Disclaimer: I don't own Spider-Man- the character was created by Marvel Comics and this version appeared in the movie directed by Sam Raimi-, nor do I own the Charmed Ones, who were created by the very talented Constance M. Burge
Feedback: This is a risky story I'm attempting; I'd like to know it's appreciated
AN: Well, here's the final chapter, and I'd like to thank everyone who reviewed; I hope it proved enjoyable
Webs and Witches
The next day, with poor photographs of the battle between Beelzebub and the Charmed/Spider-Man Alliance (As the fou fighters called it) the noonday sun found Peter Parker and Paige Matthews sipping coffee in the café where they had shared their first conversation after their impromptu collision on the street corner. Both Peter and Paige almost found it hard to believe that they had only known each other for a few days already; in that brief time, in their own way, both of them had seen a part of the other's lives that few people were privileged to know anything about, even after knowing them forpractically all their lives.
Nevertheless, as thesocial worker/witch and the college student/photographer/superherotalked, although they discussed the battle with Beelzebub and the vanquishing of his Coven- Paige teasing Peter mercilessly about the names he'd chosen for her and her sisters during the battle- among other, more trivial matters, both of them strenuously avoided the one subject they knew they needed to address right now.
It was only at the end of the conversation, as they left their money on the table and walked out of the café, that Peter finally broached the subject as they stood on the street corner where they had first bumped into each other.
"So… you're going back to San Francisco tonight, huh?" he asked, looking curiously at her.
"Yeah…" Paige said, nodding solemnly as she looked back at him. "Leo's recovered, and the warlocks have all been vanquished; there's no reason for all of us to stay here. Of course, there's still no sign of that 'Mysterio' guy you and Phoebe mentioned, but without his backers he's probably not much of a threat, is he?"
"Yeah…" Peter agreed, chuckling slightly before the two of them stopped talking once more
For a moment, there was silence, and then they both spoke at once.
"Come with me," they both said, followed by a moment's pause and an equally simultaneous "I can't."
"You first," Paige said, smiling sheepishly back at Peter and giving him a brief, prompting gesture with one hand.
"OK," Peter said, taking a deep breath before he continued. "Paige, I like you… a lot… but, well… I can't leave New York. My life is here. I was raised here, my aunt is here, my work- however annoying the boss might be- is here, and, well…"
He shrugged slightly as he indicated the tall buildings. "Well, I don't think San Francisco would give me quite the same amount of space to swing that I've got here," he added, smiling slightly as though trying to look as though he was just being flippant about a relatively trivial matter.
It didn't fool Paige for a moment.
"There's something else, isn't there?" she said, looking at him. Her tone was inquiring, but her face itself was blank; she was prepared to let Peter speak his piece before she showed how she felt about his decision herself. "Look, you can tell me, whatever it is; I won't mind."
For a moment, Peter seemed like he was about to protest, but then he seemed to change his mind, and just sighed and nodded in confirmation at her.
"Yeah… there is," he said, as he looked back at her. "It's… well, when you get down to it, I just don't think I could ever really cope with your world. It's been an incredible few days, but I just don't know how I'd manage to live in it on a regular basis…"
"The magic, huh?" Paige said, looking at him quizzically. Noting Peter's surprised expression, she smiled reassuringly at him. "I'm not complaining; I understand where you're coming from. What with your own powers coming from a screwed-up science experiment, and your first major bad guy being the result of another experiment that went wrong, you're just more… comfortable in a world where the bad guys are using science instead of magic, right?"
"Yeah…" Peter said, looking awkwardly around himself, as though trying to avoid looking Paige in the eye, before the youngest Halliwell reached over and touched his face with one hand, manoeuvring his face so that he was looking directly at her.
"Hey; it's cool," she said, grinning slightly at him in a reassuring manner. "Actually, you've pretty much listed all the reasons why I can't stay here; just reverse the reasons why you're good here rather than in San Francisco, and you've got it. I mean, Mysterio sounds like he was a pretty tough sucker for Phoebe to handle, and even then he was using magic as well as science. When you get down to it, I don't think I could handle your kind of bad guys any more than you could handle mine."
For a moment, the two of them just stood there looking at each other, as though trying to decide what to do next, and then Paige smiled and shrugged.
"When you get down to it, we're both products of our upbringings, aren't we?" she said, shrugging nonchalantly as she looked at Peter, a small smile on her face. "Just promise me one thing."
"Name it," Peter replied, smiling back at her.
"If you ever need magical assistance, just call me," Paige said, as she reached over to place a hand on Peter's shoulder as she looked him directly in the eyes. "Whatever it is, ifthe three of uscan help in any way we'll be there as soon as possible; I promise."
"Trust me; the same goes for me," Peter replied, placing his own hand on Paige's shoulder. For a moment, they just stood there, staring at each other as they tried to come to a decision about what to do next, until Peter smiled as a thought occurred to him.
"Come with me," he said, stepping back slightly to take her wrist in his hand. "If you're going soon, I think you deserve one last decent view ofNew Yorkcity."
