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The Boys Wear Red...

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    “Incy wincy spider climbed up the waterspout,” the Spider sang as he crawled up the wall, fingers sticking to the rough bricks easily. His muscles flexed and stretched as he scaled the apartment block, silently numbering off the floors as he passed windows.

    {In went grenades to wipe the bad guys out,} Yellow continued gleefully as Peter dropped several grenades into the target’s window.

    [You guys suck at singing, you know?] White sighed.

    Peter scuttled away from the window before it exploded. “I can sing brilliantly,” he defended himself as he covered his ears. Once the blast was over, he uncovered his ears and crawled towards the smoking window. “I can do everything brilliantly. You’re just jealous!”

    {Bitter, bitter, venom spitter!} giggled Yellow.

    The boxes fell silent when Peter slipped into the ruined apartment. He whistled quietly. “They really need to update the décor in here, don’t you think?”

    He wandered through the apartment, dancing back to avoid the flames that still lingered, burning furniture and bodies alike. The scents of singed flesh made him think of barbecues. Not that he'd ever had one, but wasn't that what barbecues were supposed to smell like?

    The tiny body of a child made him pause. “There weren’t supposed to be children here,” he muttered, glaring around the room critically. He’d paid well for the intel he’d requested – he expected the quality of reports to reflect his investment.

    {I think we got him,} Yellow announced loudly, interrupting Peter's thoughts.

    [We need photo evidence,] White reminded them. [Let’s hope he’s recognizable.]

    “Or what? They’ll off us?” Peter snorted, stepping further into the apartment. “Please. They’d have to catch us first.”

    Yellow snickered. {Good luck!}

    [They wouldn’t pay us,] White pointed out.

    Peter froze. “Money is very important to us,” he replied in a business voice. He dropped the tone almost immediately. “Let’s find ourselves a recognizable body!”

    Five minutes later, Peter had to admit it wasn’t looking good. None of the bodies in the apartment – and there had been more than he expected, almost ten lumps of cooking flesh – were recognizable, and even the boxes could agree that none of the burned and exploded bodies looked anything like the target.

    White was the one who finally admitted it aloud. [He was never here.]

    “Someone’s given us bad information, boys,” Peter said, climbing back out the window. Someone had called the cops, because he could hear the sirens already. “Let’s go hunting!”

  



 

      The Spider arrived at an abandoned warehouse some time later, bickering with the boxes in his head. The tingle of his spider senses had him dodging the first bullet aimed at his knee – {That would have hurt!} – and the katana that sliced towards his arm – [How rude.]

    Peter jumped into the air, sticking to the ceiling even as he looked down and saw the familiar red and black suit. He felt a grin spread across his face that he doubted the red and black figure would be able to discern.

    {Hey it’s the Merc with the Mouth!}

    [Not this universe, idiot.]

    “Shut up you two. Hey Pooly!” Peter called cheerfully, creating a nice bit of web from which to hang. “Any reason you decided to show up and be all friendly?”

    [Since when is shooting and slicing ‘friendly’?]

    “Since it’s Deadpool, and he doesn’t aim to kill.” Peter dropped a little closer to the hero, giving him a little wave.

    “Spider,” the red and black suited man grumbled, sounding more annoyed than Peter thought he had any right to be. After all, he hadn't done anything wrong. “You blew up an apartment.”

    Oh. Right. That. “I did. Turns out, someone gave me bad information. Naughty, naughty children.” He shook his head in a disappointed fashion. Then he grinned. “I was on my way to tell them off, actually. But I’ll make time for you.”

    [They won’t get very far anyway.]

    {Even if they do, we’ll catch ‘em. Right, Spidey?}

    “Right,” Peter giggled. He looked down at Deadpool, realizing he’d been speaking. “My bad! What were you saying, big man? Boxes were distracting me.”

    “I said,” Deadpool said after a slight pause, “that you killed ten innocent people.”

    Peter began to swing back and forth on his web. “I did?” He shrugged, acting as though that piece of information was new to him. “Like I said, bad intel. Not much I can do about that.”

    “Damnit, kid! You can’t just go around doing whatever you want! Those people had families.”

    Peter froze, staring down at the hero. The boxes were utterly silent. “Everyone has a family, Deadpool,” Peter hissed. “Some people just have them for longer.” He abruptly laughed, dropping to the floor. “Oh man, you’re lucky we like you,” he said, striding up to Deadpool, who barely flinched. Granted, the hero had height and muscle on Peter, but he was the Spider! Deadpool should be a little bit scared. “Otherwise, you’d be dead.”

    Peter's relationship with Deadpool was... Complicated. He'd bumped into the fast-talking hero two months after The Incident. (And yes, it did need capitals.) Peter had been sitting on a roof, sucking a lollipop and staring out over the city he'd claimed as his own when the red and black figure had appeared in midair.

    Peter had only blinked as the figure had let out a girlish scream before plummeting towards the pavement. It had nothing to do with him, anyway. So what if someone fell from the sky to their untimely death? It was just some idiot hero who’d copied his outfit. Which, when Peter thought about it, really annoyed him. He’d spent ages agonizing over the colours of his outfit, eventually settling on red and blue because black and red seemed too bold. Plus, with his white eye spots, he was basically the arachnid version of the American flag.

    But the red and black suited figure Peter assumed had died somehow climbed up the building and approached Peter without him noticing. The man had then introduced himself as Deadpool, and Peter had almost fallen from the roof. Because people didn't talk to him, unless they were screaming at him to stop hurting them, or begging him for mercy. Not after The Incident.

    [Not that that would keep him down for long.]

    {But we could make pretty pictures for him!}

    It took Peter a moment to remember what they'd been talking about. “Mmm, red spiders everywhere,” Peter murmured, hands reaching out for Deadpool’s chest. He leapt back as Deadpool swung his katana, aiming for Peter’s hands this time. Peter laughed, realizing two throwing knives were in his hands. He slid them back into their respective holders with a smooth movement. "Down, boy!"

    “I have to take you in,” Deadpool said, sounding strangely apologetic. “Stark's threatened to hide the pancake mix again. And this time, he said I can’t have it back until you’re in custody.” He began to approach Peter slowly, no doubt watching for any movement that could be perceived as an attack. "You have to come back with me, Spider. For the sake of pancakes."

    “But do I really?” Peter asked, skittering back into the shadows on all fours. “Because you know, you have to catch me first…”

    Peter silently crawled up the wall, keeping his eyes on Deadpool. The hero swore and stalked forward, aiming for the shadows Peter had disappeared into. Peter smirked and slowly dropped down behind him. Peter landed silently on the ground behind the black and red clad hero, giving him the perfect opportunity to stare at those calves and thighs and that booty. Yes, Deadpool had a lovely booty.

    “Spider? Come out!”

    “Boo!” Peter yelled, making the man jump… Straight into a pre-prepared web. The warehouse was actually full of carefully hidden traps. Peter scuttled forward, webbing the hero up tightly. He stepped back to admire his handiwork, webbing up the fast-talking hero's mouth with a few more flicks of his wrist. Better safe than sorry - he didn't want Deadpool to bite his way out or something equally ridiculous. It was time to remind the hero he needed help, especially when he was dealing with Peter.

    {He looks edible.}

    [We don’t eat people. Often.]

    {Not the kind of edible I was talking about.}

    “I think you’ll find,” Peter said, ignoring the boxes, “that those innocents were involved in some rather unsavoury business.” He smirked. “Murder is still considered unsavoury, right?”

    [The Avengers will be here soon.]

    “How do you know?” Peter snapped.

    [They all have trackers nowadays.]

    {It would be easy if everyone had trackers!}

    “Boooring!” Peter sang, reaching over to the struggling hero. “Calm down, big man. Just looking for that tracker of yours. Knowing you, you’ll have forgotten allll about it.” Peter nudged some of his webs out of the way. “Ah, here it is!”

    [Why do you do these things?]

    Peter turned the tracker on. “Don’t want to leave you here all by your lonesome.” He patted the hero’s masked cheek, annoyed when the craving for skin on skin contact reared its needy head. “Until next time, Pooly!”

 



 

    Peter was feeling much better hours later. The idiot who’d given him the wrong intel – the very last mistake he ever made – was currently dying a slow and painful death due to a lovely new toxin Peter had synthesized last week. He had the correct intel now – heaven help the man if he’d given Peter the wrong information again, because that lovely toxin kept him alive for a maximum of six days before killing him.

    The Spider whistled as he swung through New York, ignoring the pedestrians below who either gawked or screamed at the sight of him. Vigilante turned mercenary. Not exactly the most popular story, granted, but it was Peter’s and he liked it that way.

    {Don’t lie!}

    [Everyone knows that’s not true.]

    Peter scowled. “Shut up,” he snapped half-heartedly. Sure, the boxes were annoying as hell, but that didn’t mean they didn’t have a point.

    Things had gone south with the death of his Uncle Ben. There was a very good reason that Peter never touched guns if he could help it. Except if he was smashing them to smithereens. He had always, always blamed himself for that, even before the boxes arrived and began to make him question everything. And then Aunt May had followed, her heart not being able to cope with the loss and Peter isolating himself.

    The blood of four people he’d loved was on his hands, and there was nothing he could do to wash them clean. So he covered up their blood with the blood of villains, aiming to overlay enough that he forgot the pain.

    It wasn’t working as well as he’d hoped.

    Now Uncle Ben and Aunt May had been bad enough, but what had really made him snap – what had managed to bring the boxes into his head – were the deaths of two of his best friends. Gwen Stacey had been a beautiful woman, intelligent and funny. Harry Osborn had been rich and spiteful, with a temper to match, but so much nicer underneath his self-made armour.

    As it turned out, Peter hadn’t known Harry as well as he’d thought. Or he'd deluded himself into thinking Harry was better than he was. Peter wasn't exactly sure at the moment, but he was sure the real answer would come to him. Eventually.

    Harry had been the Green Goblin, a vicious killer who hungered for the death of Spiderman. He’d let Gwen fall to her death, although he’d hardly lived long enough to appreciate Peter’s pain. Peter had torn open his suit and killed him. The moment Harry’s heart had stopped beating, the boxes had arrived.

    [Way to kill the mood, Spidey,] White sighed.

    {And now you’re a merc, killing for thrills!}

    Peter snorted. “Now I’m a merc because it pays the damn bills,” he snapped.

    {Don’t lie! You enjoy it!}

    [You like watching them burn. You like watching them suffer.]

    Peter gritted his teeth, pressing his fist to his eyes. “Shut up,” he growled. It made him ache when he remembered who he had been, what he could have been if things hadn’t gone wrong and his world hadn’t turned into hell.

    [You enjoy thinking up new ways to kill them, don’t you? Like those projects you have at the moment.]

    {All that blood on your hands!}

    [You stepped over a child’s body today. A body that you put there. You can pretend all you like, but you know that kid was innocent.]

    “Evil breeds evil,” Peter replied through gritted teeth.

    White snorted. [Look at you, clutching at straws.]

    {When you think about it, aren’t you even worse than the guy who killed your Uncle Ben?}

    “Shut up!” Peter shouted, landing against a wall. “Shut up, shut up, shut up!”

    [It’s never just about the money.]

    “They’re all bad people!” Peter yelled desperately, wishing he could slam his head against a wall and just get back up. Like Deadpool.

    {Yeah, try and justify it. We all know you’re grasping at straws.}

    [That’s why you like that hero, isn’t it?]

    “Don’t you bring him into this,” Peter snarled. “He has nothing to do with this conversation.”

    [Deadpool can’t die. Well, he can, but he comes back. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about killing him. It’s safe for you to like him.]

    {That’s why you scared Mary-Jane away, right? Because she’s oh so fragile.}

    Peter whimpered wordlessly, clutching at his head. They were right, they were so right. Of course they were right. Peter pressed his head against the cold wall, rocking his body back and forth.

    [You’re fucked up,] White said bluntly. Peter laughed bitterly. Of course he was fucked up. That part came with the job.

    {You’re so bloody. Why don’t you just go jump off a cliff?}

    “When it gets worse,” Peter muttered. “They’d want me to live.” Aunt May and Uncle Ben and Gwen would be unhappy that he’d killed himself.

    [Not like this. You know they wouldn’t want you to live like this.]

    {Maybe Harry would.}

    Peter made a noise that was somewhere between a sob and a scream before letting go of the wall and falling.

 



  

     When Peter woke up, he was surprised. He hadn’t really expected to wake up. The whole ‘falling to his death’ plan had the end result of one dead mercenary and two dead boxes. Peter realized he was alone in his head - a very rare, almost unheard of occurrence. He took in his surroundings in the blissful moment of silence before the boxes reappeared.

    [Where are we?]

    {This place stinks.}

    Yellow was right – whoever lived here rarely cleaned. If ever. Peter sat up, hearing noises from behind the closed door. He was on a bed – a rather clean bed, really, considering the surroundings – in a strange room. There were bloodstains on the walls, and mold creeping up from the dark corners of the room. The floor was littered with take-out containers. And somebody was home – the sound of someone humming, the smell of cooking food.

    {Who do we know that would pick us up from the street – potentially with serious wounds – and take us home?}

    [… No one?]

    “I can think of one or two people,” Peter muttered grimly. “Although neither of them are comforting.”

    The sound of footsteps had him on the ceiling before he’d consciously decided to jump. He crawled to wait over the door, intent on getting his ‘saviour’ before he got Peter. As far as he was concerned, and as far as past experience had taught him, nothing good ever came out of people ‘rescuing’ him. He clung to the ceiling, silent. The door creaked open.

    “Spider?” Deadpool said as he stepped into the room.

    Peter blinked, completely thrown. “Not who I was expecting,” he said, surprise evident in his voice. He dropped from the ceiling, landing with a soundless grace only possible because of the spider venom coiled in his veins. “Hey Pooly.”

    Seeing Deadpool’s unmasked face – complete with the ever shifting scars and sores, and those beautiful baby blues – Peter abruptly realized he himself was unmasked. His face twisted into a snarl as the boxes began to riot.

    {He unmasked us! We have to kill him!}

    [Even we would have asked before taking someone’s mask off.]

    {No we wouldn’t.}

    [Shut up.]

    “Where is my mask?” Peter hissed. If Deadpool had taken even one photo…

    [Why would he take a photo of you?]

    Deadpool gestured to the bedside table even as he retreated out of the room. “I had to take it off – you weren’t breathing.” Which, logically, Peter knew. But still. Secret identity.

    {Hold up! Does that mean he gave us CPR? Lip on lip? Swoon.}

    [Why the hell did he save us?]

    “I tried to catch you before you hit the ground,” Deadpool continued, hands reaching for weapons that weren’t there. “I was just a little too late, but I thought hey, the Spider heals! So I brought you back here with me so you could recover and can I just say holy shit how old are you?” The hero's expression would have been hilarious, in any other situation.

    Peter ignored the question. “How long have I been here?” he demanded.

    Deadpool tilted his head, presumably thinking. “Four or five days, I think. You’ve been out of it the entire time.”

    Peter glared at the hero. “What do you want?” His tone was hostile, and Deadpool took another step back, a scowl covering his face. His eyes darkened.

    Peter thought the whole transition from ‘Mr Nice Guy’ to ‘I Could Kick Your Ass With About as Much Effort as Lifting My Little Finger’ was incredibly interesting. Also very, very hot.

    “I’m sorry, what? I saved your life, kid. Least you could do is thank me.”

    [Give us a good reason and we might.]

    {But he’d look so pretty covered in blood.}

    “Exactly. You saved me. What do you want, Deadpool? Money?”

    “Hell no!” Deadpool spluttered, looking genuinely offended. “I’m a hero – it’s what I do!” His declaration echoed around the filthy room.

    [That’s a decent reason, I suppose,] White admitted grudgingly.

    {But we’re the bad guys in the situation. Isn’t he supposed to, I don’t know, leave us to die?}

    “Technically, we were already dead,” Peter muttered. “But yes, I agree.” He refocused on Deadpool, noting that the hero was staring at his forehead as though he was trying to see into Peter’s mind. “I am not a good person,” Peter said. “Why did you save me?”

    Deadpool looked a little lost. “It’s what I do,” he repeated. “I save people. That’s what being a hero is.”

    [I suppose that’s where you and he differ.]

    {Yeah. You kill bad guys to save the good guys, right? He saves bad guys to save bad guys. What a wacko.}

    “What a wacko indeed,” Peter muttered, blinking at Deadpool. He remembered a time when he had been as adamant about being the good guy as Deadpool was. He sighed, defeated. “Seventeen.”

    “What?”

    “I’m seventeen. Almost eighteen.”

    Deadpool was silent for a moment, obviously processing this. His face smoothed out into blankness for several moments, and Peter wondered idly if it was possible for Deadpool to die from a heart attack. “Holy shit, you’re jailbait!”

    That was unexpected. Peter felt his cheeks heat. “I am not!”

    “Oh man, the Spider is seven-fucking-teen! You’re a fucking kid! What the hell are you doing as a merc? Shit!” Deadpool ran a hand over his bald head, looking inexplicably guilty.

    “Calm down, big man, I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Peter snarled. “And I’m almost eighteen!”

    [Oh boy…]

    {Isn’t this fun?!}

Chapter Text

    After the initial argument with the two trading insults, Deadpool finally informed Peter he had food. The scent coming from down the hall made Peter’s mouth water, and he was quick to crawl from the room. Letting his movements become instinctive, Peter found himself on the ceiling, above a frankly enormous and really quite alarming number of pancakes.

    Deadpool entered the kitchen a moment later. “Damn, you’re fast,” he muttered, peering up at Peter with narrowed eyes. Peter stared back innocently, widening his brown eyes just so. Deadpool relented, looking towards the small mountain of pancakes. “I made enough for two – I hope you appreciate that.”

    Peter choked on a laugh. “You’ve made enough for more than two people, Pooly.”

    {Try an army.}

    [A small country.]

    {The world.}

    [The entire fucking universe.]

    “Will you two stop exaggerating?” Peter snapped, using his webs to collect a few pancakes. He didn’t really see the need to move from the ceiling – he was comfortable, and it would be that much harder for Deadpool to attack him if he had a change of heart.

    Plus, it was super effective at freaking people out.

    “What?” Deadpool asked, the question muffled by the food in his mouth. His eyes widened when he saw Peter about to take a bite. “Woah! Hold up! You eat them plain?” His tone suggested that this was perhaps the greatest insult to ever befall a pancake, and Peter grinned.

    “You’re telling me you don’t add maple syrup to the pancake mix?” he asked. When the hero shook his head, Peter frowned. “Pooly, I’m disappointed in you.”

    [Obviously, he’s missing some brains.]

    {Be nice to our big man! Not everyone is blessed with Spidey’s intelligence!}

    [Our?]

    {Have you seen him? He’s a hunk.}

    [Hunk? Have you seen him? He has scars!]

    {Scars add to his character!}

    “I’m with Yellow,” Peter muttered, dipping his pancake into the offered bowl. And it was true. Peter knew many people were disturbed and sickened by Deadpool’s skin, but not Peter. The scars didn’t bother him, and even if they had, the impressive way Deadpool fought and his skill with his weapons would have endeared him to Peter anyway. Peter liked that Deadpool could hold his own. It would make it so much more interesting when he finally decided to wrestle the hero onto his back.

    {Not to mention those muscles! And that jawline. Yum!}

    Peter took the opportunity to study the hero, seeing as Deadpool was currently heavily invested in shoving as much food into his mouth as was humanely possible. Peter had seen him with his mask off before, of course, but never this close (because usually he was watching the hero through a pair of lovely binoculars from several rooftops away). The scars moved across his skin in a complicated pattern only they knew. Peter found himself wondering if the scars were alive.

    “Why are you staring at me like that?” Deadpool asked, and Peter was surprised to realize he had a gun pointed at his head.

    [Where’d that spider sense go?] White sounded disgruntled.

    “Like what?” Peter asked, silently agreeing with White. As far as he remembered, his spider sense had never abandoned him when his life was potentially in danger. After all, it wasn't like he could offend his spider sense.

    {Vacation?} Yellow suggested.

    [Horrible timing.]

    {I hear Florida is nice this time of year.}

    “Like you want to eat me.”

    Peter blinked. “You look edible.”

    Well snap. There went the brain to mouth filter.

    [Next thing you know, we’ll be offline.]

    {Never! We’ll be with Spidey until the end!}

    “The vote is still out on whether I am comforted or creeped out by that,” Peter sighed, licking his fingers to savour every last drop of maple syrup and crumb of pancakes. He hadn’t had such delicious food since… Well, for a long time. Actually, he couldn't remember the last time he'd eaten. Huh.

    “Who are you talking to?” Deadpool demanded. It wasn’t the first time he’d asked, and Peter doubted it would be the last. Apparently the concept of voices hadn’t occurred to Deadpool yet.

    Peter grinned, happy to be dragged from his thoughts. His head was generally not a very nice place to be. “No one important.” Sometimes, Deadpool let it slide when Peter spoke to the boxes. Sometimes, he didn't. Peter had grown very good at changing the subject when Deadpool asked about them.

    [Well, I’m offended.]

    {Insulted!}

    “We get it, you guys love attention. No, but seriously. You look edible.”

    “I do?”

    “Yep,” Peter replied, popping the p. “I mean, tight costume over those muscles? You’d have to be blind not to be affected.” He pretended to fan himself.

    “Affected…?” Deadpool blinked slowly, lowering the gun. His eyes widened in disbelief. “You can’t mean…”

    {And he finally gets it!}

    Peter nodded sagely. “Took him long enough, don’t you think?”

    [We haven’t really hung out with him much.]

    {But we see him all the time!}

    [Generally without his knowledge.]

    “Guys, stop. We’re starting to sound like stalkers.”

    [Technically, we are stalkers.]

    Peter pulled his hands off the ceiling in a horrified action. “You’re staining my name!” he cried, dramatically covering his eyes.

    [I’m sure this pose would look better if you were the right way up.]

    {Do spiders have a right way up?}

    Peter hummed, considering. “You know, I don’t really think so. I mean, you have your spiders that make webs, and they’re technically sitting in mid-air. And there are spiders that have burrows, or wander around!”

    [I think you went a bit off topic there.]

    “Look, that’s insane so I’m just going to pretend you didn’t say anything. Are you finished eating, kid?” Deadpool asked, reminding Peter and the boxes that they were not alone. “Because I have places to be.”

    {He’s doubting our love!} Yellow wailed.

    “Meeting up with the Avengers, Pooly?” Peter replied with a smile. “I’ll just grab my mask and be off than, shall I?”

    “No, I don’t think so. You’re coming with me.” He had the gun pointed at Peter again. As much as he admired Deadpool’s skills with his weapons, he preferred to admire them from afar. When those skills were being used against other people. Then the words filtered through, and Peter realized what the hero had just said.

    It wiped the smile from Peter’s face. “No,” he snapped. “I don’t want to.”

    [You really sounded mature there, Spidey.]

    “You don’t really have a say in the matter. You can come quietly, or I can make you come.”

    Peter couldn’t help the little laugh that burst from his mouth. “You wouldn’t have to try very hard,” he snickered.

    Deadpool was momentarily thrown by the abrupt change in Peter’s demeanour, and Peter took advantage of that. He dropped onto Deadpool’s shoulders, his thighs pressed tight around his neck. Peter jerked his legs viciously to one side, listening to the resounding crack as he broke the hero’s neck.

    [You know, I think this is the first time we’ve killed him.]

    {And we did it in such an awesome way! Getting a face full of Spidey’s package! He should be thankful!}

    “Sorry about this,” Peter said, patting Deadpool’s bald head. His fingers lingered on the moving scars. “I know it’ll hurt when you come back, but you seem to have forgotten who I am.” He disappeared to retrieve his mask before returning to the kitchen, a scowl on his face. “I’m not just some kid you picked up off the street,” he snapped, pulling on his mask. “I am the Spider. I am a mercenary. I kill people. Next time we meet, I hope you remember that.”

    [He probably can’t hear you. You might even go as far as to say he's dead to the world.]

    {Hahaha PUNS! But Spidey was so cool! Look, I’ve got goosebumps!}

    [Impossible. You don’t have skin.]

 



 

    “What do you see,” Peter sang softly, crouched in the dark corner of a room, in a building he technically had no business being in, “when you close your eyes?”

    It was a few days after Deadpool had 'saved' him. He hadn't run into the hero since, hadn't even gone looking for him. Peter thought it was probably a good idea to leave Deadpool alone for a bit, because he wasn't sure how well - or not-well, as the case may be - the hero would take the fact that he'd been killed by a seventeen year old. Peter had picked up a few jobs here and there, spilling blood with a smile and a laugh, eagerly snatching up the money his clients threw his way.

    He remembered the days when he'd relied on a flimsy camera with a sneer. He remembered the early mornings, the later nights with disgust. Life as a mercenary was a million times better than life as a vigilante. Peter nodded sharply, repeating the words over and over again in his head.

    Life as a mercenary was a million times better than life as a vigilante.

    "How does it feel, when you see it?"

    [Someone’s going to hear you, no matter how quietly you sing.] White, for once, seemed oblivious to Peter's inner thoughts.

    {But we’re so good at singing!} Yellow began to sing too, although he was so out of tune it made Peter want to hit his head repeatedly against a solid wall. Preferably until both boxes disappeared from his head.

    [You know that’s never going to happen. And it doesn’t change the fact that someone will hear you.]

    “You’re no fun,” Peter muttered, pretending to lock his lips. There was a sigh of relief in his head, followed by a plaintive {Awww…} by Yellow. Peter quirked the corner of his mouth and started humming instead. There was silence in his head before Yellow broke it with a maniacal giggle.

    {He got you there!}

    [Shut up. If we get caught, it’s not my fault.]

    {It totally will be!}

    [I’m not the one making noise.]

    {You’re the one talking. Oh wait, I am too. Does that mean it’ll be both our faults?}

    If it was possible, Peter was almost certain White would either have been tearing out his hair in frustration, or punching Yellow as hard as possible. But as the boxes had neither hands nor hair, White had to settle for making his voice as biting as possible.

    [No, you absolute moron. No one can hear us. What the hell did I do to deserve being stuck with this idiot?]

    Peter hummed quietly. Probably the same thing I did.

    {Aw, you guys are lucky to have me!}

    Matter of opinion.

    [Did you hear that?]

    Stupid question. Peter was already moving, sinking deeper into the shadows. By now, melting into the shadows was as easy as climbing up walls. He was silent as the door flew open, revealing a sobbing young woman who stormed into the room. She was dressed in finery, with an extravagant amount of gold and jewels around her wrists and neck. Peter supposed she was beautiful, in an objective sort of way. Like a fake diamond, maybe. Or a really flashy, shiny piece of plastic.

    {Look at that booty bounce!}

    [It's impossible to see her booty,] White sighed. [Since she’s wearing one of those flouncy dresses. Or are they hoopy?]

    {It’s called imagination, spoilsport.}

    Peter ignored the boxes as they squabbled, waiting patiently for something to happen. This was always his least favourite part of any mission, but he was a spider. Patience came with the territory. The woman – the target – was currently curled up on perhaps the most uncomfortable looking couch he’d ever seen, crying into the satin pillows. Peter wrinkled his nose in distaste.

    {Okay, she’s not that attractive anymore.}

    [Agreed. I’d forgotten how dramatic girls can be. We can do so much better.]

    “I hate him!” the target suddenly screeched, standing and throwing a pillow across the room angrily. Peter decided he deserved a million points for not jumping in surprise and giving himself away. “I hate him, I hate him, I hate him!”

    {Backpedalling at a million miles an hour.}

    [Do we have to stay and watch this?]

    Peter didn’t bother replying, because the answer was yes, and they all knew it. They had to be certain she ingested the poison. If she didn’t, they wouldn’t get paid. And getting paid was kind of the whole idea. Besides, Peter had a note to deliver to the lady’s father and her soon-to-be husband.

    Casting a furious look at the closed door, the woman tore open the cabinet in the corner furthest from where Peter was hiding. He grinned when she pulled out a bottle of expensive red wine and proceeded to pour herself a full glass.

    {The more she drinks, the more she sicks.}

    [….]

    Peter barely managed to hold in his snort. That’s not even a proper sentence. You could have worded that so much better.

    {Pfft, proper sentences. Who even uses those anymore?}

    The woman swallowed the first glass so quickly Peter was almost sure she’d actually inhaled it. It only took a few glasses before the woman was stumbling, her face considerably paler than it had been. Peter decided now was his moment to shine. He unlocked his lips and stepped from the shadows.

    “Good evening,” he said, smiling beneath his mask. He was gratified when the woman’s eyes grew wide and she stumbled back, falling clumsily onto the couch. It was nice to see his name meant something to normal people. It was nice to see that they feared him.

    {Pooly is so much more graceful. Plus, I bet he looks better when he cries.}

    Peter's smile faded a little as White snorted. [We’re talking about him now?]

    “Will you two shut up? I’m trying to have a conversation here!” Peter snapped, pulling a piece of paper from the nearby desk and trying to banish all images of a crying Deadpool from his head. “Pen, pen, pen,” he muttered, scanning the surface of the desk. The woman made a horrible noise, and Peter looked over his shoulder with another smile. “I’ll be with you in a moment, ma’am.”

    [Ask her if she has a pen.]

    “Good idea. Ma’am, do you happen to have a pen? No? That’s unfortunate, because I need to write the note that may or may not save your life.” He tapped the paper pointedly. Some people really needed everything spelled out for them. “The poison coursing through your system at the moment? It’s a lovely little concoction I invented myself, and only I have the antidote. Want to know the details?” He reached forward, grasping her chin a little harder than was perhaps necessary, and made her nod.

    {Ew, is that snot on her face? Gross! Spidey, don't touch it!}

    “The poison will leave you mostly incapacitated, although you’ll still have access to most of your senses. You’ll be able to hear, see, smell, but most importantly, you’ll be able to feel. Now why, I hear you ask, is feeling so important? Because as you lay there, immobile, you will only feel pain.”

    Her eyes were wide and terrified, but she couldn’t make a sound. The poison had already destroyed her vocal chords. Even with the antidote, she’d probably never speak again. Peter liked to leave the people he didn’t kill something to remember him by. It was like he was leaving them an early Christmas present.

    “Now, I’ll admit, this is an older invention of mine, but I was playing around with my chemistry set and decided to combine it with another lovely poison.” Peter smiled. “Now, the poison I’ve given you – it was in the wine, by the way. Always check the seal – will last for up to four days. Ideally, I wanted it to keep you alive for at least a week, but I’ll take what I can get. Do you know what that means, Sarah?”

    {She’s shaking her head! I thought she couldn’t move!}

    [He’s moving her head, dumbass.]

    {Oh…}

    “It means,” Peter said slowly, “that your father, and your fiancé, have four days to pay the ransom I will be demanding from them. To demand, I must leave a note. To leave a note, I must have a pen. Are you seeing a problem here?” His voice had turned to ice with the last sentence.

    The woman was flicking her eyes in the direction of one of the draws, and Peter opened it with a flourish, revealing several pens. He took his time choosing one, discarding some because they were too gaudy.

    [How much do you think these would sell for?]

    “Too much,” Peter replied smartly, finally deciding on a pen. “Here we go:

To Whom It May Concern,

You have four days to pay me a ridiculous amount of money. If you want to save her, you will pay. Details for the transaction are hidden somewhere in this room.

Love from your friendly neighbourhood Spider.

    [Short and to the point. I like it.]

    {Can we stick around and watch them search frantically?}

    Peter chuckled. “Nah. We have places to be. It is a pleasure to leave you, Sarah. Enjoy your agony.” He was halfway out the window when he remembered something. “Oh right! Here goes nothing,” he muttered, before sucking in a deep breath and screaming, “Somebody help me!” in the most feminine voice he could muster. He grinned and waved to the prone woman before disappearing out the window.

    {We should get paid extra for that.}

 



 

    A few days later, Peter was experimenting with his webs – which technically meant experimenting on himself since the webs were produced by his body – when his computer beeped, alerting him to a new money transfer. He wandered over, peering at the screen.

    He whistled, long and low. “Gentlemen, we have a happy customer.”

    [Nice.]

    {We could totally buy all the tacos with that!}

    [Pancakes too.]

    “Shut up. You’re giving me cravings.”

    Peter quickly configured a polite message to the client, reminding him that the merc was only ever a phone call away. The mission had been disgustingly simple – he’d been given a choice of hurting the daughter/soon-to-be-wife, or robbing the father and soon-to-be husband blind. Then White had suggested they do both, and here they were. The ransom money had initially been deposited into an untraceable account, and Peter had moved it into his client's account after he'd checked that a) it was the correct amount and b) it had no traces or anything that could be used to incriminate his client.

    [Remember, we have to deliver the antidote now.]

    “Right, right,” Peter agreed easily, returning to his work-bench. The woman wasn't going anywhere, and she still had a day or so left before the poison killed her. What was a little more pain? With one of his throwing knives, he carefully carved into his left wrist, revealing the rather tiny gland responsible for the synthesis of his webs. He ignored the blood as he poked at the gland musingly.

    {What are you trying this time?}

    “Powdered glass,” Peter replied. “Potentially lethal for me, but I figured my healing should be able to pick up the slack.”

    [That would hurt like a bitch.]

    “You said it! If I get the concentrations right, it should be possible for my webs to cut through skin.” He sewed himself back up with practiced ease, despite feeling light-headed from blood loss. “But I want to have both.”

    {Sticky and cutty?}

    Peter nodded. “If I could somehow recreate the web gland, I could theoretically have one arm that used the original webbing, while the other would have the new one.”

    [Why can’t you recreate the gland?]

    Peter sighed, running a hand through his hair. “To be able to successfully recreate the gland, I have to know everything about it. As it stands, I only know the basic structure of it. If I tried to recreate it without dissecting it, I’d be working blind.”

    {Can’t you just make different ones?}

    [Could you make something that was like the gland, but a device?]

    {That’s what I said!}

    [No it isn’t.]

    {Is too!}

    “Guys! Will you quit it?” Peter rubbed his temple. “I’ll only say this once, so make sure you listen.” He paused for effect. “That’s a brilliant idea.”

    [Did you just…?]

    {Seriously?}

    [A compliment. You gave us a fucking compliment. I think I have a tear in my eye.]

    “You don’t have an eye,” Peter replied, only half paying attention to the joyous boxes. He was already planning.

Chapter Text

    Peter had spent a lot of time – when he didn’t have work or other commitments – following Deadpool. White called it ‘stalking’, but Peter and Yellow disagreed. After all, stalking had such negative connotations.

    So Peter followed Deadpool when he went to his favourite taco places – he liked the same food Peter did, Yellow pointed out excitedly –, when he went to his house – a rundown apartment in the middle of the most horrible neighbourhoods Peter had ever seen and the same apartment he'd woken up in that one time –, and wherever he went on his hero business. Now, for example, Peter was watching as Deadpool took on a group of masked bank robbers.

    [Definitely stalking.]

    Peter had already snatched up the dropped bags of cash – he didn’t need it, but it was still fun to steal from bad people. Deadpool had hardly spared Peter a glance when it became obvious Peter had no intentions of joining the fight. This meant Peter could watch him unabashedly – although in truth, Peter had never had scruples about staring at someone, even if the person was staring back. He made it into a game – a game he always won.

    No one wanted to have a staring contest with a mercenary.

    {That was the most attractive sword swing I have ever seen,} Yellow sighed dreamily.

    “Did you see his muscles?” Peter asked, sighing no less dreamily. He was perched on the roof of a laundromat, watching as Deadpool took care of the group of thugs. His katanas flashed in the sunlight, and despite the imminent danger, a small crowd had gathered to watch the hero fight.

    The action had always baffled Peter. Sure, watching a superhero fight bad guys was entertaining, but the dangers far outweighed the benefits. The people were relying on the hero to keep them out of harm’s way, but couldn’t they see that they were just making everything that much harder?

    Deadpool didn’t seem to mind. Peter couldn’t see his face because of the mask, but he was at least 90% sure the hero had a shit eating grin plastered across his face that would put anyone else’s to shame.

    Except for maybe Stark. He was on a level all of his own.

    But Peter was getting distracted from the show. He gave his head a shake, dispelling all thoughts of the ‘Man of Iron’. Deadpool was currently introducing the criminals to his guns, and as much as Peter hated guns, he had to admit watching Deadpool use them was mesmerizing. The guy had some serious skill, and each move he made was like a step in an elaborate dance that no one had a hope of copying.

    A relaxed Deadpool was a welcome sight. He had a wicked sense of humour and was usually unafraid to banter with Peter, despite who he was. At first, this had shocked and intrigued Peter, but he quickly realized that that was just the way Deadpool was. He bantered with criminals when he fought them too.

    Peter was more comfortable with Deadpool than he was with anyone else, and it showed in the moments when they’d met unexpectedly on rooftops. If it had been anyone else, Peter would have had a knife to their throat quicker than you could say hello. As it was, his hand had been reaching for his knife the first time, but he’d realized who it was and relaxed.

    A fighting Deadpool was mesmerizing. He moved with a liquid grace that looked completely wrong for such a large frame. The hero was a six foot two wall of solid muscle, something his spandex costume emphasized. Peter himself was only five foot ten, and his body was better described as lean or slim. The first time Wade had mentioned how little muscle he had – Peter had had a particularly bad day – Peter spent a week plotting different ways to permanently kill the hero.

    Deadpool’s skill with his weapons was legendary. He wielded two katanas and guns as weapons, and despite Peter’s aversion to guns he found himself grudgingly fascinated. He could also out-talk Peter – and that was really an achievement.

    {Because we’re, like, seven kinds of crazy.}

    [I thought it was eight.]

    {I never knew there were that many types of crazy.}

    [Neither did I.]

    “You learn something new every day,” Peter muttered, eyes fixed on the hero.

    Deadpool was like a living piece of lost art, and Peter could watch him fight all day. Peter frowned at the thought, his head subconsciously cocking to one side as he stared at Deadpool. He must be moving a little differently, because Peter was almost certain he’d never been this captivated by the hero.

    He was also sure he’d never had such girly thoughts about Deadpool before. He was used to Yellow sighing and panting like the desperate, pathetic box he was, but Peter himself had never succumbed to such actions. He was, truthfully, more than a little bit alarmed about his change of behaviour concerning the hero.

    White sighed impatiently. [He’s going to see us.]

    Peter almost startled at the sound of White’s voice echoing in his head. He relaxed back onto the roof, almost lounging as he watched the hero fight. “Nothing wrong with that.” In fact, it might make the hero a little more aware of him. Peter shook his head. That, that right there. Where the hell had that come from?

    {Now there’s an idea! Hey Deadpool, over here!} Yellow began to whistle enthusiastically.

    Each slice of Deadpool's sword or bullet from his gun was carefully guided to miss all vital organs.

    {That’s taking the fun out of it. How is he supposed to play the point game if he misses everything?}

    [I don’t think he plays the point game.]

    “But it’s so much fun!” Peter exclaimed, jumping upright. “Ten points if you get the stomach! Thirty points for the heart! Fifty if you get it through the head!”

    [Don’t forget the five for anywhere else.]

    “I thought that was just for amateurs.” Peter frowned. “I’m not an amateur anymore.” Peter’s pride demanded that he maintain he’d never been an amateur, but he was intelligent enough to realize how stupid that sounded.

    [Less points for you.]

    {And if you miss, it’s minus 1000 points!}

    “I don’t miss,” Peter growled.

    {Oh.} Yellow sounded disappointed. {Then you should get minus five points for anywhere else.}

    Peter hummed. “It is boring if you’re just gaining points all the time,” he reluctantly admitted.

    [Oh god, Yellow had a good idea. What is the world coming to?]

    {I’ve had good ideas before! I take offense to that!}

    “You’re supposed to,” Peter muttered, rolling his eyes.

    {I take offense to that too!}

    “What are you doing here?” Deadpool demanded, sending Peter scuttling across the roof. The hero did not look impressed.

    “Deadpool!” Peter said brightly, smiling up at the hero. He quickly moved himself into an upright position, because most people found spiders creepy and Peter liked Deadpool. Most of the time, anyway.

    [We’re not that creepy…]

    “That was very reassuring. Note the heavy sarcasm and never try that again.” Peter ignored White’s offended huff.

    “What are you doing here?” Deadpool repeated, his strong fingers drawing obscure patterns on the handle of his katana. “I’ll need that money back, by the way.”

    Peter whistled. “What money?” he asked innocently.

    “That’s not gonna work on me, kid,” Deadpool said firmly, holding out one of his gloved hands. "I am immune to your wily ways. Money, thank you very much."

    Peter eyed it disapprovingly. Not the offered hand – that was nice. He glared at the red material covering it. He wanted to see Wade. “Why do you even wear a suit?” he asked. “Everyone knows what you look like. You’re a hero, part of the Avengers. Basically.”

    The outstretched hand tightened into a fist. “I don’t want people swooning at my handsome face,” Deadpool replied with a smirk, but the hand had given him away. "If I took this mask off, I'd never be able to hero again - there'd be too many ladies lining up for a piece of this." He gave a little thrust of his hips.

    Peter hummed thoughtfully. “It would be nice if the world acknowledged deeds without caring about appearance,” he muttered, playing with his new web-shooters. He suddenly brightened and thrust them at Deadpool’s face. “Look at what I made!”

    Deadpool frowned at the tiny contraption, taking a small step back. “What is it?”

    “Webs,” Peter replied proudly. “I was going to make them internal – deadly possibility, but imagine if it had worked – but Yellow and White thought it was a bad idea and suggested this instead. Let me tell you, this is the first time they’ve come up with something that wasn’t completely bat shit insane, but between you and me, I would have thought of it eventually.”

    [You would not!]

    {Don’t take back that praise!}

    “I would so! You don’t know what I was thinking!”

    {Uh…}

    [Yes, actually, we do.]

    “Damn.” Peter tapped his chin. “I’m thinking of a number between one and –”

    [Eight.]

    {Eight.}

    “You have to let me finish! You guys totally cheated.”

    [How?]

    Peter huffed. “I don’t know, but when I find out, you guys are through.” He returned his attention to Deadpool, offering the hero a smile. “But isn’t it cool?” he gushed, poking at the contraption.

    “I’m not sure I understand,” Deadpool admitted. “That sounds more like Tony’s side of things.”

    Peter’s face twisted, feeling the familiar tingle that ran over his skin. Someone was approaching – someone his instincts told him was an enemy. “Ugh. Tony Stark. Tell me, does that metal princess still have a rod of iron up his –”

    “If it isn’t our not so friendly neighbourhood Spider,” another voice interrupted coolly. “And here I thought you were impossible to sneak up on.”

    Peter turned, a huge, fake smile on his face, easily visible beneath his mask. “If it isn’t the legendary Man of Iron!” Peter gave the floating tin can a mocking bow. “Speak of the devil, and the devil shall appear! And as to the sneaking up on, who says I didn’t know you were coming?”

    “Oh, you know, the fact that you’re usually scuttling away on all fours like a deformed spider,” Tony replied, his face-plate flipping up to reveal his handsome face. His ridiculous face hair – Peter was most definitely not jealous of it – made his expression look even more serious.

    Peter grinned again. “Aw, is that the best you could come up with? No Pepper Potts to write up some witty replies? Besides, I made new toys! I gotta test them on something, don’t I?” He batted his eyelashes at the hero, even though it was likely Tony couldn’t see the gesture.

    [Will the webs cut the suit?]

    {That would be cool.}

    [Teach him to treat us like we’re some kind of insect.]

    Peter pouted. “Unfortunately, no.” Then he brightened. “But I can always upgrade if I need.” He chuckled. “What do you say, Anthony? Shall we dance?” Peter barely had time to dodge the bolt of energy the angry hero shot his way.

    “My bad, my bad,” Peter said, perched on an impossible angle, jutting from the building like the gargoyles on gothic houses. “You don’t like being called Anthony, right? Was it the daddy issues or the little hiccup with Obadiah? Man, I could have warned you about him.”

    Another blast of energy was directed his way, but Peter was already moving, dancing across the rooftop and climbing up walls with a speed that always seemed to surprise people. Spiders were fast, damnit!

    Somewhere in the middle, Deadpool jumped in and started yelling at them both. Peter was not unaware of their audience, nor was he oblivious to the destruction they were causing. He dodged crumbling bits of stone and used the larger bits as cover.

    [We’re not causing destruction!]

    {We aren’t doing anything.}

    “Oh Tony!” Peter called. “Look at the mess you’ve made! Didn’t your father ever teach you to clean up after yourself?” He put a hand to his mouth. “Whoops, my bad!”

    {Can we try the new stuff yet?} Yellow whined.

    “Oh, alright,” Peter sighed, flexing his wrists. “Tony! Tony! Check it out!” He flexed his left wrist, sending a long line of webbing towards an unlucky woman standing just a little too close. The web caught the woman’s wrist and she screamed.

    Tony was hovering in the air, looking from Peter to the screaming woman and then back. “What the hell, Spider?”

    “New toys!” Peter all but squealed. “It works even better than I hoped!” Deadpool was suddenly beside the woman, reaching to unwrap the webbing. “I wouldn’t do that if I was you,” Peter called lazily, tugging his arm back a little. The woman whimpered, and Deadpool attacked the web with his gloved hand.

    {How thick are his gloves?} Yellow wondered.

    [We’re going to hurt him again.]

    Peter snorted, not really paying attention to White. “Hey, I warned him. No longer my problem.”

    “Tony!” Deadpool said sharply. “Help me here!”

    “Hang on,” he replied, his face-plate flipping back down. “I’ve got a bug to crush.”

    {Bug?}

    “Where?” Peter demanded.

    [He means us!]

    “Excuse me, Mr High and Mighty, but spiders aren’t bugs! They’re arachnids,” Peter shouted as he dodged the hero’s attacks. He jerked his wrist one more time, and the webbing disengaged from the woman’s wrist, slithering back into the web shooters.

    “No one cares, bug boy.”

    “I care!” Peter called back, covering Tony’s face-plate with his normal webs. He retreated into the shadows, content to disappear for the time being. He felt giddy with the success of his new webs and wanted nothing more than to go home and find a new job waiting for him – one where he could use his new webs.

    “Deadpool, did you see where he went?” Tony roared once the webbing had been removed from his face-plate. At Deadpool's head shake, he landed and kicked a bit of rubble like a child. “When I find that little shit, I’m going to squash him like the bug he is.”

    Deadpool was frowning. “You don’t mean that. You wouldn't kill him.”

    “You’re wrong. That bug has caused us too much trouble already. If we don’t stop him now, he’ll destroy this city.” He gestured around himself wildly.

    Deadpool coughed. “To be fair, this was all you.”

    Tony glared. “This isn’t a conversation to be having here,” he replied sharply. “Meet me back at the Tower.” With that, he flew off.

    Peter found himself grinning as he watched Deadpool survey the damage and sigh. He bent down and unearthed something from under the rubble – the money bags. Peter had completely forgotten about them. He considered webbing the bags back, but found that he didn’t really mind Deadpool having them.

    “Maybe I should ask him out on a date,” he mused aloud. He was not surprised when Yellow began to wolf whistle.

    [Uh, Spidey? We killed him, remember?] White said, ignoring Yellow whistling in the background.

    Peter had actually forgotten about that incident. What with the jobs he’d been doing – that Sarah woman had been the tip of the iceberg – and the junk food and games he’d been buying with his hard earned money, Peter hadn’t really had time to think about the hero. Apart from the odd comment from Yellow – who was crushing harder than a teenage girl – Deapool had been suspiciously absent from Peter’s thoughts.

    He pursed his lips, contemplating. “You really think he cares?” he asked.

    [Dude, we killed him.]

    “Does he look dead to you?” Peter demanded, gesturing to the black-and-red clad figure that was currently digging through the debris. “I mean, he deals with that all the time. I’ve only killed him once.”

    [Usually, you can only kill someone once.]

    “Wade’s not just anyone. He’s Deadpool! Death is a part of everyday life for him.” In fact, Peter had a suspicion Deadpool thought he was in a romantic relationship with the personification of Death – if his just-waking-up-from-dying mumbles were anything to go by.

    {I… I think I agree with White.}

    Peter very nearly broke his neck when he whipped his head to the side, although of course there was no one to look at. He glared anyway, not even seeing the two people who fled the alley at the sight of him, too focused on what was happening inside his head.

    “What? Yellow, you never agree with White!”

    [Face it, if he’s on my side it means you doing something really stupid.]

    {Insane.}

    “We do insane stuff all the time,” Peter objected, frowning.

    {But… Wade. We killed him.}

    [It doesn’t matter that he came back, Spidey,] White explained patiently, and Peter hated it. Hated the stupid boxes in his head with a fury that tasted like blood. [The whole problem is that we killed him to start with.]

    “I don’t need lessons in guilt or morals from you!” Peter snarled, standing up. “Who the hell cares what you two think? He came back! He’s not fragile – if he breaks, he fixes himself. Simple as that.” He realized he’d bitten his tongue. No wonder he could taste blood.

    [People aren’t toys, Spidey.]

    {You can’t replace them.}

    “You think I don’t know that?” Peter hissed, only vaguely registering that the hero had heard him and was making his way to Peter’s dark alley. He barely felt himself shaking, trembling with a combination of rage and utter helplessness, because he knew people couldn’t be replaced. He knew what it was to have a hole in his chest, a reminder of a time when he’d given a part of himself to someone and never gotten it back.

    {Boohoo Spidey. You aren’t the only one.}

    [Woah, hold up. Are you telling me you’ve given part of yourself to Deadpool? Have you fallen in love with him?]

    Peter went still, every muscle relaxing and then tensing all over again. “No,” he replied, his calm eerie after his rage only seconds ago. “That’s not happening.” It was much too soon for something like that to happen. After all, he’d only known (been stalking) the hero for a few weeks.

    Peter was suddenly less sure. Was it too soon?

    {Damn…}

    [We need to leave. Now.]

    For once, Peter didn’t have a sarcastic, smart or scathing reply on the tip of his tongue. He spun and, completely disregarding Deadpool’s reaching hand, webbed away. He didn’t even hear Deadpool call out after him.

   



 

    Peter’s room had been normal. A bed, a little dresser where he kept his new web-shooters, his knives and some explosives (just in case), a worn desk that had followed him throughout his constant moving, and an old bookcase in danger of collapsing at any given moment because of the sheer number of books it held. ‘Had been’, because it now resembled something more likely to be found in a horror movie.

    The entire room had been transformed into a nest. Peter had used so much web making the nest that he was pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to produce any for a few days. His wrists ached, but he hardly noticed. Curled up in the center of the nest, strangely comforted by his surroundings, Peter was once again focused on the chaos of his own mind. Both boxes sounded serious, something almost unheard of in Yellow’s case.

    [Spidey, I thought you were done with this! You cut Mary-Jane off for this exact reason.]

    {Also because you knew she’d break it off with you if she found out how you spent your free time.}

    [I mean, sure, he’s got a rocking body, but he’s a hero!]

    {There have been weirder love stories. Like between Sonic and Rainbow Dash. That was scarring.}

    [Agreed. But we’re veering off topic. Spidey, Deadpool?]

    “Shut up,” Peter said, his voice shallow and dejected. “It’s not happening.”

    [Just who are you hoping to convince?] White did not sound impressed.

    {Caring about people hurts. You were the one who decided to stop caring.}

    “It isn’t happening,” Peter insisted, uncurling himself slightly from his ball. He belatedly realized he was completely naked. “Where’s my suit?”

    {Probably stuck to a wall somewhere.}

    [You were pretty out of it before. You calmed down when you finished the web.]

    {It’s impressive, but creepy.}

    Peter sighed and flopped onto his back. “I know I decided that,” he began hesitantly. “But I’m fucked up, insane, unhinged. I’m not a machine.”

    [Shit.]

    “It’s… possible. That I like him. More than just admiration, anyway.” Peter focused on the white threads above his head, noticing some of them appeared to be spotted with blood.

    {… Seriously?}

    Peter sighed. “Maybe?”

    [Peter. You’re a mercenary. You kill people for a living.]

    {Or threaten their lives. Or leave them horribly disfigured. Or scare the pants off them.}

    [Yes, thank you. Deadpool… He’s a hero. He saves people.]

    “I know that,” Peter muttered. “Which is why, even if it does end up that I actually like him, I’m not going to do anything.” There was a pause as the boxes considered that.

    {You think you’ll be able to resist that fine body?}

    [It will still hurt.]

    Peter laughed bitterly. “What’s a little more pain?” he asked, smiling savagely. “If I ever get frustrated, I can always take it out on my targets.”

    Yellow laughed gleefully. {And you can invent new poisons and weapons!}

    [I think you should make something that replicates blood.]

    “Why?”

    {So you can torture people for ages and not worry about them dying.}

    [I think it would be interesting. Can you do it, Spidey?]

    “Let’s head downstairs and find out, shall we?”

    [Don’t forget clothes!]

    As Peter pulled a shirt over his head, he tried to convince himself that he wasn’t in danger of falling in love with the red-and-black suited hero. He tried to pretend he didn’t hear White’s sigh. He tried to convince himself that Wade saving his life had changed nothing.

    But when he remembered the way he’d felt just watching Wade fight, he knew it had. It had definitely changed things.

Chapter Text

    Peter wasn’t avoiding Deadpool. He wasn’t, not really. It was just that he’d gotten extremely busy with work, and new ideas and experiments just kept popping into his head. It wasn’t like he’d locked himself in his lab for days just to avoid Deadpool. He’d been really quite productive.

    [Who are you trying to convince?]

    {I thought you were a better liar than this. Didn’t we teach you anything?}

    Peter sighed and dropped the wires he’d been fiddling with. So maybe he was avoiding the hero, but he wasn’t scared to run into him.

    {I call bull!}

    [I think everyone can smell that lie.]

    “Alright! Fine! I’m avoiding that stupid do-gooder! Are you happy now?” Peter shouted, tossing up his hands. “This would never have happened if you two had minded your own damn business.”

    [We don’t really have our own business to mind.]

    {We’re like your conscience.}

    Peter leaned back on his chair and covered his eyes with his forearm. He released a humourless laugh. “If you two are my conscience, I am so fucking screwed.”

    [Swearing so early in the morning?]

    “I’m a grown man,” Peter grumbled. “I can swear whenever I like.”

    {Preach it sister!}

    [That is wrong on so many levels.]

    “Why are we even having this conversation?” Peter asked, picking up the faint sound of footsteps walking along the hall. He ignored them. “We all know why I’m here.”

    {Because you’re a scaredy cat?}

    [Because you’re afraid of getting hurt.]

    The sound of knocking interrupted the conversation. Peter was on his feet faster than you could say “what”. No one knocked on his door – unless he’d ordered pizza. He didn’t recall doing so, nor did he smell anything resembling pizza.

    [Someone’s lost?]

    {I don’t even believe that…}

    Peter got to his feet and made his way to the front door. The apartment was modest, so it took no time at all for him to be standing in front of his door, listening intently as the person on the other side shifted nervously.

    They knocked again, and Peter opened the door quickly, ready to attack if he needed to. He froze in surprise, the boxes going silent in his head, when he was confronted with Deadpool. Deadpool, who was wearing a red hoodie and worn jeans, a cap covering his face. His bare hands were stuffed into his pockets.

    Deadpool, who looked conspicuously out of place – and who shouldn’t even know where Peter lived.

    “Hey kid,” Deadpool said, somehow stepping into Peter’s apartment without touching him. He walked in and whistled. “Nice place. Very clean. Almost freaky clean. Oh hey, is that a Wii? If you don't have 'Super Smash Bros', we can't be friends anymore.”

    [Are we hallucinating now?]

    {The fuck?}

    “What – how – why the hell are you here?” Peter demanded, tongue tripping over the words flying from his mouth. “How do you know where I live? What do you want?”

    Deadpool took off his hat, avoiding looking at Peter’s face. “I was worried about you, Spidey. Haven’t seen you around for a few weeks. Been keeping an eye out - I wanted to thank you for leaving the cash! That was sweet of you.”

    Peter gritted his teeth. “Good guys don’t worry about bad guys,” he snapped, ignoring the way his heart fluttered in his chest. He gestured to the open door. “Get out.”

    “Hey now careful, Spidey. I might start to think you’ve been avoiding me.” It was said jokingly, but Peter caught the half-serious note in Deadpool’s voice.

    [He knows!]

    {Baton down the hatches lads! Dive, dive, dive!}

    “I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about,” Peter replied after a short pause. Like that would convince anyone. “How did you even find me?” Peter picked at the flaking paint restlessly. What was he supposed to do? It was like the universe was laughing at him – the second he’d decided not to act on the troublesome, annoying, frankly unnecessary feelings that were taking root inside of him, the very focus of said feelings had appeared at his door.

    {I’m lucky we’re in love in every way,} Yellow sang.

    Deadpool shrugged, a smile splitting his face. “I’m a fairly intelligent man with a few connections,” he replied, flopping onto the couch and basically making himself at home. "Do you have Smash Bros? C'mon, say you do! I'll bet a crisp twenty I can beat your ass blindfolded!"

    Peter ground his teeth together. “That isn’t getting out,” he snapped, finally letting the door close. If worst came to worst, he could just throw Deadpool out a window. “What do you want from me?”

    Deadpool shrugged. “I said it already, didn’t I? I was worried about you kid.”

    Rage flashed hot and strong, the taste of blood filling Peter’s mouth. “I’m not a kid,” he snarled, body dropping to the floor.

    [That was really patronizing.]

    {We have new toys to play with!}

    “I thought you were against killing him again,” Peter hissed, dodging Deadpool’s well-placed punch. “You can’t just go changing your tune.”

    [This is entirely different.]

    {Agreed. We aren’t children.}

    Peter launched himself at Deadpool, pinning the bigger man to the couch. “You shouldn’t have come,” he said, his voice rough and low – not with desire. With anger. Yes, anger. “You should have stayed far, far away from me.”

    Deadpool didn’t even struggle, staring up at Peter with a cheeky grin.. “I’m not scared of you, kid,” he replied with a low chuckle that did things to Peter’s stomach. "I mean, don't get me wrong, the fangs are totally intimidating. I'm quaking in my boots, I am." Deadpool grinned. "But I have years of experience on you, Spidey, not to mention muscle mass." He flexed, muscles rippling beneath Peter's hands, making his mouth abruptly dry.

    [How insulting. I really think we should hurt him now. Just to remind him what we’re capable of.]

    {And I think he’d look nice writhing in pain.}

    [Alright, that too.]

    {He’s growing on you?}

    [Like a fungus.]

    “Is that so?” Peter breathed, privately relishing the feel of those hard muscles beneath him. He let himself fantasize about Deadpool pinning him to the couch, but only for a moment. Because that would never happen. He slid off the larger man and headed into the kitchen. “Want a drink? Promise I won’t poison it.”

    “I don’t think I can trust you,” Deadpool called, couch creaking as he sat up.

    Peter snorted a laugh, noticing that the hero hadn't actually said no. “That’s probably the most intelligent thing to come out of your mouth.”

    [We couldn’t poison him anyway.]

    {Can we sedate him?}

    [Maybe?]

    “Only one way to find out,” Peter muttered, slipping a little pill – another one of his concoctions – into one of the glasses. He walked out and offered the glass without the pill to Deadpool, who looked at it suspiciously before reaching for the other glass. Peter pouted.

    Deadpool finished his glass quickly and went back to surveying the apartment. “What the hell!” he exclaimed when he got to the bedroom, which was still a giant web. “Is that blood? Dude, that shit is creepy.”

    Peter ambled up beside him and shrugged. “Probably. Doesn’t matter – I’m healed.” Besides, he could make himself some new web-shooters. “I’ve been busy anyway. That’s why I haven’t been around.”

    “I haven’t heard of any mercenary jobs lately,” Deadpool noted absently. His eyes were still glued to Peter's nest.

    Peter smiled wryly – a hero keeping an eye on mercenary jobs? “Looking to make some extra money? I hear the hero business doesn’t pay well.”

    {You get paid donuts.}

    [Lots of zeros. Nothing in front of them.]

    {Except more zeros!}

    [I think everyone understand now.]

    Deadpool blinked a little blearily. “I don’t need the money that comes with mercenary work,” he said, taking a seat on the couch. He glared at his glass before transferring the accusing look to Peter. “The fuck did you give me, Spidey?”

    Peter shrugged. “A glass of water, Pooly. Mighta had a little something special in it, but I figured with that neat healing factor it wouldn’t affect you.” Peter grinned, setting his glass down. “Looks like I was wrong.”

    “What are you even planning – you can’t kill me.” His words slurred in interesting ways. "Plenty of people have tried before you. And they've had way more experience with killing people than you."

    [Uh, yes we can.]

    {We’ve done it before.}

    “Maybe not permanently,” Peter allowed, studying Deadpool’s face. “But I’ve been very busy, and I am interested in how that healing factor of yours holds up against my intellectual genius.”

    [Do you even know the meaning of the word modesty?]

    {He knows the word ‘lie’. Also, his eyes are nice.}

    […He has good bone structure.]

    “You must have been a looker before the cancer,” Peter muttered, not missing the way Deadpool’s eyes narrowed. “Not that you’re bad looking now. I mean, the scars are badass.” He poked one experimentally, oddly fascinated by the texture. Deadpool tried to bat his hand away, but the drug was affecting him more strongly now.

    “First, you’ll lose muscle function,” Peter murmured, placing his hand against the lax muscles in Deadpool’s arm. “And then you won’t be able to talk. Any last words?”

    “This is bullshit,” Deadpool managed to say before his jaw went slack.

    [Classy.]

    {We like you even more now!}

    “We’re not discussing that!” Peter snapped. He looked back to Deadpool. “I’m actually rather impressed that you’re still awake. The next thing to go will be your sight. Hope you aren’t scared of the dark.” Deadpool made a gagging noise that sounded oddly sarcastic, but Peter wasn’t about to let him have the last word.

    “I have a lab downstairs. I’ll tie you up and then we can get kinky, okay?”

Chapter Text

    Peter could be very patient when he wanted to be. Like the spider that had bitten him, changed him, he knew the virtue of waiting for the right moment. He knew instinctively the opportune moment to strike, where to hit to cause the most damage – or the most pain. And so Peter had realized that he would have to wait for Deadpool to wake up before he could have any fun.

    The boxes in his head, however, had other ideas.

    [Wouldn’t you say that this is the right moment? I mean, he’s unconscious.]

    {We can do whatever we want to him!}

    “What’s the point of doing things to him if he’s unconscious? I’m not going to eat him.” Peter regarded the tied up hero with narrowed eyes.

    [Maybe you should.]

    {Then he’ll be part of us forever.}

    [Well, until we crapped him out.]

    Peter wrinkled his nose. “That’s just gross.”

    [Some spiders eat their mates,] White pointed out.

    “Female spiders,” Peter retorted. “I’m not female, and I wouldn’t be mating with him. It would just be sex.”

    [Technicalities mean nothing here.]

    {But if you eat him, you’ll only get to have sex with him once!} Yellow whined. {We want more!}

    [Oh look. The opportunity has gone – he’s coming around.]

    “Of course he’s coming around,” Peter snapped, watching as the hero opened a single eye before flinching and closing it again.

    {Aw, he’s hurting.}

    [Maybe we should let him go.]

    “You guys wanted him here too,” Peter replied, crawling closer to Deadpool. Unmasked and restrained, there was something oddly unguarded about him. Peter frowned, trying to pinpoint exactly what it was.

    {Always!} Yellow crowed happily.

    “I know you always did! But White had problems.”

    [But he grew on me.]

    Peter snickered. “Like a fungus.” A grin stretched across his face as the boxes began to bicker, cut off only when a raspy voice from below spoke.

    “H-hey,” Deadpool said, coughing to clear his throat. No doubt his healing factor was finishing up on his vocal chords. Peter felt a moment of annoyance that he couldn’t mark the hero like he could everyone else, but there wasn’t anything he could do about it. “Can’t a man die in peace?”

    Peter watched as Deadpool opened his eyes, peering around his lab with what Peter thought was barely contained panic. The more Peter thought about it, the more it made sense.

    {I don’t get it!}

    [He’s probably been in lots of labs. Because of his healing factor. I doubt it was pleasant.]

    Yellow gasped dramatically. {How cruel.}

    “We let you die in peace,” Peter replied, releasing the roof with his hands. He’d always felt more comfortable standing upside down than hanging. Perhaps because it felt more dignified, and also meant his hands were free. It had the added bonus of creeping people out as well.

    [Did anyone else see that?]

    {What did I miss?}

    […I’m actually not entirely sure.]

    “Now you’re waking up, and the fun can begin,” Peter continued, smirking at the hero. He was careful to let his fangs show, because the hero seemed to have a bad habit of forgetting that Peter was, in fact, the Spider. A mercenary. Someone who killed for a living.

    [A glorified assassin.]

    {You know, if we didn’t accept money, we’d be good guys.}

    [Ain’t the world a wonderful place?]

    “What do you want from me?” Deadpool demanded as his muscles strained to escape. Peter watched, fascinated by the tendons and muscles straining against the ropes. The hero wouldn’t escape, he knew that – he was really good at tying knots – but just watching him struggle was arousing.

    There were so many things wrong with him.

    “Oh, Pooly,” he sighed dramatically, slapping a hand over his heart. “How you wound me. I don’t want anything from you.” Peter paused for a moment, before adding almost silently, “Except for you to fuck me, but we all know that’s not going to happen.” In a movement that was as familiar to him as breathing, he released his hold on the roof and landed upright on the ground.

    He approached the restrained hero. “But I made new toys, and everyone just dies so easily, ya know? It’s hard to test my things.”

    Deadpool was silent for a time before he finally answered. “I don’t.”

    {Lucky guy.}

    [He doesn’t know the hardships of being an insane genius who has a talent for inventing things that hurt and kill people. He’s a very lucky guy.]

    “No,” Peter agreed softly, “you don’t.”

    [And we therefore bless the day you were born. Or made.]

    {Origin story!}

    Peter’s face split into a smile. “And so you see, I get to play!” He was almost pleased to see the hero flinch away from him – not that he could get very far. Almost, because Peter could taste the bitter regret, the shame that threatened to choke him.

    [Well if you feel that bad maybe we should just let him go.]

    {Yeah. We can just grab someone off the street.}

    “No! We were in agreement before!” Peter whirled away, anger abruptly springing up.

    {We should just let him go.}

    [Don’t want you to do something you’ll regret, Spidey.]

    “That’s not fun!”

    [But you like him. Surely you don’t want to hurt him. Again.]

    “I don’t care, White,” Peter snarled.

    [Then just fuck him and be done with it.]

    “I can’t do that. You know I can’t.” Just a taste would send him over the edge. Just a taste would send him screaming, laughing, crying into complete insanity. Just a taste would never be enough.

    “Uh, Spider?” Deadpool called, clearing his throat quietly. “Who are you chatting to?”

    He’d forgotten about him, even though he’d been thinking about him. The thought made his head hurt, so he focused on the scarred hero. The boxes had gone silent, thoughtful. He could feel them in the back of his head, watching and waiting.

    “You don’t need to worry about them, Wade,” Peter said, taking a step towards the helpless hero. “The boxes sometimes forget who’s in charge.” He let ice enter his voice, and took another step. “We’re going to have fun, Pooly. So don’t worry.” He tried to smile reassuringly, but doubted he succeeded.

    He was a step away from the hero when his apartment exploded.

 



 

    Peter wasted no time in retrieving his mask from the corner of the room and shoving it over his head. The walls shuddered again, and Peter glanced around, taking the time to list everything he had on hand. His eyes caught on Deadpool, sitting in the centre of the room, still tied up. Deadpool, who looked suspiciously calm, and that made Peter suspect he’d forgotten something important.

    It was, surprisingly, Yellow who remembered. {The tracker!}

    Peter wished he had time to tear Deadpool’s flesh from his bones, but that sort of violence was best reserved for privacy. The door between his apartment and his lab wouldn’t hold against an angry Avenger, and from what Peter could hear, there was more than one in what was left of his home. So skinning Deadpool would have to wait.

    [Hey Spidey, I hate to remind you, but all your stuff is up there.]

    {Not too quick on the uptake, are you?}

    “My books!” Peter gasped in horror, taking a half step towards the door. “My desk!” His hand closed around a chair, and he threw it at the collection of microscopes across the room. “If they’ve destroyed them…” Peter trailed off, whirling to face Deadpool. “If they’ve destroyed them,” he started again, making sure to look Deadpool right in the eye, “I will make your lives hell.” He punctuated his sentence with a fist slamming against the bench.

    “What’s the big deal?” Deadpool asked flippantly, his eyes straying to the door. “You have all the money you need to buy more. It’ll hardly put a dent in your bank. Those science things, now, those look expensive. Why are you throwing them around the room? Do you like wasting money?”

    {It’s like he’s never heard of sentimental value!}

    “No,” Peter replied, “he just doesn’t think me capable of feeling.” Peter laughed, the sound bitter and nasty. “Shall we prove him right?”

    {Break out all the toys!}

    [Turn this into a bloodbath.]

    “’Nothing stops the madness; turning, haunting, yearning. Pull the trigger.’”

    {Oh I know that one! ‘So sedated as they medicate your brain, and while you slowly go insane they tell ya’.}

    [‘Given with the best intentions. Help you with your complications.’ What a loud of shit.]

    "'Your tragic fate is looking so clear’,” Peter finished, staring into Deadpool’s eyes. "'Oh, I’m your fucking nightmare.’”

    [Nice improvisation. But the door is about to break.]

    And so it was. Peter spun, kicking Deadpool’s chair over in a fluid movement that sent him crashing to the ground. He ignored the pained groan from behind him and watched as the first of the Avengers filed in.

    Predictably, it was Stark. “Hey Wade!” he said, never taking his eyes off Peter. “You alright?”

    “Fine,” Deadpool groaned from the floor.

    “Even if he isn’t, he will be.” The red-headed assassin strolled in after him. She cocked her head and stared at Peter. He imagined, if he had been anyone else, he would have been intimidated. As it stood, he was just angry.

    “You always look more impressive swinging around,” Natasha Romanoff noted. “Just standing there, you look very… Normal.”

    [How does an assassin become an Avenger?]

    “I’ll bet it’s because she kissed enough ass,” Peter muttered back furiously.

    Yellow giggled. {Hehe. Ass. It’s such a weird word, don’t you think? Looks funny written down.}

    “Is it just you two, or should I keep an eye out for everyone else?” Peter snapped. “What am I saying, of course Hawkeye is keeping an eye out. Poor Banner missed out on this one, hmm? And what about Steve? Having some sort of crisis?”

    “You don’t know what you’re talking about, bug boy,” Stark replied, infuriatingly snarky. “Just hand us back our friend.”

    “Come and get him,” Peter urged, baring his teeth. His web-shooters were still upstairs, hidden in his giant nest. His other toys were elsewhere, stashed and hidden and carefully wrapped up. He was essentially unarmed – as unarmed as he could get, anyway.

    But Peter was furious. The Avengers – the do-gooders, the heroes – had blown up his apartment, quite possibly destroying some of his things. They hadn’t even knocked! Peter wouldn’t have answered, if they had, but it was the principle of the thing.

    He himself had never attacked Stark Tower. Not because he couldn’t – over time, he’d managed to acquire quite the collection of weapons – but because it was rude.

    “I have a question, before you do. If you don’t mind answering, that is.” Peter smiled sharply.

    “I’m not answering any of your questions, bug boy,” Stark snarled.

    “Who said I was asking you, Man of Iron?” Peter spat back.

    {Uh, rude.}

    [Not everything is about you, Stark.]

    “My question is for you,” Peter continued, pointing at the red-haired woman. She inclined her head.

    “Since you asked so nicely, I’ll allow it.”

    “Why Black Widow?” At the frown he received, Peter smiled. “Wouldn’t it be more accurate to call you Red Widow?” He had half a second to move. The bullet buried itself in the floor, and Peter laughed. “I mean, I get the whole spider thing. I even think it’s kinda cool. Kudos to you.” He dodged the next bullet fluidly. “But, and I mean no disrespect, you have more blood on your hands than anyone I know. And I know a lot of bad people.”

    “That’s enough, Spider,” Stark snarled warningly. Natasha was silent, her face blank and pale.

    “See, I don’t think it is,” Peter replied, set on making his words hurt. “I mean, an alcoholic, two assassins, two mutants and a Pagan god walk into a bar. It’s like the start of a really bad joke.”

    {Insanity: check.}

    [Self-preservation: error.]

    “I say we kill him,” Stark said, his voice deadly. “No one insults the Avengers to my face.”

    “Oh, I’m sorry. Did you want me to be polite? You blew up my home.”

    “You kidnapped our friend.”

    Peter smirked. “Did I? Deadpool was the one to come knocking at my door. Deadpool was the one who drank what was offered to him. Let me turn the tables.” He leaned forward, relishing in the way both ‘heroes’ tensed. “If I had just waltzed on up to Stark Tower and walked in of my own violation, would you have let me go?”

    At the answering silence, he nodded his head. “That’s what I thought,” he snapped. “Come and take him,” he added in disgust. “If this is what the world considers a hero, then I’m glad to be a merc.”

    The subdued atmosphere was abruptly interrupted by the screeching of alarms. Peter watched in satisfaction as steel doors dropped into place, blocking all windows as well as the door. Three pairs of eyes landed on him, and he couldn’t help but laugh.

    “Oh, I am so sorry,” he gasped, laughing even harder as their eyes narrowed in confusion. “But you all walked in here of your own violation. As a mercenary, as a criminal, how can I just let you go? Distraction is the name of the game, my dear Avengers, and you fell for it. Rather spectacularly, I’m afraid. And you call yourselves heroes.”

