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we're on a highway to hell (with a little bit of heaven)

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Peter hasn’t been outside in years.

He knows this because he’s forgotten what the wind feels like. He remembers how it sounds, but he can’t imagine it on his skin. He can’t hear birds anymore, even with his heightened senses. The room they keep him in doesn’t have any windows. Why would it? It’s a reinforced vibranium, he can’t break through it, he’s tried.

The thing inside him as tried too. They have a scientific name, but Peter’s taken to calling them Venom. At first, he didn’t name them. He didn’t want them inside him; he didn’t want to acknowledge them. But they’ve been the only thing he can talk to, and they know all his thoughts anyway. After having them in his head for a year he’s hesitant to say they’ve grown close, but they have. If Peter dies, they die. If Peter’s starving, they starve. It’s simple, really, and at first it was overwhelming, to have his already heightened senses grow even more sensitive, but he’s gotten used to them, like one gets used to a constant itch. After a while, it becomes normal.

White noise.

Venom is Peter’s white noise.

That doesn’t shut up.

‘they’re going to make us fight today’ Venom says as soon as Peter wakes up.

He doesn’t sleep anymore, he goes days without it, so him passing out is as close as he gets to really sleeping. There’s no bed, in his room. Just a pillow and a sheet and a toilet, and Peter doesn’t like his back facing the door at the other end of the room. He likes to have eyes on who comes in and who leaves.

“Why do you say that?” Peter asks, rubbing his hands over his face, ignoring the dried blood that flakes like dried paint behind his ears.

He looks at his veins. They stain black against his kin, and he must look horrible, like someone who was supposed to be dead, not alive. He doesn’t feel alive.

‘they’re late,’ Venom explains, their voice a hiss in Peter’s skull, ‘they’re only late when we get to kill something’

“Sometimes,” Peter says, sitting up and ignoring the tightness in his shoulder. “Did you try and take over last night?”

Venom doesn’t answer, but Peter can feel them under his skin, slithering along his muscles and mixing like a film in his blood.

He’s known Venom long enough to know when they’re withholding information.

“I thought we were past that,” Peter sighs, standing and making his way over to the toilet.

‘you were taking too long to wake up,’ Venom says, and Peter tries to not focus on their voice as he relieves himself, ‘if you let us out today we–‘

“We’ve tried that,” Peter interrupts, harsher than he means to.

‘we want to know what birds sound like’ Venom admits.

“How do you know about birds?” Peter asks.

‘we can hear them,’ Venom says, ‘in the small lab’

Peter doesn’t answer. He doesn’t want to think about the lab, or what being in there means. He flushes the toilet and looks to the door, but no one has tried to come inside.
Someone should have come to take them by now. Time is always strange here, but Peter knows that when he wakes up on his own it takes the guards exactly three hundred seconds to come into the room. When he oversleeps they wake him up.

“Something’s not right,” Peter says and Venom turns under his skin.

‘perhaps they died’

Peter doesn’t answer the death-obsessed symbiote as he approaches the door, looking up at the three security cameras in the corner of his room. They’re blinking red, meaning they’re recording and following him. He presses his ear as close to the door as he can without touching its surface. It hasn’t worked in the past, and it doesn’t work now, he can’t hear anything beyond the reinforced walls. But something is wrong, and it’s unnerving that he knows but can’t leave the room. It’s a large base, Peter assumes, he doubts everyone inside is dead. They couldn’t be.

They wouldn’t leave him to die in this room, would they?

‘yes,’ Venom answers even though Peter wasn’t asking him.

“I wasn’t asking you,” Peter snaps, stepping away from the door, all the sluggish aftermath of sleep washing from him in a spike of adrenaline that he’s used to feeling following a surge of fear, “stay out of my head.”

‘break the door’ Venom says.

Peter ignores them.

He looks back to the security cameras. They can see him. He looks back to the door. He remembers the last time he tried to rip it open. He remembers the electricity that knocked him out. The pain of it is something that still makes his hair stand on end. He can’t tell if his spidey sense is the sensation buzzing in his skull or Venom, but either way he’s alert and awake.

This institution is all about protocol. It runs on accountability and routine, the people who work here are more robots than humans, and in Peter’s three years here nothing has even gone off schedule. Usually if Peter stands next to the door for as long as he has been they shock him to just get him back. They don’t let him think this long. Something has happened, something that’s messed with the routine and what if this is Peter’s only chance at getting out?

What if this is it? What if, and he knows it’s a stretch but he can’t help thinking it, what if he gets to feel the sun again?

“Absorb the shock for me this time, big guy,” Peter says, making his decision and reaching out to the door. Venom crawls. He gets his hands up against it, palms flat, and expects to feel his skin burn. It doesn’t. The metal is cold and still, not hot, not vibrating with contained electricity. Venom is as confused as he is.

“Right,” Peter breathes, heart hammering in his chest, “um. I didn’t think we’d get this far.”

‘kick it in,’ Venom hisses, excitement making it restless.

Peter backs up, balances, and kicks at the door with all his might. Venom helps, a thin black shine coating Peter’s bare foot. It works, the door concaving in the middle. It doesn’t fall off, not yet, because it’s still vibranium but the door is weaker because of its gaps and Peter aims for those on his next kick.

Three more tries and the door crumbles in and Peter can push it the rest of the way. It falls heavy and stiff to the linoleum white floor of the outside hall and Peter expects to be shot down right there. Instead, what hits him first is the alarm.

The noise is so jarring he has to cover his ears, and Venom’s screeching so loud Peter can feel blood, warm and wet, trickle down his neck. The halls, once white, are washed in strobes of red, the alarm systems blaring, loud, ‘too loud!’ and Peter falls to his knees, grinds his teeth and tries not to focus on how his brain feels like its melting in his head.

‘out!’ Venom screams, ‘get us out!’

Peter isn’t even sure he can stand; with his heightened senses and Venom’s own hindrance to high frequency noises the onslaught of the alarm is too much, especially with the echoed acoustics of the narrow hall. Then, as suddenly as it all registered, the alarm stops in a scratch of static feedback.

Then, silence. The red alert lights are still blinking but the sound has been cut off, and Peter falls back against the wall behind him, legs trembling, as tries to get his bearings. He can see Venom like pulsing spikes over his skin, trying to disconnect. They shiver when the alarm stops, and slowly dissolve back down. Peter watches them with mild panic.

“If you wanna leave I won’t stop you,” he pants, talking because he doesn’t want to draw attention to how terrified he is.

‘hurts,’ Venom says, and yeah, Peter feels like his head’s been split in two.

He swallows against the sudden nausea, and half expects a guard or lab monitor to come running for him down the hall. When he can’t hear anyone he stands, using the wall as support for the first few steps. His head still hurts but he doesn’t feel like his brain is stuck in a pressurized container anymore. He tries to listen for footsteps and he hears some about six floors up.

“Huh, we’re underground,” he says, absently.

‘quiet’ Venom supplies.

They’re right. High frequencies can’t reach them as well under the earth, and Peter is more inclined to low passes anyway. They don’t feel like nails on a chalkboard.

Peter walks down the high ceiling corridors, taking it all in. He’s never seen the halls before, or any part of the institution that wasn’t a lab. They blindfolded him for this part, and Peter understands why. It’d be too easy for him to find his way out. He’s lost now.

“Where is everyone?” he asks and Venom shrugs, dancing like smoke over the skin of his arms. It used to freak Peter out, how Venom can come and go from inside of him, but now he finds comfort in the added strength he knows Venom provides. They’re armor, and without his spidey suit he feels too vulnerable.

‘armor’ Venom repeats from Peter’s thoughts, ‘strong’

“Yeah, buddy,” Peter whispers, his spider sense growing more insistent in the back of his head.

He turns a corner and stops. The white walls are painted in blood, the sterile corridor alive and singing red. There are about twenty bodies scattered in horrified piles, discarded useless weapons loose in their lifeless hands.

Peter recognizes some of them.

The man to his right, for instance, likes to cut his stomach and see how fast he can heal.

Liked.

He’s dead now and Peter can’t say he feels too bad about it.

His spider sense spikes at the same time Venom says, ‘look’

Peter looks.

At the end of the corridor, under the strobe lights of red on red walls and red wounds and red blood is the figure of a man dressed in the same dead red. Peter can’t tell where the blood ends and the man begins. He’s whistling, Peter realizes, low under his breath as he steps on each limp hand he walks over. He’s not touching the ground, using the bodies as macabre stepping-stones. Peter’s disturbed.

Venom’s curious. It’s a mix that makes Peter uneasy.

He doesn’t know if this stranger is friend or foe, but it’s obvious he’s a killer. He’s holding a katana in each leather-gloved hand, and he doesn’t seem like he notices Peter standing there.

‘say something,’ Venom encourages, sounding way too excited for the situation they’re in.

“Shut up,” Peter hisses but it’s enough for the man to still and in the next second there’s a katana blade pressed to the side of Peter’s neck and his spider sense barely had time to warn him.

The shock of someone being able to surprise him holds Peter in place. The man is taller than him, broader, and Peter wonders if he’s a mutant. Peter knows there’s more people held here, there has to be for a place so big, and he knows the scientists here have a thing for mutated genes.

There’s bullet holes riddling the stranger’s leather suit but the man is standing like he shouldn’t be dead.

The two are still in the middle of the stranger’s massacre, and Peter can feel Venom covering his arms, stretching over his chest and neck to prevent the katanas’ blade from piercing his skin and, you know, killing him. The man notices, and the whites of his masks’ eyes widen comically.

“What the shit?” he exclaims, voice loud and booming in the hall.

Peter flinches at the pitch of it. The man sounds like he’s been smoking since he was two years old, his voice gravely and rough like jagged stone. He sheaths his katanas in a practiced fluid movement and bends down, too close.

“I don’t wanna alarm ya, kid, but you got a little something on your neck. And shoulder. And chest,” the man says and Peter…Peter doesn’t know what to do.

The man obviously killed everyone, and he doesn’t seem like he’s here to hurt Peter or else he would have done so already…right?

“What’s wrong? Is it my breath? I haven’t been able to brush my teeth since yesterday so I know it smells like someone left mayonnaise in an old man’s favorite shoe, but if it helps the leather is trapping all of it in. Is that it? Hello? Can you talk? Shit, are you deaf? My bad, here–” and the man starts fucking signing and Peter only knows a little ASL but he’s pretty sure the killer just asked him if he’s seen any of his movies. Right.

‘he’s unstable’ Venom says.

Peter silently agrees.

“No, I can talk–” Peter begins before the man cuts him off.

“Please tell me you’re not, like, twelve.”

Peter bristles. He knows he’s on the shorter side, and he hasn’t been able to properly exercise or eat regularly in years so his muscle mass has kind of deteriorated but c’mon.
“I’m twenty-four,” he snaps, crossing his arms over his chest and finding a strange comfort in feeling Venom there, “stop calling me kid.”

The man holds up his hands, palms and fingers covered in blood. It’s supposed to be a calming gesture, but on the man it looks like he’s doing jazz hands. He is doing jazz hands. A speck of blood hits Peter’s cheek.

“Just checkin’, baby boy, I know HYDRA is sick as my shit but I’m almost ninety percent sure there’s only one captive they’re holdin’ here and no one gave me an age, so I’m guessin’ you’re the jackpot!” the man says, his voice excited but Peter’s immediately on the defensive.

Is this man here to take him? To use him like HYDRA has? Venom spikes up, and Peter crouches, just slightly, to find his base.

“Why are you looking for me?” he snaps, and the man still has that sunny disposition but his eyes narrow and he tenses as well, looking a little dangerous as he regards Peter.

“Baby boy, who isn’t looking for you?” the man asks and that catches Peter off guard because he’s been here three fucking years, of course no one has been looking for him. HYDRA liked to tell him that all the time. Suddenly, his chest is tight, his eyes prickling. He’s not going to cry, that’s not it, but he’s feeling something and it’s suddenly a little difficult to breathe. The man must read it as fear, or Peter getting more defensive, because he does the jazz hands again.

“I’m not here to fight you,” he says, “that’s like, the opposite of why I’m here. Iron Giant would gut me ten times over if I hurt ya. And being gutted isn’t a good time, I mean, it’s a great detox, I’ll tell you what, but it kind of is the most painful thing. Like, picture–”

Peter feels like he’s going to pass out.

“I know what it feels like,” he interrupts and the man goes freakishly silent. He unclasps a glock from his thigh holster and, without breaking eye contact with Peter, shoots the nearest doctor in the head. Brain and skull and hair kind of burst out in a horrific bloody firework and Peter’s definitely going to pass out as some of it lands warm on his bare feet.

“Well, good thing they’re all inside out, no one is gonna be experimenting on you anymore, baby,” the larger man hums.

Peter wishes he hadn’t done that.

“You said people have been looking for me,” he says after finding his voice again, “what kind of people?”

“The good guys,” the man says and at Peter’s expression backtracks, “I ain’t one of them, per se. They hired me for this here little stunt ‘cause they were kind of failing spectacularly for years. Ya know, for the earth’s supposedly mightiest heroes they kind of suck at their jobs. I mean, sure, if you need someone to destroy New York and then halfheartedly pay for the damage then they’re your guys, but personally I think…”

Peter can’t hear the stranger anymore. He feels like his limbs have turned to jelly.

‘snap out of it,’ Venom hisses but Peter can’t breathe.

They were looking for him.

The Avengers have been looking for him.

He better not start crying, that’d be really embarrassing. Nonetheless, he can’t help his shaky exhale. It must’ve given him away because a handkerchief is pressed under his nose. Peter starts, and the man only waits patiently.

“You got some snot,” he says.

Peter takes the handkerchief. It’s very dirty, but he uses it anyway. It’s the nicest thing someone’s done for him so…there’s a lot there. He hands the scarp of fabric back and the man tosses it carelessly over his shoulder.

“So you’re here to break me out?” Peter asks, just to be sure.

“That’s my job!” the man says, sounding proud.

“Did you have to kill everyone?” Peter can’t help but question.

“If it makes you feel better they were horrible people?” the man says, and Peter is suddenly struck with what all this means.

“Wait,” he asks, because he can’t believe this, “I can leave?”

The man’s shoulders drop and he almost looks sad, which is ridiculous because he’s wearing a mask and masks aren’t supposed to be expressive.

“Yeah man,” he says, “let’s get you outta here.”

For a moment, Peter doesn’t know what to feel.

He thinks he’s in shock.

‘you are in shock,’ Venom confirms.

“There might be more,” Peter hears himself say, but he’s disconnecting, he can tell in the way he can’t feel his fingers, can’t feel his skin, can’t feel Venom– “there’s probably more guards. They’ll come for me, what if they’re on their way now? What if Doctor–”

“Hey,” the man interrupts, voice gentle but firm, demanding Peter’s attention but not forcing it, “I killed everyone. Literally. There’s no one left but us. I was hired to break you out, get you back to where you belong alive. No one’s gonna so much as look at you, got it? Pinky promise.”

The guy holds up his pinky.

Peter swallows.

He hooks his own pinky around the man’s and they shake.

“Now for introductions because we’re moving past the exposition,” the man says, “I’m Wade. Wade Wilson, or Deadpool, or Merc with the Mouth, or ‘Personal Pain in the Ass’.”

“What do you prefer?” Peter asks, following when the guy starts to skip down the hall.

“For you? Daddy would be nice,” the man tosses over his shoulder with a salacious wink and Peter doesn’t know whether or not he’s kidding.

“I’ll call you Wade,” Peter decides, moving on shaking legs because there’s now cold blood making the bottoms of his feet sticky.

“That works,” Wade hums, his voice light and happy as they make their way through winding halls.

They climb three flights of stairs with Wade singing and talking under his breath, and Peter doesn’t bother to ask who Wade is talking to because Peter talks to himself too. He gets it.
‘are we sure we can trust him?’ Venom asks, speaking up for the first time in a while.

‘dunno,’ Peter thinks, taking a moment to study the broad swipe of Wade’s shoulders, the muscles of his back and thighs, ‘he looks strong.’

‘we should leave him,’ Venom says, ‘we can’t trust him. what if he’s lying?’

Unease rests in Peter’s stomach like lead and anxiety in his chest. Venom is right. There’s nothing Wade has said that Peter can confirm. Yes, it looks like he killed everyone, but Peter knows that HYDRA has enemies, enemies that are just as bad if not worse, and he’d be damned if he’s gotten this far from his cell only to be taken to another.

‘we run when we get outside,’ Peter thinks, trying to stabilize his heart with deep breaths, ‘i’m going to need your help’

Venom answers by sliding like melted tar over his body, leaving his head visible, not taking over entirely. It’s a strange feeling, letting Venom commandeer his movements, but they’re on the same page with this situation, and Peter’s legs are feeling weaker by the minute.

This is the most he’s walked in a long time. Wade has led them into what looks like an ornate lobby of a hotel, and Peter hates the thought that he’s been hidden underground, under people, all this time. Wade is talking, he seems to always be talking, but Peter isn’t listening. He can only hear the frantic beating of his heart because Wade is stepping through a hole where a door used to be and Peter can see mountains, trees, the sun–

For a moment, after stepping out, it’s hard to clarify what he’s looking at. His eyes take a while to adjust, and they’re burning with the effort. The air tastes clean. Fresh. His bare feet land on grass, and it tickles. There’s a cool breeze carrying through the mountains, and it feels nice in his dirty hair, against his stiff clothes. He could be crying, but he isn’t sure.

He can feel the sun.

“All right, baby boy, I’m parked just over–”

Under any other circumstance, Peter might feel bad. But he’s lost the ability to second-guess himself. It’s already cost him everything.

Venom has them moving fast, hands wrapping around Wade’s wrists, pulling back his arms, and pressing his foot between Wade’s shoulder blades. He moves so suddenly that Wade only has time to say–“this is kind of a kink for me”–before he’s kicking and breaking both of Wade’s arms. The man stumbles, cursing, but Peter doesn’t wait around. He runs.

He runs as fast as he can.

He doesn’t look back.

He can feel the earth under his feet.

He can feel the sun.

He runs.

And Venom hears the birds.

 

///

 

It turns out, when you haven’t eaten in two days, or slept well in weeks, and are still trying to get a grasp on your entire world changing in an hour, you pass out.

Peter doesn’t remember falling asleep, and he certainly doesn’t remember climbing a tree, but he’s made a nest out of his webs and is swinging gently in the wind. It’s like the sky is rocking him to sleep. Venom is under his skin, tired as well. If Peter isn’t doing well, neither is Venom. It used to be the opposite, but HYDRA didn’t prepare for a host to bond emotionally with a symbiote as well.

Apparently, Peter is a softie.

He almost doesn’t believe it, waking up to the sun on his skin. He hasn’t felt this warm in a long time.

The peace is shattered when Wade’s voice screeches up at him.

“Yo Web guy! Not cool dude, you shattered my shoulders!”

Peter nearly falls from his makeshift bed, his spidey sense not alerting him to the other man’s presence. Venom stirs and Peter peeks over the side of his webs, eyes narrowing in the high afternoon sun. Wade is glaring up at him, hands on his hips like he’s disappointed. He should be mad. Why isn’t he mad?

‘insane’ Venom says.

Oh yeah.

“I’m not about to be captured again!” Peter calls down; shifting so that he’s crouching and can swing away at any time.

“Bro, I literally just gave you a page and a half spiel on why I’m trying to helping you!” Wade calls up.

When Peter doesn’t respond the man sighs, rubbing the back of his masked head awkwardly.

“Look, I really just want to drop you off with Iron Dad so I can get my money and buy some tacos, kay? Also Bea needs a new polish, she’s lookin’ a little crusty,” Wade pulls out one of his katanas, and yup, dried brown with blood, nice.

“How do I know you are who you say you are?” Peter asks.

‘kill him’ Venom urges.

“I’m not killing anyone,” Peter snaps, and then, “wait, I thought I broke your arms?”

“Shoulders,” Wade corrects.

“Shoulders,” Peter amends, curious as he leans further over the edge of the web, despite Venom’s hissing protests.

“You ain’t the only one around here with sexy powers, baby boy,” Wade sings, pointing a finger up at him, “now come on down, I wanna go get some grub. Killing people takes a lot of energy.”

Peter wrinkles his nose.

“I still don’t think I can trust you,” he says.

“I got you out, didn’t I?” Wade counters.

“Doesn’t mean you’re not gonna use me,” Peter argues, but the tension in his shoulders and legs are lessening the more Wade talks.

It’s strange, that the killer is the calmer out of the two of them.

“I dunno if you’ve ever heard of me Petey-pie,”– not at all, Peter hasn’t ever heard of “Deadpool”– “but HYDRA got a hold of me too. They’re the nastiest of all things nasty. You can’t tell just by looking at me, but under all this skin tight leather I look like an inside out toe that someone threw up, and that’s on them. You can either trust me and we can go get some food, or you can not trust me and I drag you to go get some food. Either way, you’re comin’ with me and we’re getting food.”

Peter hesitates on principal. He doesn’t like being told what to do, hates it, but he is hungry, hasn’t eaten a real meal in years–

“I want a hamburger,” Peter says.

He can’t tell, but he’s pretty certain Wade’s smiling up at him by the way the mask is stretching over his jaw.

“We can make that happen,” Wade says.

'we can take him,' Venom urges, 'he's going to hurt us–'

"With extra pickles," Peter continues, ignoring Venom's protests. "And fries. And a chocolate milkshake."

He can't describe how he feels. But it isn't depression, or fear, or anxiety, so if talking about getting food with Wade is making him feel anything other than cold then why shouldn't he do it?

"Anything else, your highness? Want me to dip it in gold?" Wade is joking, his hands on his hips, and now Peter knows he's really smiling because his mask is stretching over his lips.

‘we don’t like this,’ Venom drawls, ‘you’re going to get us killed’

“I want a burger,” Peter says, and then drops down.

Chapter Text

Peter loses time.

A lot.

It’s just his mind's way of shielding him when things are too much. Apparently, approaching a sleek, small, metal jet that took the build of a slim crow was too much. As was going inside, and being handed clean fleece pajamas adorned with hello kitty pictures, was too much.

Peter came back to himself holding a pair of pink fuzzy socks, and they were the softest things he’s ever felt. Peter’s gotten used to the disorientation that comes from losing time, and his anxiety over it just makes him numb and detached.

Deadpool is talking, Peter realizes, although he can’t focus on more than two words the merc is saying at a time. Instead, he turns his attention to the socks, and how gentle they are. He slides them on, tries to feel the nice fabric on his skin, but it feels too nice, too soft, and it’s a strange, disorienting feeling, to not be wearing starchy lab scrubs anymore.

The jet shakes and Deadpool takes them up into the air. The altitude shift makes Peter’s stomach turn and he’s thankful for his sticky feet as the jet gives a jarring lurch to the right.

‘he can’t fly,’ Venom says.

Peter walks up and takes the seat next to Deadpool, turning so he’s facing the mercenary, because that’s what he is, completely. Deadpool takes his eyes off the controls to look at Peter.

It’s strange, Peter thinks, he doesn’t remembering telling Wade his name.

“Did the Avengers really send you?” he asks.

Deadpool pulls his legs up to sit cross legged, hitting the big red, autopilot button and mirroring Peter so they’re both facing one another in the small confines of the cockpit.

“Sure,” Deadpool says, tilting his head and resting his chin in his hand, “you hungry, Peter-piper?”

“That,” Peter says, pointing at Wade, “that’s why I’m suspicious of you.”

Deadpool straightens, just a little, a shift that wouldn’t be noticeable to anyone who wasn’t looking for it. His voice is deeper, more challenging, when he speaks.

“You’re gonna have to be more specific,” he says.

‘our name’ Venom hisses.

“You know my name,” Peter says, “I never told it to you.”

Deadpool doesn’t change, he doesn’t move, and it’s almost chilling, how still the large man is.

“You didn’t have to tell me, baby boy, it’s in your file,” Deadpool explains, leaning over his knees so he’s only a few inches away from Peter.

“You didn’t seem to know me when you first saw me,” Peter says, trying very hard to not lean away from Deadpool. It feels like he’d be losing if he did. “You didn’t know my age.”

“Doesn’t mean I didn’t know what those bambi eyes looked like, does it?” Deadpool counters.

‘we’ll gut him’ Venom says, a fierce emotion of possessiveness coming from the symbiote that Peter hasn’t felt from them before.

“There’s something you’re not telling me,” Peter pushes, because he’s feeling frustrated.

Something about this situation isn’t right. Good things don’t happen to Peter. This? Someone coming to save him on the Avengers orders? On Tony’s command? That’s way too good to be true.

Way too good.

“Oh fuck,” Peter says and Deadpool leans back, “I’m dreaming, aren’t I? This isn’t real, I’m still in the fucking base, I–”

“Whoa, hey,” Deadpool says, hands hovering over Peter’s shoulders, “let’s derail this spiraling train of thought before it demolishes the whole town. I’m real. I swear. Want to do another pinky promise?”

Peter isn’t listening.

HYDRA has tricked him like this before. They’ve simulated hallucinations, rescue missions, just to break Peter’s mental capacity, to give Venom more reigns. What if that’s what’s happening now? What if he’s back in the small lab? What if he’s being cut, prodded, injected, right now, all because he can’t fucking wake up?

He knows Deadpool is talking to him, but Peter can only hear Venom, can only hear the throbbing of his own heart. He reacts on instinct, lunging forward and grabbing a hunting knife from the thigh holster on Deadpool’s right leg.

“Peter, wai–”

He blinks, reality rushing in like a hot flood.

There’s a knife in the meat of his thigh.

There’s his blood, running red and warm and alarming down the pants of his new pajamas.

He’s in a jet, that’s air conditioned, and Deadpool is staring wide eyed at him.

He’s ruined his new clothes.

“Oh,” Peter says. “Well, shit.”

“Yeah, shit!” Deadpool exclaims, leaping from his seat and tearing off his belt, strapping it tight around Peter’s thigh above the knife, before Peter knows what he’s doing.

“God damn, Jesus, shit fuck, Spidey, you can’t do that shit, please tell me you got a healing factor ‘cause we still got hours to go and I can’t have you bleedin’ out in Black Widow’s private jet–”

“I do,” Peter slurs, staring unseeing at his leg, “have a healing factor.”

“Well it’s pretty shit,” Deadpool hisses, voice tight. He looks up at Peter, his mask contorted in his surprise.

“Okay, baby,” he says, gentling his voice after taking Peter in, “here’s what we’re gonna do. I cut off your blood flow and we’re gonna just take this annoying little splinter out, okay? And then we’re gonna get you some nice vodka and your favorite food and bandage you right up. Sound good?”

Peter stares.

“Hey,” Deadpool snaps in front of his face, jerking him to the present and making his new injury throb, “you with me?”

Peter nods.

He can’t talk. His mouth is like cotton, his tongue feels swollen.

‘idiot’ Venom hisses, angry, in the back of his mind, ‘idiot idiot idiot’

“Okay, you can’t keep zoning out. Listen to me talk. It always manages to get people all riled up, in good and bad ways, so it’ll work for you, I’m sure. Now, you just take deep breaths and I’m going to take care of the rest. So, you’ve seen Harry Potter right?”

“Obviously,” Peter says, feeling faint as Deadpool pulls the belt tighter and grasps the handle of his dagger sticking from Peter’s leg.

“Hey, I don’t know how long you’ve been away. So Daniel Radcliffe goes to the same coffee shop I do on Wednesdays–"

Deadpool pulls out the knife. Peter almost punches him. Venom does.

Deadpool goes flying back against the far wall, his body colliding with the metal of the jet in a chilling crunch before he falls, spine curved at an unnatural angle, to the ground.

‘we fix’ Venom says, and covers Peter’s wound.

What the fuck?” Peter snaps, trying to stand and walk to Deadpool but Venom’s covering his leg and holds him in place by squeezing and making pain jolt like electricity up his back.

“You killed him, oh God–you killed him,” Peter repeats, over and over, barely aware of Venom healing him as he stares at Wade’s unmoving body.

‘ours’ Venom says.

“I’m not a thing, Venom, I don’t belong to anyone,” Peter hisses, hands curling into fists on the edge of the chair he’s in, metal bending under his grip.

‘ours’ Venom repeats.

“Fuck,” Peter groans, banging his head on the headrest, “shit, if you’re being cranky and I can’t walk and Deadpool’s spine is broken, whose flying the plane?”

Deadpool wheezes.

Then laughs.

Peter nearly jumps out of his skin.

Deadpool’s spine is realigning, Peter can see the bone moving under the tight leather of the mercenary’s suit, and then the man’s head is looking up at Peter from the ground. Peter’s sure he looks as pale as Venom’s eyes because Deadpool gives him a, what would probably be if the guy wasn’t supposed to be dead, shaky thumbs up.

“This is my healing factor,” Deadpool explains as his back pops, “can’t die, no sir, you’re stuck with me until I drop you and your creepy-ass guard dog back off with Iron Dad.”

His spine contorts and gives one final popping noise before Deadpool is rising to his feet and cursing the entire way up.

“Note to self, don’t touch the Spider-babe, got it, I’ll admire from afar.”

“I’m so sorry,” Peter says, dazed, “I–hell, I didn’t mean to, I swear, I’m so–”

“Da da da, you didn’t hit me big boy, your little bug did, and hey, I get it, I pulled my knife out of your leg. It looks like it’s healing you better than I could anyway.”

‘ours’

“I’m sorry,” Peter says again because he is.

He feels sick, and disgusted with himself, and angry at Venom. He’s feeling a lot, basically.

“Baby boy, I’m not accepting any apology from you. Now, if the goo wants to apologize, I’m all ears. Well, half, I don’t really give a shit about it, t-b-h.”

‘kill him’

Deadpool makes his way back over to the control panel, movements stiff, like he’s still in pain, and Peter feels guilt heavy and forceful in his chest.

“You said we could get food?” Peter asks, in hopes of distracting Wade and lifting his spirits.

It must work, because even he can see Deadpool’s grin from under the mask.

 

////

 

Deadpool parks the jet in the parking lot of an iHop.

Peter isn’t sure if they’re supposed to be incognito, but so far it’s not working. Especially because Deadpool is still wearing his full suit, katanas and all, and Peter’s wearing hello kitty pajama’s that are meant for someone much shorter and covered in blood. What a pair we make, Peter thinks, limping their way into the iHop like they own the place.

Peter isn’t even sure where they are right now, but it looks like the middle of nowhere. The chain restaurant is small, and the sun is setting outside, coloring the white floors and walls in a soft gold glow. Trees and a lone highway off beyond the branches surround them, and the parking lot is composed of only a few pickup trucks and one SUV.

Deadpool prances inside and a young man who looks like he’s never left his parent’s basement seats them in a booth by one of the large front-facing windows. Deadpool throws himself down with a sigh and immediately pours the plastic container filled with crayons onto the white paper tablecloth.

Peter gently lowers himself into the booth opposite, and the host is eyeing Peter’s leg. He’s probably noticing (and smelling) the drying blood.

“Um,” he says.

“All the pancakes,” Wade interrupts, “literally one of every pancake. Also a fucking mountain of hash browns, separate plate for those, we’re not heathens. Some coffee too–oh!– a strawberry milkshake with two straws.”

“Uh,” the boy says.

“And whipped cream. And eggs and sausage, my Peter here needs some protein.”

“Um, sir,” he turns to Peter, “are you being held hostage or something?”

No!” Peter says, maybe a little too forcefully because the kid flinches. “No, I just– I’m clumsy, and I fell on the pavement outside.”

“Oh,” the boy says, relaxing, “that’s–”

Wade waves his gloved hand.

“Ta ta, run along now, young whippersnapper,” he shoos and the boy lumbers off, confused in every possible way.

Peter almost feels a little bad for him. And touched, that the kid was worried.

He settles into the leather of the booth, and it crinkles under his shifting weight. Deadpool is immersed in his frantic drawings, and Peter lets himself relax. He’s got most of his attention on the door to Wade’s back, but he still manages to study Wade as well. The guy is broad, and his muscles aren’t pre-padded into the suit like some supers used to do. Where Peter is acrobatic and toned this guy is imposing and bulky. He’s kind of intimidating with all his weapons and red suit, but he’s drawing like an excited kid with the pink and yellow crayons and there’s something endearing about it.

‘we don’t like him’ Venom says, and Peter sighs, rubbing his temple at the new headache forming.

“Stop pouting,” he groans and the sound of wax on paper stops.

“Huh,” Deadpool says and Peter meets the white eyes of his mask, “so that’s what I sound like.”

“What?” Peter asks.

Wade taps a crayon against his temple.

“I got voices too, baby boy. White n’ Yellow, they’re fucking depressing grumps who won’t shut the hell up. Like alcoholic, manic, suicidal versions of Bert and Ernie. You got somethin’ talking to you in that cute lil’ noggin of yours?”

“Um,” Peter says, not really sure how to have this conversation, “yeah. Venom.”

Wade hums.

“That alien thing inside you?”

Peter nods.

“How often does it talk?” Wade asks, sounding genuinely curious, and it occurs to Peter that maybe Wade’s never met someone who he could share this part of his life with. He’s struck with the desire to know more about Wade, about his voices, White and Yellow.

“Depends,” Peter admits, “they’re quiet now. But they can talk all day and not shut up.”

‘we can hear you’

Wade snorts.

“Baby boy, you’re tellin’ me. These two boxes don’t know how to stop talking. You think I talk a lot? You should hear them.”

Peter leans forward over the table and idly picks up a blue crayon. He hasn’t drawn anything in years. The colorful wax feels foreign in his hand.

“What are they saying now?” Peter asks, beginning the start of a spider web.

“Well, White says you ask too many questions and that we should start blowing shit up”– it’s Peter’s turn to snort, ‘cause sure, sounds familiar– “and Yellow wants to know if you’re real or if I’ve made you up. He’s trying to convince me of the latter, the fuckhead.”

“I’m real,” Peter says, not looking up from his poor attempt at drawing.

“Hey, you were a super weren’t you? Spider-man? 'Cause it'll be real awkward and kind of defeating the plot of this story if I was wrong and callin' you "Webs" and "Spidey" for all the five hours I've known ya.”

Peter tries not to let those words get to him. It’s an innocent question. Still, it hurts to be reminded of who he used to be.

“Sure was,” Peter says, not feeling like drawing anymore.

“I used to hear stories about you,” Deadpool continues, “you make your costume yourself?”

“Uh, yeah,” Peter answers, not really expecting that question. “Why, you make yours?”

Wade strikes a pose. He looks ridiculous.

“You betcha. No padding in here baby boy, all 100% beef.”

Peter can’t help his grin at that.

“Too bad I’m vegetarian.”

Wade drops his arms, hands pressing in excitement to his cheeks.

“Was that a 3OH3 reference? Did I just hear that right? That’s so 2008.”

“Well, I have been away for a while,” Peter says, and it’s a strange, dark joke to make that he’s sure no one but Wade would laugh at.

But laughter is better than pity and it’s not at Peter’s expense. It feels nice to separate himself from being captive for so long. Even if he’s hiding the horrors of it with humor because he hasn’t let himself feel anything in years and it’s too warm in this restaurant, shit, he’s in a restaurant, he’s not in a lab, not in a cell, not being held down–

Coffee is placed in front of him.

Following is six plates of different pancakes, two plates of hash browns, eggs, sausages, the goddamn strawberry milkshake he’s about to drink a strawberry fucking milkshake

Wade lifts his cup of coffee and holds it up in front of him, waiting.

“Fuck HYDRA,” he says.

Peter lets out a long breath.

He gathers his own mug and clinks it against Wade’s.

“Fuck HYDRA,” he repeats.

 

///

 

When Wade pulls his mask up to his nose to eat Peter can see his scars. They look painful and ugly around his lips, but Peter doesn’t stare.

They eat in companionable silence, with Wade only talking between bites. Mostly telling Peter to slow down or he’ll throw up.

 

///

 

“That hit the spot!” Wade groans, slapping an inappropriate amount of cash on their table and making to stand.

Peter silently agrees, although his stomach is churning with how fast he ate and how dense and sugary the food was.

He throws up behind the iHop parking lot, with Wade patting his back awkwardly.

At least he got to taste the pancakes.

 

///

 

Wade gets them settled in the jet, opening an overhead bin and throwing a fleece blanket at where Peter is curled up in the passenger seat in the cockpit.

“Ya know kid, you can take that cot back there,” Wade says, pointing at said cot over his shoulder, “you can at least lay down.”

Peter moves the blanket up to his chin, knees to his chest. He’s warm and comfortable and likes being close to Wade. He knows if anything happens, the mercenary is at least a reliable fighter. He’s safer next to Wade, then alone at the back of the jet.

“I’m gonna stay here,” he says and it’s a heady feeling, having control over something as small as where he gets to sleep.

“Aye aye,” Wade says, dropping into his seat and starting up the jet.

They’re in the air, over the trees and cities, and Peter watches the lights pass in a blur, the highways crawling like fireflies below. He aches for his old home, his old life, but he doesn’t dwell on it. He’s buried that part of himself a long time ago, no point in digging it up now.

“How much longer?” he asks when an insurmountable time has passed.

Wade pulls up the sleeve of his suit to reveal a cheap bodega watch. It looks broken.

“Hm, maybe five, six hours? You’ll be able to see that damn Avengers compound from three hundred miles away.”

“Funny I don’t see it then,” Peter says, snuggling deeper into the seat.

It’s really comfortable, but Peter suspects he’d be able to fall asleep on the floor and feel like it’s a five star hotel.

He’s just begun dozing off, the first time he’s fallen asleep without staying up for days on end to pass out, before his spider sense blares like a foghorn in the back of his head. He jolts into a sitting position, alert, before turning to Deadpool.

“Wade, something–”

There’s a horrible crash, a flash of white light, and the jet is plummeting from the sky.

Chapter Text

Peter used to care about things.

He used to care about having clean sheets and food and soap and showers and money. He used to care about relationships and coffee and trying to prove himself to the Avengers.

There were a lot of things that Peter Parker used to care about.

The only things he still has feelings about is Aunt May and not dying. He didn’t survive HYDRA to die hours after escaping them. That just isn’t going to happen.

They’re falling at a dizzying speed, so fast that the ground looks like it’s opening its mouth to swallow them whole. Peter doesn’t know the extent of Wade’s healing capabilities. The man said he couldn’t die but Peter is skeptical about Deadpool surviving a ten thousand foot high fall, so he withdrawals and lets Venom out.

“Grab Wade,” he says before Venom’s ink skin covers his eyes and everything feels like it’s underwater. Moving is like walking through rubber.

When Venom takes over it’s an out of body experience. It’s almost like half of his mind goes offline for a while. He can see, and feel the pressure of things, but he can’t move his own limbs. Venom grabs Wade around the throat, smashes a hole into the side of the jet and throws themselves out.

Peter feels the impact of the ground, sudden and harsh, but it doesn’t hurt. It rolls through his bones and out his skin and Venom hisses but doesn’t crumble.

Peter can hardly make anything out in the darkness of the forest, and he wants to look and make sure that Deadpool is okay because Deadpool is his ticket home.

‘the talker is alive’ Venoms reassures, sounding annoyed enough that Peter believes them.

Venom is excited. Is hungry, and it’s an old feeling that Peter hasn’t felt from the symbiote for a long while. There are footsteps in the trees beyond them, and Peter can feel the heat of the burning jet about thirty feet away.

‘seven men’ Venom says, ‘we eat seven men’

There’s a panic growing in Peter, a dizzying sort of realization that he let Venom out so they could live but now, as he tries to mentally push Venom down, he finds he can’t make the symbiote listen.

Instead, his stomach feels hollow, starved, like he hasn’t eaten in days, like he didn’t just devour an entire restaurant’s worth of food.

‘don’t kill them’ Peter tries to bargain, but Venom covers his mouth and won’t let him speak.

He’s in a dark cavern behind his own eyes, behind Venom’s mind. He can see the symbiote creeping up his ankles, slow, and he knows what will happen if the parasite’s tendrils cover him completely.

“You’ll lose your mind,” the doctor had said, fascinated.

The men approach from the shadows with flashlights on their semi-automatic shotguns and night visors flashing neon green. They’re trying to form a circle around Venom, corner them, perhaps take them back. They have HYDRA’s patch sewn high on their arms. Venom growls, a deep rumbling noise that makes the men falter.

They haven’t been trained to handle Venom.

One man to their right raises his gun, his voice steady as he addresses them.

“Surrender, and come with us,” he says.

“Ouch, ya know, I really hate having to realign my spine, and I’ve had to do it twice in one fucking day thanks to you, asshole,” Deadpool spits, voice coming from behind them and Peter feels relieved to hear the man talking.

“Hands up, Deadpool!” another HYDRA agent says, although he sounds unsure.

Deadpool gives a loud sigh before there’s the click of a safety switch and he’s talking to Venom directly.

“Hey, slime ball, you wanna team up? Ghostbusters style?”

Venom, of course doesn’t understand the reference.

They don’t answer Deadpool, rushing forward on all fours and biting the head off the nearest soldier. Peter, thankfully, can’t taste the blood. Venom can.

“Wow, you just went straight in,” Deadpool’s saying, and Peter can hear his glock firing in the still of the night. Venom zeroes in on another solider, the man’s bullet hitting their shoulder, and it’s enough of a distraction that Peter rips himself from the tendrils climbing up his leg and mentally blocks Venom out.

He knows it’s a dangerous thing to do during a fight because it makes them paralyzed until Peter pushes Venom’s influence down enough to get his subconscious to the forefront. He can feel his toes first, like his whole body is asleep and coming awake, and Venom is hissing, clawing to get back out–

‘No,’ Peter tells them, ‘this is my body. You shut the hell up and let me handle this.’

‘ours’ Venom argues, pushing back with more force than they have in a long while.

But Peter’s had food, and a little sleep, and while that also helps Venom’s strength it is still his body, his mind, and Venom is a guest.

‘You’re forgetting your manners,’ Peter snarls, and pushes his way from the inky gloom to the surface.

His shoulder is bleeding, and he’s holding the man’s lifeless body in his hand. He can smell the blood smeared across his mouth where Venom’s teeth and tongue used to be, and it almost makes him retch.

“You’re disgusting,” he tells Venom, and wipes the blood off on his new pajama shirt.

Deadpool whistles and it brings Peter back to reality.

He looks over to the mercenary who is surrounded by four bodies and spinning his glock casually on his index finger.

“You look good in red, baby boy!” he calls over and Peter just feels repulsed.

“I killed three people,” he says.

Deadpool shrugs, holstering his weapon and skipping over.

“Pretty sure that wasn’t you. Unless you got a tongue over two feet long and secretly two hundred pounds of muscle.”

Peter can’t argue that point so he doesn’t. He knows that he’s still responsible for Venom’s actions, he still feels responsible, but he has a suspicion that Wade won’t understand that.

“I feel gross,” he says instead of starting an argument.

Both him and Wade look down at the blood covering every inch of him.

“We also don’t have a ride anymore,” Deadpool says, pointing over his shoulder at the still burning jet, “and I’m pretty sure these asshats have trackers on ‘em somewhere.”

“So we should go,” Peter concludes and Wade makes a dinging bell noise.

“Right-o, spider-o,” he sings, moving closer but not touching Peter, a small choice that Peter is grateful for.

“I wanna go to bed,” Peter admits after they’ve walked in silence for some time.

“How do you feel about pine needles?” Wade asks.

“And I wanna shower,” Peter presses.

A part of him wants to see how much Wade will give him. He’s not used to demanding things and receiving them.

“Maybe we can find a creek?”

“With hot running water,” Peter clarifies.

Wade presses a finger to his chin in faux contemplation.

“Then we should find a hotel,” he says.

Peter can’t help his tired smile.

“I think we should,” he agrees.

Deadpool nods before stopping them. He begins to fiddle with a circular contraption on his belt that looks suspiciously like a cartooned version of his mask.

“What are you doing?” Peter asks, suddenly on edge.

“Relax, honey-buns, this little gizmo is a gift. And a teleportation device. It’s about 56% effective,” Wade says happily still messing with his belt.

“If you’re about to whip your dick out I’m ripping it off,” Peter says, voice colder than he means it to be.

Deadpool blanches.

“Shit, Pete, I’d help castrate myself if I did anything close to making you uncomfortable,” Deadpool says with such raw sincerity that Peter almost believes him. Still, Wade is a stranger, and a proven dangerous one at that. There’s only so much blind faith that Peter can have.

“Well,” Wade says after an awkward amount of time fiddling with his belt, “I know what the problem is.”

“And?” Peter prompts when Wade doesn’t continue right away.

“It’s broken.”

Peter wishes he could say he’s surprised.

“Aw, don’t make that face, we’ll just find a motel.”

“Where do you even see a road, Wade?” Peter hisses, gesturing wildly around them at the still forest.

“Over there,” Wade says and point over Peter’s shoulder.

Peter turns.

There’s no road, but there are lights in the distance. Peter can’t hear cars, but it is late, and they are in the middle of nowhere, so it might be common here for no one to be out.

“That doesn’t look promising,” Peter says even though his spider sense remains unbothered.

His body still feels tingly ever since he pushed Venom back, and his shoulder is aching and the fleece of the pajama pants is catching on the dried blood of his leg. He’s a mess, both mentally and physically.

“Look,” Peter begins, facing Wade, “if HYDRA sent agents after us they’re going to send more. We need to look less suspicious.”

Wade hums, crossing his arms. An owl hoots three hundred feet to their right.

“Smart, baby boy, I didn’t plan this far,” Wade admits.

“I had a feeling,” Peter agrees and Wade cocks his head at him.

Peter kind of wishes he could see what expression Wade is wearing. It’s hard to get a read and trust someone without knowing what they look like.

“Do you have money on you?” Peter asks, kind of dreading the answer. He can still see the smoke from the jet rising over the tops of the trees.

Wade reaches into a back compartment on his belt and pulls out a wad of cash as big as Peter’s hand. Peter gapes.

“Holy shit,” he breathes.

“I got us covered on the expenses,” Wade says; sounding proud, before stuffing the money back into his belt. “But you’re covered in blood, dude. We need to get you a new wardrobe.”

“What about you?” Peter asks but Wade shoos his comment away with the flick of his wrist and starts meandering in the direction of the distant lights.

“Trust me, Pete, if I took off this suit there would be a lot more people lookin’ our way,” Deadpool tosses over his shoulder.

“I doubt that,” Peter argues, matching Wade’s fast stride, “I mean, how well known is “Deadpool”?”

“Best mercenary in the world baby boy, shoulda put me on the Forbes Hot 100 list.”

Wade winks.

“Right, so people will recognize your suit,” Peter presses, hoping Wade just sees his point and concedes.

“Nice try,” Wade says, his voice hard, “I aint taken this bad boy off.”

Peter nearly groans in frustration.

“Wade, look, listen to me,” he stops walking and grabs Wade’s wrist, pulling the merc to a stop with maybe a little more force than necessary, “whatever you’re trying to hide is what’s going to keep us safe. People aren’t going to see your face and connect the dots, will they?”

Wade’s quiet for a really long time. The only noises are the crickets and wind, and Peter can still hear the fire cackling in the night.

“Maybe,” is all he says before pulling out of Peter’s grip and beginning his brisk walk once more.

‘he’s going to get us killed’

“Maybe,” Peter agrees, keeping pace behind Wade, “but he is our best shot home.”

 

///

 

The motel is run down with a small parking lot.

It’s seated at the edge of the forest with one neon sign that’s blinking on and off. There’s a truck parked outside in the grass, and there’s a vacancy sign posted in the window. Wade’s been quiet on their walk over, and Peter is a little paranoid that he said something to upset the other man. He can’t have Wade freaking out on him and leaving. He has nothing and Wade has everything.

There’s an old man behind the front desk and a little brass bell above the door signals their arrival. The man looks up, eyebrows as thick as his nose. It’s dark in the tiny lobby of the motel, only one lamp casts’ light and it barely reaches the edge of the desk. They got lucky, the old man probably can’t see Peter’s bloody outfit, but he can see Wade’s and that’s Peter’s whole fucking point.

