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Mary Jane

by Elinor


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for mature content.

AN: My first attempt at fan fiction. 



More or less inspired by this. Currently, I'm most concerned about the balance between it only being three weeks since Gwen's death and Peter and MJ's future romantic history but please tear it to shreds. 

--

“Peter.”

I open my eyes and saw MJ standing over me with a mug of coffee. She was dressed to go out for the day. She was working now, at a ticket booth at the theater downtown. It was steady work. Got her close to the shows. I was happy for her.

I sit up from the couch and rub my eyes. The coffee wakes me from my stupor as I tried to piece together the dream.

Gwen. Me. The dance hall. Her, so alive.

I reminded myself, once again, that she was gone. For a few weeks now it had been like this. I was slipping behind. On rent. On work. I'd lay alone in my bed, trying to fall asleep. I'd call MJ. Asked if I could come over. She'd always say yes.

It was better to be with her than to be alone.

She'd make tea. We'd talk. I'd pass out on her couch and wake up a wreck.

I hadn't even thought about him. How could I? I couldn't let anyone else die. The costume was sitting at the bottom of my drawer, and I hadn't even gone near it. I'd thought about quitting. New York would be fine, right?

"You look awful," MJ says.

I realized I'd spaced out again. I look at her, and think about how much I don’t deserve her friendship. She's done so much for me. MJ is the only one who knows my secret. Harry, I don’t know how to approach. Aunt May does what she can. But I can’t tell her.

"Sorry," I say. "I'm a mess." I take another sip of coffee and stood up.

MJ looks at the clock. "I gotta go."

"Can I use your shower?" I feel bad asking.

"Of course," she says.

She hesitates at the doorway. "I'm worried about you, Pete."

"Thanks."

Thanks? Stupid, stupid.

MJ laughs. "Just lock the door with the spare key on your way out." As she smiles, I notice her eyes have little flecks of green in them. We've been friends for three years and I'd never noticed before.

On the subway home, I think about how I have no money. When Jameson heard about Gwen he asked how much time I needed. It was unpaid leave. I need the money, but I’m not ready to go back to work.

Her eyes meet mine.

She trusts me.

She trusts I'm going to save her.

That she's going to be okay.

I'm sorry I failed you, Gwendy. I'm sorry I wasn't fast enough.

...

...

"Pete."

The memory of MJ's voice from this morning prevents me from missing my stop. On my walk back, I see a little boy dressed in Spider-Man t-shirt. He notices me staring and I smile at him weakly.

At home, I take out the costume. Just touching it makes me relieve it all over again. I see her face as she falls further from me. She didn't scream. Shock, I overheard them say at the funeral.

I cry. I cry for the first time since I got home that night. When I'd first put on the costume, I'd made a promise to myself that I was going to protect people. To prevent what happened to Ben from happening again. And I'd failed. Maybe it had been five years, but I'd failed. Gwen always used to tell me I was too hard on myself. That what mattered is that I was there, that'd I'd done so much good. MJ told me similar things. That I made a difference.

Well, no, not me. Spider-Man. People that looked up to him. They didn't know he was just a nobody who had no idea what he was doing with his life. How disappointed they'd be if they found out that this was it. The news had been starting to wonder where their hero had gone. The truth was that I couldn’t think about putting it on again. About being him. I wasn’t about to let anyone else die. Besides, maybe now I could try to get my life together. Class starts in a few weeks. I have bills to pay. I have to go back to the Bugle soon. Maybe next week. It’s my only source of income. Maybe I need to get another job. No, too much. I have to make the Bugle work, somehow.

Later that afternoon, MJ calls. Asks if she can come over after work. Says she’ll bring dinner. Having spent the whole day in bed, I say yes. There is no one I want to see but her.I wonder if I made a mistake in telling her who I am. I had to tell her, but now I worry. I worry that the same thing is going to happen. The Goblin will come back for me. He knows who I am now. Next time, he’ll get MJ. And I won’t save her and I’ll let her die just like I let Gwen die. I try not to think about it as I buzz her in.

She brings Chinese. A place by the theater I haven’t been to but she swears by. And it is good.

I realize as we’re eating that I never put my costume away.

MJ just looks. She doesn’t know what to say, I can tell.

“I don’t know if I can do it anymore, Mary Jane,” I say.

“Why?” she asks.

I say nothing. But she sees the look in my eye.

“I miss her too, Pete,” she says. She extends her hand towards mine. Squeezes it. Her grasp is warm, reassuring. “You did everything you could.”

“No…”

“When are you going to forgive yourself? It wasn’t your fault.”

Now I’m angry. “It was! It was all my fault. I should have gotten there sooner. I should have been faster. I shouldn’t have been so goddamned cocky.”

“Peter.” MJ is calm. Why is she so calm? “I’m sorry. I’m really, really sorry. I know-- I know how much you loved her.” She looks at me, and I see the green flecks in her blue eyes again. They’re so bright. I wonder how I never noticed before. “But you are an inspiration to so many people. You’ve done so much for this city these past few years.”

“But what if I don’t want the responsibility?” I realize MJ and I are still holding hands. She’s being comforting, I know. But it makes my heart race. I think of something I hadn’t thought about in years, about how when we first met it was a blind date but things were already beginning to happen with Gwen. I slip my hand away. 

“I’m sorry…” she says.

“It’s okay.” This is too uncomfortable, so I change the subject. “MJ, when I first put on this costume, I wanted to help people. I wanted to stop bad things from happening to innocent people.” 

“Do you think Gwen would want you to stop?” she asks.

I think about it. No. No, she wouldn’t. I realize she’s right. I have to keep going. I shake my head.

