Spoilers for Spider-man 2. I hope you enjoy!
Richard Anderson didn't talk much about that day on the train. Sure, he told his wife some of the details but otherwise he kept it to himself. He replayed the events over in his mind late at night and smiled to himself. He knew who Spider-man was.
Well, he knew what he looked like at least. Although he wasn't sure he'd recognize him if he saw him again. He'd tried to hang on to the memory of his face but sometimes he wondered if his mind had altered the image, embellished upon it, over the last year and a half.
He focused on that day again. After Spider-man had saved them all on that elevated train, he passed out. And that's when all the passengers came in for a closer look. And there he was, just a boy, probably half his own age. Shortly after he came to and put on his mask, Doc Ock returned. He captured him in his weakened state and the two of them were gone. Then he and the rest of the people on the train were alone for about 45 minutes while a team of fire fighters rescued them.
While they were stranded on the train, one tough-looking young man not much older than Spider-man himself, said to all the passengers, "Look. Anyone says anything about this, anyone says we saw Spider-man's face, then I'm gonna find you. I know people, I can find out where you live and I will hunt you down. So you better not tell nobody, not the police, not your friends, not even yourself, that you saw Spider-man without his mask. Spider-man don't need any more trouble. So if I find out you've been talkin' I will make you wish you never were born."
Richard wasn't sure if that the man was telling the truth or just trying to scare them into silence. But it didn't matter. He wasn't going to tell anyone. And he assumed that no one else on the train was going to tell either. Not that it would really matter. All he could say was that he was an ordinary boy, Caucasian with brown hair and blue eyes and in his early twenties. That description must fit half a million people living in New York.
As far as he knew, no one on the train spoke a word of Spider-man's unmasking. Every time Richard saw a news report of Spider-man he smiled to himself. That man was truly incredible. He'd risked his life so often and survived so much. But Richard also knew he was one of the few who'd seen his face and that made him feel special.
Life went on for Richard. He commuted every morning by train, spent his day at the office, and then returned home to his wife and two young children. But sometimes when he was at the office he'd stare out the window and imagine what it was like to be that young boy, swinging through the city, saving the world. Richard thought that he'd never see that man again. At least never see him again without the mask. But he was wrong.
One evening, the company he worked for held a gala at the local art museum to celebrate the new exhibit they had sponsored. A wing of the museum was reserved for the reception. Richard never really liked these corporate functions, but he attended anyways. He grew weary of the dull talk over champagne and caviar. His co-workers bragged about their sports cars and kissed up to the boss. Richard needed air. He made his way to the entrance of the museum, passed the security guards and a few other individuals, mostly people who had gone outside for a cigarette. That's when he noticed a familiar looking boy. At first he couldn't remember how he knew him. And then it dawned on him. It was Spider-man.
Richard told himself that he must be mistaking. But he couldn't help getting a closer look. The boy was arguing with two of the security guards, trying to get access into the museum.
"Please, I need to get into the museum. I left my press pass at home. You've got to believe me," the boy pleaded.
"No one gets in without credentials. That's the rules," the guard insisted, staring at the boy menacingly with his arms crossed.
"I'm a photographer for the Daily Bugle. If I don't get a couple pictures of the ceremony my boss is going to kill me. I mean, he really will. Please, please let me in."
"No. Without an invitation or proper credentials we can't let you in," the guard replied.
"Isn't there anyone else I could talk to? You could call the office at the Daily Bugle. They'll back me up…" the boy was interrupted as Richard Anderson made his way over.
"He's with me," Richard declared as he took his invitation and business card out of the wallet in his coat pocket. "I'm Richard Anderson, Assistant Vice President, and this young man will by my guest this evening."
The two security guards were speechless. Richard took the boy by the arm and escorted him inside before the guards could protest.
"Thank you, sir," said the boy who seemed a bit surprised by what had just happened.
"No problem. My wife couldn't make it tonight and it'd be a shame to let a perfectly good invitation go to waste. So what's your name?"
"Peter Parker," the boy replied. "I work for the Daily Bugle."
"Really? Do you forget your press pass often?" Richard asked. He was still trying to decide if this was the same boy he saw on the train. This boy seemed disheveled and a bit absent-minded, hardly the characteristics of a superhero. Yet he seemed to remember thinking the same thing that day on the train. There was something about this boy that was oddly familiar.
"Yeah, I left it in my other coat," answered Peter.
Richard nodded, "I see." The two of them made their way down the museum corridors. Richard decided that if he was going to find out if he was right he would have to do it soon. "You know, I don't really like the Daily Bugle. It says a lot of stuff about Spider-man that I really don't appreciate."
He noticed Peter was attempting to stifle a smile, "Oh, well I don't really agree with it either. I just take pictures for them. It pays the bills."
"You know, Spider-man saved me once. I was on a train and he stopped it from going off the tracks. He saved me and a lot of other people that day. I've always wanted to thank him for that," Richard added. He noticed that Peter's eyes widened and his face grew pale at the mention of the train. But maybe he was just imagining the reaction. Richard still couldn't decide whether it really was him or not.
"Oh, that's great," Peter stuttered, unsure of how to reply.
"Well, this is the reception," said Richard as he pointed toward a crowd of people surrounding several impressionist paintings.
"Thank you so much. I don't know what I'd have done without you," said Peter.
"It was nothing. I'm sure you would have found another way in," Richard lowered his voice and continued, "and if you ever see you-know-who, tell him thank you for me and all the other people on the train."
Peter smiled and continued toward the exhibit to take pictures. But Richard could have sworn he heard Peter mutter under his breath, "its nice to hear a thank you for a change."
Richard took one last glance at Peter. 'I'm probably just imagining it,' he thought to himself. He then grabbed another glass of champagne and rejoined the party.
Note: I have so many stories I need to update but I thought that this would be really fun to write. I'm considering writing other passengers' encounters with Peter. But I think I'll put that on hold until I work on some of my other stories. Let me know what you think!