“One room, two beds, I’ll pay with cash,” Wade says, leaning over the counter and getting in the old man’s face.

Peter kind of wants to pull Wade back because it’s obvious the older guy is a little freaked out, mostly because of the katanas Wade’s wearing, but he rings them up with shaking hands on an old out of date register. It relaxes Peter a little, that there won’t be an electric trail of them staying here.

Wade hands the man money and the man exchanges it for a large key with a blue ribbon on the end.

“Your room is across the street,” he says with a thick southern accent, coughing into his hand.

Wade turns to leave and Peter does as well, but the man calls out behind them.

“Ya’ll ain’t any of those faggot types right? We don’t serve them here, don’t want to be spreadin’ no diseases.”

At first, Peter is too shocked and tired to really register what the man had said. And implied. And insulted–

Wade isn’t.

He’s on top of the counter, squatting large over the old man, faster than anyone could register. He has a katana placed real careful under the older man’s jaw and it catches the light of the lamp when Wade adjusts his grip.

“Wade, hey–” Peter starts, panicked, but Wade interrupts.

“Listen here, you pathetic old nut-sack,” Wade growls, voice deep and rough and chilling, “I don’t like what you just said. So you can either rephrase it or I’m gonna cut out your tongue and make you fucking eat it.”

Peter’s spider sense is buzzing in the back of his skull and he’s on edge, not knowing what Wade will do, not knowing if he should intervene. He isn’t going to let Wade kill someone. They’re supposed to be lying low.

‘interesting’ Venom says.

“I–I meant to say enjoy your stay,” the old man amends.

But Wade doesn’t move.

He keeps his blade pressed close, too close but not cutting, against the man’s neck. For a heart-stopping moment, Peter almost believes Wade’s going to cut out his tongue. Instead, the merc sheathes his katana, hops down with more grace than Peter thought him capable of. He strides past Peter to the door before stopping and noticing the small white rack of cheap shirts hanging by the maps on the far wall. He walks over, grabs one of every clothing article and flips off the man before kicking open the door and shattering the glass.

The old man doesn’t bother asking Wade to pay. Peter follows Wade across the clearing to a painted shed with 304 painted on the front door. Wade’s muttering under his breath, maybe talking to his voices, agitation rolling off of him in waves.

He’s fumbling to get the key into the lock and Peter steps forward, taking it from him.

“I got it,” he says and Wade lets him open the door and step inside.

The room is modest, two twin beds and a small out of date TV. There’s a fan spinning in the middle of the room and a smaller on the ledge of one of the windows. It’s humid and Peter knows the sheets are going to itch just by looking at them, but he’s so tired from the day’s events that he doesn’t care.

There’s a door at the end of the room that Peter assumes leads to the bathroom. He makes his way there.

“Hey,” Wade’s voice stops him and Peter stills, his hand on the doorknob. “Sorry if I freaked you out.”

He sounds small, and timid, and out of character enough that Peter turns. Wade is standing in the middle of their small room, shoulders hunched and whites of the Deadpool mask on the ground.

“You didn’t freak me out,” Peter says and pauses. He doesn’t want to trip into another sensitive topic with Wade, so he chooses his next words carefully.

“We do need to lay low. I’m not going back to HYDRA,” he says, and there must be something in his tone because Wade looks up, “and if that means I have to leave you I will. I don’t want to and I’d like the extra help, but I can’t have you jeopardizing this, Wade. I can’t–I won’t, go back there. Do you understand?”

There’s a heavy silence as Wade considers Peter’s words.

Then he reaches up and tears his mask off.

It’s done like a Band-Aid, like Wade wants to get the pain over with as fast as he possibly can.

In all fairness, Peter’s seen worse.

But this is obviously a big deal for Wade, showing his skin, and Peter is going to be respectful of that. Peter turns from the door and gives Wade his full attention. His full respect, because the way Wade is standing, like he’s expecting Peter to react negatively, leaves an uncomfortable feeling in Peter’s stomach.

“I was hired to get you back alive,” Wade says, voice confident even if his body language says otherwise, “and I’m gonna do my fucking job. Just tell me if you need to throw up. It’s not fun if it’s a surprise. Or, actually, I could buy another mask? So you don’t have to look at me all the time? I know it’s horrific, ‘specially ‘cause this is one of those “bad skin days” except it’s everyday is a “bad skin day” for me and even Proactiv won’t return my calls–”

“Wade,” Peter says, interrupting Wade’s nervous rambling. He hasn’t known the mercenary long, but he has a feeling Wade working himself up to an anxiety attack isn’t good, “you don’t disgust me. I want you to be comfortable, so if you want to buy another mask I’ll help you find one.”

It’s strange, being able to actually see Deadpool’s expressions. He’s quite emotive, and has a sharp jaw and straight nose. His eyes are really blue.

‘hideous’

“Not bad,” Peter amends with a reassuring smile and Wade looks like he doesn’t know what to do with himself.

“You…um, you’re cool with me lookin’ like this?” Wade asks, then immediately backtracks when Peter furrows his brows, “I mean, just, like, you’re the one stuck with me here. You gotta look at this–” he gestures wildly at his face, “–all the time. 24/7. You get that right?”

“Yeah?” Peter asks, crossing his arms. “Honestly, Wade, your skin doesn’t bother me. Wanna know what does bother me?”

Wade nods, albeit reluctantly.

“Homophobic old men. And Nazis. That’s what bothers me.”

Wade’s teeth are white and stark when he smiles, and it pulls at the raised scars by his lips in a painful looking way. Peter wonders if smiling hurts him.

“If you ain’t gonna run screamin’ then we got a compromise,” Wade says, picking up the smaller options of the cheap clothes, “I’ll ditch the globally recognizable attire and you stop getting blood all over your clothes. You keep it up we won’t be able to buy the children new shoes.”

He throws a shirt and pants at Peter who catches it easily.

“Deal,” Peter says, before turning and closing the bathroom door behind him.

 

///

 

It’s been a long time since Peter has showered.

Being hosed down doesn’t count, and he almost freaks out at the grating sound the pipes in the wall makes when he turns the hot water on. It’s lukewarm at best but Peter doesn’t care. He avoids the mirror, instead stripping and taking stock of his injuries. A healed bullet grazed wound in his shoulder, and a nasty looking (but healed and scabbing) knife wound in his thigh. It aches a bit when he moves, but Venom did a good job healing him.

“Thanks,” Peter feels like he has to say.

Venom doesn’t respond and Peter doesn’t press for them too. If the symbiote wants to pout they can, Peter’s more interested in the shower. Dirt and dried blood and god knows what else flakes and swirls around the drain. He goes through three bars of cheap motel soup before he feels clean.

His hair is disgusting, matted with knots and long, curling around his ears and the nape of his neck. He should probably cut it. In fact, he really wants to cut it. Shave it all off. It’s impulsive, but he feels like it’s something that he has to do.

He turns off the shower once the water goes cold, towels himself off with the thin itchy blue towels, before pulling on the new underwear and pants. They’re a bit big on Peter because he hasn’t eaten properly in years, but the pants are dark and have an elastic tie that he pulls as tight as he can. He can see his ribs, he realizes, and he traces the ridges of them. His chest looks swollen with bones. He’s skeletal, and it’s both disorienting and shameful.

He doesn’t feel real. He pulls on the shirt. If Wade is ashamed of his skin then Peter is ashamed of his body and the evidence it carries of being mistreated.

Every bone, every bruise, every stripe of pale skin with dark, sick veins reminds him that he’ll never be done with HYDRA, with abuse, not really. He knows, he knows, that he’s fucked up, that he’s really mentally not there, and it’s hard, it’s so hard to constantly be fighting Venom.

It’s something that always has half of his attention. The symbiote, while they’re much more amiable than they used to be, is greedy and hungry and restless, and they want usage of Peter’s body just as much as Peter. It’s a constant war of being in control, and Peter isn’t sure he’s strong enough. He looks down at his hands and how they shake.

It was harder than ever to push Venom back down tonight.

Peter hates to admit how terrified he is of that.

‘scared’ Venom says, ‘of me’

Peter doesn’t answer.

He gathers his wet towel, hangs it over the shower curtain bar to dry (Aunt May taught him manners and he’s not forsaking her now) and joins Wade in their room.

The humidity makes him feel sticky even after the cool shower and he makes his way over to his bed by the far wall. Wade took the one near the door, and the mercenary is no where to be seen. Peter kicks the sheet and cover off the bed, it’s too hot for them and the small fan in the room isn’t doing much to circulate the hot air, and settles down.

He doesn’t fall asleep; he’s too alert, too wired. He probably won’t sleep at all, tonight.

 

///

 

He doesn’t sleep. He stays curled up in to the wall on his bed, eyes darting from between the main door and the far window.

He watches the sky go from dark blue, to plum, to pink, to orange, and the birds are loud outside the small room. Peter has no idea where Wade is, the man didn’t come back at all last night.

‘betraying us’ Venom says, shifting under Peter’s bones, ‘he’s betraying us’

Peter wants to say “he wouldn’t do that”.

He wants to say “Wade isn’t HYDRA”

But he doesn’t know Wade and he sure as fuck doesn’t know Deadpool.

“Fuck,” he hisses, panic creeping deep up his chest as he flings himself from the bed, tugging on the fuzzy socks and not bothering to grab anything else.

Wade didn’t leave anything for Peter to take, no money, nothing, and this hotel room is literal shit so it’s not like Peter could pawn off anything here. He goes to the door, about to open it, before it bursts inward and Peter’s on the ceiling in a heartbeat, breathing heavy.

Wade is looking up at him, his face visible and it’s still something Peter isn’t used to.

“You look good from this angle,” Wade hums, tilting his head and adjusting the large duffle bag on his shoulder.

Peter drops carefully back down to the floor, his heart still beating wildly in his chest.

“You were gone all night,” he accuses.

“Very perceptive, baby boy, you didn’t sleep did ya?” Wade asks, beckoning for Peter to follow him out of their motel room.

Wade isn’t wearing any of his weapons; although Peter’s sure he has a few hidden. He looks almost like a civilian in a dark hoodie and jeans but he’s still a tall, broad guy, with eye-catching features (blue eyes and hurting skin) so they’ll still need to lay low and be cautious.

“Where did you go?” Peter pushes, ignoring Wade’s question in favor of asking his own.

“Shopping!” Wade exclaims and gestures to the shitty Volvo parked haphazardly in the grass in front of them.

“Shopping?” Peter repeats skeptically, eyeing Wade’s bag, “it’s like, barely morning nothing’s open.”

“Details schmetails, I guessed your size,” Wade says, opening the back door of the car and tossing a pair of running sneakers at Peter.

Then jeans, good jeans– “Old Levis will last ya, Pete’s, those are yours, don’t get blood on ‘em–“, a long sleeve dark t-shirt and hoodie. Peter catches all of it a little awkwardly.

“You stole these. And I have new clothes,” he tells Wade, and Wade turns to face him, hands on his hips as he slips a light blue medical mask over his mouth and nose.

“Babe, honey, sweetheart, oh girl, those are not clothes. Those are gonna last you two days and then disintegrate. We’re traveling in style here. Go get dressed and then we’ll eat and get this road trip actually on the road! It’s one of the main tags, and it’s already taken us twenty-six pages to get here.”

“What?” Peter asks.

“Mush mush!” Wade shoos him back in the direction of their room.

“Yes mom,” Peter grumbles, turning and walking back the way he just came, “I’ll get dressed.”

The new clothes are nice but Peter isn’t going to give Wade any satisfaction by telling him that. They fit him well, and almost make him look like a person again. The shoes are comfortable and already worn in, so Wade must have raided a thrift shop nearby.

So much for laying low.

 

///

 

The Volvo is old but drives pretty smooth, and it has Elvis Presley and Fleetwood Mac CD’s in the glove compartment.

“Damn, I wanted some Gaga,” Wade grumbles but puts “Rumors” in, “didn’t Elvis steal song’s?”

“Probably,” Peter sighs, slouching down in the cloth passenger seat and rolling down his window to let some air in, “didn’t you still this car?”

“Technically we’re borrowing it,” Wade corrects.

“Sure,” Peter says.

It’s warm out, and the cool breeze is nice since the air conditioning in the car is busted. For all his earlier complaining Wade sings every word of “Go Your Own Way”. It’s actually really nice, speeding down empty dirt roads with Stevie Nicks highlighting this new development of Peter’s life.

When the song ends he reaches across the console and plays it again.

“You have to sing this time,” Wade tells him, smiling under his mask.

“You’re gonna wish you never said that,” Peter responds, grinning, but he does, and it’s off-key and scratchy (he hasn’t talked this much since before HYDRA) but Wade doesn’t care and Peter, for the first time in a very long time, feels relaxed.

Even Venom likes Stevie Nicks.

 

///

 

Wade takes them to a Mcdonald’s drive through and they fill bags with fries and burgers and one salad because, as Wade says, “we’re having a balanced dinner” and Peter says, “Wade, it’s one thirty in the afternoon.”

Peter didn’t expect to get along so well with Wade, hell, he didn’t expect Wade, so all of this doesn’t feel real, but, as they race onto the highway with their food, grease staining their fingers and air whipping through Peter’s hair, Peter decides that even if this isn’t real, even if it is a dream or a stimulation, he’s fine with it.

 

///

 

“Do you know where we’re going?” Peter asks later in the evening.

Wade’s been driving confidently but without any directions, and it should’ve made Peter worried but he isn’t. For some reason, he doesn’t care if they get lost.

He also didn’t throw up his food, but his stomach did cramp after, and Wade reached into his duffle (still driving, eyes and hands off the steering wheel), to grab Peter tums. Peter saw Wade’s red suit, and guns and katanas before Wade threw the colorful tabs at him.

“Sure,” Wade says, “we’re following the sunset. Driving into the sunset. Like a western.”

“I think it was that boy,” Peter says, leaning his head in his hand against the car door.

Wade turns down the radio.

“What boy? You can’t be cryptic with me, Webs, I don’t understand anything.”

“That boy at iHop. I think he called the police because I was covered in blood and you had two swords on your back–”

“Bea Arthur,” Wade corrects.

“–and he thought you were kidnapping me, remember?”

Wade thinks.

“Why, he sure did.”

“Do you think HYDRA has an in with the police?”

Wade drums his hands on the steering wheel.

“It’d make sense,” he hums, voice a little too cheerful, “ya know, to keep an eye out in case you ever escaped and tried to report what happened. No one would help you.”

It’s a haunting, cold feeling, to understand Wade’s words and believe them.

“They have serious commitment issues,” Peter says and Wade snorts.

It’s not totally unattractive.

“Maybe that’s why they’re always falling apart. And getting blown up. They’re kind of possessive.”

“And controlling.”

“Jealous.”

“No one likes a jealous partner,” Peter agrees.

Wade grins.

“They’re not the fun kind of jealous,” he says.

And Peter doesn’t know why he feels a little hot but he does so he leans his head out the car window and that helps.

“Man,” he groans, “they’re gonna keep looking for me.”

“Maybe,” Wade says, “doesn’t mean they’re gonna get ya.”

Peter believes him.

Chapter Text

Doctor Kasady loved the small lab.

He also liked scalpels and electro shock, and anything that made Peter’s nerves twitch. When Venom would come out, creep from Peter’s veins like wine bleeding through white cloth, he’d get this look in his eyes. Jealousy, almost, for how dark it was.

Peter hated the small lab.

He hates Kasady even more.

 

///

 

A bump in the road shocks him awake.

He almost puts his arm through the window in surprise but thankfully the glass is still rolled down. It’s dark out, their surroundings unrecognizable. There aren’t many cars on the highway, so it must be late. Or really early, Peter is still a little frazzled from his nightmare to take in details.

“You good, Pete?” Wade asks from the drivers seat and Peter puts his face in his hands and breathes.

He hates when he forgets where he is.

It always leaves him buzzing with too much energy, too much paranoia. It’s the same feeling he had before HYDRA had broken into his broom closet apartment in Brooklyn. He still remembers the fear that accompanied the realization that maybe; just maybe, he wasn’t going to win one.

“Fine,” Peter answers, voice raw and dry.

“You hungry? Want another burger? I’m pretty sure we’ve reached Virginia, or something like that. You know there’s a place near here that has a town dedicated to the Moth-Man? Should we go? They also sell pepperoni rolls. You’re not in a rush right, we should make some memories, maybe buy a Polaroid–”

“Do you want me to drive?” Peter interrupts.

He’s feeling on edge and restless, and he’s not in the right state of mind to talk. He feels hollow in his chest, foggy in his head, and it’s taking a lot of effort for him to concentrate.

“Do you know how to drive?” Wade asks.

Peter thinks about lying, but Wade’s looking at him like he already knows the answer and Peter’s never been good at acting.

“No,” Peter huffs, crossing his arms and beginning to shake his leg, just for something to do.

Wade looks in the rearview mirror before turning his eyes back to the road in front of them.

“I guess you can learn,” Wade says and begins to pull off to the shoulder of the highway.

“Wait,” Peter says, because wait. “You’re not serious.”

“I’m so bored I’ve been thinking about crashing this damn vulva–”

“Volvo,” Peter corrects faintly.

“–for six hours! I’m going to die of boredom Petey, it’s my one weakness and I’m getting sick of Stevie Nicks! There! I said it! I can’t hear Silver Springs again, Webs, I just can’t do it–”

“Okay! Okay, hey, I’ll drive. I mean, I’ve seen people drive in movies so. It’s not that different.”

At Wade’s blank look Peter backtracks.

“It is different?” Peter tries instead.

Wade doesn't answer as he puts the car in park. Peter watches with slight panic.

“If we crash we crash,” Wade sighs, banging his head on the steering wheel, “I just wanna get off the road, god damn, I’m not built for long winded incognito road trips. Where’s my Holiday Inn? Where’s my spa night and shopping montage and blue Cadillac?”

“Did you just combine Pretty Woman with Thelma and Louise?” Peter asks as Wade opens the driver’s door with way more force than necessary.

“I call Thelma,” Deadpool says and practically throws himself onto the ground with a loud, exaggerated groan. “Oh, thank heavens, I wanna lay here forever.”

Peter can’t help the wry smile that’s tugging on his lips. He unbuckles his seatbelt with a little less anxiety than before and makes his way over to where Wade is lying on the ground, illuminated only by the glow of the car’s headlights.

“All right, buster brown, up,” Peter says, nudging Deadpool with the toe of his new shoes.

New shoes wow.

Deadpool doesn’t get up.

Instead, he wraps a hand around Peter’s slim ankle and holds. Peter doesn’t really know what to do. For a moment, he’s afraid he’s done something wrong, and he can feel Venom perk up at Wade’s action, get on edge. Peter can’t help feeling a little off guard as well, and it’s a strange, familiar dread that pools in his stomach when Deadpool tightens his grip. He’s had a lot of doctor’s hold his ankles the way Deadpool is holding his now and he tries to remember that Deadpool is not a doctor, he’s not HYDRA, he’s not a totally bad guy–

Wade brushes his thumb gently over Peter’s skin and Peter relaxes almost instantly. The touch is soft and comforting and nothing like HYDRA.

“Are you okay?” Peter asks and Deadpool turns his face so that Peter can see the side of his profile, Wade’s blue eyes earnest when he meets Peter’s gaze.

“Peachy,” he says, but there’s no joy in his voice. He sounds almost cold.

‘kick him off’ Venom urges.

Peter almost does, honestly, because he doesn’t know what Deadpool is doing but they need to keep moving.

“I thought I was going to drive,” Peter says.

“Right,” Deadpool groans, and with an exaggerated old man noise he gets to his feet and lets go of Peter’s ankle as he stands.

“What was that about?” Peter asks, crossing his arms because Wade didn’t take a step back as he stood and they’re now standing pretty close. It’s strange, but Peter kind of likes it. He hasn’t realized how touch-starved he is until Wade pressed his thumb to his skin. Now, all he wants, strange enough, is a hug. God, he misses May. She gave the best hugs. Wade's presence is so distracting that Peter almost misses the sound of a car pulling to a stop behind him.

“Thinking,” Deadpool says, then immediately perks back up. “And stalling. Hold still for me, Peter.”

It’s the use of his full name, no nicknames, no teasing tone, that has Peter going as still as a rock. Venom creeps over his hands, preparing them for a fight. Wade raises his hand and he’s holding one of his smaller guns, aiming it over Peter’s head.

Peter’s spider-sense alerts him, and Peter isn’t sure if it’s warning him of Wade or of what Wade’s undoubtedly aiming at over his head.

“Hey, tooth-ache,” Wade calls, voice cheerful in such a way that it’s venomous, “you’ve been following us for the past fifty miles, what gives?”

Peter wants to turn around.

He almost does, because he hates having his back exposed and his entire body is tingling with warning, but as he begins to move Wade gently grips his shoulder, holding him in place with a suggestion instead of a demand.

“Keep your eyes on me, baby boy,” Wade says, “you’ve seen enough ugly for one day.”

“What are you t–”

“Wade Wilson,” an accented voice calls out and Peter knows that voice. He’s heard it once before, a long time ago, in a van with a bag over his head and that voice in his ear, telling him to stay fucking still.

Like Wade is telling him now.

Peter shakes Wade’s hand off and turns because fuck this, he isn’t fragile or delicate or weak and he can face what’s behind him.

A man is standing against the bed of a pick-up truck, the headlights of the Volvo illuminating him in gold spots. His head is shaved, jaw sharp, and he’s smiling like he’s having a grand ol’ time. There’s a nasty scar in the middle of his forehead, skin uneven and prominent even in the dim of night.

“Warned ya, Pete,” Deadpool says and Peter can feel him move, stepping so that he now stands in between Peter and the man. “Look how fucking hideous.”

The guy was objectively attractive but Peter wasn’t about to tell Wade that.

“Hmm,” the man hums, stepping forward and that’s when Peter realizes how tense Wade is, his muscles bunched so tight that Peter can see the outline of his back through his clothes.

“Thought I blew your brains out,” Deadpool says. “Twice.”

The man shrugs but doesn’t say anything more.

“Pete, you can see this sack of shit excuse for a human being, can’t ya?” Deadpool asks.

Peter feels like his answer is the only thing keeping Wade from completely losing it.

“Yeah,” Peter says. “I recognize him too.”

“What?” Wade asks and his voice is cracking ice.

“He’s one of the guys who brought me to HYDRA,” Peter explains. “Pretty sure. His voice is familiar.”

“Oh, you liked my voice that much, darling?” the man asks and Peter can’t really believe this guy is trying to tease him when an unpredictable, most likely clinically insane, mercenary is pointing a gun at his head.

“Hard to forget what nails on a chalkboard sounds like,” Peter snaps, Venom rising up from his veins, slinking up his arms to his elbows. The man looks at Venom like he’s hungry. Peter doesn’t like it.

“You know, you two–”

The guy doesn’t finish.

Wade’s blown his head off.

Brain splatters on the back of his pickup truck and his knees buckle before the rest of his body crumbles after. Wade stalks forward and shoots the guy in the heart too, then his crotch, and Peter feels nauseous at all the blood and bone and muscle–

“Maybe he’ll stay dead this time,” Wade hums, kicking the dilapidated body.

“Why didn’t you want me to look?” Peter asks, swallowing down the disgust building in his throat.

‘he’s HYDRA’ Venom reminds him, ‘let him die’

“He’s already dead,” Peter snaps, wired and panicked when Wade’s boots make squelching noises from all the blood.

Wade ignores Peter’s question, kicking the body again and shooting it once more.

“Maybe I should cut him up,” Wade says, and Peter realizes Deadpool isn’t talking to him, may not even be aware of him, “yeah, that might work. I don’t have a light on me, God damn, White, you’re supposed to be the mastermind here–”

“Deadpool–”

“–I get it Yellow, shit, hold on, maybe if I just–this is not like the Celine Dion concert, the shit are you two–”

“Wade!”

That gets the merc’s attention. He turns to look at Peter and it’s suddenly very tense, the air heavy with an unpredictability that has Peter feeling anxious and ready to run.

But then Deadpool is smiling, his medical mask stretching with it, and he prances over to Peter in such a 180-degree mood swing that Peter doesn’t have time to process much of anything.

“Did he hurt ya, honey? I’ll bring him back to life and kill him again if he did. Want me to ask lil ol’ Death for a favor? She owes me one.”

“No, he didn’t–no, he just helped kidnap me,” Peter stammers, because Wade is close again, and he smells like copper and something sour, and it makes Peter’s stomach turn.

“I didn’t want you to see that,” Wade admits, tilting his head to look at Peter. He reaches up a gloved hand and wipes blood off Peter’s cheek. Peter doesn't even feel it.

“I’m not weak,” Peter says because he needs Wade to know this.

Wade hums.

“I know that, you don’t think I know that?” he asks. “Webs, you can throw me halfway across the world with your pinky. You survived HYDRA for years, honey, I know you ain’t weak. Ain’t no one here thinking you’re weak.”

“Then stop trying to shield me,” Peter says, frustrated and not even with Wade, but with everything, “stop trying to protect me.”

“Can’t give ya that one, Pete,” Deadpool says, stuffing his gun back into his holster, “literally being paid to do all of that.”

“I can hold my own,” Peter pushes.

“Oh, babe, what’s this all about, huh? What’s got your panties in a knot? ‘Cause I have a feelin’ it isn’t about what just happened? Is it? You wanna shoot him? Would that make you feel better? You got an itch ya need to scratch ‘cause I can help with that–”

“I can take care of myself,” Peter says, “That’s all. That’s all this is, that’s all I’m saying.”

Deadpool’s expression is one Peter can’t read. That’s annoying in and of itself.

“Look, man, I’m gonna level with you,” Deadpool says and Peter’s immediately on the defensive, “this isn’t how this operation was supposed to go. I was supposed to deliver you to Tony Stank days ago. Since we lost the jet, and my dumb teleportation button isn't working, that ain’t happenin’. I’m on a tight schedule now. And we’re being followed by HYDRA, so this is how I see it: we can either lay low, stay off the main roads, shake ‘em, buy time until our trail runs cold. It would take a month or two. Or we keep pushing through the fast routes, where they will find us again, and we risk losing. Your choice. Your call. Whaddya wanna do? I’m at your service, you just say the word and we’ll do what you want.”

Peter isn’t expecting that.

He doesn’t really know what to say, to be honest. How long has it been since he’s be in charge of anything? It feels like too much, this decision. If he’s overwhelmed by being able to say what bed he wants, or what food he wants, then this really is too much. He needs to think this through. Because now there’s a destroyed body ten feet away and they have to get rid of that, don’t they? The last thing they need is detectives and police investigating a brutal murder while they also run from HYDRA.

“This really is turning into Thelma and Louise,” Peter whispers, rubbing his hands over his face.

‘what’s that?’ Venom asks.

“A movie,” Peter answers.

“It’s gay,” Wade pitches in. “Tell the slime ball it’s gay.”

Peter sighs.

“Look, first things first, we need to get rid of the body.”

Wade looks over his shoulder.

“I like the idea of letting it rot, personally,” he says.

“Deadpool, the last thing we need on top of HYDRA sending goons is police investigating.”

Deadpool groans, and reaches into his pouch. He pulls out a fucking grenade.

Peter hops back, alarmed.

“'Pool, the fuck–”

“We blow ‘em up. All our DNA? Gone. All his DNA? Kaboom. Saving us time and manpower? Kabbom-shloom, bam wam, thank you ma’am.”

Peter blinks.

Then he sighs, and walks back to the car, getting into the passenger seat because after all this, the murder and HYDRA and the residue adrenaline, he’s too shaky to try driving for the first time. Thankfully, there haven’t been any other cars nearby in the past hour.

“Fine,” Peter says as Wade slides into the drivers seat, “you can blow him up.”

“Thanks, honey,” Deadpool sings, starting the car and peeling away. He bites the clip between his teeth and with an exaggerated wink at Peter he tosses the grenade out Peter’s window. It takes about twenty seconds and then the sky lights up, the ground rumbles, and Peter plugs his ears.

“Wow, nice bloody fireworks,” Deadpool says, "like last fourth of July."

Peter doesn’t want to think about that.

“How did you know him?” Peter asks, sinking down into the seat and pulling his hood over his head.

“He’s the one who made me look like a rotting avocado,” Wade answers, voice devoid of any kind of emotion. “Made me look like a Jackson Pollock painting got shit on by a cow.”

Peter snorts.

“God, 'Pool, your skin is not that bad.”

Wade is quiet for a long time, the road blurring by in a hypnotic lull.

“Say, Webs,” he says, and Peter’s almost fallen asleep, with how silent the other man has become.

“Yeah?” Peter asks, his cheek resting against the hard leather of the door.

“You wanna go to the beach?”

“Are we near a beach?”

“We can be,” Wade answers.

“Thought we were laying low.”

“It’s dark as fuck out, Pete, no one is going to be at the beach right now. Except potheads. Maybe a UFO.”

The last time Peter had gone to the beach was when he was sixteen. Him and his high school friends had gone to Coney Island when they were supposed to be in school. It was MJ’s idea, Peter remembers. He had held her hand on the shore.

“Lets do it,” Peter says, exhausted.

He needs a break from death and violence and fear.

///

 

It’s four hours later and they’re sitting on the hood of the Volvo on a beach in North Carolina.

Peter has no idea where they’ve been, but he knows they’re closer to New York. The sun is rising over the waves, the sky turning a deep orange and pink, and Peter understands that it’s pollution that makes the clouds look like that but it’s beautiful and he doesn’t mind it right now.

“I haven’t been to the beach since I was in army,” Wade says.

Peter hums and tries to stay awake.

“I went alone,” Wade continues, and Peter isn’t sure Wade is even talking to him but he’ll listen anyway, “when I was in the Special Ops, we were sanctioned in Spain. It was really beautiful, Spidey. I’d never been before that.”

Peter’s too tired to speak, but Wade doesn’t seem to mind.

“If you ever get a chance, go to Spain. It’s beautiful,” Wade says.

“Let’s go,” Peter says without thinking.

Deadpool laughs.

“Sure, okay,” he says.

Peter isn’t sure if he’s even serious himself, but it’s a nice thought, traveling away from here. He’s too tired to be self-conscious about leaning his head on Wade’s shoulder. Deadpool doesn’t shy away or push him off. Despite the guy smelling like blood it’s nice.

It’s nice.

 

///

 

It’s seven in the morning and they’re sitting in a Dunkin' Donuts.

Wade’s ordered them two dozen boxes with all different kinds and Peter is a little suspicious that Deadpool’s trying to get more fat on his bones. To be fair, he needs it.

It’s warm outside, and they left the beach when surfers began to wade into the water with their long boards. They both smell like metallic salt water, but Peter is feeling lighter than he has in a long time. Wade is kicking his feet lightly under the small table and Peter kicks back because if Wade wants to start a little footy war then so be it.

There’s one other person in the establishment, and it’s a guy with a neon orange construction vest drinking a large coffee. A young woman is standing behind the counter on her phone. She’s watching a makeup tutorial. Peter thinks her eyebrows look good.

Wade’s talking about a dream he once had, where his body was a snake and then he also had boobs somehow, and Peter’s listening half-heartedly because he’s still waking up and the coffee hasn’t sunk into his bloodstream yet, when Wade’s phone rings. It’s a shitty phone, the screen cracked, and for a second Peter wonders if it’s Tony calling, or one of the Avengers, because Wade did mention that they were running late. Deadpool pulls the burner phone from his jean pocket, flips it open without looking at the caller ID.

“Merc with a Mouth here, you’re being recorded, speak and all words will be used against you,” Wade grumbles, taking a large bite of his donut.

Peter sips at his coffee, hooking his foot around Wade’s ankle. He won that round.

Wade’s eyebrows crease, and his eyes are on Peter.

“What?” Peter asks as Wade’s expression hardens.

“Who the fuck is this?” Deadpool asks, and it is Deadpool speaking now, voice hard and chilling.

Peter can barely hear the tinny voice on the other side of the call, but by Wade’s sudden countenance shift it’s not one of the Avengers.

“Listen, if you call this number again, if you say his name again, I’ll personally find you, track you down, and skin you alive with the dullest blade I have. Don’t have a good day and please go fuck yourself with a sandpaper dildo.”

Wade hangs up and sits there in a static silence. He’s tense, eyes suddenly a little wild, alert, like an animal cornered and Peter’s not hungry anymore.

“Someone called for you,” Wade says, blue eyes intense as he studies Peter, who’s pretty sure he has chocolate frosting all over his mouth, “someone named Kasady? You know them?”

Peter feels cold, all the way down to his bones.

Wade must be able to see the blood drain from his face because he’s gathering Peter up and pulling him from the establishment, leaving their donuts and coffee’s forgotten on the table, but Peter can’t feel anything. He feels like he’s going to pass out, like he’s going to crawl out of his skin.

‘breathe’ Venom’s hisses, but even they sound on edge, ‘breathe’

Peter tries. It’s shaky and rattles his lungs.

“Kay, Peter, hey, we’re gonna do this again okay? Like we talked about, look at me.”

Peter does.

Wade presses a large hand to Peter’s chest, and presses down, gently.

“Breathe with me,” Wade instructs.

Peter raises a shaky hand to Wade’s chest and feels him inhale, exhale, repeat. He copies.

“Good, you’re doing great,” Wade praises and it helps warm Peter’s bones, just a little. He doesn’t feel like he’s going to break.

“How–” Peter starts, shakes, tries again, “how did he get your number? How did he know I was with you?”

“I don’t know,” Wade says, pressing on Peter’s chest and making him focus on breathing with him.

“He–he can’t find me, Wade,” Peter says, every part of him shocked.

“He’s not going to,” Wade promises, voice steel.

Peter hasn’t felt this rattled in his entire life. He feels like he’s already been caught. Venom is eerily silent, like they’ve forgotten the fear of Kasady too. It’s harsh, and cruel, being reminded over donuts.

“How did he get your number?” Peter repeats, desperate.

“I don’t know, baby boy,” Wade hums, gentle and nothing like Kasady, and that’s nice, that’s grounding, to be able to find the differences.

“Fuck,” Peter hisses, “fuck, Wade–”

“Let’s go,” Wade instructs, taking Peter’s hand off his chest and holding it tight instead. “We’re going to leave, okay? We’re eight hours away from New York. We can get there by tonight, okay? All right, Pete, hey, okay?”

“Yeah,” Peter agrees, “yeah, okay. Let’s go.”

Wade nods, serious, and they make their way to the Volvo, start up the engine, and drive. “Go Your Own Way” plays but neither of them really hear it. Peter’s still holding Wade’s hand, gripping it so hard he’s scared he’ll break Wade’s knuckles, but Wade isn’t shying away from the touch.

Maybe he understands how much Peter needs it. Maybe he needs it too.

 

///

 

The last time Peter saw Kasady his blood was cold under him and Venom was the only thing holding his skin together.

“It’s keeping you alive,” Kasady had said, “look at that. It can care.”

Peter tried to tell him to go fuck himself but he was too busy choking on his own blood to get the words out. Kasady seemed to get the message though. Peter had a feeling flipping the crazed doctor off filled in the gaps.

But then Kasady had twisted the knife in his thigh and shit fuck that hurt.

‘we want to kill him’ Venom had said, ‘we want to ssskin him’

“What’s it saying?” Kasady asked, leaning over Peter, too close, too personal.

It was a struggle to speak.

“They go by they/them, asshole.”

Peter spit in his face. It felt rewarding for .5 seconds. Kasady had him by the throat, and Venom spiked out, stabbed through Kasady’s hand, and really, Peter should have been more alarmed that Kasady didn’t cry out, that he didn’t react with the necessary show of pain. That his blood was dark red and seemed to be moving too, but torture really takes the focus out of a person, and Peter was losing blood faster than he was breathing. He could feel Venom trying to hold him together.

“Don’t pass out,” Kasady had said, pinching Peter’s cheek hard enough to get the younger man to focus, “c’mon, Spider-Man, it’s too early to go to sleep.”

 

///

 

Peter jolts awake, the phantom pain of being sliced and diced and cooked over has Venom covering his arms, hips, legs, torso, providing protection for a danger that’s nowhere present.

Deadpool is cleaning his guns in the corner of the room, his familiar mask in place of the medical one, and he looks up when Peter wakes. He looks small, until Peter realizes he has leapt onto the ceiling and is hanging upside down. He would feel foolish, except he knows Deadpool isn’t judging him.

“Another nightmare?” Deadpool asks, still cleaning the chamber of his gun.

Peter knows that even though the merc doesn’t seem like he’s paying Peter much attention he’s really noticing every detail.

Peter swallows, tries to get his heart rate to slow. He nods, sweat dampening his hair to his forehead.

The sun is shining in weak through the hotel curtains, illuminating the nice room. They’ve managed to find a hotel in Washington outside of DC, because for all their effort to make the drive in one day the Volvo broke down halfway up and walking was a lot slower. Still, considering that they’d been on foot, they made good time. It feels better to walk, to be honest, because Peter hasn’t gotten real exercise in so long and he missed the burn of it a day later. He missed being active. Plus, the hotel is nice, and was funny to see the look on the receptionist’s face when they lumbered in, sweaty and dirty and not at all up to dress code.

Peter extracts himself from the ceiling and drops onto the too soft bed below. He’s still feeling shaky, his third nightmare in one night and he’s calling sleeping quits. It’s eight am; they need to leave soon anyway.

“I’m gonna shower,” Peter says.

“Want company?” Deadpool calls after him, “I could wash your hair? Give you a massage? Help you clean your–”

“Please stop talking,” Peter interrupts, cheeks growing hot and he closes the bathroom door with more force than required on Deadpool’s laughter.

‘he likes us’ Venom says as Peter strips out of his clothes.

“What do you mean?” Peter asks, only paying Venom a little bit of attention as he starts the shower.

‘he talks to us like the doctor’ Venom explains.

Peter feels a little sick, at that.

“He’s nothing like Kasady,” Peter argues, rubbing his eyes as he waits for the water to warm, “Kasady was a pig.”

‘he talks like him,’ Venom persists, ‘he says the same things’

“Yeah, except Kasady wanted to demean us. Wade doesn’t,” Peter says sitting on the lid of the toilet. He’s put on weight, and he’s happy with that, even though he still can’t look at his reflection for longer than ten seconds. He’s not as skeletal as he was when Wade first found him, and he’s slowly gaining muscle mass again. It’s a nice feeling, to have strength in his body. HYDRA kept him malnourished for a reason, Peter knows.

“Are you trying to say that Wade is flirting with me?” Peter asks Venom because he doesn’t want the symbiote to go around thinking Deadpool and Kasady are the same. Venom isn’t entirely wrong in their observation, but they also can’t understand tone and context clues. For starters, Wade isn’t tying Peter down and whispering intimate things in his ear while holding a scalpel to his ribs. That’s the big difference here. Peter really needs Venom to understand that.

‘is that what flirting is?’ Venom asks, ‘does it always require pain?’

“If it’s healthy flirting it’s not supposed to hurt,” Peter says, stepping into the shower once the mirror begins to fog.

‘interesting’ Venom says, ‘Wade is healthy’

Peter stills in reaching for the shampoo, a shit-eating grin spreading across his face.

“Holy shit,” he laughs, crossing his arms over his chest as the water falls over his shoulders, “you just said Wade is healthy.”

Venom recoils.

‘we didn’t’ they argue, but Peter feels giddy.

“I’m telling him you said that,” Peter answers, and Venom takes his hand and smacks him in the face.

“Ow! Hey, man, watch it, I could’ve gotten soap in my eyes,” Peter grumbles, but it doesn’t dampen his good mood.

‘don’t tell,’ Venom hisses.

Peter never thought he’d feel the symbiote get embarrassed.

“You’re warming up to him, aren’t you?” Peter asks.

‘we don’t like him like you do’ Venom answers.

Peter stills.

“Um,” he says.

What.

‘you like him’ Venom continues, and Peter doesn’t like how these tables are turning, ‘you dream of him’

If Peter could get any redder his face would burn off.

“I–no–stay out of my head!” he splutters.

‘you dream of his skin,’ Venom presses on and Peter wishes he could hit the symbiote back, ‘you fantasize. you like how large he is to you. how strong. we like how strong he is. you want him to hold you do–‘

“Ooookay!” Peter interrupts, turning the water down to cold, “that’s enough. Got it. Okay. We’re not talking about feelings ever again. This was a mistake.”

Venom laughs under his heart.

Chapter Text

They’re back in a diner, and Peter can’t say he’s surprised.

Wade has been dragging his military grade duffle bag everywhere, and if it weren’t filled with the Deadpool suit or Wade’s weapons or their money Peter would tell the guy to toss it.

People are staring.

Mostly because Wade keeps hitting everyone with it whenever he walks by. Peter wonders, not for the first time, how the hell Wade even carried out missions successfully. Right now the black duffle is propped like a person next to Wade, and he has one arm around it, like one would a companion, and is talking to Peter with his medical mask pulled under his chin, the syrup from their shared plate of pancakes making his lips shine when he speaks.

Peter shouldn’t be staring at Wade’s lips.

‘five’ Venom says, sounding smug.

‘what are you babbling about?’ Peter thinks back, tearing his eyes from Wade and sipping his coffee instead. It’s somehow both bitter and watery, but if this is the only thing Peter has to complain about today then it’s a good day in his book.

‘five times,’ Venom says, ‘you’ve stared’

‘I don’t think this is a very fun game,’ Peter thinks.

‘we’re having a great time’ Venom argues.

“Of course you are,” Peter snaps, and freezes when he realizes he’s said that out loud.

Wade looks confused; his head tilted in the way Peter knows is his “I-can’t-tell-if-you’re-talking-to-me-or-that-alien-in-you-but-either-way-you’ve-kind-of-missed-the-point-of-what-I-was-saying-and-hurt-my-feelings”.

It’s a loaded look.

“I’m talking to Venom,” Peter says quickly, trying to undo any damage he may have caused.

“I figured,” Wade says, taking a large bite of the golden brown pancakes and shit Peter needs to stop staring

‘six’

“–usually when I talk about my orgies you listen.”

Peter chokes on his coffee.

It spills all over his shirt. It’s still hot. He can blame that on why he’s blushing.

“Your what?” he splutters, dabbing frantically at his now stained shirt.

Wade’s looking at him like he’s three and forgot where his mouth was.

“Webs, that’s like, the third shirt I’ve gotten you in five days,” Wade sighs, resting his cheek in his hand. “What is up with you and clothes? You guys don’t get along? Wanna talk about it?”

“I wanna backtrack to what you were saying about orgies,” Peter says, still distracted at cleaning his shirt (‘cause he’s really not trying to make Wade spend more money on him) to realize the repercussions of what he just said.

“Oh?” Wade asks and he’s smiling so big Peter feels a little uneasy. It’s all sharp lines and white teeth and it’s not alluring, it’s not– “you wanna invite? Slime ball can come too, might shake things up a little. Like tentacle porn minus the suction cups.”

“I–never mind, no, we’re not talking about this anymore, I change my mind,” Peter interrupts, burying his face in his hands and not looking at Wade.

“You ever in an orgy, Pete?”

“You know what’s interesting? Carbon magnetic fibers in clothes–”

“A threesome? Twosome? Wholesome?”

“We might be by a museum? Wanna go to a museum? Know what’s more interesting than sex? Science,” Peter says, and God he’s babbling, someone shut him up.

‘gladly’ Venom hisses.

“You’ve had sex right, Webs?” Wade asks, no teasing left in his tone and Peter really doesn’t want to talk about this.

There is nothing he’d want to talk about less, actually, than this. Except maybe how torture feels.

He blushes, not from embarrassment but shame, because he’s a twenty-four year old virgin and that’s…not good, right?

‘who cares?’ Venom asks but Peter ignores them.

Tries to.

“Wait, Petey-pie, has no one popped your cherry?”

He tries to ignore Wade too. Which is difficult because now Wade is leaning so far over the table there’s nowhere else for Peter to look.

“I…um, don’t wanna talk about this,” Peter answers, uncomfortable, and Wade is staring at him so intensely that it’s making Peter’s heart feel weird. Wade’s making his heart feel weird.

“Sure,” Wade says easily, leaning back in his booth, “let’s try that waffle sundae. How’s that sound?”

His voice is gentle, almost pitying, and that’s worse. That’s so much worse. Peter doesn’t want anyone’s pity ‘cause fuck that.

“What if I’m asexual?” Peter snaps, feeling defensive and embarrassed.

Wade lifts a brow.

“Are you?” he asks.

“…No,” Peter admits, tearing his eyes away from Wade to stare outside instead. That dude eating a bagel at that bus stop looks interesting.

‘familiar’ Venom whispers.

Peter squints, and is vaguely aware of Wade talking.

“…’cause it’s okay if you are Petey. Fuck, I didn’t mean to shame ya, shit, look, here, I’ll stab my eye with this fork to make up for my fucking loud mouth, like the end of that shitty indie film “The Lobster” when he–”

That gets Peter’s attention.

“Wade, shit, stop!” he doesn’t mean to, but Wade’s already lifted his hand holding the fork to his face and Peter doesn’t want to see that. He does what he’s best at and panics. He shoots out a web, and it’s always a funny feeling coming out of his wrist, makes his fingers tingle, and Wade freezes as it globs onto his arm and halts his movements. There’s a very tense, awkward silence, in which Peter prays to whatever the fuck is looking out for him (they’re slacking) that no one else saw that.

‘they did’ Venom snaps.

Peter breaks the web with a flick of his wrist and it dances gently down onto the surface of the table. Wade isn’t moving, and Peter rips off the web from Wade’s wrist and tries to hide it in his napkin on his lap. He looks around, heart beating loud in his chest.

No one, thankfully, is looking. Wade was smart in choosing the booth near the entrance to the kitchen, behind the main counter and out of sight of anyone walking in or sitting near the front facing windows.

He breathes a sigh of relief and melts into the booth.

“Fuck, I’m such an idiot,” he groans, rubbing his eyes and trying to calm his heart.

‘dumbass’ Venom says.

“Where did you learn that word?” Peter asks faintly.

‘the avocado man you want to fuck’ Venom answers.

Peter decides he isn’t going to talk to the symbiote anymore.

When Peter drops his hands Wade is still staring, wide-eyed at him, mouth open slightly, and Peter’s afraid he’s hurt him somehow.

‘you broke him’

“Wade? Hey, are you okay?” Peter waves a hand in front of Wade’s face. “I swear no one saw, I didn’t blow our cover, I’ll be more careful I promise, I’m so–”

Wade grabs Peter’s wrist mid-wave and Peter’s impressed the action was so sudden didn’t trigger his spider-sense. Wade’s expression is unreadable as he gently maneuvers Peter’s wrist so that his palm is to the ceiling. Peter feels heat rush to his cheeks at Wade’s intensity, and when the mercenary traces a delicate touch over the small hole in the middle of his wrist his whole body spasms.

Wade pulls back instantly, hands up in a placating “no threat” gesture. But Peter is more concerned with how hard and fast his heart is beating, the tingling that’s running from his wrist down to his toes, and how he’s instantly, embarrassingly, aroused.

That’s…never happened before.

What the fuck?

“Shit, sorry, did that hurt?” Wade asks, and Peter can’t find his voice, can’t really speak. He tries to swallow. His mouth is dry, his stomach flipping.

“Spidey? Did I hurt you?” Wade repeats and he sounds serious so Peter gets himself under control.

“I’m okay,” he squeaks and wants to sink into the floor.

Wade is still staring at him with those dark eyes and Peter realizes they’re dark because his pupils are enlarged, big in a well-lit room, and Peter’s heart almost stops. He may be a virgin but he isn’t a dumbass like Venom thinks he is, and he knows what dilated pupils means. He knows.

‘what does it mean’

“You shoot webs out of your body?” Wade asks. His voice is rough.

“Um,” Peter says eloquently, “yes?”

Wade’s quiet for a long moment, then–

“That’s hot.”

And Peter?