    He was still laughing when he sensed movement behind him. Deadpool lunged for Peter, having finally freed himself from the chair. Peter dodged, giggles hiccupping past his lips. “Come and get me!” he giggled, throwing his arms wide.

    The three moved in unison. They worked well as a team, Peter noted absently as he twisted and dodged and jumped, landing on the ceiling before leaping away when Natasha shot at him. Did the woman ever run out of bullets?

    Peter felt… Well, for lack of a better term, he felt high. Floating, free, whatever. The point was that there weren’t many things that made Peter feel good anymore. Fighting, though. Fighting was great.

    But all too soon it became clear he’d bitten off more than he could chew. He’d suspected as much from the start, but never let it be said he didn’t enjoy a challenge. The boxes shouted warnings when combined with his own instincts helped him avoid most of the hits, but he couldn’t evade them forever. He decided it was time to fight back.

    He used his webs to snatch Natasha’s gun from her hands, crushing it in his own hands quickly. She stared at her empty hand for a moment in shock before reaching to grab the closest thing to her – a beaker of some chemical or another. She tossed it at him, but it landed on Deadpool’s arm.

    Deadpool cried out, and Peter spared a second to glance at him. Whatever had been in the beaker – acid? He didn’t have acid in here – was eating though his skin so quickly his healing factor couldn’t keep up. Peter spied a sharp object at Natasha’s hip and snatched it. The knife felt comfortable in his hands, a reminder of dark days and even darker nights.

    He lunged at Deadpool, cutting off his arm at the shoulder. The next moment he was fighting off Natasha, who was really very skilled at hand to hand combat. In any other situation, Peter was sure he’d be impressed.

    “You’ve made a mistake,” she told him, panting.

    Peter laughed. “I make those on a daily basis, Red Widow. Doesn’t it just seem right to end on one too?”

    [Spidey, you’re not planning on dying, are you?]

    {Say what?}

    [Because you know we care for your continued existence and – Dodge! Now!]

    “Hey, White,” Peter said, feeling the heat from Stark’s attack sear his shoulder, “you should know I never plan on dying.”

    [Where’d your anger go?]

    “I’m still angry. Furious, even.”

    [Then why aren’t you fighting like it?]

    “Because I may or may not have picked up a rather nasty case of bleeding.” Peter staggered slightly, yanking the knife from his back.

    [This was not what I meant by a bloodbath.]

    {Though to be fair, they’re all pretty bloody too.}

    “Fuck, this hurts. Okay, I’m officially done.” Peter lifted his head and glared at the Avengers. “Who the fuck stabbed me in the back? That’s so fucking rude! Not even heroic! I bet you destroyed all my stuff too, didn’t you?” Peter could feel his rage leaking in, replacing whatever blood he was losing.

    Stark shook his head. “I guess that means you’re surrendering?”

    Maniacal laughter spilled from Peter’s lips. “As if I would ever surrender to someone who is so cowardly they stab their enemy in the back.” He flew into motion, ignoring the twinge in his back and the grey of unconsciousness that kept trying to drag him down.

    “Hey now, calm down Spider!” Deadpool cried, dodging Peter’s webs. Peter snarled beneath his mask, barely managing to dodge the attack from Tony fucking Stark in his stupid tin can suit. “Let’s just talk about this, like –”

    “If you say like adults,” Peter hissed, suddenly leaping onto the ceiling, “I will make you bleed.” His own blood dripped from his open wound with a distracting sound. “You’re all obviously so mature that you feel the need to stab your adversary in the back. In the fucking back!”

    A blast of pain hit the back of his head, and the last thing he heard was arguing. He dropped from the roof with a thud, dead to the world.

 



 

    {Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey!}

    [That is thoroughly misleading. They’ve taken the mask, Spidey.]

    Peter groaned, blinking bleary eyes as he regarded the strange room. The walls were mirrors, the floor was a mirror – even the ceiling was a mirror. “Where am I?” he whispered, feeling the words emerge like sandpaper up his throat. His back twinged.

    White made a contemplative noise. [The Avengers Tower?]

    “The Avengers Tower,” Peter repeated. “What a lovely thought.” He wondered idly whether they were trying to ID him, before another twinge of pain distracted him.

    {As good as eggs and bacon?}

    [Shut up you imbecile.]

    “Hey, I’ll be honest with you. A glass of water would be amazing right now.” He coughed, the pain in his back flaring at the movement.

    [That should have healed by now.]

    Peter hummed in agreement, pushing himself to his feet. “You’re damn right it should have healed by now.” He let his eyes wander around the room. His other senses, heightened since he’d been bitten by the radioactive spider, caught the irregularity in the furthest wall from him. The faintest heartbeat tickled his hearing.

    He lunged forward, landing against the glass and sticking to it easily. “‘I can hear your heartbeat’,” he sang, tapping the glass gently. Peter giggled when he heard the person behind it scramble away. “‘I don’t know where you’re going, I don’t know who you are’.”

    Peter slammed his fist against the glass, impressed when it didn’t immediately shatter. “But if you don’t fucking let me out, I will rip you apart.”

    “Please refrain from damaging you room. Mister Stark will be most upset by its destruction.” Peter jerked around, dropping from the glass to survey the room thoughtfully. The voice was… Odd. His senses rejected it as alive, but there was no denying the faint exasperation in the voice. He couldn’t see where it came from, either. There were no speakers, and there definitely wasn’t someone in the glass cage.

    “I have informed Mister Stark that you are awake. They will be sending someone along shortly.”

    “Oh!” Peter exclaimed. “I know who you are!”

    {You do?}

    [Please share with the class.]

    “You’re Jarvis! Stark’s AI.” Peter smiled, unable to contain his excitement. The man might be a right asshole, but Tony Stark was a genius. Jarvis was, in Peter’s eyes, his greatest invention. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

    The AI was silent for a moment, and Peter’s smile faltered. “I am unsure how to respond. I would say it is a pleasure to meet you, but I do not lie.”

    Peter huffed, folding his arms. His excitement vanished, leaving behind bitter disappointment. “That’s hardly polite.”

    [What do you expect from something made by Stark?]

    “That’s a good point,” Peter replied thoughtfully. “Anything made by that tin can princess is bound to be an asshole.”

    “I have read much on your… Exploits,” the AI said. He sounded… Almost disgusted. Peter bristled.

    “I’m sure you have,” Peter muttered, distracted by the sound of footsteps. “But I suppose you think I should let the bad guys live too.” He smirked. “How incredibly short-sighted of you.”

    {Who do you think will come see us?}

    [Probably no one good.]

    {They’re the good guys! They don’t torture people!}

    “No, they just explode people’s homes and stab them in the back,” Peter snapped. “Do you think there’s a door? I can’t find one. How are we going to talk?”

    [Through the mirror?]

    “Well that’s just rude!”

    “I would recommend desisting that action,” Jarvis said. “Mister Stark was very generous when he furnished this room.”

    “If they don’t talk to me face to face, I’m not talking to them. They can do whatever they want, but I. Won’t. Talk. Do you understand?” Peter focused on building himself a nest. This one would be smaller than the one at his apartment, up on the ceiling where they couldn’t sneak up on him.

    [Speaking to you face to face would require them being in the same room.]

    “I know what it means, White!” Peter snarled. “Don’t patronise me.”

    [We could kill them. They won’t risk that.]

    Peter laughed. “I know.” He climbed up, into his nest, and glared balefully at the mirror and whoever was on the other side. No, he wouldn’t talk. But he could damn well annoy the shit out of them. He smirked and began to hum.

 



 

    It took almost three days for someone to cave. Peter didn’t move from his nest, snatching up any food and drink delivered to the room with his webs. He hummed until his throat hurt, and then he stopped. Rested. Started again. Always the same tune, over and over again.

    It was enough to drive anyone insane.

    Predictably, it was Deadpool who came. Peter had known it would be him – if he hadn’t decided it himself, the others would have had some pretty convincing arguments. Which was good, because Peter had a bone to pick with Deadpool.

    Peter poked his head out of his nest and regarded the hero. He was dressed casually, in jeans and a shirt that did wonderful things for his figure. He stayed close to the door, alert and tense. Peter smirked.

    “Pooly,” he purred. “Did you miss me?”

    [We should kill him.]

    {I wonder; if we cooked him and ate him, would he come back?}

    “I worked it out, you know.” Deadpool tilted his head in silent question. “Why you came to see me. I mean, I still don’t know how you found me, but at least now I know why.”

    “I came because I was worried about you,” Deadpool replied calmly. "That wasn't a lie, Spidey."

    Peter shook his head aggressively. “No. No you didn’t. You can tell yourself that if it makes you feel better, but don’t lie to me.” He exploded from his nest, pining Deadpool against the wall by his throat. Deadpool didn’t even have time to gasp before his feet were off the ground.

    [I say do it.]

    {Remind him.}

    [Again. He’s not that sharp, is he?]

    Peter could hear frantic noises behind the walls, and bared his teeth in a smile. “Don’t worry. I won’t kill him.” The word yet hung in the air between them. “I just don’t like being lied to.” He tightened his grip on Deadpool’s throat, relishing in the strangled noises that emerged from his mouth.

    “Hold – up – Spider,” Deadpool gasped.

    “No, I don’t think so. You see, I wondered about the tracker. You always forget about it. I’ve heard Stark yelling at you about it all the time. They need to know where you are, so that if you get into trouble, they can help.” Peter snickered. “You have such wonderful friends.”

    “Please release Mister Wilson,” Jarvis interrupted.

    “Sorry, Jarvis. I can’t do that. It all fell together when I remembered how not surprised you were. Do they know? That you did it all on purpose?” The silence was telling. Peter squeezed again. “Someone like you,” he hissed, “would never worry about someone like me. Don’t come in here again.” Peter dropped Deadpool to the floor. “I will kill you.”

    He returned to his nest, trying to ignore the heart that was tearing itself apart.

    [We should have killed him.]

    {Boiled him alive.}

    [Are you alright?] There was a hint of worry in White’s voice.

    “What’s a little more pain?” Peter muttered in reply, curling into a ball. He drifted off imagining he was still a vigilante. Imagining the worst thing he did was lie to his Aunt May about where he’d been. He fell asleep, his nightmares emerging like wolves to terrorize him all through the night.

 



 

    The next person to come in a few days later was Natasha, the assassin turned Avenger. She stood by the door, affecting calm. But there was a tenseness in her shoulders that he didn’t miss. He poked his head out of his nest.

    “Red Widow,” he greeted her. “What do you want?”

    Her face blanked at the name. “We don’t know who you are,” she said.

    Peter couldn’t stop the giggle. “Forgotten already, have you? I’m the Spider, master mercenary.” He grinned down at her, affecting a silly bow.

    “We don’t know who you were before you were the Spider.”

    His smile dropped. “Yes, I had imagined you’d have some difficulty with that.” After all, he’d deleted himself every record he could get his hands on. And since he had sticky fingers, there wasn't much he'd missed, if anything.

    {Can we kill her?}

    “Now why on earth would we do that?” Peter demanded. “No one’s offered us any money for her.”

    {You were going to kill Wade.}

    “The difference is,” Peter replied, emerging from his web, “that’s personal. And also he can’t really die. Now, Red Widow here. If we killed her, she’d stay dead. And we’d have no money. Where’s the fun in that?”

    “Who are you talking to?” The assassin sounded like she was trying to sound unaffected. It wasn’t working – even trained assassins were wary of an insane monster, it seemed.

    Peter regarded her silently. “You could think of them as the angel and the devil on my shoulders. Only, they’re both devils. Yellow wants to kill you. I haven’t heard White’s thoughts on the matter.”

    “So you hear… Voices?”

    He dropped to the floor. “Is that really what you’re here to talk about? Because I must say, I’d be disappointed if it were.”

    Her lips pursed. “The Director wants to know who you were.”

    [There are a lot of people who want to know who we were.]

    “Why can’t they all just be happy with who I am?” Peter asked, sighing dramatically.

    {Because you’re a merc.}

    [A killer.]

    “So is she!”

    [But they know everything about her.]

    {We’re a wild card.}

    “Not really. We do things for money. We kill bad people. I fail to see how that is a wild card.”

    “Who were you, Spider?” Natasha asked, taking a cautious step forward. “What made you into this? We want to help you.”

    Peter cocked his head. “You don’t want to help me. You want to change me, fit me into a neat little box and rid yourself of a problem.” He snickered. “Box.”

    {We’d be like the three musketeers!}

    [Only way cooler.]

    “Sorry to say, but I’m not a box kind of guy.”

    {Hey!}

    [Rude.]

    “So you can tell your Director to fuck right off. I don’t want your ‘help’. I don’t need it. And when I get out of here, I’ll get right back to business. Just to let you know.”

    She nodded once. “I told him you’d say that. He asked me to persuade you.”

    “Your persuasion sucks,” Peter told her bluntly. “You know,” he continued thoughtfully, leaning against a wall, “there was a time when I thought the world of you guys. And I wanted to be just like you.” He paused. “Not you, personally.”

    “What happened?” Her voice was even, and Peter flicked his eyes towards hers.

    “Life,” he said simply. “I realised the good guys can’t always win. I realised that trusting people was a dangerous thing to do. I realised that there were no such things as heroes. Only men and monsters.”

    “So you became a monster.”

    “Oh no. I was a man first. Just a man. And then I realised that men were monsters, monsters were men, and I decided I would prefer being a monster. A monster that hunted other monsters.”

    {We are brilliant hunters.}

    [It’s what we get paid for.]

    Peter pushed away from the wall. “Killing was the only logical way. It’s just the kind of world we live in.” He shrugged. “Put them in jail, and they’ll just come back. I tried torture for a while there, but it just wasn’t as effective as I wanted it to be.”

    “I think we live in different worlds, Spider,” Natasha said. “Not all men are monsters. And there are such things as heroes.”

    “Naivety doesn’t suit you, Red Widow,” Peter replied, retreating into his nest. “It’s been a nice talk. Let’s never do it again.”

Chapter Text

    “Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey!”

    Peter groaned, curling into an even smaller ball. “You’ve already done that one, Yellow. Get some new material.”

    There was a pause before Yellow replied. {That wasn’t me, Spidey.}

    [You don’t even recognize the voice of the man you love.]

    “I don’t love –” Peter began, but his eyes snapped open when what White said filtered through. He stuck his head out from his nest, eyes narrowed as he stared at Deadpool. “I'm sure I told you I’d kill you if you came back.”

    “Well, you haven’t yet so I’m adding that as a point in my favour,” Deadpool replied with a grin. He was wearing his suit, mask and all, but over it was a frilly pink apron. “I brought you something.”

    Peter practically slithered from his nest, his movements slow. “Whatever it is, I doubt it will be enough to save you.”

    Deadpool removed his hands from behind his back with a flourish, revealing a plate stacked high with pancakes. “You’re a genius,” he added. “All this time I never thought to do what you suggested.”

    Peter’s nose twitched. For the entire time he’d been here, he’d been fed simple, boring meals that had almost driven him to new levels of insanity. It had been so long since he’d even seen pancakes.

    [Don’t give in!]

    {But… Pancakes!}

    “I do like pancakes,” Peter murmured, creeping closer to the tempting plate.

    [This is exactly what he wants! He’s trying to get you to trust him.]

    Peter paused. “I’m not an idiot, White,” he snapped. “Which is why I’ll never turn down free food.” He flexed his wrist, and his webs caught hold of the plate. He snatched it from the startled hero’s hands, flicking it carefully so that it landed inside his nest.

    “Hey!” Deadpool complained. “Half of those were for me! Do you have any idea the amount of ass kissing it took to make those?”

    “Nothing more than you’re used to, I’m sure,” Peter snapped back.

    Deadpool laughed. “Still got that mouth on you, kid.”

    “I wonder what would happen if I skinned you,” Peter continued, dropping to the floor. “And wore it as a coat. Would your skin grow back?”

    The hero was silent for a second before a grin stretched across his face. “I have a story about that, actually. This crazy guy – can’t remember who he was, but details, Spidey, are not my strong point – decided he’d like himself a coat made of human skin. I pull out of it fine, got myself a lovely, fresh new skin. Next thing I hear is no one’ll take this guy seriously, because he smells like dead flesh all the time.”

    “On second thought, you wouldn’t make a good coat. Too many scars.”

    “They add character!”

    Peter snorted. “Not the good kind.”

    “But it’s still character! Are you telling me you’d rather have an unblemished skin coat, rather than one with character?” Deadpool looked affronted.

    It hit Peter then. How familiar this was. For a moment, he could have imagined himself high on a roof, bantering with the hero in this horribly familiar way. He felt the corners of his mouth turn down. The reality of the situation was that he was caged, and bantering with Deadpool wouldn’t get him any closer to freedom.

    “I’m not generally very picky about my clothes,” Peter replied. He licked his lips, taking a half-step away from the hero. “Though I suppose a skin suit would definitely give me some extra oomph. Enhance my wow factor.”

    [Don’t let him grow on us again. It was bad enough the first time.]

    {But it’s Wade!} Yellow wailed. {We like him!}

    [No, we don’t. Not anymore.]

    {I still like him.}

    “Two against one,” Peter breathed, taking another step back. Who was he protecting? Himself? Deadpool?

    “But the smell,” Deadpool protested. “Could you stand it? Don’t you have super-smell or something? And can you imagine if it started decaying and just fell off?” He laughed.

    “Then I guess everyone would be awed by my fantastic physique,” Peter said with a smirk. “And then I’d have to kill them all.”

    “Maybe you wouldn’t. Maybe it would just be everything below the neck that rotted away.” Deadpool wrinkled his nose. “You want a skin mask too?”

    “Why not complete the set?” Peter countered.

    “Would you make it out of someone’s face though?”

    Peter raised an eyebrow. “What else would I use?” The hero hummed thoughtfully. “If I used any other part, I’d have to skin two people. And then there would be leftover skin. What a waste.”

    “You make a convincing argument,” Deadpool admitted. “But –”

    “Mister Wilson, your presences is requested upstairs,” Jarvis interrupted.

    “Rude,” Peter and Deadpool muttered together. Startled, Peter glanced back at Deadpool – who was staring at him with a peculiar expression. For a long moment, Peter found himself unable to move. Unable to even blink.

    Yellow shattered the moment with a triumphant shout. {We’re in sync!}

    Peter broke away from Deadpool’s gaze to shake his head. “Not sure that’s a good thing, at this moment.”

    [What happened to two against one?] White demanded.

    “Never said whose side I was on.”

    {So there. In your face!}

    [Need I remind you that neither of us has a face?]

    {The intent remains the same.}

    “Careful Yellow. You almost sounded like White.”

    {Don’t compare me to him!}

    [Don’t compare him to me.]

    Peter chuckled. “Oh look, you’re both in sync.”

    “Mister Wilson, I must insist upon your presence upstairs,” Jarvis said, and Peter realized with a start that Deadpool hadn’t left. He was still standing, staring, although the words from the AI had him looking up at the ceiling.

    “Yeah, yeah. You can tell Tony I’ll be there in a minute.” Deadpool made a shooing motion at the ceiling.

    “You have one minute, Mister Wilson.”

    “You should leave now,” Peter sing-songed. “Don’t want your friends to worry after you.”

    Deadpool eyed him curiously. “Don’t you have friends who are worried about you?”

    The question hurt. Peter felt his mouth curl into a snarl as his heart seemed to stutter in his chest. “No,” he replied menacingly. “I don’t.” None that were his friends by choice, anyway.

    Deadpool’s body tensed for a moment before relaxing. “Look, kid, I’ll be honest. I did plan it all, alright? I can’t say I was expecting to die –” he chuckled and shook his head “– but I left a note so they’d come find me.”

    “I already knew that.” Peter was confused.

    [Does he think we were guessing?]

    “But,” he added, holding up a finger for quiet, “I didn’t lie to you. I was worried. You see the world in a pretty horrible way. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not all sunshine and roses, but the world isn’t pitch black.”

    “I see the world as clear as day,” Peter snapped back, anger crawling through his veins. How dare he? “It’s a world where ‘good’ is a concept designed to help us see ‘bad’, but how many people do ‘bad’ things for ‘good’? How many times must a ‘hero’ stab a ‘villain’ in the back before it’s considered ‘bad’?”

    Something shifted in Deadpool’s expression. “How is your back?” he asked. “Looked like it hurt.”

    “Should have healed by now, hasn’t. The story of my life.”

    [Isn’t that beautiful?] White asked spitefully.

    {He looks so sad. We should cheer him up.}

    [How?]

    {Blowjobs always make people feel better.}

    Peter hummed. “You make a good point. Blowjobs do make everyone feel better. Everyone with a dick, anyway.”

    “I’m gonna go now,” Deadpool said, stepping towards the door. “But it was a nice chat, wouldn’t you say?”

    “Could have been nicer,” Peter muttered, turning away from the hero to crawl into his nest. He looked at the plate of pancakes and blew out a sigh. “Hey Deadpool!” he shouted, tossing a pancake from his nest.

    The pancake hit Deadpool in the face with an oddly satisfying sound. He caught it before it hit the ground.

    “Bon appetite!” Peter called sarcastically as the hero stepped from his cell. He doubted he’d see Deadpool again.

 



 

    Oh, how wrong he was. Deadpool not only came back, he also brought with him more food and even more friendly banter. Peter was completely and utterly bewildered by the odd turn of events. And when Deadpool couldn’t make it, it was Red Widow instead, although she never stayed as long as Deadpool did. Peter wasn’t quite sure why – although it probably had a lot to do with the way he threw words like punches whenever she came in.

    Once, on a very memorable occasion, Captain America himself had entered Peter’s little cell. But Peter had been very irritable that day, and had completely blown his chances of ever getting Captain Rogers’ signature.

    Damn.

    And then there were the days that no one came in at all, and Peter was stuck in a room with no escape from the boxes in his head. White ranted and raved, Yellow giggled and flirted, and Peter was left in the middle, his own feelings too wrapped up, squashed in, and wishful to even consider. He was locked in a room with a wound that refused to heal, a wound that ached and stung and made his tongue bitter and his words more cutting.

    He was on the floor, trying to get a glimpse of the wound – he was in a room of mirrors, for crying out loud – when the door opened and Deadpool burst in. Peter hardly spared him a glance, more focused on twisting and curving his body just so. He had almost managed to catch a glimpse of it when Deadpool grabbed his arm.

    Peter reacted without even thinking, his body uncoiling like a spring. It was the second time Deadpool found himself with a face-full of Peter’s package, and the third time Peter had killed him.

    Peter stared at the unmoving body in utter silence for approximately two seconds. “Oops,” he said.

    [Oops? Oops? They’re never letting us go now!]

    {You thought they were?}

    “White, my dear, they were never going to let us out. The whole idea was that we were going to break out.” Peter nudged Deadpool’s still body with his foot. “Think he’ll hold a grudge?”

    The door opened, and several people with guns filed in. Their weapons were trained on Peter. He held up his hands, feeling his spider-sense crawl along his skin. A bit fucking late.

    [We are so screwed.]

    “It is so like you to be a defeatist!”

    “Permission to eliminate the target?” one of the black clad people with guns demanded.

    “Hey! That’s a bit rude of you – I’m standing right here!” Peter moved, with blinding swiftness. He snatched one of the guns, knocking out its owner, before any of them had really realized he was attacking.

    [Oh, we are so dead.]

    {THIS IS SO MUCH FUN!}

    Peter laughed, dancing around the room. He had to agree with Yellow – this was the most fun he’d had in ages. He tossed each gun aside after barely a moment, leaving twisted lumps of metal in his wake. All too soon, each and every one of them were unarmed and in very serious trouble.

    “Now, now, we can chat. Let’s all be civilized about this, hmm?” Peter smiled, sitting down and pulling Deadpool’s head into his lap. “Pooly would want us all to talk through our feelings,” he added gravely, moving Deadpool’s head in a nod. “See, he agrees with me.”

    “Why is my head in your lap?” Deadpool asked. “I mean, there are worse ways to wake up. But still. Head, lap?”

    “Welcome back to the land of the living,” Peter sang, leaping up. Deadpool barely managed to catch himself before his face hit the floor. “Did you enjoy your trip to the land of the dead?”

    [Do the dead even have a land?]

    {That would be cool!}

    “Skeleton flowers, skeleton grass, skeleton trees,” Peter muttered. “I’m picking up a theme here.”

    {Skeletons dancing through trees.}

    [Skeletons… Singing?]

    “Don’t be ridiculous, skeletons couldn’t sing,” Peter scoffed. “They don’t have voice boxes.”

    “There was a really good reason I came to see you today,” Deadpool interrupted, waving a piece of paper at Peter. “Really, really good. You’ll like it, I’m sure. It’s all sciencey. Tony couldn’t make heads or tails of it, but he was really angry when I suggested showing you.”

    Peter mock gasped. “Betraying your friends? For me?” He batted his eyelashes. “I’m touched.”

    “I’m not touching you again,” Deadpool deadpanned. “Look what happened last time!”

    Peter giggled. “What is it?” he demanded, snatching the paper from Deadpool’s hand.

    “Like I said, we don’t know. But Bruce decided to examine the blade that cut you – which, I should probably mention, none of us have ever seen before in our lives – since your back isn’t healing. And we came across this weird… thing –”

    The rest of Deadpool’s words faded to background noise once Peter realized what he was reading. He stiffened, certain he was reading it wrong. But no matter how many times he blinked, the formula stayed the same. His formula.

    [Well.]

    {The fuck? That’s ours!}

    [How could someone have gotten this?]

    {They found it?} Yellow sounded unconvinced.

    [We hid it pretty well. We hide everything pretty well.]

    “Not well enough,” Peter managed, his jaw stiff with emotion.

    “Spidey?” Deadpool asked warily. “Spidey, do you know what that is?”

    “Know what it is?” Peter repeated, sinister laughter spilling from his mouth. “Do I know what this is, he asks! This is mine!” The last word was a shout, a roar that burst from him in an uncontrolled moment of complete rage.

    He whirled away from the hero, his fingers clenched tight around the paper. “This is my formula. My work, my poison, mine, mine, mine! Someone is stealing from me!”

    [That’s not all.]

    {What do you mean?}

    [The knife in the back. Using Spider’s poison.]

    Peter snarled, the realization a bitter taste in his mouth. “Someone is trying to fucking kill me.”

    [And judging from the method, I’d say this is pretty personal.]

    “Personal? This is intimate, White.”

    [What are we going to do?]

    Peter was silent for a moment, ignorant to Deadpool’s increasingly frustrated attempts to draw him out of his internal conversation. He was still, quiet, until a low laugh erupted from his throat. A feral grin crawled across his face slowly.

    “We get ready to party.”

  



 

    “Hold up, what do you mean it’s yours?” Deadpool demanded, carefully telegraphing his movements as he reached for Peter’s arm to stop him from pacing. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for going in guns blazing, but I find myself concerned. You created something you can’t heal properly from?”

    Peter cocked his head sideways. “I didn’t do it on purpose.”

    Deadpool chuckled disbelievingly, running a hand over his scabbed head. “And that makes it all so much better?”

    [What do you think you were for?] White snapped scathingly.

    {Besides the fact we want you to do us.}

    “Would you have preferred if I tested it on myself?” Peter shook his head. “This isn’t important. I need to leave now. I have myself a new friend to introduce myself to. Properly.” He clapped his hands gleefully.

    “Yeah, no. You’re not going anywhere.”

    “I must agree with Mister Wilson,” Jarvis said gravely. “Mister Stark will be most unhappy should you escape.”

    “Mister Stark can suck a dick for all I care,” Peter snapped back rudely. “I wasn’t made to be cooped up like some disobedient child. I have people to kill, marks to leave, chaos to spread!”

    “Spider, I really don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go by yourself,” Deadpool began. “I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go at all, but I haven’t had a good fight in a while. So what do you say? Wanna team up?”

    Peter froze, staring at Deadpool like he was the insane one. Team up? A hero and a merc? He waited for input from his boxes. A giggle escaped his lips when he realized both boxes were offline.

    “You short-circuited the boxes,” he informed Deadpool gleefully. “They can’t talk me out of saying yes!”

    [Hold the phone, what?]

    {Ohmygod we’re teaming up with Wade!}

    [No, no, no! What are you doing?]

    “You’re too late!” Peter laughed. “I already agreed!”

    [But this is such a terrible idea.]

    {It’s not that bad. We’ve had worse.}

    [Name one time.]

    Peter jumped up and down. “Oh, I know, I know! That time in Vegas!”

    {What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.} Yellow sounded uncharacteristically grave.

    [That was a terrible idea,] White admitted grudgingly. [This is almost as bad.]

    “So when do we leave?” Peter asked, stopping in front of Deadpool. “A team up! Oh, this is exciting. I’ve never teamed up with anyone!”

    “Well, uh, I’d better check with Cap.”

    “Okay! Come back soon.” Peter grinned and waved as Deadpool backed out of his room.

    [Cap’s going to say no.]

    “You don’t know that!” Peter snapped.

    {He might even join the team!}

    “Yeah, we’d be like the new Avengers! Only, you know, cooler.”

    [That is never going to happen.]

    {Never say never.}

    “Stop being such a defeatist,” Peter sang, crawling up the wall. “Oh hey, Jarvis?”

    There was a pause before the AI responded. “Yes?”

    “I just wanted to say, you shouldn’t really judge me.”

    “And why not?” Jarvis asked, his voice dry.

    Peter walked onto the ceiling, looking contemplatively at his feet. “Because you don’t know me,” he replied quietly. “And you will never understand what I’ve been through. You’re not alive. You have an approximation of feelings, but let me ask you this: How many times have you felt pain?”

    “I have no body with which to feel pain,” the AI responded. “Although emotional pain I can understand.”

    “Can you?” Peter asked, his voice soft. Gentle even. It felt right to use a soft voice, to pretend Peter felt the things he pretended he didn’t feel. Heh. How screwed up was he? “Have you felt it, or do you just understand the theory behind it?” The AI was silent. Peter nodded. “Theory and reality are two very different things,” he said. “Surely you know that.”

    “You will not be allowed to leave,” Jarvis said. “I hope you understand this.”

    [And I’m the defeatist?]

    {Don’t be such a baby.}

    “Haven’t you heard? It’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission.” Peter grinned. “Did you really think I just sat in my nest and moped this whole time?”

    [We kept ourselves busy.]

    {And not with wanking.}

    “Though we did a lot of that,” Peter said thoughtfully.

    {Plenty of fantastic material.}

    “I am not sure what you gain by telling me this,” Jarvis said.

    “Oh, right!” Peter threw his arms apart, webs attaching to either wall. “That was a warning.” He took a few steps back, the webs growing alarmingly taut. “I’m outta here.”

    There was no way Peter was muscular enough to kick through a solid wall, but he’d been very busy. Pain hardly bothered him anymore, so it had been a simple matter indeed to use his fingers to gouge out a hole in the wall behind his nest. And because he hadn’t used any tools, his work was silent. He threw himself forwards.

    His feet slammed into the wall, and for a single, horrifying moment, Peter thought he’d calculated wrong. That he didn’t have the required force, that the hole wasn’t enough. But then the wall shuddered and splintered, forced to bend with the strength of Peter’s legs.

    [Is there anything our legs can’t break?]

    {We should test everything!}

    [First we should probably split. Can’t imagine old Tony’s going to be too pleased.]

    Peter cackled in delight. “Can you imagine his face?”

    [We won’t have to if we stay here,] White reminded him as Yellow laughed in the background.

    {Priceless!} Yellow gasped. Just then, several people rounded the corner. They all stopped, gaping at Peter in shock. {Oh my god, autographs!}

    [Run!]

    Peter threw the Avengers a quick salute. “Catch you later!” he called, dashing away.

    “Wait! Spidey!”

    “What the fuck did he do to my wall?”

    “That’s not the issue, Tony. Someone catch him!”

    “Sir, we have a problem.”

    “Holy shit, the kid is fast.”

    “I told you this wasn’t a good idea.”

    {Let’s play a game of who said what!}

    Peter laughed, swinging up towards the ceiling. A group of black-clad individuals stormed around the corner. He stole a beanie from one of them – honestly, it wasn’t that cold – and was gone before they even realized the beanie was missing. He stuck it on his head, making sure he covered all of his hair. He pilfered a pair of glasses from a desk, cursed at the way they warped his vision.

    {Remember when we used to need glasses?}

    [No. We weren’t around then.]

    {Oh. Right.}

    [It’s a pity we can’t grab our suit.]

    Peter sighed mournfully, evading another group of black-clad people with guns. “Pity? It’s a crime. I mean, we have backups, but that was my favourite.”

    {We’ll hold a funeral for it later.}

    [Who the hell holds a funeral for a suit?]

    “We do,” Peter muttered back decisively. “There’ll be candles and everything.”

    {And cake!}

    “And cake,” Peter confirmed.

    [That’s sounding more like a party than a funeral.]

    “A party,” Peter purred, finally finding an open window. “We should invite our new friend.”

    Yellow laughed delightedly. {They can be our entertainment.}

    It took a moment for White to respond, and when he did, his words sent shivers of delight down Peter’s spine.

    [You know, new friends are awesome. It’s so much fun to find out how they tick.]

    The last thing the Avengers would hear was Peter’s maniacal laughter as he fell from the window and promptly disappeared into the streets below.

Chapter Text

    “Hey Spider,” Deadpool said casually, perched on the windowsill. Peter froze for approximately three seconds before his face twisted into a glare.

    “What are you doing here?” he demanded, flipping his hood off. Deadpool didn’t flinch at the expression on Peter’s face, and for a moment the very, very dark side of Peter informed him that this was the opportunity to change that. His lip turned up and he snarled.

    After he’d escaped the Avenger’s Tower, he’d rushed back to his apartment. Collecting all the necessary equipment had taken more time than he would have liked – especially because he’s had to find stuff that hadn’t been broken in the fight. He’d set up his temporary lab in an abandoned building, sealing it off as well as he could without drawing attention to it.

    How the hero had known where he would be was what truly baffled him. He hadn’t given anyone a hint as to where he was going, only where he’d end up – standing over the body of whoever had decided to attack him. Possibly laughing. Maybe even dancing.

    [Maybe you’re getting predictable,] White suggested spitefully.

    Peter gaped in silent horror, the unpleasant expression melting from his face. Predictable? Him? There was no way! He wasn’t boring! He was – His backpack rattled noisily, reminding him he had very little time to waste on the hero.

    Deadpool shrugged, dropping into the room. He peered around thoughtfully. “I thought we were teaming up.”

    White groaned. [Kill me now.]

    “Would if I could,” Peter shot back. “I’m kind of over sharing my head with you.”

    {Aw Spidey don’t be like that. You love us!}

    “Hmm. No, sorry. Can’t say I do.” Peter jerked his head up, staring at Deadpool with eyes he was sure were comically wide. “Wait. Did you just imply we’re teaming up? As in, that’s a thing that’s happening now?”

    Deadpool frowned, the expression visible even with the mask. “We talked before you… Left. Don’t you remember?”

    “Course I do,” Peter replied. And then his jaw dropped, because it hadn’t occurred to him that Deadpool hadn’t been joking. “I mean, it’s not every day the guy your boxes are crushing on wants to team up. Can you imagine the drama? The horror? The potential for sappy moments, and I’m going to stop now, because I realised I just said all of that out loud.” Peter drew a shaking breath, trying to gauge Deadpool’s reaction through his mask.

    [Smooth, Spidey. Real smooth.]

    “You know this is what happens when I panic!” Peter hissed back. “Did you expect him to be serious?”

    [No,] White admitted.

    {Yes!}

    “That’s because you’re an idiot,” Peter said bluntly.

    {Rude!}

    [The truth is rarely polite.]

    “You didn’t think I was serious?” Deadpool asked, dragging Peter’s attention back to him. Peter could tell he was frowning again and sighed.

    “Of course I didn’t think you were serious,” he snapped, exasperated. “I’m the bad guy, remember? Since when do good guys like you team up with the likes of me?”

    “Since you seemed lonely.” Deadpool shrugged. “Plus, you’re like, totally loaded right? So when we teamed up, lunch would be on you. All the time. I’m calling chimichangas today!”

    Peter blinked. “Tacos,” he said. “If lunch is going to be on me, I want tacos.”

    {I could go for a hot dog,} Yellow shouted enthusiastically. There was a lengthy pause. {I wiggled my eyebrows.}

    “You don’t have eyebrows,” Peter reminded him absently. He stared at Deadpool. Was this really happening? Oh god, he wasn’t hallucinating again was he? He turned away, twisting his fingers into his hair and pulling. The pain, negligible as it was, grounded him. No, he wasn’t hallucinating. Yes, this was really happening.

    “So what’s all this, then?” Deadpool asked, dropping into the warehouse. He looked critically over Peter’s equipment, his weapons very obviously there.

    “Don’t touch!” Peter snapped abruptly, leaping forward and dragging Deadpool away from his experiments. He released the hero’s arm almost immediately, the sensation of touching someone – without any intention of hurting them – causing his fingers to tingle. Peter peered at them for a moment before shaking his hand, dispelling the feeling.

    {Can we touch him again? I liked it.}

    “Look, I doubt you have anything that could kill me,” Deadpool said, stepping back towards the equipment. This time Peter put himself bodily in the way.

    “I’m more concerned about my experiments than I am with you,” Peter replied blithely. “Some of these are very sensitive. Besides, I’m not sure about the whole partner thing.”

    {What?} Yellow whined.

    [Are you finally seeing sense?]

    “Yes.” Peter folded his arms. “If we team up, you’re going to make me agree not to kill anyone.”

    Deadpool peered down at him. “Is that such a bad thing?”

    “Yes,” Peter replied simply. “They stole from me. They tried to kill me. They very nearly succeeded. I have to kill them.”

    “No, you just really want revenge.”

    [Well, to be fair, that is a big part of it.]

    {We like making people scream, so there’s that.}

    [And we made new things.]

    “They need to be tested,” Peter added. “You’re all correct, but there’s something glaringly obvious you’re all missing.”

    [And that is….?]

    Peter sighed in frustration when Deadpool stayed silent. “I’m surrounded by idiots,” he muttered. “Whoever did this wants to kill me. I have to say, I rather like being alive. But I have this distinct problem. Someone is trying to kill me. How do I rectify this, you ask?”

    {Duh. Kill the guy before he kills you.}

    Peter threw his hands into the air. “How is it that Yellow is the only one who gets it?” he demanded. When Deadpool opened his mouth, Peter raised a single finger. “Rhetorical question.”

    [I knew.]

    “Sure you did.”

    {Liar liar, pants on fire!}

    “Stop gloating. Not a good look for you.”

    “Hey, Spider,” Deadpool said. “I still don’t get it.”

    Peter was reminded that Wade couldn’t read his mind – thank fuck for that. “Kill him before he kills me,” Peter replied. “I mean, I’d be all for locking him up,” the words were bitter, “but we’ve all seen how well that worked.”

    [Not at all.]

    “Bad guys break out all the time.” He gestured to himself with an amused smirk. “Exhibit A.”

    “You’re not that bad,” Deadpool insisted, following Peter as he walked towards his equipment. “You saved me.”

    Peter looked over his shoulder in surprise, almost tripping over his own feet. “I beg your pardon?”

    {Are we sure he’s sane?}

    [Wrong universe for him to be insane.]

    “You do recall that I’ve killed you, right?” Peter asked. “Like, five times.”

    [No, only three.]

    {And we still haven’t seen him bleed.}

    “Oh right. Three. The others were just daydreams. The point is, I haven’t saved you.”

    “Actually, you have. That acid or whatever? That was some nasty stuff. I could tell I was going to have a hard time healing from that.” Deadpool paused. “You cut off my arm.”

    [Oh.]

    {Hey! We did too!}

    “That wasn’t – I didn’t – That shouldn’t have happened,” Peter stammered, leaning against the table. His old desk had been destroyed – something he was still furious over, if he was being honest.

    He hadn’t been thinking. That was his only excuse. Peter certainly hadn’t had a conscious thought to save Deadpool from losing his arm – potentially more. At least, none that he remembered. But he had saved the hero, and now Deadpool was apparently under the delusion one act of kindness made Peter redeemable.

    He didn’t need to be redeemed.

    Realizing he’d been silent for a while, Peter glanced at Deadpool. “That wasn’t mine, that wasn’t meant for you.”

    “Wait, you mean someone planted it there?” Deadpool made him turn around, his hands careful. “Someone was in your apartment before that day?”

    Peter hissed in frustration, because all the signs pointed to that, didn’t they? “But they can’t,” he said tersely. “I would have sensed them. Heard their heartbeat, their footsteps. Felt their warmth. Scented them.” He hated when things didn’t add up.

    “I take it you didn’t.”

    [There must have been something,] White muttered. [Something we missed.]

    “Something we missed?” Peter repeated incredulously. “We don’t miss things. We see things other people miss. We’re like the Sherlock Holmes of this place! We’re the arachnid version of Butterscotch Cucumberpatch.”

    [Except our hair isn’t curly. Or black.]

    {And our eyes aren’t crazy cool colours. They’re just boring brown.}

    “There’s nothing wrong with brown eyes!”

    {Sometimes they look like shit.}

    Peter went still. “Are you saying my eyes look like shit?” he asked, his voice very soft.

    [And what exactly can you do if he is?] White asked dryly.

    Well. Shit. “There is that,” Peter allowed, pouting. He looked up at Deadpool, who was watching him with an unreadable expression. Peter felt his fingers itch. “The mask has to come off,” he said abruptly. He pretended he didn’t see the way Deadpool tensed and leaned back. “And the gloves.”

    [Why don’t you just tell him to strip while you’re at it?] White sighed.

    {And everything else too, please.}

    “Why?” the hero demanded, sounding guarded. Peter blinked.

    “Because I don’t like them,” he said. “There’s no reason for you to wear a mask. Gloves I could understand – if you were in a business that required a lack of fingerprints. But you’re a hero. You shouldn’t have to hide.”

    Deadpool regarded him silently for a moment. “If I do that,” he started, stopping to mutter something in – was that Spanish? Wasn’t Deadpool Canadian? At least, that’s what his birth certificate said. “You have to give me something in return.”

    “If you say I can’t kill anyone, I will be very disappointed,” Peter replied flatly.

    “No.” Deadpool shook his head. “You… have a point. Not that I’m condoning it,” he added, holding up his hands. “But I do see your point.”

    {Woah.}

    [Didn’t expect that.]

    “Nope,” Peter breathed, staring at Deadpool with wide eyes. Then they narrowed suspiciously. “Then what do I have to give you in return?”

    The hero took a breath, and in a smooth movement pulled his mask off his head. Peter was immediately captured by Deadpool’s bright blue eyes, unable to look away even if he wanted to. Which he didn’t.

    “If I do this, you have to promise to come back with me. To the Tower. Willingly, this time.”

 



 

    Peter reared back like he’d been struck. The boxes in his head were furious, hurling insults at the hero who was already looking at him with more concern than Peter had received since his aunt had died. And oh, were those memories he did not want to relive right now.

    He grew aware, quite suddenly, that he was babbling. The word ‘no’ kept popping up, but Peter was certain he was saying things he hadn’t said in a very long time. Things like ‘please’ and ‘I can’t’. And it wasn’t even the words that were disturbing – it was the tone, the broken, pleading tone that probably revealed more about himself than the weeks spent as a prisoner in the Avengers Tower.

    He whirled away from the hero, falling onto all fours. His fingers dug into the concrete, forcing chunks and dust into the air. His jaw clenched shut, forcing the words back even as they bubbled up his throat. The wound on his back flared before subsiding, and Peter felt the itch as it – finally – healed. He sensed his spider-sense return – realised that there was someone outside the warehouse.

    [Foe? What am I saying – we don’t have friends.]

    {Let’s paint them red.}

    Peter turned, muscles coiled into tight springs. He jumped, catching the balcony of the second floor and swinging himself up, landing on all fours without a sound. He stopped, freezing in place as he listened. Stray murmurs – a moth battling against the glass, the harsh cry of a crow, the whisper of another spider spinning its web – brushed his ears, and were discarded. The important sounds were the heartbeat, the quiet breaths, and the creak as the enemy outside shifted.

    He inhaled. He smelled everything – the chemicals, the dust, the blood pumping beneath skin. The scent of leather and gunpowder.  He knew that combination from somewhere, but it wasn’t important at the moment. No, what was important was the careful, silent way he moved.

    “Spider,” someone hissed, and Peter whirled in shock. Stared at the figure in red and black, in a suit that looked oddly like his own. He hadn’t sensed him. Hadn’t smelt him, hadn’t even noticed him standing there. He blinked, stared some more. He felt as though he was missing something important, and decided the enemy outside was less of a threat than the one in here.

    “Spider, what’s wrong?”

    Peter stopped, suddenly unsure. The boxes in his head – he’d forgotten about them – were suddenly back online.

    [For fuck’s sake Spider! It’s Wade!]

    {He’s not an enemy. I repeat, not an enemy!}

    [Well. Not right now.]

    {Wade won’t betray us!}

    Peter stared at the figure, his head tilted to the side. “Wade,” he mouthed, puzzled at the warm sensation that zinged through his limbs. “Oh,” he breathed, his memories – along with his reason – returning. “Wade. Deadpool.”

    “Spider?” The hero looked at him, concern clear on his face. “Are you alright?”

    [Is he blind as well as ugly?]

    {Don’t insult our Wade!}

    [Since when was he ours?]

    {Since we teamed up.}

    [Officially?]

    {Yes.}

    [I never agreed to that.]

    “You’re not the one in charge,” Peter replied slowly, shaking his head. He arched his back, his lips curving into a smile when he realised he was healed. “So that’s all I needed,” he muttered to himself.

    {I hate it when you do that,} Yellow said.

    “That’s just because I can’t hear you,” Peter said, his smile turning into a smirk. He looked back towards Wade. “It couldn’t have just been the two of us?” he asked, pouting. “I mean, three is a crowd.”

    The hero’s forehead creased into a frown, and Peter doubted he’d ever get sick of seeing Deadpool. “I don’t know what you mean,” he admitted.

    It was, again, Yellow who reminded him. {The tracker.}

    “Ah. Well then, why don’t you join us, Red Widow?”

    Deadpool turned in surprise, and for several seconds it seemed that the woman would rather stay hidden. But just as Peter’s patience was beginning to fray, she stepped into the warehouse. Her weapon was not in her hand, but Peter doubted she was as relaxed as she was pretending.

    “Natasha,” Deadpool said, his fingers flexing around his mask. “What are you doing here?”

    “Oh yes, do tell,” Peter purred, hanging upside down.

    [I wish Deadpool had woken you up after you’d killed her,] White muttered.

    “We’ll have some blood yet,” Peter said soothingly. “We’ll make our friend bleed rivers.”

    {The Red Sea.}

    “Don’t go all religious on me, Yellow.”

    “I wasn’t planning on interrupting,” Red Widow said calmly, her gaze flicking to Deadpool before settling on Peter.

    “Yet here you are,” Peter said. “Interrupting.” He made the word sound like a curse.

    “Yes, well. I hardly thought I’d be noticed so quickly.” Her tone was dry.

    Peter cocked his head to the side. “You don’t have any idea how close you came to dying do you?” The entire room seemed to get colder as she started to glare. Peter laughed giddily. “Oh, fuck me. You had no idea.”

    “You don’t want to kill me,” she replied. “You’ve had plenty of chances.”

    {Aw, isn’t that sweet? She thinks we care!}

    White laughed.

    “You seem to be under the delusion that I haven’t killed you because I care about you,” Peter said, dropping to the floor. “To some degree. You couldn’t be more wrong.”

    “No?” she replied, a challenge in her voice. “Then why am I still here? Why am I still alive?”

    Peter smiled, and it wasn’t a very nice smile. “You’re still alive because Deadpool here saved you.”

    The warehouse became very, very quiet after his proclamation. Peter idly cleaned underneath his nails, humming a quiet tune under his breath.

    “Wade,” Red Widow finally said. Her voice was cool, professional. Peter glanced up, watching the two of them without a word. “What is he talking about?”

    “I – he wasn’t himself, just before. There was something… Missing.” Deadpool glanced at Peter almost pleadingly before returning his gaze to the Red Widow. “I don’t know any more than that.”

    “The boxes don’t like it when I do that,” Peter added helpfully. “I can’t hear them. And they do so like to view themselves as my voices of reason.”

    {I know you are, I said you are, but what am I?}

    [I thought we were the devils on your shoulders.]

    “Oh, you are,” Peter replied dismissively.

    “What happens, Spider?”

    Peter blinked and looked at the two Avengers. A small part of him – one that was getting bigger with every passing moment – reminded him that he’d wasted too much time. “Well, I suppose I let the insanity take over? In a manner of speaking, I went completely insane.”

    “You’re already insane,” Deadpool muttered.

    “Oh, I am,” Peter agreed casually. “But I’m still capable of rational thought. What Pooly here saw… That was true insanity.”

    “What do we do if it happens again?”

    Peter stared at her, an unreadable expression on his face. “You stay out of my way, and pray that I don’t identify you as a threat.”

    [Very dramatic. I approve.]

    {Just don’t go wigging out on us again. We’re so lonely without you!}

    “Now.” Peter clapped his hands together. Both heroes jumped in surprise. “I have places to be, people to kill. Wade and I have an agreement – what do you want, Red Widow?”

 



 

    “Fury wanted me to follow you,” she admitted. Peter raised an eyebrow – finally, someone who realised he didn’t appreciate being lied to. Or was it just that he’d told her before?

    [Probably told her.]

    {It’s fine either way, right?}

    “I have to give credit where credit is due,” Peter muttered, spinning away from the heroes in order to check on his experiments. “Fury wants eyes everywhere. I tell ya, he’s the damn fly to my spider.”

    He didn’t miss the aborted movement from behind him. “Is that a threat?” Natasha demanded almost calmly. Almost. There was a little hitch in her voice that told Peter she cared.

    Peter chuckled, fiddling with the temperature just a little. “No. An observation. Besides, I don’t eat flies.”

    {I don’t like spiders and snakes, but that ain’t what it takes to love me!} Yellow sang for no other reason than because he was bored of the conversation.

    [Hear that, Spidey? He hates your guts.]

    {What? No I don’t!}

    “Will you two shut up?” Peter snapped. “I’m trying to have a conversation!”

    [Is it difficult for you to concentrate?]

    {Don’t be such a baby!}

    Peter growled, tugging at his hair. “I swear, if there was any way to get you two out of my head, I would do it in a heartbeat.”

    {But Spidey we love you!}

    The laugh that fell from Peter’s mouth was cold and without a hint of humour. “Such a liar, Yellow.” He noticed the red-headed assassin looking at him thoughtfully. Replaying what they’d heard, he thought he knew why. “Don’t get any ideas, Red Widow.”

    “If we could remove the voices,” she began, but Peter cut her off with a sharp movement. “We might be able to help,” she insisted.

    [You don’t want to help,] White snarled. [You want a new weapon.]

    {We don’t take orders.}

    Peter shook his head, chuckling. “Wow. They really don’t like you, Miss Natasha.” He whirled back around, slipping his fingers around a small pill. “I suppose there’s nothing I can do about you wanting to keep an eye on me.” He searched through his backpack, making a triumphant noise when his fingers tightened around three glasses.

    [You just happened to have three glasses?]

    Peter shrugged. “I’m nothing if not prepared. Want a drink? Promise I won’t poison it.”

    Deadpool narrowed his eyes. “The last time you said that, I died.” After a moment, a grin stretched across his face. “Do you have anything stronger than water?”

    He couldn’t help his delighted giggle. “I have alcohol somewhere, I’m sure. And you?” He turned his attention to Red Widow.

    “Vodka,” she replied. Peter rolled his eyes.

    {A true Russian, huh?}

    [That’s the stuff that’ll kill you.]

    {Alcohol poisoning is an accident, right?}

    [She’s making this too easy.]

    {It’s not fun if it’s easy!}

    The drinks were handed out, with Deadpool drinking a scotch, Widow with her vodka, and Peter with a mudslide. The heroes stared.

    “What?” he demanded defensively. “Tastes great!”

    “That’s a child’s drink,” Natasha said, disgust in her voice. Peter noticed with a flash of satisfaction that she tipped her drink down her throat without a glance.

    “I don’t get drunk,” Peter replied. “I prefer to waste my time with things I enjoy.”

    “Like killing and maiming people,” she shot back.

    “Yes. Just like that.”

    They glared at each other for a moment before Deadpool staggered. Peter glanced at him, watched his legs collapse with a faintly amused expression. Deadpool glared up at him, but there was an oddly resigned look in his eyes that made something in Peter’s gut twist. He consoled himself with the fact that he knew Deadpool wasn’t in pain – the pill had just been a sedative. A ridiculously strong sedative, but a sedative nonetheless.

    “I wondered whose drink you spiked.”

    Peter glanced up at Widow with a frown. “Actually, I spiked both. What did you do to yours?”

    She shrugged. “Switched it.”

    “Well, aren’t you just the biggest buzz kill there ever was?”

    [It was only half a dose you baby!]

    {Wade is so much better than you!}

    “But that’s okay,” Peter said, standing up. He noticed absently that he wasn’t much taller than the assassin. “I figured you’d be extra cautious. That’s your job, right?” He shrugged. “To suspect everyone?”

    The look he received would have made a weaker man melt. “I don’t suspect everyone. Some people are above suspicion.”

    “And some people are below it, yeah, yeah.” Peter waved his hands. “Not what I wanted to talk about.”

    She cocked an eyebrow, suddenly looking much more like the sexy assassin she was meant to be, rather than a petulant child. “Oh?” There was a definite purr to her voice. “What did you want to talk about?”

    “I don’t like the way you treat him,” Peter said bluntly. At her confused expression, he nudged Deadpool with his foot. “You will stop, or I will kill you.”

    There was a few seconds of silence before she burst into laughter. Peter waited patiently for her to get it out of her system, ignoring the furious boxes – yes, boxes. White could act like he wasn’t on board all he wanted, but he betrayed himself all the time.

    “Finished?” he asked dryly.

    “You can’t be serious,” she replied, her lips twisted into a smirk.

    Peter’s face turned blank. “Do I look like I’m fucking joking?” he asked, his voice eerily cold. “How many times has this idiot saved your ass?” he continued.

    She scoffed. “Never.”

    “No?” Peter queried, raising an eyebrow. “Are you absolutely certain about that?”

    “I owe my life to everyone on the team – everyone but him.”

    Peter nodded slowly. And then he lunged, catching the little assassin by her throat and slamming her against the nearest surface – which was unfortunately the same surface his experiments had been sitting on. He sighed – the things he did for Deadpool. For Wade.

    {Ungrateful cow!}

    [How could she not have noticed?]

    “Too busy shooting things and thinking she’s all that,” Peter replied calmly, ignoring Natasha’s struggles. He grinned down at her, aware that his fangs would be on full display. “Do I have your attention, Red Widow?” At the wordless snarl he received, his grin widened and he snarled back.

    The warehouse quieted again, the sounds of their breathing loud. She nodded once, curtly. “Good,” Peter hissed. “Because that man has saved your life more times than I can count on my fingers and toes, and I wouldn’t mind getting rid of you and undoing all his hard work. The boxes quite like that idea, actually. And, like you said, I enjoy killing and maiming people. And sweetheart?”

    He leaned closer, his words a breath of air against her ear. “I’ve got a blank space, and I’ll write your name.”

    [In blood.]

    {It will be so red.}

    [You’ll suit your name even more.]

    “No one will recognise you. You will be a bloody, broken mess when someone finds you. I could leave you alive, and you won’t even remember your name.” He shivered at the thought. “I’ve done it before, you know. Such a delicious rush.” He sighed.

    Peter glanced over his shoulder at Wade’s unconscious form. “I’ve watched him put himself in the firing line for you. I’ve watched him die, again and again, to save not just you, but everyone else in the Avengers.” He paused to tick them off with his fingers. “Mostly it’s you and Barton, but he’s died for Stark a few times, Bruce a little less – hello, big and green? – Thor and the Cap the least.” He looked back to her, eyes narrowed, furious. “How many times have any of you said thank you?”

    [Kill her, kill her. Just do it already!]

    “Wade would be sad,” Peter muttered.

    {Just cut her up a little bit?}

    [Make her bleed!]

    “Why White, you’re sounding very concerned for someone who doesn’t like Wade,” Peter noted, amused. “Besides I already have a plan. I always have a plan. Usually. Sometimes.”

    [More like if you have to.]

    “My plan right now is this – you can either thank Deadpool when he wakes up, or you can pretend that I got you too. If the idea of a simple thank you is so abhorrent, then you can be a coward and knock yourself out.”

    He moved back, releasing his iron grip on the woman’s throat. She coughed, once, before sitting up and glaring at him. “How do I know you’re not lying?”

    Peter looked at her in disgust. “What the fuck would I have to gain by lying? And here I thought you were one of the smart ones. The Iron Princess has a rod stuck so far up his ass that he wouldn’t know help if it came up and smacked him in the face. I can understand Bruce a little more, but the rest of you?”

    “Then why do you care?”

    He blinked. “Well. That’s for me to know, and you to suss out, isn’t it? Isn’t that why you’re here, Red Widow?” On the floor, Deadpool groaned. Peter threw up his hands and gasped. “Oh heavens, what will you do?” He jumped up, vanishing into the shadows before leaving the warehouse entirely.

    It was time for him to track down his friend.

 



 

    Peter had lots of contacts. They all had different ways to contact him, and knew that if they ever saw a thread of his webbing outside their window, they were expected to call.

    Or else.

    Which was why he had several phones, and why he spent most of his time on said phones. He stayed away from the warehouse for a few days, contacting every fly caught in his ever-growing web. When he returned to the warehouse, he was furious.

    No one knew anything.

    “Useless,” he snarled as he landed on the ground, startling the two heroes who had obviously been loitering, waiting for him to return. They’d probably done boring things like discuss contingency plans and world peace. “Absolutely fucking useless. What’s the point of having an information web if they never have any information?”

    [They had some information, just not relevant information.]

    {We should just start fresh.}

    Peter snorted. “What, kill them all?”

    [Create a new web?]

    He waved a lazy hand. “Too much effort. Too many new people to terrorise. Besides, I’d have to kill the entire family. I am not in the mood.”

    {Who are you and what have you done to our Spidey?!}

    [He’s right. You’re usually jumping for joy.]

    “It just doesn’t seem very practical. Anyway, I’m almost 100% sure a few of them were lying. Those are the ones we’ll have to visit.”

    “Er, hey Spider,” Deadpool said. Peter waved at him absently, more focused on his conversation. “Spider,” Wade repeated. “Where have you been?”

    “Here and there,” he muttered back.

    “Where’s here and there?” Widow asked, sounding suspicious.

    Peter spun and glared at them. “Will you two shut up? I’m trying to have a conversation!” The two took a step back, and he huffed at them before spinning away.

    [Do you remember which ones?]

    “Of course I remember which ones,” Peter scoffed.

    {Spidey’s great at remembering who to kill!}

    “And I have great ideas for getting the truth from people.”

    [Yes, you do. Are we finished? Because it looks like Wade really wants to talk to you.]

    {Oh, Wade!}

    Peter turned to glare at the heroes. “What do you want?”

    “I thought we were a team,” Natasha noted dryly.

    Peter blinked. “Since when were you part of the team?”

    “Since Wade here said I could.”

    “Well, did you thank him?”

    The Widow didn’t miss the double meaning in his words. “Of course I did.”

    “It’s about time,” Peter grumbled.

    Deadpool raised his hand. “I feel like I’m missing part of the conversation.”

    “You are,” Peter assured him.

    At the same time, Natasha said, “You aren’t.”

    Deadpool looked between the two of them, and Peter giggled. “Oh, who are you going to believe?”

    “I am his team mate,” Natasha pointed out.

    Peter batted his eyelashes at her, almost certain she wouldn’t see the gesture beneath the mask. “As am I.”

    {Suck it!}

    “I went out searching for my new friend,” Peter continued. “Turns out, my web of informants is worse than useless. And some of them are big fat liars.”

    “Actually big and fat?” Wade asked, a sparkle in his eye. Peter noticed he didn’t have his mask on and smiled.

    “Some of them,” he answered seriously. “Some of them are creepy little cellar dwellers, some of them are much higher in the food chain.”

    “And where are you in this food chain?”

    Peter blinked at him. “At the top. Duh.”

    [Where else would we be?]

    “What about the rest of us?”

    Peter blinked at him again. “We don’t really have time for this,” he couldn’t help but point out. “My would-be assassin is still alive. I’d rather he wasn’t breathing.”

    [That would be nice.]

    {It would be fantastic if we could make him bleed.}

    “Bleed him until he’s almost dead, then start all over again!” Peter said gleefully. He actually clapped his hands together in delight. “Oh, the fun we would have!”

    “But you don’t have any idea who he is,” Natasha pointed out.

    Peter blinked at her. “Well, we’re a team now, right? So, we share each other’s resources.” He grinned. “That means you get onto your network and see if you can find anything.”

    “I’ll get onto my contacts,” Deadpool volunteered. “Meet back here when we’re done?” Peter noticed the narrow eyed look Widow shot in his direction even if Wade didn’t.

    “I have no plans of moving,” Peter replied. “I need to start up my experiments again.”

    {Nasty bitch made us destroy them.}

    [Well, we got our point across at least.]

    Peter waved as the two heroes walked out, and turned back to his science equipment with a sinister sound.

Chapter Text

    “We seem to have picked up a tail,” Natasha muttered. After a pause, she sighed. “Make that two. Spies have gotten so sloppy over the years.” She sounded bitterly disappointed.

    Peter perked up immediately. “Really?”

    She nodded. “Can’t be sure who they’re with, though.”

    Wade sighed. “Kid, you can’t kill them.”

    {Aw, why not?}

    [And here we were thinking he’d be on our side.]

    Peter felt his mouth twist into a pout. “If I sidestep into an alley and one of them is stupid enough to follow me, then can I?”

    Natasha couldn’t quite stop her laughter. “If they’re stupid enough to follow you, getting rid of them would be a blessing.”

    [That’s a yes if I’ve ever heard one.]

    {C’mon! Let’s go!}

    Peter immediately slowed down, dropping away from the other two – his teammates, and wasn’t that strange? He weaved through the crowds effortlessly, sliding into the closest alley he could find. He didn’t spare a glance for the tails, and made sure he kept his pace even and calm.

    In reality, he was itching to spill some blood.

    He melted into the shadows, eagerness spilling from him in waves. He watched the entrance of the alley with a barely disguised hunger. He would like, very much, to sink his fangs into one of their tails and watch as his venom turned their inside into a delicious soup. But he didn’t really have any privacy, let alone the time it would take for the venom to break down all the complicated bonds and tissues that made up the human body.

    The first tail stepped in, steps abruptly turning careful when he realised he couldn’t see anyone. Enough time hadn’t passed for Peter to have exited the alley, and apparently this tail knew that. He stepped forward slowly, bringing his arm up to mouth.

    “Target lost. I repeat, target lost.”

    {Someone’s in trouble!} Yellow sang.

    [We should keep him alive,] White said. [So we can find out who sent him.]

    {But I want to kill someone!} Yellow whined. {Spidey does too.}

    [You think I don’t? Keep him alive long enough to find out who sent him, then kill him. I never said we should keep him alive indefinitely. He’d be a loose end.]

    “I don’t like loose ends,” Peter said softly, stepping from the shadows. The man jumped back, hands automatically reaching for his weapon. Peter tutted. “I don’t think so.”

    He moved with blinding speed, grabbing the gun from the startled man’s fingers and tossing it behind him. The man’s eyes widened with fear when he heard the gun clatter down the alley. Peter pulled him back into the shadows, dodging the frightened man’s kicks and punches. He had to give the guy a bit of credit – at least he hadn’t frozen in fear.

    “Now,” Peter said pleasantly, pinning the man against the wall. He realised in an absent sort of way that he was much shorter than the tail. “Why don’t we get straight to the point? I have places to be, people to kill, and you’ve made it onto my to-do list. I’d congratulate you, but it really just means you’re going to die.”

    The man struggled, his whole body tensing as he tried to push away from the wall. Peter manoeuvred him so that his arms were pinned to his sides and his legs were spread apart.

    “See, now I can knee you where it really hurts every time you manage to piss me off.”

    [Smart.]

    “This is going to hurt,” Peter informed him sweetly, before crushing his knee cruelly into the tail’s crotch. The man choked on a scream, turning it into a quiet groan.

    {Poor baby! Maybe you should grow some balls!}

    “Why were you tailing us?” Peter asked.

    “Fuck you,” the tail snarled. Peter sighed, and then kneed him again.

    “Sorry, but that job’s already taken. You can get in line if you really want to, but I’m quite fond of eating my mates.”

    [Going to eat Wade then?]

    {He’d come back!}

    “Seems like a waste of time,” Peter agreed.

    [He might not.]

    {Such a pessimist.}

    “Then I wouldn’t want to risk it.” Peter scowled. “Stop distracting me. I’m trying to interrogate someone.”

    “You’re not doing a very good job,” Natasha noted with a smirk. Peter glanced at her – she was leaning against the entrance to the alley, arms folded while she kept one eye on the human traffic and one eye on him. He noticed a bit of blood on her knuckles – the other tail probably had a broken nose.

    “You can blame her for this one,” he informed the tail, kneeing the man even harder than last time. He groaned, the sound breaking into a moan at the end. “What happened to the other one?”

    She shrugged. “Wade’s with him now.”

    Peter digested that. “He’s going to let him go,” he said. Wade probably wouldn’t stand for this sort of behaviour, he knew, but Peter hadn’t the faintest notion of becoming someone he wasn’t. Not even for Wade.

    Widow shrugged again, unconcerned. “Probably. It doesn’t matter – I slipped a tracker onto him.”

    “Oh good idea. He can lead us straight to the source.” Peter eyed the man he held hungrily. The sooner he fed, the less likely it was that he’d snap. “Which means we have no use for you.”

    The man whimpered in response.

    {Baby!} Yellow taunted.

    [He can’t hear you.]

    “It’s the thought that counts.”

    “What are you going to do with him?” Widow asked. She took a step forward, and Peter tensed as his instincts screamed at him to kill, kill, drink her down.

    “If you want to have a heartbeat in the future, I suggest you listen to me very carefully,” Peter said tersely. “You’re not going to like what I do with him, and if you try and stop me, I’ll probably kill you. Instincts and all that. No,” he said sharply, hearing her move behind him. “Don’t take another step forward.”

    [Let her come.]

    {Then we can kill her!}

    [Finally.]

    “I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again – the boxes really don’t like you, Red Widow. I’d advise you to walk backwards. Keep watch, make sure no one comes, because I’m hungry and if I don’t eat I’ll have another lapse. And no one wants that. Do you understand?”

    There was a pause before he heard her take a step back. The tense line of his shoulders relaxed, and he glanced back at her. Her eyes were narrowed, and he offered her a smirk.

    “Don’t watch,” he advised, turning back to the tail. Turning back to the prey. He felt his venom flood his mouth, the taste bitter but somehow invigorating.

    [I don’t trust her,] White announced. [This is the perfect opportunity for her to kill us.]

    {Hey Spidey, White has a point.}

    Peter growled in frustration, turning his head again. His question died on his lips when he saw the assassin had her gun pointed at him. He realised his spider-sense had been tingling for some time – he hadn’t noticed, too caught up in his hunger and the bloodlust that pulsed through his veins. He really had waited too long to feed.

    His hands tightened until bone cracked and his prey howled. His mouth twisted into a snarl, fury twisting through him like a snake. How dare she?

    “I have orders,” she said. Peter wasn’t fooled by her voice – her hands were shaking. It was slight, but it was there.

    “I refrained from killing you on too many occasions, it seems,” he hissed, a full body shudder making its way through him. He waited until it passed before he spoke again. “And these are the actions of a hero?”

    Her hands tightened around the gun. “I have orders,” she repeated.

    Peter laughed. “No, these are the actions of an assassin.”

    He refused to release his prey even as Natasha stepped forward. “Let him go.”

    “I don’t think so,” he hissed. “I need him.”

    Peter saw the moment her resolve strengthened. Her posture changed, her hands stopped shaking. Her face went cool and blank. Peter waited for the bullet. It would be quick, and it would be over. He ignored the boxes yammering in fear and glared straight at the assassin.

    He heard the shot at the same moment something huge and warm wrapped itself around him. He snarled and twisted, caught off guard. The bullet slammed into the wall beside his head. A gush of warm liquid – blood – sprayed across his face. The thing around him – a body – didn’t make a noise.

    Peter licked his lips hungrily before he glanced to the side. His heart stopped for one, two, three beats before picking up, feeling as though it was trying to escape his chest. His entire body froze, his eyes stinging until they blurred with tears. Even the boxes went silent.

    “Wade?” he whispered.

  



 

 

    “Wade?” Peter said again, more urgently this time. He pushed the hero off him, fully expecting him to leap up and push Peter back. Instead, Wade flopped onto the ground, boneless. Blood trickled from the single bullet hole that had gone straight through his heart.

    Peter stared at Wade’s body in stunned silence, his eyes wide. The hero had – but he shouldn’t have! But he had – what the fuck had he been thinking? Peter absently wiped away the tears that trickled down his cheeks, and then stopped to stare at them.

    How long had it been since he’d cried over someone?

    His spider-sense screamed at him, and he was moving before he’d even thought about it. Wade. Wade was dead, he was dead and Peter hadn’t been the one to kill him. Wade was dead, and Natasha was the one who had killed him.

    Wade had died so Peter didn’t have to.

    That was totally not on.

    He turned his attention to Natasha, who was still shooting at him. His prey was still there, passed out on the ground. He wasn’t hurt, and she didn’t look remorseful. She didn’t even seem to care that she’d shot her teammate. She didn’t care about Wade.

    [Kill her,] White hissed.

    {Make her wish we killed her faster,} Yellow snapped.

    “Let’s spill some blood.” Peter dodged the nest bullet. “Your guts are on the table.” Another dodge, fury spilling white hot through his chest. “And I love you when you’re so dead.”

    He flew at her the moment she ran out of bullets, smacking the gun from her hands with enough force to shatter a few bones. Her face paled, but she produced another gun from somewhere – {Probably from her arse,} Yellow snarled – and tried to shoot him again. He snatched the gun from her and tossed it away, feeling her heartbeat beneath his hand as he latched onto her wrist.

    He offered her a cold, cold smile. “This is going to hurt,” he informed her pleasantly. He increased the pressure slowly, listening to the sound of the bones in her wrist grinding together. He felt a flash of triumph – until he realised she didn’t look like the pain was affecting her.

    [She’s an assassin. You’ll need time.]

    {Let’s take all of them back with us.}

    [Too risky. I say we get the bug tracker and take Wade and the other guy back with us.]

    {Is that sirens I hear?}

    Peter looked up, cocking his head. “Someone called the police,” he said absently. “How rude. I haven’t even gotten to you yet.” His free hand stroked Widow’s hair before catching her chin. He stared into her eyes. “This isn’t over,” he said. “It may never be over, but for now I’ll leave you intact.” He squeezed her wrist, eliciting the tiniest flinch. “Well. Mostly intact.”

    [We should peel off her fingernails.]

    {Breaking bones doesn’t look like it does much. Let’s skin her.}

    [Electrocution?]

    {Good old fashion poison.}

    [Our poison, though.]

    “Yes,” Peter agreed, tossing the assassin aside, but not before snatching the bug tracker from her pocket. “Catch you later,” Peter called, hefting Wade over his shoulder – he was heavy – and securing his prey with his webs. He disappeared into the shadows, his laughter low and dark.

 

 



 

 

    Wade was tucked into the smaller of the two bedrooms, his face uncomfortably slack in the lighting. His tracker was disabled. Peter had brought them all to one of his safe houses – this one was in one of the worst neighbourhoods around. On the outside, it looked like any other rundown apartment complex, but it wasn’t. For one thing, Peter owned the entire building – under a false name, of course.

    For another, it looked as though someone had dropped a very heavy something straight down the middle of the building, from the top floor to the bottom. In reality, that was exactly what had happened. The building had no stairs to speak of, and each of the six floors had had several walls knocked out to make the rooms bigger.

    Peter had settled Wade into the corner room facing the street. The glass was reinforced, as were the walls. Not only was the room the most likely to be attacked, it was also the safest, and therefore where Peter always slept.

    His prey was secured on one of the lower levels, still unconscious. Peter was itching to go down and bite him, to start the digestive process, but he didn’t want to leave until Wade woke up.

    Besides, he always liked biting people when they were awake. It made everything so much more fun.

    [I think I saw movement.]

    {He’s breathing! He’s alive!}

    [You really need to eat, Spidey.]

    “In a minute,” Peter muttered. He crawled along the ceiling until he was right above Wade. His sharp eyes caught the tentative rise and fall of Wade’s chest, and he couldn’t help the relief he felt. Wade was alive.

    [Are we going to tell him that bitch killed him?]

    {Yes! He’ll turn against them!}

    “Wouldn’t that be nice,” Peter murmured, wanting to reach down and touch. He wanted to savour the moment Wade’s skin went from cool and still, to warm and shifting. He pressed his palms against the ceiling more tightly. He couldn’t do that. He didn’t have the right.

    [You don’t think he will?]

    {Why not? She killed him!}

    “We killed him. He came to team up with us.” Peter shifted uncomfortably. “He’s too nice for his own good.”

    Wade’s eyes snapped open. He blinked at Peter owlishly before glancing around. His eyes returned to Peter. “That’s real creepy, kid,” he said.

    “Sorry,” Peter muttered, skittering into a different corner before dropping to the floor. “How are you feeling?”

