Unless you've been living under a rock the past couple months, you've proably heard about One More Day. Like many, I don't really like that story. It's unfaithful to the characters and doesn't make sense on several levels, particularly with the way Mephisto acts in this story. He's Mephisto! He wouldn't just want some guy's marraige!
Then it hit me: Of course he wouldn't just want Peter's marraige. He wanted something else out of the deal.
The question is, what was it?
This is basically my theory on what was really going on behind the scenes. I know we can't prevent One More Day from ever happening, but hopefully this will seem like a good way to end it.
On with the fic!
Devil in the Details
There are many tales told about Mephistopheles.
Some say he's a lowly demon who came into Hell and took it for his own. Others say he's a trickster, a shape-shifter trying to appear more powerful than he actually is. Still more claim that he is a fallen angel who turned his back on both God and Satan.
Most believe he is the Devil himself, and it isn't hard to see why.
He rules over the fiery pits of Hell on top of his massive, twisted throne. He dresses all in red, blending in nicely with the roaring flames simmering around him. He has an unquenchable desire for human souls, and will not rest until all reside within his realm.
Whoever he actually may be, Mephisto certainly makes a convincing case for being the Prince of Darkness.
Despite their differences over his identity, all the storytellers agree on one fact.
When Mephisto smiles, it is a dark day for this earth.
Mephisto is smiling to himself, reclining back on his throne and tapping his fingers on the armrest. He is currently thinking of Peter Parker, otherwise known as The Amazing Spider-Man. Thoughts of Parker never fail to put him in a good mood. That man represents the best deal he has ever made with a mortal. A perfect win-lose situation, Mephisto thinks to himself.
Parker saved his dying aunt and restored the secrecy of his identity in exchange for his marriage. Mephisto snorts and rolls his eyes. His marriage. Parker honestly believed he wanted an intangible emotional bond - and nothing else - in exchange for a human life. Honestly, there are times when mortals can be so earth-shatteringly stupid.
What Parker does not know is that Mephisto had a higher purpose in making the deal with him. Mephisto always has a higher purpose in his deals.
He conjures up an image of the astral plane, focusing in on Parker and the soul that is visible in the center of his body. Ordinarily, his soul would be healthy, untarnished, perfectly clean save for one spot where his guilt eternally haunts him. Now, however, his soul is unraveling, coming apart as easily as if it were a ball of yarn. If one were to follow the trail of his unspooled soul, one would find that it leads all the way back to Mephisto's Realm.
Mephisto subtly tampered with this soul while Parker was inside his dimension, using the brief moment when the man had placed himself within his power to gain the slightest of holds upon his soul. It will take months, perhaps even years for the soul to come apart fully, but Mephisto is patient. He has all of eternity to wait.
When his soul has almost fully unraveled, Parker will find himself afflicted with strange symptoms. He will feel sickly, grow nauseous, have fainting spells and begin to waste away to nothing. Parker will undoubtedly ask every powerful or intelligent being he knows for help. None will have an answer for him; Mephisto has hidden his tampering well. Eventually, Parker will come back to him.
Mephisto will offer him another bargain. Parker will initially refuse, rightly suspecting him of trickery. Mephisto will warn him that if he does not accept, his soul will continue to unravel until all of it rests within his realm, permanently trapping Parker in Hell. Parker will reluctantly agree to the proposal, seeing no other choice.
He will tell Parker the story of the Kales, the family that houses a bloodline augmented by the Medallion of Power. He will speak of Johnny Blaze, a descendant of the Kales who made a deal with him to save his dying stepfather in exchange for his soul and a promise of servitude. He will explain how Blaze's stepfather died of other causes mere days after the deal, causing Blaze to rescind his promise and defy Mephisto's attempts to control him. He will talk about the night the bloodline within Blaze was awakened, transforming him into a Spirit of Vengeance who still resists Mephisto to this day. Just as an aside, he will mention how he happens to have a demon captured in his realm with similar properties to that of Zarathos, the demon he bonded with Blaze.
Inevitably, Parker will ask what all this has to do with him. Mephisto's smile widens. This will be the moment that he shall treasure for millennia to come.
If Parker wishes to avoid dying a slow, horribly painful death, he will have to bond with the demon and forever serve Mephisto by collecting souls in the mortal world.
Thus, Peter Parker will become his new Rider.
Mephisto leans back in his chair, savoring what he imagines Parker's horror-struck face will look like. He knows that the real thing will be infinitely more pleasurable.
Nothing can possibly disrupt his plan. No one knows. No one suspects. And by the time anyone does realize what he has done, it will be too late. He will possess Peter Parker's soul and have a faithful Rider at long last.
All he needs to do is wait.
Yes, you read that right. The real point of One More Day was to get Spider-Man to become Ghost Rider.
I really hope I got the Ghost Rider mythos right. Comics fans are real sticklers for continuity, so I tried to be accurate as possible while summarizing Ghost Rider's backstory.
Where would this go from here? Well, Spider-Man would accept, obviously. This could lead into a Ghost-Spider or Spider-Rider or Ghost Spider-Man miniseries. (Coming up with a good blend of their names is hard!) While this is going on, the original Ghost Rider would notice that Spider-Man's been drafted to replace him and embark on a quest to find out why this happened and how to reverse it. To his consternation, no evidence seems to exist.
Ghost Rider is given the answers by everyone's favorite Merc with a Mouth, Deadpool. Being aware of the fourth wall, Deadpool knows what's happened to Spider-Man and gives Ghost Rider "the SparkNotes version" of One More Day. Ghost Rider reluctantly takes Deadpool along when he goes to confront Mephisto, seeing how he knows the most information.
This would all lead up into a Ghost Rider and Deadpool and Ghost Spider-Man oneshot comic, the outcome freeing Peter's soul, restoring Peter and Mary Jane's marraige, and letting Aunt May die in an emotionally moving moment, leaving everyone happy.
By now I bet some of you are saying "Make this into a fanfic, stat!" Well, sorry, but I can't. If this happens at all, it should be done as a comic book by professionals. Besides, if I wrote it, it probably wouldn't be very good. I write villains better than heroes, which is why this oneshot is from Mephisto's perspective. All of you deserve better then to have to read through my probably painful characterization of Spider-Man and Deadpool.
I'm sorry if you're disappointed by the fact that this oneshot is all I'm writing. I figure if I give you the ideas and general plot layout, whatever you imagine will probably be ten times better than anything I would write.
Of course, if someone actually wants to write this out, you have my full permission to use this humble little idea. A credit would be nice, though.
I hope you all enjoyed my little fantasy of how to end One More Day. Let's hope the actual resolution is just as good.