summary : peter can’t save everyone. he knows that. he just never anticipated one of those people being you.
word count : 2.7k
author’s note : i wrote the word heart so many times it lowkey makes me wanna die lol goodnight hope you enjoy
Head in his hands, Peter’s chest felt tighter than it ever had before. He could feel his heart, heavy as it was, beating slowly, reluctantly, behind his ribcage. The gentle shattering of it was all he knew how to feel at this point, and he figured the sheer pain was bound to crush him eventually, if it hadn’t already. He’d felt this agony before, twice in fact, but his identity as Spider-Man made him confident that as long as he continued to fight the way he did, he would be able to protect his loved ones for quite sometime, never having to go through this sort of suffering again.
Yet there he was, his head resting against the wall of his messy bedroom as he slumped against his bed with his eyes closed, wishing it was him that had almost bled out instead of you.
God, how he wished it had been him instead of you, the one good, pure, beautiful thing in his life. His heart was aching at the thought of you lying in that hospital bed instead of him, comatose for three days before you woke up, your ribs on the mend and twenty three stitches scarring your cheek. And it was his fault, all of it.
He wasn’t there to walk you home that night, the way he did every other night. If only he’d been a bit more stubborn, more determined to get to you. He did, in the end, but he hadn’t been fast enough. Not even nearly fast enough. He’d been two blocks from you when it happened. If only he had ran faster. He called you to let you know he was on his way, not to move until he was there because he was going to be there and he was going to walk you home no matter what even if it meant missing curfew- curfew didn’t matter to him that much as long as he knew you were safely sitting in your apartment.
“Hey my love,” he had greeted you, “I’m on my way. Don’t move until I get there. Please. Be safe, I love you. I’ll be there in five minutes.” You had picked up your phone to reply to the voicemail, but your phone ended up smashed on the ground before you could, knocked out of your hand. There was a tight grip on your hair, tied back in a ponytail because of the summer heat, and you barely had time to register what was happening.
Peter arrived three minutes after. He was confused. You always answered his calls back relatively quickly, and while he understood that sometimes you just forget or were busy, he was worried. It was ten o'clock at night, he knew you had your phone on you-
He stopped short when he saw your phone, open to his voicemail, lying there on the ground with the screen cracked and no sign of you anywhere. He could feel his blood running cold as he picked it up, staring around the empty street. Then, he heard the agonizing screams, exploding in his skull. And though each part of him was pleading to every higher power he could think of that it wasn’t, he knew it was you. He ran toward the sound, and he could feel his heartbeat in his throat and in his ears and in his head. He heard footsteps rounding hurriedly rounding a corner behind him but didn’t bother to look back. He didn’t give a shit about the attacker, not right now.
It was you that mattered. You, who he dropped to his knees beside. He cradled your head in his arms, the way he had done so many times before except this time the side of your face was gushing blood in a way he had never seen. “Y/N, Y/N, oh my god, oh my god,” his voice broke. “You’re gonna be okay. You’re gonna be fine. I swear, you’re gonna be okay, baby. I promise.”
“Peter? Oh, hi Peter,” you smiled weakly up at him, your eyes drifting between open and closed. “My- my head hurts, Peter, it hurts really bad-” You must’ve hit your head on the concrete.
“Just keep your eyes open, baby, okay, just keep them open for me.” He fumbled around for his cell phone, dialing 911 as quickly as his clumsy fingers could manage. He was still holding you in his arms, trying to quell the bleeding with a ripped part of his t-shirt but you were bleeding everywhere and it was so hard to keep up- “I have an emergency, please you need to get here as soon as possible please I have a person here who was attacked we’re on- Y/N? Baby, c’mon, c’mon- stay with me?” He repeated the address to the operator and hung up. “Stay with me, Y/N, please stay with me, don’t die on me, you can’t, don’t leave me, please.”
He didn’t know what else to do besides wait. He could hear the faintest sounds of the ambulance in the distance but he couldn’t hear you breathing and that was the only thing he wanted to hear. He gently shook your shoulders, his vision blurry, “C’mon, my love, please don’t leave me just yet- you’ve gotta stay with me, please, Y/N.” And he was crying, crying, crying into your hair and clutching you so tightly he was afraid of suffocating you. Your heartbeat was barely there. “You’re gonna be okay. You have to stay here.” The rest of the night was a blur from there. He rode in the ambulance to Jamaica Hospital, sat in the waiting room with tears streaming down his face and snapping at people who gave him pitying looks, even if they were trying to be sympathetic.
