this is the last chapter. I'm so sorry it had to end, especially after all we've been through together. As always, I love your comments, and your votes. I appreciate all the love and support from all of you. This last chapter is kinda like a reflection on the events of this story, and it's all over the place but I feel like it has the right message. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the final chapter of The Pain of Existing.

...buuuuuuut before we begin I want to take y'all back to the very first chapter, where I said 102°F was, and I quote, "dangerously high". Quite a few of you commented on that, and I just wanna say that 102° is really high for me, like my temperature could be like 99.6° and I'll be pretty sick so idk

Disclaimer: I don't own Marvel.

Peter's P.O.V.

For the first time in a long time, I had hope for the future.

"Dad," I whispered. "Dad." The word felt foreign on my lips, unused to having a father figure in my life. I knew, from the moment I said it, that Mister Stark being my new dad was going to be the best thing to ever happen to me.

"That's right Pete," he smiled, tears in his eyes. "My son."

The next few days were some of the strangest I've ever had. I quickly went from having no family, to a large one. Of course, nobody was blood related, but we had become close enough to become our own version of a family. I was wary at first, but slowly started to reach out to the other Avengers. I learned that most of the team has also dealt with loss, and we bonded over tragedy.

But what I am most proud of, my biggest accomplishment, was finally being able to quit self harm. It wasn't easy, and it took a long time. The relapses were the worst. I would be doing ok for awhile, then break down. But the scars on my wrists and thighs are healing, mostly thanks to my abilities. Uncle Bruce says I won't have to live with the scars, at the rate they're healing. Which was a relief, knowing that I can start again, try to enjoy my second chance.

I think, in part, that I owe my new life to my dad.

After he found me in my room crying, he set up a therapy session. At first, I was nervous, trying to build up my broken walls so this strange woman wouldn't be able to see the cracks in my foundation. But, after a few sessions, I was able to open up more to her. Now, nearly three months later, I look forward to my weekly therapy appointment.

I want to be able to patch up the broken pieces of my heart, to seal over the cracks and make it whole again. Of course, you can't expect something to be the same as it was before it broke. For me, it was gradual. The cracks began with the death of my parents, but Aunt May's death was the breaking point, when the tiny piece of my heart that held the rest together shattered.

Therapy has helped me find the pieces and put them back into place. My new relationships with the other Avengers acted as the glue. My heart has been fixed, but the scars still remain. Glue isn't perfect, it can't restore something to its original state. Something will always be different after it has been broken. The only difference between a heart and a vase is that you can't replace a heart. The memories will live on forever, connected to you by the veins of life, those same veins I tried to break 3 months ago.

I guess what I'm trying to say here, is that things can change. Whether it's for better or for worse, I can't say, but if you want it bad enough, if people around you want it for you, it can always be better. I never liked change until I understood that, no matter what, no matter how deep the shit is, you can dig yourself out. Sometimes you can't do it by yourself, sometimes you need a little help. But if you really, truly want to escape it, you can.

It hurts, it's hard, but it can be worth it. I still have my bad days. I have days where I'm tempted to relapse, to feel the sweet relief spilling from my veins. Those days are the worst. They make me realize all the progress I've made could be ruined in one little swipe of a blade. But they also are a reminder that not all days are like that. A lot of the time now, I feel happy, or at least content. Those days are my favorite. It's easier for me to enjoy myself, to feel and be felt.

I've found happiness in things I never knew I enjoyed, like pranking with Clint or helping Steve with technology. And of course I still have science. I've been made an honorary science bro, working alongside Dad and Uncle Bruce. I train with Auntie Nat almost everyday, learning quickly and becoming faster. I've learned that we both share a secret love for rom-coms, and we have a weekly movie night, just the two of us.

Ever since I joined the Avengers family, I've felt way more at home in the large tower. The hallways don't seem as dark and cold as they used to, because I know just beyond the wall is one of my many family members. We've all become close, like a tightly woven basket. I know that anyone in the tower would be willing to listen, but I still find it easiest to confide in Uncle Bruce and my dad. Nat is a close third. Everyone has been really supportive these past few months, always willing to lend a hand, or an ear, to help me out.

I haven't gone back to school yet, but I don't think I will at all. Living with some of the world's most famous scientists has helped to teach me more than I would ever learn at school.

I think that if I was to start over, go back to the moment when shit hit the fan, knowing what I know now, I wouldn't change anything. And I know that's not what you expect to hear, especially after hearing about everything that happened, but I really, truly mean those words. I don't want to change who I am. After working so hard to finally understand myself, I wouldn't want to go back and change that. I'm proud to be able to say that I accept who I am today. I respect that my journey has brought me pain. Within that pain, I was able to find light, and with the help of my family, we've turned that light into a piece of me. And that is why I wouldn't change a thing.

Peter's journey, summed up in 18 lines:

I close my eyes, and am out in seconds.

"You better have a damn good explanation for this."

"It takes away... the pain of existing."

Eventually, I feel my eyelids growing heavy, and fall asleep.

"Why do I have to lose everyone I love?"

That's when I hear the sirens.

"Hey, hey, it's ok, everything's going to be just fine."

I'm slightly surprised, but I don't argue.

"It's ok kid, I'll take care of you."

"FRIDAY, how do you adopt someone?"

He would be ok- wouldn't he?

"Sleep well, kiddo."

"G'night, 'ister Stark."

"It's ok. I'm right here, I'm not going anywhere."

... it would take away the pain. The pain of existing.

But he also knew that I was heading for the bathroom to slice my skin to ribbons.

For the first time in a long time, I had hope for the future.

And that is why I wouldn't change a thing.

ohhhh fuck oh shit I'm crying I can't believe this is the end ahhhhh no

The last part looks like it could be some kind of twisted poem?

Well, I guess the only thing left to do is promote my other stories...

Far From Life is a collection of Spiderman whump oneshots (if you liked this you'll probably enjoy that as well)

A Leap of Faith is a short story, similar to this one but a lot shorter and less emotionally painful

In the Life is also depressing, but that one is based on my own life and most of it actually happened (there will most likely be a part 2 to that, coming soon!)

And if you ship Reddie (IT)...

I've got a collection of oneshots (Reddie One Shots!), along with 3 longer stories (What a Feeling!, Dirty Little Secret, The Worst Kind of Sickness) and a short story (Terminal) which is currently a Wattpad exclusive, but I'm looking to change that. Go check them out please!