Peter sat on the edge of the rooftop with his mask off, scrolling down his battered phone as he chewed on the tip of his gloved finger. He was starting to get desperate, it was his third week without a home and, even though Sue insisted he could stay with her and Reed as long as he needed, he just knew he was already abusing of their generosity. Apartment hunting was a bummer, he hated it so much, but he hated even more interrupting his friends’ lives and routine. If only rent in New York wasn't so high! How did they expect him to pay that much?
“Whatcha doing, Spidey?” he heard behind him, followed by the grunt of someone trying to climb on the rooftop.
“Apartment hunting,” he answered, not looking up when Deadpool sat next to him.
The word sounded much more pained than it should —no matter how much Peter hated what he was doing—, and that did make him lift his head to stare at his companion. Deadpool was holding his right arm, apparently broken, firmly against his side with his good hand; his suit was shattered in a few spots, and he was bleeding from at least three different body parts, including the head. Peter glanced down at his phone again.
“What happened to you?” he asked, pulling out a granola bar from the backpack resting next to him, and throwing it towards Wade’s lap.
Wade lifted up his mask and opened the wrapper using his teeth and the hand that wasn't broken, while the other hung lifeless at his side. He then proceeded to take almost a half of the bar into his mouth in a single bite; Peter knew how hungry he got when he was healing or regenerating body parts, so he didn't mind giving him his dinner. Besides, Deadpool had fed him real food more times than he could remember, it was only fair.
“Some asshole blew up my last safe house,” Deadpool said at least, stuffing the other half of the granola bar into his mouth, not bothering with the little crumbs landing on his lap. “And it wouldn't have mattered, really, but I was about to go inside and that motherfucker didn't even let me get my ammo back! Had to fight him, of course. I had some good shit in there, that bitch.”
“When you said you fought him…” Peter trailed off, tucking his phone back inside his secret pocket.
“I didn't unalive him!” Deadpool gasped dramatically, although the effect was lost since the hand he lifted to his chest was barely attached to his shoulder and not entirely functional. “We had a serious talk about his behavior and I sent him home after he promised he wouldn't do it again,” he added petulantly.
“You maimed him, didn't you?”
“Yep. An arm for an arm.”
Peter sighed, pulling his phone out again. He didn't approve of Deadpool’s behavior, but he'd stopped killing a few months ago and that was something. Peter only wished he wasn't around when Tony yelled at Wade for leaving a bleeding man on the streets, because then Peter would have to remind him that Deadpool was doing better and they surely would end up arguing; he had enough problems as it was, he didn't need to add an angry superhero to his combo.
“Why ya looking for an apartment, kid? What happened to your Spidey-cave?” Deadpool asked, peeking at Peter’s phone from above his shoulder.
“I, uh, I was kind of staying at a… friend's house.”
“And he kicked you out? Why?” Deadpool sounded quite alarmed by that thought, as if he couldn't fathom the idea of someone hating Peter. Not that Felicia hated him, she just...
Peter didn't want to talk about that. Then he'd have to tell Wade everything and that just couldn't happen, could it? He hadn't told anyone about Felicia, not even Johnny, he wasn't going to tell Deadpool of all people! Although, now that he thought about it, maybe that was the reason she’d disposed of him so easily… Maybe he should have made it a formal thing... Introduce her to Aunt May, celebrate their anniversary and all that jazz... Well, too late now. Not worth thinking about that.
Something must have shown on his face, because Deadpool gasped again and pointed at him with an accusatory finger. “It was a chick, wasn't it?! You had a girlfriend and you didn't tell me!” he yelled, slapping Peter's arm without real intention. “And here I am, dolling myself up for you night after night! No wonder you never said anything about my dress! I'm hurt.”
Peter snorted and shook his head at Wade’s exaggerated complaints, but otherwise didn't deny any of what he'd said. Deadpool sensed it, and his mood changed dramatically, becoming serious all of a sudden. “You did have a girl, didn't you?”
“Not really,” Peter admitted, looking down at the city under his feet to try to hide his blush. “We weren't dating, we were…”
“Friends with benefits?” Peter's blush intensified and this time he actually looked away. “Holy shit. Who was she?”
“Uhm…” Oh, damn. He'd have to tell him, wouldn't he? Shit, shit, shit. “Uh… you don't know her. She goes by Blackcat and-”
“The thief? That Blackcat?” Wade asked and Peter's stomach sunk.
“Blackcat. Real name Felicia Hardy. Famous thief. Awesomely hot chick.”
