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see how deep the bullet lies

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All that’s left of Peter Parker is dust.

 

Tony’s hands are covered with it.

 

Part of him wants to cry, wants to scream and rage until the stars shake with the force of his grief. But the rest of him hurts too badly to do anything but sit there and struggle for breath as he bleeds.

 

He doesn’t know how much time passes before a blue face swims into view, doesn’t care either way.

 

“Get up,” she hisses, eyes dark like a moonless night. “We’re leaving.”

 

He chokes out a bitter laugh. The movement makes the ragged hole in his side ache, and dark spots explode into being before his eyes.

 

“Why?”

 

The look she shoots him is withering.

 

“Because your life is worth an infinity stone,” she spits back, teeth bared in a half-feral snarl, “And you made my father bleed.”

 

All that for a drop of blood.

 

Tony flinches at the memory, the acrid taste of defeat heavy on his tongue when he speaks. “Not enough.”

 

“No, not enough.” Her mouth tightens into a grim line for several brief moments before she continues. “We’ll fix that.”

 

She drags him to a ship in the rubble, intact against all odds. He’d call it a miracle if he still believed in those. It’s not as if he has the strength or will to pull away from her, so he follows.

 

“Where are we going?” He’s not sure why he even cares at this point.

 

“Terra. You will resupply yourself and then we will hunt my father down and separate his head from his body for the deaths of my sister and your son.”

 

He winces at the word, but he doesn’t correct her.

 

His gaze drifts back down to the stubborn particles of dust still clinging to his fingers. In this terrible, new, splintered reality where chance alone had spared his worthless life and claimed Peter’s instead, did the semantics of their relationship really matter anymore?

 

Blood or not, Peter had been his responsibility.

 

And he’d failed to keep him safe.

 

Please, I don’t want to go.

 

As the surviving daughter of Thanos maneuvers their ship into the sky, darkness beckons him to follow. 

 

He doesn’t resist its pull.

 


 

Their entry into the atmosphere is what drags him back to wakefulness.

 

The pain in his side has dulled to a constant, throbbing ache and his vision stays blurry no matter how much he tries to blink the distortion away.

 

Nebula hoists him out of his seat like a child, slams the button to open the doors with her elbow, and strides down the ramp in silence.

 

The first thing he sees is blue sky. White clouds. Treetops. An unfamiliar skyline.

 

There are voices shouting at them. 

 

He turns his head just in time to see a man in black sprinting across a grassy field towards them. Behind him is a glowing, dome-shaped forcefield that, in another life, would’ve been the first thing he’d sought to study.

 

“Tony!” 

 

It’s a voice he hasn’t heard in person in two years.

 

His mind drags the memory of freezing Siberian air to the forefront of his thoughts.

 

Cold air, cold metal, cold blue eyes.

 

Everything was- is?- so painfully cold.

 

He barely notices Nebula shoving his body into another set of arms. 

 

“He’s damaged. Fix him.” 

 

Her words are curt, clipped. In the distance he can make out desperate shouts. 

 

“Where’s the team? Where’s my goddamn team?! Quill! Gamora!”

 

Something in his gut clenches at the sounds of their names.

 

Quill. Gamora.

 

Dusted. Dead.

 

A familiar darkness rises up to swallow him whole before he can hear any more, and he relishes the silence that it brings.