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Last week when Harry believed he was going insane and killing people as the Green Goblin was the worst, but this week was only partly better. Well, the one really good part was that Griffin is dead and can no longer poison Harry and he's back with me. On the downside, Tucker Wells got himself nearly killed and mauled by some beast and is in the hospital in a coma or something. Now I'd be a total hypocrite if I said that made me feel terrible for Tucker - he and I just tolerate each other at best, which doesn't mean I want him dead, but it doesn't mean I'm heartbroken over this, either - but Kara loves him, and I know how it feels like to have someone you love dying right in front of you, with nothing you can do.

Because as of now, Harry is. That stuff Griffin slipped him already killed Griffin, and if Peter doesn't find an antidote, it will kill Harry, sooner or later. And there isn't a thing I can do about it. I could find the real Goblin, too late, but I could find him, I could defeat him. When Kara got her soul sucked by that doll, I could find out the reason and destroy the thing, too. I can't stand magic, but it's part of my world, I get it, and for every spell, there is something to break it. It makes sense to me. But this is science, and I have absolutely zero idea of what to do.

Well. I had one idea. And I know I'll go to hell for even considering it. But ultimately Harry doesn't want that, and that cancels it out.

So Kara is going to pieces somewhere in Maine over Tucker Wells, and there is zilch I can do to help her. She sort of let me in in Boston when we thought she was pregnant, but not now. When she was here in New York eight days ago, it was clear it had all come back. And yeah, I know it's my fault. It always will be. Anyway, even in some bizarro AU where I and Harry never met, I probably still couldn't help her because what the hell do I know about surgery and science? See above.

And Harry is just barely not going to pieces here. I mean, considering some doctor he trusted stabbed him in the back and slipped him poison and he just spent several days trapped in his worst nightmare, and the clock is ticking all the time, it's a miracle he didn't lose it already. And I'm not - I should be strong and calm and all the good stuff, but wouldn't you know it, first time he really vents about everything that happened, I lose it, too. Now he has a bandaid on his neck, and - like he said. So much for no more scars.

It's just that I'm so freaking scared because I can't do anything. And I can't afford to be scared. I've got to be the one who holds it together. When I got back from walking Bailey today Norman The Bastard had finally deigned to show up and offer help in saving his son's life, and Harry had a cut in his arm.

Speaking of Osborn Senior. He also showed up again later, when I was in the training room, and informed me that if I truly wanted to help both Kara and Harry in a meaningful way, there was a perfect way to do it. I should walk out on Harry, he said. "We both know my son would go back to dear Miss Keating, no matter his protestations earlier, and that she would accept him. It would soothe her feelings. It would finally ease the guilt he bears for his treatment of her." And so on, and so forth.

I won't do it, but the awful thing is, I can't say he's entirely wrong. Kara would probably take Harry back, and it would cheer her up. And Harry feels more guilty than ever for breaking up with her now, because of the Tucker thing. It's just - well, maybe I'm the most selfish guy in the universe and just kidding myself, but I think he needs me. More than he needs to stop feeling guilty.

Then there is also the problem that with Peter researching on the antidote and me taking care of Harry, no one is around to guard the city, really. Peter pointed that out when we had a kind of clear-the-air-conversation after everything that went down with Griffin. First I thought I'd ask Faith or Buffy, and I knew I had to ask Kara, even if she couldn't because of school (that was before Warren posted about Tucker being in the hospital, of course), because she'd be mortally offended otherwise. But Faith has stuff going on in Chicago and Buffy is at college and I know how hard it is to catch up if you've missed out for a while. So I guess I just have to, well. Ask Angel.

It's not that I don't think he'd do it; of course he would. But he'd notice things. And - oh, to hell with it. So what. I can't stand the idea of people getting beaten up and dying because I'm freaked out over the idea of him noticing stuff.

In between, there was the thing with Cordy's husband the film star emailing everyone saying she was possessed. That completely freaked me out and I asked whether she was pregnant, and then he lost it and said Harry and I had made her and Kara lesbians. (Seriously. What does she see in that idiot?) Anyway, I visited, and it turned out there was actually another person in her body. Who wasn't Jasmine. But kissed me. I went and looked for the axis of Pythia which Angel had used once before to locate Cordy's soul. Gwen had sold it on ebay, but I finally tracked it down, but by the time Harry bought for me, Cordy was back in her body. Thank God. Or rather, thank Kara, who organized it before finding out about Tucker Wells. Hearing from the real Cordy again was definitely one of the better times this last week.

