Steve took a shaky step forward, exhaustion threatening to send him to the ground but he kept going.


It had been hours since the battle ended and though the ruined remains of the compound burned around them, it was utterly silent.

That was except for Tony's cries.

He hadn't stopped. Refused to let the kid go.

"Tony, we need to get you checked out."

His words fell on deaf ears. The hero didn't look up, just knelt there in the grass and held his son in his arms. The son that didn't share his name but took up all the space in his heart.

"Peters-" he couldn't speak the words, afraid they might hurt the man further and he held them back behind clenched teeth. "You need to let us take him, now. You need to be seen to."

Tony finally heard him and shook his head, pressing his face to Peters curls and ignored the red it smeared across his own skin. He was already covered in it anyway from the way he cradled the boy against him and he rocked the two of them back and forth and he cried.

His voice was wrecked, gasping sobs torn from his throat and Steve wasn't sure what to do. He'd never seen the great, smug, ever teasing Tony Stark so thoroughly pulled apart. But the moment the youngest Avenger fell he was done for.

He had struck the killing blow, finished off the threat that had taken his child from him before he'd raced over. At least he'd been given that small reprieve. Whatever cruel deity was looking over them had at least allowed him to say goodbye before Peter Parker had slipped away in his arms.

He'd told him he loved him, begged his son to hold on.

"I got you, Peter. Just keep your eyes open."

"Do-don't leave me, Dad."

"I won't, I promise. I'm not leaving you, buddy. I got you."

"I'm scared."

"You don't have to be. I won't let anything happen to you, Pete. I promise. Just hold on to me, okay? Everything's going to be alright. Dad's here."

"It hurts."

He'd gotten to say goodnight and that had been it.

"Peter? It's okay, buddy. You can close your eyes now. You did good. You don't have to fight anymore."

Peter closed his eyes and was gone.

But that had been hours ago now, and they couldn't get Tony to let go of the bod- the child.

Steve tried again, kneeling behind the hero and touching a hand to that trembling shoulder. "You're hurt. You'll bleed out like this. Let me take him."

Tony ignored the words and pressed a kiss to Peters pale brow, regardless of the way he grew cold in his arms. "He was only fifteen. He was just a kid. Oh god, Steve, he- he was so little."

Steve could no longer see through his blurring vision or speak past the lump in his throat but Rhodey appeared in front of them to take over.

"Tones. You need to let him go."

He shook his head, closing his eyes and rocking Peter as red continued to drip into the grass beneath them.

"I can't leave him."

"Tony if we don't take care of that bullet wound you'll di-"

"THEN LET ME DIE!" Rhodey jumped at the sudden rise in volume before Tony's voice broke back down into sobs.

"Just let me die. Let me be with him."



They couldn't know what it felt like. The pain searing through him, where his heart used to lay. When Peter had been alive he'd lit up every dark corner of Tony. All the parts he hated and hid away became lit up in the wake of Peters smile and bright mind. And now that light was gone.

Peter was gone. And nothing else mattered.