He wasn’t okay. He hadn’t been okay, and he wouldn’t be okay for the foreseeable future. Actually, he wouldn’t be okay forever. Past this life and into whatever lay on the other side.
The other side. God, it sounded beautiful. To be there. To be with her.
To be with her dark hair, intense- unwavering eyes. To see her. Just one last – white-knuckle-gripping – time. One last time. To wrap his arms around her thin waist, to feel the comfort and protection that he held around her. To shower her in the love that he felt in every inch of his body for her. He wanted to kiss her lips- they were the softest things he had ever felt. If eyes were the window to the soul, her lips were the opening of the window and inviting him into her life.
He could have listened to her voice forever. He could have just sat - unwavering. Unfaltering - beside her forever. His eyes roaming over her face, taking in the rays of sunshine that they leaked out. The warmth from her soul shining onto his – knowing he was truly and irrevocably immortal beside her.
It was the knowledge that he had been wrong. So horribly, undeniably, painstakingly wrong. That in one split second – he had lost that light forever. To be alone forever. To be so lonely. Forever.
He could remember. The exact moment. The single, millisecond that he lost his entire world. That he shattered the glass figure that he had sworn to protect for life.
His back screamed in pain, his shoulder yanking him violently. The web in his left hand pulling taught. All he could think was that he’d done it! He’d killed the Green Goblin, and saved MJ! Peter had tugged her up, and into his arms, a small smile on his face, as her nose had rested in the crook of her neck. MJ had never liked heights or falling. He’d owe her a date to her favorite coffee shop for this one. He’d pulled them back up holding her so-tightly in his arms, finding Iron Man, standing on guard to help should any problems arise.
“We did it, Tony. No more- no more of this chaos, though MJ may never want to go on another date with me again,” He had teased.
“Friday, are you sure? Are you absolutely certain?” Peter had frowned then.
“Mr. Stark, I just told you, he’s dead. I promise.” But Peter was just ignored. Tony had called the suit to retract as he stepped out calmly. But there was this look- tingling down his spine – this look on Tony’s face that was so… so gravely serious. That Peter physically stumbled back. MJ was still limp in his arms, so he tugged her tighter, waiting for her to get past the “shock” stage and into the “yelling” stage that was sure to come.
“Kid-” The older man’s voice broke off. Peter just looked around, frowning as he tugged his mask off when he saw there were no civilians. “Kid, I need you to sit down.” Peter had just pulled her closer to him, shaking his head.
It started in his toes. The grief. He had known. When e had been unable to hear the heartbeat that had become second nature to him. He had known when she hadn’t moved since he’d caught her. He had known, when he’d seen her closed eyes. He had known when he’d felt no breath coming from her.
Peter stumbled forward. The weight of the girl in his arms too much for him. Collapsing down- right to his knees as he had struggled to breath.
“Tony-Tony-Tony-Tony-Tony -Tony -Tony -Tony -Tony – something’s wrong something’s wrong something’s wrong something’s wrong- help me, please help me!” he didn’t realize he was screaming. Tony had kneeled beside him, trying his best to pull MJ’s still form into his arms, but Peter had just gripped her tighter, pulling her face to his as he readjust his grip. His hand running through those curls- the last time they would run through those curls.
“Hey, Michelle, Michelle- stay with me. Stay with me. You stay with me!” The something tore. His heart, being carved from his chest as a cry tore from his throat. And tears ran down his face faster than he could have imagined. And Peter was bent over her face, weeping – unable to stop himself as the cries tore from his throat.
“PLEASE! God- please no!”
He doesn’t remember, now, how long he’d sat there. Holding her as her body had grown colder. He had sobbed until strong hands had removed her from him. Taking her away. Death- jealous of the love they’d held for one another, had stolen her straight from his grasp. Then warm arms. He needed warm arms. He’d been so cold. Chills racing up and down his body. A world without sunlight in it. A world without hope, with no way for him to fix it. A world where he never again would smile. His sun had gone down. And no more would he feel.
Something laid over his shoulders, familiar, strong hands helping him stand as numb footstep after numb footstep carried him to the nearest vehicle. Someone was talking - but he didn’t hear it. Someone was holding him. He couldn’t feel it.
He doesn’t know how long they drove, but eventually the moving blurs of the vehicle stopped. But Peter’s world continued to flash by him as he desperately tried to tie himself down. Then his foot touched the ground, and he had screamed as though he been stabbed, his body collapsing. Someone reaching for him- dark eyes and motor oil – but Peter had screamed more.
“Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me!” The arms raised in surrender as the eyes plead for an answer. “I did it, Mr.- oh God- I did this! I – I caught her- and I, it was too much- she died because-I” And then he couldn’t breathe. He was under the building, hands shaking as he pushed at the concrete. The concrete had hands, as his vision blurred with dark spots. He could hear yelling, but it didn’t matter, it would never matter.
Something pricked his arm, and Peter felt his body beginning to go limp. A strange peace settling over him. Someone’s fingers in his hair (he’d ran his fingers through her hair too).
“We’ve got you, Pete. We’ve got you.” As his eyes closed, his soul eternally grateful for the peace the darkness brought.
So, here he found himself. Stone cold- sat against the side of her tombstone. His fingers running over the etching of her name. She had been so much more than just her name. Tony had paid for the funeral, the tombstone – it was a beautiful black marble with gold etching. Exactly what Michelle would have picked for herself.
You know, she had always told Peter that flowers were ridiculous. “They just die, Peter. Sure they’re pretty for a while, but why waste time and money on something that will just wither away too soon?” If he could go back – God if only he could go back – he would have grabbed her face and drawn his own into a deadly serious stare:
“Michelle,” the lone boy in the winter cold whispered to no one. “Michelle, you love the flowers, and admire the flowers continuously, every aching day that you have with them because you never know when it will be the last. You grip tightly to each petal, and you watch as the color drifts away slowly, because you know that they will wilt and die. You know that you only have a limited amount of time with them, so you sit and admire their beauty for every possible second that you have been granted with them. And then when it’s over, you sit and thank them for gracing you with their time. For being your brightness in the dull room. For lighting up every day with a splash of color in the dreary world. And then, you’ll decide to never buy flowers again. Because you know that it will never be the same as the first time.”
He took a shuddering breath, the wind stabbing at his lungs.
“It will never be the same as the first time.”