Who: Harry Osborn & Mary Jane Watson What: UM. Where: MJ's place. When: Aprox. around the same time that Harry & Gwen hooked up. Warnings: FTB allusions.
Mary Jane had become something of a blur over the last few years. She'd been reduced to the glittery fringe of a dream, barely recalled in the morning light of god awful hangovers. It was a bad habit that they'd fallen into, calling one another while drunk and lonely. It'd made sense at the time because everybody else was always disappearing on them, going into the military, or vanishing to distant, coastal colleges. For awhile it'd felt like Mary Jane and him were the only ones left, eternally forgotten behind, abandoned in order to figure things out for themselves. For all of their differences, in some ways they were very much the same. She got him in a way that didn't require explanation and rarely asked for forgiveness. They operated in a realm of emotion where everyone else seemed to follow logic. So maybe it wasn't healthy, and it sure as hell wasn't going to last, but it was a codependency that Harry didn't think he could shake until it was simply done.
He'd ride it out because he didn't know how to do anything else. On nights like this, he didn't want to do anything else, be with anyone else. Mary Jane got him, or as close to the real him as he let anyone see. Which was nobody's fault but his own, and Harry accepted that. He'd never had a problem with taking on the guilt and blame that mapped his life. It wasn't the same thing as taking responsibility, but he pretended it was. Responsibility meant a willingness to change, and it was easier to label himself as too selfish to try than to actually try. He wasn't a very good person, not really. There was a darkness in him and everybody knew it even if they didn't talk about it, or at least talk about it to him. He ruined friendships better than he made them. All of these were things that Mary Jane knew, some of them she knew better than others, but she still called. She still asked him to come over. It was a kind of safety net because MJ knew he was fucked up(so was she in her own, milder way).
The drive to SoHo was dappled with snow flurries here and there. Bits of white clung to the dark wool of his coat collar as Harry walked into the building, and he brushed them off with fingers gone numb from the cold before knocking on her door.
Mary Jane was sort of a mess since the new Peter arrived and turned all their worlds upside down again. He was becoming better and better at that, wasn’t he? With every single switch of their Spider-Man, the newness threw their worlds off-kilter for a little bit. She missed the casual warmth and friendship of her Peter, her neighbor and best friend. The one who understood her and confided in her. The one who stuck to his ceiling and hung down to tell her he was Spider-Man. The one she’d fallen for in spite of herself. It felt like a lifetime since she had seen her Peter, and that had her heart aching immensely, especially with a reminder hanging around of what that Peter could and might have become over the years.
And, he was right, this new Peter. Right about how she was complacent in her life and so goddamn lonely. Honestly, MJ hadn’t felt close to anyone in years. Harry Osborn was the only one who got close to cracking through the ever-present shield she’d created over time. Only one that chipped away at the iciness and distance because he understood her more than anyone else in a sick sort of way. Both damaged, both lonely, both easily torn apart, Harry and MJ were volatile at their worst and understanding at their best. She hadn’t forgiven him for all he had done, and part of her didn’t want to see him again. Hadn’t she just told Gwen that there was nothing going on? Well. There was nothing. But she saw too much of herself in him to just give up. MJ just wanted to check in on him to make sure he wasn’t an absolute wreck. Right? That was it.
She kept repeating that over and over again when she heard the light knock on the door, and opened it slowly. Dressed in a pair of jeans and a white button-up that hung a little loose on her frame, she answered the door barefoot and with her red hair loose around her shoulders. “Hi,” she said softly, wondering whether she should hug him or not. In the end, she just stepped aside to reveal her studio apartment beyond. The colors were were warm -- yellow walls and red curtains -- and the space was small, and she waved him over to the cream-colored couch. “Do you want some wine?” she asked, already going to her kitchen and gathering two glasses and a bottle of red.
She poured both, left the bottle on the table, and handed one to him. She offered him a tiny, flimsy smile before she sat on the edge of her bed across from the couch, legs crossed and glass balancing on her thigh. “Hi,” she said again after a moment of watching him, at a loss for what to actually say.