    “Like I got shot and died,” Wade replied, chuckling. Peter’s mouth didn’t even twitch. He stared at Wade with a mixture of relief and confusion. Why did he put up with them? “Are you alright?”

    Peter jerked back, shock and outrage warring for control. He clenched his jaw shut, tight enough that he would hear his teeth creak. He hissed out a breath, noticing that Wade was watching him with concern.

    “I’m fine,” he finally said. “You didn’t have to save me.”

    “If I didn’t, you would have died,” Wade pointed out. He grinned. “I’m expecting a thank you.”

    Peter waited for the smile to die before he answered. “You won’t get one.”

    {That’s a bit harsh…}

    [Spider…]

    He shook his head. “No, I won’t thank you for getting yourself killed. Again. I don’t care that you can come back. I won’t thank you. Not now, not ever.”

    [You know you’re acting like the Avengers.]

    {Acting like an ungrateful little shit.}

    “You know why,” Peter hissed in response. “I am nothing like them.” Aren’t you? A traitorous part of his mind whispered. All he wants is for someone to thank him, and you won’t even give him that…

    Wade eyed him. “What’s gone and died up your ass?”

    Peter gritted his teeth again. “I’m going to eat. You,” he pointed at Wade, “stay put.” He turned, closing the door behind him, but even that wasn’t enough to block out the sound of Wade’s voice.

    “What about me? I’m hungry too!” 

 



 

 

    He could smell the man’s fear, could taste the heady taste of it on his tongue. The man squirmed in his bindings, his eyes wide. Peter had yet to reveal himself, letting his prey work himself up into a frenzy.

    {I feel like Pitch!}

    White snorted. [This one certainly isn’t any Jack Frost.]

    Peter tilted his head. No, he’s really not.

    [How much longer are you going to wait?]

    {Yeah, we still need to get Wade food!}

    “Fine,” he snapped aloud. The man flinched away, breathing hard through his nose. Peter dropped from the ceiling, wearing a wide grin that showed off his fangs. “Hello again. I bet you’re really regretting tailing me now, huh?”

    The man nodded his head frantically, pupils blown wide with fear. He tried to talk, but his words were muffled by the gag. Peter tilted his head and watched him quietly, nodding every so often. Eventually, the man realised nothing he said would help, and made an odd whimpering noise.

    “Would you like to know what’s going to happen to you?” Peter asked. “Or would you like it all to be a great big surprise?”

    The man shouted, trying to form words. Peter blinked guilelessly at him until he subsided again, his chest heaving.

    “The last one had it as a surprise, if I remember correctly, so I guess I can tell you.” Peter tapped his chin thoughtfully. “Although I imagine by the time I’m finished, you’d wish you’d picked surprise.”

    [It’s really funny to watch them beg. They have to know they don’t have a chance.]

    {Wade!} Yellow reminded them.

    “Well first, I could have done this while you were unconscious. But that’s just boring, you see. So I had to wait for you to wake up. You took your sweet time.”

    The man whimpered something that might have been an apology.

    “But moving on. The first thing I’m going to do is bite you. Right here.” He ghosted his fingers over the juncture between the man’s shoulder and neck. “On both sides. That should be enough, but if it’s not, I’ll also bite you just under your ribs, on either side. Better too much than not enough, hmm?

    “Now, you may be thinking why am I going to bite you? Well, it’s simply because I’m in need of a decent feed. And you, you poor fool, were unlucky enough to get caught in my web.” Peter dropped to the floor, forcing his way into the other man’s personal space.

    The sharp, acrid smell of piss made Peter smirk even as his nose wrinkled in distaste. “My, you are scared, aren’t you? And I’m not even up to the good bits.”

    The man whimpered again, and Peter suddenly got the sense that there was someone behind him. He whirled, crouched and ready to attack, but there was no one there. He cocked his head, confused.

    [Let’s finish up here and check on Wade.]

    {You are worried about him!}

    Peter turned and sank his fangs into the juncture he’d pointed out before, and his prey screamed. The sound was muffled by the gag, but he still flinched at the sound. Not only was it loud, it reminded him of… Of another time. Peter did the same to the other side, and then leaned in close to the man’s ear.

    “My venom turns your insides into a thick-shake. You’ll die about halfway through, but the agony will make you wish you were dead long before that. There’ll be visual and auditory hallucinations. Oh, it sounds like you’ll have a wonderful evening.” Peter patted him on the cheek. “I hope you dream about me.”

    Peter pulled himself up into the highest floor, practically skipping towards the kitchen hidden away at the other end. It was stacked full of goodies – tacos and pancakes, chocolates and cake. There were even some mudslides he’d forgotten about.

    {We have a feast!}

    [Can we just not feed Wade?]

    Peter squawked in horror. “What did you say?”

    [It’s just, he eats so much.]

    {Are you implying our Wade is fat?}

    “White!” Peter gasped. “Why would you say something like that?”

    [I didn’t say he was fat!]

    {You just implied it!}

    [That’s not what I meant.]

    {Yes it is! Spidey, can you believe him?}

    Peter shook his head. “This is an outrage!”

    […I hate it when you gang up on me.]

    “And I hate it when you try and tell me what’s best,” Peter replied primly, filling his arms with food. “Yet that doesn’t stop you.”

    [Because I’m usually right.]

    {You’re so full of yourself!}

    [And you’re an idiot.]

    {I know you are, I said you are, but what am I?}

    [I rest my case.]

    {You don’t have a case! He doesn’t, does he Spidey?}

    “Everyone knows Yellow is an idiot,” Peter muttered in reply, making his way back to the bedroom he’d left Wade in. “Case or no case.”

    {You’re on his side?}

    “Only for now. Just wait for him to say something. Then I’ll be on yours.”

    {Ok!}

    Peter nudged the door open with his hip, half his attention on the food in his arms, the other half on the conversation – bickering – going on between his boxes. He dumped the food on the nearest flat surface and looked towards the bed, grinning.

    His grin vanished when he finally noticed that the bed was empty.

  



 

 

    “Wade?” Peter called, looking around frantically. “Wade?”

    [He ran off.]

    “You don’t know that!” Peter snapped, whirling around and skittering across the floor, all four of his limbs moving in synchrony, propelling him forward. “He could have fallen, he could have died…”

    {Again!}

    “And personally I think he’s died enough times today,” Peter finished, wrenching himself upright in order to scan the room before dropping back on all fours.

    {I’m with Spidey on this.}

    White huffed. [He’s either run off or done something stupid.]

    Peter rounded another corner. He didn’t have time to answer White, because he slammed into what felt like a wall. His first thought was that there wasn’t supposed to be a wall across a hallway. His next thought was that the wall seemed vaguely familiar, and gave off the faint scent of chemicals.

    {Wade!} Yellow cheered.

    “Oh!” Peter huffed, finding himself on two feet scrambling backwards. “Wade!”

    “That’s me,” the hero agreed. “Where were you off to?”

    “I – you weren’t where I left you!” Peter blurted out.

    [You are so fucking smooth,] White muttered, while Yellow snickered in the background.

    Peter felt a blush rise on his cheeks. “I didn’t mean it like that!” Peter snapped. “Why don’t you shut up and mind your own damn business?”

    [In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t have any business to mind.]

    {Except for yours.}

    Peter gritted his teeth, about to snap a reply, but Wade managed to get a word in. “Why were you looking for me?”

    “Food,” Peter muttered sullenly, noticing the way the hero tensed and wondering at it. “I brought you some. Just tacos and chocolate. There’s a TV and gaming console – I think Xbox? – down that-a-way,” he gestured with one of his hands, “if you feel bored. I’d appreciate it if you stayed on this floor.”

    “Why?” Wade asked, cocking an eyebrow – only he didn’t have eyebrows. But that’s definitely what he was doing. Or what he was meant to do.

    [He’s waiting for an answer. Why don’t you just tell him about the food?]

    {He did,} Yellow said, sounding puzzled.

    [Not Wade’s food. Spidey’s food.]

    {Oh. Right.}

    “Well, I don’t want you to fall.”

    “Why not?”

    [You idiot, now you sound worried about him.]

    Peter snapped his head up to glare at the hero. “Obviously because I’d have to clean up the mess you left behind. Plus, you’re heavy. I don’t want to have to drag your ass back up here.”

    Wade snickered. “Was my brawn too much for your puny arms?” he asked, grinning.

    Peter narrowed his eyes. “If you really want to find out, there’s a fighting ring across the hole.”

    “Yeah, what’s with that? The hole, I mean.”

    Peter shrugged. “Do I look like I need stairs?”

    Wade pointed to himself. “I kind of do.”

    “I don’t make a habit of organising sleep overs, so I’ve never had that problem before.” Peter waved his hand dismissively. “Just stay up here, alright?”

    “Alright,” Wade agreed, and Peter stared at him suspiciously. Wade never agreed that quickly, unless…

    “You’ve already been down,” Peter sighed. “Haven’t you?”

    Wade shrugged and affected an innocent expression. “I couldn’t resist.”

    [For fuck’s sake.]

    {Oh Wade.}

    [He saw. He must have. Smell him!]

    Peter leaned in closer to the hero and took a deep breath, holding it as he sorted through the scents that covered Wade. There was the odd scent that was very much Wade, of chemicals that burned his nose no matter how faint they were. There was something else in Wade’s scent he’d never been able to put a name to, because if the chemical scent was faint, this one was downright non-existent.

    Peter’s eyes widened in what might have been horror but was probably more outrage when he caught the odour of his own venom. He sniffed Wade again, wanting to confirm, and then rocked back on his heels with a snarl.

    [He’s probably going to get rid of your prey first chance he gets. He might have already done it.]

    Peter’s snarl turned into a strangled sound. “Tell me you didn’t,” he all but begged, blinking at the hero. “Tell me you left him there. Tell me you didn’t get rid of him!”

    Something in Wade’s expression shifted, a guilty look flashing through his eyes. Peter spun away with a sound that was a combination of a wail and a scream, because now he had nothing to keep the lapse at bay.

    [Spidey! Spider! Peter!] Peter made a faint noise of acknowledgment, feeling something inside him crumble. He was going to kill Wade, and Wade would not come back. He knew it, he could feel it in his bones. [Peter, ask him where he put the food.]

    “Where did you put him?” Peter asked, his voice cracking and breaking. He didn’t want it. Didn’t want another death weighing on his shoulders, pushing him deeper and deeper. He was struggling to breathe as it was. Maybe it would just be easier to go to sleep. Sleep sounded like a fantastic idea.

    [Don’t you fucking dare give up!] White snarled. [Ask him again!]

    “Ask who?” Peter asked with numb lips. He was so tired.

    [Repeat after me: Where did you put him?]

    “Where did you put him?” Peter mimicked.

    [Turn your damn ears on, I think he’s answering.]

    “Who’s he?” Peter wanted to know, but did as the voice asked anyway.

    “Look, he’s in the dumpster. I didn’t exactly have time to hide him somewhere else.”

    “The dumpster,” Peter echoed. “What’s in the dumpster?”

    [Alright, listening to me again. We need to go to the dumpster. There’s prey there.]

    “Prey,” Peter breathed, and yes, he liked the sound of that. “’m hungry,” he murmured.

    [Yes, I know. Hello, I’m in your head.]

    Peter frowned. “White?”

    [Yes?]

    “Where’s Yellow?”

    [Looks like he’s offline right now, but he’ll be back. We always are.]

    “Don’t want you,” he grumbled, realising he was moving to where White had directed him. “Don’t want either of you.”

    [Yes, we know. You’re lucky to have us though.]

    “Have I ever told you?”

    [Told me what?]

    “That I don’t like you because you remind me of Harry?”

    White was silent for a moment. [Shit. Hurry up, Spider.]

    “I didn’t want to kill him, you know,” he continued dreamily. “But he deserved it in the end. Didn’t he?”

    [Yes,] White said firmly. [We’re almost there.]

    “Almost where?”

    [Food.]

    “Food,” Peter echoed. “’m hungry.” In that moment Peter smelled it. The scent of prey, half-digested. He growled in frustration. “It’s not ready!”

    [It’s the best we have, Spider.]

    Peter wrinkled his nose as he landed in what appeared to be rubbish. He glared at it. “This can’t be mine. I’d never leave it in this sort of environment.”

    [Yes well, there was an incident. It’s the best we have.]

    Peter rolled his eyes. “An incident, White? That’s the best you could come up with?”

    [It’s what happened. You need to eat. If you don’t, you know what happens.]

    Peter nodded reluctantly. “I remember the first time it happened best. I was pretty scared, huh?”

    [You were terrified,] White agreed as Peter dragged the body out of the trash. [You were sick afterwards.]

    Peter pulled up the man’s clothing and sank his fangs into the skin just below his ribcage. “My body hadn’t quite realised how much I needed the food,” he remembered. “And then I had to go out and eat again.”

    [Yes well. How long will it take?]

    Peter inhaled, catching the tart scent of his venom and the odour of matter breaking down. “Smells about right.”

    [Don’t look now, but we have an audience.]

    Ignoring White, Peter glanced over his shoulder, but he couldn’t see anyone. He shrugged and leaned over his food. “Bon appetite,” he muttered to himself before sinking his fangs into his prey’s throat. He grimaced with the first few swallows, but didn’t pull away.

    [Ugh. I’d forgotten how bad this tastes.]

    Peter ignored him, setting up an easy rhythm. Breathe, swallow. Breathe, swallow. He let his mind wander, ignoring the taste, ignoring the texture, ignoring the scents that assaulted his nose. Leaving the food in the dumpster was a terrible idea.

    [You didn’t leave it here, remember?]

    Yes, yes, Peter thought distractedly. There was an incident.

    [I’m sure you’ll remember everything once this… food does its work.]

    Are you always so judgemental?

    [I am when I can taste it. We should have loads chocolate after this. To wash the taste out. Oh my god what the fuck was that?]

    Something decidedly undigested found its way into Peter’s mouth, and he wrinkled his nose in distaste. He chewed it thoughtfully. Tongue?

    [No, no. I do not need that mental image.]

    Interesting.

    [It’s not interesting! You got a tongue from a throat! That’s three different kinds of gross.]

    Just think about the chocolate we’ll have after.

    {Did someone say chocolate?} There was a pause. {Ewwww, are we chewing on a tongue? Remember when that happened last time?}

    [Last time?!]

    {Oh, did I go offline this time?}

    Yep, Peter confirmed. Breathe, swallow. Breathe, swallow. Almost done.

    [You mean this has happened before?]

    {That’s what I said, isn’t it? Isn’t it?}

    [I, for one, am totally grossed out.]

    {I can think of someone else who might be.}

    Peter pulled away, wiping his lips and letting the body drop to the ground. “Who?” he asked absently. He wiped his mouth again, studying the wrinkled, dried-out husk at his feet. The face was rigid, frozen in a scream, which was funny, because he couldn’t actually remember anyone screaming.

    [Uh, Spider. Oh boy, you’re not going to like this.]

    “Like what?” Peter was puzzled. He wiped his mouth again.

    [Well, do you know why we’re out here? Do you remember?]

    “Because Wade tried to help this one go free,” Peter replied simply. “Look, I don’t even know why we’re talking. I need something to get the taste out of my mouth.” He turned and froze.

    {Hey Wade!}

 



 

    “Wade,” Peter said faintly. He took a step back, because the look on the hero’s face hurt. He almost tripped over the body, looking from it back to Wade. Oh shit.

    [Oh shit indeed.]

    {Told you he’d be grossed out.}

    “This isn’t what it looks like,” he stammered, flinching when Wade made a noise of disbelief.

    [To be fair, it’s a little hard to mistake this for anything else.]

    {True!}

    “So you didn’t just eat someone?” Wade demanded, his voice low. His hands jerked towards his weapons. “You didn’t just eat someone alive?”

    Relief rushed through him. “No!” he practically shouted. “I didn’t eat someone alive.”

    “But you ate someone.”

    Peter wiped his mouth. “Yes,” he admitted. “But I had to!” His spider-sense tingled, and he dodged the first bullet. Never had he seen the hero look so furious. Never had he felt such a killing aura. “You don’t understand!” he shouted. The next bullet clipped his shoulder, but he refused to make a noise. “You saw me! You saw what happened!”

    “You ate someone!”

    Peter barely managed to dodge the next bullet, and suddenly they were face to face. Deadpool had his katanas, Peter had his karambits. Peter dived in, using the ring around his index finger to smack Deadpool on the chin, dodging back out when Wade slashed with his katanas. Peter guided the hero’s arms away, pulling back before swiping at him with the knives. Peter dived back in and punched Wade in the stomach, feeling the blade slide through flesh and muscle as he pulled it back.

    Compared to katanas, karambits didn’t look like much. Yet it was Wade who was injured, Wade who dropped to one knee, Wade who was trying to keep his intestines inside his body. It was Peter who had blood on his weapon, Peter who dropped down to his knees and pressed his hands to the bleeding wound.

    “Wade! You saw me in the warehouse,” Peter said, ignoring the sick feeling in his stomach. This was a very bad wound – how fortunate that Wade wouldn’t die. “If I hadn’t eaten, that would have happened again.”

    {Only this time, no one would have been able to snap him out of it!}

    Peter nodded. “It doesn’t happen often,” he continued hurriedly. “Just enough that I know what to expect.”

    [If you had a period, this is what it would look like.]

    “That’s gross,” Peter snapped, wrinkling his nose.

    Yellow snickered. {Spidey’s on his period.}

    “Shut up!”

    “So you have to eat people?”

    “Only the one, I promise. I don’t… I can’t exactly study myself, you know. Not like you could.” Peter could feel the wound beneath his hands knitting back together. “I can only cut myself so much before I actually start to die.” Peter felt Wade stiffen and looked up at him, curious. “The most I can do is cut open my wrists. Sometimes I poke around at the little gland that’s responsible for the webs. But that’s all, I swear.”

    There was something in Wade’s expression that told Peter he’d said something wrong, but he couldn’t work out what. He didn’t look disgusted anymore, which was a plus. But there was something there, and Peter found himself babbling, trying to smooth it away.

    “I only eat the bad ones, this guy excepted. I mean, I ate a murderer one time and then delivered the head to the victim. Closure and all. Didn’t quite work the way I’d hoped. And there was a paedophile, a rapist… I try. It’s one hell of a drawback, if you ask me. Knowing my luck, I’ll feel the need to eat the first person I sleep with, and won’t that be a great pickup line?” He snorted, poking at the wound. It was healed, just a fading pink line left as evidence. In a few minutes, that would be gone too.

    What a pity.

    “Sometimes, I try and make it fun. Like, I’ll grab a couple and make it a game of survivors. Whoever gets out first lives! Last one in is my meal. It’s fun for me. I cherish the looks on their faces when they realise that, whoops, I lied –”

    Wade pressed a warm finger to Peter’s lips, stopping the flow of words abruptly. Peter looked up, wide-eyed with surprise, to find the hero studying him with odd expression. The something, he was pleased to see, was gone, and the finger against his lips was warm and alive. He could feel Wade’s strong heartbeat.

    The finger on his lips moved, brushing across his cheek and then tracing the line of his jaw. Peter felt his eyes slide half-closed, and then completely close when the hero’s finger brushed behind his ear. The finger became a hand, carding through his hair, and he hummed.

    {Finally!}

    [And here I was thinking we weren’t going to do this.]

    {Oh, put a cork in it!}

    Peter felt his body move on its own, pressing into the contact like a cat. Wade released a breath that might have been a chuckle, and his other hand moved to cradle Peter’s head. Wade tugged him closer and he went willingly, almost falling into the hero’s lap.

    [Well, this is great.]

    {Isn’t it?}

    [Next thing you know we’ll be spilling all our dark, dirty secrets.]

    Peter made an annoyed noise that caused the hands to pause. Peter tilted his head, and the hands began moving again.

    [Or did you forget what we’ve done?]

    {Stop ruining the moment!}

    The hands in his hair were distracting. He nuzzled closer, sighing when they moved down his neck and across his shoulders. The tension bled from him, and he felt Wade breathe out another laugh. The hands disappeared, and Peter opened his eyes.

    They stared at each other, blinking. Peter was the first to move, stumbling back with wide eyes when he felt how fast his heart was racing. Wade stood, frowning at him. Peter realised that Wade hadn’t said a word for a long time.

    “I try,” Peter whispered. It would be a bad idea, a very bad idea, to acknowledge what had just happened.

    Wade nodded once, a jerky motion. “Do you want to start looking for your guy?” he asked. Apparently Wade thought the same.

    [Or he’s just disgusted.]

    {Could be that.}

    [After all, you are a killer. You just ate someone.]

    {He’s right!}

    [No one’s going to accept you.]

    {Nope!}

    [Give up.]

    {You really should.}

    Peter swallowed thickly and nodded. “Yes,” he said. He wasn’t sure who he was responding to.

Chapter Text

    Peter hummed as he crawled up the wall, listening to the quiet sounds of Deadpool climbing up after him. The hero seemed to be having trouble, if his swearing was anything to go by. It wasn’t loud enough to blow their cover, but it was distracting.

    Peter wasn’t used to being worried that his partner would fall.

    The merc climbed into the house, sliding through the window with an ease that spoke of much practice. He snickered as the hero hauled himself through the window, landing with much more noise than Peter had.

    {Be fair!}

    [We are made for stealth.]

    Peter tilted his head in acknowledgement. “I don’t think you woke anyone up,” he whispered, cocking his head to the side as he listened. He crouched down to place his palms against the floor, picking up faint vibrations below. “Or maybe you did.”

    [No guards?]

    “I don’t think so. I remember Mr Dare being very… Well, living up to his name, I suppose you could say.” Peter giggled. “That’s what I liked about him. But he dared to lie to me.”

    [Bad idea, daring as it may have been.]

    {We should play Truth or Dare with him!}

    “I’ve always wondered what he’d pick,” Peter murmured. He glanced at Wade. He wanted to ask if he was sure. He wanted to give the hero a chance to leave, because he definitely expected things to get messy. Instead, he asked a simple question. “Ready?”

    “Lead the way,” Wade muttered back.

    [Oh good, he didn’t run.]

    “He didn’t run away,” Peter agreed. “That’s nice.” He licked his lips. “I’m feeling the need to be persuasive, White. Yellow, shall we have fireworks?”

    {Yay!}

    Peter pulled out a grenade with a spider painted onto to. He pulled the pin, gave it a kiss for luck, and shoved it through the floor. The wood splintered beneath his hand, and with a laugh he released the grenade, skipping down the hall as it exploded downstairs. Wade swore and hurried after him, his guns already in his hands.

    “There’s blood on my hands, like the blood in you!” Peter sang as he rounded the corner, picking out Mr Dare’s crumpled form. Fortunately, it seemed the furniture had protected him from most of the blast. “Some things can’t be treated,” he continued, picking up the groaning man. He webbed a chair over and sat Mr Dare down rather abruptly, webbing his wrists and ankles to the chair.

    {Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey!} Yellow shouted gleefully.

    “Hmm, I could go for some eggs. Midnight feast!” Peter spun and raced for the kitchen, finding it with practised ease. People really needed to get more imaginative with the layouts of their houses. “Whoa! Talk about expensive tastes.” Peter peered into the pantry appreciatively.

    [Does Deadpool want anything?]

    {I thought you didn’t want to feed him,} Yellow snapped.

    “Yeah! You called him fat before! That wasn’t nice.”

    [I didn’t call him fat!]

    {First a fungus, now fat. You really like f words, huh?}

    “French fries!” Peter shouted. “Wade, Wade, he has French fries!”

    The hero appeared in the doorway. “You’re just gonna leave him?”

    Peter paused in his raiding to look back at his partner. He liked the way that sounded in his head. “He’ll take a bit to wake up, plus this food will eventually go to waste.” Because I’m going to kill him, he wanted to add, but he didn’t want to upset his partner.

    [You’re creepy.]

    {But he is our partner.}

    Peter nodded. “We’re teammates.”

    [Teammates are different than partners.]

    {You’re just jealous!}

    Peter blinked. “What does he have to be jealous of?” Peter asked, puzzled.

    [What he said.]

    {The fact that he’s not as cool as us!}

    “Oh for the love of –” Peter breathed out a sigh. “Look, could you two just chillax? We’re on a mission, we’ll get to spill some blood, hear the truth, all that fun stuff. Plus, look at all this food!”

    [Alright.]

    {He started it,} Yellow whined.

    Peter heard a groan and made a sound of triumph, pulling several packets of expensive whatevers from the pantry and making his way back to Mr Dare. The man stiffened when he saw the merc, his face paling.

    “Oh good,” Peter said, his mask hiding his smile. “You know why I’m here then.”

    [He’s going to piss himself.]

    Yellow laughed.

    “Do you need to use the bathroom?” Peter asked with fake concern. His voice shifted, turned hard and cold. “Too fucking bad. Liars don’t get potty breaks.” He opened up a box of chocolate that had some fancy name and pulled out a round ball. He sniffed it before popping it into his mouth. He made a face. “What the hell is this?”

    [Disgusting.]

    {Shit masquerading as chocolate.}

    “Ch-Chocopologie,” Mr Dare stammered. “It’s… Well, it’s very expensive – No wait, what are you doing!?”

    Peter looked at the man as he threw the box of chocolate into the nearest fireplace. “That isn’t chocolate,” he said. “That’s a lie. I’m doing you, and the world, a favour.”

    “Does it taste that bad?” Wade asked, stepping into the room. Mr Dare stared at him, his mouth dropping open in surprise. Wade gave him a cocky little wave. Peter stood, dusting off his hands.

    “This, as you probably already know, is Wade. Deadpool, in other words. He’s helping me. Why? Because he is a hero in every sense of the word and someone tried to kill me. So, there’s a bit of role reversal going on because I somehow managed to end up as the damsel in distress, and Wade here is my knight in shining armour. And no, I will not be wearing a dress for this little adventure. As great as my legs would look. You might even say they’d look killer.”

    It was a surprise when Wade laughed. “That was good,” he said, trying to keep a serious face.

    Peter smirked. “I know.” He scuttled forward until he was in front of Mr Dare. “Now, you know why I’m here, yes?”

    The man swallowed before nodding. “But I was not –”

    “I’m aware you weren’t the only one to lie to me,” Peter interrupted. “You were just lucky enough to be the first name I picked. Totally random, of course. I drew your name out of a hat. Lucky you!”

    Mr Dare glanced towards Wade, who nodded his head gravely. “I’m afraid it’s true.”

    “So you didn’t – I mean to say, you didn’t pick me?”

    Peter shook his head, smiling. “No. See, I like you, Mr Dare. You’ve always been most helpful.” He watched the hope light the man’s eyes before he continued. “But the problem is, you lied to me. I don’t like liars, Mr Dare. I despise them.”

    “I am – That is, he threatened –”

    “And now I’m threatening,” Peter snarled, closing his hand around Mr Dare’s throat. “And we both know I do it so much better. Isn’t that right?”

    “Yes!” the man choked. “Much better!”

    “That’s what I thought,” Peter said smugly, releasing the man. “So why don’t you tell me what I want to know, and I’ll see if I can make your death as painless as possible. Don’t tell me and, well…”

    “I don’t know exactly who he is,” Mr Dare stammered. “He only contacted me through a man he called Becket.”

    “Becket,” Peter repeated thoughtfully.

    [That’s a name we can work with.]

    {Can we make him bleed now?}

    “Is there anything else you’d like to add, Mr Dare? I find myself tempted to take my time with you, and you don’t want that.”

    The man paled even further. “I don’t – Becket had a scar! Across his left eye. It was quite disturbing. Very hard to miss.”

    “More,” Peter whispered, sliding his knives out.

    “Becket was black!” Mr Dare babbled. “He wore a long black coat, all the time. There was a woman, just the one time. A woman with red hair.”

    Peter slashed across the man’s throat before he could utter another word.

    {Pretty!}

    [This Becket sounds oddly familiar.]

    Peter hummed in agreement. “As does the woman.”

    “You don’t think he’s lying?” Wade asked. “There’s no way they’d do something like that!”

    “Getting rid of an obstacle.”

    [No matter the cost.]

    “Sort of does sound like them, actually.”

    Wade made a frustrated noise. “Natasha and Fury wouldn’t do something so underhanded.”

    Peter hummed again, running his fingers through the rapidly cooling blood. “We’ll learn more from the others,” he replied calmly.

    [Either they did it, or they’re being framed. I’m not sure which I would prefer.]

    “Neither do I,” Peter admitted softly as they slipped from the mansion. “Neither do I.”

 



 

    Peter dreamed of a lake. A lake of black tar. He was standing at the edge, alone. There was no noise and nothing moved. He stood, waiting.

    The surface of the lake rippled, and a swan, whiter than the purest snow, rose up, out of the tar. It was clean, the tar sliding off its feathers like butter off a hot knife. For the briefest moment, Peter felt recognition slam into him, knocking him backwards. But it was only for a moment, and then he felt hands against his back, pushing him into the tar.

    He struggled, but in the dream he was just Peter Parker. There was no super-strength, no voices babbling in his head, no spider-sense screaming at him. Just him, the tar, and the swan.

    And then there was something else. Something darker than the shadows, something that felt cold and old and nasty and all too familiar. Hands appeared from the darkness – the hands that had pushed him, he knew. He struggled to keep his head above the tar, even though he knew who it was.

    Harry Osborn stepped from the shadows, a familiar half-smile on his face. Peter felt his heart stop for a precious few seconds as Harry crouched by the tar lake and extended a hand. Blindly, Peter grabbed for it, panic making him forget. He felt relief when their hands tangled together.

    “Peter, you never told me you couldn’t swim.”

    And then he pushed Peter under. 

 



 

 

    Peter woke with a strangled gasp, adrenaline pulsing hot and strong through his body. He rocketed to his feet, finding himself pressed into the darkest corner of the room, fighting to get his breathing under control.

    After taking care of Dare’s body, the unlikely pair had returned to Peter’s apartment complex. If Wade had been surprised at Peter’s actions, he didn’t show it. The hero had muttered a goodnight and disappeared into the room Peter had given him.

    Peter had pretended he hadn’t felt compelled to follow Wade.

    [That was some dream.]

    {The swan was pretty.}

    [Can you swim?]

    “Of course I can!” Peter snarled, panting heavily. “We took classes together when we were kids.”

    [Ah.]

    {Play dates!}

    [Well, cheer up. We get to kill more people today.]

    {And that always makes us feel better.}

    Peter exhaled. “It’s not looking good for our friendly assassin, is it?”

    […Nope.]

    {We can kill her now, right?}

    [That would be nice.]

    {We’d really make her Red Widow.}

    “We have two more people to talk to,” Peter muttered, making his way to the kitchen. “And then we can ask Wade to talk to Widow.”

    [And tip them off?]

    {Are you insane?} Yellow paused. {I mean, more than usual.}

    Peter snorted. “Subtlety may not be his strong suit, but I’m not convinced he’d screw everything up.”

    “Coming from you, that’s high praise,” Wade said, stepping into the hallway.

    [Whoa.]

    {Sneaky.}

    “Working on your stealth, I see.”

    Wade shrugged. “Well, you seem to think I can’t be sneaky.”

    “I’m sure you can be incredibly creepy,” Peter replied absently.

    [Sneaky. He said sneaky.]

    {He can be creepy if he wants!}

    “Well, I can be creepy and sneaky.”

    {Whoa. It’s like he can read our minds.}

    Peter sniffed. “Wade can’t read minds.” There was no chemical smell in the air. Peter yawned. “Why are you awake?”

    “Couldn’t sleep.”

    “Mmm, neither could I. I had an interesting dream.” Peter wanted pancakes.

    Wade stepped closer, following Peter down the hall. “Can I cook? I want pancakes.”

    “Sure,” Peter agreed easily. “That would be nice.”

    [Do you ever wonder what it would be like if we could read minds?]

    “Life would be a lot easier,” Peter muttered, entering the kitchen first. He hummed a tune as he picked up one of the kitchen knives.

    “What was that?” Wade asked.

    Peter spun, the knife arching through the air. The sharp point stabbed into Wade’s shoulder, only Peter was certain the person he had pinned down wasn’t Wade. The Wade imposter shrieked in pain, trying to shove Peter off him.

    Peter held on tight, smiling down at the Wade imposter. “Hello,” he said pleasantly. “Who are you?” 

 



 

 

    “Come on,” Peter coaxed. “Don’t be shy.” The Wade imposter snarled and tried to buck him off.

    {Pretending to be Wade is rude, you know.}

    [Privacy is an issue with you, isn’t it?]

    Noises started, footsteps coming down the hall. Peter looked up expectantly – Wade, the real one, burst into the kitchen, his bright eyes flicking around the kitchen restlessly. He froze at the sight of Peter pinning the Wade imposter to the ground. He blinked and shook his head.

    “What’d you give me this time?” he demanded, looking from Peter to the Wade imposter.

    “Me? I’m entirely innocent in all this.” Peter twisted the knife deeper.

    [Oh, you were right.]

    {I was?}

    [He does look nice writhing in pain.]

    Peter felt the Wade imposter shudder under him and smiled, delighted. “Oh, you can hear them! I wondered, you know.”

    “Spider?”

    “Wait a minute!” Peter said, sitting upright. He stared at Wade. “Aren’t you resistant to telepathic voodoo?”

    [Very technical.]

    {I like it.}

    “Well, yeah.” Wade scratched his head. “But only stuff that’s designed to hurt or control me.”

    “Huh,” Peter replied.

    [Wait, shouldn’t we be resistant to telepathic voodoo?]

    Peter hummed. “You make a good point. I am insane.”

    As if they were magic words, the illusion around the Wade imposter rippled. Peter watched as the illusion faded away completely to reveal a girl. A girl with tangled brown hair and wide eyes the colour of old blood.

    “Oh. Hello there, miss.”

    [I don’t understand that.]

    “How did I stab you in the shoulder?”

    {You’re tiny compared to Wade!}

    “This is crazy.”

    [Coming from the certifiably insane one in the room, that’s hardly comforting.]

    “Wade, can you see her?”

    “Her? I see me. Why do I see me? Why wasn’t I questioning this before?”

    [Stupid.]

    {Hey! Don’t pick on Wade!}

    “Yeah White, don’t be such an asshole.”

    “Will you shut up already!” the girl shouted – screamed, really. “I’m bleeding here!”

    [You were sneaking.]

    “Lying.”

    {Doing telepathic voodoo.}

    “And now I’m not and I’m bleeding! I’m going to die.”

    Peter blinked. “Why do I care?”

    “Spider…”

    [No, no. Spidey’s right. Why should we care?]

    {We like watching people die.}

    “We’d like watching you die.”

    “Spider, why do I sound like a child?”

    White snickered. [He really is slow on the uptake, isn’t he?]

    “White,” Peter snarled. “Put a cork in it.”

    [I’m not wrong,] White snapped, but there was an unmistakable petulance to his voice.

    “Alright,” Peter said, poking at the knife in the girl’s shoulder. “Let’s start with some simple questions. Who are you, and what do you want?”

    The girl managed a snort. “And here I thought you’d be a bit more creative,” she remarked.

    Peter stared at her, not blinking. “Would you like to see how creative I can be?” he asked softly, an edge to his voice. “I can show you, if you like.”

    [Wouldn’t be hard. You can read our mind, after all.]

    {We can make you burn.}

    “You should be grateful I’m not getting creative, little girl.”

    Some of the bravery – [Foolishness,] White snapped – vanished from the girl. “I’m Mimic,” she muttered, avoiding eye contact. “I’m here to help.”

    Everyone snorted at that. “A likely story,” Peter snapped. “But remember that I can hear you lie. Would you like to try again?”

    {Spidey, I’m hungry!}

    “Yes, I am too. Everyone is hungry, Mimic here included.” Peter sighed mournfully. “I was really looking forward to pancakes.”

    [Deadpool makes good pancakes.]

    “Wade!” Peter exclaimed. “Can you make me pancakes?”

    The hero blinked at him. “What am I, your personal cook?”

    {Mmmm, I wouldn’t mind that.}

    [Wow, remember there’s a mind reader right there.]

    Yellow snickered. {Awkward boner moment.}

    “So we’ll try that again,” Peter said, trying to ignore the images Yellow tossed his way. “Why are you here?”

    She bit her lip, peering up at Peter through her eyelashes. Peter stared back impassively, and she huffed and dropped the act. “I didn’t have a choice,” she muttered sullenly. “He has my little brother.”

    “He,” Peter repeated. “As fantastic as it is knowing it’s a man who is being a right pain in my arse, I find myself wishing for more information.”

    “Becket,” the girl snarled. “Becket has my brother.”

    “Becket is getting a lot of attention recently,” Peter noted absently. “So he has little Mimic? And he made you, what? Pretend to be Deadpool. Why?”

    “Because you trust him,” she said sullenly.

    {Say what?}

    [We’re not idiots. Why would we trust him?]

    “Trust is for the naïve,” Peter informed the girl. “We stopped being naïve a long time ago.”

    [It wasn’t that long ago…]

    {You totally ruined the dramatic effect!}

    “How old are you, anyway?” Peter asked as the tantalising smell of pancakes wafted from the kitchen. He jumped up, yanking the knife from Mimic’s shoulder without any warning. The girl snarled a curse and pressed her hand against the wound. Peter tutted and knocked her hand out of the way, wrapping the gaping hole with his webs.

    [Hey kid, we’re expecting an answer.]

    {Share with us!}

    [Keeping secrets isn’t nice.]

    {Plus, we might even help get your bro back.}

    The girl gasped. “You’d do that?”

    “Hey, it’s an excuse to kill someone.” Peter grinned. “You’ll just be reaping the benefits.”

    [If you answer the question.]

    {What question?}

    [About how old she is.]

    {Why do we care?}

    [We don’t. But Spidey asked the question.]

    {Why does he care?}

    “Because she looks about twelve and I’m not good with kids,” Peter snapped.

    “Excuse me, I am still here. And I can hear you. All of you.” She gave Peter a narrow glare.

    {Oh hey, she can hear us!}

    [Do you ever pay attention to things that happen around you?] White asked, sounding exasperated.

    {Yeah.} A beat of silence. {I mean, I pay attention when there’s important stuff going on.}

    [And meeting someone else who hears us isn’t important?]

    {No. We have Spidey. Why do we need someone else?}

    “Right well, you still haven’t answered the question.” Peter’s lips turned up in a smirk. “Careful Yellow, that sounded almost sentimental.”

    {Like fuck it did!}

    [Totally did.]

    Peter glanced at Mimic. “Care to share?” he asked.

    “I’m sixteen,” she finally grumbled. “Almost seventeen.”

    Wade poked his head out from the kitchen. “Pancakes are ready!” Then he noticed Mimic and his eyes almost bugged out of his head. “Who the hell is that?”

    “She’s the other you,” Peter informed him cheerfully. “Youngest one here, so now you have someone else to baby.”

    {He can baby me anytime.}

    [Context. Context.]

    “Pancakes,” Peter said, delight clear in his voice.

    [Oh look, he’s cooked for an army again.]

    {No, this is definitely a small country’s supply of pancakes.}

    “If we shared, we could probably stretch it to the world,” Peter added, webbing himself a few of the delicious smelling treats. “But we’re not going to share.”

    Wade stared at Peter. “Do I want to know?”

    Peter widened his eyes innocently. “Know what?”

    “That’s a lot of pancakes,” Mimic said, sounding awed.

    Wade glanced at the mountain behind him and shrugged. “What can I say? I eat a lot.”

    [Understatement.]

    {I swear, if you call him fat one more time –}

    [You’ll what?]

    {Be as annoying as I can. We all know how bad I can be.}

    Peter groaned. “White, apologise. He’s going to do that thing again.”

    “What thing?”

    [I won’t apologise.]

    “What’s happening, Spider?”

    “White!” Peter snapped, but it was too late.

    {RED AND YELLOW AND PINK AND GREEN, PURPLE AND ORANGE AND BLUE. I CAN SEE A RAINBOW, SEE A RAINBOW, SEE A RAINBOW WITH YOU.}

    Mimic was the first to back out of the room, looking horrified. “I-I have to – make him stop!”

    “I tried,” Peter snarled over the chaos in his head. Yellow really was a terrible singer. “The ball is in White’s court.”

    [I’m not apologising!]

    {I CAN SEE A RAINBOW, SEE A RAINBOW, SEE A RAINBOW WITH YOU. RED AND YELLOW –}

    [I find it offensive that white isn’t in this song.]

    “White isn’t technically a colour,” Peter offered. “You don’t see white in a rainbow.”

    {RED LIKE BLOOD AND WINE, YELLOW LIKE PISS AND ME, PINK LIKE THE INSIDES OF A DYING MAN, GREEN LIKE PEAS (yuck), PURPLE LIKE –}

    [I’m not apologising,] White repeated, but Peter could hear the note of defeat in his voice. It was just a matter of time before he caved.

    {THERE SHALL BE RIVERS OF RED AND OCEANS OF BLUE –}

    [Fine! I never called Wade fat and I didn’t mean to make you think I did.]

    {…That’s the worst fucking apology I’ve ever heard.}

    “That was hardly an apology,” Mimic agreed, stepping tentatively back into the kitchen.

    “But it’s the thought that counts, right?” Peter asked hastily, shooting a glare at the girl.

    {…I suppose.}

    Peter exhaled, relieved. He looked up and noticed Wade staring him down, arms folded across his chest. He then noticed that Wade was effectively blocking all the pancakes. Sure, he could manoeuvre around the hero, but something told him Wade would not hesitate to use his superior muscle mass to his advantage.

    {He can totally pin us down if he wants!}

    At any other time, Peter knew he would have agreed wholeheartedly. But after what had transpired earlier in the week, he wasn’t so sure that was a good idea.

    {But it’s Wade!} Yellow whined.

    [Exactly.]

    Peter swallowed and offered Wade a smirk, faking his amusement. “Can I help you?”

    “Yeah. You can explain to me what is actually going on. Who she is, what that was all about, everything. Right now.”

    Forcing some moisture into his mouth, Peter cocked his head. “I already told you who she is. She’s the other you, from before.”

    “So in other words, you have no idea, do you?”

    Peter bristled, but before he could snap a scathing reply, Mimic stepped between them. “My name is Mimic,” she said, clearly annoyed at being spoken about like she wasn’t there. “I was sent to capture the Spider, aka Peter Parker, under the guise of Deadpool, aka Wade Wilson. Becket – if that’s even his name – has my little brother locked away. My powers are, as you may have noticed, mind reading and shapeshifting. I’d really like to get my brother back, so could we all stop fighting?”

    [Oh, fucking well done. You little shit, you’ve ruined everything.]

    {Uh, why is Wade looking at us like that?}

    “So,” Wade rumbled, and Peter couldn’t look away from him. There was something that could have been a smirk on his face, but it was too cold and Peter was panicking too much to focus on it properly. All it had taken was one slip, one stupid slip, and now Wade would know. He’d tell Widow, who would tell Fury, who would find him. And he would know. They would knoweveryone would know.

    Peter couldn’t even turn his head to glare at the girl. His heart thundered and stammered and paused, no sense to its panicked rhythm. He felt her step back, could almost hear her confusion. I’m going to kill you, he thought coldly, the effect ruined by the trembling of his thoughts. Wade opened his mouth again, and Peter flinched back as though the words could physically hurt him.

    “Your name is Peter Parker.”

 



 

    “Uh,” Peter said, swallowing nervously. He took a step back, but his spider-sense shouted a warning and he froze.

    Wade smiled at him from behind the barrel of his gun. A gun that was pointed straight at Peter’s forehead. “No, I don’t think so. You can’t just go swinging off. We’re discussing this now.”

    “I’ll just leave, shall I?” Mimic said, shuffling backwards. She froze as well, and when Peter tilted his head he saw Wade had a gun aimed at both of them. “Alright, I’ll stay.”

    “Let’s start with you,” Wade rumbled, his eyes focusing on Mimic. Peter wasn’t fooled and kept still. Just because the hero didn’t seem to be paying attention didn’t mean he wasn’t. Moving was an action that would guarantee a bullet to the head, and even Peter would need an excessive amount of luck to survive that.

    Peter had never been very lucky.

    “Who are you?”

    […I thought we’d covered this.]

    {I’m pretty sure we did!}

    [How would you know? You were too busy making our ears bleed!]

    {You don’t have ears!}

    “I’m Mimic,” the girl said, her blood coloured eyes narrowing despite the weapon trained on her. She didn’t look very afraid – but then again, she’d never seen Wade fight. “I’m sixteen years old, I have a younger brother. He’s normal, but I’m a mutant. Our parents are dead.”

    “What can you tell me about Becket?” Wade asked, looking as relaxed as one could while holding two people at gunpoint.

    [I don’t really think the chances of him killing us are all that high.]

    {Really? I was working with a 95% certainty.}

    [Yeah, but Wade’s a hero. I think you should lower that percentage.]

    {So like 5%?}

    Peter stifled an exasperated sigh, his eyes flicking to the gun still pointed at his head. Math really isn’t your strong point, is it?

    {And I guess it’s yours?} Yellow snapped.

    [You idiot, Spidey’s the brains of this operation.]

    Not to mention the brawn. I don’t exactly see you two doing anything other than being pains in my ass.

    {I resent the implication that I’m useless.}

    I bet you do. Probably because you know it’s true.

    [Well, I’m useful.]

    Are you sure?

    [Yes.]

    Another skitter of his spider-sense had Peter emerging from his head with a start, unable to have the last word. He felt White’s smugness fade when they realised Wade was staring at him with an arched eyebrow – well, an arched bit of face where an eyebrow was supposed to be – and a gun with the safety off.

    {For all your smarts, you don’t even know what that’s called!}

    [Do you?]

    {No, but that’s not the point!}

    [The point is that Wade doesn’t look very happy.]

    {He looks mad. Is he stressed?}

    [If he’s stressed, it’s your fault.]

    {Never! A thousand blowjobs will make him feel better!}

    Peter swallowed. “Yes?” he said aloud, trying to keep everything separate. Usually the boxes quietened when he needed to concentrate on the outside world, but apparently not this time. Their bickering was annoying, and twice Peter opened his mouth to snap at them, only stopping when he noticed the look on Wade’s face.

    “Why don’t you tell me about yourself, Peter Parker,” Wade said, cocking the gun a little.

    Mouth dry, Peter shook his head. “I don’t think I will, if it’s all the same to you,” he replied, wincing at the tremor in his voice. Bad guys weren’t afraid of anything, least of all a hero with a gun. He wouldn’t shoot, Peter was sure.

    Wade’s eyes narrowed. “Why not? You know I can have Fury look into your name for me.”

    He’d deleted everything, hadn’t he? Newspapers, school awards, photos. He’d destroyed the naïve Peter Parker and created the Spider in his place. The people left who remembered his name were dealt with accordingly. The past was the past for a reason.

    “You could try,” Peter replied, his voice suddenly stronger. “The boy with that name died a long time ago. You won’t find anything, even if you get Fury to meddle.” He had to believe that, had to hold it around himself like a shield because the reality of what waited for him if anyone found out… It would kill him.

    And if it didn’t, he’d do it himself.

    “You sound pretty confident about that. I’ll have you know I am a genius with computers,” Wade said proudly.

    White snorted. [That’s a lie.]

    “You couldn’t find the on button if said hello to you,” Peter added.

    {No Spidey, we can’t be mean to Wade!}

    [We can if it’s to protect ourselves from him.]

    Peter swore he could hear the pout in Yellow’s voice when he replied. {We don’t have to protect ourselves from him.}

    [Alright then. We can if it’s to protect him from us.] Neither Peter nor Yellow could argue with him.

    “If I ask you about your ‘boxes’, are you going to answer?” Wade asked, his blue eyes narrowed.

    Peter shrugged. “Hey, you’re the guy pointing the gun at my head. You get to ask the questions.”

    Something that looked an awful lot like shame flickered through the hero’s eyes. “Then I guess you’d better tell me about them.”

    For some reason Peter hadn’t been expecting such a straightforward approach. “Uh. Well, there’s two of them. White’s the smartass, Yellow’s the idiot.”

    [Thank you for your kind words.]

    {Yeah, thanks!} There was a pause. {Wait a minute…}

    “Have you always had them?”

    Peter snorted. “Please. You really think I could be a vigilante with them in my head?”

    “Wouldn’t put it past you, Spider.”

    “You know what, neither would I.” Peter giggled. “The answer is no. I haven’t always had them. My head used to be a quiet place, but then… Well, I became the Spider. We’ve met, I’m sure.” Peter waved. “Hello.”

    Wade looked unamused. “What happened?”

    “Bad things,” Peter replied, bitterness turning his words acidic. “Bad things happened. White and Yellow are the products. We like watching people bleed now, you know?”

    “He’s not lying,” Mimic muttered.

    {Whoa. I totally forgot she was there!}

    [Sneaky, creepy little thing, isn’t she?]

    Mimic wrinkled her nose. “That’s not nice.”

    “I’m not nice,” Peter snarled in response.

    “Children, please,” Wade said. “I’m trying to get answers here!”

    “You have received your answers,” Peter replied, folding his arms. “They may not be the answers you want, but they are the answers you get. Can we move on now? We should talk about how we’re going to save little Mimic.” 

 



 

 

    “How can you manage them?” Mimic asked. They were both seated at the table with plans strewn across the surface. Wade had called time and begged leave for the bathroom only moments earlier.

    If most of the papers in front of them were covered with crayoned stick figures, Peter was doing his best to ignore that. He tried to console himself with the fact that the figure representing him was making people bleed, but the point remained: Wade – the hero who looked at least thirty – carried crayons around with him.

    Peter shrugged, not at all surprised with her question. The boxes had been particularly loud throughout the planning, inserting both unwanted and unneeded opinions into Peter’s head. Like the fact that Wade drew no better than a three year old, which was hardly nice. Peter wasn’t at all surprised that it was White who’d made the comment. “They make me who I am.”

    “So you wouldn’t be insane without them?”

    [Whoa, loaded question.]

    {Why does the answer matter?}

    “I don’t know,” Peter replied. “Yellow’s right, anyway. How does it go?” He hummed thoughtfully. “’I am who I am, I am who was, and I am who I will always be.’ Or something like that.”

    Mimic’s red eyes widened. “You know Merlin?”

    [Of course we know Merlin!]

    {In a land of myth and a time of magic, the destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young boy. His name…}

    “Merlin!” Peter and Mimic finished gleefully, just as Wade stepped back into the room.

    “I missed something again, didn’t I?” he asked, resignation clear in his eyes.

    “We were just talking about Merlin!” Peter replied with a grin. “Who’s your favourite character?”

    “Gaius,” said Wade.

    “Morgana!” Mimic added.

    [Uther.]

    {Arthur. He looks delicious.}

    Peter hummed. “No one likes Merlin?”

    “I think it’s cheating if you like the main character,” Wade muttered.

    “Besides, he’s a bit of a baby, isn’t he?” Mimic added.

    [Hold up, who’s your favourite, Spidey?]

    “Dragoon the Great,” Peter said. “But enough talk of Merlin now.”

    {You were the one who brought it up!} Yellow whined.

    Peter waved a hand. “Details, details. Now, about this plan…”

 



 

    [Why don’t people ever look up?]

    {Because they’re idiots!}

    Because what can attack them from the sky?

    [Well…]

    {We can!}

    True, but they don’t know we’re here, do they? They don’t know to be afraid.

    “I can’t concentrate if you keep that up,” Mimic hissed through Peter’s earpiece. “Shut it!”

    Peter hummed softly and waited. The quiet in his head was something that never lasted, so he made an effort to never take it for granted. Sure enough, the boxes could only manage to be quiet for a few minutes.

    {How about this weather?}

    [We’re indoors, you idiot.]

    {Obviously, I was talking about the weather outside.}

    [We don’t know what the weather is like outside.]

    Guys, please. We need to concentrate. We’re looking for a Fury lookalike. Or simply Fury. Time will tell.

    “Wade wants to know how it’s going.”

    The plan Wade had outlined – in crayon (Peter still wasn’t over that) – had split the ‘team’ into two. Wade and Mimic were together because Mimic couldn’t read Wade’s mind like she could Peter’s. She said it was like trying to talk to someone over the phone when there was a horrible connection, only much worse. She got migraines when she tried to listen in on Wade’s thoughts – [She deserves it.] – so the whole plan was simpler if Peter went on his own.

    Which hadn’t, of course, sat well with Wade. Even though it was his plan, Wade was apparently intelligent enough to realise that leaving Peter on his own was probably a bad idea. It was much easier to disappear if no one was watching, after all.

    Everything is quiet. Boring. When do I get to kill people?

    There was a pause before Mimic responded. “Keep your fantasies to yourself, Spidey.” Peter bared his teeth at the nickname but didn’t make a noise. The little devil had picked up the name from the boxes, something Peter was furious about. Not that he could tell her the reason why. “It can’t be that bad. We’ve all been at the receiving end of some shit or another, you know.”

    [Oh, isn’t that sweet? Someone cares about little Peter Parker.]

    {Careful, Spidey! She might die too!} Yellow giggled.

    Shut up, Peter snarled. He automatically sank back into the shadows as someone passed beneath him, and he was distracted when he realised he was looking at Fury. Well, Fury without the coat and the eyepatch. He was strangely more intimidating missing those items.

    Not that Peter was intimidated.

    Hey Mimic, I have a visual on the target.

    “How many bad cop shows have you watched?”

    Peter stifled a giggle. Too many, I’m sure. Should I follow him?

    “Wade says no. Just tell us what direction he’s headed.”

    Coming your way. Oh wait, there’s a staircase.

    [There wasn’t a staircase in the blueprints.]

    {Secret staircase?}

    I love secrets. Well, exposing other people’s. That counts, right?

    “Wade wants you to follow him, but make sure no one sees you!”

    Peter scoffed silently. You think this is my first rodeo kid?

    [You can’t ride, that’s a ridiculous thing for you to say.]

    Shut up. Following now.

    “Awesome. Keep in contact.”

    Yeah, yeah. Do you have a limit?

    “Not that I know of. As long as I’m concentrating on you I should be able to hear you.” Peter heard Wade’s voice rumble in the background. “Wade thinks you might be heading to the lower levels, which is probably where my brother is. If you find him, let us know immediately and get him out.”

    Have I ever told you about how much I hate taking orders?

    [Let’s go.]

    {Can we make people bleed?} Yellow begged.

    Peter was halfway down the stairs before Mimic replied. “Make it creative,” she suggested.

    He felt Yellow practically wiggling with delight in his head. {Yay! We can release our inner artist!}

    [You know what could be a great trap? Making the floor completely soaked with blood so when reinforcements come they all fall.]

    Peter peered down the staircase, catching sight of the Fury lookalike. But then we don’t get to kill them, he pointed out.

    [Damn, that’s true.]

    {We could just paint pretty pictures,} Yellow suggested.

    If we had time, perhaps. He heard footsteps behind him and deftly flipped up onto the ceiling, watching the unlucky guard as he wandered down the stairs. The guard looked around Peter’s age, with blonde hair and a handsome face. There was something familiar about him that Peter couldn’t place.

    {Why is he unlucky?}

    [Because, my dear Yellow, you are looking at victim number one.]

    Wrong place, wrong time. Or right place, right time. It just depends where you’re sitting.

    [We could leave a warning?]

    {No way!}

    Yellow’s right. That’s boring. Let’s have some fun. Peter dropped to the ground in a crouch, padding silently after the guard. He could hear the languid beating of his heart and shuddered at the thought of it speeding up in fear.

    [Surely it hasn’t been that long since we’ve killed.]

    {A few chapters at least.}

    [What a nightmare. How are we doing this?]

    {Knives!}

    Knives, Peter agreed, pulling out a few throwing knives. He stroked the blades gently, smiling in delight when the gentle pressure opened up a cut on his thumb. Perfect.

    In moments, Peter had the guard pinned to the wall with his knives, a hand against the man’s mouth. The guard stared at him with wide eyes, until it seemed to dawn on him that Peter looked like a seventeen year old. Then he started to struggle.

    [Should have worn the mask,] White sighed.

    “No, don’t you see?” Peter smirked at the struggling man, showing off his teeth. The blood drained from the man’s face. “Since he’s seen my face, I’m obligated to kill him.”

    {Clever!}

    “Do you know who I am?” Peter asked pleasantly. The guard shook his head furiously, gasping when the curved blade of Peter’s karambit kissed his throat. “Are you sure?” he asked in a sing song voice. “Because you look mighty familiar, I’m trying to place your face.”

    [I don’t recognise him.]

    Which meant pre-boxes. Which meant Peter Parker. Which meant he’d forgotten someone.

    [Good job,] White said venomously.

    {You could just ask if he knows Peter Parker,} Yellow suggested.

    [Straightforward. Even Yellow wouldn’t be able to screw that up.]

    “You wouldn’t happen to know someone named Peter, would you?” Peter asked, a grin on his face. “Peter Parker?”

    The guard swallowed. “Yes,” he rasped. “Went to school with him.”

    [That’s a big slip up.]

    {Someone you went to school with?}

    “Oh,” Peter breathed. “How could I forget about you?” He patted the blonde hair gently before yanking it abruptly to the side. The sharp edge of his karambit sank into the skin, making the guy yelp. “It’s been a while, Flash.”

    “Spidey, we don’t have time to play,” Mimic said tersely, and Peter frowned in annoyance. “Have you lost Becket?”

    Peter snorted, offended. “Do I seem like the type of person to lose my mark?” he snapped back. “I was just getting reacquainted with an old friend.”

    [Who is it?]

    “This, ladies and gentlemen, is Flash Thompson, otherwise known as Eugene.” Peter smirked, letting the tips of his fangs press into his bottom lip. “He saw to it that my head became acquainted with almost every toilet in school. Isn’t that right, Eugene?”

    “I don’t know you,” he hissed back.

    Peter rolled his eyes. “I always knew you were stupid, but not to this extent. Or are there lots of people whose heads you shoved into toilets?”

    The blonde’s jaw tightened at that. “You can’t be Parker,” he said. “Peter Parker was a wimpy little shit, and it was a blessing when he disappeared.”

    Peter pulled back. “Oh, and to think I let you live,” he muttered. “Thankfully, that’s easily fixed.” He pressed the karambit back against Eugene’s throat with a sunny smile.

    “Spidey, Wade says you should follow Becket. We can keep him if you want.”

    “I don’t think so. You’ll just ask him about me.” Peter poked his old enemy’s chest with a finger. “He’s useless on that count. All he remembers is the kid who didn’t stay down when he put him down. The kid who refused to play by the rules.” Peter blinked. “Hey, I totally still do that! Maybe little old Peter Parker isn’t as dead as I’d thought.”

    [Is that something to celebrate?]

    {Can we make him bleed now?} Yellow whined.

    “Not bad, not good, just is. And he’s already bleeding. Look at that lovely red.” Peter pressed his fingers into the cut with a certain reverence usually reserved for when one came in contact with a holy object. “Here, I’ll make you a deal. You don’t say a word to Wade and Mimic, and I’ll let you live. Does that sound fair?”

    “I don’t know you,” Flash repeated stubbornly.

    Peter smiled coyly. “We can fix that, if you like. But really, it’s a good deal. Especially coming from me.” Flash glared at him, and Peter smiled back. “Take it or leave it.”

    Flash inhaled slowly. “I don’t think so,” he said.

    “Okay,” Peter replied simply, and yanked his karambit across the man’s throat. “Goodbye, Flash.”

  



 

 

    Peter was up on the ceiling again, feeling much better after killing his old enemy. The boxes were far from satisfied, but Peter was quick to point out that the mission wasn’t over yet. That had just been the entrée.

    Becket was being very, very boring. So far, he’d looked at some papers another guard had brought in and made himself a coffee. Every now and then, Mimic checked in to let him know where they were, but she’d sounded oddly subdued each and every time she’d done so. Peter idly picked at his nails as he watched Becket.

    {I really wanna kill him.}

    [I do as well.]

    I think it’s safe to say this isn’t Fury, Peter sighed. He’s so much more entertaining.

    [Can we look at those papers without him noticing?]

    Of course we can! Who do you think you’re talking to? Peter manoeuvred himself silently behind the imposter, snatching the papers from the desk by his elbow and retreating up onto the ceiling. He settled into a dark corner and turned his attention to the papers.

    And promptly narrowed his eyes.

    [Well these need to be destroyed.]

    {We should burn them!}

    The papers made up a file on an individual – specifically, a file on Peter Parker, containing every single bit of information he thought he’d destroyed. He read it quickly, resentment growing in his chest. Who the hell decided it was alright to do something like this?

    He noticed that at the top of each page there was a symbol. A symbol that looked more familiar the longer he studied it. A red skull with six tentacles, it was the only bit of colour on the otherwise black and white pages.

    [I remember that symbol!]

    {Yeah, didn’t we get an offer from them?}

    [They were Nazis, weren’t they?]

    {Definitely German.}

    [And they had a silly motto.]

    {Everyone has a silly motto.}

    [No, this one was particularly stupid.]

    Cut off a head and two more shall take its place, Peter offered.

    {Oh right. That really is stupid.}

    [Hydra! That’s their symbol.]

    The question is, what are they doing with my file?

    [And if they had it, why did they offer us a job?]

    Peter glanced up from his file to see that Becket was still sitting at his desk, his attention focused on the computer screen. There was something oddly still about him, and it took Peter approximately two seconds to realise that the imposter had seen him move in the screen.

    I’ve been spotted, my dear Mimic.

    “We’re almost there,” she said shortly. “Don’t kill him.”

    “Hello,” Peter purred, dropping from the ceiling. Becket turned around slowly, his face set in a fierce scowl. “Not crashing the party, I hope.” He waved the file. “This was an interesting read. So many memories.”

    “How did you get in here?” Becket snarled, and yes, that was definitely Fury’s voice. But the inflection was off. Only slightly, but enough for Peter to catch it.

    “Who’s to say I wasn’t already here?” Peter batted his eyelashes. “Spiders are always lurking in corners, you know.”

    Becket paused, an odd light in his good eye. “Have you, perhaps, come to accept our offer?”

    [Offer?]

    {What offer?}

    “That depends,” Peter said slowly.

    “On?”

    “What, exactly, your offer is.”

    Becket blinked. “For you to join us, of course. Our offers rarely have an expiry date, although we are being pushed quite relentlessly to withdraw our offer from you. Thankfully, he’s rather a new player, and doesn’t have as much power as he’d like to think.”

    [Okay, this isn’t how I imagined this going.]

    {If we join them, we’ll find out who it is.}

    [Yeah, but joining probably means taking orders.]

    {Oh. Ew.}

    “I’m rather concerned about the person you speak of,” Peter said softly. “You see, he tried to have me killed. Tried being the operative word, but you can imagine I don’t take kindly to that sort of thing. If he’s one of yours, I don’t think our partnership would work.”

    Becket stilled, his face losing a touch of colour. “I am most sorry to hear of this,” he offered, suddenly sounding quite afraid. “I did not think he would take things so personally. Perhaps we could discuss this another time? After this… indiscretion has been properly dealt with.”

    {Look, look! It’s Wade!}

    [And Mimic. Can’t forget about her.]

    {I can!}

    “Perhaps we could,” Peter replied. “But my reasons for coming here were not quite what you assume.” He purposefully flicked his eyes towards where Wade and Mimic stood in the doorway, and grinned when Becket turned around. He lunged forward and wrapped an arm around the imposter’s throat. “You’d be wise to answer their questions,” he whispered in the man’s ear.

    “Where is he?” Mimic hissed, her eyed narrowed in fury. “Where is my brother, you monster?”

    Becket shocked them all by laughing in reply.

    [I thought we were the crazy ones.]

    {Yeah. Who laughs in a situation like this?}

    “We would,” Peter muttered.

    “Your brother?” Becket repeated. Peter didn’t need to see his face to know the man was smirking. “My dear Mimic, we killed your brother the moment we separated the two of you. Why would we waste precious resources on a useless child?”

    [Whoa. That’s so cruel.]

    {Hey! We could totally make him regret that!}

    “We could,” Peter agreed, meeting Mimic’s eyes with a sincere expression. “We could do that for you.”

    Wade, meanwhile, was snarling curses at the man who still wasn’t struggling to free himself. The hero had his weapons in his hands, and they were shaking, trembling with the force of his rage. Mimic’s eyes were filled with tears, but her expression was coldly furious.

    {Can we make him suffer? Pretty please?}

    [You’ll get revenge and we’ll get to play. It’s a win-win situation. Even Wade won’t be too bothered, I’m sure.]

    Peter had half a second to compare the boxes reaction to Mimic and Widow before the girl nodded her head once, her eyes still filled with unshed tears. Peter’s face broke into a grin, and he plucked a needle from his pocket, flicked it gently, and then plunged it into the man’s neck.

    “Nighty night,” he whispered gleefully as the man jerked in agony and sank into unconsciousness.

 

Chapter Text

    Peter skipped through the halls, climbing up to the top level where he’d left Mimic and Wade. After the mission, Mimic had requested to be left alone, which Peter had been happy to offer – as long as she stayed upstairs. Wade had been quiet too, Peter chalking that up to finding out that people could be so heartless.

    [It shouldn’t really be a surprise though.]

    {Everyone’s a monster!}

    “That’s true,” Peter agreed, pulling himself up into the top level. While the other two had been wallowing in misery, he’d been keeping an eye on Becket. The man had spent most of his time in unconsciousness jerking in agony. It had been fun for the first few hours, but Peter had gotten bored when his reactions became predictable.

    Thankfully, Becket moaned his way into consciousness not too much later. And now he was going up to see if Mimic wanted to watch. Because really, watching made everything better. Peter hummed as he skipped past the room Wade was in, absently noting that he appeared to be reading something. He dismissed it – there were plenty of books hidden away throughout Peter’s home – and continued down to Mimic’s room.

    “Mimic!” he called, bouncing into the room with the sort of childish energy that made mothers everywhere pull out their hair. “Mimic, he’s awake!”

    “Go away,” she said softly, her face buried in her pillow. Her voice was raw and ragged. “I don’t care.”

    {Aw, don’t be like that! We’re being nice!}

    [We thought you might like to watch.]

    “I don’t care,” she repeated, except this time her voice was a snarl and she sat up. Her eyes were red, redder than usual, and her cheeks glistened with tears. “Don’t you get it?”

    “No,” Peter replied. “I don’t get it. The way I see it, you want revenge. I have Becket downstairs, and he is just begging to be hurt. That sort of equation is really simple to me.”

    [Easier than 1 plus 1,] White added.

    {2 plus 2 equals window!}

    “Look, if you don’t want to, I’ll get started on my own.” Peter shrugged. “It’s not a big deal.”

    Mimic sniffed and rubbed her eyes. “You had a file,” she said, her eyes eerily intense. “Where did you put it?”

    [Eeesh, it’s creepy how she does that.]

    {Though it is nice that she can hear us.}

    [Is it? Is it really?]

    “You change your tune too often,” Peter sighed. “I put the file down somewhere. I’ll find it later. Now, I have someone to play with.”

    Mimic raised an eyebrow. “You just left it somewhere? Was that really the smartest thing to do?”

    [You know, I get the feeling she’s pushing us towards something.]

    {But what on earth could it be?}

    “What’s the big deal? The only people who could find it are you, me and…”

    [Oh.]

    {Shit.}

    “Bugger,” Peter breathed, turning and racing out the door. He lunged into Wade’s room just as the hero flipped onto the last page. Wade glanced up, his mouth fixed in a sad frown.

    “I’m guessing you forgot about this,” he said, waving the file.

    Peter crept forward, ready to snatch it away at the first chance he got. “Just a little,” he replied. Maybe if he moved fast enough, Wade wouldn’t remember what he’d read.

    [Fat chance.]

    “Interesting read,” Wade continued. “I finally remember why I recognised your name.”

    Peter blinked. “You knew my name?” he asked in a whisper. No one was supposed to know his name. He was supposed to fade into the background, become something of a myth. A story people told their kids so they weren’t late home. ‘Don’t be late, or you’ll disappear like little Peter Parker, never to be seen again.’

    “Someone was real interested in finding you when you first disappeared. Actually, there were a couple of people,” Wade continued musingly. “This girl, bright red-headed thing, somehow got Fury’s attention. Said she used to know you. And then there was an older guy, some fancy-schmancy rich guy who thought money could buy anything. Fury turned him away.”

    [Whoa. MJ looked for you.]

    {That’s sweet.}

    “I – she was never supposed to look for me. I made it so she’d hate me.”

    “You didn’t do a very good job,” Wade replied. “Poor girl looked like she was suffering from a broken heart. I’m at least 90% sure she went home and ate a whole tub of ice-cream after Fury told her he couldn’t do anything.”

    “That was the point,” Peter hissed. “She – no one – would ever understand how I changed! Why I had to! I was protecting her.”

    He suddenly realised how close he’d gotten to Wade. Their noses were barely an inch apart, and he could feel Wade’s warm breath brushing across his face. His breath smelled like Mexican food, like tacos and chimichangas. His eyes held nothing that Peter could understand – not pity, not horror, nothing. It both frustrated and terrified him.

    {We could totally kiss him right now.}

    [I thought that would be a bad idea?]

    {Totally not. Imagine how hot he’d look completely undone.}

    [So in this version we’re doing the fucking?]

    {Hell yes,} Yellow purred.

    Peter jerked backwards, his hands automatically flying out to push Wade away. He didn’t notice he had his karambit in his hand until Wade caught his wrists in a slightly more than uncomfortable grip.

    “So under all that bloodlust, there’s still someone who cares?” Wade asked, forcing Peter to sit in a chair away from the door.

    [Things are looking fantastic for the ‘us fucking him’ plan.]

    {C’mon Spidey, I know you have more muscle than him,} Yellow whined.

    Truthfully, Peter was not stronger than the hero. Sure, his powers made him stronger than the average man, but Wade was by no means ‘average’. Peter suspected his healing factor had facilitated the formation of such formidable biceps.

    White laughed. [Oh, this is gold. We won’t get an opportunity to fuck him, and there is no way he’s going to fuck us.]

    Peter grimaced and tried to wriggle out of Wade’s hold, but the hero was having none of that. He pinned Peter’s wrists to the chair arms, leaning over him. In any other situation, Peter was sure he’d have a raging hard on.

    Oh wait, he totally did.

    “What do you want?” Peter demanded, fighting the urge to cross his legs. Because really, that would only bring attention to his condition.

    [I want to see how he reacts.]

    {Do it!}

    And because Peter was curious too, and not even slightly shameful, he decided to cross his legs. There was no way the hero didn’t notice, but for a heart-stopping minute he didn’t react.

    “Oh kid,” Wade said huskily. Peter blinked. “You’re tempting fate here.”

    “Tempting fate?” he repeated, puzzled.

    “Well, tempting a criminal conviction,” Wade supplied. “My criminal conviction, specifically.”

    Peter’s brain seemed to have temporarily short-circuited, because all that came out of his usually stunning mouth was, “Heroes can’t get a criminal conviction.”

    Wade was quite for a moment, and Peter realised the hero’s thumbs were smoothing along his pulse point. “Do you know my origin story, Spider?” he finally asked.

    Peter swallowed. “I – I’ve heard some things,” he offered. “But I didn’t look into it.”

    The hero smirked. “Why not? Worried about what you might find?”

    “The past is the past,” Peter replied fiercely.

    “Calm down, tiger,” Wade chuckled. He sobered, his eyes flicking to the file. Peter wanted to burn it. “I can understand your attitude. Reading that put things into perspective.”

    “Did it?” Peter asked, his tone biting. “And pray tell what perspective you discovered?”

    “It would have been so easy for me to become you,” Wade muttered, looking down at Peter. “I had a hell of a lot of luck on my side. You had none. If you had gotten some of my luck, maybe this would have all been different.”

    “There’s no use dwelling on things that could have been,” Peter snapped.

    “My daddy was a nasty man, Peter,” Wade continued as though Peter hadn’t spoken. The use of his name sent a jolt through Peter. “He spent most of his time drunk. He wasn’t a sleepy drunk, though.” Wade offered him a smile that looked wrong because it lacked the usual cheer and happy-go-lucky attitude Peter had always associated with the hero. It was sad and bitter.

    “He was fond of hitting things. One of those things was my mum. When I was real little, she disappeared. I was told she just up and left, but well…” Wade trailed off, staring into the distance. “My daddy wasn’t the kind of man who’d just let that sort of thing slide, and I always thought that my mum would never have abandoned me with him.

    “He turned from her to me. I get pretty good at covering up my bruises, hiding my scars. I was a real looker back then. Cute thing with blonde hair and these blues.” He fluttered his eyelids at Peter. “I left that damn house the minute I could. I joined the army, was discharged after a few months. I was set on becoming a mercenary when they found the cancer.”

    “Oh,” Peter said in a small voice, his eyes flicking involuntarily to Wade’s scars.

    “Oh,” Wade agreed with a wry smile. “It could have been worse.” He released one of Peter’s wrists to tap one of his shifting scars. “Basal cell carcinoma.”

    “Skin cancer,” Peter murmured. Nasty, but not life threatening. Certainly not as bad as, say, brain cancer.

    Wade grinned. “Course you’d know. Little nerd you are.” Wade stepped back, pulling another chair over and sitting down. “Might not be fatal, but it’s pretty horrible. I signed up for some program, and they cured me. Got some bonuses though. My healing factor is the bee’s knees, you know. Everyone is jealous.”

    Peter giggled. “As they should be.”

    “Cap was the one who helped me the first time I died,” Wade said. “Saw me taking on this group of baddies with my katanas. Between you and me, I think he was pretty impressed.” He grinned. “Anyway, I got stabbed in the chest, and Cap hurried over to take care of the rest of them. He said he watched my wound close over in less than a minute.”

    “Definitely jealous,” Peter said. “If you two had a serious fight, you’d win.”

