Prompt:616 | Peter Parker/Mary Jane | Het | One More Day never happened. How do Peter and Mary Jane deal with Aunt May's death?
Disclaimer: The characters and settings featured in this story are the property of Marvel Entertainment. This is a work of homage and no copyright infringement is intended.
Warnings: Deathfic (in case the prompt didn't make it clear)
Peter sat beside the empty hospital bed; his face shaded as he hadn’t bothered to ask them to turn the light on, even as evening had fallen over an hour ago. In fact he’d glared at the guardsman when the man had tried. His hands were cuffed behind his back. All it meant was that it made sitting here uncomfortable. If he really wanted to get away, neither those titanium cuffs, or the ones on his feet would do anything more than delay him for a second. He’d escaped from worse. Right now they could have put paper cuffs on his wrists and he wouldn’t have been able to snap them. He was too stunned to respond.
They’d let him come here, let him be here for May’s final moments and it was more of a kindness than he’d expected by now. One thing to thank Tony Stark for…
MJ stood at the door, Peter knew she was holding on to the doorframe; clutching on to anything that could hold them up. He could see her reflection in the window but was too broken to turn to her. Not now, not with May dead and gone.
The guardsman standing in the hallway had been pacing for the past few hours. And the one posted at the windows tried to seem unobtrusive, but failed miserably. Peter didn’t even need to look up to know the guy had been eying him all evening. They‘d been expecting him to make a break for it, since the second May stopped breathing. Peter could hear Mary Jane’s footsteps as she came up to him, stopping right behind him. His feet were frozen on the floor, and his hands and shoulder tensed up. She tried to hug him, practically forcing him to get up to make it possible. But once he did, he could hear his heart beating in his chest, his pulse pounding near his ears, desperate for anything to happen that could break the dead silence surrounding them.
He’d surrendered, a week ago. It had given him mere days of being allowed to sit beside his aunt and hold her hand, while the doctors did what they could to make her passing as painless as possible. He read her stories, her favorites and some she’d been planning to read but hadn’t gotten to. Mary Jane had placed the book on the bed for him and turned the pages. Even for that the guardsmen wouldn’t release his hands. May had looked so pale in the sheets. He knew he was the only one who hadn’t given up on trying to save her, but he couldn’t hold it against them. It’s not that the doctors hadn’t tried; but they knew more than he did. So did Tony. So did everyone apparently. Stupid him, for daring to think she stood a chance. Stupid him for thinking something other than what he was supposed to think. Stupid him for daring to …
And it was all his fault. He could blame it on Tony Stark, say it was Stark who’d made him unmask. He could blame it on the Kingpin for ordering the hit, or on the hitman for following orders. But he knew better than that. It would have happened anyway. Maybe not today, or a week from now, but sooner or later May or Mary Jane would have died anyway. It was his lot after all. Being the tragic hero and having his loved ones die.
What was so heroic about that?
Jonah had come to visit two days ago. Peter could have had him thrown out, but he just didn’t have the anger to do it. He almost welcomed the chance to have JJJ let go at him, let the man tear him down. It’s what he wanted isn’t it? He sure hadn’t minded beating him up before, once Peter had provoked him a bit
But Jonah hadn’t. He’d looked at May and had pointedly made sure not to look at Peter. He hadn’t said a word, but his eyes spoke volumes. Peter had wanted to insult him, to make him angry, to have him be Jonah. Then Jameson had laid his hand on Peter’s shoulder, as if hesitating whether he should hug him or not. Luckily he didn’t.
“I’ll pay the bills.” Jonah grumbled. “For May’s sake, so she can get the care she needs..” Peter nearly choked on it.
Jonah went to the door and stood still. His shoulders large and tall as he loomed in the door opening..
“That woman was always too good to have to put up with a slacker like you for a nephew.”
The harsh words seemed almost soothing in their familiarity.
Peter wondered how long they’d let him stay here, before he was escorted to jail. The guardsman at the window seemed to be waiting for something. Peter tensed up, MJ held onto him as he couldn’t reach out for her. He loved her, but what had he done to her? She rubbed his shoulder, her face so close to his own.
“It’ll be alright Peter.”
“All right? How can anything be alright now?” He pulled away from her. “I messed up MJ. I messed it up for all of us. Just look what I did to her?” He couldn’t look at her, instead he kept staring at the bed, his muscles wound up like a spring.
“Peter!” Her voice came from behind him, always there, right in his shadow.
“I put her on the run, if it hadn’t been for me, she’d be safe.” He spat out the words in anger.
