Faith In Humanity- Cinderella, part 4

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
Aftermath part 1
Aftermath part 2
Aftermath part 3
Aftermath part 4
Aftermath part 5
Aftermath part 6
Emily part 1
Emily part 2
Emily part 3
Emily part 4
Emily part 5
Emily part 6
Emily part 7
Cinderella part 1
Cinderella part 2
Cinderella part 3

FAITH IN HUMANITY
Cinderella, part 4

28th April 2003:

Harry was standing on a stage. He didn’t like it. People were staring. They weren’t saying a word or clapping or booing: they were just staring.

A production of Cinderella appeared to be in full swing. A girl about his age, who might have been MJ, was speaking to the audience.

“I shall go to the ball!” she said brightly.

Harry looked at her costume in fasination: it kept changing colour. It flashed from green to red to blue and then green again in the blink of an eye. He kept staring as she talked, then he realised it must look to the audience like he was staring at her backside, and looked away. He glanced around the stage and realised it was set up in the middle of Times Square. He had no clue why. Then he felt the stage shake, and thought there had been an explosion- but it was nothing. Just a figment of his imagination.

The girl playing Cinderella suddenly turned around and came towards him, and he realised it was his mother. Emily. Young Emily. He should have realised before- he felt stupid now. She was wearing the red earrings and yellow top and everything.

“Norman,” she said, “may I go to the ball?”

Harry froze. Everything froze. But the whole audience was waiting with baited breath.

“Um,” he said.

“It is a simple choice, Norman. Can I or can I not?”

Harry took a step backwards, a step away. “I don’t want you to go.” he said.

Awwww,” the audience said as one.

“I didn’t want you to go-”

Awwww.”

“-and you shouldn’t have gone-”

But Emily just frowned. “You know,” she said in her normal voice, although Harry didn’t know what her normal voice sounded like, “you’re not even in costume-”

She threw the Green Goblin’s costume at him, and turned back to the audience.

I shall go to the ball!” she said viciously.

You shall go to the ball!” the audience chanted back.

Emily raised her fists like some sort of warrior, and Harry watched in fasination. He thought he could see familiar faces in the audience: Peter and MJ were holding up a sparkly banner which said ‘MURDERER’, and letters in envelopes were falling in place of confetti.

“I want my fairy godmother,” Emily said. “Where is she?”

Someone came out of the shadows and grabbed Harry.

*****

When he woke up he was looking at Christine, and she was staring at him worriedly.

“You were having a nightmare,” she said slowly. “You were muttering.”

Harry tried to do a sarcastic response- Oh really? I was having a nightmare? Never would have guessed, thank you- but he failed. He sat up. He realised Christine was holding his arm- she’d shaken him awake.

“I’m sorry I woke you up,” Christine said, and she walked out. Harry tried to call her back, but he didn’t, and he couldn’t go back to sleep either.

*****

A letter, 27th February 1972

Well, I’m glad we had that talk. It resolved everything. Absolutely everything. I have never been happier in my life to have my boyfriend utterly ignore me.

-Em

*****

29th April 2003

On the twenty-ninth of April, it poured down with rain. It was the unrelenting sort of rain, the sort you stared out of windows at and never dared go out in. Rosie heard it beat against the roof as she wandered down a white Oscorp corridor: she’d left a load of washing out in the rain, how stupid…

She turned a corner and saw Harry up ahead. Aha. She approached him slowly, just in case it wasn’t really him, but it was. He didn’t look like he was going anywhere, so she grabbed his arm-

He jumped a mile and spun around.

“Oh,” he said. “Hello.”

“Hello,” she answered. “I was hoping to run into you- I’ve got you something.”

She reached into the pocket of her coat, fished out the photo of her and Emily, and handed it to him. Harry took it and stared at it. The rain pounded against the skylight over them.

“I should really have told you before,” Rosie said, wishing she had planned in advance what to say. “Me and your mother went to the same school. We weren’t friends, but I knew her a bit. And I realised you must be her son. So I found you a picture of her.”

There was a pause, a very long pause, while Harry examined the picture. “That’s her?” he said, his voice shaking a bit. “In the background there?”

“I’m surprised you can’t tell,” she said. “You look just like her.”

Silence.

“New York City isn’t as big as it looks, huh?” Rosie said.

Harry shook his head. He seemed shocked. “Wow.” he mumbled.

Rosie smiled. He sounded just like a little kid.

“So…” He held the photo carefully in his hand, apparently not sure what exactly to do with it.  “So…when was that picture taken? She doesn’t look much older than I am now.”

“She probably would have been in her twenties,” Rosie answered. “She was a good actress, your mother. That was taken…it was the backyard of the theatre, I think. We did a play every year, and she always auditioned.”

He didn’t seem to be actually listening anymore, though. “Thank you,” he said. “Thank you so much.”

Rosie was slightly surprised, but pleasantly so. “You’re welcome. And you get to keep it, of course.”

“Thank you,” he said again. Then his mobile phone rang, and, embarassed, he dove to answer it.

“I’ll go,” Rosie said, and walked away, smiling at him as she did so.

And people said he took after his father. Really. It just wasn’t true.

*****

When Harry got home, he found a frame for the picture and propped it up on his desk. It looked a bit out of place. He looked closely at the Emily in the photograph: she looked quite sad.

Was it before she’d gotten married? After? Hell, was she pregnant with him at that point?

Maybe he ought to ask Mrs Octavius- Rosie- at some point. If he ran into her again. He hoped he would run into her again: she might be able to tell him things. All about his father and his mother before things went hopelessly wrong…

And they had gone hopelessly wrong, hadn’t they?

He took a pile of newpapers from the drawer. Sometimes he didn’t know why he read the papers so obsessively: they hadn’t been an awful lot of help so far. He supposed he was looking for patterns, for clues…

He found a pen and notebook among the debris on the desk. He was prepared to make notes while he read, but nothing came to him. He doodled instead, inking in the center of all the Os in the newspaper. Then the a’s and the e’s, the p’s and the q’s.

Once he’d poured over the newspapers enough to give him a headache, he glanced down at the notebook expecting to see SORRY or HELP written in dripping ink there. Something he would have done without noticing. But there was nothing.

He put the notebook aside and looked at the photograph once more. The girl looked back at him.

Her hair had braids in it, and she was wearing red earrings. Her t-shirt was yellow, and it looked like it had a slogan on it, but he couldn’t see what it was.

That annoyed him. He would have really liked to see what was on her T-shirt, but he wasn’t in the picture, so he couldn’t just walk a little closer and have a look…

He turned back to the newspapers: one of Peter’s photographs of Spider-Man was on the top. It was a very good picture…if Peter could get that close to him, then why the hell couldn’t he bring a knife or a gun one day and just…

Almost without thinking, he reached across the desk, picked up the photo in it’s frame and dropped it into the bottom drawer. She wouldn’t want him to do any of this. She wouldn’t like it at all.

*****

A letter, 27th February 1972

Alright then- listen to me. I love you, Emily.

-Norman

*****

The Girl In The Photograph by Harry Osborn

Fairytales are funny things. You know the phrase ‘a fairytale ending’? Most real fairytale endings are horrific. The orphaned kid dies out in some alley somewhere, or the princess is sent away, or the king is thrown out and locked up. Hardly anybody actually gets a happy ending. If you want to stick to your ever-after ideas, you should probably beware of anything that opens with ‘once upon a time’.

Once upon a time, there was a woman, and she had done something terrible…