ALTERNATE ENDING TWO

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MY BREATH CAUGHT IN MY THROAT, though not just from his obviously heartfelt words, but for the shadowy movement that caught in the light behind him. I couldn't make out what had happened or who it was, but I didn't need to; it was the sign I had been reluctantly waiting for, the signal telling me that time was slipping away and I needed to wrap this all up. My heart rose to my throat, and I concentrated on my words, focusing on the task at hand.

"Well, you - that doesn't matter much, anymore. I'm moving on and you need to too - promise me, Peter. Please?"

"I...I promise."

"Okay." I stepped back and got to my feet with the boy quickly following suit. My hand lingered on his arm, taking in the boy in his fancy suit one last time before looking away. "Goodbye, Peter."

"No."

"No?"

He stepped closer and hugged me closer to his shaking frame, holding my face in a hand. "Not goodbye. We'll see each other again - when you're all done, we'll find each other, and we'll make things right. Goodbyes are forever. This isn't forever."

I stumbled back a bit and held tight to my tears, feeling my heart crumble to bits inside me. He held onto foolish hope, and I held my own, though we both knew that it was all a lie fabricated to hold us together. "Yeah, sure, okay. Okay, sure, we'll...we'll see each other again."

"Promise?"

My only answer was the last kiss we would share, holding our tragic embrace before letting go of him one last time. With only mere moments left, I scanned his face into my mind, mentally freezing the brief seconds when everything was perfect so I could treasure it when this all fell apart. "Sure. But, Peter?"

He nodded.

"There will be a stack of envelopes along with a tiny bottle in your room." I was relying on the promise Inga had given me for this part, and could only pray she followed my final unspoken wish. "You need to give those envelopes to your friend Tony Stark as fast as possible - don't read them - and you need to drink whatever is in that bottle, all of it. It'll, um, heal your wounds, make it all better - in the morning, it'll be like you had never been in a fight."

"What's in it?"

I smiled through my grief, "my last gift to you." And with those final words, I left him to stand alone in the grassy area, walking away into the darkness. I didn't look back, for fear I wouldn't be able to take another step forward, and kept my head down to hide my tears. The only thing that was in my head was the picture of the boy standing alone, dressed in red and blue, watching me walk away while tears built up. My lips still stung from the kiss, and I touched them, almost cracking a sad smile at the already-passing memory of the embrace. It was one of the only moments I really wanted to keep close to me, and I replayed it over and over again in my head, the movement still falling in line with my steps.

"It's time." The words fell like heavyweights and sunk in deep, hitting hard as I realised just how true those words were. "Isn't it?"

Inga tensed up and directed her gaze to the ground, not looking anywhere near me. She stood beside the vehicle, a tiny weapon in her hands and a frown on her face. She was alone, but I knew behind her stood the wrath of the world. "Freya, I just need to say I am sorry. What - you don't deserve what they want from you."

"It doesn't matter what I deserve, it matters what Peter does, and he has a chance to a normal life, now; it's all fine now. You can take me now."

"But you need to know-"

"-we need to go, now." My tone was bitter and cold and surprised even myself; never before had I talked so sternly to the woman, as if she was the child and I her berating parent. "It's done. It's all done."

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