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It Has Always Been You, 3/5

Title: It Has Always Been You, 3/5: Honest at Last
Author: htbthomas
Rating: PG-13
Fandom: Spider-Man movieverse
Pairing: Peter/MJ
Word Count: Ch. 3 - 1400 words
Summary: A series of vignettes about Peter and MJ’s first days together after Spider-Man 2, and the reactions of the people around them to their new relationship
Chapter Teaser: J.J. Jameson took a breath – amazingly – to notice his son was not paying attention to him. "Dammit, John! Instead of just running back to the base with your tail between your legs, you should be doing something!"

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Chapter Links: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5


Chapter 3: Honest at Last

John stared distractedly out of the window of The Daily Bugle's headquarters, too tired to concentrate. And it was no wonder – his father was in the middle of one of his famous tirades, one that seemed interminable, considering he had been hearing it practically without a pause since his wedd—that night. John was too exhausted to respond to it anymore.

"...two-timing, worthless piece of crap doesn't deserve it! John, my boy, why are you protecting her! Say the word, and your ex-fiancée and this Casanova of hers will be ruined! She'll never work in this town again!" J.J. Jameson took a breath – amazingly – to notice his son was not paying attention to him. "Dammit, John! Instead of just running back to the base with your tail between your legs, you should be doing something!"

Sighing heavily, John came away from the window, moved his carry-on suitcase out of the way, and sat heavily in the chair facing his father's desk. "Dad..." he closed his eyes tiredly, then looked at J.J. with frustration. "Do we have to go over this every hour before I leave?” He brought a hand up to massage his temples. “I won't tell you who it is. I still care about Mary Jane - I don't want to destroy her just because we aren't together anymore. I just want to move on with my life."

A knock sounded at the door. His father’s senior editor, Robbie Robertson stepped in, seeming not to notice that his boss had company. "J.J., we need a decision on page one..." He stopped only a few steps in, and his face took on a note of chagrin. "Oh, sorry, J.J.” Robbie nodded in acknowledgment. “Hello, John."

John only nodded back quietly, praying the discussion was over for now. But as always, J.J. quickly filled in the silence, as if there were no problem at all. "Tell 'em to hold off – I'm still working on something for page eight." He tilted his grizzled head and gave John a meaningful look. John's face hardened, and he gave an almost imperceptible shake of his head.

Not one to let a story setback get the best of him, J.J. removed his ever-present cigar from his mouth and plunged ahead, declaring, "All right, take this down: SPIDER-MAN RUINED MY LIFE." He gestured across his body as if he were reading the headline in front of him. "I’m sure that’s true for a lot of people, including myself and my misguided son here."

"Dad!" John chided his father angrily. He was fed up with his one-track mind when it came to Spider-Man. "He saved Mary Jane's life! If he hadn't come out of retirement that day, who knows what could have happened!"

"She did tell you that it was because of that night that she decided not to marry you, right?" J.J. said with a touch of smugness.

Robbie’s eyebrows raised and he turned to John, intrigued. "She really told you that, John?"

"Well, yes...” John shifted uncomfortably under the two older men’s stares. “She said she realized she didn't love me, after her ordeal." He winced – it still hurt to talk about it, after all, it had only been a week. "But I would rather have her alive and with someone else, than dead!"

John bent down to grasp the handle of his suitcase and hefted it. "I have to catch my plane, Dad. I'll call you when I arrive." Before J.J. could stop him with yet another argument, he headed for the door.

But before he had made it halfway out of the office, his father’s secretary, Betty Brant, poked her head into the doorway. "Mr. Jameson, Peter Parker here to see you." At the name, John halted in mid-stride. Only Robbie seemed to notice his reaction.

"Parker! Send him in! He hasn't been in with photographs since the wall-crawler appeared back on the scene!" He beckoned imperiously with his free hand, before replacing the cigar in his mouth.

Peter walked into the office, half-nervous, half-confident. He had been expecting to see only J.J…. maybe Hoffman and Robbie… And he too came to an abrupt halt at the sight of John, suitcase in hand.