Fuck, why did Wade knew Balckcat’s secret identity?! “How do you-”
“We ran kind of the same business for a time,” he answered, shrugging his shoulders. “She doesn't kill, but I've crossed paths with her more than once. I've heard stories,” he added and the eyes of his mask widened comically; Peter didn't want to know what stories he'd heard.
“So, what happen? What did you do to make the kitty bite you?”
Peter had met Felicia long time ago, once when he ran into her alter ego, Blackcat. She was a thief on the run out of a crime scene, and Peter had only done his job by stopping her. The sensitive thing to do next was to take her to the police, but she… she was distracting, to say the least, and Peter had ended up releasing her. They crossed paths again a few times in the next year's, always the same shtick: She would rob something and Peter would stop her, only to set her free right after. They had started having sex nine months ago.
It was weird that he was keeping track of their… arrangement. They had agreed at the beginning that they were only having fun, only keeping each other company when the urge arose, so Peter wasn't supposed to remember the first time they had hooked up. But he did. He had convinced Felicia to give up her soiled business and work with him patrolling the streets; two months later, he was on her bed, maskless, and making promises neither of them could keep. He'd gotten involved with her from there, until three weeks ago when they had had a big fight over something stupid Peter couldn't even remember.
And it wasn't like he and Felicia lived together, really. It was more like two months ago Peter had been late to renew his contract and Felicia had convinced him to just not do it. “You're barely in there anyway,” she'd said as they kissed behind an air duct on one of Peter's favorite rooftops. “You're always out climbing buildings and saving the world, or whatever it is what you do all day. And I have room in my apartment for your stuff. Just get out of there and be done with it.” So Peter didn't live with Felicia, his stuff did; Peter only went to visit every day and spent the night there for good measure. And now, suddenly, Felicia had no more space for
Peter his things. She kicked him out in the most courteous way possible, affirming he could leave his things there while he found a place to stay; he hadn't heard from her since.
“And you left your stuff at a thief’s house in the meantime? Not your smartest, Webs.”
“Dude, I already told you: she's not a thief anymore. And that's not even the point! The point is that she…”
“Broke up with you. Yeah, yeah. I know,” he added when Peter opened his mouth to protests. “You weren't dating. You just were sexually and emotionally invested in a relationship of almost a year with a woman you planned to spend the rest of your life with. Yeah, not dating.”
Peter rolled his eyes and lay down with his back on the floor. “Whatever… Now I have to find a place to stay because my old landlord wasn't so happy with me just getting the fuck out.”
Wade snorted, laying next to him. “So out of character, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.”
“Yeah, I was an asshole…”
“Yep, kinda,” Deadpool said, earning a glare from the other man. “But look at the bright side. Now your ass hole is single and that means you have more time for me!” Wade yelled, ignoring Peter's grimace.
“And how is that better?”
“Now we can finally watch One Day at a Time! You promised, remember? I've been postponing it for you, man.”
“Sorry, DP,” Peter apologized honestly. “But that'll have to wait,” he added, sitting back up and scrolling down his phone again. “I'm still doing the apartment hunting.”
They stayed in silence for a couple of minutes… Well, Peter stayed in silence, Deadpool was talking non-stop about one of his missions, still lying on the floor with his arms behind his head and a leg propped over his bent knee, moving his foot back and forth. Peter wasn't really listening to a word the merc was saying, but the other didn't seem to mind and even added a few random questions in a weird voice, trying to fill up for Peter's silence. The younger man wasn't sure how much time they stayed like that until he found an ad that adjusted so perfectly to his needs he almost felt like crying of happiness: it was in Queens, furnished, and close enough to aunt May to visit her more often. He expressed his joy very vocally, startling Deadpool next to him.
“What the fuck?” he asked, sitting up to stare at Peter.
“I found a place!” he said excitedly, handing the phone over to Wade. “The rent’s a little higher of what I was expecting, but with a few adjustment I'm sure I can manage.”
“Too bad it says ‘couples only’,” Deadpool pointed out, showing Peter the end of the advert.
“What?” He snatched the phone back and read the line Deadpool had pointed out. It did say the apartment was for childless couples only, probably as means to keep students, insufferable bachelors, and loud kids out of the building. Peter whined, hiding his face behind his hands. “It was too good to be true.”
“You can always pretend, you know?” Deadpool said, carelessly. Peter grunted to signal him he was listening, but wasn't entirely convinced it was a good idea. “I mean, do you have any friend that's single and desperate to get their own apartment? How about the Match Man or whatever he's called? I don't think the landlady cares you're gay as long as you pay on time and keep the sex quiet.”
