I stared into the crackling fire, then looked up a fraction to watch the flames dancing in his eyes.
It was Summer Camp’s last night after a whole month of torture in form of morning songs and games that exploited an amount of physical strength he didn’t have. Peter’s sitting with the other kids on the grass, watching the the full moon reflect on the dark water, with Mr. Cage’s song about the night, or something.
Peter wasn’t really listening.
He was there, smiling and faking attention to the whole ‘last bonfire night’ while his mind was wandering back to that afternoon, when they were going back from the last canoeing competition and Wade asked him to go somewhere private to talk. You see, Wade wasn’t the best kid in the camp, he actually had more flaws then all of them combined. Starting with that thing where he said the voices in his head gave him advices on what to do or not to do, which sometimes got him talking to himself around the corners, mumbling weird things. And there was the thing with his hair, because whenever he wasn’t wearing a red and black mask to hide his face, his blond hair was everywhere, sticking up and to the sides like he didn’t even know what a comb was.
And Wade liked dangerous things.
He was careless when it came to himself, almost as if he thought he was immortal and his body could grow another pair of arms if his got blown up. Which was annoying, because he’d always offer to be the one doing the reckless things, and he wouldn’t even care about himself to win a game or prove a point. And he liked weapons of all kinds.
He loved guns and those asian swords, and apparently he knew well how to use those.
Peter often wondered where he had learned that, or if he was bluffing just to get some attention to himself, since he had no real friends. He wasn’t the only one to find Wade weird, everyone noticed how creepy the pre-teen could be, with all those talks about being a merch when he grows up.
He wasn’t uncomfortable around Wade, though.
The truth is he was frustrated with the things his kind-of-friend said now and then, claiming he liked him and they should run away together. Because every time he said that, Peter had to explain they were only thirteen and no one falls in love at the age of thirteen. And even if they did, dudes don’t fall in love with other dudes.
Except maybe for Mr. Stark and Mr. Rogers, his teachers at school, but it was just Gwen’s speculation, he couldn’t say for sure.
Then, when Wade asked Peter to follow him somewhere more private he almost screamed ‘no’ and ran away, but something held him back. Turns out Wade just wanted to talk, he told him about all things they were telling him, that he should do something about his crush on Peter because they were about to leave the camp and would never see each other again.
He tried to run away.
Of course Wade didn’t let him, being a self-claimed self-trained ninja, he was fast to jump and block his way.
“Wait! We won’t get married right now and leave on a boat to the Caribbean, you don’t have to run. I know you get seasick easily and I won’t force you.” Wade wrapped both arms around his waist to bring him closer, a smile creeping up his lips. “I just want to be your first kiss!”
Peter never stamped on someone’s foot so had before.
So they announced the bonfire that night.
Peter sits with the normal kids, ignoring Wade all the time, because they haven’t talked after that. And it wasn’t even Peter that was ignoring him, Wade was making his best to avoid him. What he did, to hurt Wade physically, was starting to get to him because maybe he had gone a little deeper than he thought, maybe the physical pain had been extended to emotional pain. It wasn’t on purpose, Wade should understand this was weird for him.
And Wade sits near Mr. Cage, being completely out of character and just staring at the grass while the others sing. He’s not being his talkative self tonight, and this is worse than Wade not shutting his mouth a second, because there’s too much silence and deep down Peter misses his voice.
For a second, Peter searches his eyes, the crackling fire reflecting perfectly against what should be blue iris. He’s lost in thoughts, a stick in his right hand to poke the grass and create imaginary figures. Mr. Cage’s playing Green Day’s Time of Your Life, the boys are singing and laughing because everyone had a great time at the camp, and want to come back next year, stay in contact with their new friends and remember this night forever.
That’s when it clicks.
This is a special night for everyone but him and Wade, and all because he’s afraid.
He doesn’t think he has the guts to step up and let Wade kiss him, because it’s complicated. Peter’s not into boys, he likes girls and he’s pretty sure he’ll marry Gwen someday, they’ll be happy together, and grow old together. But he doesn’t like to see Wade down like that.