Aunt May arrived there, too, because Peter had been questioned by the police and they had called her to be there. They knew the Parkers. Uncle Ben had been attacked, too. When she got there, Peter had collapsed in her arms in the middle of the lobby, crying harder than she had ever seen, blood soaking through his shirt. Your parents got there next, your little brother so terrified at the sight of your boyfriend standing on wobbly legs. They told him that if Peter hadn’t found you, you might not have made it. That he saved you.
But as he walked into your hospital room hours later after your surgery, he felt like the most pathetic excuse for a hero the world has ever seen. He had never felt like less of a hero. What sort of savior was he, if you were lying there, eyes closed and hooked up to a heart monitor? What type of hero was that?
He wasn’t one. That was the end of that.
Peter hadn’t been to visit you since, not even when your brother had texted him that you were awake. He couldn’t. He didn’t deserve to. It should have been him. Never you. Everyone tried to convince him otherwise. Ned pleaded with him to visit, Michelle had confronted him in the middle of the cafeteria and made him cry, Flash told anyone who would listen that Peter was a terrible boyfriend- and Peter couldn’t bring himself to disagree. He just hung his head and accepted the torment and did everything in silence from then on. He kept his earbuds in for most of the day, just so he didn’t have to listen to anyone ask him about you.
“Honey, you know she’s asking for you,” May said, leaning against the doorframe of his room. He turned his head away. “You can’t hide from her, Peter. You love her. I know you blame yourself for this-” He didn’t reply, but he turned his music up louder and threw his comforter over himself.
She was right, as she usually was. He still didn’t want to listen. May sighed. He’d come around eventually. Peter felt a slight vibration next to him, opening his eyes to see a message from Happy.
Tony wants to see you. Now.
Peter texted back, I’m busy. Can’t.
Another text came in. He says it’s urgent.
With a groan, Peter got out of bed. His legs were shaking from lying down so long. He couldn’t imagine how it would feel for you once you were able to get out of bed. He locked his door so May couldn’t walk in and see that he had left. He put on his suit, slipping the mask over his face even though he knew he didn’t even deserve to hold the title of superhero right now. He knew he would meet Tony at the roof of Peter’s building, peeling the mask away from his face as he waited for him to arrive.
His Iron Man suited landed him behind with a soft thud. Peter didn’t look. “Are you really here or is it just the stupid suit again?” He asked, harsher than he meant to. The metal creaked.
“I’m here, kid,” Tony said, his hand resting on Peter’s shoulder when he came up behind him.
“Happy said you needed me. What is it?” Peter wanted to get right to the point so he could crawl back under his covers and listen to the saddest playlist he could find.
“You should really go visit Y/N.”
“Who told you about that?” He turned to look up at Mr. Stark, confusion flashing across his face. He brushed his hand off his shoulder. “I can’t, anyway.” Peter looked back toward the city, Manhattan just beyond reach.
“Your aunt called me. She thought you’d listen to me more than her. Which is wrong, by the way. She’s a very wonderful woman and you should listen to her often.” Tony was only joking, trying to get the kid to exhibit some sort of emotion other than sadness.
Peter glared. “Stop hitting on my aunt.” Well, now he was angry. Close enough. “I don’t want to visit Y/N, okay? It’s my fault she’s in there, my fault she almost died. If I had just gotten there sooner, this never would’ve happened. You should just take this suit away from me again, because I don’t deserve it. I’m an awful person. I’m not a hero.”
“Kid, you can’t save everyone. That’s part of the job. But one thing you did do was save Y/N. Even if you don’t think so. You think she’d be alive right now if you hadn’t found her? Probably not. You’re lucky you did. I know that she knows that, too. You can’t beat yourself up over this. Y/N is alive, Peter. You have to go and see for yourself.” Tony walked away, stepping back into his own suit. “No one blames you. So stop blaming yourself, and stop being so damn self deprecating. That’s my thing.”