“Human Torch,” Peter corrected, uncovering his face. “And I'm already staying at the Baxter Building. I promised it'd be temporary.”
“Pffft, you seriously need more friends.”
Peter nodded to himself, but stopped mid motion when a sudden thought crossed his mind. He turned to look at Wade, clearing his throat. “Well, I do have a friend that's single and desperate,” Peter said, looking pointedly at Wade.
“Kate doesn't count. She's staying at Clint’s by choice.”
“I didn't mean her. I meant someone whose safe house has just been blown up.”
“... You gotta be kidding me.”
“This is a terrible idea, Pete. A terrible idea. And that's coming from the guy that once peeked inside one of his Desert Eagles’ barrel to see why it wasn't working,” Wade said on the phone, looking at both sides of the street, unsure of the way the other man was supposed to come from.
“It's going to be fine,” Peter assured for what it felt like the hundred time. “We just need to look couple-y enough to convince her during the interview. After that we will be back to our usual selves.”
“She's gonna look at my face and think ‘There's no way this hottie is screwing an uncooked meatball like that’,” Wade continued complaining, talking in a high pitched voice to mimic the one of the old lady that would receive them in about an hour.
Peter had contacted the landlady the morning after their conversation on the rooftop and she had set the date of the interview for the next day. They had had time to spare, but hadn't really set up a plan about how to approach the situation in order to look like long time lovers, so Peter had proposed they met at a coffee shop nearby an hour prior to their interview to get everything ready. Wade had showed up twenty minutes earlier, paranoid of being late and spoil the whole plan, even though he was convinced the old woman wouldn't buy the lie even if they had a lifetime to plan it out. Peter was sure this was going to work, though, and the cheerful smile had finally made a comeback to those kissable lips after weeks of absence, so of course Wade couldn't say no.
“Your face is fine, stop worrying about it. Where are you? I can't see you anywhere.”
Wade looked up again, trying to spot Peter between the sea of people. He was about to tell him to lift a hand or something when he saw him. He was pretty sure he gasped a curse into the phone still pressed against his ear, unable to believe what was in front of him: Peter was walking down the street, smiling at Wade, and wearing a bright red blazer over a blue button-up shirt, complemented with jeans and Converse. He had his glasses on and Wade, who didn't even know the guy needed them, thought it was unfair a 27 year old nerd could wear such ridiculous combination and look smexy either way. It was spring, for fucks sake, and even though it'd been raining for the past week, Peter had no right to look that fresh in those clothes.
The other man stopped in front of him, looking him up and down with a faint smile as he tuck his phone in his pocket. It was the first time they saw each other in civies and Wade felt immediately self-aware of his worn out clothes: an oversized hoodie and ripped out jeans he was very fond of because they didn't hurt his skin, and only took off when he was wearing his suit. He was still pressing the phone against his ear and jumped slightly when Peter took it from him and handed it over, finally lifting his eyes to Wade’s face.
“Wow,” Peter said, making a sound that Wade wasn't sure how to interpret. “So this is how you look like out of your suit.” Well, fuck. Wade should had gone for the big, red condom instead; he and his stupid delusions of looking like a ‘normal’ guy. “This is… wow. I'm impressed.”
Wade frowned. “Are you high?”
“No,” Peter laughed. “But seriously, though. I really appreciate you didn't bring the mask. I… I know is hard for you, so thank you. It means so much to me.” Wade nodded awkwardly, still dumbstruck by Peter’s words and look, and pointed at the coffee shop. “Yes!” Peter said excitedly, clapping his hands with decision. “Let's do the thing.”
Wade let Peter lead the way to both avoid opening and holding the door for him like a smitten idiot, and to allow him to choose his favorite table. He had no idea if Peter prefered the front or the back, if he liked the buzz or the silence. Now that he thought about it, he didn't know much about the guy he was going to pretend to be dating… They were screwed! There was no way the old woman would believe them.
But because he was a big loser, he followed Peter to the back of the establishment after they placed their order and sat down across from him, twisting his fingers inside the front pocket of his hoodie as he did his best to ignore the people around them that would be certainly staring at his skin. Peter took out a small notepad and a pen, and smiled up at Wade, who couldn't help but snort at the other's dorkiness. “Fire up, sweetums. I'm all ears.”
“Okay,” Peter uncapped the pen. “First thing first: why do we want to move there?”