Is it worth all the teasing he’ll get?
He can even get bullied at school, or worse: if someone finds out, he can be blackmailed, and really? His school life is hellish enough as it is.
Wade’s insane if he doesn’t care about this.
But then, this is their last night in the camp, and he might never see Wade again.
There’s a tiny chance Wade has real feelings for him.
He doesn’t even realize when he stands up and knees down in front of him, grabbing the stick to call his attention. Wade’s blue eyes meets his hazel ones and he feels something freezing inside his stomach, and he doesn’t even realize he’s shaking until they reach the back of the main cabin, not so far from the bonfire, not close enough to be heard or seen.
There’s no exchange of words because they don’t need that, because Wade knows what they should be saying apparently and just saves them the trouble by closing the distance between their bodies, pressing Peter’s smaller frame against the cabin’s wood, still a little wet from the rain that afternoon.
He stares at Wade, who stares back at him, caressing the side of his face with his fingertips. He notices Peter’s shaking, because he gives him a short smile and intertwines their fingers, nose bumping against his.
And it’s terrible.
It’s wet and complicated, and Peter has no idea if he should move his tongue or just let Wade do all the work. It seems to be too much saliva and his hands are not on the right place, because they should be on Wade and they’re just pressed against the wood behind him. But then Wade pulls back and he’s smiling, and Peter doesn’t get a second to say a thing before Wade’s kissing him again.
This time, if feels better.
Their teeth don’t clench and he doesn’t let Wade do all the work. One of his arms even dare circle his neck for support when he feels weak in the knees, because Wade’s practically crushing their bodies together.
But all of a sudden, Wade pulls back, and mumbles something about having to pack.
And Peter nods.
Wade leaves first, and Peter goes straight to the dorm, and there’s no Wade packing there. He does, though.
The next day is full of awkward silence and eye contacts being avoided.
They’re headed different directions, therefore different buses, and that Johnny kid tells Peter he’ll save him a seat when he stays back to say goodbye to other people. He searches the place with his eyes, trying to find Wade. He’s in the line to get in the bus when Peter’s finally able to reach him.
They stare at each other, and Wade looks out of place, while Peter has no idea why he feels like his heart will break his chest and run away.
It hurts and he doesn’t want Wade to go, but that’s not even something he can voice, he’s still not ready to head to the Caribbean on a boat with Wade, so he just smiles and reaches out a hand that Wade watches for a while before shaking.
“It was really nice to meet you, Wade.”
Wade pulls him closer and hugs him, lips brushing against his neck when he hides his face there. peter feels like his bones are crushing and he’ll be deprived of air soon. Mainly because Wade uses this hug to say some embarrassing things. “Grow up and marry me, Peter.”
“Yes.” He answers. He’s not thinking about Gwen right now, and suddenly he even forgets Wade’s a dude like him and just agrees with that. The next thing he knows is Wade’s inside the bus, heading to whatever it is he lives, and Peter’s sitting with Johnny.
He watches the trees pass, and morning turn into afternoon, and when he gets home he’s not exactly happy because he has no idea how he’s going to marry someone he doesn’t even know the number?
Peter sits in his room daydreaming for days, mourns the loss, and then end of the month he decides he really likes Gwendolyn, and she’s the one for him.
Sometimes he thinks about Wade, but this doesn’t stop him from asking Gwen out. Doesn’t stop him from taking her to prom, and getting engaged to her a few years later.
He wonders how Wade turned out, if he’s still crazy and a weapons lover, and if he still wears the red and black mask to cover his face. Sometimes he even dreams about him, and wakes up wondering if he should have taken that boat, but realizes this was foolish thoughts of young kids.
He then accepts he’s happy now, and wishes Wade the best.
And one day, when Peter’s coming back from a late night shift at Horizon, he stops at this grocery store they have on his way home, and he gets milk, eggs, soda and a box of cereal. He’s paying when the door opens and someone walks in, takes a few steps towards him and stops. He feels someone watching and he looks up his eyes meet a scarred face, blond hair pointing everywhere and a mischievous smile.