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It Has Always Been You, 2/5

Title: It Has Always Been You, 2/5: Conversation at the Café
Author: htbthomas
Rating: PG-13
Fandom: Spider-Man movieverse
Pairing: Peter/MJ
Word Count: Ch. 2 - 1700 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: Harry’s expression turned harder. “MJ, he’s not who he seems to be. The Peter we knew in high school is long gone. Oh, he still acts like a clueless geek...” His fist hit the table. “Trust me when I tell you, get out of it before it’s too late!”

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


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


Chapter 2: Conversation at the Café

Holding the coffee cup to her lips, Mary Jane took a careful sip. The weather outside that day was simply gorgeous – she had decided to enjoy a little fresh air at a sidewalk café not too far from her apartment. The gentle spring breeze lifted her hair slightly away from her face as she laid the cup back on its saucer, and she couldn’t quite hide a tiny secret smile. It had been an incredible few days. As she sat and daydreamed about it, the memories blurred together. She and Peter had spent every free moment together - every possible moment that he was not out stopping crimes, in class, or on patrol.

In fact, he had left the apartment only about 20 minutes ago, swinging away after hearing a report on the radio. Only moments before, as the previous song had been in its last refrain, Peter had suddenly stopped mid-sentence, eyes wide, back straight. The first time it happened, she didn’t even get an explanation. Just a kiss and a “Be back soon.” He later explained that he had been alerted by his “spider-sense” that there was some kind of danger – a tingling sensation that seemed to slow time to a crawl. “It was my spider-sense that saved us from the car Dr. Octavius threw through the window,” Peter had explained. “I was warned in enough time to barely get us out of its path. That, along with the fact that I didn’t need my glasses again, told me that my spider-powers had returned.”

The last few days had been filled with explanations. How he first got his powers from the spider bite… learning to use his powers… the part he had played in his uncle Ben’s death… designing the costume… getting pictures of himself. And he urgently told her about the people who had found out his identity: the Green Goblin (Mr. Osborn!), the train passengers, and Harry. “Anyone who knows is a danger to both of us, MJ. Be careful,” he had warned.

Of course, these days had also been filled with passion - the kind that young lovers everywhere have experienced when a sexual relationship is new. They had loved each other from a distance for so long that there was an unbelievable urgency to their lovemaking. Even now, she could almost feel his touches on her skin... Those hands, so strong and tender at the same time. Warmth began spreading through her as she remembered...

A shadow crossed her field of vision. She had been staring down into her coffee cup, lost in thought. She looked up – expecting to see a waiter checking on her – into Harry’s haggard face. He was sharply dressed, as always, but looking very worn around the edges. What do I say to him?

“Hello, MJ.” He studied the seat across from her, with no place setting, and quickly determined she was alone. “May I?” he asked, nodding toward the empty chair.

She nodded, hoping her nervousness wasn’t showing.

“I saw you here, as I was passing by, and I asked the driver to stop. How have you been?” He sat and looked intently into her eyes as he continued, “I came to the wedding, but, of course, you never saw me.”

“Of course.” She blushed a little. “I’m doing as well as can be expected. I hated to hurt John like that, but it had to be done.”

“Why? What made you change your mind?” His stare grew more intense, as if he were searching for something in her body language.

I shouldn’t show my hand too quickly. Not until I know what he might do with what he knows about Peter. Taking a deep breath, she tried to explain, heart heavy. “I realized I didn’t love him the way he deserved to be loved. After my ordeal with Dr. Octopus, I discovered I had a few issues to work out.”

Something about her answer made his expression turn a little cold. “And have you?”

“Yes...” she trailed off and looked down at her cup again. She could see his hands tense up as they lay on the tablecloth.

“Tell me the truth, MJ,” Harry started in a low voice, “did you leave John...for Peter?”

Her head popped back up, and her eyes widened at his frankness. She then set her mouth into a thin line, but didn’t answer.