She wouldn’t let him though; she made him turn around, just by sheer force of will, waiting for him to look at her. It was only once he had done so that she answered.
“If it hadn’t been for you, she’d have died years earlier.”
She grabbed his face and looked into his eyes.
“It’s not all about you, Peter. You’re acting as if we were unwitting foils in your life. As if we had no choices but the one you gave us. Do you think that little of us, do you? Because if you do, then you aren’t half the man I thought you were.”
Peter tried to look at the city, at his city, anywhere but at her, she wouldn’t let him. She’d never let him ignore her, no matter what.
“I knew you were Spider-Man when I was first introduced to you Peter” Tears filled his eyes, stunned at the strength in her. “There hasn’t been a moment since the two of us knew one another that I didn’t know about your other life. And I still chose to know you.” She stood up straight, let go of him in the real world, but her eyes never lost hold.
“It was hard, and it was painful, but it was my choice, my decision. I chose to be with you, I chose to marry you. I chose you, Spider-Man and all. Nobody made me love you; I did that all on my own. Well with a little bit of help from you, because you’re the strongest man I know.”
“But May didn’t.” He wished he could hold her, assure her that he loved her, let her see how much her being here meant to him.
“Did she tell you to leave when she found out? Of course she didn’t. She was proud of you.” She raised her head, he felt almost cowed under the power of her glare, ashamed he’d ever doubted her. “She chose her life, and it made her happy. You made her happy. You’ve made us happy.”
She hugged him and Peter’s tears fell on her shoulder.
“So you loved me for my strength did you?” Peter whispered, trying to smile, desperate to find the joke. “I could…” she placed the tip of her finger on his lips.
Peter could feel his spidersense warning him and he turned away, looking at the door. MJ dropped her hands, leaving him free to react. Tony Stark stood there, light shining from behind his back as he blocked the doorway. Looking like the big damn hero that they were all supposed to see him as. Tony Stark, our savior. Peter couldn’t help but groan at the thought. Just seeing him here triggered a flight or fight response in Peter, neither of which could be answered right this second. Peter wanted to blame him, he really did.
Stark stood still, he eyed the guardsmen and after a brief second of silence, both of them left the room. It was probably an easy assumption that Iron Man would be as capable of stopping Peter from escaping as they were. Peter almost wanted to prove them wrong by jumping out of the window. Only the knowledge that MJ could get hurt if he did stopped him from actually doing it.
Stark didn’t give his condolences. He knew better. Instead he eyed them both, finally turning his eyes on Peter. ‘Stupid move Tony,’ Peter wanted to tell him. That part inside of him that still wanted Tony to be proud of him, that silly stupid part that kept saying Tony was his friend, the part that was furious because Tony had cast him out just because he refused to follow orders. ’You shouldn’t underestimate her.’
“They’ll have to take you away Peter.”
Peter bit his lip. MJ glared at Tony, she quickly stepped forward, placing herself between the two men. Even now she was still trying to protect him. Peter wanted to tell her she didn’t have to. He’d go along peacefully. There was nothing left to fight for. With Cap dead and May dead, what was left? But Mary Jane knew him better than anyone and she’d know it was a lie. So he let her presence soothe him. This was for her, stay quiet, do as you’re told and MJ will…
“You and Mary Jane.”
“What?” Peter’s head shot up, he tensed up, ready to fight. “She’s not…”
“She helped an unregistered combatant; the court is willing to overlook the ambulance and related charges. But we can’t let her go Peter. Not as long as…”
He sounded so calm. Peter could see Mary Jane clench her fists, not for her sake, but for his. Tony… Stark seemed ready to say something, but Mary Jane wouldn’t let him, she answered first, yelling really.
“So what are you saying? That you’re using me against Peter? What kind of monster are you?” And that was part of what he loved about her, her fire. Fire that would never survive prison.
“I’d rather go to jail than let you use me that way.”
“I know you would, but would Peter really let you?”
The worst bit was how reasonable he sounded, as if the only thing making this a problem was Peter’s stubbornness, as if he were the blame and Tony was the wise and knowing elder here to show him the way. Peter hated that he wasn’t entirely wrong.
“I can make it all go away Peter, all you have to do is sign up, join the Avengers again and you’ll be safe. You’ll be a hero again and Mary Jane and you will get amnesty.
All you have to do is say ‘yes’”
It was a deal with the devil, it would keep Mary Jane safe, but it felt like it’d make May’s death meaningless.
Tony stood still, larger than life, waiting for an answer and Peter said…