still for a minute, pulling herself together. Then she left the house, her brain draining itself empty as she clambered into her car.
She found herself longing for a miracle, for a get-out-of-jail-free card, for some sort of magical intervention. She would wish for her husband to get better, for her son to contact her, for money and security, and possibly- possibly- for Harry to get his father back. And his mother, too.
The next day, she would discover something in the house that would not quite change her life forever. There was only one thing in the house that would really change her life at all, and he was passed out in a bedroom upstairs.