There were others, of course. When I'm not freaked out and worrying I'm just so damm happy Harry is back and alive and himself again. Sometimes when I watch him feeding Bailey too much (he never learns) or the other night when we were out and he danced in that great way he has, I thought of nothing but that, not about any of the other things. And it was a better rush than any fighting or anything else. Just that.
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As plans go, his was a simple one. After Connor had helped Peter clean out Griffin's lab for anything that could be useful in regards to Harry, he intended to go back to the penthouse, drop his weapons there, take a shower, drive to Silver Hills looking presentable (as opposed to having Griffin's blood and eye fluids all over him), get Harry released, bring him back to the penthouse, and then sleep. Connor couldn't remember when he had slept the last time. He knew that their worries were far from over, that worst actually might not have happened yet; after all, Griffin had taunted him with the fact he had given Harry doses of the original green goo, not from the safer modified versions Peter had produced. But superpowers or not, Connor had his limits, and he needed to rest in order to be of any use to anyone. Now that the Goblin was dead and couldn't damage Harry or anyone else even further, he could allow himself to. After getting Harry out of Silver Hills. No way Harry was going to stay there a minute longer.

Unfortunately, his very simple plan started to unravel at the "get back to the penthouse" stage already when he was greeted by none other than his parents, who looked exhausted and livid enough to have been up and about the entire night as well. He had expected Angel to come to New York sooner or later, but not that soon. Darla he had not expected at all, and knew he should have. So much for any more attempts to downplay or hide what was going on. At least with the Goblin identified as someone other than Harry and dead, he didn't have to go through the entire insistence on Harry's innocence with them, and didn't have to put Angel on the list of people he was afraid would want to harm Harry. Darla said "you idiot" and hugged him fiercely; Connor was too drained not to hug her back. Dimly, he remembered the first time he had harmed a human being after the mindwipe. It had happened in her presence, and he had been horrified and shocked by the ease of it, and by the fact he had been sure, then, that she was really his mother. This night, the sole reason why he hadn't killed another human was that the guy had died through his own poison, and Connor had taken great satisfaction in hurting him before that happened.

There was something crazy and right at the same time in being with his parents after that.

The next unexpected thing that happened was that Angel told him they had been looking for Kara as well as for Connor. Now Kara had said she wanted to come to New York, but she had also said she would call Connor once she had arrived, and she had not done so. At this point, Connor thought of actually checking his cell phone and noticed he had forgotten to switch it back on after turning it off during his secret Thursday night visit to Silver Hills. After some arguments about what should come first, freeing Harry or looking for Kara - which now that the sun was up Angel was no longer in a position to do - Darla suggested that as Kara had come to New York to visit Harry to begin with, she would contact him sooner or later, and would be more likely to respond to a phone call from him than she would to one from any of them. Harry, Darla said, had claimed Kara had been there some time on Friday already, but hadn't exactly been in a condition to be sure. This brought the image of Harry full of tranquilizers and in that place again back full force to Connor, and he insisted on leaving to get him out, immediately.

Which was when Angel with surprising worldliness pointed out that no doctor worth his title would release a patient who had only checked in a few days earlier with obvious problems, and that Connor better use that new power of attorney Harry had given him to make a sizable donation to Silver Hills in order to make the release worth the staff's while. Obviously, that year as CEO of Wolfram and Hart still had aftereffects. Not that one could say he was wrong.

Harry's cheque book in hand, Connor drove off to Silver Hills and for one of the few times in his life followed his father's advice. By the time money had won over conscience, he found it increasingly difficult not to check himself in instead. Then he saw Harry again, and the sheer relief Harry was lucid, not in a stage of decomposition and about to return with him cut through the numbness and exhaustion, enough to make him smile for the first time since the entire madness started.

The temptation to do what they had done on Tuesday night and go to a hotel in order to have some quiet hours alone before facing the next step was nearly overwhelming, but there was the Kara situation, and Connor couldn't bring himself to lie about this. Kara needed to know the good news, she needed to be found, and maybe they'd even manage to get through a big scale family reunion without any more bloodshed. So the only thing Connor didn't tell Harry when explaining all was that Griffin had slipped him doses of the original formula.That, and its implication, really could wait.

