Actions

Work Header

It Wasn't Supposed to be You

Chapter Text

 Dust.

Destruction.

Was all Peter could see. Everywhere he saw, was just another attempt to stop Thanos. All he remembered was being dusted, pleading not to die, that childlike innocence.

I don't want to die, please sir, I don't wanna go.

Then, Doctor Strange had told him that they were going to escape the soul realm, and prepare for battle. Peter wasn't able to focus, all he knew...is that he was going home. Questions was able to swarm around his head as he thought how long he was dead.

A month?

A year?

Maybe a week!?

Whatever how long it was, he wasn't able to contain his relief of seeing his family again. Peter's family was small, broken down and bared mental scars, but he couldn't compare the excitement, the nervousness of finally being able to see them.

Luckily, one more person decided to join his little family.

Mister Stark.

Sure, the billionaire and philanthropist wasn't exactly his dad. He was his mentor, but in reality, none of them could admit that they were so much more than just mentor and protege.

Peter was just sad that he wasn't the first to admit.

He was Spiderman! He could do anything, but that.

Doctor Strange informed him; All of the them, that this was their fight of their lives. One mistake could lead them into vanishing, and the other could bring them back. As Peter was putting on his mask, he made a decision.

Whatever it takes.


 

Ashes. Smoke. Ships.

Peter and the others followed after Strange.

When he was the next one to enter the real world, he leaped through, his spider webs clinging on to a object as he flew pass other comrades that were stationed in a defensive position.

He swiftly took off his mask, a choking noise rising in his throat. Everything was red, and everything looked in shambles beyond repair. Peter looked to his right and saw Black Panther's sister and countless armies that were ready to die for this event.

When he turned to his left, he saw the Fallen Avengers. Scarlet Witch. Falcon. Bucky. There were other people that he met along his journey to Titan as well who were here. Mantis, StarLord, Drax and Doctor Strange.

All of them to which he never had time to actually have a proper conversation, but they seemed nice.

Overhead, he saw Thanos in the middle of the war zone, dirty and ragged. Behind him was his bountiful army, but it wasn't compared to the army that joined forces together against his army. Because there was one thing Thanos didn't have.

The infinity Stones.

And he knew that everyone, including him, was prepared to make any sacrifices to get everyone's families back.

His eyes averted to a small figure standing a few feet away from the army. The figure had mud all over his face, his helmet about to break, but when Peter saw the half broken shield, he instantly knew who he was.

Captain America.

"Avengers!" Captain America yelled, and then narrowed his eyes towards the purple ass grape. "Assemble."

To Peter, he heard it due to his enhanced hearing, but he was surprised that everyone else was able to hear as well, considering the back round noises made it impossible for anyone hear.

But they heard.

And they answered.

Yells and shrieks of Wakandian emitted through the air, shouts from the fallen joined the noise of determination, and all Peter could do was put his mask on and join the battle.


 

He fought. Hard.

The pain was all in this battle. The hope was still here! He web slung over the monsters and enemies, strapping them to their will and watch as others dismantle them to pieces. He wasn't one to kill, but if he has to do it to save a life.

Peter would.

While he was web slinging, he caught a glimpse of-

"Mister Stark," Peter whispered, his mind suddenly spewed of many apologies and explanations. Did he feel the guilt? Yes. Did he think it was his fault? Probably. He needed someone to confirm. Needed to apologize for failing his mentor.

With his chance, he let go and landed right in front of Ironman.

The man turned around, his eyes widening at the sight and Peter's stomach churned. The teenager hastily took off his mask. "Mister Stark, I-i don't know what happened, -I remember being dusted, and-and then waking up to Doctor Strange saying to get ready, and then-then orange sparks went everywhere! And-"

He was cut off with a huge, metal weight on his chest. Arms wrapping around his slim body and head on his shoulder.

"O-oh," Peter said, shocked as he wrapped his arms around Mister Stark. He held on tight and so did Mister Stark. "T-this feels nice," he whispered, smiling for what felt like years.

Eventually, they had to let go, much to Peter's dismay. They met eyes and Tony was smiling at him. His eyes spoke words that Tony wasn't able to say to the kid. And that was enough for Peter to keep fighting.

They both separated and Peter kept on fighting.

He got close to Doctor Strange and he looked at him, mask hiding his fear and hope. "Is this the timeline we win?" Peter asked hopefully. Doctor Strange could only purse his lips. "If I told you, we won't be able win the timeline," he said softly.

Peter nodded thoughtfully. "Fair enough."

His spider senses took off as he saw the Infinity gauntlet in the hands of Black Panther and Thanos was close to it. It was too close for anyone's comfort in all honesty.

Mind whirring at any ideas to help Black Panther, he shot his web fluids on flying boulder and held on before getting close proximity and yelling, "Give it to me!"

Black Panther obliged quickly and threw at him. Peter caught a hold of it, using one arm to wrap the huge gauntlet to his chest and the other to swing back to safety. His webs was cut, yelping in surprise as he flung across the battle zone.

Fortunately, A white horse with wings caught him with a rider beside him. He gasped in awe. "Woah, n-nice to meet you, I'm-I'm Peter, Uh-er, Spiderman actually, what's your name?" The Valkyrie just rolled her eyes, but a smirk graced her lips as she guided the horse with precision.

Unfortunately, one of Thanos' missiles shot right beside them, and the horse jerked to hard, making him slide off completely and onto the ground. He moaned in pain, but got up.

He fell to the ground again by a reptile of some sorts, causing him to struggle. The creatures other buddies decided to join in, making him immobilized . The reptiles scratched at his armor and mask as he shielded the gauntlet with his arms. More and more came on top of him, tearing him and banging his head on the hard ground.

With no lines of defense and other people attacking Thanos' army, he activated something he never thought he would need.

"Karen, activate instant kill!" Peter shouted.

"On it," Karen's robotic, but feminine voice entered his mask. Suddenly, 6 metal limbs that resembled of spider legs popped out and started stabbing the reptiles. His eyes turned a dark shade of crimson red.

Without doing anything, his suit annihilated most of the slimy creatures.

But it still wasn't enough as others tried to wield the gauntlet for Thanos. So he ran. Peter used his web slingers to make it easier sometimes and then ran on foot.

He was almost there.

Almost there-

Peter shouted when a missile pounded to the ground as it exploded, getting him to fly into the air. He lost contact of the infinity gauntlet for a moment before grasping it in mid air and curling around it, preparing for a hard landing.

Closing his eyes, he prepared the worst, but he felt gentle hands hoisting him up from his underarms and guided into a safe zone. Peter opened his eyes and blinked for a moment before looking up and seeing Pepper in her Iron suit.

"I got you kid," she said, placing him softly on the ground. Peter briskly took off his mask, inhaling and exhaling loudly as he tried to catch his breath. His nose was bloody and eyes were swollen with bruises, along with minor cuts that marred his baby skin.

"I'm-I'm good," he said breathlessly.

Women from around surrounded the boy as he let go of the gauntlet and grasped a nearby object, supporting himself and keeping his breaths steady. He was tired...so tired. He closed his eyes for just a second. Or so he thought. 


 

Peter woke up to a dead, but eerie silence. Its as if the snap happened all over again. Did they fail?

Limbs protested in response as he sat up and watch as his fellow comrades were still battling from afar. How did he get so far? Then he realized he was in the middle of a showdown...

In that showdown was Captain America, Thor, Captain Marvel and Ironman. Doctor Strange was close by, but he was busy fighting others. Peter looked up blearily and saw Mister Stark fly and skid across the ground.

"Mister Stark!" Peter yelled, quickly running up to him and placing a hand on the shoulder. Tony snapped his head to the boy and his eyes screamed something. Desperation? Fear?

"Get out, kid!" Tony yelled.

"No, Mister Stark! Please!" Peter pleaded.

Tony shook his head. "Strange! Get Peter out of here!"

Orange swirls appeared at his feet, suddenly opening wide and engulfing Peter into it. He screamed as he went through the portal and landed right beside Doctor Strange. Oddly enough, Doctor Strange wasn't that far, and the doctor didn't seem to mention it.

Peter couldn't do anything as he watched Captain America, Thor, Ironman and Captain Marvel fight against Thanos as they tried to slide the gauntlet off of the Titan's hand. Since when did Thanos get the gauntlet?! He had to do something!

Just when he thought of a plan, the whole group fell in parts and Thanos was gaining strength from the stones.

Peter looked over to Doctor Strange, who was shockingly staring right at him. Strange pointed up and then nodded. Peter cocked his head in confusion, but it dawned on him as he realized Strange's hand motions.

This was the timeline that they win. And they needed to win.

With a firm nod of his head, he ran out swiftly and prepared his whole strength to get that gauntlet back. Tony watched with fright as he watched his kid go straight toward the Titan.

"Peter!"

Thanos had nothing prepared for him as Peter kicked him on the shin and punched his head. With Thanos distracted, he reached his arms to grab the stones and he was almost there.

Almost...There!

A powerful punch made him skid on the rocky ground as he choked on his saliva. He watched at Thanos grin maliciously at him.

"I told you that I was inevitable," Thanos said darkly and a loud snap echoed the battle ground.


 

Peter had his eyes clenched when it snapped, but as he opened his brown doe eyes, nothing happened. Thanos' was waiting for many ashes to fly around him, but nothing happened as he stared at the gauntlet, waiting for something to happen.

Then, his eyes widened at the sight. No stones were on the gauntlet.

Thanos whipped his head towards the boy. Peter smiled and looked down at the stones that were in the palm of his hands. He looked over to Mister Stark, who had eyes solely on him.

Tony didn't know whether he should be shouting in joy, or crying, because Peter was the only last chance to reverse the snap. And it seemed that Peter knew that too.

Peter didn't have a gauntlet or a metal glove to hold the stones, but what he did was smack it onto the back of his hand, allowing the stones to seep into the seams of his suit, praying that it would worked.

Peter got his answer when he screamed in agony, feeling an overwhelming power burn through his hand and course through his body. The stones colors glowed before him as he held onto his arm and cry out when he felt it.

Peter's whole body shook as the pain finally reached its peak. It was time. He looked at Thanos with a small victory smile as he prepared his own perfect snap to rid of the Titan once and for all.

"How?!" Thanos shouted with menace pouring through his rough voice.

Peter grinned and with his willpower, he looked at his mentor. Tony watched with horror as he saw his kid look back at him, who smiled despite his last moments. Tony couldn't return any emotion but panic as Peter then locked his gaze to the Titan.

"Because, I am Spiderman," Peter announced, and snapped his fingers once and for the last time.


 

Light blinded all of the Armies as they just witnessed a snap.

As if a weight has been lifted, The fallen Avengers and formal Avengers watched as Thanos' army suddenly turned to ash, along with their ships, creatures and his followers. Though, it wasn't over yet.

Spiderman was no where to be seen as the Avengers and their comrades watch Thanos sit down with a mournful expression and turning to ash from head to toe.

They did it...

They finally did it.

Steve smiled as looked around the place. Sure, it was still in debris, but Thanos was gone. It would take awhile of getting used too, but it good. Everything was good-

A thought came to mind as Steve looked around to who snapped with the stones. He expected for Thor or Captain Marvel to, but they weren't injured or anything. He was only out for a few moments at the least.

Loud metal footsteps caught his attention, knowing it was Tony's.

Craning his pained neck towards the movement, he saw Tony crouching down in front of what looked like a-

No...

There was Spiderman, leaning against a fallen boulder, head hung low with burn marks marring the side of his body. The side where Peter's hand snapped...

For whatever reason, Steve knew that this Spiderman was no older than 20. And that was the tragedy of paying a price on such a youthful person. Deep inside though, he also knew that Spiderman was willing to do anything...even if it meant sacrificing himself.


 

After the snap occurred, Tony hurdled through the broken debris in favor of the kid that was lying there half unconscious. He wanted to hug the kid again;tell him that everything was alright.

That he was going to be alright.

"Pete, Peter, h-hey, kiddo," Tony whispered to Peter as he knelt in front of the kid. Tony's suit vanished, leaving him in ripped and sooty clothes. His face had a gash across his eyebrow and no doubt that Tony had other injuries as well.

Peter was barely coherent as he made a small whimper. Tony's mind whirled at what could help him;to ease his pain. But as he threw out idea after idea, nothing came and watched at Peter look up with small grin gracing his lips.

