Faith In Humanity- Only Human, 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.

FAITH IN HUMANITY
Only Human, part 4

Daily Bugle website message boards, 23th April 2003:

What’s this I hear about Jameson going on TV to talk about Spider-Man? Honestly, hasn’t he bashed the poor guy enough?

*****

24th April 2003:

Peter had finally had a bit of luck when it came to finding a proper job. He had had three interviews scheduled and had to miss only one: a robbery at a drugstore prevented him from going. It was on the 24th of April that he finally got the call he’d hoped for: just as he was about to leave- he had his mask on and everything- the phone rang.

He quickly took the mask off and answered it.

“Hello?”

“That Mr P. Parker?” came a spectacularly bored voice from the other end.

“Yeah.”

“You’ve got the job. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Report to us on Monday, we’ll send you a letter before then.”

“I’ve got the job? Wow, that’s great!”

“Yeah,” came the monotone. “Absolutely great, yeah. You’ll have to pay for the uniform.”

“How much will that be?”

The voice on the other end gave a deep sigh. “Ten dollars. Not much. Don’t complain. See you Monday.”

*****

28th April 2003:

On Monday evening he wandered, fairly cheerfully, into Wally’s Burger Bar. It was almost empty, painted entirely bright red, and was rather overwhelming. No sooner had he knocked on the door marked STAFF ROOM when someone came up behind him and grabbed his shoulder.

“Mr Parker?” he asked, in that monotone voice Peter had heard on the phone.

“Yeah,” Peter said.

“Welcome to Wally’s Burger Bar,” He didn’t offer his hand, which made things a bit awkward. “I’m Wally. Your boss.” He gestured at two bored-looking teens behind the counter. “Those are Fiona and Richard. Your co-workers. Hand over your ten dollars and you can get started.”

Regretfully, since he could have used the money for food or whatnot, Peter handed over ten dollars. Wally counted it up, and opened the Staff Room door. The Staff Room was roughly the size of a cupboard. Wally plucked out a uniform.

“Put it on over your regular clothes,” he said, and the whole restaurant watched with varying degrees of amusement as Peter did this.

Wally then retreated to behind the counter, and Peter followed him. He was given a very quick introduction to the machinery and the methods of cooking burgers, then handed a spatula.

“You now offically begin your work,” Wally told him, but the restaurant was empty by then.

*****

Ursula Ditkovich’s diary, 29th April 2003:

Wandered through town, and bought a newspaper. It had an article about Spider-Man inside- a nasty one, though- and next to it was a picture, and underneath it said the picture had been taken by Peter Parker. That’s my Peter…the one who lives next door, I mean. (not mine that’s a stupid thing to say) He’s a photographer. I never knew that. Cool.

Got thinking about the papers, too. They’re always very angry about Spider-Man- almost hateful sometimes. I don’t know why. He’s just doing his job.

*****

1st May 2003:

On the first day of May, Flash Thompson and Liz Allen happened to wander in to Wally’s Burger Bar. Peter saw them walking past, and hoped they wouldn’t come in, but they did.

“Hey!” Flash yelled, spotting Peter almost instantly. “Man! Should have expected I’d find you working some crap job like this.”

Liz shushed him.

“Want a burger, you guys?” Peter asked neutrally.

“Yeah, alright,” Flash said cheerfully. “Make me one with everything.”

Peter nodded.

“Because I want to become a Buddist.” Flash added. Liz almost dragged him to a table and sat him down.

“Coming right up,” Peter said with forced cheerfulness. He turned his back on them and got to work. Because of the small number of customers the place got on any given day, he was the only one there apart from Wally. The others had gone home.

When Peter turned back around, burger in hand, Liz was standing there, under the pretense, so it appeared, of getting some straws.

“Are you still friends with Harry Osborn?” she said in a low voice.

Peter nodded, and handed her the burger. She took her time counting out her money.

“Is he…available?” she muttered.

“I don’t know,” Peter answered, truthfully. “If he’s in a relationship, I don’t know about it. So…yeah, I guess. He’s available.”