They spent a considerable amount of time coming up with answers to possible questions the woman could ask them during the interview. From how they had met (work, not necessarily a lie), to their families, and the side of the bed each of them slept on (Peter right, Wade left. Also surprisingly not a lie...). Wade thought most of these questions were unnecessary, but he let Peter do as he wished; if this was going to blow out in their faces, he wasn't going to take the blame for it. The hard part came when Peter asked for how long had they been together and Wade had to drink from his mug to hide the blush creeping up his cheeks, an involuntary reaction to thinking about Peter and the word ‘dating’ so close together in a sentence.
“I think we should establish something simple for that one. Something that makes it easier to remember if we get caught on the spot,” Peter suggested and Wade watched him bit the cap of the pen for a few seconds before hazel eyes focused back on him. “How long have we been friend?”
“Two days?” Wade said, making it sound like a joke even though it wasn't.
“Very funny,” Peter replied, glaring at him. “Almost two years, right? When I took off the mask in front of you for the first time, remember?” he added in a whisper, looking around to make sure no one was listening.
Wade swallowed hard. “One year, seven months, two weeks, and four days…” he whispered back, biting his lip. Did Peter really consider them friends since then?
“Don't make fun of me,” Peter scolded, half smiling. “Although that makes it sound like we've been counting, we should probably stick to that.”
But Wade had been counting, he only didn't consider himself Peter's friend until two nights ago when he had called him one. He remembered having pulled Peter's body out from under a bulk of concrete during a mission with the Ass-Team, thinking he was dead. But the kid had taken a deep breath right away and laughed, patting Wade’s arm as a thank you. Later on, when they were sitting on a rock watching the rest of the team talking to S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, Spidey had taken off his mask and introduced himself as Peter Parker; they had hung out regularly after that, but Wade didn't think… Friends? Really?
Peter tapped the pen against his lips, unaware of Wade’s internal panic, and shook his head. “Nah, it's too long. Let's just say it's been a year and seven months, okay?”
“Well, I think we have it all covered.” He looked up at the clock behind the counter. “And it's almost time to meet Mrs. Porter. Shall we?”
The building was four blocks away from the coffee shop, so they decided to walk all the way there to practice what they were going to say. Wade had never been in one of these things; he usually just went to the shadiest parts of the city, shove a few dollars to the landlord, and storm up to the room they barely had time to babble the number of. He didn't know such things even existed, but trusted Peter to know what to do, so he wasn't worried. Okay, that was a lie. He was distraught, but it was too late to back out now, so he had to follow through till the painful end.
Peter was going over the notepad as they walked, saying the things they needed to remember out loud for Wade to hear. When they reached their destination, the younger man took a deep breath, facing Wade as best as he could despite their height difference. “Ready?”
“Baby boy, I have been ready for years!”
“Okay, let's go.” Peter knocked on the door.
The landlady seemed to be a nice woman. She led them to the apartment in question, showed them around, and barely batted an eye when Peter said Wade was his partner. Wade, on the other hand, almost fainted right there. She made them sit at the living room and offered a cup of coffee neither of them accepted. She proceeded to sit across from them with a fancy notebook in her hands.
“So you're both dating,” the woman, whose name Wade couldn't remember, asked, looking at them with hard eyes.
“Ye- yeah. We are,” Peter answered, suddenly taking Wade’s hand between his own. Wade made a distressed sound at the back of his throat at the thought of Peter touching his bare hand, but smiled to the woman, trying to look madly in love and not like he was two seconds from bursting out of the room.
The lady nodded, scribbling something on the notebook. “How long have you been together?”
“One year and seven months,” they said at the same time, catching the woman's eyes as she cocked an eyebrow.
“I see… And what do you both do for a living?”
Shit. They hadn't thought about that one.
“I, uhm, I work at the Daily Bugle and do occasional researches for Stark Industries.” That wasn't a lie, Wade knew. Peter had a cover, but him… “And Wade, eh, he's…”
“Pest control,” he blurted out, without thinking. Peter looked up at him, surprise written on his face, but the landlady didn't seem to notice. “Yeah. Rats, cockroaches, that sort of stuff, I take care of them.”
“Oh, that sounds nice,” the woman said and Wade felt Peter's hand tightening around his. “That's how you met?”
“Yeah,” Peter replied, looking up at Wade instead of the old lady. “I was having a rat problem and Wade… he came to help,” the younger man smiled, probably thinking about how they had actually met once Wade had assisted Peter after a bank robbery.
“Well, that'd be all. When can you move in?”
“The apartment is ready. You can bring your stuff this same afternoon if you want.”
They exchanged an incredulous look.
Yeah, this was a terrible, terrible idea.