Fandom: Spider-Man movieverse, post Spider-Man 2
Word Count: Ch. 2 - 1660 words
Summary: It is a month before Peter and Mary Jane’s wedding, and everything is seeming to go wrong. Unknown to the happy couple, help is about to come from an unexpected source.
Chapter Teaser: “Honestly, Peter, I thought it was the bride who got herself into a tizzy over wedding details,” Mary Jane told him, highly amused. “Our guest list is small. No one is expecting anything fancy. We could probably have pizza delivered to the park and everyone would be happy.”
Chapter 2: Preparations
Mary Jane stroked her fingers through Peter’s hair, enjoying the way the thick strands slid through her fingers. He had his head in her lap as she sat on Aunt May’s sofa, and his bright blue eyes were closed. The tension that had lined his face when they first arrived was starting to disperse through her ministrations. Peter moaned softly, “Thank you, MJ. This feels so good.”
“You’re welcome. This is what I’m here for.” She smiled at the way he was melting beneath her touch.
Mary Jane could hear the clatter of pots and pans coming from the kitchen. Aunt May was busily preparing them dinner. She had offered to help, but May had waved her away with a fond smile. “You take care of my boy, dear. He looks like he could use it.” This was followed with an if-you-know-what-I-mean kind of look that had often passed between them ever since they had shared their knowledge of ‘the secret’.
Peter suddenly shifted restlessly in her lap, and the tension returned to his features. “I don’t know what we’re going to do, MJ. We only have four short weeks before the wedding. How are we going to find a florist, not to mention a new reception site?”
“Honestly, Peter, I thought it was the bride who got herself into a tizzy over wedding details,” Mary Jane told him, highly amused. “Our guest list is small. No one is expecting anything fancy. We could probably have pizza delivered to the park and everyone would be happy.”
Aunt May had come through the kitchen doors during Mary Jane’s last remark, and stopped. A look of distaste marred her careworn face. “Oh, darlings, surely not.”
Peter sat up from her lap, and sighed wearily. “I’m afraid it may come to that, Aunt May. Most caterers are booked up for months in advance during wedding season. And don’t get me started on that fiasco with the florist...”
Mary Jane tried to console Peter, “How could you have predicted what would happen? Or that the shop would close for renovations for the next eight weeks? Maybe we’ll have to call every flower shop in Manhattan – or failing that, pick up a bunch of bouquets at the grocery store.”
Aunt May shook her head as she set a platter of food on the table. “You kids. Don’t give up hope just yet. I know in my heart that everything will work out for the best. You both deserve it.”
“I hope you’re right, Aunt May. I’m going to go wash up before dinner.” With that, Peter excused himself and left the room.
Mary Jane got up from the sofa herself, and came beside May. “The table is beautiful,” she remarked, eyes settling on an arrangement of silk flowers in a porcelain vase. “How long have you had this centerpiece?”
May smiled, pleased at the compliment. “It is lovely, isn’t it? A friend sent it recently as a late housewarming gift.”
“A very nice gift,” she agreed. Which led her to a related subject... “How is the ‘registry’ going?”
“Don’t be nosy, young lady,” May teased, eyes twinkling. “Most of your guests have responded to me and decided on which gifts to purchase. But I’m not going to ruin the surprise by telling you what and who!” She continued placing dishes on the table.
Mary Jane laughed – it had been worth a try. “Well, in any case, Peter and I can’t thank you enough for taking charge of that. Those department stores will give anyone a copy of your registry. We don’t want a nosy reporter, again, to find out any of the details – not to mention Harry.”
“Oh, heavens, no!” May’s hand fluttered to her chest. “I don’t think my heart could withstand another shock like I had seeing those pictures.” Mary Jane blushed, and May touched her hand gently, eyes full of understanding. Then the older woman sighed, shaking her head slightly. “Even so, I wish we could have run a newspaper announcement...”
“I know you would have liked to have it for the family scrapbook.” Peter put in, returning from the bathroom. “But just imagine the problems my photo would cause, especially matched with MJ’s, so soon after that scandal. We only have four weeks to go – you’ll have wedding photos to treasure soon enough.” Suddenly Peter stilled. He looked intensely around the room.