Peter doesn’t know what the fuck to do with that. He also doesn’t know why he’s feeling like he is. He’s very confused and weirdly turned on and sitting across from a man he’s known for less than a week and he’s pretty sure he can blame everything on the PTSD he most definitely has and–

“Hey, I’ve seen you before,” a man’s voice is saying and effectively breaks any moment that may have been hanging between Peter and Wade. They both turn to look at the stranger who’s approached them.

Peter isn’t sure if he’s relieved or disappointed.

He turns his attention to the man regardless.

He’s the guy, the one who was eating the bagel, and he’s still familiar, even if Peter can’t place where he’s seen him. He just knows his spider-sense is tingling, a faint buzzing in the back of his head that puts him on edge, and Wade, with his medical mask under his chin and syrup on his lips, still somehow looks large and imposing. He’s looking the guy up and down, checking for weapons, and when the man meets Wade’s gaze he recoils, Wade’s scars visibly disgusting him.

So. That’s a strong no.

“I haven’t seen you,” Peter says. “We’re trying to eat breakfast.”

The man looks between Wade and Peter, then turns so he’s facing Peter more than Wade.

“You’re that kid,” the man says, and Peter can see Wade’s hand disappear under the table, “that one who went missing, God, three years ago? They found you then?”

Peter doesn’t know what to do with this.

“Yeah,” Peter says, already disconnecting and trying to stay grounded, “yeah, they found me.”

“That’s so crazy,” the man is saying, but Peter can barely hear him, his ears clogging up, his skin too tight, because suddenly there’s a noise in his living room and a needle in his neck and a bag over his head, blocking light, sound, everything, stay fucking still– “you know, I saw the missing person posters. There was a campaign online for a while. You looked familiar, I wanted to see.”

“Oh,” Peter says, faint.

“So what happened, man?” the guy pushes, “You just run away from home or something?”

“Hey, baldy, we’re tryin’ to eat here,” Wade interrupts, and the man shoots him a withered look, “now stop freaking my boyfriend out and scram, okay?”

The man looks confused between them, like he can’t believe Peter and Wade would be dating. But it’s smart; to say that they’re together, because if it were anything else it might raise suspicion. Dad? No one would buy it; they’re too close in age. Siblings? Nope. Cousins? Nah. This was the safest option, and Peter gets that, he does, but he wonders why the man isn’t buying the lie. It’s almost as if he can’t understand why Peter would be with Wade. Wade’s attractive; can no one else see that? It’s the look on the man’s face, disgusted and suspicious, that helps bring Peter back to the present.

“Babe, it’s okay,” Peter says, reaching over the table and taking Wade’s hand in his. Wade’s left is still under the table, most likely on the handle of his knife, and Peter brushes his thumb in what he hopes is a soothing gesture over Wade’s knuckles.

“You’re, um, you’re okay then?” the man asks, awkward and maybe even embarrassed.

Peter tries to give him a reassuring smile.

“That’s in the past, and I don’t like talking about it. If you don’t mind, we’re going to go back to our food, if that’s okay with you.”

The man blinks, looks between them once more and nods.

“Just checking,” he says before walking off.

Peter keeps his hold on Wade’s hand until the bell above the door jingles as the stranger leaves. He moves to pull back but Wade doesn’t let go. Wade’s breathing deep, his eyes tracking the guy all the way back to where he sits on the bench at the bus stop, where Peter had seen him originally.

“He looks familiar,” Peter, whispers, wary of everyone around them. “I don’t know where from, but he does.”

Wade considers this for less than five seconds before he’s standing abruptly, pulling Peter and his duffle up with him.

“We’re leaving,” Wade says, and his tone is hard and serious in a way that makes Peter nervous, not because of Wade, but because that tone has meant that something is about to go wrong for them.

“Have we been found out?” Peter asks as Wade slams a wad of money on the table (way too much) before tugging Peter to the back exit door and practically kicking it open. It slams against the outside of the building so hard the glass cracks but Wade doesn’t slow down to check it out. He’s heading with single-minded determination to a black SUV in the parking lot and Peter is struck by the image of how Wade works on missions. He’s effective, and cold, and he’s not even singing. This isn’t good.

Peter looks over his shoulder to the bus bench, but the man is gone.

The man is gone.

“Wade–” Peter begins, wanting to warn him, but before he can his spider-sense is ringing and he’s reacting without any thought.

He’s grabbing Wade and pushing him against the back of the car, getting in front of him in just the right moment to grab the metal pole that had been swinging at Wade’s head. He catches it easily, and follows the gloved hand holding it up to the familiar face of the stranger they’d just conversed with.

“I’ve seen you before,” Peter says. It’s driving him crazy.

The man shrugs with a small smile.

Peter’s spider sense goes haywire and he’s too wired now, too alert with adrenaline to sparse out what his senses are warning him about when the man flicks a small switch on the metal bar and electricity shoots out.

Peter lets go instantly but not fast enough and it burns the skin of his palm until he can smell it. He doesn’t hesitate, after, and Venom has the man’s legs breaking under their grip and Peter’s got his own non-burnt hand around the guy’s very breakable throat, pressing his body down into the asphalt of the parking lot. The man looks surprised, but honestly, who the fuck did he think he was dealing with?

“Breaking your bones is easier than ripping paper to me so I’m going to give you one chance here,” Peter snarls, pressing down on the guy’s jugular until he’s gasping.

“Webs,” Wade starts behind him but Peter ignores him, can’t focus on Wade right now.

“You’re HYDRA,” Peter says, and it isn’t a question so the man doesn’t confirm, “how many have they sent after me?”

The man doesn’t answer and Venom breaks his knee. It’s a gross, cracking sound, and Peter presses down on his throat even harder so that his scream is cut off. He barely makes a sound.

“C’mon, asshole,” Peter urges, loosening his grip a little as Venom moves to the guy’s wrists, wrapping around the thin bones there, “answer the fucking question.”

Wade’s gone silent and Peter should probably check on him but he can’t bring himself to let this man go. This man, who he’s seen before, this man, who was sent to hurt him, kidnap him, bring them back–

‘snap snap snip’ Venom hums and breaks both the man’s wrists.

Peter flinches a bit at the sound and the man’s pained gasps but he tries not to think about how fucked up he is in letting Venom do this. He’s really fucked up, isn’t he?

“Last chance,” Peter snarls and the man smiles, teeth stained yellow and crooked and–

“I was your first,” the man wheezes, his voice wrecked but Peter can still understand him, “you were so young. The infamous Spider-Man… couldn’t believe we finally caught you.”

Peter’s shaking, full body tremors, and he isn’t sure what from. His vision is tunneling, narrowing in on this one man, this one piece of shit

“Spidey,” Wade says again, “hey, let me handle him. Pete–”

“You know,” the man is saying, “they told me to go easy on you. But you were so young and reactive I couldn’t help my–”

Peter tightens his grip and the man’s voice constricts, his airways blocked, a blood cell pops in his right eye–

Wade’s grabbing Peter by the shoulders and pulling him off the man before Peter can snap his neck, but what the fuck does Wade thinks he’s doing, this is Peter’s moment, this is his, and Wade isn’t going to take this from him.

“Get off me,” Peter snaps, pushing against Wade’s chest and he has to focus really hard on not using his full strength or else he’s sure he’d shatter Wade’s sternum.

“You can’t kill him,” Wade says, and he sounds almost desperate.

“I can do what I want, get the hell off–”

“Peter,” Wade says, and Peter isn’t expecting it to sound gentle and soft as Wade raises his hands to cup Peter’s face.

Peter freezes, instantly.

“You’ll change,” Wade presses, running his thumbs under Peter’s eyes, wiping away tears Peter didn’t know were falling, “you’ll change, entirely. And not a good change, Pete, killing someone fucks you up. It’s different when it’s Venom, but your own bare hands? Baby, there’s no going back from that.”

“I want to hurt him,” Peter says, his voice unrecognizable, his hands shaking, “I really want to hurt him.”

“I know,” Wade soothes, keeping eye contact, making Peter look at him and not at the man broken on the ground, “I know, honey, but you’re too good for that. You’re too good, Pete, I can’t let you kill him.”

Peter tries to breathe, he does, but it’s difficult, and tight, and he’s crying, shit he’s crying, he’s so weak, he’s so pathetic, he’s fucking crying

“C’mere,” Wade whispers, pulling Peter into his chest, tucks Peter’s head under his chin.

Broad, strong arms encircle Peter’s shoulders; hold him tight, and Peter’s never felt so enveloped in another person before. He’s realizing that he lets his guard down when it comes to Wade. It’s probably a symptom of being a survivor, and Peter’s only read about complex PTSD a little, but he knows that he’s latching onto Wade too fast, too emotionally, for this to be healthy.

Still, he doesn’t pull away.

“There’s too many potential witnesses to kill him here,” Wade’s saying, and Peter tries to listen to the easy cadence of Deadpool’s voice, the vibrations of it in his broad chest, “we should take him with us. We can get more information out of him. We need to know how many more are coming, and who sent him. How’s that sound, baby boy? Sound like a plan?”

Peter sniffles against Wade’s shirt. It’s kind of gross, and snotty, but Wade doesn’t seem to mind.

“Never thought you’d pass up on killing someone,” Peter admits, feeling calmer now, but still shaky.

“Me neither,” Wade confesses, lips brushing against Peter’s temple before he steps away.

Peter feels cold, and instantly more vulnerable. He can’t look at the HYDRA doctor, he just can’t. Venom is still thrumming over him, and Peter urges him to retract back in. The symbiote does, slowly, and it’s always a strange feeling, like ice water being injected in his veins.

“Sorry I ruined another shirt,” Peter says, absently, keeping an eye on the diner and the road across.

“We’ll go shopping,” Wade promises, walking over to the man and stuffing the barrel of a gun in his mouth.

“Listen, Mike Pence, this is what we’re gonna do,” all the reassurance is out of Deadpool’s tone, replaced with a false cheer that’s scarier than anger, “you’re comin’ with us to New York. You’re gonna tell us everything we’ve ever wanted to know, and I won’t gut you and hang you from your entrails over the next highway, sound good?”

The man is pale, his eyes wide, but he nods.

Wade’s smile is all teeth when he says, “good, fuck you,” and slams the guy’s head into the asphalt. It knocks him out almost immediately, and Peter would think he was dead if it weren’t for the lack of blood.

“I’m gonna strip him then throw him in the trunk,” Wade is saying, “he’s probably covered with trackers. Like dogs and fleas. And ten year olds and lice, disgusting.”

“I don’t know how to hot wire a car,” Peter says, wanting to do something but not wanting to touch the HYDRA agent, and definitely not wanting to inadvertently blow up their future ride.

“You just leave it to me, honey dearest, I gotcha. If you wanna run back inside and get us some food for the road that’d be a dream. I wanna try that fancy egg sandwich, ya know the egg white one that the Kardashian’s would order.”

Peter knows Wade’s trying to distract him, but he goes to the duffle and takes out twenty dollars anyway.

“I’m not getting him anything,” Peter says pointing to the passed out HYDRA operative before turning around and walking back to the diner. He’s still shaking, and his knees feel weak, but he tries to keep a level head as he walks around front and enters through the main door. The bell jingling is almost too loud he’s so alert, but he walks up to the counter and places a large order. The girl taking it doesn’t seem to recognize him, or if she does she isn’t questioning why he’s here twice.

He gets Wade’s Kardashian sandwich and more waffles and sausage for himself and he even gets a latte for Venom because the symbiote has really taken to caffeine.

‘he’s hiding something from us’ Venom says as Peter idles outside of the diner, letting the sun warm him and trying to only listen to the people nearby, the cars passing, and behind, to Wade messing with the wires in the SUV.

“I don’t think he’s gonna talk,” Peter admits, taking a sip of the latte and feeling Venom’s vague appreciation.

‘not HYDRA’ Venom corrects, ‘dead man’

“You know his name is Wade,” Peter sighs, “and what are you talking about?”

‘he sent us away’

“Yeah, I was having my regularly scheduled breakdown,” Peter quips, taking another sip even though the espresso is still too hot.

‘the avengers, he hasn’t been in contact with them,’ Venom continues, ‘is that odd? they sent him’

Peter wants to argue immediately but it sinks in that Venom has a point. Wade hasn’t been in contact with the Avengers, not to Peter’s knowledge, and no one has sent another jet for them. Tony could fly by and pick them up right now, no trouble, and he hasn’t.

‘I’m right,’ Venom says.

“Maybe,” Peter relents, feeling strange, feeling weird. Wade wouldn’t lie to him, would he? But Peter doesn’t know Wade, he’s only just met him, and he’s put all his trust and hope into the man, who’s clearly unstable and has his own motives in this. He’s been stupid, trusting the first person that’s shown him any kindness. He feels played, and small, and naïve.

‘what if he isn’t taking us to New York’ Venom presses, ‘what if HYDRA?’

Peter feels cold dread fill him up and he tries to swallow down the lump in his throat. He could run. He could run right now, and maybe Wade wouldn’t be able to catch up. Before he can actually put that plan in motion the black SUV is pulling up out front and the passenger door is swinging open.

“Let’s go, Petye-pie!” Deadpool chirps, ushering him inside, “we’re almost home free.”

Peter wants to run.

He considers it.

But something has him walking to the car, sliding into the passenger side, and letting Wade drive them away.

 

////

 

“Have you been in touch with them?” Peter asks, after they’ve been driving for a long time in silence.

Well, almost silence, Wade’s been talking but Peter hasn’t been engaging. The HYDRA doc is tied up and bound in the trunk and he hasn’t been making any noise so Peter’s assuming he’s still knocked out. Probably has a concussion.

“Touch with who? Jesus?”

Peter knows it’s a joke but he can’t find the humor in anything right now. Everything seems life or death, suddenly, and Peter’s prepared to crash the car and run if Deadpool says anything even remotely off-putting. Which isn’t hard, for Deadpool.

“No, the Avengers,” Peter says.

Wade looks over at him, and Peter’s thankful he’s not wearing his red and black mask, because he can clearly see the suspicion in Wade’s eyes when they look at each other.

“Not since before I broke you out,” Wade says, carefully, slowly, “what’s going on?”

“Why doesn’t Tony just come pick us up?” Peter asks, heart beating rapidly in his chest, “We don’t need to extend this road trip any longer, do we?”

Wade’s expression is hard, unreadable.

“Pete, what’s going on?”

“Answer the question,” Peter snaps, fear and panic bubbling in his chest.

Venom is coiling, ready to come out, ready to strike.

Wade is silent for a very very long time.

“He doesn’t know,” Wade says at last, not meeting Peter’s gaze.

Peter’s blood runs cold.

“Tony doesn’t know,” he begins, voice rough, “or the Avengers don’t know?”

Wade’s jaw clenches and he sighs, hitting his forehead against the steering wheel.

“Look, Pete, we shouldn’t have this earth-shattering confession now on a crowded highway–”

“They didn’t send you,” Peter says, realization dawning hot in his blood, “they don’t know I’m with you.”

“Technically they did send me,” Wade says, but he sounds weak and insecure.

“You–you’ve been lying to me,” Peter rasps, and he wants nothing more than to get the fuck out of this car, “you’ve been lying this whole time.”

“No,” Wade says, his voice hard, “I’m still taking you to them. They just–I–they just didn’t send me to find you.”

Peter’s so far removed from himself it’s like he’s underwater. He’s looking at Wade but he isn’t seeing Wade, can’t make out any of the familiar details on his face, can’t relate to him at all. Wade’s a stranger behind the wheel of a stolen SUV and Peter feels like he’s being kidnapped all over again.

“I thought I could trust you,” Peter says, “fuck, I’m an idiot. Pull over, I’m getting out.”

“Whoa, hey, Webs, before this train of thought derails any faster let me explain–”

“Pull over.”

“Spidey, listen–”

The other car comes out of nowhere.

One minute, Peter’s looking at Wade, and the next the glass is shattering, his door is ramming in, and there’s a horrible screeching, a sharp bodily pain, and nothing.

There’s nothing.

Chapter Text

“Go Your Own Way” is still playing on the radio, the voices distorted with feedback and crippled wires, and it’s the first thing Peter hears, after the ringing in his head stops.

He’s aware that he’s bleeding, and he’s aware of Venom healing him. He’s also aware that Wade is hovering over him, and now he’s not sure if the warm blood on his stomach is his or Wade’s. Maybe both.

“I’m so fucking sick of this song,” Wade groans, his words wet and scraping their way off his teeth. He doesn’t sound good.

Peter tries to open his eyes but there’s a horrible pounding behind his temples, a pressure so intense he doesn’t want to move ever again. Everything feels tender and delicate, like one wrong move and he’ll break something.

“Webs, hey, you good?”

“I don’t know,” Peter answers honestly, opening his eyes despite the pain it brings.

The first thing he sees is Wade.

Which is both good and bad.

Good, because even though Peter’s upset with him, and isn’t sure if he can trust him, he still cares for the guy. He still doesn’t want Deadpool hurt. Which leads into the bad, because Wade has a large sheet of metal sticking through the meat of his shoulder, his blood running freely and falling onto Peter’s coffee-stained t-shirt.

There was no saving it.

“Wade,” Peter rasps, trying to sit up but falling back with a hiss at the pain that spreads up his spine.

“Yeah, don’t move,” Wade says, balancing himself on one hand as he brings the other to Peter’s side and presses down. Peter feels Venom cover Wade’s hand to heal the wound that’s most likely the main source of Peter’s discomfort.

“You got cut pretty good.”

Peter tries to take in their surroundings. He can hear police sirens, an ambulance. There’s cars both driving by and stopping, and he tries to locate the car that ran into them. The trunk of the SUV doesn’t look like it’s been hit, and Peter wonders if the HYDRA agent is alive. Then he panics, because whether the man is alive or dead there’s going to be a half naked man in their trunk and that doesn’t look good.

“Wade, we have to go,” Peter says, but Wade keeps him down with his hand.

“You’re not moving.”

“Dude, your shoulder is practically falling off I can sit up,” Peter snaps, fighting past a delirious bout of nausea.

Wade looks like he’s about to argue but there’s two big black cars pulling up and Peter thinks they look a bit like tanks and that’s scary as fuck because where’s that ambulance?
“HYDRA,” Peter warns, and Wade’s about to turn but everything after happens too fast.

Peter can hear men approaching, boots heavy over broken glass and bent metal, and there’s the tell tale click of a trigger before Wade’s head his exploding in red and pink and bone and his body falls forward, lifeless, on top of Peter’s. The weight makes Peter’s side sing in agony but he’s moving without thinking.

He webs up his side, picks Wade’s body up over his shoulder and stands on shaking legs.

Wade’s heavy, but Peter’s lifted a bus with his right hand so this is shouldn’t be difficult but it is. He’s been malnourished for years and his muscles aren’t as strong as they used to be. The SUV they were driving is smashed into the cement divider a few feet up, and while Peter can hear police sirens he can’t see any law enforcement vehicles. All he sees is the large tank-like trucks and about ten men surrounding them, automatic rifles raised, visors over their eyes.

‘is he dead’ Venom asks but Peter can’t think about that possibility right now, just hopes Wade’s healing factor is better than his own.

He can’t shake the feeling though, that no one can survive from having their brains blown out. He tries not to think about how he’s covered in blood, Wade’s blood. He feels sick.

‘let us out’ Venom says as another car pulls up and the back door begins to open, ‘let us out!’

Peter knows that in the state he’s in, sleep-deprived, exhausted, weak, that he can’t take all of them. Not when they have bullets and he has webs.

“No killing,” Peter says, drained, but Venom is already creeping up his neck, his chin, his nose– “keep Wade safe.”

Venom’s consumed and Peter is in darkness.

 

///

 

He’s not present.

He can hear, vaguely, what’s going on around him. He can feel the wind, sometimes, can smell the asphalt and burnt rubber and blood. This is the deepest he’s gone under. He’s so tired, and his side hurts, and he’s been beaten, tortured, lied to

He wants to sleep.

He doesn’t want to be in control.

‘sleep’ Venoms’ voice echoes in the dark chamber.

There’s a scream, and a crunch.

‘sleep’ Venom soothes.

Peter sleeps, and hopes Wade isn’t dead.

///

 

Venom’s been starving, hungry, delirious, for years. They get to eat now. They get to be full.

 

///

 

Peter comes back to himself like waking from a horrific dream.

His heart is pounding in his chest, hard against his ribs. His side has stopped bleeding, and he traces his fingers over the scab of it. The veins in his arms are dark and prominent, rising from his skin like a brand.

He’s dizzy, and tries to stand. Underneath his feet, cement is cold with past rain. He’s in an alley, surrounded by tall brick walls. It smells like urine and rotted food and home.

Peter knows New York like he’s never left.

The smell is always comforting, somehow. His stomach churns and he vomits behind the nearest dumpster. Nothing comes up, just acid and bile and it burns his nose and makes his eyes water. He feels Venom, content and full, in his stomach. There’s a copper taste in his mouth, like he’s bitten his lip, and he tries not to think too hard on where the taste has come from when he realizes there’s no tear in his mouth.

“V,” Peter rasps, and that hurts, fuck, “where’s Wade?”

Venom purrs, but doesn’t answer.

Peter uses the dumpster to stand upright, squinting even though the sun is still up, painting the sky pink and orange and red, a watercolor wash in a city of chrome.

“’Pool?” Peter calls out the best he can, stumbling through the alley.

His shirt smells sour with Wade’s brain and he almost throws up again.

“Venom,” Peter snaps, anger welling, “I told you to get Wade.”

“’M over here, sweetums,” Wade’s voice is barely there, rough like glass, but Peter hears and turns to follow.

He sees Wade’s body first, and his head is in place at an odd angle, a nasty hole in his forehead that’s knitting together in the dusk.

It’s gross, and smells, and Peter pales at the sight of it.

Wade’s skin looks bad, especially where it’s healing over, and the guy doesn’t look like he’s very conscious, his head lolling this way and that. Peter kneels in front of him; wanting to reach out but not sure if he can touch. Wade’s shoulder looks healed, but his clothes are a mess, and Peter’s sure his have faired just as well.

“Hey, Deadpool, you with me?” Peter asks, panicking slightly when Wade doesn’t respond right away. “Wade?”

“Yeah, I hear ya,” Wade answers, eyes drooping as his forehead continues to knit itself shut, “head injuries are the worst.”

“Injuries,” Peter repeats, feeling faint, “your head exploded.”

“Not the first time,” Wade says and his head falls back with a jolt to the brick wall behind him. “Did we die? Are you dead too? Normally Death makes her appearance right about now but Yellow and I are happy to see you.”

“Not dead,” Peter says, “at least I don’t think we are. If Heaven smells this bad I don’t wanna go.”

Deadpool laughs, broken and wet.

“Oh baby, I’m not made for Heaven,” he says and tries to stand.

He almost falls but Peter’s there to hold him up.

“Easy,” Peter whispers, adjusting Wade so that he’s holding up most of his weight, “I can hold you. Lean on me.”

“I’m not light,” Wade warns but he’s letting Peter support him as they make their way to the lip of the alley.

“So you can’t die,” Peter says, because what else is he supposed to say?

“Nope,” Wade says, popping the ‘p’, “at least, haven’t been able to yet. And I’ve tried just about everything.”

Peter swallows and holds Wade tighter.

He doesn’t like the way Wade said that, like he’s tried to kill himself. Peter doesn’t want to think about it.

“How’d you get us out?” Wade asks, becoming aware enough to recognize that they’re in New York, and entering out of an alley into the cement construction of a shipping port.

Looks like they’re in Red Hook, but Peter can’t be entirely sure.

“I didn’t,” Peter says, looking sideways at Wade as they stop walking to evaluate their surroundings, “Venom did.”

“Huh,” is all Wade says.

After a while of awkwardly standing with people passing by and shooting them looks Peter decides they need to change. And shower. Basically they need to not look like a meat grinder chewed and spit them back up.

“We need to change,” Peter says. “I smell like brain.”

“I happen to think it’s rather charming on you,” Wade says offhandedly before shrugging Peter’s hand off and cracking his neck.

“No worries, baby boy, I got a place near here. We can walk.”

“Thank God we’re in New York,” Peter says as a couple walks by them without sparing a glance.

“Yeah,” Wade says, uncharacteristically quiet, and then Peter begins to remember that they were fighting and tenses up as well. “C’mon, Webs, lets get moving. You smell like hamburger helper over there.”

“It’s your fault,” Peter mutters but follows nonetheless.

He’s always following Wade, it seems.

///

Wade leads them to an apartment complex that looks like it’s only standing upright because it believes in itself.

They climb twelve flights of concrete stairs and Wade leads them down a hall with one working light. He doesn’t get out any keys just braces himself and kicks down the door. Peter should’ve been more alarmed, he thinks, but at this point in his life this seems reasonable. Their duffle with all their belongings probably didn’t make it out from the wreckage and Venom obviously didn’t grab it. Wade leads the way in and then moves to place the door gently back in its place.

Peter webs it shut for him, a silent gesture of good will.

Wade smiles at him, but its guarded and timid, and now that they’re not fighting for their lives there’s an awkward tension between them.

Wade is the first to break it.

“I’ll get you a change of clothes and then you can shower,” he says, and not waiting for Peter to answer he’s walking past him to the bedroom. Wade’s apartment is how most New York apartments are, the kitchen is connected to the bedroom, which is also the living room, and the bathroom is a small square off of those. It reminds Peter of his old place, and he aches.

It’s beginning to sink in that he’s back home. He’s in New York. Aunt May is here, and MJ and Tony Stark and Johnny and–

He isn’t aware that he isn’t breathing until Wade’s taking his hand and pressing it to his bloody chest. Peter can feel his heart, feel how hard it’s beating.

“Breathe, Pete,” Wade says.

And Peter does.

 

///

 

The water hits Peter clear and runs down the drain a dark red.

It’s washing off all the dirt and grime and blood and God knows what else has stuck to Peter’s skin. There’s no warm water, and Peter shivers under the shower-head, but he doesn’t feel cold. He’s not feeling much, in all honesty. He’s still dazed from the car crash, and shocked about being in New York (three years, it’s been three fucking years) and he’s still feeling betrayed by Wade, still tense near the merc even though he doesn’t want to be. He’s overwhelmed and disconnected because of it, staring unseeing as the water washes away his violence.

Red down a swirling drain.

 

///

 

Wade’s given Peter his clothes, and Peter knows this because they’re too baggy and long, but he rolls up the waist of the sweatpants and three times and lets the shirt hang to his thighs to cover it.

He still doesn’t recognize his own reflection in the mirror, and he uses Wade’s toothbrush and paste without asking, although they look like they’re rarely used. He feels like he’s buzzing out of his skin when he exists the bathroom and steps out into the living room.

A living room that has one futon, an overstuffed lazy-boy in the corner, a TV, and a wall of guns and knives, but amidst that, in the middle, is Wade in his tattered clothes with two boxes of pizza in front of him and a handle of vodka beside those.

He isn’t meeting Peter’s gaze, and Peter doesn’t know how to approach this situation. They both don’t seem to know what to do, and Peter sees the dried blood on Wade’s forehead and makes a decision that this is on him.

“You lied to me,” Peter says, and he wishes he sounded angry but instead he sounds tired. He is tired.

Wade hunches his shoulders, almost unconsciously. The action makes him look smaller than he is, like he’s preparing for Peter to hit him and he’ll accept it. He runs a large hand over his face and lets out a bone deep exhale before standing and meeting Peter’s gaze.

“Yeah,” he admits, no preamble, no excuses, “I did.”

Peter takes a deep breath and it shutters in his lungs.

“Why?” he asks, “why lie?”

Wade’s silent for a long time, before he adverts his eyes to the vodka by his knee. He looks like he really needs a drink. Peter needs a drink.

“The Avengers,” he begins, and his voice is rough, “Iron Giant, specifically, mean a lot to you.”

He stops and when he doesn’t continue Peter crosses his arms and waits.

“They did look for you,” Wade says earnestly, meeting Peter’s eyes, “they looked for two years, but I guess they didn’t find anything. It was in all the papers, that you were missing. Some say you quit being a super, some say you were killed. I remember reading the forums online. I didn’t think you'd quit, and I had a feeling you hadn’t died.”

“You knew about me?” Peter asks, and he feels like he’s going to crawl out of his skin, the anticipation of Wade’s words striking him, “before I was taken?”

Wade smiles, small and diffident.

“Yeah, Webs, you’re my hero,” he says, honest, and Peter’s going to forget how to breathe again, he knows it.

“Spider-Man was?”

Wade shrugs, scratching absentmindedly at the skin on his wrist.

“Definitely. I mean, your tough and kind and have one hell of an ass–”

“Focus, Wade,” Peter reprimands but he’s smiling, just a little.

“Right, yeah, so a great ass, and I guess a pretty okay hero. I’m really not good at this, fuck off White I’m trying. Sorry. Okay, um, so they stopped looking.”

 

Stopped looking.

 

The Avengers stopped looking for him.

The floor feels like it's falling out from under his feet.

“Oh, shit, fuck, see I’m not good at this, they looked for a long time, Pete, they didn’t give up right away. I swear, they may be pretentious assholes but they aren’t cruel–”

“How did you find me?” Peter interrupts because this is the important detail: how did Deadpool know where to look?

“They gave me a mission, well, SHIELD gave me a mission. Take down a HYDRA branch, and get a file off the mainframe computers. But I had taken down the base and it was about a hundred miles away from where I found you and some asshat was bragging about how he had seen Spider-Man and so I kind of maybe definitely did torturehimforthreedays to tell me where you were.”

Deadpool says the last part so fast Peter almost misses it. Almost.

Peter’s head is spinning. The Avengers sent Deadpool to a different location, they weren’t even concerned with finding Peter but Deadpool–Wade–had been.

“You…” Peter begins, but doesn’t know how to finish.

Wade is staring at him like he’s waiting for Peter to get upset, get angry, but how can Peter be upset at the man who went off book to save him just because he used to look up to a hero in red and blue spandex?

“I’m not Spider-Man anymore,” Peter says, because Wade needs to know this, needs to not put Peter on a pedestal, “I’m not the same person I used to be.”

“I know,” Wade says, a little too quickly, “I know that.”

There’s a heavy silence, and Peter tries to focus on slowing his heart, on breathing like Wade showed him.

“Why did you lie? Why didn’t you just tell me?” Peter asks again, because Wade didn’t really answer before.

Wade sighs, looking at Peter with sad, wide eyes.

“I didn’t want you to look like that,” he says, waving at Peter’s face. Peter isn’t sure what expression he’s making, so he tries to even it out, but Wade just does a grimace smile thing and Peter knows he isn’t succeeding.

“I know you look up to them,” Wade says, “like I look up to you. And I just broke you out of Hell and how the fuck was I supposed to tell you that your personal heroes stopped looking? I had to give you hope, Webs, someone had to, or who knows where you’d be right now?”

Peter’s throat is tight, his hands are shaking, but he ignores this and walks over to Wade, slow, cautious, so Wade knows he isn’t going to hurt him.

“Don’t lie to me anymore,” Peter says, trying to be stern but his voice wavers and ruins the effect.

Wade nods frantically.

“Deal,” he says.

“Are you hiding anything else?”

“Besides for the fact that I’ve been low-key fangirling over you for the past week? Nope.”

“Did you buy me pizzas?” Peter whispers.

After everything, Peter isn’t expecting Wade to blush, a pink stain over his scarred cheeks. It’s frustratingly endearing.

“And vodka,” Wade says, hesitant. “Is that okay? Should I have gotten wine? What do spiders drink, I thought vodka was universal but I can go–”

“It’s fine,” Peter interrupts before Wade really gets going. Then adds, “I’m still mad at you.”

Wade’s shoulders hunch up.

“But this is a good “I’m sorry” present,” Peter adds.

Wade perks at that, a grin beginning to tug at the corners of his lips.

“Sooo,” he says, dragging the word out, “we’re good?”

“Depends on what toppings you got,” Peter says, and he still feels weak, still feels strange and betrayed but those feelings aren’t directed at Wade anymore. If anything, being near Wade is helping him feel secure.

Safe.

Peter gets his own pizza box and Wade leaves him to eat it all to take a shower.

He returns in a Deadpool suit, almost identical to the one he was wearing when he broke out Peter, but he isn’t wearing the mask and Peter’s grateful for that. They eat pizza and watch shitty TV in relative silence, and Wade started on the floor and is now pressed to Peter’s side. Peter can’t help but rest his head on Wade’s shoulder. He’s tired and drained and Venom is still laying low and it’s making Peter drowsy.

“Do you still want me to take you to them?” Wade asks, his voice low and soft to not break the delicate air of comfort around them. He’s playing gently with Peter’s hair, massaging his scalp, and it feels so nice, he’s not used to kind touches.

“I’ll decide in the morning,” Peter grumbles, words mushed into Wade’s shoulder, “But can you do me a favor?”

“Yes, absolutely, of course, what is it?”

Peter swallows his growing anxiety and pulls back from Wade, just a bit, so that he can meet Wade’s eyes. He needs Wade to understand that this is important.

“My aunt,” he begins, throat tightening along the words.

Wade reaches over, slow, and loops his pinky around Peter’s.

“My aunt lives in Queens,” Peter continues, “well, she used to. Can you find her address for me?”

Wade’s expression is understanding and gentle.

“You got it, Webs,” Wade whispers, and pulls Peter closer.

Chapter Text

Peter slips in through his bedroom window, tripping over the sill and tumbling to the wood floor.

The boards creaks under his weight and the window slams shut, but Peter’s neighbors have never reported a noise complaint before, he doubts they will now at three a-fucking-m on a Tuesday. Shit, Wednsday. He has work at Stark Industries tomorrow, a new promotion from a paid internship to assistant alongside scientist Dr. Cho. He isn’t sure how the fuck he forgot about that, but he needs to be awake in four hours to go to the lab and, shit ow, his side is really throbbing now.

Panting through gritted teeth Peter tears off his mask and tries to take a few deep, stabilizing breaths. He shouldn’t have gotten hurt. He’d been distracted, and sleep deprived. Sloppy.

He pushes himself up to his feet and stumbles into his small bathroom, flicking on the too blue light and looking at himself in the cracked mirror. His hair is a mess, matted to his forehead with sweat, and he’s got a nice dark purple bruise already beginning to form on his right cheek.

He lifts up the top of his suit, dried blood pulling at his skin and making him flinch.

Fuck robbers, man. One had a knife and had been a little too enthusiastic about it. It’s not a deep cut but it still stings, and if Peter moves too far to the right it pulls uncomfortably. He fumbles with the first aid kit he keeps on top of the toilet for just these purposes, pours a whole bottle of antiseptic on the wound, and slaps a bandage over that.

He’s too tired to worry about the mess, or the wet tiles, and he’ll clean it up in the morning, he thinks, as he leaves the bathroom and falls onto his bed. He’s asleep almost instantly, the mattress thin but soft and fuck he’s tired and his side hurts and he hasn’t eaten since yesterday and–

He wakes because there’s someone standing over him.

He's up in a heartbeat, and it pulls on his cut, but he doesn’t hesitate, webbing the intruder to the wall with a force he would have tried to control if he had been any more awake. His spider-sense is going haywire and he turns just as a needle is jabbing deep–so deep it hits muscle–in his neck. He slams his elbow into the side of the second stranger’s head and tries not to feel too bad about breaking the guy's nose.

He pulls the syringe from his neck, swaying on his feet because it hits him like a bullet, sharp and fast, that he’s beginning to lose feeling in his fingers, his toes, his arms–

There are more men, all masked, standing in the doorway of his bedroom, and they’re swaying in and out of focus. Frantic, Peter shoots a web, nailing three in the face and tries to run to the window but his legs give out and his arm breaks through the glass as he falls to the ground. He’s nauseous and dizzy, and he knows his arm is bleeding, knows there’s glass in his fingers, but he can’t feel it, can’t feel anything.

“That’s one way to slow an insect down,” an accented voice says but all Peter hears is ringing.

He can’t tell which direction the voice is coming from.

“Spiders are arachnids,” he slurs, trying to get his elbows under him, trying to get himself off the floor. He hasn’t felt this vulnerable, this weak, since Gwen died, and he can’t keep the anxiety from clawing up his throat.

“Aw,” the voice says, much closer now, “you still talking?”

There’s a sharp, terrifying pain in his thigh that feels a lot like a bullet ripping through muscle, before a thick canvas bag is being pulled over his head and cutting off all sight.

Peter thrashes, tries to punch whoever is grabbing his arm, but he can’t make his body move. He feels like he’s being weighed down, pressed into the ground even as he feels himself being dragged across his bedroom floor.

“Stay fucking still,” the voice says when he tries to web whoever is moving him and then everything is fading in and out of consciousness, out of memory, out of control–

 

“…ey…Webs…”

 

The florescent lights above his head are bright enough that his eyes burn.

His entire body burns.

The bag is ripped from his head and he still can’t see anything

 

“–mare, Pete…wake–”

 

He’s strapped down to a surgical table, thick metal bands around his neck, forehead, shoulders, torso, waist, thighs, feet–

Kasady is bending over his stomach, medical scissors snipping carelessly along Peter’s abdomen.

“Can you feel that?” Kasady asks, over and over, snip, snip snip, “does that hurt?”

His hands are pink, are red, are staining everything he touches, and Peter wants to go home, he wants the pain to stop, he wants to feel nothing, he’s going to die, he’s dying, he’s not going to make it–

 

“Peter!”

 

Wade’s voice brings him up, helps him off the table, and Peter’s gasping, hands out in front of him, back pressed against a cool, smooth surface.

He blinks and the lab is gone, sterile white replaced with the dark brown of a shitty apartment and Kasady fades into Deadpool, red suit familiar anywhere but out of place at HYDRA.

A nightmare. He was having a nightmare.

He’s shaking, wet with sweat, and it’s hard to breathe, like his chest is caving in.

Deadpool is standing ten feet in front of him, hands raised as though to soothe Peter, bring him back down.

“Get back,” Peter says, and his voice isn’t his own.

It’s deeper, rough, and leaves him shivering. It's the feeling of petting fur the wrong way, still soft but not right, and he looks down, looks at his hands, sees familiar dark ink covering his pale skin like a glove.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” Wade’s saying, but he sounds far away, like he’s yelling at Peter through two rooms over, “look, Slime, honey, I ain’t a threat here. You and Pete gotta calm down or you’ll go into shock.”

We’ll kill,” Peter feels his lips move but Venom’s voice leaks out, “we’ll skin them all.”

“I hear ya big guy, and I’ll help ya, okay? But for right now, just for a second, I need to talk to your roomie. Gotta make sure you’re both feeling peachy, you hear?”

Venom hisses, saliva-splattering thick on Wade’s kitchen tiles, skin rippling over Peter’s in a cold, wet motion.

You lie,” Venom says, “you lie lie lie like HYDRA lie lie lie–

“Yeah and I’m not proud of it, but I dunno if you were asleep during that whole convo or what, but Webs and I talked it all out! We made up! We’re good as rain, Snarly, promise. And while we’re on the topic I gotta know on behalf of Tumblr, how long is your tongue? ‘Cause you could get into some freaky–”

Lied!” Venom screeches and their arm is shooting through Wade’s chest, breaking bone and denting muscle.

Peter can feel how hot Wade’s insides are. He can feel it, and he can see it, the red–the red staining his hands, like Kasady’s, pink and red and wet–

Wade chokes, blood staining his teeth.

“F-fuck,” he says, “Jesus, warn a guy a next time, we barely even started on the foreplay–”

Venom’s swinging and Wade’s moving with it, body slamming against the far wall and collapsing down to the floor, blood gushing from his chest, his ribs visible through the puncture in his sternum.

‘Venom’ Peter hisses, urgent, ‘Venom, enough–’

We’ll kill them all,” the symbiote snarls before running, full speed, and crashing through the window in Wade's living room and out onto the street below.

They’re high up but the fall doesn’t hurt, Venom’s bulk absorbs most of the shock so Peter barely feels it. There’s a possessiveness oozing from the symbiote, a delirious bloodlust that’s stemming from a weakly disguised anger. Anger at what, Peter isn’t sure, but Venom is so intent on their rage that Peter can hardly feel his own consciousness.

His body doesn’t feel like his, not at all. It hasn’t been this intense with Venom since the symbiote was first injected in him. During that time Peter was weak from hunger and infection, and he lost days, weeks, when he couldn’t push Venom’s consciousness to the back of his mind. He can’t grasp Venom now. He can’t get to him, the symbiote is shutting him out, the equivalent of slamming a door in his face, only this door leads to his mind, his nerves, his cells, and he can’t control any of it.

The city streets are rushing by in a blur, and Peter can’t keep track of all the neon, all the colors, they bleed too fast. He's losing himself in Venom’s emotions, losing himself in the desperation, the confusion, that the symbiote is feeling. He’s losing time, and Peter knows that’s not good.

‘Venom, listen to me’ Peter tries, ‘Wade didn’t hurt me. He’s not a bad guy’

He lied to us!” Venom hisses, and Peter hears sirens, distantly, under the waterfall of the symbiote's mind.

‘V, let me out’ Peter says, hardening his voice, ‘let me out or I’m not talking to you ever again’

That makes Venom pause, makes him lower his guard just enough that Peter can begin to try and push through the black ink holding him down, push enough that he can breathe clearly–

‘Time to go back to sleep, buddy’ Peter grits out, pushing harder and isn’t expecting Venom to push back just as hard.

But Peter’s fought Venom over his own mind for years, he knows when he’s won, so he keeps pushing, keeps clawing up through the surface, keeps pushing down the ink, the dark, to the clean air, to the city, to the sirens–

He blinks, gasps, and braces as he falls onto the roof of an apartment building, his skin scraping as he rolls. Venom is still pulsing over his skin but Peter knows his mind is his when he can feel his body again.

He spits up a bit of blood and it lands on his hand.

“You fucking asshole,” Peter pants, head throbbing like he just took the worst kind of beating, like he’s been drugged for days.

‘we care more!’ Venom screeches, loud enough that Peter flinches from the volume in his head, ‘we care!’

Peter takes a deep breath and tries to not get angry. He really tries, but Venom is acting like a spoiled brat and Peter just wants to fall back asleep on Wade’s shoulder.

“I know you care, and that’s great dude, but like, you can’t fucking stab people when you disagree with them,” Peter snaps, his voice hard and frustrated as he tries to get to his feet.

‘he hurt us’ Venom says, ‘we felt how he hurt us’

“Yeah, he lied, but then he told the truth and now we’re good. We made up, V, it’s all okay,” Peter says, rubbing his eyes and trying to get his bearings.

He feels like he’s about to throw up, and he’d really rather not do that.

Venom’s silent for a long while, prickling over Peter’s skin like needles, and Peter knows the symbiote is still angry, still aching to break something, but Peter’s words must have made at least a little sense if Venom isn’t trying to take over again.

‘is Peter upset with us?’ Venom asks, and Peter feels a pulse of shame from the symbiote.

He’s never felt emotions like that from Venom before. Peter wonders, briefly, if Venom is evolving.

“Yeah, man, you probably killed my friend,” Peter snaps before sighing, walking to the edge of the roof and looking down, “I’m still going to talk to you, though.”

Venom relaxes over his skin, the pinching sensation cooling to just a strange chill as Venom sinks back into his veins. Peter’s wrists are sore, and he rubs over them carefully, the spinnerets inside his wrists aching.

“You can’t just shoot webs carelessly either, V, you could tear my glands out.”

Venom doesn’t answer and Peter tries to get a grip on where Venom took them. They’re still in New York, but no longer in Brooklyn. By the skyscrapers and distant Empire State building Peter assumes they’re somewhere near Midtown or Hells Kitchen. His head is pounding but he needs to get off this roof, first and foremost. He has no idea how he’s going to find Wade, he doesn’t have the merc’s address and he definitely doesn’t have a way to contact him. Peter just hopes Deadpool's tracking abilities are as good as the merc says they are as Peter scales down the side of the apartment building.

The sky is still dark, the streets empty. Peter is grateful, at this point in his life, for the little things.

He could swing his way over to Brooklyn but he’s still nauseous and his head is throbbing so horribly seeing is difficult. (Just some of the fun side-effects from having an alien parasite take over your body).

He walks, to try and clear his head. The first couple feet makes everything in his body ache but the cool air and breeze coming from the Hudson helps him feel more awake.

It’s a strange, disorienting feeling, walking around and seeing New York and not white walls. There’s a part of Peter that doesn’t believe it’s real. He wishes Wade was here, but he can’t really do anything about that now.

“Okay, V, help me out here,” Peter says, looking up at the buildings, turning to the Empire State, “how are we gonna get Deadpool’s attention?”

 

///

 

Turns out, Venom is cheesy as fuck.

The symbiote’s plan is to web a message across the Brooklyn Bridge that reads “OVER HERE”.

“That’s so lame,” Peter says, massaging his wrists as he lets his legs dangle over the edge of said bridge, “also we have to be laying low. People can’t start suspecting Spider-Man is back.”

‘take it down after’ Venom says.

Peter hates that that’s their best plan right now. He’s beginning to get a feel for what living with Venom outside of experimentation and torture is going to be like. If every night is going to be like tonight then Peter wants out now. Taking care of Venom is like watching a two-year old jacked up on Monster and seven power naps. It’s exhausting, and the night isn’t even over yet.

“This sucks,” Peter sighs, propping his chin in his hand.

“Yeah, kid, looks like,” a familiar voice says and Peter’s leaping to his feet, spider-sense buzzing, not in alarm, but a careful warning.

It’s rare, that people can sneak up on him.

When he sees who’s standing behind him, it makes sense.

“Widow?” he asks, disbelief making his voice crack.

The SHIELD agent’s hair is white, cropped short, and she’s dressed in normal clothes, dark jeans and a pale blue sweater. She looks good, well rested. Her arms are crossed over her chest, and her features are dim in the low light, but Peter can see the gentle smile on her lips.

His chest feels tight, his throat closing up. He’s dangerously close to crying, or maybe disconnecting, one or the other.

“Hey, Spider-Man,” she says, voice soft, “Long time no see.”

Peter isn’t sure which one of them moves first but the next second they’re hugging so tight Peter is certain this isn’t a dream. He’s 87% sure.

Natasha is warm and solid, and she smells familiar, like pine and mint gum, and Peter hasn’t realized how much he’s missed her until now. It hits him like a punch to the gut, makes him hurt, makes him ache. He doesn’t want to ever let her go. She holds him just as tight, like she’s afraid he’ll turn to ash in her hands. Like he’ll disappear and never come back. Peter doesn’t blame her for digging her nails into his shoulders, he did disappear, and she did think he was dead.

‘they stopped looking’ Venom says.

Peter ignores the symbiote.

He can’t be mad at her.

He’s too tired, too exhausted, to be angry right now.

She pulls away first, keeping her hands on his shoulders and looks him up and down.

“You’re a little taller,” she says, still grinning, “and your hair’s almost as long as Barnes’.”

“He hasn’t cut it yet?” Peter asks, overwhelmed.

Natasha is looking at him with an expression so soft, so warm, that Peter feels it down to his bones.

“Nah, I braid it for him now,” she says, reaching up and tangling her fingers in Peter’s hair, “keep growing yours out and I can braid it too.”

Peter smiles so big his cheeks hurt.

“How’d you find me up here?” he asks.

She doesn’t answer immediately, instead taking his wrists and holding his arms. She’s looking at how dark his veins are, at how pale his skin is. Her mouth twists down, and her eyebrows crease, like she’s feeling a lot of emotions but doesn’t want them to show.

“What happened?” she asks, voice heavy and rough, and when she looks up and meets Peter’s eyes her expression is vulnerable.

“That’s a long story,” Peter says, swallowing. “How much have you heard?”

“Nothing,” Widow says, urgent, “we thought–I thought you were dead.”

“I know,” Peter whispers, “I know you stopped looking.”

Guilt is heavy on Natasha’s features, her eyes sick with it.

“I hit every dead end,” she says, “Tony scanned the entire fucking globe, Peter, every lead we had, every witness, was killed before we could get to them, we–”

“It’s okay, Nat, you don’t have to explain yourself,” Peter interrupts, hopelessly overwhelmed and unprepared for this conversation.

