I was just trying to be like you.
“Mr. Stark? I don’t feel so good…”
Tony was used to having nightmares like this one, where he failed and was forced to watch all the people he loved dying. Because they trusted him, and he couldn’t protect them.
This had to be another of the nightmares. It had to be— It was impossible for this to be real. Peter was just a kid. A kid that, foolishly, idolized him and think of him like the most powerful person in the universe, he trusted him enough to follow him into space because of a stupid loyalty he never earned…
I wanted you to be better.
“I don’t know what´s— I don’t— I don’t know what´s happening”
And in a moment, Peter was in Tony´s arms, sobbing, and so fucking scared. Clinging to his mentor, his hero, this fatherly figure he looks up to, because if someone could save him, it must be him. He wouldn’t let him die here, right?
But then why didn’t he say anything?
And if you died, I feel like that´s on me
“I don’t wanna go, Mr. Stark, please” his voice was shivering in despair, he knew that this was his end.
But it wasn’t fair, that was all Tony could think of. As he laid the kid on the floor, refusing to let go of him, but unable to talk or to say anything to try to comfort him, because the only thing occupying his mind was that this wasn’t fair.
Peter had a bright future ahead of him. He was smart, could enter any college he wanted. And he was so kind and selfless, he was better than Tony in every aspect. Peter could have done right in his life everything Tony did wrong on his own. But it was him the one dying, and it was incredible unfair because if someone deserved to live, to have a long life, it was Peter.
“Please, I don’t wanna go. I don’t wanna go.”
How could anyone could even start to think this was the right thing to do when someone like him, corrupted, selfish, that not even with years preparing could stop any of this happening, survived, and someone like Peter had to die instead. In an abandoned planet he probably didn’t remember the name of, in the arms of the man who failed to protect him, even though he promised he would.
I don’t need that on my conscience.
Peter should have listened to Tony, he should have gone back to Earth. But then, who says he wouldn’t have died the same? He saw all the guys that fought with them disappearing, this was probably happening in the whole universe. And, even if he really didn’t believe it, maybe being here helped Mr. Stark to survive.
But he was so afraid of dying. He had so many plans, so many things he wanted to do, and now none of them would come true. What would Ned do? And MJ? Thinking of Aunt May was almost to painful to bear. A brief though passed his mind, reminding him he wasn´t even sure they were still alive, but that was far more of what he could stand thinking of, so he tried to concentrate in what was happening, his last seconds.
He tried to focus on Mr. Stark and was overwhelmed by the amount of feelings in his eyes. He had never seen him so… desperate. He was the great Tony Stark, he was Iron-Man, there was nothing he could be afraid of, nothing he couldn’t face with a smirk and his arrogant attitude.
That was what Peter would have though a few years ago, but he knew better now. This man, no matter how sure of himself acted, was full of sadness, guilt, and fear. He had never told the boy explicitly, but he knew the man had nightmares far too often for it to be healthy.
And still, he was such a good person. He had helped Peter, guided him and taught him so much, he couldn’t even start to think of where to start to thank him, even if he knew he wouldn’t have time enough, not even if he had one hundred years.
It was then when Peter remembered those words Mr. Stark had said to him what seemed a lifetime ago. He would think Peter´s dead was his fault, he would have that on his conscience.
Peter felt the guilt running threw his body when he realized. This was going to destroy Mr. Stark.
“I’m sorry…” he started to say. He wanted to apologize for making this amazing person carry with more deaths in his conscience. No matter how much Peter tried to help him, in the end he only made it worse. He could already see it in the eyes of the man, he was clinging to Peter just as hard that the teenager was clinging to him, and it was clear he would never be prepared to see him vanishing like he was about to do.
His time was over, and he never got to say nothing of what he wanted to
I watched my friends die. You´d think that’d be as bad as it gets, right?
No, it wasn’t the wort part. The worst part was when it was real, and it was his kid the one who died, and Tony felt a grief that shouldn’t be possible to survive. Because of all the people, it was Peter the one who died in his arms, the one he should have protected, the one he would have traded the universe for.
But it didn’t matter, because there was nothing left he could do, he had failed, and the price had been his kid’s life. And he was alive again, his punishment to live to see another day, one where Peter wasn´t there anymore.
And his last words have been I’m sorry.
It was ridiculous, those were supposed to be Tony’s words. Though he would never have a chance of saying them, and even if he could, they would be meaningless. His mistakes were far too big for any word to even try to amend them.
So, he stayed there, immobile, crying over the ashes of Peter Parker. He was the surest he had been in his life that this one the one dead he would never get over of.
And it was okay, he shouldn’t. This was his fault.
And the permanent ache in his chest would be a reminder.