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Not My First Choice

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Love is a lot like a backache; it doesn’t show up on X-rays, but you know it’s there.

-George Burns

 ~ 

Wade had sprawled himself over the counter of the bar, fingers stretching for a bottle of whatever the shit in reach was, when Weasel cracked him over the knuckles with a wooden spoon. He jerked his hand back, offended.

“A wooden spoon? Really? That’s the best you could come up with?” he asked in exasperation as he sucked on his sore knuckles.

“Your tab is inching into the hundreds, I couldn’t afford a metal one,” Weasel deadpanned, letting out a mournful sigh as he sidestepped a bottle that came flying at his head. It shattered against the liquor shelf, taking out at least five other bottles. Wade grinned.

“Karma,” Wade shot back, wagging his finger exaggeratedly.

“Maybe, but not for hurting you.”

Weasel scooped down to start picking shards of glass off the floor, acting immersed enough in his activity that no one would question why he wasn’t breaking up the fight that had started in the middle of the floor.

“Unless it’s because I hurt your soulmate by hurting you. Though I’d have a hard time imagining you having a soulmate who isn’t a total jackass. Or maybe, if not a jackass, a dumb, deaf, vegetable who can’t see, hear, or smell you.”

“Rude,” Wade said happily as he managed to snag what he’d been reaching for earlier and cracked it open to take a sip. He had given it one swish in his mouth and was about to swallow when the taste hit him hard and he coughed a mouthful of the vile shit all over the guy sitting next to him. The next couple of minutes were spent locked in a gross fight that involved way too many man-boobs and pit stench, before the guy toppled over and conked his head on the stool, going all cross-eyed. Wade let out a huff as he sat back down on the stool.

“It was bleach. I know you too well. But anyway, maybe your soulmate really is a vegetable, considering the fact that you’ve never felt pain other than your own,” Weasel yawned as he stood up and stretched, continuing their conversation as if nothing had happened.

“O-a maybe oi just dun ’ave a soulmate,” Wade countered as he scrubbed at his tongue, trying to get the disgusting flavour out of his mouth. People usually said things that tasted bad tasted like ass, and going along with that line of thinking Wade would have to say bleach tasted like ass that had been stuffed with moldy cabbage and then sterilized with hand sanitizer. He took his hand from his mouth, testing his tongue out. Yep, all that plus the sterilized moldy-cabbage ass had just taken a shit. Wonderful.

“Everyone has a soulmate. And if yours were dead, apparently you’d always have a sort of ache in your heart—though knowing you, it’s possible you don’t have a heart—so yours can’t be dead. Maybe they’re not born.”

“Hey, hey, hey. I may be dirtier than the bottom of a crack whore’s shoe, but even I’ve got standards. I’m no kiddie diddler. That’s wrong on all ten levels, whereas I’m only wrong on nine.” The thought was almost worse than cabbage ass. Almost.

“Isn’t your choice, though,” Weasel, the world’s most supportive and optimistic friend ever, told him with a knowing look. As if he were bartender Jesus and knew the fate of everyone.

To be fair, guys, bartender Jesus would know literally everything. I mean, he’s a bartender and he’s Jesus. Okay, I’ll stop with the Christian jokes. But not because they’re not politically correct; watch out Muslims, you’re next.

“Well, it’s my choice whether or not to get with the lucky guy or gal whom fate has picked out for me. And if I say no, then—”

Wade was cut off by an unexpected lance of pain through his wrist, and the drink he’d nabbed from the guy he’d knocked cross-eyed slipped from his fingers.

MOTHERFUCKER.

 ~ 

Peter let out a screech, clutching his wrist and rolling on the ground as Aunt May burst through the front door, already looking close to tears, and Uncle Ben quickly followed. Three years old and he’d been through more pain than most ten year olds, but it was all because of the person he was connected to. They were constantly getting hurt, and Aunt May was at her wits end trying to find them to tell them they needed to stop.

Maybe they don’t know, Uncle Ben reasoned. Some Korean provinces still have no idea about the whole soulmates-feeling-each-others’ pain phenomenon.

But Aunt May wouldn’t hear it; her nerves were frayed, ears always perked for the sound of her nephew’s cries, which were often.

Except this time, it was Peter who’d actually hurt himself, toddling after the neighbour’s cat and tripping over his own feet to land directly on his wrist. Teary eyes? Check. Snotty nose? Check. Rapidly-swelling wrist? Check. And when the answer to ‘Which of these indicate a broken wrist?’ is d. All of the above, it was time to go the hospital.

“It’s okay, Peter,” Aunt May soothed as she bundled the boy onto her lap in the car, one hand stroking his hair while the other pressed a frozen bag of peas against his injury. “It’s going to be okay.”

Uncle Ben gave him one thoughtful glance as he started the car, looking less concerned and more satisfied than anything.

“Well,” he said as he began backing out of the driveway. “Now his soulmate knows.”

 ~ 

“Now you know,” Weasel shrugged as he polished the counter. Wade glared at him through watering eyes, rubbing at the wrist that had faded from sharp stabs to a dull ache. So this was what it was like having a soulmate.

Great. Fantastic. I finally know what it’s like being connected to someone else. Now can I please go back to not having any connections? Who was the writer who came up with this shitty idea, anyway?

“Yes. Now I know what a broken wrist feels like, and let me tell you I’m not eager to repeat the experience. Is there any way to like… sever the connection?”

Weasel regarded him with as much amusement as he ever showed, which was to say… about one percent amusement. Ninety-nine percent boredom.

“No. I mean, you can find the dude or chick and make sure they don’t get hurt, but that’s about it. It kind of promotes taking care of each other, I guess. And just think, whoever it is also has to feel your pain. So you should probably look after yourself, too. Just saying.”

“Eh, fuck that.” Wade bent down to scoop up the ice from his shattered drink, holding it against his wrist as he thought of all the times he’d been beaten, hit, and otherwise injured while he went out on jobs. Hell, he’d even been a shot a few times five years ago. Now that he knew how intense the pain could be, he sort of felt bad for the poor bastard who had ended up connected to him. Oh well.

“I’ll deal, and so will they. But now that I know this whole thing is real and not just a joke the entire world is playing on me, I’m curious. Who’s your soulmate?”

Weasel stopped polishing the counter, his eyes growing hard as he looked up at Wade. The moment seemed to stretch out for an eternity, like being trapped in a black abyss of death where the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe was read on repeat for centuries.

“Wonder Woman.”

Wade’s head hit the counter so hard it almost drew blood.

“Wonder Woman is DC, asshole. We’re Marvel, it just doesn’t fit. Besides, I’m sure most people would much rather her have a female love interest than a cisgender white dude with no qualifications as a superhero.”

“A man can dream,” Weasel sighed, looking dramatically off into the distance. Well, as much of a distance as he could look off into. Which was a dart board maybe ten feet away. “A man can dream.”

 ~ 

Ten-year-old Peter woke up from a good dream into the familiarity of bad, bad pain. This time it was his foot, and since he’d gotten to know pain on an intimate level over the last ten years he knew it was a knife wound.

Soulmates were a hot topic in elementary school, mostly since other kids were paired up with people their own age. They would all run around the schoolyard shrieking, pinching their arms and searching for someone who was wincing. Two kids had actually found each other in Peter’s class, and it had been a huge deal. Apparently lots of people never even met their soulmates.

For the others, it was a constant source of amusement, but for Peter it was more. Crazy pain like even the teachers hadn’t experienced, mysterious pain in places most people didn’t feel it (fingertips, one nostril, between the toes), odd pain that wasn’t too bad, that felt like pinpricks of needles on his back that relaxed him… Since even the adults couldn’t explain it all, Peter was free to think up his own scenarios. And in his imaginative kid-brain, his soulmate was a super spy who was constantly fighting bad guys. Like Wolverine in his X-Men comics.

Slowly rising from the bed, sweat beading on his brow and his hands trembling with the pain, he limped to the bathroom and turned the tub on full-blast, sticking his foot under it as he drew in deep breaths. He’d gotten good at dealing with pain, and also at avoiding it. He didn’t want to cause trouble for a super spy soulmate, not when they could be in the middle of a mission that pain could give them away.

When his foot finally began to numb, he brought his fist up to his mouth and bit it, hard enough that it hurt slightly but not too much. When he was younger, it had been a way of dealing with the pain, but now it was a way of telling his soulmate that everything was okay. A weird little thing they did, because in response he felt the slightest pressure against his palm, like a nail being dug in there. They were both okay. It made him grin, excitement kindling in his chest.

Someday, he would find his soulmate, no doubt about it. And when he did, they could both save the world together.

 ~

Wade screamed bloody murder when he wrenched the knife out of his foot, wishing he could slap himself in the face to divert the pain. But over the years he’d become conscious of it hurting his soulmate, and though he was enough of an asshole that he considered ignoring it, whoever was on the other end would sometimes bite their fist hard enough that it was more than a diversion. It was a reminder that they could choose to get revenge on him if they chose, and that they rarely experienced pain.

Weasel had told him that whoever was on the other end had been cursed while Wade had been blessed, and as he pressed a wad of dirty gauze against his foot he thanked his lucky stars that was true. Someone was out there living a normal life so he only had to feel his own pain. But hey, he had cut down on getting shot in the past few years, so he was trying.

A familiar pressure on his fist reminded him to dig a single nail into his palm, rolling his eyes at how cheesy it was. His soulmate must’ve been some ridiculous cheeseball who actually cared about the whole connection shit. Oh well. He didn’t intend to let them find him, not if it meant they wanted to tie him down because of fate throwing a red tampon string between their souls.

“Come on, just wrap it up and come to bed,” the chick behind him whined, and he looked over the wound once more before shrugging and binding it up tightly. Maybe someday, when he was old and decrepit, he would retire from his merc duties and give his soulmate some peace.

Ha! Yeah, like fuck. I’d die in a ditch beside a hobo with AIDS and a needle sticking out of his arm before I retire. I mean, literally. I’m probably going to die because of my line of work. And that hobo? His name is Johnny (I think) and he’s a friend. This is about to become ironic, isn’t it?

 ~ 

The first day of high school made a liar out of Peter, who had claimed he would be pain-free for his soulmate. The second Flash Thompson’s eyes laid on Peter’s small, hunched figure, Peter read the intent in his eyes and came up with a hundred scenarios, running through them to try and find one that was violence free. Based on what he’d seen of Flash in elementary school, not a single one of them would end without at least one punch.

“Parker!” Flash called, alight with purpose. Mainly, the senseless purpose of making Peter’s life a living hell for absolutely no reason. “Parker! Pathetic Parker… Pitiful Parker… Puny… Puny Parker! Hey, wait up!”

Peter’s heart dropped as looked for anyone who could help him, but everyone had their heads down. Except for those couple of kids who were watching with wicked amusement, waiting to see what would happen. Peter sped up, hoping he could get to the next hall and find a teacher to walk with, but a second before he rounded the corner he felt a large hand grab the back of his collar. He choked, falling back five steps as Flash and his buddies surrounded him, shoving him against the locker while more people began to look up, taking notice.

“You running from me, Puny Parker?” Flash asked, one eyebrow quirking up as a cruel smile spread across his face.

“Not really,” Peter offered with a bright smile. It wasn’t sarcasm, it was simple self-preservation. Don’t antagonize the bully, and maybe he won’t pick on you for the rest of your high school career. Right.

“I don’t appreciate sarcasm,” Flash growled, erring on the side of caution in case Peter was subtly making fun of him. Peter kind of wished he was since it was becoming apparent he would get his ass kicked either way.

“Maybe because… you don’t get it?” he said with his most sincere smile. The hall burst into laughter, and though many people would call it a mistake, Peter knew the guy in front of him would make his life hell either way. He may as well get in one snarky comment to make up for the years of beatings he would have to take.

“Oh man, you just made the biggest mistake of your life,” Flash snapped, and now all Peter could feel was a sort of disappointed fear as the bully drew his fist back.

 ~ 

Wade was in the middle of taking a leak when the very familiar feeling of a fist hitting him in the face made him stumble back and spray piss all over the floor. Cursing then uttering an apology to the guy beside him, whose foot he had just urinated on (to be fair, who the hell picks the urinal right beside you when there’s five others open? Like, really, guy?) he finished and zipped himself up before kicking the dingy door of the bathroom open and selecting the nearest chair.

He dropped heavily into it, reaching up to gingerly touch his eye, then let out a loud ‘Fuck’ when the feeling of his guts being turned into hamburg raced through him. Before he could recover, it felt like someone was giving him an uppercut, and then his ass hurt like he’d just dropped directly onto his tailbone.

“Fight back, shitbag!” he yelled out across the bar, startling the forty percent of people who weren’t completely wasted. His face, stomach, and coccyx (haha cock, yes I’m that immature) felt like they’d been used as a punching bag, which, if you haven’t experienced getting your ass kicked before, is a very unpleasant feeling.

He didn’t mind that as much as the fact that his fists felt fine, though. Fine as in… they hadn’t hit someone’s face. As in… his soulmate was a pussy who had just taken a beating without doing anything in return. If he was nice, he could consider the possibility that his soulmate had been jumped by a bunch of guys and some were holding him. But he wasn’t. There had been no defensive pain.

“If you don’t fight back next time, I’ll kick my own ass to kick yours,” he muttered as he dug his nail into his palm harder than necessary. The response was a harder bite than necessary, and he kicked a chair in retaliation, earning a nice stubbed toe. Which led to the feeling of a finger being pressed hard against a bruised eye, which led to him slamming his fist on the table knuckles-down to feel like he’d punched something.

Then a tug of the hair on the other end, a slap in the face on his end, a pinch in the arm on the other end, a slap of the ass on his end. That ended things, though by this point even the people who were out of it were staring at him.

“My soulmate is being a total bitch,” he said by way of explanation, and everyone gave understanding nods at that, probably because it was their soulmate who had driven them to drinking. This sort of answered one of the questions he’d had since day one of this whole thing; whether the person on the other end was a chick or a dick. He was guessing now they were most likely a dick, because guys got beaten up more. Or a chick with an abusive husband. Or father, if they were young.

Actually, it doesn’t answer anything and I’m a fucking idiot. But we all knew that.

Oh well, there’d be other clues. As long as something like this didn’t happen again, because it was like high school all over except Wade had usually been on the giving end rather than the receiving.

Don’t get me wrong, receiving can be nice. I just prefer giving. I’m a giving kind of guy.

But this wasn’t high school, so it didn’t matter. Right? It wasn’t high school?