“It’s not okay,” Natasha pushes, “you went through hell and I was–”

“Natasha,” Peter cuts her off, and maybe it’s the use of her full name that has her going quiet but Peter takes the opportunity to give her hands a squeeze before stepping back, “I can’t deal with hearing this right now.”

She’s quiet, the few cars passing below the only noise against the wind and her static silence. Peter isn’t sure where they go from here, but he knows where he needs to be.

“I um, I’m not ready,” he says, continuing at her confused look, “to see everyone yet. I…I don’t think I can do it.”

“That’s okay,” she says, careful, “I won’t tell anyone.”

“Thank you,” Peter breathes, rubbing his wrists and trying not to fidget too much.

“But you will see them, right?” she asks.

“Yeah! Yeah, of course, just…not now,” Peter says.

“Right,” she nods, “okay.”

“Yeah.”

There’s a heavy silence, one that Peter isn’t sure how to deal with. A part of him wants to go back to hugging Natasha, another part wants to crawl so far into himself he never has to face reality again.

He isn’t prepared to feel like this.

He thought after seeing the Avengers, after seeing May, he’d go back to feeling how he did before he was kidnapped, before HYDRA, before Kasady, before everything went to hell in the most literal sense of the word. He should’ve known that it wouldn’t be that easy.

Really, there was only one person he felt safe enough to be around right now.

“Hey,” he begins, and doesn’t know why he’s so embarrassed for what he’s about to ask, “do you know where Wade lives?”

Natasha’s brows furrow and she tenses.

“Wade?” she asks, “Wade as in…?”

“Deadpool,” Peter fills in.

She stares at him for a long time.

“I was actually heading over to his–wait, does he have something to do with you being back?” She sounds suspicious and cautious, a deadly tone to her voice that has Peter feeling defensive.

“He broke me out,” Peter says, “Wade saved me.”

Natasha, for the first time that Peter has known her, looks surprised.

“Deadpool…found you?”

Peter nods.

Natasha schools her face into a blank sheet, no expression, and Peter’s frustrated by it. Wade save him, did more than the Avengers did for him, so why was Natasha acting like this? Why wasn’t she grateful? Peter was grateful. Hell, he’d be grateful to anyone who took the time out of their day to break him out of a high-security super secret Nazis underground medical facility.

“You know he’s insane, right?” Nat asks.

“He’s not insane,” Peter snaps, “he has a lot of mental illnesses but he’s not insane.”

Natasha doesn’t look convinced.

“Peter,” she says, slow, “he’s a killer.”

“And you’re not?”

That shuts her up, her mouth snapping closed, expression hardening, and Peter would feel bad if he gave a fuck. He would, when he was twenty-one, eighteen, but now? No, fuck that, he isn’t about to let Natasha paint Wade with an umbrella term like “crazy” when the man is obviously suffering from some type of PTSD or manic-depressive disorder.

“So, do you know where his apartment in Brooklyn is?” he asks, tone hard.

Slowly, she nods.

 

///

 

Thankfully, Wade’s door is still broken, and held up with only a few of Peter’s webs.

It’s easy to break through. There’s a gun in Peter’s face before he’s even stepped all the way into the apartment, but the moment Wade recognizes him the barrel drops and he’s being enveloped in a hug so tight his bones creak.

“Thank Dolly Parton you’re okay, baby boy, I was starting to get panicky. My chest was taking for-fucking-ever to heal and I didn’t know where to start looking ‘cause slime-ball didn’t leave any bread crumbs for me to follow and some asshat called the cops so I had to try and explain to them how I was talking and alive with a six inch wide hole in my chest–”

“Wade,” Peter interrupts and Wade shuts up, “I’m so sorry.”

The merc just tightens his hold, presses his masked face to the side of Peter’s head, and Peter wonders how they managed to get this close this fast, for Peter to trust Wade so much that he shows the merc his back.

“No no no, enough of that, no more superhero-complex, Webs, your guard dog got spooked and lashed out, I get it,” Wade soothes, rubbing Peter’s shoulders in calming, circular motions. “You got a lot of mental HYDRA shit going on, trust me, I get it. Experimentation really fucks with a guy. Just ask Donald Trump.”

Peter would’ve been content hugging Wade for hours, only he smells pretty heavily of blood and the Black Widow is watching everything with laser sharp focus from behind Peter’s back. If Wade notices her, which he must– he’s staring right at her–he doesn’t say anything.

Peter pulls away, reluctant, to turn so that he can see Natasha.

“Um,” he begins, because Deadpool and him must make quite the confusing picture, “thank you.”

Natasha looks like she doesn’t really know what to do, which is another first, before her eyes land on Wade and she’s striding forward, jabbing her finger hard into his chest where his skin has only just lanced back together. Wade barely flinches.

“Listen, ‘Pool, if you hurt one greasy hair on that kid’s head–”

“I’m twenty-four–”

“–then I swear I’ll cut you up and ship each piece to every fucking continent on this planet, do you understand?”

Wade swallows.

“Yes Spider-Mom, ma’am,” he says in a rush.

“You also owe me a jet,” she presses.

“I’ll try to find a way to sort that out with the zero dollars I have and no good favor points with Iron Giant,” Wade promises.

Natasha sighs and steps back. Peter’s kind of struck by how familiar they are with one another, wonders how many times they’ve worked together through SHIELD.

“Peter,” she says, and he tries to focus his attention on Natasha (which is hard because Wade has started playing with the tear at the bottom of his shirt and is being overall really distracting)– “call me at this number if you ever need anything.”

She presses a slip of paper into his hand and rises up on her toes to kiss his cheek.

“You’re always welcome,” she whispers, “you’re family. Stop by the tower when you’re ready.”

She ruffles his hair, shoots Wade a dirty look, and leaves through the crooked door of Wade’s apartment.

Peter and Wade stand in silence for sometime, and Wade is the first to break it.

“Is it bad if that kind of turned me on?”

Peter webs his mouth shut.

 

////

 

It turns out that Peter calls Natasha quite frequently.

Wade and him have only been in the city for two days, but Wade suggested Peter tell her about how HYDRA is still sending goonies (his words, not Peter’s) to get him and that any extra surveillance or protection on the matter would be beneficial.

“I’m on it,” Widow had said before hanging up.

Peter hasn’t heard anything from the Avengers, and Wade hasn’t been contacted by SHIELD, so they spend the rainy day in Wade’s apartment, ordering take-out and finding amusement from the befuddled expressions on the delivery person’s faces when they take in the fucked up door held up by One Direction duct tape (Peter had cleaned the webs up after Natasha had left, because the last thing him and Wade need is someone seeing it and getting suspicious).

Wade, Peter finds out, likes to online shop. Which wouldn’t bother Peter if Wade didn’t keep spending all his money on getting Peter clothes.

“Look, Webs, these are utility military grade pants with a belt and two thermal layers, I doubt you could find a way to ruin those.”

After Venom’s small rampage the symbiote has been lying low, still talking, still present, but keeping themselves contained, and it’s a small relief that Peter doesn’t have to be hyper vigilant about the symbiote’s motives. If anything, Venom has been a little bit of a kiss-ass, and Peter’s finding great amusement in the guilt he sometimes feels from Venom. It’s unprecedented but sweet, and Peter’s proud of the alien in a weird, twisted sort of way.

It’s the third day of eating cheap Chinese and pizza that Peter makes an executive decision.

“I need to see the Avengers,” he says, and Wade looks up from his grease slick pizza to stare.

“Okay,” he responds easily, licking marinara sauce off his fingers, “now?”

The rain drums rhythmic on the windowpanes outside, the cars drowned in the gloom of a city washing away. Peter’s wearing new fleece Hello Kitty pajama pants and a ratty sweater of Wade’s and feeling very confused and restless and anxious.

He looks at Wade, at the man who saved him, clothed him, respected him, made him laugh for the first time in years, and feels a warm comfort in his chest that he wants to keep bottled up forever.

“I think it’s time,” Peter says. “I can’t wait around until HYDRA finds me. I just can’t.”

Wade nods and eats the rest of his pizza before standing with a loud stretch and a back popping twist.

“All right, baby boy,” he says, reaching for his katanas on the coffee table, “lets suit up.”

Chapter Text

Turns out, they can't leave immediately.

Peter doesn't want to ride in the jet Natasha was wanting to send for him, not after last time, so Wade and Peter decide to just take a bus the next day to the Avengers compound in Phoenicia, New York.

They kill time watching movies and laughing and Peter's fine with not leaving right away. He can stand this comfortability. It isn't so bad to feel safe.

 

///

 

“Usually suiting up means we get into cool, unnecessarily tight spandex and leather and try not to be obvious about our junk being compressed into–”

“Okay, hey, Wade, I need you to focus right now, you’re the one holding the knife, pal.”

“Right, yeah, got it, only, I don’t “got it” ‘cause like you have such beautiful hair Pete, why do you wanna chop it off? I’ll take it, shit, you wanna try being bald?”

Peter feels a small headache forming between his eyes and he isn’t sure if it’s because of Venom or if it’s because ever since he asked Wade to help cut his hair the mercenary has kind of been babbling none-stop? Maybe he freaked Wade out somehow, because he even started talking to his boxes and Peter doesn’t know much about Wade’s mental illnesses but he can tell Wade’s feeling overwhelmed whenever White and Yellow seep into the conversations.

Peter reaches out and covers Wade’s hand with his own, the one not holding the sharp hunting knife, and that simple gesture makes Wade’s shoulders relax, his words halting. It’s fascinating to Peter, and a little sad, how much Wade craves human contact. Wade never initiates anything with Peter, very aware of how easily triggered Peter is by certain touches, but he always melts when Peter touches him.

It’s beginning to occur to Peter that both of them are embarrassingly touch starved.

“If this is too much you don’t have to do it,” Peter says, voice loud in small confines of Wade’s bathroom, “I can try myself.”

Wade’s shaking his head before Peter’s even finished, his large gloved fingers intertwining absentmindedly with Peter’s own.

“Nah, nope, babe you’re clumsier than a drunk baby deer, you’d cut your little ears off.”

Peter scrunches his nose.

“I don’t wanna know how you’ve seen a drunk baby deer before,” he says.

Wade shoos his comment away before pulling their hands apart and opting to instead run his fingers through Peter’s still damp hair.

“You don’t wanna know,” Wade grins, his mask stretching with it.

“That’s what I just said,” Peter replies but he’s smiling, straightening up when Wade begins to elongate sections of his hair between his fingers.

“I’ve never cut hair before,” Wade says, “Vanessa never let me near hers, ‘cause why the fuck would she I’m a mess all of the time, so you’re sure you want me to do this? I’ll pay for you to have a proper hair cut, Petey, this should be a last resort kind of thing.”

Peter had heard Wade mention Vanessa in passing before the other day, off-handed like he did just now, but when Peter asked about her Wade grew quiet and disappeared into his room for hours so Peter doesn’t ask Wade to clarify.

“I trust you,” Peter says, “and I don’t care if it looks good, I just want it out of my eyes, it’s annoying as all hell.”

“You got it baby boy, I’ll make you look like Monica Geller.”

“Is that a Friends reference?”

“You bet it is,” Wade hums, tilting Peter’s head down gently so Peter is looking at Wade’s steel-toed boots, “you know what episode I’m talkin’ about? It’s Yellow’s fav, I personally have no idea why.”

“I’ve seen that episode,” Peter answers, feeling a slight tug on his scalp and then a chunk of his hair is falling onto his shoulder.

He probably should feel a lot more nervous about Wade handling a knife right by his neck but he’s not. If anything he’s completely at ease watching sections of his hair fall with a soft thwup to the tiled floor and onto his thighs. He feels lighter almost immediately with the knowledge that his hair is being cut.

Wade, despite his self-deprecating comments, is calm. He massages Peter’s scalp between each cut with his knife and it relaxes Peter further. He remembers telling Wade he doesn’t like people pulling his hair, can’t deal with it, because all it brings up is HYDRA trying to hold him down, so Wade’s soft touches, considerate motions, is helping because HYDRA was never gentle and never careful.

Peter doesn’t lose time, but it passes in a strange haze, and he isn’t aware that his eyes have started to droop until Wade is tapping his shoulder and cautiously lifting his head.

“Hey, baby boy, you good?” he asks, voice quiet as to not startle Peter.

Peter hums, blinks, and then tries his best to focus on Deadpool’s familiar mask. His whole body feels warm and tingling, it’s the feeling of crawling into a warm bed on a cold night. He’s safe, right now, comforted.

“Done?” Peter questions and Wade smiles, soft, and nods.

“Yup,” he says, popping the ‘p’, “it actually doesn’t look like you were mauled by a rabid tiger. You wanna see it? Or want me to describe it?”

Peter is always going to be grateful to Wade. He may not act like he’s listening, and he certainly never acts like he remembers anything, but he obviously remembered when Peter told him he doesn’t like mirrors, doesn’t like seeing himself, and it warms Peter to his toes when Wade brings up little details Peter is sure he would forget.

“Describe it to me,” Peter says, easy.

“All right, so it’s shorter near your ears, and the back of your neck. I tried to do a cool layered thing and it may or may not have worked, who knows, you might just have a giant puff on top of your head when your hair dries. It’s kind of swoopy? Best way I can describe it is “I just had really fucking awesome sex and came so hard I passed out upside down”.”

Peter snorts, running his hands through his hair and shaking all the loose cut strands out and onto the floor.

“Thanks,” he says, sincere, “I feel a lot lighter now.”

Deadpool doesn’t say anything, just stares. It’s an intense feeling, especially since Peter can’t see his expression, doesn’t have a read on what Wade’s feeling. Maybe it’s one of the reasons Wade wears the mask, Peter thinks, so people can’t know what he’s thinking. Peter wants nothing more than to take the mask off, roll it up, see Wade’s blue eyes and full lips, because Wade is staring at him and Peter feels like he can’t catch his breath. It’s a moment that stretches too long to be casual, the air between them growing thick with a feeling that makes Peter shiver.

“Wade?” Peter asks, voice rougher than he intended, “are you okay?”

Deadpool visibly shakes himself and jumps back away from Peter so suddenly he hits the frame of the door.

“All good! Never been better, baby boy! Just, ya know, gonna wait for you in the living room! You’re definitely not looking really adorably hot right now, nope, shut the fuck up Yellow, okay bye!”

Deadpool runs from the bathroom before he’s even finished speaking, crashing into something in the living room and cursing under his breath. Peter’s left sitting on the lid of the toilet wondering why his heart’s pounding so hard.

‘avocado man is strange’ Venom says.

Peter wants to agree but his throat is dry.

He splashes his face with cold water before closing the bathroom door and changing into the new clothes Wade had bought for him.

He tries not to think about what just happened.

 

///

 

The rain has stopped outside and they take the subway.

Wade is dressed in civilian clothes but has kept on his gloves and Deadpool mask, which means recognizing the infamous mercenary is now only at 89% instead of 100%. Peter’s not too happy with it but Wade has been a little manic since Peter said he wanted to see the Avengers and if keeping the Deadpool mask helps make him feel better Peter isn’t cruel enough to tell him to take it off.

It occurs to Peter as they transfer to the M into Grand Central that Wade’s nervous. He’s talking non-stop, jittery and stilted in his movements, and Peter’s been so in his own head that he hasn’t noticed until they’re walking out by Hyde Park. He pulls Wade off to the side of the sidewalk, people passing by them in a crowded blur, too much movement for Peter to keep track of everyone.

Wade follows him, easy, and Peter takes both of Wade’s hands in his own, rubbing his thumb over the coarse texture of Wade’s leather gloves.

“We don’t have to do this,” Peter says, “I can go alone–”

“Like hell I’m about to send you up there by yourself,” Wade interrupts, his restless movements calming the instant Peter takes his hands, “c’mon, Webs, don’t be daft.”

“Are you okay, though? I don’t want to put you in any position you’re uncomfortable with. That’s like, the last thing I want to do.”

Deadpool leans forward, slow so that Peter can track every motion, to rest his forehead against Peter’s own. Wade inhales and relaxes further, and Peter wishes, for the fifth time that day, that he could see Wade’s face. They’re standing so close that Peter’s sure they look like lovers, but it’s a comfort to have Wade resting on him. Peter’s happy to take some of the weight off his shoulders.

“I’m A-okay, Webs, no need to worry about lil’ ol’ me. Swear on my right pinky, okay? Let’s focus on you today! You’re the one going through a life-changing journey right now. How are you?”

Peter tilts his head, his cheek brushing Deadpool’s before he pulls back, really hoping he’s not blushing because this is beginning to feel very intimate and they are standing on a crowded sidewalk in Midtown Manhattan. The new Avengers compound is up further, on the outskirts of Phoenicia near the mountains and woods. It’s a trek up there from Brooklyn, and they need to go back into Grand Central to get to Port Authority (“who has time to walk six blocks what do you think we are, super-enhanced humans or some shit?” Wade had said when Peter suggested they just walk there) but they both needed the air and Peter’s grateful Wade followed him without question.

“I feel weirdly calm,” Peter says as Wade’s thumb brushes over his wrist. He shudders.

He hates how he knows that Wade is smiling.

“You ready for a long bus ride?” Deadpool asks, “I brought granola bars and some beer and some Gatorade, also some old pizza crust ‘cause waste no want not, amiright?”

“You brought beer?” Peter asks, looking at the Spider-Man gym bag (made for kids) slung over Wade’s shoulder.

“Maybe, I honestly can’t remember I grabbed whatever I could, Webs, we’re growing boys who need nutrients.”

“Right,” Peter says, and lets go of Wade’s hands. His skin is starting to feel warm.

“We goin’? We ready? I’m all ready, Webs, let’s do this. A nice ending to a nice road trip, right?” Wade’s saying, beginning to pull Peter back towards the station but Peter plants his feet and Wade would have better luck trying to move a train.

“What do you mean ending?” Peter asks, dread building in his gut, enhanced by Venom’s own confusion.

Deadpool tilts his head; a few people shooting him annoyed looks as he blocks most of the sidewalk as he turns to face Peter. The large man shrugs.

“Well, yeah, Pete, I mean, this is what I promised I’d do, ya know? Take you to the Avengers, drop you off at home and then I’d scram? You’re staying with them aren’t you? I mean, who the hell would want to say with insane ol’ me instead of the Avengers?”

Peter wants to say he would but his chest feels tight. He didn’t think this through. He didn’t think about staying with Tony, or Natasha, or any of them. At first, yeah, but after everything he went through with Wade he just assumed he would be staying with mercenary.

He never considered the possibility that Wade wouldn’t want that, that Deadpool has his own life, his own way of being that isn’t centered around Peter. Peter had been selfish to assume that Wade would want to keep staying with him. He’d been stupid, naïve, and the realization of that was choking Peter’s throat, clogging up everything. He doesn’t want to say goodbye to Wade. He isn’t prepared for that. He didn’t know this was supposed to be a trade that he’d leave Wade and stay with the Avengers.

If he’d known then he wouldn’t have suggested going to them yet. But he’s been self-centered, and a little conceited, he never stopped to consider that maybe Wade wanted time on his own, wanted him gone. He’s been ignorant.

Venom is quiet in his mind.

“Pete? You okay?” Wade asks stepping closer but Peter steps back, plastering on what he hopes is a reassuring smile.

“All good,” he says, ignoring Wade’s outstretched hand and walking back to the station, “let’s go.”

Wade follows and Peter tries not to feel bad about keeping more space between them, but he feels weird, feels a strange hollowed space in his chest. The bus ride to Phoenicia is long and Peter would have fallen asleep, rested his head on Wade’s shoulder like he’s grown so used to doing, but he doesn’t. Instead he closes his eyes and tries to sleep, or look like he’s sleeping, to avoid any kind of conversation.

Wade’s unusually quiet as well, and Peter tries not to let himself feel emotional. He shouldn’t have gotten so attached. It was foolish, and stupid, and he won’t make the mistake again. It’s still raining outside, the windows fogging over in a thin white mist. There are only four other people on the bus; a kid across from Peter is watching The Office on his mother’s phone.

Venom shivers under Peter’s skin.

‘why are we leaving’ Venom asks.

Peter doesn’t answer. If he does, it’ll make it real.

///

 

Natasha is waiting for them at the bus terminal, a thick jacket over her shoulders that hides the three firearms she has strapped inside.

She smiles when she sees Peter, pulling him into a hug.

“Nice hair cut,” she says and Peter wants to be happy to see her but his smile feels forced and fake and she can tell.

Her eyes dart to Wade, like Peter’s sullen demeanor is somehow the mercenary’s fault, but really Peter did this to himself.

“Deadpool,” Natasha says in way of greeting, “thanks for bringing him.”

Wade looks uncomfortable, his shoulders hunched, and he’s bouncing on his toes, a bundle of nervous energy. Peter has to fight the urge to reach out and comfort him.

“No problem, Spider-Mom, it’s all good, he’s yours for the weekend. Remember that he needs to eat a lot of veggies and no TV after six pm.”

“Funny,” Natasha says, tone dry, “you’re not coming with us, are you?”

There’s a heavy silence, one that Peter knows he should fill, but he can’t unstick his tongue from the roof of his mouth. If Wade needs to leave, if they have to part, it would be easier to do it here, with only Natasha as a witness, not all of the Avengers and the breakdown he’ll most definitely have.

“If Petey needs me then–” Wade begins but Peter cuts him off.

“I’ll be okay,” he says, and he can hear Wade’s mouth snapping shut, “thank you, Deadpool.”

Don’t get attached don’t get attached don’t be attached–

It doesn’t feel right to part from Wade now, especially not here, but Peter doesn’t want to drag this out, doesn’t want to hurt more than he has too. Wade’s standing, tense and closed off, and Peter is hyper-aware of Natasha’s eyes on the both of them.

“Right,” Wade clears his throat, scratching the back of his head, “okay, cool, yeah. Well, um, okay.”

It’s awkward.

Peter isn’t used to awkward with Deadpool, but his chest feels tight, his eyes sting, and he needs to leave, needs to stop being such a child. Venom is sullen in his veins.

Deadpool pulls his duffle off his shoulder and unzips the outside pocket. He pulls out an old flip phone, bedazzled with hot pink plastic gems. He hands it to Peter who takes it, throat tight.

“Just in case,” Wade says, voice sounding thick, “ya know. If you ever need anything or want someone to watch shitty daytime TV with.”

Peter should’ve been prepared for this. He isn’t sure when he’s going to see Wade again, and he’s struck paralyzed by the thought that maybe this is it. Maybe this is the last time he’ll see him.

“Do you have the drive?” Natasha asks pointedly, arms crossed, “you know, from the mission you were supposed to carry out originally?”

Deadpool digs into the duffle bag and tosses her a small thumb drive. Natasha catches it easily.

Ya know, I think bringing Peter back was about ten million times more important than whatever freaky-ass shit HYDRA was getting up too but sure, take it.” Wade’s standing there, tense and oozing annoyance, hurt, a shit ton of emotions that make his broad frame look small and isolated. It makes Peter’s heart ache.

‘hug him’ Venom hisses and makes his limbs move.

Peter follows through the rest of the way, wrapping his arms around Wade’s neck and broad shoulders, burying his face under Wade’s chin and just trying not to break. Wade hugs him back instantly, just as tight, and if they both didn’t possess mutant genes Peter knows they’d be breaking each other’s bones.

“I can’t thank you enough,” Peter whispers, “I’ll make it up to you somehow. I promise.”

Wade holds him tighter.

“Well,” he says, “when you inevitably need to get new clothes let me know. And if I need my door fixed 'cause a crazy dude kicked it in I’ll give you a buzz.”

Peter huffs a laugh and pulls back.

“You got it,” he says.

Wade nods, looking like he wants to say more but doesn’t, giving Natasha a stunted salute before turning on his heel and striding back to the bus terminal. There’s a part of Peter he takes with him, the warm part, the naïve part, the part that believes in happy endings and fairytales and good beginnings leading to good ends.

Peter watches Wade until he can’t see him anymore and he feels cold. Detached.

“’C’mon, Peter,” Natasha says, tone too gentle, too pitying, too different, “let’s go.”

///

Peter isn’t feeling much of anything.

It was as if Wade had been keeping him grounded, keeping all the bad away, and now that he’s gone there’s nothing to distract Peter out of his head. Natasha isn’t a talker, and that’s not good for Peter now, it gives him too much time to feel and think. He doesn’t want to think. The trees pass by the window in green blurs, and it would be pretty, if Wade was there, but he’s not and it isn’t.

Peter knows he’s probably pouting, and he doesn’t mean to be immature, or selfish, but he feels lost now. He’s never been particularly close to Widow, in the sense that they talk about their thoughts and feelings, and it shows in the stilted silence between them as they drive through the mountains. Natasha has the heat on, and Peter feels too hot in his own skin, like everything is closing in, like everything is too tight.

Natasha must notice because she turns the heat off.

After an hour of driving the woods clear and they’re met with a large gate, and Peter remembers this, remembers coming here when he was fifteen and easily impressed. He sinks down into the seat and makes himself small. It helps.

“You good?” Natasha asks as she presses her thumb, her eye, and speaks into a small metal tablet by the gate’s entrance.

Peter nods but can’t find the voice to answer.

The gate doesn’t have any metal runs, nothing physical to see blocking, but Peter knows a force field has just been deactivated a they’re able to keep driving.

“It’s just Tony,” Natasha says, a grin on her face, “Rogers and Barnes are off campus and Vision and Wanda have fucked off to God knows where.”

“But you know where they are, anyway,” Peter says, and tries for a teasing, light tone.

“Yeah, I do,” Nat grins, “what I’m trying to say is you won’t be bombarded with everyone today. It’ll just be me and Tony.”

“He knows I’m coming, right?” Peter asks.

“I told him,” Natasha says, “I feel like this would be a too big of a surprise. Don’t wanna give him a heart attack.”

Peter knows she’s joking but he can’t find the energy to laugh. His anxiety has grown and his stomach hurts, his hands shaking. He’s both excited, terrified, and detached, and it’s such a strange, confusing combination that he just doesn’t say anything.

It’s not long before Peter can see the compound coming up between the trees, large and structural, it hasn’t changed much in the years he’s been away. There’s still a large A on the side of the South Wing, and the windows where he and Tony stood in front of many a time are still facing the forest and trees beyond. It’s bringing back memories, like the time he and Steve sparred in the training gym in the North side, after the fight at the airport, after, what Falcon so sarcastically calls their own little “family dispute” Steve had left to Wakanda with Bucky.

They’d come back two years later, when Peter was eighteen and officially an Avenger. Tony had been tense, but glad to have them, and the next day Steve had asked if Peter wanted to spar.

“Hell yeah,” he remembers saying.

Hell yeah.

He’s feeling more and more detached the longer the ride continues, and he’s frustrated with himself, regretting sending Wade away, but he’s an adult man who survived torture and experimentation, he can handle seeing Tony Stark again. He has to be strong enough to do this, because if he’s not how weak is he?

“Hey, I gotta ask,” Natasha’s saying, pulling up a long driveway towards where a door is sliding up at the side of the South Wing, “you and Deadpool. You’re not together are you?”

Peter’s brought back to reality instantly.

“What? No! What, why?” he splutters, caught off guard by her question and hating how his cheeks feel hot because he could deny anything but if he’s blushing Natasha won’t believe a word he says.

He can’t really blame her, either, because she’s seen Wade and him hug twice and they’re really comfortable around each other and Peter gets how that would look to an outsider, he does

“Just wondering,” she says offhandedly, pulling into the dim garage, white fluorescents flickering on as they slow into a designated parking spot. “He listens to you.”

“I don’t really understand the significance of that,” Peter answers honestly, trying to keep the conversation going so he’s not lost with just his thoughts and anxious heart.

“He doesn’t listen,” Natasha says, opening her door and pausing to look Peter in the eye, “to anyone.”

Then she’s climbing out and closing the door and Peter’s scrambling with shaking hands to follow her. She walks briskly, her chunky heels echoing around them as she leads Peter to sliding glass doors, pressing her palm to a screen identical to the one by the front gates.

“Welcome, Agent Romanoff,” Friday’s voice says and Peter’s struck by a wave of aching nostalgia, so intense it doesn’t feel real.

The doors slide open and Peter hesitates, a part of him too scared to follow.

“Welcome, Mr. Parker,” Friday greets, and Peter didn’t know that hearing an AI would get him choked up.

“Thanks,” he whispers, and takes a deep breath before following Natasha as well. Inside the compound are the same grey walls with various forms of art, winding stairs, a few plants by the bigger windows. There’s more furniture than Peter remembers, but it smells the same, like clean cars and fresh laundry. He recalls sneaking in on Sunday mornings to wash his clothes, because Pepper installed fast wash and drying machines and he’d sit with her and drink coffee while his laundry was being washed.

He wishes he had Wade to hold a hand to his chest and tell him to breathe.

He’s a fucking idiot.

‘yes’ Venom agrees, having been so quiet that Peter’s almost startled by their voice.

“Shut up,” Peter whispers, “I can’t deal with you right now.”

“Deal with who right now?”

And that’s–

Peter turns.

Tony Stark is walking towards them, dressed in a t-shirt and sweats; the most casual Peter has ever seen him. He has more grey in his hair, more lines around his eyes and mouth. Peter doesn't think he's real for a moment. He had so many dreams of Tony in captivity. He has so many memories of growing up with the guy, of fighting alongside him, and then to have it ripped from him? Peter doesn't believe his luck to give him something like this. He doesn't think he deserves good things back.

But Tony's holding open his arms and before Peter can comprehend much of anything he’s thrown himself into them. Tony hugs him with his whole body, and he’s shaking, Peter can feel him shaking, pressing Peter so close that Peter can’t feel anything but how warm he is.

“Good god, kid,” Tony says, voice thick and shaky, “don’t ever scare an old man like that ever again, I’ve been looking for you everywhere.”

Peter wants to say something smart in reply but he just lets out a broken little sound and hugs Tony tighter. He’s not crying, he doesn’t think he’s capable of that much emotion right now, but he feels Tony trembling, feels the older man pat his back, his neck, a solid anchor that Peter desperately needs. Tony touches him like he needs to be reminded that Peter is real, that he’s solid, not a dream or a hallucination.

Peter isn’t sure how long they hug and he doesn’t care. Eventually Tony pulls back, eyes watery but he’s smiling like Peter’s just brought him the code to end world hunger and fix all the shitty choices he’s ever made.

“Look at you,” Tony says, laughing; like he can’t believe this is real, “you’re all grown up.”

“I was grown up before I left,” Peter says, and he’s smiling so wide his cheeks hurt.

‘kidnapped’ Venom corrects, ‘taken’

And if that ain’t a bucket of ice water.

Tony’s looking him up and down, instinctual, like he’s checking for injuries, but all of Peter’s are internal. Tony won’t find them on his arms.

“I have a lot of questions,” Tony says, looking from Peter to Natasha and back again, “but I should probably feed you first.”

Peter isn’t aware of how hungry he is until Tony mentions food. He nods, a little too enthusiastically.

“Yeah, please,” he says and Tony wraps an arm over his shoulders and steers them down the hall.

 

///

 

The food looks good, despite Tony struggling over the recipe Friday is reading to him.

Peter is seated at the island in the kitchen on a tall stool, and Tony’s pushed both water and whiskey at him. Peter isn’t sure which one he’s supposed to drink first. Natasha is sitting beside him, and Peter’s thankful that she’s stayed. Both him and Tony need all the support they can get.

Peter can feel the phone Wade gave him in his pocket, and it’s a heavy reminder that Wade could’ve been here too, if Peter hadn’t been so in his head.

But he isn’t going to think about that.

‘introduce us’ Venom says, the veins on Peter’s arms standing out stark and black.

Peter rolls down the sleeves of his sweatshirt and hopes no one saw. He doesn’t even know where to begin to describe Venom, and he’s nowhere close to wanting to talk about Kasady. Not being this sober, at least. But Peter’s known Venom for three years, has lived with them in the most intimate of ways, and he knows that if he doesn’t introduce the symbiote soon then Venom will take matters into their own hands. Tendrils?

“Um, guys?” Peter tries, and Tony looks up from where he’s mixing some kind of sauce in a ceramic bowl.

“You good?” Tony asks, immediately concerned, “stomach hurts? Want a snack? Medical attention?”

Peter’s a little overwhelmed.

“No, I…” he doesn’t know how to continue.

How is he supposed to say that HYDRA captured him, experimented on him, and forcefully injected an alien symbiote into his veins over a three month time period?

‘like that’ Venom says, ‘say that’

Peter’s trying really really hard to not disconnect. He is. But Wade isn’t here to help ground him, and he hasn’t seen Natasha and Tony in years. The old comfort he had felt with them has been stunted, suffocated, and he isn’t sure how to bring it back. Instead, he grinds his nails into his palms and the sting of pain helps clear his head. He keeps it up as he opens his mouth to speak.

“I have an alien living inside of me,” is what he blurts out.

Tony and Natasha stare.

“Excuse me?” Tony asks, voice both strained and unbelieving.

“Um, like the movie Prometheus? Only, Venom’s not going to burst out of my stomach, I don’t think. Oh, and they go by they/them pronouns. They’re also prone to fits of violence and don’t like cilantro.”

Tony looks like he’s about to pass out.

“You…” he begins, stops, then reaches forward and takes Peter’s whiskey, downing the whole thing in one large gulp. He tries again.

“Venom,” he says, once he’s stared at the air over Peter’s shoulder for an immeasurable amount of time, “I’ve heard of that– I mean them.”

“You have?” Peter asks digging his nails in deeper.

Tony nods, bracing his hands on the counter-top.

“We sent someone to recover the files on the Venom Symbiote not too long ago,” Tony says, being careful in choosing his words, “haven’t heard back yet, but when we do I can show you–”

“I have it,” Natasha interrupts, reaching into her pocket and placing a familiar thumb drive on the granite surface, “Deadpool is the one who broke Peter out.”

If Tony looked like he was going to pass out before it’s nothing with how he looks now. There’s a stilted silence, and Peter isn’t sure why no one has been happy to hear that Deadpool rescued Peter but it’s starting to get really annoying.

“Wait, okay, we need to pause on all of this real quick, because I’m still trying to process that the Venom symbiote is inside of Peter, I can’t handle thinking about Deadpool right now,” Tony groans, pinching the bridge of his nose and taking a deep breath.

Natasha and Peter watch him, waiting. Venom is coiling inside Peter’s veins, itching to reveal themself.

“Okay,” Tony sighs, and levels Peter with a look that is pure determination, “let’s start from the beginning.”

 

///

 

Peter is about 99% sure that Tony is drunk.

No, scratch that, he’s 110% sure that Tony is drunk.

Peter didn’t go into details, he can’t do that yet, and Tony didn’t pry for anything more than what Peter was comfortable with retelling. He managed to give the older Avenger a general layout: kidnapped after a patrol, experimented on, tortured, forcibly bonded with the alien symbiote, rinse and repeat.

Tony took a drink between each breath Peter took, when he felt himself getting overwhelmed. He’s pleasantly detached from his emotions currently; him and Natasha sitting shoulder-to-shoulder and watching Tony stumble about his lab. It’s bigger than Peter remembers, more cluttered, and he notices maps on the far wall, one of those insane red string theories that stretches and fills most of the cavernous room.

He doesn’t ask what they’re for. He knows.

“Okay,” Tony’s saying, puttering over his tables, his tablet, drinking whiskey like it’s water, “all right, so, we’re not going to go into this now, because you should get therapy and a medical scan ‘cause I doubt Deadpool took you to a hospital–”

“We didn’t have time,” Peter feels compelled to say.

Tony nods.

“Yeah, it’s okay kid, I ain’t blaming him, shit I never thought I’d owe the guy but I guess I do.”

“I need another jet,” Natasha says, amused.

“What happened to the other one?” Tony asks.

“Deadpool used it. Do you need any more information?” Natasha asks.

Tony sighs, scratches the back of his head, and shrugs.

“Guess not,” he says.

Then he’s walking over to Peter, reaching out to touch before stopping, asking permission silently. Peter nods and Tony places his hands on both of Peter’s shoulders. Peter’s sure he can feel the sharp edges of his bones through his sweatshirt with how tight Tony’s gripping him.

“Pete, I need you to focus on what I’m saying right now, okay?”

Understanding the seriousness of the moment Peter nods.

“Tomorrow I’m taking you for a physical. You’re skinny as a stick, pale as my ass, and have an alien inside you. Then we’re going to have lunch, maybe go for a run, and get everything figured out. I’m going to take care of you, I’m going to take care of everything, you don’t have to do anything anymore, okay? You can breathe.”

Peter didn’t realize how badly he needed to hear it until Tony said it. There’s a weight lifting off of him, makes it easier to breathe, to nod his head and understand.

Tony smiles, soft.

“Glad to have you back, kid,” he says.

“Glad to be back, Mr. Stark,” Peter says, and means it.

Chapter Text

It’s been a week since Peter has seen Wade.

It’s been three years and one week since he’s seen his Aunt May, his friends and felt normal.

He’s sitting in Tony’s lab, Venom crawling over his shoulders as Peter analyzes the full body X-Ray in front of him. Venom appears as gas would on the screen, dark smudges that circulate in between Peter’s too white bones.

When Tony first saw the scan he’d grown very quiet.

“It’s really bonded with you,” he had said, and Peter felt nothing, “more than just emotionally.”

Venom finds it fascinating too. The symbiote has been becoming more self-aware, more curious. Peter hasn’t been able to study the symbiote, hasn’t been able to really test how it’s changed him physically. HYDRA didn’t share their information, but what him and Tony have discovered is that Venom is more than an external organism: it’s bonded with Peter, in every aspect of the word. Venom also hasn’t triggered Peter’s spider-sense, and Peter’s certain it’s because the symbiote has absorbed certain chemical information from him.
Venom, Peter is discovering, has quite the personality and rudimentary intelligence.

Venom isn’t only a second skin; they’re in Peter’s tissues, his bones. Peter wasn’t sure of how deep Venom grew until Tony had given him the result of his Full Body Bone Scan. It’s daunting, but it isn’t something that scares Peter. It does, however, raise the question: how to get Venom out?

‘alive’ Venom says, curious, ‘look’

“Yeah,” Peter affirms, biting the lid of his pen as Venom creeps along his fingers, like the symbiote is testing itself out, “you didn’t know you were alive?”

There’s a pulsing emotion from the symbiote, one that’s gone as quick as a heartbeat, but Peter feels it all the same. Insecurity.

“We’re quite a pair,” Peter says, running his thumb over Venom’s skin. It’s cold and coarse, and it’s so strange to be discovering all this new knowledge with Venom.

Now that Peter has the tools to access the symbiote, to run blood tests and scans and analysis’s, things he wasn’t allowed to do in the past with the alien, Peter feels a lot less intimidated by Venom.

Venom has been able to test their own abilities as well. They can expand, which Peter knew, but they never were able to test the extent. The other day Peter had gone to the training hall in the North Wing and had let Venom play. The room is specifically designed for Banner to try and train alongside the Hulk, and Peter spent hours with Venom, testing what they could do. And then Tony had delivered this scan and now Peter was enraptured. Enthralled.

The scientist part of him, the part he’d never thought he would harness again, was excited.

His psychical with the SHILED approved doctor had been a numbing, overwhelming experience. Venom doesn’t like labs, or doctors, and neither does Peter, so they’re combined unease and distrust resulted in the lab being wrecked when Venom caught the first sight of a needle. Tony flew the doctor out to the compound instead, and had the blood work, heart rate, EKG tests, and blood pressure done in the common room where Peter liked to read.

It had gone much better, besides for getting the results, which Peter had a feeling of anyway. He was underweight, low blood sugar, and dehydrated. Tony had also gotten Peter a nutritionist, and had them prepare meal plans and recipes specifically for Peter and his fast metabolism (made even faster by Venom’s assistance).

Tony also started making green shakes for Peter three times a day, similar to ensure it had a lot of protein and healthy carbohydrates, and while it tasted like freshly mowed grass Peter felt better after drinking them. He could focus better, had fewer headaches, and his depression was even elevated. He still found himself losing time, and woke up in cold sweats with a racing heart more often than not.

His reunion with Pepper was after he’d had a particularly nasty nightmare; filled with medical tools and red stained gloves and broken fingers, and he’d shattered the bedside light in his room because Venom woke to the panic. So he had gone downstairs and stuck his head in the freezer and Pepper had found him there at three am. She made him warm milk and moved him to the stools by the counter and sat with him until he saw a kitchen and not a lab. She looked the same as Peter remembered, and she hid her tears in Peter’s pajama shirt when he reached up to hug her.

In just one week he’d gained three pounds, and his ribs weren’t as pronounced. He could walk up and down the stairs without feeling faint, and had better control over Venom and the symbiote’s emotions.

“How long are you two gonna be in here?” Tony’s voice echoes around the wide lab and Peter turns, Venom peeking out over his shoulder.

Odd enough, the symbiote has taken a strange liking to Stark. Peter is pretty sure it’s a residue emotion from Peter’s own feeling towards the guy, and that Venom is picking up on it. Tony, when he first saw Venom, tried to poke them with his fork. Venom hadn’t liked that, so much. Peter’s pretty sure there’s still a dent in the wall from where Venom shoved Tony back. But the symbiote hasn't lunged out at the other man since, so Peter counts that as a win.

“You need the space?” Peter asks, pushing away from the table.

Tony waves his hands, and stops a safe six feet away from them.

“Not right this second,” Tony says, crossing his arms, “but Pepper’s here.”

Peter’s stomach clenches with his nerves, and his hands feel sweaty.

‘eminem’ Venom says, ‘knees weak’

So Venom’s been listening to Tony’s music again. Nice.

“Um, now?” Peter asks, and Tony must pick up on the insecurity in his tone because his expression softens.

“You don’t have to rush this, Pete,” he says, “we can postpone for another day.”

“No, I can’t cancel on her twice,” Peter sighs, rubbing a hand over his eyes. He’s both excited and nauseous, and it’s making a really nasty combination in his stomach.

“What if…” he begins, stops, and has to take a deep breath before continuing, “what if she’s upset with me?”

“Why would she be upset with you?” Tony asks, tilting his head.

Peter can’t put his thoughts into words, so he just shrugs instead.

“Look, kid, she’s your aunt. Hell, she’s pretty much your mom. She’s been worried sick over you, she knows what happened, why the hell would she be upset with you?”

Peter twists the hem of his shirt in his hands and Venom covers his fingers, calms his fidgeting.

“I–I’ve put her through so much,” Peter confesses, voice cracking, “I can’t keep hurting her. Maybe it’s best if she thinks I’m dead. Maybe–”

“Hey, kid, look at me for a sec,” Tony instructs and Peter does, reluctantly. “That’s a decision for her to make. You can’t decide to make it for her. But I swear, she’s gonna be nothing but smiles okay? She’ll yell at you about being reckless later, but what happened to you? Not your fault. It's not like you took a cross country journey for three years and didn't tell anyone and showed up like "hey what's up?" You know that right?”

Peter gives a wet laugh and wipes at his eyes. He doesn't know that, not really, because he's still feeling guilty, feels guilt every day, but he nods so Tony knows he heard him nonetheless.

‘you love her’ Venom whispers, feeling out the warmth in Peter’s chest.

“Yeah, a lot,” Peter answers, and stands to follow Tony out of the lab, despite how hard his heart his pounding and how heavy his limbs feel.

Tony’s gotten used to Peter talking to himself in the span of seven days and he doesn’t ask anymore who Peter is talking to. Which Peter is grateful for because it makes him feel a lot more stable than he actually is.

They walk up the stairs to the upper level and Peter hears May well before he sees her. She’s sitting next to Pepper in one of the lounge rooms, the large wrap around windows silhouetting her in gold light and Peter can’t do this, he can’t, he’s horrible, he should’ve called her first, he shouldn’t have let his guard down, shouldn’t have gotten kidnapped, shouldn’t have–

May sees him.

It’s not hard, he stopped walking in the middle of the foyer and is just standing there, staring.

‘introduce me’ Venom urges.

‘please shut up’ Peter thinks, desperate, because May is getting up from the couch, slow, like if she moves too fast she’ll fall.

She’s looking at Peter like she doesn’t believe he’s there.

There’s a very long tense quiet, where Pepper hovers behind May, expecting her to fall. She doesn’t. May’s the toughest person Peter knows. She’s tougher than he is, because she moves first, slow, walking up to Peter with an expression that’s unreadable. Peter doesn’t have a lot of time to notice the gray hair around her temple, the deeper lines around her eyes, before she’s pulling him to her chest like she used to do when he was small and a teenager and scared of the monster he believed lived in his closet.

Now, the monster’s under his skin and he’s almost thirty and he’s taller than she is but he hunches his shoulders and hugs her with everything he has left because if he’s going to give his all to anyone it’s May.

They don’t say anything, and Peter can sense Tony and Pepper leaving the room, but his eyes are closed so he doesn’t cry and he keeps them that way. May’s nails are digging into his shoulders and she’s rubbing his back like she would after his parent’s passed and fuck fuck he’s missed her more than anything.

He’s so caught up in all of the nostalgia, the emotion coming back to him that he doesn’t even realize Venom creeping up until May’s jolting in his arms.

“What the fuck?” she screams, and Peter lets her go as she jumps back.

Venom is out over his skin, reaching for May with twirling ink fingers and Peter steps away, alarmed.

“V what the hell, man, back up,” Peter hisses and Venom, does, reluctantly.

‘we wanted to know what hugs are like’ the symbiote says but Peter is too preoccupied with making sure May isn’t going to start hyperventilating to answer Venom.

“May, I’m so sorry are you okay?” Peter asks, wanting to reach out and comfort her but not knowing if that would help or not.

She’s looking at him with wide eyes, more surprised than when she walked in on him in his Spider-Man uniform, chest heaving and her hand placed over her heart.

“W–what the–what was that?” she asks, voice high and a little squeaky and shit. She’s freaking out.

“Um,” Peter says, trying to get his bearings because it’s been a roller-coaster of emotions in the past five minutes and he hasn’t even been able to process that he’s seeing May again to start explaining Venom, “they put an alien symbiotic parasite in me but it’s a really long story and I just want to not think about HYDRA or anything for a while ‘cause that’s all I’ve been doing for the past three years and I’m really sorry I just left, I didn’t mean to, and I’m sorry you were worried and that I once spilled orange juice on your white coat but didn’t tell you, I still feel really guilty an–”

“Peter, honey, breathe,” May laughs, but she’s crying too, reaching out and taking Peter’s hands, careful of not touching his wrists because she’s wonderful–“you…uh, don’t have to tell me about the weird thing that just came out of you. Yet. We can just talk? Is that okay, would you like to just talk? Like old times?”

Peter nods, maybe too enthusiastically, feeling weird and on edge of a breakdown because a part of him wants to cry and another part wants to crawl in a hole and another part is so happy and relieved that he wants to go punch something.

“I was thinking dinner?” May asks, rubbing her thumb over his knuckles, and huh, maybe that’s why Wade holding his hands was so comforting.

“Yeah, yes, please,” Peter says in a bit of a rush.

May nods, smiling and letting her tears fall unashamed. She ruffles Peter’s hair, pinches his cheeks.

“God, I’ve missed you so much, Peter,” she says. “So damn much.”

“Can I stay with you tonight?” Peter asks, and May hesitates. “Or not, I can not, I can stay here, that’s fine, I’m sorry, this is a lot I know I–”

“Okay, breathe, we’re not going to be able to go anywhere if you pass out on me,” May interrupts, taking a deep breath as she takes Peter in. “I just don’t think that’s a good idea, not right now. I mean, honey, that weird Nazis thing? HYDRO?”

“HYRDA,” Peter corrects, weak.

“Yeah, those assholes? They might still be looking for you. You’re safer here.”

Peter can hear the underlying ‘I’m safer away from you’.

He feels rejected, small. So he just nods.

‘no one can be near us,’ Venom says, somber, ‘are we dangerous?’

