AUTHORS NOTE: Hi everyone! Thank you so much for reading. This piece has been a long time coming, a few months of plotting and carefully planning with a close friend, feliciahardy on tumblr. We decided to write a collaborative Fanfiction, formulated after a long few years of roleplaying with one another. We absolutely love Spider-man, preferably The Amazing Spider-man franchise, and so we decided to write what happens after TASM2, following closely the story of Mary Jane and Peter. Primarily I will voice Mary Jane, and Melanie will voice Peter. We hope you enjoy!
TRIGGER WARNINGS: This features violence and attempted rape.
voiced by mia
Mary Jane Watson is stubborn. For instance: when her hair tie breaks, she very meticulously ties the rubbery ends together in an eye drop knot and continues to use it instead of getting a new one. When she's locked out of the house (as she has been many times), she shimmies through the thumb-sized kitchen window instead of going next door to fetch the spare – the one that May kept safe for her. And when her boss asks her to stick around for the graveyard shift? Knowing that she'd have to walk twelve blocks, alone, in the peaking dangerous hours of the New York City night afterward?
Well, MJ thought she was tough enough – of course she did. But even with her warm, black pea-coat wrapped around her diminishing torso (she likes the term starving artist, but the fact remained that she really is just poor and very starving), she shivers in the late November air after her shift ends. It bites and nibbles at the exposed parts of her ivory skin, but not nearly enough to be the cause of the nervous tremors down her spine. The city streets are too... quiet. She can hear each clack of her healed boots against the sidewalk, each shaking breath she pulls into her constricted lungs. Anxiety. This isn't safe. She knows it isn't safe, and she would've refused the offer earlier, had her pockets not been horrendously empty after her recent head shot purchases.
MJ needed a full portfolio – something that made her seem more professional in acting auditions, instead of "Hi, I'm Mary Jane Watson, a no one from no where who's been in absolutely nothing. Pick me?". So, she'd sacrificed what little cash she'd had to get them, and begged for whatever extra shifts she could pick up at the diner – even the ones that no one else wanted (graveyards, specifically). And with May busy with her new hospital work, MJ no longer had a walking/subway buddy to one up the safe factor.
She'd seen Peter Parker in the diner earlier, as she usually did once or twice every few weeks. When she saw him today, it was only an hour before MJ's shift ended, too, which would have mattered in an alternative universe – one in which friendships stayed firmly in tact. She almost asked him to wait for her tonight, to walk her home – like they were still ten years old, holding hands to go down to the school bus stop in Queens. Almost. But, instead, her words had caught in her throat, much like they had the day of Gwen Stacy's dark and sudden funeral. Over a year ago now, wasn't it?
And so MJ didn't ask him. And Peter didn't say hello. And MJ didn't say goodbye when he finished his coffee, slinging a backpack over his shoulder and sweeping out of the restaurant. He didn't look back through the glass panels to look at her, as MJ always looked out at him. Maybe he was too preoccupied. Too busy. Too uninterested.
Just like always.
"What the hell do you know about it, MJ? Get out of here, now." He'd yelled at her, two days after Gwen's funeral. But MJ hadn't left at his request; how could she have ever left him there to set himself on fire, even if she scorched what little she had left of herself in the process? Instead of relenting, she just sat in complete silence on his bedroom floor with him, and while he broke things and cried and cursed at her – she didn't leave. It'd been the last time they'd communicated with one another, and still, regardless of Peter's distance, she was glad she'd never left that night.
It was something. Even if they are nothing but passing ships now.
MJ hears a few alarming shattering sounds in the distance, so she focuses her attention on counting the blackened slabs of gum carelessly stuck to the ground instead of watching her surroundings. It'd become a sort of coping mechanism – to shut it all out and zero in on something mind numbing and insignificant. Like when her father got drunk, or the auditions turned into "constructive criticism" battles on her height, hair, weight, voice, skin, or mannerisms. If her mind is numb and preoccupied enough, maybe she won't hate herself so much in the morning.
"Hey, little red." The voice is arrogant, snarling, and directed towards her back. MJ doesn't dare turn around to regard it – she quickens her pace, and keeps counting. Thirty nine... Forty... Forty one...
"We're talking to you, bitch." A different voice. Quickening footsteps, following her. Faster MJ. Forty five, forty six, forty seven, forty eight.