 ~ 

Peter figured his soulmate must’ve realized he was in high school by about day thirteen. He didn’t get beaten up every day, but he was picked on pretty regularly and that involved a lot of slamming against lockers. He supposed that being picked on the way he was also answered the question for his soulmate about whether he was a guy or a girl. A question that had been answered for him when he was seven and had gotten his first taste of getting kneed in the balls through the connection. That had probably been his least favourite experience of all.

Walking down the hall, using a handmade mirror device to check around corners for Flash and his goons, Peter wondered what Aunt May and Uncle Ben would say if they knew his soulmate was a guy. Being soulmates wasn’t all about love, though people usually got married if they found their other half. For Peter, he found when he searched himself that it didn’t really matter. He wasn’t that into romance anyway; science was way more interesting to him. Whiiiiich was probably just another reason he was considered a loser.

Making it to physics just before the bell (sweet, his mirror system had worked), he sank into his seat and took out his notebook, flipping through it to the last page he’d been working on. Energy from the bond between two soulmates had to be measurable somehow, right? He was working on an equation based on the time it took for his soulmate to respond to his fist bites. He would compare it with other soulmate responses and see if distance factored into it, or sex, or type of pain, and all that.

Even though he no longer idolized who was on the other end—not only did he think super spies weren’t the types to get kneed in the balls, but his soulmate had also been enlighteningly immature after he’d been beaten up by Flash—he still wanted to find out who it was. Convince them to stop with the getting shot or knifed or beaten stuff.

Mary Jane slid in beside him, peering over his shoulder at the equation which now took over two pages. Or, well, the work. Hopefully the actual equation would only be a line or two.

“You must really want to find him,” she said with a grin, setting her chin on his shoulder. He nodded, tapping his pencil against the paper thoughtfully. M.J. was helping; she wanted to find her soulmate too, and since they’d been friends since elementary school she naturally knew everything about his situation.

“Do you think you’ll like him when you find him? What if you don’t?”

“I probably won’t,” Peter admitted, setting his pencil down. “He’s probably a jerk. It’ll just be nice to finally tell him off for years of pain.”

“Well, if that’s the mindset you’re going in with I have all the more reason to help you,” M.J. said with a sharp nod. They shared a smile before he scooped the pencil back up again and she began delivering the latest stats she’d collected until class started.

Peter listened closely—it was his favourite class—and was just beginning to realize how he could make his equation even more accurate when an odd feeling struck him, a sort of burning, uncomfortable pressure. It wasn’t like anything he or his soulmate had ever experienced, and he reached out, clutching the sides of his desk as it hit him hard.

“Mr. Parker?” the teacher asked, but Peter couldn’t answer. In fact, he couldn’t do anything other than try to stay conscious. It wasn’t that the pain was so bad he felt like he was going to pass out; it was more that the weird dizzy, head-spinning feeling seemed to come along with it. A moment later, it passed, and as Peter went to straighten up and offer an apology, he passed too. Into unconsciousness.

 ~

“Cancer,” Wade said blankly, staring through the doctor as the man began to rattle on about stats of survival and where the cancer had spread to. The whole thing went completely over his head, except for the last line, ‘You’re not just a statistic.’ After what had to have been ten straight minutes of statistics and reasons why he’d probably become part of the ninety-six percent who had died.

“So it wasn’t the bleach he drank?” Weasel asked, looking relieved that his old trick wouldn’t be the thing to kill his friend. If it were anyone else, Wade might’ve wanted to hit them, but he was kind of glad it was Weasel here with him. The bartender’s calmness was the only thing allowing him to stay calm at the knowledge that he was going to die. While, die sooner, anyway.

“—and we can start chemo, but it probably won’t—”

“Nah. You wanna feel like shit before you die, Wade?”

Wade shook his head mutely.

“Then nah. Just give him some wicked painkillers, like oxy or fentanyl.”

“Well… from what he’s said, the pain isn’t that bad, so I don’t think we should—”

“It’s a ten,” Wade finally piped up, scrunching up his face in the most painful expression he could make. “Or eleven. Out of ten. It hurts so much I can’t stand it, and I mean, my soulmate is in high school so just think of them. A kid, doctor. Would you give me oxy for the kid?”

Weasel nodded in approval, and an hour later they were exiting the pharmacy with the strongest legal prescription Wade had ever gotten. He still felt kind of numb, like what was happening wasn’t real, but it all hit home when Weasel offered him drinks on the house. He never offered drinks on the house.

“So. I guess I’m dying then,” Wade shrugged as he slammed back some vodka. Cheap, fucking disgusting vodka, because that was all Weasel allowed when he said ‘on the house.’

“It’s not really a guess,” Weasel said as he poured another shot. “You’re like, already dead, man. The doctor said ninety-six percent and I’m pretty sure those other four percent killed themselves so they didn’t have to die a horrible, painful death screaming in agony.”

Wade paused with the shot glass halfway to his lips, arching a brow at Weasel.

“Thanks. You sure know how to make a shitty day worse.”

“Hey, think of the kid. He’s going to be completely torn apart when it happens. I mean, not because he cares about you—you’re a pretty bad person. More because I’ve heard you’re in agony for a few days after your soulmate dies. Or forever.”

“Last time you told me you just felt empty inside!”

“Oh yeah, that’s what I thought. But it turns out I was wrong. Apparently there’s all sorts of problems, and I’ve even heard of people dying when their soulmate dies.”

“So what you’re telling me is, this kid is going to get beaten up every few days and have to suffer through hours of some dumb fucking science class until he dies a horrible death because I died?”

“Pretty much.”

Wade knocked back another shot, shaking his head with a short laugh.

“Seems about right for my soulmate.”

 ~ 

“What does it mean, Doctor?”

Aunt May squeezed Peter’s hand and he squeezed back, more to calm her than anything else. Apparently the pain meant his soulmate had cancer, and not the ‘good kind.’ His soulmate was close to death and he was picking up on that or something, which had made him conk out. He wasn’t injured and the burning pain was gone; to be honest, the worst thing that had happened was that he’d hit his head on the way down, but Aunt May was freaking because of the rumours she’d heard.

“Nothing,” the doctor said simply, shrugging. “A common misconception is that the consequence of your soulmate dying is horrible. The truth is that you do feel a slight emptiness where the connection used to be, but you don’t die as well. He’ll probably feel some cancer pain until his soulmate passes on, at which point he won’t have to worry about it.”

“May, don’t you remember when Martha’s husband died? She was sad but it didn’t kill her. He’ll be fine,” Uncle Ben reassured, and the doctor nodded to confirm it. Aunt May brushed a relieved hand over her face, leaning over to hug Peter, while Peter’s mind raced a hundred miles an hour.

His soulmate was going to die. Sooner rather than later, and Peter hadn’t even met the guy yet. The thought actually did make him feel pretty sad; the pain had been a constant presence throughout his entire life, and knowing that the person it was attached to was going to be gone soon was depressing. He could only imagine what kind of emptiness it would bring.

“I’m sorry, Peter,” Uncle Ben murmured gently, squeezing his shoulder. “It’ll still be hard, I’m sure. We’ll be here for you.”

“Thanks,” Peter said, angrily scrubbing at the tears that had risen, unbidden, in his eyes. He’d surreptitiously brought his fist to his mouth and bit it, but he’d gotten no reply. It had worried him, and now knowing that someday there’d be no reply to get was scary. Plus, he’d put so much work into finding the person on the other end that he couldn’t believe this was how it would end.

No, he would just have to redouble his efforts. He was going to meet the guy on the other end, one way or another.

 ~  

Six months later and Wade was still knocking back vodka, sitting on the very same stool. No, he hadn’t literally sat there for six months. But it was damn well close.

“There’s a guy looking for you,” Weasel muttered out of the corner of his mouth, shooting a glance over to the table where a lone man sat, picking lint off a suit. Wade’s heart kicked up a notch as he glanced over, squinting.

“Is it a kid? A high school kid?”

There was no reason to think the kid would show up, not when there was no way for them to trace each other. Well, that wasn’t strictly true. The kid had tried Morse code with little pinpricks of pencil pain, which was pretty genius to be honest.

W-H-O A-R-E  Y-O-U?

It had taken Wade a while to realize Morse was what it was, but when he did he amused himself chatting his soulmate up for a bit. It like texting. But free. And with way more pain. And googling.

Your soulmate. Duh.

You know Morse!!!!

Those exclamation marks took up way more pain than we needed, kiddo.

So you do know!!

For fuck’s sake, stop with the exclamation marks.

Sorry. Hi, I’m Peter.

Hi, Peter. I’m John Smith and I’ve been an alcoholic for ten years.

Are you messing with me?

No shit, Sherlock. Oops, hope that’s not a copyright since it’s a different fandom.

Sorry, I just realized how dumb I am. I should’ve used Morse a long time ago.

Yeah, you should’ve. Stupid ass kid.

I didn’t see you contributing anything other than a world of pain, oh wise adult.

Hey, you just said what I contributed. Pain.

Jerk.

At least I’m not a pussy.

What’s that supposed to mean?

Stop. Getting. Your. Ass. Kicked.

Listen, guy, I’m like five foot nothing and I love science. Do the math .

Wade.

What?

Name’s Wade. No, I’m not giving you a last name.

But

Also, now I completely understand. I probs would’ve kicked your ass too.

Hehehe.

You’re just as much of an asshole as I expected.

The fact that you expected anything else insults me.

…Anyway. Tell me where you are so we can talk normally.

No fucking way. I don’t want to meet you.

Why!!!

Ow. And because I’m a few years away from thirty, dying, and bitter.

We should still

No. I’ve never wanted to meet you and dying doesn’t change that.

You owe it to me, Wade. After years of pain, I at least want to see the man behind the mask.

I’m not Wolverine or some shit. Ugh, Wolverine, don’t get me started. But no.

Please!!!

Why don’t you tell me who you are instead?

 I guess because you could be a serial killer or something.

There you go.

I’m in high school. What exactly do you think a normal high school student can do against a guy who gets shot and stabbed regularly?

A lot. Believe me, I know.

I’ll find you soon anyway. Count on it.

Uh-huh. And I’m a superhero.

Just hold on until I get there, okay?

I don’t take orders from bitches.

-_-

So you could see why Wade figured Peter might be the guy sitting at the table. They’d had a few other short conversations, all Peter using psychological tactics to try and get Wade to give up his location. To be honest, the whole thing was ridiculously hilarious and Wade half-wanted to meet the kid on the other side. He was snarky but always quick to apologize if he thought something really hurt, and sometimes he’d go on about science things Wade didn’t even understand a quarter of. Besides the (tame) snark, he was really Wade’s opposite.

“The opposite,” Weasel said, one percent interested. “The kind of guy who fucks high school students instead of their moms.”

Wade narrowed his eyes further, then let out a long sigh and stood up to go meet the guy. He looked like a literal personification of the ‘make $2000 a week from your home!’ asshole in every comment section. Wade dragged the chair from across from him out and turned it so he could sit with his forearms resting on the chair’s back.

“This crap better be good.”

The man’s smile was all teeth. Weasel was right; he was definitely, one hundred percent a little boy diddler.

“Wade Wilson, I have an offer for you. How would you like to cure your cancer and become a hero all in one package?”

Wade had been so wrong. This guy wasn’t the ‘make $2000 a week from your home!’ asshole.

He was the ‘cure cancer with one simple trick!’ asshole.

 

Chapter Text

Peter kept up his work on the equation, growing ever nearer to finishing it and coming up with a device to help him find Wade. He tried to contact Wade more, but the jerk stopped responding altogether and Peter was forced to give up trying every psychological tactic he knew. Wade must have military-grade training or something to resist.

Grade nine passed in a flash and soon it was summer, giving him more time than ever to work on everything. He locked himself in his room, staying up all hours of the night to finish it and only emerging from the inky blackness of his cave to throw back some lemonade with M.J. She, at least, was making progress with her soulmate. Word had spread about the Morse thing and though not everyone’s soulmates picked up on it, M.J.’s did.

“Her name is Gwen and she seems super cool,” M.J. said happily, kicking her legs against the counter as Peter leaned against her and she fluffed his hair. “She goes to a school not far from here but her dad is really strict and won’t let her come to visit. That’s the bad news. The good news is that she’ll be coming to the science fair at the beginning of the semester.”

Peter turned, the daze of physics his mind was in leaving her for a second as he tilted his head curiously.

“Science fair?”

“Oh, did I not tell you?” M.J. asked with mock surprise, faking sweetness. “Oscorp is putting on a display of all their genetic research and letting kids talk ideas with them. All the smartest people are signed up and it’s completely full already. Gwen and I are going to meet there.”

“It’s full?” Peter asked, crushed. If there was one thing that could wake him up from the mass of equations he’d immersed himself in lately, it was more equations. Though this was a totally different field; genetically modifications and stuff. The kind of stuff his dad had been into.

“Come on, don’t make those puppy eyes at me,” M.J. laughed as she leapt off the counter, scooping up the ever-present journal he carried around and scanning the last bits of his work. The final equation. “I said all the smartest people. You, Peter Parker, are at the top of that list. Of course I signed you up the second I heard about it. Or did you want to sit around and tweak the equation more?”

“No, I’m done! I just need to make the device now and that shouldn’t take more than a couple of months once I gather the equipment. But Oscorp… I mean, I can take a day off for that.”

M.J. laughed again as Peter’s mind backpedalled from physics to biology, and he was about to start bombarding her with questions when the feeling of a fist hitting his side made him double up. He clutched at his kidney, clenching his teeth.

“Fuck, Wade,” he gritted out as the assault continued and M.J. stopped laughing to shake her head in disapproval and help him back to his room. Wade may have stopped with the contact, but the pain sure as hell hadn’t stopped. In fact, for the past few months it had felt like someone was physically torturing Wade in all sorts of ways that made Peter glad school was out.

When M.J. gently lowered him to the bed, he curled into the fetal position and drew in shaky breaths as he rode out wave after wave of pain. He’d have to invent something that cut off his nociceptors so this kind of thing didn’t happen.

“Whatever he’s doing, I’ll stop it soon,” Peter breathed as M.J. grabbed the always-present bottle of Ibuprofen and handed him four pills. It was extra strength so he really wasn’t supposed to take more than two, but it was a four pill problem.

“Until then, I’ve got you. And I’ve told Gwen about everything, too. She says she’ll kick Wade’s mind-ass for you if you find him.”

Peter let out a weak chuckle as he downed the meds and water.

“Oh, I think I’m pretty capable of doing that myself.”

