Faith In Humanity -The Third Aftermath, part 2

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 Third Aftermath

June 19th, 2004, 4:22

Peter attempted to dress his wounds- he’d gotten pretty good at doing such things- and sat on the bed with MJ. The TV was still on, and MJ’s attention was almost entirely on that.

“When your parents get here, I’m going to leave,” he explained to her. “Would seem like too much of a coincidence, otherwise, me being here. Then I’ll come back in a hour or so. Okay?”

MJ nodded. “Sure,” she said flatly.

Peter tried to think of something to say, and nothing seemed right. So he just sat down, and watched the TV with her.

“The body has yet to be identified,” the British reporter was saying. She looked exhausted. “The man was carrying weapons, and a small glider similar to the one used by the Green Goblin two years ago. The police are trying to find Spider-Man, to question him, but there is of yet no sign…”

“We shouldn’t have left,” MJ said. She had a crumpled tissue in her hands, and was turning it over and over, ripping it to shreds. “We ran away…”

“No, we didn’t,” Peter said fiercely. He put his hand on her shoulder. He realised, with a grimace, that it hadn’t really hit him yet, that Harry was dead. He hoped and prayed that the pain would stay away. “It’ll be okay, MJ. I promise.”

“How can it be?” she almost shouted.

Peter didn’t answer. He looked out of the window, and saw a cab pulling up. “Your parents are here, MJ. I’ve gotta go. I’ll jump out of the window, go home, get changed, and meet you back here. Okay?”

She just stared up at him, and nodded ever so slightly.

“I love you,” he said, and left.

*****

June 19th, 2004, 4:23

Madeline Watson burst into the room. Her daughter was sitting on the bed, and although she was crying Madeline had never felt so relieved in her life.

“Mary!” she almost screamed, and ran across the room and hugged her. “Thank God,” she whispered. “Oh, thank god you’re alright…”

Phil stood in the doorway awkwardly.

“Mom, it’s alright,” MJ said, almost struggling out of her embrace. “It’s alright, I’m fine-”

“I thought I was going to watch you die,” Madeline said, and the last word was a dark, frightened hiss. “Oh, thank God you’re okay.” She let go of her, although slowly. Phil went to the TV and turned the volume down.

“What happened?” Madeline demanded, clasping her daughter’s hand. “How did you get there in the first place? Where’s Spider-Man now?”

MJ swallowed, and her eyes flicked to the window for just a second.

“I don’t know,” she said, very slowly. “And I got there ‘cos someone…kidnapped me. Cos they figure I mean something to Spider-Man, cos I was taken to the bridge that one time.” At that, the tears seemed to dry, if only a little, and she turned her face away.

Phil knew she was lying. When she lied she looked like him.

“Okay, sweetheart,” he said. “Okay.” The words sounded very wrong coming from him, even he could tell. He slumped down on a chair.

MJ started to cry again. She turned away from her parents, and went to the window.

“Someone died today,” she sobbed. “Right in front of me.”

“Oh, Mary-”

While Madeline attempted to comfort her daughter, Phil looked around the room. On the table, amongst neatly arranged photographs of friends and family- none of which he was in- there was a gold chain with a heart on the end. He picked it up.

“I gave you this,” he said.

MJ barely looked at him. “Yes,” she said. She walked away from the window again, and sat on the bed. She blew her nose on a tissue Madeline offered her. “Oh god. I need to…sleep or eat or something!” She was becoming hysterical. Madeline just stroked her hair.

“Oh, MJ,” she said sadly.

“Where’s Peter?” Phil asked.

MJ looked at him. For a few seconds. “He’ll come soon, I think,” she said. And then she leaned against her mother, and turned away from him.

*****

June 19th, 2004, 5:00

Upon getting home from the scene of the battle, J. Jonah Jameson had called an emergency meeting of the Bugle staff. Seven of them were now in his living room, and they were either slumped half-asleep on the sofas or looking at him with expressions that suggested they were ready to kill. John, too, was there.

“Right,” Jameson announced, not quite suceeding in keeping the glee out his voice. “Go over the facts, Robbie.”

Robbie sighed, stood up, and cleared his throat. “At around two am this morning, Mary Jane Watson was kidnapped and put in a taxi suspended in a web in mid-air. Her kidnappers- the Sandman, and an unnamed accomplice- challenged Spider-Man to a confrontation, presumably using her as bait. Spider-Man arrived not long after 2:30, fought with both of them, and then a while later- at about 3:05- another man showed up, riding a glider similar to the one used by the Green Goblin two years ago. Although it’s not confirmed yet, that man was probably Harry Osborn, son of the late Norman. The pair of them brought down and presumably killed the Sandman, and after that, we’re not quite sure.”

“Some people think they saw another man at some point,” Hoffman piped up, a coffee cup in hand. “On the higher levels.”

“Good, good,” Jameson said. “Carry on.”

“We do know, though, that Osborn- if it was him- was wounded at some point during the fight. He is now dead. Mary Jane Watson seemed to come out of the whole thing relatively unscathed, and was taken home by Spider-Man. Presumably she’s still there now. We don’t know where Spider-Man is, or what happened to the second attacker, although there doesn’t seem to be any trace of him. And…that’s pretty much it, I’m afraid.” Robbie sat down, with the dignity of a king. Jameson looked thoughtful.

“So whatever way you look at it, at least one person’s dead?”

“Yep.”