"John," Peter said firmly, but quietly.

"Parker." John's voice matched Peter's in tone.

Robbie looked from one to the other with a dawning expression of realization. Betty looked puzzled, and she took a few steps farther into the office.

Oblivious, J.J. went on, "So, what do you have for me, Parker?" He seemed to completely misunderstand the awkward silence and stillness that permeated the area around Peter and John. "What? Cat got your tongue? Get over here and show me what you've got." Peter cocked his head to the side, clearly surprised at J.J.'s demeanor, and started forward.

A step later, he stopped, not wanting to push past John. After a beat, John stepped to the side, and let Peter pass. Watching Peter with quiet determination, he remained in the office.

"Uh, Mr. Jameson, I don't have any pictures for you.” He held a thin sheet of paper out toward the editor. “I have a letter of resignation. I know you don't want me around here anymore, but I felt I should still give my notice."

Ignoring the page which hovered in Peter’s nervous grip, Jameson was surprised. "You'll resign when I fire you!” he said dismissively, shifting his cigar to the other corner of his mouth. “Your pictures are usually crap, but why wouldn’t I want them anymore?"

Peter was stunned. Jameson doesn't know? He shot a puzzled look over at John, who pressed his lips together but didn't respond. Robbie, on the other hand, was trying to hide a slight smile.

He's trying to protect MJ, I guess, Peter thought, a feeling of respect for John warming him from within. But the truth will come out sooner or later. It’ll be nice to be honest with J.J. about something at least. “I thought...” he began tentatively, “after what happened between John and Mary Jane... you wouldn't want me working here."

J.J. huffed, "What do you have to do with my son and that...” His mouth opened in surprise, and his cigar dropped to the desk. “Uh... What?!" His face contorted in incredulity and he quickly turned to John. John's shoulders straightened, and he nodded. "Pa--" For once, J.J. was at a loss for words.

"So, I'll, uh, just leave this on your desk and be on my way..." Peter tried to make his exit while J.J. was still flabbergasted.

John took this as his cue to leave as well. "I've got to catch a cab right now, or I won't make my flight. See you later, Dad, Robbie, Betty." John conspicuously left out Peter's name as he brushed past and walked toward the elevators.

"That..little.." Peter heard J.J. mumble behind him. He got as far as Betty's desk before he heard Jameson’s cry of frustrated rage, "PARKER!"

But he didn't stop walking until he felt Betty's touch on his shoulder. She and Robbie had followed him out of the office into the newsroom, letting the big man fume in solitude. "Peter," Betty smirked, an impish smile on her pretty face, "I didn't know you had it in you! Good luck out there." She gave him a hug and a wink, then headed back to the ringing telephone at her desk.

Robbie gave him a hearty handshake. "You really got one over on him!" he chuckled, shaking his head. “So…” he continued, piercing Peter with a calculating gaze. “Spider-Man saves Ms. Watson yet again… and you finally get the girl?"

Peter barely avoided jerking his head back in alarm. He's doing it again! Implying that he knows... Instead, he tried to appear abashed. "Just lucky, I guess."

Robbie patted him on the shoulder. "It's nice that someone can have good luck these days. Hey, let me know if I can help you in any way. I have some connections around town, if you need them."

Peter smiled warmly. He was actually going to miss the Bugle – it was a pretty nice place to work, if you could avoid the old grizzly’s wrath. "Thanks, Robbie. I appreciate the offer. See you around." Peter shook his hand again, and headed toward the hallway.

"I'm sure I will," Robbie said quietly, but still loud enough for Peter to hear.

Next: Chapter 4: The Offer

63 days until Spider-Man 3!!

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
jenn_1
Mar. 1st, 2007 10:53 am (UTC)
I loved this chapter in John's POV, he such a sweetie. Hope he does find someone one day...