~

“YOU ASSHOLES SAID THIS WOULD CURE CANCER, NOT GIVE ME CANCER!”

“For fuck’s sake, it’s not giving you cancer,” Francis muttered as he consulted his charts with a disgusted shake of his head.

“I mean metaphorically. Like, in the way talking to a twelve-year-old boy in a chatroom gives you cancer. You know that twelve-year-old boy chat simulator? Well—”

“Why would you ever use a twelve-year-old boy simulator?” Francis asked, giving Wade the most worn-out, exasperated look he’d ever seen. Which was impressive, considering how many of those types of looks Wade had seen over his life.

It must be a British thing. I’m impressed, Brits, though you’ll never beat Canada’s dry-as-grandma’s-va-jay-jay sense of humour and absolute shit movie endings where everyone dies.

“I thought it was possible my soulmate might be a twelve-year-old boy, so I tried the next best thing to actually talking to one. Which, in hindsight, was a good idea. It would be creepy as fuck to walk up to a random twelve-year-old and start a conversation.”

“And are they?”

“If you’re trying to get info on my soulmate, I’m afraid I’ll have to decline commentary,” Wade said primly, because even though his soulmate was certainly going to pissed with the torture they had to go through, he’d be even more pissed to be betrayed. Not that Wade thought Francis could find him; it was just better to be safe than sorry.

“Thank God, your commentary makes me want to kill myself.”

Francis handed his clipboard off to some woman and arched an eyebrow at Wade, leaning in close to the uncomfortable table he was strapped to.

“Well, we wouldn’t want that,” Wade offered in the most sarcastic voice possible.

Note to self: never accept offers from random guys who claim they can cure cancer. It actually leads to a worse outcome than giving your credit card to a random internet site that tells you it needs the number to transfer money into your account.

“I’m rather impressed you still have that spirit,” Francis mused in that posh British accent. Two voices warred in Wade’s head, the devil on his shoulder telling him to bite the man’s nose off, and the other devil on the other shoulder telling him to go for a head-smash. Only the thought of Peter having to deal with the consequences stopped him. Instead, he smiled wide.

“I’m impressed you know the word impressed. I mean, it has nine letters, Francis. It’s crazy because a) I didn’t think you knew any words with more than six, and b) I didn’t know you could count to nine.”

“Don’t call me that,” Francis hissed, leaning close so no one else could hear him.

Don’t push him, Wade.

Eh, fuck it. Push him, Wade.

“Call you what?” Wade batted his eyelashes. “F-ran-cis? Okay. How about Franny? Fran-Fran? I’m glad we’re working this out now, by the way, because if not I would’ve been calling out ‘Oh, Francis! Francis, Francis!’ when we started our passionate love-making session.”

The Brit slammed his hand down beside Wade’s head, but Wade didn’t even blink.

“You like it rough, Francis? That’s okay, let me tell you a secret: so do I.”

“Do you ever shut up? No, don’t answer that. Clearly, you’re not going to shut up on your own, so we’ll have to up the ante.”

The smile that grew on Francis’s face made Wade shift rather uncomfortably. Yeah, pushing Francis was probably a bad idea. Good ol’ Petey wouldn’t be appreciating whatever was going to happen next, not when Francis was smiling like an angry sorority girl concealing her true feelings with one of those fake-grin-bitch-faces.

“It may take a bit to get the chamber in, but once it’s in I assure you that sense of humour will disappear. You think what you’ve been through the last few weeks has been bad? Just wait.”

You already pushed him as far as he can go. What will more hurt? Besides you, Peter, and Peter’s friends who care about him.

“No, Francis. I can’t wait. I’m so excited that waiting seems impossible.”

The mean-girl smile slipped away and Francis made two quick, sharp gestures to the scientists closest to Wade. Oh boy, this would be a whole world of fun. If Wade’s hands weren’t strapped down, he would’ve made two short gestures to the scientists too, though his would’ve only involved one finger on each hand.

“Back at it,” one of the scientist said, and Wade closed his eyes with a noisy sigh. He knew he should’ve brought the oxy with him. Well, at least now he’d know for the next time someone offered to give him mutant powers beyond his dreams. He’d have to tell Peter if he survived.

The thought made him snort out a laugh. Right. Because Peter would totally believe that you could get mutant powers from something as small as the pinprick of a needle.

~

Peter screamed into his pillow after M.J. had left. Like a full-on caterwaul of pain that lasted a good minute before his breath ran out and dissolved into moans. He had maybe underplayed the amount of pain he kept getting to M.J., Aunt May, Uncle Ben, and anyone else who asked. It was actually really bad, to the point where sometimes he started vomiting, and he could only hope Wade had access to painkillers.

“What are you doing?” Peter gasped out as the feeling of something digging into the base of his spine made his back arch. He’d almost gone to the cops a few times because clearly Wade wasn’t doing this to himself, but what could they do, really? The only thing he could do was finish his device and find Wade himself.

~

“Okay, I’ll shut up!” Wade yelled. They weren’t even physically doing anything to him at this point; they were stimulating his pain receptors with electrodes. But shit if it wasn’t one of the worst feelings ever, and he could only imagine what the kid was going through.

You know, by this point he’s probably just going to kill himself to get away from you.

Oh shut the fuck up. There’s no way.

Well, if you weren’t strapped down, wouldn’t you?

That was a fair point.

“Just… give me a break. A tiny one. I’ll do whatever you want. Oh, and before you shits try to play a dad joke on me and break my arm because that’s a type of ‘break,’ just no. I don’t appreciate that type of humour.”

Yes, you do. That’s literally your exact humour.

NOT. HELPING. But it is kind of funny. Heh.

“Come on, please, Mr. and Mrs. Science People? I’m starting to hear voices in my head at this point, and I don’t think I’ll make a great weapon for you if I’m batshit crazy.”

The suits exchanged unfathomable glances that made Wade want to shoot them, their parents, and their children. Then they gave a nod to each other and shut the machine down.

“You can have a slight reprieve, Mr. Wilson,” the woman said as she started tapping at buttons on the weird ass machine they had. How were Canadians able to afford something like this, anyway?

“But that’s all it is. Slight. Once Ajax can obtain the oxygen deprivation tank we ordered—perhaps another week or so—then you’ll know true suffering.”

Wade tried to hold back, he really did. But—

“That’s the most generic thing I’ve ever heard!” he burst out, throwing his head back and laughing. “What the hell? Why are you all generic cardboard cut-outs of villains? ‘Then you’ll know true suffering.’ Wow. Ten out of ten. You deserve an Oscar for that speech.”

Nope, he hadn’t held back at all. Mr. and Mrs. Science seemed okay, though, probably because they were fucking psychopaths.

“I am curious as to whether you’ll survive it or not,” Mrs. Science mused as she shut the lights off, leaving Wade hanging by his arms with the electrodes still attached to him.

“Oh, come on!”

“As am I,” Mr. Science said, and they started calmly discussing it as they left the room. Leaving Wade to the voices in his head.

~

Was it weird to be excited for school? It was definitely weird. Especially when you knew you’d get your ass kicked all over the hall the second you got back. But Peter was ecstatic, practically vibrating with excitement at the thought of going to Oscorp. The week passed by in a blur of his own pain (from Wade, all he’d gotten were really sore shoulders, which he supposed was a definite relief from the months of torture), but that didn’t dampen anything. Flash’s fists were nothing anymore.

It was a Friday when the brightest in the school finally got to Oscorp, M.J. practically sitting on him to hold him down on the bus ride there. He would bounce to his feet, eyes searching ahead for the sight of the massive skyscraper with Harry’s Dad’s symbol pasted all over it, and she would have to drag him back to the seat at a glare from the bus driver. No pain + science + maybe seeing Harry + meeting M.J.’s soulmate had to equal the best day of his life. They were even doing cancer research there, so maybe he could find something for Wade. All in all, a dream come true. Anything felt possible.

He was the first one off the bus, his breath snatched away as he ran past the tour guide to take in the first floor of the building. Wow. Wowowow. His face lit up in a grin as he took in tech that looked like it had been snatched from the future.

“Young man, you need to—” the tour guide called, but a familiar face spun her around and whispered something to her. Her eyes went wide and she nodded almost frantically, then gave Peter her brightest smile.

“Do whatever you please,” she said, turning back to the rest of the group. M.J. broke away to come stand with Peter, and a second later the person who’d talked to the tour guide sauntered over with a mischievous glint in his eye.

“If it isn’t Peter Parker himself,” Harry Osborn crowed, offering Peter a fist bump as he slung an arm around M.J. “And of course, the lovely Mary Jane. Been waiting for you two to get here; Gwen’s in my class and I heard everything from her. You two are going to love her, and Peter, I’ve got a special place I’ve been waiting to show you.”

The rest of the afternoon was pure bliss. Gwen was amazing, tough and brilliant to the point where she could keep up a steady stream of intellectual banter with the best of them, and the place Harry brought them to see was basically the cancer-curing ward. Harry was smart enough to explain it all too, mentioning that Oscorp was working with some Canadian company to find the cure and giving Peter the run down on how it worked.

This could be it, Peter thought, digging a nail into his palm as if Wade could sense his thoughts that way, They can probably cure him. Once I find him, it’ll work out. I’ve got this.

“Peter!” Harry called, and he turned just in time to catch the old-school camera Harry had chucked at him. Harry had on the goofiest grin, while M.J. and Gwen had fake looks of annoyance as Harry stood in between them, an arm around each of their shoulders.

“You used to like photography when you were younger, right? Shoot us.”

Peter gave a rueful shake of his head, but lifted the camera nonetheless. He wondered how he’d managed to get such an awesome group of his friends as took a step back to center them all. Now if only Wade was here, it would be perfect. Not because he liked Wade or anything (okay, maybe he admired the guy’s sass a little). More so that he wouldn’t have to worry about the next sharp pain he knew he’d feel eventually.

“Okay, on the count of three!” he said around the camera, focusing on getting the best picture. Lighting was right, angle good, centering…

“One…”

Harry flashed bunny signs behind the girls’ heads.

“Two…”

Gwen stuck her tongue out.

“Thr—AH!”

The camera clattered to the ground as Peter stared, dumbfounded, at his hand. For a second he couldn’t process what he was seeing, as used to weird pain from Wade as he was. Because the pain hadn’t come from Wade; there was a tiny, oddly coloured spider perched on his hand. With another yelp, he smacked the thing and shook his hand vigorously until it was gone, then wiped his hand on his shirt for good measure.

“Wade, again?” M.J. asked as the three of them broke their pose.

“No, it was just a bug,” Peter muttered as he shook his hand. The little bugger had a really harsh bite on him, though. The bite had already started swelling. Peter made a face as Harry grabbed his hand to look over, then shrugged.

“Looks like a spider bite to me. Anyway, I think the camera’s broken so we don’t have to worry about the picture anymore. How about I show you the genetically enhanced lizards next?”

Peter’s brows arched into his hairline, bite forgotten.

“Yes, please.”

~

“WHY.”

Wade wanted to kick himself to hurt Peter. Whatever had happened to his hand hadn’t been too bad, but now it itched like a motherfucker and he couldn’t scratch it. This was true torture. An itch you couldn’t scratch.

“Because, Mr. Wilson,” Francis said as he strode in, adjusting the cuffs of his suit with his mean-girls smile. “The oxygen deprivation tank is here for you.”

Oh. Fantastic.

~

Peter was perched on the end of his bed, scribbling furiously in his notebook about all the stuff he’d learned that day, when the oddest feeling hit him. His lungs started to ache and his throat grew painfully tight, making his vision swim as he stopped writing and bent down to put his head between his knees. He tried drawing in deep breaths but even though his body knew oxygen was coming in, his brain seemed to think his lungs needed to be in pain.

Panic attack? As the feeling passed and he was able to sit up again, heart pounding, he wondered if that’s what it was. He had been under a lot of stress recently, what with Aunt May and Uncle Ben starting to have financial issues, but if he was going to get a panic attack at any time it shouldn’t be now. Besides the spider bite, the day had been ama—

The feeling hit again, harsher this time, and Peter fell off his bed onto his knees, gasping. His head swam and his skin began to prickle uncomfortably as he reached up and clawed at his throat. He was breathing. But… not? Was it the spider? Was it anaphylaxis? He crawled towards his door, one hand moving after the other to drag himself there. He needed to call the ambulance, then. Or else—

The feeling went away, though not the creaky ache in his lungs. It made no sense! Unless… Wade? Was it Wade? Maybe he was dying. Peter needed to—

Gasp like a dying fish out of water. He writhed on the floor, tears springing to his eyes and rolling down his face out of pain and fear. He was being suffocated, slowly but surely. Was this how it felt when your soulmate died? Had the doctor lied?

“Aunt May,” he croaked out in a near-whisper when the feeling abated. It was no use; he couldn’t say anything loud enough and his body wouldn’t work anymore. He thought it was the worst feeling anyone could ever experience. Until, on top of that, it started to feel like his bones were shifting under his skin and a feverish heat radiated up from the bite to knock him out.

~

So. Oxygen deprivation tanks. Let me give you a lesson. First, they feel like shit to be put in, and I mean shit. Are you claustrophobic? Do you have a fear of drowning? Do you hate things being put over your face? Even if you answered no to all of these, the experience is worse than anal sex with a whale. Whale topping, of course.

Second part of the lesson? You can be the most heartless, psychotic asshole on the face of the planet (like Francis) and still not wish this on your soulmate, no matter how annoying he can be.

Wade tried to breathe less, breathe more, and hold his breath, but none of it worked. He tried shifting, wiggling, banging his head against the glass, but that shit held better than the Plexiglas at a hockey rink being struck by a puck. So really, since all of that just made him feel worse and wasted oxygen, his only option was to lie there and take it. Wow. Now he knew how Peter felt with the high school bullies. And good ol’ Francis had said he’d have to stand it for an entire weekend.

Wade wiggled his hands just enough that he’d be able to dig one fingernail into the tip of the other, when a new, equally fucking bad pain hit. Like his bones were being twisted all around in his body, like his skin was slowly being peeled back. Was it him? Was it Peter? It was impossible to tell; all he knew was that if it didn’t stop soon, he’d die.

His head falling from its position where it strained to look at his feet and search for his skin being destroyed, he looked into his own reflection in the glass of the tank.

And screamed.

~

Peter didn’t wake up for three straight days, and when he did it was at the hospital.

“Ah, Peter,” Uncle Ben said sadly as he reached out to squeeze his nephew’s hand. Peter blinked, looking blearily around the unfamiliar room before focusing on Uncle Ben.