The offering of a drink made Harry visibly relax. If Mary Jane was opening bottles of wine, she couldn't have still been that mad at him. He knew that she'd been upset with him the last time that he'd come to see her, and that despite that, they'd slept together. It wasn't something that he was proud of, and he knew that had to be partially the reason that she'd had nothing to say to him over the last couple of months. It hadn't gone over his head, Harry had noticed the cold shoulder even if he'd done nothing in an attempt to repair it. What could he have done, anyway? He knew that he was in the wrong, that he'd put Mary Jane in a difficult position by cheating on his fiance with her. He didn't expect her forgiveness, just like he knew that Lily would never forgive him if she ever found out about MJ. Forgiveness was a strange concept, the unattainable holy grail. It sounded great, but he couldn't get too caught up in a crusade over it because he ultimately knew that he wasn't worth that kind of trouble. He wasn't even entirely sure that he was sorry about any of these things. He was here, wasn't he?
Not that he thought that was why Mary Jane had invited him over. He knew that Peter was back, only this time he was a newer, douchier version. He knew that the girls were upset about it. He was vaguely aware of the fact that he was upset about it. Peter was supposed to be his friend, his best friend.. but that Peter hadn't been here in a long, long time. And if Harry was ultimately destined to become the bad guy, it sucked to now be face-to-face with a Peter that he could easily see himself hating. Didn't that make the whole villain thing a little more tangible and bittersweet? He didn't want it to happen, but now he could kind of see how it could. Hypothetically.
"Hi," he echoed. After a sip of wine, he took a deep breath and sank back into the couch, watching her where she sat across from him. The sudden lapse into awkward silence wasn't lost on him, although Harry didn't quite know what to say either. It seemed like if they weren't bickering, they were partying, and there hadn't been a whole lot of in-betweens in the last couple of years. It'd always been about extremes with them. Finally, Harry spoke up. "How've you been? How's work?"
Mary Jane ran her teeth across her bottom lip as the silence dragged, not quite used to any sort of awkwardness between them. It was always fire and passion, whether there were arguments or clothes torn off or bottles drained. It was always something fierce and consuming and thrilling. That was Harry Osborn: a thrill. But, when they were both stripped of that, what was left? They hadn’t really been friends in years, had they? Or, well, they were, but they used vices as bandaids instead of supporting each other like they could. So, they didn’t really know each other like they could. Not as much as they could.
She shrugged, finger tracing invisible lines on her glass. “I’m fine, Harry. I’m always fine.” Spoken like a wish for that to be true more than actual fact, but MJ was usually very good at hiding that. She smiled with the words, assuring him that she was always fine, even if he knew the sentiment wasn’t true. “Work is work.” She considered telling him about how Peter’s comments had gotten under her skin, how she was now realizing how miserable doing this kind of work was making her. She didn’t. Instead, she took a large gulp and pointed a bare toe at him. “Wanna tell me what’s really been going on with you?” She sounded concerned; MJ was always concerned about Harry despite herself.
Harry smiled a little when she swore by being always fine. He thought that they both knew that wasn't really true. Or maybe it was true enough because people like them always pushed through whatever was bothering them and forced themselves to be fine. He'd documented the differences in Mary Jane's smiles; the bright charisma of her laugh sweetened through teenage popularity, the threatened , wilting-flower bloom that she put on at other times. She'd always been a bit of an actress, and maybe in the right light the smiles could look almost the same, but Harry knew the truth. He knew that nothing was perfect, and that appearances were so deceiving if you didn't look a little deeper. Nothing was always fine, but they could pretend. They'd both gotten pretty good at it, all things considered.
"Yeah," he agreed. Agreeing was good because it meant that he didn't have to look deeper. If he didn't, maybe she wouldn't either. If she could keep on pretending that everything was fine, then he could keep on pretending that everything was fine in his life as well. Life was better when everyone pretended, he thought.
"Oh, you know," he said with a revived nonchalance. "Running Oscorp just gets to me sometimes." Maybe he shouldn't have said that. He didn't think that Mary Jane would say anything to anyone else, but he also didn't want her to think that he couldn't cut it. He didn't want anybody to ever think that. "But I can handle it," he assured her. He took another drink, as if cheersing on it would make it real.
For all her effort in her younger years to not be like the other redhead on the other side of the door, MJ had turned out an awful lot like her. Maddie Kate’s mantra had been fine, right? And a lot of times, parties and drinking or rolling or sleeping around until she forgot made everything seem just that: fine. Fuck, that was messed up. She hadn’t wanted to end up like that washed up, failed actress goddamn mess, and yet here she was, inviting over the man who broke her heart and drinking wine to dull the awkwardness.
