Authors: co-written by liliaeth and XxBrooklynnxX
Summary: One glimpse was all it took, one moment of being caught on tape and Peter's life would never be the same.
Categories: Fanfiction, Fanfiction > Spider-Man, Fanfiction > Spider-Man > Spider-Man Movies Characters: Gwen Stacy, Mary Jane Watson, May Parker (Aunt May), Peter Parker (Spiderman)
Genre: Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe, Angst, Drama, Friendship
Warning: Character Death
Coming to work was like any other day and Joe simply took place behind his desk. Receiving footage right from the scene while the reporters send the feed right through to the station. Not like it was all that big a distance. It made things easier for the technicians when they didn’t have to sit in some cold van freezing their butts off while they tried to make some sense out of the live footage.
It was during the fight that Joe noticed it. It surprised him that he was the only one that did, probably because of the camera he was focusing on. Lisa and Dan were working on the right camera; it was the clearest one with the best lighting on it. He quickly looked around the television studio, hoping that none of his colleagues were eying the same screen. Joe was nearly shaking. While the others were focusing on the Sandman or Venom, Joe had discovered gold. He stared at the screen, at the young man on it. The young man who’s mask had been ripped off during the fight. It didn’t last long, just a few seconds, not even a minute, but there you had it.
Joe traced his fingers over to his controls and paused the video footage he had been directed to cover at the station. He cleared the image, smoothing the magnification. The pixels united, creating an answer; the answer to the most amazing question that all of New York had been asking for years. Joe took a deep breath and stared at the face on the screen.
The face of Spider-Man. He looked almost ordinary. Not some movie star quality look, not a monster, not even some vaguely known semi-celebrity or eccentric billionaire.
How could no one else have seen this? Was he the only one doing his job correctly around here? He shook his head in disbelief, looking at the man's features. After being sure he had not met or seen the man, as a face like that would stick to memory, he thought about his options. This could be it. The entire world would know...he'd probably be recognized as well, and rewarded. He smiled. Wow. Spider-Man's face. Spider-Man's actual face.
Joe nodded, contemplating his options. He nodded once again and decided. Quickly, he pressed the button that shut of the television monitor. He couldn’t. Not after, not after what happened with Tommy. Spider-Man has saved his younger brother from being hit by a car, right before Joe's own eyes. Tommy had just standing there waiting in line to get into the theatre while Joe had been on the other side of the street. He’d been a bit late and Tommy and the girls were waiting for him at the door. They had been on their way to see Avenue Q. A car had lost control. Joe had stood there frozen seeing the car heading for Tommy and the girls, knowing he didn’t stand a chance of saving them. He’d started screaming, thinking that there was no way he could ever face their parents after losing Tommy. He was supposed to protect the kid. And then a man came swooping out of the sky and stopped the car before it hit the crowd. He’d just jumped in front of it and stopped it in dead run. Even though the police had tried to arrest him as soon as they spotted him, but it hadn’t mattered, people had been in danger and Spider-Man had saved them.. Such a man did not deserve to have his secret told without his consent.
Joe closed his eyes and ejected the disc. The only recording available that could have cleared every debt he’d made in the past few months, it could make his life, get him a new better apartment, and it might even pay the first refund on Tommy’s student loans. But he had to find a way to destroy it.
The others in the room cheered as a second man appeared and joined in the fight in the footage they were all watching. He was on some sort of odd glider. Where had Joe seen one of those before? It was right in the back of his head, something he’d known; something he should recognize. And not just because it looked like the guy was flying some kind of snowboard. Spider-Man and the new guy teamed up fighting the black costumed monster and the Sandman and all through the fight, Joe held on to the tape in his pocket, to the hero’s secret. The fight ended with a sudden out roar of support for the home team within the room.
Spider-Man had won again. He seemed quiet when he left, and his friend didn’t fly off. They’d find out about that later. It didn’t matter. Not to Joe when he touched the tape, just to be sure it was really there. That he hadn’t imagined it.
"Intense! Great footage on the sand-guy!"