“What happened?”

“Your Aunt May found you passed out and called the hospital. Nearest they could figure, it was your soulmate and they said there wasn’t much they could do. We begged them to run tests but we had no way to pay for them, so they’ve just kept you in a medical coma. They’ve been waking you up once a day but all you’ve done is scream. How are you feeling?”

Peter eased himself onto his elbows, waiting for the rush of hell that had tried to chase him in his dreams. At one point, he’d been sure he was on fire, like he’d gotten blown up. Was Wade… No. A quick search of himself found an ache in his toe, like he’d just stubbed it. Wade was alive? What the hell had happened, then?

Yet… as he started pulling tubes out of his arms, ignoring Uncle Ben’s cautioning, he found he felt good. Really, really good. Like better than he ever had in his life.

“I’m fine. Better than fine,” Peter stated in confusion as he looked himself over. Had he… gained muscle? That was physically impossible. Wasn’t it?

“Actually, I think I can be discharged.”

“Well, we should ask the nurse if—”

Peter tripped over one of the tubes as he went to get up and sprawled onto the ground. Except, he didn’t. One second he was falling, the next his hand had twisted around and grabbed the IV pole hard enough to bend it. He and Uncle Ben stood looking at the indentation his fingers had made in the hollow metal for nearly a minute before looking at each other.

“Um. I’m really sorry, I’ll uh, pay for that. I didn’t mean to,” Peter stammered out, bewildered.

“No, no, it’s fine,” Uncle Ben reassured him, though he seemed just as shocked. “I guess if you want to be discharged, I won’t stop you. I’ll just go get a nurse.”

Peter bobbed his head in a nod, turning wide eyes on the pole again when Uncle Ben left the room. He tried to pull his hand off of it, but it was stuck or something. He tugged with all his might, using his other hand to try and help, but then they both got stuck.

“What! Are! You! Doing!” he yelped at himself as he spun around, shaking both hands and kicking at it. It was like he was a human magnet. Finally, with one shake, he managed to dislodge it, though with probably way too much force. It sailed straight into the ceiling and then… through. Almost halfway through the ceiling. He gaped at the hole he’d made, backing up until his hands bumped into the dresser drawer behind him.

When he tried to pull away from that, it got stuck too, and by the time Uncle Ben came back with Aunt May and a nurse Peter was standing in the middle of what looked like a hurricane site, his hands tucked into his armpits.

“Peter!” Aunt May gasped, hands fluttering to her throat. “What in the name of all that’s holy are you doing?”

“I was, uh, looking for my pants?” Peter tried. The closet doors had come off the hinges, the bed was on the other side of the room, the bed curtain had been pulled down, the dresser drawers were broken at his feet, and the IV pole was still vibrating in the ceiling.

The nurse’s face had drained of colour but she still had a smile frozen on her face as she looked around the room.

“I’ll just let you guys talk,” she said with that same smile, which seemed to have gotten stuck to her face. Then she exited the room, quickly slamming the door behind her.

Peter took in his relatives’ expressions, which more or less mirrored his own. Then he spied something sticking of the drawer’s shards beside him, and he offered a wan smile, reaching down to pick up his pants.

“Found them.”

~

Well. It had been a rough weekend, possibly one of the roughest of Wade’s life (there were a couple of weekends he couldn’t remember which could’ve been worse), but things were beginning to look up. Or, as up as they could look when you looked like a Walking Dead extra who was too ugly to make even the extended edition cut.

“Wade? Is that you under there?” Weasel asked as Wade waved for some alcohol. He’d tried to blow Francis up. That shit hadn’t worked at all, though at least now he knew he was practically immortal, which was… okay? Maybe? He still hadn’t figured that part out, since he didn’t have a plan past find Francis and talk to Peter. Not in that order. He really needed to ask if the kid was okay, but Peter hadn’t been responding at all. He wasn’t dead, right? Wade would know?

“The one and only,” Wade muttered, ducking his head as Weasel tried to peer under the hood. He’d only been out of Weapon X’s grip (seriously, Weapon X? How uncreative are these guys?) for a day, and already he’d made six kids cry just by walking down the street.

“Thought you were dead,” Weasel sighed, sounding disappointed. “I bet on you in the Deadpool when I found out you had cancer.”

“The Deadpool?” Wade asked, looking up at the sound of the word. A plan had been forming in his mind, and for whatever reason that word was a nice fit. Just his kind of sick, twisted Canadian humour.

“Oh Jesus,” Weasel blurted when he caught sight of Wade’s face under the hood. “I’m not drunk enough for this. No, I don’t want to hear the story of why you look like what Hugh Jackman’s balls would look like if he fucked poison ivy, nettles, and a diseased sixty-year-old whore within a one-hour period. Why you look like someone lit a fire on your face and tried to put it out with a pitchfork and gasoline. Did you lose an acid fight? Did you lose a fight with the ugly stick?”

“It was plastic surgery gone wrong. I said more skin and they thought I said foreskin.”

“I mean, at least I don’t feel as sorry for my grandma anymore. I felt bad for how ugly her decomposed face would look but now, seeing you, I feel better.”

They both drank.

“I’m going to get revenge on who did this,” Wade growled as he slammed his cup back down on the table. “I swear. But first, I need to contact the high school kid.”

“Oh, man,” Weasel said, brushing a hand over his face. “I feel so bad for him. I would definitely kill myself if I was him and found out what you looked like. You shouldn’t contact him. You should probably just die, preferably at the bottom of the ocean where blind fish can eat you.”

“It’ll just be Morse code,” Wade informed him, digging a straw into his palm.

If you’re okay, respond.

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater.

I swear on chimichangas that if you don’t answer I will go out and get a piercing in a place you really don’t want me to get a piercing in.

What?!!!!

Wade grinned.

You okay, kiddo?

Sorry, I’ve been distracted. There’s a weird thing going on with me that I can’t really explain.

It’s called puberty. Now listen, I know it can be awkward having a boner in class so if you want to jerk off without anyone knowing I can

NO!!!!! Please don’t finish that sentence.

But I can finish

WADE!!!!

Fiiine. Seriously, though, how are you?

Alright, no thanks to that torture you’ve been through. I had to be put in a medical coma this weekend. Are you alright? Who’s hurting you? Did you escape? Are you

Woah. Did you say coma?

It’s nothing. What happened?

The usual. I pissed off the wrong people.

But you’re okay now?

Yeah, I’m good. Don’t worry, that whole torture thing was just a kink phase.

I’m not an idiot. When I find you, you’re telling me what happened with no exceptions, Wade.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

What about the cancer? I think I might’ve found a way to

Oh, it’s cured.

!!!!

Sorry. If you find me, I’ll tell you the story. Heh. I’m more interested in what’s happening to you, though. Bully problems? Girl problems? Boy problems? Parent problems? Boner problems? Eating problems? Depression problems? Suicide problems?

That escalated quickly.

I was thinking of some stuff while I was… indisposed.

Do YOU have suicide problems? I’m not good at psychology but I can

Chill, Pumpkin Eater. I’m the one grilling you. What’s going on?

Pumpkin Eater?

Pumpkin?

Peter? You still there?

Sorry!! Um. Yeah, I kind of ripped my clothes off accidentally.

What.

It’s a… long, weird story.

As your soulmate, the only one I’m allowing to rip your clothes off is me. When you’re of legal age, of course.

So you’ll tell me where you are?

Not a chance.

Then I’m not telling you what’s up with me.

You’re a little shit.

And you’re a big perv. My clothes are not getting ripped off by anyone besides me, I don’t need help with puberty, and I will find you, one way or another.

Oh, baby. Tell me what you’re going to do to me when you do.

I’m not talking to you anymore. I’m never talking to you ever again.

That’s okay, we don’t need to talk.

A) We’ve never met face-to-face so I don’t know why you’re saying stuff like that. B) No. Just no.

A) Because fate clearly wants to us to bang. B) Someday I’ll have you screaming yes.

-_-

As the last prickle of pain faded away, Wade laughed to himself. Messing with his soulmate was going to be the highlight of his life now that he knew how to fluster him. Could someone call the cops on you for low-key dirty talk with a minor? If it was just for fun? Ah well, it wasn’t like they knew who he was anyway. He polished off some tequila and clapped both hands.

“Looks like it’s time go looking for revenge.”

“Can you put on a mask first?” Weasel asked as Wade spun and was about to leave. “Please?”

~

Peter was beyond thankful that he’d worn baggy clothes for most of his life, because if not he would have nothing to wear now. His muscles really had grown, and besides that it somehow felt like his five senses had opened a new door. He could hear the creak of the well-oiled fridge open an entire floor down, see the veins on a fly’s wing when it flew by, smell the leftover meatloaf in the freezer from his room, feel the tiny bumps on his smooth wall, taste every individual spice Aunt May mixed in her secret soup. And climb walls, apparently.

At that particular moment he was hanging over his bed by his feet, hands dangling in the air as he stared down at his covers. This wasn’t normal. Nope, not even a little.

A knock at his door startled him and he leapt off of his ceiling, expecting to land on his back. Instead, his body had him do a rolling landing that ended with him on his feet and his hair sticking in the air as if he’d just woken up.

“Everything alright, Peter?” Uncle Ben asked as he opened the door and caught Peter standing on the floor with his hands above his head like he’d just won at Olympic gymnastics.

“Uh, yeah, I’m good,” Peter answered, bobbing his head up and down in a sort of nod. Uncle Ben gave him a weird look he couldn’t interpret, then slowly closed the door as Peter dropped his arms.

He was good. Wade was good. Everything was good.

All he needed to do now was finish the device he was making to find Wade. And learn how to deal with whatever the heck was going on with him.

 

Chapter Text

“WHERE’S FRANCIS?”

Wade jabbed his gun at the guy who was staring at him with eyes round as saucers, way too impatient for this shit. Sure, this was his first time asking this particular guy, but he’d spent weeks going after Fran-Fran and all he had for it were six costumes that were about as useful to him as a bicycle was to a fish. Oh, and a wedgie from the newest one that was killing him.

The guy in front of him shook his head frantically, then grabbed a pen and paper off the desk and started writing.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Wade yelled, his patience reaching its limit. “Did you just remember to add pickles to your grocery list? Did original lyrics pop into your head from this near-death experience? Are you writing to Liam Neeson to tell him you’re ‘Taken’? I mean, for fuck’s sake—”

He shot the guy in the head, blood spraying all over his newest costume. This one was red, which he had just realized was the best idea after the fifth costume in a row was ruined from bloodstains.

Hey, I never claimed to be Peter-level genius.

He turned to leave, trying to act like a cool, savvy type of dude who shoots people then walks out Terminator-style, when curiosity got the better of him. He spun on his toes and snatched the paper the guy had been writing on off the desk, squinting at the shaky lines. When he was finally able to decipher the message, he fell to his knees with a NOOOOOO that could rival Darth Vader’s at the end of the shitty prequel trilogy.

“Barry Allen,” he whimpered as he lay down in the spreading pool of the guy’s blood, curling into the fetal position. “I never thought I’d ask this after how many times I screamed at you on TV, but please fuck up the timelines. I’m begging you, just stop me from killing this guy.”

He only fucks up DC timelines though.

Shut up.

He clutched the note to his chest, the pain of not letting writing-man finish writing even greater the pain of the wedgie.

-I am sorry, sir. I am mute. Please don’t kill me. Ajax’s address is

~

Peter leaned against the doorjamb of the kitchen, the finally-completed device in his hand momentarily forgotten.

“I just don’t know how we can do it, Ben,” Aunt May was saying, and when Peter peered around the corner he could see she one hand propping her head up tiredly and the other entwined with Uncle Ben’s. “That hospital visit was too expensive and we already couldn’t keep up with the house payments. We don’t have enough to get us through this month.”

Peter’s hands tightened reflexively and the squeal of metal alerted his parental figures to his presence. He eased his grip quickly so as not to break it, then hesitated for a second before slipping into the kitchen.

“Morning, Peter,” Uncle Ben said jovially, as if nothing was wrong. Aunt May quickly put on a smile too, though hers was much more haggard-looking. Peter made a split-second decision not to bring up the conversation they all knew he’d overheard, offering them salutations as he opened the fridge door and scanned the contents. His appetite had been crazy in a way it never was, and he knew he could probably eat every single thing in the fridge without getting full.

He shut the door.

“Breakfast is important,” Aunt May chastised gently, and Peter gave her a rueful shrug as he waved the device around.

“I’m too excited to eat. I finally got this thing working, can you believe it? Once I find this person, there aren’t going to be anymore hospital trips.”

Before his stomach could growl and give him away, he quickly exited the kitchen to head back to his room, shutting the door lightly and sinking down against it as he studied the device he’d made. It worked the way he wanted it to, but it was absolutely useless now. It could judge how far away his soulmate was, so if the guy was close it would help him zero in. But…

Wade was nearly 2000 miles away. Peter had spent a few days running through the city (and damn, his speed was amazing compared to before), but all it had told him was that Wade was somewhere Northwest. Like… Canada. If he had the means, it would actually be easy enough to find Wade, but he’d blown all his money gathering the parts to make the device and even if he had money, he’d use it to help Uncle Ben and Aunt May.

Speaking of…

He gently set what he’d affectionately dubbed the S.S. (Schrödinger Seeker, because of the cat and Wade’s cancer and the quantum mechanics he’d used and… basically, a whole bunch of nerdy stuff) down on his dresser. Then picked up the newspaper that M.J. had graciously given him with a huge red circle around an article.

Oscorp Offers $20,000 for Innovative Organic Invention.

Organic kind of ruled out the S.S., but with the spider bite and the weird powers he suddenly had, a different idea popped into his head. Webs. It was still mostly an idea, but Harry had offered Oscorp’s facilities and any materials Peter needed for the project, so he could do it for free and maybe win enough to cover medical bills, house rent, and a trip to Canada.

If he didn’t get swept up in his powers, that was. Though he’d never been a really physical guy, his newfound stamina and strength was exhilarating. Wild. He could outrun anyone, totally avoid Flash without mirrors, climb walls, open jars… He’d started out with the small stuff because it had made him nervous, but the more his confidence in his powers grew the more he experimented.

If he could get the webs down, he might even be able to use them, too. Next chance he got, he was going to try climbing a building.

~

Wade narrowly avoided taking a bullet to the head, though the solitary reason he avoided a lot of stuff nowadays was for Peter. It was weird; he wasn’t supposed to be the nice guy, but being immortal and so ugly he scared the shit back into people had given him a slightly new perspective. Only slightly though, since it wasn’t like he had to look at his ugly mug all day.