But, Harry was right in his thinking. MJ was always a good actress. Her lips pinched for a second at her thoughts before she eased down at his yeah. Harry always fed into the delusion; she would always love him for that. She raised her glass a bit, took another gulp down of wine, and narrowed her eyes slightly. Just enough that she knew he was full of shit. Then again, he knew she was full of shit, too. “I know you can,” she said of him handling it because she knew he could. She began to casually swing her leg back and forth. “How’s everything else? Lily?” There was a flicker of something at the name, but it was lost behind a glass again.
By contrast, Harry had nothing in common with the man on the other side of the door, not a single thing as far as he could tell. They edged around one another's thoughts in silence, but there was at least a level of mutual respect to work with. Harry knew that Joey wouldn't expose anything detrimental, there was cloudy ambiguity where lives overlapped. The way that he understood it, they both tried to steer clear of the other when things got personal or emotionally muddy, which was more often than not lately. Harry wasn't entirely sure of how it worked with everybody else, but he assumed there wasn't too much of a problem or he'd have heard about it. Maybe everybody was like him though, maybe they didn't like to complain about things that didn't seem like they had much of a chance of changing.
"Lily's good," he said automatically. A prompt brought on by self-consciousness and an innate survival mode. Even if he missed the inflection that rode the tail-end of Lily's name when MJ said it, he knew how girls were. Hell, it was the exact same thing with how Flash and him never really got along. His sense of self-worth had always been slightly misplaced when he'd been forced into recognizing all of the ways that MJ preferred Flash's company to his back in high school. Even if MJ and Lily might have otherwise gotten along one day, certainly better than he could ever see Gwen and Lily getting along, he knew it wouldn't ever happen. Girls were eternal with that sort of thing. Still, Harry knew that two words wasn't really an answer. "She's been doing a lot of traveling, and when she's here, she's planning the wedding, so.." He trailed off with a shrug.
"So what's the deal with this new Peter?" Since they were on the subject of asking things that were simultaneously bothersome and curious.
Mary Jane’s lip twitched behind the glass, and she polished off the rest of the wine before she responded. “So, you aren’t seeing her is what you’re saying?” She busied herself with pouring another glass for herself and pointedly not looking at Harry. Lily was still a sore subject. Objectively, she seemed wonderful and beautiful and so very smart, but that didn’t really matter at the end of the day. MJ would never get along with her, just in the same way that Gwen would never really like MJ herself. “I mean, not that you aren’t seeing her. that you don’t get to spend time with her. Whatever. You know what I mean.” She waved her hand dismissively, a rare moment of awkward rambling that Harry somehow managed to draw out of her. She stood up, topped off Harry’s glass, and looked up at him finally.
There was a brief second of something in her eyes, maybe sorrow for him missing his fiancee, maybe something else, but it was lost in a roll of her bright green eyes. “He’s an asshole,” she breathed in frustration, flopping next to him on the couch, and putting the bottle on the table again with a thunk. “I can’t imagine how any Peter, any Peter, could have wound up like he did.” Another gulp of wine and a buzz to her brain, she sighed deep and long. Peter made her think though, made her step back and look at how her life had turned out. “He said some really, really hurtful shit.” MJ shrugged. “It can’t be him, but Gwen is sure.”
Harry shrugged a little in a trademarked, dismissive gesture. It was true that he didn't get to see Lily all that often, and maybe he didn't mind the distance as much as he probably should have, but he knew that everything would pave out evenly the way it was designed to in the end. Lily would come back to New York, Harry would sign a big check over to her father's re-election fund, they would be married, and.. admittedly, Harry didn't know what was supposed to come after that. The end zone seemed like a big blank space that he could stack vague concepts into like ambiguous puzzle pieces. Concepts like success, fulfillment, happiness. "We're going to be spending a lot of time together once we're married, and I think.. neither of us are in a particular rush," he explained. It sounded a little like bullshit, even to him.
When MJ sank onto the couch beside him, Harry leaned into the cushions. He dropped his head back, tilted just enough to watch her where she sat. He was quiet for some time after she huffed and shrugged and sighed. Even Gwen had been frustrated sadness at the mention of Peter, and Harry was now beginning to wish that he hadn't brought the subject up at all really, but it was done. MJ didn't seem upset like that, thankfully, maybe she was just fed up with the way things tended to happen around here. Harry knew he was. "What did he say to you?" There was a contemplative grit of teeth and a crooked scowl of irritation. Whoever this new guy was, he wasn't anything like the Peter they missed and remembered.