"We did it," the kid choked out, blood spitting everywhere.

Despite this situation, Tony smiled and cupped the kid's bruised cheek. "Yeah, kid. We won," he responded softly. "You-you did good, kid." Tears threatened to spill as he watched Peter give the smallest of smiles and then go into shock. His eyes were wide and it stayed wide.

Peter was still able to hear the sounds of Mister Stark, but time was running short.

Pepper made her way over and she gasped with dread. She crouched and ordered her suit to scan the kid, but the results remained negative. A hand was placed over Tony's shoulder and he peered over to see who it was.

Rhodey.

Many other came and surrounded him and the kid with sorrowful expressions. God, they didn't even know anything about this kid. Nothing. He went through loosing his parents, being bullied all the way to high school, being a superhero and this is how it ended for Peter Parker?

No. Half of Tony's mind told him that his kid was strong, and the other half was waiting for the death.

Tony tried to shake the thoughts away as he turned his head to the teen. His protege. His kid. The son he never had. The big brother Peter should have been.

"L-listen to me, kid," Tony whispered, guiding Peter's head to look straight at him. He saw Peter gulp. "Hey, Mister Stark," Peter said, voice barely a whisper.

Tony wanted to say it, wanted to put so many words and adventures on how he felt about the kid. But this was his final moments, and he was gonna use this time wisely. The man allowed tears to run freely down his face as he brushed his hands over Peter's bangs.

He felt a hand grasp slightly on his other hand and saw that Peter was using all his strength to give him reassurance.

"I...I love you, kid," Tony finally said, a sob tearing his throat in the middle of the small sentence. He hiccuped and placed his forehead against Peter's burning skin. "Always..."

Peter gurgled out words that he couldn't understand, but Tony knew better than to think otherwise on what Peter was trying to say. He shushed Peter and gave rushing kiss to his kid's head. "Its okay, Pete...you can rest now..."

Peter blinked tiredly, giving Tony one last squeeze and a very small quirk of his lips, before going very still. The grasp he had been holding on to Tony went still, as it slipped out of Tony's hand.

But Tony's hand never faltered.

Tony closed his eyelids shut, giving a shaky breath as he prayed to God that all of this was a dream...all of this was nothing. That he had Peter and Morgan. That he had all of his children back...

There were small sobs from Pepper as she leaned against him, a hand over her mouth as tears ran down her cheek. Tony wanted to reassure her that Peter was okay...it was just a nightmare...

But denial can only take you so far...

He slowly opened his eyes, expecting to see a bright, cheery Peter looking at him with joy. Unfortunately...none of that came. All he saw was vacant eyes staring right at him. No chest rising or heaving. And definitely no grasp to see that his kid was alive.

For everyone knew...Spiderman was dead.

But for Tony?

Peter-his kid- was dead.

And he allowed his grief to overwhelm his body.


 

A small Funeral was held at Tony's and Pepper's cabin. They watched as May placed a small bouquet over a body of water, carrying the flowers away from the grieving people .Her eyes showed grief and tiredness, and though she held onto her own weight, May knew that she wasn't alone in this.

The Avengers, May and the Stark family sat in the family room, mourning for Peter and Nat as well.

They watched small clips of Peter making funny jokes or imitating his childhood superheroes, watching him fight small crimes and also getting churros from a nice old lady. All of them let out shaky laughs, though their throats were raw from crying.

Tony held onto his daughter, Morgan, as he watched the last clip from Peter Parker.

"Hey, Mister Stark! Guess what you gave me?!" Peter asked. The camera whirred over to Tony Stark who had his arms crossed with a newfound smirk on his face. "Some paper?"

"No!" Peter exclaimed. "Its my Internship award!"

Tony rolled his eyes. "Yeah, I signed it."

"Oh! We need a picture!" Peter cried out.

Tony looked at him for a few moments before sighing. "Fine! Fine, but this one time," he declared.

"Yes! May, can you take a picture of us?" He asked his Aunt. There was an inaudible woman sound, but it made Peter giggle and the camera shuffled a bit. Peter hopped right next to Tony with his Internship award and Tony posed for his picture.

Trying to be funny, Peter held up two bunny ears and gave a wide smile.

"Oh, nuh-uh, if you're doing the bunny ears," Tony said, putting his own two finger up on Peter's head, "then I am too."

Though, Peter didn't seem fazed about it. Instead, he went with the flow and allowed May to take the picture, followed by a feminine laugh. "That's a keeper!"

Tears filled Tony's eyes as he wiped the liquid with his thumb and pointer finger. God, he missed Peter. Tony felt small hands on his face and he removed his hand away from his eyes as he saw his precious daughter staring up at him with innocent eyes.

"Don't worry, daddy, Spiderman saved us all," Morgan said with a smile.

Tony choked a laugh out and he nodded, grabbing a hold of Morgan's little hand and bringing it up to his cheek. "Yeah, honey, he did."

"Was he your friend?" She asked.

A small breeze brushed past his neck and he felt instant calm wash over him. Whether it was Peter or the wind talking to him, he knew that Peter was with them. He gave a watery smile and planted a kiss on his daughter's head.

"More than a friend, sweety," Tony answered quietly.

A friend.

A son.

And a brother...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Denial

Grief wasn't new to Tony Stark. He grieved for his parents half his life, but just when he got over his grief, he got saddled up with a magic wizard, a spider teenager, flying in a doughnut airship and then meetings the Guardians of the Galaxy...who were interesting to say the least.

Then, Thanos came and you know how that planned out.

He lost the only person who he couldn't live without.

Peter Parker.

The haunting words of, I don't wanna go, please sir, I don't die, that made Tony crumble as his kid turned to ashes. Those baby brown eyes that looked straight at him before he vanished.

A parent should have never witness their child dying.

Nor should a child should see a parent dying. And that's Peter Parker's story. He was too young to actually remember his real parents, but Aunt and Uncle has always been his legal guardians.

They weren't rich, or poor, but Peter had everything he needed...until Uncle Ben was shot in the chest. It was his own fault. Living in grief alone as he tried to fix what has already been done...by being Spider-man.

It was a coping mechanism.

But was it enough?

Meanwhile, Tony Stark was already living in a nightmare of his own. Being betrayed, getting the Arc reactor, and so much more. His parents death took a toll on his health, in which he drank heavily.

He wasn't suited for children. Didn't wanna mess up a kid of his own, and always told himself that. So, he ignored the gnawing feeling about wanting kids of his own, until he met Pepper Potts.

Yes, they had a rough start, but their relationship suddenly turned into a bud and eventually blossomed into more opportunities. One where Tony was eager to have kids of his own.

Little did he know...that he already had a kid of his own.

He met Peter shortly after the disband of the Avengers, and that destroyed him. Being betrayed by his friend and having to deal will Ross all the freaking time now on the Rogue Avengers.

Tony was impressed when he saw what the kid was able to do. He was also freaking intelligent. If it weren't for Tony to sadly deny that Peter Parker wasn't his secret child, people would have already thought that Peter was his biological child.

Though, he was worried to see such a young person to fight crimes with a wunzie as his suit. Tony even tried to warn him about the dangers of being a superhero. The sacrifices Peter would have to take, the pain and loss.

It didn't take long for Tony to realize that Peter has already loss so many things already.

"When you can do the things that I can, but you don't, and then the bad things happen," Peter says as he bowed his head for a moment before looking meeting Tony's gaze with a mournful expression. "they happen because of you..."

Those words...so pained and true. Tony ached for the kid that lost everything. Because he's been on the same boat, and he knows the feeling of guilt and the weight. The need to save the world just so they could forget the one thing they couldn't;the one thing they loved.

The decision was made afterwards. Protect the kid from danger by making him a Spider suit and also interning him.

As the months went by, he realized that Peter was more than meets the eye. Not only he was intelligent, but he was the most kindest kid out there. Something inside of Tony made his mind go protective mode every time someone or something hurt him.

When a year went by, he went full dad mode sometimes.

And he was beginning to think of Peter as a son to him.

But there was two things that he wished he could have known sooner.

One, he didn't realize how much Peter meant to him until it was too late. Two, Tony never would have thought that grieving for Peter was probably the worst things he has ever experienced.

And for the second time, he was going to grieve again for the kid.


Tony didn't realize he was screaming. Didn't realize how his throat burned with soreness and pain. The way Peter stared back with those empty eyes will haunt him forever, just like when the kid turned into ashes with his pleading eyes to save him.

But this time?

There was no way to bring Peter back.

His eyes burned from tears that was streaming down his cheeks as he placed his lips on the boy's forehead. He then buried his nose into Peter's curly hair and broke down into a sob, closing his eyes so tightly, praying to whatever higher than him can save his kid.

Tony didn't care that people were surrounding him and kid as they watched with mournful expression. He just cradled Peter's head against his palm as shifted Peter to lie sideways, his head in Tony's lap.

Every so often Tony would hitch his breath from suppressing a sob. Some people exchanged sad glances to each other while the other half had to look away from the heartbreaking scene.

A 16 year old kid just sacrificed himself for the world. For them.

No one knew what to do, how to act, or even to begin with forming a sentence. But they all had the same thoughts: The kid shouldn't have died like this.

The war was over, though, thanks to Spiderman.

For Tony though...it was Peter Parker. A youthful teen that had yet to go to college, to find love, to be successful and to have a family. All of which were ripped away just by a snap of a finger.

Tony's eyes remained downcasted, allowing some tears to fall and land on the kid's pale face. Peter looked so...calm;so serene and peaceful...but at the same time, it would scar Tony forever, because the kid would never wake up. But it was something he wished he could have seen again in less dire moments.

All he wanted was for Peter to get up, smile and hug him so tightly til he couldn't breath, but Tony wouldn't have cared, he would just be glad that his other kid was alive. Healthy, and happy.

But oh, how the tides have turned.

Instead, the kid's body was half scorched due to the stones burning him alive, his hair used to be so curly and soft, a temptation for Tony to run his fingers through the boy's fluffy hair, but now it was matted with blood and ashes.

Peter's face had minor cuts and bruises. Eyes swollen from crying and being hit too many times. Everything little detail wracked Tony's mind with guilt. Peter wasn't supposed to have scars, cuts, or being stuck under a building causing him to have PTSD.

It was too much.

Too much for such a young child.

"I'm sorry," Tony whispered as he buried his head on Peter's still chest. "I'm so sorry," he repeated, those words coming in like a mantra as he hiccuped and planting another kiss on the kid's bloodied temple.

"Tony," A soft whisper entered his ears. Tony's shoulders trembled as he craned his pained neck to the familiar voice that calmed him during his times of troubles. He looked over to Pepper, his wife, the love of his life who had tears clinging under chin, a sorrowful facial expression.

"Please, don't take him away me," he pleaded, tightening his grip on Peter, his tired eyes meeting his wife's. Pepper's heart clench at the sight. The pleading and desperation to just hold on just alittle while longer.

She couldn't say anything as he hung his head down, grief-stricken.

"I-I failed him," Tony croaked, fresh new tears filling his eyes quickly.

"Oh, Tony," she murmured.

He blinked and let the first tears drop and soak onto Peter. "I couldn't save him," he whispered in defeat.

There was quick shuffling and he felt a gentle hand rest on his cheek. He looked up to see Pepper's eyes glistening with understanding. "You didn't fail him, Tony," she said softly, using her thumb to caress her husband's cheek.

Tony dropped down and gave a shuddering breath. "But I did...I was supposed to take him home."

After he finished those words, Pepper didn't have the answer for him to reassure him or even make him feel at ease. No one would be able to respond to that.

No one.

Pepper felt a hand squeeze her shoulder softly. She turned her neck and saw Rhodey giving a small gesture to Tony, who still had yet to move and let go of Peter. The woman nodded, feeling defeated.

She was his wife! How could she not comfort her own husband from grief?! She watched with sadness as Rhodey placed a gentle hand on the grieving man's tense shoulder.

"Hey, Tony, why don't we take Peter home then? I'm-" He swallowed thickly, squeezing Tony's shoulder softly. "I'm sure he would that."

Tony contemplated, allowing his tormented mind to think, before sniffing and nodding feebly. "Y-yeah, he-he would like that, wouldn't he?" Rhodey nor Pepper would be able to handle Tony after Peter would be taken to the morgue.