“Not. Nice,” he grunted as he jammed his katanas through Francis’s shoulders then kicked away the offending gun.

There. Now fuck him up.

Maybe he can fix our face, though.

Do you really want to let him dick around with our body more? Heheh.

Don’t even make that joke.

But at this point, the only way we’re going to get laid is if we crawl up a chicken’s ass and wait.

“Can you or can you not fix my face?” Wade demanded, letting the voices war on about Francis’s fate while he waited for an answer. Which was Francis laughing rather hysterically, shaking his head with a look of incredulity as Wade lifted his now-fully-functional mask.

“Wade fucking Wilson. I should’ve known it was you from those ridiculous comments you kept making while you killed my men. How have you been? Judging by that face, not well. At least you can take consolation in the fact that if laughter’s the best medicine, your face must be curing the world.”

He got you there.

…Yeah, I really can’t disagree.

“Let me ask you something, Francis,” Wade mused, shaking the voices from his mind momentarily. “Do you still love your mother despite what she did to you?”

“If you’re talking about my name—” Francis began threateningly, blood dribbling down his chin as his eyes narrowed in a glare.

“Ooo, touchy. But no, I’m talking about giving birth to you. I mean, if my mother gave birth to you, I’d be pissed. Wait, was it on a highway? I mean, I’m not trying to offend or anything, but that’s where most accidents do happen. And I can’t imagine your birth being anything other than an accident.”

Francis let out a loud groan, rolling his eyes as he tilted his head back to let it rest against the wall behind him.

“I can’t fix your face, Wade. So please, for the love of God, just kill me already instead of going on and o—”

Wade wrenched a single katana from Francis’s body and offed his head with a noisy sigh. Then he replaced his mask and drew in a deep breath, searching himself for how it felt to have avenged what had happened to him. Everyone said revenge wasn’t the answer, but now that Wade had experienced it firsthand he found it was the answer.

 He may have still looked like an uglier Frankenstein’s monster, but somehow the air seemed sweeter, the grass greener, the wedgie… well, the wedgie was still bad. However, it did feel moderately better when he drew back a single foot and gave Francis’s head a kick so that it rolled like a soccer ball.

“You’re finally useful for something, Francis,” Wade said pleasantly as he kicked the head around. The stump made it roll kind of awkwardly, but it still worked well enough. He was in the middle of debating whether or not he should bring it home as a trophy (not Hannibal Lecter style… honestly!) when a pain he was totally unused to slammed into him so hard it took his breath away.

He let go of his katanas, stumbling around the dirty lab he’d found Francis in and clutching his heart before sinking to his knees. The amount of pain truly dumbfounded him, and tears started leaking down his face for no reason at all. It wasn’t that the pain was so bad he was crying… or rather, it kind of was… but not really…

Peter?

There were no jokes this time; he instinctively felt that it wasn’t appropriate, despite the fact that he’d never personally thought a time where jokes weren’t appropriate would happen.

Are you okay? What happened?

The response was sluggish in coming, the Morse all broken and dragged out so that Wade couldn’t make sense of it for a bit, until Peter finally got himself together long enough to form a coherent answer. Though it was only sharp pinpricks of pain that were either dots or dashes, the pain he was feeling coupled with the mistakes Peter kept making were as telling as if Peter were speaking into his ear.

My uncle died.

Wade swallowed, massaging his chest. Oh, fuck. He didn’t know how to comfort people, and he most certainly didn’t know how to comfort a kid. At least it was just an uncle, right?

He raised me. He’s my father, Wade. Was.

Oh. That explained the magnitude of emotional pain. Wade shifted so he was sitting instead of kneeling, resting his arms on his knees as he thought. You were supposed to say something along the lines of ‘I’m sorry for your loss,’ but it had always sounded stupid to him.

I don’t know what to do.

Wade massaged the bridge of his nose. This wasn’t cool at all. He didn’t know what to do either, and tears kept soaking into his mask and suit. They just wouldn’t stop.

Call me.

With hesitant fingers, he dotted and dashed out the number for his burner phone. This was absolutely nuts, actually speaking to someone who had felt like little more than an anonymous, funny stranger in a chat room who happened to share his pain. His phone rang.

“Hello?”

“Wade?”

Both of their voices were trembling, almost mirroring each other from a mingling of pain and shock. Wade’s grip tightened around the burner as he thought of the kid suffering alone on the other end. He knew next to nothing about Peter’s life, whether the kid had anyone to go to or whether this meant he’d be tossed in the system. Everything in his life could’ve just been uprooted, and even if it wasn’t that didn’t change the pain. Wade closed his eyes.

“Yeah.”

Silence on the other end, then the sound of soft sobbing. Peter’s voice sounded so young, even more so with the shakes and crying. Wade ran a hand over his face, still unable to come up with anything eloquent to say. So he said the only thing he could think he’d want to hear in the same situation.

“You’re not alone.”

The silence on the other end stretched for so long that Wade wondered if Peter had hung up. Then he heard a shaky breath being drawn in, and when Peter next spoke he sounded steadier. As if he were still on the verge of breaking down but was able to reign it in a little better now.

“Thank you.”

~

The months after Uncle Ben’s death were hard, especially since it was mostly Peter’s fault.

He’d been working on his webbing in secret, getting Uncle Ben to drive him under the guise of visiting Oscorp as an intern. If he won, he wanted it to be a surprise, so he kept the whole thing under wraps. Which eventually blew up in his face.

Uncle Ben had called Oscorp after Peter had forgotten his lunch and, surprise surprise, they had no record of an intern called ‘Peter Parker.’ The whole thing had turned into a heated argument, made worse by the fact that Uncle Ben had found Peter’s bed empty the previous night. He liked to go out and test his powers, alternating between jumping between buildings or planning how he could use his webbing to swing.

“I don’t know what’s going on with you, Peter, but your behaviour ever since you got out of the hospital has been way out of line.”

“What, you’re mad because my personality changed? Because I’m finally becoming my own person instead of your obedient, studious little son?”

“I didn’t mean it like that. I meant that May and I have both noticed something’s going on with you, and we can’t understand why you won’t tell us. Please, Peter, we’re just worried. Tell me what’s going on.”

“I’m old enough that you don’t need to know every single detail of my life! Can I not have some privacy once in a while?”

“With all the lies you’ve been telling? And you still won’t tell us what you’ve been up to? How are we supposed to trust you now? Trust is something earned, not given.”

“And I spent years earning it! Just because I’m not telling you what I’m doing, it automatically makes it something bad? Yeah, trust is earned, my ass. If you really trusted me, you wouldn’t think I was out doing something that would mess up our lives. The truth is, I’m old enough now that I have more power over my own life than either of you. I control me, not you. So get off my back.”

“Peter… yes, you have more power over your life now than ever before. It’ll continue to grow as you get older. And that’s okay; we want that for you. But what we also want is for you to know the proper way to use that power. With great power comes great responsibility.”

He hadn’t been able to come up with a good retort against that, so he’d stormed off in a rage. The dark cloud of a bad mood had hung over him all day, and when he saw a guy rob a store whose owner had once turned a blind eye when Flash caught him on the street, he decided to turn a blind eye too. He let the guy bolt past him without so much as a word while the store owner gaped first in shock, then in anger.

Peter had shrugged; in his mind, it was payback. Revenge was sweet.

Until it wasn’t.

The same guy had tried to carjack Uncle Ben when Uncle Ben came out looking for him, and in a moment of confusion where Uncle Ben tried to talk him down, the gun had gone off.

“It’s my fault,” Peter had said in a barely-audible voice to Wade over the phone. He’d been too scared to tell Aunt May, too scared of how she’d look at him.

“That’s like saying the rain is your fault because you killed a spider,” Wade told him, voice quiet but upbeat. In the days following the whole fiasco, Peter couldn’t bear to talk to anyone else. He was too guilty to look Aunt May in the eye, and his friends didn’t seem to know how to treat him.

Only Wade didn’t make him feel worse. Not only did he understand Peter’s exact pain, but he tentatively started joking around and made things feel more normal. Peter had never appreciated Wade’s crude, blunt humour more than he did in those few dark months. It helped him get back on his feet, and Wade’s voice essentially became his lifeline. It took everything he had not to reveal it through their conversations.

“Hey, Wade, ever wear spandex?” Peter asked now, the phone on speaker on his dresser. He had borrowed Aunt May’s sewing machine and was making the final version of the costume he’d designed. A true friendship with Wade had been born out of his grief, and also something else.

Spider-Man. His answer to Uncle Ben’s ‘great responsibility.’ He may not have been able to protect Uncle Ben, but he would no longer turn a blind eye to other criminal activity, not after seeing how out of hand things could get. He was going to make the city a better place with his new powers.

“Oh yeah!” Wade yelled enthusiastically over the sound of gunshots. Though they knew each other on a more intimate level than almost anyone else, by unspoken agreement they didn’t know much about each other’s lives. Which meant Peter couldn’t ask what the hell was going on, no matter how much he wanted to. “Comfy stuff. Why? You thinking of wearing it?”

Peter jerked his hand back from where his finger had almost become part of his new suit, shaking it as he listened to the screams on Wade’s end.

“No. Just saw some girls at my school wearing spandex leggings today and I was wondering if it was comfy.”

“Ten out of ten, would recommend. Especially to you. I’d like to see you in a pair of spandex leggings.”

“Mhm,” Peter said noncommittally as he held the costume up. It was perfect. “First you’d have to see me at all.”

“Maybe someday, kid,” Wade offered cheerfully as a particularly gruesome sound that sounded like inside bits of human becoming outside bits filtered through the speakers.

~

Wade never wanted to see Peter, he thought almost reflectively. Well, that wasn’t technically true. Technically, he wanted to see Peter more than he’d ever wanted to see anyone else before. There was something in Peter’s voice that simultaneously made him tense and relax all at once, in a weird way he definitely wasn’t used to.

Was it the intelligence Peter’s innocence had yet to grow into? Was it the unconscious, self-deprecating laugh that Peter tacked onto almost every sentence he praised himself in? The way his voice would trail off when Wade interrupted him, the way his pauses when he listened to Wade somehow seemed like he was actually listening with something other than annoyance?

All of them and more, probably, which was why they could never meet face-to-face. Not with Wade’s face looking like this. Even if Wade had been his old, pretty self, he still didn’t think he could ever imagine meeting his soulmate. Peter’s world seemed so safe and cloistered compared to his; he was sure that if their lives clashed, Peter would inevitably end up losing that wonderful naivety that made him so refreshing to talk to.

You sound like a chick in a Nicholas Sparks’ movie.

Yeah, but there’s way more sexual innuendos in this movie. We’d put the note in Peter’s book. The message in his bottle. He’d be The Lucky One ™ and get The Best of Me™. I guarantee you we would have The Longest Ride ™.

Before you go through every chickflick ever made, Pumpkin is right. We’ve never seen his face. Plus, he’s a fucking kid. We’ve already established we’re not kiddie diddlers.

Have you heard him talk? I mean, when he’s older he’s going to be the type of guy who talks science so passionately your floppy disk will turn into a hard drive. You’ll want to do him on a table periodically.

Heh. True enough, though I’d like to stress the ‘when he’s older’ part. But the point of the matter is, we’re not good enough for him.

“Are you going to shoot someone else or are you just going to sit there thinking?” the stripper to Wade’s left asked tentatively, raising her head from behind a table. Other girls were gradually sitting up, looking at the carnage around them in awe. Wade shook himself and sat up from where he’d been laying across the bar counter, staring thoughtfully at the blood splatters on the ceiling.

“Sorry, for scaring your customers, ladies. No more shooting tonight; I already killed everyone I wanted to.”

He yawned as he swung himself off the counter, tucking one of his guns back into its holster. One man and two women lay dead in front of him, faces forever curled in angry snarls. It was too sad. Wade bent down and poked their mouths into smiles before rigor mortis set in, then stood and saluted the strippers who had gone from scared to mildly annoyed.

“I really am sorry. Myself and many another good man—and woman—appreciate all that you do. Carry on.”

He began to hum Wrecking Ball under his breath as he reached into his pocket and withdrew the shiny gold card Weasel had handed him. Sure, now that he had powers he did some hero-ish work on the side of his merc duties, but a man had to eat. Chimichangas were, sadly, not free.

Luckily for him, the newest client who had strode into Sister Margaret’s (sure, it was Hellhouse now, but Sister Margaret’s was soooo much more ironic) had a job that aligned with his purposes. Whoever this big shot was, Weapon X had dicked around with him too and he wasn’t happy. He’d heard about Francis’s demise through the grapevine and personally requested Wade to do some digging.

Wade wiggled his fingers and a second card slipped out from behind the gold one, a card he inspected much more thoroughly. This one he’d gotten off the bodies of those Weapon X grunts, and his client would certainly be interested in the fact that each of the three of them had carried one of these cards. He was interested, too, though he’d have to do more poking around in the hornet’s nest to find out more about the company name scrawled in fancy script across the card.

“Oscorp,” he said aloud, testing the name in his mouth. Sounded weird, but oh well. Soon enough, the Os’s who had made the Corp would have a lot more to deal with than taxes and the Canadian government.

~

“Peter, where are you going?” Aunt May called as Peter fairly flew out the door. He jogged a couple of steps back to answer her, pleased that she looked way healthier now. The first few months after Uncle Ben’s death had been just as hard—if not more so—for her, but things were gradually starting to get better. Especially since Uncle Ben’s life insurance had temporarily solved their financial problems. Aunt May liked to say he was still taking care of them from wherever he was.

“I have a part-time job now, Aunt May,” Peter answered, holding up his camera proudly. That part was true. It had taken all of his courage to approach bitter, disillusioned J. Jonah Jameson, but once he’d shown the pictures he’d taken of ‘Spider-Man: Masked Menace,’ Jameson had reluctantly accepted the deal Peter had come up with. Up front payment, only paid when the pictures were satisfactory. It wasn’t the best deal ever, but it was alright for his purposes.

Aunt May called him over to chat a bit about what he was up to, then he was flying out the door again, camera tucked under one arm as he searched for the best place to get the shot. Of course, since life always loved to mess with your plans, the second he’d found a sweet place the sound of a woman screaming sliced through his senses.