He left Peter there, with his legs dangling off the edge of the building. Finally, he swung back down through his window, put on regular clothes and pulled sneakers onto his feet. He brushed his hair, he splashed cold water on his face. He unlocked his bedroom door and walked out into the living room where May was sitting on the couch with a book propped open on her lap.
Clearing his throat, Peter gave her a shaky smile. “Do I look okay?”
May clasped her hands together, beaming at her nephew. “You look great. Y/N will think so, too.” Peter nodded, walking over to give his aunt a kiss on the cheek.
He walked out of the apartment with his hands shoved in his pockets, got on the E train, and tried to remain calm. You’d been awake for nearly three days now, he should’ve been there sooner. A week in the hospital and Peter had only been there beside you when you were passed out, and even then, only once. He showed up at the hospital a good ten minutes before visiting hours were over, thank God. He would’ve stayed in the lobby all night if he had been forced to, but this made things so much easier.
Your door opened slowly, and you sat up in bed. Your family had just left a half hour ago, there was no way they were back yet. Then, you saw that familiar, hesitant stance, the messy honey colored hair, the Midtown sweatshirt that he practically lived in, and breathed a sigh of relief. “It’s about time, Parker.”
He shook his head as he laughed, sitting down at the chair next to your bed and taking it all in. You looked perfectly fine, healthy even, but you would have a scar marring the side of your face for the rest of your life and he knew there was a gash deep in your side, which was how you had almost died in the first place. He knew your two of your ribs had been practically kicked in and that you had bruises covering your torso. But you were still radiant, grinning at him. So happy that he was there.
“I know, I’m sorry,” he held out his hand, and you held it. “D’you hate me?”
“For what?” You furrowed your brow.
“For not getting there in time to walk you home.” He let out a long, slow breath, his voice hitching. “I- I should’ve ran to be with you. I knew something like this would happen and you almost died. I suck at everything. I even suck at the one thing I thought I was good at. I’m a shit boyfriend and a shit Spider-Man. Your parents kept telling me that I was a hero. But if I was, I would’ve gotten there in time to strangle whoever did this to you. This wouldn’t have happened to you at all if I was really a hero.”
He rubbed his eyes with his sweater sleeve. “I don’t deserve-”
Without thinking, you pressed your finger to his lips. “I never thought I would say this but Peter, my love, please shut up. Right now.” He gulped, then nodded. “You are worthy of a million great things. You deserve to be a hero, to be Spider-Man. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t have that suit that you put on every night. You wouldn’t go out and save people every day. You not only deserve to be a hero, but you are one. If not in your eyes, in mine.”
“No,” you said firmly. “You are a hero, Peter Parker. You saved my life. I don’t care what you think about yourself because that’s what I think. And I-” You stopped. You didn’t want him to think you were just saying it because he rescued you. That was the last thing you wanted. People said crazy things after they were saved by someone, and if he thought that was the case here, you’d feel awful.
“Y/N, you don’t have to say it…” He raised his hand to your face, bringing you closer to him. Your foreheads touched lightly and your eyes closed.
“I mean it, though.” You pressed a kiss to his lips, mumbling it against him, “I love you. I mean it. I love you and your heroism and your intelligence and your kindness and the way that you think you’re funny even though you’re not. I really love you.”
He grinned against your lips, a weight lifted off his shoulders. He felt feather light. He pulled away just slightly, so he could look at you as he said it. “I love you, too. More than anything. If you had died, I don’t know what I would have done. I would have been a wreck. Thank you for staying with me. Thank you for holding on. I love you.” Now that he had said the three words that set his mind spinning, he didn’t think he would ever stop saying.
“You wanna know how I held on?”
“I listened to the voice of my hero, of my Peter. I heard you.” You rest your head against your pillow. “I wasn’t about to leave you just yet. We still have a long way to go together.” You moved over, leaving room on the pillow for him. “There’s no room on the bed, can you just sleep on the pillow? I don’t want you to leave.”
“Of course.” He didn’t care that it’d be uncomfortable. “Anything for you.”
His heart soared when you squeezed his hand, saying quietly, “My hero.”
I have nothing to hide from you, nothing. Porchey is a friend, and yes there are those who would’ve preferred me to marry him. Indeed marriage with him, might of been easier, might of even worked better than ours…