    Wade sat back and pretended to fan himself. “Aw shucks kid, I’m blushing.”

    “So that’s how you got in with the Avengers,” Peter said. “Because Captain America saw you fighting and thought you’d make a good teammate.”

    “Something like that,” Wade replied, and it was obvious to Peter he was preening.

    [He did get lucky, huh?]

    Peter blinked. “You’ve been quiet.”

    {We were learning about Wade!}

    [It was interesting.]

    “The boxes think your origin story was interesting,” Peter offered, remembering that Wade didn’t like being left out. “They were silent throughout the whole thing. I can’t remember the last time they were quiet for so long.”

    “Must have been nice,” Wade said. “Not that I’d know, I mean, just imagining is enough for me.” He made a face, and Peter laughed. “Your file doesn’t really help us with finding out who tried to kill you,” he continued, picking it up from the table. “We can destroy it, if you want?”

    [He has in his hands the means of destroying us,] White began, voice high in disbelief, [and he wants to destroy it.]

    {Oh Wade!} Yellow cooed.

    “You’re not going to give it to Fury?” Peter checked, reaching for the file hesitantly. “You’re not going to tell anyone?” His eyes flicked from the file to Wade, who looked ridiculously solemn. “You’ll keep it a secret?”

    “Yes, Peter. I’ll keep your secret.” 

 



 

 

    “I guess you’re right,” Peter said sometime later, as the two of them watched the file burn. The Hydra symbol seemed to be escaping the flames.

    “Hmm? About what?”

    “‘So under all that bloodlust, there’s still someone who cares?’” Peter repeated, smiling smugly when the fire finally caught hold of the symbol. “I guess you’re right.”

    “Then I guess I’ll have to get him out,” Wade replied musingly.

    {Why can’t you like us just the way we are?}

    Peter grinned. “Baby if you strip you can get a tip ‘cause I like you just the way you are.”

    “I’m about to strip and I’m well equipped. Can you handle me the way I are?” Wade continued without missing a beat, winking at Peter’s surprised look.

    If Peter looked at Wade’s area of extreme privacy – [Call it what it is: his dick.] – then he could hardly be blamed for swallowing with a suddenly dry throat. To make matters worse, Wade caught his look and actually smirked, letting his hand linger suggestively.

    Peter decided, then and there, that one of them was going to fuck the other if it was the last thing they did.

    [You know the best part? Spidey sang the girl’s lyrics.]

    {That doesn’t mean anything!}

    [It means we’ll be the fuckee, not the fucker.]

    {I am…. Actually totally fine with that. Proceed.}

 



 

    “Now, Mimic,” Peter said sternly, “we don’t want to make him bleed too much at the start.”

    [He’ll die too quickly.]

    {And that’s no fun at all!}

    “I mean,” he continued, shifting so that the squirming Becket was right in front of him, “you could make him bleed. A lot. Because I have new toys.”

    [And these new toys make blood.]

    {Blood to keep him alive longer. And that is fun.}

    Wade blew out a sigh from where he stood at the door, his back to the proceedings. “Can you at least do it quietly?” he demanded. “Not all of us are on board with the whole torture thing. You guys got on that ship, I stayed ashore.”

    “Be that as it may,” Peter replied, guiding Mimic’s hand to a particularly part of the human body that was rather sensitive, “you are still here.”

    “I am the voice of reason,” Wade lamented. “I am never the voice of reason.”

    “Why are you doing this?” Becket gasped. “I offered you… everything.”

    Peter smirked, putting his fangs on full display. “You offered me nothing,” he snarled, “that I don’t already have. You think money is of any interest to me?”

    [Well, we do like money.]

    {Money pays for pancakes.}

    [But we have a lot money already.]

    “I get one-time jobs that pay me better than what you offered me,” Peter continued, “plus, my clients give me a lot of freedom to work with. You? You offered me a contract that was designed to limit me in every way imaginable. I’m not stupid, Becket. I can read.”

    “The contract was very generous,” Becket panted, wincing as Mimic poked at him with a sharp knife. “It was in no way meant –”

    “That’s where you messed up, you see,” Peter interrupted. “You and yours thought of me as something controllable. Something that could be bought.” Peter’s grin had the bound man shuddering in terror. “Have you ever had a pet spider, Becket? No? Well, let me be the first to assure you that a pet spider will bite you the moment you threaten it. It doesn’t matter that you fed it, that you raised it and cared for it. The spider will bite you. And then you will die.”

    [Are you going to bite him?]

    Peter shook his head. “Too quick,” he muttered. “Besides, this is Mimic’s revenge. Oh, steer clear of that,” he added, directing Mimic’s hand to a different part of Becket’s trembling body. “That’s for when he’s close to blacking out, and when you want to keep him awake.”

    If Peter’s senses had been more focused on the writhing man bound to the chair – prey, his instincts screamed, prey – he would have missed the sound of footsteps just below them. He would have missed the scent of fear that wafted from the first level. He would have missed the delicious sound of a heart beating almost too fast with fear.

    “Waaaaade,” Peter whispered. “We’ve got company.”

    [Someone has a death wish.]

    {Yeah, who just waltzes into a spider’s lair?}

    “Idiots,” Peter offered.

    [People who want to die.]

    “People who want to die,” Peter repeated, narrowing his eyes. The sound of a zipper surprised him.

    [Is he stripping?]

    {Uh, guys? You don’t think it could be someone who really wants to die. Do you?}

    “Wade!” Peter shouted in alarm, just before the world exploded into white light and searing heat. 

 



 

 

    [Spider! Get up! We have to get out of here!]

    {Yo man, the whole building’s gonna fall on us. We are not equipped to survive that!}

    “Wade,” Peter gasped, rising shakily to his feet.

    [Yes, he would be the one who is equipped to survive a building falling on him.]

    {We need to go!}

    Peter blinked blearily, his damaged eardrums already starting to heal. He looked around, noticed that the whole building appeared to be swaying. “Mimic?” he asked, clearing his throat. Raspy did not suit him.

    [Don’t know.]

    {Don’t care!}

    “No, we do. We need to find her – if I’m not going to survive this, she sure as hell won’t.”

    [Point.]

    {…But she’s creepy….}

    “So are you,” Peter snapped back, crawling through the rubble. Internally, he fumed. Another one of his nests – homes, he reminded himself forcefully – had been blown up. Maybe it was time to get that rocket launcher out of storage….

    The rubble that fell onto his head brought him back to the present. “Right. We need to get Mimic out. Leave Becket and Wade – they’ll survive. Or they won’t.”

    [The creepy kid was over there.]

    {Hey look, Becket’s free!}

    [Where the hell did he get a knife?!]

    Peter lunged forward, snatching the knife from Becket’s trembling hands. He’d been aiming at Mimic, who lay unconscious in the rubble. Becket scrabbled wildly for the knife, not even registering who it was that held him. Peter muttered an oath and knocked him on the side of the head with the blunt end of the knife.

    “Problem solved,” he announced aloud, digging Mimic out of the rubble. He tossed her over his shoulder and strolled out, finding Wade with a whole lot of luck and dragging him out too. And then he raced back in, climbing up to the top floor and zapping some popcorn. He managed to make it back downstairs in time to watch his nest – home – collapse beneath its own weight.

    [This is actually really cool.]

    {Free entertainment.}

    “Pity it’s my place that’s going down,” Peter muttered back, munching on the popcorn. Wade woke as the building crashed to the ground with a ground shuddering finality, blearily accepting the popcorn Peter offered him.

    “I feel like you’re always getting bombed,” Wade remarked, coughing as the dust blew past them.

    “Well, things have only become like this since you showed up,” Peter replied absently.

    {Don’t be mean to Wade!}

    “Not that I think it’s your fault,” Peter added hurriedly, glancing at Wade from the corner of his eye. Wade looked back at him with an oddly gentle expression.

    “You’re not going to scare me off, Spider,” he said.

    Peter froze. How was he supposed to respond to that? And how did he know? It was times like this when Peter was sure Wade was a mind reader, and a better one than Mimic.

    [Do you think she can hear us while she’s unconscious?]

    {Only one way to find out!}

    “Think really bad thoughts and see if she says anything?” Peter asked with a smirk. “I can do that.”

    {Bad as in mean?}

    [No, we don’t want her to cry.]

    “Crying would be bad,” Peter agreed, flicking a popcorn kernel. “I can’t handle crying.”

    [So something more along the lines of inappropriate?]

    {We have plenty of material for that.}

    Peter glanced over at Wade. “We surely do,” he murmured, watching the hero stand and stretch.

    “So what exactly happened?” Wade asked. “I mean, I heard you say we had company, and the boom!” He gestured wildly with his hands. “No one could have survived that.”

    Peter hummed in agreement. “And it’s entirely likely no one was meant to.”

    Wade turned back to him, eyes narrowed. “What are you thinking?” he asked.

    [Inappropriate thoughts.]

    {Mmm, like what it would be like if you pinned us down and had your lustful way with us.}

    “Suicide,” Peter replied, clearing his throat. “No one else would have wandered into a spiders nest. That,” he nodded at the ruined building, “was a failsafe plan to kill everyone inside.”

    [Apparently they forgot who they were dealing with.]

    “You sound pissed,” Peter muttered.

    [That would be because I am.]

    “You and me both,” Peter said grimly.

    “Why hasn’t anyone come to see what happened?” Wade asked. He looked around with a confused expression. “It’s not like that was really quiet.”

    Peter smiled. “Everyone is on an extended vacation funded by the eccentric owner of this neighbourhood.”

    There was a pause before Wade raised an eyebrow – {He doesn’t have eyebrows!} – at Peter. “You?”

    Peter examined his nails. “Well, the money is mine. But I am not the ‘eccentric owner’.”

    “Then someone from your network.”

    [He sounds so sure.]

    {He thinks he knows us so well.}

    “Not exactly,” Peter replied, just as the sound of footsteps intruded on the odd serenity of the moment. He was on his feet a second later, the popcorn tumbling to the ground. Peter vaguely noticed Wade lunging for the falling container, catching it moments before it hit the ground.

    “What the hell, Spider!” Wade complained.

    “Are you going to tell me what this is all about?” another voice demanded. Peter grinned.

    “You know me. Always have my secrets.”

    Wade stared at the old woman who had appeared behind him. “Who’s this?” he whispered.

    “I’m blind, not deaf,” the old woman snapped. “And who’re you? The kid works alone.”

    “Not this time,” Peter said. “Blind Al, this is Wade. Wade, this is Blind Al.”

Chapter Text

    A man sits in high backed chair, his gnarled fingers tapping rhythmically against the soft leather. He is looking out of the enormous window, staring down at the city lights as they flash below.

    “You mean to say,” he says, addressing the bowing employee behind him, “that Becket has simply disappeared?”

    “Y-yes, sir,” the employee replies, trembling. He didn’t want to be the one to bring the news – he hadn’t had a chance to say goodbye to his mother…

    “I see…” A head thumps to the ground with startling finality. The man in the chair blows out a single sigh. “I just want him dead,” he says to no one.

 



 

    “Blind Al?” Wade repeated after a moment of silence.

    Al yanked her sunglasses from her face, revealing milky white eyes. “Blind Al,” she replied. Peter giggled at the sarcasm dripping from her voice.

    “Sorry about the building!” he said cheerfully. “I bet you wish you could have seen it go down.”

    {It was really cool!}

    [Even with all the dust.]

    “I damn well heard it perfectly fine,” Al snapped. “I should have known the mess you’d make.” And she wacked Peter on the arm. Peter grinned, rubbing his arm. The old woman could pack a punch.

    [We make messes wherever we go.]

    {We’re fantastic at breaking things, ya know!}

    “Everything we touch turns to dust,” Peter agreed.

    Mimic sat up with a groan. She looked around, her eyes slightly unfocused.

    [At least she’s not a pancake.]

    “I missed something,” she said finally. “What did I miss?” Her eyes landed on Blind Al. “Who’s the old bitty?”

    Yellow gasped. {She didn’t!}

    [Damn, she did.]

    Peter giggled. “Old bitty,” he cackled. “Old batty.”

    {She is the Batman!}

    [Uh, wrong universe. Besides, she’d be the Batlady, right?]

    “You shut your damn mouth,” Blind Al snapped, swiping at him again, but Peter dodged easily. She huffed in annoyance. “How many new ‘friends’ did you bring, kid?”

    “Just the two.”

    {Mr Hotness.}

    [And Miss Creepy.]

    {Oh hey, do you think what’s-his-face is dead?}

    “Becket,” Peter supplied.

    [Probably. Hopefully not.]

    {We’re going on a treasure hunt!}

    Peter was just about to crawl away to search the wreckage when Wade cleared his throat. “You going to explain all this, Spider?”

    “Yeah, Spider,” Blind Al repeated, her old voice mocking. “Why don’t you explain all this?”

    [I think she’d mad about the batty comment.]

    “It was a compliment!”

    {We compared her to Batman!}

    “Wait!” Peter frowned. “Who’s Batman?”

    [No one important.]

    {No one you’re going to meet. Betcha wish you could!}

    “I don’t know?” Puzzled, Peter tilted his head. “Do I?”

    Blind Al made a rude noise. “And off he goes again, into lala land.”

    Peter jerked around to look at her. “Careful, batty,” he said, his voice a low hiss. “I could always change my mind about letting you live.”

    “And I could always change my mind about staying,” she retorted, hands on her hips. “I’m blind, not paralysed.”

    [We could change that.]

    {Oh boy, could we?!}

    “We could,” Peter agreed, his smile like the sharp edge of a knife. Even though the old woman was blind, Peter knew she picked up on more than she let on. So he wasn’t surprised in the least when his words caused the former agent to stiffen, her body automatically falling into a defensive posture.

    Because even though she couldn’t see his smile, Peter made sure she heard it, in his voice and in the way he moved. Peter loved these games of theirs, because he got to see how dangerous he sounded – there was nothing better than making a blind former agent react like her life was on the line.

    [Which it is.]

    {We should have killed her,} Yellow whined.

    [Oh grow up. We killed everyone else.]

    “It’s not like we had a limited supply of blood,” Peter added, his voice matter-of-fact. And they really hadn’t.

    A year ago, Peter had received his first ‘big’ job. Apparently his client was having issues with a super-secret spy agency – something like the CIA or NSA, or some other random combination of letters Peter hadn’t, and still didn’t, care about. Peter, still new to his role as a guy who killed for money, took the job with nothing but excitement.

    [Reminiscing about the good old days?] White asked.

    {We weren’t sure if we liked you yet,} Yellow said, as though it had been a secret.

    [But you turned out to be alright.]

    {You’re great at killing, you have a flair for the dramatic… What’s not to love?}

    “Exactly,” Peter replied, preening. “I’m impossible to hate.”

    Something had, however, stopped him from killing the old woman. And the moment he’d hesitated, Peter had known he had to kill everyone else – just in case word got out he’d hesitated. Blind Al’s silence was guaranteed.

    “So you kidnapped an old lady?” Wade asked in disbelief. “Boy-o, you just reached a new high on the scale of being a dick.”

    Peter snorted. “This old lady could kill you fifteen hundred different ways, Wade. And the limitation is only because she’s blind. Underestimate her,” he waggled his finger in the hero’s face, “and she’ll kill ya.”

    “Nonsense,” Blind Al snapped. “I don’t kill nice young men. Come here, Wade, and let me look at you.”

    [Nice young men?]

    {Hey, the old bitty has a good eye!}

    “No, she has two bad ones.”

    [If she wasn’t already blind, I’d say she needs her eyes tested.]

    {Stop picking on our Wade!}

    “Yeah!”

    Blind Al, meanwhile, had pressed her palms to Wade’s face. Her fingers trailed over each of Wade’s feature, seemingly fine with the scars that shifted beneath her hands. Peter fought the sudden but potent flash of jealousy – Wade was his. No one touched what was his.

    Mimic decided to remind them all she was still alive. “Hey, where’s Becket?”

    [Becket!]

    {Oh, Becket!}

    “Whoops, forgot about him. Let’s go see if he’s still breathing.”

    “You think he is?”

    “It’s entirely possible. And we could be that lucky.” Peter grinned, sharp teeth flashing, and after a moment Mimic's red eyes began to light up in deliciously familiar way.

    [Hello bloodlust my old friend.]

    {What do you mean, old?}

    [He's been our friend for a very long time now.]

    {Hasn't aged a day.}

    "We shouldn't gender discriminate," Peter chided. "Bloodlust could easily be female."

    Yellow made an almost pornographic noise. {Imagine it!} he squealed.

    [Blood.]

    {Titties.}

    [Oh how they bounce.]

    "Stop now," Peter said.

    "Please!" Mimic added.

    [Listen to them complain.]

    {It's like they've never known the joys of having titties in the face....}

    "Becket," Mimic suggested.

    "Becket," Peter agreed, ignoring the hysterical laughter in his head.

  



 

 

    As it turned out, luck was with Peter for once. Becket was alive, mostly. The bones in his arm had been crushed, and Peter wondered if it was possible for him to be in any more pain.

    {Let’s find out,} Yellow said enthusiastically.

    [We could always heal him, you know. Try out those things we made.]

    Mimic whipped around, her eyes wild. “Why would you want to heal him?” she hissed, fury clear in her eyes.

    “So we can hurt him,” Peter replied easily. “The human body was only made to withstand so much pain. Poor Becket must be almost at his limit, and we haven’t had any fun.”

    [How many chapters has it been since we’ve hurt someone?]

    {Too many.}

    [Agreed.]

    Peter felt his spider sense tingle. He peered around cautiously, senses on high alert. For a moment, he couldn’t sense anything off. Wade and Blind Al were still outside, chatting away to each other. The flash of jealousy was pushed aside by his spider sense, the tingle more insistent this time. He rose to his feet, eyes narrowed.

    [After us?]

    {Becket?}

    “Spider?” Mimic muttered. “What is it?”

    A heartbeat came into focus at the edges of his hearing, cool and calm. A single inhalation, slow and steady.

    “Move!” Peter snarled, whirling into motion. The first bullet went through his outstretched hand, and would have hit Becket in the head if Mimic hadn’t yanked him out of the way. Peter stared at the hole in his hand for a moment before giggling. He raised his hand and peered through the bleeding hole.

    [Well hi there.]

    {We’re holey! Get it? Holy!} Yellow cackled.

    “Get out of here,” Peter said, his mouth still in a wide grin. “Take Becket, get the other two, and head to the address I’m thinking right now.” He paused, keeping the address in his mind for a moment before continuing. “Keep him alive until I come back.”

    “Where are you going?” Mimic demanded.

    Peter chuckled. “Someone has to take care of that sniper, right?”

    {And we haven’t killed anyone is ages!}

    [Let the blood spill forth.]

    “Spider?” Peter heard Wade calling. “Spider, are you alright in there?”

    “We’re fine.”

    [That was sweet of him.]

    {See?! I told you!}

    “Well, I must depart. Mimic, I’m entrusting you with that,” Peter indicated the direction Wade’s voice had come from with a wave of his hole-less hand. “Make sure everyone gets home safe. I’ll be back in time for dinner.”

    {We’d be fantastic house husbands!}

    [No, we would not.]

    {We’d be like ‘Honey, I’m home!’ and then we’d suck some –}

    “Get out of here!” Mimic snapped.

    Peter giggled. “Ready or not,” he said, flicking his karambits from their hiding place around his wrists. “Here I come.” He dropped to all fours and scuttled away from Mimic. Very briefly, he wished he had his mask, but it didn’t really matter. After all, the sniper would die either way.

    Peter’s spider sense sounded the alarm just as White shouted [Duck!] and Yellow called {Goose!} Peter dodged to the side, chuckling darkly as the bullet slammed into the concrete.

    “Lately I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep. Dreaming about the things that you could be.” Peter entered the building with a skip, jumping lightly onto the next level. “But baby I’ve been, I’ve been praying hard. So no more shooting bullets you’ll be, you’ll be bleeding out.”

    [I think he heard you,] White said.

    “Just one mistake is all it will take. You’ll go down in agony.”

    {Listen to his heart!} Yellow cackled.

    Compared to the moment when the sniper had taken his shot, his heartbeat was off the charts. It was amazing what a little singing could do.

    [Especially if the singing is coming from a cold-blooded killer.]

    “Some legends are told,” Peter sang softly. “Some turn to dust or to gold. But you will remember me. Remember me in agony.”

    A scuttle to the left brought the heartbeat into focus, but there was a wall between Peter and his prey. He bared his teeth at it, absently poking a finger through the hole in his hand.

    “Payback is a bitch,” he murmured to himself.

    {Dude, we are payback.}

    [We are the bitch.]

    {Well I wouldn’t go that far!}

    “Are we playing hide and seek now?” Peter called loudly. The heartbeat on the other side of the wall spiked, the delicious scent of fear permeating the air. “Because, I mean, I know this is sort of breaking the rules, but I can hear your heartbeat. And smell your fear. Any second now I’m expecting you to piss your pants.”

    There was an odd whimper on the other side of the wall, and the sharp stink of urine flooded Peter’s nose. He jerked away from the wall with a disgusted noise.

    “A fucking warning would be nice!” he snarled.

    [That was rude.]

    {Ha! He pissed his pants! That’s hilarious!}

    [Hey, is that a sledgehammer?]

    {How convenient.}

    [Lazy, I say.]

    “This is perfect,” Peter said, snatching up the sledgehammer perched inconspicuously by another entrance. “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s through the wall we go,” he sang as he swung the sledgehammer back, and then crashed it into the wall.

    There were times when Peter forgot he had super strength. Now was not one of these times. So when the entire wall shuddered before collapsing, Peter didn’t gasp in surprise or jump back. He whistled, long and slow, before casually discarding the sledgehammer and strolling through the new door he’d made.

    [This is some door. The Hulk would have no problems fitting through that.]

    “Hi, you’ve reached the Spider. For killings, press one. For Hulk-sized doors, press two!”

    {I love recording new phone messages! Can we do a new one?}

    “I can’t remember what my current message is,” Peter replied thoughtfully, sliding his karambits back into his hands. “Is it, ‘Hello, this is the Spider. Please leave a name and amount after the beep. Stay vengeful, New York!’”

    [No that was ages ago. I think it’s ‘This is the Spider. You know what to do. Do it wrong, and I’ll kill you.’.]

    {That one was great, but isn’t it, ‘If blood and pain is the name of your game, you’ve called the right Spider!’}

    “We’ll have to check when we get back,” Peter said seriously, dodging the attack from the shadows. “Oh look who we found!” Peter scuttled forward with a burst of unnatural speed, his karambits biting into either side of the sniper’s torso. “Tag!” Peter said with a sharp grin.

    {You’re it!}

    [He looks so surprised.]

    “Why do people always look so surprised when I kill them?” Peter wondered. He stepped out of the shadows, dragging the sniper with him. “I mean, everyone’s gotta die someday.”

    {They just don’t expect your beautiful face to be the last thing they see.}

    [Generally, it’s not.]

    “That’s right! You’re in for a treat,” Peter told the gasping man. “No one sees my face before they die. Maybe I should change it up. If I really like them, I can show them my face!”

    [What happens if you don’t manage to kill someone?]

    Peter scoffed. “I always kill them.”

    {True!}

    “Right, Yellow. You’re being too nice. What do you want?”

    Yellow giggled. {Can we have some fun with him? Pretty please?}

    “You’re such a suck-up. Besides, did you really need to ask? Of course we’re going to play!” Peter smiled, his fangs glinting in the light.

    The man’s screams echoed from the building for the rest of the day.

 

Chapter Text

Every night:

    The Spider haunts his dreams.

    Sometimes, it is easy to tell the dream from the reality of his waking hours. He knows that it is a lie, knows that he doesn’t have to live through the horror of losing such an important thing twice. He knows that he will wake up, and that makes things bearable.

    Other times, the dream is reality, and waking brings more confusion than it does relief. The dreams leave a bitter taste in his mouth, one that warps the flavour of anything he eats. Pain is his pulse.

    But he does not despair, because he knows that he will not die before he has his revenge. He will not allow his body to fail him. Not now. Not while the Spider still breathes.

 

Now:

    “I have returned victorious!” Peter announced loudly as he burst into the house he’d told Mimic to go to. Dried blood flaked from his skin, and the hole in his hand was less of a hole and more of an indent.

    Unexpected scents made him pause. He tilted his head to the side, confused. Hesitatingly, he stepped over the threshold, alert for any tingle of his spider sense. With his luck, especially lately, it wouldn’t be completely unexpected if someone else tried to kill him.

    [Um?]

    {Where’s Mimic?}

    [More importantly, is Becket still alive?]

    {Wade!} Yellow wailed.

    “Well, well,” an unexpected and completely unwelcome voice drawled. “If it isn’t bug boy.”

    Peter automatically dropped onto all fours, his lips drawn back from his teeth in an animalistic snarl. “Well, well,” he returned, his tone acidic. “If it isn’t the Iron Princess.”

    Stark stepped into the room, his frail, mortal body simply begging to be broken. Peter felt his hands twitch but calmed himself with an effort. Tony Stark would not be in one of his nests without protection. Killing him would not be easy. Better to wait. He sniffed the air, his scowl deepening in distaste.

    “This is fantastic,” Peter snapped. “You’re all here.”

    “That we are,” Stark agreed, strolling forwards. “But we’re here because we received an invitation. From our mutual teammate, as it were.”

    {Uninvite him!}

    [The invitation should come from the owner of the house, anyway.]

    “I never invited you,” Peter pointed out sweetly, standing upright with a sharp movement. “So I suggest you all get the fuck out before I really lose my temper.”

    Someone cleared their throat, and Peter whirled around to glare at Wade. “Hey Spider. Can we, uh… Can we talk?”

    [This is the problem with liking someone,] White muttered. [You never stay mad at them.]

    “And you’d know all about that, wouldn’t you?” Peter snapped.

    {White’s never liked anyone!}

    “No one we’ve ever met, at any rate,” Peter agreed. “He’s always so critical of everyone. Of course,” he continued, casting his eyes back to Stark, “some people deserve it.”

    “Hey! I’m being a fucking gentleman here!”

    Peter blinked silently before a giggle slipped past his lips. “A gentleman?” he chuckled. “You think you’re being a gentleman?” The chuckle transformed into a full bodied laugh, deranged and hysterical. “That’s the most hilarious thing I’ve heard all week!”

    {Oh! We forgot about the phone message!}

    [Right, because we need a new one.]

    “Let’s listen to it right now!” Peter said, webbing open a nearby drawer. He didn’t miss the way Stark took a step back, his face morphing into something wary. Peter smirked, snatching the phone from the drawer with another web.

    “What up bitches! Leave the name of your victim after the tone, I’ll tell you the price. Later losers!”

    Peter blinked at the phone in his hand. “Huh,” he said. “I don’t remember recording that one.”

    {…That was terrible.}

    [What were you thinking?!]

    “Probably more than you two,” Peter snapped. “All you bloody do is complain, complain, complain!”

    {You do that too!}

    [We’re in your head. If we have anything to complain about, it’s all on you.]

    {He’s right!}

    “Sorry my head isn’t the best place for you,” Peter snarled, tossing the phone at a nearby wall. The phone shattered. “If you hate it so much,” Peter continued, hardly sparing a glance for the broken pieces of plastic, “maybe you should just fuck off.”

    {Would if we could,} Yellow said rudely.

    [It’s your own fault that this happened. If you hadn’t killed Harry – ]

    Peter cut White off by slamming his head into the wall. “Don’t say his name,” he hissed, ignoring the blood dripping into his eyes. “You can fucking complain all you want, but don’t you dare say his name.”

    There was an awkward moment of silence in his head. [Yeah,] White finally replied. [Ok.]

    {Sorry Spidey.}

    “So happy we could all agree on something,” Peter said caustically. “Let’s make up our mind about what we want to do with this intrusion, shall we?”

    “Spider, you alright?”

    “What the fuck, bug boy?”

    “Call me that again,” Peter said, rolling his head around until he was looking at Stark. Something cracked in his neck, and judging from the look on Stark’s face he’d heard it too. Peter let a grin stretch across his face. “I dare you.”

    “Alright, break it up.” A very tall, very blond someone stepped into Peter’s view. Captain America wasn’t looking at Peter – his glare was directed at Stark. “This is not the time. Wade said you needed help.” Now he was looking at Peter, his blue eyes oddly sincere.

    Peter tilted his head back the other way, ignoring the resounding crack. “I need help?” Peter repeated in disbelief. “I need help, and you all came running.”

    [Doubtful.]

    {Very doubtful!}

    The Captain’s mouth turned down at the corners. “I’m sorry if that’s difficult for you to accept –”

    “No, it’s not difficult to accept,” Peter interrupted. “It’s impossible. Captain America and his do-gooder Avengers would never stoop so low as to help little old me.”

    “Wade did,” Rogers pointed out.

    “Ah yes. Wade. He did, didn’t he?”

    The boxes were quiet. [Outlier,] White announced.

    {Outlier,} Yellow agreed.

    “He’s an outlier,” Peter said dismissively. He heard Wade make an offended noise. “Do you know what your Avengers did, Captain? They blew up my house.”

    {I’d forgotten about that! Rude!}

    “I am aware,” Rogers began, casting another sharp look at Stark (who completely ignored him). “And I assure you, Tony will pay for everything he destroyed –”

    “Uh, where was I when I agreed to this?” Stark demanded.

    [Money doesn’t solve everything.]

    “Money won’t pay for what he destroyed. Besides, isn’t your money all red, Stark?” Peter smirked. “It’s difficult to realise you’re worse than me, isn’t it?”

    “Listen here, you little shit!” Stark snarled, his face contorting with rage. “I made a choice –”

    “And it was a terrible fucking choice,” Peter replied. He wanted to say more, but a warm hand covered his mouth.

    [Bite him!]

    {No wait, it’s Wade!}

    [I know. Bite him!]

    Peter tried to wriggle out of Wade’s grip, but the hero gripped him tighter. “That’s enough, Spider,” Wade murmured into his ear, his breath hot. Peter squirmed, his cheeks warming in a blush he was suddenly glad no one could see, because Wade's hand was big enough to cover most of his face.

    {Look at us!}

    [Oh to be young.]

    {And have a body?}

    [And have a dick.]

 



 

 

    Peter blew out a noisy sigh. Banner looked at him curiously for a moment before turning his attention back to the door. Hawkeye fiddled with one of his arrows. His eyes never once strayed to Peter, but Peter knew the archer was paying attention to him.

    {This is boring!}

    [Yes. This is why we’d never be good with an official team.]

    Peter bobbed his head. “Meetings are a drag.”

    {Why is no one talking?}

    [Where is Mimic?]

    “Good question. Anyone know where Mimic is?” Peter asked, sticking his hand into the bowl of crisps Wade had raided his cupboard for. He bit into one and made a face. “Ick.”

    [Why do we have salt and vinegar?]

    {That stuff is gross.}

    “Agreed. There must be something better to eat.” Peter tilted his chair backwards, catching the bench in a practised move. He pulled himself onto the counter, digging into draws and cupboards until he triumphantly produced a bag of chicken chips.

    [Much better.]

    {No pancakes?} Yellow asked.

    “No time for pancakes. Why is no one talking?” Peter snapped, spinning around to face the gathered Avengers. They all jolted in their chairs – Hawkeye, Widow and Stark in particular looked as though they wanted to attack him. He waggled a finger. “I don’t think so. No touching of the weapons at the dinner table, children.”

    “You seemed eager enough to talk to yourself,” Hawkeye replied, fingers still moving over his arrow. Peter cocked his head, and in a single movement webbed the arrow from Barton’s fingers. Barton was still for a second before jumping to his feet. “Give that back.”

    Peter waved dismissively. “I won’t hurt your precious arrow, Barton,” he said. He examined the arrows tip for a moment before whistling. “Baddabing, baddaboom!”

    [Nasty.]

    “Mmm, but effective. What do you think, should I try my hand at archery?”

    [You’d need a pretty strong bow.]

    {It would snap like a twig.}

    “Very true. But explosive arrows sound so fun. I’d love to see these in action.” Peter poked at it some more. “Lookee, Stark upgrades. I could totally steal your tech right now, Princess. Oh, but I would change this bit right here.”

    [That’s a bit dangerous.]

    “How’d you let that slip, Princess? Poor Hawkeye here could become… Well, I guess he’d just be an exploded ball of flesh and guts, right?”

    {Right!}

    “The hell you talking about?” Stark snapped, snatching the arrow from Peter’s hands. Peter saw Barton half-rise to his feet. Stark walked away, fiddling with the arrow and muttering to himself.

    [We one-upped Stark.]

    Peter grinned. “Hell yes we did. That feels good, doesn’t it?”

    {Yes!}

    [You know it.]

    “Shut up, bug boy,” Stark said.

    Peter snatched up a bowl and tossed it at him. “I fucking told you not to call me that, Princess,” he replied with a sharp-toothed smile.

    “Stop fighting,” Rogers sighed. “We’re just waiting for Wade, Spider.” He paused, looking the tiniest bit nervous. “Is there another name I can call you?” he asked. “Spider just seems so… impersonal.”

    [No.]

    {No.}

    “No,” Peter snapped. “Spider is fine. I’m not feeding you a name to give to Fury, Captain.”

    Rogers' face twisted. “That’s not what –”

    “I’m back!” Wade announced, bursting into the kitchen. Mimic trailed behind him, her eyes immediately flicking to Peter’s. He tilted his head, silently questioning, and she nodded.

    [Wonderful. Becket is still alive.]

    {I wonder if Fury knows he has a doppelganger.}

    “Oh hey, that’s a good point. Does your pirate director know he has a doppelganger?” Peter asked, sliding off the bench.

    Widow snapped her head to look at him. “You’re lying,” she said, but Peter caught the uncertainty in her tone.

    “No I’m not!” Peter sang, a smug grin crossing his face. “And I can prove it!”

  



 

 

    “So,” Peter began, unable to stop himself from glancing over his shoulder at the trailing group of heroes, “I need your word you won’t kill him.”

    {Never thought we'd ever say that...}

    [And isn't that completely out of character for us?]

    “We don’t even know who he is yet,” Widow replied, earning a disapproving look from both Rogers and Banner.

    [Definitely a former assassin.]

    {She probably still does side jobs,} Yellow said. {And gets paid more than us.}

    Peter jerked. “Paid more than us?” he repeated, incredulous. “Don’t even joke. You know how many zeros she must have at the end of her fee to get paid more than us?”

    {7.}

    [8.]

    Peter growled. “This isn’t a competition. If it was, I’d win.”

    “And why can’t we kill him?” Stark asked. Banner sighed, and Stark glanced at him. “Legitimate question. If he’s a threat to the security of the world, isn’t it our job to negate such threats?”

    “Tony, for once, has a point,” Widow said, earning a smug smile from the man. Peter was tempted to rip it off.

    {“Wanna know where I got these scars?”}

    [Um, no.]

    {No?}

    [Wrong universe. DC, not Marvel.]

    {See now, I always get these things confused. We’re DC right?}

    [No, Marvel.]

    {Damnit!}

    “Why can’t we kill him?” Stark pressed, distracting Peter from the babbling in his head. “If he’s really a threat –”

    Peter snickered. “He’s not a threat to anyone at the moment.”

    Banner looked at him curiously. “And what does that cryptic statement mean?”

    {We weren’t being cryptic!}

    “It means he’s mending,” Peter replied, pausing in front of a door. “Let me warn you,” he said pleasantly, his smile sharp. “If you kill him, I’ll kill you.”

    He pushed the door open and stepped in.

    Becket was lying unconscious on a hospital bed – Peter wasn’t sure exactly where the bed was from, or when he’d acquired it, but the point was it was there and being used. Mimic was hovering in the corner, Wade standing with a hand on her shoulder.

    “Woah, why are you keeping this guy alive?” Stark demanded. “If I had my suit, he’d be barbeque.”

    “Stark,” Rogers said, his tone clipped. “If you had your suit, you would transport him directly to headquarters.”

    [Poor Stevey. No one is as pure as him.]

    {Do you think it keeps him up at night?}

    “The fact that he’s too pure for this world? You never know. People stay up to contemplate worse things.”

    “Spidey,” Mimic whispered. “Spidey, why did you bring them here?”

    Peter jerked around to stare at her. “Hey, no worries. I extracted a promise from them all – they won’t kill him!”

    [No.]

    “No?”

    {You sort of just… Threatened them.}

    Peter waved a hand. “It’s the same thing, right?”

    [Technically? No. But if it works…]

    “It’ll work. None of these goody-two-shoes are going to become murderers. Or, you know,” Peter slid his eyes towards Widow, “return to being murderers.”

    “If you recall, I was very close to killing you,” Widow replied rudely.

    “‘Very close’ isn’t doing the deed,” Peter said. “And instead of killing me, you killed your partner.”

    Widow visibly recoiled. “Deadpool isn’t my partner.”

    Peter saw Wade flinch from the corner of his eye, the movement tiny and almost not there. But before he could tear into Widow like he wanted to – and boy, did he want to – Stark let out a relieved sigh.

    “Oh man, I was really worried you’d gone off the deep end there, Natasha. I thought you’d killed Clint!”

    “I’m – I’m standing right here,” Barton said to no one.

    [Poor guy.]

    {I loved the third movie. So much Hawkeye love.}

    [I was going to say spoilers. But let’s face it – if they haven’t seen it by now, they deserve to see spoilers.]

    “But it was only Wilson!” Stark chuckled, sending a grin towards Wade. “Did it hurt, coming back?”

    “Like a bitch,” Wade replied with a smirk.

    Peter thought he couldn’t be the only one to notice Wade’s smirk wavered at the beginning. But as the seconds ticked by, and no one said anything, Peter was left to realize that he was the only one who had noticed.

    “‘Only Wilson’?” Peter whispered, venom spilling into his mouth.

    [You know, I think he’s got esteem issues.]

    {Don’t pick on our Wade!}

    “No, he’s not picking on him.”

    [He’s probably thinking something stupid like “as long as I can be useful to them, it doesn’t matter how they treat me”.]

    {He’s got such a sweet heart.}

    “But it should!” Peter snapped. “They’re taking it for granted.”

    [The fact that he can come back? Of course they are.]

    {‘You’re gonna miss him when he’s gone’.}

    “It’s like we’re going through the motions of a scripted destiny,” Peter sang. He frowned. “Now that song is stuck in my head.”

    {Oh! Oh! I know how to help!}

    White snickered. [You don’t know how to help.]

    “He’s right – you never help.”

    Peter could almost hear Yellow pouting. {I can help this time.}

    [Better give him a chance.]

    {Are you ready? This is the best way to get a song out of your head.}

    “I’m listening.”

    {When a song is stuck inside your head, sing this song, just sing this song instead.}

    [Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-bababa, ba-ba-ba-ba. Hey.]

    Peter rocketed to his feet. “That’s even worse.”

    [Now this song is stuck inside your head.]

    {I can’t believe you fell for that. You must be really stupid.}

    [We already know he’s stupid!]

    “Guys, shut up,” Peter said sweetly, his hands curling into fists. “We’re trying to stop bad heroes from killing a very important man.”

    “He’s not Fury, he’s not important,” Barton said, shrugging a shoulder.

    “I never said he was important to you,” Peter snapped. “You’re not the only one in this room.”

    Barton raised his hands. “You still haven’t said who he’s important to. If he was important to you, he’d be dead, not recovering.”

    [It’s like he knows us so well.]

    {He sees things…}

    “Creepy,” Peter muttered. “But you’re right, he’s not important to me.”

    “He’s mine,” Mimic said, her voice like acid. “Don’t touch him.”

    {Yeah! Keep your filthy mitts away from Mimic’s things!}

    [Since when did he warm up to her?] White asked.

    Peter shook his head. “He’s Mimic’s,” he said, earning a dirty glare from Tony.

    “We heard the kid, bug boy. What do you plan to do with him? And who exactly are you? Cap said we should just let things fly, but no matter how I look at it, you’re a minor. What are you doing with him?” Tony jerked his thumb at Peter.

    [Did he somehow miss that we’re also a minor?]

    “Not that bright, is he?”

    {Stupid tin can.}

    “Spidey, they’re being rude,” Mimic said.

    Peter raised his hands. “I have no control over them.”

    [He wishes.]

    {I can’t be tamed!}

    “Also, he deserves it.” Peter shrugged. “Who am I to yell at them for being rude to a guy who’s rude to me?”

    “I feel like there’s an entire conversation we’re missing here,” Barton muttered.

    Wade nodded. “I know exactly what you mean!”

    “I think we’re all getting that vibe,” Banner added, sounding tired. “Would you mind answering Tony’s questions, someone? Anyone?”

    “She’s Mimic,” Peter said helpfully, gesturing to where Mimic stood with her arms folded. “She’s a mutant, Becket killed her family.”

    [Wasn’t it just her brother?]

    {Yeah, he’s right.}

    “Well then, Becket killed her brother.” He shot a look at the unconscious man. “What an asshole.”

    {And we’re going to help Mimic get creative.}

    [Better not tell them that.]

    “We’re helping him recover so that Mimic can find out where his body is,” Peter continued.

    There was stunned silence in his head. [That was so smooth.]

    {Where did you learn that? You gotta teach us!}

    “And you’re doing this why?” Stark demanded. “Out of the goodness of your heart?” He snorted. “What do you get out of this?”

    Peter examined his fingernails. “Well, we did have to extract him.” Peter shot Stark a nasty smile. “His organization just made a very big mistake.”

    “And you let him do this?” Rogers asked, turning to face Wade. There was disappointment in his face.

    Wade seemed to shrink. “It was the only way,” he said.

    Rogers shook his head. “No Wade. You could have come to us. We would have handled it. Without killing anyone.”

    Peter felt it necessary to interrupt, if only because Wade looked completely humiliated. Well, it might also have had something to do with the way the heroes were acting. “Well, that depends entirely on who you send, you know.” He smiled when Rogers glanced at him. “You have a couple of people on your side who have no qualms with killing ‘bad’ guys.”

    {The steely look is really turning me on!}

    [Gross.]

    “I mean, you heard them, didn’t you? When I said at the start that you weren’t allowed to kill him, no one – not even you, I might add – said you wouldn’t.” Peter blinked lazily. “I’d bet you guys have no problems with killing me.”

    “That’s because you’re a creepy little shit,” Stark snarled.

    “The world would be safer without you,” Widow agreed.

    Peter stared at Rogers. “Oh look. No move to defend me. Why am I not surprised?”

    “Why would I defend you?” Rogers asked, his voice hard. “No one in this room has seen anything from you other than a cold-blooded killer.”

    [He says it like he thinks it will hurt us.]

    {I know you are, I said you are, so what am I?}

    “That’s not true!” Mimic snapped, startling Peter when she stepped up to his side. “I have!”

    Wade sighed heavily. “I have too.”

    “You’re making a bloody racket,” Blind Al snapped as she hobbled into the room. “The kid has his moments, Captain Rogers. As a soldier, you can’t say you haven’t killed your fair share.”

    {…I feel like we’re being defended.}

    “Have we ever been defended?” Peter muttered, unsure how to respond.

    [That’s a big fat no. I feel a desire to flee.]

    {Chicken!}

    [You feel it too.]

    {….Maybe….}

    “I do,” Peter said, inching backwards. Things like this didn’t happen to him. He was used to being the monster, used to being the villain laughing evilly in the shadows. He was not used to having people on his side, sticking up for him in a way that reminded him of a time that usually felt like little more than a fairy tale.

    Mimic caught his hand a squeezed it, her fingers lacing through his in a way that made it impossible to escape – unless he wanted to break her fingers. But given the circumstances, that didn’t seem like a good thing to do.

    [Stevey is looking at us funny.]

    {Hey! Look the other way.}

    Peter flinched when Wade’s hand fell on his shoulder, a warm, heavy weight that made him feel safe. A fine tremor ran down his spine, and Mimic’s hand squeezed his again. He shot a glance at her, and she gave him a soft smile that would have made him cry if he wasn’t the Spider.

    “What nonsense are you spouting?” Stark demanded. “Don’t you remember, Wilson? He cut off your arm!”

    “He did,” Wade replied, his voice sincere. “And he saved my life by doing it.”

    Stark scoffed. “If that’s what he told you, he’s obviously lying.”

    “He didn’t need to tell me shit,” Wade said. “You think I can’t tell when I’m going to die? That acid would have killed me.”

    “But you would have come back?” Barton asked. “What’s the big deal?”

    [Mimic, let us go.]

    {We’re going to rip his face off.}

    “Use your words, Spidey,” Mimic replied calmly.

    “Words,” Peter snarled. “What good are words in a situation like this?”

    [They don’t get it.]

    {They won’t get it.}

    “We have to use action.”

    Mimic’s fingers tightened again. “Words,” she said. “Or I can speak for you”

    {No way!}

    [You’ll make it sound nicer!]

    “No thank you!” Peter added.

    Mimic smirked, gesturing to the Avengers. “Off you go.”

    Peter sent her a glare. “I’m really started to think I should break your fingers,” he muttered.

    {Snap!}

    “What do you want to say, bug boy?” Stark asked, his voice mocking. “I’m sure it will be riveting.”

    [Words won’t work on him.]

    {Bite him.}

    “See, this is why I don’t like you guys,” Peter said, shaking his hand free from Mimic’s grasp. He stalked forward and poked a finger into Stark’s chest. The sound of his finger hitting the arc reactor echoed around the room. “By all rights, you should be dead. But you got lucky. You got a second chance. And you too, Stevey-boy.” Peter spun to face him, ignoring the way everyone had gone tense. “That iceberg gave you a second lease on life. Congrats on that.

    “Banner, that blast should have killed you. Widow, Barton – you assassins have, what, nine lives? You must have almost run out by now.”

    “Do you have a point?” Barton asked.

    “Me?” Peter continued, purposely ignoring him. “I’ve died – well, sort of died – a few times. It wasn’t pleasant, it wasn’t fun – it wasn’t a walk in the park. Is it ever?”

    It was Widow who answered, her eyes flicking to Wade. “No.”

    “No,” Peter agreed pleasantly. “So then please explain to me – because I am completely lost – how you can act so blasé whenever Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, kicks the bucket?”

    The room grew quiet. “Spider,” Wade muttered, looking as lost as Peter had felt when everyone was defending him.

    “No, no. You shut up. You make me so angry. How can you let them treat you like a piece of furniture? I have watched this team of do-gooders for over a year. I have seen you throw yourself into the path of a bullet or a sword or a fucking grenade to save these people. I’ve never heard one of them say a fucking thank you. They don’t even acknowledge it, and you just let it slide.”

    “If I can help –” Wade started, but Peter shook his head.

    [I told you.]

    “‘If I can help, it doesn’t matter’. You were going to say something along those lines, weren’t you?” Wade nodded. “And that’s a really hero thing to think, right? I mean,” Peter said, spinning back to face the Avengers, “that’s what you guys think, right? That’s why you do what you do. Saving people, hunting things. Saving the planet, blah blah blah.”

    [Jesus Christ, Supernatural pops up everywhere.]

    Rogers nodded. “Of course.”

    {Someone missed the reference.}

    [Barton didn’t.]

    {Supernatural fanboy found.}

    “And it feels good when someone thanks you. Of course, it’s not like that’s what you do it for. But it still feels really nice to be acknowledged.”

    “I don’t quite get where you’re going with this,” Banner admitted. “Wade is a hero too, he doesn’t need to be thanked.”

    Peter caught sight of Wade’s face. He looked proud, like a kid who’d won an award at school. But there was a resignation in the corner of his eye, the kind Peter knew lingered because he’d had it too, back when his father had been at his busiest and all Peter had wanted was a ‘good job’. A ‘good job’ he hadn’t received because work was picking up, because his father had been distracted.

    “Off-topic, but how many times do you remind him of that?” Peter asked quietly.

    {Not enough!}

    [Not enough.]

    “But where I was going with ‘this’,” Peter continued, slowly backing up the wall. “I’m curious – if no one acknowledged you, no one even noticed that you’d helped, if no one ever thanked you – would you still do what you do? Or would you grow tired of it? What if, instead of being grateful for your help, people just expected it? They regarded you stepping in and saving them in the same manner as they regard public toilets. Would you still do what you do, Avengers?”

    [Look at them grow all defensive. Isn’t it cute?]

    {This conversation is boring!}

    [It needed to be said.]

    {They do treat Wade terribly. Bite them all.}

    “I don’t actually care about how you respond,” Peter said when Stark opened his mouth. “The reality is that Wade has teamed up with me to get the guy trying to kill me, Mimic has dibs on Becket, and I don’t actually like many of you. So you’re either helping, or you’re getting the fuck out of my house.”

  



 

 

    It was one of those rare occasions where Peter found himself alone. Ever since the team up, which had happened a few days ago, the Avengers (with Mimic and Blind Al) had been with him constantly. Sometimes, he managed to shake them off, but most of the time he blanked out for a moment only to find one of them (usually Wade or Mimic) sitting next to him. It had grown very annoying – Peter quite liked his privacy, and it was his house they were using as a base.

    They wouldn’t be able to find him. Not this time. He’d cleverly placed little webs leading off in the opposite direction to where he was, since he suspected that was how people kept finding him. Peter was also keeping his mind quiet, thinking like he did all those times Mimic hadn’t been able to hear him. He teetered on the edge of insanity, peering into the abyss with hopelessly longing eyes. It would be simple, much simpler than all this, to just fall apart completely.

    Peter sighed and closed his eyes. Thoughts like that were what was keeping him from exacting his revenge. He needed the bloodlust, the carefree killer he knew was nestled beneath his skin. But there was a problem.

    He’d forgotten how to find said killer.

    [You’ve changed,] White said abruptly, startling Peter into opening his eyes.

    Peter cocked his head. “What do you mean?”

    [Don’t play dumb, Spider. You know exactly what I mean.]

    {I don’t.}

    “You know nothing, Jon Snow,” Peter giggled.

    {That’s rude!}

    [Peter!] White snapped. [I think we need to talk about this.]

    Peter waved a dismissive hand. “There’s nothing to talk about.” Nothing, especially if he ignored the fact he was becoming more and more of a stranger to himself. The desire to cut himself open had only intensified in the last few days, but now he wanted to understand himself rather than how the spider bite had changed his body. A body that he no longer felt comfortable in.

    He knew what he needed, but he just couldn’t reach it. He was growing more frustrated by his lack of control as more days passed. But he didn’t know how to fix himself. He felt out of balance, tipped too far to one side and swaying dangerously on the edge of a cliff.

    “There’s nothing to talk about,” he repeated casually.

    [Stop lying to yourself! Something has changed! You’ve lost the desire for revenge! This guy is honestly trying to kill you, and you’re worried about what that hero will think of you!]

    Peter’s mouth twisted into a snarl. “I know he’s trying to kill me –” he began.

    [Are you sure?] White demanded, cutting him off entirely. [Because you’re not acting like it.]

    {But we like Wade.}

    [Do you like him more than you like Peter?] White hissed. Peter wasn’t sure he’d ever heard the box so angry.

    {….Noooo….} Yellow responded after a long silence.

    “Hey!” Peter said. “You ungrateful little shit.”

    [Stop. Without Peter, you wouldn’t exist.]

    “That’s right,” Peter said.

    {But Wade…}

    [Without Peter, you wouldn’t know Wade.]

    “You wouldn’t even be ‘Yellow’,” Peter added.

    {That would suck.}

    White changed the subject. [You’re changing, Peter, and I don’t think it’s a good thing. Can you imagine killing a child now? Can you look back at what you’ve done without a care?] 

    Peter thought about it. For a moment, he felt as though his stomach was falling, a bottomless pit of guilt and horror threatening to swallow him. The next second, it was gone.

    Peter found himself on the ceiling, panicked breathing echoing around the room. What the fuck?

    [Do you understand?] White asked. [The more time you spend with those Avengers,] the title was spat like a curse, [the more like little Peter Parker you become. Little Peter Parker who thought he could help, thought he could save the world. Poor, innocent Peter Parker.]

    The words cut cruelly into Peter, so sharp he was amazed he didn’t have physical marks. His breathing was still too erratic to reply. He could feel something inside of him cracking, something that made his blood run cold and sweat race across his skin.

    [That’s him, Spider. That’s him coming to show you what you’ve done. Are you going to let him ruin you too?]

    Oh god, oh god, what have I done? whimpered a tiny voice. Peter stopped breathing. All those people… And Gwen! Harry! I… I killed them all! What did I do?!

    Peter snarled, the sound echoing around the room and drowning out the pathetic whimpers vying for attention in his head. “Stop it,” he growled, slamming his head against the wall. “I don’t care.”

    [You might not,] White said, [but little Peter Parker does.]

    “I don’t care! He’s not allowed here anymore! I squished him, I beat him, I killed him!” Peter dropped to the ground, staggering a few steps forward before clutching at his head. “I am not him. He’s dead, he’s fucking dead and I don’t want him anymore, take him away, take him away!”

    Oh god, Aunt May! Uncle Ben! I… I killed them.

    “Shut up!” Peter snarled.

    No, this wasn’t me…

    [Oh Spider. Look at what you’ve let happen.]

    This is all your fault! How could you? You loved them!

    “I don’t care! I am the Spider! Ask anyone – I am a monster.” Peter stood up, breathing heavily. “I am a monster. Monsters don’t care. Therefore, I don’t care. Is there an issue with my logic?”

    But you do! I’m proof of that. I’m the flaw in your logic.

    {He has a point.}

    “Then I’ll just kill you again,” Peter hissed, narrowing his eyes. “Just like I did last time.”

    You can’t. I won’t go anywhere. I promise, I’m here to stay this time.

    “Yes. You. Will.”

    Peter tore into the wall, ignoring the wood that splintered into his skin, the voices in his head vying for his attention, Mimic’s frantic voice from behind him. His fingers closed around a solid piece of wood, and he wrenched out with a savage display of strength.

    “What the fuck is he doing?” someone shouted, but Peter couldn’t tell if it came from inside or outside his head, so he just ignored it.

    “You have to stop him, he’s going to kill himself! Again!”

    “Again and again until he dies,” Peter hissed. “Maybe this time it will last longer.” Something grabbed his arm, and Peter spun around and bared his fangs, already dripping with venom. Who dared to interrupt him? He had to get him out, had to get rid of the weak little child crying in his head.

    “Is that… Is that saliva? That is gross.”

    “You idiot! That’s not saliva – no, don’t let him bite you!”

    Too late. Peter’s fangs sank into deliciously soft skin – but only for a second. Something else grabbed him from behind, wrenching him away from his prey with an impressive show of strength. Peter turned to bit the thing holding him, but the thing was green and big and dangerous. Peter tried to retreat, but the green thing held on tightly, growling lowly.

    [Good job, you got Stark.]

    He didn’t know, couldn’t comprehend who Stark was, but the agonised screams pleased him greatly. He smiled, lips drawn back from fangs still bleeding venom.

    How can you be happy about something like that?

    Peter’s grin disappeared as he remembered what he’d been doing. He wriggled his arm free from the green thing – Hulk, his mind supplied – and stabbed himself in the head. 

 



 

    He woke up to bright lights and a splitting headache. His mouth felt dry and tasted of dust and blood. Probably not the best thing to wake up to.

    Peter sat up groggily, rubbing sleep from his eyes. He blinked around the room, identifying it as some sort of infirmary. He noticed a bed on the other side of the room that was curtained off, but didn’t think much of it.

    {Spidey!} Yellow shrieked. {You’re awake!}

    “I am. How good of you to notice.”

    [You should wash out your mouth.]

    {Yeah, it tastes gross.}

    Peter wrinkled his nose. “I know.”

    [What do you remember?]

    Peter shrugged. “One of the Avengers decided they’d had enough of me? Oh, and then Wade stepped in to save me!” Peter grinned.

    {Nice!}

    [That’s not even close.]

    {I wish it was.}

    “Damn. What happened then?”

    “Hello Peter.”

    Peter froze, his eyes growing wide and round. “No,” he whispered, scuttling backwards as though he could escape the voice by running.

    [I didn’t expect this to happen.]

    {Neither did I.}

    [In any other situation, I’d say it’s nice to have some company.]

    {But it’s not. Not really.}

    “I’m sorry you feel that way. But I am here to stay. I promise, Peter.”

    “You,” Peter breathed, clutching his head. “But I don’t understand… How? Why?”

    “Me,” agreed Harry’s voice. “It’s been a long time, Peter. Did you miss me?”

 



 

 

    “What have you done?” Peter whispered, rocking back and forth. “What have you done?”

    [It was… My fault,] White volunteered.

    {Jesus White, he’s really going to kill himself now.}

    “So you haven’t missed me,” Harry said. “But I missed you.”

    Logically, Peter knew that the new voice inside his head couldn’t be Harry. After all, Harry was dead. But he couldn’t dismiss the eerily familiar voice, the same voice from his childhood, the same voice that he had fallen in love with.

    The same voice he’d last heard laughing as Gwen fell to her death.

    “Way to kill the mood, Peter. We haven’t spoken to each other for years. You don’t even visit my grave.”

    “I will never visit your grave,” Peter hissed. “You killed Gwen!”

    “No, no. That was all you. You couldn’t save her.”

    {Hey, fuck off dead guy!}

    [You don’t belong here.]

    “Listen to them. They think they know you so well.” Harry laughed. “All it would take is a little effort, and I could silence them forever. Isn’t that what you want, Peter?”

    [Don’t listen to him.]

    {Liar, liar pants on fire! We’re with Spidey ‘til the end!}

    “What do you say, Peter? Just you and me, like the old days?”

    Peter swallowed and shook his head. “No,” he rasped. “I don’t want that.”

    “That’s right. You got yourself a new fling, didn’t you?” Peter’s eyes widened and he felt his blood turn to ice. “Wade, wasn’t it?”

    “You leave him out of this,” Peter said, his voice shaking. “He has nothing to do with this.”

    {Leave our baby alone!}

    [He’s not your concern.]

    “I beg to differ,” Harry purred. “Peter is mine. Wade is getting in the way…”

    “Peter is dead,” Peter snarled. “He was never yours. You’ll never get your hands on him.”

    “Do you think you’ve saved yourself from me, Peter? You think if you become cruel, a murderer, I’ll lose interest.” Harry laughed. “You’re mine, Peter Parker. I will have you forever.”

    “I – he doesn’t belong to you! Just get out, get out, get out!” Peter yelled, slamming his head back into the wall. “Get out of my head!” he wailed.

    “Until next time, Peter.”

 



 

 

    {Spidey? We should… You know… Show some signs of life?}

    [He’s right –] White began.

    You don’t get to talk to me, Peter snarled, curled into a ball on the hospital bed. It was a really swanky hospital, decked out with all the latest tech – including some things that Peter knew were still only in the testing stages. Any other time, he would have been excited to explore, to poke and prod and find out how things worked.

    But he couldn’t. He wanted to sleep, wanted to wipe his memory clean.

    [Look, I know that this is partly – alright, completely my fault,] White said, [but we need to work together to get him out.]

    {He’s right, Spidey.}

    I don’t care. I don’t want to talk to you. This is your fault!

    {White says he knows that,} Yellow said.

    [Hey, I can speak for myself.]

    {I was trying to help! I can’t handle this tension!}

    [Look, you can’t turn him off. He’s like Yellow and I. I thought I’d bring back –]

    You thought you’d bring back Peter Parker, Peter hissed. But instead you brought him. I can’t live with him in my head.

    [Well, you’re not allowed to kill yourself.]

    {Wade will be sad if you do that.}

    Before Peter could snarl that he didn’t care, someone stepped into the infirmary. But instead of walking over to his bed, Peter listened to them walk towards the curtained off bed. He cracked an eye opened, shuffling around silently so that he could see what was going on.

    {Oh yeah, you bit Stark!}

    Tony Stark was lying in the bed, his face pale and his veins standing out under his skin. Peter could smell his venom running through those veins. Not a large enough dose to kill him as quickly as Peter usually tried to – Stark was dying as slowly as possible.

    Belatedly, Peter realized he didn’t actually know where he was. The last time he’d blacked out, he’d been brought to the Avengers tower. With Banner moving around like he knew every nook and cranny of the place, Peter thought it was fairly likely he’d been brought back.

    Peter heard Banner sigh. “Until the Spider wakes up, I can’t do anything but make you as comfortable as possible. Your cells are being destroyed – I haven’t seen anything like it. The mutation the Spider underwent have created something even more monstrous than my own transformation.”

    Peter sat up. “I’m flattered,” he said, startling the doctor so badly that he jumped and almost fell over. “But I don’t have the raw power of your transformation. I’d prefer that to what I have.”

    “You’re awake,” Banner said, and Peter thought he detected relief in the doctor’s voice. “You can save him.”

    [Save him?]

    {Save him?}

    “‘Save him’?” Peter echoed, sliding from the bed. “I’m no hero, Banner. I don’t save people.”

    “We need him.”

    Peter shook his head. “There is no ‘we’. The formation of this team was designed to restrict my movements, designed to keep an eye on me. I hope you didn’t try and separate Mimic from Beckett.”

    Banner offered Peter a watery smile. “Her shape-shifting abilities are quite breathtaking.”

    Peter stopped beside Stark’s bed. “My venom has no antidote,” he said. “Sometimes, I think I get close… But then everything falls apart.”

    “But you’ve tried to create one?”

    “Many times. If I bite someone who I don’t want to kill… Well, I can’t do that. It would be nice to be able to stop the lethal effects, but it’s an effective torture method.”

    [I feel something bad stirring, please don’t snap.]

    “An effective torture method? Peter, what have you been up to while I was away?”

    Peter went stiff. “Please forgive me, Doctor Banner. The following conversation will not involve you.”

Chapter Text

Sometimes:

    He thinks about what it will be like.

    Will the Spider have red blood, or will it be changed as a result of his… transformation? He knows the boy is no longer completely sane, knows the madness steals a little more of his mind each day. But he wants the Spider to know who it is, who it has always been.

    He knows he doesn’t have long.

    He wants the Spider to feel helpless, wants him to know that no amount of healing will save him from his inevitable death. He wants to draw it out, wants to hurt him until he can no longer heal. He wants the boy to scream until his voice is broken.

    He wants to watch the life drain from his eyes.

 

Now:

    “Sounds like you’ve been very busy,” Harry murmured, and all at once Peter caught sight of a familiar smirk from the corner of his eye. When he whirled around, however, there was no one there.

    {Creepy…}

    [Ignore him!]

    “Oh no, don’t do that. You’ll hurt my feelings.” Peter could hear the pout in that voice. He felt something touch the back of his neck – a fleeting, possessive touch that raised the hairs along his arms. He spun again, expecting to see a familiar long fingered hand. But there was nothing.

    “I’m not imagining it?” Peter said, but his voice sounded confused even to his own ears.

    {I’m seeing it.}

    [Ignore him.]

    “What are we, five?” Peter snapped. “If I ignore him, he’s not going to go away.”

    [Worked last time.]

    {We weren’t ignoring him,} Yellow pointed out. {We told him to go away.}

    “I left of my own violation,” Harry sneered. “Don’t think you can push me around, Peter.”

    [I think you’re a Grade A liar.]

    {Yeah! A for ‘asswipe’.}

    “I already told you, Peter is dead,” Peter said. “I don’t appreciate your continued existence.”

    “Spider?”

    Peter whirled, stunned to realize that Mimic, Wade and Captain Rogers were all standing behind him. Banner was watching him with a small frown. How had he not sensed them approaching?

    “Interrupting menaces,” Harry muttered, and Peter thought he could almost feel his old flame’s oppressive presence. “I’d rather like you to kill them all, Peter.”

    “What a wonderful thing it is that I don’t listen to your commands,” Peter snapped, his tone almost acidic. He refocused on the now worried group. “What?”

    {Don’t be rude to Wade!}

    [Oh do stop.]

    “Are you alright?” Wade asked, his eyes flickering around the room. “You were out for a while.”

    Peter inhaled. “Almost a week, going by his smell.” He jerked a finger at the unconscious Stark.

    [Slower than last time.]

    “That’s hardly something I can control. Coming back from the dead should be beyond my abilities – perhaps I’m running out of ‘juice’.”

    {Yeah, I didn’t think you could survive death. What’s up with that?}

    [How many times is this?]

    Peter hummed. “Three? Four? I’m certainly no Deadpool, but that’s impressive. Right?”

    [Right.]

    {Right!}

    “Very impressive, Peter.”

    “No one asked you,” Peter said, scowling. “So fuck off.”

    “Callous. I like it. It’s refreshing. Do you remember how you used to be, Peter?”

    A hand on his shoulder. Thick fingers, twisting scars. Peter glanced up at Wade. “What is it?”

    “We’re trying to talk, you know. I get that your head is a busy place, but can you spare us a moment?”

    “This is what you like now, Peter? He’s hideous.”

    “The only hideous thing here is you!” Peter snarled. “You’re a fucking eye-sore. Get out of my face!”

    “Spider!” Captain Rogers shouted.

    “What?” Peter roared back, sending Mimic scuttling backwards.

    “I’m disappointed,” the Captain replied, looking unmoved. “I was under the impression you weren’t a hypocrite.”

    [Oh, cry me a river.]

    {Where does he get off, calling us a hypocrite?}

    “‘Disappointed’. Parents use that to make kids feel bad. I’m not a kid, and you aren’t my father.”

    {Next thing we know, he’ll be shouting ‘Language!’ at us.}

    [Where’s Wade?]

    Peter blinked. “Where’d Wade go?”

    “After you insulted him like that, how can you expect him to hang around?” Rogers demanded, arms folded. “Wade is very sensitive about his skin, as I’m sure you know.”

    [We didn’t insult him.]

    {Of course we didn’t!}

    “What are you smoking?” Peter asked. “Why would we insult Wade?”

    [Unlike the rest of you, we actually like Wade.]

    “You’re jumping on the Wade wagon again?”

    {He never really left!}

    […No….]

    “Look, Capsicle, I wasn’t talking to Wade. Ask Mimic, she can tell you.”

    Mimic nodded. “Spidey wouldn’t ever say something like that to Wade.”

    “And how would she know?”

    {Oh maaaaan, he’s going to be pissed!}

    [Should we tell him?]

    “Tell me what?”

    {Yeah! Mimic, say hello!}

    Harry sighed. “Peter, your boxes are morons. But you already know that –”

    “And why are they morons?” Mimic asked, planting a sassy hand on her hip. “I happen to quite enjoy their commentary from time to time.”

    {So there.}

    “What?” Harry demanded flatly.

    “I’m afraid our conversations are hardly private,” Peter replied cheerfully. “Mimic can hear you.”

    Something flickered on the edge of his vision, and Peter reacted. He spun, placing himself between Mimic – and Harry.

    Peter felt something inside him wither at the sight of Harry. A very small, logical part of his mind informed him calmly that the Harry he saw wasn’t real, that he didn’t pose a threat – hell, it was probably White. But the rest of him was defensive. He could feel the venom flooding his mouth, could feel his muscles relaxing into a fight-ready state.

    Harry looked as though he’d never died. The thick dark hair, the sharp cold eyes that were adept at taking Peter apart. He’d aged, the line of his jaw sharper and more defined than it had been when he’s been alive. He wore a dark suit that Peter could vaguely remember spilling coffee on once.

    He remembered the beating he’d received even better.

    The hallucination smirked. “How sweet,” he sneered. “You think you can save them? You’re the one they need to be protected from.”

    “How about you shut the fuck up and piss off?” Peter replied in a sugary tone.

    “Language,” Rogers said sharply.

    [Oh god. Did he really just ‘language’ us?]

    {Can we kick his annoyingly perfect teeth in? Please?}

    “That’s not very nice.” Harry took a step forward. “He hardly deserves is, does he?”

    “Just like Peter deserved all the shit you gave him?” Peter asked.

    Harry sighed. “You know I had a temper. You shouldn’t have made me angry.”

    “He did nothing to deserve that,” Peter snapped. “You were a controlling, manipulative asshole. A waste of space. And I’ve had enough of you. I have something more important to attend to.” Peter turned and started to walk away.

    “What could be more important than me?”

    [Breathing.]

    {Taking a shit.}

    “Those are valid points. But Wade. Wade is more important than you. So fuck off.” Peter threw a finger in the air and waltzed from the room.

 



  

    Peter found Deadpool in the bright kitchen, humming and making chimichangas. Peter wouldn’t have thought that there was anything wrong – except Wade had his suit on. The sight of the red spandex actually made Peter’s lip curl.

    “A new Deadpool trailer came out,” Peter said, announcing himself. Wade’s hands tightened around pans handle.

    [It looks good.]

    “Fantastic even.”

    {And you look hot af!}

    [Af?]

    “As fuck.”

    {That part where you decapitated that guy…}

    “And then kicked his severed head into another guy…”

    {The stuff of dreams.}

    “Specifically, wet dreams.”

    [I’m concerned.]

    {What’s new?}

    Wade didn’t respond, and for a moment the only sound was the sizzling of the meat. Peter stepped further into the kitchen, his senses informing him that no one else was nearby.

    “I wasn’t talking about you,” he said softly, leaning against the counter and watching Wade cook. For all that the hero looked delicious when he was fighting, there was something almost sweet about him being all domestic.

    {So, I’m confused.}

    [What’s new?]

    {That’s my line!}

    [Mine now.]

    {Whatever. If Wade cooks, he’s the chick right?}

    […Sexist…]

    {But when he fucks us –}

    [That’s entirely too optimistic,] White cut in.

    {But when he fucks us,} Yellow repeated, his voice louder, {that makes him the guy. Can he do that?}

    “Well, I think he can fuck,” Peter replied. Wade glanced over his shoulder. “I mean, I’m sure all the necessary equipment is functioning.”

    {That’s not what I meant!}

    [What you meant was stupid.]

    “Agreed. That’s not even a concern.”

    {Maybe it should be.}

    “Why? I can cook.”

    His head was silent for a moment before both voices began to laugh.

    “I can cook,” Peter repeated, an edge to his voice.

    {Sure.}

    [And my farts smell like rainbows. And kittens fly.]

    “If you can cook,” Wade said, his voice a low rumble that made Peter’s mouth dry, “then you can chop up the onions.”

    Peter sent the hero a mock salute. “Yes sir.” He pulled out one of his throwing knives, scratching a bit of blood he’d missed.

    [Clean your knives.]

    “You’re not my mother!”

    “You’re not using that! Hygiene, Spider! How many people have you killed with that?”

    {Does he want actual numbers? Or a guestimate?}

    Peter opened his mouth, prepared to answer, but Wade held up a hand. “No, I changed my mind. I don’t want to know. Use a kitchen knife – I assume they’re clean?”

    Peter scratched his chin. “Probably? I’m sure Stark pays someone to clean the place, so if it’s not, he’ll have to replace them.”

    Wade sighed. “Just grab a knife.”

    Peter diligently went and picked out a knife, wrinkling his nose at the strangeness of it. He was used to his throwing knives and his karambits, not unwieldy kitchen knives. It took him all of twenty seconds to chop up the onion, and then he caught sight of the peppers – red and green – and decided he should chop those up too.

    By the time Wade looked over, Peter had chopped up the onions, the peppers, some mushrooms, and was poking at the tomato sauce with a sour look on his face.

    “That was fast,” Wade said.

    “I’m a ninja,” Peter replied absently, flipping the knife into the air. An idea occurred to him, and he glanced at Wade. “Let’s have a knife fight.”

    “A knife fight?” Wade repeated. “I don’t use knives.”

    [Swords are just big knives.]

    Peter held up the kitchen knife. “Knife fight,” he said with a grin. “Unless you’re too scared I’ll chop something off.” He wiggled his eyebrows.

    “You put that knife anywhere near my dick, I will return the favor.”

    {Feisty!}

    “Are you game?”

    Wade answered by lunging forward, stabbing towards Peter’s head. Peter dropped to all fours, scuttling backwards up a wall.

    “Hey! Remember you don’t actually want to kill me!”

    Wade grinned. “If you hadn’t been able to dodge that, you deserved it.”

    Peter’s mouth fell open. “That’s just rude!”

    “I thought you wanted to play, Spider,” Wade said, a familiar taunting note in his voice. “Why don’t you come down here?”

    “Or you could come up here,” Peter suggested, shooting a web at the hero. The web caught Wade’s hand, and Peter yanked the web.

    Wade’s glove fell to the floor, and the hero chuckled. “Missed!”

    “Oh, Pooly,” Peter purred, “I don’t miss.”

    He pushed off from the wall, holding his knife in a reverse grip so the blade lined up with his arm. The confined space of the kitchen made it difficult for the two of them to dodge and duck, but Peter thought that made it more fun.

    “Tony’s going to need a new table!”

    “Hope you didn’t need that ear!”

    “I’m holey! Get it?”

    “Get down from the ceiling!”

    “Is this a food fight now?”

    Peter wasn’t sure how it happened, but between one breath and the next Wade was in his face. Peter’s foot caught on an overturned chair, and he let go of his knife as he wind milled his arms, trying to keep his balance. Wade overbalanced forward, and the two of them landed in a heap on the floor, Wade’s knife in Peter’s shoulder and Wade pinning Peter to the floor.

    “Shit,” Wade grunted, pushing himself up. “Sorry about that.” He grabbed the knife, ready to pull it out.

    Peter placed a hand on Wade’s bare skin. He waited for the hero to look at him. “I would never find you hideous,” Peter said softly, his fingers chasing the scars as they shifted across Wade’s hand. “You’ll never be an eye-sore to me.”

    Wade huffed. “Let me get this out of you. It must hurt.”

    Peter shook his head. “Doesn’t hurt. I kicked through a wall, remember?”

    “Let me take it out,” Wade repeated.

    “Take off your mask.”