Mary Jane quirked an eyebrow up at him, detecting the absolute bullshit in his answer from miles away. “Sure, okay. Yeah,” she said, obvious in her inflection that she didn’t believe him one damn bit. If you really wanted to marry someone, weren’t you supposed to be head over heels, over the moon and back in love with your future partner? She didn’t believe that people still did that power couple bullshit, but what did she know? She was the loneliest one, after all. The isolation consumed her more and more every day, and maybe MJ needed to get someone to drag her out again. Gwen would never be her friend, the other girl made sure of that, but she was the closest thing she had to anything lately. She missed having people. She missed Flash. And she really missed having a Peter who didn’t hate her with every fiber of her being.
Harry was here at least, and maybe, just maybe they could repair the vestiges of...well, whatever it was that they had. And, she couldn’t help but appreciate that they all seemed to have that one common thread still: Peter Parker. Wasn’t that the story of their lives? “A lot of stuff,” she deflected, lip bite and another sip of wine before sliding it onto the table in front of them. “He said I’m mediocre, and my dreams are dead, and I seemed bitter and lonely.” The dip of her red stained lip told him how much all of that stung, and she sighed again. “Did you talk to him at all?”
Harry frowned a little when Mary Jane called him out with notable disbelief in her tone of voice. He managed to disguise it for the most part with the rim of his wineglass. Just because his words may have been complete bullshit, that didn't mean he needed her to make it quite so obvious that she could tell it was. Weren't they supposed to be the best at pretending that nothing in the world was wrong? Wasn't it supposed to work both ways? Like, he agreed to pretend to believe her if she agreed to pretend to believe him? The fact that he didn't even want to pretend anymore was what was worrying. The only thing that kept Harry hanging on these days was the vague, archaic awareness that pretending was what he was supposed to do. What he was expected to do. Although, without his father around, who really expected anything of him anymore? Nobody seemed to, unless it was expecting him to fuck up. In which case, he rarely disappointed.
He had a brief thought, that he should tell her the truth.. but that seemed worthless. Because the truth was that Harry was rarely aware of his own feelings. He never knew how he felt until the repressed emotion became so overwhelming that he was forced into accepting it. Instead, he drained what was left of his wine and leaned forward to take the bottle from the small table. He poured himself a second serving and topped Mary Jane's glass off as well while she was in the midst of speaking about Peter.
Her words made him scowl. "Fuck him, he isn't the Peter we knew, and he knows nothing about you either. Nobody who knows you, really knows you, would say that, Mary Jane. We exchanged a couple of words when he first reappeared on the journals, but haven't talked since. I don't see any reason to. He's been shitty to both you and Gwen." Wasn't that why both of the girls were so solemn lately?
There was only a momentary look, one that said he could be honest with her. MJ didn’t judge, not like that, and she especially didn’t judge Harry Osborn. Harry, who understood her now more than anyone she knew. Years ago, when they were younger and things seemed easier, she might have given that title to Peter, but it had been ages since Peter Parker really knew her in any capacity. That was what made everything this new Peter said so goddamn jarring because wasn’t he right on the fucking money? Mary Jane was wasting her potential, she was a little bitter and really, really lonely.
She waved a dismissive hand and watched the wine pour into his glass, then hers. “We haven’t had a Peter we knew in a while, right? Don’t give me that bullshit.” It wasn’t that she didn’t like the Pete from before, but she didn’t feel that connection with him that he had before. “He might know me better than anyone else. We don’t know.” An angry sort of shrug followed, and she took two generous gulps before putting the glass back down on the table next to the bottle. Licking her lips, she closed her eyes for a second to ignore the buzz in her brain, but failed pretty badly. She shrugged again and opened her eyes. “I mean, he’s right. What the fuck am I doing with my life, huh? Tony Stark’s assistant? What the fuck! I had things I wanted to do.”
It'd been years since Harry'd had his best friend. It was a sizeable enough fraction that made Harry almost certain that whatever friendship he'd had with Peter was just the standard high school experience that faded away into nothingness as lives went in different trajectories. It would have made more sense if he hadn't stayed close to Mary Jane and Gwen despite high school being over. Then he could have shrugged the entire thing off as high school being long behind him. Regardless, its not like friendship with Peter was anything he was trying to repeat. Just like the thing that happened with Gwen, and the disappearance of his father, and his engagement to Lily.. what was done was done. There was no changing it, and fuck trying to. All he could do was accept and adapt and try not to make the same mistakes over again. Because Harry was distantly aware that the loss of friendship between Peter and himself was more than a little of his own fault. But knowing that didn't change anything. Nothing Harry did ever changed anything.