“Peter, it’s not ‘cause I don’t want to be with you, I can hear your self-deprecating thoughts from here. But honey, I was in witness protection for a year after you were captured. And these HYDRA people are nasty, right? The last thing I want is for them to get you again, I don’t think I can handle that, I don’t think I’ll be able to come back from that again–”

“Hey, hey, now you need to breathe May,” Peter soothes, reaching out and placing a comforting hand on her shoulder, “I get it. I do, I’m good we can stay here.”

May takes a deep breath, shaky, and exhales.

“When all of this blows over,” she says, “I’ll take you to the city. We can get Thai, how’s that sound?”

“Great,” Peter says, “that sounds great.”

 

///

 

Peter isn’t sure where Tony and Pepper went but May and him have the kitchen to themselves.

They cook spaghetti and meatballs with Tony’s completely over-the-top organic food and May pours them white wine and Peter loves this, honestly, truly loves this, because him and May only got to drink together on his twenty-first and the alcohol helps get him out of his head so he can enjoy this time with her. So he can feel happy.

He tells May about Venom and the symbiote comes out over Peter’s hand slowly, and hey the little guy’s learning, to shake May’s hand when she holds it out. It’s weirdly sweet and Venom stays out over Peter’s shoulder, like they’re watching the night unfold and want to be apart of it.

They don’t talk about what Peter went through, and May doesn’t ask, or bring it up. They converse like the past three years have never happened, and it’s exactly what Peter needs. The food is good and they eat it in the nice living room sitting on the floor, watching the Bachelor on the television as the sun goes down.

Peter feels full and content and safe.

He feels safe.

“So,” May says, setting her empty plate beside her, “what’s with the sparkly phone?”

“The what?” Peter asks before he remembers that he’s been carrying the phone Wade gave him in his pocket all week. “Yeah, Wade gave it to me.”

“Who’s Wade?” May asks. “New friend?”

“Yeah, I guess, I don't think we're technically friends,” Peter says drinking the rest of his wine in one go, “he’s the one who saved me.”

“Oh,” May says, surprise coloring her tone but she’s trying to disguise the look on her face, “is he an Avenger?”

“I highly doubt it,” Peter says, shifting so he’s more comfortable, resting his back against the edge of the couch, “Tony and Nat don’t really like him.”

‘we like him’ Venom says, ‘he kills like us’

“I’m not telling May that,” Peter whispers then realizes he said it out loud.

“Not telling me what?” May asks, eyebrows furrowing.

“Nothing! Venom’s just being loud, that’s all.”

“Are they usually loud?” May asks.

“Sometimes,” Peter says.

“Do you two get along?” May asks.

‘no’

“Sort of,” Peter says and smiles when he feels Venom pinch the skin of his neck.

“Well,” May continues, eyes looking from Peter to where Venom is still coiled around his shoulder, like an overprotective curious puppy, “why’d Wade give you a phone?”

“For emergencies,” Peter says, “if I need anything.”

“That’s thoughtful,” May hums, and Peter can’t help but agree. “So it’s just for emergencies then?”

“I mean, I guess,” Peter answers, running his thumb over the grooves of the pink plastic gems, “he just said for in case I need to buy new clothes 'cause ours kept getting ruined.”

May looks, understandably, alarmed.

“What?” she asks.

“Not, not in like, a weird sex way!” Peter tries to backtrack but at her darkening expression feels even more flustered, “Just because, like when he broke me out I kept ruining all the clothes he bought for me.”

‘sounds bad’ Venom says, unhelpfully.

“Peter,” she says, slow, “he didn’t hurt you, did he?”

“God no! No! Not at all! Wade’s great, I mean, he’s a little unhinged and has some intense mental illnesses and maybe kills too much but he’s a good guy. I think. I mean, he was nice to me.”

May is quiet.

Peter needs to learn when to shut up.

‘we can help’

“Okay,” May begins, “why doesn’t Tony or Natasha like him?”

“I…I dunno?” Peter says, hesitant, because he’s pretty sure he just said all of the wrong things.

May doesn’t look impressed.

“He doesn’t sound safe,” she says.

“He bought me food,” Peter can’t help but say, not sure why he’s feeling so defensive, “and clothes. And he always made sure I was comfortable and helped me calm down from panic attacks and protected me and he’s really funny and he talked to Venom which was kind of cool ‘cause no one really does that and he helped me cut my hair and – what?”

May’s staring at him with an unreadable look and Peter can’t tell if he’s in trouble or not.

“What?” he pushes when May doesn’t say anything “is there something on my face?”

May sighs and sets down her glass, rubbing a tired hand through her long hair.

“Peter, I love you, but you need to be careful, okay? You’re a sweet kid with a big heart, just…please be careful. Please.”

May’s looking at him like she’s about to cry again so Peter just nods and stuffs Wade’s phone deep into his sweatpants’ pocket. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

“I will,” he promises.

 

///

 

It’s been three weeks and Peter’s been training.

Tony personalized a training regime with Friday and installed it in the gym in the West Wing. It’s similar to Bruce’s, designed to stimulate and arouse the Hulk, only this one is to help stimulate Venom. It’s tough, and a little intimidating, but Peter’s feeling more like himself than ever and it’s time to, as Tony so kindly puts it, control the weird alien slime that’s made a home inside his cells.

Peter begrudgingly agrees.

He’s done the course three times, and two of those times went horribly, Venom taking control and Peter waking up, hours later, in the woods under the mountains with Tony hovering in his suit over him. The last time, the third time, Peter stayed in control. So. Progress.

Even if it means he goes to bed with his entire body aching, and blood dried in his ears where Venom tried to take control and failed, it’s worth it.

 

///

 

No one really lives in the compound anymore.

After Civil War it became more of a rest home, and the Avengers come and go when they want. There's months in between where there would only be Tony and Pepper.

Tony seems to like having Peter living there, likes to have the company and a helping hand in his lab. Bruce had stopped by one weekend with Thor, and the Asgardian had lifted Peter up into a hug so tight Peter’s toes couldn’t even touch the floor.

“You’re bigger than Banner!” Thor had exclaimed, pulling back and cupping Peter’s face in his hands.

Peter really hoped his blush wasn’t noticeable because Thor still hadn’t seemed to grasp the concept of personal space and he was really close and really attractive–

‘wade is better’ Venom had so kindly thought.

Peter wanted to disagree but couldn’t find the resolve.

 

///

 

Banner trains with Peter the forth time.

They don’t spar, because Peter doesn’t want to trigger the Hulk and Banner doesn’t want to trigger the symbiote, so Bruce decides to sit on the sidelines of the training hall and give Peter pointers.

Peter likes Bruce but the guy isn’t super helpful.

“Remember Peter, you’re the boss! It’s your body you’re in control!” And Peter really tries not to tell Banner that he sounds like a badly written 90s self-help book.

Bruce also tries to teach Peter yoga.

Which Peter doesn’t like so much, because it’s not as strenuous as he likes his workouts to be, and he sometimes gets too in his head until it’s so much he needs to get off the mat and breathe between his knees.

Bruce understands and doesn’t push.

 

///

 

It’s a Saturday night and it’s just Peter and Tony in the compound.

Tony’s been in his lab for the past three days and Venom now likes the Bachelor so. That’s that.

Thor left three days ago with Bruce and Peter isn’t sure where they went, he just knows that Thor gave him another huge hug and a pat on the shoulder that still kind of hurts. He’s really strong.

‘stop thinking about Thor’ Venom sighs.

“Then stop making me watch shitty TV,” Peter bites back.

‘avocado watches shitty TV’ Venom says.

“Stop calling him that,” Peter gripes, stretching out his legs and snuggling into the cushions of the couch.

It’s been a good mental health day. He didn’t have nightmares the other night, and he hasn’t lost time. He was able to taste his dinner and go for a run without his breath halting in his chest in a panic attack.

‘we want to kill’ Venom sighs, out of nowhere.

“Too bad,” Peter grumbles, mushing his face into the too soft throw pillows.

Venom is restless over his skin, bending and shifting like the pulses of Peter’s heart, and Peter is tired, wants to sleep.

‘can we see wade?’ Venom asks, ‘he would kill’

“You like Wade more than me,” Peter sighs, but pulls the burner phone out of his pocket and holds it in his hands, turning it, thoughtfully. “Do you think he’d feel weird if I text him?”

‘I don’t know’ Venom says, sounding bored.

“’Cause I mean, we’re not really friends? But we went through a lot, right? Like he gave me this phone and he’s the only number in here and I really do want to go to the city ‘cause I’m feeling like I’m going to crawl out of my skin–”

‘then contact him’ Venom responds.

“But is that weird? Should I text him if he hasn’t texted me?”

‘shut up’ Venom growls, annoyed.

“Hey, I listen to you complain all the time you can listen to me every now and then.”

‘no’

“God, you suck,” Peter sighs.

“Hey, kid, is this a bad time?” Tony asks and Peter sits up, too fast, to see Tony standing at the entrance of the living room, a familiar smug grin pulling his lips.

“Ah, yeah, sorry, what’s up?” Peter shifts into a comfortable position and when Tony doesn’t elaborate further he starts to get a little suspicious. He would be worried but Tony looks like he just stole all the cookies from Santa's cookie jar and Peter’s more concerned that he’s about to pranked.

“Why don’t you come with me real quick?” Tony gestures for Peter to get up and follow him to the lab and Peter does, quickly, a small inkling of excitement bubbling in his chest.

Tony leads him down the steps, into the lab, and the lights come up in a dramatic fashion to highlight a glass case on the far end of the room, up against the wall by some old Iron Man suits.

Peter knows what it is before he sees it.

His old suit, red and blue, stares back at him from behind the glass. There’s a sheen to the material that’s new, and the blue is darker, close to a dulled navy, the red more maroon, but the pattern and style is the same and Peter wants to reach out, wants to touch it.

“Oh, god, Tony, you didn’t,” Peter says, smiling as he turns to the older Avenger.

Tony shrugs.

“I repurposed it,” he says, like it’s no big deal but that Peter should still be impressed, “it’ll stretch to accommodate Venom. It’s also bulletproof, knife-proof, has reinforced vibranium in the stitching so you can shoot your webs and not strain your spinnerets. Waterproof, fireproof, pretty much indestructible, and I’m an emergency contact. You know, just in case.”

Peter looks to Tony, not really sure what to say.

“Thanks,” is what he settles with, but it doesn’t seem like enough.

“Wear it when you’re ready,” Tony says, patting his shoulder as he passes, “New York’s missed Spider-Man.”

 

///

 

It’s been one month and ten days since Peter’s seen Wade.

He’s had two therapy sessions with a small woman named Taya, freaked out in a psychiatrist’s office, and is now having a Bad Day. He didn’t sleep at all last night, nightmares and flashbacks keeping him awake, and he’s been so on edge, so paranoid, that he hasn’t left his room.

He comes back to himself with his dresser blocking his door and his webs covering a thick sheet over his window.

He hasn’t felt like he’s been able to breathe all day, and he’s miserable. Tony tried to bring him dinner, but Venom had lashed out and Peter can smell the food, cold, left on a small tray out in the hall. He doesn’t know what to do with himself. He doesn’t feel real.

There’s only one person he can think of who can understand this.

He opens the pink phone with shaking, numb fingers, and selects the only contact he can.

hey I can’t feel anything what helps you?

Wade responds less than a minute later.

It’s a link, to a video of a tea pig walking down the stairs.

Peter can’t help his small smile.

nice but still out of it

wanna get tacos and fight ppl?

Peter hesitates. It’s not like Tony hasn’t let him leave, but May and him have been very careful about keeping Peter close. Peter understands, last time he was out of their sight he was captured by HYDRA and disappeared for three years, but he feels like he’s going to crawl out of his skin, and he aches to swing through New York, misses the rush of it.

After that, the answer is easy.

text me an address he types and goes to get his suit.

Chapter Text

Peter feels like he’s sixteen again, sneaking out to go patrol way too late at night.

He didn’t ask May for permission then, and he feels weird walking down to the lab where Tony is now. He knows he probably looks terrible, pale with dark circles under his eyes, and Tony looks up and stands, wary, when he sees him.

“You all right, kid?” he asks, pursing his lips.

Peter nods, and wills the fog from his mind.

“I need the suit,” he rasps, pointing at the glass case to his left, “I’m gonna go to the city.”

Tony’s quiet for a long time, long enough that Peter wants to just walk over, smash the glass, take his suit, and leave. He’s so restless, so anxious, that he feels like he’s vibrating out of his skin.

“You think that’s a good idea right now?” Tony asks, crossing his arms and Peter really tries not to feel annoyed.

“I think I’m an adult that can decide what’s good for myself,” Peter snaps, and instantly feels guilty when Tony’s expression hardens. “I just–I really need to get out, Tony. I feel like I’m going insane if I stay in my room any longer.”

“I’ll train with you,” Tony says, pushing away his tablets, “we can spar, get the blood pumping–”

“I need to be in the city,” Peter interrupts, his anxiety making him curt, “please don’t fight me on this.”

Tony still looks hesitant, unsure. Peter groans, rubs a hand over his face.

“Look, if I get into any trouble I’ll call you immediately. If it helps I have V now, I’m stronger than I was three years ago. Also I won’t fight anyone. I just want to see the buildings, Tony. That’s it.”

‘tell him about wade’ Venom advises, but Peter, for some reason, doesn’t want to. He feels like Tony, who already doesn’t like Deadpool, wouldn’t feel any better knowing that Peter was meeting the mercenary.

“You’re right, you’re an adult,” Tony sighs, gesturing Peter to his suit, “and that belongs to you. Just. Please be careful.”

“Aren't I always?" Peter asks.

Tony opens his mouth–

"Don't answer that," Peter interrupts.

 

///

 

Putting the suit back on is one of the best feelings in the world.

When Peter first tried it on when he was fifteen he had felt a rush of excitement, unbridled and pure, and it’s the same feeling now, when he’s twenty-four and a lot more broken. Even Venom likes it, and the added chambers in the sleeves of the wrist help take pressure of Peter’s spinnerets. There’s no tugging or aches and he can shoot his webs and feel satisfied when they land.

The wind is blowing past him, loud in his ears, and it feels so nice on his skin, on his body. He feels the most in control of himself than he has in a long time, and Tony installed a lot of aspects in the suit, like some nice night vision specs and breathable thermal torso material.

Peter never thought vibranium could be spun thin as silk, but it’s a cool accommodating fabric and Peter’s instantly in love. He didn’t bring Wade’s burner phone, his suit doesn't have pockets and Natasha refused to let him buy a fanny pack, so he hopes Wade is at the address he sent because Peter isn’t about to go looking for the guy.

Karen isn’t programmed into this suit, and Peter is kind of relieved, because while he loves the AI having both her and Venom talking would be a lot to process. Still, he’s plugged in the address Wade sent and the suit still mapped out the route there, neon lights in the screen of his eyes to guide him.

‘we like this’ Venom says.

“It’s my favorite feeling in the world,” Peter agrees, and he’s been smiling like an idiot the entire way to Brooklyn, nostalgia and a turbulence of other tender feelings rushing through him like the wind that’s passing by.

He’s close to where Wade said to meet, so he aims and uses the past momentum of his last swing to land gently, on the balls of his feet, bracing his knees and bending as he hits the roof of the old Mexican restaurant. It smells wonderful, like fresh cured meat and spices. He stretches, arms over his head and cracking his back. He feels absolutely wonderful.

“Baby boy! Wouldya look at the new suit!” Wade’s voice rings out, loud and happy and Peter turns to see the merc clamber clumsily over the edge of the rood, in no way as graceful as Peter.

“Cool, right?” Peter can’t help but say, proud and high on the familiar rush of adrenaline, “it’s got like, a stealth feel to it.”

“That it does,” Wade agrees, walking over to where Peter’s perched precariously on the edge of the building, “ya know I’m kinda tearing up over here, Webs, this is quite the return home moment. I wish I had a camera; you look so cool right now. Is slime ball in there too? Tell him he should see the movie Alien, it’s pretty much about his cousins.”

“I was thinking Prometheus would be good,” Peter says, smiling and feeling stupidly pleased that by standing on the ledge of the roof he’s taller than Wade.

“Ooh, that one’s good. Who was the main chick again? She was badass, cutting yourself open ain’t easy, Webs, and she did it with absolutely no hesitation, then went and fought an alien spaceship, can you believe? I wouldn’t go into space, but then again, I have in my other comics, have you read those?”

“Can you even breathe in space?” Peter asks, crossing his arms and bouncing on his toes, desperate to keep moving, to get reacquainted with his home again.

“Dunno. Maybe,” Wade hums, looking up at Peter, his Deadpool mask illuminated by the streetlights below them. “How’ve you been, sugarbear? Still feeling nothing?”

Peter’s so high on being back in his suit, on feeling like Spider-Man, that it takes him a moment to process what Wade’s asking.

“Oh,” he says, good mood crashing, just like that, “yeah, it’s been a bad day.”

“A Not So Good Very Bad Day?” Wade asks, gentle.

“Yeah,” Peter affirms, kind of wanting to jump off the ledge and see if he’d make it. And that’s probably not a good urge to have, because it’s pretty severe, so he steps down and stands in front of Wade, now shorter but probably better off for it.

“Well, Spidey, what usually helps me most definitely won’t help you so I can offer to be a good distraction. I’m very distracting, just ask anyone. I’m also super easy going and fun, I like food and booze, and have a very nice, rusty knife collection.”

“You kind of sound like a shitty Match.com bio,” Peter says, grinning a little. “Also that last line is definitely an innuendo.”

“Baby, everything I say is an innuendo,” Deadpool says, “especially if it’s directed to a guy in spandex with a killer caboose.”

“Right,” Peter says, and doesn’t blush–

‘yes we are’ Venom points out.

Okay, so Peter's blushing. He's not used to people complimenting his looks, definitely not his ass, as often and casually as Deadpool does. He doesn't even remember the last time someone flirted with him, besides Wade.

“So whaddya wanna do Webs? Fight some bad guys? Blow up a building? I know an abandoned one in Harlem that's on it’s very last legs.”

No, no blowing things up,” Peter quickly corrects before Wade really gets going. “But I do wanna swing around.”

“Swing around?” Wade asks and Peter hates that he can see Deadpool wiggling his eyebrows. “So Spider-Man is a swinger?”

“You’re ruining every mood,” Peter sighs, but he isn’t annoyed, not even a little.

“Let’s do this honey-buns! Also, I can’t spit webs out of my ass like you can so if you swing slowly I might be able to keep up by skipping.”

“Okay, first off, webs don’t shoot out of my butt,” Peter corrects, feeling stupidly giddy, “and second I’ll carry you. Or well, if you can get on my back.”

When Wade doesn’t respond right away, just stares, Peter’s scared he’s said something wrong. But then Deadpool is clapping his hands excitedly, leaning forward so that Peter can see every stitch in the leather of his mask.

“Ohhhh, Webs, are you for realz? You’re gonna carry me like a damsel in distress on the cover of a Fabio romance novel? I left my blonde wig at home, should I go get it?”

“Just get on my back,” Peter sighs, turning and waiting for Wade to, uh, get on?

“This is how all of my fantasies start bee-tee-dubs,” Wade says as he hops up onto Peter’s back and squeals a little when Peter doesn’t bend under his weight.

“Is this a bad time to say this is really hot?” Wade asks and Peter is effectively distracted from feeling like he’s walking through a fog.

“Just don’t get a hard on when I’m carrying you,” Peter gripes, trying not to focus on how toned Wade’s thighs are and how tight he’s wrapped them around Peter’s hips.

‘he’s strong’ Venom hums.

‘Not helping, V,’ Peter thinks, a little desperate to get swinging so not all of his attention is on how nice and warm Wade feels against him.

Peter blames it on three years of pent up sexual aggression and also trauma.

“I literally can’t promise that,” Deadpool hums, nuzzling his cheek against Peter’s ear and this was a really bad idea, shit.

“Hold on tight,” is all the warning Peter gives before he’s jumping off the building and shooting out a web, using the momentum of the drop to fling them up through the air.

Wade’s yelling dramatically in his ear and holding him really tight, but Peter can’t help his laugh as he loops them around an apartment complex and propels them up higher. The wind whistles by, cool and sharp, and the sounds of the city ebb and flow as they move along.

It’s exhilarating, and eventually Wade stops screaming and falls silent. Peter is hyper-aware of the merc, and how close they are, but it’s not suffocating like Peter was a little worried it would be.

He’s never carried anyone like this through New York before, and he feels a little proud when Wade says, “ooh” and “omg you’re amazing this is so fucking cool”. He also tries to take a selfie and Peter almost runs them into a street pole when the flash takes him by surprise.

Wade is the worst kind of backseat driver, but he never really tells Peter what to do, just talks as he gets more comfortable to the drops and the heights, and Peter spins them just so he can feel Wade’s arms and legs tighten around him.

Touch starved, yeah, he’d forgotten.

Venom is having fun too, wrapping around Wade’s waist and Peter laughs out loud when Wade exclaims: “this is so weird this is so weird holy fuck, what the shit is this gross or kind of hot or both who knows–?”

Peter isn’t sure how long he carries them through the city, up to Harlem, back down to Brooklyn and over Coney Island.

Eventually Peter drops them gently on top of an apartment complex, near the address Wade had sent him originally. The sky is lighter than it was, a light purple hue touching the edges of the city.

Wade practically falls off of Peter’s back and onto the roof, laying there spread-eagle and mumbling about how cool that was, “shit, Webs, can you just come pick me up for all of my meetings I’ll never have to take the subway again”.

Peter is still feeling high on the rush of swinging but he’s not as restless and his mind is clear. He underestimated how badly he needed that, he feels so much better, even if his ears are a little achy because Wade yelled into them the entire time.

“Did you have fun?” Peter asks, smiling when Wade lifts his head to look at him.

“Pete, don’t take this the wrong way,” Wade sighs, “but I could do that every day all the time. Also, you look really good from this angle.”

“I didn’t like, interrupt your night or anything did I?” Peter asks, feeling a little insecure once his nerves begin to calm and his adrenaline dwindles.

Deadpool tilts his head, confused.

“Uhh, what night?” Wade asks, groaning as he sits up, legs spread. “I wasn’t doing shit, Webs. This is so much better than staring at my wall and listening to Yellow and White fuck.”

Peter wrinkles his nose.

“They what?” he asks, alarmed.

“They’re horny little shits, that’s what,” Wade grumbles, hitting the side of his head absentmindedly, “it sucks. Actually, they’ve been pretty quiet since you threw us off a building, so that’s cool.”

“I didn’t throw us off anything,” Peter says, crossing his arms and regarding Wade carefully.

Deadpool is sitting like a child, shoulders a little hunched, and his head is tilting more to the right, like he’s listening to a conversation Peter can’t hear.

“Hey,” Peter says, drawing Wade’s attention back to him, “you wanna get something to eat?”

Wade immediately perks up.

“I know the best place,” he says, jumping to his feet, “and we’re guaranteed to get food poisoning.”

“Great,” Peter says and lets Wade climb onto his back again, “also I have no money.”

 

///

 

Peter doesn’t mean for this to become habit.

He really doesn’t, but every other night he’s slipping on the suit, climbing out of his window, and meeting Wade at whatever address the mercenary texts him. They stay up all night together, and sometimes they find a small robbery or attempted theft and shut it down before it begins.

It’s a validating feeling, back to being Spider-Man. He gets that he needs to stay low, stay out of sight, because if HYDRA catches wind that he’s back in New York he’ll have to go on the run again. Or stay, and risk putting May in harms way. The answer is easy, and while it’s difficult for Peter to be Spider-Man but not get to really be Spider-Man he holds back.

He made Wade pinky promise to help him hold back.

So far it’s working great. It’s been two weeks of this new routine, and Peter barely has time for nightmares because he’s hardly sleeping. He finds that this method works well, like how he was when he was captive under HYDRA, and Deadpool seems to never sleep either so it works out for the both of them.

Peter gets that he’s distracting Deadpool just as much as Deadpool is distracting him, and his therapist Taya says it’s not the healthiest of coping mechanisms but Peter doesn’t care. He’s not physically hurting himself, or drinking, and he isn’t getting into fights he can’t win just to feel something, so this isn’t so bad.

Plus, Wade is fun, and gets what Peter’s going through mentally, better than anyone, so whenever Tony tries to question why Peter’s so desperate to go out into the city so often Peter says it’s therapeutic.

He’s not lying, either.

It’s good for Venom, too. The symbiote gets to stretch itself over Peter’s suit (without ripping it) and feel the wind, the exertion. It’s good, they’re good and Peter’s good and Deadpool has been bragging about not killing anyone in months so Peter assumes he’s good too. It’s also an incentive that Peter will take him swinging through Manhattan if Wade doesn’t murder anyone.

So it’s all working and it’s all good and Peter hasn’t given himself time to have nightmares so he’s fine.

He’s in denial but he’s fine.

“Have you seen that meme of the room on fire and the dog is sitting at this table and he says ‘this is fine’? ‘Cause that’s what you’re sounding like right now, Webs,” Deadpool is saying, stuffing his mouth with a greasy soft taco.

They’re perched on top of the Brooklyn Bridge, legs dangling over the East River, eating the amazingly good tacos Wade had bought for them.

“That’s funny,” Peter shoots back, taking a large sip of his coke, “because you sound like Ross when he’s making margaritas and says “I’m fine” but is choking.”

“Okay, you got me there,” Wade admits, smile curling his lips between bites of taco meat and cheese.

“Today has been good though,” Peter pushes, because he know Wade’s joking but he also knows Wade is serious and has a hard time asking about sensitive topics directly. Or at least sensitive topics that could lead to sensitive answers.

“Have you been sleeping?” Deadpool asks, facing Peter after pulling his mask down over his chin.

Peter has seen Wade’s face often, the roadtrip he saw it every day, and he understands that Wade has bad skin days just like Peter has bad dream days. Peter gets it, but it makes him sad when Wade is so reluctant to show his skin to Peter.

“Enough,” Peter answers, voice clipped.

He doesn’t want to talk about his mental well being. That’s all he’s ever talking about recently.

“You know I have a pretty good voice, I can sing you to sleep with lullabies. You’ll be out like a baby. Did you know that in olden times like the 70s parents gave their kids cocaine? Crazy right? How was that gonna make them tired? How was that a good idea?”

“I don’t think that happened,” Peter says, yawning behind his hand and trying to hide it.

“They put coke in coca cola, Spidey, same thing.”

“…Not really.”

“You know what we should do? We should start a cooking show.”

“Can you even boil water?”

“Um, ex-squeeze you, bubble butt, I make the best damn boiled water this side of the station.”

“Nothing about that sentence made sense.”

“Yeah, if you’re an amateur cook. The professionals would understand.”

“Sure,” Peter grins, turning so that he’s facing Wade, legs crossed at the ankles, “it’s Gordon Ramsey’s favorite recipe after all, isn’t it?”

“Don’t get me started on that Australian dream-boat. Chris Hemsworth who?”

“You do not find Gordon Ramsey attractive.”

“Sure,” Deadpool shrugs and fans himself with a gloved hand, “you ever hear him yell, Webs? I’d call him Daddy any day.”

Peter chokes on the bite of his taco. Deadpool laughs, genuine and loud, and Peter wipes his mouth and glares because this is entirely Wade’s fault, the asshole.

“Damn Webs, you should’ve told me that was a kink we could’ve gotten into this a lot sooner.”

Peter’s blushing all the way up to his hair but thank God his mask is covering most of his face. He tugs the rest of the material down in a sharp, jerky yank.

“Funny, but no way in hell,” he mutters but his heart is racing just a little and he can’t blame that on his anxiety.

‘what’s Daddy?’ Venom asks, itching under Peter’s skin.

The symbiote has been a little violent today, restless. They’ve been itching for a fight, to crush something, and so Peter’s been trying to watch puppy videos to show them good things and hitting the punching bag for the anger. Venom also hasn’t been too talkative, which could be bad, so hearing them ask a question now is a little alarming.

“Something we’re not going to get into,” Peter tells Venom.

“Hey!” Wade claps his hands together and Peter jumps. “Yellow can explain what a Daddy kink is. Is that what the slime ball wants to know? I can translate, wow we can be translators for the voices in our heads how fucked is that?”

“We definitely shouldn’t let the children gossip,” Peter says, stretching his arms, “who knows what they’ll say about us?”

“You’re so right,” Deadpool gasps, “I bet they swear behind our backs, the little shits.”

Peter smiles, comforted, and there’s a nice silence, a quiet that's almost rare around someone like Deadpool.

“Hey Peter?” Wade asks, sounding almost timid.

He isn’t looking at Peter, instead choosing to stare at Manhattan’s slowly lightening skyline.

Peter waits, but when Wade doesn’t seem like he’s going to continue on his own he taps him gently with his foot.

“Penny for your thoughts?” Peter asks.

“Why’re you still hanging out around me?” Wade questions and it takes Peter a moment to realize that Wade is actually being serious.

“Do you want me not to?” Peter asks, withdrawing his leg to tuck back under him.

‘push him off the bridge,’ Venom hisses and Peter really thought he’d be used to Venom’s mood swings by now.

No! Okay, nope, fuck miscommunication as a plot device, we’ve made it ninety pages and I think we’re doing pretty good without running into it twice so what I meant was I’m not the best company, Pete, okay? The fucking X-Men hide from me, the Avengers want literally nothing to do with me unless they need some dirty work done, and I don’t have two close friends to rub together, unless you count Yellow and White who have definitely been rubbing together–”

“Wade,” Peter interrupts, “stop. Look, I don’t know if you want to be friends or just people who have shared trauma and eat junk food to ignore it but I like spending time with you. I don’t like you killing, but you’ve been slowing down with that, and that’s good. And honestly you’re the only one who knows and understands about what I’ve been through and that means a lot to me.”

Deadpool stares at him for a long time.

“Wait,” he says, like he’s filtering through a bunch of different things at once, “really?”

“Did I give the wrong answer?” Peter asks, feeling a little self-conscious.

“I wasn’t expecting a nice answer,” Wade admits, scratching at the back of his mask before turning to Peter, “wow, Webs, you really want me around? Can’t get enough of these guns, huh?”

He flexes. It's ridiculous and not at all attractive.

“Just take the compliment, ‘Pool,” Peter groans.

Deadpool stretches, loud and obnoxious.

“I feel like this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” Wade sighs and makes a show of trying to wrap his arm around Peter’s waist.

Venom pushes him off the bridge.

 

///

 

Natasha is sitting in the front yard eating a burger and adjusting a black jacket around her slim shoulders.

Peter slows in his jog, Venom spiking over his shoulders when Peter sees her.

“Chill, man,” Peter whispers, making his way off the track to where Natasha is seated in the grass.

She waves her burger at him. Shreds of lettuce fall into her lap.

“Hey, Nat,” Peter greets, taking the ear buds out and wrapping them around his neck. "Born This Way" still blares loud through the small speakers.

“Hey, Pete,” she says, chewing thoughtfully before swallowing. She seems smug, like she knows something Peter doesn’t, and it’s making him uneasy.

“Why are you sitting on the ground eating a burger?” he asks, stopping and staring down at her.

“’Cause I didn’t want to walk inside,” she answers, digging into her pocket and passing Peter a small jump drive, the same looking one that Wade had given her months ago, “here, sport, you’ll want to look into a file titled “Project 619”.”

He takes the drive, suspicious.

“What is it?” he asks, hoping that she’s not so insensitive that she’d be nonchalantly handing him a triggering HYDRA file.

“You’ve been hanging out with Deadpool, haven’t you?” she asks, eating the rest of her burger and standing with a flourish.

“Um,” Peter says, “how do you know that?”

She shrugs and puts her sunglasses down against the high mid-day sun. Her response, her disinterest, has a frustration flaring in Peter’s chest.

“You can’t spy on me, Nat,” he hisses, “I’m not a kid anymore. I can do what I want.”

“I know that,” she says, hands on her hips, “I also know that you have one of the world’s biggest Nazis organizations after you, so a little protection is in order, wouldn’t you say?”

“Yeah, when I'm aware of it,” Peter snaps, not really paying attention to how Venom is spiking with his anger, Peter’s own irritation morphing for the symbiote, “not when it’s behind my back and invading on my privacy. I’ve been monitored for the past three years of my life, I don’t need it from my friends.”

Nat’s silent for a long time.

“Just look at the file. You need to know who you’re becoming “friends” with,” she says, before stuffing her hands in her pockets and heading off to the South Wing, where Tony is undoubtedly laboring over some new experiment in his lab.

‘we should hurt her’ Venom hisses, ‘we can’t trust her’

“Enough, Venom,” Peter snaps, his irritation at Natasha making him snappy.

‘listen to us’ Venom persists, ‘listen

“I am,” Peter gripes, trying to put his ear buds in but Venom snatches his hand, stops his movements. There’s a small inkling of insecurity and fear morphing in Peter's stomach. Venom hasn’t reacted this way towards him since those first weeks at HYDRA.

“V, give me my arm back,” Peter says, slow, realization that Venom has been restless, has been aggravated, really dawning on him when the symbiote tightens their control over Peter’s arm.

‘we want to hurt’ Venom says, ‘we can’t trust’

“Yes we can, we’re safe here, we–”

Venom breaks his arm.

It’s so sudden that at first Peter doesn’t feel it, doesn’t process it. Then the pain comes, shooting electric up his arm to his shoulder. The jump drive Natasha gave Peter is crushed in Peter’s fist with Venom’s usage, and Peter stumbles, biting his lip and bearing the pain of it. He’s used to being hurt and staying silent.

“V, what the hell–”

“Peter!” It’s Tony’s voice, and Peter turns, sees the other man walking over to him, eyes narrowed in suspicious concern.

“Tony, stay–!”

Venom is shooting out, and Peter barely gets the warning spoken before armor is covering Tony’s arm and he blocks Venom with a dull tang that makes Peter’s teeth tingle.

“Venom, that’s enough,” Peter hisses, trying to get control but his head is beginning to hurt, a terrible pain behind his eyes that has his knees shaking. Strange, but he wants to call Wade.

He fumbles the phone out of his back pocket, presses Wade’s name, a siren emoji, but then Venom is covering his eyes, churning his stomach, and the world’s fading out, like it does when Peter’s losing, like it does when Venom wants out.

‘hungry’ Venom says, as if this can excuse their behavior, ‘hungry’

Peter hears Tony and then his own heart and then nothing.

His arm is broken, his mind is being compressed, being hurt, and Peter is falling under and can do nothing to stop it.

He loses time in pain and fear and dreadful adrenaline.

Chapter Text

Peter comes to with Deadpool’s face three inches from his own.

He lashes out of pure instinct but Wade dodges with an agility and awareness Peter hasn’t seen from the merc.

“Ah, ah, baby, we already tried that,” he says, voice forcefully cheerful as he stares down at Peter, the whites of his Deadpool mask wide and smudged with…blood? “Am I talking to Peter now? The slime ball needs a time out Daddy, we should take away their PlayStation.”

“What?” Peter croaks, throat dry and hurting. Everything is hurting. His arm especially. And his side. Why does everything hurt?

“Did my lullaby work? I tried that whole “the sun’s getting real low” bullshit–”

Hey,” Natasha’s voice, somewhere behind them.

“–but Venom didn’t like that so much. So I started talking to them about the birds and the bees and how they need a snickers ‘cause they’re not themselves when they’re hungry and–”

“Okay, that’s enough talking,” Tony says and Peter turns his head–ow ow ow–to see Tony’s metal boots approaching him.

Huh.

Peter just now realizes he’s lying on the ground with Wade hovering over him, and he doesn’t really get a moment to open his mouth to speak before Wade’s upholstering his favorite gun (D-Eagle, Webs, nasty thing) and aiming it at Tony’s chest.

“Whoa there, Iron Dildo, not one step closer,” Wade sings, but there’s a deadly ice to his words that has Peter growing uneasy.

Tony stops, holding up his hands and shooting a look at where Peter assumes Natasha is. Tony’s face, now that Peter’s looking, is pretty badly cut up. His nose looks broken in at least two places, his right eye outlined in a dark purple.

A sinking feeling of dread lands in the pit of Peter’s stomach.

“Wade,” he rasps, and Deadpool doesn’t look away from Tony when he answers.

“Yes, dear?”

“What happened?”

Wade clicks his tongue, and he’s a whole line of tense muscle, raw strength, and Peter isn’t sure what caused this kind of heavy atmosphere but he doesn’t like it.

“Well, our own little symbiote got cranky, wanted some attention, maybe a warm glass of milk, maybe a latte, who knows? So they got whiny, started a fight, I assume. I arrived when things were already in full swing and these Avenging fuckass morons started getting’ real liberal with the weapon choices.”

Deadpool cocks his head at the same time he cocks the safety off on his gun.

Peter tries to sit up, his words aren’t coming to him and his windpipe feels bruised, but he needs to stop this situation from escalating. He sees Venom, the black tendrils of them, creeping over Wade’s thighs in a strange, possessive motion.

Peter feels them on the back of his neck as well, sliding over the tender aches and cuts on his skin. It’s unnerving, to say the least, especially when the symbiote is silent in Peter’s head.

“I lost control,” Peter realizes.

“Aw, babe, don’t we all?” Deadpool asks, voice tight.

“Not like that,” Natasha answers, cool and maybe a little cautious, “lower the gun, Deadpool.”

“So you can get some more hits in? No, Spider-bitch, I’m good.”

“We were trying to subdue Venom,” Natasha presses, and Tony is staying suspiciously quiet, “not hurt Peter.”

“Yeah, well, you screwed up and failed in both of those things so why don’t you back the fuck up and get those breakable little hands out of your pocket, huh? ‘Cause I can be real liberal with this bad boy when I wanna be.”

“Wade,” Peter presses, has to, because Deadpool’s getting in his own head, getting angry, and that’s Not Good, “Wade look at me.”

There’s a tense, horrible moment when Peter thinks Wade isn’t going to listen to him.

Peter can practically feel the anger rolling off the other man; can see him physically itching to pull that trigger. Peter isn’t sure of the details, hell, he isn’t really sure of anything other than if he doesn’t convince Wade that he’s okay things are going to get bad and they’re going to get bad fast.

But then Deadpool turns and looks at Peter and all Peter can think is that Wade is scared. It hurts, but Peter sits up. Venom wraps around his shoulders in a weak attempt at support, and Peter can feel that the symbiote is hunched in on themselves, but there isn’t time to sift through all of that right now.

“Do I need to sing you a lullaby?” Peter tries to joke, tries to lighten the mood, and he can tell it’s the reassurance Deadpool needs. Wade’s hand wavers before he gives a huge exhale and lowers the gun.

Fuck,” Deadpool groans, “does V need a snickers?”

“V needs a time out,” Peter croaks, and Deadpool’s eye’s squint in the way they do when Wade’s smiling.

“All right,” Wade says, standing up off of Peter and instead bending down to pick him up, bridal-style, “lets get you to bed.”

“Whoa, hold up,” Tony interjects, stepping forward, “where the hell do you think you’re going?”

Deadpool stares at him like he’s grown two heads.

“Um, Peter’s room? So he can rest? And sleep? And not deal with you and that trigger-happy insect over there?”

“Really? I’m the trigger happy one?” Natasha asks, voice tight, “Who just had a gun out?”

Zip it, red-headed Vladmir Putin!”

“Can all of you please shut up?” Peter groans, his headache coming back full force, and maybe it’s from Venom, maybe not, but his vision is ebbing and flowing out of focus and that’s never a good sign.

“Deadpool, we can take him,” Tony says, “you–”

“Know how to handle Venom? Yeah, I do, so back the fuck off and tell me where his room is so he can go the fuck to sleep and deal with this in the morning.”

“He’s been sleeping,” Tony argues, “he doesn’t need that now. First we need to contain–”

“Ooooh, finish that sentence, I fucking dare you,” Deadpool goads, shifting, and Peter knows he’s about to pull his gun out again.

“Stop arguing, for the love of God, my head’s about to explode and I don’t feel good,” Peter wheezes, nausea hitting him hard, his side stinging, his arm aching in its socket, and Wade stills, then slowly, carefully, readjusts his grip so that Peter’s head is resting on his shoulder, propped up and supported in the event he actually does throw up.

Deadpool, apparently, doesn’t give a shit about getting vomit all over his suit.

Peter can hear Tony sigh but he feels like he’s had the worst motion sickness of his life and really can’t be bothered to open his eyes and look over.

“Follow me,” Tony says, voice stilted, “but don’t touch anything.”

“Arms are kinda full Tin Can,” Wade responds but the dangerous ice has left his voice leaving mild annoyance in its place.

Peter hears the quiet metal of Tony’s suit fading back into his arc reactor, and it’s a fucking awesome design but Peter just wants to focus on not passing out. He feels feverish, too hot in his skin, and if people are talking to him he isn’t listening. He focuses again when Deadpool lays him down on his mattress with a care that’s so tender it feels intimate.

Peter doesn’t think when he reaches out and grabs Wade’s wrist, stopping the mercenary from pulling away.

“Stay,” he croaks before passing out again.

 

///

 

The next time he wakes Venom is covering his torso, his neck, and his right arm.

Healing, most likely, but Peter is pretty pissed and doesn’t address the symbiote. Instead he’s bolting upright and puking over the side of the bed into a trash bin.

“Wow, okay, right off the bat huh?” Wade asks and Peter feels his gloved hands brushing the sweaty hair off his forehead.

Peter pulls back and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. The stomach acid doesn’t help his already sore throat feel any better.

“Ew, you’re all sweaty and throw up-y,” Deadpool complains but he doesn’t pull back.

Peter can’t help but lean into the comforting touch briefly before falling back onto his pillows.

“What happened?” he asks, feeling weird all over.

Deadpool is sitting cross-legged on the floor, his katanas lying gently over his lap.

“Oh dear, where to begin Petey? I really don’t know what triggered Venom’s temper-tantrum but it wasn’t good, that’s for sure,” Deadpool says and Peter squints at him, squints harder when Wade doesn’t meet his gaze.

“Deadpool,” Peter says, slow, “what happened?”

“Why wake up to bad news? Why not wake up to watching shitty TV? I saw the living room flat screen Pete and I’m a little hurt you haven’t invited me over can you imagine Mario Kart on that? Overwatch on that?”

Peter pushes himself up, ignoring Venom creeping apologetic up his arm.

‘we were emotional’ the symbiote whispers.

“Friday,” Peter calls out.

“Deadpool, actually–”

“Good Evening, Mr. Parker,” Friday interrupts and Wade scrambles to his feet, katana pulled out and held out straight.

“The fuckery is this?” he asks, the eyes of his mask wide.

“An AI,” Peter explains, “Friday, show me the security footage from this afternoon.”

“Oooh, hey, Webs, maybe we shouldn’t–”

But Wade cuts himself off when a hologram is projected blue and shimmering in the center of Peter’s room.

It’s a clear video feed, with sound and everything, and Peter watches, heart pounding, as he sees Venom break his arm. Even Wade flinches at the sound, like snapping a hollow twig. It’s daunting, and very humbling, that Venom can break Peter like he’s made of wood.

The next part?

The next part is what makes Peter disconnect. He’s never seen what he looks like when Venom is in control, how could he? But now he does, and it’s terrifying. The symbiote covers him like blood on white cloth, spreads and catches like wildfire. Their jaw is large, unhinging like a snake’s, teeth as big as Peter’s head, sharp, jagged–wild.

Venom is massive. They’re not the small tendrils that rise from Peter’s skin on a daily basis. No, they’re about eight feet tall, at least five feet wide, and expand and move like liquid. Their tongue is something Peter never, ever, wants to see again.

Peter remembers Tony running up to him, but he lost vision when Venom lunged. Now he gets the aftermath in video. Tony’s suit crinkled along his body, covered him up, but Peter doesn’t have a long time to ogle at the tech. Venom is a beast, moves like a wolf, and is on Tony in an instant.

They’re savage, ruthless.

They attack without taking a breath, without letting Tony take a breath, and it’s heartbreaking and scary to watch, even when Peter is aware that Tony is somewhere in the compound, somewhere safe.

Natasha enters the scene not long after Venom is pushing Tony to the ground, and they shoot out an arm and catch her around the waist, squeezing so hard Peter thinks Nat’s gonna pop. She pulls a gun and shoots Venom in the side and yeah, that explains that pain. Peter watches the fight unfold, but he can’t process it. Venom is ruthless and they move like a man starved.
Deadpool arrives after the symbiote’s ripped Tony’s faceplate off and landed a good hit, just as Natasha is shooting another bullet through Peter’s–Venom’s–shoulder.

The one with the broken arm.

Deadpool doesn’t hesitate, not once.

He moves like Venom does, precise, direct, ruthless.

He throws a blade and knocks the gun from Natasha’s hand. It falls with a dull sound to the ground. Venom gets a few hits in, slashes Wade’s fingers off, blood smearing on the whites of his Deadpool mask, before Wade is jumping up, wrapping his thighs about Venom’s shoulders, and just…talking.

Granted, Wade talks all the time, and he never stops in this video feed, but the more he talks the more Venom loses speed, loses momentum, and slowly begins to revert inward.

It’s fascinating, Venom’s reaction to Wade.

The symbiote sinks back in, dances off, and Peter collapses to the ground, his shirt in shreds from where the symbiote exited through his shoulders. Deadpool is hovering over him in an instant, pressing a hand to his bleeding side, and when Natasha takes a step closer her shoots the ground inches from her feet, stopping her.

A silent warning rattled by bullets.

The feed cuts off, and Peter doesn’t know how he’s supposed to be feeling.

He can’t feel anything.

“That’s…” he tries but can’t find the words.

Terrifying? Horrible?

Wade is kneeling in front of him, looking up at Peter with wide eyes.

“Pete?” he asks, looking like he wants to touch but holding back, “hey, you with me baby boy?”

Peter opens his mouth but no sound comes out. He feels disgusted. He feels gross. He hates himself, hates Venom, hates that that is what he becomes. He’s been so disillusioned, so fucking stupid, to think that Venom was getting better, was becoming better, because obviously that’s not the case.

Venom could’ve and probably would’ve, killed Natasha and Tony if it weren’t for Deadpool. If Peter had left the phone inside or didn’t have time to text Wade then they’d be dead. And it would be Peter’s fault.

He isn’t even aware that he’s scratching his forearm until Wade is taking his hand and interweaving their fingers so Peter can’t get his nails close to his skin.

“Hey, Peter, let’s not do that,” Wade whispers, tries to be calming but Peter feels like he’s losing it.

He has no idea who he is anymore.

“I should be locked up,” he says in a rush, “I shouldn’t be out in the open, I could lose control at any time, I’m a liability.”

“Whoa, Spidey, c’mon,” Wade tries, voice hardening but Peter stands putting distance between them because he can’t stand Wade being gentle and comforting to him right now.

He doesn’t deserve it.

“I’m serious,” Peter snaps, pacing, restless in his own skin, “I shouldn’t be here, in a compound, in a nice room. I–I’m a fucking–I deserve a lab, I deserve restraints, I–”

“Stop. Peter, no one deserves that,” Wade says, that cold tone seeping into his words, “no one, especially you, deserves HYDRA level treatment.”

“I could have killed them, Wade!” Peter yells, frustrated, “hell, I could’ve killed you and not even been aware of it!”

“It’s not you who would be doing the killing,” Wade says, hands clenched into shaking fists at his side.

“Then who? If Venom cuts loose again, kills a kid, that’s still on me. Because Venom and I are the fucking same, they’re as a part of me as my bones.”

“You can’t put that guilt on yourself Webs,” Wade is careful and takes a small step towards Peter, “you’ll drive yourself mad doin’ that.”

Peter knows he looks wild, like a cornered animal, and he feels like it. His chest is heaving with his emotions, hands shaking. He doesn’t know whether he should be preparing for a fight or to run.

“What else can I do?” Peter asks, desperate. “I–I hurt them.”

“And they’re alive,” Wade persists, “because Venom needed some talking down. They’re possible to control, they are. All about practice.”

“Practice,” Peter laughs but the sound is harsh and short, “what kind of practice involves killing people?”