    There was a moment of hesitation, a moment where Peter fully expected the hero to just pull the knife out and walk away. The tension was thick, and Peter regretted letting go of his knife – he’d always wanted to see if it was actually possible to cut tension.

    Very slowly, Wade reached for his mask. Peter didn’t move – something told him that if he did, he’d shatter the fragile moment. Wade pulled off his mask and put it down beside him. The two stared at each, gazes locked, until Wade cleared his throat and flicked his eyes towards the knife still in Peter’s shoulder.

    “I’m going to take that out now.”

    “Go ahead.”

    Wade moved quickly, yanking the knife from Peter’s shoulder and then pressing his mask – his mask! – against the bleeding wound. Peter could feel his skin itching, closing back together with a startling degree of swiftness. And all the while, Wade refused to meet his eyes.

    [This is awkward.]

    {You should say something!}

    Peter scrambled for something to say. “It was my birthday last week,” he settled on. He wasn’t sure anymore – he thought his birthday was around this time, but the date had been lost in the sea of blood Peter found himself in.

    Wade glanced at him, eyes widening slightly. “Happy birthday for last week,” he replied.

    Peter waited to see if Wade would say anything else, but the hero was unnaturally silent. Peter decided to press the issue. “I turned eighteen.”

    Wade sucked in a deep breath. “I see.”

    [He’s really slow.]

    {Leave him alone!}

    [He’s probably trying to find the right words to say no.]

    {What?!}

    [As if he’d want to fuck us?]

    “Um,” Peter said, his voice sounding pathetically small. “Should we. Get up?”

    Wade blinked at him slowly, blue eyes narrowed in thought. “Where’s your room?”

    Peter frowned. “Next to Mimic’s. I think. For some reason, I doubt that any of the Avengers would want to room next to me right now.”

    {Why is he asking about our room?}

    [The wound?] White suggested doubtfully.

    “Well, that’s better than mine,” Wade muttered. “Mine’s next to Cap.”

    Peter blinked. “I’m confused.”

    [{What’s new?}] the boxes chorused.

    “Why does it matter –” Peter began, but Wade pressed two fingers against his lips, cutting him off. Peter stared up at Wade, eyes wide with surprise. There was something surprisingly dark in Wade’s expression when he looked down at Peter.

    Wade’s fingers twitched, nudging against Peter’s lips. Peter parted them in a gasp, and Wade pressed in deeper until his fingers tangled with Peter’s tongue. Wade tasted like sweat and meat, the faint chemical scent turning into a faint chemical taste that made Peter’s tongue tingle.

    Peter groaned low in his throat when Wade began to stroke his tongue in earnest. He tried to lift his head, tried to get Wade to put his fingers even deeper, but Wade pressed against his tongue until Peter stopped moving.

    Peter didn’t think he would have ever liked licking someone’s fingers as much as he liked licking Wade’s. It was such a simple thing, something Peter would never have considered erotic.

    It probably didn’t help that he’d already substituted the fingers in his mouth for something else in his head. Something that began with c and ended with ock.

    “You know,” Wade said over the noises falling from Peter’s open mouth, his voice husky, “you’re kinda fucking hot, Spider.”

    “You too,” Peter replied, but the words turned into garbled nonsense and ended in a high whine when Wade withdrew his fingers.

    Peter didn’t have time to complain – Wade abruptly lifted him up and tossed him over his shoulder, one strong arm coiled around Peter’s waist. Peter let out an undignified yelp at the movement.

    Wade marched them to what Peter assumed was his room, unceremoniously dumping Peter on the bed before turning and closing the door. The lock clicked with a startling sense of finality.

    Peter sat up, watching as Wade took a breath, his hand pressed against the door.

    [Maybe he’s having second thoughts.]

    Peter swallowed nervously. “Wade?” he asked.

    “Spider,” Wade replied.

    “Are you… Is this…”

    “I hoped you don’t mind, but I plan to fuck you,” Wade replied mildly. “I just… Need a moment.”

    [Definitely second thoughts.]

    “Need a moment?” Peter repeated. “For what?”

    Wade turned and practically leapt towards the bed, knocking Peter onto his back. “There were a couple of things I needed to think about.”

    “Like?”

    “Like how I was going to keep you quiet,” Wade replied, his warm hands circling Peter’s wrists. He pinned them above Peter’s head, his breath ghosting along Peter’s neck. Peter shivered. “Like how we need to talk.”

    “About?” Peter gasped. Wade’s lips pressed against his throat for a moment before he answered.

    “About this. About us. About a lot of things, really, but I decided it can wait.”

    “It can wait,” Peter echoed in agreement, hitching his hips. He was rewarded with the confirmation that yes, Wade was hard, and a delicious moan from Wade’s lips. The sound shuddered across his skin.

    Wade’s hands tightened around Peter’s wrists. “First thing first,” Wade whispered in his ear. “We need to get rid of our clothes.”

    Peter had a smart retort, but it vanished as Wade trailed his hands down Peter’s arms. Peter wriggled when Wade’s fingers brushed along his armpits, and then froze when Wade skirted nearer to his nipples. For a single, tantalizing second, Peter was sure Wade was going to touch. But his fingers carefully skirted around, never quite touching. Peter made a noise of frustration.

    Peter looked up at Wade, ready to demand a proper touch, but the words died in his mouth when he saw the look on Wade’s face.

    There was something almost reverent in Wade’s expression, spoiled only by the slight frown. His touches were almost too gentle, and with every touch closer to Peter’s groin, the frown deepened.

    {Fuck.}

    [Second thoughts.]

    “Wade,” Peter whispered. “We don’t have to….”

    “What kind of man would I be if I left you in your time of need?” Wade asked, a smirk stretching across his face.

    Peter took a breath. “If you don’t want to do this,” he said, his voice stronger as he gestured to the pair of them, “then you don’t have to.”

    Wade swore. “That’s the problem, Pe – Spider. I want to do this,” he mimicked Peter’s gesture, “too much.”

    [There’s such thing?]

    {I call bullshit.}

    Peter pushed himself up until his face was level with Wade’s. “There is no such thing as too much,” Peter said firmly. “You can’t hurt me, Wade. Not like I can hurt you.”

    Wade’s hand moved to stroke along Peter’s jaw. “You’re still just a kid, Spider. Eighteen?” He sighed.

    [I sense we’re going to have that talk now.]

    {What? No! Later! After the sex!}

    [You are so immature.]

    “I’m not innocent,” Peter replied, his voice twisting in distaste. “I stopped being a kid a long time ago.”

    “What exactly are you expecting this to be?”

    {Sex.}

    [Sex.]

    “Sex.” Peter shrugged. “I’m not the most likeable guy – I know that. I’d be happy if we fucked and then you gave me some speech about how you don’t actually have feelings for me and this was a one-time thing, blah blah blah. And then we find my would-be murderer and kick his cowardly backside – he should fight me like a fucking man, honestly – and then we go our separate ways.”

    “You don’t want this to last?”

    Peter gave another shrug, ignoring the boxes cursing him and the feeling of his chest caving in. “I know it won’t. People don’t tend to stay around me long. You and Mimic have lasted a surprisingly long time, but you’ll leave.”

    Wade frowned. “What about Blind Al?”

    “She wasn’t allowed to leave. If anyone finds out she’s alive, there goes my reputation, you see.”

    {He deserves the truth!}

    [And you’re calling your attacker a coward.]

    {Tell him the truth!}

    [Why are you lying?]

    “Spider?”

    Peter snapped his attention back to Wade without responding to the boxes. “Sorry. The boxes were kicking up a fuss.”

    “About?”

    “They were really looking forward to the sex.” Peter was starting to realize that he was a brilliant liar when he needed to be.

    Wade’s eyes narrowed. “So this isn’t happening?”

    Peter sighed. “Well, that’s your call, isn’t it? I’ve put my cards on the table. If you want to fuck me, you’re going to have your work cut out for you.” He gestured to his now limp cock. “I’m flat as a tack.”

    “I can think of a few things that can help with that,” Wade said, ducking his head under Peter’s chin and nipping his neck. Peter’s cock twitched with interest. “I want to fuck you, Spider. You don’t a clue how crazy you’ve been make me.”

    “I have an idea,” Peter replied, palming Wade’s erection through his suit. “You can fuck me, Wade. I’m not going to break.”

    Peter twisted and pushed. Wade fell back, almost toppling off the bed. Peter caught him and pulled him so that Wade was more comfortably situated on the bed.

    “What?”

    “This will have to be quick,” Peter muttered, running his fingers over Wade’s cock. “Someone is coming. Do you have another suit?”

    Wade choked on a laugh. “I have plenty of spare suits.”

    “That’s good,” Peter replied, and with quick pull Peter tore Wade’s pants apart. Wade hissed when Peter’s hand closed around his cock, and with a few quick tugs Wade grew completely hard.

    “Shit, Spider,” Wade gasped. “I’m not going to last.”

    “Oh Pooly,” Peter murmured. “I haven’t even gotten to the good part.” And without another word, Peter dipped his head and licked the head of Wade’s cock.

    Wade jerked, fingers twisting into the sheets as Peter slowly worked his way down until the head hit the back of his throat. He pulled back just as slowly, carefully grazing his teeth along Wade’s cock. Wade’s fingers flew into his hair, twisting, pulling, pushing. Peter ignored the hands and focused on what he was doing – giving one of the most enjoyable blowjobs in memory.

    The texture of Wade’s cock was interesting – the skin was rough yet soft, and Peter was pleased to discover the scars shifted everywhere. The way the scars scraped across his tongue, the way Wade groaned, the way he bucked up into Peter’s mouth…

    And when he came, Peter was hard pressed to stop himself from following. The pleasure was almost too strong – I did this, I made him cum, look at how much he enjoyed it. The pride he felt was barely enough to keep him clear-headed.

    Wade’s cum was thick and salty and a tiny bit bitter. The combination of flavours permeated Peter’s mouth as he gently suckled Wade’s cock, cleaning him up. Eventually, Wade pulled Peter’s mouth from his cock.

    “Hey!” Peter complained. His complaint died when Wade crushed Peter’s lips against his, teeth clicking and tongue questing for entrance. Peter opened his mouth, thrown by the aggressiveness of the kiss.

    Wade groaned, and Peter swallowed the sound. He tried to hold his own, but Wade was shockingly good at kissing. Peter was swept up in it, lost in it, so the sharp knock on the door startled him so badly he blinked and found himself on the roof. He blinked down at Wade.

    “Spider?” Banner called.

    {He interrupted us!}

    [Rude.]

    “What?” Peter snapped, dropping from the ceiling to perch on the edge of the bed.

    “It’s Tony. He’s waking up.”

    Peter felt his cock immediately wither.

  



 

 

    “What the fuck happened?”

    Banner hadn’t been lying – Tony Stark was awake, the effects of Peter’s venom having faded before he’d woken up. The only sign he’d been harmed were the two silvery scars on his arm.

    “It’s good to see you awake, sir,” said Jarvis.

    {No it’s not.}

    [Impossible.]

    {Someone has an antidote?}

    [Impossible.]

    “It’s obviously not,” Peter snapped.

    Mimic nodded. “He’s alive.”

    [We’re hallucinating.]

    {Someone has to have an antidote.}

    “I’m going to kill them.”

    [With your venom? They have an antidote.]

    {Oh, so you’re agreeing with me now?}

    “Snapping their neck would work,” Mimic volunteered.

    “I could just cut them open,” Peter muttered, fingers twitching towards his knives.

    {Red sea!}

    “Spider,” Barton said. “You going to answer the man?”

    “You mean the snarky coma patient?” Peter replied. “I think I’ll let him wake up a bit more. Love the new scars, by the way. They just scream ‘Pissed off the wrong guy’.”

    Stark glared at him. “You fucking bit me.”

    Captain America sighed and shook his blonde head. “Language,” he muttered.

    “You definitely put your arm in my mouth.”

    {We don’t bite unless we plan to kill.}

    “And believe it or not, we weren’t actually going to kill you.”

    [We like insulting you.]

    “Insulting you is so easy, and you get so angry. It’s hilarious.”

    {It’s fun!}

    Mimic smiled. “Becket is awake too,” she said, her voice bright. “He woke up a while ago.”

    “Finally some good news!” Peter clapped his hands. “Why didn’t you tell me straight away?”

    “You were… Occupied.”

    Peter blinked at her. “Occupied…?” he repeated, puzzled.

    [Wade.]

    {Blowjob!}

    Peter felt his face turn a brilliant shade of red. “Right,” he said, resisting the urge to glance at Wade. “Occupied.” He glanced at Mimic. “Did you hear everything?”

    Her smile turned devilish. “I’m not innocent,” she replied, and Peter’s blush promptly grew ten times worse.

    “Care to share?” Widow asked, her arms folded across her chest.

    [Fuck off.]

    {Nosy bitch.}

    Mimic chuckled. “They really don’t like her, huh?”

    “They loathe her. I think it has something to do with her shooting Wade.”

    “She shot Wade?” All amusement fled from Mimic’s expression, and she glared at Widow.

    [To be fair, she was aiming for us.]

    {But Wade saved us.}

    “At the cost of his own life,” Peter muttered, shooting Wade a look that clearly said ‘It will never happen again’.

    “How noble of him,” Mimic said.

    {Wasn’t it?}

    “We should go interrogate Becket,” Peter said with a smile. “You guys can take care of the snarky coma patient.”

    “I’ll come with –” Wade began, but Peter shook his head.

    “No, you stay here. Have fun, Avengers!”

 



  

    “Why didn’t you let him come with us?” Mimic asked. “I like Wade.”

    [We like him too.]

    She snorted. “Trust me, I know.”

    “Wade is a good guy,” Peter replied softly. “What we’re planning to do – well, it’s not good, is it?”

    {We don’t want him to change.}

    [Maybe get a bit smarter.]

    {Hey!}

    “But the fundamentals of ‘Wade’…” Peter chewed on his lip. “They have to stay.”

    Mimic regarded him for a moment. “You think you’re going to taint him.”

    “Mimic, darling, you’ve been with me less than a month. And you’re ready to torture someone to make yourself feel better.”

    {We are that good!}

    [Or that bad.]

    {Depending on your viewpoint.}

    They turned down a hall, and Peter fell back to follow Mimic. She stopped in front of a door, turning to meet Peter’s eyes. “I don’t think you tainted me,” she replied. “I think this sort of violence was in me all along. I think that it was sleeping, waiting.”

    “Waiting for me?” Peter asked bitterly.

    She shook her head. “Waiting for me to stop caring,” she said softly.

    Mimic pushed open the door, revealing Becket stumbling away from the bed. Peter lunged passed Mimic, catching the taller man by his arm and tossing him back onto the bed. Beckett grunted in pain.

    “I don’t think so, Becket,” Peter said, wagging a finger at the injured man. “You can’t go leaving so soon. You haven’t even had a taste of our hospitality.”

Chapter Text

He knows he’s getting close. Knows that the Spider will eventually come to the realization of who he is. Knows that their history will be the Spider’s undoing.

“Sir, we have a location.”

“Where?” he asks gruffly, his voice ravaged by the same illness that confines him most days to his bed.

He isn’t an idiot. He understands that the Spider isn’t the child he used to know. His strength, his bloodlust, the unpredictability in both his actions and his mental state…

“Well, sir, that’s the thing. He’s at the Avengers Tower.”

A moment of silence while he processes this. “The Avengers Tower? Are you sure?”

“Yes sir. He was transported there by the Avengers themselves.”

“Including the Deadpool?”

“Including Deadpool, sir.”

He leans back, nodding to himself. “The Avengers Tower,” he murmurs. He knows the outlay of the building – a risky appropriation that had been dealt with in an extraordinary manner. He has already begun plans for an assault, should it come to that.

His servant is still standing by the door, head bowed low. He waves a hand. “That will be all.”

“Of course, sir.”

It will be a battle. This he has prepared for. And in the end, isn’t that the best way to go?

 

Now:

    “I can pay –” Becket started, but Peter stepped forward and hit him, his palm cracking across the man’s face. Becket yelped when his head smacked into the wall.

    {We should have backhanded him.}

    [Too much force.]

    “We might have accidentally snapped poor Becket’s neck,” Peter said, pinching Becket’s now red cheek with enough force to elicit a pained grunt from the man.

    [And that would have ended our fun prematurely.]

    “I can pay –” Becket tried again, but this time Mimic was the one to put her hand over Becket’s mouth.

    “You think we want money?” she asked softly. “I feel like you’re missing the point.”

    [We should explain in really simple terms.]

    {Use small words!}

    “You see,” Peter continued, digging his fingers into Becket’s skin until he whimpered. “You’ve been a very bad man, Becket. And bad men always have a price on their heads.” He leaned closer, his lips almost touching Becket’s ear. “I wonder how much someone would pay for you, dear Becket.”

    [Probably more than he can afford.]

    “You killed my brother,” Mimic said, gently squeezing Becket’s throat. “I have to have revenge, you know. I need to avenge him.”

    {Wow! I’d forgotten blood was so red.}

    [It’s like rubies, isn’t it?]

    “But so much more precious,” Peter hissed.

    [We can’t kill him.]

    “He’s Mimic’s,” Peter agreed.

    {But… Oh come on! You guys suck.}

    [We agreed.]

    “Unanimous decision.”

    “Walk me through this,” Mimic said. “What do I do first?”

    [Well….]

    {You don’t want him to run, right?}

    She smiled. “May I have your assistance, Spidey?”

    Peter sketched a mocking bow. “It would be my pleasure.” With two sharp flicks of his wrist, Becket’s wrists were stuck to the wall. “Is this to your satisfaction?”

    {We sound so posh!}

    [How the hell can you do a British accent?]

    “I’m fucking gifted,” Peter replied with a grin.

    “You can’t do this,” Becket insisted. “I am needed, I will not be left behind –”

    “His mouth,” Mimic said, almost lazily. “I don’t like it.”

    {We could always rip it off?}

    Peter pulled his karambits from their hiding place. “Ripping is too messy,” he said, grinning when the sharp scent of fear started to fill the room. “Cutting would be neater.”

    [Um, guys? Do you not remember what we told the Avengers we were doing with him?]

    Peter tapped his temple with the sharp point of his karambit. “I’m drawing a blank,” he admitted.

    “Are you telling me we need to let him keep speaking?” Mimic demanded in disgust.

    {I can’t remember, I don’t care.}

    [We could gag him?]

    “Something a bit easier to remove than my webs.”

    {I don’t caaaaaare! Let’s carve his face off!}

    [Shut up you imbecile.]

    {Come at me bro!}

    “Will you two shut up?”

    {You’re not the boss of us!}

    Peter cocked an eyebrow. “Are you sure?”

    [Yellow, you’re annoying. Stop acting like a child. We have things to do.]

    “And to do these things,” Peter began.

    [Becket needs to be tortured.]

    “Not killed,” Peter finished.

    Mimic bared her teeth. “He caught a lucky break,” she hissed. She threw Peter a piece of cloth – a piece of cloth that looked suspiciously like a handkerchief.

    Peter choked on a laugh. “You’re kidding. A handkerchief?”

    {Oldschool.}

    [Outdated.]

    “A bloody handkerchief,” Peter giggled, stuffing the white square of cloth into Becket’s mouth. “He has a big mouth,” he began innocently. “Do you have another handkerchief on you, perhaps?” A grin stretched across his face.

    Mimic shot him a dirty look. “You’ll have to make do.”

    [Testy.]

    {Geeze Mimic, take a joke!}

    “Ladies and gentlemen, people and boxes,” Peter announced, using his karambit as a microphone. “Welcome to our act! I’m the Spider, and this is Mimic, and together we present ‘Revenge: The Scream-quel’!”

    {Roll up, roll up! Limited tickets available!}

    [Prepare yourselves for the bloodiest show this season!]

    “Come one,” Mimic muttered, rolling her eyes.

    “Come all!” Peter finished, bowing to an imaginary crowd. “We should get into show business.”

    [People would be too scared to come.]

    Peter and Yellow giggled.

    {He said come.}

    Becket was watching them with wide eyes, trying to speak around the gag. Peter turned to look at him, his movements quick and unsettling.

    “I’m sorry,” he said sweetly. “I couldn’t quite hear you.” With another grin filled to the brim with bloodlust, Peter ran the point of his karambit across Becket’s throat. “You might want to speak up.”

    “Do I get a knife?” Mimic asked, her arms folded.

    [You didn’t bring your own?]

    “Rule one: Always use your things.”

    “Fine,” Mimic huffed, holding up her hand. As Peter and Becket watched, her fingers elongated and sharpened, taking on an almost metallic appearance. She inspected them critically before swinging her arm. The talons – Peter wasn’t sure what else to call them – left gouges in the desk.

    {… I just came.}

    [That’s disgusting. And completely impossible.]

    {No seriously, check my pants.}

    [You don’t have pants!]

    “I have never wanted to be able to shapeshift more than I do right now,” Peter said in a low voice.

    Mimic inspected her talons again. “Will these do?” she inquired.

    {Will they do, she asks.}

    [That depends on if you want to keep him alive.]

    “Too sharp and you might accidentally go too deep,” Peter added. “Those gauges are too deep. Try again.”

    Mimic swung her hand again, and this time the gouges were more like scratches.

    [Much better.]

    Peter gave her a thumbs up. “Now, basic anatomy lesson! To avoid killing the subject, we’ll avoid deep cuts to the neck, chest and thigh area. Medium cuts can be applied to the back – obviously, we’ll have to shift him a little – and I particularly like cutting subjects’ feet and then making them walk over sand.”

    [Or gravel.]

    {Glass works too.}

    “Why the back?” Mimic asked.

    Peter shrugged. “Have you never seen a whipping scene? They always go for the back.”

    “I guess you should turn him around then,” she said.

    Peter grinned, slicing through his webs and slamming Becket face first into the wall. “Oh boy, this is going to be fun,” he whispered gleefully in Becket’s ear. He webbed the man’s arms back to the wall.

    When he turned back around, Mimic had shifted her hand. Now, her fingers were flexible whip-like appendages, tipped with sharp, curved talons. Peter gave her a round of applause.

    “You may begin whenever you desire,” he said, stepping back.

    The first crack of Mimic’s whip fingers made Becket scream. Peter moved to stand against the door, listening out for any approaching footsteps. He was actually surprised Jarvis hadn’t crashed the party, but the AI had been surprisingly quiet. And there weren’t any cameras in the room – Peter wondered who had placed Becket in this particular room.

    Mimic seemed to be enjoying herself. Each swish of her whip fingers made him grin – each crack was rewarded with Becket’s cry of agony.

    {Like music to our ears.}

    [Sing for us, dear Becket.]

    The door began to shudder, and Peter whirled in surprise, senses stretched to the limit.

    [We were just getting started!]

    {These people have no sense of timing!}

    “What?” Peter snarled.

    The door abruptly stopped shuddering. “You alright in there, Spider?” Wade asked.

    Behind him, Mimic was rearranging Becket, whispering into his ear in a tone that made Peter shiver. The kid was a natural at intimidation.

    “Of course we are,” Peter replied easily, his senses informing him that at least two other Avengers were outside. A nest full of enemies. Peter bared his fangs silently. What he wouldn’t do to be able to leave.

    “Mind if we come in?” Wade asked, and the door began to rattle again.

    Peter glanced over at Mimic. She nodded, pulling the handkerchief from Becket’s mouth. “No worries,” he said, flicking off the lock and opening the door in one smooth movement. Wade, the Captain, Widow and a dark-skinned guy Peter assumed was the Falcon regarded him silently. “What?” he asked innocently.

    “They’re worried we’re hurting him,” Mimic snapped. “Like he doesn’t deserve a little pain.”

    [I seem to recall certain people being perfectly okay with killing him,] White noted.

    {I remember that too!}

    “It mustn’t have been a dream,” Peter said.

    “He’s mine. I should be able to do whatever I want with him.”

    Rogers’ mouth turned down at the corners. “He’s a person, not a thing.”

    “Well, that depends entirely on how you feel about clones,” Peter offered.

    [They’re the same person.]

    “But if they were the same person, they’d have the same thoughts, the same ideals. They’d like the same food.”

    {And if they don’t?}

    “Well, they’re obviously not the same person, you moron,” Peter snapped. “And if they’re not the same person, does that mean we created a soul in creating a clone?”

    Stunned silence was his only answer. The Falcon – Seb? Shaun? Samantha? – was the first to break it. “I’m confused.”

    [{What’s new?}] the boxes chorused, chortling.

    “This kid is the Spider? You aren’t pulling my leg, Wade?”

    {How rude!}

    [Listen here, Birdy. We’ll let you in on a secret.]

    “I can go from 0 to infinity-insane in the space of a second,” Peter told him. “So best you don’t be a bitch, Chicken Wing.”

    Wade choked. “Chicken Wing,” he gasped.

    “I prefer Birdy,” Mimic said.

    “Oh don’t be like that. White’ll get a big head.” Peter scratched absently at a bit of blood on his skin.

    {He doesn’t have a head,} Yellow whined.

    “Neither of you have a head, that’s why you live in mine,” Peter replied.

    {Then why’d you say it? He’s your favourite, isn’t he?}

    “It’s a figure of speech!” Peter cried.

    “Did he just call me Chicken Wing?” the Falcon demanded.

    Peter grinned. “Trust me, I have much better nicknames for you floating around. White suggested Birdy, like Mimic said, but I personally think that’s too tame. Which is your favourite?”

    “Spider, ease up,” Wade muttered. “Falcon’s never had the pleasure of meeting you.”

    {He thinks it’s a pleasure.}

    [Well we did suck his cock.]

    “The pleasure?” Peter purred, laughing in delight when everyone’s eyes popped a little bit wider. “My my Wade, how forward of you.”

    [Like you can talk!]

    {You were the one with your mouth around his cock!}

    “Um, shut up,” Mimic said.

    “Why are these two even here, Cap?” Falcon asked.

    Peter raised his hand. “I know the answer to that.”

    “Was I asking you?”

    [No, but you really should have been.]

    “The answer is that he cares. Sweet, I know.”

    “Makes your teeth rot,” Mimic muttered.

    “Worse than sugar,” Peter agreed. He looked back at the Falcon. “Think of me as…” He paused, tapping his chin. “Mimic, what’s the word?”

    “Charity case?”

    Peter wrinkled his nose. “No thanks. No one wants to be thought of as a charity case. I was more thinking poster boy?”

    [Poster boy for what?]

    {Bloodlust and bombs?}

    “Rehabilitation, actually. You see, your dear Captain is thinking of me as someone like Wade was, long ago. Only, there’s a problem.”

    “And what’s that?” Widow asked. “The fact that you won’t let us help you?”

    “You expect me to do you the favour of laying down?” Peter demanded. “Jesus, you people are ridiculous! The problem is that I’m not Wade. I never was. Captain America never had a chance in hell at saving me, and he never will.”

    “Spider,” Wade said.

    “If you’re all finished visiting,” Peter continued sweetly, “you can kindly fuck off. Mimic and I have information to get out of a certain fellow.” Peter slammed the door in their faces, doing his best not to look at Wade.

    He flicked the lock back and turned around. “Shall we continue?” he asked.

 



 

    Peter wasn’t surprised when Wade asked him to come out on a patrol with him. None of the Avengers were speaking to him – Stark was doing a fantastic job of avoiding him without making it obvious he was doing it.

    Peter needed to get some tips from him for the next time he wanted to avoid someone.

    The Falcon was also absent, although Peter had discovered that he didn’t actually live in the Avenger’s tower. He’d come to visit, a rare treat (according to the busty receptionist).

    Peter pulled on his mask, dutifully trailing behind Deadpool – Wade was in his suit too, face and skin frustratingly barred from sight. Peter hissed to himself, crawling down the Avengers tower.

    “Where are we going, exactly?” Peter asked when the two of them reached the ground. Deadpool had, at Peter’s insistence, taken the elevator instead of jumping from the window like he usually did.

    Deadpool shrugged. “Around. I don’t do routines.”

    Puzzled, Peter cocked his head. “Why not? A military man like you –“

    “Former military,” Wade interrupted. He shook his head, a wry grin visible through his mask. “I shouldn’t be surprised you know that.”

    [We’re in an age where everyone knows everything about everyone,] White muttered. [Also, I'm like 90% sure he's told us that before.]

    “Except me,” Peter said. "People don't know anything about me!"

    {Right!}

    “As a former military man,” Deadpool continued, “I know that routines are what get you killed.”

    “They do?”

    Deadpool nodded. “You start in a routine, it gets real easy to predict where you’re going to be. Makes you an easy target.”

    Peter gaped. “Maybe you should have been the mercenary,” he murmured, glancing up at the surrounding buildings. He turned back to Deadpool with a grin. “Want to travel my way?”

    {We swing like Tarzan.}

    [We are the Spider, we do not swing like Tarzan.]

    {Insert Tarzan yell here.}

    [Why?]

    {Writer lady has no idea how to spell it.}

    [We’re not Tarzan!]

    {We totally could be though!}

    “I vote not Tarzan,” Peter said. “I don’t like monkeys.”

    {They’re gorillas!}

    “Gorillas are monkeys.”

    [Humans are basically monkeys.]

    “I don’t generally like humans either.”

    {Well you’re a human!}

    “And what makes you think that bothers me?”

    {You’d have to not like yourself!}

    Peter chuckled. “You live in my head. You two know exactly what I think of myself. No sugarcoating.”

    “I’m not good with heights,” Deadpool said.

    Peter stared at him. “Not good with heights? Dude, the first time we met you materialized in mid-air.”

    [You sort of hung there for a second before gravity remembered to apply itself to you.]

    {Wade can apply himself to us anytime!}

    “And then you climbed back up to say hello,” Peter continued. “So don’t give me that bull.”

    [Maybe he thinks you’ll drop him?]

    Peter made an offended noise. “I wouldn’t drop him!”

    {If we dropped him, we wouldn’t actually get around to the sex.}

    [The sex is still a maybe.]

    “Dropping Wade is out of the question. Besides, he’d totally come back and kick my ass.”

    {Then we’d be too sore for sex!}

    Peter smirked. “You think I can’t handle it rough, Yellow?”

    White made a filthy noise. [Jesus fucking Christ Spidey.]

    {Ya know, if I had a body I reckon I’d go for you.}

    “Gross,” Peter muttered, wrinkling his nose.

    “About that ride…” Deadpool said.

    Peter spun, a bright smile on his face. “You wanna go? It’s fun!”

    [See, I would have gone with exhilarating.]

    {Death-defying.}

    [Acrobatic.]

    “Fun works fine,” Peter sighed.

    “So how do we do this?”

    [Piggyback.]

    {Piggyback!}

    “Piggyback,” Peter agreed, turning his back to Deadpool. “Hop on, big man. We’re going for a ride.”

 



 

 

    Swinging through the city with someone on his back – someone conscious, anyway – was a new experience. Peter compensated for the added weight by keeping low and going fast. When his arms grew tired, he dropped onto a roof, patting Deadpool’s leg.

    “That was amazing,” Deadpool gasped, laying on the cold concrete. “How can you stand to stop?”

    [He’s actually pretty cute.]

    {He’s definitely cute.}

    “Why do you sound so surprised? Wade would be insulted if he could hear you.” Peter blinked down at Wade and grinned. “I have to stop sometime.”

    “For food? Why don’t you just swing through the shops?”

    [Glass.]

    {People.}

    “Can you imagine the headlines? Soon enough, all the places I frequent would be guarded. Plus, glass is problematic. I mean, it doesn’t hurt, but it gets in your skin and then you heal over it and it’s just ridiculous.”

    “That was a mouthful.”

    Peter grinned. “So were you.”

    {Score!} Yellow crowed when Deadpool spluttered in surprise.

    [That was smooth.]

    {We’re so proud.}

    “We should head down,” Peter said, peering over the edge of the roof. “Not too far down,” he noted. “You shouldn’t break anything serious if you jump.”

    “Where are you going?”

    Peter rolled his shoulders. “I’ll meet you down there,” he replied, and jumped off the edge.

    He’d been cooped up for too long. Back before the Avengers, before Wade, he’d gone for nightly swings, keeping an eye on the city that moved so fast beneath him. The stretch and burn of his muscles as he webbed from building to building was familiar, calming.

    He perched atop a spire, looking out at the city. His city.

    “I’m back,” he said to the wind.

    {Hey, say it louder. I don’t think they heard you.}

    Peter grinned. “I’m back!” he cried, releasing his hold on the spire and leaping away, free-falling towards the ground. He laughed, free and wild, watching the ground approaching faster and faster. With a yell, he webbed a nearby building, pulling himself up seconds before he became a Spider pancake.

    It took him some time before he found Deadpool again. Peter hadn’t quite remembered to take note of where he’d left Wade – apart from that it had been a dark alley (which didn’t give him much of an idea, since more than half of New York had some form of dark alley). But eventually, Peter found him again.

    “I’m back!” he called, landing beside Deadpool with a smile. “Man, that was fun.”

    “Looked it,” Deadpool said. “I could see you swinging around up there. Gave me a shock when you jumped from that spire.”

    [We haven’t felt a rush like that in a while.]

    “That was the best part.” Peter glanced at Wade, and was stunned into silence when he finally noticed that Wade had taken off his mask and gloves.

    “About that talk we were going to have,” Wade began, fingers tightening around his mask. “I don’t think there’s going to be a better time.”

    {He’s going to ask us to have his babies!}

    [What is wrong with your head?]

    {Same thing wrong with yours!}

    “I don’t want this,” Wade gestured between the two of them, “to be a one-time thing.”

    {We give the best blowjobs.}

    [That’s obviously why he wants it to happen again. What a lucky break.]

    Peter smirked. “I’m really good at blowjobs, right?”

    Wade laughed. “I won’t offend you and say no, but that’s not why I don’t want this,” he gestured again, “to be a one-time thing.”

    [Pity fuck?]

    Peter echoed White’s question, unable to keep the confusion from his expression. He’d explained it to Wade – he didn’t expect anything from Wade except for him to leave. That’s what people did – they left or they died. And since Wade couldn't die - not permanently, anyway - that put him firmly in the leaving category. Which Peter was totally fine with. Sort of. Maybe.

    Wade sighed heavily, and for a second Peter thought he’d pushed too far – he should have just taken what was offered. The ‘whys’ of it all didn’t matter.

    “Spider,” Wade said. He stopped, scratching his head. “This seems like an odd place to have this conversation, don’t you think?”

    Peter glanced around the alley. “No?” he replied hesitantly.

    [The correct answer is yes.]

    {Idiot.}

    “And how many times do you think I’ve had this conversation?” Peter snapped.

    [Never.]

    {Never!}

    Peter was prepared to snap another retort when one of Wade’s hands landed on his shoulder. The other caught the edge of his mask and yanked it up, and then coherent thought took an unscheduled vacation as Wade began to kiss him.

    [Holy fucking shit.]

    Yellow made a filthy noise before the boxes fell silent.

    The kiss was very much like their first – wet, messy and aggressive. This time, though, Wade was more careful with their teeth. He tugged at Peter’s bottom lip, biting harder when Peter hissed in surprise, tongue soothing over the indents moments later.

    It was disorienting, how quickly Wade managed to stir him up. All it had taken was a kiss – a kiss in a goddamn dark alley that smelled like cat piss and dog piss and just piss in general – and Peter was ready for anything. Peter whimpered, his hips thrusting up into thin air because Wade – the absolute fucking asshole – was keeping his body angled away from Peter’s, which of course meant that there was nothing for Peter to rub his ridiculously hard cock against. Seriously. A kiss and he was humping the air like a dog in heat.

    “You…” Peter gasped when they broke apart for air, “are a fucking… tease.”

    Wade grinned, dipping his head to nip at Peter’s throat. “You like it,” he whispered, his voice low and hoarse, twisting the pleasure in Peter’s gut. The hand not on his shoulder moved down to feather along the length of his cock, rock-hard and completely impossible to miss beneath the thin spandex of his suit.

    “Fuck,” Peter swore, his head slamming against the bricks. “Wade…” The fingers vanished from his cock, and Peter’s eyes flew open in shock when the reappeared at his ribs. Peter squirmed, and Wade’s fingers pressed harder, fingernails dragging across the material of his suit.

    “What do you want me to do?” Wade asked in a husky voice that Peter immediately decided should be illegal. In every state. Also in Mexico. Possibly the entire northern hemisphere.

    [Blowjob. Return the favour, big man.]

    {Hurry up and fuck us already!} Yellow snarled.

    [Blowjob!]

    {Fuck!}

    [Fuck. I mean blowjob. Huh?]

    {Fuck!}

    Peter gasped on a laugh. “Anything,” he replied, his hips twitching again. “I just… Wanna come this time. Wade…” Peter whined his name, voice high enough to crack. He was being selfish, he knew. He should be on his knees again, worshipping Wade’s cock…

    Wade chuckled, manhandling Peter so that his chest was pressed against the wall. “You’re giving me a lot of wiggle room, baby boy.”

    The nickname sent an unexpected rush of pleasure through him. “Don’t call me that,” he hissed. No one had ever given him a nickname. Not a nice one, anyway.

    “Don’t like it?” Wade smirked against the back of his neck. Peter felt fingers running down his spine and shivered.

    “Wade,” he said, arching his back. "I'm not a baby."

    “What the fuck are you doing?” Harry snarled. But his voice was echoing, far away. Peter could ignore him. He did ignore him.

    {Go away!}

    [Ugh, Grade Asswipe is back.]

    Hands gripped his ass. “Can I fuck you, baby boy?” Wade asked, fingers caressing the crack of his ass almost reverently.

    “Holy shit, yes.”

    “No. Stop this now, Peter.”

    “Keep going,” Peter moaned. “Rip the suit. I don’t care – Wade.” Wade responded by ripping into his suit. The skin on skin contact felt amazing – Peter sighed, pleased, arching his back for more contact.

    “No!” Harry roared. “You’re mine.”

    Peter growled, rudely pulled away from his pleasure. “Go away.” Wade paused. “No, Wade what are you doing don’t stop…”

    “Have you forgotten me, Peter? Have you forgotten the pleasure I gave you?”

    A blink, and suddenly Peter wasn’t in the alley with Wade. He was in a room – a disgustingly familiar room, a room he’d spent miserable weeks in before Harry had let him go. Peter recoiled, black fear coiling in the deep recesses of his mind. An animalistic hiss flew from his lips, and he heard Wade leap back in alarm.

    “I won’t let you forget me, Peter,” Harry hissed. “I won’t let you whore yourself out to disfigured, disease-filled pests like him.”

    Another blink, and this time Peter could feel the handcuffs around his wrists. He could feel the ring around his cock, could feel the vibrator stretching his ass. The dryness of his mouth, the ache in his throat as he groaned. The fear rose, an inescapable black tide. Peter couldn’t even sense Yellow or White anymore.

    “I told you I could shut them up. I could keep you here, locked inside your own mind.” Peter could hear Harry’s smirk. “I could remind you of the fun we had.”

    He couldn’t see, he couldn’t fucking see, and the fear rose higher, smothering him. He heard himself scream, heard the wind rushing past his ears, felt hot breaths against his neck. He couldn’t tell what was real, couldn’t tell what was delusion. He thought he heard his name being called, thought he heard Banner’s voice, but he couldn’t be sure.

    “The only time you’ll come, Peter,” Harry hissed, “is when I let you.”

     Peter whimpered once before darkness stole everything from him.

Chapter Text

Closer and closer. The web is being spun – it’s almost done.

He’s standing by the huge window that’s masquerading as a wall. He can see the Avengers tower in the distance, lit up with the obnoxious ‘A’.

He can feel the darkness inside him growing, but this he welcomes.

A web is being spun – one that even the Spider can’t escape.

And it’s almost done.

 

Now:

    Peter woke up, eyes flying open. His mouth was filled with venom, and his stomach rumbled warningly. His arm throbbed. Peter swallowed most of his venom, glancing at his arm distractedly. He was so hungry. He wrenched the drip out of his arm, feeling his body rejecting the offered food even as the hole itched and closed over.

    [Bucket!] White hollered.

    {We’re going to blow chunks!}

    A bucket was shoved into Peter’s hands, and without even a pause to say thank you, Peter snatched it away and threw up. The nutrients he’d had pumped into him exited his mouth with force, flavouring his mouth with bile. Peter coughed until he was dry-heaving, spitting into the bucket with disgust.

    {This is gross!}

    [What comes next is worse,] White said.

    Peter groaned, recoiling from the mess he’d made. Someone moved – human, warmth, alive, food. As though hearing his thoughts, the person froze. It took an effort to force the hunger back, to blink his eyes into focus.

    Mimic watched him warily. “Hey there. You alright?”

    Was he alright? He didn’t hurt anywhere, apart from the sharp pains stabbing his empty stomach. “I’m fucking starving,” Peter rasped. “I need to eat.”

    {I can totally see the Avengers allowing you to duck out of the tower and grab yourself some take out.}

    [That was a lame joke.]

    “You don’t have to go out,” Mimic said. “Becket’s here.”

    Peter blinked at her. “He’s yours,” he mumbled. “Your prey.”

    “You’ve been unconscious for a while, Spidey,” Mimic replied seriously. “We’ve been worried. I’ve had plenty of time to settle my grievances with Becket. You can have him if you need him.”

    {He’ll be all tender already!}

    [Bloody too.]

    Peter couldn’t help it; he licked his lips. “I’m hungry,” he said.

    Someone else entered the room – and his senses went haywire, because this prey smelled half-done already. There was a yell, a flurry of movement, and the next moment Peter had the prey pinned to the floor, his nose pressed against the side of a throat.

    He inhaled, expecting to smell the familiar scent of his venom and the sounds of decomposition. Instead, he could smell the prey healing. Peter pulled back, a questioning noise pulled from his throat in his confusion.

    “Spidey, calm down,” someone said, and in a flash Peter acknowledged Mimic speaking to him, Stark pinned beneath him.

    “You smell misleading,” Peter growled. “It’s disgusting.” He flashed his fangs at the man, wanting nothing more than to bite him again – only this time, Stark wouldn’t end up surviving.

    {You tell him!}

    “Spidey,” Mimic said, catching his attention again. “Follow me, alright?”

    [I find it amusing we’re going to eat Becket,] White said.

    {Funny ha-ha or funny ironic?}

    [You know the difference?]

    “Mimic,” Peter whined. “I’m hungry.”

    “Follow me then,” she said with a smile, holding out her hand.

    Take, not bite. Peter could do that. Alternatively, he could take and bite, but then Mimic would die. Dying wasn’t fun. Making people die was fun, but the actual dying part… Decidedly not fun.

    “Come on, Spidey,” Mimic said patiently.

    “Are you kidding? The little monster is going to bite you!”

    Had he said all that out loud? Peter blinked slowly.

    [Shut up Stark.]

    {If I had a foot, I’d kick your ass.}

    Peter regarded the hand.

    [Take.]

    {Not bite.}

    Peter nodded. Take, not bite. He could do that. He grabbed the offered hand with one of his own, pulling himself to his feet. Almost immediately, he felt the urge to drop to all fours. Better to hunt – two legs was ungainly, awkward, slow. His free hand clenched and unclenched at his side. He couldn’t hunt like this.

    [Spidey, you don’t need to, remember?] White said, but he sounded faint.

    “Is it alright if I hold your hand?” Mimic asked quietly.

    Peter nodded jerkily. “Just keep talking,” he hissed. “It’s… Hard. Concentrating. I’m hungry.”

    “I know. Follow me, alright. We’ll get you something to eat.”

    “Becket?” Peter asked hopefully.

    “Becket,” Mimic replied firmly.

    “I don’t fucking think so. Jarvis, cut off access to Becket’s room,” Stark snapped, and Peter felt as though the floor had fallen out from under him. He needed Becket, needed to feed… He was so hungry.

    “Spidey, I’m going to let go of your hand,” Mimic said calmly. “I need you to stay here, okay? We’ll go to Becket in a minute, alright?”

    Peter felt himself nod. “I can’t… For much longer. They’re already gone.”

    “Just a minute,” Mimic promised, and her hand fell away from his. She stalked past him, towards Stark, who was still barking out orders to Jarvis. Peter could hear the sound of his voice in the background, but couldn’t make sense of the words.

    The scent of blood tantalized Peter’s nose, but with an effort that made him shudder Peter stayed where he was. The amount of blood was small – a bloody nose, perhaps. A small cut. Nothing life-threatening.

    He wasn’t sure what happened, but between one second and the next he wasn’t alone – four other people (prey) were in front of him. All thoughts of staying put vanished. Now, it was simply a question of which one would make the best meal.

    “Baby boy!” one of them shouted. A name flickered at the edge of his mind, accompanied by a sick, twisting feeling in his chest. “You’re awake!”

    The thin thread of Peter’s control snapped – he leapt forward, mouth full of venom and with every intention of eating the prey who had so foolishly caught his attention. Peter caught his prey’s shoulders, wrapped his legs around the solid waist, and moved his mouth to his prey’s throat.

    The scent made him stop in his tracks. The chemical scent that was uniquely Wade’s. He hardly heard the shouting, could hardly acknowledged that other people were around him. Peter swallowed, hard. His fangs were pressed lightly against the scarred skin, a simple press away from breaking the skin, and he felt tears gather at the corners of his eyes with the realization of how close he’s come to killing Wade.

    Again.

    Slowly, carefully, every instinct protesting at the movement, Peter moved his mouth to Wade’s ear. He wouldn’t – couldn’t – bite Wade. “I’m hungry,” he whispered shamefully. He rubbed his nose along Wade’s jaw, a whine slipping from his lips. “I’m hungry,” he repeated in a whimper. His fingers spasmed, sinking into Wade’s skin.

    “Come on,” Mimic said tersely. “We’re taking him to Becket.”

    Peter nodded into Wade’s shoulder. “Becket.”

    Hands stroked along his back, and he relaxed into the touch. “Alright, baby boy,” Wade whispered. “Let’s follow Mimic, shall we?”

 



 

 

    The Avengers were avoiding all of them, and it was Peter’s fault.

    Apparently, Mimic had punched Stark square in the nose. Wade had taken him to Becket and helped keep the Avengers away while Peter fed. When Peter had emerged from the room, refreshed and with both boxes yammering in his head, he’d said an unusually heartfelt apology to Mimic and Wade.

    He was ruining their lives, he knew. Both of them were better off without him.

    [Is that why we’re up here?]

    ‘Up here’ was the very top of the Avengers Tower. After apologising and learning he’d been unconscious for almost three weeks – during which time no leads had been found on who was trying to kill him – Peter had retreated into himself. But it hadn’t been enough distance, because they still sought out his company.

    “Yes,” Peter replied shortly.

    {They’ll know we’re up here.}

    [They aren’t stupid.]

    “Mimic’s down there.” Peter nodded at the balcony below him. “She’s not coming any closer.”

    [And Wade?]

    Peter shrugged, a twinge in his chest making him frown. “I don’t know.”

    {… You don’t know?}

    [The hell are you talking about?]

    {Who are you and what have you done with our Spidey?}

    “He left a few hours ago,” Peter said. He’d spied the hero stepping onto the pavement with Stark and Chicken Wing, watched them wander away, and disappearing into the streets of New York.

    [And you didn’t follow him?]

    “He’s off fighting crime,” Peter muttered. “I’m better at doing crime than fighting it.”

    Yellow squeaked in alarm. {We gotta go now!}

    “No,” Peter snarled. “We’re staying here.”

    [Staying here for how long?]

    {Until you decide to jump?}

    Peter stared out at the horizon. “Until they get sick of me,” he said quietly.

    The boxes were silent for a moment. [You know, you’ll hurt Wade.]

    {You’ll hurt Mimic too. Are you alright with hurting them?}

    A humourless laugh burst from Peter’s control. “Have you met me?” he asked. “That’s the only thing I’m good at.”

    And that’s where Peter sat, not strong enough to leave, but not able to cope with the feelings that were growing and tangling up inside him, too much but not enough all at the same time. He sat there until the sun began to set, and then he dozed off, the boxes singing a lullaby that almost made his ears bleed.

  



 

 

    Peter jerked awake, body coiling into a defensive crouch. His spider sense was tingling, pins and needles running along the back of his neck.

    {I’m up, I’m up!}

    [Who left the goddamn alarm on?]

    Iron Man floated in the air in front of him. Peter blinked at him. “The hell do you want?” he grunted.

    “Mister Stark has requested for you to come inside,” Jarvis said. “He would have come up himself, but his suit sustained a regrettable amount of damage earlier this morning. He asked me to come in his stead.”

    {Wasn’t Wade with Stark?} Yellow asked.

    “I was sleeping,” Peter pointed out.

    {In case you haven’t noticed, we need our beauty sleep.}

    “I apologize for disturbing your rest. I did not realize my approach would wake you.”

    “I was having some really good dreams,” he continued plaintively. “I can’t get them back.”

    {Wade was fucking us over a table. It was glorious.}

    [And the chances of that happening are getting slimmer and slimmer.]

    “Miss Mimic and Mister Wilson also request your presence downstairs.”

    Peter stood up. “No, no. That’s the entire reason I’m out here! You can tell them –” The rest of Peter’s rant was cut off by the delicious scent of pancakes.

    {It’s a trap.}

    “It’s a trap,” Peter agreed.

    White sighed. [We’re still going down, aren’t we?]

    “I am the Spider,” Peter proclaimed. “If I can’t nab myself some pancakes without getting caught…”

    [Yes?]

    “I lose 1000 points,” he muttered grudgingly.

    {Only 1000?}

    [Isn’t that a little low?]

    Peter hesitated. “10000?”

    [You said it.]

    Nodding firmly to himself, Peter dropped back to all fours and began to crawl down the Avenger’s tower. The Iron Man suit Jarvis was controlling followed him down.

    {They smell so good!}

    [I’m looking forward to pancakes.]

    “Pancakes are delicious,” Peter agreed. “I swear, if Wade made them without maple syrup in the mixture, I’m going to write him a recipe.”

    [A recipe?]

    {That’s seriously the best threat you could come up with?}

    “I’m going to write him a recipe and make him recite it from memory while I ride him,” Peter continued.

    The boxes cackled.

    “Ssh, we’re here,” Peter whispered, pausing above the balcony that led to the kitchen.

    [10000 points,] White reminded him.

    “Yes I know,” Peter hissed back. Cautiously, he lowered his head, peering into the kitchen. Suspiciously, there was no one there, but a large plate of steaming pancakes sat in the centre of the bench.

    {Maybe it’s not a trap?}

    “If it’s not a trap, what is it?” Peter whispered.

    [A bribe?]

    “I can accept this as a bribe.” Peter dropped onto the balcony, keeping low to the ground as he crept into the tower. Jarvis flew off.

    {I say we run for it.}

    [Grab and dash?]

    “I’m liking the sound of that. I was up there for a reason, after all.”

    Yellow giggled. {We could come and go.}

    [Shoot and scoot?]

    {Ejaculate and evacuate!}

    “Jizz and jet,” Peter added with a grin. “Alright, serious now. We’ve come, now we gotta go.”

    “Go where?” Wade demanded from behind him. “And your reason?”

    Peter leapt into the air, the boxes shouting in surprise in his head. “How did you get there?” Peter demanded.

    “I asked first.”

    Peter pouted. “I’m bad news,” he muttered.

    “That’s not an answer,” Wade warned.

    Wrinkling his nose, Peter stepped backwards and snatched up a pancake. “These are good,” he told Wade.

    “My pancakes are never simply good,” Wade replied, sounding offended. “They are, at the very least, amazing.”

    There was a heavy kind of pause, the kind of pause that came before a confession. But Peter couldn’t find the words to say what he needed to say, so he used someone else’s.

    “There’s someone inside me that softly kills everyone around,” Peter said softly. “Losing self in myself, inner demons make demands. My mask is growing heavy, but I don’t think I like who is underneath.” He bobbed his head, a faintly amused smile twitching across his face. “If a stranger turns up missing, this is my confession.”

    “Lyrics?”

    Peter nodded. “I’ll work until I’m dead, and then do it all again. It’s not because of that, it’s not because of money. I kill because I love it.”

    [I’m not sure he’s going to understand.]

    {I don’t understand!}

    [You know Spidey’s horrible at explaining himself when it comes to himself. Plus, it’s fun to use lyrics.]

    {That was a convoluted sentence.}

    [That’s a big word for you!]

    {Shut up, you jerk.} Yellow paused, before sighing in frustration. {Explain it to me!}

    [You just told me to shut up.]

    {I know! But explain!}

    [You sure you need me to?]

    {Yes!}

    [Well the first part is how Spidey feels. Losing everyone who gets close – it’s mostly his fault anyway, but that’s beside the point. Sometimes he feels like he’s losing himself. Like those times he goes off on several tangents. Spidey is Peter too, even if we’re all keeping him buried way down there.]

    {We help him with the tangents, too.}

    [We’re the inner demons.]

    {I thought we were his conscious?}

    White snorted. [No.]

    Peter huffed in frustration. “I don’t know how to explain it,” he hedged.

    [The mask bit is obvious. After that, he’s saying he really likes what he does. He doesn’t want to stop his brand of justice.]

    “I think you explained it fine,” Wade replied.

    “What?” Peter asked, almost dropping his pancake in surprise.

    {He understood?}

    [You are definitely lacking as a box,] White said disapprovingly.

    {Shut up, jerk.}

    “I’d never ask you to change,” Wade continued. “I like you just the way you are.”

    “I – but – what?” Peter spluttered. “The Avengers have been avoiding you!”

    Wade nodded. “They have.”

    “And it’s my fault!”

    Wade nodded again. “It is.”

    [Woah. I totally expected him to deny it.]

    {Wade’s given up on us!} Yellow wailed.

    Peter threw up his hands. “I don’t understand!” The remains of his pancake stuck to the ceiling. He glanced up. “Oh no,” he whispered, horrified. “What did I do?” Maple syrup dripped onto his cheek.

    [A little to the left and it would have landed in our mouth.]

    {The pancake!}

    [Mourn it later, this is important.]

    Wade smiled and walked over to where Peter was sitting. For a tense moment, Peter thought about fleeing back to the rooftop. Wade shook his head slowly and Peter deflated, watching the hero approach him with narrowed eyes.

    “The Avengers are avoiding me, but they’re also avoiding you. There’s a reason you’ve been left alone up there.”

    {Yeah, because everyone hates us.}

    [They think we’re monsters.]

    “We are monsters,” Peter replied sharply.

    “That’s not it.” Wade shook his head. “You didn’t see yourself. I don’t think you even remember what you did. It was very cute. Also totally out of character, you know?”

    [Sound the fucking alarm!]

    {What did we do?}

    Peter leaned back, eyes wide. “What did I do?”

    “You attacked me, baby boy. You were ready to bite me, but you stopped. Widow was there too, you know. She saw you the first time as well. I know you have a bit of beef with her – you two get on worse than oil and water, it’s really entertaining to watch – but she told Tony to let us through.”

    “Widow did?” Peter repeated. The boxes were silent.

    Wade nodded. “She didn’t exactly say it, but I’m sure she knows there’s something going on between us.”

    Peter recoiled. “Weren’t you listening?” he demanded. “I – you – we can’t!”

    “Actually, after your display, I’m sure everyone knows there’s something going on between us. So you’re going to have your work cut out for you if you try and deny it.” Wade smirked.

    [Just tell us what we did!]

    {Wade!}

    “Display? What are you talking about?” Peter began to scramble away, but by now Wade was close enough to catch hold of his wrists and pin him to the edge of the counter.

    He leaned closer, and Peter froze in shock when he rubbed his face against Peter’s. It was a sweet, affectionate gesture that turned Peter’s mind into a humming blank. Wade closed his mouth around Peter’s earlobe, teeth grazing the sensitive skin.

    “You did this,” he breathed.

    {Oh God.}

    [We will not come in our pants just from this!]

    Mercifully, Wade pulled his mouth from Peter’s ear but kept his face close to Peter’s. Wade licked his cheek, sucking up the syrup still on his skin. Peter shivered involuntarily as Wade’s breath feathered across his ear.

    “Las cosas que te podría hacer,” Wade whispered hoarsely. “Dios, no tienes idea en lo que te has metido.”

    {Oh God.}

    [Was – was that Spanish?]

    Peter shuddered, felt his heartbeat skyrocket and felt Wade grin. “¿Te gusta qué te hablé en español? Me pregunto qué pasaría si siguiera hablando. Ni siquiera te he tocado, pero apuesto que ya estás duro. ¿No es así?

    “Wade,” Peter breathed helplessly. Jesus fucking Christ on a pogo stick, but that was hot. How had he missed that?

    {Permission to come in our pants now, sir?}

    [Permission bloody granted. That came from nowhere. I mean, asswipe spoke another language.]

    {But that was German.}

    [No one sounds sexy speaking German.]

    “Grab some pancakes, baby boy,” Wade said, the faintest trace of an accent softening the edges of his words. “We’re changing location.”

    Peter felt Wade release his wrists and mindlessly reached behind himself, fingers questing for the plate. He almost knocked it off, catching it before the pancakes hit the floor. He turned back to Wade, opening his mouth to ask something. Wade caught him by the wrist, Peter heard a click, and then the kitchen melted around them.

    The world reassembled itself into a bedroom only moments later, but Peter’s senses took a little longer to adjust. Mainly because Peter had never teleported before – hello, he had his webs for a reason – but also because Wade was whispering in his ear again. In Spanish.

    Wade walked him backwards until they hit the bed – it took little more than a token effort for Wade to push Peter back onto the bed. Peter landed on his back, pancakes clutched to his chest and eyes wide.

    “This time, there won’t be any interruptions,” Wade said. “I got a partial explanation from Mimic – she said it’s your story to tell. And I’m okay with that. But you’re going to tell me if anything happens while we’re doing this, alright?”

    {That is a hell serious voice.}

    Peter nodded meekly, swallowing thickly. “Wade,” he started, but the hero held up a finger.

    “You’re not going to talk. I know that’s near impossible for you, so I got something to help.” From one of his many pouches, Wade produced a ball-gag.

    A cold sweat raced across Peter’s skin. He scrambled backwards, pancakes forgotten. He stared at the ball-gag, his arousal withering with the flashes of memory the simple toy brought him.

    [Shite.]

    {Why’d he have to go and do that?}

    “You’re scared of this,” Wade noted, and Peter realized he hadn’t moved. He tore his eyes away from the gag to stare at Wade. “Why are you scared?” There was concern in the lines around Wade’s mouth, anger in the thin, sharp line his mouth had become.

    {Harry.}

    [Harry.]

    “Harry,” Peter agreed though numb lips.

    Wade nodded sharply. “Si no estuviera ya muerto, yo lo mataría.” He fumbled around with his pouches, and pulled out a length of rope. “And this?” he asked in English.

    Peter knew, logically, he could easily break the rope if it was put on him. With his strength, the rope was hardly an obstacle. But logic didn’t work against fear, and Peter felt another cold sweat break out at the thought of the rope around his wrists.

    “Harry,” he hissed without prompting.

    “Oh, baby boy,” Wade said quietly. “I’m not going to use either of them. I don’t need them.” He tossed them away, and Peter heard them hit the ground. Peter looked back at Wade in time to see him pulling off his shirt.

    {A more drool worthy sight I’ve never seen,} Yellow proclaimed.

    [I’m on the Wade wagon. Officially. Jesus, we’d never be able to pin that down.]

    ‘That’ was 6’2” and 210 pounds worth of perfectly sculpted muscle. Peter’s mouth turned dry as he watched muscles shift and stretch beneath Wade’s ever-changing skin. He swallowed, loudly, and flushed when Wade glanced at him with an amused smirk.

    “Like what you see, baby boy?”

    “I told you not to call me that,” Peter said, his tone a little too sharp. He winced, but Wade just laughed.

    “Do you need a hand?” he asked, eyes trailing down the length of Peter’s body. Peter couldn't help but wonder what he looked like.

    [Probably like an insane, embarrassingly desperate murderer,] White said.

    {A hand? That’s all you’re offering?}

    [He’s talking about clothes, Yellow. We’re still dressed.]

    {…Oh…}

    Peter didn’t have a chance to reply – Wade caught the hem of his shirt, knuckles brushing against Peter’s navel. In one smooth motion, Wade pulled the shirt off, tossing it on the floor. Peter couldn’t help but notice that he’d folded his own shirt carefully.

    “Mine doesn’t get the royal treatment?” Peter huffed, unable to keep his eyes from following a particularly suggestive looking scar as it moved across Wade’s chest. The light from the candles – how had he missed the bloody candles? – cast interesting shadows on Wade’s skin.

    Peter thought he could stare at Wade forever and never get bored.

    “It’s not yours,” Wade rumbled, putting a finger beneath Peter’s chin and tilting his head back until their eyes met. “Should I start talking Spanish, baby boy?”

    Peter spluttered. “That’s playing dirty.”

    Wade just grinned and pressed his fingers into the valleys between Peter’s ribs. “What next?”

    {I’m going to say pants.}

    [I second that notion.]

    “Notion passed,” Peter said. He tilted his hips. “Pants.” Wade’s hands trailed down, stopping when Peter shook his head. “You first.”

    “You want a strip tease, baby boy?” Wade teased, stepping back and hooking his thumbs into his jeans. He twirled his hips, making a show of reaching of undoing his jeans and sliding them down his very long, very shapely legs.

    Peter crawled to the edge of the bed, eyes tracing the outline of Wade’s erection where it sat, hidden by a thin layer of cloth. He felt his cock throb at the sight and bit his lip.

    “Now it’s your turn,” Wade said with a grin that made Peter feel like he’d missed something important.

    Peter stood up on the bed. He smirked at Wade and slid his hands into his sweatpants. Immediately, he realized why Wade was grinning.

    [We’re commando.]

    {This is to our advantage, you know.}

    White snorted. [How?]

    {As attractive as we’d look in underwear like Wade, I’ll bet we look even better naked.}

    [Where did this sudden bout of self-confidence come from?]

    Yellow laughed. {Look at the way he’s looking at us!}

    Peter glanced at Wade’s expression. He swallowed at the hungry look in Wade’s eyes, pupils devouring irises the longer Peter stared at him. Wade smiled slowly, taking a step forward. When Peter remained where he was, Wade took another step, and another, until he was standing right by the bed, craning his neck back to look Peter in the eye.

    “Eres hermoso,” Wade said. Peter’s breath hitched in surprise. “No tienes ni idea?” His hands caught Peter’s hips, fingers digging in hard enough to leave red marks. “Quiero dejar moretones,” Wade muttered, staring at the red marks hungrily. He made a disappointed sound when they faded.

    Peter couldn’t keep quiet anymore. “I want to mark you,” Peter admitted, his voice hoarse. His fingers danced across the bare dome of Wade’s head, chasing the scars that contrasted with the silky patches of unmarred skin. “I want to leave something permanent. So you remember.”

    So you remember that, at one point, you wanted to sleep with me, Peter added silently.

    Wade huffed. “Looks like we both miss out in that regard.” His fingers slipped into the waistband of Peter’s sweatpants. “We’ll just have to make it so we can’t forget.” He yanked the pants down, and Peter couldn’t help hissing when the fabric caught on his erection.

    “That hurt,” he hissed.

    “I knew guys like you in the army,” Wade said conversationally, knocking Peter off his feet and straddling him effortlessly. Peter’s breath caught when he realized Wade was as naked as he was. He looked glorious. “Guys who weren’t scared of pain, who kind of liked it.”

    That made Peter bare his teeth. “I’m not like them.”

    “Oh yeah? Then explain to me why you’re still hard.”

    “A naked, attractive man is sitting on me,” Peter replied easily. “What more reason do I need?”

    Something seemed to occur to Wade, because all humour fled from his expression. “Did he hurt you?” he asked seriously.

    “He never got the chance to hurt me,” Peter snapped.

    Wade nodded. “But you and Peter are the same person. Two sides of the same coin and all that jazz.”

    Peter squinted up at him. “You just used a Merlin quote on me. A Kilgharrah Merlin quote, no less.”

    “Doesn’t make it any less true, baby boy.”

    Peter sighed. “Don’t call me that,” he grumbled.

    Wade’s hands trailed up Peter’s ribs. “Did he hurt you?” he asked again, voice soft. His fingers paused on the outside of Peter’s chest, perilously close to Peter’s nipples. “An answer, baby boy, and we can continue.”

    Peter squirmed, biting his lip.

    [Just tell him!]

    {We want the sex! Writer lady wants the sex! Readers want the sex! Everyone wants the bloody sex! Hurry up and tell him!}

    He huffed. “Not like you think,” he hedged.

    [Are you kidding?]

    {It’s exactly what he thinks!}

    “Baby boy, you don’t know what I think,” Wade pointed out. “You aren’t Mimic.”

    “I… We had to ask for it,” Peter said, his lip curling unconsciously. “If we wanted… If we wanted anything else.”

    Wade nodded. “He realized you liked it too, didn’t he?”

    Peter nodded slowly, jaw clenched. “He did.”

    Wade’s hands moved to cup his face – he made sure Peter met his eyes. “There’s nothing wrong with liking pain,” Wade said fiercely. “It doesn’t make you less of a person.” Wade gave him a fierce grin. “It makes you fucking hot.”

    Opening his mouth to respond, Peter was completely unprepared for Wade to lean down and press a gentle kiss on his forehead. The texture of scarred lips against his forehead made him jump. Peter blinked up at him, mouth still hanging open, and this time Wade kissed his lips, sliding his tongue into Peter’s mouth.

    Peter made a muffled sound, automatically kissing back. Wade growled low in his throat, catching Peter’s bottom lip with his teeth. A noise suspiciously like a snarl flew from Peter’s mouth, and he bit Wade’s tongue in retaliation.

    A hand circled their cocks, and it wasn’t Peter’s because his had been pinned above his head at some point. Wade started slow, pressing all the right spots and squeezing just tight enough. Peter’s head fell back, panting breaths making his chest heave. Wade made a satisfied noise, tightening his hand just enough to elicit a groan from Peter. He was pretty sure he was babbling, half-formed curses and pleas, but he couldn’t find it in himself to care.

    “Jesus, baby boy, the sounds you make…”

    “Wade, faster,” Peter gasped.

    The hero swore. “Already?” Peter nodded frantically, hands twisting into fists. “Bien. Te voy hacer venir.” The pleasure pooling in his gut exploded. Peter saw fucking stars. He shuddered, feeling Wade’s fingers gently teasing the last of his orgasm from him.

    “You okay?” Wade asked, panting just as hard as Peter.

    Dazed, Peter nodded.

    {Tell him about our refractory period!}

    [Or lack thereof.]

    Peter held up a finger. “I hope your refractory period is as good as mine,” he said, voice slow and heavy with pleasure.

    Wade stared down at him for a moment before grinning. “I guess we’ll find out, won’t we?”

Chapter Text

    Peter woke up slowly. He felt sore in the best possible way, a deep ache that he knew would vanish all too quickly thanks to his healing factor. So he basked in it, stretching out his sleep-heavy limbs, twisting so that the ache sharpened and he felt it all the way down in his toes.

    Or, he tried to. He could only stretch so far before there was resistance. He grumbled sleepily but didn’t open his eyes, mentally taking note of where the resistance was situated.

    The most noticeable bit of resistance was a heavy weight across his hips, pinning him on his side. There was also a warmth all along his back, tucked against the backs of his legs. He frowned, wrinkling his nose. Something was touching it, brushing against it, tickling it. It was ridiculously annoying.

    [Oh my god,] White said faintly.

    {This is a miracle.}

    Peter made a questioning noise, swiping sleepily at whatever was tickling his nose. He wanted to go back to sleep.

    [Spidey.]

    {We’re being spooned!} Yellow crowed.

    [This is a historic day indeed.]

    {Wade fell asleep with us!}

    [This is his room.]

    {He stayed!}

    “‘M trying to sleep,” Peter muttered. “Stop touching my goddam nose before I break your fucking fingers.”

    There was an amused chuckle close to his ear. “Are you usually so nasty in the mornings?” Wade asked.

    “Only if the sex is particularly good,” Peter replied with a yawn.

    [What a backhanded compliment. Also, a lie.]

    “Oh?” Wade said, and Peter could hear the grin in his voice. “Then you must be ready for another round.”

    {Please.}

    [Yes.]

    Peter blinked his eyes opened, glaring at Wade’s fingers dangling just in front of his face. The sunlight shining from between the cracks in the curtains informed him that it was at least late morning. He stuck his tongue out, curling it around the closest finger and guiding it into his mouth. He nipped the skin gently, enjoying the texture of the scars, before remembering something that made him abruptly sit up, spitting out Wade’s finger.

    “Spider?” Wade asked, sounding concerned.

    “I lost 10000 points,” Peter groaned.

    {I’d forgotten about that!}

    Peter blinked at Wade. “You made me lose 10000 points,” he accused. “I mean, my running total was ridiculous, 10000 points hardly puts a dent in it. But you lost me 10000 points.”

    [You got caught.]

    {It’s not Wade’s fault!}

    “How are you going to make it up to me?” Peter demanded, ignoring the boxes.

    Despite not having a clue what Peter was talking about, Wade smirked. “I can think of a few ways,” he replied slyly, running a hand up Peter’s thigh.

    [I’m down with that.]

    {10000 points equals 10000 blowjobs!}

    “1 point for a blowjob?” Peter asked.

    Wade snorted. “Please, you haven’t even had a chance to experience one of my blowjobs. They’re worth at least 10 points.”

    [That’s still 1000 blowjobs.]

    {I’m down with that.}

    Peter rubbed a finger across Wade’s bottom lip. “We have to have a test run first,” he murmured, a grin stretching across his face. “No point giving it 10 points if it’s only worth 1.”

    Wade growled, and in a sudden flurry of movement pinned Peter on his back. “So no morning sex, but a morning blowjob?”

    {Hey, blowjobs will never be regulated to a single point in the day!}

    Peter shrugged, effecting a relaxed air even though his heart was pounding in his chest. “And I don’t think I’ll be returning the favour.”

    “Estas seguro de eso, baby boy?” Wade asked, fingers moving to pinch his nipples. Peter gasped in surprise, not expecting the sudden attack. “Creo que te gusta regresar el favor. Creo que lo harías aunque yo te dijera que no.

    Wade’s fingers twisted. Peter arched his back, eyes squeezed tightly shut. He felt Wade lick across his throat. “You’re supposed to be licking somewhere else,” Peter gasped.

    “Ya estoy llegando. La paciencia es una virtud, sabes.” Wade’s teeth snapped at the air inches from Peter’s skin, and his breath hitched. “No te preocupes, no puedo esperar para tener tu pito en mi boca. He imaginado los sonidos que harás tantas veces.

    Peter groaned. “I heard patience. I swear to God, if you said patience is a fucking virtue, I’ll –” Peter cut himself off with a moan as Wade’s fingers tightened around his cock.

    “¿Qué vas hacer, baby boy?” Shit, he sounded too amused. Peter hissed. “Are you sure you want me to give you a blowjob, because you know, you won’t be able to hear me speaking Spanish.”

    “I’m aware,” Peter huffed. He lifted his head to glare at the hero. “At this point in time, your blowjobs are worth zero.”

    {How many people can do it like me?}

    [Zero.]

    {Keep it so cool like me?}

    [Zero.]

    {Boy you know there ain’t nobody, nobody. Else can make it so hot like me.}

    [Zero.]

    {Take it to the top like me?}

    [Zero.]

    {Boy you know there ain’t nobody, nobody.}

    [Zero.]

    “You haven’t even shut the boxes up,” Peter complained. “They’re singing ‘Zero’. I hate that song.”

    Wade was silent for a moment, before a wide, shit-eating grin crossed his face. “I’ve got a question, can you help me out?”

    Peter groaned. “Not you too.”

    “Why waste time when you know I got it?” Wade sang, licking the inside of Peter’s thigh. Which felt nice, but he was hoping for a lick somewhere else.

    [Three against one.]

    {The odds are in our favour!}

    “You all suck,” Peter muttered.

    Wade offered him a mock salute. “That’s what I’m planning, baby boy.”

    Peter had a reply, he really did. But the words were brushed away with the quick, sure lick to the head of his cock. He bit his lip so hard was worried he’d bite through it. Wade’s fingers pressed against his mouth until Peter didn’t have a choice but to let him in.

    There was something terribly erotic about sucking on Wade’s fingers while Wade swallowed down his cock. If Peter followed the movements of Wade’s tongue with his own, it almost felt like he was somehow sucking his own cock – which, while odd, would probably end up being hugely satisfying.

    Teeth scrapped the underside of his cock, making him swear around the fingers in his mouth. Wade liked to surprise him, liked to keep him guessing. Flashes of teeth, oddly gentle touches, hard and fast, achingly slow, torturous thrusts… After last night, Peter wasn’t entirely sure Wade was completely sane – no one sane had ever been so changeable.

    Wade pulled off Peter’s cock with an obscene popping sound. “Parece que estás teniendo problemas concentrándote,” he said, his voice soft. Warning. Peter’s stomach did an odd little flip even as he cursed himself for being so obvious about how much he liked to hear Wade talk in Spanish.

    He swallowed as Wade drew his fingers from Peter’s mouth. “Wade, you know I can’t understand –”

    Wade thrust his fingers back into Peter’s mouth, cutting him off with a lazy smirk. “Oh créeme, lo sé. Pero también sé que te gusta cuando hablo, aparentemente más que cuando te chupo el pito.

    Wade shifted up onto his knees, moving his mouth even further from Peter’s cock. Peter made a desperate noise, hitching up his hips. Wade grinned, pressing his fingers against Peter’s tongue.

    “You want me to continue?” he asked. Peter nodded quickly, trying to form words without his tongue. “But you were thinking about something else. What?”

    “Last night,” Peter said the moment Wade pulled his fingers from his mouth. He blinked owlishly up at him. “I was thinking that you weren’t predictable.”

