Wade stepped cautiously closer to Steve, tried not to think about the messy crunching sounds Mac was making in the corner. “Hey. You okay?”
The blond looked perplexed by the question. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
Shrugging, Wade looked down at the sprawled half-woman, half-machine corpse. “Killing best friends is kind of a downer. I know killing Weasel bummed me out.”
“It was an order,” Steve said. “The Avengers shouldn’t have defied Lord Apocalypse’s will. They knew what they were doing when they made themselves my enemy.”
“Oh,” Wade said awkwardly. “Kay.”
Steve’s eyes narrowed. “Pestilence, you aren’t…having disloyal thoughts, are you?”
Wade blinked. “Sure, I picture people besides Nate naked all the time.”
“I wasn’t talking about Death. Listen, you’d better have your head on straight, or you’ll end up just like these fools.”
Just to be a smart-ass, Wade grabbed his head in both hands and wrenched it to one side. “But War, the world looks so fun when my head’s crooked like this.”
Steve frowned disapprovingly at the joke, but didn’t comment. “Get a doggy-bag, Famine, we need to go make our report.”
Mac slithered over, gnawing on someone’s leg. “Right.”
“Get that outta your mouth, you don’t know where it’s been,” Wade said with false cheer.
Mac grinned. “Sssure I do. It’s Hawekeye’s. Want ssome?”
“Thanks, but I’m on a blond-free diet.”
When they got back to the fortress, Wade snuck away, letting Steve do all the reporting. He slunk to the chambers he shared with Nate and perched on the balcony railing to stare out at the ruins.
“My neck hurts,” he said, for lack of anything else to say.
“It looks broken,” Nate commented.
“Oh, yeah…” He jerked his head to the side, snapping the bones back into place.
Nate chuckled and stepped out onto the balcony. “How was it?”
Wade shrugged. “Easy. Toldya we didn’t need you. War thinks I haven’t got my head on straight, can you believe that?”
“Well, you didn’t a moment ago.”
“I did that to tease him.”
“I see. Come down from there, dear, you know it makes me nervous.”
Wade’s contrary streak made him lean forward until he felt the telltale floating sensation of Nate’s telekinetic grasp. “Why? You always catch me. Even if you didn’t, I’d just have a headache and a long walk ahead of me.”
“One of these days, I should drop you to teach you a lesson,” Nate snorted, tipping Wade back onto the balcony.
“Letting me make my own decisions and letting me face the consequences like a big boy?” Wade said. “Isn’t that a step backward in our relationship, honeybuns? I thought the point of dating Death was that the world became my safety-padded playpen.”
Nate looked at him for a long time in silence. “I can’t put you back together again if you finally break.”
Wade scuffed his toe against the floor. “Yeah, well. Whether I wanted to break never entered into your calculations before, so I don’t know why I’m surprised it doesn’t now.”
“Stop that,” Nate chided, pulling him close. “You don’t want to die. We have the world at our fingertips. I can give you anything.”
“Anything?” Wade numbly watched the clouds make deep shadows over the broken city. “I miss Christmas lights.”
“Then I’ll cover the city in them. You won’t be able to see that if you’re dead. All right? So stop all this nonsense.”
“Yellow ones, so it looks like fireflies?”
Nate sighed, and for a moment he sounded so tired. Well, he could join the goddamn club, as far as Wade cared anymore. “Sure.”
A lone gull soared over the bay, and Wade followed its progress until a black tendril snatched it out of the sky.
“All kidding aside, my love—you have got your head on straight, haven’t you? We wouldn’t want you to end up like Antonia and the others.”
Wade snorted. “It’s not like we signed up for this because we bought the line of crap Poccy’s selling…at least, I didn’t. I just joined the winning side, that’s all. My math may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure killing off all the mooks dumb enough not to join us still makes this the winning side.”
Slowly, Nate rubbed a hand over his back. “I didn’t mean to upset you.”
“I’m not upset.”
“You sound upset.”
“Well, I don’t feel upset.”
“Then what do you feel?”
He blinked, but managed not to say it.
Nate’s hand paused at his shoulder and squeezed gently. “Wade?”
“Bored,” he lied.