They knew that Tony was a logical man and that he knew that Peter was no longer of this earth, but Tony was a man of surprises as well. And he could become possessive of those he cared about. Especially Peter.

Rhodey gave a weak smile. "Lets get him home then."

Pepper and Rhodey could only pray that Tony's grief would be on the logical side.


Losing the kid once was already hard, they knew that, but they should've expected that losing the kid twice was going to get to him completely.

He screamed when Peter was taken. Tony yelled out curses, threats and even tried to tackle someone down. It took him hard. The last thing he saw was Peter bring zipped up by a body bag and being taken to a morgue.

Half of him wanted to believe he was alive. That his kid would wake up, but the other half was being logical. The kid couldn't have survived the snap...couldn't have survived it. It was a battle between logical and illogical.

And it seemed that both were losing...

Eventually, they had to give him sedatives to help him sleep.

Tony was transferred to the medbay, and Pepper was there at his side, rubbing a soft, gentle hand over her lover's rough hand. There was still dried blood on the side of his head. Ashes were running carelessly in his hair and the other hand was holding Spider-Man's mask...

Peter's Mask.

It was gripped so tightly that she was surprised that it didn't rip...but lets be honest...it was made out of the finest clothing that Tony could find to protect the spider kid. One of the ways on how Tony showed his care towards Peter.

Her sad eyes wandered to Tony's cheeks that were dried with tears. She has never seen Tony cry that much...or that loud. It was horrifying...to see a child;a kid, who sacrificed his life...just to save theirs.

Hot tears sprang into Pepper's eyes.

At first, Pepper couldn't imagine having her own child to sacrifice willingly, but then, she realized that her imagination...became true. She wasn't close to the spider kid, but was always fond of his bravery, and courage.

The fondness that settled in her eyes when he would wave at her and smile wide.

Pepper lost a child too, she realized.

And she broke down.


Nat was gone...

And so was Spider-Man.

The Avengers didn't have anything to say. They lost two greatest heroes, all out of self-sacrifice. Captain America held his broken shield in his hands. His whole body was battered with bruises and blood. All of them were.

But they couldn't compare to the pain with losing their friends and allies.

The Avengers weren't the ones to blame themselves as well.

Doctor Strange stayed to help get the Avengers and everyone else patched up. After all...he was a doctor, and he was always surrounded by death. He knew the mourning. He knew the pain. That's what doctors had to face, and he had to stay strong to those who did die under his care, but having to know that this kid was going to die in the future tore him to pieces. Out of the 14,000,605 timelines he'd seen...this one had to take Peter away.

They all had different thoughts on how they could've been an easier way. One where there wasn't tragedy in losing a team member. Or a kid.

Their whole bodies screamed tiredness, and grief. Their eyes held haunting images of the young spider wielding the stones and snapping, before being burnt alive and blood running down the kid's forehead as Tony's screams echoed in their minds.

It was a nightmare to never forget.

Rhodey strolled in, but his posture was slumped and tired.

"Tony's under sedatives...he should be up by tomorrow morning," he said quietly.

"And that's gonna make it better?" Clint asked, exasperated. He looked down and crossed his arms to his chest tightly. "Tony is never going to be the same-we aren't going to be same anymore..."

No one was going to be the same. Not after Nat and not after Spider-Man.

"Clint," Steve said softly, placing a gentle hand on the archer's shoulder. "Spider-Man knew what he was doing...we-we," he swallowed hard. "we knew what he was going to do..."

Clint gave him a pointed look. "Spider-Man, was a kid! He was thrown into war that we caused," he spat.

"...And he wanted to use them for good. He knew the consequences of being a superhero," Rhodey returned sharply, but then looked away. "I admit though, he was too young for the superhero life..."

No one was able to deny that. Hell, even Scarlet Witch and her brother was older when the Avengers recruited them. Of course, Peter was a vigilante under Tony Stark's watch, but still!

"...I felt the pain," Wanda whispered.

Everyone turned to her.

She looked at everyone else with pained eyes. "I felt the hurt and pain Peter felt..."

Their faces darkened.

"So...Peter died suffering?" Rhodey whispered, eyes horrified and face pale.

Wanda nodded slightly and balled up her hands to be in fists. "He-he stayed alive this long...just to say goodbye to Tony," she said ever so quietly.

They grimaced in return. This kid had the chance to die quickly, but instead, he chose to stay alive just awhile longer and say goodbye to his mentor. If they didn't know any better, all of them would have though that Spider-man was Tony's son.

Though, it didn't change the fact that they lost a young, innocent soul.

"I should've snapped as soon as I was able," Bruce murmured, touching his injured arm that had a cast and supports.

"It wasn't your fault," Steve said firmly and looked at his broken down team. "Spider-man-or Peter saved us all. And yes, he was too young to be taken away from the world, but he understood the consequences." He closed his eyes and reopened them. "And the sacrifices. That goes along with Nat too."

"How are we able to do this without them?"

Steve blinked and sighed. "By living for them," he answered plainly.

He got stares and looks. The hell meant?

Another sigh escaped the Captain. "They all sacrificed their lives in order for us to live. They wanted us to live...and I have a feeling they wouldn't want to see you guys waste your lives in dark state. The least we can do is honor it."

It took a minute to process the whole idea, and even though it may take awhile, they were willing to do so.


"The infinity stones," Steve said slowly. "Is in...Peter's hand?"

Rhodey rolled his eyes. "Yes, Steve!"

"I don't understand," Steve concluded. It was only 45 minutes after the Avengers went to take a rest from the whole debacle. Everyone needed it. Steve just got down showering and getting dressed before hitting the hay, only to be disrupted by Rhodey who seemed to be in distress.

"Peter didn't have a gauntlet or special glove to protect the stones from his hand! Which means that the infinity stones are literally in his flesh! His suit literally melted, making the stones to dig into Pete's skin." Rhodey exclaimed. Frustrated.

Steve grimaced.

That had to hurt. Immensely.

"Can we remove them?" Steve asked.

Rhodey hesitated. "That's what we're worried about...its like...connected to Peter's veins...if we remove them, it could cause damage to person who is removing them. A scalpel or large tweezers will probably melt the whole damn thing. You've seen what the stones can do," Rhodey said.

Steve rubbed his temples and sighed. "What about T'Challa's sister, Shuri?"

Rhodey shrugged. "They have advanced technology, and she got the idea of being able to remove the mind stone from Vision...but she is no doctor, and I have a feeling that Tony would want Peter to be fixed up before...y'know," He trailed off.

"Right..." Steve murmured. "I'll see what we can do. I'm going to check Tony before I go to bed, and you should too."

What felt like eons, Rhodey gave a small smile to him "Don't think I'll be able too. Gotta help my buddy through the process of this."

Steve nodded. "We won't leave him."

Rhodey gave a curt nod. "Good."


Pepper was grateful that her mom and dad was able to take care of Morgan for a bit. She was miles away from her cabin, and though she desperately wants to go home, Tony was still in recovery. And that's where she'll stay until Tony is recovered.

Unfortunately, Pepper didn't how to explain why mommy and daddy were grieving. Morgan was too young to feel grief.

Just like Peter.

No doubt, they have both agreed to do their ever lasting best to be there for their daughter.

A knock interrupted her thoughts as she looked up.

Steve.

"Hey," he greeted softly. "I just wanted to see if you needed something."

Pepper shook her head and gestured the unoccupied chair that was on the opposite of Tony's bed. He took it eagerly and sat down, sighing while doing so. They stayed silent for a bit, watching Tony's chest rise up and down, his eyes twitching from a dream...or nightmare, they didn't know.

Steve cleared his throat to get her attention. She looked up with an attentive gaze.

His eyes softened and he looked down again. "I-I want to apologize...for Peter," he said. Pepper's gaze turned sad and she blinked back the tears that clung onto her eye lashes as she bit her lip from crying.

"I know how much Peter has impacted your life..." Steve started again.

He shut up when she held a hand to stop him.

"I'm sorry...I went to far..."

"Its-its fine," Pepper choked and looked at her husband. "I'm not the only one to be fighting in losing a child."

Steve felt a stab of pain in his heart. He wasn't a parent. Never knew the familial feeling towards a kid, but seeing the couple that held weight of sadness on their shoulders, he prayed to God that he wouldn't experience that...ever.

"Peter was a good kid," Pepper whispered. "Always wanted to help out. He even talked through his criminals into stopping their ways. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it ended him on a hospital bed."

She chuckled humorlessly. "He was already self-sacrificing before Thanos came."

Steve swallowed the bile that crept up his throat. So Peter was more than meets the eye?

"He was intelligent for a young kid...just like Tony," Pepper murmured, brushing a hand over her lover's forehead. The man stirred but remained in asleep. "Peter even made his web shooters and helped Tony build other stuff in the Spider-Man suit."

Steve's eyes widened. He would have never expected for Tony to invite a teenager over to his private lab. Non the less, let them make their own inventions.

"...So I've heard," Steve said quietly, elbows shifting to be resting on his knees.

"He was an intern under Tony's guidance, as well as being Spider-Man too. Made it more...non suspicious when he patrolled after school," She said, sighing and rubbing a hand over her tired face.

"You should sleep," Steve informed, his brows furrowing together.

Pepper shook her head and quirked her lips upward into the smallest of smiles. "You should too, I wasn't the one to fight Thanos."

Steve chuckled and nodded in response before sitting up and straightening his back. He bobbed up his head up and down as a goodbye and turned around to walk to the exit. The Captain stopped in his tracks and turned around to face Pepper.

"If you need anything...I'm a few doors away. Let me know when he wakes up," he said sincerely.

Pepper nodded. "Goodnight."

"Night."


Tony looked around the darkened space. Nothing was here and nothing to be found Something wasn't right. Something wasn't okay. He looked at himself with confusion. He was in a broken Ironman suit. Dirt, and ashes covering his hand plates made him  nauseous

"Mister Stark!" A familiar scream made his whip his around to find that voice.

Peter.

Where was Peter?!

"Pete! Kid, where are you?" Tony yelled back frantically. He ran towards the wails that were echoing around him. He stopped, his eyes bulging out.

A trail of blood.

So much blood.

He ran past it in favor of finding his kid, ignoring his stomach churning at the sight. Tony didn't know how long he was running, but if it meant finding his kid, he'd run through the ends of the earth.

This wasn't how Peter Parker was going to die.

Never.

Tony felt breathless, his chest heaving at every moment of running. Everything felt like the opposite of okay.

Just when he thought he was there...he was there too late. He halted, eyes widened at view of Thanos choking...

"Peter!" Tony screamed, protectiveness washing over him like a tsunami. His wanted to move;to shield Peter from the pain that he was going through, but black ropes wrapped around his feet, making him immobile.

He grunted and kicked, eyes still on the feeble child.

"I told you I was inevitable," Thanos laughed deviously, tightening his grip around the spider child's neck. He watched it all as Peter struggled against Thanos' hold, face turning bluer and purple by the second.

"Please!" Tony begged, tears glistening in man's eyes.

"M-mister Stark...p-please hel-help," Peter choked out, tears running down his cheeks. A hand went out to Tony in desperation.

He reached a hand out to Peter.

"You can do this, buddy," he whispered.

He was almost there. Just the tip of his fingertips-

A sickening snap entered his ears and his pupils went large. The hand that was reached out to Tony fell by Peter's side, his whole still now.

"No!" Tony yelled, twisting his body to get near Peter. Thanos smirked and dropped the precious child onto the black floor before using his gauntlet to disappear. The ropes retracted and he almost fell forward, but gained his movement as he ran towards the motionless body.

"Pete, Peter, Oh my God, please-please don't do this," Tony cried out, falling to his knees and gently moving the boy's head onto his lap.

"Come on, kid," he pleaded, rubbing a thumb over Peter's blotchy cheek."Y-you can't leave me, buddy. Whatever happened to being friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, huh? Who's gonna look out for them?"

Peter's bloodshot eyes stared back at him with emptiness as an answer. Cuts and bruises around his neck and twisted limbs was all that screamed at Tony. No shout or cries of joy from the kid.

Nothing.

His shoulders trembled as he shook his head in denial. No...nononononono, not this!

"Peter, you need to wake up, please," Tony pressed, pleading eyes searching the kid for any movements.

Still nothing.

