Faith In Humanity -The Second Aftermath, 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
The Second Aftermath, part 4

June 4th 2004:

After class one day, Peter found himself sitting in a cafe with Gwen Stacey, his lab partner. Only months ago he would never have pictured himself doing something as simple as sitting drinking coffee with someone, and it was fantastic, the freedom he felt. Halfway into the conversation he was having with Gwen, he realised he was grinning a little too much and toned it down: he didn’t want her getting the wrong impression.

“Connors is great,” Gwen was saying cheerfully. She was on her second chocolate brownie.

“He’s a very good teacher,” Peter agreed.

“How’d he lose his arm?”

“War, I think.”

“Wow,” Gwen said thoughtfully. She took a sip of coffee, and changed the subject. “Thanks for agreeing to help me out in class, Peter.”

“It’s nothing,” Peter said. “I used to…” He was going to say used to help my best friend out, back in high school, but then he remembered he didn’t have a best friend anymore. “I used to help people out all the time.”

“You’re sure you don’t mind?”

Peter shook his head. “You’re not bad at science, you know.”

“Oh, I am,” she said, still cheerfully. “I was always more into drama, that sort of thing. I’m gonna be a model.” She bit into her brownie. “But…a different kind of model, you know. The sort that can eat chocolate, and isn’t a ditz. I guess that’s kinda why I took science in the first place.”

“Because it’s not ditzy?” Peter asked. He quite liked Gwen. Any would-be model who still ate tons of chocolate gained points right away in his book, for being sensible. “Right?”

“Actually, it was kinda because my dad thought it was a good idea,” Gwen admitted. “But I don’t mind it. You love it, right?”

“Yeah.”

Gwen finished off her brownie, and licked her fingers. “So…let’s hear about you, huh? You got a girlfriend?”

“Yeah,” Peter said. He watched her reaction, but she really was geniunely just being friendly, not prying for information. “She’s great,” he said dreamily, and then snapped back to reality. “What about you, you got anyone?”

“Kinda,” she said. “I went out with this guy few nights ago. I thought it was just a bit of fun, but he sort of took it…more serious.” She looked away for a minute, and then cheerfully took a sip of coffee. “I guess that’s a no, really. Haven’t got anyone.” She changed the subject. “Thanks so much for helping me, Pete.”

“Really, it’s no problem.”

“I know, but thanks.” She flashed him a smile, and downed her coffee. “I should really go now. My dad…can get worried.” She gave a little grin. “He’s kinda overprotective.”

“Oh, don’t worry,” Peter reassured her. “I’ll see ya in class, alright?”

“Yeah,” she said. She put her jacket on, and gave him a little wave. “Thanks so much! See you tomorrow.” And she was gone.

Peter still had half a cup of coffee to finish, so he went to get a newspaper to read. He picked one out completely at random- it was the New York Times, and it had a very interesting interview in it. He read the first few lines, and beamed in a positively triumphant manner.

Then he ordered more coffee, and settled down to read.

*****

Ursula Ditkovich’s Diary, June 5th 2004:

Still feel kinda low, you know. I don’t know why. I mean, these days, I even get along with my father better, quite a bit better, probably cos he went out and got a proper job and we have a bit of money now. But I feel low in the sense that I should be Doing Something With My Life. I want to be a writer so bad. Sometimes I think I might even be good at it. But I’ve done nothing so far. In a month or so I won’t even be a teenager anymore. It will be my 20th birthday on the 10th of July.

But. But…something kinda happened recently. After that whole thing with someone trying to get into Peter’s room, the man I offered cake to, I went and told Peter what had happened and he said something to me. Something like, you keep making cakes, they’re good stuff. And I have this weird feeling like he was trying to tell me something.

*****

June 4th 2004:

“You’re late,” MJ said. This was indeed true: Peter had meant to meet MJ at the park at 4am, but had instead gotten sidetracked by the newspaper article. He quickly dismissed it. “Sorry,” he said. “Didn’t mean to leave you waiting.” MJ gave an understanding smile, and took his hand.

“How was your day?” she asked.

“Oh, not bad. Sort of same as always, I guess.”

“Save anyone?”

“This morning I prevented a mugging.”

MJ smiled, but there was a certain tightness behind it, and then she said, “Peter, I’m worried about John.”

“You are?”

“I…he’s sent me all these emails, and my mom says he just keeps phoning.” She looked down at the ground. “I wrote back…I said he could come to my play if he wanted…but that was all I said. I don’t know what to do…I can’t go meet him, Peter,” She blinked. “Not after I hurt him so bad.”

“What are you worried about, MJ?” Peter asked.

“That he’ll never forgive me.”

Peter hugged her. “Oh, MJ…he will. How on earth couldn’t he?”

MJ hugged back, but Peter didn’t see that tears were beginning to escape her eyes. And he didn’t notice even after she had let go of him, because the interview that sang his praises was still working its way round and round his head.

The world they’re living in, it’s a different place because of me…

*****

June 5th 2004:

Harry sat alone in the room he now called the workshop, an almost-finished mask in his hands. It looked quite good. He was spray-painting it green.

“That girl who was here,” said his father’s voice.

Harry ignored him, and finished the painting.

“Reminded me of your mother. Gold-digger. Remember. You have bad taste in women.” His voice was snide. “People like your mother, oh, they’re capable of unforgiveable things. Don’t you see that girl again.”

“I won’t.”

“Tell me, how do you feel about Peter Parker now?”

He paused. He didn’t know, he had never known, but he had to say something.

“I hate him.”

“Good.”

He put the mask down on the table, wandered through to the main room, and took Emily’s portrait down. He had one of his father to hang up in its place.

*****

The New York Times, Interview with the Train Passengers, June 2004:

As the train passengers get up to leave, all of them shake hands politely, but I can’t help sensing a sort of disquiet in the air. I don’t know why. They’re all alive, which is the main thing, and Spider-Man is these days widely hailed as a hero. When I mention this to Eleanor, she just shakes her head.

“I don’t know. I can’t explain it.” she says, “It’s just that…back when I made the decision to settle down and start a family, three years ago, I never imagined that one day, me and my youngest child would be saved from certain death by a man with spider-powers.” She gives a little smile. “It’s just…men with spider-powers, people with metal arms…I guess maybe people are still wary about where they stand. I mean…the world has changed so much. I just hope nothing terrible comes of it.”

*****

June 6th 2004:

A young man leaned against the side of the Daily Bugle offices-his new workplace- reading a copy of The New York Times. He was rather unremarkable. Blond hair, leather jacket- no-one even gave him a second glance. He had his reporter’s notebook in hand. His camera was around his neck, but he didn’t need it for now. His pen hovered over the notebook paper.

It’s just…men with spider-powers, people with metal arms…I guess maybe people are still wary about where they stand. I mean…the world has changed so much.

The young man scrawled the quote in his notebook. He collected things like that. He always used to watch the news from his sofa with a notebook in hand, but then he’d hit hard times and had had to sell the TV.

Never mind, I’ll get it back soon enough. And other stuff. And maybe I’ll ask that gorgeous blonde Gwen out. She’s bound to say yes.

He read over what he’d just noted down. One more little thing for his own little archive. He felt pretty good.

Eddie Brock folded the newspaper into his backpack, and continued on down the street, noting down the last words of the article:

I just hope nothing terrible comes of it.