MJ immediately drops her purse to the sidewalk, surrendering the very small amount of money she has left. She'd read an article once that said if you just give it up immediately, you can avoid an altercation – especially for preyed upon females. Throw what they're probably after away from your body, let them give up their pursuit to fetch it, and run. So, MJ begins to run as fast as she can.
And she hears the footsteps run after her. Oh, God.
Panicking, MJ finally takes in her surroundings, searching for a safe haven. No shops open, no bodies occupying the streets, nothing. The full car lot that she's quickly coming up on sparks her intuition – maybe someone is still sitting in their car, or she can set off one of the alarms to at least wake someone up or get attention. She breaks into a dead sprint for the lot, purposely bumping into every vehicle she can in the hopes that something will happen.
Nothing does. She catches her hip at a strange angle on a Honda, and topples over onto the blacktop.
"Grab her!" MJ hears one of them say, and she rolls over on her stomach, desperately clambering to get away from them before he makes good on the other's demand. That is when a steel toed boot connects to her rib cage. MJ begins to scream frantically, begging, praying that someone will hear her. Someone will come, won't they? This can't be how she dies. This can't be it.
"Shut up, bitch!" One of them hoists her to her feet as another slaps her across the mouth, hard. She tastes the coppery metallic of blood right before he hits her again, this time getting her square in the temple. Her vision blurs and blacks, but she recovers quickly, focusing. She needs to stay alert, she needs to keep fighting. She's used to getting slapped around a good bit because of her drunk father, but when the two men begin tearing at her coat and clothing, a new fear rises bile in the back of her throat. This is not something she is used to. Oh God, please. Please no. MJ screams again, a sound of pure horror, as she kicks and punches recklessly and aimlessly at their bodies. They'd gotten her coat off and tore off three of her waitress uniform buttons.
And then he is there, swinging from a building. Spider-man.
It happens very quickly. A blur of red and blue, groans and grunts, webbing sprouted and tangled, restricting MJ's unconscious assailants against the pavement. She watches with wonder in her eyes, sitting beside her ruined coat and panting – shocked and... amazed. She could be dead, or so much worse. She could have been violated. She could have been...
"Are you alright?" Spider-man finally regards her, holding out his hands with his palms up. MJ can tell by the slow way he walks towards her that he's trying not to scare her – she probably looks like a wild animal; green eyes wide, small body shaking, blood trickling from her lip.
"I'm..." She tries to speak, but it comes out a raspy whisper. She doesn't know how she is, really. Her chest feels tight and it hurts to breathe – something has to be wrong with her ribs. But, besides her aching body, it feels surreal. She's in a state of indecipherable shock, body frozen onto the lot beneath her. She'd been seconds from something heinous, seconds, and now? Spider-man is standing above her, the truest symbol of nonchalant heroism. Had he even broken a sweat, defending her honor?
"Bleeding," he finishes for her, holding out his gloved hand for her to take. MJ hesitates, distrusting on principle, but takes it anyway. It is Spider-man, after all. He very carefully pulls her to her wobbling feet, both of them standing face to masked face. She'd never been this close to Spider-man before; it's strange, to see him as a person instead of some masked vigilante. He's real, he's tangible. He's breathing, speaking he just saved her life.
He saved her.
"What hurts? I think I should take you to the hospital," He reaches out to touch the blood on her lip, but when MJ flinches from him, he drops his hand. He doesn't let the moment stay awkward, though – he tries again. "Hasn't anyone ever told you to use the buddy system?" he adds, a smile in his voice, though MJ can't see it. He sounds so familiar, like she'd heard him speak before. Maybe she had.
MJ lets out a breathy laugh. "Aren't you New York's buddy system?"
He takes a dramatic bow. "Just your friendly neighborhood, Mary Jane."
MJ furrows her eyebrows. "How did you know my..."
"Name tag." He points to the badge pinned to her ruined uniform.
"Oh, right," MJ looks down at it, noticing how exposed she really is now. The missing buttons have left her chest bare, the top of her white lacy bra peeking out. She pushes the fabric together, trying to cover herself.
Spider-man shoots webbing from his wrist, retrieving her coat and flinging it into his hands. "Here." He says, pulling it over her shoulders. It's torn in a few places and some of the buttons are missing, but MJ feels better with it draped across her. She tries not to think about how much she'd paid for it.
"Don't mention it," he shrugs. "So, how about a ride to the hospital? Think you can make the trip?"