Peter...please," he croaked.

After no response, he blood curdling scream tore his whole body as it echoed through the vacant room of nothingness.

Tony's eyes shot open as he yelled out and sat up, forehead covered in a sheet of sweat. He fumbled and leaped out of the hospital bed with fear. The IV tore at his arm and winced as it let go, blood running down his arm now while the other hand was still clenching Peter's mask.

"Peter!" He shouted and unsteadily got to his feet, trying to desperately to see his kid.

"Tony, Tony!" A voice called after him. He ignored as he groaned in pain, hand settling over his abdomen as it flared up in pain. He was tired and bleary. Medication overwhelmed his tired body as gentle hands stopped him and helped him up on the bed.

He blinked and looked up at the ceiling light, suddenly being covered by a blurry image of what looked like a head.

"Tony?" It asked. There was worry leaking into the voice, but it sounded...calming.

"Pepper?" He whispered.

Tony blinked again and saw a more clearer version of his wife hovering over him, a small smile and exhausted eyes greeting him. "Hi honey," she said softly, running her fingers through his hair.

He closed his eyes and relaxed for a moment.

Then he opened them up again and looked straight into Pepper's eyes with his pleading ones. "Where is Peter?"

She stopped and bit her lip, eyes welling up with tears again. "Tony-"

"Where. Is. He?" He asked shakily.

Pepper didn't say a word as she leaned back and brought a hand over her hand, bowing her head as if to conceal her answer.

"Pep, please," he begged. "I have to see him. I have to see that he is alive. Please Pepper!"

The CEO grasped Tony's hand softly and squeezed it softly. He was able to see streaks of tears running down her face.

"Tony...he-he..."

There was an instant reaction from the billionaire.

"No," he whispered, suddenly clutching the fabricated mask to his chest, tears welling up into his eyes.

"Tony...there was no other way," she said quietly as she brought her hand to caress Tony's cheek. Pepper met gazes with Tony again as he stared up with large eyes that shouted anguish and despair.

She took a breath and looked at her lover with the upmost sympathetic expression. "Tony...Pete's gone."

Chapter Text

Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath.


 

Anger

 

It was only a few days and Tony was back and forth when it came to accepting that Peter was dead and being denial. He refused to be seen, even when it was obvious that everyone was concerned.

The only people that had left was Clint and Scott, who had families they needed to see and couldn't stay.

Steve and the rest of the Avenger checked on Tony every day, though the man would never respond and just kept his eyes staring at the ceiling with the Spider-Man mask close to his proximity.

The only people he would respond was talking to Morgan over the phone, listen to Pepper's gentle voice and Rhodey. That was it.

Peter's body was taken to Wakanda, where Shuri and a bunch of other doctors could figure out on removing the stones without ruining the body. No one told Tony about Peter's body being moved. They thought it was the best to keep it low until Tony's mental health improved, though they were expecting it to be a long road of recovery ahead of them.

Tony had nightmares every night. The same one every time. Peter being grasped into Thanos' hand and him choking and dying. It was haunting to say the least. It got to Tony so badly that he wouldn't sleep.

Pepper or Rhodey would have to comfort him those nights, but it still didn't change the fact that Peter was dead.

Peter could've helped ease his PTSD.

Peter could've helped him all through it.

But he was gone. And it was getting worse.

Sometimes, they had to give him sedatives, despite his harsh protests. Pepper and Rhodey knew why he would be defensive when it came to sleeping, and no matter how much the nightmare was occurring, he needed to sleep.

The only time when he was normal, was when he talked to his 5 year old daughter.

Of course, only over phone calls. He didn't want to see his daughter being worried over his well being.

Speaking of well being, his appearance looked like he fought the Chitauri army again, but this time the pain felt unbearable.

There was dark bags under his bloodshot eyes. His injuries were healing every so slowly, making him limited to doing things. Hell, he felt so helpless and useless. He couldn't do anything under the supervision of Pepper and Rhodey.

They were too keen.

Tony just wanted to go home. Take a swig of scotch to wash away his sorrows. He was sober since Morgan was born again, but damn, he needed a drink.

He missed Peter. He needed Peter. But out of all his pleads...the world will never give his kid back.


"We need to tell him," Pepper hissed at Steve.

Even though Steve was the captain of the Avengers, fought in the army and battled Thanos, there was no doubt that Pepper was very scary when she was aggravated, upset and angry.

This was one of those times.

"I know, I know, but Tony isn't in his mentality to hear this," Steve explained, earning a pointed glare from the woman.

"And keeping this secret that's about Peter will only make it worse," she seethed. "You kept a secret and that's how the Avengers disbanded! Imagine when he finds out that we kept this from him," Pepper said.

There was a flash of hurt crossing his face...though, it was true...

Steve shook his head and looked down. "You're right, but how are we supposed to talk to him when I or the other Avengers can talk to him," he asked.

"If its about Peter, he'll listen," Pepper said plaintively.

"Why can't you do it?" He asked, sounding like a 6 year old child. Pepper gave him sharp glare that sent Steve's body in shivers.

"'Cause I'm not the one to bring Peter's body to freaking Wakanda without Tony's consent. Now that I mention it, without May's consent either," she replied that definitely meant that there was no way of getting out of this.

Who was May, though?

Speaking of May, she found out over 24 hours after they got back from battling Thanos. Pepper had the time to visit her, but it wasn't her joy to tell Peter's Aunt that he died reversing the snap.

Though, she accepted Peter's death better than Tony. Mostly because she was a nurse and watching people die from old age, cancer, or sickness was...expected. Sad thing about hospitals is that its like a gamble. People can come out...and the other people remain.

Still, she took it hard. Her only family member was gone. Though, Pepper would make sure that May was never alone. Not when Peter was family to them. May was family to them as well.

Steve sighed. "Alright, alright...how soon can I talk to him?"

"Now," She immediately replied. "He just got done with talking to Morgan."


Tony was exhausted. Having to keep his pain and mournful posture away from Morgan was absolutely draining. He loved his daughter 3000, and would never let her see him in pain. Not when she was still young to experience happiness.

He looked over to Spider-Mans mask and brought it to his nose. It was the only thing that had Peter's scent. Something he was thankful to have as of right now...he still could've preferred Peter at his side, giggling like a little child and him ruffling the kid's soft curls.

He sniffed and rubbed his tired eyes with the back of his hand.

God, he wanted Peter in his arms again...

A knock interrupted his thoughts and he looked up, expecting Pepper to come in, but little did he know that Steve would pop his head in and give a small smile to him. Tony watched as Steve went fully in and sat down in a chair next to him.

It took every ounce to scowl at the Captain and look away, but he kept his hard look at Steve. He didn't know why he was angry, or blamed everyone for the reason on losing the kid.

But he just...did.

"Look Tony," Steve started. "I just wanted to see how're you're feeling."

"I'm fine," Tony snapped in reply, looking away. He heard Steve shuffling and then a hand on his shoulder.

"I know you're not," he said quietly. Tony felt a rush of anger course through his body as he flared his nose and jerked his shoulder away from the man's touch. "The hell you want, Steve?" He snarled.

Steve took a hesitant step back and brought his arms to his side. "Tony, I-"

"Listen, just tell me what you're here for and after that, leave me alone," Tony responded, his voice sounding like acid.

Steve looked at the man intently. He'd seen Tony go through emotional stuff, get drunk and still go off with a fake smile afterwards. But this time? Tony was disastrous. His face was pale as ever, lips parched and dry. There was weight on his shoulders that even Steve couldn't comprehend.

Giving Tony his wish, he closed his eyes and looked down. "Peter's body has been transferred to Wakanda-"

"Why?" Was Tony's question immediately. Steve didn't even bother to look up and look at Tony's facial expression. Because he knew that Tony's look would kill him by now. Especially how snappish and vexed he was towards everyone but Pepper and Morgan.

"The infinity stones is buried in Peter's hand...we can't remove it with the technology we have. Its too dangerous," he sighed.

Tony just glared at him.

"I know we shouldn't have done it without your consent, but you were mentally unstable...we didn't think it would be the best to tell you," Steve said sincerely, finally having the guts to look at Tony.

The look on Tony's face though, was expected.

"You brought my kid's body to some obscure place that even I don't know about," Tony whispered, eyes averting to Steve with a deadly glance. "What the hell were you thinking, Cap?! This is my kid's body and you somehow think you could take Peter's body away without letting me-" He froze and Steve grimaced.

"Does his Aunt know?" Tony questioned afterwards, his voice full of venom.

Steve's face looked surprised. "Who?"

"Peter's Aunt, you asshole!" Tony exclaimed with anger.

"B-but, I thought Peter was your son-"

"He was my intern," Tony seethed, but eyes softened as he looked down at the Spider mask in his lap. Peter wasn't just an intern, he was so much more than he would admit. So much more...

Steve gave a defeated sigh and shook his head. "No..."

"For God's sakes!" Tony threw his hands up. "Did you ever think to use your special brain?!"

Steve held his hands up in defense. "We didn't know...Pepper never mentioned his Aunt."

Tony looked at him with a violent stare. "Don't you fucking dare bring Pepper into this mess!"

The Captain remained calm, but inside he could literally feel the fear in his bones. "Look Tony, I know you're upset, but we wouldn't have been able to do the funeral until the stones were extracted," he explained.

Tony's eyes drooped down and sighed in defeat. "Fine," he replied curtly. "When did you take Peter to Wakanda?"

"About a few days ago," Steve responded, shrugging. "Shuri has been the one to be the one operating it."

Tony inhaled and exhaled and nodded mutely. "Give me all the updates from now on and I'll talk to Shuri about this...situation," he added a little softly.

Steve sagged his shoulders, blowing out a small breath of relief. But it still didn't mean that Tony was mad at him.

"Now...please go," he whispered, looking up at the ceiling again, and swallowing thickly.

"Thank you, Tony," Steve murmured before walking out to leave the billionaire to collect his thoughts.


"Daddy?" A soft, squeaky voice entered his over thinking mind. He craned his head and smiled gently, watching Morgan and Pepper walk over to slowly to his hospital bed.

"There's my baby girl," Tony cooed. "Did you behave at your grandparents house?"

She nodded and allowed for her mother to prop her up on the bed side. "Me and grandma were drawing...look!" Morgan exclaimed, holding up a piece of paper. Tony took it eagerly and scanned it with a smile. It was Ironman with his signature pose with a mini Ironman doing the same one. Out of the corner, however, surprised him. In the corner was Spider-Man crouching down with webs near him.

"Its Spider-Man!" She said excitingly. "Like how you would tell stories of him."

Tears welled up in his eyes. He looked away for a moment before facing his daughter with a small smile. "Its looks amazing, honey."

Morgan returned the gesture and curled up on his side. "I missed you, daddy," she sighed.

Tony sniffed and kissed the top of her head. "Me too, sweetheart."

He felt his other side of the bed shift and a hand gently running through his messy hair. He craned his neck and saw Pepper gazing at him and Morgan with so much love. Since Peter's death, he couldn't help but feel more calmer.

Pepper gave him a gentle kiss on the lips. "I know that Peter's gone," she murmured between the kisses. "but just know that we'll always be with you...no matter what." Tony choked back a sob and sensed a thumb rubbing over his cheek, never noticing the tears that were leaking out.

"I love you," she whispered.

Tony leaned against Pepper's touch. "I love you too, Pep."

For once, he felt content, and even though there was going to be trials and tribulations when it came to Peter's death, he knew he wasn't going to be all alone.


It was the next day, and Tony was the one to talk to Shuri. And damn...this girl was so intelligent, it reminded him of Peter so much it hurt.

"The Stones I have noticed is deteriorating Spider-Man's hand as we speak. We must remove them as soon as possible...or there won't be a body to bury," Shuri explained sadly. Tony nodded and looked at the details that has been sent through the hologram.

"Will you be able to remove them?" Tony asked curtly.

"Yes and no," she replied. "My technology is able to take the Stones easily, but I am no expert on the human body. One mistake and it could blow Spider-Man's body into ashes."

"Peter," Tony said quietly. "His name is Peter."

Shuri pursed her lips and nodded. "Though, I am quite surprised that his body hasn't fully become ashes by now."

"What do you mean?"