“You’re not alone in this, you know.” She looks right at me again. She smiles tiredly. “There are always going to be bad people in the world and they’ll try to get the better of you. You can’t let them. No matter what.”

I nod. Mary Jane bites her lip. She asks me what I want to do. I say I want to visit Gwen’s grave.

It’s a warm night. Outside, the city is quiet. Peaceful. These are my favorite kinds of nights.

Gwen and I would often ride the subway together on nights like these, her head on my shoulder as we came home from class or dinner or whatever else normal couples did. But the reminder tonight makes me calm, not sad.

When we get to the graveyard we walk silently to her tombstone. There are some fresh flowers, probably from her mother. I kneel down and I set mine on top. And we just stand there. We don’t speak. We don’t need to speak.

I love you, Gwendy. You’re in a better place now.

After a while we decide to go. I take Mary Jane back to her apartment. “Thanks for being here with me,” I tell her at her door.

“Anytime.”

I hug her. It’s nice. I’m not thinking about anything else, anything I’m going to have to deal with tomorrow or in the coming days, weeks or months. Maybe tonight I’ll have another dream about Gwen and wake up and be a wreck all over again. But it doesn’t matter now. The thought of putting on the suit again fills my stomach with a deadweight. But somehow I know I will. “Have a good night, Mary Jane.” 

“See you around, Tiger.”


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Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:41 pm
GWritesNovels says...



This story was really well-done! It was a really fresh idea, seeing as not a lot of stories tackle that spot in between Gwen Stacy and MJ. The only things that I could see improvement with are a couple of tense changes and a few misplaced commas. Other than that, the writing was incredibly well-done!




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Thu May 17, 2018 3:54 pm
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elysian wrote a review...



Hello, here as requested to get this out of the green room! I don't know much about spider-man honestly, I haven't seen the movies in so long, but you did mention it might be better for someone that doesn't know the storyline so, here goes nothing!

**disclaimer: I will most likely focus on negative aspects more so than positive aspects when reviewing, and this is just to help you grow as a writer! It is totally okay not to agree with something I say! Also, If I repeat anything already said, it's probably because it needs to be changed!**

Spelling:

Class stars in a few weeks.


*starts

Grammar:

I sit up from the couch and rub my eyes.


*on

Punctuation:

I look at her, and think about how much I didn't deserve her friendship.


*no comma after her

After a while we decide to go.


*a while, we decide

Conventions:

There is no one I want to see but her.I wonder if I made a mistake in telling her who I am.


*space after period before "I"

Story:

I love the emotion in the first part, it really reflects the internal conflict and sets the mood for the piece.

Okay so I just finished, and it was actually really good! I think there could've been a longer range of time in this story, just so that the pain and the resolution of pain seem more accurate. I just felt like him going from the state he was into acceptance so quickly kind of throws it off. Think about the five stages of grief, and go from there maybe? I don't know, I feel like if someone lost the love of their life it would take more than a few weeks to move on, but I've never really experienced that so I can't be sure.

Other than that, I liked the internal conflict of it all, again, I just wish it wasn't resolved so quickly to make it seem more real. I honestly don't know how else to critique this, mostly because I've never written a fanfiction myself so I purely going off my knowledge of book chapters.

Nevertheless, I hope I helped in some way!

- Del




Elinor says...


Hey, thanks so much for your review! Yeah, I agree that a few weeks is too soon to get over the death of a loved one. I did include this toward the end: "Maybe tonight I%u2019ll have another dream about Gwen and wake up and be a wreck all over again" to try and hint that he knows this isn't over, but if it's too subtle, I definitely think there could be more of a sense of that so I'll keep it mind when I revise.



elysian says...


yes, I did see that. I don't know, maybe add more about how the next day was the same all over again? or write about more time beforehand? I just feel it would help the story feel more thorough.



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Mon May 14, 2018 8:05 am
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StellaThomas wrote a review...



Hey Ellie! Congratulations on writing your first short for the challenge!

I thought fanfic was such a fun way to go and this is definitely a good moment to choose, that awkward overlap between Gwen and Mary Jane. Poor Gwen Stacey deserved so much better. But it's great to see the added depth that this gives to Peter and how grief is affecting him.

I suppose one of the things I would like to see on his side is maybe a little more delineation on how he feels and what the most overwhelming emotion is for him l. Obviously he has a lot of guilt and grief and regret and just after such a horrible thing I would expect these to be a tangled mess but I feel like a few weeks or months out, one would be overriding. Maybe you had one in mind but I just didn't get a sense of how Peter was feeling overall except for generally being a mess. Maybe that's what you were going for, but I feel like as it's only a short story, there could be more power in really focusing in on one of the negatives.

Something else I would like to see, which if this weren't fanfic wouldn't be so important but it is - is the contrast between Mary Jane and Gwen. How would Gwen be treating him if it were somehow the other way around? What does MJ do that causes dissonance? Does she make tea where Gwen is a coffee drinker? Is she louder or quieter? Would Gwen be pushing him to get up and go and not think about it where MJ is happy to let things be? Not in the sense of pitting them against each other, but that in times of crisis you would want your SO to be there, and maybe for him to reflect on how it is to have Mary Jane and not Gwen. Just a thought.

Anyway! Congratulations! I don't have anything to give you but consider a gold star awarded :)

Stella x




Elinor says...


These are great suggestions. <3 Thank you Stella! I'm definitely thinking of revising this.



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Tue May 08, 2018 9:46 pm
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SnowGhost says...



This is amazing! You must write more of these!





“I'd much rather be someone's shot of whiskey than everyone's cup of tea.”
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