    “Would you prefer it if I was?” Wade asked, a frown tugging at the corners of his mouth. “I was under the impression you liked spontaneous.”

    “No, I do,” Peter assured Wade. “It’s just I wasn’t expecting you to be?”

    [You are horrible at this.]

    {Let me do the talking!}

    [Fuck no.]

    Wade looked more amused than offended, the frown gone from his face. “And what were you expecting me to be, baby boy?”

    Peter narrowed his eyes at the nickname. “Annoying, and I wasn’t wrong there.” Wade laughed. “I expected you to be… C’mon guys, help me out!”

    [Now you want our input?]

    {You definitely didn’t expect him to speak Spanish!} Yellow volunteered.

    “Yes, that was also unexpected,” Peter agreed with a nod. He caught Wade’s questioning glance. “The Spanish,” he explained.

    “El español,” Wade said. Peter shivered.

    [Teeth. You weren’t expecting teeth.]

    {Or nails.}

    [You weren’t expecting him to be bare either.]

    “I distinctly recall you saying something along the lines of he should have hair somewhere,” Peter snapped.

    {You weren’t expecting him to actually enjoy it.}

    That was true. Peter hadn’t had many (any) partners since Harry, but he’d fully expected that if he ever did get a partner – a very big if – that his partner would be having sex with him out of pity, because he would never force someone to have sex with him. But Wade…

    “Baby boy?” Wade asked.

    “I didn’t expect you,” Peter said helplessly. “I mean, the teeth and the nails and the Spanish and the way you liked it as much as me… And the pancakes, the pancakes were unexpected – although thinking about it now, it really shouldn’t have been – I thought you’d have lube!”

    {The oil was fantastic though.}

    [Agreed. When we get dumped, we’ll have to remember to use it.]

    Yellow made a horrified noise. {Wade won’t dump us!}

    [And have a Spanish recording going on in the background.]

    {White, you’re making Spidey all depressed.}

    [I’m making me depressed. You two can suffer along with me.]

    “But you liked it, right?” Wade asked.

    Peter huffed. “Of course I liked it,” he replied. “We could do that every night from now until the world ends in fire and brimstone and plague and zombies – let’s be real, anything could happen, and it’ll be our fault anyway – and I would never get tired of it.”

    [Remember back when we decided to keep feelings in a neat little box?]

    {But this is so much more fun!}

    “I’m not suggesting that this,” he moved a hand awkwardly between them, “is a permanent thing. You’re totally free to walk away, I won’t make you stay, and I promise I won’t be clingy or annoying.” Much.

    Wade sighed. “You’re so wrong, baby boy. After last night? This,” he copied Peter’s hand movement, “is definitely a permanent thing. For as long as you want.”

    [It is?]

    {It is!}

    “It – it is?” Peter asked, baffled. “Why?”

    “Because I have never had that much great sex in that short amount of time,” Wade replied. A small, satisfied smirk quirked the corners of Peter’s mouth. “Because you didn’t just lay back and take it – you participated.” The smirk faded – Peter raised a questioning eyebrow. “Hey, with a face like mine, sex is hard to come by.” Wade grinned at his own pun.

    “There’s nothing wrong with your face,” Peter replied sharply. He poked Wade’s jaw. “Except you keep it covered all the time.”

    {That’s a problem.}

    [A big one.]

    {On a stick!}

    [What?]

    “This is a permanent thing,” Wade continued softly, “because you say things like that. Because you are too fucking cute for words. Because you’re completely oblivious to what a gift you really are.”

    [Gift?]

    Peter snorted. “I’m not a gift. I’m the bomb with a faulty timer someone planted in a crowded mall.”

    {Nice!}

    [Boom.]

    Peter giggled. “We blow everyone away.”

    “I certainly hope not,” Wade said, frowning.

    {Oh my god another miracle.}

    [He’s… He’s jealous?]

    Peter blinked. “No. Surely not.” He raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

    “Remember, I can’t hear what’s going on in your head, baby boy,” Wade said patiently.

    {He’s totally jealous!}

    “No. That’s just you wishing too hard.”

    Wade sighed. “Baby boy, let me in on the conversation.”

    “They… They think you’re jealous,” Peter said. His face started to burn, and he quickly tried to salvage the situation. “Of course, it’s silly, I know –”

    Wade cut him off with a kiss. “It’s definitely silly,” he breathed. “I shouldn’t be jealous.”

    Peter wanted to ask him why, but Wade’s fingers brushed against the crack of Peter’s arse purposely. Peter gasped, hand pressing against Wade’s chest. He could feel Wade’s heart beating, strong and slightly too fast, and imagined he could hold the beating muscle in the palm of his hand.

    “But the thought of you doing this with anyone else,” Wade continued, slipping a finger inside. Peter shivered, back arching. It didn’t hurt – on the contrary, it felt good. The stretch, the burn… Peter loved it. “Well, it makes me very jealous.”

    A second finger, a third, a press of fingers in just the right spot and Peter shouted, fingers digging into Wade’s skin. The boxes were babbling uselessly in his head, alternating between curses and what the fuck is he doing to us?

    Peter shook his head. “Never,” he panted as Wade scissored his fingers, stretching him wider to accommodate the thick cock that Peter couldn’t wait to have inside him.

    “What was that, baby boy?”

    Peter whined when Wade pulled his fingers out. “Never done this with anyone else,” he gasped, shuddering when he felt the tip of Wade’s cock brush along his arse. “So, so, so different. Wade,” he hissed, shifting his legs so that they were completely out of the way, resting on Wade’s shoulders. “Fuck me,” Peter snarled, and apparently that was what Wade had been waiting for, because he entered Peter without any warning.

    If Peter’s back had been arching before, it was nothing compared to how it was arching now. Peter was pretty sure he was in danger of injuring his neck – but who the hell cared? He moaned in time with Wade’s thrusts, half formed praises falling from his lips.

    “Mierda. Mierda. Oh Dios, no voy a durar.” Wade thrust into him, breath hot against his ear. “Qué me estás haciendo?”

    “Harder, Wade, faster.” Peter groaned, yelped when Wade nipped at the sensitive skin at his throat. He could feel his cock bouncing against his stomach with each thrust, could feel Wade purposely missing his prostate and he wanted to growl at him to hit the stupid pleasure button with everything he had but his words, his words weren’t working and he was close, so close already…

    “Wade!” he gasped.

    “Estoy aquí contigo, baby boy,” Wade murmured, voice absolutely wrecked. “Puedes venir.

    Peter hiccupped on a sob. He started to babble. “I can’t, stop missing, I’m so close...”

    Wade huffed out a breath of laughter, leaning over Peter and nipping along his jaw. “Wish my marks stayed,” he whispered breathlessly, no doubt watching the little marks vanish. “Need something to push you over the edge, baby boy?”

    Peter nodded frantically, moving his hands towards his cock. But Wade caught both of his wrists in one hand and pinned them above his head, a low growl vibrating the air next to Peter’s air. Peter whined, trying to meet Wade thrust for thrust, to get him to go just that little bit further.

    Wade kissed him, tangling his tongue with Peter’s in a sensual dance that Peter didn’t quite know the steps to. He tried, battling Wade as best he could, but it was inevitable that he’d be swept up in it, that he’d drown in it.

    Peter panted for breath when Wade pulled back, but only had a moment’s respite before Wade was thrusting faster, pace picking up brutally but still not quite getting to where Peter wanted – needed – him to get. He moaned, trying to glare at Wade with heavy lidded eyes.

    Wade smirked down at him, leaning closer. Peter closed his eyes, expecting a kiss. He yelped when Wade bit into his bottom lip, hard enough to draw blood. Peter’s cock twitched and then released, orgasm crashing heavy over Peter’s body. Wade swore, and a few thrusts later he was coming.

    Wade collapsed on top of Peter, breathing hard. Peter panted with him, listening to the frantic beating of their hearts.

    {I love sex.}

    [It’s great.]

    {Especially with Wade.}

    [Yes.]

    “The best,” Peter croaked. He patted Wade’s shoulder. “Congrats. The boxes think you’re great at sex.”

    Wade tilted his head so he could see Peter’s face. “And you?”

    “Already told you, you were great. Don’t want your head getting too big.”

    He hummed. “So, different?”

    Peter blinked at him a little blankly. “Different?”

    “That’s what you said. When I said I was jealous.”

    A flush spread across Peter’s cheeks – Peter was sure it was making its way down his neck. “You pay too much attention,” he mumbled.

    Wade smirked. “That’s a really impressive blush, baby boy. But you’re avoiding the question.”

    “It’s bloody pathetic, that’s why.”

    [You’re 18 and basically a virgin.]

    {So what?}

    [Big deal.]

    {Wade might even like that.}

    Peter wrinkled his nose. “You’re going to laugh,” he muttered, pushing at Wade’s shoulder. He wanted to clean up, but Wade’s cock was still in his arse. Wade didn’t move. “Wade.”

    “Baby boy.”

    {White!}

    [Yellow.]

    “Can you at least let me clean myself?” Peter asked.

    Wade huffed. “I’ll bet you smell like me.”

    {Oh boy, do we ever.}

    “That’s hardly the point.” Peter hissed in discomfort when Wade pulled out. “A little bit of warning would be nice,” he said sharply.

    “Sorry,” Wade replied, not looking very sorry. “I feel like I’m missing skin on my back.”

    “Why does that matter?” Peter asked. “You’ll just heal.”

    “What if I really liked that skin?” Wade lamented as he stood and made his way to the bathroom.

    Peter cocked an eyebrow, eyes trailing over Wade’s body. “Then I suppose I’m sorry for scratching it off.”

    [It’s his fault anyway.]

    {He is way too good at sex. How can we be expected to control ourselves?}

    “The boxes are saying it’s your own fault,” Peter continued, accepting the damp cloth Wade offered him. “How can we be expected to control ourselves? You’re too good at sex.”

    “I’m flattered,” Wade said. He threw the cloths back into the bathroom and settled back beside Peter. “You still didn’t answer my question.”

    Peter squirmed. “I’ve never technically been with anyone,” he said in an undertone. There, he’d said it. Flushed, he stared at the ceiling, hardly breathing as he waited for Wade’s reaction

    Wade sat up, confusion on his face. “But Harry… I thought you two…?”

    “I don’t recall ever being fucked by him,” Peter said firmly, watching Wade’s scars as they shifted across his skin. “He liked toys.” Peter shrugged. “You don’t fuck toys.” There was bitter edge to his voice.

    “So you’ve never had a cock up your arse?” Wade asked.

    [We had yours most of last night.]

    {That counts, right?}

    “Yours,” Peter reminded him.

    “But that’s all?”

    “Yup.”

    Wade was quiet for a moment. “Damn, you took that really well.”

    He couldn’t help it – he felt himself relax in relief. Peter grinned. “I know.”

    “I thought for sure…”

    “You thought wrong,” Peter replied smugly.

    “But you’ve sucked cock before, yeah?”

    Peter seriously considered lying. “Yes Wade. I’m not naturally gifted at that. Unfortunately,” he muttered to himself.

    Someone pounded on the door. “Wilson! Are you awake?”

    Peter absolutely did not squeak in surprise.

    [How do people keep sneaking up on us? This is getting ridiculous!]

    “Wade, do you have a mouse in there?” Stark demanded. “You gotta tell me if you have a mouse problem. I don’t like mice in my tower.”

    Wade seemed to be struggling to hold back a laugh. “All good – I just saw a spider.” Peter glared and kicked Wade off the bed. “What’s the matter?”

    Stark grunted. “Several things. But the main thing is Thor just showed up.”

    “Huh?” Wade replied. “I thought he was hanging with his girl. Um. Jane?”

    “Apparently something’s come up. And you can get the web head up. I’m not going near him.”

    [Oh, we should totally open the door.]

    {Pants or no pants?}

    [Pants.]

    “Only Wade gets to see us in all our naked gloriousness,” Peter said seriously, forgetting Stark was still at the door. He slapped a hand over his mouth.

    Wade burst into laughter, rolling hysterically on the floor, while Stark made a noise of disgust. Peter alternated between glaring at Wade on the floor and the door.

    [We should bite him again.]

    “I’m warming up to the idea,” Peter grumbled.

    “Are you serious, Wade? You’re sleeping with bug boy?”

    “I much prefer web head, thanks,” Peter snapped back. He stepped off the bed – purposely planting his foot on Wade’s stomach – and slipped into the adjoining bathroom, ignoring Wade’s spluttering.

    [Now Stark knows we slept with Wade.]

    {That’s a good thing!} Yellow paused. {Right?}

    Peter stepped into the shower – it was a really nice shower, all fancy looking and big enough for at least three people – and turned on the hot water. “I’m not sure,” he muttered, ducking under the hot spray. He watched his skin turn red and added a little bit of cold water.

    {Wade didn’t seem to mind.}

    “Not right now,” Peter agreed.

    [You worried he’s going to change his mind?]

    Peter pressed his forehead against the tiles, watching the water swirl down the drain. “Wouldn’t you?”

    {I think, crazy as it sounds, he likes us. As in likes likes us.}

    [I think we’re stupid for doing this.]

    {Well why don’t you go die in a hole all by yourself?}

    [If only I could.]

    Peter could hear Wade and Stark talking, but he refused to hear what they were saying. “Stark’s going to tell everyone,” he grumbled.

    [Oh. He totally will.]

    {With a mouth that big, it’s a wonder people still don’t know his address.}

    [Oh wait…]

    “They totally bombed the shit out of his place, remember?” Peter said. “That’s why he lives here.”

    [Iron Man keeps no secrets.]

    {Wade’s going to cop so much shit.}

    “He’ll be the butt of everyone’s jokes,” Peter agreed grimly.

    Yellow giggled. {You said butt!}

    [We could just stab people when they make fun of him,] White suggested.

    “Wade wouldn’t like us killing people.”

    {He never said kill.}

    [I said stab.]

    Peter paused, titling his head. “Non-lethal stabbing?” he checked.

    {Yep. Stab them in the neck or something.}

    White sighed. [The neck will kill them, moron.]

    {Isn’t that the aim of the game?}

    Peter rolled his eyes. “We just had this conversation. We can’t kill them, Wade will get mad. So we just stab them. Non-lethally. Maybe.”

    “Who are you stabbing non-lethally?” Wade asked. Peter was damn lucky his feet were sticky, otherwise he would have fallen over in surprise.

    “Um,” Peter replied intelligently.

    {Distract him!}

    [How?]

    {Blowjob?}

    [Not again! That’s your answer to everything!]

    {Don’t deny it, you totally love it.}

    [Well it’s too late now, we’ve stood silent for too long.]

    {Ask him about whatever Stark was babbling about.}

    “What was that about?” Peter asked, nodding towards the door. He was not oblivious to the fact that Wade was stepping into the shower with him, still naked and completely relaxed. “Stark mentioned Thor? Anything bad happening? Who am I kidding – of course it’s something bad! Oh, I know! Maybe Loki broke out of prison!”

    Wade sighed. “It’s amazing how good you are at guessing.”

    Peter tilted his head to the water didn’t run into his eyes and gave Wade a beaming smile. “So I was right?”

    [Woah.]

    {Loki’s out?}

    “Yep. Apparently he’s slipped his leash.” Wade stepped closer, herding Peter back against the tiles. “You have hot showers,” Wade noted, reaching for the cold tap. Peter slapped Wade’s hand away.

    “No. My shower, my water.”

    “Settle petal,” Wade replied, petting Peter’s wet head. “I won’t touch the taps. Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.”

    Peter hissed at him. “Don’t stick a needle in your eye. Stick a cupcake in there instead.”

    {Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg!}

    “He lost his pants in the middle of France, and found them in LA, hey!”

    [You two…]

    “So Loki?” Peter asked.

    Wade ignored him, running his fingers across Peter’s stomach. “Shower sex?”

    {As if we would turn you down.}

    [I think he’s trying to kill us with sex.]

    “You think I’m going to say no?” Peter raised an eyebrow.

    Wade grinned. “I think even if you say no you’ll be getting another shot.” He gestured to his cock, already jutting proudly away from Wade’s body.

    Peter blinked at him. “That was lame.”

    [Oh so lame,] White agreed.

    Yellow couldn’t talk – he was laughing too hard.

    Wade pouted. “Baby boy es difícil de complacer,” he murmured. Peter felt his cock twitch, and there was really no way he could have hidden it from Wade’s quick eyes. He felt very, very exposed and shrank against the shower wall. “Suerte que sé lo que te mueve, hmm?”

    Even though the water was hot, Wade’s hand felt hotter when it circled his cock. Peter made a low noise in his throat as Wade stepped even closer.

    “¿Sigo siendo aburrido?” Wade said, running his thumb over the head of Peter’s cock. “Quieres otra oportunidad, baby boy?”

    [Do you think if we understood Spanish, this would be less sexy?]

    {We’re not learning Spanish.}

    Peter nodded, palms pressed flat against the wall. “Just in case,” he gasped.

    “What’s going on in your head, baby boy?” Wade asked. He twisted his hand just so, and Peter felt his knees start to shake.

    [Ladies and gentlemen, we are crawling up the wall.]

    Peter’s feet inched up the wall until he was completely off the ground, feet and palms sticking to the slippery shower wall. The instinctive urge to climb was hard to ignore, especially since he’d never really been all that good at dealing with his feelings.

    “Peter,” Wade murmured, planting a hand on the wall besides Peter’s torso. “I hope you’re not trying to run.”

    {What? Noooooo.}

    [Of course not.]

    “You’re – ah – imagining things,” Peter replied breathlessly.

    Wade snorted, picking up the pace until Peter was shaking, hardly having the presence of mind to cling to the wall. “I’m not imagining things. I can see you inching up the wall. No voy a dejar qué huyas de mí.”

    Peter whimpered, his head slamming back against the shower wall. He got a face full of hot water and recoiled, spluttering indignantly. Wade chuckled, and Peter felt the hand not on his cock move to knead his arse. He wanted to slap it away, but if he let go of the wall he was afraid he’d fall.

    “What do you want?” Wade asked, stopping his hand. Peter didn’t bother to stop the long, high whine that bubbled up his throat in response. “It’d be a shame to leave you like this,” Wade said, gently tugging on Peter’s cock.

    [Speak some more Spanish.]

    {Fuck me.}

    “I’m not learning Spanish,” Peter gasped. “I’m not learning fucking Spanish, never, it’s a magical, magical thing. Languages, I tell you. Your a’s and your e’s and your weird ass q’s – like why? Cue, queue… It’s a word, not a fucking letter –”

    Wade kissed him, cutting off his rant. Peter groaned, unsticking himself from the wall enough to grind his erection against Wade’s thigh, loving the conflicting textures of smooth skin and rough scars. It was hot, sexy in a way Peter had never really thought scars could be.

    Wade pulled away, making an annoyed noise, and Peter realized that somewhere along the way he’d stopped kissing back and his inner monologue became… Outer.

    “Sorry!” he gasped, unable to stop himself from thrusting his hips. “It’s just… Insane mercenary, yeah? Talking is my default, I can talk the ears off anyone, and this, this is why people leave –”

    [No they leave because you kill people,] White corrected.

    Peter hissed when Wade’s hand caught his cock and started to stroke again.

    {They leave because you’re a needy little bitch,} Yellow was quick to add.

    [I feel like we haven’t beaten Spidey down in a while.]

    {Yeah, his head’s becoming a nice place.}

    [That won’t do.]

    Wade sank his teeth into Peter’s shoulder, carefully guiding him so that he was hovering over Wade’s erect cock. Peter noted absently that the hot water still hadn’t run out.

    [You know this is going to end badly.]

    {For us, for him, for the world…}

    Peter shouted out a garbled curse as Wade thrust up into him. His arsehole had already healed, returning to virgin tightness, and with no preparation Peter was left clawing at Wade’s shoulders with all his unnatural strength.

    [Look, you’re already hurting him, you monster.]

    {I’ll bet you like the look of that blood, right?}

    Peter shook his head, pressing his face into Wade’s shoulder as the hero fucked him steadily. The boxes kept pace with Wade, chanting [{Monster, monster, monster}] with each thrust. Peter didn’t know how to focus, how to get the boxes to shut up, how to handle the feeling of pleasure crying incessantly for his attention.

    Wade kept hitting that beautiful spot, and Peter found himself kissing Wade’s neck, licking the skin and tasting the scars as they skittered across Wade’s skin. Like spiders, he thought dazedly.

    [That’s too creepy.]

    {Sssh, better not let Wade know you’re a creepy little monster,} Yellow whispered conspiratorially. He gave a high pitched giggle. {Too late!}

    [This is a pity fuck, and you know it.]

    {Next thing you know, you’ll be thinking the Avengers like us too.}

    [Moron.]

    {Monster!}

    “Wade,” Peter breathed – he wasn’t even sure his voice was working at this point. Too much, not enough, you freaking monster, please more, no more, he couldn’t – “Help me,” he sobbed, before he came so hard the world turned white.

Chapter Text

    “Are you alright?” Wade asked, standing in the doorway with jeans on and nothing else.

    Peter was curled in the corner of the shower, teeth rattling from the cold. He hadn’t even realized he’d spoken aloud until Wade had stopped, frantically turning off the water so that he could see where Peter was hurt.

    Any other time, Peter would have been gratified at the attention, but the boxes were still snarling curses at him and he just couldn’t handle it. He’d shoved Wade away, pushed him until he was out of the room, and then swept back to the corner darkest corner of the shower. Wade had taken his time returning, but Peter wouldn’t allow him to actually step back into the bathroom.

    “Fine,” Peter hissed.

    {Liar, liar pants on fire!}

    [I thought you could lie but that was pathetic.]

    “Can I come in?”

    “No!”

    Wade hummed. “Do you want a towel? I’ve heard people catch a cold sitting like that.”

    Peter flashed his fangs. “I’m not people,” he growled back.

    “That isn’t a no,” Wade pointed out.

    A towel hit him in the face. Peter glared at it for a few moments before unwrapping it. He stood up, dropped the towel on the wet floor, and sat back down.

    “Baby boy, that’s not how you use a towel.” Wade sounded faintly exasperated, and Peter hissed in reply, the sound cut off by a full-bodied sneeze. “Why don’t you come out of there –”

    “No!” Peter snarled.

    [Man, he’s never going to have sex with us again.]

    {We didn’t even let him come!}

    [This is your fault.]

    {You’re a horrible sex partner.}

    [No wonder no one ever wants to sleep with you.]

    {You totally deserved Harry!}

    Peter dug his fingers into the side of his head, blood mixing with the water dripping from his wet hair. “Don’t say his name.”

    [You like to pretend you’re over it, yeah?]

    {But man, you are soooo not over it.}

    [Look at all this baggage you’re carrying.]

    {Weighing Wade down.}

    [You know, the tower is higher than any building you’ve jumped off before.]

    {The extra weight will make you fall extra fast!}

    [There’s no way anyone could save us.]

    {Splat. Spider pancake!}

    [Come on, you know you want to.]

    {An accidental step from the edge. No one will guess otherwise!}

    “I will.”

    [Plus, who the fuck would care?]

    {Wait a minute! That wasn’t us.}

    “I would care.”

    {Eeek!}

    [Fuck. We’ll schedule another beat down session soon, Spidey.]

    “I don’t think so,” Mimic snapped, stepping into the bathroom. Wade hovered by the door.

    Peter scrambled on all fours, hissing at Mimic. Go away, go away. He sneezed again, miserably, and braced himself for another mental tongue lashing from the boxes.

    [Another time. These are private.]

    {Yeah, no one else can intrude!}

    Peter blinked. “No more?” he whispered. A foreign concept. Once the boxes started, they didn’t stop until Peter took drastic action. He turned to stare at Mimic. “You heard, right? They really said they’ll stop, right? I’m not,” he hiccupped on a sob, the sound raw and aching and too damn pathetic, “I’m not imagining this?” He tried to breathe, tried to push all his stupid, cumbersome feelings out of the way.

    “I heard,” Mimic replied calmly, pulling Peter to his feet and wrapping him up in a huge, fluffy towel. “You’re not imagining this, I promise.”

    Peter’s knees trembled. “Really?” he murmured. “Because this could totally be a hallucination, you know? Are you really here? Am I?”

    “Are you asking seriously or just questioning the mysteries of the universe?” Wade asked. His casual tone was at odds with the way he was hovering, barely respecting the boundary Peter had set up.

    Peter snorted, feeling significantly more in control with each second the boxes remained quiet. “I’m a genius, I don’t need to question the mysteries of the universe. I know them all.”

    Mimic smiled when Wade folded his arms. She gently pushing Peter into the bedroom, and Wade followed behind them. “Oh yeah? What’s the secret to world peace then?”

    Peter looked Wade dead in the eye. “69.”

    Mimic and Wade both snickered at that, and Peter felt himself relax a little more. Mimic led him to the bed and sat him down, crouching in front of him. “Are you alright?” she asked quietly.

    Peter beamed. “Never better. You shut them up. They never shut up once they start.”

    “Do they do that often?”

    Peter tilted his head and pursed his lips. “Less, now.”

    “Because of Wade?” Mimic asked.

    [No.]

    {Yes!}

    [Shut up.]

    {Make me!}

    “What happened this time?”

    Frowning, Peter shook his head. “I don’t want to talk about it. It’s over. Done.”

    [For now.]

    “Peter, I’m not going to ignore this,” Mimic said firmly. “I can’t.”

    “I can,” Peter replied sharply.

    “You were going to jump off the tower!”

    “And it would have been better if I had!” Peter shouted back, abruptly losing his cool. He ran shaking fingers through his hair. “What does it matter? I am fine with dying, Mimic. I’m fine with being the way I am. I am fine!”

    Wade lunged at Peter, knocking Mimic out of the way before taking her spot, his arms curled so tightly around Peter’s waist that he almost couldn’t breathe.

    Peter patted Wade’s shoulder, his anger vanishing like smoke. “Wade. Wade, you’re squeezing too tight!”

    {He’s getting us all wet. And not in a pleasant way.}

    [Hang on. His shoulders are definitely shaking.]

    {Is he laughing at us?}

    “He’s not laughing,” Mimic said quietly.

    “Wade?” Peter asked, alarmed. “Wade, you’re not crying, right? A big man like you? No way, come on, look at me –” Wade looked up at Peter, and Peter felt his breath leave him in a whoosh.

    Wade’s eyes were red, tears spilling down his scarred cheeks. He looked beyond hurt – he looked like someone had kicked his puppy, ran over his best friend, and fed his mother poison. Not that Peter knew exactly what that looked like, although the last bit sounded very like him, so maybe he did know.

    Peter swallowed. “Wade? What… What did I do?”

    [What you always do – you fucked up.]

    “Shut up, White,” Mimic snarled.

    [Make me.]

    “Baby boy,” Wade whispered, voice hoarse. “Are you alright?”

    Peter’s mouth worked for a moment. “Am I alright? Wade, you’re crying. Balling your eyes out. I should be the one asking you that!”

    [Yet you’re not.]

    “You just… You talked about killing yourself.” His voice was hushed, like he was sharing a huge secret.

    Peter regarded him for a moment. “Of course I did. I’m a mercenary, remember? Kill for thrills and all that. I’ve killed plenty of people – good, bad, morally grey. You name it, I’ve maimed it. A person like that deserves to die, yeah?”

    {But we’re not going to die just yet!}

    “We’re not?” Peter asked, puzzled.

    {No way! We have way too much to enjoy right now!}

    [Like what?] White asked dryly. [The hatred of the Avengers? The disgust of people everywhere? Oh, I know! The death of our friend, yeah?]

    {Um, duh! Look down, you morons.}

    Peter looked down – at Wade. “Oh,” he said, a little stunned when he realized what Yellow was implying.

    {Uhuh. Now look to your left.}

    Peter turned his head, meeting Mimic’s eyes. She smiled at him.

    {It’s sort of like we have a family now.}

    White snorted. [Because that worked so well for us last time.]

    Peter bristled. “I don’t do family, Yellow.”

    {Sure you do,} Yellow replied, ignoring Peter and White. {Mimic’s the kid, Wade’s the dad and you’re the mum.}

    Not entirely sure he wanted to know the answer, Peter asked, “Why am I the mum?”

    {Duh. You get fucked.}

    White laughed. [He’s got you there, Spidey.]

    Peter felt Wade’s arms tighten around his waist again. “We already said,” Wade murmured. “This,” he did the gesture, and Peter felt the corners of his curve up in a smile, “is a permanent thing.”

    And just like that, Peter felt horrible. “I’m sorry,” he said, stroking trembling fingers along Wade’s skin. What else was he supposed to say? Wade was hurting, Peter was hurting, and Peter just couldn’t seem to remember how he’d handled emotions before he became the Spider. “Don’t cry. I don’t know what to do when you cry. It’s very unnerving. I don’t like it.”

    [You sound like a petulant child.]

    “White, I always sound like a petulant child. It’s one of my charms.”

    {Few as they are.}

    “Now that was uncalled for.”

    “Feeling better?” Mimic asked quietly. Peter nodded, chasing the scars beneath his fingertips. He felt… Oddly content. Calm. It was almost unsettling, realizing he had people who cared. About him. And not just about what he would do, either.

    The three of them sat for a time, content in each other’s company. Wade stopped crying, but stayed between Peter’s knees, his arms locked around Peter’s waist. Mimic moved to settle on the bed beside Peter, resting her head on his shoulder.

    {This is nice.}

    [Yellow!]

    {What? It is!}

    [I don’t care – I’m still beating Spidey down later,] White grumbled.

    {Well I’m not helping you,} Yellow sniffed. {I like this development.}

    Mimic jumped to her feet, a grin on her lips. “Wade and I have to go. Widow wants to chat with me – it’s like she hasn’t realized I can read her mind.” She rolled her eyes. Peter smirked, unbothered that the tranquil moment had been broken. He was only made to sit still for so long.

    “Why do I have to go?” Wade whined, clutching Peter’s waist even tighter.

    “Thor, remember?” Peter reminded him. “One of us has to be the hero in this thing.” He did the gesture.

    Wade grumbled, but a few minutes later he and Mimic were walking out the door. Peter gave them both a wave, not missing Wade’s long, sad look.

    [Why did we get left alone?]

    {It’s like they’re asking for us to run!}

    “Yes, well, if you two are finished being absolute shitheads, we have things to do,” Peter snapped.

    [Things?]

    “There has to be a way to cheer Wade up.” Peter surveyed the room, spying what looked like a police scanner. He turned it on, listening for anything fun while he searched for his suit and pulled it on. There was nothing promising, but Peter wasn’t put off. He would manage to find something.

    “Let’s get out there and make a difference!” Peter said brightly, pulling his mask over his face and scuttling out into the night.

 



 

 

    [A hush falls over the crowd as rookie sensation Spidey lines up the shot.]

    {Ya know, we’re using too many lines from the new Deadpool shorts.}

    White considered for a moment. [Nah.]

    “Woah, hold up. Are you telling me I’m copying someone else’s lines?” Peter gasped in horror, his foot hitting the thief’s head with a solid thunk. The guy went flying. “No, that’s a deal breaker. I use my own shit.”

    [But the lines were great!]

    {Pooly is a fucking badass.}

    [I wanna see the movie.]

    {February come at me!}

    Peter dodged a knife thrust and used his karambits to slice the guy’s arm up. “What are you two chatting about?” he asked, tossing the bleeding thief over his shoulder. He wandered over to the first thief he’d kicked in the head and checked for a pulse. He did the same to the second thief.

    [First attempt at heroing – how did we do?]

    “Well they’re both alive,” Peter replied, webbing the two together. “I’d say that’s an important thing, right?”

    {Thief 1 is going to need some serious plastic surgery,} Yellow giggled.

    Peter shrugged, hardly glancing at the mess that was now the man’s face. “Eh, he’ll live.”

    [So what do we do now?]

    {Yeah Spidey! We took down the bad guys without killing them! What now?}

    “Huh.” Peter scratched his chin. “You know, I didn’t actually think that far ahead.”

    [Okay. What did you do, way back when?]

    “Pretty sure I had the po-po on speed dial,” Peter replied. His phone began to ring, and he pulled it out of his suit excitedly. “They totally heard me just now, right?” he asked, answering the phone without checking the name that came up onscreen.

    “Hello! You’ve reached the Spider – wait, should I go back to Spiderman? Or do I need a completely new alias? Because I think I’m running out of ways to express who I am.”

    {Maybe the Spidery Spiderman?}

    “The – the Spidery Spiderman?” Peter repeated, voice pitched high. “What the hell is wrong with you, Yellow? The Spidery Spiderman.” Peter shook his head, prodding the webbed up thieves. “I’ll bet these two morons could have come up with something better.”

    “Spider,” said a firm, authoritative voice. Peter almost dropped the phone in surprise. “Why did you leave the tower without permission?”

    “Cap? Is that you? How did you get my number? I don’t remember giving it to you – not that I wouldn’t, I just didn’t think I had. Did I?” Peter squealed. “What does it matter – Captain America has my number!”

    “Listen up, bug boy, if you don’t answer in five seconds,” Stark began furiously, but someone cut him off by clearing their throat. Loudly.

    [That sounds like more than Cap and Stark,] White noted.

    {I’m counting eight?}

    “So that’s Cap, Princess, Banner, Wade, Widow, Barton… Um, who else?”

    [Stark said something about Thor.]

    “Right. Okay, so Thor makes seven. Who’s eight? Too much to ask that it’s Mimic, right?” Peter shook himself a little – the rain was starting to come down harder.

    “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Spider,” Fury said, his voice sharp.

    {Oh, the big man himself.}

    “Yeah, no. I’m out.” Peter hung up the phone, stuffing it back into his pocket. He clapped his hands. “Let’s see if the store has a working phone!”

    [Of course it will.]

    {It’s a convenience store. They always have phones – it’s convenient.} Yellow giggled. {Get it?}

    White sighed. [Stop.]

    {But do you get it?}

    “Hello?” Peter called, stepping into the brightly lit store. “Anyone still alive in here? If there is, I seriously just need a phone. To call the cops. About the thieves. I’m all for letting them bleed out, but apparently that’s not what heroes do, and I’m kind of trying to impress-slash-cheer up my boyfriend…”

    “You have a phone,” said a trembling voice. “I heard you talking.”

    “Well, that could have just been me talking to myself. I’m actually rather well known for it.” Peter took another step forward.

    [Shouldn’t you, I don’t know, ask if they’re alright?]

    Peter cocked an eyebrow. “Why?”

    “I-I didn’t say anything,” replied the voice.

    “This would be the talking to myself bit we literally just discussed. Shush now.”

    {Isn’t that what heroes do?}

    “Guys, we’re not heroes!”

    [But we’re trying, right?]

    {For Wade.}

    “For Wade,” Peter agreed. “Although it’s also because I am sick of that room.”

    [Just ask.]

    “Right, okay. Are you alright?” Peter asked. After a beat of silence, he raised an eyebrow. “Have you died? Damn, that would look sort of bad, right?”

    “You-you told me to sh-shush,” came the reply.

    “I did? Who am I kidding, of course I did. Well, you can unlock the lips now, buddy. Care to toss me a phone? Like, you could just toss it into the air. I’ll catch it.”

    “I don’t t-trust you,” the person stammered.

    [Oh, good.]

    “That’s good. Seriously, toss up the phone. Ooooh,” Peter moaned.

    [Putting the phone onto vibrate was probably not the best idea.]

    {Are you kidding? Best idea ever!}

    “Hello, Spider here,” Peter answered. “Kind of in the middle of a thing.” He giggled. “It’s a thing in progress. Respect the thing.”

    “Bug boy, you have two seconds to – wait, was that Doctor Who?”

    [He sounds so surprised.]

    {It’s insulting.}

    “Eleven’s the best, chuck out all the rest,” Peter said before hanging up.

    [I’ll bet his ears are steaming.]

    {That vein is ticking on his forehead and everything.}

    “Does he have a vein on his forehead that ticks?”

    The boxes were silent for a moment. [{Don’t know, don’t care!}]

    Peter sighed. “Alright. Where were we?”

    [Phone.]

    “Yeah. Phone. Just toss it up, straight into the air. I’m going to stay right here.”

    “Y-you promise?”

    “Stammer-y person, I swear it. Cross my heart and hope to die and all that shit. Just toss it.” Peter started to get impatient.

    The person huddled behind the counter was silent. A deep, shuddering breath informed Peter they’d made their choice. “O-okay. I’ve decided to tr-trust you.”

    [Oh dear.]

    {But we’re not going to move right? How are we going to get the phone?}

    Peter rolled his eyes. “I’m the Spider. Can I just say, duh?” The phone flew into the air. Peter used his webs to catch and yank it back to him.

    {That was freaking awesome.}

    [That deserves a slow clap. Audience! Applaud!]

    “Thank you, thank you.” Peter bowed to the invisible crowd. He held the phone to his ear and waited patiently.

    “911, what’s your emergency?” a female voice asked, sounding bored.

    {It’s like she doesn’t love her job!}

    “Hey so, the deal is there are two thieves very badly hurt out the front of some convenience store in east? West? New York. We’re somewhere in New York, right?”

    [Duh.]

    “Anyway. We sort of need the police. I mean, normally I would kill them, but I’m really trying to impress-slash-cheer up my boyfriend and – oh man! Two seconds, I promise.” He pulled his phone from his suit and pressed answer. “What?” he snapped.

    “Spider, you have breached security protocol 394,” Fury said.

    “And that’s what? Superheroes aren’t allowed to leave the tower without letting the babysitters know?” Peter demanded, ignoring the kid behind the counter peeking at him.

    Stark made a surprised sound. “That’s… Actually surprisingly accurate.”

    {Good guess!}

    “Yes, thank you. I know I’m amazing. Two things to say, before I hang up. First – I’m not a damn superhero, Director Fury. Just because I’m chilling in Stark’s stupidly big tower – compensating much, Lord Farquaad? – does not mean I’m suddenly on the side of rainbows and candy. Second – when I say I’m in the middle of a thing, it means I’m in the middle of a thing. Stop. Fucking. Calling.”

    [You tell ‘em.]

    Peter hung up. He moved the other phone back to his ear. “Right, where was I?”

    He heard the lady swallow. “Impressing your boyfriend?” she offered.

    “Yeah, that’s it! Thanks lady. Anyway, so I decided to give this hero gig a shot – tried it before, totally backfired – and I’m at this convenience store that got robbed, there’s a kid behind the counter eye-balling me – I think he wants to fight, I’ll win – and two thieves who I did not kill. I’d like to stress that. I didn’t kill them.”

    “I’m sorry,” the lady apologized. “But it sounds like you have the situation under control. The Avengers usually deliver the criminals straight to the nearest station. Are you a new member?”

    [Um.]

    {Huh?}

    “What?”

    “You were talking to Director Fury just now,” the lady explained. “I just assumed you were a new recruit.”

    [This is the misunderstanding of a lifetime.]

    “I’m terribly sorry to disappoint you,” Peter replied stiffly. “I’m not one of those lily-livered do-gooders. I am the fucking Spider, lady. Get the cops here before I get pissed and decide to kill everyone here.” He hung up.

    [On second thought, we should stay on the line so they can find us.]

    {We’re not hanging around waiting for the cops!}

    “A-are you really the S-Spider?”

    Peter whirled around, hands up in response to the shotgun aimed in his general direction. “Hey, kid, you really want to point that at me? On the off chance I’m not the Spider, I’m still the guy who took down two armed thieves with swell moves and cutting wit.”

    [I don’t know. Lately you’ve been more chatter than wit.]

    “No one asked for your input, White.”

    The kid kept the gun up. “I d-don’t trust you.”

    {This kid is like a fucking seesaw.}

    “Yeah. Trust ain’t a problem here, kid.”

    “Don’t call me kid. I’m s-sixteen.”

    [Oh boy.]

    {He sounds like you!}

    “He sounds like Mimic. Kid, I can call you whatever I want. Can you even fire that thing? Like, without sending yourself flying backwards?”

    Yellow giggled. {That would be hilarious!}

    “Damn straight it would be hilarious. Ch-ch boom! Watch the little one go flying! Instant KO!” Peter grinned at the kid. “Seriously. Put the shotgun down. Cops are on their way. The bad guys will go to jail. I’ll go… Elsewhere. Everyone will be happy.”

    {Except for the guy with the ruined face.}

    Peter nodded. “Right. Except for him.”

    “Y-you’re a bad guy too,” the kid said. “You sh-should go to jail t-too!”

    [He’s annoying.]

    {Can we kill him?}

    “No we cannot kill him! We’re the sort-of-mostly-good-guys right now! Killing the kid isn’t productive to our plan to make the boyfriend happy.”

    [You know, I’ve been meaning to ask. Since when are we boyfriends?]

    {Good point! Are we just sex buddies at this point?}

    Peter hummed, folding his arms. “You make a good point. We shall return to it later. Right now, the kid we are not killing is still pointing a gun at us.”

    [An unwise action.]

    {He’s an idiot!}

    “I agree with you both. So,” Peter said, casually using his webs to disarm the boy and sticking the shotgun to the ceiling, “we’ll just leave that up there, shall we? I’ll hang around with you until the cops show up. Sound good?”

    The kid shook his head. “You r-really are the S-Spider.”

    “The one and only! Didn’t the suit give me away? I thought it was hell distinctive.” Peter struck a pose.

    “You’re n-not going to-to kill me?” the kid asked, trembling from head to toe.

    Peter raised an eyebrow he knew the kid couldn’t see. “I said I wouldn’t didn’t I? Out loud and everything, yeah?” The kid nodded quickly. “Right. Well, a promise is a promise, I mean we could pinkie swear and then you’d know I’m telling the truth, because pinkie promises are sacred. You don’t break that shit.”

    [There is a very special circle in hell for people who break pinkie promises.]

    {And the ones who don’t answer a fake telephone when a kid gives it to ‘em.}

    “W-will you pinkie promise?” the kid demanded.

    “You know, pinkie promises require the participants to be pretty close.” Peter grinned at the kid, wide enough that it would show through his mask. “You sure you wanna get that close, kid?”

    Peter was surprised when the kid took a bold step forward. “M-meet in the middle?” he asked.

    [I’m not sure if he’s brave or stupid.]

    {Stupid, obviously.}

    [I feel like we should give him something.]

    {Like what?}

    [A knife?]

    {…Why?}

    [So he feels a little safer?]

    {He had a shotgun.}

    [But he could have hurt us with that.]

    “Kind of hard to dodge a shotgun,” Peter added.

    {A knife isn’t going to do anything!}

    [Might make him feel better.]

    {Why do we care?}

    [We wouldn’t, normally. But we’re trying to be good, right? For Wade.]

    Peter hummed thoughtfully. “Hey kid,” Peter said. “You scared?” The kid hesitated. “Don’t even try to lie. Better men have tried. And failed. That’s the important bit. No one lies to me and gets away with it. Unless I let them. And I have no intention of letting you lie to me. So. Are you scared?”

    “Y-yes,” the kid admitted.

    “Okay. Of me? Stupid question, sorry. Would it make you feel better if I gave you something to defend yourself with? Against me, I mean.”

    “Yes.” Peter watched in amusement as the kid’s eyes flickered up to the shotgun still stuck to the ceiling.

    {Are you nuts? We’re giving the kid one of our knives?}

    “Well we’re not giving him the shotgun,” Peter muttered. He knelt and pulled one of his smaller knives from his ankle sheath. “I’m just going to slide this to you, okay? Nice and slow. Careful when you pick it up – it’s hella sharp.”

    The kid leaned down, carefully picking the knife up. “Now what?”

    “Now we meet in the middle,” Peter replied, taking a step forward.

    They took it in turns, careful steps until they were close enough to complete the ritual. Their pinkies hooked, and then they both took a hasty few steps back.

    Peter took a moment to study the boy in front of him. He was of medium height, with lanky limbs that made him look taller than he was. His hair was brown, matted on one side with blood, and his eyes were huge and brown.

    “All good?” he checked. “You have a bit of blood.” Peter gestured to his head.

    The kid touched his head, wincing away from his own fingers. “Fuck,” he swore. “T-that hurts.”

    [No. Really?]

    {So much sarcasm!}

    “You have a first aid kit?”

    [Don’t you think you should ask for his name?]

    {Who cares about his name?}

    “Not me!” Peter sang, skipping over to the counter. “Aha!” he exclaimed, spying the white and red of healing goodies under said counter. He leaned over, snatching it up and turning back to the boy. His spider sense tingled a warning that he ignored. “I have found it!”

    “And we’ve found you,” an unwelcome robotic voice snarled.

    [Oh boy. Should have listened to that spider sense.]

    {You’re not being very useful this chapter.}

    [I’m saving it for the next one.]

    {Sure you are.}

    “Hey Princess, how’s it hanging? Speaking of, how did you find me? I was so sure I’d thrown you losers for a loop –”

    Crack.

    Peter’s head snapped to the side with the force of Stark’s punch. “Ow, ow, ow, man that goddamn fucking hurt you asshole. Jesus Christ, what the hell did I ever do to you? No, wait, don’t answer that. The list will be long and full of shit I don’t remember doing.”

    [The face. He went straight for the face.]

    {Absolutely no hesitation.}

    “What an asshole,” Peter repeated, rubbing his jaw. He could taste blood. “I bet he feels strong in that suit, huh? Invincible. How much do you want me to fuck you up, Stark?”

    “Get away from the kid.”

    {Is he worried about the kid?}

    [He’s definitely worried for the kid.]

    “Hey, no worries. I was just grabbing the first aid kit, Princess.” Peter held it up with a grin that hurt. A lot. He was pretty sure his jaw was dislocated. Maybe. Probably not if he was talking fine, but still. Ow. “I even gave him a knife. So, you know, he could defend himself.”

    [Not that it would have done him any good.]

    “Hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?”

    Crack.

    Okay. This was getting old. Stark kept smacking him across the face and where the fuck were his spider senses to warn him?

    [Another vacation.]

    {I hear the weather’s nice in Hawaii.}

    Peter groaned, shaking his head. “’uck you,” he snarled, and yes, his jaw was definitely dislocated. “This‘s why I ‘ate you, ‘incess.”

    Crack.

    “Tony! That’s enough!” Peter heard the Cap shout.

    [This is why we never do good things.]

    {Look at what it gets us.}

    “No! That little fucking monster has been a stain in my tower for too long – I want him gone! I don’t care if he’s sleeping with Wade, I don’t care that you and Fury think he has a use – that bug has killed people. In cold blood. How can you forgive that?”

    The kid – damn, now Peter did want to know his name – sidled over to Peter. “Y-you okay?” he asked hesitantly, voice quiet enough that the arguing Avengers were oblivious to him. “That l-looked like it hurt.”

    “Understatement,” Peter groaned. He felt his jaw click back into place and sat up. He spat out a disgusting amount of blood. “Can I have my knife back? Doesn’t look like you’ll need it anymore, what with the Avengers here. In fact, I may need it more than you right now.”

    The kid glanced at Tony and Rogers and clutched the knife a little closer to his chest. “C-can I keep it?”

    “What, forever? Nah, kid. That’s part of a set. Wouldn’t feel right leaving it with you.” Peter rubbed his jaw. “Damn, Princess can pack a punch in that suit. Just you wait, Mr Genius Billionaire Playboy Philanthropist. You take that suit off and you’re toast. I’ll cook up an extra serving of Kick Ass just for you.”

    Of course, what with the yelling going on, Stark wouldn’t have heard him. The kid giggled though, which Peter decided to count as a mark in his favour.

    “Do you have a name?” the kid asked.

    Peter snorted. “Course I do. Doesn’t everyone? Even the voices in my head have names. White and Yellow.”

    [Hey kid.]

    {What up kid!}

    “They said hello.”

    “But what’s your name?”

    Peter shook his head and tutted. “No way. Secret identity, kid. Those guys don’t even know my name.” He winked. “I am the undisputed champion of secret identities.”

    The kid considered that. “My name’s Mal,” he offered.

    [Mal?]

    “What’s it short for?”

    Mal sighed. “You’re going to laugh.”

    {Probably!}

    “Well, if it’s that bad, yeah. Probably. I can make guesses. Random, completely wild guess that have nothing to do with the fact that I think I might have caught your name on a lunchbox?”

    Mal groaned. “You’re kidding?”

    [Yes.]

    {Never!}

    Peter nodded. “Yep. Absolutely. I mean, I saw a lunchbox. I think. But not a name.”

    The kid extended his hand. “Malachi,” he muttered.

    Peter blinked. “You serious? Malachi? That’s a sweet ass name. If I had a name like that, fuck my secret identity. Oooh, which is better – Malachi Spider or Spider Malachi?”

    [Neither.]

    {Spider Malachi!}

    “We have a vote for Spider Malachi and a vote for being a bitchy trampoline,” Peter announced. He opened his mouth a few times. “Hey, I think my jaw’s better.”

    Crack.

    “Ow, ow, ow, why?” Peter wailed.

    “I told you to stay away from the kid!” Stark shouted.

    “Hey, douchebag, I haven’t fucking moved!” Peter snarled back. “Well, except for just now. You know, when you fucking punched me in the face!”

    “Language!” Captain America exclaimed.

    “What’s going on?” Widow demanded, gun drawn.

    Stark gestured to Peter. “He’s taken a kid hostage.”

    [Say what?]

    {We don’t do hostages!}

    “Now just wait a damn minute,” Peter began, but there were suddenly arrows and guns in his face so he shut up.

    “He’s not holding me hostage!” Mal shouted frantically.

    “Just step back, kid. We don’t want him to hurt you,” Stark said.

    That was when Wade wandered in. “Hey guys, what’s happening? Turns out those guys in the web were thieves! But Spidey didn’t kill them! How nice of him, right?” Wade finally, finally noticed the assassins pointing their weapons at Peter, and a spark of anger flickered to life on his face. “What are you doing?”

    There was, apparently, only so much Captain America could take. “Stark, Romanov, Barton – get out. Now.” His tone left no room for argument, but Stark started to try anyway. “Out,” Rogers snapped.

    Peter breathed a sigh of relief when the weapons were removed from his general vicinity. Wade gave the three the evil eye on the way out, making it very clear whose side he was on.

    “Now,” Rogers said, turning to glare at Peter. “Explain.”

Chapter Text

    Peter couldn’t help it – he flicked an uncertain glance at Wade, still seated on the floor. The kid – Mal – slowly gave him back his knife, his movements careful.

    “Hey, thanks kid!” Peter said brightly, snatching the knife from his hands and sliding it back into its ankle holder.

    [He shouldn’t be here for this.]

    {This is a bit too private, right?}

    [Hero/merc business.]

    “Right.” Peter’s gaze flickered up to the ceiling. “As thanks for the knife, I’ll give this back to you,” he added, using another strand of web to yank the shotgun from the ceiling. He offered it to Mal with a flourish.

    “T-thanks.” Mal took the gun carefully. He glanced up at Peter, who tilted his head towards the door. The kid caught on quick. “This is a pr-private conversation,” he stammered. “I-I’ll just wait outside.”

    “Good idea. Ask them for their autographs. Stark will sign without a second thought.” He winked, nudging the kid past Rogers.

    The three of them waited quietly for Mal to get outside. Rogers turned back to him, arms folded. “Explain.”

    Peter hummed. “Where do I start, Cap?”

    [You’re an annoying little shit.]

    {We do try.}

    “How about from the beginning?” Rogers replied sharply.

    Peter clapped his hands and grinned. “Origin story!”

    “I know this one!” Wade exclaimed. “Bitten by a radioactive spider!”

    Peter pouted. “You suck the joy out of everything.”

    Wade smirked. “It’s not the only thing I suck out,” he replied with a saucy wink.

    {He got us!}

    [Damnit Spidey, you can’t lose to him!]

    “If I have to send Wade outside, I will,” Rogers warned, pinching the bridge of his nose. “You left the tower for a reason.”

    “Yeah. I was bored.”

    {It was driving us mad!}

    “Well,” Peter muttered, “madder.”

    [Even getting thoroughly fucked, there’s a limit to the amount of hours we can spend in one room,] White added.

    “That’s right! See, White understands.”

    [I’m a fucking voice in your head, you idiot.]

    “You can tell him,” Wade said quietly, interrupting whatever Peter had been about to say in response to the box’s overwhelming rudeness.

    “Are you sure?” Peter asked doubtfully.

    Wade nodded. “Of course.”

    “Alright,” Peter replied. “If you’re not going to get all embarrassed about it.” Peter flicked another unsure look in his direction. “Wade was crying,” he said, surprised when Wade’s mouth dropped open, “and I wanted to make him feel better, so I thought, hey, Wade likes heroes, right? I mean, he is one. So I thought I’d give it another go…” Peter blinked at Wade’s stunned expression. “What? You said I could tell him!”

    “That’s… That’s really not what I meant,” Wade replied. He cleared his throat. “I meant you could tell him we’re in a relationship.”

    [Well that answers that question.]

    {We’re in a relationship with Wade!}

    “Yahtzee!” Peter exclaimed, leaping into the air. And then he remembered that this was serious, so he linked his hands behind his back and tried to look like he was paying attention.

    “You escaped the tower,” Captain America repeated slowly, “so that you could try to be a hero in order to cheer up Wade?”

    {Sounds about right. You have a problem?}

    “Did I fucking stutter?”

    [Putting it like that makes us sound pathetic.]

    {Hey, as long as Wade fuck’s us, I don’t care how we sound.}

    Peter rolled his eyes. “Of course you don’t, you whore.”

    “Language!”

    “Occupational hazard, Cap. You know how many people swear when they’re hurt, dying? Everyone. Everywhere. I got punched in the face four times by the Iron Princess. With his suit on. I think you can cut me a bit of slack, yeah?”

    “You’re healed.”

    {Damn, he got us there!}

    Peter glared. “It still fucking hurt, you asshole!”

    White snickered. [Look at the face!]

    {It’s like he’s never been called an asshole before!}

    “He probably hasn’t,” Peter muttered. “Fucking goody-goody two shoes, thinking they’re all that.”

    Rogers clenched his hands into fists.

    {Even he wants to hit us!}

    “I’m not letting you hit me. Had enough roughing up for tonight, thanks. Usually, I’d be all for it, but I feel like I’d be sending a bad message to all the kids out there. Abusive relationships,” he said, wagging a finger, “are not okay.”

    [You should know.]

    Peter nodded. “I should, and do, know. Only so many pretty bruises you can leave on someone’s skin without their permission before that shit gets old.”

    “Spider, you should have said something,” Wade sighed. “You should have seen their faces when they realized you’d escaped. Again.” Wade tried to hold back his grin.

    “I was thinking it loud and clear,” Peter replied. “Mimic knew what I was up to, I’m sure. I didn’t need to say anything.”

    {Besides, it was a surprise.}

    [Kind of defeats the purpose if you tell everyone about it.]

    “Exactly. See, the boxes get it.”

    “P-Spidey, we can’t hear the boxes,” Wade pointed out.

    Peter grinned. “Aren’t you lucky?”

    “Enough. Spider, you have to return to the tower with us. We need to keep an eye on you.” Captain America sounded exhausted. “Please don’t fight me on this. I have orders.”

    [Fury.]

    {Fury!}

    “The pirate, I know,” Peter said dismissively. “But I don’t wanna!”

    [Your ability to sound like a child is amazing.]

    {You’ve already commented on that. Get some new material.}

    Wade stuck up his hand. “Does he have to go back right now? Or is it okay as long as he comes back?”

    “Right now would be preferable…” Rogers eyed Wade speculatively. “But if you can guarantee that you can bring him back, I’ll let you have the rest of the night.”

    {He’s so nice!}

    [I’m vomiting.]

    “Don’t throw up in my head!” Peter exclaimed, horrified. “I just washed those thoughts.”

    “But Wade, he needs to come back to the tower,” Rogers stressed. “Especially if you two are… In a relationship.”

    [Oh boy, if he’s hesitant about saying that, he does not want to know the details.]

    Peter scoffed. “I would want to know the intimate details.”

    {Yeah!}

    [You two are perverts, though.]

    Peter gasped, spinning dramatically over to Wade. “Wade! Defend my honour! White called me a perv!”

    “You are a perv, baby boy,” Wade replied with a grin.

    {Of course we are.}

    “It’s three against one! The unfairness of it all.” Peter sighed, scratching his head. And then he brightened. “Captain America will defend me!” he shouted, moving to hide behind Rogers.

    [You can’t hide from us.]

    {We are in you.}

    Peter wrinkled his nose. “Thanks for that, Yellow. So, am I free to go?” Peter looked up hopefully at Rogers, widening his eyes pleadingly.

    Captain America facepalmed. Heh. Facepalmed. He probably didn’t even know that was a thing. “You will return to the tower?”

    Peter gave the Captain a quick salute. “Wade will drag me if he has to, sir.”

    [By the hair.]

    “Nah, that would hurt.”

    [You’re not bothered by pain!]

    Peter hummed. “Would still hurt. Much like the punches of affection the Iron Princess gifted me. Forcefully. Rough love, huh?”

    “I’m trusting your word, Spider. Yours and Wade’s. Don’t make me regret it.” And then Rogers smiled, and it was so completely unexpected that Peter froze. “And good job tonight. I’m proud of your control, son.”

    “If that’s all, I’m taking Spidey out on a date.” Wade latched onto Peter’s arm and dragged him out of the store, ignoring the looks the other Avengers shot at him.

    Peter waved enthusiastically at Mal. “See you around, kid!”

    He could see the little smile on the kid’s lips. “Bye Spider,” he called, waving with the shotgun.

    [The kid has style.]

    {Can we keep him?} Yellow squealed.

 



  

    “So,” Wade said, watching Peter from the other side of the table. “Some night, huh?”

    The restaurant Wade had dragged him to was one Peter knew well. He often swung past it, purposely disturbing the lovey-dovey couples who sat in front of the huge window Peter and Wade were currently sitting in front of.

    [Huh. Irony.]

    Peter hummed in agreement. “He said good job. To me.”

    “Of course he did,” Wade said. “It’s the truth.”

    A waitress stopped by their table with food before Peter could reply. She hardly seemed fazed by their costumes and popped some gum.

    “What can I get you?” she asked.

    “Food,” Peter muttered, scanning the menu.

    She sighed. “Here I was, thinking you boys would want shit and sugar. There a convention or something on?”

    [That sass.]

    {We’re meeting so many like-minded people!}

    “She can’t be like-minded, she’s not a merc,” Peter hissed. “Although you do get points for the sass.”

    She hardly blinked. “Thanks. What are you having?”

    “Chimichangas!” Wade shouted enthusiastically, stabbing the menu with his finger. “I knew they were here somewhere!”

    [Seriously. We’re eating out.]

    “So?”

    [He should get something different!]

    Peter furrowed his brow. “Why?”

    White made a noise of frustration. [Forget it. Moron.]

    {No need for that language, White.}

    “Thank you, Yellow,” Peter said primly. “White is being rude and we, as strong, independent black women should not stand for this.”

    Yellow giggled. {You tell ‘em!}

    [We should order.]

    “Don’t tell me how to live my life!” He glanced at the waitress. “I’ll have the meatloaf.”

    “Sure thing.”

    “Meatloaf? Meatloaf?”

    Peter shrugged as the waitress wandered off. “I’ve had some horrible meatloaf in my life.”

    “Why would you want to get it?”

    Peter hummed. “To get the taste out of my mouth?”

    [We hear the meatloaf is pretty good here.]

    {Better than Blind Al’s!}

    “Blind Al can’t cook for shit,” Peter agreed.

    [Reminds me of another old lady.]

    Peter narrowed his eyes. “Don’t go there, White,” he said, voice low and dark.

    {Yeah White!}

    “This is really disconcerting,” Peter complained, sitting back.

    Wade glanced at him. “What’s wrong, baby boy?”

    “Yellow is defending me. It’s weird.”

    {I can stop if you want?}

    Peter shook his head. “Nah, that’s okay. It’s just weird.”

    “Against White?” Wade asked. Peter thought his voice sounded a little… Odd.

    Peter looked at him curiously. “Against White,” he agreed. “I only have two boxes.”

    [Don’t forget about Harry.]

    Peter hissed, fingers abruptly digging into the table. “How many times do I have to tell you?” Peter snarled. “Don’t say his name.”

    {Besides, he wasn’t a box.}

    “He was a mistake.”

    {One that you brought to life, asshole.}

    Peter nodded, his fingers flexing. “What Yellow said.”

    [He hasn’t showed up for a while now.]

    {I think we kicked him to the curb again.}

    “Wouldn’t that be wonderful?” Peter muttered.

    Their food arrived. After placing the plates in front of them, their waitress turned to Wade. “You’re just dressed up for a convention or something, right?”

    Wade pulled up his mask, revealing a bright grin and the scarred skin Peter knew he hated. “No, doll, I’m the real deal.”

    She nodded. “Okay. You just lost me $20. Asshole.”

    Peter snickered at the look on Wade’s face. “He lost me 10000 points once.”

    [It was like yesterday.]

    {Woah, so much has happened!}

    “We’ve been a busy Spider,” Peter agreed.

    The waitress turned to him. “10000 points? And you still hang out with him? Wow.”

    Peter waved a dismissive hand. “Running total was too high anyway. I needed some points off.”

    “So you’re the Spider?” She raised a black brow sceptically. “You look kind of scrawny.”

    “Looks can be deceiving,” Peter replied, rolling up his own mask to take a bite of the meatloaf. He chewed thoughtfully for a moment. “Better than Blind Al’s,” he allowed.

    [Still tastes like balls.]

    “It does too.” Peter used a web to snatch a chimichanga from Wade’s plate.

    “Hey!” Wade cried. “That was mine.”

    {We can share!}

    “You’re not going to kill me for not telling you the meatloaf here is horrible, right?” the waitress asked.

    Peter picked up a piece of meatloaf and dumped it on Wade’s plate. “Tastes like balls,” he warned.

    “Been a while since I tasted balls,” Wade began.

    [Last night.]

    {Last night.}

    Peter sat back, pouting. “I’m hurt you’d forget me so quickly, Pooly.”

    The waitress sighed. “I’m out. Enjoy the meal.”

    “Thanks love!” Peter called, waving.

    Wade took a bite of the meatloaf. “It’s not that bad,” he said.

    {There is something wrong with his tastes!}

    [Well, he is going out with us.]

    Peter froze, sitting up straighter. “Oh my god.”

    “What?” Wade asked, spearing another piece of meatloaf.

    “This is a date. I’m on a date. An actual date. Shit.” Peter started to bite his fingers nervously. “How do you act on a date? I’ve never done this before. Was I not supposed to steal your food? Was I supposed to steal your food? Am I supposed to start a food fight? Because I can do that. My aim is fantastic. Maybe not as good as yours, but knives, Pooly.”

    [We have way better aim. The precision we need to hit people in the exact spot to kill them?]

    {Wade just misses.}

    “We can have a food fight. I think they’d kick us out though. And my aim is so much better than yours.”

    Peter shook his head. “Nu-uh. I am the undisputed aiming champion.”

    Wade’s lips spread into another grin. “That’s only because you haven’t had an opponent like me, baby boy.”

    {That voice should be illegal!}

    [I think we should be grateful he’s not speaking Spanish.]

    “I’d get turned on,” Peter muttered. He regarded the hero for a moment. “Fine! We’ll have a contest after this.”

    “Back at the tower.” Peter’s lip curled. “I promised, baby boy. We both did.”

    “Promises are meant to be broken!” Peter replied.

    Wade shook his head. “No, that’s rules.”

    [Huh?]

    “What?” Peter asked.

    “It’s ‘rules are meant to be broken’. Not promises.”

    {Why not both?}

 



 

 

    The two of them made their way back to the tower. Peter had left a generous tip for their waitress, along with a note that said, First offing is free for you! Wade had been impressed with the tip, less impressed with the note, but Peter managed to distract him by throwing things at him.

    The entire walk back to the tower was a throwing competition. They raced across streets, hid behind cars, and pelted each other with tiny missiles they picked up off the ground. Wade called a timeout when Peter accidentally caught him in the eye with a stone.

    “It wasn’t nice of Tony to do that,” Wade said abruptly. Peter blinked at him blankly.

    [The punches.]

    “Oh right! The punches. Yeah. Honestly, he needs to loosen up. He should take some of that macho-ness out in the ring. Beat up someone who actually wants to get beaten up. Maybe he should get into BDSM.”

    “He’s been a little… off since Loki.” Wade frowned.

    {PTSD!}

    [Sounds about right. And knowing Stark…]

    “He won’t have gotten help,” Peter finished in a mutter.

    {Ding ding ding!}

    [Give the man a prize.]

    “He still dislocated my jaw. Twice.” Peter made a rude gesture at the Avengers tower.

    Wade threw an arm across Peter’s shoulder. “I’ll make him apologize, baby boy!”

    Peter spun into him and planted a loud kiss on his masked lips. “Thank you, Pooly! I knew I didn’t let you fuck me just for the pancakes!”

 



  

    The tower was unnaturally quiet when the two of them wandered in. Wade stepped into the elevator, pulling Peter through just before the doors closed on him. They were still giggling over the results of their impromptu contest – Wade maintained that, had Peter not hit him in the eye, he would have won. A rematch was needed.

    “Ssh,” Wade hissed, his grip warm and tight around Peter’s wrist. Peter giggled, completely unrepentant when Wade shot him an amused look. “You’ll wake them up!”

    Peter held up a clenched fist. “This is how many fucks I give,” he whispered in reply, earning a low laugh that made his stomach curl with heat.

    Finally, they made it to Wade’s room. Wade pushed him in, closing the door quietly before spinning on Peter and helping him with his clothes.

    They collapsed into Wade’s bed, naked and still breathless with laughter. Peter flopped onto Wade’s chest, tracing the scars as they both settled.

    “What kind of relationship?” Peter asked as they cuddled. “I mean, there are hundreds of types, you know? Familial relationships, couples, fuck buddies, we-fuck-on-occasion-but-I-hate-them, not to mention –”

    “We are,” Wade rumbled, kissing Peter’s chest, “in an exclusive,” he feathered kisses up Peter’s neck, “intimate,” a slow lick just behind Peter’s ear, “monogamous,” Wade slipped a finger into Peter’s asshole, making him hiss out a breath, “probably illicit sexual relationship,” Wade finished, pressing his finger into the exact spot that made Peter writhe with pleasure.

    “That was –” Peter cut off with a gasp, sitting up and shoving Wade so that he was lying flat on his back before sliding backwards. “That was terribly specific,” Peter breathed, carefully guiding Wade’s cock into his hole.

    [Fuck. Little to the left.]

    “I know where my prostate is, White,” Peter snapped.

    Wade snapped his hips, a smirk on his face when Peter’s mouth fell open in a moan. “So do I, baby boy.”

    The next ten minutes were a mess of groans, whines and filthy language as Wade pressed himself into Peter again and again, denying release for so long that Peter was basically a mindless ball of nerves by the end.

    “That was great,” Peter sighed, nuzzling into the warmth of Wade’s side. He traced his fingers over the scars that littered Wade’s skin, dragging his nails over the lumps and bumps gently.

    {It’s always great.}

    [I thought we were going to have a rematch,] White muttered.

    Peter made a noise of agreement. “Sleep first, then rematch,” he muttered, tangling his legs with Wade’s.

    He felt lips press softly against the top of his head. “Night, baby boy.”

 



 

    They didn’t get a chance to have the rematch – Stark showed up at breakfast with something to say.

    “I was out of line last night,” Stark said, and Peter could tell he was gritting his teeth. “I came to apologise.”

    Peter glanced at Rogers and Wade. “What did you threaten him with to make this miracle occur?” he asked.

    “Doesn’t matter,” Stark snapped. “I’m here, apologising.”

    [Rude.]

    “Sincerely?”

    “Sincerely,” Stark replied.

    {We going to believe this shit, Spidey?}

    For a moment, Peter studied him. It might have just been the lighting, but Stark looked more than a little worse for wear. There were dark rings under his eyes, and Peter could see the fine tremors running down his arms. The man was a wreck.

    “Four,” Peter said softly. “I owe you four punches.”

    Stark exhaled forcefully. “Fine. That’s only fair. Just… Not the face.”

    Peter tilted his head. “Why not? The worst that could happen with the face is a broken jaw… Maybe you’d get knocked out. A punch anywhere else? Princess,” Peter said, a feral grin spreading across his face, “I could kill you.”

    “But you won’t,” Captain America interrupted.

    [Because that would probably make Wade sad.]

    “I think I’ve been unconscious enough, don’t you?” Stark added.

    {No.}

    [No.]

    “No,” Peter said bluntly. He beckoned Stark over. “Batter up, Princess.”

    There were several methods of taking a punch. Peter was willing to bet that Stark knew all of them and then some. But Peter wasn’t prepared to just let Stark get away with dislocating his jaw – twice.

    [How are we doing this?]

    “Nice and gentle,” Peter murmured, his hands curling into fists.

    {Huh?}

    Peter launched a punch before Stark could get into position. Stark still had time to roll with the punch, so the first punch hardly hit. But Peter was just getting warmed up.

    [Um, we only have three punches left?]

    Peter hummed when Stark laughed. “That all you got, bug boy?” he taunted.

    Peter spun and kicked his right leg out, and Stark curled immediately to defend, surprise creasing his face. In a flash, Peter altered his attack, pulling his leg down and slamming his fist into Stark’s left shoulder. He felt something give, and Stark howled in pain.

    Stark’s teammates were quick to rush over, but Peter had already pulled back, standing to the side with his head tilted. He’d pulled his punch a little, just enough to not completely shatter Stark’s shoulder. Because he wasn’t that mean.

    [That was impressive.]

    {You broke his shoulder!}

    “It’s only a fracture,” Peter replied. “Proximal humerus. He shouldn’t need surgery.”

    “Spider,” Rogers began warningly. Peter snorted.

    “Don’t you ‘Spider’ me. He agreed to this. I still have two more punches, you know?”

    Widow hissed, “You broke his shoulder.”

    Peter shrugged. “He dislocated my jaw. Twice. He’s the one who asked me not to go for the face. I distinctly recall him saying that.”

    [Me too.]

    {Me three.}

    “If you want, I can wait for him to heal. 6 weeks, max. And then we can do this again.” Peter smiled. “I can be patient, Princess.”

    “I think that’s a great –” Rogers started.

    “No,” Stark snarled. “We’re finishing this now.”

    “Tony,” Steve said. “He’s toying with you.”

    [We could not.]

    {And then he’d be very dead.}

    “I know. And that pisses me off.” Stark pushed away from the other Avengers, his jaw tight.

    Peter blinked at him lazily. “Are you sure you don’t wanna wait?” he checked.

    “Let’s do this,” Stark replied.

    Peter immediately threw a punch at Stark’s injured side, missing purposely. He watched Stark twist away, desperately shielding his injured shoulder.

    “Surprise,” Peter muttered, and punched Stark square in the stomach.

    The billionaire gagged, collapsing to the ground. He gasped for air, fingers digging into the soft carpet. Why they hadn’t gone to the boxing ring – Peter knew there was one around here somewhere – he had no idea.

    [You missed his ribs on purpose.]

    Peter crouched by Stark’s head. “If you can’t handle whatever it is you’re going through, you’d better fucking find someone to talk to. Because I promise, next time you take one of your little episodes out on me, I will not hesitate to beat you so badly they won’t recognise the body. I promise,” he hissed.

    {You could make him bleed!}

    “I could,” Peter replied softly, staring at the back of Stark’s head as he heaved for breath. He wasn’t sure if Stark had actually heard him, but that didn’t matter. A warning was a warning. “One more,” he added a little louder. He drew his fist back, ignoring the angered shouting around him. His knuckles grazed across the warm skin along Stark’s temple, and he dropped his hand. “Four,” he announced.

    Peter turned and strode from the room, ignoring the frankly insulting silence that tried to chase him out the door. He marched up to his rooms, slamming the door closed behind him with enough force to make the doorframe tremble.

    “If I may ask,” Jarvis said. “You could have killed him. Why didn’t you?”

    Peter made an annoyed noise. “Hello? Stuck in the Avengers tower? With you and the other stupid do-gooders? Please. I don’t care if you’re all on the same side as lollipops and rainbows – I would have been dead in an hour.”

    [That’s not really why, is it?]

    “It’s some of the reason,” Peter replied carelessly, flopping onto the bed. “People are complicated, twisted little things. You never know what they’re going to do next.” He sat in silence for a moment. “You know how bad his attacks are,” Peter suddenly said. “Why haven’t you helped him?”

    “I am… Limited.”

    [Poor baby.]

    {He actually sounds concerned.}

    “You should get onto that. Promptly. Before he takes it out of someone less… Durable.”

    {Boy are we durable!}

    [Been to hell and back, now in hell again.]

    “Just can’t seem to catch a fucking break,” Peter muttered. He groaned and rolled onto his stomach. “I don’t even like the guy! He can fall into the mess of insanity for all I care.”

    [You were the one who let him live.]

    “Shut up,” Peter said grumpily. “I don’t need shit from you.”

    {We did it for Wade!}

    [That excuse is getting old.]

    Peter shrugged. “It’s the best one we have. I’m going to the library. Jarvis, show me the way!”

 



 

    “I heard about what you did,” Mimic announced.

    Peter hardly moved from his comfortable position, perched upside down in a corner. “Did you?” he asked, turning a page.

    “Everyone was thinking about it.”

    [Of course they were.]

    {We were nice.}

    “Odd feeling, right?” Peter muttered. He turned another page.

    Mimic craned her neck to look up at him. “Although I don’t know why you got to punch Stark four times.”

    “He punched me,” he replied absently. “With his suit on.”

    [Broke our fucking jaw, the asshole.]

    {Twice!}

    “Payback is always fun.”