In the space of a minute, he found a suitable alcove and stripped off his clothes to reveal the suit underneath. Jamming on his mask, he leapt from the roof that would’ve given him the best shot yet and swung towards the sound, trying not to enjoy the feeling of flying too much. It was impossible, though; he enjoyed being Spider-Man, enjoyed it more than anything else on the earth. He’d gone from being a small, bullied nerd to a hero people were slowly warming up to, and he got to lower crime rates while doing it. All in all, it was win-win.

“Get off of me!” a redhead shrieked, and Peter dropped down in the alley just in time to see M.J. deliver a wicked uppercut to the guy who’d had one of her hands in a viselike grip. Peter threw his weight forward, flicking his wrist to pin one of the guy’s hands above his head on the wall, and using his other to pull M.J. close to him as he tackled her out of the way of a gunshot.

If she was surprised, it was nothing compared to his own reaction; M.J.? Seriously? This wasn’t even a bad part of town, so it was absolutely nuts that someone would attack her. He gave her a quick once-over to make sure she was alright, then spun around just in time to see the guy triumphantly level a gun at his head.

He knew there was no time to stop the bullet even as he desperately jerked his wrist up, but he needn’t have worried; before the guy was able to pull the trigger, a resounding clang made him go boneless and the gun slip from his finger. Gwen frowned, panting hard, as she looked between the lid of a trash can she’d just brained him with and M.J. in Peter’s arms.

“Looks like you ladies have it more under control than I do,” Peter joked, deliberately making his voice sound deeper so they wouldn’t recognize it as he released M.J. She cocked her head at him with a look of confused familiarity, and he knew he really should’ve just shut up after all. Until Gwen spoke, distracting the both of them.

“That guy didn’t want to kill us in the first place; he dragged M.J. out here to get her away from Harry.”

“Harry?” Peter asked, feigning ignorance. Gwen nodded frantically, gesturing back the way she’d come from.

“Our friend. There’s another one, a woman, trying to kill him. Please, you have to—”

Peter was already gone, swinging out in a flurry of red and blue to the building his senses told him Harry would be in. An Oscorp warehouse.

He slipped in quietly, listening hard and stretching his senses to the max. He could hear the quiet hum of machinery in the background, a steady drip of water somewhere close, and… there. The smallest shuffle of a footstep. Was it Harry or was it the woman after him?

He looked around the warehouse, taking in the mounds of boxes that completely obscured one area from the next. It was like a maze of crates, so obviously the only thing to do was go up. He crawled up the side of one mound as quietly as he could, keeping his attention focused on where he’d heard the scrape of a foot. Sure enough, he heard it again, and he sped up so that he could reach the top.

Once there, he let his focus widen more until he was sure there was no one directly below him, then began jumping soundlessly from mound to mound. It was nerve-wracking, made all the more so by the fact that Harry was somewhere in here trying to avoid execution or something. When he finally got to where he’d heard the noise, his heart relaxed a tiny bit as he saw it was Harry trying to be as quiet as possible.

Peter drew in a deep breath, trying again to hear if there was anyone else near, and when he didn’t hear anything he shot a web to the ceiling then lowered himself down until he was almost directly eye-to-eye with Harry. Harry, who had been facing the other way, turned and would’ve screamed aloud had Peter not darted out a hand to hold firmly against his mouth, bringing his finger to his own lips.

Eyes wide, Harry nodded, and Peter grabbed him under the arms and slowly lifted the two of them up onto the crates.

“What’s going on?” Peter whispered, voice barely more than a breath.

“An assassin, I think,” Harry answered in a voice even lower, pupils dilated in fear. That made no sense. Why would an assassin be after Harry? Harry wasn’t into any gangs or anything, and it wasn’t like Oscorp was doing anyone any harm. Peter stowed the information in the back of his mind for later, concentrating for now on keeping them both alive.

And then, of course, his phone went off. Since he hadn’t planned a stealth mission, he’d had no reason to turn it off—Aunt May may have needed to contact him, or Wade, and as Spider-Man he could usually stop the bad guys and get back to them ASAP. At least he’d had the foresight to set the ringtone to something generic, though that was his last worry now.

With a curse, he fumbled around until he finally managed to get the tiny thing out of the compartment he’d made for it at his waist. J. Jonah Jameson. Not now, Peter thought frantically as he cancelled the call, sweat rising then soaking into his suit as he searched with his senses again. Texts buzzed through and he glanced at them briefly before turning his phone off completely and shaking his head.

Parker, have you heard of Deadpool?

I think he’s working with Spider-Man.

Find out.

Yeah, he didn’t have time for that. This became doubly true when his senses alerted him to a presence above them, and he had just enough time to jerk Harry back before a bullet struck where Harry had been a moment before.

“Found you~!” the woman above them sang as she dropped down from the rafters, and Peter shoved Harry off of the boxes, throwing a web near the floor to catch him before facing the woman.

“A little underdressed for the weather, don’t you think?” he asked lightly as she took a swing at him. Spandex may get chilly, but he couldn’t imagine what booty shorts and a top that barely covered anything would be like in the winter.

“I come from Canada, this is nothing,” she said as he dodged three punches thrown in quick succession. She was good, way better than he would’ve expected from anyone without powers, but his powers gave him a big advantage over her.

“Very true; you are, essentially, wearing nothing,” Peter quipped as he found a hole in her movements and kicked her feet out from under her. She dropped hard, clearly not expecting it, and he pinned her with two easy webs. Whew. That answered the question he’d had about whether he’d survive an assassination attempt or not. Sort of.

“What do you say in Canada during a situation like this?” Peter joked as she glared daggers at him. “Sorry?”

“The only thing I feel sorry for is you,” she growled as she tried, with no avail, to wiggle out of the webbing. “This definitely won’t be the last time you’ll have to protect baby Osborn. And one of these times, you’ll slip up.”

“That’s funny, since the only one who slipped here today was you,” Peter offered, and she stopped struggling to shake her head.

“You’re almost as bad as that other guy in red spandex. Deadpool.”

She clammed up after that, not saying a single word despite multiple attempts at questioning her. Peter may have joked around, but deep down what she’d said concerned him. Why were more people going to be coming after Harry? Just what exactly was going on?

And, less important, though still curious in its own right…

Who the heck was Deadpool?

~

Wade stuffed his face with his favourite burritos, letting out a sigh of contentment as heavenly juice dribbled down his chin. He wanted to die just like this; slathered in the sauce of chimichangas, clad only in boxers and his mask. Preferably after just getting laid, though that didn’t seem like it would happen any time soon.

When he finished his meal, he wiped his greasy fingers on the couch then scooped up his controller to settle into a serious playthrough of The Last of Us. He wanted to cry the sappy bitch out of himself so that he wouldn’t feel so dumb next time he talked to Peter. And the Logan trailer had given him The Last of Us feels.

“Joel,” he sobbed the second the game started, but his dramatics were rudely interrupted by the ringing of his burner phone. Only two people knew the number, and since Weasel never called him it had to have been Peter. He kept his eyes on the screen, jamming his phone between his shoulder and ear as he continued to play.

“What’s up, Pumpkin?”

“Okay, that’s a weird way to greet me, but at least you answered the phone.”

What the fuck. It’s actually Weasel.

You know, if you wouldn’t have said ‘since Weasel never called,’ then it would’ve been Peter. Just saying.

I hate when we agree.

“Oh, it’s you. What do you want?”

“I have a new job for you.”

Wade finally stopped playing, setting the controller down and sitting up. Joel and Ellie would have to wait; Weasel never called about jobs, so this one must be serious.

“Yeah?”

“That whole thing about Oscorp turned up a lot of shit so our guy hired some assassins to kill people in the company. He thinks they’re making more mutants, and the report one of his assassins managed to send in from prison proves it.”

“Oscorp is in New York.”

“And so is the newest mutant. He’s already put a couple of our guy’s people in jail, so our guy thinks he’s one of the Osborn’s bodyguards. Someone who agrees with what they’re doing and may even be using his powers to help them. Sound familiar?”

Wade narrowed his eyes. Another Francis-like person hanging around? Except an American this time?

Kill him.

Nope, not enough. Torture.

And then kill him. Bash his fucking brains in.

Fine, as long as we get the torture in first.

“Give me a name and I’ll buy the first ticket out of this shithole.”

He heard Weasel chuckle on the other end, and he allowed himself a smile of his own.

“Spider-Man.”

This would be fun.

Chapter Text

Peter began investigating Oscorp as both himself and Spider-Man. Himself, as Harry helped him get a real internship there (plus he discreetly slipped questions to Harry into normal conversation), and Spider-Man, as he snuck into offices and found files the public hadn’t heard of. It felt kind of like thievery, but he reminded himself he was doing this for Harry; Oscorp was the only reason he could think people would send assassins after his friend for. And he was right, because what he found there was… unsettling.

Human experimentation. A deal with a Canadian company who agreed to give Oscorp funds if they shared research and no questions were asked. Things deeper than the cure for cancer, that possibly could cure cancer but were being used more to mutate cells. The answer as to how he had become Spider-Man.

It was all bad stuff, made worse by the fact that Norman Osborn, whom he’d considered a second father before the man got caught up in work and Peter saw Harry less, knew everything. He’d found a journal in Norman’s private study (an entire secret room had opened when he’d pulled Art of War out of the bookshelf after his senses told him hid something) that detailed the descent.

Norman had started off actually wanting to do some good, but the world had crushed him. No one wanted to fund him despite how far he’d already come with the cure, so he’d desperately turned to shadier means. For a bit, it had worked. Until Norman found out what the Canadian company was doing with his cure. It had broken him.

Peter could pinpoint the exact time he’d broken, his sentences becoming sharply fragmented and his handwriting made of jagged edges. Peter had to swallow back a lump in his throat as he read over some of the things Norman had seen done to people. To know you’d caused all of that… God. He shivered, some irrational part of him wanting to call Wade and tell him everything, see what he thought.

Norman’s most recent pages were absolutely crazy, and he’d started referring to himself as the ‘Green Goblin.’ No wonder Harry had decided to go live with a different relative a few years ago.

The Green Goblin thought he needed to fix what he’d done by destroying all of the unnatural things his ‘cure’ had made. Find mutates, put them out of their misery. He was shoring up weapons to get rid of them, and the top mutate on his list…

“Spider-Man,” a voice sneered behind him a second after his senses began screaming. He dropped the journal and launched himself backwards, managing to get out of the room a second before the bookshelf snapped closed.

“Norman Osborn,” Peter greeted cautiously as his eyes flickered around the room for an escape route. Norman was standing in the middle of the room with an odd grin on his face, head cocked to one side.

“I can’t believe it. I called for you and here you are,” Norman continued. Insanity danced in his eyes, and there was a sort of greenish tint to his skin. He looked sallow and unnatural, like a failed mutation from his journal.

“You’re looking kinda green. Did you—”

“Oh yes. I deserve punishment just as much as the rest of you, so I took the serum. The effects weren’t nearly as great as yours, but you won’t have to worry about that soon.”

Norman needed to be stopped. Like really, really badly. And now. The only problem was that Peter needed to gather more evidence on the entire operation before he could bring it to light and risk lawyers keeping Norman out of a mental hospital.

As much as he didn’t want to let this guy stay on the streets, a fight wouldn’t do him any favours now. Decision made, Peter threw himself at the massive window, making himself as small a target as possible.

He needn’t have worried, though. Norman didn’t even try to fight him; he let Peter go without lifting a finger, cackling into the night. Somehow, that made it all the more disturbing.

~

“Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can~” Wade sang under his breath as he flipped through a touristy New York magazine. He’d always wanted to visit, scope the place out and see what it had to offer, and now was the perfect chance. Sure, he had to assassinate Spidey and take down the Osborn family, but he could fit the Statue of Liberty and Times Square in between kills, right?

“Spins a web, any size~”

Weasel was shipping his weapons over via the usual underground methods, and as soon as he got them he’d start his mission.

“Will get caught, like a fly~”

So he had time to catch a show of Live with Kelly before that.

“Look out!”

If not, maybe he’d check out the Empire State Building.

“Here I come, Spider-Man~”

“Will you shut up!” the woman next to him on the plane hissed. “My baby is trying to sleep!”

“Oh, sorry.”

Nah. He’d probably just do what he always did; hit up some bars and stuff his face with Mexican food.

~

Peter jerked awake to the sound of his alarm clock going off. Except he didn’t have an alarm clock. The blaring, annoying old thing Aunt May had given him for his tenth birthday was a little too jarring to wake up to, so he’d completely taken it apart and reconfigured it so that it would turn on his radio to wake him up. Could he have just bought a new alarm clock that did the exact same thing for a lot less work? Yes. Could he have done it without hurting Aunt May’s feelings? …Well, maybe, but he hadn’t wanted to find out.

Anyway, this was the exact same sound as the clunker Aunt May had bought him, and it took a long time for his brain to catch up. What had he done with the actual alarm part of the clock? He stumbled and fell out of bed, sheets wrapped around his waist, before remembering the last-minute modification he’d made to the S.S.

In a flash, he tore the sheets away (literally… oops) and launched himself to the small machine blaring like a ship’s foghorn. He fumbled around until he was able to shut it off, then squinted in the low light at the number the screen displayed. Hooooly shit. He had modded the S.S. to go off when Wade was within a fifty-mile radius but he’d never expected anything to come of it. Good thing he’d gone against his logic.

Wade was within a twenty-mile radius of him. His heart kicked up about nine thousand notches as he waited for the number to change. He kept expecting zeroes to appear, to say Wade was still 2000 miles away. They didn’t.

He was dressed in a minute flat—Spider-Man style, with Peter Parker clothes in a bag—and then he was out the window. He checked his watch; just after 12:00 am, which meant he had about six hours before Aunt May got up and checked on him before making her morning coffee. Six hours to narrow down where Wade was and maybe finally speak face-to-face. Taking a deep breath, he picked North at random and kept an eye on the S.S. He could do this.

It took him nearly two hours to narrow down the area Wade was in, and when he finally did he almost gave up. The S.S. was only accurate to one mile, so he had to map out a box Wade could be in then search the whole area. But this was New York, and the area he mapped out ended up being a seedy, densely populated area.

Dressed as Peter in case he heard Wade’s voice, he pulled his hood up and tried to look as menacing as possible so no one would try to mess with him. He wasn’t worried so much about getting beaten up as he was about revealing his strength and giving anyone in this shady area a clue to who Spider-Man was.

If I were Wade…

He stopped outside of a strip-club that happened to be still open, eyeing it. He could definitely imagine Wade camped out in a place like this, though he still had no idea why his soulmate would even be in New York. He stood there staring at the flashing ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ sign for so long the bouncer gave him a dirty look.