Wade’s growing frustrated, Peter can tell.

“You didn’t kill anyone,” he says, voice like a growl.

“I have,” Peter pushes, “those HYDRA goons in the woods? I tore them apart, Wade; I can still feel their bones cracking under my hands! And I–I can’t stand the thought, the idea, that I could kill the people I care about without realizing it, I can’t–”

But then Wade’s grabbing Peter’s hand and pressing it to his throat, holding it there by Peter’s wrist.

Peter freezes, instantly.

Deadpool is staring at him, his gaze intense and unwavering, even with his mask covering his face. Peter’s heart his hammering in his chest, brutal and unrelenting.

“Do it,” Wade says, and Peter can feel how his words shape in his throat. “If you’re such a monster kill me.”

Peter feels his blood run cold.

“This isn’t funny,” Peter rasps.

Wade tightens his grip on Peter’s wrist, presses Peter’s palm harder against his jugular.

“I’m not laughing,” Wade says.

Peter flexes his hand, feels Wade swallow, feels his adam’s-apple against his palm. It’s a strange, heady sensation, to have this much power over someone. Peter doesn’t know what to do with it.

‘he’s serious’ Venom whispers.

A part of Peter is angry, angry that Wade would pull a stunt like this to prove a point, and another part, a bigger part, understands that this is the only thing Wade could do that would make him concede to the mercenary’s point.

“I’m not going to kill you,” Peter says, but Wade doesn’t let go of Peter’s wrist so Peter doesn’t move his hand.

“What does slime ball wanna do?” Wade asks.

Peter inhales, sharp. The air between them is heavy, electric, and it’s built on anticipation and reckless pride. A dangerous mix.

‘we don’t want to kill,’ Venom says.

It takes a lot for Peter to speak, he feels like he can’t move under Wade’s gaze.

“They don’t want to,” Peter says, and his voice is as fragile as he’s feeling.

Wade stares at him, heavy.

“Yeah,” he whispers, dropping his hand from Peter but Peter doesn’t let go of his throat.

He doesn’t tighten his hand, but he steps forward, not looking away from Wade. He runs his thumb over the leather of Deadpool’s suit, the rough texture of it coarse under his fingers. He stops when he’s standing barely a foot away from the mercenary, his hand sliding up to instead feel the edges of the Deadpool mask. He doesn’t try to take it off, would never. Wade doesn’t back away, stays still under Peter’s hand.

“I could kill you,” Peter whispers, and just saying it is terrifying, has him close to a panic attack.

Wade takes Peter’s wrist, gently pries his hand away and holds it over the leather covering his heart. Peter can feel the pulse of it, how fast its beating. It matches his own perfectly.

“But you won’t,” Wade answers.

Peter shakes his head, mouth dry.

“No,” he admits, “I would never.”

Deadpool smiles under his mask, and this close Peter can see how his smile tightens the leather with the motion. He really wishes he could see Wade’s face right now.

“Well there you go, sweetheart. You’re not a killer; you’re not a monster. You don’t deserve anything but happiness. And if I gotta remind you every day then I will.”

Peter isn’t going to cry but he’s also feeling laid bare, vulnerable, like Wade can see every part of him, inside and out. If it were anyone else telling him this Peter wouldn’t believe them. But Wade has gone through Weapon X, he’s gone through torture, experimentation. His mind is a mess because of it, but he’s still this gentle, this compassionate, he still cares so much.

“Why?” Peter asks, because he has to know.

Good things like Wade don’t come without a price.

“Why what?” Wade tilts his head, rubs his thumb over Peter’s cracked knuckles.

“Why do you care?”

Deadpool stares at him for a long moment before he’s reaching up, slow, and rolling his mask up over his face, holding it in a tight grip in his left hand when he’s pulled it all the way off.

“For starters, you don’t throw up when I do that,” Wade says, voice weak and breathy.

“I’m unstable, not an asshole,” Peter responds.

“And you’re smart,” Wade continues, sounding simultaneously nervous and in awe, “and really funny. Like, you can keep up with me and no one does that? And you’re beautiful, I mean it, Spidey, drop dead gorgeous. You’re also strong as fuck, you went through HYDRA and you still care about people? You still have a moral compass that’s–fuck, Petey, all I left with was a fucking death wish and a healing factor that wouldn’t let it come true.”

Peter’s heart breaks, just like that. Right down the middle, he’s pretty sure he can hear it tear.

And Wade looks so vulnerable, so small and timid, that Peter doesn’t think, he just moves. Before he realizes it he’s leaning forward, slow, eyes never leaving Wade’s own and somewhere in all this Peter’s breath gets stuck in his throat, his heart rate picks up, and he tightens his hold on Wade’s chest, the leather bunching between his fingers, and shit, Wade is leaning forward too and–

There’s a loud knock on the door and Wade is five feet back with his mask on before Peter can comprehend what the hell just happened.

‘interrupted,’ Venom says.

“I’m not talking to you,” Peter snaps.

Wade shrugs.

“That’s fair,” he says, “I should’ve asked, I –”

“Not you, Venom.”

“Oh,” Wade sighs, relieved.

The knocking is still happening though, and it’s urgent enough that it draws Peter’s full attention. Still, it’s a little unsettling that he let his guard down so much that he wasn’t even aware someone was at the door.

“Peter? You good?” Tony’s voice calls through.

“That’s my queue,” Deadpool hums, hopping up on Peter’s bed and hacking away the thick wall of webs that are covering his window with a katana.

“Wait! Where are you going?” Peter hisses, almost shooting a web to stop Wade from clambering out the window.

“We’ll play this like a 90s high school romcom, Webs. I’m the bad boy and you’re the girl next door and your dad is a powerful man who would castrate me if he found me in your room,” Deadpool says simply, hoisting himself up over the window ledge.

“Wade, that’s stupid,” Peter says.

“But accurate!” Deadpool calls before he’s swinging his legs over.

“Dude, we’re three stories up.”

“You act like I care about my shins,” Wade laughs and drops.

Peter hears him hit the ground, hears the snap of a broken ankle, and barely refrains from hitting his head against the wall in frustration.

“Peter?”

Oh.

Tony.

Right.

As soon as he opens the door and sees Tony’s face the guilt comes flooding back.

“I’m sorry,” is what he blurts out.

Tony blinks, then frowns.

“Um, yeah, not accepting apologies from you,” he points at Peter, “you didn’t do anything.”

“I’m still sorry. On behalf of Venom.”

‘we’re only a little sorry’ Venom grumbles.

“They feel really bad,” Peter says.

Tony doesn’t look like he believes him, but he’s got a small smile, and a fresh bandage across his nose.

“I was about to order a pizza,” he says, “wanna join?”

Peter’s been living with Tony for three months now, and he’s not sure they’ve ever eaten a meal together.

“If we can get those little cinnamon sticks with the icing?” Peter asks but he’s already following Tony down the hall before he’s got his answer.

 

///

 

It’s been three days since Peter lost control.

Three days, and Venom hasn’t been talking much, moving slow over Peter’s skin. Peter would think the symbiote was embarrassed, but he isn’t sure they have that emotional capacity yet.
It’s chilly out, the beginnings of fall. The trees surrounding the compound are beautiful mixtures of red, brown, and yellow.

When Peter holds his hand to the glass it’s cold. Venom doesn’t like that. The warm shower helps, and Peter almost looks at his reflection in the mirror.

Almost.

He walks downstairs, yawning into the crook of his elbow, trying not to look as tired as he feels, when he notices his therapist, Taya sitting at the counter in the kitchen. It’s getting colder, and she’s kept on her puffer coat, nursing a cup of hot tea between her hands. Pepper and her are talking, about the weather, about how it might snow soon and the mountains will be covered.

Peter didn’t sleep last night. He chose to live-text Wade instead about this really shitty movie he’d found on Tony’s Netflix, and then Wade had found the same movie, so Peter re-started and they watched at the same time. It was nice, and better than having nightmares.

‘we did dream of ‘Pool last night’ Venom reminds.

Peter really doesn’t need to have that in his head, right now, in front of his therapist and Pepper.

“Morning,” he says, and Taya turns to him with one of her soft, patient smiles.

“Good morning, Peter,” she says, and Pepper mirrors her greeting.

“I didn’t know we were meeting today,” Peter says, walking over to the French press and nearly sighing in relief when he sees it still has some coffee left. He pours himself a cup.

‘add sugar’ Venom insists.

“No, I’m still mad at you,” Peter responds, but adds some milk because he isn’t a heathen.

“Well, we were scheduled for next week,” Taya starts in that slow, methodical voice of hers, “but after what happened a few days ago I think it’s best if we had a quick catch up.”

Peter sips his coffee and tries not to glare.

“Tony called you?” he asks.

“I did, actually,” Pepper steps in, turning to face Peter fully.

“Oh,” he says, “without asking me about it?”

“It’s not a full session,” Taya says, “I just wanted to see how you were doing. Would you like to join me for a quick walk?”

‘no’ Venom sighs.

“Sure, okay,” Peter says, looking down at his coffee, “can I bring this?”

Taya smiles.

“Sure, okay,” she repeats.

Peter nods and goes to get a jacket.

 

///

 

His coffee is cold almost instantly, but he’s feeling kind of bitter about this whole affair so he drinks it anyway. The air is cool and it’s nice to be out of the compound, Peter was getting stir-crazy and without Wade to be there to distract him it’s making Peter want to crawl out of his skin.

‘i can help’ Venom supplies.

“Fuck off,” Peter grumbles and when Taya turns to look at him in alarm he quickly waves his hand in a “not you” gesture and spills his coffee.

“How have you been Peter?” Taya asks, hands stuffed deep into her pockets.

“Great,” Peter says and Taya shoots him a look™.

“Peter,” she sighs, stopping and signaling for Peter to stop too, “these sessions aren’t going to help you if you’re not honest with me.”

Peter doesn’t know why that annoys him. Taya's been nice, she’s been patient, but she doesn’t understand, she doesn’t get what he’s been through. She just looks at him with a mix of sympathy and veiled interest and Peter can’t do this. He can’t be talking to someone about his deep seeded trauma and not have them get it.

He can’t do it.

“Look,” he says, taking a sip of his coffee and instantly regretting it, “I don’t think I’m ready for…this.”

Taya stares at him for a moment, before giving him a small smile that makes him feel like a piece of shit.

“I understand,” she says, and reaches into her pocket, pulling out a pale lilac card, “here’s my email. I won’t charge you for any emergencies, or if you change your mind and want to schedule your own appointments. My office is in Astoria; you can stop by any time. The address is on the back of the card.”

“Oh, thanks,” Peter says, not expecting the break off to go this smoothly. He wonders how much Tony is paying her.

“Of course,” she holds out her hand, “have a good day, Peter Parker.”

“You too…Taya.”

They shake hands and she breaks off, walks down the path they’ve taken in the woods and Peter watches, feeling a little weird, as he holds her card in his hand.

“Did I just fuck that up?” he asks no one.

‘maybe’ Venom answers anyway.

 

///

 

That night his nightmares are of Kasady.

He breaks in through Peter’s window, blood streaming and staining Peter’s walls. He grabs Peter from his bed, slashes his throat, leans close as Peter chokes, “I’m coming for you.”

Peter wakes with a scream stuck in his chest, his sweat clinging to his clothes and the burner phone lighting up by his head.

Peter rolls out of bed on shaking legs, still shivering from the phantom feeling of Kasady’s hands on his throat, ankles, wrists

He makes his way into his joined bathroom, splashes ice-cold water on his face, and breathes. He’s in his bathroom in the Avengers compound.

He’s safe.

He’s okay.

He breathes.

Peter’s feeling slightly better by the time he leaves the bathroom, but his phone’s screen is still lighting up so he picks it up with tired eyes. Wade has texted him an address, and normally that isn’t strange but usually Peter is the one to initiate conversations first. The address Wade’s sent him sounds familiar, and under it he’s typed a siren emoji, the same one Peter sent him four days ago.

‘is wade in danger?’ Venom asks.

Peter’s grabbing his suit from his closet and climbing out of his window without a second thought.

 

///

 

He hasn’t felt this frantic in a long time.

Not this desperate, not this worried, for another person. He’d felt it when he saw Venom lunge for Tony, but it’s nothing compared to the heart-stopping anxiety he’s feeling now. He swings through the woods, over the rivers, mountains; he’s in Brooklyn and seeing the Manhattan skyline before he can catch a breath.

His wrists ache, he hasn’t been careful about grabbing his webs before shifting his weight, but he doesn’t care. Did Wade feel like this when Peter texted him?

It sucks.

The address is Wade’s safe house in Red Hook, and Peter doesn’t bother using the door. He’s sticking onto the brick of the building in one swift dive, climbing over to the window that faces in to Wade’s living room. It’s dark, and Peter can’t see any movement from inside. His spider-sense is a low thrum in the back of his head, a warning to stay alert, and Peter listens to it as he sticks his hand to the glass and hopes Wade is lazy enough to not lock his window.

It slides up. Peter is going to have to talk to him about safety and self-preservation.

“Wade?” he calls, slipping into the apartment and immediately feeling off.

‘a trap’ Venom hisses, and the symbiote may be right.

Peter stays close to the wall, walking slow around Wade’s small living room. Nothing looks out of place; in fact, it looks about the same amount of messy the last time Peter saw it. Did he get the wrong apartment?

He’s about to call out again when his spider-sense blares, loud and almost crippling and he turns just as a figure emerges from Wade’s bedroom. It’s dark, in the apartment, but the figure doesn’t seem to be concerned by that. They walk forward and Peter crouches, heart pounding.

“Don’t take another step,” Peter says, feeling relieved that his voice doesn’t waver. “Where the hell is Wade?”

“Why, I dunno, princess,” a familiar accented voice says and then there’s a click and the light to the kitchen is flipping on and Peter knows the man standing in front of him.

He’d recognize that voice anywhere–stay fucking still

The man is holding up his hand and Peter almost webs him to the wall before he sees what he’s holding.

A phone, that looks a lot like Peter’s.

The man flips it open.

“So you two are close, huh?” he asks, and if Peter didn’t have enhanced eyesight he wouldn’t have been able to see the texts between him and Wade, the recent siren emoji, but he does and he can.

“How d’you stand looking at…that?” the man asks, and God, Peter can’t remember his fucking name but it was something pretentious like Harold or Simon–

“Where’s Wade?” he repeats, and he can feel Venom stir under his skin.

“Why don’t you come with me and I’ll show you?” British Scar Guy says.

“Why don’t I break your bones and you just tell me?” Peter snarls, taking a threatening step forward.

“You hurt me, you kill me, I tell you nothing, and you don’t ever find him,” British shrugs, his tone so nonchalant and uncaring that Peter wants to break all his teeth just so he’ll sound anything other than smug.

“I remember last time he was with us,” the guy is saying, “he’s really even more hideous when he’s in pain, you have no idea–”

Peter’s on him in an instant, his throat in his hand, his back slamming so hard that the drywall dents under the impact and he’s so weak, he’s so breakable, Peter could tear him in half

“You’re gonna tell me where he is or I’m gonna rip it out of you,” Peter says, pressing so hard on British guy’s neck that blood swells under his nails, “so start talking wanna be David Beckham.”

Chapter Text

Peter doesn’t really have a plan.

He kind of acted out of pure instinct and emotion, and those kinds of choices either go really right or really wrong, and with Peter’s luck it’s usually the latter. Because now he’s got this dumbass HYDRA agent webbed up so tight the guy’s circulation is probably not going great, and Peter stuck his mouth shut the moment he opened it again.

He also may or may not have hit him so hard he knocked David Beckham’s cousin out, but can anyone blame him? This guy may or may not have hurt Wade, and when he pulled Peter from his room three years ago he definitely hurt him.

So now Peter is standing in one of the living rooms of Wade’s many safe houses, hands on his hips, trying to figure out who he knows that can help dealing with HYDRA.

‘we could kill him’ Venom suggests, ‘he’s scum’

“I agree that he’s as annoying as the gum that’s been stuck on my shoe for two days but I’m not about killing, V,” Peter mutters, taking off his mask so he can scratch the itch behind his ear.

He’s feeling weirdly calm about this.

Maybe its because the guy has no evidence he’d actually gotten Wade, or maybe it’s because he’s about to have the biggest breakdown of his entire life and this is the calm before the storm.

Who knows?

‘it’s the last one’ Venom supplies, ‘we can feel you panicking’

“Well that’s great,” Peter laughs but it’s more of a wheeze and shit Venom is probably right, “I hate his face. Look how dumb he looks.”

‘so dumb’ Venom agrees.

“Maybe we should draw a mustache on him.”

‘we’re freaking out’

I’m not freaking out, that’s all you.”

‘nails’ is all Venom says but it’s enough for Peter to look down and ow, yeah, he’s been digging his nails into his neck so hard he can feel them pierce his skin. He shouldn’t have taken his mask off.

“I need to call someone,” Peter says because he can’t bring this asshole to the compound, and he can’t leave him here.

Who does he know that lives in Brooklyn and hates HYDRA?

Oh.

The answer is pretty fucking obvious.

 

///

 

Steve Rogers sounds tired.

Correction: he sounds like he hasn’t slept in a week.

Peter knows what that sounds like, and the minute the ex-Avenger picks up Peter feels a little guilty at maybe waking him up.

He had used the built in headset of his mask to harness Cap’s phone number because Tony is paranoid and supplied Peter with everything he needs in one ear piece, including all of the Avengers’ emergency contacts.

“Who is this?” Steve asks, voice a sharp rasp down the static line in Peter’s ear.

Cap is one of the only people Peter hasn’t seen yet, and he knows that there’s a better way to say “hi” after three years but Wade might be hurt somewhere and that’s making him a little frantic.

“Yeah, um, I’m sorry if I woke you up or anything, I hope I didn’t, I guess it’s kind of late, I mean, I don’t really have the time on me right now but judging from the sky–”

“Is this Spider-Man?” Steve asks, and he sounds amused, resigned, and hopeful.

Goddamn, he’s so earnest.

“Um. Yes, hi,” Peter says.

There's a better way to do this.

“Tony told me you were back!” Steve exclaims and he sounds so happy and awake that Peter has to kind of reorient himself, “I’m so sorry Buck and I haven’t been around, we’ve been on the tail of this HYDRA agent for the past four months and we just lost him.”

Peter looks to his left at the webbed up bundle stuck to Wade’s wall.

“About that,” Peter begins.

 

///

 

Captain America has a beard.

He has a beard, and long hair, and he’s wearing one of those thick Adidas hoodies that looks like it’s been going through wear and tear since the 90s.

Bucky Barnes has been rubbing off on him, apparently (literally?) because he has his telltale scruff, his long hair tied into a bun on his head. He looks good, rested, and he’s also wearing a sweatshirt.

Peter had sent them the address and they had arrived in less than ten minutes.

They look so normal and unassuming in their civvies that Peter barely recognizes them. Steve approaches, his broad figure always intimidating, before he bends down and gives Peter a bone-crushing hug. Peter wasn’t expecting that. Steve lets him go just as quickly, but he’s smiling a little and looking down at Peter with warm eyes.

“Nice to see ya, kid,” he says.

“You too, man,” Peter replies, leaning to the side to give Bucky a shy wave.

The gruff man smiles and waves back, his black metal arm almost disappearing in the gloom of the shadows around them.

“Is that who you’ve been tracking?” Peter asks, pointing at the British bundle of webbing, because while he could stare into Captain America’s blue eyes any day he kind of would rather stare into Wade’s, preferably with Wade completely unharmed and healthy.

“Looks like,” Bucky grumbles, walking over and kicking the guy in the head.

Peter almost feels bad for him.

Steve looks a little affronted but doesn’t say anything, instead turning his attention to Peter.

“How’d you find him?” he asks, and he looks so different without his shield and clean blonde hair.

“He texted me,” Peter says and then, by Bucky’s incredulous stare, backtracks, “well, he has Wade’s phone and texted me from that and I thought it was Wade and came here and then he said that he has Wade and I need to go with him to get Wade back and that all sounds super suspicious to me but what if he’s right and–”

Steve holds up a patient hand.

“Hold up,” he says and Peter does, “you and Deadpool text?”

Bucky snorts from behind Steve’s back but doesn’t say anything else.

‘and we hug’ Venom adds.

“Uh, yeah. We’re kind of friends?” Peter says but it sounds more like a question.

“You’re friends with Deadpool?” Steve repeats, a little unbelieving, “really?”

“What’s that like?” Bucky asks, bending down and picking up Wade’s discarded phone from the hallway.

“Fun?” Peter tries.

The super soldiers don’t look too sold on the idea.

“Why does no one like him?” Peter asks, frustrated, but Bucky just shakes his head and walks over, scrolling through Wade’s texts.

Wade and Peter’s texts.

Peter doesn’t know why he’s blushing, they literally only talk about dumb movies and vines, it’s not like they send each other dick pics.

“Huh,” Barnes hums, a teasing grin on his lips, “he likes you.”

Um.

What?

“Um what?” Peter croaks, flushing all the way to his ears.

‘we knew this’ Venom says, almost like they’re bragging.

“He what?” Steve gasps, leaning over to look at the texts with Bucky and this…is really not how Peter thought this was gonna go. At all.

He webs the phone out of Barnes’ hands with probably too much force and catches it before it goes flying out the window.

“Look,” Peter says, frustrated and a little embarrassed, “we don’t have time for that. I need to find Wade and take out this piece of trash, so will you help me or not?”

The two men are acting way too calm about this.

“Buck, what time is it?” Steve asks, scratching his beard absentmindedly.

Bucky checks the watch around his wrist.

“About four a.m.”

Steve nods, then turns to Peter.

“He’s been on a SHIELD mission in Dubai,” Steve explains, “he should actually be at the tower in Midtown in about an hour.”

Peter’s too tired to go through this. He’s too tired. And old, he’s feeling so old.

“So that guy was lying?” Peter asks and can’t decide whether he’s relieved (he is) or annoyed (both).

“Ajax? Yeah, looks like this was just a set up to get you here,” Steve says, but he’s looking around like something isn’t right.

“But why only send one guy?” Peter asks, “I mean, I have Venom and my enhanced strength, HYDRA isn’t that dumb to only send one man for me, right? When they got me years ago there was like twenty of ‘em with guns. And a needle.”

Steve and Bucky are staring at him with somber expressions on their faces. It’s a little scary how the two of them are so in sync.

“Tony filled us in,” Steve says and he’s looking at Peter with so much sympathy and compassion that Peter kind of wants to jump out of the window.

“Yeah, okay, a lot happened, don’t wanna go into it. I really just want to see Wade, make sure he’s okay, so I'm gonna leave this asshole with you two and if you’ll excuse me…” he says in a rush, heading back over to the window and throwing his leg out.

“Wait,” Steve says, “we’re going to the same place. And if HYDRA sent someone to try and get to you then you shouldn’t be out alone. Let us come with you.”

Peter wants to argue.

He doesn’t want company right now but Steve has a point. Bucky is bending down and throwing Ajax over his shoulder like he weighs nothing.

“Fine,” Peter relents, “I’ll meet you there.”

That’s as good as he can offer right now and Steve nods, accepting, so Peter shoots out a web and swings off into the direction of Manhattan.

 

///

 

He gets to the tower in record time and tries to ignore the knot forming in his stomach because he remembers, vividly, coming here after classes and working with Bruce and Dr. Cho in the lab on the fifty-sixth floor.

It was a breathtaking view of the city when it rained, and all the windows would turn misty with the rising condensation. Peter had felt like he was working in a cloud.

Those were happier, simpler days.

Now, he climbs up the side of the skyscraper to the roof, passing the lab he used to spend most his days in. If Wade had been working with SHIELD then he would have a jet, or a chopper at least. Peter didn’t know Wade took regular assignments from SHIELD, but then again, he has been bragging about his no killing streak so Peter should have assumed.

He gets to the roof and sits on the ledge, away from the tarmac, and looks out over the city. It’s a beautiful sight, New York City, the lights twinkling and sounds cascading up until everything becomes a soft hum, a soft glow, a remembrance.

‘you were different before us’ Venom says, and it’s not a question.

“Yeah,” Peter whispers, not wanting to break the city’s quiet spell, “very.”

They sit in silence for a long while, and it’s nice, comforting.

‘happier?’ Venom asks, sliding along Peter’s fingers.

Peter rubs his thumb over them, gentle.

“Different,” is what he lands on.

Steve and Bucky have caught up, Peter can hear them two floors below, making their way to the roof, barely out of breath. They probably didn’t even use the elevator. Show-offs.

A metal door to Peter's right swings open with a creak and a groan and Peter gets to his feet as they approach him.

“Any minute now,” Steve tells him, “if he doesn’t show up we’ll know Ajax was telling the truth.”

The knot in Peter’s stomach gets tighter.

“Great,” he sighs, shifting his weight from one foot to the next.

It’s awkward, but none of them are standing on the roof for the conversation.

“So,” Peter says, because he can’t stay silent for more than five minutes apparently, “are you guys dating?”

He thinks it’s a fair question, they read Wade and his texts without asking so he should get to pry too.

Steve blushes and it must be intense if Peter can tell in the dark. Bucky’s grinning though and he pats Steve on the back, his touch lingering.

“Yeah, pal, you haven’t broken the news to the kid? What’re you waitin’ for?”

Steve looks a little panicked and he turns to Bucky with wide eyes.

“It’s not that I didn’t want to not tell him! I–yeah, we’re dating,” Steve says and he looks both flustered and completely proud and Peter’s reminded of the fact that these two men grew up in the 40s, when admitting something like that out loud could’ve gotten them killed.

“I’m happy for you guys,” Peter says, honestly, and Bucky smiles even bigger, more genuine, the teasing lit gone.

“Thanks,” he says, reaching across Steve to give Peter a fist-bump with his metal arm and Peter is 99% sure Shuri taught him that, “so about you and Deadpool.”

“Oh god,” Peter whispers, “um. No, that’s okay.”

“Just friends?” Steve asked sounding genuinely curious.

Both him and Bucky look a little wary but that’s nothing compared to the cold glare Natasha wears whenever Deadpool is mentioned.

“Yeah, we’re just friends,” Peter says but it feels wrong, the words are bitter on his tongue.

‘more’ Venom hums.

Peter doesn’t answer them. He doesn’t want to have to explain Venom right now.

“That’s too bad,” Bucky says, under his breath but he knows Peter can hear it, and Peter turns to him, is about to ask what he means, but a jet is breaching the clouds, it’s engines near silent.

It’s not big, a two person seater at most, and indeed, when the side doors flip up after it lands Wade comes tumbling out. Well, limping out. He’s missing his right leg and a woman follows him out, her eyes almost gold in the gloom.

She’s supporting his weight with no effort, and she doesn’t even look disgusted at all the blood following them like breadcrumbs.

Peter nearly sags with relief because yeah, Wade’s missing a leg, but he’s alive.

Wade zeroes in on Peter almost instantly.

“Hey! Spidey! What’re you doing here?” he sounds way too overjoyed for someone bleeding out on a tarmac.

The woman looks to Peter and she smiles, white teeth gleaming.

“This is him?” she asks Wade in a gentle voice and Deadpool nods enthusiastically, removing his arm from around her shoulders and instead making grabby motions at Peter.

Peter steps forward but Venom is the one who shoots out, taking Wade’s arms and fucking carrying him across the landing strip to Peter who has to brace himself for a hug or Venom would have just ended up body-slamming them together. Which, technically, is what just happened.

“Wow! This is so cool, you and Cap’n Underpants picking me up at the airport? At the gate? I’m such a lucky gal,” Wade gushes, and even though he’s bleeding and smells like bodily fluids and gunpowder Peter holds him tight because goddamn was he scared.

He should’ve brought flowers or something; it feels like he’s greeting a significant other after a long business trip.

‘aren’t you?’ Venom asks.

Peter’s heart does a funny little flip in his chest, the knot in his stomach loosening the moment Wade fell into his arms. Completely ungraceful.

“Not as lucky as some people,” the woman says, and she gives a little wave to Steve and Bucky, “hi.”

“Ma’am,” Steve answers, holding out his hand and she shakes it, “Steve Rogers.”

“Domino,” she says, “I kept Wade in two pieces.”

“Hah!” Wade laughs, pulling back from Peter and wrapping an arm around his shoulders, Venom curling around his waist, “and you did a great job, Dom.”

He shoots her an enthusiastic thumbs up which she returns.

“You’re baby boy,” she says, and it’s directed at Peter.

“That’s–is that what you told her my name was?” Peter hisses and Wade gives a large shrug.

“It’s what he calls you,” Domino answers sounding amused, “but I’m guessing that’s not your name?”

“Uh, not even close,” Peter says, giving her a smile even though she can’t tell through his mask, “but, uh, I guess you can call me that?”

“No!” Wade whines, “that’s my thing! She can’t call you that, Dom, don’t call him that!”

Peter wonders if he even needs to worry about a secret identity anymore.

Domino just shoots him a wink and a little salute to Steve and Bucky before she’s skipping back to the jet, gracefully avoiding the puddles of blood Wade left behind.

“Take care, boys!” she calls out and the jet’s doors close with a whoosh.

Peter’s too distracted by the warm feel of Wade’s blood soaking through the side of his suit to take much notice of Domino’s jet disappearing into the clouds. Despite his cheerful appearance Wade is leaning heavily against his side, and Peter knows that the guy has to be in a lot of pain, he’s just used to hiding it. Peter understands that.

“C’mon, buddy, let’s get you healed up,” he says and bends to pick Deadpool up, bridal style, regardless of the stains against his suit.

Wade doesn’t hesitate to wrap his arms around Peter’s neck, cuddles into his chest.

“Tis but a flesh wound,” Wade mumbles, words slurring together and Peter doesn’t need to see the red around them to know that Wade’s lost a shit-ton of blood.

“A flesh wound?” Peter quotes, a soft smile tugging at his lips, “your legs off.”

Wade snorts into his skin, growing heavier the longer Peter holds him.

“Hey,” Peter whispers, shaking him, “Ajax didn’t get you did he? I mean, he didn’t cut off your leg or get you kidnapped–”

Wade’s jolting in Peter’s arms instantly, so suddenly that Peter nearly drops him, would have, if Venom weren’t still wrapped around Wade’s waist.

“Francis? That fucking tea drinking, Queen loving sack of–”

“Whoa, hey man, easy,” Peter hisses as Wade twists and almost elbows him in the nose.

Still, Peter doesn’t let him go. He can’t really bring himself to, and it’s not like Deadpool is actually struggling to be put back on the ground.

“Did he hurt you?” Deadpool snarls, turning to look at Peter, “did he fucking touch you? I swear to Cher baby boy, I’ll skin him from his toes all the way up to his–”

“No, Jesus, he didn’t hurt me,” Peter reassures, holding Wade tighter, hoping the close proximity will calm the easily riled (ex?) mercenary. “But he texted me.”

Wade presses a hand over his heart.

“Behind my back? I was off making us the big bucks and you cheated on me? When I specifically asked you not to?”

“It was a trap,” Steve speaks up, addressing Deadpool for the first time and Wade’s attention snaps to the super soldier, “he was trying to get Peter to come with him somewhere.”

Wade stares at Steve for a long time.

“Oh my god,” he whispers, “did you guys team up without me? Holy shitballs, are you shitting me? I was getting my fucking leg sawed the fuck off with a dull hand saw and you guys are over here forming some kind of super hot, super spandex-y super team? I bet you have a cool name and everything, way better than X-Force or the Revengers.”

“It…no, that’s not what happened,” Peter tries but Deadpool plows on, undeterred, and Peter’s pretty sure the soft warm thing poking his forearm is Wade’s leg growing back.

“Sparkles and stripes comes to beat the pulp out of that British bull dog with his amnesia loving morally questionable boyfriend of three centuries and I don’t get to see them make out? Not once? Even fucking White is disappointed, I swear, millennials nowadays, am I right?”

Bucky’s pinching the bridge of his nose and Steve looks like he wishes he could melt into the tarmac’s thick rubber ground. Peter…doesn’t really blame them.

“I’m gonna take him home,” he tells them, because it’s obvious that everyone is tired and emotionally exhausted and the last thing they need is Wade starting a lengthy discussion about gay sex, “but we should talk about tonight. Try to figure out HYDRA’s motives here.”

Steve nods, expression a bit more serious and composed and he gives Deadpool a little grimace smile.

Wade salutes the two of them.

“Thank you for your service and dedication to becoming human popsicles,” Wade calls as Bucky and Steve turn to leave, “we appreciate your dedication!”

The two super soldiers exit without another word and then it’s just Peter and Wade and Venom and White and Yellow.

There’s a strange air between Peter and Wade, and Peter can’t figure out which one of them is causing it. It feels like someone’s holding their breath, or like they just had a huge heart to heart and almost kissed but was interrupted by one of their father-like figures at the last minute.

But Peter hasn’t been thinking about it.

‘liar’ Venom sighs, ‘we can see your dreams’

Peter really needs to ask Wanda about blocking off his mind or something, he’s still not too clear on how her powers work. Or where she is.

Wade’s wiggling his half grown leg and it’s disgusting enough to get Peter out of his own thoughts for a bit.

“Is that your leg growing back or are you happy to see me?” Peter asks, trying to break the heavy air that’s surrounded them with a lame joke.

Deadpool turns to him, waggling his eyebrows and his strange baby leg.

“Always happy to see you, honey, you’re a sight for sore everything,” Wade sighs, and cuddles closer, arms tight around Peter’s neck.

Peter really tries to not feel emotional, or pleased at Wade’s desire to snuggle, but it’s not working and he can’t help resting his cheek on the top of Wade’s masked head.

“I really thought they got to you,” Peter admits, so quiet a part of him hopes Wade doesn’t hear.

Deadpool moves a hand down, presses it over Peter’s heart, and that just makes the muscle beat even harder.

‘he likes us’ Venom says, speaking up for the first time in a long while.

“Huh,” Barnes had said, “he likes you.”

The concept of Wade liking him makes Peter’s pulse race faster and he can only hope that Deadpool is too tired and in his own head to tell that Peter is kind of freaking out. He had been so scared, so terrified that HYDRA had taken something else from him. They’ve already taken everything, he doesn’t know what he’d do if they took Wade too.

“You were scared,” Deadpool whispers, sounding slightly in shock and unbelieving and Peter is just focusing on breathing like a normal human being.

“Yeah,” he admits, voice cracking ‘cause what’s the point in lying?

Wade is silent for a long while, and Peter can’t tell if he’s listening to his boxes or trying to figure out why Peter had been so emotionally invested in his well-being. Peter hopes that if he finds the answer he shares with the class because Peter isn’t sure why he acted the way he did, only that his one thought was Wade, and his safety, and that heart-stopping, horrible moment when he didn’t know where Wade was–

‘like him’ Venom hums, ‘we like him’

Peter can’t unpack that right now. He’ll just push that newfound tidbit of self-analysis into the back of his mind with all the duct-taped boxes of paranoia, PTSD, depression, and anxiety.

Taya would be proud. He’s compartmentalizing.

Peter hadn’t realized he’d been staring off into the dark until Wade’s hand is resting on his cheek, gently moving his head so that he’s staring into the white’s of the Deadpool mask. It’s still dark out, but the blinking lights on the landing strip illuminate Wade’s suit in flashing details. The sun is rising, a steady climb, and the sky is lightening, casting more clarification on Deadpool’s features.

Peter’s heart is pounding so hard he’s certain Wade can feel it.

“Why?” Wade asks, and this is reminding Peter of the conversation Wade and him had held earlier this week, after Venom had taken control.

It feels as fragile, as delicate as it did then.

“Why what?” Peter stalls because he isn’t as brave as Wade.

“Why do you care?” Wade asks, patient, voice so soft and shy Peter almost can’t hear him.

It’s a good question: why does Peter care?

He’s known Wade less than half a year and they met under the worst possible circumstances. But despite having known each other a short amount of time Peter still knows that Wade is Canadian, that he served in the special forces, that he was married, then divorced. He knows that Wade’s favorite color is pink on Bad Days and Rainbow on good. He knows that he loves The Golden Girls, chimichangas, and his blue masturbating shoes (crocs). He knows that Wade loves little kids and that he hears voices in his head and that he has a daughter named Ellie who also loves Spider-Man and he knows that Wade is deeply depressed, manic, has PTSD to rival his own, and that all the man wants, at the end of the day, is to be wanted.

Loved.

Why does Peter care?

The answer is obvious, he just doesn’t know if he’s ready to admit it.

“You’re my friend,” Peter says, easily, not lying, but not telling the whole truth either.

There’s a long silence, one where it’s just him and Wade, no voices, no distractions, and if Peter were braver he’d lift up their masks and–

Even he isn’t sure, but he has the strange urge, the strange desire, to feel Wade’s lips. It’s a thought that arrives swift and urgent, one that almost knocks him off his feet with its leavings of desire, warming his bones and making that short fantasy sound like the best idea he’s ever had.

Peter doesn’t lift up Wade’s mask, though, and he doesn’t let go of Wade to reach his own. So Wade nods and drops his hand and Peter wishes he didn’t.

‘tell him’ Venom urges, ‘tell him’

Peter doesn’t tell him. Instead, he maneuvers Wade so that he’s on his back, arms wrapped securely around Peter’s neck, and webs them into the direction of the Avengers compound. It’s the only secure place he can think to take them, and Deadpool doesn’t complain.

 

///

 

Wade’s leg is almost entirely grown back by the time Peter swings them both to the compound, scaling the wall and slipping in through his bedroom window. It’s late, technically really early, but he knows Tony isn’t going to be up walking around in his wing for a few hours, at least.

He’s only got the one bed, but there’s a couch and he deposits Wade onto the mattress, pulling the pillows up for him.

“Wow,” Deadpool hums, stretching out and wiggling his hurt leg, his scarred skin shifting with the movement, like oil over water, “not used to being this spoiled. I can get used to this.”

“You were hurt,” Peter says because it’s true and it will lead to less feelings talk than if he had said “I like taking care of you”.

Wade’s staring at him, Peter can feel his gaze as he tears off his mask and flings it over the back of the couch. He wants to take his suit off, but he’s very aware of Wade watching so instead he grabs some thread-bare sweats and his favorite hoodie and makes his way to the bathroom.

He feels nervous and he isn’t sure why.

Maybe it’s leftover adrenaline, maybe it’s relief that Wade is okay, maybe seeing Ajax is bringing up some nifty trauma, but he’s shaking as he peels off the suit and pulls on the sweats. The knowledge of Wade laying in his bed in his room is making him want to jump into a lake of ice water.

He doesn’t understand where these feelings are coming from, if they’re sudden or if they’ve been building for months. He takes a deep breath, and for the first time since the motel, looks at himself in the mirror.

He doesn’t linger on his reflection, but he does ruffle his hair from where the mask had flattened it down.

“Hey V,” Peters whispers, quiet so Wade can’t hear, “do I look okay?”

‘does it matter?’ Venom asks, curious.

“No,” Peter sighs and hangs his bloody suit up on the back of the bathroom door before leaving.

Wade hasn’t moved, and Peter can’t tell if he’s sleeping or awake. Either way, May raised him to treat his guests’ right.

“Do you want to change?” Peter asks, feeling a lot better after having gotten out of his suit. He can only assume Deadpool’s is way less comfortable than his.

Deadpool shrugs.

“I’m all good, baby boy, don’t worry about me.”

His voice sounds a little strained, tense, and Peter’s instantly concerned that maybe he’s been hurt somewhere else.

“What’s wrong?” he asks, crossing his arms as Venom slithers along his neck to regard Wade themselves, “are you in pain?”

Deadpool looks over at him, hands crossed over his hips, before he’s sitting up in one swift motion and landing on his feet. He approaches Peter slowly, like he’s studying every breath Peter’s taking, categorizing every reaction to his growing proximity.

Peter really wishes he’d left his mask on because he’s pretty sure he hasn’t stopped blushing all night.

Wade stops a good foot in front of him, and he slowly reaches out and pinches the hem of Peter’s hoodie.

“Is this mine?” he asks and Peter’s heart stops.

“Um,” he says, and can’t look away from Deadpool’s mask, “maybe.”

Wade steps closer, running the hem of the hoodie between his fingers; his gloved hands brushing the skin of Peter’s stomach and making him shiver, just a little.

“Yellow says it looks good on you,” Wade whispers, tilting his head and looking Peter in the eye, and he’s so much more intimidating with the mask on, Peter can’t get a read on him.

Peter swallows, knowing that if he wants this to end, wants this to not escalate, now is the time to step away. Diffuse. But Peter’s never been good at diffusing situations, and this one isn’t any different. Especially since he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the last time they were in his room.

“What do you think?” he asks, matching Wade’s quiet tone without thought.

Wade steps closer, just a little, just enough that their chest’s are almost touching, enough that the back of his hand is now pressed flat to Peter’s abdomen, and it’s making Peter ache.

“Like I could just eat you up,” Wade says, rough, and he’s leaning forward and Peter’s already lost his breath, he isn’t sure how he manages to lose it again

Wade presses a kiss to Peter’s cheek and steps away.

Really he just rubs his mask against Peter’s face, but he makes a kissy noise as he does and Peter’s probably looking as dazed, embarrassed, and shocked as he feels when Wade backs up and saunters over to Peter’s couch, like he’s proud of himself, like he’s proven something.

Peter just feels frozen.

And helplessly warm.

Even Venom is shivering, and it’s such a strange feeling, to have Wade’s actions intensified by the symbiote's own nerves.

Peter gulps.

“Lets watch something!” Wade says, voice back to being upbeat and ecstatically cheerful.

Peter looks at him with clear disbelief.

“Something wrong, Webs?” Wade asks, and there’s a teasing lit to his voice that has Peter feeling all the more confused and a little frustrated, but he can’t say that Wade did something wrong because Wade didn’t do anything.

And maybe that’s why he’s feeling disappointed.

“Nothing! I–nothing’s wrong, it’s just…turn on the TV,” Peter groans, running a hand over his face and sitting all the way at the other end of the couch.

Wade complies, and an hour in he does take off his mask, and Peter’s grateful, more relaxed, at seeing his face.

Two hours in and Peter’s legs are in Wade’s lap and Wade’s hands are on his ankles, grounding, safe.

Three hours in and Peter’s asleep and doesn’t dream.

 

///

 

He stops snoring because he smells pancakes.

And Friday’s waking him up.

“Mr. Parker,” the AI’s voice says, “your guest is in the kitchen.”

“Oh,” Peter grumbles, rubbing his eyes and sitting up, “why?”

“He’s cooking,” Friday replies, sounding somehow amused.

Peter isn’t sure if that’s a good thing, so he gets off the couch as fast as he can, brushes his teeth in record time, and sprints down to the communal kitchen on the first floor.

He smells Wade’s cooking before he sees it, and it smells fucking divine so he’s already salivating with a rumbling stomach when he steps barefoot into the kitchen.

And then freezes at the image Wade makes, dressed in Peter’s oversized Star Wars pajama pants, Peter’s shirt over his head, pulled tight across his broad chest, the Deadpool mask stuffed into the waistband of the bottoms.

But what makes Peter feel warm and happy all over is the fact that Wade looks utterly comfortable, at ease, the morning sun glowing soft and gentle over his mottled skin, and it does look painful but in no way ugly, in no way gruesome like Wade thinks it is. Peter isn’t sure why Wade being barefoot is so endearing but it has something very close to affection sticking in his throat.

“Pancakes?” Peter asks when he finds his voice, raspy with sleep as he pads into the kitchen Wade is so easily occupying.

Wade looks at him over his shoulder and winks, flipping one of the cakes without even looking. It lands on the counter and Peter just stares but Wade doesn’t seem to care about that.

“Look at you,” he sighs, propping his cheek in his hand and cocking his hip, “my fav little sex-hair spider.”

Peter ignores the stools on the other side of the island and instead hops with ease onto the counter, and Wade stares up at him, a grin on his lips.

“I know, it’s a mess,” Peter says, tapping Wade’s shoulder when a pancake looks like it’s starting to smoke, “also what kind are these?”

“Every kind! I don’t discriminate, Webs, we got everything goin’ on here. Chocolate chips, marshmallows, blueberries– why do you guys have so many blueberries?”

“’Cause Tony keeps forgetting Pepper’s allergic,” Peter answers, still trying his best to wake up and not fall back asleep on the counter. “And no one eats them.”

“Well I used all of them,” Wade sings, adding more patter the pan, “this kitchen is straight out of a Kentucky Homes and Gardens catalogue, who designed this place? An old white woman in her sixties who wears broaches?”

“Close, but not quite,” Pepper’s voice says from behind them and both men turn to see her stepping in through the front door, a briefcase in one hand and a coffee in the other. Peter sees how Wade tenses, how he makes a move to reach for his mask, but stops, maybe because he doesn’t want to draw more attention to himself.

Pepper, because she’s smart and can pick up on social queues, busies herself with her phone and gives Wade the privacy to slip his mask hurriedly over his face. Peter can’t help his small disappointment, because Wade’s eyes are really pretty and expressive and–

‘enough thinking’ Venom interrupts.

Peter listens, because the symbiote is probably right.

“Good morning, boys,” Pepper says, smiling as she looks up from her phone, “Wade did you make all of these?”

Peter isn’t sure what surprises him most: the fact that Pepper used Wade’s real name or that he hadn’t even noticed the four stacks of pancakes on the counter by the stove.

Wade puffs up, proud, and Peter watches him with a small smile.

“Yes, ma’am! All by yours truly even though the pile that I put on top of the fridge has blueberries in it and you shouldn’t eat them. Unless you like the feeling of your tongue swelling up like a balloon but personally I’d rather avoid those experiences. Also is that an actual, real life briefcase? I haven’t seen one of those since Mad Men.”

Pepper smiles, indulgent.

“It is, I have some documents for Tony to look over,” she says, eyes flicking between the two of them, “so how often do you spend the night?”

Wade looks at Peter and Peter knows, he just knows, that Wade is going to make this worse. He makes a silencing motion over his mouth but Wade being Wade just turns back to Pepper with a wink.

“Pretty much whenever Peter and I want to swap clothes, which is quite often, Peter has such a nice bed, way more comfortable than mine, I sleep on a bed of pine needles and rocks most nights,” Wade answers and Peter’s scrambling to interrupt because he has to clarify this immediately.

“He was hurt! And the Deadpool suit is really uncomfortable and we didn’t sleep in the same bed–”

“That’s right, my bad, we cuddled on the couch until you fell asleep!” Wade says, and Peter’s going to strangle him.

Pepper’s looking between them with too much knowledge in her eyes before she’s taking the plate of pancakes Wade hands her, briefcase tucked under her arm.

“I’ll see you two,” she says, turning to leave, “but you might want to change. That is, if you want to avoid people getting any ideas.”

Peter waits until she’s out of sight, until the click of her heels has faded before he turns to Wade and flips him off.

 

///

 

Steve and Bucky arrive, without warning, that afternoon.

It’s begun to rain, and Peter’s a little grateful for the change in weather. Wade’s back in his suit, lounging on the living room couch, and Peter’s hanging from the ceiling, upside down by a web, when the front door opens. Wade has a gun pulled and aimed in a heartbeat but Steve just sticks his head into the living room, hands up and expression drawn.

“Just us,” he says, unnecessarily because, yeah, they can see him.

Wade lowers his gun.

“Ya know, it’s so weird seeing you with facial hair, you look like Chris Evans,” Deadpool says and Peter drops from the ceiling onto the couch beside Wade, giving Steve and Bucky a good-afternoon wave.

“Tony in the lab?” Steve asks as Bucky hangs back, looking around the front foyer like he hasn’t been here in years. Maybe he hasn’t.

“Probably,” Peter answers, just as Wade says, “I made pancakes!”

“We have Ajax in custody–” Steve begins.

“You mean Francis, it’s okay, he hates it,” Wade interrupts, twirling his D-Eagle around his pinky finger.

“We’re going to question him,” Steve says and that gets Peter and Wade’s full attention.

“Well I should hope so,” Wade responds, standing, “I was hoping it would be that or torture him.”