A few minutes later, Paige's arms were wrapped around Spider-Man's neck as the two of them swung through the air, at least twenty stories about the New York streets. Trying not to look down, Paige was just grateful that she'd decided to wear blue jeans and a red top today; the colours might limit any chances the people on the ground had of seeing her this high up, and she didn't want to have the man she… cared for… accused of kidnapping on top of his other reputation problems due to that stupid newspaper…
But right now, as she swung through the air, she didn't bother to think about what might be going on in the world back on the ground.
She just revelled in the feel of the wind in the air, the comforting presence of the man in her arms, and the sight of the city before her.
Eventually, Spider-Man released a web-line, somersaulted once in mid-air, and then landed on one of the upper ledges of the Empire State building. Turning, Paige was about to ask him why he'd landed here of all places, but then she turned to look at the view before her, and her mouth dropped in astonishment.
"Wow…" she said, as she saw the sight spread out before her and Peter.
It was incredible. The sun was shining down on New York, illuminating every window, every piece of metal… everything that could shine was shining. It looked like someone had transformed New York into a city of pure light, and, for this moment in time, only Paige and Peter could see it (At this floor level, based on what Paige could see, she doubted that many people would have access to the Empire State Building; they'd either be too high or too low to appreciate the full scale of the view)…
"Beautiful, isn't it?" Peter smiled, as he wrapped his arms around her waist and leaned his chin on her shoulder. Paige noted that he'd taken his mask off and was holding it in one hand, but didn't think about it that much.
"Yeah…" Paige said, sighing deeply as she stared at the sight before her. "It is…"
Tilting her head to look at Peter, she smiled at him, touched at the thought that, having known her only a few days, he'd let her see something like this, something that she was sure only he, with his powers, coupled with his knowledge of New York, could ever hope to see…
"Thank you," she said, as she leaned in and softly kissed him on the lips.
"For what?" Peter asked, looking at her curiously as she pulled back.
"For everything," Paige smiled, as she turned slightly to hug him back. "For helping us stop Beelzebub… for being our ally… for being our friend…"
Pulling back, she leaned in briefly to give the young hero another passionate kiss on the lips, before leaning her forehead against his as she looked him in the eyes.
"And, if nothing else, for showing me that there are still decent men in the world, even if it's sometimes hard to find them," she said, smiling slightly at the embarrassed grin that suddenly appeared on Peter's face.
"Uh… thanks," he said, in the end. For a moment, Paige thought he was going to say something else, but then he just turned back to look at the sight before them.
They both still knew that, in a few hours, Paige would have to leave the city once more; they both knew that they might not see each other again; and they both knew that their 'relationship'- if it could be called that after so short a time- was more than likely going to end for good after they had parted ways.
But, for now, they were here, they were together, and they were, if not in love, at least on the right lines.
Sometimes, that was more than enough in the world.
A few miles away, in a deserted house that was now in even worse condition than it had been in earlier, a figure in green, gold and purple stood in the middle of the room where the battle between Spider-Man and the Coven of Beelzebub had taken place, fuming in rage as he stared at the desolation around himself. Everything that might have contained bottles of the potion he sought had been burned or shattered, and any likely looking books or pieces of paper were in an equally poor condition.
In other words, Mysterio no longer had access to magic.
Oh, the leader of the Coven- Mr Telford, he recalled the name being- had mentioned various 'rituals' that might give him the power permanently, but Mysterio had no interest in becoming less than human, and the rituals sounded like too much work anyway. Besides, where would he have even begun to find the supplies necessary to perform those rituals?
No… once again, he was merely human.
A human who had certain talents where technology was concerned, it was true, but simply human nevertheless.
And it was all the fault of New York's accursed wall-crawler and his pathetic allies, trying to make him weaker so that he would be less of a challenge then he had been in their previous encounters…
How DARE they? Mysterio thought to himself, lashing out at a nearby wall with a frustrated punch; he knew it was pointless, but he had no wish to draw attention to himself by yelling, and attacking the walls was at least slightly less noisy. How DARE that… insect seek to deny me my power! I had it all thanks to that Coven, and now they are DEAD because of him and his accursed allies! I HAVE LOST ALL THAT POWER BECAUSE OF HIS ACCURSED JEALOUSY!
Roaring in rage, Mysterio crossed his arms to clasp his gauntlets, as though preparing to tear them off and hurl them aside in frustration…
And then he stopped himself.
Why was he becoming so frustrated over the loss of a few powers?
Of course, they had been impressive- the energy balls he had used against Spider-Man and that flying woman had been something he would greatly miss- but, when he got down to it, he was still capable of most of his old tricks even without the potions that had been supplied to him by the Coven.
If he was careful, and put enough effort into his plans, he might just be able to achieve victory over the accursed wall-crawler…
AN 2: I leave the ending ambiguous in case I ever feel like writing a sequel to this story; if not, simply assume that Mysterio masterminded a plan of revenge similar to his attack on Spider-Man in the Spider-Man 2 video game, and was subsequently defeated and captured (After all, Mysterio was working as an underworld enforcer even BEFORE the Coven got involved, but I never said that was his full-time job, did I?)