"Even when his brain isn't functioning, his body is still using his enhanced abilities to heal themselves and their wounded parts. If we can remove the stones, we can let his body regenerate before it gives out completely," Shuri responded.

"I see," Tony murmured and looked at the Wakandian girl with determination in his eyes. "Is there any chance I could operate with you?"

Shuri hesitated. "Sir, it is not wise to do an operation when you are unstable. I understand this is your son, but I think it is best to let someone else to do the operation with me-"

"No," The man said firmly. "I will be fine. I was able to place them on the gauntlet with no problems and I will have no problem of extracting them," he said.

"Mister Stark, this is surgery we are talking about," Shuri said sternly. "This isn't mechanics or anything like that. It is quite more fragile than any other machine."

Tony thought for a moment before thinking of a compromise. "Can I just watch the operation as it goes then?"

Shuri was about to protest, but when she saw the father's pleading eyes. The eyes on which to at least save his boy's body to properly bury, she couldn't bring herself to say no.

"Very well, Tony Stark. Be at Wakanda by next sunrise," she informed before tapping out and the hologram fading.

After that, Tony just stared at the wall. He knew he shouldn't be doing this. He knew about being unstable...but this was his kid.

If he couldn't give Peter a proper greeting, he was going to give him a proper farewell.


"No, Tony!" Pepper exclaimed, arms crossing over chest as she watched her husband look down at his lip. "What you need to do is rest!"

"I'm fine!" Tony hissed.

"No you're not! This isn't up for debate! You need to rest and-"

"And what?" Tony exploded, sitting up forcefully and eyes boring right into Pepper's stern eyes. "And watch helplessly while someone is removing the stones from my kid's hand?! No one knows better than I do that Peter has enhanced powers! Anything could go wrong! I am not letting him turn into ashes again! I-I can't! I don't want him to-to s-suffer like the last t-time he-he died!" He started hyperventilating and heaving dry sobs as his whole body shook.

Pepper froze and her dropped her hands to her side, softening her gaze.

"Tony," she whispered.

His eyes welled up with tears when he looked at his wife with a pained expression. "Please, Pep...I need to help, I-I can't just wait here and watch as my kid is having complications, whether he's dead or not."

The woman stayed silent for a few moments before leaning. "Why?" She asked.

Tony shot her a confused look, but she just turned that down and repeated. "Why?"

The man blinked and then looked down, his eyes averted to Peter's mask as he caressed it gently between his fingers. "I wasn't there for Peter when he needed me, Pep," he started. "And now? The least I could do is help Peter give a proper farewell; a proper funeral!...I wasn't able to save him ashes...I wasn't able to just bring him back like that! He wasn't buried properly because he turned to ashes, and...I don't anyone to know that Peter died by being turned into ashes...again." He took a breath and exhaled. "I just want him to know that I...that I-"

"Stop," Pepper whispered. She leaned farther and kissed her husband's temple. "I understand."

Pepper pursed her lips and sighed. "Alright...but! You need to rest right now and while you are on the plane...and I'm coming with you," she said and that was final. Tony was about to protest, but she hardened her look and he shrunk back into his hospital bed.

"Thanks, Pep," he whispered.

"You know I'll be there for you," she reminded.

"I know," he murmured.

"When you do you need to be at Wakanda?" Pepper asked.

"By next sunrise," Tony answered, giving his wife a weak grin.


"He's what?!" The Avengers exclaimed in unison. Pepper sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose, already feeling a headache coming in. "Tony is going to Wakanda for Peter's...extraction."

"Why does he have to go?" Bucky questioned, earning a handful of nods from his comrades. Pepper stared at them as if they were idiots. "What do you think?" She grumbled. Everyone exchanged glances to each other and suddenly remembering that they this was about Peter.

Right.

"Can," Steve took a breath. "Can he really watch the operation in such a...mental state?"

"I've already contacted Shuri about this whole endeavor. She knows about his condition and we're both prepared if anything happens." Pepper shrugged and looked at them with a weary smile. "Besides, someone is gonna have to pick up Peter's body."

The room was utterly silent.

Pepper was right. Someone was gonna have to pick up Spider-man's body. Rocket, Gamora, Quill, Groot, Nebula and Thor showed their sympathies by tasking on taking Peter's body to Wakanda with strict instructions.

After all, this was Peter's body...that also held the Infinity stones.

Steve shook his head and cleared his throat, earning the attention of everybody. "Should we accompany you?" He asked.

Pepper pursed her lips. "Honestly, I have no idea how Tony is going to feel. He's been pretty pissy to everyone but Morgan," she sighed.

"Where is Morgan?" Rhodey asked.

"With Tony. He promised he would sleep if he saw Morgan before we leave," she replied, a fond quirk of her lips tugging upwards at the sight. Morgan running up to her father's hospital bed as she tried climbing up onto and snuggling with him.

It was one thing she could see Tony relax.

"Are you sure you don't want us to come?" Steve asked, interrupting Pepper's thoughts in the process.

"I'll go," Rhodey said instantly, stepping in.

Pepper smiled. "I'm sure he'd enjoy the company," she said. Everyone nodded in agreement. They were going whether Tony liked it or not.

"What about Morgan?" Rhodey asked.

"Grandparents will help out," Pepper answered as if it was obvious. "Anything else?"

"Yeah...when are we going?"

"Now." Before anyone could ask more questions, she turned her back towards them and strolled into the hospital room.

Chapter Text

Bargaining


 You, Me;

Nothing is Free

Even 'Love' costs 'Love'


Tony couldn't rest as he watched the world become smaller and smaller as they ascended in the air. He felt like it was suffocating him at times. When Tony boarded on the Quinjet, the whole Avengers were sitting there, waiting for him to come on.

He knew that even if he did protest, they would still come and make sure he was alright.

Tony was grateful, but deep inside him, it told him that they were just showing him pity.

There was a soft, gentle touch on his shoulder that made him tense up. He looked up to see Pepper eyeing him with worry. It wasn't uncommon so see those beautiful eyes facade a look of concern, but that's what she signed up for and she was eagerly ready to help at any time.

"You should sleep," Pepper stated softly.

Tony mumbled something and looked outside the window. Silence was what met that afterwards and Pepper didn't pry any further as she watched the sun set above the pure white clouds. A mix of orange, periwinkle and a golden hue swirled together, letting the sun set on the horizon, where the stars would greet the sky and the moon would be cast out to be a nightlight to those who wander at night.

He wondered if Peter was using the moonlight to be guided. Who knows? He didn't believe in those little tales, he was a man of logic, but it didn't mean that he didn't enjoy listening to those myths and tales. Mostly from Peter.

He was so so tired...

Slowly, he closed his eyes and allowed a vivid memory dance inside his worn out mind.


Hey, Mister Stark?" Peter asked.

Tony looked up from his work and saw his intern looking straight at him with his lips pursed and hands fidgeting under his long sleeves. "Yes, intern of mine?"

"W-well," Peter started, now looking away from his mentor. "there's a meteor shower outside of New York City...and I was wondering if you wanted to go with me?"

Tony blinked at that question. Peter was old enough to drive, funny enough, and as soon as Peter got his driver's license, Tony got him a car, much to May's dismay (she eventually approved.) Though, he rarely uses it due to the over populated traffics and cars jamming up the streets.

He realized that Peter has only taken the car to take MJ to prom and some other special occasions.

"You don't have to!" The kid rambled after he didn't answer for a few moments. "I was just curious if you looked stargazing-"

Tony raised a hand, making Peter zip his lips up in a tight line.

"Honestly, I have not gone stargazing in a long while." He sighed and then though for a moment. "But it couldn't hurt to go again," he said. The teenager's eyes widened with excitement. "Really?!"

Tony chuckled fondly and wiped the excess oil of his hands with a dirty rag. "Of course, who wouldn't want to spend time with my favorite child?" Peter beamed and shot up from his chair. "That's awesome! We should probably go now before its too late," Peter said quickly.

"My car or yours?" Tony asks.

Peter froze and looked over to Tony. "Uh..."

"How about your car?" Tony says, smiling when Peter stuttered before nodding  hesitantly. "If you insist," Peter replied eventually, shrugging.

"Oh, I'm sure," Tony smiled and threw the rag on his table and grabbed his jacket. "You ready?"


"Seriously, you drive better than Happy, I swear," Tony laughed.

"Tony..." Peter sighed. He only used his mentor's first name when he was annoyed at him or teased him. "I almost hit a squirrel! That's not okay!"

"Kid, there are millions of squirrels prancing around the streets," Tony smirked.

"Yes...but still!" Peter argued. "I don't like killing stuff!"

Tony raised a brow at him, a playful grin forming his lips. "Stuff?"

"You know what I mean!" Peter huffed out.

Tony hummed in response and tapped his chin a thinking manner. "Do I?"

"If I weren't the one to drive, I would totally use my web fluid to tape your mouth shut," the boy threatened, glaring at his mentor for a moment before turning his eyes towards the road.

"Nah, you wouldn't do that. You love me," Tony cooed.

Suddenly, a teasing smile graced Peter's lips. "I think I like Uncle Rhodey better."

There was a gasp from the billionaire as he threw his hand over his heart, mocking false pain. "My own kid turning against me! Well!"

"You're so over dramatic," Peter said, rolling his eyes fondly at Mister Stark.

Tony chuckled and shook his head. The rest of the ride was pretty silent, only the back round music of AC/DC playing and some annoying cars blasting their own music. Though, it didn't take long for Peter to swerve onto a dirt path and drive towards...well, nothing.

It was bumpy, but Peter didn't seem fazed about it as he drove slowly but surely to their destination.

Tony looked out the window, watching some trees and bushes go pass them they went farther and farther away from civilization.

The car suddenly stopped and the engine purred one last time before it turned off.

"We're here," Peter exclaimed happily, quickly unbuckling his seat belt and hurrying out his car door. Tony did the same and met Peter on his side, where the teenager was already gazing at the stars.

"Its so beautiful..." Peter whispered. A small chuckle emitted from the billionaire. "You stargaze all the time, what makes you think this is any different?" Tony asked. He saw Peter think for a moment before craning his neck towards him and give a small smile. "Because you're here," was all he responded with.

A grin spread across Tony's tired face, heart ever so slightly melting at the warming comment.

"Ooh!" Peter gasped with excitement. "There's a shooting star, make a wish, Mister Stark!"

Tony had the perfect moment to actually spot the star flying across the night sky. The star disappeared at the end of the horizon. One twinkle and that was it. If he blinked, he would have missed it, but he watched the small meteor vanish into just tiny particles, not even making to the earth's ground.

Somehow, Peter reminded Tony of a shooting star.

The kid was quick at learning, always a twinkle of light in a midst of darkness. Well, at least to Tony he is. A teenager kid was able to get through a so-called-cold-hearted man and got him to rethinking what he wanted in life.

A father? Maybe.

"Did you make a wish?" Peter asked, shaking Tony out of his thoughts.

"Yeah kid," Tony said, wrapping an arm around the kid's shoulders. "I did."

Little did anyone know, that the wish really did come true.


"Should we wake him up?" A soft voice asked. Tony furrowed his brow in half awoke drowsiness. It was familiar, but he couldn't get a pinpoint on anything. Not when he wasn't able to sleep very well.

"I don't think that's a good idea...maybe we should let him rest," another voice said, though it was more feminine and gentle. A hand was brushed against his forehead and he winced, eyes twitching.

"Well...I feel like we should stop hovering and actually let him rest."

It was then when he opened his eyes and blinked blearily. He saw the faces of Steve, Pepper and Rhodey hovering over his face. He groaned and shifted to sit up. They backed away and waited for Tony to be situated.

"How long was I out?" Tony asked gruffly, grimacing as a pain shot through his whole entire body.

"A little while after we ascended," Pepper answered softly. "We just landed in Wakanda."

Tony nodded tiredly and looked out the window. Even if he did sleep, he still looked like death himself. "Alright...I'm ready," Tony said quietly, slowly standing on his feet. His mind whirled and body ached. Hands were on his shoulders and arm wrapped around his midsection.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Steve asked, being one of the person to support Tony's weight.

"Yes," Tony said in a finality voice. None were spoken afterwards as they slowly descended out the Quinjet. The Avengers, including: Wanda, Bucky, Steve, Bruce Banner and Happy.