“We’re not torturing anyone,” Bucky says, voice hard and Wade just raises his hands in an “I surrender” gesture.

“Where’s Tony?” Steve asks, just as Peter points over his shoulder.

Tony makes his way into the kitchen with Pepper following, and he looks around at all the pancakes with thinly veiled annoyance.

“There’s batter on my blender,” he says and Wade just points at Peter.

Tony regards all of them, expression a little closed off, body language stiff. Peter had been hoping in the three years he’d been gone that Steve and Tony would have gotten over the stunted silences in their relationship.

Apparently they hadn’t.

“Wow, this is so awkward,” Wade says, loud, “everyone wants to fuck everyone, the sexual tension is killing me.”

“Shut up,” Tony sighs, and he shoots Peter a look, like it’s somehow Peter’s fault Wade is talking. “Who are we questioning?”

“HYDRA,” Peter says.

“A HYDRA named Francis,” Wade pitches in.

Tony sighs, and takes a plate with a chocolate chip pancake. Wade squeals under his breath.

“Nice Sunday morning activity,” Tony says, taking a bite of the pancake and chewing loudly.

“He’s one of the men who broke into my apartment,” Peter says, to fill Tony in, “he texted me from Wade’s phone last night.”

Tony looks alarmed and confused, looking between all the people crowded into his living room.

“Wait,” he says, setting down his plate and it’s just now occurring to Peter that he hadn’t told Tony where he was going, “last night? You all had a little rendezvous last night?”

“It wasn’t planned!” Peter says. “Francis texted me from Wade’s phone so I went to go check things out and he said I needed to come with him if I wanted to save Wade but Wade was in Dubai and so then I knocked him out and called Steve ‘cause he was close by and knows how to handle HYDRA and then we dropped him off in custody at the tower and now we’re gonna go question him.”

Tony groans into his hand.

“Why can’t I have a normal morning?” he sighs, but isn’t directing the question at anyone.

“Tony, do you want to come with us?” Steve asks and Tony looks up at the room, at all eyes on him.

“Is he coming?” he asks, pointing at Deadpool.

“Hey,” Peter protests, “he’s a part of this.”

“I’m a huge part of this,” Wade pitches in, “my name is before yours in the tags.”

Tony looks like he’s having a migraine.

“Fine,” he sighs, “lets go interrogate a HYDRA agent.”

“Pancakes and torture? This is such a great morning,” Wade sighs.

“No torture,” Barnes says but Wade isn’t listening, reaching out and wrapping his pinky around Peter’s.

“You good, Pete?” he asks, low, under his breath, and Peter is so grateful to him.

“Yeah,” Peter answers, gives Wade’s pinky a reassuring squeeze, “lets go talk to your nemesis.”

Chapter Text

Francis was being held three levels underground in a reinforced glass cell that Tony says could contain the Hulk.

So Francis wasn’t leaving, not any time soon, and definitely not without knowing all the paneled passwords, scanners, and security. It was intense, with a metal detector and everything, and Wade and Bucky spent almost ten minutes each ridding themselves of their knives, guns, explosives…

Peter and Steve stared on, a mixture of amusement and resignation on their faces.

“That’s what happens when you date killers and ex assassins,” Tony says and Peter just waits for Wade with his arms crossed.

“I’m traveling light, don’t give me that look,” Wade says and Peter refrains, just barely, from rolling his eyes like he’s twelve.

Despite the light atmosphere Deadpool is trying to desperately to create, with jokes and puns and inappropriate gags, Peter can't shake the anxiety that's rolling like a river in his chest.

Francis reminds him of bags over his head, of needles in muscle, of pain and disorientation and a kick to the ribs. He didn’t have much contact with the guy beyond him leading the extraction unit, but that doesn’t mean that Francis isn’t representing everything Peter thought he’d escaped from.

Venom creeps over his back and arms, slipping under the openings in the hoodie he still has from Wade. It smells like the merc, like gunpowder and something spicy, and Peter keeps those scents in the back of his nose to ground himself.

Being underground?

Not fun.

And definitely not making him or Venom feeling any better about having to see a HYDRA operative. Peter hates being underground, can’t stand the lack of sound, the absence of light and color. The fluorescents that light their way remind him of white walls and white rooms and scalpels and red blood and–

Wade’s pressing Peter’s hand to his chest, right over his heart.

Peter can feel it pulse.

“In and out, lets do this baby,” Wade whispers, and Peter can feel the others looking at them, their gazes piercing, too observant, too curious, “Webs. If you can’t do this–”

“I can do this,” Peter interrupts, even as it gets harder to breathe, “I can do this.”

“Nothing is keeping you underground,” Wade says, understanding, “you can leave whenever you fucking want. We’re not gonna be here long, and then we can walk around the city. Wanna do one of those horse and carriage rides? Like all those rom-coms? Remember, we’re supposed to be in a 90s rom-com not here.”

“Sure,” Peter says, barely listening to Wade’s words but choosing instead to focus on the timber of his voice.

It helps.

“I’ll go up with you, Pete,” Tony says, and Peter looks over, trying to concentrate on breathing slow, “they can handle this asshole.”

Peter’s shaking his head before Tony’s even finished speaking.

“I have questions,” Peter says, not liking all this attention, this pampering, and wills himself to get his shit together, “I’m fine. Let’s go.”

Thankfully, no one second-guesses him.

Deadpool pulls his hand back and claps Peter on the shoulder and off they go, down the hall, deeper underground, deeper in.

 

///

 

Ajax is standing, there isn’t really a place to sit in his cell, and he’s dressed in an all white thick jumpsuit, the material bunching around his ankles.

The scar on his forehead stands out in stark relief under the florescent lights and Peter doesn’t feel much towards him besides irritation and confusion. The glass to the cell is thick and clean, with air holes placed near the top, only two inches wide. Everyone stops a good distance away, to talk but not get too close. Wade, however, doesn’t stop walking when the rest of them do. Instead he goes right up to the glass and begins pounding on it. It’s annoying, and loud in the cavernous room, and Peter can only imagine how loud and jarring the noise is inside the cell.

“Hey! Hey douche-face! You know that breaking and entering is a felony right? So is impersonating a police officer and not fucking staying dead you pansy ass pasty white piece of shit.”

“Why’d we bring him?” Stark mutters, and Peter just watches with brief amusement and ebbing anxiety as Wade continues his tirade.

“He’s not a police officer?” Bucky asks, seeking confirmation on information that doesn't add up. Steve just shrugs.

Wade’s still banging on the glass and Ajax looks like he wishes he could strangle him. It leaves Peter with a weird taste in his mouth.

“We’re here to question him not make him go deaf,” Stark butts in, stepping forward but stopping a few feet behind Wade.

Deadpool turns to him, fist still pressed to the glass.

“Why not make this a two birds with one stone scenario?” he asks, voice chipper and too cheerful and Peter knows then, he knows, that Wade must’ve been scared too.

“I want to ask him something,” Peter speaks up, and everyone turns to look at him, which is a little annoying but he figures he’s kind of the one this whole thing is about.

Deadpool steps back slightly and Peter walks to stand beside him. Just having Wade close, feeling the heat of him, is helping Peter find some sort of common ground in all this. He feels like without it he’d be in his head immediately.

“What did Kasady promise you?” Peter asks and the air in the room immediately loses any of the light-hearted air that Deadpool had created.

It feels like the temperature dropped, everything chilled with frosted tips, and Francis–it makes him less intimidating in Peter’s mind to call him that–looks up with raised brows and a stupid fucking grin.

“He promised me a lot of things,” Francis says, walking a little closer to the glass dividing them, “like my new healing abilities. Taken from handsome over there.”

He points at Wade.

‘wade is handsome’ Venom hisses, but they sound angry, offended on Wade’s behalf and Peter’s really gonna need to sit Venom down and have a heart to heart because when the fuck had they started getting protective over Wade?

Peter knows he isn’t going to get a straight answer out of Francis, he knows that. HYDRA agents’ lips are sealed with an air tight vacuum with their tongues sewed down, there’s nothing they can say or do here that’ll get Francis to open up.

Bucky’s metal arm whirrs quietly in the stilted silence after Francis’ answer and Peter wonders if Bucky’s trying really hard to uphold his “no torture” rule. It sounds a lot like something Steve set in place anyway.

It occurs to Peter, in that moment, that he needs to do this alone.

“Can you guys give us some space?” he asks, pointedly not looking at any of them, keeping his eyes locked on Francis.

“Uh, what?” Tony asks, “You want us to leave you alone with the guy who kidnapped you?”

“Yeah,” Peter says simply, “ten minutes.”

Francis is smiling, and it’s annoying the living hell out of Peter, but thankfully Steve is ushering everyone out and they mostly go without much of a fight. Peter isn’t surprised when Wade lingers.

“You come get me if you need anything,” he whispers, low enough that Francis can’t hear, “also let slime ball mess him up a bit. Might help.”

When the last of the footsteps stop echoing it’s just Peter and Francis and a whole lot of pent up emotions bubbling beneath Peter’s skin. There’s a tense silence where no one speaks and Venom creeps up over Peter’s fingers, visible beneath the long sleeves of Wade’s hoodie.

“You’re trying to get something,” Peter says, and he knows that sounds idiotic because obviously Francis wants something, but Peter doesn’t believe Kasady would send him, or that HYDRA would only send him, to apprehend Peter.

Something isn’t right. HYDRA, no matter how much Peter hates to admit this, is smart. They’re calculated. They probably planned how they would kidnap him for months if not years. Francis acted sloppily, and desperately, and maybe even with all of his ego showing, and that’s a course that’s independent from HYDRA.

Which means–

“Obviously,” Francis says and Peter almost forgot he asked the guy a question, “I have obligations to fulfill.”

“Or you have people’s favors to win back,” Peter says and is pleased to see the slight shift in Francis’ features, the quiet alarm, then aggravation.

“I see why they liked to gag you,” Francis mutters and Peter knows he’s trying to get a rise out of him, which means he must be close to finding out what the hell is going on. He crosses his arms, widens his stance.

May had sent him an article that power poses help boost self-confidence.

“Who’d you piss off?” Peter asks, and he likes the small amount of power he has over Francis right now, “someone high up? Or just in our little rag-tag team of scientists?”

“I’m not telling you anything,” Francis says, but he’s sounding more irritated by the minute, “you fucking–”

“I have one more question,” Peter interrupts and that really gets Francis’ jaw tensing, “does Kasady want you dead?”

He isn’t sure what prompted him to ask that but the way that Ajax reacts, the way he strides to the glass and braces his arm on it, over Peter’s head, is very telling. Peter’s right, or he guessed some part of it. In the three years that Peter was held captive Francis had done something to piss of HYDRA, something to get under Kasady’s skin. And that’s never good, Peter knows first-hand.

“Did you operate behind HYDRA’s back?” Peter asks, pieces slowly falling into place the more he talks.

Francis’ fist clenches against the glass, so tight his knuckles are white.

“Wanna know what I did?” Francis asks, and he sounds cocky, too in control now, and it puts Peter’s on edge. “I tortured you’re little boyfriend. For months, and he couldn’t take it, not like you apparently could. I drove him bat-shit crazy, I did that. He talked almost as much as you, but I never had the idea to cut out his tongue. You think that would’ve worked? Maybe I should’ve taken a page out of Kasady’s book, huh?"

He must see something on Peter's face, a paling of his skin, a hidden emotion swimming up, because he pushes on in his dumb accent:

"I saw the footage. I saw what they did to you. We used to gather around and watch–”

Venom moves without Peter’s permission, breaking through an air hole in the glass and grabbing Francis around his throat.

“V, wait–”

‘hurt you’ Venom hisses, tightening their hold on Francis’ throat, the other man scrabbling at the black tendril, ‘hurt us’

“Don’t drop to his level,” Peter says, and wills Venom to loosen their hold, just a little, when Francis’ eyes look like they're bulging out of his head. “Be better.”

‘we are better’ Venom argues.

“Prove it, let him go,” Peter says and really hopes that Venom will listen to him.

There’s a silence, where all Peter can really hear is Francis’ breathing, his choking, until Venom releases him and Francis crumbles, panting on the ground of the cell.

“Have fun rotting,” Peter spits then leaves, Venom creeping back under the sweatshirt, shivering in anger that they can’t understand.

He walks the corridor and he tries not to think about being underground, about how people used to watch, about how much pain there was, how humiliating, how–

His knees give out and he falls back against the nearest wall, breath coming in short bursts as he pulls his knees to his chest, cradles them. They used to watch, Peter thinks, they used to watch Kasady

He can’t breathe. Air isn’t coming in, his throat is closing up, getting tighter and tighter and the more difficult it is to suck in a breath the more his panic builds, hot and all consuming in his chest, and he’s going to die, he’s going to die underground in this fucking lab with its white walls and white halls and white ceilings–

He loses time.

Of course he does.

 

///

 

Peter wakes up on a couch in a small apartment.

There’s a record playing, scratchy and timeless. Peter recognizes the melody but can’t place the song. He can’t feel any part of himself, everything is made of static and his fingers tingle with it. He sits up, fast enough that his head hurts, but that doesn’t matter because he’s figured out something and maybe it’s important.

“Ajax pissed off Kasady and was trying to get to me to get off his bad side,” Peter blurts.

The only other person in the room is Bucky, and he's sitting across from Peter cleaning one of his guns, parts expertly placed by his feet, and looks up with a calm expression on his face.

“You figured it out?” he asks.

“I guess, I mean, that’s what I think happened,” Peter responds, gingerly moving so he’s sitting on the edge of the couch instead of lying down.

He looks around.

They’re still in New York, but it’s a quieter part. There’s still the noise from the streets but there isn't an overwhelming cacophony of sounds. There’s one bed, parallel to the couch, a kitchen that’s clean, and what Peter assumes is a short hall leading into a bathroom.

“Is this your place?” Peter asks and Bucky’s gone back to cleaning the scope of his rife.

“Steve and I live here,” he says distractedly, and Peter nods even though Bucky isn’t looking at him.

“Where is everyone?” Peter asks.

“Detaining Wilson,” Bucky says after a beat and all of Peter’s wandering attention snaps to the ex Winter Solider.

“Detaining? Why? Where?” Peter sputters, getting to his feet because if Wade is in trouble then he needs to go help–

“Detaining is too strong of a word, that’s my bad,” Bucky amends when Peter’s panic becomes obvious, “but he shot Ajax in the dick at least five times so he’s being reprimanded.”

“Oh,” Peter breathes, deflating, “so he’s not being arrested or anything?”

“Pretty sure Stark talked it down to “forced leave with pay”,” Bucky says, regarding Peter carefully, “so no.”

“You can’t start sentences like that, man,” Peter groans, flopping back down onto the couch and running a hand through his hair.

For a while there’s just the sound of Bucky cleaning his guns, the record player, the light traffic outside. Venom is talking, but quietly, so not to disturb the calm that’s settled. Peter’s still a little annoyed with the symbiote, for, you know, breaking his arm and trying to kill his friends, but he’s listening nonetheless and responding only when Venom seems to be seeking affirmation.

Surprisingly, it’s Bucky who speaks to him first.

“Do you want tea?” he asks, standing with a polish stained handkerchief in his hand.

“Sure, yeah, that sounds nice,” Peter agrees and Bucky goes into the connected kitchen to set up the kettle.

Peter forgets, sometimes, that Bucky has lived in the modern age longer than Steve, that he’s more adapted to the small technological things. Not that an electric kettle is anything like recalibrating a metal arm, but Peter sometimes gets caught up in the notion that Steve and Bucky are a hundred years old and he forgets that they know how to be functioning adults.

“Hey, uh, can I ask you a personal question?” Peter asks and Bucky leans on the counter, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Depends,” he says with a slight grin so Peter knows he’s only half teasing.

Peter’s really nervous, suddenly, doesn’t exactly know how to words this, or why he thought Bucky would be the best person to ask, but out of all his friends and the Avengers Steve and Bucky, somehow, have the healthiest relationship. And they’re queer, and Peter’s question is relevant to that, so. It makes sense to ask Bucky for advice, right? He’s like a hundred years old, he’s gotta be helpful.

“How did you know you liked Steve?”

Bucky raises an eyebrow.

“I still like Steve,” he says; matter of fact and without any embarrassment.

“Yeah, shit, I meant how did you know you first liked him? Like him!”

Peter should stop talking.

But Bucky doesn't look cornered, or uncomfortable. Instead, he looks off beyond Peter, maybe back to Brooklyn, back to the 40s, back to older times, and he’s actually considering Peter’s question, taking it seriously.

“I don’t know,” he says, and it’s all very anticlimactic.

“Oh,” Peter says and feels disappointment curling like Venom through his veins.

He kind of expected–hoped–that Bucky would solve all of his feeling/emotional problems for him. That didn’t look like it was going to happen.

“I think I’ve always loved him,” Bucky says, soft, almost drowned out by the song coming from the record. Peter looks to him, waiting.

It feels like a very delicate, honest moment, and Peter doesn’t want to speak in case he ruins it. Bucky isn’t the most talkative on good days, so him wanting to elaborate, especially on a topic so personal, has Peter waiting on the edge of his seat.

“Back then, when we were teenagers, no one talked about being queer. It wasn’t discussed, so when I–when I realized, how I felt, there wasn’t anything to draw any guidance from. And it hit me, like ice, that I’ve loved Steve for a long time, it just took me a while to accept it.”

Peter doesn’t know what to say. He wants to say thank you, wants to show his appreciation for Bucky opening up, but he doesn’t want it to sound like he’s pitying the other guy, or being fake.

‘be honest back’ Venom says, and, ‘we want a latte’

The first part of that Peter’s gonna follow.

“I think I like Wade,” Peter admits, quiet, and it sounds so strange saying it out loud, but it’s also the most sense he’s made in a long time.

He says it, and it works.

His heart gets all happy, giddy in his chest, and he can feel the blush on his cheeks, his typical reactions to having crushes on women, but now he’s feeling it towards Wade, a guy, and it’s…it’s a lot to take in but also easy.

He’s feeling a lot, in that moment, and he isn’t sure how to process most of it.

“I had a feeling,” Bucky says, and the kettle beeps so he takes it off the tray, pouring them both mugs and walking over and handing Peter his.

Peter takes it and can’t really meet Bucky’s eyes. The other man doesn’t seem to mind, just sits cross-legged on the floor where he had been cleaning his weapons and waits for Peter to continue.

Peter doesn’t know how to continue.

He’s just admitted it to himself and Bucky Barnes all at once and he’s still trying to process that Bucky has been in love with Steve for over ninety years

“And I don’t know if it’s because he helped rescue me from HYDRA, and I’m latching on, or if it’s a genuine thing or what but it’s been stressing me out and I don’t know what to do about it,” Peter says in a rush.

Bucky hums around his tea, sipping loudly.

“I get that,” he admits, gentle, and shit, yeah, he would.

Him and Wade, Peter realizes, understand his past and current situation better than anyone.

“It doesn’t seem to me that you’re co-dependent,” Bucky says, looking at Peter to confirm or deny so Peter shakes his head, “and you don’t rely on Wilson for emotional labor, do you?”

“What does that mean?” Peter asks, “Does it count if we talk about our feelings? ‘Cause then I do, shit, does that mean I’m taking advantage of him?”

“No,” Bucky says, setting his tea down, “do you expect him to be a therapist to you?”

“No!” Peter exclaims, then immediately lowers his voice, “no, I don’t want that.”

Bucky shrugs.

“Then your attraction sounds healthy and genuine. You could just kiss him,” he says and Peter chokes on his tea.

“Uh,” he splutters, “what?”

Bucky’s grinning at him, sharp toothed and mischievous and Peter sees him as a teenager, getting into the fights Steve talks about.

“I experimented,” Bucky admits, like it’s no big fucking deal, “to make sure I wasn’t just goin’ through some shit. Turns out I wasn’t.”

‘experimenting’ Venom hums, ‘like Kasady?’

‘no,’ Peter thinks, ‘like kissing men’

‘oh’ Venom says ‘so kiss men’

‘thanks dude,’ Peter sighs, and takes a sip of his drink, barely feeling how it scalds the roof of his mouth but needing something to do because he feels so awkward.

“That’s all I got,” Bucky says, and his phone vibrates beside him, “hope that helps.”

“Yeah,” Peter says but he sounds choked, “thanks.”

Bucky shoots him a smile and checks his new message. After reading he stands and grabs the gun he just polished and reassembled.

“Time to go,” he sighs, “let’s go get your boyfriend.”

“He’s not–we haven’t talked about it,” Peter mumbles but follows Bucky regardless.

But Venom and Bucky are right.

He needs to figure this shit out. He needs to be careful and considerate in his approach, because he knows Wade’s self-esteem is shit, and if it turns out he isn’t attracted to men, at least sexually, then he doesn’t want to use Wade, and he doesn't want Wade to feel like he's being used. That’s assuming that Wade even likes him like that, that Wade is even attracted to men.

Sure, he’s definitely alluded to it, and he flirts like no tomorrow with anything that moves, but that doesn’t mean he’s attracted to Peter.

So, experiments.

Peter’s good at those.

 

///

 

They go and meet everyone on the tenth floor in the Avengers Tower.

Peter tells them what he told Bucky, (about Ajax and Kasady, not liking Wade) and it seems like anyone’s best guess. It’s what makes sense, and Peter hasn’t heard from Kasady since he called Wade all those months ago in a Dunkin Donuts.

Wade’s sitting in a chair in the corner of the room, pouting but also strangely proud of himself, blood drying dark against the lighter leather of his suit.

“How’d you get into the cell?” Peter asks when everyone discusses the next course of action, and they’re all just random ideas, thoughts, on where Kasady could be, on where HYDRA is, if they’re still looking for Peter because it’s been radio silence, no one besides a lone agent has tried to take Peter from New York.

Maybe they’re moving on to the next best thing, is what Tony thinks.

And it’s a scary enough assumption that Peter moves to stand by Wade and just listen.

“Opened it,” Wade hums, twirling his glock on his finger, “it’s easy. And I got great aim, baby boy, trust me.”

“I don’t doubt that,” Peter whispers; head hurting from the exertion of the past forty-eight hours.

Tony is still talking animatedly and Steve is beginning to argue whatever point the other man is trying to make and Peter’s been around enough of these situations to know that it’ll only escalate and nothing will get done today.

He leans into Wade’s side, trying to not draw attention when he presses close.

“Hey,” he whispers, and Wade puts more weight on Peter’s side, a sign that he’s listening, “wanna get pizza?”

 

///

 

Peter knows it’s a little cliché, but he loves New York pizza.

They just went to the first hole in the wall they saw in Midtown and stand outside, their slices dripping grease onto their paper plates. Wade has his Deadpool mask pulled up over his mouth, and he eats quickly, angling his body away from the crowded city streets.

“We can eat somewhere else,” Peter suggests, not wanting Wade to feel uncomfortable the entire time, “know of an easy access building around here?”

Wade swallows his last bite, pulls down his mask, and shoots Peter a thumbs up.

“No need to worry, baby boy, all done. Got enough oil in the engine to take me to second dinner.”

Peter smiles, but leads them away from the line outside of the restaurant anyway.

They end up walking aimlessly for a long time, Wade talking and Peter listening while he eats. He’s a slow eater, and for once in his life he’s grateful for it, because it means he can keep listening to Wade and not have to pitch in. He’s tired, and Wade’s voice is a soothing, raspy rumble, and this is nice, this is what Peter needs.

The sun starts to set, low in the sky, and they stop in Washington Square Park to watch it sink. Peter hadn’t realized how for they had walked until he saw the infamous arch, and Wade nudges him with his elbow.

“This is almost exactly like in When Harry Met Sally except neither of us have curly hair and I’m way better looking than Susan Dey.”

“Does that make me Billy Crystal?” Peter asks, wrinkling his nose. “’Cause if so I’m gonna pass.”

“I dunno, Pete, there’s something about that weird, scrawny dude that just makes you wanna get on your knees, ya know? Especially his role in Princess Bride, I mean whoo!” Wade pretends to fan himself and Peter tries not to laugh so loud it’s obnoxious.

And then all Peter’s thinking about his Wade on his knees and Wade commenting sexually about men and he isn’t even sure if Wade is attracted to men or just really flirty and he needs to know–

“Do you like guys?” Peter blurts and he’s so glad there aren’t many people in the park right now.

Wade’s looking at him, Deadpool mask unreadable before the whites of his eyes scrunch up in confusion and he’s tilting his head.

“Uh, yeah?” he asks, like Peter’s asked him the biggest “duh” question of all time, “my sweet little naive spider child I just said I’d suck off Billy Crystal.”

“I didn’t know if you were joking or not!” Peter says, feeling like he needs to defend himself because c’mon, it’s Deadpool, the guy hides everything behind a veil of crude humor, that’s like his thing.

“I like everyone, Petey, even if I only seem to ever have heterosexual relationships in both my comics and movies,” Wade says, cocking out his hip and crossing his arms, “and please don’t ask if I fuck pans.”

“Uh,” Peter stumbles, “what?”

“Well, I’m pansexual, technically, and you won’t believe how many people think that’s an appropriate thing to ask.”

“I…wasn’t going to ask that.”

“Good,” Wade says, patting his shoulder and lingering, looking almost thoughtful. “You don’t have to answer this.”

“Okay,” Peter agrees, wary.

“What do you like?” Wade asks, dropping his hand from Peter’s shoulder but staying close.

Peter’s heart is racing, double time in his chest.

“I haven’t been able to think much about it until recently,” he says honestly because even though he has a crush on Wade and doesn’t want to go down that rabbit hole in conversation yet, he still has this innate desire to tell Wade everything.

The other day he texted Wade a picture of a cowlick hair on his head because he thought it looked like it was dancing when he walked.

“What’s been on your mind recently?” Wade asks, tone inquiring and coaxing.

Peter wants to say “you” but that wouldn’t really help his whole “trying to figure out where we stand first" idea.

‘stop thinking’ Venom hisses ‘we want ice cream’

“Just…I might be bisexual,” Peter says and Deadpool claps his hands together, excited.

“OH EM GEE, REALLY?” he screeches and Peter turns to walk away, instantly regretting this, even if he can’t keep the smile off his face.

“Oh my god, forget it,” he mumbles, pleased when Wade hooks their arms together and tries to get Peter to skip alongside him.

“That’s so great, Petey, doesn’t that feel nice? You wanna celebrate? We both like femmes and males! Look at us, huh? Say you wouldn’t happen to also like people who look like a forgotten sun dried avocado would ya?”

Peter’s heart does a double flip against his ribs.

“What?” he asks and hates that his voice sounds thin.

“Nothin! Lets get ice cream.”

‘finally’ Venom sighs but Peter’s still feeling off balance, off kilter, and Wade’s touch, his close proximity, isn’t helping matters.

Peter isn’t surprised when Wade takes them to the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, but it’s good and sweet and Wade makes Peter laugh so hard he starts crying so it’s nice. Even if, the entire time, all Peter wants to do is kiss him.

 

///

 

Peter hasn’t masturbated in three years.

He’s kind of lost his sex-drive, if he’s being honest. Depression and torture and looking at your own innards with a crazed doctor will do that to you. But now, it seems to be coming back, slow at first, in the manifestation of wandering thoughts, ideas, dreams that Venom likes to remind him of. Most, if not all of these, are centered on Wade.

Peter tried to look up porn, but it was weird and impersonal and none of the men (or women) were doing it for him. None of them had the right voice, the right build, the right energy, and Venom would often times ask why they felt hot and Peter just couldn’t deal with that.

The best boner-killer in the world is an alien asking about human biology when you’re trying to rub one off.

Peter woke up the morning after ice cream and spending the evening with Wade hard and aching in his boxer briefs and panicking about what to do. He’s never felt so disconnected from his body more than he does right now, because he knows that if he just touches himself, if he lets himself stop thinking and feel good, that maybe he’ll be able to have an actual orgasm instead of stopping halfway through with a panic attack.

He can feel Venom under his skin, in his mind, and it’s almost enough of a reality check to make him just hop in a cold shower and ignore it. But he wants to do this, wants to have some semblance of control over his own autonomy.

And he really wants to cum thinking about Wade.

It’s a desire and urge that he hasn’t given much thought to before but now that he’s thought it it’s almost encompassing.

Venom hasn’t said anything and that usually means the symbiote is shut off from Peter’s mind, isn’t connecting like they often do, so this might be Peter’s only chance. He tries to breath deep, exhale long, and he lets his hand wander over his abdomen, nails scraping lightly over the skin and causing goosebumpbs to rise with the motion.

And even though it's working on waking his body up he doesn’t feel signs of arousal, doesn’t feel warm or desperate, and so he tries to picture Wade’s hand over his skin, tries to imagine how it would feel. Would Wade’s scars be rough? Would they catch or would they be soft, ribbed? And yeah, that’s working, that’s working really well and Peter chases the feeling, pictures how broad Wade is, how his figure would dwarf Peter’s, how Wade would push him into the mattress so he could barely move, so he would just have to let Wade do what he wanted, and it’s a heady, desperate thought that Peter would let Wade do anything

‘we’re hungry’ Venom hisses and it’s over, just like that.

Peter nearly groans in frustration, burying his face into the pillow and breathing hard. He had been the most turned on he’d felt in fucking years and Venom just–fucking

“Can you leave me alone for five minutes?” Peter pleads, but it doesn’t matter, he’s soft, any traces of arousal fleeing like dust and he hates this, he hates this so much

‘pancakes’ Venom says ‘we want pancakes’

“Fine,” Peter sighs, and pushes himself out of bed.

He texts Wade to come over to cook them because Venom, the spoiled little shit, will only eat Wade’s pancakes. Ironically, so will Tony.

Peter splashes cold water on his face, but he can still see Wade behind his eyes, can still imagine how Wade would feel coming up behind him, arms wrapping around his waist, pressing against his–

‘pancakes’ Venom interrupts, more urgent, and Peter accepts that this isn’t going to work today.

He spots his suit, still dirtied with Wade’s blood, hanging over the back of the door where he left it and he should really get it cleaned, ‘cause while he has more suits this one is his favorite.

He takes it down from the hook and pads barefoot down the hall and into the kitchen, only a little surprised to see May sitting at the counter and talking with Tony, a pot of hot coffee between them.

Peter’s phone vibrates with a running man emoji from Wade and he smiles as he pockets it in his sweats and waves good morning.

“You’re up early,” May comments, ruffling his hair and making it look so much worse.

Tony nods to his right arm, taking a sip of coffee before saying, “how’s the alien today?”

Peter looks to his skin, and his veins are darker, more pronounced than usual. He doesn’t really know what that means, but he assumes Venom’s close to the surface, maybe waiting impatiently for Wade to come over and cook.

“Annoying,” Peter answers, still a little peeved about being interrupted earlier, but he pulls out a stool beside May and lays his Spider-Man suit on the table.

May wrinkles her nose at it.

“Is that blood?” she asks, picking at the material with her nails.

“Not mine,” Peter says and May nods, exaggerated.

“Oh good, that makes me feel so much better.”

“It’s from when Wade lost a leg,” he explains and May just pales and takes a big sip of her drink and Peter hopes she didn’t put any whiskey in there.

“So we’re gonna have to clean it, huh?” Tony asks, sounding a little annoyed but he’s smiling, “Great. Wilson should clean it, it’s his mess.”

“To be fair he was critically injured,” Peter says, webbing over a mug to pour himself a drink.

“To be fair he can’t die,” Tony shoots back, but takes the suit regardless.

He looks it over, picks at the blood, and Peter’s about to turn to May to ask her how she’s been when Tony stills, his hands freezing.

“Uh, Pete,” he says and Peter looks over, instantly on edge at his tone. “What’s this look like to you?”

Peter leans across the counter and Tony angles the suit and there, nestled into the material that lays between Peter’s shoulder blades, is a small metal dot.

A thermal location tracker.

They stand around the counter, the weight of what Tony is holding suffocating, a ton of bricks pressing down and threatening to crush them into the mortar of sheer panic and desperation.

Peter doesn’t need to know any details.

He can feel it in his bones.

Kasady is coming.

He’s coming for him.

Chapter Text

Kasady is coming.

He’s coming for him.

“May,” Peter says, “you need to leave.”

She looks to him, eyes wide, “No, Peter, I’m staying–”

“May I’m not asking,” Peter snaps, taking her arm and urging her to stand, “if you get hurt because of me–”

“Sir, Deadpool is trying to enter the premise,” Friday’s voice interrupts and all the tension that has been settling around them is dispersed when reality sets in.

Kasady isn’t here now. He hasn’t gotten to them yet, and Wade is here to make pancakes.

Pancakes.

Peter’s close to tears, feeling panicked and scared and so fucking helpless that he doesn’t really know what to do.

A part of him wants to leave with the tracker, deal with HYDRA on his own, away from May, away from Tony, away from the people he cares the most about because he loves them, he loves them all so much and it’s hard to love something that death can touch.

That Kasady can reach.

Peter breathes into his hands, tries to get his nerves under control.

“I’ll tell Wade,” he says, voice thick, “just, May, please, can you–”

“I’ll get her home,” Tony interrupts, his voice not belying anything that he’s feeling. He’s calm, collected, and exactly what Peter needs right now.

“Don’t just disappear,” May says, getting off her stool and walking to grip Peter’s arms, “you can’t do that to me. If you leave, if you do something rash, you…”

She cuts off, voice trembling with emotion, and Peter can feel her hands shaking from where she’s gripping him, tight and then tighter, like she would when he would come home after Flash had given him cuts and bruises that pre-spider powers wouldn’t immediately take care of.

“I won’t disappear,” Peter says.

What he means is, “I’ll say goodbye”.

May hugs him, and he returns it, not wanting to let her go but knowing that this is the best, safest thing for her.

“C’mon,” Tony says, taking May’s arm and steering her in the direction of the garage, “Peter, we’ll come up with a plan when I get back. Oh, and Friday? Let Wilson in.”

Peter watches May and Tony leave and then his legs give out and he lets himself fall. He wants to stand and board up all the windows, gather all the weapons he can, and barricade himself in his room, shut away, safe.

Unfortunately his legs don’t want him to move to try and accomplish any of that.

Peter feels frozen, a child-like generated fear stilling him to the spot on the tile floor. He thinks, for a moment, that he’s still asleep because this can’t really be happening can it? Has Kasady really found him here?

He’s disconnecting and it’s a terrifying relief. His brain is remembering Kasady, remembering his wide shoulders and large hands and yellow teeth and connecting that with pain, with torture, with emotional and psychological suffering so immense and overpowering it’s making Peter feel nothing.

He feels nothing so he doesn’t have to feel everything.

There’s a noise outside, an animal in the underbrush, a twig snapping and Peter’s racing. He’s moving without thinking, webbing the door shut, the windows he can reach. He’s on the ceiling in less than a breath, moving throughout the North and South Wings of the compound, ignoring Friday’s wonderings as he goes. He can’t stop to think about what he’s doing because if he does Kasady could get it, he could break in, and Peter isn’t going to fall for that again, he’s stronger now, he has Venom he has Wade–

There’s a sort of muffled exclaim from downstairs by the door and Peter’s skin crawls. Who got in?

“Deadpool has arrived,” Friday says and Peter drops from the ceiling and stands, panting in the middle of the second common room upstairs. He can hear Wade calling for him, being loud and alerting Peter to his presence as soon as he is able, but Peter can barely focus. He feels like he’s crumbling, like he’s breaking, fading, ash and dust and hot wind–

“Whoa, hey baby boy, you doin’ some decorating?” Deadpool is standing in the foyer leading to the common space, hands up and mask pulled down, he’s looking at all of Peter’s webs, at how haphazard and frantic their designs are, “He looks spooked, stop talking.”

Peter knows that last part isn’t directed at him so he doesn’t say anything. He can’t figure out how to speak right now.

“He’s not a zombie, Yellow, fuck off,” Deadpool mutters, and it must be a Bad Day for Wade too if he’s this invested in conversing with his boxes.

Peter should be a better friend. He should be making Wade pancakes, not asking for things and inviting him into his weird stilted attempt at web-proofing the compound.

“I–there’s a tracker,” Peter says and Deadpool looks up at him.

“What?” Wade asks, not moving closer even though Peter wishes he would.

“Francis, he put a tracker on my suit,” and although Peter can feel his lips form the words he can hardly hear them.

“I should’ve shot him more than five times,” Wade hisses, kicking at one of the nearest chair legs, “damn. Lets go stick that tracker up his ass, I got time. Then pancakes?”

“I don’t know how well it would work to move it now,” Peter admits, still feeling shaky, exposed, “it’s been here with me, static, for days.”

Wade hums but his shoulders are tense and he’s radiating frustration and urgency and it’s enough to feel it in someone else that Peter slowly begins to calm.

“I’m going to have to leave,” Peter whispers, and Venom stirs along his skin, gliding over his wrists, over his spinnerets, and healing them of the aches from Peter’s panicked exertion.

Deadpool clicks his tongue.

“Or we kill them?” he suggests, gesturing to all the many weapons strapped on his person, “I mean, I don’t want to brag Webs but killing HYDRA shits is like, my top fav thing in the world. Job-wise, not sex or food-wise.”

“I can’t endanger everyone by staying here,” Peter says and Wade takes a step closer, testing how on edge Peter is by moving slow. “May is in Brooklyn, Tony and Pepper are here most of the time, I can’t–”

“Honey, they already have this locale,” Wade says, gentle, “they can come here whenever they fucking want, doesn’t matter where you are. Tin Man is kind of smart, right? For a douche? He has safe houses just like this all over the globe. May is being watched by every SHIELD agent ever probably, so lets not worry about expendable real estate and overly protected people, lets worry about you, okay?”

Peter swallows, throat tight, hands shaking.

“I’m not–this is my fault, I shouldn’t be anyone’s first prio–”

Oooh, I’m gonna have to interrupt you here for a little confession time, Webs, ‘cause like it or not you’re my first priority, and that means I ain’t letting anything walk through these doors that doesn’t smell like daisies and isn’t food delivery, you got that?”

“Wade–”

“There’s really only a “yes” answer to that question. Ah, yeah thanks White, a “rhetorical question” if you will. I know, I know, I graduated eighth grade–”

“I can’t bring other people down with me,” Peter persists, because Wade doesn’t get it. It’s Peter’s job to keep people safe, it’s his job to take down the bad guys, not to sit back and let other people take care of his problems for him.

If Kasady wants Venom, wants Peter back, then Peter should be the one to deal with it, not Wade not Tony not–

Wade’s cupping Peter’s face in his hands, the leather warm and rough but not uncomfortable and Peter doesn’t hesitate to reach up and grip Wade’s wrists, needing some sort of balance.

“You gotta get this through your beautiful thick skull, baby boy,” Wade says; voice a low rumble that Peter can feel in his chest, “I ain’t letting anyone get you. I promised you when we were in bum-fuck nowhere and I’m promising you now, so if you go I go and if you stay I stay. That easy! Like instant mac n cheese, baby, it’ll be done in five minutes and kind of taste like plastic but it’ll all be okay in the end.”

“That’s the weirdest analogy,” Peter says because he’s too choked up to say anything serious.

Deadpool tilts his head, and Peter needs to see his face.

“Can you take your mask off?” he asks, shaky, and when Wade hesitates Peter instantly backtracks because c’mon, Parker, he’s having a Bad Day– “I…nevermind, shit I’m sorry, I just…I just wanna see your face but if your skin is hurting or you don’t want to that’s–”

Wade rips the mask off in one swift motion and it always takes Peter’s breath, seeing Wade’s eyes and lips so close. His scars look more painful today, red lesions along his jaw and ears, but it’s not gross, not at all and Peter moves forward and presses a gentle kiss to the corner of Wade’s jaw.

He moved before he had time to think about it, and he tries not to think about it when he leans back, heart strangely calm in his chest. Wade's gone tense, completely still, his hands cupping Peter’s face but there’s a slight shake to them, a barely there tremor.

“Thank you,” Peter whispers, his own grip tightening on Wade’s wrists, “for always having my back.”

Wade swallows and Peter meets his gaze, registering the shock and happy disbelief in Wade’s eyes.

“Always got your back, Pete,” Wade rasps, rubbing his thumbs across the skin under Peter’s eyes and Peter really wants to kiss him.

He feels like he’s been unraveling and now he’s slowly sewing himself back up and Wade is so comforting to him, so safe and warm that Peter just–he really wants

“Don’t take this the wrong way,” Wade says, words thick and catching in his throat, “but if this were actually a 90s rom com we’d be kissing.”

Now Peter’s heart catches up with his nerves and Venom just keeps asking about when they’re going to eat fucking pancakes but all Peter can focus on is that Wade is so close and he’s holding him so gently and he just said–

“Then what are we waiting for?” Peter asks, and he can feel how fast Wade’s pulse is beating in his wrists, can see how affected Wade is, his pupils blown, his lips parted and Peter moves first, just kind of leans into Wade’s space, against his chest.

Wade tilts his head, careful, always so fucking careful with Peter, and they stop with barely any room between them because this is it, this is where the jokes and teasing’s end. If they follow through with this then whatever they have becomes something deeper, something more tangible, and Peter wants it.

He wants.

“Wade,” he says, shaky, because Wade’s nose skims his and Wade’s breath is minty along his cheek and Wade’s lips are soft, brushing along Peter’s upper lip and–

“I love to interrupt so why are there webs everywhere?” Natasha’s voice calls and Peter and Wade nearly trip over each other’s feet separating from each other.

“God DAMN IT,” Wade cries, small handgun drawn and aimed at Natasha in the doorway, “I was so fucking close–”

“Relax, Deadpool, there are more important things to be worrying about than discovering your feelings for each other,” Natasha says, tone light but eyes piercing and Peter has to take several big breaths to just feel kind of calm instead of overwhelmingly frustrated.

Him and Wade needs to stop trying to kiss in the Avengers compound because it’s obviously not gonna work out.

“What are you doing here, Nat?” Peter sighs, walking forward and lowering Deadpool’s arm and lingering, holding Wade’s wrist instead.

The intent to relax Wade works because the tension leaves the guy’s shoulder’s like melted butter and he’s still muttering to himself but he holsters the gun anyway.

“Tony called for me, I was the closest around,” she says, “and I heard you have a tracker problem.”

 

///

 

Tony and Natasha and Deadpool are all gathered around a bench in Tony’s lab, Peter hanging from a thin silk web off the ceiling, not wanting to be on the ground.

They’ve had the tracker scanned, and it’s simple, just omits a location, and Tony’s tinkered with it enough to know the ends and outs.

“They want Venom?” Nat asks, and Tony shrugs, looking up at Peter.

“I would assume so,” Peter says, “they weren’t done with their tests.”

Wade’s pacing, pent up and frustrated, and he’s singing “Go Your Own Way” under his breath and flipping his favorite knife between his fingers. It’s a little unnerving, and Peter can understand why Nat’s keeping one eye on him.

Peter watches Tony tinker with the tracker, he watches Deadpool pace, mumbling to Yellow and White and Nat looking on.

Tony looks up at him, expression sober, “so…we’d have to get rid of the symbiote.”

Venom creeps along Peter’s skin, their presence insistent and heavy.

‘rid?’ they ask and Peter feels guilt and what is dangerously close to sadness weighing like a rock in his stomach.

“Or we just kill the creepy ass doctor who probably doesn’t have an actual medical degree and just keep wiping that HYDRA branch out,” Deadpool pitches in, annoyance clear in his tone. “Snarly doesn’t have to go anywhere.”

Peter takes a deep breath before dropping down, landing silently on the bench and barely disrupting any of the tools lying there. Tony jerks in surprise as Peter reaches for the tracker, holding it up and running his fingers over it.

“I could lead them somewhere,” he says, pensive, “we could lure them into a trap?”

Wade looks up, arms crossed and tilting his head to the side, the way he does when his boxes are being loud. Peter wants to hold him close and drown the voices out. He knows they can be mean, and rude, and he doesn’t want them clouding Wade’s head.

‘we’d rip them apart’ Venom says.

“V agrees with me,” Peter adds because no one is saying anything.

“We could try,” Natasha says, “but any plan that involves you being the bait is risky.”

“I’m okay with that,” Peter says without thinking and Wade’s shaking his head.

“I’m not,” he butts in, tone hard, “HYDRA is like a shit that won’t come out, Pete, they’re painful and malicious, you think they won’t be sending everything they have to come get you? Also, hey, don’t you guys know like, all the Avengers? Where the fuck is everyone? We just doing some lazy writing to not have the problem solved immediately or–”

“We can call Steve and Bucky,” Nat interrupts, “but Wanda and Vision have been off the radar for months. Thor and Banner we can try–”

“Lets just go to Wakanda,” Wade talks over, “I mean, it’s far away and beautiful. Did anyone see the movie?”

“We can’t just always go to T’Challa to fix our problems,” Tony says, crossing his arms, “I’m not super close with the guy.”

“Wow this is lazy writing–”

“Look,” Peter interrupts, rubbing his wrists and trying not to shiver because Wade’s watching him intently and it’s a little distracting, especially when he’s touching a very sensitive part of himself, “I think we can do this. HYDRA is never going to go away with one guy. But if we can eliminate Kasady and get to their database, clear their files, all the tests they did on me, maybe it’ll give us a couple years to relax.”

The room gets quiet, and everyone is looking at him.

“I know I’m never going to be able to stop running,” Peter whispers, “I know that. I’ll never really be able to go back to the way things were. But I…I want to do this. I need to do this.”

There’s a heavy moment, and Tony takes the tracker from Peter’s fingers, looking withdrawn.

“Peter,” he says, “we can’t bargain your life for your pride.”

“This isn’t about my pride, I’m not doing this for my ego,” Peter argues, “but so I can go back to actually living again. I…I haven’t felt alive; I haven’t felt real, in years, Tony. And I know that punching the guy who did this to me isn’t going to solve shit but it’ll feel good and it’ll get me some agency back. Is that so bad?”

Tony looks like he’s going to argue but Natasha steps in.

“It should be up to you,” she says, nodding to Peter, “so you tell us what you need and we’ll cover your six.”

Peter looks over to Wade.

The guy is bouncing on his toes, twirling his knife, but his voice is steady.

“I’m always gonna be with ya, Webs,” he says, “ride together die together, right?”

Peter smiles, and his vision is a little watery.

“Yeah,” he agrees.

Wade gives him a high-five and almost breaks the tracker.

“We’ll pack up everything we need tonight,” Tony says, “and then we’ll leave for one of my safe houses in the morning.”

Everyone nods, solemn.

“All right,” Nat groans, stretching, “let’s start packing.”

 

///

 

It’s easier to come up with a plan, even a half-hearted one that won’t work, than think that if all else fails they’ll have to remove Venom.

Of course no one has said it, but Peter knows. He knows, that if they can’t stop Kasady, he’ll have to find a way to remove Venom. It’s a strange thought because Peter should have been trying to remove Venom immediately. It should’ve been the first thing he wanted to do.

But it’s puzzling, he’s found comfort in Venom, he’s found some sort of companionship with the symbiote, and it’s not guaranteed that either of them would survive if Venom were removed.

The symbiote has invested themselves so deep in Peter’s psyche, in his cells, that it may be impossible.

So emotional attachments aside, it’s a last resort, because while it could work they both could die and Peter…doesn’t want to die.

He just started trying to live.

 

///

 

Peter has dinner with May in the city.

They go to their favorite Thai place in Queens, and it’s bringing back memories of high school, of when Peter first became Spider-Man. It’s a little fitting that he’ll end things here, as well.

May’s talking his ear off, nervous and full of emotions, and she’s conversing to make up for it. Peter indulges her, smiling all the way, and Venom is on good behavior, not sneaking out, and feeling happy whenever May asks a question directed at them.

It’s a nice night, warm with a chilled breeze, and they walk down old neighborhood haunts arm in arm, enjoying each others company.

At the end of the night May has two take out containers from the free food the restaurant gifted them with and Peter walks her up to her apartment, and they hesitate outside.

“This is goodbye, isn’t it?” May asks, and Peter can see her start to cry and just has to hug her tight.