His eyes narrowed. “It’s what I expected, though I was hoping I was wrong,” he said. Harry’s expression turned harder. “MJ, he’s not who he seems to be. The Peter we knew in high school is long gone. Oh, he still acts like a clueless geek...” His fist hit the table. “Trust me when I tell you, get out of it before it’s too late!”

During his tirade, Mary Jane set her shoulders determinedly. Fiercely, she retorted, “Let’s stop dancing around the subject. Do I know? Yes! Apparently you and I found out about Peter’s...double life...on the same night. I think I have always known subconsciously who he was.” Harry sat back, eyes widening in astonishment. “But it only makes me love him more! All this time, he’s been putting all of his needs and wants aside for the sake of the city. Isn’t he allowed a little happiness?”

“A little h—MJ! If you know, then you also know that he is responsible for my father’s death! If you even suspected before, why didn’t you tell me?” Harry’s astonishment had quickly turned back to anger.

“Because I love him! And you can’t believe for a minute that he really killed your father, now that you know who he is!” She reached out for his hand. Peter told me Harry doesn’t know who his father was. He says there is a good reason why he won’t tell Harry what happened, and I believe him. “That was the same night he was saving me and a tram car full of kids from the Green Goblin! Your father must have somehow been in the wrong place at the wrong time. If he had murdered your father, why would he bring him back to the mansion?”

“I don’t know, guilt over what he had done, maybe? Mary Jane, when I confronted him about it, he didn’t deny it! He acted like what happened didn’t matter, and ran off to save you!”

Now Mary Jane was getting angry. “Which he almost couldn’t do because of you! Giving tritium to that lunatic so you could have your revenge?” She started to sense that other customers were tuning in to their argument, and lowered her voice. “Spider-Man has saved hundreds, maybe thousands of lives. You would have had the deaths of millions on your hands!”

Without another word, she quickly stood up, and rummaged in her purse. Throwing a five dollar bill on the table, she stormed out of the exit. The two of them were such good friends! she thought furiously as she strode away from him. Harry’s stubbornness and Peter’s guilt and sense of responsibility are just going to make this worse. But for good or bad, she had sided with Peter. She could only hope that somewhere in Harry’s hurt and angry soul he would see it was best to drop his revenge and move on with his life.

Mary Jane turned a corner, not really caring where she was going, and bumped head down into someone. “Oh, sorry...”

Instantly, she saw it was Peter, in costume. “I was in the neighborhood and I saw you heading this way. Care for a lift home?” He had been standing out of sight of the main street.

“Am I glad to see you, Tiger.” She wrapped him in her arms, still shaking a little from her angry encounter. “I ran into Harry just now.” Peter stiffened a little in her arms, and she heard him softly gasp. “He knows about us, and he still blames you for Mr. Osborn’s death.” Pleadingly, she looked up into his expressionless eyepieces. “Peter, whatever your reasons, you need to tell him the truth!”

He quickly pulled them further into the shadows. “I made a promise, MJ. When I break my promises, people get hurt.” He pulled his mask away, and gave her a beseeching look.

At the depth of emotion she saw in his uncovered face, she relented. “Then make me a promise. You’ll try to patch things up with Harry? Somehow?”

He smiled gently. “I can’t deny you anything, MJ.” He gave her a long kiss, which grew longer as his hands started to travel her body. “I can’t deny how much I want you right now, either.”

She pulled him a little tighter. “I’ve got time before my pick-up rehearsal tonight, “she said, giving him another scorching kiss. “How about that lift?”

In an incredibly fast motion, his mask was back over his face, and they were swinging high above the buildings toward her apartment.

- - - - -


Stunned at Mary Jane’s abrupt departure, Harry watched her walk down the street, and then turn to go between two buildings. I don’t want to lose MJ’s friendship, too. I’d better go and apologize, he thought desperately.

Striding quickly over to where he saw her turn the corner, he looked into the alley. He caught a flash of red and blue, and jerked his head back out of sight. He could faintly hear voices. “I can’t deny you anything, MJ.” A rush of cold fury traveled through his veins at the sound. Pete. But instead of confronting his betrayer, Harry listened to the rest of the conversation, inching his head forward to see.

