Faith In Humanity- Only Human, 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.

FAITH IN HUMANITY
Only Human, part 1
21st February 2002:

Emma Marko awoke at midnight to the sound of someone sobbing. Such a thing hadn’t happened to her since Penny had been five years old, so it was with a wary heart that she crossed the landing to her daughter’s bedroom.

“Penny?” she whispered. “Sweetheart?”

No answer, just a sniffle. Emma pushed the door open and hurried to her daughter’s bedside. Penny was sitting up in bed, tears dripping down her face.

“Sweetheart, what’s wrong?”

“I dreamt about Daddy,” Penny sniffed. She wiped her nose with the corner of her blanket, something Emma had often told her off for. “He was…” She started crying again. Emma sat down next to her, nervous. Dreams about ‘Daddy’ could never be a good thing.

“What was it, Penny?”

“He had a gun,” she sobbed.

“Really,” Emma said, her heart sinking.

“He shot someone,” Penny said. She stared up at her mother with desperate eyes. “Only once. That doesn’t normally kill someone, does it, Mommy? Only once.”

Emma sighed, and hugged her daughter tight. “No, sweetheart. Sometimes one shot won’t kill you.” She held her close for half a minute or so, before she finally loosened her grip. “You get some rest, Penny.”

“Mommy?” Penny whispered.

“Yeah?”

“It felt like it was my fault.”

Emma stared in horror, and shook her head viciously. “It wasn’t! Oh, honey, how could it be?”

“Don’t know,” Penny said. She drew her blankets up around her. “Mommy, where is Daddy? Right now.”

“I don’t know, love. I never know.”

“Can we call him?”

“No,” Emma said. She closed her eyes for a second, and then forced them open again. “I’m sorry, sweetheart. No.”

“Okay,” Penny said uncertainly. “He didn’t shoot anyone, right, Mommy? Not really.”

Oh God, I wouldn’t bet on it. “No, sweetheart. He didn’t.”

“Good,” Penny said, although still rather uncertainly. She buried herself under the blankets. “Mommy, is it time to take my pills now?”

“No, love. Not till morning.”

“Good,” she said. “Tell me the go-to-sleep rhyme, Mommy.”

Emma smiled, a little. She still felt faintly worried. She took her daughter’s hand, and waved it from side to side as she spoke. “See a Penny, pick it up, and all day long, you’ll have good luck.”

“Thank you, Mommy.”

Emma kissed her forehead, switched off the bedroom light, and went downstairs again. She turned on the television, watched the news for almost two hours, until she finally saw the news she dreaded. Carjacking. Gun. They hadn’t caught all the people involved yet, but she knew in the back of her mind.

Eventually she just sat on the sofa, her head in her hands. And then she finally went back upstairs, and sat down next to her daughter’s bed.

“You sleep,” she whispered. “He did do it.” She leaned against the wall, drawing her knees up to her chest. “Don’t think about your daddy, sweetheart. He’s half his way to being a monster, now. And he’s staying far away from you. He’s not capable of…caring, or anything. Not that I had much in the first place, but…I’ve got no faith in him, anymore.”

*****

21st February 2003:

One year later:

Peter had been counting down in the back of his mind: seven hours ago on the same day last year he had witnessed his uncle bleeding to death on the street. And he now found humanity no less puzzling, and- oddly- no less cruel, than he previously had.

“He would be very proud of you, you know.” May said

“I know,” Peter answered. His mind felt cold and numb: it took him ages to find the thing he wanted to say. “He’d be proud of you, too.”

“Yes,” May answered with a heavy sigh. “Well. Get your coat, Peter, let’s take a walk.”

*****

They wandered down the road.

“We’re not…we’re not going to the graveyard or anything,” Peter said as they walked.

“No,” she said softly. “Not today.”

They went to an ice-cream palour on the corner of the street, and took seats in the corner. Peter glanced around. It was a nice little place. His mind hurt. Somehow, it being the one-year anniversary made everything seem more real, and it had felt pretty damn real in the first place.

“I’ll have chocolate,” May said. “You, Peter?”