Joe heard someone say. He felt the disc in his pocket, weighing him down. He had to rid himself of it...make sure no one else even caught a glimpse of its contents. He tried to exit the room without conversation, but that had been without thinking about Stevie. Stevie was like a big kid who had been working alongside Joe for three years now. A really big 6 feet tall kid dressed in a Brooklyn Dodgers jersey. He was immature, constantly happy and always smiling. Steve’s eyes shined as he slapped his friend on the back. “Joey my man!” Joe had a bit of a hard time staying on his foot under the friendly pat.
"Can't chat, Stevie boy. No time no fuss."
"What’s up?" Steve of course went right after him. Puppy dog eyes were begging for more answers to end his curiosity. Joe, sticking with his choice, stepped out of the room. He shut the door tight behind him and stood alone in the stairwell. He took the disc out of his pocket and analyzed it, trying to assure himself that it was the right choice.
Maybe history deserved this tape.
Not now of course, not when it could endanger the hero. But later; in a few years. Maybe after the Amazing Spider-Man had met his end. The guy couldn’t always be lucky. He was only human after all. This tape could one day belong in the Smithsonian. Who was he to destroy it?
Joe felt a grin slip in. He felt the power of the disc he held. It was something people would pay for, people would beg for, people would kill for. He held it up to the light and nodded. "Spider-Man..." He heard the door shut behind him.
"Say what now?" Joe spun around. Steve was standing right behind him, eyeing him oddly.
"Stevie…what if I told you I knew a secret? A secret so big, it could change the rest of our lives?” Steve opened his mouth to ask something, when they heard a crash of something outside of the door. Joe waited a moment to continue. "What would you say if I told you I had something that could make history?"
"I'd say you're being pretty damn dramatic over it, buddy!" he laughed. "But...really now. What do you got?" Joe smiled and showed Stephen the disc, but not letting him get his fingers on it. "On here, my friend, is the face of Spider-Man."
"What? Are you joking--because if you are, it's not funny?"
"No, I'm dead serious. I was running through the footage. One camera was shooting from the perfect angle. We got it. We got Spider-Man's face on this disc, right here"
"Oh my god, man, if that's true, you could write your own ticket, you'd be set for life!"
Joe knew he would be, that's the worst part of it. "But I can't let anyone know Stevie. If we do, the hero is as good as dead. And so is everyone he's ever cared about."
"You--you're serious now, are you? Dude that is literally a thousand dollar disc man do you have any idea how much the networks would pay for that.” Joe knew. “When did you start growing morals?"
"You know he saved my brother. I told you. You know that..." Joe said. He hid the disc in his pocket again. "I'm sticking with it, Steve. No one sees his face. It's not fair. Not to him. Not after everything he's done."
"But Joe! Think of the money you're throwing away....” his voice trialed off, ignoring he red-haired man standing in the stairwell just one flight above them. The man who held onto his mop; wringing it out tightly, as if he were draining the life out of it. Nobody who saw his smile would describe it as friendly.
The two friends began their descent down the stairs. "Come, on! Think about it!" Steve kept urging. Following after him, tracing his footsteps; as enthusiastic as ever.
"I have," Joe said. "And we are not making this public!"
Stephen stopped him at the landing two floors below. "If you change your mind, I want in!" Joe nodded and smiled as his friend left him alone in the stairwell, exiting through a door that stood beside a large number 5. Joe, deciding to go outside for a quick smoke, made his way down to the third floor. Suddenly he felt something strike him in the back of the head. He shouted out and fell forward, crashing down the stairs. He felt the back of his head and looked at his hand. The blood almost made him vomit. He looked up to see a red haired man with an evil smile on his face looking down at him.
The man dug into Joe's pocket. He pulled out the disc. "I'll take that," the man cackled. And before Joe realized what the man's intent was, he was knocked out with the butt of the mop. He didn't even have time to beg for mercy. The red haired janitor whistled, feeling the disc safe in his own pocket now, leaving the body for someone else to find.