The "driving back to the penthouse" part of the plan unravelled as much as everything else, though. For starters, Connor had planned to drive, and secondly, he had wanted to treasure every moment. But somewhere between the Silver Hills main building and the parking lot Harry told him he looked ready to pass out, and suggested to drive instead. Letting someone fresh out of medical care behind the wheel sounded surprisingly rational at this point. He got into the passenger seat, leaned his head back and tried out various things to say, such as "I'm sorry I didn't figure out it was him sooner" or "don't worry about my parents, I think they really just want to collect Kara and go home" or "you know, I had this crazy idea about asking Kara to... no, forget it", or "don't be surprised if Peter thinks I'm nuts now, and you know, getting tasered really is a bitch". Or just maybe "I love you". But somehow none of this made it beyond the fragmentary thoughts stage.

He was asleep before Harry took the first exit to New York.
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From THE DAILY BUGLE, leading article, written by J. Jonah Jameson himself.


Green Goblin Gruesomely Mutilated By Spider-man

New York City, Saturday, 01/21/06

One down, one to go. Police alerted to the sight of possibly suicidal figures on top of the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library were stunned to find, amidst remains of the characteristic webs used by the vigilante Spider-man, the mangled corpse of the Green Goblin. Soon identified as Dr. Mitchell Griffin, 42, employee of OsCorp Industries, the Green Goblin appears to have met his demise.

"And that's putting it mildly," one of the detectives wishing to remain anonymous said. "Spider-man must have gone all commando on him. I'm telling you, man, I'm not sure the right guy survived. What kind of nutter stabs someone in the eye after he's already down for the count? Okay, forget I said that."

This paper, recently attacked by the Goblin for its courageous revelation about his possible coalition with Spider-man, argues for a fallout between thieves. Obviously, Griffin got too greedy in the wake of his successful attacks. "Yeah, he always was after a salary raise," Mr. Argus Fortescue, OsCorp account manager, said when questioned about Griffin. "Also pissed off that Mr. Osborn brought some kid in to head the department. But nobody expected this. Anyway, I'd like to point out that Griffin used to work for Campbell Industries before he came to us, you know what I'm saying?"

As our readers undoubtedly recall, a Campbell Industries factory was the first location to be attacked by the Goblin after his return. Given the new revelation of his identity and background, we can indeed see a pattern, give the various public brawls between Todd Campbell and Harry Osborn and Campbell's recent open endorsement of Spider-man. In the best tradition of hired thugs everywhere, Spider-man and the Green Goblin appear to nothing but tools in a vicious warfare between competing firms who decided to go into business for themselves at one point. This also explains why, all tireless efforts of this journal to the contrary, Spider-man still escapes justice.

"It's all about the money, man," director Michael Moore, newly arrived in New York for research concerning a possible Campbelll-Osborn-Bush connection, was heard to declare. "Always was."

We advise Mr. Campbell to take a look at what remains of Mitchell Griffin's corpse and surrender the masked menace; fortune may favour the bold, but not the dead.

Meanwhile, donations for the welfare of our surviving employees and the restoration of the Daily Bugle's office are gratefully accepted.
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Somewhere, sometime, in one of your lives, someone told you a story. You cannot remember who anymore, or which life. Sometimes, these things run together. It is a story about a man who hands over his heart to be eaten, bit by bit, by someone who uses a spoon, and when it is all used up, the hollow place inside is filled with glass.

You don't remember who told you, but you do remember the feeling.

It is not there yet on Tuesday night. You find a hotel, and then, while you check in, Harry gets a phone call from Kara. He doesn't talk about it when he comes back to the hotel room, and you don't ask; it occurs to you that you haven't told him why you went to Boston yet, as Kara hasn't given you the liberty to do so, and maybe that's redundant now. So many things are. You don't say something about that, either. Neither of you says much during the first hours or so, you just hold each other, and you remember Boston, arriving there after weeks on the run. He held you like that then. At some point during the night, he starts to talk about Bailey and daily walks and having forgotten to sent those flowers to Elizabeth for the Saturday outburst and where to buy them and which flower. Little things. It's everything. That's when the feeling starts. Of course, what the story doesn't say is that the man gives his heart to be fed on from his own free will. Give me your pain, she had said, and your wounds had appeared on her skin. You wish you could do that for Harry, but you can't, and so you give your replies and promises and those bits and bits from your heart instead, and hope it will sustain him, and most of all you hope that somehow, it will be enough to make him change his mind.

All the arguments he used why this was necessary are true, but you were always better at believing lies.

The reality you want to believe in changes after the early morning hours, after you make love, when you are in that strange state between utter awareness and utter exhaustion and think that maybe you have learned how to do Jasmine's trick after all because you aren't quite sure anymore where your skin ends and his begins. In your reality, the two of you decide that Peter Parker can deal with Green Goblin on his own and that whatever poison runs through Harry's veins can be dealt with without any outside interference, and you take the car and drive north together and abandon it somewhere in the New England woods. In your reality, you find a place where no one can track you down, and it isn't a slaughterhouse, and it isn't a Greek Island, and it isn't another dimension. Just a place were you are able to keep your promises and protect him, always.