He sighed; he didn’t even look remotely close to twenty-one, so there was no going in there. He also couldn’t call Wade without having to explain the whole device deal, and with a bitter shake of his head he realized he’d essentially wasted the whole night. Wade could be anywhere, anyway; there were at least four motels in the area, a crapload of residential buildings, and tons of shops that bragged wares but looked more like fronts for drug dealers. Not to mention he had the whole Oscorp thing to deal with and he wanted to do some legal research before school.

With a disappointed breath, he decided he may as well go home. He’d have to look later, maybe see if Wade left the area then follow and try to guess where he was going. At least one thing was for certain, though; he was going to find his soulmate. He was too close now to give up.

~

Wade was a little disappointed to find that New York’s strippers were no better or worse than Canada’s, but the thought of causing some trouble the next day cheered him. It was nearing three in the morning when he finally decided to head back to the motel, stumbling out of the club and flashing the bouncer a smile that made the big guy grimace. Damn. The people here weren’t so friendly.

Whistling Way Down We Go from the Logan trailer, Wade offered cheery smiles to the people who glared at him and finger-waves that almost prompted a couple of fights. Everyone here was so touchy. And not the good kind of touchy, either.

He started down the street, then did a double take when he caught sight of someone staring at the club out of the corner of his eye. He paused, arching a brow at the kid who was looking almost longingly at the pulse of lights showing through the window.

Baby Boy wants himself a girl.

And I bet a girl wants Baby Boy. He’s going to grow up to be a DILF.

Maybe, but it would be more fun if he called us Daddy instead.

Wade brought his fingers to his mouth and let out a sharp wolf-whistle, jolting the kid out of his thoughts. His face flushed and he ducked his head without looking around, hurrying away. Wade snickered, as did the voices in his head.

Okay, maybe everyone in New York isn’t so bad.

~

Peter was so exhausted from the previous night than he wasn’t even able to avoid Flash in the halls. He took a few hits to keep up appearances, which earned him an annoyed pinch from Wade, but Flash’s heart didn’t seem to be in it and soon enough it was back to class. The whole thing seemed to drag and Peter drummed his leg impatiently until the bell rang. He leapt out of his seat with a quick bye to M.J., then removed the S.S. from his pocket.

It took everything he had not to run down the street, though at least his caution was rewarded when Flash peeled out of the parking lot with a “Later Loser.” Whoever had given him his license deserved to be fired.

Shoving that thought away, he picked up his pace. He had to—

A scream cut through the air and he cursed softly under his breath. Sometimes, being Spider-Man really interfered with his ability to be Peter Parker. He had to spend the next hour helping people, going from one mess to another. There had never been so many people to save in one day; a stranger had taken a woman’s kid (the boy oddly turned up eating ice cream in a nearby park), a bank had been robbed (the money minus twenty bucks had been on the roof), there was a ‘murder’ (which turned out to be a homeless man paid to act dead), a cat had been in a tree (eating… a chimichanga… what…?), and more.

All in all, nothing was actually serious, no matter how much it seemed to be. Peter got the distinct feeling someone was messing with him after the cat, and it was doubly confirmed when he came to break up a fight in an alley which turned out to be two old men having a grand old time slapping each other.

“Let me guess… someone paid you to do this?” Peter asked in exasperation as they broke up their fighting to grin at him.

“Spider-Man!” the old guy in the sunglasses crowed happily. “I’m a big Stan. And no one had to pay me to play a plot device. I love doing cameos in the Marvel universe.”

“Right,” Peter said, nodding as if that made any sense whatsoever. He would’ve stayed to ask who had told them to fight, when his spidey senses made him spin just in time to witness one car barrel through a definitely red light to smoke another one’s hood.

He took off, shooting webbing left and right so neither of them went further and hurt anyone else. It was a lucky crash, though; there were no pedestrians or other cars near, and since only the hoods had hit the people in the cars weren’t seriously hurt. Speaking of the people in the cars…

“Spider-Man!” a familiar voice called, and Peter had a hard time not immediately recoiling when Flash leapt from the driver’s seat of the car that had gotten hit. But Flash’s eyes were sparkling in awe as he took in the crash, his face awash in gratitude as he looked at Peter. Or, rather, Spider-Man. Peter doubted Flash would ever look at him that way in a million years if he knew who was under the suit.

“Flash Thompson!” a voice cracked out through the air, and Flash visibly shrank when a man climbed out of the passenger seat with an expression crueler than the bully’s at school. “What the hell were you thinking? Driving without looking—”

“Dad, it wasn’t me,” Flash said in a small voice, and Peter suddenly understood Flash a lot better than he’d ever thought he would.

“Don’t you dare interrupt me, you pathetic fucking excuse for a—”

“Whoa!” Peter called out, intentionally making his voice lower. “Not cool, man. I saw the accident and your son wasn’t at fault in the least. Ease up, would you?”

Flash’s dad let out a low sound of disgust but turned away to call the cops or something. Flash shot Peter another look of pure adoration, and Peter resolved to maybe try a different tactic for dealing with the bully at school. Do something nice for a change, show the big guy some of the pictures ‘Peter’ had taken of Spider-Man.

He was about to tell Flash to go do some random act of kindness when Flash’s expression changed from puppy love to stark horror. Oh God. Had he just realized? Peter blanched under his suit and was suddenly unable to move as Flash barrelled towards him like a linebacker.

“Move!” Flash roared, and then grabbed Peter a second before the sound of a gunshot split the air.

Dumfounded, all Peter could think was Why didn’t my spidey senses warn me about the shot?

~

 

We missed.

We didn’t miss; that massive bear of a kid saw us and tackled him out of the way.

I guess we should’ve watched Bear Boy, then.

Are you kidding me? And take our eyes off that majestic ass for even a second?

Fair point.

Wade lifted his guns as Spider-Man and Bear Kid rolled to a stop, admiring how smooth Spider-Man’s movements were as he sprang to his feet the second they had stopped rolling.

He’d been committing random acts of criminality all day to draw Spidey out, all of them to no avail. The car had been a last-ditch effort, as if maybe the loud crunch of metal would be heard all across the noisy city and draw the spider like a fly to honey. Which, in that metaphor, he would be the honey and Spider-Man the fly, but since Spider-Man was also the spider that was…

Wow, that is literally the shittiest metaphor I ever made. No, no… Draw Spider-Man like a fly to shit. Yeeeees, that’s the shittiest metaphor I ever made.

ANYWAY.

He’d meant to shoot Spidey in the knee so he could carry the lithe little piece of ass off to some hole to question, but that hadn’t happened. He was kind of glad, though, now that he got to see that ass in motion. He could dedicate paragraphs, chapters, to how perfect that booty was, but for the sake of time he thought it would suffice to say he’d like to eat it just as much as he’d like to eat his favourite deep-fried burrito.

“Do you know how to twerk?” Wade called out as he fired off another shot at Spidey’s kneecap. He wanted to see those famous spidey-senses in action.

But Spidey must’ve been high or something because he barely managed to get out of the way, earning him a nice red stripe across one of the sides of his knees. Wade felt a twinge of sympathy-pain and he shook his head sadly.

“This is disappointing. I climbed on board the hype train, but instead of taking me to a mythical land of unicorns and red-spandexed porn, it made me Darth Vader and stuck me in full suit on a sandy beach.”

“Deadpool,” Spidey finally managed to say. Wade was wondering if this guy was actually just some knockoff when Spidey finally made his comeback. He shot his web (damn if that isn’t a euphemism) to the nearest building and flipped twice in the air before landing like an acrobat, leaving Wade no time to fire a shot (fighting may as well be sex). Wade fired once but Spidey was already on the next building, and then he kept launching himself around like a little spider monkey.

They both fired at one another, Wade bullets and Spidey webs, but Spidey wouldn’t get any closer so Wade was able to dodge the webs with ease.

“This foreplay is getting boring~!” Wade sang out, then tucked his guns away to bring his out his katanas and go after Spidey himself. He wasn’t exactly sure how he planned to scale the wall, but luckily for him Spidey leapt off the roof and landed a few feet behind him. Wade spun just in time to slice through a web, making a face under his mask.

“Wait!” Spidey yelped, holding up both hands in the universal sign of peace. Wade dropped his katanas and Spidey looked relieved. Until Wade whipped out his guns and levelled one at Spidey’s abdomen and the other at his knee.

“Oh, that is so not fair,” Spidey groaned.

“Fights don’t stop because someone yells wait, Baby Boy,” Wade explained patiently, wondering if Spidey had hit his head trying to save someone. “Like sex. Once someone’s—”

“No. No, no, no,” Spidey interrupted, and for a moment that sounded really familiar. Nah. There was no way.

“Look, I just think there’s a huge misunderstanding here,” Spidey continued as if Wade couldn’t just shoot him at any time. “The reason you’re here is because of Oscorp, right? Everything seems to come back to that.”

Ooh. Smart and sexy.

And he understands the appeal of red spandex. Marriage material, really.

“You got it.”

“That’s actually good! There’s someone else who knows what’s going on! Do you have proof about what Oscorp has been doing? Like, proof that’s admissible in court?”

Wade stared. The voices fell silent. The world fell silent.

…What? That was so completely out of the left field that Wade had no idea how to respond.

It’s a trick, duh.

You think people dressed in spandex are honest? He’s trying to save that perfect ass of his.

The only one who’d actually be dumb enough to be this honest is Peter. And he’s in some fairy tale land far, far away.

“And also…” There was a nervous catch in Spidey’s voice as he looked Wade up and down. “Your name wouldn’t happen to be… Uh… It’s just, your voice sounds a lot like—”

Wade didn’t get to hear what his voice sounded a lot like, because a second later an explosion threw him and Spidey in opposite directions through the air. Spidey managed to stop himself with a web, but Wade hit the wall hard and coughed out a wad of mucous that had been stuck in the back of his throat for weeks. Hey, he’d take it.

Standing up and brushing the dust from the wall off of his suit, he squinted at the new player who’d just appeared on the board. A guy who looked decidedly like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree that had been dehydrated.

“Is this guy a friend of yours?” Wade yelled across the street at Spidey, who was gasping like a fish out of water and clutching his back. Seriously, what the hell? Was he actually an old man? Wade had hit his back, not Spidey.

“Not even a little,” Spidey wheezed in answer, and Wade stretched to crack the sore bones and muscles on his own back as he surveyed the scene. Bear Kid and Bad Dad had taken off after Bear Kid had saved Spidey, so there weren’t many people around. Those who had come out to peer at the fight taking place had all fled when the newcomer arrived, so it looked like it would be Wade vs. Spidey vs. Green Prune.

“Two mutates in one day?” Green Prune asked, and wow did he ever look like a peach. Well, the figurative type of peach. “I must have providence on my side.”

He was also on what looked like a hover board.

What the shit. I want a hover board.

“I’ll tell you what you don’t have on your side,” Wade called, distracting Green Prune as Spidey got himself together. “Good looks. I mean, your left side is fucking ugly and your right side is bloody ugly. The Americans and Brits both hate you. How’d that even happen?”

“Don’t forget his backside being indisputably ugly and his front side being just plain ugly,” Spidey decided to throw into the mix. “He’s the guy on the popup ad that says ‘Scientists hate him’; scientists actually hate him, but so do normal people for popping up on their screen.”

I’m in love.

Do we actually have to kill him? I mean, do we really?

“I think I’ll kill Spider-Man first,” Green Prune said coldly, completely ignoring Wade as he sped towards Spidey. Wade ran towards Spidey too, this time to save him, but Spidey avoided them both by webbing himself up onto the nearest building.

“Spidey!” Wade howled in distress, doing his best Samwise Gamgee impression. “Don’t go where I can’t follow!”

“This is Norman Osborn!” Spidey yelled over the sound of another explosion. Except he was much better at dodging Green Prune than he had been at dodging Wade; he had an almost supernatural sense of where the bombs were going to be.

“Wait, you’re not on his side?!”

Spidey dodged two more bombs, four throwing knives, and a wicked three-pronged trident sort of thing that shone green before leaping off of a building and landing beside Wade, head tracking Green Prune.

“If you still think I’m on his side after all of this, I don’t know what to tell you,” Spidey panted as he spun and kicked a bomb flying towards them away seconds before it exploded. “Now instead of watching me do all the work, do you think you can help out a little?”

“I’ll do anything for you,” Wade said adoringly. Spidey wasn’t on the wrong team at all. Unless he was on the exclusively girls team; if he didn’t swing at least a little for boys, that ass was totally being wasted.

“Focus!” Spidey gritted out as he tackled Wade away from a noxious green gas that most likely smelled like eggs and a boys’ locker room.

“I am so turned on right now,” Wade murmured low into Spidey’s ear, and Spidey released him, jumping away as if he had the plague. He. Was. So. Cute.

With a laugh, Wade reloaded his guns and brought both of them up to start firing. The first shot hit a bomb that knocked Green Prune off of his hover board. The second missed completely, but at least the first had been good.

Spidey was quick to take the change Wade had given him, shooting a web that pinned Osborn to the wall, and then the fight was over. Wow. Teamwork had never really been Wade’s thing, but he could definitely see himself teaming up with Spidey more in the future. All they needed to do now was incapacitate Green Prune. And by incapacitate, he meant decapitate.

 Scooping up his katanas from where they’d fallen, he started towards Norman Osborn with clear purpose. He’d have to ask Spidey about Harry later, but if Spidey had been protecting him he was sure there was a good reason. So the biggest thing now was to kill Daddy Osborn. After that, he could hold hands with Spidey and they could ride a unicorn into the sunset.

Well, not quite. Deadpool and Spider-Man could be a great team, but Wade Wilson and Guy Under the Mask wouldn’t work for the sole reason of Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater. Oddly enough, Peter was the only person Wade could imagine whining about his day to, or telling his dirtiest jokes to. Peter was… well, his soulmate. Nobody could change that.

“Wait,” Spidey said firmly, and Wade paused to glance at Spidey’s hand on his shoulder. He grinned and brought his own hand up to cover it, stifling laughter when Spidey jerked away as if he’d been burned.

“Don’t kill him.”

Aaaaaand there was the problem. Wade rolled his eyes before turning to Spidey, only realizing now that they were face-to-face how short Spidey was. Itsy bitsy spider.

“I’m being paid to assassinate someone,” Wade sighed, really hating this whole ‘moral code’ thing. “Ergo, if I don’t kill him, I don’t get paid. Plus, he’s a total asshat! How can you stick up for this guy?”

