|posted on 5-May-2002 2:09:51 PM by Chrisken|
|TItle: All I have to give|
Author: Chris Kenworthy (chris⊕chriskweb.net)
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters, Stan Lee and Marvel comics keep them as slaves. But I let them out to play their games for me. ;-)
Spoilers: Well, the 2002 spiderman movie of course.
Author's notes: The movie is great, but it's crying out for a followup. So here's what I give you.
As twilight started to fall across the skylines of Manhattan, a masked and costumed figure waited nervously on a rooftop.
He was glad to be back to this. **I wouldn't have thought that my life could get MORE complicated after I dealt with the green goblin, but let's look at things. Half of the city probably still thinks I'm a criminal, not a hero. My roommate and best friend has just sworn that he's going to hunt down and kill Spiderman. And Mary Jane... oh, god -- the one girl that I've loved for practically all my life has finally decided that she likes me too, and I can't DO anything about it because if we were going out she'd be in even more danger than she's in now from just knowing me... oh, man...**
Everything seemed so much easier when he was Spiderman. No tricky social dilemmas, just a free license to use his super-abilities and a clear mission - to thwart all crime in a city of eight million people. **Well, not THAT easy I guess.** Actually, it didn't seem too hard right now, either. Everywhere he looked, the city was quiet. Well, not quiet, but peaceful. Everyone seemed to be getting along - a few arguments in the streets but nothing that really called out for superhero intervention.
Why was everything so calm? These people didn't care about his showdown with the Green Goblin - heck, most of them probably thought the Green Goblin was the good guy and Spiderman the bad'un. No, this must just be a slow day. It figured -- the one time he could really do with a little action and there wasn't so much as a pursesnatcher to be found on the whole west side.
As Peter Parker scanned the street beneath him one more time, an idle thought struck him. "Aunt May's still in the hospital... and visiting hours are over at nine. I need to remember to swing by there before it's too late."
For an instant, it occured to him to call off the day's stakeout and go to the hospital right away. After all, it didn't look like anything big was going to go down in the next few...
And that was when the gunshot rang out.
By the time Spiderman had run over to the far side of the building, where he could get a scene of the action, a crowd was already gathering. There was the hurt woman, collapsed on the payment over there. He noticed that she was dressed in a dark suit. And then there were the guys running for the alley. One of them was holding a guy, and the other, (who was running straight away from the shot woman, he had to have been within a few feet,) was clutching on to a small shiny briefcase.
It looked like the perfect time for Spiderman to *swing* into action. (Pun intended.)
Shoot out a web out to the top corner of that office building, judge the distances carefully... (and Harry told him that trig would never be important in real life...) That exhilerating sensation of flight filled Peter Parker as he swung down on the web until he was flying only a few feet above the asphalt of the dark alley, then rising into the air again. As the pendulum effect slowly brought Spider-man's body to a halt in midair, he shot out another spider-line to a telephone pole ahead of him, an elastic one so it yanked him up higher into the air (he'd been working on that trick,) and broke loose of the older one so the he swung forward into the air again.
The fugitives, on foot, hadn't been making nearly as good time as he had, and they were just ahead. They hadn't looked back to notice him once.
The set-up was too good to pass by. Spidey let fly a nice big mess of tangling web as he zoomed by, catching one of the suspects, (the one with the gun,) completely off guard. He was rooted to the ground, his weapon arm entirely entangled to his side, before he knew what hit him. Peter swung in to perch on a nearby tool shed and webbed the poor guy from the other side, just for good measure, making sure to seal up his mouth and leave his nose free. One down, one to go.
By this time, the other shadowed figure had figured out that something had happened to his partner. He turned around and spotted something, probably just a dark shape against the moonlight, and gasped. "Oh, no."
Peter couldn't help but laugh as he shot a line of web at the second man, but he gasped in surprise when the guy managed to dodge it - and the second. He tried a wider sweep, but the target ducked back between a street lamp and a telephone pole and the webbing spread out between the two vertical beams. Mister smarty-pants took cover behind the street lamp and when he came out again, it was with a gun coughing out hot lead. Peter had to use his spider-agility to duck and dodge the bullets, tried shooting a web back, but the gunman took cover again and then started carefully angling for his next shot.
"The heck with this!" Impatiently, Peter leapt for the telephone pole, determined to close the range of this struggle. Hand-to-hand, his spider-srength would make short work of this joker.
He paused only a second to re-orient before leaping at the criminal, but that was apparently enough. Wiseguy snuck out of the way as Spider-man zoomed at him, and then an arm reached out to slightly change the course of the figure in the red, blue, and black costume. Next thing Peter knew, he had crashed headfirst into a metal fence. Superhero or not, that *hurt!!*
But he knew he couldn't afford the self-pity of groaning over his pain. Quickly he jumped back to attention, taking a moment to survey the competition. Fortunately, unlike the Goblin, this punk didn't seem to have any kind of super-strength, but he was obviously a whiz at some kind of jujitsu stuff. Turning an enemy's momentum against him, and so forth. Spider-man would have to be careful...
