Summary:For most of his life as Spider-Man, New York had rejected Spider-Man, but how does a city react when he dies.(comic verse)
Warning: character death obviously
Timeline: After the Other, but before Civil War
Tony cursed himself a million times over. He should have been the one to take care of the reactor. He was the one with the high tech armour that could withstand radiation. He should have finished up Peter’s new suit faster. If Peter had been wearing the nano tech suit, then…
He should have done something, anything that would make it so that Peter would be here with them, making stupid jokes, holding MJ tight and laughing softly as she did, almost unconsciously. If Peter were here, Mayday would be running around him, asking her uncle Tony to help her fly. He’d give anything to get the young man back to his family, anything, just so he wouldn’t have to try to help the poor women deal with their loss, a second time over.
What did this life do to them?
And yet, Peter knew more about radiation and Octavius than he did. Tony’s strength was mechanics, not chemistry or radiation. It’s why he hadn’t been paying attention to what Octavius was doing. If he had to be honest, he hadn’t really taken Octavius serious. Not like Peter did. To Tony Octavius was an annoyance, something to be kept an eye on, and a tragedy for the loss of genius by his turn to evil, but never really all that much of a threat. He was one of Spider-Man’s villains. And no matter how much it shamed him now, he’d seen himself as above that. Octavius robots, those he could see as a threat, but the man himself, not that much.
He’d been so busy fighting the obvious threat of Octavius security droids, the ones that gave even him trouble, that he hadn’t been looking at the screens. He’d let Octavius slip through, thinking the man was just running away now that Spider-Man had taken the Avengers with him. He hadn’t seen him run to the computers. Peter had.
In retrospect it seemed almost obvious. If they’d had the Sentry with them, he could have handled the droids and Tony could have dealt with the radiation with a hint or two from Peter. But since Bob once again was … unavailable due to mental issues, they hadn’t had a choice. And now Peter was gone.
They’d had to sedate May, the poor woman was devastated. Mary Jane… she just kept brushing her daughter’s hair, trying to keep the child distracted. Tony wondered how long it would take for the kid to step into her father’s webs; it’s what all of the kids wanted to do, wasn’t it? What would it take to keep her out of them, to get her to try and live a normal life. Did a beast like that even exist for the likes of them?
He cut a last bit in the red armour under his hands. The golden spider shiny in his hands. Useless, too late and useless.
The worst of it all was that they hadn’t even been able to save Peter’s secret identity. Ock had been sending a live message to the news stations to make his demands, so when one of the droids managed to singe Peter’s mask, his face had been in clear view of the camera’s. Oh sure, Peter could have tried to hide, get out of sight, hide in the shadows and let his friends deal with the threat at hand, but that just wasn’t Peter’s style. Not when others were in danger.
And then Peter had died, and they’d been too late. If they just ripped out the door, they might have been able to save Peter. But the radiation in the room would have leaked out, endangering everyone in the immediate vicinity. They might have gotten Peter to the hospital in time, but they would have killed hundreds, possibly thousands in the immediate vicinity. It was too dangerous. Tony had never hated an order more; than when he’d had to tell the others to wait while their friend died inside.
He felt like a coward. Steve had placed a hand on his shoulder, the cold steel of his armour kept him from feeling it.
The press seemed strangely suppressed about the whole thing. At least they were for now. Tony had started to write a draft for press conference and kept lacking the words to say what a great loss the world had suffered this day. Would there ever be enough words to explain how much they’d lost? How much Peter Parker had been worth? Not just the hero, the bravery, the courage, but the man’s heart and humanity.
“Mister Stark, Reed Richards is on line one.”
Tony had no words.
The school had let them all off early, especially Peter’s students. Allowing the students the chance to cope with their teacher’s death on their own time. The news had hit them about thirty minutes into what should have been Mister Parker’s fourth period bio class.
The principal had come in to talk to Mister Sanders, who’d been taking care of study since Mister Parker hadn’t shown up. They’d just been wondering what the excuse would be this time.
Mister Sanders stumbled at whatever the principal told him, holding on to the desk to stay up. Then he’d looked at them, hesitant. Mister Sanders was supposed to be cold steel, he was one of the harshest teachers in the school. Jordan didn’t mind him so much since he liked the discipline, but everyone else was scared of him.
And yet now this mountain of a man seemed like he’d fallen into shock.
“Mister Harrington just told me that Mister Parker won’t be back today,” then whispering as if not believing it, “or ever.”
“Why?” The class started rumbling, furious. Even with his absences Mister Parker was still the best teacher they had. They couldn’t just fire him. Could they?
“I’m afraid Mister Parker was involved in, he … he’s in the hospital. They don’t know if he’s going to make it.”
The class fell silent.
“This was a shock to find out, for all of us. Mister Parker… was a hero, a superhero and a member of the Avengers. He… they showed his identity on the news earlier.” The teacher sat down.
“The Avengers were fighting Doctor Octopus, Mister Parker was preventing the city from being destroyed in a nuclear explosion, but suffered severe radiation burns.” Jordan stared at the teacher as if he’d gone insane, as if the world had gone insane.
“Let’s have a moment of silence and then… I think it’s best if we end school early today. Before the press gets here. If anyone needs to call their parents, they can use the phone at the principal’s office.”
Jordan and most of the others didn’t bother. Several of the kids rounded up around one of the kids’ FM receivers, searching for the news. It didn’t take them long to find it.
Mister Parker was Spider-Man, a superhero. Their science teacher was Spider-Man, had been Spider-Man. No wonder the teachers were worried about the press showing up. Jeremy was crying. Nobody said a word about it; he wasn’t the only one.
As Jordan walked home he kept looking up at the sky, expecting to see the almost familiar red and blue figure swinging over them. But the only one flying over was that Ms Marvel lady. You know, the one that went around in a bathing suit looking like the winner of a beauty contest. Had Mister Parker known her? Or was that one of those things that was insensitive, like thinking that all mutants knew one another? Was Mrs Parker Spider-Woman? She was a member of the Avengers too now, wasn’t she?
When he came home, the news was playing. Mister Parker was dead, flags were hung half stock all across the city. Maybe he just hadn’t known octopi as well as he’d thought he did.