MJ smirks at him. "Don't tell me that Spider-man has a spider-mobile."
"Nah, I prefer the Tarzan lifestyle," he sarcastically teases her, and MJ realizes just how young Spider-man has to be. He can't be much older than her, can he? His voice is so young, so lightly playful. "Do you mind heights? Or, you know, carelessly swinging from building to building?"
"I think... I'll be okay. But, no hospitals. No insurance..." She trails off a bit awkwardly, clearing her throat as she averts her eyes to the black leather of her boots. "'Sides, my Aunt – I mean, my neighbor, is kind of a nurse. I can ask her to take a look at me tomorrow, free of charge. You know, when the vampires and ghouls aren't out to play."
He gives her the satisfaction of a chuckle, and MJ smiles in response. There's something very honest about his laughter, like he doesn't just hand it out for free. "What are you doing out here so late, anyway?" He has such an easy way of being personable, something MJ has never quite mastered.
"Late shift. I work at a 24 hour diner. Not exactly glamorous, but I need something to put in my purse," and then MJ groans, remembering her failed surrender. "Which, I guess means nothing now. I tried to give it up in hopes that they'd just take it and go. Turns out they weren't after..." She trails off again, a horrified tremor shaking her spine.
"No one to walk you? Not a coworker?" He asks her. "A diner regular that you trust, maybe?"
"No one," MJ reiterates, pushing wildfire hair out of her eyes. A nervous habit.
Spider-man pauses, regarding her for a second. It's perplexing – maybe that's why she's so nervous now. She isn't sure what he's trying to decide, but it seems that he'd made up his mind when he speaks again. "Can I put my arm around you, Mary Jane? Just here?"
MJ takes a breath, regards himcarefully, and then finally, she nods. She has to trust him now – after all, he's the most trusted man in New York City (unless you believe J. Jonah Jameson). If she can't trust him, who can she trust? He very tentatively puts an arm around her middle, pulling her in close to him. He smells like wind and city streets, and a tinge of soap that makes her feel comforted, oddly enough. He's human, underneath the red and blue spandex. Someone capable of hatred, violence, and sinister maliciousness. Yet here he is, holding onto her like a balloon string – delicately, like she'll float away any moment.
She has a feeling she's about to, anyway.
"Hold on," he mumbles, before shooting a web up high, higher than she can see, and then they're off like lightning. Soaring into the late New York City air, MJ is breathless, emerald eyes wide and mouth ghastly slacken. It's exhilarating, it's terrifying. It's beautiful, the skyscraper lights sparkling like a thousand colored stars below her boots, and the city sounds so small – like echoes of a distant world she no longer belongs to. She holds on to him tighter as they swing from the buildings, bodies flinging and swaying with the gusts. It's hard to get used to the snapping sensation, when one swing ends and another begins. She supposes Spider-man has a lot of practice.
On the way there, he shoots a web to the ground and flings something small and rectangular back up to their bodies. It's MJ's purse. She clutches it in the hand that drapes around Spider-man's neck, smiling warmly to herself. He'd saved her purse.
She shouts her address to him (shouting seemed necessary), and it feels like no time at all that she's on her front walkway, windblown and knees shaking with the free falling style of flight. MJ supposes they weren't that far to begin with, anyway – not in flying standards, at least.
"Anybody home?" he immediately asks her, slowly and gently releasing her frame.
"Not tonight. I'm sure my dad is... out," she chooses, instead of drunk off his ass with his head smothered against a bar.
"Do you need help up the stairs? Can I get you anything?" Spider-man trails after her a bit gallantly as she walks towards her home, arms folded over her ribcage. It aches and feels tight in all the wrong places. Something has to be wrong there.
"I think you've saved me enough for one day." She lazily smirks over her shoulder at him. "But thank you."
With her hand on the doorknob and her purse strung across her chest, MJ looks back at him again. He seems to be lingering, that same perplexing silence stretching between them where she wonders, endlessly, what face could be beneath the mask. What person takes care of him in the middle of the night? Who does he go home to? Why does he care to dedicate his life to heroism, instead of fame, power, and money? Surely a man, with whatever it is that he has, can do something more than rescue strangers all day, especially with all the endless backlash for it that he endures.
Yet here he is, walking a perfect stranger to her front door. Just to make sure that she's safe.
"Goodnight, Mary Jane," he finally says, and flings himself back into the air.
MJ stands on her front porch, watching him disappear into the darkness.