That was the only word Mark Crytchin could think of to describe the state of the Manhattan ER he worked in. Moments before, he and his colleagues had been glued to the small TV perched on top of the main office's filing cabinets, unable to tear themselves away from the horrifying picture of a giant tour bus swaying a hundred stories from the ground. And now the hospital was swamped with its injured passengers, none of whom would be alive if it weren't for the mangled and bloodstained man who lay limp and unmoving on the gurney Mark was now helping to navigate frantically through the crowded hallways.
The surgeon had seen exactly what had happened to the young hero in front of him. The entire thing was recorded on tape, and was playing on every news station in the world at that very moment. The fact that Spiderman was still breathing, however shallowly, was a miracle in and of itself. The huge chunk of bus that had hit him had been going fast enough to send a full - grown elephant flying. It had carried him nearly thirty feet down the road and had smeared him along the pavement for ten. When Mark got the call and ran to the ambulance, he was expecting to be greeted with a dead and unrecognizable corpse. But the young man was alive, barely, and Mark knew that it was going to take yet another miracle to keep him that way.
"Move! Get out of the way!" he yelled as they barreled down the hall. A nurse ran at his side, holding an IV bag aloft as its contents dripped down through the tube and into their patient's arm. In this business, every second counted, and with each passing moment, Mark could almost sense the life flowing from this heroic man's mutilated body.
They were in for a long and hard struggle for survival.
"Please! Let me in! You've got to let me in!"
"I'm sorry ma'am, but unless you are injured, there is no way you are getting into that hospital."
Anna glared angrily at the policeman blocking her way. He had no idea who he was dealing with. Well, actually, he did know, since she had already told him that she was Spiderman's friend and that he needed her support, but he hadn't believed her. And in all honesty, who could blame him? He must be getting that kind of thing a lot.
It had been two and a half hours since Peter had gone in there on a stretcher, and there was still no indication whether he would be leaving on his feet or in a coffin. A giant crowd had gathered at the doors, blocking the street and bombarding anyone who entered or left the building with questions. Flashbulbs went off blindingly, reporters blathered into their microphones, the police struggled to control the crowd, and still there was no news. Anna groaned. Peter was alone and hurt in there! If he was awake, he was probably scared out of his wits! He needed someone to be there for him, and that damn policeman just didn't get it.
She stalked away quickly, before her base instincts took over and she began hitting the infuriating man. She leaned against the wall of the hospital, beside a hot dog vendor who had obviously decided to take advantage of all the excitement and set up shop. He was doing well, and Anna distracted herself from her anger and worry by watching him squirt ketchup and mustard expertly on a little boy's hot dog.
And suddenly she had an idea.
Nathan Brandt was feeling decidedly frazzled. Today had been hectic, to say the least. First the bus on the Empire State Building, then the super – fight, then the explosion, and now this! Crowd control was one of the most infuriating aspects of his job, and he was about this close to whipping out his gun and shooting anyone who claimed to be related to Spiderman. Didn't these people read? If they did, they would have known that Peter Parker didn't have any surviving relations!
And speaking of Peter, Nathan was worried sick about the boy. In their brief encounter, the grizzled detective had developed a strong liking for the willful young man. He was a good kid, and the luck that Nathan had wished for him that day when he walked out of the interrogation room, completely unprepared for fame and notice, had obviously not come. Brandt didn't want to think about what the city would be like if he died.
An agitated voice broke through his thoughts, and he blinked and focused in on the same young woman who had tried to get by him before. He rolled his eyes.
"Look, lady. I'm not letting you in. Get over it. Go buy a hot dog or some – "
"No, look," she interrupted. "I know this is gonna sound really fake, but I just fell and cut myself."
At his skeptical look, she yelled indignantly, "I'm not lying!" And she held up her left arm. The thin fabric of her shirt was torn, and blood oozed from a deep cut, soaking the blue fabric with a thick red liquid. He stared at it suspiciously.
"Are you just gonna stand there?" the woman demanded frantically, looking faint. "I'm bleeding to death here, and all you can do is stare?"
He still had his doubts, but better safe than sorry.
"Alright, ma'am. Go on in. But go straight to a doctor. No wandering!"
She breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh, thank you officer!" And she darted inside.
Mark Crytchin walked out of the operating room and nearly fainted with relief. Three hours and 234 stitches later, there was some hope. If everything went perfectly, and if Peter Parker had some will to live, he would get through this.
Discarding his bloodstained gloves in a trashcan, Mark trudged off to clean up and then make a press statement. He didn't notice the young woman in blue flannel pajamas making her way stealthily towards the room he had just exited.
Suddenly, two nurses pushed open the door and wheeled a gurney out into the hallway. The woman sat down on a bench and crossed her legs, looking supremely confident that this was exactly where she was supposed to be. The nurses didn't give her a second glance. They passed her, and she got up again, following them quietly.
The following is Doctor Mark Allen Crytchin's statement to the press outside Mercy Hospital in Manhattan, where Peter Parker, otherwise known as Spiderman, is being treated:
"Mr. Parker's wounds are severe, but we have managed to stabilize him. He is alive, as of this moment, and if everything goes well, he will survive. But he has sustained massive damage to his spinal cord, and it is very unlikely that he will ever make a full recovery. I'm sorry to say it is probable that Spiderman's webswinging days are over."
Spiderman's domain is New York City, but the entire world was holding its breath.
"Is Spiderman gonna die?" a boy in Tennessee asked his father tearfully.
"Do you really think he won't be able to fight bad guys anymore?" a middle aged man in France called out to his wife, his eyes glued to the television.
"Poor boy…" an elderly lady in Japan murmured as she cooked dinner for her grandchildren.
"Oh my God, Peter…" a red – haired young woman sobbed despairingly into the pleated cushions of her couch.
Sometimes, it takes the thought of death to make you realize just how much you love someone.
Pain. It filled his mind, blocking out everything else, until he could not even remember his own name. Where was he? What had happened to him? Snippets of action, like a dream, flashed before his eyes. A building. A girl. A bus, swaying in the wind. The Goblin. Harry. The name jumped unbidden to his lips. The girl, held up by the Goblin's strong grip. Anna. And then the fall, the fight, and the explosion. Shoving the Goblin down, and taking the blow himself. And then blackness.
His eyes flew open. The pain flooded in again, and he cried out. And suddenly Anna was above him, stroking his face soothingly, murmuring words he could not hear. The blackness took him again, but this time he knew it would not be for long.
A/N: Hope you liked it, even though the plot didn't really progress that much. Oh well. Sorry (again, for like the tenth time) for the wait.
Thanks to all my reviewers: anonymous, Mistress Arts, Shadow Chaser, jla2snoopy, hedi, Tenshi Aine, ASuperHeroAtHeart, Moyima, Litheran, Madame Webb, Tigilus Ramelius, SupportSeverusSnape, sealkid3, closetfan, Scary Vampiress, Delia Ra'Nar, Goth child of Zyon, JadeDragoness, Rsegovia, IcyWaters, deppfreak, and htbthomas.