A/N: Ummmmm…..in which the last ten minutes of End Game was just a really bad nightmare. This is my own therapy I decided to share with you guys. It’s vague because my heart literally can’t imagine up plots or coherent thoughts right now. And do forgive any mistakes. I edited through twice and that’s it.
“Pete, come on, buddy, you gotta loosen up. Mr. Stark can’t
breathe.” Tony gasps.
“Come on, kid.”
He really does.
He knows his arms are choking off Tony’s air supply, but his body’s locked,
unwilling to let the man free…
…unwilling to wake up.
He remembers learning water safety in swim class…how you should never
attempt to directly touch a drowning patient because they’re more likely to
claw at their rescuer and climb to the surface at all costs.
He understands this better, now, than ever before.
Only, Peter’s surface is Tony’s
It’s pulsing again… loud and strong in his enhanced ears.
He remembers when it stopped…remembers the gauntlet…the sacrifice…the
It had all happened…
So, what is this?
He feels metal slide against his chest and beneath his arms and realizes
Tony’s switched over to his suit.
The discovery, both, relieves and panics.
Because, Tony can breathe again.
Tony can pry him off…
Tony was burned alive in the suit.
Tony died in the suit.
Tony was buried in the suit.
Peter screams when he feels the older man gaining leverage, pressing
himself harder to his mentor and feeling his fingers adhering to the nano tech
on their own.
“Okay-okay-okay-” Tony murmurs, lifting Peter off the bed and
letting the boy entangle his legs around his hips, “I’ve gotcha.
Shh…I’ve gotcha, kid.”
The teenager continues to sob against the man’s shoulder, flashes of Tony’s
lifeless eyes hitting him over and over again. “M-Mist'r St'rk!” he
cries, sucking in air before calling the name out several more times.
“Buddy-buddy,” Tony soothes, walking Peter around the room like a
colicky infant. “Breathe. Shh-”
“Don’t leave m’…don’ leave m-me!”
“Peter. Peter. I really need you to take a breath for me, bud. I’m
right here. You spent the night, remember?…Everything’s alright. I think
you’ve just had one heck of a bad dream, squirt, hmm? Come on.”
“But, I saw y’ di-,” Peter gets out, between gasps, “Y’ were
dea’-An’ y’ were- an’ I tried-but-y-y’ saved us-but then y’ looked at m’ and y’
couldn’ say an'thin’-an’ I hated it! I don’ wan’ it!!”
“Peter…It’s not real, kid. Just a really, really, crappy nightmare
that you just…clearly needed rescuing from,” Tony says in a weepy tone,
jutting out his bottom lip against the kid’s shoulder, “And, just, who
came to save the day, huh?”
Peter squeezes tighter, no longer restricted by the older man’s human
limitations that are now safe, beneath the suit.
“Look at me, bud.”
Peter shakes his head, unwilling to meet with empty brown eyes…with death itself…
“Lordy, you’re trembling. My poor spider baby.”
The teenager clenches more in response.
He keeps his eyes shut when he feels Tony carry him out of the room, opening
them up again when light shines through his eyelids. He sees his own reflection
first; it stares back at him in the large mirror hanging up in the bathroom
they’ve traveled to.
The first thing he grasps is how swollen and red his face looks…how he’s
clinging for dear life…his sticky fingers, white knuckling the suit.
And then he sees the back of Tony’s head…dark…greying…mussed from
Tony doesn’t turn to look, instead he nuzzles his cheek against Peter’s.
“Now, tell me, kid. Who’s that, keeping you safe? Hm? If he’s dead,
how can he, possibly, be here with you?”
Peter’s face crumbles, turning in to his mentor’s neck and letting the
whiskers scratch his skin. He relishes the warmth…the life…the familiar
scent of cologne and black coffee.
A high-pitched whine escapes his lips and Tony walks him out to the
hallway, the iron suit giving a soft whirring sound with each step he takes.
“You know, I used to have to drive the car all over the place to get
my baby girl back to sleep…it’s only fair that my baby boy gets the same
treatment in his first year back to life.”
Peter’s cheeks burn. “…dr-drive?”.
He can’t see the warm smile Tony wears as he grabs a knitted blanket off
the back of the couch, throwing it over his cling-on. “You could say
that…Still got a good sticky grip, kid?” he asks, attempting to pull
Peter away with no success. “Good.”
He takes the edges of the blanket and starts stuffing it around his charge,
“Okay, let’s see…tuck this here…and get this under here. There we go.
Snug as a bug in a rug.”
Peter’s sobs reduce to sniffles, waiting to see where his mentor is taking
…not letting go…not letting go…never.letting.go…
He stops his inner mantra when Tony brings them outside of his country
abode, taking cautious steps off the porch and in to the driveway.
“Wow. Look at all those stars, kid.”
Peter risks tilting his head upwards, drinking in the cool air and feasting
his eyes on the heavens.
Tony wraps him up in a bear hug, “Alright, you’ve twisted my arm. We
can get a closer look, but I don’t wanna hear any Peter Pan songs while we’re
up there, we clear?” he says.
Before Peter can reply, he feels himself being lifted off the ground, soft
curls blowing about in the wind as Tony flies them up until they’re hovering over
“Whoa,” Peter breathes, feeling the salty tear tracks drying on
his lashes, “M-Mr. Stark.”
“Easy. I’ve got you.”
Tony flies a casual speed through the night sky, feeling just a hint of
slack in Peter’s hold.
It isn’t two minutes later when the boy turns his gaze back towards the
firmament, resting his chin against cold metal and letting a heavy sleepiness
wash over him.
“Good job, kid,” he hears Tony say, “Let me know when
‘sticky mode’ starts shutting down again, so I can adjust you and let you drift
Only, Peter won’t comply.
Even when he feels the tips of his appendages retracting and the stars
begin to blur across his vision, he keeps his legs straddled…makes his arms
stay around Tony’s shoulders by sheer force of will.
And, though, Peter does eventually lose the battle to the perpetual white
noise whistling past his ears…his mentor’s armored hands cradling his limp head…
…Tony’s heart still beats in the morning, Peter’s nightmarish visions dissolving
in to instant relief.