Both women had grown skilled at interpreting that look. “Trouble, hon?” MJ asked, placing a hand on his shoulder.
Peter closed his eyes and shook his head quickly. “I thought I felt something, but it’s gone now. Maybe there was a close call in traffic nearby.”
“Thank goodness,” May breathed. “You won’t have to reheat leftovers tonight. We can enjoy a dinner together. It happens less often than I would like, you know,” she chided.
“With my luck, I’m surprised that I even get to eat at all.” They all laughed knowingly, and sat down to share the meal.
Harry sat in his father’s leather armchair, breathing deeply. Eyes closed, he forced his mind to go blank. He had found that his father’s voice troubled him less in this state. However, he also found his mind seemed less sharp, less focused, the longer it had been since his last injection. Several months ago, he had first tried his father’s serum. Only a small dose, just to see what would happen.
When it took effect, it had been a revelation. He felt stronger, smarter, faster all at once. Brilliant ideas filled his mind. And what had risen to his mind first was the need for preparation. His father had been brilliant, strong, wily – a force of nature. But even with all those qualities, he had been defeated by Spider-Man. Harry needed time to build his strength, his skill. He needed time to plan – and most of all, he needed to find a time to strike when Peter would be most vulnerable.
Since then, Harry had taken monthly trips to upstate New York. Alone in the forest, he practiced using the glider. He had increased his speed, his ability to bank and turn, his ability to fight in mid-air. The rest of the month he did research, listened to rumors, and kept tabs on Mary Jane and May. He made sure to never make any contact with Peter himself.
For all the advantages, there were definite disadvantages to using the serum. The voice strengthened, and often encouraged him to act rashly. And each time he took the serum, the effects wore off faster and he seemed to need just a little bit more. He was now taking triple the original dose. He found the increase in amount inversely proportional to his self-control. More than once he had lashed out at an employee for no good reason. He always apologized later, but he knew there were whispers about his sanity floating around the company.
Thankfully, he was beginning to feel ready. Only a few more months of training and he should be able to hit Peter with the full force of his weaponry, wits and strength. Harry got up from the chair and moved to the laptop at his heavy oak desk. He lifted the monitor, and double-clicked an icon on the desktop. To the casual eye, the file seemed to be a spreadsheet. When opened, it revealed a video monitoring program. He clicked Connect and waited for the stream to filter and begin. When it did, he could see a grainy image of a young woman’s lower body. Only the voice made him sure who he was seeing. “…taking charge of that. Those department stores will give anyone a copy of your registry. We don’t want a nosy reporter, again, to find out any of the details – not to mention Harry.” Mary Jane.
A voice out of the view of the tiny camera spoke next. “Oh, heavens, no!” May. “I don’t think my heart could withstand another shock like I had seeing those pictures… Even so, I wish we could have run a newspaper announcement...”
From behind Mary Jane, he saw Peter approach the table. “I know you would have liked to have it for the family scrapbook. But just imagine the problems my photo would cause, especially matched with MJ’s, so soon after that scandal. We only have four weeks to go – you’ll have wedding photos to treasure soon enough.”
So, the wedding is only four weeks away, Harry realized. He had assumed it would happen eventually, the way they had been all over each other last summer.
In the video feed, he saw Peter freeze, and look quickly around. Harry clicked Disconnect immediately. Harry had hoped that sending the centerpiece to May under the name of a friend would work. After all, it would not be unusual for one of her old friends to send a housewarming gift. His research had paid off; she had obviously placed it exactly where he had wanted.
Regarding Peter, his suspicions had been correct. He was glad he had learned about Peter’s ‘spider-sense.’ It had foiled him before, and this time, he would not allow that to happen. Even though the camera was tiny, and the only connection Harry had to it was through a wireless link, Peter had detected something amiss. If he was lucky, disconnecting would end Peter’s wariness. He would be able to spy on May with impunity. If not, he had mined a golden nugget of information already.
They were obviously trying to protect the date and location of the wedding from him. Well, there had to be others involved in the preparations – a bakery, a minister, a florist, a photographer... Given his resources, he would uncover what they wished to keep hidden soon enough.
He looked over at a package sitting on a table next to the study door. May’s home was now monitored. It was time to prepare the next location...
Next: Chapter 3: Connections
31 days until Spider-Man 3!!