The Avengers had really declined of their teammates. Vision...Nat and now Peter was gone. Thor was out with the Guardians. Captain Marvel was already back to protecting space. Anyone else had already dispersed in rebuilding their own lives after that catastrophe. But, its still not easy for other people. It will always be a burning memory for a long, long time.

They were greeted by the king of Wakanda, T'Challa himself and Okoye who had many other guards with them.

"Tony Stark, It is nice to finally meet you," T'Challa greeted softly and nodding to rest as a greeting.

"Hey, your majesty," Tony replied, trying to joke around, but it came more of a forced action. He didn't realize that this was the first time they met each other. Maybe it could've have been better if it weren't on such a unfortunate cause.

T'Challa nodded. "Welcome to Wakanda, I hope your ride here was calm."

"Somewhat," Tony mumbled. At least no one heard him or he would've gotten a jab on his sides by Pepper.

"My sister is in her lab preparing for the operation, but it will still take time for everything to be in order. In the mean time, I welcome you to our home," T'Challa said. "I have rooms that you can occupy at the moment. Tony Stark," he narrowed his head at him. "Shuri will inform you when everything is good."

"Thank you, T'Challa," Tony said sincerely.

He nodded in return, body turning around and hand waving over his shoulder. "Come. I can you show you where you will be resting in the mean time," he said.

With the help of Pepper and Steve, they managed to get Tony off the plane safely. Everyone else kept their safe distance between each other and the 3 people in front of them.

Okoye nodded in greeting to them as they passed the numerous of guards surrounding the landing pads and followed her king beside him.

It was crazy to think that a small city could potentially help the world by their technology. Many people would have guessed that Wakanda was just a poor city and in need of many stuff, but they thought wrong on so many levels.

At least a Starkbucks will be inputted soon.


"The view is very lovely, T'Challa. Thank you for the hospitality," Pepper said gently, arm looped around Tony's for emotional and physical support. All of this was a bit overwhelming in a way. One, they were being hospitalized by a king who turns out to be Black Panther. Two, their city is far more technological than any other city she's seen and thirdly, they were going to retrieve Peter's body and oh, have she mentioned the fact that Tony will be witnessing the surgery?

Sounds more than worrying. She's seen people watch surgery in TV shows or movies, but definitely not in real life...well, maybe one time when Tony got the Arc reactor removed, but this was about a dead body. A kid's dead body.

T'Challa quirked his lips up and nodded. "Thank you. Wakanda has the most beautiful sunrises." His face suddenly fell and he looked at his beads for the time. He pursed his lips and looked at his guests. "I recommend that you rest. Shuri will let you know when the extraction will happen."

Pepper nodded in acknowledgement. "Thank you." She jabbed Tony's side softly, making his him grunt irritably and wave a hand in their direction. Pepper glared at him, but he paid no attention, only to the spectacular view from the window.

When T'Challa and the rest of guards left, Pepper craned her neck towards her husband with a pointed glare. "Tony, we need to thank them for their hospitality," she said sternly. The answer she got was Tony's hands clenching into fists.

"Please Tony." Pepper eyes shimmered with worry. "All of this is making you different. You're tenser, more agitated, and tired."

"I know," Tony snapped, but then sighed and rubbed a palm over his dreaded face. "I'm just...thinking."

"What are you thinking then?" Pepper asked.

"Nothing that cannot be possible," Tony mumbled. Whether it was plan or not, Pepper knew what was going on in Tony's mind.

Is there a way to save Peter?


Tony took a nap, per demand from his concerned wife. Though, out of all the days they returned from Thanos' fight, this was the hardest times to sleep. His mind swirled with any ideas or ways to bring back Peter.

Even if it meant to bargain with anything.

To bring back Peter.

He opened his eyes and blinked slowly. How long ago since he closed his eyes? Tony looked over to the window and saw that the sun was setting over the mountain horizon. Its been that long.

Clenching the sheets beneath him, he propped himself up and looked around the bed, searching for Pepper.

There was no sign of his wife. Only the curtains around the windows billowing in the cool breeze. He grunted and sat up completely, allowing his sore muscles to stretch and bones to crackle.

That was when someone knocked on the door.

Tony turned his heel to find a guard opening the doors and nod at him. "I was told to tell you that the procedure will be happening momentarily," the guard said. Tony blinked and then nodded. "Where to?"

"Come follow me," the guard said quietly, turning to his side to let Tony come out.

Before Tony knew it, he was following the imperial guard to Shuri's laboratory.

When he was met with awe of Shuri's laboratory. The place was larger than his own, though, Shuri did live in a palace with many rooms and lets not forget that she was a princess.

He walked warily until he saw Shuri's back to him. She was typing something on what looked like a hologram. Numbers, alphabets and other encrypted words were rolling down as her eyes scanned it swiftly.

Tony cleared his throat, trying to get her attention. To which, it did. Turning around, Shuri faced the billionaire with pursed lips and a nod in acknowledgement. "Tony Stark, It is nice to meet you in real life," she said, holding out her hand.

"Yeah, it is," Tony replied quietly, taking a hold of her hand and giving a firm shake. Once they got the formalities done, she frowned and looked away. "I wish we could have met on less dire situations," she murmured.

Tony's breath hitched as he knew what she was talking about. He looked down and shuffled his feet, hands clenching into fists. "Yeah...me too," he mumbled.

Shuri nodded and turned back to the screen. "The extraction will commence soon. It will be less gruesome than any other procedure, but I heed my warning once more again," she said.

Tony grimaced and nodded. "I'm aware. I just want to get this over with, retrieve the kid's body and get the stones back."

Shuri nodded without looking at him. There was a awkward silence until Shuri spoke up. "Was Peter your son?" She asked.

Tony shook his head, breathing steadily at the mention of someone asking if he was his son. "No...more like a mentee of some sort." If anything, the Avengers were the first to ask if Peter was his son. He kind of wished that Peter was his son.

"I see, did you make his suit?"

"Eh, sorta. I made his entire suit, but he made upgrades since then." Tony smiled at a certain memory where Peter would go to his lab and work on his Spider-Suit and put new developments. Ones that made him impressed of the kid.

"His web fluids are very interesting. Sticky, Thin, yet durable at the same time. Not to mention that the web supports tons of weight on it without even breaking a sweat," Shuri murmured.

"Yeah, he was one of a kind," Tony whispered.

"I think me and him would've been great friends," she said quietly. Shuri might have never met him, but she knew that they would have made been great friends. Their smartness and childish antics could have been one hell of a time.

Tony sniffed and looked at his feet.

He wondered what Peter would be like to Morgan. His little sister...


The room is ready for the procedure," A nurse(?) said.

Shuri nodded and looked at Tony, who was dozing off. "Tony Stark, the extraction will be happening shortly, follow me."

Tony snapped into reality and nodded mutely. He passed through many machines and into a spacey room. There was a glass wall, where he could see the procedure clearly. His breath hitched when he saw a lanky body on a metal table, form under the white sheets, while the hand was outstretched onto a operating table, the stones deep in Peter's dry bloodied hand.

The stones taunted him, the stones' light pulsing within the kid's hand. He shuddered and closed his eyes, trying to even out his breathing and trying to get rid of the graphic images of Peter turning to dust to a now lifeless body in his arms.

A hand met contact his with wracking shoulders. He looked up to see Shuri who had a soft look on her face. She squeezed his shoulder softly. "Are you alright?"

Was he? He honestly didn't know. Until he knew what he needed.

"I-I need Pep," he choked out.

Shuri wasn't expecting that answer, but she nodded firmly and looked over at the guard who was beside her. The guard tilted his head and went on his way to get his wife. Shuri remained at Tony's side, occasionally rubbing his back and squeezing his shoulder's softly.

Tony didn't cry, nor make a noise, but he could feel his heart beating like a hammer. Beads of sweat dribbled down his forehead while his hands clenched and un-clenched.

Eventually, he felt Shuri move aside and another hand moved across his sweaty forehead. Tony looked up to see Pepper's mournful eyes meet his own. She smiled weakly and kissed his cheek before wrapping him in a hug.

Feeling his hands wrap around his wife's, he could feel her steady heart thump against his own. It was a comfort to him. To know that he wasn't exactly alone.

"I'm sorry," he rasped out.

A soothing hand rubbed his back and he basically slumped against Pepper's frame. Thankfully, there was a couch near them, so she gently lowered herself onto it.

"Tony?" She murmured.

"I-I can't do it," he choked, burying his nose into her shoulder, tears leaking out now. His breathing was unsteady as he tried to brake his sobs, but to no avail.

"Shh, Tony...Its okay," she murmured.

"It's not," he whispered.

Pepper sniffed. "I know...but we'll have to try for Peter," she murmured.

Tony hiccuped and nodded into his shoulder. He wanted to see it, but at the same time, he didn't. He wanted the infinity stones gone. Plain out of existence, but now he was retrieving it from kid's body.

"Do you still want to watch it?" Pepper asked softly, running her hand through his hair.

Did he?

No, but he nodded.


The spectacle nerved Tony to no end. At least they covered Peter's lifeless head and his body. The only thing showing was his hand, to which wasn't so fast. He gagged when blood spooled on the floor at one time, and looked away when he could hear a crunch.

Pepper remained at his side. And though she couldn't bear looking or even hearing anything without grimacing, she stayed for Tony.

At one moment, Tony honestly thought that he was gonna pass out. Luckily, Pepper knew her husband when there was a panic attack.

It only took about 18.34 minutes to have all the stones removed. Yes, he counted on how long it took for the stones to be removed, yes, it was unconventional. No, he just wanted something to distract himself.

From then on, it was just nurses stitching up the wounded hand. The Stones being transferred into a silver brief case.

It was the worst 18.34 minutes of his life. He felt drained afterwards;emotionally and physically. He heard a faint click, which meant the door opened and someone entered. Tony turned around and saw Shuri with the silver brief case. She outstretched her hand with the suit case to him, indicating that it was his to return to its rightful place.

His hands trembled as he took the rectangle box that held a thousand weights.

Shuri bowed her head in a graceful manner. "The Stones are in there, sealed by one of the finest Wakandian shield. It should provide aid when returned to its timeline. Only you, and the Avengers are able to unlock." She paused for a moment before continuing. "Peter's body is currently being transferred to our morgue. You can take his body and bury it within your choosing of your area."

Tony nodded and cleared his throat. "Thank you...Shuri."

Shuri gave a weak smile and left the room with no conversation left to commit.

"I hate this," Tony mumbled, looking at the brief case with despise and hatred. The stones that killed his kid. His son.


Night crept on in Wakanda, only leaving Tony to twist and turn in the bed, trying to sleep.

His eyes stayed open, bloodshot. Mind was whirling of Peter's limp body in the arms of Thanos, giving no mercy.

Tony huffed and turned around again. His eyes wandered over to the shiny brief case, holding the Infinity stones. He heard Shuri mention that it was able to unlock when he or the Avengers would unlock it themselves.

Then, his mind thought of an idea.

What if he could use the Stones to bring back Peter? What if?

His mind paid no attention to the warnings that heeded in his thoughts. He just stood up and grabbed the brief case and fled.


The morgue was quiet, surrounded by trees and nature. No one was there to guard it, which was odd to say the least, but it was an advantage to Tony.

He stood in front of it, imagining how this would all end up. He could bring Peter back. Bring Peter back. The words repeated in his thoughts like a mantra. He clenched the handle and prepared himself to sacrifice himself for Peter.

No matter what.

Just as when he was about to walk in, he was stopped by footsteps echoing in the distance. He could've just upped and rushed into the morgue, but something stopped him in his tracks.

"Tony!" That damn familiar voice. The stoic voice that betrayed him over and over again.

He didn't bother turning around;it would be a waste of time anyways.

"What are you doing?!" Steve yelled.

Tony tensed up, but his grip on the case tightened.

"It was my fault," Tony whispered.

"What?" Steve asked. He couldn't see Steve furrowing his brows together, but he knew. Tony always knew Steve's expressions.

"It was my fault!" Tony shouted, suddenly facing Steve with something akin to anger and sorrow. "It my fault the kid is gone. My fault for Spider-Man's disappearance!" He dipped his head down and lowered his voice. "My fault for losing him..."

Cautious steps echoed against the pavement and the more it grew closer, the more he tensed up. A soft, gentle hand was placed on his tensed shoulder, but it did little comfort.

