Peter screamed in pain as he fell to the ground. His hands immediately went to his side where he had been stabbed. Panic shot through his body. Nobody was around to help him. He got up and staggered into a side alley where he was safe from immediate danger and sank to the ground, leaning against a brick building. Blood soaked through his suit, wetting his hands and pooling beneath his body. Trying in vain not to cry, he gasped, "Karen, how bad is it?" He almost didn't want her to answer. Karen's soothing voice replied in his ear, "You've been stabbed deeply. No organs have been damaged but you're losing blood at an alarming rate. This could be fatal. I've called Mr. Stark and an ambulance."
A rush of despair swept over Peter and he couldn't keep it in any longer. He started to cry. He was panicked.
"Peter," Karen's voice returned, calm and protective, "you're having a severe anxiety attack. Try to take deep breaths."
Panic seized his lungs, and the attempts of deep breath sent pain through his side. He gave up and collapsed into anxiety and tears.
"Think of your parents. Do you remember them?"
Peter gasped for breath. He was cold, and he could feel the consciousness slipping away from him, but he was able to get out, "Yeah... I-I remember them."
"Tell me about them. Tell me your happiest memories of them," Everything was silent. Only Peter's shallow breaths could be heard.
"I remember... My dad would color with me... H-he would take me outside and play with me," his chest heaved. He struggled for breath. The pain had gotten deeper and he could feel his heart beat slower every moment. "My mom... She would play trucks with me... She taught me how to spell my name," tears streamed down Peter's face and he choked on his words. "My mommy... She had the best smile. A-and when I had a nightmare, sh-she would sing me to sleep," Peter cried silently, clutching his wound, trying to ease the pain and staunch the flow of blood. A few minutes passed and all that could be heard were his silent sobs. Finally, Karen asked him, "What was the song she would sing?"
Peter managed a small smile. It sounded weird to say it out loud, but he whispered through his tears, "The song from Tarzan." It was barely audible. His breathing slowed, and he started to drift off as his vision began to black out, trying desperately to stay awake and stifle his cries. "Karen," he choked out, "I'm scared." Karen was silent. A few minutes passed, then she started to sing. "Come stop your crying, it will be alright. Just take my hand, and hold it tight. I will protect you from all around you. I will be here,
Don't you cry," Karen paused. Peter had stopped crying and was taking slow, shaky breaths.
"For one so small, you seem so strong.
My arms will hold you, keep you safe and warm. This bond between us can't be broken. I will be here, don't you cry..." Karen trailed off. There was absolute silence. Peter had fallen still, and his breathing had ceased. A dog barked a few streets down. In the distance an ambulance siren wailed. Peter didn't stir. What seemed like ages passed by when Karen finished slowly, "Cause you'll be in my heart. Yes, you'll be in my heart. From this day on, now and forever more.
You'll be in my heart,
No matter what they say.
You'll be here in my heart...
Karen fell silent. The dog stopped barking and the ambulance had grown louder. The world seemed to stop. Then the sound of a rocket echoed overhead, and a yellow and red iron suit appeared. It lowered to the ground and opened up revealing the panic-stricken man inside. Tony stepped out of the metal suit and ran to where Peter was lying, lifeless. He fell to his knees and gently shook Peter's shoulders.
"Peter? Kid? Peter!" But Peter didn't move. Tony sat looking at the boy, frozen in fear and disbelief. His head leaned against the brick building, slightly tilted to the side as if he was asleep. His hands were still draped over his wound. One leg was bent up and the other was flat on the ground. The suit was stained a dark red, almost black. There was a pool of blood surrounding his body. The red and blue of Spider-Man's suit blurred together in Tony's vision as tears welled up in his eyes. He heard nothing but the blood rushing in his ears to the rapid beating of his heart. Slowly and gently, he took Peter's mask off, unveiling his sleep-like face. Tony held the boy's head in his hands. Peter's soft, sandy brown hair blew over his closed eyes. Tony stared at his face, feeling the panic rise in his chest. "No, no, no. No, you're okay. You're going to be fine." His voice cracked, and he tried to hold back his tears. He looked once more at the lifeless face of the young kid, noticing the still fresh tears on Peter's cheeks. His eyes were still puffy and red. Oh God, he was crying. He was crying! The guilt was too much to handle. I was too late. Just five minutes too late. Tony stared at the sleeping face of the fifteen-year-old boy he loved, trying not to imagine his suffering and cries as he died. Anger, guilt, and despair overwhelmed him. I could've prevented this, he thought, tearing himself apart. I could've saved you. He clenched his teeth and screamed. He shut his eyes tightly and bowed his head in self-condemnation, agony, and heartbreak. Hot tears rolled down his face. Tony broke down crying uncontrollably, held Peter close to his chest, and slowly rocked him in his arms, repeating over and over again, "It's my fault. It's all my fault. I'm so sorry, Peter. I'm so sorry. It's all my fault."
Paramedics appeared but Tony didn't notice. One of them stopped dead in his tracks. His eyes widened in horror as he saw Peter in his suit. "He... he’s just... a kid..." They knelt down, one of them placing his hand on Tony's shoulder while the other two tried to separate Peter's body from Tony's strong arms.
"No, you can't take him!" he screamed at them, "You can't take him! He's my son! You can't take him! He's my son! He's my son, you can't take him!" Tony continued to scream, then crumpled into an outbreak of hysterical sobbing. The paramedics stood by, watching the shattered man kiss the forehead of Spider-Man. "Goodbye, Peter," he whispered, still hugging him close.
Several minutes passed by. The paramedics tried once more to take the boy, this time without difficulty as Tony stared ahead with no more reason to live. He sat, torn to pieces, demoralized on the ground, eyes red, and tears streaked on his face. His shirt was stained with Peter's blood. Remorse and grief ripped through his body as he sat, staring blankly ahead. Half an hour passed. Tony still sat.
Suddenly he heard a voice. He looked down at his hands where he held Peter's mask. It hurt just to see it.
"Mr. Stark." It was Karen. "Peter died bravely. He was scared, but he was so strong. But please, don't delete me. I promised him that he will always be in my heart."
Tony nodded his head, bottom lip quivering. Then he slowly stood up and, dragging his feet, stumbled back to his suit. Still grasping Peter's mask, he let the suit enclose him. Then Iron Man took off.