"Oh, fuck Parker!" Earlier sentiment repeated, this time with a fresh grit of anger soon swallowed down by wine. "He's not right!" Harry leaned forward to set his wineglass down on the table before them before he grabbed Mary Jane with both hands curling around her upper arms. He made her look at him with a little shake that was more tender insistence than anything rough. "He's not right about anybody, he doesn't fucking know us. Maybe wherever he came from, he knew some other version of us, but he doesn't fucking know you or what any of us have been through here, because he wasn't here.. we were."
"And what's wrong with being Stark's assistant?" The guy was a rich genius alcoholic, Harry imagined Stark Tower to be a prime place to hang out. He hadn't quite analyzed how work fit into all of that, but he knew from experience that assistants didn't have extremely complicated jobs. "What else would you.. want to do?"
Mary Jane’s eyes widened like saucers when Harry grabbed her arms like that and shook her gently, and she couldn’t deny the thrill in her chest when he touched her. Oh fuck, she couldn’t do this again. No, no no. Not down this road again. “He’s Peter, Harry! Peter always knows us!” She twisted in his hands, but nothing to actually break the hold. She didn’t want to break that hold at all, and the buzz of wine in her head made it so very, very hard to be logical about all of this. What would Gwen Stacy, queen of logic, do in this situation? But MJ remembered that both of them were weak for Harry Osborn in a way they used to both be weak for Peter Parker.
“It’s bullshit!” she exclaimed, flopping her arms again. “Why am I slumming it as an assistant! Aren’t I better than that?” She begged with her eyes to tell her that she was better than just clicking around looking pretty. Sure, being Stark’s assistant wasn’t like anything else, but she wanted more, right? “I don’t know. Something?”
He didn't let go of Mary Jane immediately, just tightened his grip when she flopped and twisted. But when she shrugged and begged wordlessly within his grip, Harry ultimately lessened his grip. His fingers relaxed on her arm, never quite reaching the point of anything near tight enough to bruise. "Hey," he said with a frown, stretching back against the arm of the couch when she began to fuss and pout. "You're not slumming it. If you're slumming it, Stark needs to give you a fucking raise." An assistant had to be one of the easiest jobs in the world, on par with being the son of a business magnate. Although he knew MJ's salary didn't match his own, he doubted that it was anything like that of a diner waitress'.
"Why not go part time? Do what you always wanted to do with the other half of the week. Come on, theater girl.." Harry still had his hand on her, and he ran his fingers down from her shoulder to her elbow. He thumbed a series of freckles, tracing a faded and dotted constellation on her arm. Ursa, then the Big Dipper. From there, his hand easily fell to her waist by some slip of gravity. "There have got to be gigs in this city." He paused, thinking. "If you need a letter of rec, if you're looking for something else, you know I'll print up anything you need on company letterhead." It was a promise. From her waist, his fingers spread into a wide palm that he could direct across her stomach, up her sternum. He thought about heading between her breasts, but kept his hand just a little further south.
MJ rolled her eyes. “I don’t mean like, literally slumming it.” She waved a hand around her apartment. It wasn’t his penthouse or Gwen’s glamorous place in midtown, but it wasn’t some tenement in the projects. “But I could do something else. I could be someone else. This was the last thing I wanted to be doing when I was sixteen and idealistic, y’know.” Mary Jane wanted to be so many things as a child, wanted to have the world at the tip of her fingers, but life always got in the way, didn’t it? Life, and disappearing Peters, and her family, and suddenly, she was in a rut she couldn’t get out of.
And wasn’t Harry part of the rut? He was engaged, and here she was fighting the urge to climb over the couch and press her body up against him. He always came closest to soothing the savage beast in a way only her Peter had been able to. “Harry,” she murmured softly, green eyes trained onto his blues as if daring him him to go further. Partially begging him and partially hoping he wouldn’t. It would just complicate things in a series of already complicated things. “What could you even write in that letter anyway?” she teased quietly, voice a little tight as she tried not to enjoy his hand explored her body. “Good with coke, great in the sack?” MJ’s hand found its way to his wrist, but what that meant she barely knew herself.