But Peter quit the Bugle, oh my! Now what in the world would he do for money? (I sort of forgot too, but I do remember somethings.) You know I don't know if I could get Peter could quit in my own fics. But it does make me wonder if he'll quit some time in SM3, or get fired.
htbthomas
Mar. 1st, 2007 11:22 am (UTC)
Yeah, John's a sweetie. But ultimately just a bump in the road of Peter/MJ's relationship. So sad.

Yes, he quit! But you will see what happens in the next one, job-wise. I have no idea what they'll do in SM3! He obviously still works there, from the last preview I saw. But does J.J. know about Peter and MJ...? Are they keeping it secret? All questions I've had.

Thanks for reviewing!
htbthomas
Mar. 1st, 2007 05:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, hey, lookie at these cute pics and Tobey and James on a press tour in Japan!

http://community.livejournal.com/all_about_tobey/58952.html
jenn_1
Mar. 1st, 2007 11:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks for telling me! I loved 'em.
sean_montgomery
Mar. 1st, 2007 11:21 am (UTC)
Well, this is a little bit of a change. Peter Parker quitting the Bugle? Certainly shaking up the Spidey world a little bit, aren't we? (granted, I've read only one Spidey comic, so how should I know??) ; )

And poor John, finally having to come to terms that he lost MJ to one of his father's employees. J.J. acted just as he should - on pace for a story, searching for a headline ready to bring Spider-Man to his knees. I'm suspicious of Robbie, though. Just how much does he know...?

Saturday, huh? Bring it on! : )
htbthomas
Mar. 1st, 2007 04:56 pm (UTC)
Well, Peter has gone back and forth working for, or quitting the Bugle in the comics. He of course quit spectacularly this last summer (2006), when he unmasked at a huge press conference. Jameson was pissed, to say the least. But I have no idea what they're planning for the movie! It just seemed like the right thing for this story... :)

Jonah is seriously fun to write. His appearances in the trilogy are brief, but fun. And Robbie? Do you remember the bit in Spider-Man 2 where Robbie says something like, "I heard Spider-Man was there..." and looks pointedly at Peter? He has suspected off and on in the comics, but it was never confirmed until this summer.
jenna_knight
Mar. 1st, 2007 08:11 pm (UTC)
"You'll resign when I fire you!”

I loved that line. Perfect JJ.

Hopefully you can get some more people interested in Spider-Man with this fic. It'll be interesting to see which of your friends makes the jump from the Superman fandom.
htbthomas
Mar. 1st, 2007 08:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I love JJ. I'm looking forward to his bits in Spider-Man 3. The actor (name is escaping me right now) always packs a lot of punch into his few scenes.

Boy, I hope I will get some of them to jump fandoms, too! Just got to get more of 'em to read it... :) But my self-pimping skillz are well-honed by now - lol.
jenn_1
Mar. 2nd, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
The actor is J.K. Simmons. And I agree he does great punches with whatever screen time he has.
bistyboo1974
Mar. 3rd, 2007 03:02 pm (UTC)
The Sick One is here, playing catch-up before she gets too far behind. (Story of her life, btw. *lol*)

;-)

"You'll resign when I fire you!”

*snerk* Love! Had a crystal-clear picture of JK Simmons as J. Jonah throughout this chapter...and TOTALLY heard his voice bark out that line, in particular. Bravo!

*turns pink* I had to look up who Robbie was, even though I had a feeling I already knew (just couldn't recall his name). So, he suspects Peter is Spider-Man? Must go back and watch the movies again to see if I can catch that...it's been a little while since I've watched them. :)

On to chapter four...
htbthomas
Mar. 3rd, 2007 04:35 pm (UTC)
Aw... poor sick bisty. *pats your head, too*

JK Simmons is hilarious in that part, isn't he? God, I love him. I don't think there's anyone I can imagine doing a better job. He's so animated and fiery - makes him really easy to picture in writing.

It's okay if you had to look up Robbie. Actually, Robbie gets more and more "screentime" in this trilogy, more than Jonah, I think. He's probably my favorite minor character in the Spideyverse.
alamo_girl80
Mar. 8th, 2007 04:58 pm (UTC)
HA! I'd forgotten about the Bugle's editor being the father of the guy MJ left at the altar. Needless to say, its been a while since I've seen the flick.