In that other reality, you watch him make phonecalls which usually have him handing over the phone to you sooner or later on Wednesday morning, and then there are papers and websites advertising what looks horribly like vacation resorts but were prisons, no matter how sugarcoated, and he and you both know it, and by the time you bring him to Silver Hilll, just an hour away from New York, and they tell you to leave in that ever so practiced gentle manner doctors have, that place inside is nearly all hollow and ready for the glass.

There are certain advantages to being an automaton, and you remember them well by late Wednesday afternoon. You're back at the penthouse, you tell the staff what needs to be said because an automaton can do that, you take Bailey out for a walk, and you think. Without any fears, without any sorrow, without anything but that icy, cold rage that is the last thing to go. When you're back from the walk, you suit up. With weapons; you certainly have no intention of playing any more games involving masks.

Fact: as you now know, your possession or hypnosis theory in all likelihood is wrong because otherwise, Harry would have been used for the second Goblin attack, and he wasn't anywhere near the Daily Bugle office. Fact: that means whoever is behind this made a personal appearance there. Fact: that someone is in possession of not only the Goblin Glider, suit and mask, but various pumpkin bombs, all items that had be procured and produced anew as those manufactured by Norman still are safely entombed in cement in what used to be Norman's secret lab in the penthouse; you checked. Fact: these items also have to be stored somewhere.

Now, the OsCorp building is an obvious choice, except that Peter Parker has searched that from roof to lowest basement when looking for Harry on Saturday. Still, there has to be an OsCorp connection for a successful framing, and the storage couldn't be far away, either, not when whoever was behind it needed to check on Harry being unconscious at OsCorp before starting the attack on the Daily Bugle, but you have to take into account that the glider allows for flying.

You start asking about rented places where one can store chemicals. Huge storage rooms. Soundproof walls. And soon, "ask" becomes the wrong term for what you do. You think the creature who ends up with one of his arms torn out is a halfbreed demon, but you're not sure, and you don't check anymore. The woman who turns out to have wasted your time and ends staked is a vampire, but the guy who loses his right ear and actually provides a lead is human.

Finally, you have it. Some bomb shelter, a gigantic panic room build by someone after the 9/11 attacks who then promptly had a heart attack and died in bed, with his family moving to Florida and not bothering to sell it. It's not rented, either, according to the papers, except that, well, things were delivered, trucks were seen unloading in recent weeks. Christmas business, people explained. Surely. You're there, and you recognize the smell at once, that scent from the Greek island and from the lab in the penthouse, only not stale, no, not at all. Sharp. There is someone there. Someone who rather obligingly has just suited up as well, only in his case literary, in green, which makes identification easy. Same height as Harry, same build, but this close up, you who have tracked and hunted all kind of beings through most of your life are certain even if you didn't know Harry was currently facing the worst fear of his life, the horror of having committed himself to an institution, you would know it is someone else.

You don't waste time on opening quips or insults. You just charge.

The amused, laughing sound he makes when he spots you lasts about as long as it takes for you to make physical contact. Then there is silence from his side as well, except for quick breaths, trying to avoid your vicious blows, landing some of his own. You didn't have that narrow a vision, that much focus on destruction of just one individual, since beating the man who kept Emily prisoner to death. And so when he seems to come to the conclusion that hand to hand won't do and tries to reach one of pumpkin bombs, you miss entirely that you two aren't any longer alone. You hurl the axe you brought along, a throw aimed to slice of, not his hand, not his arm, but his legs, and a web shoots out and interrupts your axe mid flight.

You whirl around, and sure enough, there he is, Spider-man, come through the door you had kicked open, head tilted in your direction as if he's staring at you in disbelief. It doesn't occur to you until later that Peter probably still assumes at this point it is Harry beneath the green suit. At this moment, you just think, in as much as you think anything, that he has stopped you from finally getting the bastard who is the cause of all this, and in that heartbeat, you don't know whom you want to kill more.

The Goblin, whatever else he is, isn't stupid. He uses the distraction to do what you have successfully stopped him from doing so far, gets on the glider, presses a button and escapes through the window that suddenly reveals itself when a wall starts to part, shattering glass and cement in the process. It takes Spider-man, staring at you, some seconds to realize this and to shoot another web, but this one misses its aim. He runs in the direction of the window, jumps and follows the fastly dissappearing glider. You can't swing between skyscrapers, so you remain where you are. Maybe Peter will catch him, but somehow, you doubt it.