Harry would never know slumming it, his only understanding of the word was brought on by whatever Showtime series visual that he came across through television. As such, maybe his understanding was a little loose. He knew that Mary Jane had never been particularly well off, nor had Peter. He'd been in both of their childhood homes before, and neither seemed that bad. Although Harry readily recognized that he didn't live there, didn't have to live in those kinds of conditions, so what the fuck did he know? Harry thought he could get by without import wines and chauffeur, he simply.. chose not to. Was he supposed to feel bad about that? Harry didn't think so. He glanced around her apartment for a moment longer. It looked nice and minimal, he felt a little out of place because he was neither of those things.
He reached out to take a fresh drink of wine straight from the bottle, fingering the cotton edge of her button-down shirt with his other hand, tracing that hemmed strip where the buttons went in a neat little line. He traced up and down with the pad of his index finger, idle interest in the tailoring of her top. When she teased, he laughed. It was a fresh sound, uncorked. Something he hadn't heard from himself in awhile. It made Harry drop his head back against the couch with a crooked tilt to look at her. "Hey, don't sell yourself short. Being good with coke is a sign of true professionalism in this city. As for great in the sack?" He smirked with a teasing, one-eyed squint toward her. "I can't completely vouch for that. I think we've always been under the influence, that has to sway your score a bit.." Harry considered the ceiling for a moment, amused. When she touched his wrist, he glanced back to her. He couldn't read what was in her eyes, but Harry suspected that he looked a little hesitant in that moment. It was like she'd suddenly jerked the veil away and he knew how fucked up it was, him being here. He even stopped playing with the buttons on her shirt.
He thought he should say something funny to lighten the mood, but that'd never been his skillset. Peter was good at that, and Flash, but not him. Harry didn't know how to disguise, how to brush off. He was raw emotion in the worst way. Right now, he was equal parts worried and desperate. "Why'd you ask me over, Mary Jane?"
Peter’s house was always a paradise compared to Mary Jane’s, and hers was most certainly closer to some sort of fucked up cliche of a show. She would have given anything to live with the Parkers instead of her messed up, drunken and drug addicted parents that probably seemed novel to someone like Harry or other people who craved drama to make their lives seem more fulfilled or edgy or whatever. And maybe MJ used it as an excuse to be herself -- to keep people away, to escape into drugs, to not let herself get hurt the way she had over, and over, and over again. Just like the way her chest ached as Harry grazed curious fingers over the buttons of her shirt as if considering just what to do with them.
The question made her pause, made her forget about everything else they were talking about, and she let go of his wrist to drag her fingers across his forearm delicately. “I wanted to make sure you were okay, Harry.” Part of that was truthful, and part of it was feeling so vulnerable she wanted someone to be able to see past all of that. After a second of thoughtful tracing, she leaned forward to snatch the bottle from him and bring it to her lips. “I miss you,” she admitted with tainted breath and a buzz in her brain. “And I wanted to make sure you were okay.”
The confession - that she missed him - was reassuring. Even if it came from the bravery of a bottle swig, Harry took it as complete truth. There was no reason for him not to, Mary Jane and him weren't ones to lie to one another. There was a special kind of comfort that came in knowing that you could tell somebody anything. For a long time, Gwen had been that person. But as he'd gotten older, he'd found himself curbing his words and softening his weekend party stories for her benefit. He'd never had to do that for Mary Jane. Mary Jane was his truth. He knew that he'd never have to lie to her. She'd still be here. She'd always be here, he thought. It wasn't something that he planned to take advantage of, he just knew that he could count on her.
He pulled the bottle away from her after she swigged. He settled it between his knees and leaned closer. "Can I tell you what I'm thinking right now?" He reached out to touch her shoulder and ended up playing with the ends of her hair. "I'm thinking.." He paused, watching a stray thread on her shirt, and he grit his teeth for a moment. ".. that I might never have with her the kind of thing that I always wanted to have with you." He dropped his hand, and he thumbed the foiled edge of the wine bottle between his knees.
Despite the hurt Harry caused, she knew that he was the only person she could be completely raw and open with in their own special way. He was the only one she admitted to really feeling unhappy about her life, and she wasn’t lying when she said she missed him. Mary Jane probably should have cut him out, but she would never have the strength. She needed Harry in her life, in whatever capacity that would be. Even if it would never be in the capacity she really wanted, because she still loved him. Goddammit, she still loved him.