They were kissing, wrapped around each other in a way that made his stomach lurch. MJ’s last comment left no room for doubt. They’re not just seeing each other, they’re sleeping together!

He stumbled backward in horror, catching himself on the wall. A red and blue blur suddenly sped by overhead. Neither one turned back to see him standing there. You are truly alone, now, Harry. She’s in deep with that lying bastard. She doesn’t care that he ruined your life.

He could faintly hear insane laughter in his head as he stumbled back toward home.

Next: Chapter 3: Honest at Last

65 days until Spider-Man 3!!

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
empressaurelius
Feb. 27th, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC)
Aaw, poor Harry. :( I've gotta admit, I have big soft spot for him.
htbthomas
Feb. 27th, 2007 05:59 pm (UTC)
Well, I do have to say that Harry features prominently in this trilogy... and I tried to do my own version of comics canon, so if you're familiar with it at all, you may get an inkling of what will happen.

I like Harry, too. The poor guy is playing against a stacked deck, here.
empressaurelius
Feb. 27th, 2007 06:19 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I know a bit of what happens in the comics, so I have an idea of where you might be going.

Yeah, he really is, the poor guy.
jenna_knight
Feb. 27th, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC)
And the plot grows thicker. What a great way to get my spidey fix before May! I can't believe its only 65 more days!
htbthomas
Feb. 27th, 2007 07:09 pm (UTC)
I can hardly believe it myself!! *twirls*

Basically, the trilogy could easily have been three acts of the same story, but each part will actually stand alone. I hope you'll be able to continue reading!
sean_montgomery
Feb. 28th, 2007 12:44 am (UTC)
I had read this earlier this morning when you posted, but I thought you'd appreciate a more coherent comment now than one I could have provided then. ; )

Harry is such an interesting character to me in the movie-verse. He's so thirsty for his father's attention and devotion, but when it's completely lost he acts like he and his father were close. Which, actually, makes Harry almost tragic - maybe his revenge on Spider-Man is based on the fact that he can never have the relastionship with his father that he wanted. Of course, his assumption behind Norman's murder is wrong, but it shows the depth of his pain. Strange... I've never really cared for Harry before. This is maybe the deepest I've ever thought about him. : D

Can't wait for thursday!
htbthomas
Feb. 28th, 2007 12:57 am (UTC)
Parts 2 and 3 of the trilogy have LOTS of Harry. I would like to delve into his character's psyche a bit more than I did (I was a bit of a fic novice when I wrote these) but maybe I can after SM3... if he's still alive...
bistyboo1974
Feb. 28th, 2007 03:01 am (UTC)
Is it wrong of me to like Harry? Hope not, because I do. ;-)

This was a great upate, Barbara. And I'm thrilled to pieces there's more Harry in the future installments!
htbthomas
Feb. 28th, 2007 03:07 am (UTC)
Apparently "we like Harry" is the prevailing theme today! LOL. Yeah, there's a lot more Harry to come. I hope you enjoy it. *is nervous now*
bistyboo1974
Feb. 28th, 2007 03:12 am (UTC)
Liked him in the movies, like him in your fic. ;-)

And don't be nervous, silly! What do you have to be nervous about??
htbthomas
Feb. 28th, 2007 03:14 am (UTC)
Well, mostly the fact that I tried to stay true to canon... you kinda remember what's going on in the trailers for SM3 between Peter and Harry... um... The filmmakers and I seem to have gone in the same direction.

I like Harry! I promise!
bistyboo1974
Feb. 28th, 2007 03:16 am (UTC)
I know what's to come. No worries! ;-)
jenn_1
Feb. 28th, 2007 08:03 pm (UTC)
Barb, you 'know' I like Harry, so... nothing for me to say on that front. Lol. Thought I did feel sorry for him in this chapter... and I know what happens in the comics... and your fics.