“He needs mental help, Wade.”

“Yeah, well…”

Wade stopped midsentence. The katanas fell from his grasp with a thud, and his heart started beating like a Cuban conga drum. Wade. Spidey had just called him Wade in a voice that was way too familiar. There was no way. There was nonono way. Spider-Man was an older guy who was always in danger and constantly sassing the bad guys. Peter was a nerdy high school kid whose biggest danger was the bully-next-door type. Sure, they had the sass in common, but. No. Couldn’t be.

Spidey, for his part, hadn’t noticed the slip up. He took Wade dropping the katanas as a sign of agreement, and went to check Osborn out. Wade watched mutely, his mind racing faster than Wily Coyote. Was it possible?

He was about to ask if it was when Spidey jumped away from Osborn a second before a bomb went off.

Seriously? Who goes to check on the bad guy when they’re a bomb-wielding maniac? What an idiot.

Pain lanced through Wade as the explosion threw Spidey like a ragdoll, slamming him into the nearest wall so hard Wade felt it in his teeth. He coughed at the exact same moment Spidey coughed blood, and when Spidey looked up in shock, a single hazel eye visible through a smouldering hole in his suit, Wade knew.

THAT’S MY IDIOT.

A second later, he knew something even more terrifying. The Green Prune’s hover board was still moving, blades springing from it as it shot towards Spidey—Peter—at an alarming pace. Wade ran, the hover board flew, and Peter tried with absolutely no success to use his webbing to get away. A moment later, the hover board struck.

~

Peter closed his eyes before the hover board hit, his mind emptying of everything other than Aunt May, his friends, and Wade. This wasn’t how it was supposed to end. He was supposed to stop the bad guy, save the world, find his soulmate. Not die humiliatingly after pulling a dumb stunt because he was still shaken at the fact that Deadpool and Wade may, in fact, be the same person.

The hover board hit and he gasped, the feeling of cold metal running through him as hot blood sprayed across his face. It hurt. It hurt so much he screamed, and in his mind he could hear Wade yelling too. Wait. That wasn’t in his mind.

Hand pressed against his stomach, he opened his eyes. And realized that if the hover board had really been in his stomach, he wouldn’t be able to press his hand there. He drew his hand away as he took in the scene before him, forcing himself to process it through the haze of pain that sent his mind screaming. No.

Deadpool was in front of him, legs trembling with exertion, as he banged a fist on the hover board.

“Motherfucking shit ass bitch tits fucker fuck,” he was muttering, and Peter dragged himself to his feet a second before the hover board went dead and fell, dragging Deadpool to the ground with it.

“Wade,” Peter whispered, paling as he quickly dove forward and caught his soulmate before the other could hit the ground. It took all of his strength to pull the hover board out of Wade’s guts, both of them cursing loudly while he did it, until finally the hover board was gone and Wade was left with a gaping hole in his stomach.

“No,” Peter moaned, pressing his hands against the flow of blood as Wade lifted his head to try and see what was going on.

“Spidey—”

“I’m sorry,” Peter choked as his hands grew slippery with blood. He needed to call an ambulance. He needed to keep his hold on the wound. If he had his webs, he could’ve put a web over it and called the ambulance but the web-shooters had broken in the explosion.

“Baby Boy—”

“This is all my fault,” Peter sobbed. He had killed his soulmate with his stupidity, and now they could never really know each other. For the rest of his life, he would have to live knowing he had killed the only person who really understood him, the only person who he could be himself with.

“Pumpkin—”

“Don’t talk. Save your strength,” Peter said hoarsely, giving up trying to put pressure on Wade’s stomach. There was nothing he could do with the holes being that big. He bowed his head over Wade’s body, shaking, then reached out and took Wade’s still-masked face in his hands.

“I’m so sorry, Wade. I didn’t know it was you, and I wasn’t thinking straight and I just… There was so much I wanted to figure out with you, so much I was looking forward to, and I thought we were really great together, that someday we could even be more, and I think I also kind of fell in love with you, and I just fucked it up so badly and—”

“PETER, FOR FUCK’S SAKE!” Wade yelled, sitting up. “LISTEN TO ME! I’M NOT DYING! DYING PEOPLE DON’T YELL IN CAPS! I CAN REGENERATE! LOOK!”

Peter paused in his speech for a second and looked down to find the holes in Wade’s stomach were already shrinking. Plus, the pain was already beginning to abate. He released Wade’s face and sat back, unsure what he was supposed to feel. All encompassing relief? Embarrassment? Happiness? Horror? All of the above?

“Oh,” was all he could manage to get out, and then he was hugging Wade so tightly it hurt the both of them.

~

The rest of the afternoon was by far the weirdest afternoon Wade had ever had. He and Peter had left the scene of the crime before the cops could show up, Peter carrying him princess-style back to what he realized was Peter’s room. The whole time had been painfully awkward, mostly because neither of them knew exactly what to say to one another. Peter had directed him to the nearest shower after checking to make sure his aunt wasn’t around, and he’d cleaned up and put the suit back on before coming to find Peter still in his room.

That was where they were now. Wade swallowed as he saw that Peter had changed out of the Spider-Man suit into some street clothes and was sitting on his bed with his knees drawn up to his chest, looking so young Wade wanted to run away.

Hey, that’s future DILF!

HE’S OURS!! FUCK YES!!

“Shut up,” Wade muttered to the voices, startling Peter. “Uh, not you.”

They stared at each other for a bit before Wade opted to look around the room, taking in science posters, geeky action figures, and bits of mechanical crap scattered everywhere. He paced the room, running gloved fingers over comic books and textbooks, before coming to a halt at a wall of pictures.

Peter, laughing with two pretty girls on his arms.

Peter and another boy fake punching each other.

A baby Peter on the shoulders of an older man with an older woman staring at the two of them lovingly.

So many pictures, detailing a life Wade hadn’t been part of, yet had in some way.

“Are you going to take off your mask?” Peter finally asked from behind him, and Wade turned to give the kid his full attention. Wow, okay. Peter looked young, yep. And at the same time, there were hints of what he’d look like as an adult all over his face, and what he would look like was niiiiice. He deserved to be with one of the pretty girls on his wall, not with Wade. Wade’s face did not belong up there.

“I think I also kind of fell in love with you.”

Well, not for long. Wade reached up, slipping two fingers under his mask as Peter caught his breath and leaned forward.

Don’t show him. Run.

And never call again.

“It’s not a pretty sight.”

“I don’t care about that,” Peter said dismissively.

“You will.”

Wade stripped off his mask, baring himself for Peter to see just what kind of a monster he was underneath. Peter stopped breathing and the silence stretched for so long Wade began to shift uncomfortably. Then Peter uncurled himself and stood up, reaching up so his fingers were just above Wade’s skin.

“This is… Wow. It looks like your body tried to purge the tumours but since they’re still a part of you they all spread to your skin. This kind of regenerative power is amazing; if it’s modified, I bet it can be used to purge tumours entirely. Let’s see… I’m not sure whether changing the barrier epithelial tissue presents or stopping your cells from lysing cancerous material is the—”

“Peter, I look like I went bobbing for French Fries.”

“Well…” Peter grinned slyly. “You won’t be winning any beauty pageants, that’s for sure.”

“Oh ha-ha. Too bad I don’t take the insults of a twelve-year-old seriously.”

“Are you kidding? I’m turning sixteen in a month!”

“Looks like your body hasn’t gotten the memo.”’

“Jerk.”

“At least I’m not a pussy.”

They both stopped and Wade grinned despite himself, mirroring Peter’s ridiculously goofy expression. So maybe meeting his soulmate wasn’t so bad after all.

“I want to get to know you better,” Peter said seriously, hazel eyes sparkling.

“So do I. I want to get acquainted with every part of your body. Yes, I’m allowed to say that now; I do know what you look like,” Wade added when Peter opened his mouth to protest. The flush that crept over his face was beyond gratifying, and Wade thought he could definitely get used to speaking to Peter face-to-face.

“Are you going to stay?” Peter asked instead, and Wade hesitated. Good question.

“I don’t know,” he admitted, thinking of how fun it was to partner up with Spider-Man. “I’ll decide later. For now, we need to talk.”

“Mhm,” Peter agreed, taking a seating on his bed. After a minute, Wade sat beside him. “You first.”

“Me? You’re a demanding little shit. Fine, whatever. I guess it all started with getting cracked in the knuckles with a wooden spoon…”

~

Five years later, Peter ran as fast as he could, hopping on one foot as he tried to simultaneously jam one shoe onto his foot and shrug into his suit jacket. His phone rang for the seventh time and then buzzed with texts as soon as it stopped. He ignored it and kept running, buttoning up the jacket and smoothing the suit (normal person suit, not Spider-Man suit) down. Goddamn his duties as Spider-Man. This was the one day he absolutely couldn’t afford to miss.

He stopped once he reached the church, breathing heavy as he straightened up and ran a hand through his hair. Aunt May had spent forty minutes fussing with it and it had all been ruined in the space of a few seconds when he’d had to throw the mask on. Wade was going to laugh hysterically.

Trying to slow his breathing, he tilted his shoulders back and shoved open the church’s double doors. Everyone turned around to stare at him, to his absolute mortification.

“You’re late!” Flash hissed as Peter looked around and wondered what to do. He hadn’t exactly practised being late at the rehearsal, and almost everyone was at the front already. He saw Weasel poke Wade at the front, then saw Wade turn and start laughing so hard it made both of their stomachs hurt.

“What do I do?” Peter asked Flash frantically; even Aunt May was already at the front. Flash shrugged as if to say he felt sorry for Peter but didn’t know what to do about it. Easy for him; after joining the military, Flash had matured and was now thirty minutes early for everything.

“Peter!” a voice yelled, and Peter’s cheeks coloured at how loud it was. He looked up to see Harry hopping at the front, waving both arms like a maniac and grinning. Peter facepalmed. This would officially be the worst wedding in all of history and it was his fault.

“Get your head of your hand and look sharp,” a voice murmured from behind him, and he barely had time to look at her before M.J. took his arm and beamed. The official wedding music began to play as he and M.J. walked the aisle, closing the gap between him and the rest of his friends.

Aunt May smiled proudly as Peter reached the alter, Harry clapping while Wade looked him up and down and waggled his eyebrows. Weasel yawned. Gwen started crying.

Heart beating a thousand miles a minute, Peter moved to stand beside Wade.

M.J. smiled, looking radiant, and handed her bouquet to Peter.

“You make a very fetching Maid-of-Honour,” Wade whispered to him as M.J. took her place beside Gwen.

“Shut up and pay attention,” Peter muttered out of the side of his mouth, elbowing Wade in the gut. Bad idea. Ouch. Bad idea.

The rest of the ceremony went without a hitch, despite Wade talking throughout nearly the entire thing. At one point during her vows, Gwen said with an absolutely perfect smile, “I’m thankful friends, family, and even assholes who talk during weddings are here,” and that at least was enough to shut him up. For a minute.

When it was all said and done, Gwen and M.J. were married. Just like that. Peter shot Wade a surreptitious glance that Wade totally caught, and it took all of Peter’s willpower not to facepalm again. After the procession had walked down the aisle and back outside, M.J. and Gwen turned to the crowd one final time to say their goodbyes.

“Peter,” Wade suddenly gasped. “Someone’s getting robbed.”

Peter whipped towards where Wade was pointing. He saw nothing, but a second later his senses warned him about something in his peripheral. He whipped around, bringing a hand up just in time to snatch the thing flying towards him out of the air. The bouquet. Oh.

“YOU’RE NEXT!” Gwen yelled, and Peter flushed as her and M.J. giggled, winking at Wade before climbing into a limo together.

“Unbelievable, I definitely didn’t see that coming,” Wade said with faux-shock.

“Shut up. I’m not marrying you.”

“You also said you’d never have sex with me, but those moans last night weren’t moans of pain. I know that for a fact.”

Peter just barely resisted the urge to hit his soulmate, and even then it was only for his own sake.

“Peter!” Harry called as he jogged up. “You were so right. I don’t know where you got that tissue, but we’ve made a breakthrough at Oscorp. I think we might’ve found the cure.”

“Seriously?”

Harry had taken over Oscorp after Norman’s death and cleaned the whole thing out. It had been hard for him but with Peter and (oddly enough) Weasel’s help, he’d managed to get it done. Whatever connections Weasel had, they’d done the job. Now the company was one hundred percent geared towards curing cancer, and Weasel was their major investor. It was still sort of shady, but not nearly as much as it had been.

“Yeah. So thank you thank you thank you. Once that’s done, we’re going to look into scar tissue and maybe see if there’s something we can do for people with bad scarring.”

This said with a pointed look at Wade, who shrugged. He didn’t mind his face so much anymore, not when he said it scored him brownie points with Aunt May, who was still wary about him since he’d hurt Peter so much. After chatting with Harry a bit more, Wade dragged Peter away and they made their way to the reception, hands linked.

“You know, you wouldn’t have been my first choice if I was able to pick my soulmate,” Wade hummed as he skipped, pushing Peter to run to keep up with him.

“Oh. Lovely,” Peter said with a roll of his eyes. Wade stopped dead, forcing Peter to halt. Why had he thought holding hands with Wade was a good idea? It always got Wade, and by extension Peter, sliced up.

“No, I’m serious. I would’ve picked, say… Black Widow. Or Jessica Jones. Or random villain #3. I wouldn’t have picked someone so pure.”

“So what you’re saying is, I’m your last choice?” Peter asked in exasperation, not really sure where Wade was headed with this. Wade laughed.

“No. I do love you. What I’m saying is, fate is a lot smarter than I am.”

“Well, that’s something we can both agree on.”

They started walking again.

“Hey, Peter?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m not a perfect person.”

“Don’t.”

“There’s many things I wish I didn’t do.”

“Wade, I swear to God.”

“But I continue learning.”

“I will punch you.”

“I never meant to do those things to you. And so I have to say before I go…”

“Wade fucking Wilson.”

“That I just want you to knowwwwww~”

Peter let go of Wade’s hand.

“I found a reason for meeeeee~”

He picked up his pace to get away.

“To change who I used to beeee~”

He started running full out.

“A reason to start over newwwwww~”

He buried his face in his hands, but now he was laughing helplessly.

“And the reason is you.”

~

And they lived happily ever after.

Well, not always happily.

What do you want me to say? They lived ever after?

Yeah, that works.

You’re so fucking dumb, that doesn’t even make sense. Fine. They lived ever after.

Not always happily.

But happy for the most part.