“Um, I’ll have chocolate too,”

“Okay,” She put the menu down. “So, Peter. How’s college?”

“Same as always, really.”

“I hope you’re keeping up with it all.”

“I…hope so too,” He couldn’t lie to her. “Had a little trouble, but…”

She shook her head. “Peter…”

He held his breath.

“Life hasn’t been easy for you, has it? Your parents, your uncle…even people like Norman Osborn. I’m sorry, Peter.”

“Aunt May, you’ve got nothing to be sorry for.” He was beginning to feel a little angry now: not at her, of course, but at the world in general.

“Maybe…maybe not.” She sighed. “Mary Jane tells me you didn’t go to Harry’s birthday party. Did you have a falling out?”

“No…no, of course not,” Peter desperately hunted for a good excuse, and wished she hadn’t sprung that on him so suddenly. “I just didn’t feel well…didn’t feel well at all…and when I phoned him to say I wasn’t coming, no-one answered…” It was a terrible excuse, one of the worst he’d ever come up with- at the time, he had instead been in a shootout with a drug smuggler- but May seemed to decide not to press the issue. He sensed it took her a lot of effort.

“I need to see Harry soon, really, apologize to him…” he mumbled.

“You should, yes.”

Peter changed the subject. “MJ phoned today, you know.”

“Really, dear?”

“Yeah. She said she remembered what day it was, and she wanted to….say something, you know. Say sorry.”

“A lovely girl, that one,” May mused.

Peter smiled. First smile of the day.

*****

The World And Superhumanity by Anna D. Webb:

The world has a tendency to react in strange ways to anything new that falls into its lap. The sudden rise of superhumans provided no exception.

The general concenus among scientists is that Spider-Man gained his powers in some ‘natural’ way: the scientific community does not believe in the supernatural. Even this has lead to divisions: religious men and women have claimed many outrageous things, (see appendix f) many of which I feel should not be dignified with debate. New developments in the world often lead to hysteria, and this was no exception- the day after the Goblin’s first appearance at the World Unity Festival, a British tabloid ran the headline ‘THE DEVIL WALKS AMONG US’. People have labeled Spider-Man as Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddist- every religion under the sun. Rumors abound of a small but blossoming Californian cult named ‘The Spidermaniacs’. This of course would seem like madness to some, but to others, it is their way of dealing with waking up one morning to suddenly find humanity just that little bit more puzzling.

*****

22nd February 2003:

The next day Peter captured the Goblin. He didn’t mean to. He was, after all, in no hurry to repeat their last battle. He hadn’t come out it too well, and the Goblin had, well, vanished. As good as vanished. He’d flown away, and Peter had fired webbing, caught the glider, but not him. He’d fallen into the city, and vanished. Gone into a house, maybe, or limped into a nearby alley. Peter didn’t know, but he did know that he had come out of an excruciating battle with nothing to show for it but a free glider. He had considered putting the thing on Ebay, but had eventually done the polite thing and slid it through a window at the Oscorp labs.

So when he found the guy gliderless, masked and with his arm in plaster attempting to hold up a newsagent, he actually had to stop himself from laughing a little. Then he dived over to the top of the building, and whipped a webline down.

The Goblin looked glumly up at him through the holes in the mask, and reached for his gun, only to find it wasn’t there anymore. Spider-Man held it out of reach.

“I’m not pleased with you,” Spider-Man said. “You’ve been causing trouble.”

The man didn’t even say a word. Spider-Man reached down and plucked his mask off. An unremarkable, thin-faced gentleman looked out at him.  He didn’t make a move.

“I’m a broken man,” he said, gesturing uselessly. “Surely, you don’t want…”

Spider-Man hastily webbed him to the floor, in case he tried anything. “Why did you do this?” he asked. “Any particular reason? Just out for fame and fortune?”

“What happened to my glider?”

“I gave it back.”

“Fuck you.”

Spider-Man rolled his eyes. “Any explanations, then, or shall we skip this?”

“You killed him, didn’t you?” the man whispered. “The first one. Osborn.”