Jameson drummed his fingers on his desk, and then a grin broke out.

“I love the smell of tragedy in the morning,” he said, and took a drink from Hoffman’s coffee cup. There was a pause.

“Well, what are we all standing around here for?” he shouted joyously.  “It’s five in the morning, you lot should be in work by eight! You all meet me in the office in three hours, or you’re fired!” There were some muntinous mutterings from behind him, which he ignored. It was going to be a good day. “What are you waiting for? This story has everything! Spider-Man, at least two villains -one of whom is a giant sand monster- a damsel in distress, whom we can only hope someone got some good ass shots of- you people should be down on your knees thanking me for all this! Now get to work!”

People started to file, grumbling, from the room.

“Wait!” Jameson called. “Does anyone know where Parker is?”

“No,” Robbie said, and Hoffman shook his head.

“Kid’s been a goddamn punk lately. If you see him, tell him if he doesn’t have any photos he’s fired.”

“Will do, boss.”

Gradually, everyone left. Jameson grinned wildly, clapped his hands together, turned around- and saw John. He lowered his hands.

John folded his arms.

“Dad,” he said, “We really need to talk.”

“No we don’t.”

“I was in love with Mary Jane,” John said pointedly. “If you do anything to compromise her privacy or peace of mind you’ll have to answer to me. Come on, you should know this by now.”

“The woman knows Spider-Man,” Jonah shot back in reply. “It’s obvious now. If we want to get to him- find out who he is- we go through her.”

“And that makes you better than the Sandman how, exactly?”

Jameson folded his arms and smirked. “I don’t wear a mask.”

“Nor did he, Dad.”

Jameson considered that. “You’re right. Damn.” He paused for a moment. “But I have control over this newspaper, boy, and not you. You should stick to playing football on the moon. It’s what you’re good at.”

There was a silence. John looked away. Jameson went back to his desk-

“If you give even a damn about me,” John suddenly said, with steel in his voice, “you won’t hurt her.” He went to the door. “Come on. You’ve achieved so much success in life. You don’t want to be a bad parent.” The final sentence was spoken so fiercely that it geniunely shocked Jameson, and he was very hard to shock. He opened his mouth to speak, but no sound came out.

The door was thrown open, and John made his exit, marching determinedly down the corridor. Away from him. Jameson stared after him, his mouth open- and then he spoke.

“Come back, John,” he said irritably. “Come on. Let’s talk.”

******

June 19th, 2004, 5:29

The television was off. Phil and Madeline sat next to their daughter.

“Was Peter down in the crowd with us, MJ?” Madeline asked gently. “I didn’t see him.”

“He might have been trying to get in, to get to me.” MJ said. She had stopped crying now, although there was a deep sadness in her eyes. “I don’t know. But he’ll be here soon, I think.”

“I’m sorry we weren’t there,” Phil said. He was aware he sounded quite stupid. “To stop you gettin’ taken.”

“You couldn’t have stopped him,” MJ said darkly. She seemed very far away for a moment. “Only one person could, so he did.”

Phil looked at the heart on the chain, still lying discarded on the table.

“I would,” he muttered. “I’d have tried.”

There was a knock on the door. MJ ran to it.

“Peter!” she yelled.

“MJ,” Peter said, and hugged her tight. “Mrs and Mr Watson,” he said, once he let her go. He gave Madeline a smile, and Phil the briefest of nods. “MJ, what happened?”

MJ started up with the explanation Phil had already heard, so he turned away. He looked out of the window. Far away in the distance he thought he could see three or four helicopters, and lights, and suddenly it hit him, really hit him. She could have died.

“Thank God you’re safe,” he heard Peter say.

Yes, thank God, he thought. Then he sat down on the bed, watched his wife and daughter, and did nothing.

*****

June 20th, 2004:

Emma Marko stood at the door, staring out into the night.

“S’pose I should really thank you,” she said with a sigh.

Her husband appeared behind her. “For what?”

“For not killing,” she said, “when it really came down to it.”

“Couldn’t.”

“Yeah.”

Penny walked slowly down the stairs, and Emma went to help her. She lifted her down.

“Is Daddy going again?” Penny asked, as soon as her feet touched the floor.

“Yes, sweetheart, he is,” Emma said. “Away for a bit. To get you money, for your medicine. Properly, this time.”

“And you’ll come back,” Penny asked him, eyes wide. “Right?”

“Yes.” Flint Marko said.

Emma looked at him.

“And I swear to you, Penny, I won’t hurt anyone else. Not a soul.”

“I know,” Penny said thoughtfully.

Flint, Emma and Penny made their way to the back yard. It was quiet out there, apart from the odd siren in the distance.

“You won’t get caught?” Emma said, looking her husband up and down. “I mean- you know, Flint-”

“I won’t,” he said. “Promise.” Then he looked at Penny, dug about in his pocket, and produced a gold locket. “Look, Penny. I kept it.”

“I knew you would,” she said seriously. “When will you be back?”

“Soon,” he said. He paused. “See a Penny, pick it up, and all day long you’ll have good luck.” He reached forward, picked her up, and put her down again. “I’ll see you soon.”

He vanished into the air, all in one go, like a sandcastle crumbling. Penny stared at the space where he had been, half frowning and half smiling.

“He’ll be alright, won’t he?” she asked her mother.

“Yeah,” Emma said, looking in the same direction. “I think so.”