I love your portrayl of J.J.! Different than Perry! LOL! Dude, both editor's kids loved the superhero's love interest - and lost them! GAH!
htbthomas
Mar. 8th, 2007 07:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's the funny thing, huh? No wonder so many people said Richard's character was a ripoff of Spider-Man 2. :D

J.J. is definitely different! Love him!
the_pending
Mar. 14th, 2007 04:04 am (UTC)
I <3 Jameson. I especially love J.K. Simmons's performance, and this brought back fond memories. Like when he's beating himself up over driving Spider-man to quit when Spider-man is the only one who can save his son's fiance, and they zoom out and he's got the suit pinned to his wall.
I can totally see him doing the slow burn of realizing Parker 'stole' his son's fiance. It was only a question of whether he'd recover in time to present Peter with the receipts and demanding he cover the cost of the wedding.
htbthomas
Mar. 14th, 2007 09:50 am (UTC)
lol - Present him with the receipts? :D I seriously need a Jameson icon, but I've haven't seen one so far...

There are so many great characters in the Spidey-verse! Jameson is right up there as one of my faves. Thanks for reviewing!
taro_twist
Mar. 19th, 2007 05:21 am (UTC)
Oo, this was a fantastic chapter! I loved how you've developed John's character, as a decent guy who just wants MJ to be happy. One of my favorite parts, though, was seeing how you wrote J.J. I always compare him with Perry in my mind, since on the surface they seem so similar with the "scary editor" schtick. But you really brought out J.J's personality here and everything that makes him distinct. It was just a lot of fun to see the differences between J.J and Perry's reactions in Deja Vu to finding out that their son has been, um, usurped. Like this:

two-timing, worthless piece of crap doesn't deserve it! John, my boy, why are you protecting her! Say the word, and your ex-fiancée and this Casanova of hers will be ruined! She'll never work in this town again!"

And this:

"That..little.." Peter heard J.J. mumble behind him. He got as far as Betty's desk before he heard Jameson’s cry of frustrated rage, "PARKER!"

Perry isn't so scary at all after that. *grin*

And the best part of this was definitely when Peter came to resign. I loved this silent little interaction:

A step later, he stopped, not wanting to push past John. After a beat, John stepped to the side, and let Peter pass.

That spoke volumes! And then Peter thinking that J.J. knew he was with MJ, and revealing the truth anyway even after he found out that J.J. didn't know--go Peter! I totally didn't see that coming, but it fits perfectly with his character. It was very brave of him. :)
htbthomas
Mar. 19th, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC)
I just love your reviews... they are so detailed. You need a Super!Reviewer icon, too!

I definitely see J.J. and Perry as very different. Jameson all about the scandals, and what sells papers. White wants the truth, the real news. Perry would never hold a neverending grudge like Jameson does for Spider-Man.

And Peter, for all of his seeming weakness, is really brave. He's just nice, too, and luckily, he doesn't have to pretend to be something he's not when he's out of costume! (Although you can argue up and down both sides of the street when it comes to Clark and that issue).
mark_clark
Apr. 20th, 2007 04:01 pm (UTC)
Good ol' JJ. That's pretty much all I can say about him. He wasn't much help in consoling his son and it was nice to see that John didn't want the Bugle or his father to go after Mary Jane. I really respected John for that.

The best part was when Peter turned in his resignation. It was pretty funny seeing Jameson so clueless to what Peter was doing that it took him a bit to put things together. Of course, Robbie figured it out quickly.

Robbie was great at the end, offering Peter some help in looking for another job. I've always liked their relationship in the comics and I would love to see them have some screen time in Spider-Man 3.
htbthomas
Apr. 23rd, 2007 01:46 am (UTC)
Gotta love Jonah! I'm really looking forward to his brief appearances in the film. Robbie does have a little screen time - but it's close to what he had in SM2.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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