Under the mask, Peter groaned heavily. “Right. How did you know that?” He didn’t bother denying that he’d killed him, it wasn’t as if this guy was going to listen. “How the hell did you know?”

“Fuck off. It’s obvious. He died on the same night you fought the Goblin, and that chick he held hostage was dating his son, wasn’t she? They were together at the World Unity Festival. You start digging, it all adds up.”

Peter held his breath.

“But you. I don’t know who you are. You’ve been covering your tracks pretty well.”

Peter breathed again. A bit. “So. You haven’t told anyone about that?”

“No.”

“And you’re completely and utterly nuts.”

“Huh-”

Peter knocked him out, picked him up, and headed for the nearest police station.

*****

Ursula Ditkovich’s diary, 23rd February 2003:

We have a new man to stay now. He’s a bit older than me, about 20 maybe. He’s good looking, what Momma would probably have called ‘cute’. Quiet though, like me. I like him.

I think he’s called Peter, but I’ve never talked to him. He has the room across the hall from me and I looked in there: he’s got almost nothing. Just books and photographs. I didn’t go inside the room though. Didn’t even knock and say welcome to the house or anything. He probably thinks I’m rude or stuck-up or something. If he notices me at all. He looks right through me, I think. Lots of people do.

He’s not here often. Dad sometimes waits outside his room for hours to get the rent off him, but never sees him, although he’s always there the next morning. Don’t know how he does it. I should ask him though, I want to avoid my dad as well sometimes.

Momma might say man’s got to have his secrets though.

*****

23rd February 2003:

Peter was lying on his bed, exhausted. His leg hurt. He wished he’d gotten healing powers along with the rest of it. They would be useful beyond all reason. He couldn’t sleep, though. Partly because he was still a bit jumpy, and partly because there was an argument raging on the other side of the wall.

“Now stop crying like that- stop it, girl- if your mother could see you now she’d probably kill herself laughing…”

“Leave me alone! Please, just go away!”

This all sounded familiar. He’d spent many an evening hearing the rows in the Watson household, figuring it would be better to ignore them but wishing, wishing so much he had the guts to storm over there and tell MJ’s father to leave her and her mother alone. He never had, obviously. That was one of his biggest regrets. Third or fourth biggest.

A door slammed somewhere in the building, and the yelling ceased. He groaned to himself. He wanted to go to sleep, but there were too many things buzzing for attention in his brain.

The phone rang, and it made him jump out of his skin. Dizzy and tired and his leg hurting like hell, he reached for it.

“Hello?” he said.

“Peter?” came Harry’s voice on the other end. “Can we talk?”

Peter didn’t feel up to breathing, let alone talking, but he forced himself to anyway. “Um, sure. Hi, Harry. What’s up?”

“You seen the news?

“What news?” Peter asked. He suspected Harry would mention the Goblin, mention that he’d been caught, but what he said after that came as a surprise.

“Spider-Man caught the Goblin. Sent him to prison. And he killed himself in there, right after they locked him up. Drugs, they think.”

Peter sank onto the bed. His mind went blank. “Oh.”

“He knew what happened, Peter. He could’ve told me more.”

“I thought he told you pretty much everything,” Peter said with a sigh. He wanted to beat his head against the wall. The worst thing was…he was almost glad. One less person, now, who knew who Norman had been.

“Huh. I knew what I knew. He just confirmed it.”

“Yeah,” Peter said hopelessly.

Silence for a couple of seconds, then Harry said, “You want to come over tomorrow? I’m not having a great year.”

*****

24th February 2003:

The next morning he got up at eight ‘o clock. He got dressed, and didn’t put his costume on underneath this time. He raced out, wanting to get to Harry as soon as possible, and found Ursula Ditkovitch sitting on the stairs looking throughly miserable and close to tears.

“Sorry,” she said, shifting aside to make room for him to go past. He hesitated.

“Are you alright?”

“Yeah…” she said. “I just don’t want to go back in there…my dad yelled at me…” She jerked her head towards the door of her sitting room. Then she turned away.

Peter could think of nothing to say, much to his frustration. Eventually he made do with, “Hang in there, okay?”

She looked up, surprised, and said, “Thank you.”