You sink to the floor, look at the splintered glass, take one of the shards and for a moment wonder just where they come from.

Then the hollowness you feel reminds you the glass inside is still there.
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College on Monday had been something to get through till Connor could go home and keep an eye on Harry. He also used the libraries to check on anything about possession or hypnosis he could find, which didn't help when being asked about Ethan Frome's motives.

The other thing he was checking, with more success, were old newspaper reports about the first appearance of the Green Goblin and his battles with Spider-man, and Spider-man's later battles against Doctor Octavius. Connor wasn't just looking for patterns and facts about the Goblin. He also looked for possible ways to take down Spider-man. If it came down to it, if Harry turned out to be the Green Goblin and not for supernatural reasons, Peter would do his duty and try to capture him. Of course he would. But Connor had promised Harry he would not allow anyone to lock Harry up, and he meant to keep that promise. Even if that meant to fight against a good guy who only meant to protect the population at large.

Connor didn't sleep at all on Monday night.

When he met Peter Parker on Tuesday morning in the psychology class they shared, he nodded briefly, and tried not to think about the irony. In any case, he thought desperately, it was important to keep in mind they didn't know anything yet. Maybe the blood test alone would exonerate Harry, and even if it didn't, hypnosis or possession were still viable options, because possession alone would not change Harry's body, and Norman had to know that. He hoped he'd be able to find a reliable psychic or shaman soon, but having a distrust of magic and a downright loathing for shamans able to do desoulings wasn't exactly helpful when it came to tracking them down via phone or internet.

After the class had ended, he decided that avoiding Peter would make no sense. They had to pool their resources for as long as they could work together, and so he headed over, reaching Peter just when a thin dishevelled man whose clothes looked like he had just tried Sumo wrestling, with smudges on his face as if from ash marks was showing up on the other end of the floor, heading towards them as well.

"Parker," he said, voice shaking, "Parker, J.J. wants the entire staff outside the office building right now. Freelancers included."

"Outside?" Peter repeated, a bit confused.

"The office just got bombed," the thin man said. "Parker, the Green Goblin showed up right when we were going over latest news. Said that if Mr. Jameson really wanted to know the truth about his good old buddy Spider-man, he could give him an exclusive, but that he was pissed off now for having been called Spider-man's tool, and we should think about rephrasing that. JJ said "rephrasing, my ass," and then - "

He swallowed.

"The entire place is blown up. I think we got at least four dead. The ambulance took Betty and Lance, I don't know whether they've made it, and..."

His shaky voice steadied.

"Now, Parker. The boss said he wants you there now."
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From THE DAILY BUGLE, leading article, written by J. Jonah Jameson himself.

Spider-man: Fraud or Failure?

New York City, 15.01.2006:

HE'S BACK. As the workers of Campbell Industries found out when one of its factories exploded around them and their comrades turned to ashes, the Green Goblin, previously believed to have perished at the hands of Spider-man, has returned. Throwing his signature pumpkin bombs, the maniac was sighted Saturday evening.


As the smoke cleared, the pathetic wails of "Spider-man, where are you?" could be heard from the orphans the attack left behind. (Multi-millionaire Todd Campbell, owner of this particular subisidiary of Campbell Industries, could not be reached for a statement; we suspect he is still on his honeymoon.) This paper, never taken in, has a better question: Spider-man, how dumb do you think we are anyway?

"A two man con," Mr. O. Wednesday of the New York police department was heard to declare. "The oldest trick in the world."

Indeed. Clearly, Spider-man and the Green Goblin staged their original fight and the Goblin's subsequent dissappearance in order to make the former's reputation. Now that other vigilantes such as Kid Vicious have been sighted in the city, the red menace believes he needs to reuse his old tricks in order to maintain top status and has caused his former partner-in-crime to reappear from what was doubtlessly a comfortable retirement. The only thing different is their lack of finesse; Spider-man didn't even bother to make a fake "rescue" appearance on Saturday night, despite the fact the destruction of the factory was reported on all police channels, and the flames clearly visible for a long time, even from Manhattan. So much for super senses.

Who will be the next to suffer for Spider-man's thirst for fame, and the Green Goblin's unrivaled glee in destruction? We don't known. But we do know the solution: hunt down the web-slinging freak!

This paper will not rest until this job is done, and New Yorkers can sleep safely again.
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Ooc: this is connected to a longer storyline

Your New York Day And Night )


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