And then, blindingly, the solution hit him. Quickly he jetted out another spray of spider-webbing. As before, the gunman dodged - and collided head-first into the burnt-out street lamp he had been using for cover before. While he was dazed, Peter took advantage of the opportunity to tie him up.
"Back away from the suspect, Spider-man!!"
Peter groaned and turned towards the voice. "Who are you?"
"My name is Whitman, and I'm a plainclothes FBI agent." In the dimness Peter's enhanced senses could now make out the dark-suited figure moving a gun back and forth between the two trussed-up captives, and also brandishing what seemed to be a police badge of some kind in a wallet.
Peter sighed. "Have you got some kind of beef with me, Agent Whitman?"
"Not at all," the man nodded. "But I've been tailing these jokers for two days and one of them just shot my partner. If you do not move away from the perps then you *will* be interfering in a federal operation, Mister Spider Man."
Peter knew when to give up gracefully. "Sure." He backed away. "I don't suppose I could take a closer look at your badge, Agent? Just out of curiosity."
Whitman tossed his wallet into the air. Peter caught it and looked at it a moment. Federal Bureau of Investigation, field agent first class. He didn't know jack about such things, but it looked real to him. "Satisfied?" Whitman barked out.
Peter shrugged. "Sure," and tossed it back to him.
"You'd never have caught us, Mulder, if it hadn't been for him," one of the 'perps' taunted. Probably the second - there hadn't been time to seal his mouth off yet.
"Probably not tonight, but eventually," Whitman muttered, apparently not willing to give Spiderman *too* much credit.
"After tonight, wouldn't make no more diff..." At this point, the perp suddenly seemed to realize the virtue of his right to remain silent.
"By the way, what are they wanted for?" Peter asked Whitman. "Aside from shooting your partner, I mean -- and I hope she'll be alright."
"Smuggling," he bit off. "And that's all you need to know, really. I appreciate you trying to help, Spiderman, but go dangle from your web somewhere else, alright?"
Well! Nothing like a polite brushoff, from this guy, at any rate. Peter didn't say anything - he just shot off a nice, high-tension line and let it carry him up above the rooftops. And then he remembered aunt may and started looking around, figuring out which direction would take him to the hospital.
May Parker was awake and fidgeting when Peter finally walked into her room. "Aunt May!" Peter asked her. "Is everything all right?"
She smiled warmly at him. "Peter! It's so good to see you. I'm afraid that I have a touch of the cabin fever. The good news is, the doctors say I will be able to to go home the day after tomorrow."
"That's great, Aunt May," Peter said, bringing up a chair next to the bed. "Is there anything you need? Some more juice or something..."
"What I would like..." May interrupted in her quiet, calm voice, "is if you could read to me? The Hospital chaplain was able to find a copy of my favorite book." She waved up in the direction of a small case of shelves in the corner of the room.
Peter got up, went over to the bookcase, and found the lonely beaten-up paperback. "'Catcher in the rye?' I never knew that!"
"Oh, yes, I've had a weakness for Salenger since 'Catcher' first came out. I was fourteen, you know." She shook her head. "Your old, old Aunt May."
Peter smiled. It was true that Uncle Ben had been a good number of years older than Peter's parents, and May had a few years on Ben, so she was a little older than would be expected for a mother figure. But she was still the closest thing to a mother that Peter had ever known. He sat back down in his chair. "Should I get started?"
"By all means."
"The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salenger." Peter turned pages until the story proper began. "'If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like...'"
* * * * *
It was after eleven by the time Peter was finally climbing up the stairs to his apartment. He hadn't stopped reading from 'Catcher' until Aunt May had fallen asleep, and by that time Peter himself was tired enough to just catch a bus crosstown rather than go Spidey and cover the distance via rooftop and webslinging. He wondered idly if Harry would be home, and what kind of mood he might be in.
He wasn't prepared for what he was when he rounded the last turn in the staircase. A figure sitting curled up next to the apartment door, with that familiar mane of red hair... "Mary Jane?"
She looked up, and her brilliant smile lasered into Peter's heart for an instant before she forced a more muted expression onto her face. "Hi, Peter... I hope you don't mind, but I needed to see a friend." She paused. "I can go, if it's a bad time, or anything..."
"No, MJ," Peter assured her, walking up the stairs as Mary Jane stood up. "It's okay, come on in." He tried the doorknob, (locked, so probably Harry wasn't around,) and quickly slid his key into the lock. "Is there anything you wanted to talk about?"