Liz placed her money in his hand. “Thanks,” she said, and returned to her table. She handed the burger over to her boyfriend, who ate it with relish. He was looking slightly overweight these days: quite probably he wasn’t much of an athlete any more.

Peter wondered whether he should inform Harry about this. Then he went back to work.

*****

2nd May 2003:

Early in the morning, his costume on underneath his street clothes, Peter dialled Harry’s phone number. It rang twelve times, and then he picked up.

“Hello?”

“Hey. It’s me.”

“Peter, for God’s sake, it’s nine o’ clock in the morning.”

“Oh. Sorry.”

“God, I forgot how early you get up. What is it? I…haven’t heard from you for a while, buddy.”

“Yeah, I know,” Peter said. “I’m sorry,” he added, meaning it.

“So…what’s up?”

“Well, you know Liz Allen? I mean, do you remember her?”

“Yeah. She was at MJ’s party. The one you didn’t go to.”

Peter winced. “Um, just thought I’d mention…I gotta job in a burger bar, and she came in with Flash…”

“She’s got no taste.”

“Well…actually, she asked me about you. When Flash wasn’t looking. She asked if you were ‘available.'”

There was a second’s silence. “Well…I know,” Harry said. “She was at the party. MJ said she liked me, or something.”

“Oh,” Peter said, deflated.

“Why didn’t you come to the party, Peter?” Harry asked.

“I…couldn’t,” Peter answered glumly. “I’ll talk to you later, all right, Harry? I just thought you’d better know.”

“Alright. See ya.”

Peter hung up. Could have gone worse, he mused. At least this time there had been no talk of murder or revenge.

*****

Peter spent the rest of the day doing his burger-flipping job, and he hated it. When he got out at five o’ clock he had to go to Jameson and offer more photographs- he was still running desperately low on money, even with the job. The photographs were very bad, even Peter had to admit that, and Jameson had torn them up in front of him (Peter was just glad he didn’t do anything worse, like empty his lunch over Peter’s head or something). He had then told Peter to get his ass in gear else his job would be snapped up by someone else. On his way out of the building he’d run into Robbie, who had spilled coffee all over the starway. Peter helped him clean it up, made friendly conversation, and was into his costume and out on the streets within a few minutes. He flew past a balcony- some guy was there hanging out washing- and as soon as he saw Spider-Man he gave him the finger.

It was a very little thing, really, but it depressed him.

As he went on through the city, he stopped for a bit on a deserted windowsill, and looked down over the street. He wished he wasn’t always nervous when something bad wasn’t happening; it couldn’t be in the least bit healthy.

…In the distance, there was a billboard advertising a television programme. It had his face on it. That was slightly unusual.

He swung over and took a look.

SPIDER-MAN’S FOREMOST CRITIC INTERVIEWED! J.JONAH JAMESON SPEAKS FOR THE CITY, 4TH MAY!

He felt like kicking the board right over, and nearly did. Instead, he returned to his previous roof, and stared crossly down at the city.

He gets to write articles denouncing me, gets to be on TV and ‘speak for the city’, and when do I get to defend myself? Never!

He stayed on the roof for a bit, waiting until the anger passed, and then swung away again.

*****

The World And Superhumanity by Anna D. Webb:

Spider-Man has had his detractors, of course. Some have had valid points to make, but others just spew nastiness. Although the last thing I want is to degenerate into petty name-calling, I do suspect that jealously motivates many of the critics. But, to be honest- I don’t blame them. A man who can shoot webs, stick to walls, hold up cars? Who most people know is one of the good guys? I would too be jealous.

On the 4th of May 2003 J. Jonah Jameson, editor of the Daily Bugle and one of Spider-Man’s biggest critics, gave an in-depth interview on the superhero and what he thought of him. Amongst all the pettiness, there were a few interesting points…

*****

Ursula Ditkovich’s diary, 3rd May 2003:

There’s an interview with one of the Spidey-hating newspaper guys on tomorrow.

Might watch that one.