    [Wait.]

    {How don’t you know about this?}

    Peter looked up from his book. “Was no one thinking about the other good thing I did?”

    Mimic’s jaw dropped. “You did another good thing?”

    “Yes. I’m insulted you think I can only do one good thing.”

    [Are you really?]

    Peter shrugged carelessly, dropping from the ceiling. “No. But ssh.”

    Mimic made a noise of amusement. “So what other good deed did you do, Spidey?”

    “I saved a kid,” Peter announced, bouncing on his toes.

    [We didn’t kill the bad guys.]

    {We think the kid liked us!}

    “That’s impressive,” Mimic replied with a grin. “Didn’t think you had it in you.”

    [Mal was an interesting kid.]

    {Malachi is an awesome name!}

    “Yeah, his name was awesome!”

    Mimic laughed. “Are you going to tell me his name or keep me in suspense?”

    [Huh?]

    {You okay Mimic?}

    Mimic tilted her head. “What?”

    “They already said his name,” Peter said slowly. “A nickname and a full name.”

    Mimic stared at him. “Are you… I didn’t hear it. They just said ‘the kid’.”

    [Spidey, try saying it out loud.]

    “His name was Malachi.” Peter watched Mimic’s face.

    She shook her head, blinking rapidly. “I – That was odd.”

    [Care to share?]

    “I could hear you say it out loud,” Mimic said, “but your mind said ‘the kid’.”

    {Cooool!}

    [So your mind powers are broken?]

    Mimic shook her head. “No, I can hear everything else fine. It’s just the name.”

    “Any ideas why?” Peter asked. When Mimic shook her head again, Peter quickly put his book away and dragged her out of the library.

    “Where are we going?”

    “To see if they’ll let us out to meet Mal!” Peter replied brightly.

    Mimic raised an eyebrow. “They’re definitely going to say no.”

    [You’re forgetting, we did two good deeds.]

    “Three if you count actually coming back to the tower. Besides, don’t you want to know why?”

Chapter Text

    “The answer is no,” Rogers said firmly, his arms folded across his chest. His entire stance screamed that he wouldn’t be persuaded to change his mind. But Peter could be very persuasive when he wanted to be.

    Peter pouted. “But this could be important,” he insisted, ignoring the I told you so pouring from Mimic who was standing to his left, leaning against a wall. “I did well yesterday! I promise I’ll come back – hell, you can send Wade with us again if it helps you sleep at night.”

    [We don’t need a babysitter.]

    “Of course we don’t. But we’ve been back for all of eighteen hours and I want to leave again. How can you people stand it?”

    {They don’t have to!}

    Peter nodded. “Right you are, Yellow. I would like to point out that I could have broken out again and ditched school, but I came to the front of the room and asked the teacher to take a fucking potty break because apparently kids can’t decide when they need to piss. And man, school toilets are a war zone. Not to mention filthy. You know how much time I spent with my head in one of those things? The cleaners didn’t even do a very good job of cleaning them!”

    [Rude. It’s like they didn’t give a shit about you.]

    Peter giggled. “They gave me the shits!”

    Yellow laughed hysterically. {That was a good one!}

    [It was horrible.]

    {Your face is horrible!}

    White heaved a sigh. [Really?]

    “So can I have a hall pass or what, sir, because my fingers are itching and I hate it when my fingers itch and I’m bored. People don’t like me when I’m bored. I get antsy. Need to stick my itchy fingers in things. In people, in pies, in eyes…” Peter giggled again, rubbing his hands together. “Now you’ve got me thinking about fingers and eyes, which is only a short step from murder and mayhem, and that’s my true calling, you know?”

    Okay, so maybe this wasn’t the kind of persuasive he’d been aiming for when he started, but if it worked, who was he to complain? He hadn’t quite realized how antsy he’d gotten. This wasn’t his place, wasn’t his territory and it didn’t even matter that Wade was here. His instincts were calling the shots, and they were telling him to get the heck out of there.

    [No one has called us in a while.]

    {Isn’t our phone not the work phone?}

    Peter scratched his head. “It’s not like I’m going to run out of money. Although ignoring clients is a bit of a bad thing. We have a reputation to worry about.”

    {We could use this trip to get our phone!}

    “Yellow, that’s a brilliant idea!” He looked expectantly at Captain America. “So can we go?”

    [No, remember? We hid the work phone in the room.]

    {Oh right. In the corner with the webs, right?}

    “Are you kidding? You basically just admitted you were going out to murder people!”

    Peter whirled around and flashed his fangs at Stark, who, he noticed with no small amount of satisfaction, had his arm in a sling. “You were the one who wanted me gone, Princess.”

    “You won’t be staying in my tower – first chance I get I’m shipping you off to SHIELD with the other freak.”

    [Other freak?]

    {Who is he talking about?}

    Mimic stiffened behind him. She’d moved from the wall to his back when Stark had come in. “He’s talking about me, Spidey,” she said quietly.

    [Mimic?]

    {We should have shattered his shoulder.}

    [Mimic isn’t a freak.]

    “Who are you calling a freak, Princess? We think we misheard you.”

    Stark barked out a sharp laugh. “You’re lucky I didn’t call her a monster, bug boy. Only you deserve that title.”

    “You could have just gone with mutant, you piece of shit,” Peter said, his voice a low growl. “Or variant. You didn’t have to make it into an insult game.”

    “Tony,” Rogers said warily. “He’s right. You’re taking things too far.”

    “I think he’s perfectly within his rights to call her whatever he wants,” Widow said coolly. She and Barton entered the room, and Widow didn’t hesitate to send Mimic a cold, deadly look.

    [Ho ho ho.]

    {What did you say to her?}

    “That is a nasty look, Widow,” Peter said, his tone wondering. “Bitter, bitter, venom spitter. You really mustn’t have liked what Mimic had to say.”

    Mimic inspected her fingernails. “I reminded her of a few things. That’s all.”

    “The tension rises.” Peter cackled. “Oh man, you have got to tell me what you said! Look at that face – it just makes me want to tear it off. Fingers and eyes, the itch is growing.” He wriggled his fingers at Widow.

    [If looks could kill…]

    {You’d be lying on the floor!}

    “You’d be begging me please, please baby don’t hurt me no more.” Peter hummed in approval. “That is a fantastic song.”

    “You’re embarrassing Wilson,” Widow said sharply.

    {She’s insulting the song.}

    “No, she’s insulting us.”

    {Same diff.}

    “Very diff.”

    [And how would you know, Widow?]

    Stark nodded in agreement. “He’s going to leave you if you keep up like this, and then we’ll lock you up where you belong.”

    {Fuck off!}

    Peter tilted his head, a sneer crossing his face. “And I suppose you’d know all about being an embarrassment, right? Princess?”

    Mimic put a hand to her mouth, hiding her smirk as the boxes snickered in his head and Stark stepped forward, anger locking his jaw and curling his hands into fists. Barton stepped in front of him, shooting Rogers a quick look.

    “That’s enough. Barton, get Stark out of here. Nat, find Wade and bring him here. You two,” he said, pointing at Peter and Mimic, “stay here.”

    Peter put his hands up. “No you hang up,” he replied with a wink.

    Rogers looked at Mimic. “Please.

    “We’ll do our best,” Mimic replied, an edge to her voice. “No guarantees, Steve.”

    Rogers huffed out a breath and stepped out of the room. Peter turned back to Mimic, mouth falling open.

    “What?” she asked.

    [You called him Steve.]

    “That’s blasphemous!”

    {He’s basically a god.}

    [He’s definitely one of the good guys.]

    “Respect is a must! Plus, I’m pretty sure we’ve crossed paths a few times, and he hasn’t hit us.”

    {Or yelled at us.}

    [Thrown sharp pointy objects at us.]

    “Or bullets! I mean, he probably reported us to Fury – three guesses as to what he’s doing now, hint hint – but Captain America is a legit nice guy.”

    [He hasn’t even thrown his shield at us.]

    {But that would be awesome!}

    “And all that means I shouldn’t call him Steve?” Mimic asked, unimpressed.

    Peter flapped his hands. “Respect, Mimic, respect!”

    “He was an icicle for 50 years,” she said.

    [Rude.]

    “His thoughts are outdated as fuck,” she added. “Sure, he’s nice, but some of the stuff he thinks… I should smack him.”

    {Kick his perfect teeth in!}

    “I’m pretty sure we threatened to do that.”

    [No, damn it. Not yet.]

    {He’ll get on our nerves enough and then we’ll say it.}

    “So we haven’t said it yet?”

    [{No!}]

    Peter stuck his tongue out. “No need to be rude about it, jeez. So, what’s he thinking?”

    Mimic smirked. “No, I think I’ll leave you in the dark.”

    [And you called us rude.]

    {That’s just mean! Tell us! Tell us!}

    “He’s your hero. You don’t need to see his bad side.”

    “Wade’s my hero,” Peter retorted with a wink and twist of hips.

    Mimic rolled her eyes. “Please. You are disgusting.”

    [You get all the mental images that accompany that, right?]

    “Yes I do. Please stop.”

    {Never!}

    [It’ll just get worse until you tell us…]

    “Tell us, tell us,” Peter chanted, skipping around Mimic in a circle.

    That was when Rogers returned, trailed by Widow and Wade. Captain America, in particular, seemed relieved to see them. Peter gave Wade a cheeky wave, skidding to a stop by Mimic’s side.

    “Thank you for staying,” Rogers said, relief in his voice.

    [Hey, no problem.]

    “It actually wasn’t, for once.”

    {Mimic totally distracted us!}

    Peter turned, eyes comically wide. “Were you distracting me? Were you?” Mimic grinned, and Peter laughed, bright and delighted. “That was brilliant! I had no idea you were so devious.” He gave her a high-five.

    “Spider, I’ve spoken to Fury. He said as long as you come back, you can go,” Rogers said. “But one foot out of line, and you’ll be stuck here for the foreseeable future.” His face twisted a little. “He said that if they have to, they’ll chain you in a cell and leave you there.”

    “I would love to see you try,” Peter replied icily, flashing his fangs for good measure.

 



 

    Barton stopped them just before they left the tower. “Could I have a word?” he asked, eyes focused on Peter.

    Peter pointed to himself. “With little old me?” he asked, pitching his voice high. “I’m afraid I’m on a time sensitive mission of love –”

    “You’re really not,” Mimic cut in. Peter poked her arm.

    [Family fun time.]

    “Keeping up with the…” Peter trailed off.

    {Well, we’re certainly no Kardashians.}

    “Keeping up with the Super-fam?” Wade offered, picking up on what Peter was talking about.

    Mimic shook her head. “No, that doesn’t fit.”

    [Keeping up with the idiots?]

    Peter huffed. “That’s just rude, White.”

    “Stick a sock in it,” Mimic muttered.

    “Don’t be an asshole,” Wade added.

    {Everyone hates you, White!}

    [Hey, at least Wade spoke to me.] White sounded smug.

    {Oh yeah? Well, when Spidey gets around to telling him about my ideas for the next time we have sex, you’ll be nothing more than a memory!}

    Barton cleared his throat, distracting Peter from the now bickering boxes. “It will only take a moment, I swear.”

    Mimic pushed Peter’s shoulder. “Off you go. Wade and I will figure out where we’re going after.”

    “Oh! I know a great taco place – we should go there!” Peter couldn’t help bouncing on his toes, excited at the prospect of another outing. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had people who wanted to go out with him. It was exhilarating.

    “No taco place can beat my homemade tacos,” Wade replied, insulted. “Have you ever had my tacos? No? We’ll have to rectify that. Talk with Clint, then we’ll be off on our adventure.”

    Peter watched the two of them wander off, stepping out onto the busy New York streets. He turned and regarded Barton with a raised eyebrow. “Well?” he demanded, letting his annoyance leak into his voice.

    “I wanted to apologize for the explosion,” Barton said, not dropping his eyes from Peter’s. “Nat and I panicked when Tony said you had Wilson. It’s not a good excuse, but it’s the only one I have. We were all aware of you reputation, and we realized what your interest in him might be. A subject who couldn’t die…” Barton’s jaw clenched.

    {He thought we were going to experiment on Wade?}

    [To be fair, we totally were going to.]

    {But still! It’s insulting that he thought that!}

    [I’d say it’s good that our reputation is so well known.]

    “We took things a step too far with the explosives,” Barton repeated. “So I wanted to apologize for that, because Nat won’t do it.” A flash of resignation lit his face before he controlled himself. “She doesn’t think you deserve an apology.”

    {Bitch.}

    [Are we going to accept this?]

    {Too little, too late, I say.}

    [Agreed.]

    Peter nodded. “We’re sorry, the number you have dialled is not in service at this time,” Peter said, his voice high and sharp. “Fuck you.”

    The corners of the archer’s mouth turned down. “You don’t accept?”

    Peter folded his arms. “Of course I don’t. How many weeks has it been? How many months? And in all that time, you couldn’t give me one little word of apology?”

    “There wasn’t exactly time. We haven’t interacted a hell of a lot.”

    “You could have mentioned it when we all gathered the first time,” Peter replied sharply. “When I was in that stupid room for weeks, digging myself to freedom. You didn’t even come in and see me – I’m terribly insulted. Or when we all gathered at my nest, with the explosive arrows and one-upping Stark and those terrible, terrible chips.”

    [Salt and vinegar is gross.]

    {Who thought that was a good idea?}

    “Morons,” Peter replied. “It’s the same with Light and Tangy.”

    [Salt and vinegar is worse.]

    {Hot chips are the best!}

    “Only with chicken salt! Normal salt is boring.” He turned, because the conversation was over and had taken longer than a moment, but his spider sense shot a warning down his spine and he whirled back, acting entirely on instinct.

    He blinked up at Barton, whose arm was twisted at an awkward angle – not broken, but just a little more and it would be. He was held in the air by Peter’s grip on his throat, fighting to breathe through the crushing pressure Peter was applying on perhaps the most vulnerable part of his anatomy.

    Peter couldn’t help it; he smiled, the expression all sharp fangs and bright malice. “Whoops,” he said softly, flexing his fingers. Barton swallowed. “You forgot who I am, didn’t you?” He released his hold on Barton’s arm to shake a finger at him. “Bad idea, Hawkeye.”

    {Can we kill him?}

    [Do you want to live another day?]

    {Um, yeah.}

    [Then no. No we can’t kill him. We could have broken his arm though.]

    “You don’t think we’ve done enough damage to arms?” Peter asked, amused.

    [Well we can’t kill him.]

    Peter’s fingers twitched tighter, ignoring Barton’s kick at his ribs. “But bruises on the throat always send a good message, right?”

    {Kill him!}

    “Yellow, shut up. We can’t kill him. White pointed out why not even five seconds ago.”

    Barton kicked again. “Spider,” he hissed.

    [If we don’t want to kill him, we should probably let him down.]

    “Just a little more,” Peter replied dreamily. “The bruises…”

    Someone cuffed the back of his head, and he dropped Barton, surprised. He turned, rubbing his head, and glared up at Wade.

    “What was that for?” he complained. “We weren’t going to kill him!”

    “Spider,” Wade said firmly. Peter wilted a little – Wade sounded disappointed, and no, that wasn’t what he wanted. “Go outside – Mimic’s waiting for you. I’ll be a minute.”

    And then there were people, agents, with guns, shouting at them to put up their hands. Peter complied when Wade did, but his movements were purposely lazy and unhurried. Mimic stepped back inside, another dozen guns pointed at her head. She sent Peter an unimpressed look.

    “I couldn’t help it,” he whined. “He started it!”

    [We react violently when startled.]

    “He’s lucky I didn’t bite him.”

    {Barton soup!}

    [Wonder what that would taste like.]

    {We’ll never find out because someone didn’t want to kill him!}

    [If we had of killed him, we’d be dead!]

    “I don’t know, being held at gunpoint seems just as bad,” Peter cut in. “I don’t like guns.”

    [Brings back bad memories.]

    “Gives me the heebie-jeebies,” Peter added, nodding. He snickered. “Heebie-jeebies. Humans are weird, huh? We have the strangest fascination with shortening and twisting words, have you noticed?” He dropped his arms, making obscure shapes with his hands. He needed a distraction. Guns brought up bad memories.

    “Hands in the air!” one of the people pointing the guns snapped. Agents of SHIELD. Boring people.

    Peter frowned at him. “Don’t take that tone with me, young man!”

    {We can bite him, right?}

    “I should spank you for that display of disrespect,” Peter continued. “Do you know who I am?”

    “I know enough bullets will put you down, like any normal person,” the agent snapped back.

    [Is he threatening us?]

    “White, darling, sometimes you’re so thick. They have guns pointed at us. Of course they’re threatening us, idiot.”

    Yellow giggled. {White is an idiot!}

    [You’re a moron.]

    “I’m the Spider,” Peter sang with a little bow. “And all the kids cried out, “Please stop, you’re scaring me!” God damn right, you should be scared of me.” He grinned. “I’m your fucking nightmare.”

    Mimic dropped her own hands. “I’m well acquainted with villains that live in your head.” She smirked at the vocal agent. “What? My arms were getting tired.”

    [I’m bigger than my body.]

    {I’m bigger than these bones!}

    “I’m meaner than my demons,” Peter continued.

    “Hands up!” the agent snarled.

    “Now throw your hands in the air, and wave ‘em round like you just don’t care.” Peter threw his hands into the air, doing a silly little jig that ended when Wade caught both his wrists and forced them behind his back.

    “Spider,” he said into Peter’s ear, breath hot against his cheek. “That’s enough.”

    “But he said to put my hands up,” Peter whined, wriggling in Wade’s hold. But Wade’s grip stayed firm. It was moments like these that Peter resented the fact that Wade was stronger than him. Peter glanced at Mimic, who shrugged in resignation, putting her hands back up with a ridiculous amount of teenage attitude.

    Barton finally seemed able to speak. “Stand down,” he croaked harshly. “They have permission from Fury to leave.”

    “Not anymore,” Fury said grimly, stepping from the elevator. “I’ve revoked the privilege.”

    [What an ass.]

    {We should have said no take-backsies!}

    Peter snickered. “Take-backsies.”

    “Deadpool, escort the Spider back to your rooms and keep him there. I will be having a discussion with the Spider when I return. Are we understood?”

    “What about me?” Mimic asked, quirking an eyebrow. “Can I leave?” Whatever flashed through Fury’s mind made her smirk. “Spoilsport,” she said.

    “Barton, take the mutant back to her room and make sure she stays there.”

    [He’s separating us.]

    “It’s like he thinks we’ll be worse together than apart,” Peter agreed.

    {I don’t know, she’s awfully good at handling us…}

    Mimic flashed him a smile. “Thanks Yellow.”

    Fury waved a hand. “Off you go.”

 



 

    Peter woke up to vibrating. Wade made a noise of discontent and snuggled closer. Peter hummed, his eyes drifting closed. After the disastrous attempt at going out yesterday, Wade had dragged him to his room and spent a good two hours torturing him. There wasn’t another word for it. Peter hadn’t known it was possible to hold off an orgasm for that long.

    Now that he did know, he wasn’t sure if he ever wanted to do it again.

    {Vibrations are annoying. We’re snuggling!}

    Peter’s eyes snapped back open. Vibrating. Vibrating meant phone. A glance informed him that it wasn’t the phone on the bedside table. He was pretty sure that phone was on loud, anyway.

    [The work phone, then.]

    {Where did we hide that again?}

    Peter managed to manoeuvre himself out of Wade’s hold, stuffing a pillow into his seeking arms. Wade rumbled in his sleep and hugged the pillow to his chest.

    Following the sound and feel of the vibrations was easy. Especially with bare feet and enhanced hearing. He pulled himself up the wall, digging into the tiny web in the darkest corner of the room. The phone had, of course, stopped ringing by then, but Peter dropped to the ground and waited patiently.

    Five minutes later, the phone rang again.

    “This is your friendly neighbourhood Spider,” Peter said, using his super-serious work voice. “Who can I kill for you today?”

    The man on the other end of the line took a sharp breath. “I wasn’t sure you’d answer. I heard you’re hanging with the Avengers now.”

    “Eh, here I was thinking you called for business, not gossip. I charge by the word, stranger.”

    [Fucking amateurs.]

    {Let’s kill him.}

    “Right. Sorry, buddy.” He cleared his throat. “I want you to kill Wade Wilson. Deadpool. I want him dead permanently.”

    {Did he just call us buddy?}

    [This guy is nuts.]

    “And that’s saying something, coming from us.” Peter folded his arms, using his shoulder to keep the phone to his ear. “How much for the hit?” Peter asked neutrally.

    “$100,000,” the man replied.

    {Is this guy joking?} Yellow wondered. {He’s gotta know we’re going to kill him. Right?}

    [I think we could do better than simply killing him, Yellow.]

    Peter snorted. “You seem to be misinformed. And you’ve missed some important memos.”

    The man paused. “Sorry?”

    “Wade Wilson is immortal. There is no way to permanently kill him. And even then, $100,000? Please. The last person offered a much better price. Would you like to know what I did?”

    There was another pause. “What?”

    Peter let a feral smile cross his face. “I strung him up and killed him nice and slow. He was begging for death by the time I was done with him. His screams…” Peter sighed. “I hung his skinless corpse from the bridge. The police were in a frenzy. I love it when that happens. I don’t even have to go in disguise – I can just be part of the crowd.

    “You see, buddy, I don’t like it when people order hits on my boyfriend. So I’m giving you one chance. Run. Please.” Peter licked his lips. “I love the chase.”

    With a terrified noise, the man hung up.

    [Pussy.]

    {Weakass.}

    [We’re going to hunt him down, yeah?]

    {That wasn’t an empty threat?}

    Peter snorted. “Course. We’ll just have to start the hunt some other time. I’m tired, Wade’s snuggles are awesome.” He clambered back up the wall and slipped his phone into the web. Yawning, he dropped to the floor and turned back to the bed.

    {Busted!]

    “You’re awake,” Peter said, pretending his voice didn’t actually go as high as it did. “I should be worried about how much you heard right?”

    “I woke up when you shoved a pillow in my face,” Wade replied, sitting up.

    [Oh.]

    {We were trying to be quiet!}

    “I’m, um, sorry?”

    “Peter, darling, you just defended my life. I’m flattered. What did the first guy offer?”

    [The first first guy, or the guy we were talking about on the phone?]

    Peter nodded. “Good question. The first first guy or the one we were chatting to just now?”

    Wade climbed out of bed, oddly comfortable in his nakedness. “Baby boy, how many times have you declined killing me?”

    [‘Declined’ sounds so nice.]

    “We don’t ‘decline’, Wade. We threaten.”

    “Okay. How many times have you threatened people to stop killing me?”

    […Did that sentence make sense?]

    {We know what he meant!}

    “Well, we lost count after, what? 30?”

    {It was always annoying.}

    “They just seemed to think I wanted to kill you. Like, yeah, sure, you got on my nerves sometimes – have you heard yourself talk? – but that doesn’t mean I was cool with permanently killing you. And I mean, it’s not like I don’t already have several ideas about how to get you to stay dead –”

    “Wait what?”

    Peter continued, ignoring the interruption. “But I like to think I have some morals, questionable as they are. And killing my boyfriend sounds like the sort of thing I shouldn’t do. Along with killing anyone under the age of six. Maybe eight.”

    [And turning down free food.]

    {Leaving tips!}

    “Wearing black and red because they’re your colours,” Peter added.

    [Breaking pinkie promises.]

    “Finishing books!”

    “Finishing books?” Wade repeated.

    Peter nodded. “Endings are predictable. Boring. We don’t like them.”

    “But without endings you can’t have… No, wait. Back up. You thought about, and came up with, ways of keeping me dead?” Wade demanded.

    [You shouldn’t have mentioned that.]

    “I see that now,” Peter replied. “That was a mistake on my part.” He paused and tilted his head. “Would it make it better if I said it was for science? No? Okay. The highest price for your death so far has been $1.5 million. You’re damn lucky I’d already gotten to know you, big man, or your head would have been rolling faster than you could say chimichanga.”

    “I don’t know,” Wade said. “I can say chimichanga pretty fast.”

    Peter shrugged. “I can cut people’s heads off pretty fast too.”

    Peter could tell the moment Wade turned serious. The set of his shoulders changed, unconsciously squaring himself up, as though expecting a fight. The corners of his mouth turned down, and his eyes – those beautifully expressive eyes that were so easy to read – turned dark.

    “We’re going to talk about yesterday,” Wade said.

    [Damnit Wade!]

    {Nooooo!}

    Peter shook his head stubbornly, folding his arms. “Don’t want to.”

    “Spidey,” Wade sighed. “That wasn’t a reaction… I didn’t expect you to react like that.”

    Peter shrugged, glaring at the ground. “Hard to act normal,” he hissed the word, “when you’ve been in my shoes.”

    Wade stepped closer and pushed Peter’s head back, a finger tucked under his chin. He gave Peter a searching look. “You don’t react like that when I grab you,” he finally said.

    Peter blinked at him. “Of course not.”

    [We like you.]

    “All of us, actually.”

    {Three votes of approval!}

    [You are, of course, way too good for us.]

    “And you’ll break up with us before long.”

    {Leaving our broken heart in the dirt.}

    “Hell, you might even step on it for fun.”

    [But we do like you.]

    Peter nodded. “We like you,” he said aloud, belatedly realizing Wade hadn’t heard that part. “All three of us, actually. White’s usually… Iffy about people.”

    {If by iffy you mean he wants to kill them, spot on!}

    “I mean, Yellow’s louder about killing people, but White’s got the whole murderous aura thing going on. It gives me a headache sometimes.”

    {Use your words.}

    “Insert your feelings, Jeff-fa-fa,” Peter added, deepening his voice.

    [I hate you both.]

    {Nah, you love us!}

    “We’re your light in the darkness!” Peter said with a grin.

    [Can I turn you off?]

    “Keep talking like that and we’re going to have a problem, buddy,” Peter said sharply. “Anyway,” he continued, waving a hand, “you don’t trigger my spider sense. It’s nice – I’m so used to people setting the damn thing off every two seconds. Way back when, no one set it off. Except, you know, the bad guys. But now? Everyone’s out to get me.”

    [It’s exhausting.]

    {Also gets really old.}

    “Someone brushes passed me – oops, damn hope you didn’t need that arm. Someone hands me my food – keep your distance, pal, I’m not afraid to pull out my knives in a public place. Someone looks at me – really wish I had the time to carve those eyes out and point them somewhere else.”

    “That doesn’t happen with me?” Wade asked.

    Peter hummed. “Unless you’re actually attacking me, no. And even then, sometimes you can point a weapon at me and nothing will happen.”

    “Why?”

    [Bit thick, isn’t he?]

    {To be fair, we have said that it isn’t something we do.}

    […You have a point.]

    Peter gave Wade a brilliant smile. “Isn’t it obvious? Because I trust you, silly.”

Chapter Text

    “Hands off the goods, lady!” Peter snarled, wrenching his arm from the grasp of one seriously strong – not to mention stern looking – woman. Her hair was tied back into a bun, and her expression was… Well, she didn’t exactly have one. Her face was blank, even as she steered him deeper into the tower.

    {It’s an intervention!}

    [Can we punch this broad?]

    “Jesus, White! What has she ever done to us?”

    [She kidnapped us from Wade’s room. She hasn’t said a word to us. She’s got that face. Basically, she’s being a bitch.]

    {Bitches get stitches.}

    “They also end up in ditches,” Peter said. “I’m not punching her. I think I’d break some fingers on that jawline.”

    [Good point.]

    {She has the jaw of a man.}

    “Nothing wrong with a manly jaw. I myself happen to possess one. I think I look alright.” Peter ran his fingers across the sharp bones beneath his skin thoughtfully. “I mean, I’m certainly no Wade in the jaw department, but at least I don’t have a weak chin.”

    [This and that are two different things.]

    “We’re not punching her,” Peter maintained. And then he sighed. “Bad guys being good guys, what is the world coming to? We should go back to killing and pancakes and tacos.”

    [Much easier. I have been on board with this idea since forever.]

    {But Wade!}

    “We’ll take him with us.”

    {He doesn’t like the killing.}

    “But he likes the sex.”

    [I think the killing would be a deal breaker.]

    Peter snorted. “Did I ask for your fucking opinion? No? Then shut the fuck up. I run this freak show, not you.”

    [Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed.]

    “Some bitch interrupted my morning sex routine,” Peter replied sharply. “I need my morning sex. Fucking hell, Wade’s got me addicted! This is all his fault. Curse him!” Peter shook his fist at the ceiling.

    [So we’re not taking him with us?]

    {Yes we are!}

    “The vote is still in session. Are we there yet?” Peter complained, glancing over his shoulder. “I would much prefer if you did the leading thing. You know, walking in front of me. Then all I have to do is follow. Actually, I totally get why you want me where you can see me! I wouldn’t want me behind me, either!”

    The woman stared at him wordlessly.

    [She’s a bunch of laughs.]

    {I like her. All silent and tough… Imagine what it would take to make her scream.}

    “Yellow, you have an unhealthy obsession with making people scream,” Peter replied. “You should talk to someone about that.”

    {I talk to you.}

    [And me.]

    “Yes, well. White and I are hardly role models. We like making people scream too.” He grinned at the woman. “And not in a sexy way, if you catch my drift.”

    [That saying confuses me.]

    “Fucking tell me about it! Catch my drift – how does one catch a drift? Do people even know what a drift is? I’m not drifting, I’m talking. Listen to me talk, don’t watch me drift out to sea without a life boat and damn I’m lucky I can swim!”

    “We’re here,” the woman said, breaking her self-imposed silence. She gestured to a metal door – yes, a metal door – that looked exactly the same as the last eight metal doors they’d passed. There wasn’t a room number or anything above it to distinguish it.

    “But how do you know?” Peter demanded. “I mean, can you smell the scent of righteousness coming from this particular room?”

    [She doesn’t have enhanced senses.]

    Peter waved a hand dismissively. “Even normal people can smell righteousness. Probably. Stinks to high heaven.”

    {Ha! I get it!}

    “Knew you would!”

    The woman pressed several buttons on the control panel by the door, and the door opened almost soundlessly.

    [Technology these days.]

    {Frightening how good we’re getting, huh?}

    Peter peered into the room, apprehensive as soon as he realized there wasn’t a control panel on the other side of the door – he wouldn’t be able to get out himself. Someone would have to let him out, and Peter did not like having his comings and goings dictated by someone other than himself.

    [And yet, we stay in the tower.]

    {But we’re staying because we chose to.}

    [But they’re telling us we can’t leave.]

    {We’re choosing to listen to them.}

    Peter hummed in agreement, his gaze flicking around the room. He could already tell the walls were thick – he wouldn’t be able to kick his way out of this room, if the claw marks along the walls were anything to go by. Whoever had pierced those walls must have been strong, probably stronger than Peter. He tore his eyes away from the marks.

    Fury sat in one of only two chairs. His hands were on his lap, one leg over the other, and he looked hell serious. Oh goody. As if Peter hadn’t already known he was in a big pile of stinking poop.

    Peter really wanted to leave – serious really wasn’t his style – but the woman who had collected him from Wade’s room pushed him inside and slammed the door behind him. He pouted when he heard the door lock before flouncing over to take the empty chair across from Fury.

    “Spider,” Fury greeted him, his voice neutral.

    “Fury,” Peter replied, twiddling his thumbs. “Nice place you’ve got. Love the personal touches.” He gestured to the claw marks in the walls. “Bit outdated, I imagine, but props for trying.”

    [Wonder who he pissed off?]

    “Fury does his best to piss everyone off. He enjoys it immensely,” Peter said, standing up to stroke the marks. “Rawr,” he growled, pretending to slash at the wall.

    {Maybe it was Wolvie?}

    Peter frowned. “Wolvie?” he echoed.

    [We don’t call him that. He’s Wolverine. Logan.]

    “Oh, Logan!” Peter snapped his fingers. “Why didn’t you say that in the first place instead of being all cryptic?”

    {But he’ll always be Wolvie to me!}

    “I’ll let him know that next time we see him.”

    Fury cleared his throat. “Will you take a seat, Spider? The sooner we begin, the sooner you can leave.”

    [He has a point.]

    “Make yourself comfortable,” Fury added.

    {Don’t mind if we do!}

    Peter smiled sweetly before springing up onto the ceiling. He settled himself upside down and cocked his head at Fury. “What now?”

    “I need to know what your motives are,” Fury said, seemingly unfazed by Peter’s position. “I need to know if you are a threat to the Avengers, because I need them alive.”

    [We’re a threat to everyone.]

    {Including you.}

    Peter nodded in agreement. He didn’t understand why Fury was putting himself in danger like this, why there was no one else in the room with a weapon.

    [Maybe it’s something to do with trust?]

    Peter snorted. “Trust,” he muttered.

    {He’s not stupid enough to trust us.}

    “If he is, then it will be a blessing if we kill him.”

    [{Agreed.}]

    “Spider?” Fury said. “Are you listening?”

    “No, mother, I’m not. What are you going to do? Spank me? Kinky, but no thanks! I have a boyfriend.”

    “I am trying to understand your motivations for staying in the tower with the Avengers,” Fury replied sharply.

    {Did he miss the boyfriend bit?}

    Peter frowned. If he concentrated, he could feel a faint buzzing beneath the skin of his feet. “Are you insane like me?” he asked, shooting a web across the room. It hit the opposite wall with a thwick. Peter secured it to the wall, leaving enough room so that he could crouch on it and not touch the ceiling, before scuttling to the next wall and repeating the movements. The webbing effectively divided the room into quarters.

    “I don’t believe so, no,” Fury replied dryly, watching Peter with a single eye.

    “I, for example, bought $100 bottle of champagne once,” Peter continued, moving along his webs. He stopped where the webs intersected in the centre of the room. “Do you know what I did with it?” he asked, sending out another web. This one attached to the floor, right in the corner. He did the same to the four other corners.

    “Drank it, I imagine,” Fury said.

    {He hasn’t asked what we’re doing.}

    [Dude, we’re obviously spinning a web.]

    “Wrong! I poured that mother fucker down the drain!” Peter dropped down from his webs, grinning at Fury as he stood on the table that had served as a barrier between the chairs. “Because between you and me, champagne tastes like absolute shit.”

    [It’s disgusting.]

    {No wonder they serve it at weddings!}

    “Enjoy the rest of your life together; it’s gonna taste a little something like this,” Peter said, laughing. “Cheers!”

    “Please sit in the chair, Spider,” Fury said, and there was a hint of command in his voice that made Peter snarl.

    “Have you ever been in pain like me?” Peter asked, settling on the table in a crouch. “Do you tear yourself apart to entertain like me? Man, if I had Wade’s healing factor, you guys wouldn’t see me whole!”

    “What was the purpose of that?” Fury asked, pointing to the webbing above them.

    Peter titled his head. “It looks pretty?” he offered.

    {We could certainly make plenty of pretty pictures with it! We’re so talented!}

    “What are your intentions?” Fury demanded, voice growing hard. “I need answers, Spider – if you want us to trust you, I recommend not lying to me.”

    “I intend to go on dates with Wade,” Peter replied easily. “I intend to get fucked on every available surface, including several that shouldn’t be possible. I intend to be an annoyance to your precious Avengers, because it is so fun! And I intend to find out exactly why you think you’re safe. In this room. With me.”

    Peter lunged forward, wrapping a hand around Fury’s throat. Fury’s face twisted in surprise while Peter’s other hand brushed along Fury’s coat to confirm that yes, it was rubber. Modified rubber, certainly, but still rubber. Peter would bet his taco money that Fury’s shoes were rubber-soled.

    “Hill!” Fury snapped, and Peter was up in his webs the next second.

    There was a high whine in the walls, and Peter was not at all surprised when electricity started to spark along the walls, jumping along the length of the chair and table legs and ignoring Fury who was still lying in the floor.

    Peter waved at him cheekily. “I never thought this talk would get so electrifying!” he called, giggling to himself.

    {His face! Look at his face!} Yellow sounded breathless with laughter.

    [We’re not idiots,] White snapped, sounding affronted. [Except Yellow. He’s definitely an idiot.]

    {Look at his face!} Yellow repeated.

    “Enhanced senses are great,” Peter said. “Seriously, you should get some. I mean, they can come with some pretty serious setbacks, but hey!”

    “That’s enough, Hill,” Fury said after a slight pause. The whine died down, but Peter elected to stay where he was. Fury stood and brushed himself off, looking up at Peter with something that looked awfully close to surprise.

    “That wasn’t very nice,” Peter hissed, wagging a finger at the other man. “I could have been barbequed!”

    [No.]

    “No?”

    [Barbequing requires heat. Not electricity.]

    “You’re being very annoying.”

    [Thank you. I do try.]

    {I’m more annoying!}

    “This isn’t a contest! If it was, I’d win!” Peter settled on his webs. “I could have been fried! You’re lucky my webs don’t conduct electricity.”

    {I’ve been brain-fried, electrified!}

    [Infected and injectified.]

    {Vivisectified… And fed pesticide!}

    [They used and abused me.]

    {Battered and bruised me.}

    “Red wires, green wires, stuck ‘em right through me!” Peter sang, looking at Fury upside down. He looked like he was smiling from this position. “I’m batty!” Peter finished, offering a bow that should have sent him to the floor.

    [Excellent performance.]

    {10/10!}

    “We’re highly recommended,” Peter agreed enthusiastically. “Tickets selling fast! We’ll have you screaming for more!”

    [Also screaming in agony.]

    “What’s the difference?”

    {There isn’t one!}

    “Exactly.” Peter clapped his hands. “Now, you know that shit won’t work on me. I’m not a pet, Fury – you can’t punish me and expect me to behave. Leave me in here long enough, and I will find a way to get out. And then I’ll kill you. And Hill, whoever that is. I’m betting that woman with the jawline I’d break my fingers on. So what are you going to do?”

    [He’s the master of plans.]

    {He’ll have back-ups for his back-ups.}

    [Plans from A to Z.]

    Peter snorted. “Plans. Plans are boring! And limiting.”

    [They also work.]

    “I work!”

    {We have fun too. Who’s the real winner?}

    Fury didn’t say anything – he simply went to the door, knocked three times, and then left. What an ass.

    “I’ll just wait here, shall I?” Peter called as the door closed. “Fingers are itching,” he muttered to the boxes, shooting a strand of webbing at the camera in the room without looking. “Sticking fingers in my own eyes hurts.”

    [It also takes ages to heal.]

    “I can’t just sit here!”

    {We could spin a proper web?} Yellow suggested.

    Peter took a deep breath. He had the foundations for a fantastic web, it was true. He’d spun enough over the years to know when the foundation was strong. While most spiders liked 2-D webs, Peter’s had always ended up 3-D, sometimes involving tunnels and traps.

    He may not have the tools to make a trap, but he could spin a web.

    “Okay,” he replied simply, and got to work.

 



 

 

    Peter heard Fury open the door, but he didn’t move from his little nest. He heard Fury swear, heard a female agent – Hill, he guessed – gasp, but he continued to carve symbols into his skin with his knives.

    [That one’s closing over already.]

    {That was quick! Did we not cut deep enough?}

    “Perhaps it’s concentrated there,” Peter replied in a murmur. “The glands are just under that spot – perhaps it’s protecting that area more actively than other parts because the glands are so delicate.”

    {If we hurt the glands, will we be able to make webs?}

    “Depends how long they take to heal. I’ve avoided damaging them for this long because the damage could be permanent – there’s no way to know if my healing factor extends to them as well as the rest of my body.”

    [Is there a reason it wouldn’t?]

    Peter shrugged, dragging the knife across his skin and watching the blood spill out. “Not that I can think of, but it could be that they are responsible for my healing factor. Theoretically speaking, they could produce the necessary cells for healing as well as the webs. The glands were formed because of the bite, after all. And it would explain why I heal so much faster there.”

    {But wouldn’t the healing factor just be processes in the body speeding up?}

    “Putting it really simple there, Yellow.”

    [He’s an idiot. He needs it simple.]

    “Well, he’s right. But the human body is not made to operate at such a high rate. There are drawbacks – things wear out, or break down.”

    [Like your sanity,] White said.

    “Like my sanity,” Peter agreed. “All you need is a little extra push and you dive-bomb into insanity. It’s possible that the glands work as a balancer – helping my body produce the elements necessary for advanced healing.”

    {Wait, what does your lack of sanity have to do with all of whatever it is you’re talking about?}

    Peter frowned. “I’ve explained this before, haven’t I?”

    [I honestly meant it as a joke. I don’t remember you telling us this.]

    {Neither do I!}

    “I told someone,” Peter muttered, distracted. “But I can’t remember who…”

    {Obviously not important!}

    Peter shook his head. “What was the question, Yellow?”

    [Sanity.]

    “Oh.” Peter carved another line into his skin – the other cuts, the ones over his web glands, were already scabbing over. “I’ll try and keep it simple for you. The brain controls every conscious movement – the spinal cord takes care of most reflexes. For normal people, reflexes are things like pulling away from a hot pan. For us, it’s a little different.”

    Peter hummed, writing Wade’s name into his skin with the sharp edge of the knife. “Spider sense, Yellow. Spider sense is all about reflexes, but it’s also a warning system. It’s in my brain, not my spinal cord. That means some of my reflexes that would usually be controlled by my spinal cord are being controlled by my brain.”

    [And that’s a bad thing?]

    “Well, the brain isn’t equipped to deal with that sort of stress,” Peter explained. “Reflexes happen like this.” He snapped his fingers. “The brain is a complicated mess of neurons and connections – it’s not supposed to work that fast, you know. At least, not where my spider sense is located.”

    {How do we know how our brain works?}

    [We can’t actually open up our head. We’d die. I mean, apparently we don’t have as much trouble have healing from that as we should, but still.]

    Peter perked up with a grin. “You guys remember that brain specialist?”

    {The nasty old guy?}

    [The PET scan?]

    “The PET scan,” Peter agreed. “Anyway, the point is that my brain was working too hard… And something had to give. It just happened to by my sanity. The breaking point… Well, we all know what the breaking point was.”

    {But you would have snapped anyway?}

    “Probably. The brain is incredible, but it isn’t perfect. We gave it too much to deal with, what with the enhanced senses and the added benefits of my spider senses and the webs, so it broke.” He pulled a line of web taught and snapped it. “Just like that.”

    [I realize this question is a little late, but why are you telling Fury all this?]

    Peter perked up. “Fury’s still here? I thought he left with bitch-face. How’s the video feed going for you losers?” He snickered.

    {We’re telling Fury all our dark secrets.}

    [I think we should be concerned.]

    “Why?” Peter demanded. “There is literally no way he can use this information against me. Most of what I’ve said is all theory. And even if it’s true, what is he going to do? My sanity cannot be regained – I was a ticking time bomb that started as soon as that spider bit me.”

    [He’ll kill us.]

    “I don’t know – I think Wade might have some issues with him just offing me,” Peter replied carelessly. He slipped his knife away and crawled towards the door, twisting through the miniature maze he’d created while Fury had been away. “So what are you going to do, pirate?” Peter asked, poking his head out of his web to stare down at Fury.

    “I’m going to have someone come in here and clean this mess up,” Fury said, sounded quietly furious.

    [Hey!]

    {That’s mean!}

    “Do you know how much time and effort I put into this work of fucking art?” Peter snarled. “You don’t call it a mess. This is a masterpiece. I am an artist!”

    {I thought we were scientists?}

    “And why can’t we be both?” Peter demanded. “I can’t spin something like this and call is science. It’s obviously art.”

    “If I let you out of here, will you abide by the rules I set in place?” Fury asked.

    Peter snorted, sticking his finger up at Fury. “No way. You’ll have stupid fucking rules and restrictions and you’ll want to control me. I don’t think so.”

    [We are the dog that bites the hand that feeds it.]

    {Only sometimes we don’t.}

    “Good luck guessing which way it will go,” Peter finished gleefully. He crawled a little further out of his web. “Listen, Fury, we both know you’re gonna have to let me out at some point. Or I will get out and then kill you. We can go that way if you want, but I think you like breathing, right? So, how about you let me out and I promise not to kill any of your precious Avengers – as long as they don’t piss me off.”

    [We’re being generous.]

    {But Barton soup!}

    [If we’re going to bite anyone, I vote Stark.]

    {We’ve already bitten him! How about Widow?}

    [I don’t know, I don’t think I want our mouth on her.]

    “We’d never get rid of the taste,” Peter agreed. He blinked down at Fury. “Well?”

    “What can the Avengers do to not piss you off?” Fury asked.

    Peter shrugged. “They can probably die, but that’s about it. But to avoid me killing them, they could stop being such high and mighty assholes. Seriously. I am so glad I never became a hero. Gives you a sense of entitlement. I prefer working for things.”

    “Your ‘working’ involves murder,” Fury pointed out.

    [And?]

    {What’s your point?}

    “Tell me something I don’t know,” Peter replied. “At least I’m a bit creative.”

    Fury folded his arms. “I would prefer you not be creative. I can’t give you a promise like what you’re asking.”

    “You can. You just don’t want. The work it will require bothers you. But hey, it’s not a high price to pay for your continued existence, right?”

    {I really want to smack him.}

    “Oh, I forgot to mention,” Peter said, leaning forward to poke Fury in the chest. “I want something from you, too.”

    “What can I give you?” Fury asked, and the raised eyebrow Peter received made him smirk. Peter dropped from his web, taking great delight in the way Fury stiffened and his hand moved almost imperceptibly towards a concealed weapon.

    {Oh goody!}

    [He’s learning.]

    “Nothing physical, don’t worry your little head.” Peter shook his, rocking back on his heels. “I just want an apology. A heartfelt one, to be precise.”

    Fury’s eyebrow cocked higher. “And why do I need to apologize to you?”

    {I think he thinks we’re stupid.}

    [Let’s help him correct that error of judgement, shall we?]

    “Well, Director,” Peter began, “I happen to know how tightly you keep the Avengers on a leash. That being said, I really don’t think Stark appreciates it. Neither does Wade. The others are okay because they’re weird and they think SHIELD is good, but you and I both know about the little nine-headed problem, right?

    “Anyway. What was I saying? Right, leashes. They’re tight. The Avengers don’t do shit without you knowing. The Avengers don’t surprise you – you’ve got them all figured out. I know you’re trying to figure me out. Let me know how that goes?”

    [He still thinks we’re idiots.]

    “That’s because I haven’t gotten to the point. Shut up. I’m getting there. The point is this – you knew they were going to blow up my nest. You knew. You could have stopped them. Hell, you could have sat them over your knee and spanked them for even thinking it. And just so we’re clear, I am talking about Widow, Stark and Barton.”

    {Oh, he’s getting it now.}

    “The point is you didn’t. You let them blow up my home, my nest, my little slice of normality. You let them destroy some very important things of mine. Barton did a little bit of apologizing – too little, too late, hardly at all sincere. So now it’s your turn.”

    Fury seemed to draw himself up. “I had nothing to do with the explosion.”

    [He gets points for not denying that he knew about it, I guess.]

    {But he’s still a dick.}

    [Yellow, have you read the comments? Everyone is a dick in this fic.]

    Peter knocked his temple. “Shut up, White.” He blinked at Fury. “Although he’s sort of right. At least you didn’t deny knowing about it, because that would have been a baaaad move on your part. Besides, I never said you had anything to do with it. You’re like the kid who looked the other way when he saw someone being bullied. Number one – you’re a dick. Number two – you’re responsible not because of what you did, but because of what you didn’t do. Number three – you’re a dick.”

    {You said that twice!}

    Peter nodded. “It needed to be repeated. He’s an astronomical dick.”

    “Let me clarify – you want me to apologize for not stopping Romanov, Barton and Stark rescuing Wilson?”

    “Is that what I said?”

    [No.]

    {Nope!}

    “I didn’t think so. Don’t put words in my mouth, Fury, or I will stick knives in yours.”

    {“Wanna know how I got these scars?”}

    [For the last fucking time, wrong universe.]

    {But it worked so well!} Yellow whined.

    “Then clarify for me, please.”

    Had Peter mentioned how much he hated Fury’s voice? The man somehow managed to sound amused and condescending even when he was playing nice.

    [He’s a stuck up dick.]

    {In other words, he’s an erection.}

    [Clever. Also not funny.]

    Peter giggled, wiping a tear from the corner of his eye. “I beg to differ. He’s a hard on!”

    White groaned. [Stop.]

    {…I can’t think of another one…}

    “Letting me down at a critical moment, Yellow.” Peter refocused on Fury. “Clarification: I want you to apologize for letting them blow up my nest. I don’t care why they did it, or why you let them. You have your own little twisted reasons that I am decidedly not interested in. Barton said they panicked – weak excuse, but it’s the only one he gave – but I literally could not give a single fuck.”

    [I think that was pretty clear.]

    “Me too. What about you, Yellow?”

    {I wasn’t listening.}

    Peter sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Of course,” he muttered to himself. “You always zone out for the important stuff.”

    [I’m actually surprised he managed to pay attention to the sciencey description.]

    “Hey, yeah. Good point. What’s up with that?”

    {It was interesting.}

    “Interesting? It probably blew your mind. You’re lucky I didn’t go all technical.” Peter shook himself, blinking at Fury. “You didn’t apologise while I checked out, right? Because if you did, it doesn’t count unless I hear it! A bit like the tree falling down in a forest and no one is around to hear it. Does is make a noise?”

    “I don’t understand why you want an apology,” Fury said. “What is there to gain from it?”

    “It’ll just fuel my delusion that you’re actually one of the good guys,” Peter replied breezily. “My reasons are my own, and as we have discussed already, you aren’t insane like me. You can’t comprehend me. Stop trying before you hurt yourself, alright?”

    [Can’t have the brains of the operation falling apart.]

    Peter snorted. “I don’t know. We seem to be coping fine.”

    {He has a point!}

    [Won’t work for anyone else. We’re unique.]

    “Hell yes we are!” Peter exclaimed, pumping a fist into the air. “We are so unique, ain’t nobody ever gonna replace us!”

    “For the record, I am one of the good guys,” Fury began. “And I recognize that I owe you an apology. If you truly don’t care for my reasons why –”

    [Nope.]

    {Not even a little!}

    “Trust me, we really don’t.”

    “Then I am sorry that I let Agents Romanov and Barton blow up your… nest,” Fury finished.

    {Damnit why does he sound so sincere?}

    [You were really looking forward to killing him, huh?]

    {Yes,} Yellow whined. {I was doing a good job of hiding it though, right?}

    [A truly fantastic job.]

    “Thank you,” Peter said primly. “Now, let me out of here before I change my mind and decide an apology isn’t worth shit.”

Chapter Text

   “It’s suspicious,” Peter muttered, glancing at the phone in his hand. He checked the address on the open message once more before locking the phone and continuing on his way.

    [So Wade got a phone call. Big deal.]

    “It was the way he reacted,” Peter snapped.

    It was a few days after Fury had apologized to Peter. He and Wade had spent those few days together, playing video games and watching movies. And sex, of course. That is, until Wade had received a phone call early in the morning. He’d spent the rest of the day tense and anxious, so Peter had stolen his phone when Wade’s attention was elsewhere.

    There had been a text from an unknown number, and seeing as Wade was nowhere to be found in the tower, Peter thought it was a safe bet that his boyfriend (and yes, he did still get a little thrill up his spine every time he thought the word) was at the address the message indicated.

    The fact that the message said “Bring the Spider” was hardly comforting.

    So Peter had done what he did best – he’d escaped the tower without raising any alarms. Mimic had nodded at him when he passed, the worry in her eyes carefully hidden away the moment Peter looked away.

    If Mimic was worried, it meant she knew something he didn’t. Which in turn meant that she’d read someone else’s mind, because Peter knew Mimic couldn’t read Wade’s. Which Avenger – or Avengers – were with Wade on this? Whatever ‘this’ was.

    [Maybe he just suddenly got tired of looking at you.]

    {We’re not the prettiest thing going around, that’s for sure.}

    “That’s not it and you know it. Stop being ridiculous.” Peter eyed the very obviously abandoned building, complete with broken windows and crumbling foundations. “Well, nothing screams ‘trap!’ quite like this.”

    [But yes, let’s go in anyway.]

    “Wade’s in there.”

    {He’s not stupid! He wouldn’t be in there.}

    That was when Peter caught sight of the familiar red and black suit in one of the windows. He cocked an eyebrow. “Are you sure about that, Yellow? Because it looks like he’s in there to me.”

    {What are you waiting for? Let’s go!} Yellow yelled.

    Peter entered the building cautiously. He could hear voices and moved towards them, keeping in the shadows. He caught sight of Wade, wearing his suit and armed to the teeth, walking towards a greasy looking man with blackened teeth. Peter could smell him already.

    The smelly man peered around. “The Spider didn’t come with you? The instructions were most clear.” Peter bristled at the implication that Wade was an idiot.

    “No. This is a setup,” Wade said. “I’m not playing into your employer’s hands.”

    “You knew that and you still came?” the man asked, his voice mocking. “You really are as stupid as they say.” Okay. Now Peter really wanted to kill him.

    “No,” Wade replied calmly. “I just don’t like to play pointless games.” Peter watched in horror as Wade moved with quick, easy movements and shot the man in the head. The body fell to the ground, but Peter was too busy watching Wade’s face to give it more than a cursory glance.

    Wade’s face was impassive as he stared down at the body. His mouth turned down at the corners, and he slipped his gun back into its holster. What had he done? And of course, this, this was Peter’s fault. It had to be – Wade was a hero.

    [We finally pushed him to the dark side.]

    Peter almost fell from his hiding spot when none other than Captain America stepped up beside Wade. “Are you sure about this?” he asked Wade in a low voice.

    {Congrats! You really can turn anyone into a bad guy!}

    Wade exhaled and nodded firmly. “We need to find out who his employer was,” Wade said.

    “I’m sure Fury will have no problems with that,” Rogers replied. “What did you promise him to make him so cooperative? He gave everyone a green light.”

    [Everyone?]

    {What the hell is going on? No, never mind. I don’t actually care. That was so hot.}

    [You would find murder attractive.]

    Peter watched the tightening of Wade’s jaw. “Something he’s wanted for a while.”

    The conversation continued, but Peter was distracted by a quiet clicking noise. Recognition came in a flash – he knew that noise, was intimately familiar with it. Someone was taking pictures. Peter moved away from Wade and Rogers, silent as he approached the cameraman.

    Hidden around a corner, dressed in colours that blended in with the walls, the cameraman was oblivious to their impending doom, too focused on capturing the moment Peter realized that perhaps he didn’t know his boyfriend as well as he thought he did. Peter dropped down behind the photographer, catching them by the neck and twisting it sharply to the side.

    {Snap!}

    He picked up the camera and whistled. “Nice,” he murmured. “Our friend isn’t wanting for money.”

    [We should get rid of the pictures.]

    {No, take them! They are serious wank material.}

    “Cap and Wade standing over a dead body?”

    {There might be pictures of Wade shooting the guy!}

    [That expression was really quiet fascinating.]

    “It was cold.”

    [And Wade’s usually such a warm person. The contrast is what makes it fascinating.]

    {Let’s go back, listen in the rest of the conversation.}

    [We should take care of this first.]

    {Just leave it.}

    “I’ll send a message,” Peter said, kneeling beside the body of the cameraman and reaching for his fingers.

 



 

 

    “…And earlier today, two bodies were discovered in an abandoned factory that was previously owned by Justin Hammer, founder of Hammer Industries, before the company was shut down two years ago. One victim was shot in the head, while the other suffered a broken neck. It is unclear if the two have any connection to each other, and police say they have no suspects and no leads….”

    It was amusing, seeing Wade and Rogers’ reactions. Rogers’ mouth turned down at the corners, his brow furrowing in confusion as he sat up straighter. Wade blinked and mouthed ‘two’.

    {How is our friend supposed to get the message?} Yellow complained.

    “Oh, don’t worry,” Peter muttered, pulling Wade’s phone from his pocket and fiddling with it. “He’ll get the message.”

    “Why do you have Wade’s phone?” Barton asked, raising an eyebrow. “You two sharing all your secrets now?”

    “I don’t know about that,” Peter replied, the tiniest bite in his voice. After the attempted apology and the resulting near-death experience, Barton had surprisingly warmed up to him. The complete opposite reaction Peter had been expecting, but who was he to complain? Apparently Barton really liked his piano playing.

    “We still manage to keep a few from each other.” Peter raised an eyebrow, tossing Wade his phone. Wade caught it and stood, his expression turning dark when he caught sight of the message Peter had typed.

    “Bedroom, now.”

    {Oooh, the commanding voice!}

    [I like it when he uses it in the bedroom. Not so much outside the bedroom.]

    Peter sighed and followed Wade, hardly surprised when Captain America stepped up behind him. The three exited the now silent main room and made their way down the hall. Mimic poked her head out of her room, catching Peter’s eye.

    He waved a hand. “Later,” he said, sending her a smile.

    She nodded and retreated.

    Rogers closed the door before anyone spoke. “What the hell, Spider?” Wade demanded.

    [Now he’s angry.]

    {Angry sex!}

    “I think I should be the one saying that,” Peter replied tersely. “You went in there without backup. An idiot could tell it was a trap!”

    “We had it handled,” Wade said through gritted teeth. “You’re the one who caused a needless death!”

    Oh, so they were playing the blame game, were they? Peter bristled, unconsciously straightening, trying to make himself bigger. Before he could start, the good Captain spoke.

    “We were prepared –” Rogers began to back Wade up, but Peter cut him off with a scoff. Sweet as it was, seeing someone other than him back Wade up, this time they were both wrong.

    “‘Prepared’, he says. I don’t fucking think so.”

    [We should kick them both.]

    Peter dug around in his pockets and pulled out a memory card. He made a confused face. “Hmm, what could this be? I don’t know – maybe we should look at it.”

    {This totally doesn’t work without us!}

    [There is so much sarcasm I’m drowning. Send help.]

    “Oh no, I remember now!” Peter exclaimed, examining the card with interest. “This lovely little disk has evidence of a most grievous crime – murder!”

    Wade swore. Cap still didn’t seem to get it, so Peter continued his little act.

    “Murder committed by the one, the only, Deadpool!” Peter shot a venomous look at Wade. “With an appearance by the proud, the free, Captain America!”

    {The majestic bald eagle has a unique cry,} Yellow said.

    [Instead of screeching, it yells “Freedom!”]

    “‘Handled’, was it?” Peter asked. “You were ‘prepared’? What’s this, then? Chopped fucking liver?” Rogers opened his mouth. “I swear, if you ‘language’ me right now, I will kick your stupid perfect teeth in,” Peter warned in a growl. “A needless death? You should have all the facts before you go accusing people, Deadpool.”

    “Cap!” Stark hollered. “There’s more on that double murder! Something about a message?”

    “Oh good,” Peter said, posture abruptly relaxing. “They did show it after all.” He threw the memory card at Wade and went back to the TV.

    “…Both victims were missing fingers,” the reporter was saying. Her face was scrunched up in disgust. “The fingers were found only moments ago by police, arranged into a message. Due to the graphic nature of the message and police’s refusal to allow photographs, we cannot show you the message.” Peter made a disappointed sound – he was rather proud of his efforts. “But we can tell you the message.” The reporter looked gravely at the camera. “‘Your move’.”

    [That was so much more dramatic than I anticipated.]

    {But I wanted to see pictures!}

 



 

    The next morning, Peter woke up around noon. Wade was absent – he’d probably gotten up at a reasonable time. Plus, Peter was pretty sure Wade was still mad at him about yesterday, even though Peter thought he had more of a right to be angry.

    Peter wandered out of their room, heading for the kitchen. He caught sight of Mimic and Wade further down the hall.

    “…not helping you with this,” Mimic hissed, cutting herself off before she could say more. She’d probably heard the echo of her words in Peter’s head. Or something equally weird.

    [What do you think it’s like?]

    {What?}

    [Hearing your words repeated all the time.]

    {Let’s find out!}

    [How? We can’t read people’s minds.]

    {How? We can’t read people’s minds.}

    [That’s real funny, Yellow.]

    {That’s real funny, Yellow.}

    [Stop it.]

    {Stop it.}

    Peter pinched the bridge of his nose. “I’m going to get a headache,” Peter muttered. “It is way too early for your shit, Yellow.”

    [You can stop now.]

    {You can stop now.}

    [What! Why are you only copying me?]

    {What! Why are you only copying me?}

    Peter sighed and stepped into the kitchen. Mimic was gone, and whatever she’d said to Wade had made an impact. Peter studied Wade’s profile – his jaw was clenched, lips pressed together so tightly they were completely colourless.

    “You alright?” Peter asked. When Wade nodded sharply, Peter tilted his head. “What was that about?”

    “We had a disagreement,” Wade replied through gritted teeth.

    Cocking an eyebrow, Peter leaned against the wall. “Really? I wouldn’t have guessed.”

    [Well, he’s being less than forthcoming.]

    {Well, he’s being less than forthcoming.}

    “A disagreement about?” Peter pressed.

    Wade finally looked at him. His eyes were shadowed over, the hint of concern almost missed in the sea of guilt. Peter frowned, touching Wade’s face.

    “You sure you’re okay?” Peter asked softly. “Because it looks like that’s one hell of a weight you’re carting around on your shoulders.”

    For a moment, Peter thought Wade would tell him. He opened his mouth, bit his lip, averted his eyes and then sighed. He ruffled Peter’s hair. “It’s nothing, baby boy.”

    [He totally just lied to us.]

    {Why you always lyyyyin’?}

    Peter reached up and smoothed down his now completely mussed hair. “Nothing,” he repeated. He nodded once to himself. “I can’t count the number of times I’ve told you not to call me that,” he added.

    [We’re letting it slide?]

    {He’ll tell us eventually.}

    [We’re trusting now?] White growled. [After what happened with the phone call and message? We’re going to die.]

    “Oh, stop being such a pessimist,” Peter replied. “Wanna play some Mario Kart?” Peter asked, addressing Wade. “10000 points says I can kick your ass.”

    When Wade agreed, a smile on his face, Peter knew that whatever anger the two of them had for each other would not be spoken about. It would be ignored, pushed aside. Which was fine with him, because he was horrible with emotional talks. Always had been.

 



 

 

    Peter was bored. Bored, bored, bored. He was perched on the ceiling, hidden in one of the darker corners of the kitchen. He’d already seen Wade swing passed once, no doubt looking for him, but Peter hadn’t deigned to make a noise, and Wade had disappeared back into the maze of the tower.

    {We could totally play hide and seek!}

    [If you think about it, we already are. But don’t hurt yourself.]

    Peter said nothing. Even talking was boring. After staring at the same scenery for too freaking long, Peter needed to get out. But he wasn’t allowed, on the grounds that everyone – including Wade – was suspicious he’d go on a killing spree.

    Which was exactly what Peter was planning right now. Making people bleed sounded like a very, very good idea, and Peter wondered why he hadn’t already kicked through a window and webbed away, because there really shouldn’t have been anything stopping him. Especially not after the fiasco earlier in the week.

    Except there was. And it was the same thing that had him perched in a hidden corner rather than dancing around the tower complaining he was bored.

    He really, really, really didn’t want to disappoint Wade.

    [So simple.]

    {So complicated.}

    [Very boring.]

    Peter sighed. I’m bored, he lamented.

    [{Go kill someone!}]

    Peter’s lip curled. I’m trying to be good here.

    [Why bother?]

    {We’ve never been all that good at being, well, good.}

    Hence trying. He perked up a little. I could play in the lab?

    Stark had several beautiful labs scattered throughout the building. It would be a simple thing to find an empty, secluded one and just lose himself in the chemicals and compounds he knew so well.

    [But what would we make?]

    Whatever we wanted?

    {Let’s go!}

    [Stick to the ceiling, I guess.]

    That’s what I planned.

 



 

 

    Peter grinned as he stepped into the lab. “Woah,” he said. “Look at all the toys!”

    [What are we making?]

    Peter shrugged. “What’s out?”

    {Is that hydro-whatsit acid?}

    “Plastic bottle? Hydrofluoric acid.”

    [That’s the hell dangerous stuff, yeah?]

    {Why is it in one of Stark’s labs?}

    Peter shrugged. “Could be lots of things. Probably only one though.”

    [Uhuh. And what’s that little bottle?]

    Peter scowled. “I obviously don’t know everything.”

    {What’ll happen if we mix them together?}

    [He doesn’t even know what the little bottle is!]

    “We could try it anyway.” At this point, Peter could do with an explosion. He grabbed the little bottle, opened the plastic bottle with the acid, and dumped the clear contents into the plastic.

    Almost immediately, he cocked his head. “I know this smell. How do I know this smell?”

    [Um, Spidey?]

    {I feel like it’s not supposed to be doing that.}

    The plastic container was melting. Peter blinked, automatically taking a step closer.

    [No, we’re supposed to go the opposite way!]

    {Put it in a glass bottle!} Yellow wailed. {It’s going to destroy the bench!}

    “Hydrofluoric acid eats through glass!”

    [Does it eat through fucking plastic?]

    “Of course it doesn’t! That’s why it’s stored in a plastic fucking container!”

    {Well, it’s eating through the plastic. I’m going to say it’s not hydrofluoric acid, yeah?}

    Yellow made a surprising amount of sense. Peter spun, eyes searching the room for something appropriate. He swore. “Guys, I’m not seeing an empty glass container.”

    [Sound the alarm!]

    “Alarm, alarm, alarm – why don’t genius billionaire playboy philanthropists have really noticeable buttons that say “Alarm” to make it easier for people like me?” Peter shouted.

    {Other genius billionaires?}

    “Oh stop, I’m blushing.”

    [Webs?]

    Peter shrugged. “At this point in time, I’m up for anything. Except licking it.”

    {Stick your finger in it then.}

    Peter flicked out a web, cocooning the plastic bottle as thickly as he could. “I don’t think so Einstein.”

    “Excuse me, may I enquire as to what you’re doing down here?” Jarvis asked, his voice abruptly echoing around the room.

    “Jesus Jarvis, a bit of warning! What we’re doing is trying to stop a disaster!”

    “I sense nothing out of the ordinary.”

    Peter gaped. “There is a huge ball of my webbing on the bench. Inside that webbing is hydrofluoric acid mixed with an unknown agent, eating through the plastic. I’m not holding out hope my webs are gonna hold it for much longer. There. Disaster enough for you?”

    “I will inform Mister Stark.”

    {Ever notice he never calls us sir?}

    [Until you pointed it out, it had escaped my notice.]

    “Stark’s AI doesn’t like us.” Peter shrugged. “Where’s the surprise?”

    It seemed hardly a moment later that all the Avengers were bursting through the door. Peter hardly glanced at them, keeping an eye on the ball of webbing. He could hear the acid slowly eating through it.

    “What have you done?” Stark demanded.

    {Straight in with the accusations!}

    “To be fair it was actually us,” Peter said.

    [Whoever left those things on the bench is at fault.]

    “Oh, that’s true. The bottles didn’t have a ‘Keep out of reach of children’ sticker either. Very unsafe.”

    “Spider,” Wade said.

    “Oh right. Yes. What’s going on? Well, this all happened because none of you would let me out and I am so freaking bored I’m driving myself insane. Was. I mean, this isn’t exactly boring.”

    [You’re already insane.]

    “Sshh, don’t tell them that! They’ll never believe a word out of my mouth!”

    “Spider,” Wade repeated calmly.

    “Yes. So. Um. Bored. Very bored. And then I thought, oh, labs are fun. So we came down here. And there was a bottle of hydrofluoric acid on the bench. Also a little glass bottle I didn’t recognise – then again, I didn’t look too closely. Bored and all that.” Peter frowned. “I’m totally sure I’ve smelled this before.”

    “What is ‘this’?” Rogers asked.

    “Well, I did what any mad scientist would do.” Peter shrugged. “I mixed them.”

    [And then it started eating through the plastic.]

    “That’s when we started looking for an alarm button – you should have a big sign, they’re so easy to miss when you’re panicking – and then Jarvis swooped in all Swan Princess like and saved the day by calling you guys!” Peter glanced expectantly at Stark and Banner. “So what did I mix?”

    “Why are you asking us?” Banner asked, because Stark was apparently having a heart attack over the fate of his precious lab.

    “That would be because you guys are science bros, and you probably know every single chemical in this entire building. So I’ll ask again. What the fuck did I mix?”

    Banner glanced at Stark. “Little glass bottle? What colour was the liquid?”

    “Clear,” Peter replied tersely, shooting some more webs. “Hello, think faster! You two are supposed to be geniuses!”

    “I don’t know! I don’t have anything that reacts with hydrofluoric acid like that!” Stark indicated the ball of webs with a jerky wave.

    {Hey, so he’s had stuff planted too!}

    [Wait a minute.]

    Peter swore. “No way. That’s so rude!”

    [How can we test for sure? Last time…]

    {No, no, no! We’re not asking Wade to stick his finger in there!}

    [He has the best healing factor of anyone here.]

    “But it’s Wade,” Peter hissed. “It doesn’t matter about all that stuff with the camera and the anger. We agreed, I know we fucking agreed at some point –”

    “What about me, baby boy?” Wade asked, ignoring the looks everyone sent his way.

    Peter bit his lip. “I – we think it’s the acid from my apartment,” he admitted quietly. “We think someone planted this in the hope that some idiot would mix it.”

    {You just called yourself an idiot.}

    “At this point in time, I expect I deserve it,” Peter snapped.

    “The stuff that ate my arm?” Wade clarified.

    Peter nodded, wrapping the ball up with more webs. “Honestly, I’d stick my own finger in there if I thought it’d help identify it. But you’re the only one the acid touched.” Peter hissed at himself. “Seriously. I should have just fucking touched it that first time…”

    [When we cut off a finger, it take ages to grow back.]

    {Wade has no obligation to do this.}

    [But of course he’s going to.]

    {What? Why?}

    “You want me to stick my finger in there?”

    “No, Wade, I want to watch the world burn and kill bad people because that’s what I’m good at,” Peter replied icily. “I want to leave this stupid acid in a prison, watch it eat at the paedophiles and the rapists and the murderers.”

    [That would make for some decent entertainment.]

    {We could sell popcorn. Charge admission.}

    “I want to do something. I want to eat pancakes and have sex. Like, all the time.” Peter met Wade’s eyes squarely. “I do not want you to stick your finger in there.”

    “But you guys need to know what it is, right?” Wade asked.

    Peter looked at the ceiling and sighed. “Yes,” he replied in a defeated voice.

    “And there isn’t another way?”

    “If the acid is reacting with everything, then no. We can’t examine it in any machines because it would destroy them before we got a reading,” Stark said, sounding so unbothered that Peter considered dumping the web on him and letting the acid eat him.

    [This. This is why he’ll say yes.]

    Wade shrugged. “Okay.”

    {We really have to talk to him about self-preservation.}

    “Talking to him about self-preservation is the same as asking math to stop looking for its ex,” Peter snapped. “Completely pointless, an utter waste of time.”

    [Agreed.]

    {But I feel bad!}

    [We all feel bad!]

    “Deal with it,” Peter added. He chewed his lip. “Can’t cut it.”

    [We could wait for it to eat through the webs?]

    Peter tilted his. “That could work. If I kept the webs piling on in every place except for one…”

    “Why don’t you just shoot a hole in it?” Widow asked, pulling her gun out.

    Stark, Banner and Peter jumped in front of the ball of webs. “No!” they shouted together. All three shared a surprised look with each other.

    “Why not?” Rogers asked.

    “You’re too close. The bullet will just go through the webbing, creating two holes instead of one,” Banner explained quickly, glancing at Peter. “Right?”

    “Not only that, but we have no idea how that stuff could react with metal or the gunpowder,” Peter added.

    “The friction heat from the bullet entering the webbing might cause an explosion.” Stark shook his head. “Minimal as the chances, I don’t think we want this stuff exploding over everyone.”

    Widow held up her hands. “Okay, I get it.” She holstered her gun, muttering “Nerds” under her breath.

    Peter shot her the finger, before spinning to web up the acid. He heard someone else step forward.

    “I could shoot it,” Barton offered.

    Peter snorted. “Explosive arrows are such a good idea,” he muttered sarcastically, turning back around.

    [Hey, maybe he has normal arrows!]

    “We just covered the metal bit,” Peter replied.

    “We’ll just say no shooting, okay?” Banner said.

    “So the best plan right now is bug boy’s,” Stark muttered.

    {You think they’ll mind if we bite him again?} Yellow asked.

    “I think if you have to ask, you already know the answer,” Peter hissed.

    [We couldn’t do this another way?]

    “Yes White, please share your brilliant idea with the class.” It felt like every dark part of Peter – and there was a hell of a lot of darkness – was pressing against his shoulders. He curled his lip into a snarl, digging fingernails into his palm. “No?” he asked. “Nothing? Then seriously, for once, shut the fuck up.”

    Peter beckoned Wade over. “Stand here,” he said sharply. “Hold out your least favourite finger.” Wade stepped forward, holding out the ring finger on his left hand. Peter didn’t even blink. “I’ll try and let as little acid through as possible,” Peter said tersely, his body thrumming with tension. He glanced at the assembled Avengers. “I give it a few seconds before you’ll know for sure. Widow’s going to cut off your finger the moment you tell her to.”

    “Why Nat?” Stark asked. “Clint’s just as good with a knife, and you’re standing right there.”

    “Because Widow has already displayed indifference when hurting Wade,” Peter snapped. He ignored the way the Avengers flinched. “The acid will be coming out any second. Widow, step up.”

    “It’ll be fine, baby boy,” Wade assured him, even having the gall to smile at Peter when he looked at him. “I’ll heal up easy, good as new.”

    Peter stared at him silently for a moment, brows furrowed. “I’m not sure you understand my reluctance to do this,” he finally said, voice puzzled. “Why don’t you understand?”