"Not particularly." Mary Jane quickly headed into the small living room, taking a seat on the couch next to the window and, like she always did, staring out at the lights of new york city for a few moments. Peter closed the front door and sat in one of the old chairs, turning it to face the couch. "I got a callback today!" MJ shared, turning back from the night skyline to smile at Peter again.
It took about a second for her words to click through, and then he did a double-take. "Oh, my god! A callback? For what?!"
"A funky off-Broadway play about a girl from a gang who falls in love with a mental patient," Mary Jane explained with a giggle. "From what I've seen, it's an *amazing* script."
"Wow!!" Peter exclaimed.
"Now... I'm not trying out for the female lead," MJ disclaimed quickly, "and there's still no way of telling whether I'll actually get the part..."
"But you made the first cut, right?" Peter prompted, and Mary Jane nodded. "Well, that sounds like a reason for celebrating to me!" He stood up, spreading his arms wide. MJ copied his move, smiling shyly.
And then it hit him. Ever since Peter had become friends with Mary Jane after graduation, he would have tried to steal a hug or a familiar gesture at any reasonable chance. But now the rules of their relationship had changed. Mary Jane would probably have happy to give him a hug - or more. It was his job to keep things from going over the line.
"Congratulations!" He slapped Mary Jane's hand lightly in a clumsy high-five which she hadn't been expecting, then brought his hand back and held it out in front of her. "On the rebound!" She high-fived him back, but the expression on her face was about as subtle as a train wreck. He had hurt her feelings -- again.
"So, um..." Peter sheepishly took his seat again. "Gotta love these awkward moments... good luck on the callback."
"Thanks, Peter," Mary Jane said, fighting back a sniff of sadness. "So... um, have you seen Spider-man? Since the whole mess with the Green Goblin, you know?"
"Umm..." Caught by surprise at the sudden shift in topics, Peter had to think for a moment to come up with an appropriate response. "Yeah, he swung by earlier this evening. Wanted to know if I wanted to go take some pictures of his latest escapade, but I... um," the completion came to him after a short moment, "but I didn't have my camera with me!!"
"Oh, okay." Mary Jane smiled. "Good to know he's still looking out for all of us, did he mention what was up for tonight?"
"I... uh, you know, I don't think he knew. But when I was heading over to the hospital I heard some people talking about him having helped catch a pair of smugglers."
"Ooh, cool!" Mary Jane beamed again, and for a second Peter thought he saw something... something he wasn't quite sure what in her face. It seemed like it was subtly important... and then he had lost it.
"So, um..." Peter decided to make a try to change the subject. "I'm... I'm famished, are you hungry? I could whip us up some english muffin pizzas or something."
"I'll have a few," MJ decided, "on one condition. You have to let me help out."
* * * * *
The scene: a palatial underground suite.
"Where *are* they?" a high-ranking underling muttered softly. Almost as if that was a signal, wide double-doors opened across the room and a two-bit hood was PUSHED violently into the room. Gulping with nervousness at facing the high-ranking mobsters that were gathered, the messenger screwed up all his courage and hurried over to the knot of important people waiting.
"Um, excuse me, sirs... that is, I got news about Dick an' Charlie."
The most important of the important people made a small gesture with his left hand and suddenly the hubbub that was starting about the existence of new information was squashed flat. There was not a sound in that room - no-one breathed louder than a sigh, and no-one shuffled their feet. You could have heard a penny drop in that room loud and clear - if anyone had been disrespectful enough to drop a penny when the Boss asked for silence.
"Go on," was all the boss said to the least of his henchmen.
"Umm... they been collared, Dick and Charlie wuz," the hood said, obviously embarassed about the way he was talking but unable to change under pressure. "A Federal undercover agent took them in just an hour ago. Charlie, he shot the G-man's partner while they were trying to get away, a woman agent."
"Hmmm..." the mob boss weighed this information for a few moments. "Vincent, get a few mouthpieces down to wherever my boys are being held. Above all, find out what they did to my merchandise." A lieutenant nodded suavely and headed for a nearby door.
"There... There's something else!" the hood burst out before Vincent could leave. "Dick and Charlie... it wasn't just the 'federale' that caught them!!" This got him the attention of every crimelord in the place. "I, um, that is... the word on the street is..."
"Yes?" the big boss prompted. "What's the word on the street?"
"It was the Spider-man who actually caught them!!"
A few pained expressions crossed the face of some of the organized crime managers, carefully hidden from their leader, just as they had been hiding the minor ways that Spiderman had been hurting their operations until they could figure out what to do about it. As far as the Big Cahuna, he just assumed a pensive expression.
He was huge, incredibly massive even when sitting down, impeccably dressed in white. "So, the spider-man, hmm?" the man known to criminals the world over as the Kingpin mused.
To be continued...