"Why," he choked out, looking up to Steve with wide, grief-stricken eyes. "Why did Peter do it?"

Steve grimaced and gripped his former colleague's shoulders, trying to show comfort.

"I-I don't understand, Steve...why?" Tony repeated, face full of remorse and exhaustion. "Why couldn't he let me do it. He had a life to continue and-and so innocent in all of this-why?"

"Tony I-" He blew a breath, trying to form words for the grieving father.

"I could do it," Tony murmured, tightening his grip on the handle of the suitcase. "I could bring him back to life."

There was pressure on Tony's shoulder and it eased barely. Steve's expression turned stern, yet his eyes understood.

"Tony," Steve pleaded. "Think about your friends-"

"Oh, what friends?!" Tony shouted abruptly, shrugging off Steve's hand off his shoulders harshly and glared at the Captain that held a warning. "You left. I wanted us to stay together, but instead you decided to fight against it," he hissed.

Steve remained silent and watched the billionaire take a breath and rub his eyes. "Peter never left, though," Tony whispered, sniffing. The Captain felt shame waving over his shoulders. He left his friend that formed this friendship;helped even when he didn't want to, but Steve still left.

"What about Pepper?" Steve asked softly, looking intently at Tony. "What about Rhodey?"

"Peter could be here instead of me-"

"What about Morgan?"

Tony clamped his mouth shout and looked down. He thought of his daughter;sweet and innocent. Full of light during his darkest years.

"Would you leave your daughter fatherless? What would Peter say? How would Peter feel when you sacrificed himself for you when he was the one to sacrifice for you," Steve said and lowered his head. "Spider-man knew what he was doing. Tony, You have to understand," he begged.

Finally, Tony let go of the case. The suitcase clattered onto the floor and Tony's shoulders violently shook as he choked back a sob. "I-I want him back so b-badly-"

Strong arms wrapped around his neck, and noticed that Steve was hugging him. He didn't want the comfort, but he needed the comfort.

"Why?" Tony asked, breaking down sobbing afterwards. Steve rubbed hands against Tony's back and grimaced. The suitcase was long forgotten as it stood between the two men.

Steve sighed and let the older gentleman break down.

"Because that's what superheroes do."

Chapter Text

Depression


Grief

is the last act

of love we can give to those we loved.

Where there is deep grief,

There was great love.


The silver suitcase was never in Tony's hands again. No one would allow him too and he, himself, didn't want to go near that damn cursed box. Originally, Tony was going to bring back the stones in its rightful timelines, but Steve stepped up.

Which, to be honest, Tony was so glad.

It was a few days after visiting Wakanda. Tony was finally healthy enough to come home in his comfy cabin in the woods. Although, his mentality wasn't very stable. Depression hit him like a freight train.

The days after finally coming home was blurry from day one.

All he remembered was his brain shutting down and doing stuff he didn't even remember doing. Playing with his daughter was foggy. Snuggling with his wife was dim. The days and nights dragged on slowly and slowly, as if time really did stop, and he didn't care anymore.

He let the memories be faint in his mind.

Tony was beyond dissociating. He was basically a ghost.

Life wasn't very normal for the rest of the group either. The Avengers still grieved for Nat and Peter, but they grieved properly in time. However, they all were worried for Tony's mental stability.

Pepper would often update them with how Tony was doing, and he was deep down in guilt and depression. He refused to go to therapy and refused to get out of the house. Nothing seemed to be helping, but no one forced him out.

This was Tony, they had to remind themselves. Tony went through so much guilt weighing on his shoulders;so much pain brought into his life. Now it was just numb for him, the suffering all to familiar, and the liability crushing him.

Tony took it one day at a time.

One day at a time.


Morgan and Tony were watching TV, specifically Dexter's Lab, specifically because Tony loved it and so did she. Also, Tony and Peter would often watch it whenever Peter would spend the night at the Stark tower.

It was nostalgic most of the time, remembering the parts where Peter laughed out loud, or when he made some comments about the show.

Pepper was out gardening, and though she attempted to bring him outside just for a little bit of tanning, he refused and decided to spend his morning with Morgan. But everyone could agree that Tony should go out for a tanning session, considering he looks like a ghost.

It was around noon when Morgan asked a question;something that Tony would freeze at.

"Daddy?"

Tony hummed and averted his tired eyes down to his daughter. "Yes?"

"What was Peter like?" She asked. It was such a innocent and genuine question. A lump formed in his throat, eyes widening slightly at the sudden interest in Peter Parker. There was no doubt that Tony told stories about Spider-man and his grand adventures. Though, he was reminded that he never told stories about Peter Parker.

Tony shook his head and ran a calloused hand through her soft hair. "Why ask?" he asked softly.

Morgan shrugged. "Mommy says that you miss him a lot and that he meant a lot to you," she replied. Tony sniffed and continued to stroke her hair as a comfort for himself. Smiling softly, he nodded gently and patted his lap. "Would you like to hear more stories about him?"

Morgan's brown eyes lit up and she scrambled up and sat on Tony's lap, snuggling to his chest and sighing contently.

Tony grinned and wrapped his arms around his daughter and pressed a lingering kiss on top of her head. He then propped his head on her's and though for a moment.

"What would you like to hear?" Tony asked.

Morgan blinked and smiled widely. "How did you meet him?"

A sudden memory hit him when he remembered meeting Peter. He grinned mischievously. "Well, I didn't know Peter Parker existed when...

A sigh escaped from Peter as he walked into his apartment, a DVD recorder at his right side. He had gotten it from the dumpster and he hoped he could re-fix it and see if it would work or not.

"Hey May, I'm home," he said tiredly.

"Hey Honey!" She called back.

"There's this really expensive car parked out...there," Peter trailed off as he walked into the family room and saw-

"Oh, Mister Parker," Tony Stark greeted nonchalantly, observing the hard piece of bread. Peter started stuttering out words while Tony took a bite out of the bread and winced slightly.

"T-Tony Stark, Hi, I-I'm Peter," the boy said, crossing his arms to his chest and trying to act nonchalant about it, but failing miserably. Tony smirked, cheeks bulging out for second before secretly spitting out the stale bread.

"You didn't tell me you had a Internship with Tony Stark," May said.

"That's because I didn't-" Peter was cut off by Tony standing up and smiled. "I have come to discuss intern stuff with you. Why don't we talk privately. Lets say, your bedroom?"

"U-uh sure," Peter murmured, gesturing his hand to the hallway.

"Great!" Tony set his cup down and sat up quickly, walking past Peter and into his bedroom without word. Peter looked at his Aunt, who was giving him a thumbs up and wide smile.

"...Why did you spit up the bread?" Morgan questioned, cringing.

Tony quirked up a smile. "Because Aunt May wasn't very good at making foods. Neither is Peter."

"Why?" Morgan asked, propping her elbows on Tony's chest as she awed in these stories.

Tony thought for a moment, before he chuckled and continued with another story. "Peter was staying over the night..."

"What the hell, Peter?!" Tony shouted when he walked into the kitchen, only to see smoke venting from the oven. In the middle of all the chaos, was Peter swatting away the smoke from his face as he coughed. Flour was sticking to his hair and a side of his cheeks while his eyes watered slightly.

"Hey, Mister Stark," Peter coughed out, using a oven mitt to try to at least get the smoke away. The smoke detector suddenly chimed off, buzzing  erratically and screeching some high-pitched noises.

"Oops." Peter winced and rushed over to the smoke detector with a towel, swiping it around the machine. He looked over to Tony with an indignant look. "Are you going to help, or are you going to wait for the firetruck come?"

Tony shook his head in disbelief, but followed after Peter with a broom stick and waved it over the smoke detector.

What finally felt like hours, the smoke detector turned off. Peter blew a breath of relief, while Tony used the end of his broom to point at Peter accusingly. "I was gone for 10 minutes and this is what I come back? What were you trying to make?"

Peter chuckled nervously. "I was trying to make coffee cake," he murmured sheepishly.

The billionaire quirked an eyebrow at him. "Uh-huh, and that cake looks like a coffee cake?" He gestured his hand towards the sloping cake that had crumbled up brown sugar God knows what else.

Peter pursed his lips. "Yes?"

"Nope, nope, nopity nope," Tony exclaimed, taking the burnt cake and throwing it in the trash. He got wet wash cloth and cleaned the the counter, grumbling to himself. Peter watched with wariness as he watched his mentor bring out more cup sizes and a large bowl.

Tony looked at him and sighed. He wiped the excess flour from Peter's cheek with his thumb, making Peter blush slightly.  "Let me show you how to make Coffee cake. Its fairly simple."

Peter gave him a sour look. "Fairly simple?"

"Well, for me at least. That's why I'm teaching you," Tony replied bluntly.

Peter laughed, an infectious smile spreading across his flour face. Tony couldn't help but smile back at the kid's amused face.

"Alright, kid," Tony said, ruffling Peter's curly hair. "Let the master teach you."

"I thought you liked coffee?" Morgan asked, furrowing her brows together. Tony chuckled and nodded. "I like coffee cake too."

Morgan opened her mouth to ask more questions, but a knock at the door interrupted their story time. Tony whipped his head towards the door and raised a brow. He looked at his daughter, who also was confused.

"Did you lock mommy out?" Tony asked.

Morgan shook her head.

Just when Tony was about to get up and get the door, the door opened unknowingly. Pepper walked in with her floppy hat on her head and garden tools in her hands. Morgan jumped off of Tony's lap and rushed over to her. Pepper smiled and patted her daughter's head before looking at the couch.

Tony sighed and sat up, his limbs protesting in the process of it all.

"I didn't expect for you to knock on our own door," Tony chuckled quietly.

"Actually..." A feminine voice came behind him. "It was us that knocked."

Tony's eyes widened. Honestly, he was a bit too scared to see the woman's face again. Peter's only living relative.

The billionaire gulped and turned his head around slowly. May Parker. Her eyes poured out grief and sadness. Posture was tense and secluded as she grasped her purse strap and pursed her lips.

"She's not the only one," Another voice said. A teenager girl revealed herself from behind May. There was more shuffling from behind the girl and then, a boy popped out from the girl.

MJ and Ned Leeds, Tony thought. They were Peter's friends. The girl had a flawless skin with hazelnut eyes that shone with apathy. Ned was dressed as usual as Tony remembered him before. Nerdy shirt. Groomed hair and a nervous personality.

"Stark," May greeted. It wasn't cold nor warm. Her voice was monotone. But Tony knew that she was grieving more ways than he could see from outside her nature. Tony nodded back. "Parker," he murmured.

"I'll leave you to it," Pepper said quietly, hauling Morgan to her hips and walking outside again. When the door closed behind the mother and daughter, the room was deadly silent. You could hear a pin drop just by the eerie silence.

No one decided to talk for awhile, just them staring dazedly around, as if they were thinking.

Finally, Tony cleared out his throat and gestured his hand to the couch. "You can sit down if you'd like too. I'll get some drinks," he said. Tony didn't even bother letting them deny the drinks, but God, he needed one right now.

He ducked his head and walked quickly to the kitchen, grabbing 4 pairs of glass cups. Tony's hand shook while trying to pour water in the glass cups. Why were they here? What were they going to do?

Honestly, he was terrified of the Italian woman. Next to MJ and least of all, Ned.

Shaking his head, he inhaled deeply and exhaled, calming his nerves as he poured the last drinks. Though, it didn't mean that he was still nervous as hell.

When Tony came back, they were sitting down on the couch, but their eyes were all on him. It was unsettling, but he continued on putting the glass cups on a coaster before sitting down and clapping his hands on his knees and sighing loudly.

They still kept on their stares. Tony wasn't able to read their expressions. Were they giving him pity? Was it anger? Did they want to beat him up?

"So," Tony cleared his throat and looked away. "You came for a reason."

He looked up to see their eyes glancing at each other. May shrugged. "We were just wondering how you were doing."

Tony quirked an eyebrow up, not really believing what she was saying. "How am I doing?" He repeated her question.

May nodded. "We haven't seen you since...well...since you told me and his friends about..." She paused, eyes filling tears. "Peter's death..."

Tony felt a lump forming in his throat as he watched Peter's Aunt dig through her purse and whip out a tissue before dabbing it under her eyes. MJ took a quick glance at her before averting her eyes to Tony.

