Summary: "Love can do strange things to a person..." A rash of mysterious crimes all over New York City draw Spider-Man and Captain Stacy into a working relationship, as Peter and MJ try to work out their issues. Post—SM3.
A/N: Thanks to mark_clark and Georgia Kennedy for the beta.
Abandoned: I felt the premise was flawed. :(
The young man stood there in the rain, staring numbly at the large bouquet of white roses decorating the casket, as if he were fixing this moment in his mind forever. Everything about him spoke of regret and despair, eyes much too world-weary for a man so young. Was he even listening to the minister?
The person watching Peter Parker knew that he had seen more than his share of tragedy in his lifetime. His uncle had been murdered in a carjacking years ago, and it didn’t help that the old wound had been opened afresh by the news that his uncle’s killer was still at large. And now to lose his best friend on top of that? He shook his head sadly at the callous hand of fate.
Behind Peter stood his aunt, another woman well-acquainted with grief. May Parker’s gaze settled on her nephew, a look of compassion on her face. She kept silent though, seeming to know that empty words would neither comfort nor encourage him. Together they were steadfast in their sorrow. Her presence was enough.
On the other side of the ornate mahogany coffin, Mary Jane Watson was nearly as solemn, her downcast eyes avoiding Peter’s. She had been close to Harry Osborn as well, although how close was anyone’s guess. Another young life touched so deeply by tragedy – the man watching them had promised himself long ago he would never get used to seeing such pain.
Finally, George Stacy looked to the side, where his daughter Gwen sat in stunned silence. All traces of her usual carefree manner were gone, her eyes staring blankly ahead. She had a recent brush with death herself… and for one heart-stopping moment, he was struck again that if it hadn’t been for Spider-Man, it could have been his Gwen who was about to be buried…
George reached beside him, and placed his hand on hers. “Are you okay, sweetheart?”
For a moment, she didn’t respond, gaze still locked on the coffin. Then the ghost of a smile touched his daughter’s lips, and she turned wide, red-rimmed eyes on him. “Yes, Daddy. I’ll be fine.”
George Stacy gave her hand a little squeeze, and she turned back to the scene. When she had heard that young Osborn had been somehow caught in the battle between Spider-Man, Sandman and Venom, she had asked if they could attend the funeral. “Peter wa… is… my friend. And I feel res—” She’d stopped then, before he could reassure her once again that it wasn’t her fault that Eddie Brock had gone bad. He’d seen enough hardened criminals in his years in the NYPD to convince himself that some people would never change.
An older gentleman, most likely the Osborn family retainer, suddenly stood and placed the first snow-white flower on Harry’s casket. His simple gesture touched off a wave of mourners – first Mary Jane, then May, then the others – people quietly paying their respects one last time and then moving on with their lives.
Even as the people around him began to disperse, Peter Parker remained resolutely in place. Dark silhouettes drifted past his stoic form. For a few moments, Captain Stacy stared at the young man, hoping to catch his eye, to show his support. But Parker’s gaze never wavered, his mouth set in a grim line.
It was all too easy to read Peter’s expression. Don’t blame yourself for this, son, he sent silently toward the young man. You couldn’t have prevented what happened any more than you could have stopped your uncle’s death. He wanted to lay a hand on his shoulder – something about him inspired a bit of a fatherly feeling – but a tug on his hand drew his attention away from Parker. Gwen was now standing beside him – she must have already placed her flower and was ready to leave.
He nodded slightly, and rose from his chair. Reaching for a bloom, Stacy placed his own, bowing his head for a moment. Wherever young Harry Osborn was right now, he hoped he was at peace. If only he could say the same for the friend Harry had left behind…
He felt Gwen’s hand thread through his elbow, and after a moment, they began to walk toward the car, lost in their own thoughts. As many times as he had seen a young life cut short, a beloved friend lost… why did it seem as if there was more to this story? Shaking his head, he opened the passenger door for his daughter and came around to the driver’s side. As they drove away, he took one last glance at the gravesite. Somehow he was unsurprised to see the still-motionless figure of Peter Parker against the slate grey sky.
Next: Chapter 1: Friends