Great job with the Peter/MJ as always. (hugs)
htbthomas
Mar. 1st, 2007 02:16 am (UTC)
Thanks, sweetie pie! Of course, now that I've written this trilogy long ago (has it really been over a year?) I can't change a thing about it. But it might be fun to reexplore Harry a bit. :)
the_pending
Mar. 10th, 2007 11:27 pm (UTC)
Working my way up!
I think what I like best about this is that the pacing and the style reminds me a lot of the "Spider-man Loves Mary Jane" books, just very slow, sweet, and vaguely soap-opera-y.
htbthomas
Mar. 10th, 2007 11:44 pm (UTC)
I would definitely consider that a compliment! I seriously ♥ SMLMJ... and I'm a 37-year old mother... lol.

I think my later Spider-Man stories are more action-oriented, but I'm definitely into the character-driven soapy stuff as well! And it was my first fic... :)
taro_twist
Mar. 12th, 2007 06:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, poor Harry. He's one of those characters that really breaks my heart. I guess he's a lot like Smallville's Lex--you really don't want him to turn evil and you want things to work out for him, even though he has this underlying creepiness.

The conversation with MJ was great (and intense!), and has really piqued my curiosity now about how they're going to interact in Spider-Man 3. I thought you really captured Harry's character well in that scene--the concern for MJ, along with the anger, and the aura of instability he has. And I loved MJ's loyalty to Peter, even though she's still somewhat torn up about siding against Harry, since they all used to be friends.

And MJ making Peter promise to patch things up with Harry was so sweet! If only it could happen ... *sniff sniff* Oh, but the ending:

You are truly alone, now, Harry.

*wibble*

And this:

He could faintly hear insane laughter in his head as he stumbled back toward home.

Don't go to the dark side Harry noooo!!!! ;.;

htbthomas
Mar. 12th, 2007 07:08 pm (UTC)
Harry is definitely a tragic character! If he had only had a different upbringing, he might have been different. It's almost like his friendship with Peter has made him both a better and worse man, for different reasons. But he's very compelling because of that.

Did you see the 7 1/2 minute SM3 preview with Harry and Peter's fight? It's incredible... look on my main page for the YouTube link (which is probably the only one still working.)
elliania
Mar. 22nd, 2007 04:21 pm (UTC)
Oh! Loved that little conversation between Harry and MJ! Poor Guy! I like the idea of Peter keeping his promise no matter what!! Is Harry going to be that bad man in this story?? I should go and read the next chapters, huh?! ;p
MJ and Peter are just so perfect together!!
htbthomas
Mar. 22nd, 2007 06:13 pm (UTC)
Well... is Harry the bad guy? Let's just say he's definitely got a grudge to settle, and he's not the most sane of people...

But yes, read on! :D Thanks for coming over here! *hugs*
ellalou73
Apr. 11th, 2007 02:54 am (UTC)
Ouch, Harry coming to see MJ. He's so lost and you do a good job at keeping with that. He is also angry and vengeful and I feel bad for him, and for Peter, well all three of them. I love MJ because she wants things to be right between them but now I'm worried,

You have me wondering what Harry will do now. I gotta read more soon...
htbthomas
Apr. 11th, 2007 03:46 pm (UTC)
I really love the character arc that Harry went on in Spider-Man 2 - and at the end, we're just left with him reeling in shock at the secrets he's uncovered.

The film resolution of this is fabulous. My little tales were fun to write, but I love seeing what Raimi and Sargent did in the actual sequel!
mark_clark
Apr. 20th, 2007 03:46 pm (UTC)
Even though this was written a while ago, you can get a sense of what is going on with Harry that will undoubtedly appear in SM 3.

You knew that Mary Jane would run into Harry sooner or later. Too bad it wasn't a pleasant reunion. Harry is so focused on blaming Spider-Man that I don't think he would hear Peter out if he told him what really happened. Unfortunately, Peter made a promise that he strongly wants to keep. Perhaps he and MJ can come up with some way to tell Harry that Peter wasn't responsible for his father's death.

An excellent chapter.
htbthomas
Apr. 23rd, 2007 01:41 am (UTC)
This stuff definitely comes to a head in SM3. I wish that Harry wasn't already so crazycakes. Maybe he would listen. :'( *sniff*
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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