Green eyes trailed his fingers as they played with the ends of her hair, and her hand slowly slid up his shin, over his knee, and rested on his thigh. She couldn’t stop her hands from wandering around when he was so close. MJ liked to think of herself as a strong, independent woman, but god, did Harry Osborn make her weak. Heart hammering in her chest, she slowly dragged her gaze up to him. “And what was that?” she asked breathlessly, hand sliding just a little further up.
Alcohol weakened him, everything weakened him. She weakened him. Women weakened him and drugs weakened him, and maybe Harry was just a weak person despite how desperately he tried not to be. The memory of his father weakened him, and Oscorp weakened him, and it only barely occurred to Harry in times like these that he might only be so weak because he hadn't yet figured out what made him strong. He'd been the weakest link his entire life. The Osborn line's rogue gene come to life. Never the golden boy, but the son living in his father's shadow.
Harry closed his eyes as her hand slid, and his breath tasted like wine on the way into his lungs. He liked that Mary Jane had bought this bottle, that it tasted grocery store cheap. It reminded him of high school, of youth when he'd actually meant something. Even if he'd been kind of an asshole in high school, he'd been definable. He'd still been Harry. Now he was just the boss, he was a percentage of stock to the investors. Mary Jane at least looked at him like he was something, even if it was something that she was a little bit afraid of.
His eyes blinked down briefly when her hand slid up his knee, then higher. Then his gaze settled on her after a slow perusal of of her body from the ground up. It didn't take much maneuvering to slide over her, his hand on her shoulder and a knee wedged between her legs, all completed in a single shift of motion. "You're the only person I feel like myself with." He raised an eyebrow, trying to gauge whether or not she understood. "I'm too afraid with everyone else.." The unspoken was that Harry was afraid of hurting them, but Mary Jane was different. Mary Jane was resilient in a way that promised he'd never get that deep. Maybe he just hoped she was.
"If it could be us.. just the two of us and nobody else, nothing else to contend with.." He closed his eyes with a shake, tucked his lip into the edge of his teeth with disbelief over his own thoughts. Even if Harry hadn't finished his statement, even if she couldn't ever know the definitive, Harry didn't know the ending himself. He didn't want to know all of the reasons that he might not want Mary Jane, he only knew that he did. Which is why the only thing to do was to push her toward the arm of the couch, hand caught in hers, when he leaned in for a kiss.
If Mary Jane ever claimed that people couldn’t have an effect on her, that would be an outright lie. What had Flash said months ago, when she’d broken his heart again? You’ve got too much love. She did, truthfully, but it was always so much easier to pretend like nothing bothered her. That she didn’t care about whatever happened, but she completely and totally did. It fucking sucked. She was sure she did love Harry and sure he reciprocated, whatever definition of love that was for the both of them. It did hurt her, of course. It always hurt. Every time Harry was around, it hurt.
She wanted to tell him how much being afraid sounded like bullshit to her, but maybe Harry was afraid. “You don’t have to be with me,” she whispered, eyes caught in his as he hovered over her. Her heart began to race at his proximity, and she wondered why it was so easy for her to be so weak around him. She was never really as strong as everyone else thought. “But it can’t be,” she finished sadly, and it was so fucking unfair that he couldn’t just dump all those people for her. “Because you can’t do it,” was all she said before he met her lips, and she whimpered quietly, unintentionally before her free hand slung around to grab his neck and pull him in.
Mary Jane was easy to slip into, like a California tar pit to drown in. He could twist both hands in her hair and settle his hips between the spread of her thighs when he kissed her. "I know," he whispered on the way to her mouth. The word settled against her lips, mumbled partially by a wet drag of tongue. And then it seemed like her hand drug him in, knuckle bones biting into the back of his spine, pleasant. Harry grit his teeth and grinned.
"You're beautiful," he murmured with fingers that fished, the spread of his palm navigating past the sparse hem of her shirt. Then further down, nudging at a waistband with the swift bend of his thumb. A digit that bent, elastic twisted tight. With knees that bit into the couch cushions, Harry nudged closer. "Do you know how beautiful you are?" He had to ask with one hand twisted lazy in her red hair.
He thought she was beautiful like old toys remembered new. Harry thought of her like something he never should have forgotten. He'd neglected Mary Jane in never pursuing her, and that felt like the culmination of all his misdeeds. As if missing out on her by his side could somehow account for everything else that was so fucked up in their lives. Even if it couldn't, he still pulled at her clothes while he continued to tell her how beautiful she was.