    [He knows we’re not heartless.]

    {He’s been surrounded by the Avengers.}

    […Yellow makes a good point.]

    {You’ve seen how they treat him.}

    “We’re not them,” Peter hissed.

    [It’s what he’s used to.]

    {We’re not the only ones with issues in this relationship.}

    Peter wrinkled his nose. “Acid incoming,” he said.

    The acid was viscous – the drop seemed to take forever to drip onto Wade’s finger. Peter webbed the hole over quickly, mind buzzing as he tried to figure out how they could get rid of the acid. He wasn’t even sure how the acid at his nest had been neutralized.

    Wade swore as the acid ate his finger. “Natasha!” he yelped, and Peter flinched – actually, physically flinched – when Wade’s finger hit the floor. “Definitely the same stuff,” Wade said. “That shit is nasty. I mean, I’ve been dumped in acid before, but that stuff is a whole different story.”

    Peter blinked, peering at Wade’s finger on the floor. The acid ignored the floor, seemingly content to devour Wade’s finger until nothing was left.

    [What do you think fire does to it?]

    {Yeah! The acid was burned – that explosion must have caused some fires in the nest.}

    Peter made a thoughtful noise. “Anyone have a lighter? Some matches?” A lighter was pressed into his palm. “Cool. Hey, on the plus side, I’m totally not bored right now!”

    [Silver lining.]

    Peter flicked the lighter open and pressed the resulting flame to the puddle that was partly acid and partly Wade’s finger. The puddle caught alight astonishingly quickly, and Peter scuttled back as black smoke erupted from the floor.

    When it cleared, there was nothing to ever suggest that there had been a half melted finger on the lab floor. Peter stood up. “Guess that answers that question,” he said to himself, before using the lighter to set his ball of web on fire.

Chapter Text

    Peter was freaking out a little bit. Well. Okay. He was freaking out a lot. He’d purposely hurt Wade, again, and it didn’t matter that Wade’s finger had already grown back. It mattered that Peter hadn’t found another way, hadn’t been able to think fast enough to avoid this exact situation.

    He paced back and forth in the communal area, lost in the mess inside his head. They’d all abandoned the lab relatively quickly when Jarvis had informed them that the smoke was toxic. Peter hadn’t been able to look at Wade, fingers digging into his palms hard enough to draw blood.

    It was his fault Wade had had to go through the pain of regrowing a finger – he’d mixed the stupid fucking acid, he’d recognized the smell, it was him, him, him! And Peter knew it had hurt because healing was never a pleasant experience.

    This was exactly why White had been against a relationship, Peter realized. Because Peter didn’t, couldn’t, protect the people he cared about – he was the one who hurt them. He was the thing they needed to be protected from.

    [Exactly! You got it too late, Spidey!]

    {We didn’t do it with any malicious intent!}

    “That doesn’t matter,” Peter said, fingers tugging at his hair. “We did it – we’re no better than Widow. And she was the one who cut off his finger!” He spun and began to pace back the way he’d come, long, angry strides that had him turning back in on himself before long. He wanted to leave, wanted to run, but the Avengers were ranged around the room, effectively blocking all his exits.

    Peter wondered absently if they’d all planned to trap him inside. Even Wade was blocking an exit, the only exit he really wanted to use – the door to the balcony, the door to the freedom of the New York skyline.

    {I’m offended.}

    [I don’t want to be like her.]

    “You think I do? If I could, I’d go back and change it.” Peter snarled wordlessly, one of his hands lashing out and knocking a statue to the floor, where it shattered into tiny pieces. No one moved to scold him.

    [Time travel isn’t possible yet.]

    “Spidey? Are you alright?” Wade asked.

    “Am I alright? I’m fine. I’m perfect. I found my monster again, and it’s all your fault,” Peter replied savagely, knocking a vase to the ground with his elbow.

    “Spidey,” Wade tried.

    {This experience will give us more nightmares.}

    White sighed. [I hate the nightmares.]

    {It’s not like we need anymore,} Yellow agreed.

    “Even when we wake up, it’s still a nightmare. Nightmares within nightmares, horrors and blood and pain and why did you make me feel?” Peter glared at Wade, breathing hard, before spinning away. “Feelings. Caring is not an advantage. Damnit, why don’t I listen?”

    [Because you can’t accept that you don’t actually know best.]

    “I do know best!”

    [Case in point.]

    “Having some troubles, Peter?”

    Peter sneered, even as his heart rate jumped, doubling in a split second. “I was really hoping you’d left for good.”

    “Can’t get rid of me that easily, Peter,” Harry drawled. Peter could feel him, moving around Peter like a predator stalking its prey.

    It had been a long time since Peter had considered himself prey, and he had no intentions of starting now.

    {Buzz off!}

    “What do you want? Haven’t you had your fun? You showed up, you reminded me of things I never wanted to remember, you… You!” Peter snarled wordlessly, hands lashing out again. This time, his fist smashed into Stark’s coffee table, which groaned once before collapsing.

    [Every bad thing is your fault.]

    “So quick with the accusations. Don’t be like that, Peter. You know I loved you.”

    “You loved me?” Peter repeated, incredulous. He shook his head. “No. You loved an idea, and that idea was a pretty little bed warmer who’d suck your cock whenever you asked and who worshipped you. Newsflash, asshole – you’re dead, I’m not. I killed you. Who should worship who?”

    “You can’t tell me you didn’t enjoy our time together.”

    [Wanna bet?]

    “I loathed our time together,” Peter hissed, hands clenched into fists so tight he could feel his nails cutting into his skin. “I hated every second you kept me tied to that bed. Every time you said my name, I wanted to kill you. Every time you manipulated me, kept me from seeing my friends, every time you beat me down until I thought I was nothing. I thought about it.

    “I thought about ripping your head from your shoulders. I thought about bleeding you dry. I thought about torturing you. And every time I did, a little piece of me died and this is what I became! This is your fault. You’re lucky I wasn’t in control when I ripped your heart out.”

    “Threatening a dead man, Peter?”

    “Spidey?” Wade asked, but Peter couldn’t listen to him. Couldn’t even look at him because Harry had appeared, toxic, smarmy smile stretched across his face, teeth still as pointed as the day Peter had killed him.

    “You sound alive enough to me, and this is making me feel better,” Peter replied thoughtfully. He suddenly felt much calmer. Harry was a focus to his rage, a focus on something other than the self-hatred that was trying to kill him slowly. “If I was in control, trust me when I say that you would have suffered a long time before I let you die.”

    “You don’t have it in you.” But there was a hint of unease in Harry’s voice. The sudden look in his dark eyes was familiar – it had appeared in the past when Harry realized he didn’t hold all the cards. When he realized that he wasn’t in control anymore. “You never did.”

    “You don’t know me,” Peter hissed, advancing two steps towards Harry. He felt a familiar, nasty smile cross his face when Harry took an uncertain step back. “I am the Spider.”

    [And you don’t know the Spider.]

    {You knew Peter Parker.}

    “And he,” Peter hissed, “is dead. My house, my rules. And trust me on this, Harry, you would have begged. The sounds you would have made – I know you liked my screams, how would you have liked it when I gave you a taste of your own medicine? I would have destroyed you. I could have torn you apart for months, stitching you back together with thread made from your hair and a needle made from your finger bone –”

    “Peter!” Wade shouted, and Peter froze. Harry’s presence in his mind vanished like smoke, and he was suddenly aware he’d been shouting at thin air for the better part of ten minutes, surrounded by the Avengers.

    Peter’s eyes widened when he remembered everything he’d said out loud. And then he realized that Wade had just shouted his name, a name he didn’t deserve anymore, and now the Avengers would… The Avengers would… Fury

    {The Avengers are here, the Avengers are here!}

    [He said our name. Our name. I can’t believe –]

    {No, no Wade wouldn’t betray us like this!}

    [He just fucking did,] White snarled. [I don’t care how much you love him, Spidey. That’s a huge red cross.]

    {He’d have a reason.}

    [There isn’t a good enough reason.]

    Wade, while not telepathic, had certainly learned how to read Peter. “They already know,” he said quickly, trying to salvage a situation that was rapidly falling to pieces.

    {See? Good reason!}

    [No. No. Because now that means that he knew about it and didn’t tell us.]

    Peter remembered Wade and Mimic’s confrontation with a flash of overwhelming clarity. He’d… She’d… They’d both known. And neither of them had told him.

    {But… They’d both have a good reason? I mean, they’re family!}

    “Some family,” Peter replied hoarsely, not loud enough to be heard by the assembled Avengers. He hoped Mimic heard him anyway. Hoped with childish cruelty that she felt horrible. Because she deserved it.

    “The facial recognition got a hit a week ago,” Stark said. There was something in his voice, something that Peter tried to ignore because it sounded an awful lot like regret. “An old police report. Must have missed that one when you were clearing yourself from the system.”

    [A week! They kept it from us for a week!]

    But Peter didn’t have a record. There shouldn’t have been a record. Peter didn’t move, half a step away from the door. He couldn’t look at Wade. Couldn’t look at the Avengers. He stared at the New York skyline, unblinking.

    {Someone filed a police report against us?}

    [I’m sure lots of people file reports against us.]

    “The reason it took so long to get a hit was because it was pretty well hidden,” Stark continued. “Jarvis managed to get through the firewalls. Someone didn’t want this found.”

    “You were reportedly stalking someone called Harry Osborn,” Rogers added, and yes, there was pity in his tone. Peter’s lips curled to hear it, rage flaring. “His father filed the report.”

    {Old man Norman?}

    Peter straightened abruptly. Norman Osborn had money. He had connections. He owned Oscorp Industries, a corporation that dealt with experimental sciences, military research, and…

    “Cross-species genetics,” Peter muttered to himself.

    [But how’d he get the antidote to our venom?]

    “He could have been watching,” Peter pointed out.

    {And the acid that got Wade!}

    “Experimental sciences,” Peter reminded Yellow.

    [The knife in our back.]

    “Okay, that one’s still a little blurry. Two out of three ain’t bad, though.”

    {He’s a dying old guy.}

    [Becket said the guy trying to kill us is with Hydra. You really think Hydra would pick up Norman Osborn, of all people?]

    “Why not?” Peter asked. “Experimental sciences, military research… Plus, who isn’t interested in cross-species genetics nowadays?”

    [{Idiots,}] the boxes chorused.

    Peter was glad he had something else to focus on. The trust he’d unconsciously placed in Wade was cracking, sharp, painful edges cutting into his chest. Not to mention the fact he’d accidentally uncovered a part of his past he really wanted to bury.

    “I think we’ve found my would-be murderer.”

    [If you’re right, he’s bloody persistent.]

    {Yeah. Why isn’t he getting the message that we don’t die easy?}

    “Well, we did kill his son,” Peter pointed out lazily. “No heir for Osborn.”

    [He could have adopted!]

    {He could have fucked someone else?}

    Peter wrinkled his nose. “That’s gross. He’s like sixty-something.”

    {And I’ll bet he’s still going strong.}

    Peter felt his spider sense go off and flinched away, expecting to see Stark or Widow reaching for him. But the person on the other end of the hand hanging motionless in the air was Wade.

    “Peter,” Wade said softly, and Peter could hear the apology in his voice. And the hurt. Peter had no doubt Wade was remembering the exact same conversation he was.

    Because I trust you.

    Peter blinked at him. It had been an age since his spider sense had registered Wade as a threat. And when it did, Wade usually had his weapons in his hands – more often than not, it was Wade’s guns that set off Peter’s spider sense. Because I trust you. His spider sense had registered Wade as a threat. Wade wasn’t a threat. Was he?

    How did he deal with threats nowadays?

    {He… He set of the spider sense… He’s never done it like this…}

    [You kill threats.]

    {We can’t kill Wade!}

    [We should!]

    {No we shouldn’t! We haven’t killed Widow or Stark or Barton –}

    [He can’t hurt us anymore if we kill him!] White shouted.

    “Peter?” Wade repeated, his hand dropping back to his side slowly.

    He was hurting Wade. He could see it in the bowed shoulders, the wide eyes, the way he was biting his bottom lip. Wade… Wade had hurt him. Wade deserved to be hurt in return. Retaliation. Balance. Karma.

    But Peter had already hurt Wade. He felt something crumble inside him when his eyes flickered to Wade’s finger, the one the acid had started to eat. The one he’d melted off. It didn’t matter that it had grown back only minutes later.

    [Spidey?]

    {What are you going to do?}

    Peter raised his head, looking Wade in the eye. Peter offered Wade his biggest, brightest smile. “We’ll talk when I get back,” he said brightly. He fled outside before anyone could say anything else. Ran away before they could realize how fake his smile was. Ran before Wade could reach for him again and trigger his spider sense.

    Ran before his heart shattered like the brittle, broken thing it was.

    [That’s it? ‘We’ll talk when I get back’? What is wrong with you? He kept something important from us! He lied to us!]

    {What are we going to say when we go back?} Yellow asked.

    Peter flicked out a web, picking a tiny tracking device from his shoulder. He regarded it silently for a moment – he knew how long it had been there for, knew who had put it on him, had allowed it – before crushing it between his fingers and tossing it onto the pavement below.

    “That’s obvious,” Peter replied in a very quiet voice. “We’re not coming back.”

    He jumped from the tower, heading for the distant headquarters of Oscorp Industries.

 



 

 

    It wasn’t hard for Peter to get into Oscorp. It wasn’t hard for him to find Norman Osborn’s private office. It wasn’t hard for Peter to kill the guards he ran into. It wasn’t hard for Peter to shove his hands through their chests, fingers squeezing their hearts into bloody mush.

    It wasn’t hard for Peter to pretend that he was doing it to his own heart.

    “When my fist hits your face,” Peter snarled, his bloody fist connecting with Osborn’s haggard face. He felt bone break underneath his hand. “And your face hits the floor.” He watched with a tiny flicker of amusement as his opponent crumpled, spitting out blood as he glared dazedly up at Peter.

    “It’s been a long time coming,” Peter continued, tongue flicking out to lick a drop of blood from his knuckles. He grinned, sharp and cruel. “But you’ve got the message now, right?”

    Several guards rushed into the room, and Peter didn’t bother to be dramatic. He caught two of them by the neck and twisted, much like he’d done with the cameraman. Two others he punched in the chest with all his strength, relishing in the feel of ribs shattering beneath his fists.

    “Hey Normy,” Peter said sweetly, smiling sharply. “Thanks for the breadcrumb.” When the old man only looked at him in confusion, hand against his nose, Peter sighed. “The police report. Stalking. Lucky Harry had it put away, hey? Otherwise it would have taken me that much longer to get here.”

    Peter watched the realization dawn across the man’s face. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he tried.

    “No. Sorry. Ain’t gonna work. Your first mistake was targeting me at all – if you wanted to make it seem like you’re innocent, you would have been surprised when I came in.” Peter shrugged. “Surprised that I was alive, anyway.”

    “I was surprised to learn you were alive,” Osborn snarled. “Especially after I learned you were the Spider.”

    {Ooh, ask him to reveal his dastardly plans! Villains always have the greatest monologues.}

    “Hang on! Since when are we not the villains in this story?” Peter squawked, indignant.

    {Since he’s worse than us?}

    “He’s not worse than us!”

    [Wasn’t it his turn?]

    “What?”

    {The message! He hasn’t had his turn yet!}

    “Right, the message.” Peter grinned at Osborn. “You did get it, didn’t you?”

    The old man sneered. “‘Your move’. How terribly original.”

    “The boxes think you deserve your turn,” Peter continued. “What do you think, Normy? Do you deserve your turn?”

    “I only need one shot to finish this,” Osborn snapped. He picked himself up off the floor and opened a drawer, keeping his eyes on Peter. His nose had stopped bleeding – a pity. Osborn made a triumphant noise and pulled out a needle.

    [What’s that?]

    {I don’t think we should get stabbed with it.}

    “What’s that, Normy?”

    “My finishing move,” the old man replied.

    “That’s all good and well,” Peter began.

    [But you have to catch us.]

    {Um guys, I have a really bad feeling about this.}

    Peter nodded. “People always underestimate how hard it is to catch us. It’s very insulting.”

    “Trust me. I haven’t underestimated you.”

    Norman Osborn lunged. Peter dodged – a surprisingly near thing, considering how old the man was. He frowned, eyes tracking Osborn’s movements.

    [He’s fast,] White noted.

    {Bad feeling. Very bad feeling. Did I mention that I’m getting a bad feeling about this?}

    The needle passed inches from Peter’s throat, and his spider sense went haywire. He leapt back, fangs bared in surprise.

    He’d almost missed the lunge.

    {Abort. Jesus, we need backup.}

    [For once, he’s right. We are not prepared for this.]

    {What is he on?}

    Osborn turned, and Peter noticed that his nose was straight. Unbent. Unbroken. A shiver went down Peter’s spine.

    “What’s the matter, Spider?” Osborn mocked, but his voice had changed. Harsher and crueller, words sharpened like the teeth that flashed between his lips.

    [Oh shit.]

    {We killed the Green Goblin!}

    “This is totally cheating,” Peter snarled.

    “Cheating? I would call it evening out the playing field. I’m the original. Harry was never supposed to get a hold of the formula,” Osborn admitted. “It wasn’t ready. It still isn’t.”

    “You really want me dead?” Peter asked.

    Osborn grinned. “No. I want you to suffer.”

    Peter missed the lunge. Or at least, that’s what he told himself. He watched the needle approach his neck as though in slow motion. It would have been easy to dodge. Easy to step to the side, catch Osborn by the throat and toss him like a rag-doll across the room.

    But Wade and Mimic’s betrayal was still hurting, and Peter felt something he hadn’t felt in a while. He was tired. He just wanted to rest.

    [Spidey!]

    {No!}

    [Don’t you fucking dare!]

    {I’m going to kick your –}

    Peter closed his eyes and felt the needle sink into his skin. And then there was nothing.

Chapter Text

    Peter woke up. Peter woke up. For a moment, he lay still, breathing in the frigid air that surrounded him. He was cold, he was wet, but he was awake. How long had it been since he’d been awake? And now that he thought about it, why was he wet?

    He scrambled to sit up, relishing the control he had over his body again. The last thing Peter remembered was something of a half remembered dream – the thick, sticky blood running between his fingers, the crushing weight of despair, and familiar unfamiliar eyes, cold and sharp like glass.

    [God-fucking damn it,] a voice grumbled. Box, his mind supplied. [What the hell are you doing up here? Where’s Spidey?]

    “I don’t know,” he said, his voice coming out hoarse. He coughed, trying to clear his throat. “I just woke up.”

    {We need Spidey!}

    “I don’t know, I’m just glad to be awake.” A little belatedly, he added, “Where am I?”

    [Beats me.]

    {We wake up with you.}

    [White.]

    {Yellow.}

    [Very unpleased to see you again. You’re not even supposed to be here.]

    He ignored the venom in the box’s voice. “Alright then. Why was I unconscious?”

    [Fucking Osborn.]

    Peter’s blood turned to ice. “Harry?”

    {Nah, Harry’s dead as a doorknob. Pretty sure Spidey scared him right out of our head, too!}

    [Norman.]

    “Okay. And he knocked me unconscious? First off, how? Secondly, why?”

    {Oh to be as oblivious as you,} the box called Yellow sneered.

    [How – we don’t know. He stabbed us with a needle. Why – I’m going to assume because we killed Harry.]

    “I killed him… Because he killed Gwen,” Peter said slowly. “I remember that bit.”

    He certainly didn’t remember it fondly. He stared at his own fingers, remembering the way they had torn into Harry’s chest, the way he had snapped the other boy’s ribs like toothpicks. He remembered the ache in his teeth. He remembered the savage satisfaction that had raced through him the moment Harry’s heart had stopped beating.

    He remembered crushing the bloody muscle in his fist with a smile and he felt sick.

    {Hallelujah.}

    [Seriously, we need Spidey.]

    “Why? I can get out. I still had super strength as Spiderman, you know.”

    {You did?}

    [Okay. Let’s go then.]

    Peter stood and made his way over to the bars that surrounded him. It felt good, being able to walk around. Mostly, he’d floated in nothing, the passage of time marked only by the moments he managed to get a glimpse of what his other self was up to. Usually, it wasn’t anything good.

    Peter grabbed the bars and planted his feet. “Ready?”

    [Ready.]

    {Ready.}

    Peter pulled using all of his strength. Nothing happened. The metal didn’t even budge. He frowned. “Um.”

    [Well that was anticlimactic.]

    {I’m sure you said you had super strength.}

    [This is definitely not super strength.]

    {I’ll tell you what it is – super disappointing.}

    “I think that injection took away more than just the Spider,” Peter said softly, staring at his hands. “I’m pretty sure I’m pre-Spiderman.”

    {Our eyesight’s all fuzzy. I don’t like it.}

    [We need glasses. Oh no. This is not cool. Why are we only noticing this now?]

    {We’re nerds. Officially.}

    [No, we’re geeks. Right?]

    “Why not both?”

    [You are annoyingly unbothered by this.]

    Yellow laughed. {Can you imagine Spidey?}

    [He’d be shitting bricks.]

    “Then isn’t it a good thing that you have me?” Peter asked. “I can keep calm about this. Mostly.”

    [Yeah no. We need Spidey.]

    {He’d be okay with killing Osborn.}

    “I’m not killing anyone,” Peter replied firmly.

    “It worked, then?” Osborn asked, appearing on the other side of the bars. Peter almost tripped over himself in an effort to put some distance between them.

    “That depends entirely on if your aim was to make me normal,” Peter replied. “I can’t even see right now, Mr Osborn. I am pre-Spiderman Peter. This makes me very uncomfortable. Although I do have one complaint – why couldn’t you get rid of the voices?”

    Osborn laughed, sharp teeth glinting in the light. Well, Peter thought it was his teeth. He hoped it was his teeth, instead of it being something nastier. Like a knife. Or several knives. His vision was too blurry to say exactly what was what. “This is perfect,” he hissed.

    [And here I was thinking we were the crazy ones.]

    “Huh?” Peter said intelligently.

    {He can’t hurt us.}

    [Not like he could have if we still had the healing.]

    Peter’s brow furrowed. “That is… A disturbingly good point.”

    {We know!}

    “You can’t hurt me like this,” Peter said, tilting his head at Osborn. “I can’t heal.”

    “But you aren’t Spiderman anymore,” Osborn replied, gloating.

    {Here I was thinking he was smart.}

    [He pays people to be smart for him.]

    “I haven’t been Spiderman for a long time,” Peter said, his voice heavy. “I was fifteen when I was bitten. I’m… How old am I?”

    [Eighteen.]

    “I’m eighteen?” Peter demanded, momentarily side-tracked. “I’m an eighteen year old virgin!”

    {Well…}

    [Not exactly.]

    “How am I not exactly an eighteen year old virgin?” Peter squeaked. "The stuff with Harry totally didn't count," he added in a quiet voice.

    {We’ve had sex!}

    [Lots of times.]

    {We’re kinky.}

    [Worryingly so.]

    {What? It’s not worrying!}

    [It sort of is.]

    {Not even!}

    “Okay!” Peter shouted. “So I’ve had sex. Fine. I can’t remember it, but it’s happened. Cool.” He blinked back into the present, feeling Osborn’s eyes on him. “I was Spiderman for less than a year,” he stressed. “And then your son killed Gwen.”

    “And you killed him.”

    “I did, and I wish I could take it back. Killing is never the answer.”

    “It’s worked perfectly well for you these past years,” Osborn sneered.

    “I – that wasn’t me!”

    [Oh yeah. He’s totally going to believe that.]

    Peter made a frustrated noise. “You think I would have let him kill people if I had the option of stopping him?” Peter demanded. “Did you know me at all, Mr Osborn? I was the kid who put up with your son. I was the kid who stood up for the ones who were bullied and was bullied myself. When I was bitten, I didn’t use my powers to get back at people! I used it to save people!”

    “You didn’t save Gwen,” Osborn hissed. “You didn’t save my son.”

 



 

 

    Osborn left Peter alone after that. And Peter very quickly became annoyed with the boxes in his head.

    “Don’t you ever shut up?” Peter shouted, fingers tangled in his hair. He just needed a moment to process. Osborn was right – Peter hadn’t saved Gwen, even if he had tried. He certainly hadn’t saved Harry. He hadn't even tried. But there hadn't been time for anything other than rage - the second he'd realized Gwen was dead, that Harry had killed her, Peter had lost control.

    {Being quiet is boring,} Yellow complained.

    [We don’t like to be bored.]

    Peter dropped his hands from his hair so he could scratch his fingers. “I just need to think for a moment.” Why were his fingers so itchy?

    [Good luck,] White replied snidely. Yellow began to sing about itchy fingers and eyes.

    Peter decided then and there that he hated the boxes.

 



 

    Several hours later – at least, Peter guessed that was how long he was stuck wherever he was stuck – Peter heard a commotion on the floor above him. The boxes ceased in their chatter to listen in, and Peter silently thanked whoever was causing a fuss for finally shutting them up.

    Osborn stumbled in, lunging for the locked door that kept Peter trapped. He unlocked it and stepped inside, moving forward with intent.

    [No one panic,] White began, [but I think he’s actually going to kill us this time.]

    Peter stumbled back, eyes widening when Osborn put on a burst of unnatural speed and his hand closed around Peter’s neck. He kicked, struggling against the older man’s hold, desperately trying to breathe.

    {Fuck!}

    [What a way to go.]

    Peter’s vision was beginning to get spotty when Osborn’s weight was abruptly knocked off him. He blinked up at the ceiling, taking great gasping breaths that reminded him of that one time he’d actually tried to run in PE.

    He rolled over to see a very beautiful, decidedly deadly looking woman with short red hair wrestling Osborn to the ground, her knives flashing in the light – and were her gloves lighting up for a reason, or just because it looked pretty?

    Peter was almost certain that Black Widow – because that was definitely who he thought it was – wouldn’t wear something ‘pretty’ for no reason. As if to confirm his thoughts, she punched Osborn with her glow-y blue gloves and Osborn jerked and spasmed.

    White whistled. [Electric gloves.]

    {Shocking,} Yellow giggled.

    Peter watched the fight stupidly until he realized that Black Widow was actually going to kill Osborn. He struggled to his feet, repeating “No, no, no,” in a hoarse voice.

    “This bastard attacked Tony’s tower,” Black Widow snarled, her knife pressed against Osborn’s throat. “He put everyone’s life in danger with that acid. He was trying to kill you.”

    “Killing him is not going to change anything!” Peter shouted, even though it made his throat hurt. He didn’t exactly understand – what acid? – but killing was still a big no on his list.

    Osborn laughed. “Little Peter Parker. You’re no hero now.”

    [He has a point.]

    “I’m whatever I want to be, Mr Osborn,” Peter replied firmly. “I don’t need my powers to be a hero, just like you never needed your Goblin powers to make you a monster.”

    {Ohoho. Petey’s got bite!}

    “You treated Harry like shit,” Peter continued. “He was a bad person because that’s what you taught him to be. He made stupid mistakes because you treated him like a child and never told him anything! It’s your fault he’s dead!”

    Osborn snarled. “You were the one that killed him!”

    [Again, he has a point.]

    Peter shook his head. “You were the one who never explained the Green Goblin shit to him. You were the one who left the formula lying around! You were the one who didn’t even notice what he was becoming!”

    {Now who has the point?}

    Peter caught Black Widow’s eye. “Don’t kill him,” he all but pleaded.

    [She’s looking at us funny.]

    {Makes you want to tear her face off, doesn’t it?}

    Peter made a horrified noise. “Why would I want to tear her face off?” he exclaimed. “She just came to rescue me!” He paused. “Speaking of which, since when am I all chummy with the Avengers?”

    [We’re not.]

    {They hate us, we hate them…}

    [It’s a hate-hate relationship. One with frequent insults and broken bones.]

    {And blood. Such pretty blood.}

    “Then why did she come and save me?” Peter demanded.

    [I don’t know. Ask her.]

    {Don’t care!}

    “You two are useless,” Peter said bitingly.

    {I do try!}

    [Whatever. I don’t even like you.]

    “Yeah, yeah. I get it. You want the Spider back.” Peter threw his hands into the air. “Guess what? I’m the only one here right now, so I guess you’re just going to have to suck it up, princess.”

    […I hate you.]

    {I sort of want to kick you in the face,} Yellow piped up.

    [And we don’t generally agree on these things.]

    {More like never.}

    “Well you’re in my head. So deal with it.”

    “We should go,” Black Widow said abruptly, pulling Osborn to his feet. “Follow me,” she said to Peter. “Any funny business,” Peter was pretty sure she was talking to Osborn now, “and I won’t hesitate to slit your throat.”

    Peter felt a little ill.

    [We’ve done so much worse. We would have made him suffer,] White informed him, and Peter felt decidedly worse. Especially when Yellow made a gleeful noise of agreement.

 



 

 

    Black Widow escorted Norman Osborn from Oscorp Industries and handed him over to a group of people dressed in black and who carried weapons. Lots of visible weapons. Peter kept back, keeping a wary – also very blurry – eye on the group.

    {We’re going to kill him.}

    [He deserves it.]

    “No,” Peter said firmly.

    {Yes, actually. You’re not the boss of us, Petey.}

    [Only the Spider can tell us what to do.]

    {And we don’t always listen to him anyway.}

    “I’m not killing him.”

    Yellow laughed, low and sinister. {You won’t be here when we kill him.}

    [It’ll be us and Spidey. Just like old times.]

    {The best times.}

    “Spider,” Black Widow called. Peter didn’t bother to correct her – what was the point? “This way.”

 



 

    Twenty minutes later, the black car Black Widow had ushered him into pulled up in front of Stark Tower.

    [It’s the Avengers tower now.]

    {The big A-team.}

    [Assholes.]

    {Annoying.}

    [Did we mention they’re assholes?]

    {Also annoying.}

    “Shut up,” Peter said tersely. “I am not looking crazy in front of the Avengers.”

    [Petey, they already know you’re crazy.]

    {We’ve been in their hair for ages.}

    “Ages? What do you mean, ages?” Peter couldn’t help the panicked note in his voice. “Please tell me I’m not sleeping with an Avenger!”

    {Here I was, thinking you’d be happy.}

    [Well, Wade deserves to be forgotten.]

    “Wade,” Peter repeated, his brow furrowing. “I don’t… Which of the Avengers is Wade?”

    {Oh boy.}

    [This is great.]

    {You’re so bitter!}

    [Don’t even act like you don’t think he deserves it,] White snapped. [This is what he gets for hurting us. For hurting Spidey.]

    Yellow whined. {But I want him to fuck us again.}

    “I’m lost,” Peter admitted. “Who’s –”

    “Peter!”

    Peter spun, blinking quickly as he tried to focus his crappy eyes. He made out a red and black blob, which quickly turned into a very shapely red and black man. He had muscles everywhere. He was tall and broad and Peter felt a low heat simmering in his belly.

    [Peter, meet Wade. Wade, fuck off.]

    {Wade!}

    “So you’re Wade,” Peter said, smiling. “I can see why he… Why I?”

    [Why we,] White supplied.

    “Why we like you,” Peter continued.

    [Not anymore.]

    {That’s so shallow! We’re not attracted just to his physical looks!}

    Wade actually recoiled, skidding to a stop and taking a step backwards. “You’re not him,” he said, his head tilting to one side. His voice was low and rumbly, and Peter barely supressed his shiver. “Who are you?”

    “I’m Peter. Peter Parker.” He offered his hand to shake, but the big man just looked at it until he dropped it back to his side. “I’m sorry I’m not who you wanted.”

    It actually stung, quite a bit – what did the Spider have that Peter didn’t?

    [Questionable morals,] White replied. Peter didn’t doubt that the box knew he was being rhetorical.

    {Bloodlust!}

    [A thing for knives.]

    {Great aim.}

    [Spider powers.]

    {Mental instability.}

    [An unhealthy obsession with making people bleed.]

    {And scream!}

    Peter frowned. “Shut up,” he said quietly.

    “Are you two lovebirds done making out?” someone called.

    [That was probably Barton.]

    {I think he’s mad we found out he likes Supernatural.}

    Wade shook his head. “It’s… It’s not him,” he called back, and Peter could hear the heartbreak in his voice.

    “Well. I officially feel like the bad guy,” Peter muttered.

    [You are.]

    {We need Spidey!}

    “I want to stick around for a bit. I’ve been out of it for so long.”

    “What the hell do you mean, it’s not bug boy?”

    [Stark.]

    {The Iron Princess.}

    [Be careful, he has the biggest stick up his ass.]

    Peter spun around. “Oh, this is actually super cool,” he said. “Tony freaking Stark.” And then he frowned. “Bug boy? Really? Spiders are arachnids, you know.”

    Tony stopped. “Whoa,” he said. “That’s really not bug boy.”

    {Can you see why we don’t like him?}

    “I can definitely see how you’d all rub each other the wrong way,” Peter replied with a grin. He offered Tony his hand. “Peter Parker. I was a huge fan even before I got my own powers. Always liked your gizmos and gadgets, too.”

    [Don’t shake his hand!]

    {We’re going to have to sanitise that hand for a month!}

    [Two!]

    “The Spider is sleeping, I think,” Peter added. “I’m sure he’ll wake up soon.” He didn’t realize he’d said it for Wade’s benefit until he glanced over his shoulder and saw Wade was gone.

    [I’m going to say this again, this is Spidey’s time. You don’t belong here.]

    “Just a bit,” Peter assured the box. “I’m sure he’ll wake up and kick me out in a few days.”

    The box was quite for a moment. [I hope you’re right.]

 



 

 

    Weeks passed. Peter worked with Tony and Bruce, visited Aunt May’s and Uncle Ben’s graves. He thought about going to Gwen’s, but the one time he gathered the courage, Gwen’s mother and brothers were already there.

    He ran before they could see his face and spent the rest of the day curled up in a quiet room of the tower, heart racing and breaths puffing out too quickly. He scratched his fingers until they bled and flinched at every sound.

    The Spider did not stir.

 



 

 

    Peter’s Spiderman powers returned three weeks after he was rescued from Oscorp. By then, Peter had a fantastic relationship with most of the Avengers. Even Fury seemed to like him. He celebrated by cooking dinner, using a recipe hidden in the dusty corners of his mind.

    (And if he snuck out that night to swing around New York, loudly relishing the return of his powers, no one needed to know. Except for those late night city goers who watched him fly overhead. And there hadn’t been very many of them – maybe fifty? He was moving too fast to be identified anyway.)

    He said most of the Avengers, because Wade almost never showed up when Peter was around, and when he did, he didn’t interact with Peter. And he was always wearing a mask – Peter never saw his face.

    Black Widow, too, seemed to view him with something akin to disdain, especially after she asked him to play the piano for her. He very carefully informed her that he’d never learned to play, and she’d blinked at him before nodding sharply and going to stand beside Hawkeye.

    With his powers back, Peter was invited to join the Avengers.

 



 

 

    Four days after his Spiderman powers returned, Yellow vanished.

 



 

    Three days later, White disappeared.

    Peter had a massive panic attack when he realized his head was empty. It felt wrong because it felt wrong, and Peter spent the entire day huddled in his bathroom, trying to control his breathing and think.

 



 

 

    He declined the invite to the Avengers the same day. No one said anything about the bloody scratches on the side of his face, already slowly closing, or the blood drying under his fingernails.

 



 

 

    A month after waking up, Peter went to Wade, bursting into his room unannounced. Wade looked up in surprise, face still covered with his mask. He was sitting on the bed, sharpening his katanas and generally looking unfairly attractive.

    “Call me baby boy,” Peter requested quietly. “It’s his. It’s always been his.” It was the one thing Peter could remember. Once, just once, he’d become aware enough to hear a low voice murmur “Baby boy” in his ear.

    Of course, it was by now abundantly clear that the term of affection had never been for Peter. It was, and always would be, reserved for the Spider.

    Wade blinked at him. “You want him back?”

    Peter shrugged. “I’d prefer to stay,” he admitted. “But I don’t belong here. This isn’t my place anymore.”

    “It was never your place,” snapped a cold voice from behind him. Peter whirled in surprise, staring at the girl behind him. He blinked, sure his eyes were playing tricks on him – her eyes looked red, like blood.

    “Who are you?” Peter asked warily.

    “I’m Mimic. I know you better than you know yourself. And your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. My eyes are red.” She smirked, tossing her thick dark hair over her shoulder. “You should leave.”

    “I can’t know that he’ll come back even if I leave,” Peter replied. But he hoped, because he’d never actually meant to cause as much pain as he had.

    “But you think he will,” Mimic said. “That’s good enough for me. Get lost.”

    “Mimic,” Wade said reproachfully. But Peter shook his head, smiling.

    “She’s right,” he said. He grabbed her hand. “I’m glad he has people like you,” he whispered. “Heaven knows he needs them.”

    The girl shook her hands free, wrinkling her nose at him. “I don’t need you to tell me that,” she replied haughtily.

    Peter grinned and turned back to Wade, raising an eyebrow. “Are you going to help get your baby boy back?” he asked.

    He wasn’t at all surprised when Wade ripped off his mask and stepped forward to grab his shoulders, staring into his eyes like a man who’d just been saved from drowning. “Baby boy,” he whispered, fingers digging into Peter’s skin. “Regresa a mi. No sabes cuánto lo siento.”

    Peter felt something twist inside him, and suddenly his head was crowded again. “There you are,” he muttered.

    [I heard Spanish.]

    {Wade, we’re back!}

    “Two down, one to go,” Mimic muttered from her corner.

    Wade moved his hands up to Peter’s face, stroking his thumbs along Peter’s cheekbones. Peter shivered at the gentle touch. “Peter, prometo hacer lo que sea. Lo que quieras. Solo regresa, baby boy.”

    [Wait, why are we falling?]

    {We literally just woke up, you asshole!}

    “Sorry,” Peter gasped. “I’m checking out. But before I go…” He reached up, arms heavy and slow, and pulled Wade’s head down to his.

    There was no reason for Wade to let him. Peter was just Peter. He wasn’t the Spider. But Wade let Peter pull him close, let Peter press his lips to Wade’s, and then kissed Peter back.

    “Baby boy,” Wade whispered each time he paused to catch his breath. “Baby boy.”

    Peter could feel himself falling. He had a feeling, silly as it was, that when the other Peter came back, so too would his Spider powers. Peter hoped they all would – except for one part he’d decided to keep to himself.

    “Just… About… Gone,” he managed to say. “One… More… Pull.”

    Wade pulled back, but not too far, leaning his forehead against Peter’s. Their breath mingled, warm and moist. “Spider,” Wade said, a low growl in his voice, “come back. I love you, you idiot.”

    Yep, Peter thought, a faint smile on his face. That did it. He stared into Wade’s eyes until his own closed and his mind went dark.

Chapter Text

    Peter woke up furious. He was in a bed, wrapped in sheets and blankets. As a result, he was sweltering. He spent a few minutes wrestling with the constricting material – whoever had wrapped him up had done it really fucking well.

    “Why do I spend so much fucking time unconscious?” he demanded harshly, pushing himself off the bed so fast he stumbled, still tangled in the sheets. “I’ve had enough. I am never sleeping again. This is ridiculous.” He lashed out with his feet, and the tearing sound that came as a result put a very brief smile on his face.

    [Hey, blame writer lady.]

    {Yeah, it’s her fault.}

    “And why do I always wake up in the goddamn Avengers Tower?” Peter snarled as he stepped out of the room, the blankets and sheets left abandoned on the floor. “I don’t even like this stupid place. It’s too open, too bright – there’s too much of Stark’s stench about the place.”

    {Wade lives here too.}

    Peter paused. “Hang on.” He scratched his head. “Wasn’t I… Didn’t Osborn kick my ass?”

    Yellow giggled. {You got your ass handed to you by an old man!}

    [To be fair, he was the original Green Goblin.]

    “To think it was a family business,” Peter said, shaking his head. He frowned. “What was in the needle? I remember getting stabbed with it – nothing after it.”

    [Well, we don’t exactly know.]

    {But you went to sleep.}

    [And Peter came out to play.]

    Peter jerked. “He did?”

    {Chill, he’s gone now.}

    [Completely.]

    “Where’d he go?”

    He could almost feel White shrug. [No idea. He’s gone, either way.]

    {Maybe you two combined?}

    “What, like a chocolate swirl cake?”

    [That’s really the best comparison you could come up with?]

    “I’m hungry. Sue me.”

    {People hungry or food hungry?}

    Peter tilted his head, considering. “Food hungry. Definitely food hungry.”

    [That’s new.]

    {Yeah, usually after you’ve been sleeping, you’re people hungry.}

    “That’s true.” Peter chewed his lip for a moment before shrugging. “Whatever. It’ll show up eventually. Now, which way to the kitchen?”

    [I’m going to say down this corridor.]

    {It is agreed. Let’s go on an adventure!}

    “Not sure how Stark would feel about that,” Peter replied absently.

    [Screw him.]

    {Since when do we care?}

    Peter paused. Since when did he care? “Oh no,” he whispered, horrified.

    {What?}

    “I really am a chocolate swirl cake,” Peter replied miserably.

    [We should test that theory before jumping to conclusions.]

    “I’m a chocolate swirl cake,” Peter lamented. “I don’t want to be a chocolate swirl cake. I just want to be a chocolate cake.”

    {Food first.}

    [And then we’ll test it out.]

    Peter eventually found his way to the kitchen. It was empty, like the rest of the Tower seemed to be. Peter wondered where the Avengers and Mimic were as he opened the fridge.

    “Hmm. Healthy, healthy, gross and healthy, healthy… What is this? Did a rabbit fill this fridge?”

    Yellow giggled. {The Iron Rabbit.}

    [That’s terrible. We should call him that from now on.]

    “Food, guys, food,” Peter growled. He left the fridge and moved on to the pantry. “Now this is more like it,” he said, eyeing the packets of biscuits stacked one on top of the other.

    {It’s a feast!}

    [Is that a cake mix?]

    Peter grabbed it and groaned. “Of course. It’s like the universe is mocking me.”

    The boxes laughed.

    “Peter, you’re awake.”

    “Oh, no shit Sherlock,” Peter grumbled, glaring at the cake mix. “Fucking chocolate swirl. Who even likes chocolate swirl? It’s a lie. A lie, I tell you.”

    “… Damn.”

    “That’s the Spider, isn’t it?”

    “Spidey!” Mimic squealed, throwing her arms around his waist from behind. “You’re back!”

    [Yo Mimic.]

    {Hey girl!}

    “Chocolate swirl,” Peter sighed, throwing the cake mix back into the pantry with a little too much force. “Mimic, I’m not a chocolate cake anymore.”

    [Honestly.]

    {You’d think his cat died or something, right?}

    Mimic giggled and let him go. “It’s good to have you back, Spidey.”

    He glanced at her. “I felt bad about exploring Stark’s stupid tower without permission. I’m broken. My life is over.” He perked up, eyes flicking over Mimic’s shoulder. “Good thing there are windows everywhere.”

    Mimic folded her arms. “Don’t even joke about that.”

    “Do I look like I’m joking?” Peter asked. “Because I didn’t mean to. I was going for full serious. Poker face and everything.”

    [Can’t read my, can’t read my,] White sang.

    {No he can’t read my poker face!} Yellow continued.

    “He’s got me like nobody,” Peter finished. “Hey, we still have it!”

    “No, I don’t like this. I liked Peter. I do not like the Spider,” Stark said.

    “Standing right here, super hearing. There is no way I could have missed that,” Peter snapped. “Don’t be an asshole, Iron Rabbit.”

    {Hey you did it!}

    [Somehow, it’s not as funny as I thought it would be.]

    “Agreed,” Mimic said, wrinkling her nose. “I much prefer Iron Princess.”

    “I prefer Mister Stark,” Stark said.

    “And I much preferred you dying, yet here you are,” Peter replied. “Ruining my day. Ace job there, Princess.”

    Beside Stark, the Falcon – Sam! That was his name – bit his lip to keep from laughing.

    “Don’t even get me started on you, Chicken Wing,” Peter grumbled. “You lost to fucking Antman. Who loses to Antman? Honestly. I would destroy that little shit. All I’d need is five seconds and a wrench.”

    “If you’re quite done ripping everyone new assholes,” Mimic said dryly while the Falcon spluttered something that sounded suspiciously like ‘What the fuck is an antman?’

    “Done? Sweetheart, I’m just getting warmed up. This is glorious. I am more chocolate than swirl. It feels great.”

    [You are totally overdoing the swirl thing.]

    {Please stop now.}

    “There’s someone who you should see,” Mimic continued. She beckoned, and Peter sighed but followed her, skipping along at her heels.

    “I still don’t know what happened,” Peter admitted. “One second I was being a ninja badass – [No, you weren’t.] – next thing I’m wrapped up like a burrito, sweating up a storm and cranky as all get out. Now I want a burrito.”

    {Pancakes!}

    [Tacos!]

    “No chimichangas, that’s totally not my thing.”

    “No one’s really sure. Apparently whatever that old guy injected you with turned you back into a normal guy – temporarily. I guess he was hoping it would be permanent.”

    “Normal? I’m terrible at normal.”

    [Really out of practice.]

    Mimic grinned. “You were surprisingly good at it, apparently.”

    [She avoided us.]

    Peter jerked his head to look at Mimic. “What? Why?”

    “He wasn’t you,” she replied simply. “Wade didn’t talk to him much either.”

    Wade… Peter’s stomach roiled, hurt and anger warring for dominance in his chest. “I don’t want to see him,” Peter admitted. “He… He betrayed my trust. I was so sure I was done with trust.”

    {But it’s Wade!}

    [If you recall, Mimic did too.]

    Peter blinked. “Hey, you did too! I’m mad at you!”

    “He’s the one who brought you back,” Mimic said, ignoring him. “I’m expecting you to thank him.”

    “And if I don’t?” he demanded.

    Mimic shrugged. “Then I’ll just tell Wade to speak Spanish anytime you’re near him.”

    [Then we’ll just leave.]

    {Duh.}

    She smirked. “You think so?”

    Peter didn’t bother to dignify that with a response. They stopped in front of a very normal looking door, but Peter couldn’t help but stare at it suspiciously. “He’s in there?” he whispered.

    “No. But he will be.” She pushed the door opened. “In you go. You two need to talk.”

    Peter made a face at her but did as she said. The door closed behind him. And locked.

    Whirling around, Peter stared at the door. “Mimic,” he said warningly.

    [She did not just do that.]

    Peter reached for the doorhandle. He swore. “She did.”

    {We could just break it down.}

    “But then we’d have to pay to fix it.”

    [{Why?}]

    “Huh?”

    [Why would he have to pay for it?]

    {We didn’t pay for that wall.}

    [Or the windows.]

    {We didn’t even consider it.}

    “I’m having a mid-life crisis,” Peter said, swooning dramatically.

    [How?]

    “Because I’ve gone from being the mismatched bomb with a stupid faulty timer in a crowd of people to a pesky bloody alarm clock,” he snapped. “What the hell is wrong with me?”

    [Hmm, who should we blame?]

    “This isn’t my fault!”

    {You were the one who went to sleep.}

    “I got stabbed in the neck with a needle. Sorry I went to sleep.”

    [You could have dodged.]

    {Instead you just watched it come.}

    “I was curious to see what it would do,” Peter hedged.

    [No. Your spider sense went haywire. You knew that needle was bad news.]

    {You knew it wasn’t good news.}

    [You could have dodged.]

    {Therefore, your fault.}

    Peter tried the handle again. “I don’t have to listen to this.” Unsurprisingly, the door was still locked.

    [You kind of do.]

    “You’re accusations are baseless and I won’t stand for them!”

    {Then sit the fuck down, coz we haven’t even started.}

    [You let Osborn stab you with that needle.]

    Peter folded his arms. “You haven’t got any proof.”

    {Spidey, we’re voices in your head.}

    [What proof do we need?]

    {We can totally tell when you’re lying.}

    “No one can tell when I’m lying,” Peter replied. “I am a fantastic liar.”

    [Besides, you don’t need time to think to dodge. Most of the time, you’re moving before you even realize you need to move.]

    “So?”

    {So you stood and waited for the needle to get you.}

    “I didn’t wait for the needle to get me! I didn’t get hit on purpose! Just shut up.”

    [You did it because of Wade, right?]

    “That’s not shutting up,” Peter pointed out tersely.

    {You know we’re not going to shut up.}

    “You are both horrible, horrible boxes.”

    {Don’t lie, you love us.}

    [You let that needle stab you because of Wade.]

    “Nope.”

    [{Yes.}]

    Peter scowled at the door. “I did not let the needle stab me because of Wade,” he snapped.

    [That’s a lie.]

    “It was not!”

    {You have tells.}

    “I do not have tells!”

    [You totally do. You get all defensive.]

    “I’m getting defensive because you’re being idiots.” Venom flooded his mouth, and he swallowed it down, ignoring the familiar discomfort as he did so. “He was fast, alright? Shit. Never thought there’d be two of those nasty buggers.”

    Peter’s stomach grumbled noisily. He patted it soothingly. “Mimic is mean. She didn’t even let me bring me a packet of biscuits. I am hungry. I’m a growing Spider and – Mimic, you better not be baking that stupid cake!”

    [Someone’s certainly baking.]

    {But cake tastes good!}

    [We can eat the whole thing.]

    {Don’t have to share.}

    “But the swirl really annoys me,” Peter muttered sulkily.

    White groaned. [Stop with the cake thing already.]

    “Imagine if you and Yellow were mixed together!”

    {Vanilla and lemon doesn’t sound so bad.}

    [I don’t like lemon.]

    {Well fuck you too.}

    [Woah. If you really are a swirl, does that mean you have more power than you did as Spider?]

    Peter perked up. “Silver lining!” he exclaimed. “How do you suggest I test that?”

    {Punch something?}

    “What, like the door?”

    [Why not?]

    “Okay,” Peter replied with a careless shrug, and punched the door as hard as he could.

    The door splintered, shattered beneath the force of Peter’s punch.

    He gaped at the mess. “Whoops.”

    […I guess that answers that question.]

    “Wood doesn’t usually break like that, right?”

    {Is that… Is that metal in our fist?}

    “What are you talking about?” He glanced down at his fist. “Oh.” Peter picked out the piece Yellow had been referring to. “I thought the door was wood?”

    [Apparently not?]

    “Okay. Alright. I can work with this. Metal doors masquerading as wood. What next?”

    {Speed!}

    “I highly doubt we can get much faster,” Peter replied. “Besides, how do we test that? We don’t have a stopwatch, or a baseline.”

    “Peter.”

    “I mean, it’s a good idea. We just need a plan.”

    “Peter.”

    “Yes. I can hear you! You have to say more than my name, Jesus.”

    “Baby boy.”

    Peter froze – he hadn’t realized the voice wasn’t inside his head. He tilted his head, catching sight of Wade from the corner of his eye, skin dripping and a towel wrapped around his waist.

    {Wait, who did you think was talking?}

    “One of you two,” Peter hissed. “I wasn’t paying attention.”

    Wade didn’t say anything else. He stepped further into the room, closing the bathroom door behind him.

    [How did we miss running water?]

    {Not paying attention, apparently.}

    Peter twisted to keep Wade in his line of sight. Wade sat on the edge of the bed and regarded him silently. Peter could have fled down the hall, out of the tower and vanished into the sunset, but the weight of Wade’s gaze kept him frozen.

    “You’re mad at me,” Wade said quietly.

    Peter responded with a jerky nod.

    “Not mad enough to run?”

    [Trust me, we want to.]

    {No!}

    Peter bared his fangs. “I’m not scared of you.”

    Wade blinked. “I never said you were.”

    “You run from things you’re scared of. Not things you’re mad at. When you’re mad at something, you punch it.”

    [As usual, Spidey makes excellent points.]

    {I missed you!}

    Peter blinked, distracted. “You missed me? That’s sentimental. Who are you and what have you done with Yellow?”

    [Don’t be rude. Peter was a bit…]

    {There was no way we were going to get along.}

    “You didn’t like him? He’s me. I’m him. A slightly unhinged, devilishly attractive version of him, true.”

    White coughed. [Slightly unhinged?]

    “Okay, fine. Completely unhinged, massively annoying, devilishly attractive version of him.”

    {Better.}

    [He let us vanish.]

    “I do that all the time.”

    [But we like you.]

    {We love you loads, Spidey!}

    “Fuck off, you keep trying to make me kill myself!”

    {That’s mostly White! I just join in for shits and giggles!}

    Peter rolled his eyes. “And that makes it so much better.” He huffed. “Since I’m a chocolate swirl cake, you’re going to have to put up with do-gooder moments.” Peter gagged. “That tasted gross. I am not made for do-gooder moments! I am the opposite of do-gooder moments! Guys, I don’t want to swirl!”

    [Grow up.]

    {Get a life!}

    “I prefer taking lives,” Peter said, folding his arms. “It’s more fun. In fact, I should go do that now.”

    [You could kill Wade. He’ll come back. And then you can just do it again.]

    Yellow gasped, horrified. {Spidey, no! I’ll take back the love!}

    [We could gut him. Skin him – we’ve talked about it before. We could set him on fire. I’m sure he’ll heal from an acid bath.]

    {Stop it!}

    “White wants me to kill you,” Peter said, abruptly turning back to face Wade. He cocked his head sharply, a frown on his face. “Again and again until I’m not mad anymore. He wants you to suffer. He’s being very mean, actually.”

    [He totally fucking deserves it.]

    {We’re not hurting Wade!}

    [He hurt us!]

    {After everything we’ve done, don’t you think we deserve a little pain?}

    [Not like that.]

    “Yellow thinks we deserved it,” Peter continued. “The pain of the trust breaking.” He used his hands to demonstrate, ignoring the sharp intake of air. “He thinks we shouldn’t hurt you. Anymore. Shouldn’t hurt you anymore.”

    {We like him!}

    [I don’t care!]

    {I do!}

    [I don’t. Spidey doesn’t either.]

    “Don’t tell me what I think,” Peter snarled. “My thoughts are my own, White. You don’t get a say.”

    [I say plenty.]

    {We both do!}

    “I say more.”

    [Well, you are the main character.]

    “And what do you think?” Wade asked, his voice hoarse. Peter blinked, bringing the world back into focus.

    He regarded Wade for a moment. “I don’t know,” he admitted, his voice small and frustrated. “I’m angry at you – I’m fucking furious. You should have told me that they knew. You should have told me. Why didn’t you tell me? I don’t get it.”

    “I didn’t want you to have to relive that,” Wade said. He hadn’t moved, broad frame hunched over on the bed. “The things you suffered through as Peter… I wanted to protect you from them.”

    {That’s so sweet!}

    [It’s fucking insulting. You think we can’t handle that shit? We were made to handle it.]

    Peter nodded in agreement. “I was created because he couldn’t handle everything,” Peter informed him. “Yellow thinks you’re sweet. White thinks it’s insulting. I’m somewhere in the middle.”

    Wade sighed. “I know that. I do. I just… Mimic and Cap were trying to convince me to tell you before you found out, Tony was too busy drinking himself into a stupor after reading your file, Clint and Natasha disappeared for a bit, and Bruce got really angry. It was a bit touch and go there, we all thought the big guy would make a surprise appearance, but apparently Bruce is better at controlling himself than we thought –”

    “Wade,” Peter said sharply.

    “Um. Mimic was going to tell you… But I begged her not to. On my knees and everything. She can’t read my mind – which is a good thing, you know how many inappropriate thoughts go through my head? Especially when I’m anywhere near you – but I begged and she relented. I was going to tell you. Eventually.”

    [Not good enough, hot shot.]

    {I wonder if his inappropriate thoughts are anywhere as bad as ours.}

    “Eventually,” Peter repeated. “When?”

    Wade fidgeted. “I didn’t have a plan.”

    [Wait, did he know that Osborn was the guy we were after from the start?]

    {… Okay, if he did, even I’m going to be mad at him.}

    Peter’s shoulder twitched and his hands curled into fists. “Did you know?” he demanded. “Did you know that Osborn was the little fucking shit who was trying to kill me?”

    Wade jumped to his feet. “No!” he shouted, eyes wide. “I swear, none of us knew! Well, except maybe Fury, because he knows everything, yeah? But I didn’t even think – I mean, he’s an old guy? What could he have done to you?”

    [Funny, that’s exactly what Yellow said.]

    {You were the idiot who thought we were untouchable.}

    “That ‘old guy’ is the Green Goblin,” Peter said. “The first – and last – villain I took on as Spiderman.” He spat the name like a curse. He rocked on his feet for a moment. “The original, anyway. Harry somehow got hold of the serum, and we all know how that ended.” Peter smiled, the expression never quite reaching his eyes.

    Wade began to pace back and forth. “You threw away the tracking device,” Wade said. “I didn’t… No one knew where you’d gone! I… What should I have done if you’d died? You don’t come back like me.”

    Peter nodded. “You’re right. But you’re wrong. I’ve come back from the dead. Sort of. Technically, I’m not supposed to…”

    [“Writer’s Privilege”, I believe they call it.]

    {Lazy ass way of saying “I do what I want!”}

    “Besides, what do you care if I die?” Peter asked, suddenly vicious. “You were the one who was never going to tell me. You were the one who begged for time, time you didn’t fucking need because I was right in front of you and you should have just said! Two lousy words, Wade, and none of this would have happened. “They know”. That’s all you had to say!”

    “You would have panicked!”

    [We totally would have.]

    “And?” Peter demanded.

    “And you would have fucking left me, and I didn’t want that to happen!”

    Peter snorted. “Wow, I would never have picked you as being selfish, Wade. Isn’t that against your hero code or something?”

    {He didn’t want us to leave him and you’re complaining?}

    [Shut up, moron. Spidey’s got this.]

    “You’re destructive on your own,” Wade said. “You would have ended up doing something you regretted.”

    “Like you know me so well,” Peter snarled. “I managed fine on my own for years.”

    “You were a mess! You were killing people left right and centre, and you regretted it.” Wade took a step in Peter’s direction. “I saw it.”

    Peter’s jaw clenched furiously. “You saw what you wanted to see,” he hissed in reply. “I don’t regret anything.”

    Wade took another step forward. “You regret some of the deaths you’ve caused,” he said, voice soft. Another step forward. “Not all of them, I know. But some. Like Gwen’s.”

    Peter recoiled, body jerking backwards in a pathetic attempt at fleeing. But he stopped himself, fingers twitching with the tantalizing idea of being wrapped around a throat, an arm – to feel something give beneath his hands, to feel the agony of someone else.

    [Fuck him,] White snarled. [I think it’s time to test those ideas, Spidey.]

    “You regret killing Harry.”

    “I fucking do not,” Peter hissed, emotions jerked in an entirely new direction fast enough to give him whiplash. “Killing that little shit was the only good thing I’ve ever done with my life.”

    {It was fun!}

    “Sorry, that was poorly worded. You regret how you killed him,” Wade corrected, taking another step forward. “You regret that it was so quick.” Another step, and now Wade was close enough that Peter had to tilt his head back to meet Wade’s eyes.

    [Yes. Yes we do.]

    {Way too fucking quick!}

    “Too easy,” Peter agreed. “The things I should have done…”

    {Are you assholes happy now? We’re actually having a conversation. We’re big kids now!}

    [Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not fucking letting my guard down.]

    {Aw, come on! It’s Wade!}

    [Yep,] White agreed. [Never trusting him again. If you do, Spidey, you’re an idiot.]

    “I regret trusting you,” Peter said, and Wade flinched. He rocked back on his heels, not quite taking a step back but not advancing. “I regret letting you lie to me. I regret letting you worm your way into my life. I was quite content as I was. Life as a mercenary was a million times better than life as a vigilante. I actually had money. I actually liked my job.

    “And then you came in with your stupid swords and your stupidly big guns and that fucking smile and those eyes and the Spanish and what was I supposed to do?” Peter threw his hands into the air. He really, really wasn’t good at emotional shit. “The boxes even started to like you, and White never likes anyone! And you never tried to kill me – it was always debilitating attacks with you, not like Stark and Widow and Barton.

    “I regret getting to know you,” Peter continued, “because now I can’t un-know and I really wish I could. I regret not being able to heal like you because maybe if I could I wouldn’t have become what I am. So yeah, I guess I regret some things. But killing people for money isn’t one of them, Wade.”

    [And it never will be.]

    {Yeah, killing is fun!}

    “Plus, a good majority of them deserved to die.” Peter shrugged. “The rest were just unlucky.”

    “No one deserves to die,” Wade replied, but he sounded a little unsure. His voice was lacking the conviction it usually did, and Peter raised an eyebrow at the hero.

    “You don’t even believe that anymore,” he pointed out, and Wade took a step back. “I mean, obviously some people deserve to die, because otherwise you wouldn’t have killed that guy. And you can’t tell me that Cap believes that shit anymore either, because he let you do it.”

    Wade’s eyes darkened. “You didn’t hear what he said,” the hero muttered darkly, and Peter felt a shiver run down his spine.

    “There are plenty of people in this world who deserve to die. Some of them are even in this awful structure. But we went off topic there.”

    {I can’t even remember what we were talking about before?}

    [Me neither.]

    “We’ve all forgotten the original point of this conversation,” Peter said, frustrated. “But I’m sure it was a thrilling conversation topic.”

    “I want things to go back. To how they were.”

    [News flash, asshole: You lied to us. Twice.]

    {I want things to go back to how they were too,} Yellow whined. {Spidey…}

    Peter stared at Wade, unblinking. His hands closed into fists and then relaxed, a steady rhythm that echoed the boxes bickering. He knew how they felt about all of this – but he still wasn’t sure about himself.

    The relationship the two of them had had had been a whirlwind affair. Looking back now, Peter was almost certain that the two of them had dived head first into something neither of them had been prepared for. Maybe, if they’d just taken things a little slower… If they’d gotten to know each other a little better…

    {How many ‘hads’ can you put together before a sentence doesn’t make sense? We got three!}

    [Four?]

    {You think?}

    “Peter,” Wade said quietly, and Peter startled when he felt Wade’s warm hand on his shoulder. “I know I screwed up – but I was sort of expecting that from the beginning, because one way or another I always do, you know? But I don’t want to lose you.”

    [You already have!]

    “Shut up, White,” Peter snapped.

    [No! We’re not doing this again! What happens when this happens all over again?]

    “He didn’t set off the spider sense this time,” Peter pointed out.

    [So what? That stupid sense has been wrong a bunch of times!]

    “Oh yeah? Name one time,” he challenged, tilting his chin up and folding his arms.

    White didn’t say anything for a time, and it was eventually Yellow who broke the silence.

    {What’s that saying? About being bitten?}

    “People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them?” Peter offered.

    {No, not that one!}

    “Um…”

    Wade piped up, surprising all three of them. “Once bitten, twice shy?”

    {Yes! Damn, he’s good!}

    “That makes sense,” Peter said.

    [No. I’m not shy. It’s impractical to let him close again –]

    {But we love him.}

    Peter almost snapped his neck. “We what now?!”

    {We love him,} Yellow repeated. He paused. {Wait, you two losers hadn’t figured that out yet?}

    [We don’t love him!] White squeaked.

    Peter was shaking his head. “No, no, no,” he chanted.

    {Um, yeah? Not even joking.}

    [We can’t love him – he lied to us!]

    {Why are you two acting like this is a bad thing?}

    “It is a bad thing!” Peter hissed.

    [We aren’t capable of love!]

    {What was all the stuff before, then?} Yellow demanded. {Why did we trust him if we didn’t love him? Why did we feel bad about hurting him?}

    [The trust was a mistake!]

    Peter chewed on his lip, uncertain. “A mistake? We’ve never made a mistake before…”

    [There’s a first time for everything, yeah?]

    {Don’t be dense, White. We love him. And he loves us.}

    Peter stopped breathing. “What?” he whispered.

    {You weren’t awake then, Spidey. But we were! Wade said he loved us!}

    [He was lying!]

    “He must have been,” Peter said, shooting Wade an uncertain look. The hero was watching him with concern, but hadn’t made a move to draw Peter out of his head.

    {No he wasn’t!}

    [He had to be – no one loves us!]

    “Peter,” Wade said gently. “What’s wrong?”

    Peter shook his head. “No one loves us,” he replied urgently. “Wade, no one loves us!”

    Wade blinked before understanding lit his eyes. He reached up and ran the tips of his fingers down the side of Peter’s face. The feather light touch sent an unexpected wave of heat across Peter’s face, and he realized he was blushing the second before Wade gave him a soft smile.

    “But I do,” he said, and Peter shuddered. The boxes were silent, his mind a quiet place for once.

    “But you can’t,” Peter whined. “That’s not fair.”

    Because really, the idiot standing too close, a hopeful look in his eyes, the idiot who had betrayed him… He was still Wade in Peter’s head. He’d never changed back to ‘Deadpool’, had never been anything other than ‘Wade’. How was Peter supposed to stay mad at him when subconsciously, he’s already forgiven him?

    Peter sighed. “Okay,” he said, his nose wrinkling when a joyous smile raced across Wade’s face, his whole face lighting up. “We can… Try again, I guess.”

    Wade nodded excitedly. “We’ll do things differently this time.”

    “Yes,” Peter agreed as Wade pulled him into a hug.

    “I won’t keep things from you,” Wade continued.

    Peter hummed. “Good.”

    “And we’ll talk more, yeah?”

    “Yes.”

    “No secrets?”

    “No secrets.”

    “Dates?”

    Peter smiled. “Dates.”

    Wade took a deep breath. “Nosexbeforetalkingthingsthrough?”

    “No sex – Wait, what?” Peter recoiled, glaring up at Wade. “No sex? No sex? Listen up, it isn’t a relationship if we don’t have sex –”

    Wade held up a hand. “The rest of what I said was important.”

    “Sorry,” Peter replied sarcastically. “I didn’t quite catch that part.”

    {Talking!}

    [You are a disappointment.]

    {Fuck you, White.}

    [No. I can guarantee we’re going to regret this.]

    “We’re not exactly great at talking,” Wade said. “I mean, we’re fantastic at talking, just not about the things that matter.”

    Peter eyed him suspiciously. “Have you been reading the comments?”

    “What?”

    “Nothing. So we can’t have sex if we don’t talk first. Okay.”

    [We’re going to get blue balls so bad.]

    {A little, yeah.}

    “Are you two done?” Mimic asked, leaning against the door frame. “The Iron Princess has been freaking out about the fate of the room.”

    “You can tell him the door is toast,” Peter said, twirling away from Wade to stand in Mimic’s space. “And what about you, girlie? How sorry are you?”

    “Sorry enough that I didn’t make the cake,” she replied easily. “And I can promise that I’ll tell you the second anyone keeps anything from you again. You have my word.”

    [I want to bite her.]

    {Me too!}

    “If we bite her she won’t come back,” Peter reminded the boxes. “And then she can’t tell us if someone’s keeping things from us.”

    {…Good point.}

    [Are we not going to punish anyone?!] White demanded. [This is too easy.]

    Peter waved a careless hand. “I let them off easy this time – next time, I get to be as mean as I like.” He grinned down at Mimic. “Right?”

    “Right,” she said firmly.

    “Right,” Wade echoed.

    “Brilliant!”

    “Now,” Mimic said, “everyone’s waiting out there.” She waved a hand towards the common room. “Most of them are very confused about what’s going on.” She gave Peter a conspirator’s smile. “I think you should clear up any misunderstandings.”

    [Oh god. Let’s give them hell!]

    {Yeah!}

    Peter scuttled out of the room, leaving Mimic and Wade behind. With a dramatic flourish, he burst into the common room. The Avengers jumped to their feet, their expressions ranging from concern to resignation.

    “Hi boys!” Peter called, waving enthusiastically. “Did ya miss me?” He gave them a wide grin, which only widened as their faces dropped in realisation. “That’s right,” he said gleefully. “I heard you treated me real nice while I was away, but now I’m back! And I don’t need, or want, that kind of treatment. I’m a big boy – I can handle whatever you decide to throw at me.”

    [We’re not weak.]

    {Come at me bro!}

    [We’ll fuck you up nicely.]

    “Leave you black and blue,” Peter agreed. “Once upon a time there were good guys, they played nice with a really bad guy. And one day they woke up to find their insides on the outside and agony singing through their veins.”

    {We should write a story!}

    “I know, right?” Peter gushed.

    [No.]

    “You’re no fun, White.”

    {What if we wrote a story and then enacted it?}

    [… I could get on board with that.]

    Peter clapped his hands. “It’s decided! I’m going to write a story! Who wants to star in it?”

    [No one, because then we get to kill them.]

    “Wow, you have a one track mind,” Mimic muttered. “What’s up with him?”

    “He’s mad because I’m not listening to him,” Peter replied.

    [No, I’m mad because you’re an idiot.]

    Peter gasped. “How rude!”

    [The truth hurts.]

    Yellow giggled. {He can get angry.}

    [We’re asking for it,] White said. [This is only going to hurt us.]

    Peter smiled sharply. “What’s a little more pain?” he asked.

 



  

    “So wait,” Peter said. It was a few hours later – he’d ended up in a knife fight with Widow that had been ruled a draw when they both drew blood at the same time. Peter had pouted, while Widow had looked grudgingly impressed.

    “Hmm?” Wade responded, running his fingers through Peter’s hair.

    They’d all settled to watch a movie, although Peter kept himself a little separate from the Avengers. He’d eventually settled in Wade’s lap, much to the disgust of Stark, who complained loudly that their relationship was doomed to fail.

    Peter was pretty sure he was still mad about the door. Also maybe the wall.

    {Look, Stark’s on your side!} Yellow had said to White. The other box hadn’t responded.

    “What did you promise Fury?” Peter asked. “Because Rogers said something about it –” He cut himself, suddenly unsure as to whether the other Avengers knew about Wade and Cap’s little excursion.

    Wade laughed dryly. “We couldn’t hide it from them. We’re a team, after all.”

    “Besides, Nat and I had already figured it out,” Barton said smugly from the other side of the room. Someone threw a pillow at him – Peter thought it might have been Cap, but he wasn’t sure.

    He couldn’t help the flash of jealousy – Wade trusted the Avengers enough to reveal his secrets, but Peter…

    “Spidey,” Mimic sighed.

    [Wallowing in self-pity won’t help you now,] White muttered.

    {He makes a good point. We forgave them, right?}

    [Forgive and forget,] White said bitterly.

    “I’m not going to forget,” Peter snapped. “It’s a lesson.”

    [Which we apparently didn’t learn from.]

    “I promised Fury I’d convince you to join the Avengers.”

    Peter jerked, almost falling from Wade’s lap in surprise. “But…” Peter looked around at the Avengers, completely thrown. “But I’m a monster.”

    “Sometimes we need monsters to hunt monsters,” Widow said quietly.

    [Bullshit. They just want us on their team as opposed to the opposite one.]

    Yellow squealed, his voice so high Peter flinched. {Oh my god this is the greatest day of our life! We’re going to be an Avenger!}

    [You’re a fucking idiot. It’s not going to change the way they all treat us.]

    {Does it look like I care? We’re Avengers!}

    [Spidey hasn’t said yes yet.]

    {We’re Avengers!}

    [Why do I even bother?] White sighed.

    “What do you say?” Wade asked, and there was no denying the hopeful gleam in his eyes.

    {Yes!}

    [Fuck no.]

    “I…” Peter shot an uncertain look at the assembled Avengers, fingers nervously tapping the handle of one of his knives. “I’m not a hero,” he finally said. “And I don’t want to be.”

    “You don’t have to be,” Widow said.

    “You just have to help us, sometimes,” Wade added. “Fury even mentioned something about contract work for you?”

    [They’re trying to buy us!]

    {Woah, this was totally Fury’s game! This whole time, he’s wanted us to join the Avengers!}

    [How do you figure that?] White asked.

    {You know he never wanted to kill us! Plus, it’s a smart idea to have us on his side, yeah?}

    Peter tilted his head. “He’s trying to make us less of a wild card,” he muttered. “He really did learn, huh?”

    [We’ll always be a wild card.]

    Yellow scoffed. {Of course! Fury will learn that. Sooner or later.}

    “And what do I get out of this deal?” Peter asked, raising an eyebrow. “Contract work? How thrilling. Fury doesn’t think I’ll be bought so easily, does he?”

    “The contract work will only be on the table when you have proved yourself capable of control,” Widow said.

    [Well, that’s going to be never.]

    {Silly Avengers.}

    “Guys, there’s a movie on,” Stark said. “Can we talk about this later?”

    Peter flicked his wrist, and his webs covered Stark’s mouth. He let out an indignant noise, which quickly turned enraged when he tried to peel it off and found he couldn’t.

    “Our definitions of control may be a little different,” Peter said pleasantly while Stark made noises in the background. “Why don’t you clarify for me?”

    “Fury will offer you contract work once it has been made clear that you are willing to not take on outside work,” Widow explained. “It’s also expected that you will have helped us a few times before the contract work is offered.”

    [Boring.]

    {Come on!}

    “What would these contract jobs entail?”

    Widow shrugged. “Fury wouldn’t tell me. But he mentioned something about a nine-headed problem?”

    [Oh.]

    {Yes.}

    Peter felt a sharp smile cross his face. “He really is learning,” he murmured.

    [But is it worth it?]

    “What do you think?” Peter asked, tilting his head.

    {Yes!}

    [Free reign to take care of Hydra? I think I can get on board with that. But what happens when that’s finished?]

    Peter shrugged. “I’m sure there will be other undesirable problems Fury needs handled.” He examined his nails in the faint light. “I am fantastic at handling problems.”

    Wade nuzzled the side of his face. “That a yes, baby boy?”

    “I suppose it is,” Peter replied, rubbing his hands together. This was going to be fun.