"You look like shit," MJ said, her voice monotonous. Ned gave smacked her arm lightly and gave her a stern glare. Though, she ignored it and simply shrugged.

Tony chuckled darkly. "I could say the same for you three," he murmured.

MJ rolled her eyes as Ned bit his lip and looked away. "We're all grieving in different ways," Ned said quietly.

There was truth. MJ secluded herself and read on her own like always. Ned remained more silent than usual and May just shut everyone out, including Happy and Pepper.

"Were-" May took a shaky breath before continuing. "Were they able to remove the stones from Peter's body so we can do a proper burial?"

A memory of watching as Wakandian nurses extracting the stones from his kid's hand as Peter's blood spurted everywhere, his last strength of his enhanced powers trying to heal up all the wounds before it gave out completely. It flashed before his mind and his eyes widened a fraction.

"Tony?" May asked, brows furrowing worriedly.

The billionaire shook his head and blinked, pupils seizing. He then sighed and rubbed his scruffy face with a hand. "Yeah...uh, we got them out," he answered quietly. May nodded, still dabbing on her eyes with the tissue.

The room was filled with silent tension. No one knew how to start this.

Tony coughed and placed his elbows on his knees, hands interlacing together as he looked at the trio. "So...everything is good with the preparations?"

May blinked and nodded her head. "Yes...all we need is Peter's body."

His heart ached.

Peter's body.

No parent should pick up their child's body. No one.

He shook his head, thoughts vanishing. "Yeah, right. Just need his body. I'll contact Nick Fury and tell him to bring Peter to the funeral home," Tony said, rubbing his hand against the back of his neck. He remembered how he said he would pay for all funeral preparations, but Pepper had told him that May denied and that was all.

"And," she took a breath and looked at him. "you'll be there for the funeral, right?"

There was a beat a silence before Tony's body visibly jerked. He looked taken back, his eyes widening and jaw opened a fraction.

"M-me?" he stuttered. May tilted her head in confusion, her eyes squinting as if trying to read Tony's mind. "Of course...why wouldn't you?"

Ned and Michelle averted their heads towards the billionaire with each an equal confusion. He swallowed thickly, feeling un-shed tears forming in his weary eyes. Tony bowed his head and looked at his feet.

"I can't."

"Why?" MJ asked tersely.

'I-I killed him," he whispered hoarsely, squeezing his eyelids shut. Little droplets of guilty tears landed on the floor. "Tony?" May questioned, worry lacing her tone.

"It should've been me!" His voice was compromised of bitterness and sorrow. The look on his face clearly showed stricken grief as he looked at the three. Tears were leaking out and streaming down his cheeks, his fists clenched so tightly, it would sure to leave crescent marks on his palms.

May, Michelle and Ned could only watch as the man lamented. "I should've died! Not him-Not Peter. It was my fault!" He sat down once more and heaved out a shaky exhale before covering his swollen, red eyes with his calloused hand. "It should have been me." He choked back a sob and rubbed his hand roughly against his face.

It was so hard. It shouldn't have been this hard. But it was...and it hurt so badly.

There was a hand on his shoulder, and he looked up to see May, eyes brimming with tears again that threatened to fall. Besides her hips were MJ and Ned, who also had sympathetic and sad looks.

Tony looked down again and elicited a watery cough and then sniff. "I'm sorry," he apologized, vocals raspy and scratchy from shouting unpredictably.

If he could have looked up, he would have saw May shaking her head.

"It wasn't your fault," she murmured, squeezing his shoulder with comfort. The man shook his head, not believing it. "How? How is it not my fault? The kid- I allowed him to be in danger. He was my responsibility and I managed to get him in a freaking war-"

"No."

Tony stiffened and lifted his head to see May's face staring right at him. Her face was red, tears of rivers just flowing down her cheeks and down her chin as her lips trembled. For a mere moment, he wondered how strong this woman was.

She swallowed and shook her head. "The moment I found out that Peter was Spider-Man, I was livid."

Tony flinched at the harsh word, but let her continue on.

"But, as I saw how happy he was-how more excited he was to work by your side and learn new technologies that not a lot of people had the chance to do so, I realized that Peter was meant to be a superhero," May said. With courage, Tony looked up. What he saw was an Aunt, grieving of her only nephew-only son- only relative on this living planet. But...there was a glimmer of pride buried in her soul. Not for herself, but for Spider-Man.

For Peter Parker.

"I wished that Peter was old enough to experience adulthood. Maybe find a love interest and make mini Parkers." She chuckled quietly and looked at Michelle with a small smile. In return, MJ gave a sorrow grin.

"Maybe have a best guy at Peter's wedding," she said aloud, earning a small and watery laugh from Ned.

The woman looked at Tony and softened her gaze ever so slightly. "And maybe find a willing father-figure to lead him through life."

Tony snapped his gaze back at May, tears filling up again. He knew that the kid seen him as a father-figure, but had yet to confirm it. But deep inside his cracked soul, he knew that he had the same familial feeling towards Peter.

"And, we can't have a family member of his to be left grieving on his own."

"How can you forgive me so easily?" His voice was barely a whisper. Barely anything, but it was deeper than the depths of his inner soul. Such a genuine question. Yet, held a simple and complicated question.

The corners of May's lips curled up into a small smile.

"Did you forget how easy Peter forgave?" She asked. Tony huffed a watery laugh and shook his head. "How could I not," he replied. "Even if he was stabbed multiple times, it didn't stop him from giving them a second chance."

He heard May take a breath, her hand retracting from his shoulder. "Something that we all need to work on. And that starts with forgiving you."


"So, Peter was your loser, huh?" Tony asked, looking at where MJ sat. It was hours after he, May and the kids finally got things together. Despite May forgiving him, he felt like he needed to talk to the other people in his life.

MJ.

Tony didn't know much of the girl, but he knew that Peter had a crush on her and hung out with her and Ned most of the times.

MJ merely shrugged. "I suppose," she mused, not bothering to look at the billionaire and just stared at the horizon above the lake. Tony chuckled and sat down next her. A sketchbook was in her lap with a pencil intertwined with her fingers. She fidgeted with it and twirled it around sometimes, as if she was thinking.

It was silent for a few minutes, hearing the leaves sway with the gentle breeze.

"What's in your sketchbook?" Tony questioned, gazing his eyes towards the sketchbook in her lap. The girl thinned her lips and shrugged. "Sketchings of Peter," she responded quietly.

Tony didn't want MJ to think that he was being to snoopy, but he was curious. "Did you draw him?"

MJ smirked and nodded. "Yeah."

The billionaire couldn't help but smile. "Any good shots?"

The teenager hesitated, but she eventually nodded and handed him the sketch book. "I usually do drawings that have him in a crisis," she said quietly. MJ flipped to the first page and Tony saw a boy, blushing harshly with a nervous grin on his face.

He raised a brow and looked at MJ with a bemused look.

MJ must've seen the confused expression Tony was emitting because she smirked. "That's when he asked Liz Allen to the prom," she explained. Tony made a 'o' shape with his mouth and nodded.

"I'm guessing you were spying on him?"

The answer he got was a shrug. He turned a page and saw a boy, his arms crossed over a student's desk while his head was lying on it. The face was concentrated and dazed at the same time.

"That was before he asked Liz out to the Prom and when you took his suit away," MJ said.

Maybe it was because that the girl had good detail on the sketching, but he could practically see the real Peter expressing that emotion. He felt a lump forming in his throat. God, he shouldn't have taken that suit away.

Toomes was still out there and Peter was just trying to catch him. Without his suit, it was almost pointless, but Peter did it. A freaking kid was able to defeat him. But not without some trauma.

"Peter understood why you took his suit away," MJ interrupted his thoughts. Tony shook his head and looked at MJ. "What?"

"Peter," she said simply. "He understood why you took the suit away."

Tony looked down at the drawing and sighed.

"Peter might have been an idiot for chasing after Toomes with a onsie, but he did it," MJ murmured. "I think he realized that being a nerdy teenager was for the best until the time he was needed."

Tony laughed quietly, a bit humorlessly as he shook his head.

"You would have been a good match for Pete," Tony said, averting his eyes towards the girl. MJ went stiff, but then hunched her shoulders a bit as she looked at him with her deep hazelnut eyes. "You think so?" she asked.

Tony chuckled and nodded his head. "You noticed more than I did," he stated, a bit cheekily. The teenager rolled her eyes, a tint of red tinging her cheeks.

"Shut up, asshat."

This time, Tony laughed with amusement.


"Are you sure?" Ned asked, his voice soft and unsure.

Right before they were leaving, he pushed Ned aside for them to talk for a moment. The moment he asked Ned about getting an internship at the SI, he was skeptical. So unsure of himself.

"I'm positive," Tony stated firmly. He placed a hand on the boy's shoulder, earning a small noise from him. "You're a smart kid, Ned. Hell, you even managed to hack into the Spider-suit."

Ned looked away, cheeks bright red and guilt gnawing inside him.

"And that's what SI is looking for. Security for our devices and tech," Tony explained, grinning tiredly.

"I-" Ned shifted uncomfortably. "I don't know. Me and Peter always wanted to work at the SI, but that was before he got the spider-powers and pass away." He sighed and looked at the floor. "Its hard to think about this dream when it was Peter's as well."

Tony smiled sadly. "Peter told me about you guy's dreams. Seems like you two had it planned since day one," he said.

Ned smiled and nodded. "Since we were little kids. Always wanted to work for SI and maybe in later life to make a new industry." He shrugged. "Travel the world and see whats out there, y'know?"

The billionaire smiled softly at that. Peter loved New York, but he also was a curious kid who enjoyed outdoor spaces and exploring new areas. One of Tony's favorite thing about the spider-kid. Although, he could stay all day and talk about his kid.

"Whatever you choose, the position still stands," Tony said. Ned smiled in return. "Thank you, sir."

When Tony was about to head out, a voice called out.

"Will I get paid internship?!"

Tony thought and gave him an incredulous look. "Seriously?"

"What?!" Ned exclaimed. "I gotta make a living, y'know? Buy more legos. Just like how me and Peter used to do."

Tony smirked. "Sure kid, I gotcha."

He didn't miss the quiet hiss of victory emitting from Ned's mouth.


You should go to sleep," Pepper said quietly as she sat next to her husband on the porch couch. They were outside, just listening to the crickets chirping and owls hooting in the night sky. A normal, but welcoming night.

Absentmindedly, Tony slung an arm around her and kissed the temple of her head. "Morgan asleep?"

"No thanks to you," Pepper teased as she smacked her husband's arm. "I know you gave her an ice pop before bed."

Tony chuckled. "I couldn't say no."

Pepper rolled her eyes. "Of course you couldn't." She laid her head on his shoulder and sighed contently. "But I wouldn't have expected anything different," she murmured.

The couple stayed in comfortable silence, allowing to hear some peace and quiet after everything that happened. It was an emotional roller coaster. Each and every day for Tony;for May and for the people that loved Peter.

Pepper lifted her head from his shoulder and looked at her husband with a proud smiled on her face. Tony craned his neck towards his wife and watched as she gave him a soft kiss on his lips.

He leaned in, a hand raising to caress her soft cheeks.

"What's this for?" Tony asked in between their kisses.

Pepper broke off their kiss and ran her hand through his graying hairs. It reminded Tony of ruffling Peter's hair whenever the kid would achieve something or whenever they had movie nights.

"Simply because I love you," she said.

Tony smirked. "There's gotta be more than that."

Pepper laughed softly and gave a quick peck on his lips again. "For what its worth, you're finally getting the help you need. I'm proud of that." She paused and placed her hand on his scrubby cheek, gently gliding her thumb underneath his tired eye. "And Peter would have been proud of you too," she finished gently.

Tony smiled and looked out towards the horizon. The stars twinkled brightly as it stirred in the sky with the moon being its guide. Fireflies flickered under the moon and stars, as if doing a gentle dance.

An unexpected wind breezed past them, only for something cold to touch his shoulder lightly. He jerked his head towards his shoulder and lifted a brow.

There was nothing.

He looked out to the sky again and hummed gently. The wind howled once more and the shifting of the moon illuminated to a small spider making its web in the corner. Small droplets of dew formed on the silky string. The spider was still webbing, making its final touches before waiting to prey.

Maybe it was just him, but he could've swore that it felt like Peter was here with them.