“Not goodbye,” Peter corrects but it sounds like a lie and it makes him feel sick, “see you later. I’ll be back soon.”

“You better be,” May says, tightens her hold on him, “you better come back.”

Peter can’t promise her that he will.

He’s never been a good liar.

 

///

 

Tony is in the kitchen when Peter swings back, crawling in and dropping into one of the stools, just to hear Tony curse.

“You have to stop doing that,” he chides, but passes Peter a crystal glass with brown alcohol and two ice cubes.

“This a drinking kind of night?” he asks Tony, taking the glass and clinking it against the older man’s when he holds it up.

“It is,” Tony agrees, taking a big sip and not even wincing.

Peter smiles, and takes a little taste of his own, the alcohol burning gentle on his tongue.

“I updated the suit,” Tony says, “and cleaned it.”

“Oh,” Peter says, gratitude mixing with the alcohol and making him feel cared for, “thank you.”

They sit in silence, sipping their drinks, enjoying the burn and then the warmth, and Tony rubs a hand over his eyes, taking a deep breath.

“You know,” he says, “a few months ago I thought you were dead.”

Peter stills, looking up from his glass but Tony isn’t meeting his gaze, face down, expression cast in shadow.

“I wasn’t sleeping, Pete. I looked, I did, until every rock I turned over was a dead end, until a HYDRA asshat said they’d seen you die on a table,” Tony takes a shaking breath, his shoulders rattling with it, “and then you came back and I thought, when I first saw you, that all my drinking had finally caught up with me.”

He laughs here, and it’s a wet, self-deprecating sound that makes Peter’s heart clench.

“I thought I had died, ya know? Finally kicked the bucket because there was no way Nat had been telling me the truth. And I…shit, Pete, I’m with you, all the way, and I’m not gonna let anything bad happen to you, okay?” Tony says this with conviction, with poison in his tone, but when he looks up he’s crying and Peter moves over the counter to pull Tony into a hug because shit they both need one.

Tony has never felt old to Peter, never seemed his age, but now the grey in his hair is stark against the brown, the wrinkles around his eyes and mouth pronounced, and he feels small and fragile in Peter’s arms. Peter feels a fierce surge of protectiveness over Tony, over this man who’s built an industry, a superhero team from the ground up, a man who hasn’t ever had a family and has been desperately trying to make one.

“You’re gonna be okay,” Tony says.

Peter isn’t sure he believes him.

 

///

 

The suit is lying, folded, on Peter’s bed in a paper bag.

Scrawled in marker over the side in Tony’s neat print is:

don’t let Wilson bleed on this one

 

///

 

Peter tends to go to high places when he’s overwhelmed and feeling unsafe.

The Avengers compound isn’t that tall but it’s higher up than some of the trees so Peter counts it. He’s in his pajamas, and Wade’s hoodie, and eating a chocolate chip cookie to help satiate Venom’s hunger.

It’s cold, and the wind is crisp. Peter can see the stars clearly, a small beautiful sight that’s a secret in New York City’s pollution.

‘things aren’t good’ Venom says, quietly.

“No,” Peter sighs, “they aren’t.”

‘we don’t want to leave,’ Venom whispers.

They move over Peter’s hand, curl around his fingers.

Peter doesn’t answer, but he hopes his touch offers the comfort he can’t speak.

 

///

 

Wade’s banging on Peter’s window.

It’s not the first time Deadpool’s tried to get Peter’s attention this way, but it is the first time when Peter’s just gotten out of the shower, hair sticking up from frantically drying it with a towel. He pulls on the nearest pair of sweats and exits the bathroom, looking entirely unimpressed when he sees Deadpool’s mask pressed up against the glass.

“Mr. Parker,” Friday begins but Peter cuts the AI off.

“I know,” he sighs and moves to the window to open it.

Deadpool practically falls inside, making enough noise that Peter’s a little surprised Tony hasn’t come bursting in. He’s dressed in his red suit, katanas and everything, and Peter watches as he jumps to his feet with a small twirl.

“I brought pizza,” Deadpool says and when Peter looks at his empty hands Deadpool looks to, “shit fuck! I dropped it.”

Peter’s tired, but he manages a smile.

“Nice going,” he says, and when Deadpool doesn’t answer, just stares, Peter’s hyper-aware of the fact he isn’t wearing a shirt.

He tries his absolute hardest not to cross his arms or blush, and instead walks over to his dresser and pulls on the first t-shirt he can grab.

“Aw, c’mon Webs, why you getting shy now?” Wade groans, disappointment clear in his tone.

“If you wanna see me naked you gotta work harder than breaking in through my window,” Peter says, a grin on his face as he leans back against the couch behind him.

Deadpool waggles his eyebrows and Peter hates that its visible beneath the leather.

“Oh, do I? What do you want me to do, baby boy? I can call you Daddy,” and his voice has dropped, low and sultry, and Peter really hates that he put on sweatpants because they hide absolutely nothing.

“I thought that’s what you wanted me to call you?” Peter teases back but it’s hard to keep his tone light because Wade is shedding his katanas and stalking forward and that shouldn’t be hot, Peter shouldn’t be turned on by Wade in his Deadpool suit handling weapons but he is

“If you called me Daddy I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t live through it,” Wade admits, bracing his hands on either side of Peter’s hips on the couch, “but wow, what a way to go.”

Peter wants to smile, wants to say something catty or witty or whatever but his tongue feels heavy and his mouth is dry and shit, he’s getting turned on, he can feel it. Wade being so close isn’t helping, Peter can feel his thumbs against his hips, and it’s all really distracting.

Wade must sense that something is wrong, because he gets quiet, staring at Peter with such intensity Peter’s surprised he doesn’t melt on the spot. Venom is silent, a disinterested feeling coming from the symbiote, and Peter’s just grateful they aren’t talking, that they’re letting Peter have this.

“Can you take your mask off?” Peter asks, words rasped out of his throat from pure will because his heart has certainly given up.

“If you ask nice,” Wade says, and this is a dangerous line they’re toeing, especially from the incident earlier that day.

It feels heavy and too real, too intimate, but Peter isn’t about to break this. He isn’t about to let anyone else break this, either.

“Friday,” he says, “lock my door.”

“Very good, sir,” Friday responds and Peter hears the lock activate, and with the sound the air gets heavier, gets tenser, like the world is holding its breath.

“Can you take off your mask, Daddy?” Peter asks and he meant for it to be a joke, doesn’t really even think he has a Daddy kink, but he feels warm and hot and Wade’s reaction? Yeah, it’s fucking worth it because Wade sucks in a breath like he’s been punched to the gut, an electric heat radiating from him and making the tension between them thicker, hotter.

Shit, shit fuck shit

Wade reaches up and takes off his mask with shaking hands, and Peter inhales sharp and deep at Wade’s eyes, the blue almost drowned black and it hits Peter then that Wade’s feeling this too, that he’s as affected as Peter is. It feels like this is it, that this is the tipping point, that Peter’s standing on a pendulum and trying to cut the cord, let it fall, let Wade catch him.

It feels like now or never and Peter’s tired of waiting and doesn’t want a never.

“I really want to kiss you,” Peter says in a rush and Wade’s eyes widen, “can I kiss you?”

Wade’s nodding so fast his head is a blur and they move at the same time, meeting in the middle and Peter’s arms wrap around Wade’s shoulders, pull him down, and they’re kissing, rough, teeth clicking, but it’s so good so fucking good and Peter can feel the heat of it melting into his very bones.

Wade makes a broken noise and presses closer, his hands grabbing Peter’s waist to drag him in, then over his back, his neck, like he doesn’t know where to touch, like he can’t settle on a single place and Peter gets it, he does, because he wants to kiss and touch Wade everywhere.

Peter walks them back until Wade’s knees hit the edge of the mattress and they both kind of fall into it together, Peter bracing himself over Wade, delighting in how sturdy Wade is, how his gloved hands feel tight on Peter’s hips, slipping under the hem of his t-shirt and tracing soothing lines along Peter’s sides.

They separate in a rush, breathing heavy, and Peter feels so hot he’s going to crawl out of his fucking skin

Wade moves his left hand, cups Peter’s cheek.

“You’re shaking,” he whispers, voice rough and deep and if Peter was shaking before he’s trembling now.

“I think it’s a mix of being insanely turned on and also nervous,” Peter breathes, bending down to kiss along Wade’s cheek, his jaw, and finally grazing his teeth under Wade’s ear. The merc’s entire body jolts with that, and his hand on Peter’s waist tightens, sending excited thrills down Peter’s spine.

“How far?” Wade asks, voice choked and cutting off in a groan when Peter sucks below his jaw.

“How far what?” Peter asks, preoccupied with tracing Wade’s scars with his tongue, reveling in the texture of them.

Wade tightens his hold on Peter to still him, and Peter wasn’t even aware he’d been moving his hips against Wade’s thigh. He’d be embarrassed if he wasn’t so aroused, if he couldn’t also feel how hard and hot Wade is against his leg.

“How far do you want to go?” Wade says, sounding strangled, and Peter is struck with the intense desire to make him tremble, make him fall apart.

“I don’t know,” Peter answers honestly, wanting to keep kissing Wade so he does, and it’s the best choice they’ve ever made, because Wade feels amazing and he makes Peter feel amazing–

Wade breaks the kiss with a soft moan that has Peter’s cock twitching and he’s sure Wade felt it, his sweats leave little to the imagination.

“I hate that I have to be the voice of reason right now–baby, I swear to anything, if you keep doing that–” Wade rasps, and Peter grins, wicked and kiss-swollen.

“Doing what?” he asks, rocking his hips along Wade’s, reveling in the jolts of hot electricity that spark along his spine, at the way Wade’s grip on him tightens, almost bruising, almost punishing.

“That, fuck, Peter, we need to like, talk first, right?” Wade scrambles and Peter sighs, stilling his movements even though his body is screaming at him to keep going.

He kisses Wade again, and Wade slows it down, makes it softer, kinder, less heated and urgent and more languid, like they have all the time in the world but they don’t, they don’t, and Peter needs this now, he needs–

“You’ve never had sex,” Wade says, voice wrecked and gravel smooth and he kisses Peter’s cheek, chaste and simple, “we should take this slow.”

Peter groans, dropping his head to Wade’s shoulder, taking deep, steadying breaths because Wade doesn’t get it, this is it.

“I’m totally fine with going fast,” Peter argues, letting his hands wander down Wade’s chest, reveling in the hard press of muscle.

“Peter,” Wade says and he sounds serious so Peter pulls back, straddling Wade’s hips instead of grinding on them.

It looks like it distracts Wade even more, his breath stuttering, and he lets his hands smooth up and down Peter’s thighs, his gaze heavy on the tent in Peter’s sweats before he’s tearing his eyes away and meeting Peter’s gaze.

It looks like it’s taking all the will power Wade has to not flip them over and make Peter scream.

That thought isn’t helping Peter calm down.

“I don’t wanna fuck this up,” Wade admits, looking vulnerable and raw, “I…I really don’t wanna rush this.”

Peter has to lean down and kiss him, gentle, for that.

“You won’t mess this up,” Peter says, shivering at the rough scars on Wade’s lips, on how they catch against his skin.

“Can we take it slow?” Wade asks, “please?”

Peter feels a little guilty then, at having rushed it, at having practically attacked Wade onto the bed, and he nods against Wade’s cheek, pressing their foreheads together.

“Of course,” Peter says, and it hurts, makes his chest tight, because he’s wasted so much good time.

“I really like you,” Wade whispers, and he sounds so exposed and small.

Peter takes his hands, interlaces their fingers, and moves so that he’s lying beside Wade, not on top. Wade turns to face him, and he presses soft kisses along Peter’s collar bone, his neck, his jaw, until Peter’s laughing quietly and kissing him back.

“I really like you,” he answers, honest. “But I might have to take another cold shower.”

Wade grins, wide and toothy, and even that look makes Peter’s blood boil.

Shit, he’s got it bad.

“Want company?” Wade asks.

“If you join me things wouldn’t be going slow,” Peter says, running his fingers over the scars on Wade’s head, over his throat, stopping when the collar of the Deadpool suit prevents him from exploring further.

“Can we just lay here for a while?” Peter asks, and there must be something that breaks in his voice because Wade pulls him to his chest and holds him tight.

“You got it, baby,” he says against Peter’s skin, and they just breathe.

 

///

 

‘we’re going to hurt him’ Venom says as Peter extracts himself from Wade’s arms and out of the bed.

They had made out for hours, talked for more, and Peter had watched Wade fall asleep, mask off, carefree and content. He wants to remember Wade like this.

He’s curled up under Peter’s sheets, the top of his Deadpool suit zipped down and it takes Peter’s everything to not crawl back into bed, to not curl up against Wade’s bare chest and spend the rest of his life enveloped in the other man’s arms, as cheesy and cliché as it sounds.

He feels wrong and melancholy as he stuffs underwear, a toothbrush, and his suit into his backpack, as quiet as he can be. He pulls on a long sleeve shirt and Wade’s hoodie over that.

He hesitates at the door, wants to memorize how Wade looks.

He heads back over, kisses Wade on the cheek, the forehead, his lips when Wade stirs and opens tired eyes.

“Come back here,” he groans, voice slurred with sleep and nighttime kisses.

“Gotta pee,” Peter says, and hates that he has to lie, “give me five.”

“M’kay,” Wade slurs but he’s already slipping back under, and Peter kisses him again before he’s fully asleep, he has to.

He leaves a note, scrawled and rushed but honest, true, and places it on the scabbard holding Wade’s katanas.

And then he’s leaving, silent, as quietly as he can, the tracker tucked safe into the back pocket of his jeans.

‘we’re going to hurt him’ Venom repeats as Peter leaves the compound, webs himself over the grounds.

The air feels cold and it hurts.

“I know,” Peter whispers, and keeps going.

Chapter Text

He doesn’t know where he’s going.

To be fair, he didn’t really plan this through. It was a very “spur of the moment” kind of thing. He doesn’t have money, and the only food he’d managed to pack were granola bars from Tony’s pantry.

But he likes to think he knows Kasady, and he knows that if he stays in one place long enough, then Kasady will come for him.

If he’s not already.

‘hungry’ Venom hisses and Peter crosses his arms against the cold as they walk past the bus station that Nat had come and picked him up in what feels like a lifetime ago.

“I know,” Peter says, quiet to not draw too much attention to the fact that it looks like he’s talking to himself, “but we gotta ration, big guy.”

‘we want to go back’ Venom says, and it sounds dangerously close to a whine, ‘we never got wade’s pancakes’

Peter’s heart hurts at the mention of Wade and he can still taste him, can still picture, vividly, how Wade's rough skin felt against his.

But he's going to end this, and then he’ll be able to go back to Wade and they can lay in bed all day and never leave. He can do this, and then he can go home.

It sucks, that he can’t even lie to himself anymore.

 

///

 

He webs himself into the city and it’s still dark enough that he isn’t worried about anyone spotting him. But that is kind of the plan, and he goes to Wade’s safe house in Brooklyn, the window still unlocked, the place still a mess.

He crawls inside, and changes into his suit in the bathroom. All he needs to do is get a civilian to take a picture and see Spider-Man. If Peter helps spread the news that he's back around New York, that he's out in public, HYDRA will move faster. And then Kasady will come, and that will be it. Like a shark to blood, Kasady will smell him.

‘this won’t work’ Venom hisses as Peter shimmies out of his jeans and slips on the suit, ‘this will end horribly’

“V, most decisions I make end horribly I’m just going to accept that,” Peter gripes, pulling on his mask and blinking under the lens for his vision to adjust. “Besides, in this one instance we want it to end horribly.”

‘he will skin you’ Venom continues, even as Peter tries to ignore him as he climbs back out the window, ‘he will take us’

“Venom, that’s the plan,” Peter hisses, annoyed as he swings into Manhattan, the city becoming alive and crowded with morning traffic. He won’t stay out in the open for long, just long enough.

He doesn’t want Wade to be looking for him and see him swinging around, or for Tony to wake soon and start to wonder where he is.

Luckily, there’s some people on the street, and Peter makes sure to swing by the Brooklyn Bridge a few times for good measure, before making his way back to Wade’s safe house. The sun isn’t all the way up yet, but the sky is light and Peter slips in, changes, and heads out down the stairs, backpack secure and heart racing.

He’s done it.

He’s gotten attention, and hopefully HYDRA will catch wind in the next few days or so.

Until then, Peter will just walk.

HYDRA’s fast, he doesn’t need to wait for them.

 

///

 

He’s never wandered outside of New York on foot before.

It’s thanks to his enhanced stamina; made even stronger by Venom, that he’s able to walk through New Jersey in a day, make his way up to Massachusetts in two.

He’s kept a low profile after swinging around New York.

He hasn’t talked to anyone, he hasn’t checked into any hotels or stayed in any hostels. He sleeps in hammocks from his webs in trees or deep into alleys at night. The weather, thankfully, has been cold and crisp. Peter isn’t sure he’d be able to make it if it was summer.

Peter’s feet hurt, his calves are aching, and he’s dizzy, dehydrated but he’s been saving his money for a hearty meal and he’s cashing in now.

He finds an "all you can eat buffet" after wandering for hours and even Venom is excited. He pays ten dollars to a woman who looks like she wants to go to sleep, and gathers seven plates of food, one designated to just desert for Venom.

There are pancakes too, but Venom doesn’t want them, and Peter hopes the symbiote isn’t pouting. (They definitely are).

The inside of the buffet is dark, with not too many customers besides a small family with three kids and an older woman sitting off in the back corner. She’s eating fruit out of a cup and dipping it in yogurt, making a mess over the tabletop and the paper cover, and Peter tries not to stare.

It’s strange, he knows he should eat, but he’s suddenly not hungry, the food looking like too much for him, too imposing.

‘eat’ Venom says, ‘eat for strength’

“Thanks mom,” Peter grumbles, sipping at his ice water and feeling like he’s messed up.

This is better though, him sitting, waiting for Kasady, than risking his friend’s lives. He's done the right thing.

Ever since he’s entered the buffet he’s been a little on edge, and he can’t tell if it’s his spider sense or the accumulation of everything he’s been through in the past week crashing in exhausting waves over him.

He can’t taste the food, so he eats until his stomach cramps. He isn’t sure when he’ll find another cheap buffet like this again. He sneaks some bread and crackers into his backpack for breakfast and lunch tomorrow.

The old woman has begun asking the waiter about his relationship status when Peter leaves to go sit outside on the curb. It’s not a busy night, the buffet is in the middle of a desolate strip mall and the restaurants are the only establishments left open.

He feels, not for the first time, that he isn’t prepared for Kasady.

He knows he did the right thing by leaving, he knows, and he’d rather it be just him than everyone else, but he didn’t prepare for his nerves to feel this fried, for his emotional state to deteriorate so completely that he feels like a husk, paper thin and flimsy, exposed.

It’s a horrible, gut churning sensation, that he’s actively baiting his abuser to come for him.

“Here, son,” a raspy voice says and Peter looks over his shoulder to see the old woman from inside the buffet walking towards him.

She’s coming up behind him, leaning heavily on a cheap metal cane and holding out a Styrofoam to go box. Peter takes it, the warmth of hot food seeping into his fingers.

“I didn’t know they let you take food,” he says, not even a little bit hungry by touched nonetheless by the gesture.

“They don’t,” the woman winks, stopping to stand beside him, “help me sit.”

He stands and takes her arm, bends down with her so she’s sitting on the curb beside him.

“Thank you,” he says, because he realizes he hadn’t said it.

“You’re too skinny,” the woman explains, reaching over with long blue nails and pinching him on the bicep.

It doesn’t hurt, feels like a tickle, but he can’t help feel a little offended. He’d put on weight in the two months he’d been with Tony, but old lady’s often comment on people’s appearances without thinking so Peter doesn’t take too much offense.

“Well, this will help,” Peter says, holding up the Styrofoam container with a tired smile.

The woman laughs, a wheezing huff, before she pulls out a cigarette and lights a match with her nail. Peter’s impressed.

“You know,” she says, talking through smoke and nicotine, “when I was your age I moved to the City.”

“New York?” Peter asks, and she nods and angles herself so the smoke doesn’t hit Peter’s face.

“Didn’t stay long. It was too expensive then, and it’s much more overpriced now.”

“Yeah,” Peter agrees, “I used to live in the City too.”

“You left?”

“A while ago,” Peter whispers, adjusting his hold on the container and listening to it squeak.

The old woman hums.

“Better for ya,” she says, “you should try livin’ in the country. Down south is nice, you ever been?”

“I’ve only passed through,” Peter admits, a melancholy sobriety settling in his chest.

‘with wade,’ Venom reminds, though Peter doesn’t need to be reminded, he never forgot.

“You’d like it,” the woman says, “I met my third husband down there. Of course we was only married for a day, he got–”

His spider sense is too late.

The woman had turned to Peter, her lips forming a smile, the smoke escaping between her teeth, before a red hand grasped her around the eyes and temples and Peter was only fast enough to reach out as her head was ripped like a cork off her body.

It’s a sound that will haunt Peter for the rest of his life, he’s sure of it, breaking bones and mashed muscle.

Her blood is warm and hits him like rain, and he falls back, alarmed, shocked, as her limp body is thrown through the buffet window and lodges itself halfway in the glass.

The hostess is screaming, clambering away on hands and knees and Peter wouldn’t have gotten to his feet if Venom didn’t make him stand.

In the pile of her blood, smeared like eyeliner across the sidewalk, is Kasady.

He doesn’t look human.

He doesn’t look right.

Half of his body looks like it’s made out of Venom’s construction, sinew and muscle and alive on its own, only it’s red and raw and painful. The hand holding the old woman’s head is larger than his other, his fingers forming clawed hooks that have gauged into the woman’s eyes and pushed through.

Peter feels like he’s going to throw up. Or pass out.

Either one.

Both.

“You’re a tricky spider to catch, Pete, any girl ever tell ya that?” Kasady asks, tossing the head aside and wiping his hand on his shirt.

Peter’s trembling, head to toe, his whole body moving with the force of it. Venom reacts independently, covering him, and that’s another difference, between Kasady and him, is that while Venom is like a second skin, another suit, Kasady’s disfiguration looks like it’s as connected to him as his other arm.

“Aw, and you still have the little creeper, that’s sweet,” Kasady says, taking a step closer as Peter takes one back, “c’mon, lets go.”

“You killed her,” is all Peter can say, nothing in him working right.

Kasady represents all his fear, all his pain, all his everything, and Peter wasn’t, isn’t, prepared to deal with it all again.

‘if we don’t fight we die’ Venom says, and Peter, in this moment, is okay with that.

“You gonna cry on me about morals again?” Kasady asks and his arm shoots out, way past the length to be normal, and he’s grabbing Peter around the throat.

Even though Venom is shielding him, protecting, the blow still hurts, still makes him gag, and Venom tries to warp around Kasady’s wrists, tries to break it off.

They can’t.

Fear, cold and heavy, lodges itself in Peter’s stomach because if Venom isn’t strong enough to loosen Kasady’s grip then they might not stand much of a chance.

Kasady’s hand tightens and Peter’s vision swims. It seems that’s the push he needed, the fear and the pain, to make him kick out with everything he has to help Venom break Kasady’s wrist.

There’s a cracking sound and Kasady’s grip loosens enough that Peter drops his weight and rolls out of his reach, jumping back and sticking onto the side of the nearest boutique wall.

Kasady’s hand is bent at an unnatural angle, but it’s snapping back into place, bone by bone, and Peter watches, disturbed, as Kasady's wrist heals.

It’s similar to Deadpool’s healing factor, and that makes Peter pause because whatever Kasady took from him he’s messed with, messed with Venom as well.

“Nice, huh?” Kasady asks, waving to Peter with his long, red hand, his smile too wide, abnormal.

‘he’s stronger than us’ Venom says, and even though the symbiote stays covering Peter they sound doubtful, but this is it, Peter and Venom get one shot or they get taken back.

“Okay, V,” Peter whispers, “we need–”

Kasady’s in front of him in a heartbeat, and Peter barely has time to raise his arms to block the swing before Kasady sends him crashing through the glass and into the store, tumbling over the counter and hitting his head hard on a wood table selling rose scented soaps.

‘ouch’ Venom hisses and they’re making Peter stand before Peter’s ready, the room spinning in discoloration and black gapes of time.

“We’ve never done this before!” Kasady yells and fuck, just his voice makes Peter want to claw his eyes out.

“Damn,” Peter hisses, spitting out a glob of blood and tasting it in the back of his throat.

‘let me in’ Venom snarls as Peter dives another attack, and it’s so gross, Kasady is so gross

“What did you do to yourself?” Peter calls, spinning and sticking to the ceiling, shooting out a web and jarring Kasady’s arm out of the way, ignoring the shock of pain that shoots up his wrist at how abrupt the motion is.

“A little bit of alien a little bit of you,” Kasady says, and he’s fast, he’s in front of Peter before Peter’s spider sense can alert him and Peter knows this one is gonna hurt and he’s right–

Kasady lands a solid punch to his knee, another to his throat, bruised already and bruising further, before grabbing him by the hair and hauling him close, and this personal Peter can see how long Kasady’s teeth are, can see how swollen his gums look.

He can also see how stark the man’s veins stand against the pale parlor of his skin, and where human flesh meet symbiote’s. Kasady looks ill, looks sick, and Peter’s entire skull throbs from where Kasady’s hand is tight in his hair, holding him up.

“I thought you’d be stronger,” he says and throws Peter through a wall.

Venom shields him from the brute of the brick but Peter’s already hit his head and another injury to the area isn’t helping. He’s nauseous, ninety percent sure he has a concussion as he throws up onto the asphalt of the parking lot.

There are sirens in the background, and people are running around, frantic, and Peter can smell the old woman, can see, out of the corner of his eye, the other half of her suspended like a doll in a shield of broken glass.

She gave him food.

She was nice.

The rage he feels is long overdue but he’s just grateful he’s beginning to feel something besides fear as he webs himself up and uses the momentum to aim a well placed kick to Kasady’s sternum. It’s a blow that would have concaved a lesser man’s entire torso, but Kasady has fucked with his DNA enough that it only makes him take a step back.

‘we’ll devour him’ Venom hisses and stabs their arm through Kasady’s throat.

It’s awful; Peter can feel the man’s bones break.

His spider sense blares and he leaps them away before Kasady’s symbiote arm can grab him again. He misplaces his landing and has to use the nearby wall to hold himself up. Everything is spinning, round and round, and Kasady is choking, gurgling on blood as he tries to stem the flow with his human hand.

Peter hates killing, can’t stand it

‘we did it,’ Venom corrects, ‘not you’

“You sound a lot like Wade,” Peter rasps and spits out another string of blood and saliva.

“Still got some bite to ya,” Kasady croaks and Peter looks up a moment too late.

Kasady is on him, tackling him to the ground, his symbiote wrapping hot and unrelenting over Peter’s arms, and Kasady is towering above, hole slowly closing under his jaw.

“The hell–” Peter hisses but cuts off in an aborted shout when Kasady breaks his shoulder.

The pain is dizzying, and it does nothing to help the throbbing in his head. Venom tries to heal it almost immediately but Kasady’s symbiote is stabbing through Venom and straight into Peter's other shoulder, holding him in place to the concrete like a nail to wood.

Peter bites his tongue so hard the only thing he can taste is copper but he’ll be damned if Kasady gets the joy of hearing him scream.

“You're so quiet nowadays,” the man says and he leans in, too close for Peter’s comfort, “there are so many things we haven’t tried yet.”

“Get the hell off me,” Peter snaps, and tries to lift his legs but Kasady’s symbiote is bearing down on his ankles, creeping to his knees and Peter feels a moment of pure terror when he realizes that Kasady is stronger.

Kasady runs his nose over a pronounced dark vein in Peter’s neck and Peter and Venom both recoil, both want to melt into themselves.

“I’ve missed ya, Pete,” Kasady hums, like he’s high, like he’s giddy, “I have so many new tools, you’re gonna love ‘em.”

Then he’s getting up and Peter instinctually tries to curl in on himself but Kasady is lifting him by the throat again and before Peter can so much as move he’s stabbing Peter through the abdomen.

The pain, this time, is too shocking to feel immediately. It’s just white hot, and Venom screeches in his head, so loud that Peter almost loses consciousness.

“Mine’s stronger than yours,” Kasady says and Peter can only choke, can only bleed

“This is the most fucked up version of “I’ll show you mine” I’ve ever seen and I spent New Years in Seattle,” a familiar voice calls and then a katana is embedding itself into Kasady’s forearm.

Bea is written in delicate gold script along the handle.

For a moment, Peter thinks he’s hallucinating because there’s no way, no way his luck would be so kind as to let Wade find him.

Kasady doesn’t drop Peter, but there’s a blur of red and black and another wave of pain and Peter’s ripped from Kasady’s hold and being carried, fast, across the parking lot.

He’s trying to stay conscious, but it’s been a struggle ever since he first hit his head and now that he has a literal hole in his side it’s becoming even harder.

“Hey, hey, don’t fall asleep my precious little dumbass,” Wade coos, his Deadpool mask jutting in front of Peter’s face.

“W–” is all Peter can say before he spits up more blood.

“You’re such a fucking idiot, Peter, I swear to Bea,” Wade interrupts, his tone hard and angry but he’s holding Peter carefully, like he knows Peter will break without him.

Kasady is moving behind them, Peter can see that much, but his vision is ebbing so horribly he can’t see who he’s fighting, can’t see who’s helping Wade and him get away.

“Not…supposed to follow,” Peter grits out, Venom covering his stomach in a tight wrap.

“We gotta work on your martyr complex, baby, it’s really not great, or necessary,” Wade snaps, jumping over a car and sliding down the hood, all without causing Peter to flinch, “perks of dating me? I can’t die. Fucking take me on suicide missions, I’m useful as fuck.”

Peter has to swallow down rising bile before he can speak.

“I…w…wanted to protect you…” he slurs, fighting to stay present, but his body is going into shock, and he can feel his heart hammering loud in his chest.

Wade’s grip around him tightens, and he presses what would be a kiss if he weren’t wearing a mask to Peter’s sweaty forehead.

Then Peter passes out.

Chapter Text

Peter wakes up and doesn’t get a chance to get re-oriented before Wade is looking him all over, cupping his face and holding him close, and if Peter were any more present he’d be able to tell Wade is shaking.

Venom is heavy inside him, making his movements sluggish and his mind unfocused, and it’s all he can do to reach weakly for Wade and try and drag him closer.

Wade pulls back and he looks so worried and upset that anything Peter was thinking of saying is caught like a rock in his throat.

“He’s a fucking idiot, have I said that already?” Wade rasps.

“Yes,” Domino says, sitting on top of the old TV set at the foot of Peter’s bed.

“Fuck,” Wade whimpers, completely ignoring her, all his focus on Peter, “fuck, baby what the hell?”

And Peter isn’t going to cry, he isn’t, but he feels so terrible and guilty and weak

Shit, he’s crying.

Wade pulls him close without hesitation, pressing Peter’s face into his shoulder and wrapping broad arms around Peter’s back and even though the position makes Peter’s side sting, makes his broken arm throb he doesn’t pull away.

He already tried that and look where it got him.

‘almost dead’ Venom supplies helpfully.

He sees Domino with blurry vision, and she jumps off the TV, waves, and twirls out the door. It looks like they’re in a motel, but Wade is solid and in his arms and a part of Peter didn’t think that’d happen again, so he really doesn’t focus on where he is when he hugs Wade back.

“I’m sorry,” he mumbles, words muffled into the leather of Wade’s suit, “I’m not used to people helping me.”

Wade makes a cooing noise and rubs Peter’s back with a gloveless hand, and Peter’s side is really starting to heat in a consistent achy burn, enough that Peter can’t hide a wince and Wade withdraws, keeping a large hand on Peter’s good side to keep him stable.

“Well get used to it, sweetheart, you shacked up with me. I know he’s a dumbass but he’s bleeding give him a sec,” Deadpool mutters the last part under his breath and Peter sighs as Wade helps him lean back onto the pillows.

“You’re mad,” Peter says, silently thanking Venom for keeping his side covered, a nice presence of knowing that its healing and Peter isn’t, you know, going to die.

He certainly feels like he is, or like he’s been run over several times by a truck. Wade gets up from where he’s sitting on the edge of Peter’s bed and begins to pace, which Peter knows by now isn’t always positive, and scratches the back of his head.

“Yeah, I’m fucking pissed,” Wade answers but he sounds more tired, strained than upset, and that gives Peter a little bit of hope that maybe he didn’t completely screw everything up between them.

“Are we…do–sshiit,” Peter hisses, jolting as Venom pokes him hard in the abs, pain reaching sharp fingers inside his stomach.

“You all right? Is Snarly acting up?” Wade asks, hovering.

“Snarly’s fine,” Peter grumbles, sighing and settling even deeper into the pillows.

He’s exhausted.

He’s overwhelmed to the point where he can feel nothing, not even his body, the only source of reference he has that he even has one is the pain radiating from his side.

“Baby, you–” Wade begins, cuts himself off, and tries again, “I haven’t ever been so scared in my entire fucking life.”

Peter stares, taken aback, trying to focus as Wade paces the length of the room, his boots clomping on the ugly mustard yellow shag carpet, his motions jerky and almost manic in its speed.

“Wade–” Peter begins but Wade keeps going, like he can’t hear him.

“I woke up half naked to Tony fucking Stark accusing me of–ya know and then he said he couldn’t find you and you–you just left, Pete, I thought we had something, ya know I thought we had–”

“Wade,” Peter tries again, harsher but still Wade doesn’t take notice, too in his head, in his own anxiety and aftershocks of fear.

“And then you left this break up note and I couldn’t even read it, White was having a field day and that weird half assed red slob had you bleeding out and almost dead, you were almost dead–”

“Babe, listen to me,” Peter says, trying to push himself up onto his elbows to get Wade’s attention.

Something he’s said works because Wade is looking at him, eyes as expressive as always, and Peter can see all the hurt, all the self-loathing, all the panic, the hope, the anger–

“You called me babe,” Wade whispers and Peter’s a little surprised that that’s what got Wade to focus, but knowing Wade’s past, how he doesn’t speak about his relationships often, he can assume not a lot of people show him affection.

It’s heartbreaking, and not right, and Peter can’t stand Wade looking like this.

He holds open his arms.

“Come here,” he says, gentle, and Wade hesitates before he’s kicking off his boots and katanas and climbing into bed, curling up against Peter’s chest as Peter wraps his arm around Wade’s shoulders, pulling him in.

He kisses the scarred skin of his forehead, tender and reassuring.

“I know I’m a dumbass,” Peter begins and flicks Wade’s ear when the other man snorts, “and I shouldn’t have left, but babe, did you not read the note? Really? That’s why people leave notes. For them to be read.”

“No,” Wade sighs, digging his nose into Peter’s armpit, “people write notes when they wanna break up.”

“I don’t want to break up,” Peter says, resting his head on top of Wade’s, “that’s like, the last thing I want.”

“Well it looked bad,” Wade grumbles, still not entirely believing Peter and Peter turns to tilt Wade’s head up and kisses him.

It makes the bruising on his neck apparent, it aches at this angle, but Peter doesn’t care, Wade’s comfort and reassurance is his top-priority right now.

“Wade,” Peter takes a breath as he pulls back, feeling nervous because it’s one thing to write a letter about his feelings but it’s another thing entirely to say them out loud, “the letter, uh, was me saying how much you mean to me. And that I wasn’t leaving because of you, I actually almost stayed because of you. I just, I never want you to feel pain, or hurt, and being with me is gonna bring that, I mean, I’m unstable and mentally fucked and HYDRA isn’t ever going to let me go, and I didn’t want to bring you back into that world when you’ve already fought so hard to get out. And I…I may have talked a lot about how much I like you and that you’re a really good kisser.”

He finishes the rest in a rush because Wade’s turned his head up to stare at him and his eyes are dark, like they were in Peter’s room. Wade shifts, and Peter moves with him, so that Peter is lying flat and Wade is hovering above him, propped up on his right elbow and brushing Peter’s hair out of his face with the other.

“You’re lucky you’re so cute,” Wade says, “and critically injured.”

“That sounds like a badly concealed threat,” Peter mumbles, wrinkling his nose when Wade’s finger trails over the bridge.

“Nah,” Wade whispers, quiet, like he’s speaking to himself and not Peter, “could never hurt ya.”

Peter swallows, because this all feels very intimate and heavy and intense, and his abdomen is still aching and his arms hurt something fierce but it’s Wade that’s taking all the air from his lungs.

“Kiss me?” Peter asks, cautious, not sure if he’s still allowed this.

But Wade doesn’t poke fun like Peter half expected him to, instead he bends down and places the softest kiss Peter’s ever received on his chapped lips.

“Don’t go off alone again,” Wade pleads, “or I’ll have to tie you to the bed.”

“Kinky.”

“Really, Pete,” Wade says, bending down to press another featherlight kiss to Peter’s jaw, “that was too much. Even for me.”

Peter nods and presses his hand to Wade’s cheek, caressing the skin over his cheekbone. Wade kisses his palm, light as before, and down over his wrist, and Peter’s hurt, battered to all hell, but he still feels aroused when Wade’s lips brush over the small hole under his palm, a sensation similar to a tickle but hotter. Peter shivers, but doesn’t pull his arm away.

“Sensitive,” Peter says, voice tight.

Wade looks at him, gaze dark. He presses another kiss on the skin over Peter’s spinneret; the tip of his tongue wet and warm and Peter almost jolts from the bed.

Wade laughs, low, as he releases Peter’s wrist and ignores Peter’s groan of complaint.

“Later,” Wade says, “maybe. You’re pretty fucked up over here, baby boy.”

“I feel great,” Peter argues but Wade is moving to lie beside Peter, pulling his head on his chest.

Peter can hear Wade’s heart, loud and steady. Soothing.

“I’m tired,” Peter grumbles, suddenly fighting to stay awake.

“Well good thing your concussion wasn’t too severe or else you wouldn’t be awake at all,” Wade hums, poking him in the cheek. “Still, stay awake a little longer.”

“I don’t want to,” Peter slurs, burrowing his nose under Wade’s jaw.

“You gotta,” Wade says, stroking up and down Peter’s arms, “ten more minutes.”

“Fine,” Peter sighs, “then I’m going to sleep.”

“Sure,” Wade agrees.

He lets Peter fall asleep in five.

 

///

 

When Peter wakes up it’s light out and about five pizza boxes surround him and all, he’s assuming from the scent, have different toppings. Wade is sitting cross-legged on the other bed with Domino and they have a box opened between them, chatting and basically making a mess on the sheets.

“Why did you order so much pizza?” Peter slurs and Wade waves to him with a half eaten slice.

Sauce falls onto the pillow.

“Baby! To feed you!” Wade exclaims and Domino pushes a box next to Peter’s hip with her foot.

“The one’s on your bed are for you,” she explains.

“…There are four on my bed.”

“Thank God, he can still count,” Wade sighs, mask rolled up so Peter can see his grin, “how you feelin’, Webs?”

“Everything hurts,” Peter groans, but Venom is interested in the pizza so Peter gingerly sits and takes the box Domino had kicked into his lap.

“That’s what happens when you get stabbed and have both your arms broken,” Domino says, not unkindly.

Hey,” Wade snaps; pointing his pizza crust at her, “we swore to never talk about that.”

“No, you swore you wouldn’t blow up a strip mall,” Domino responds easily and Peter feels strange, watching and listening to them interact.

He’s not a jealous person, and he hates that he’s feeling jealousy towards Domino when she’s been nothing but sweet to him, so he tampers down the irrational feeling and focuses instead on what they're discussing.

“Wait,” Peter says as he opens the pizza box and sees glorious pepperoni and sausage, “how did you guys get us away from Kasady?”

“The fuck kind of name is that anyway?” Wade mutters under his breath, stuffing another pizza slice into his mouth.

“I’m lucky,” Domino says.

Peter takes a second to process that.

“Okay,” he tries, “is that like a superpower?”

“No,” Wade answers at the same time Domino says, “yes.”

“How is luck your superpower?” Peter asks, then realizes he must sound rude, “I mean, it’s cool–”

“I can bend probability,” Domino interrupts and Wade stops chewing, “my own. I can’t affect others.”

“Why the shit didn’t you say that the fist time we met?” Deadpool asks, offended, “that would’ve saved so much time and confusion!”

“I was never confused,” Domino says and takes another slice.

“That’s awesome,” Peter admits and bites into cheese and meat and good, Venom likes this.

‘the sauce is like blood’ Venom hums.

“Gross, man, I’m trying to eat,” Peter sighs but takes another bite, regardless.

 

///

 

“Are we going to talk about what we do next?” Domino asks, when the pizza between her and Wade has been eaten and Peter’s managed to chew two slices before his stomach twists and he and Venom both collapse back on the pillows, abdomen still hurting but less, the throbbing not as prominent or severe.

“Ew like a plan?” Wade scrunches up his nose and hops off the bed, knocking off the empty pizza box, and choosing to toss himself next to Peter and curl up into the smaller man’s side.

“Wow, you’re like a squid,” Domino notes, “you two are cute.”

“Honey, we know,” Deadpool sighs, pressing a kiss to Peter’s shoulder.

“She’s right,” Peter says, “Kasady is probably already looking for me–”

“I’ll kill him,” Wade snarls, cold and dark and dangerous enough that Domino falls silent.

“Wade,” Peter begins but Wade pushes himself up, a terrible expression twisting his features.

“I will,” he promises, “I should go do that. B-R-B, honey-bunches of oats, I’ll be back in a jiffy.”

And Wade moves to get out of the bed before Peter grabs his arm to stop him, using only a quarter of his strength but it’s enough to keep Wade from moving further.

“You’re not going alone,” Peter says, firm, “and definitely not without a plan.”

“Not you too,” Wade groans looking to Domino like she’ll side with him.

Unsurprisingly, she doesn’t.

“Isn’t it strange,” she asks, “that he was alone?”

“I don’t care,” Wade snaps, “I’ll kill him for hurting–”

“Maybe,” Peter interrupts to answer Domino’s question, pulling Wade back down and he lands with his head braced on Peter’s right thigh.

“Do HYDRA scientists often go rogue?” Domino asks. “How does HYDRA even work?”

“You’re asking the wrong people, doll,” Wade groans, restless as he tries to squirm into a comfortable position on the bed, the mattress’ springs creaking with the change in weight.

“From what I could tell being there Kasady ran his own unit, independent of any higher ups in HYRDA. He seemed like he was in charge, because he was fearless with Venom. He chose me because he knew about my enhanced healing and abilities, and wanted to see what would happen. I can only guess, no one ever monologue to me there.”

“Ugh, a waste,” Wade says, nuzzling into Peter’s hip, “the one time we need the Big Baddie to monologue and he holds out, the fuck is that about?”

“We could google it?” Domino suggests, pulling an impeccably clean iPhone from her back pocket.

Peter barely contains a laugh.

“I highly doubt–”

“Found something,” Domino says, tossing her phone to Peter who catches it easily, only slightly dumbfounded.

“Wow,” he breathes, looking at the screen, “you are lucky.”

“Read me a bedtime story,” Wade whines, snuggling closer.

Peter rests a hand on Wade’s head.

“Kasady’s full name is Cletus Kasady. He’s an ex-con who killed so many people he picked up the nickname Carnage when he was a teenager. Fuck, he killed his grandmother.”

“What’s this red turd have against little old ladies?” Deadpool mutters, craning his neck to see what Peter’s reading, “Is this the deep dark web? Dom, shame on you, this is where I get my guns.”

“It helps us humanize the enemy, at least,” Domino says, standing with a stretch, “I’m going out. It smells like dirty boys in here, Spidey you should shower.”

Peter blushes, embarrassed.

‘we’re hurt’ Venom argues.

“I’ve been injured,” Peter says and Domino leans forward to ruffle his greasy hair.

“Yeah, hun, and now it’s time to shower. And then we can all go out and get a drink and plan our next move. And contact that Iron Guy and those two super soldiers. We’ll need all the help we can get to corner Carnage.”

“Okay,” Peter relents because a drink sounds nice and Domino is right.

“Ta-ta! Be back soon!” Domino waves and picks up the empty pizza boxes.

“Oh, I can clean,” Peter tries but she’s out the door without another word.

It’s silent for about a second, and then Wade is hopping up and clapping his hands.

“Shower time, baby,” he says, smiling wide, “lets get you naked!”

“Whoa, hold up,” Peter stumbles over his words, flustered beyond just Domino’s remarks to him stinking, “do you think that’s a good idea?”

“Do I think seeing you naked is a good idea?” Deadpool tilts his head, “I do if you’re not uncomfortable.”

Peter swallows.

“It’s just…you said you wanted to take things slow,” he explains, getting a little distracted when Wade takes his hands and begins to absently play with his fingers, “and, I mean, this wouldn’t be slow, would it?”

Wade hums, thoughtful.

“Depends,” he says, “will you get turned on?”

Peter didn’t think his blush could get any darker.

“Most definitely,” he croaks and Wade’s eyes dart to his.

There’s a loaded silence, and Peter thinks that Wade might just strip and offer to join him. Instead the ex-merc leans forward and kisses him, wet and slow, and sensual enough that Peter feels heat fizzling in his gut.

“Okay,” Wade whispers against his lips, “you shower, I’ll try not to do anything impulsive while you’re gone–”

“You can talk to me?” Peter asks, shy, “After I’m already behind the curtain? We could just talk?”

Wade hesitates for a total of one second.

“I like that idea,” he says and kisses Peter again, like he can’t help himself.

‘hurry up’ Venom hisses

“Venom’s getting antsy,” Peter says, breaking the kiss, “lets get this shower over with.”

Wade laughs.

“That’s the spirit,” he says, and helps Peter up.

He holds Peter’s hand, steadying, as they make their way into the small bathroom. Wade gets the water running as Peter sits on the toilet lid. He notices that Wade’s wrapped his midsection in bandage gauze, tight but not suffocating. He bends the top of one of the bandages down and catches a glimpse of dark red and yellow slough but Wade tsks at him and draws Peter’s attention away from all the purple bruises and discolorations on his skin.

“Let’s focus on feeling better, not looking at scabs,” Wade says and when he gets the water right he stands awkwardly, motioning for the door. “Guess I’ll just–”

“Stay,” Peter says, insistent, suddenly anxious. He can’t stand the thought of Wade leaving, feels like he’ll fall apart if he does.

Wade, bless him, just looks confused.

“Did we not just talk about me leaving so you could shower without this going too fast?”

“I don’t want to be alone,” Peter admits, “please, Wade.”

Wade nods, swinging his arms stiffly side to side.

“Yeah, okay, cool, I’ll just stand in the corner and face the wall like I’m in time out and–”

“Actually,” Peter croaks, nervous and desperate and aching, “can you…can you join me?”

Wade’s entire body freezes, like someone’s dunked him in ice water, and Peter instantly feels bad, horrible, because Wade was the one to wanted things slow and Peter, like a fucking jackass, keeps pushing–

“You can say no,” Peter says in a rush, “but we don’t have to do anything, and I thought I wouldn’t see you again and I’m kind of freaking out over you being more than five feet away–”
‘lame’ Venom says at the same time Wade steps towards him, gripping his biceps and taking all of Peter’s attention.

“Sweetheart, I get turned on just hearin’ you talk from three rooms over, I’m going to get hard if I see you naked,” Wade says, honest, and Peter’s heart skips a beat. Or two. “If you’re comfortable with my biology workin’ without my say so then I would love to join you. But I don’t want you feeling weird, or obligated to help me out if I get turned on does that make sense?”

Peter nods, touched, and reaches out to hold Wade’s hand.

“That makes sense,” Peter says, and shit, Wade is really attractive, maybe he shouldn’t say what he’s thinking, “but I won’t feel pressured. I trust you. And I…I need you close to me right now. Does that make sense?”

Wade takes a breath and rests their foreheads together, breathing deep even when his eyes look dark in the dim light.

“You’re sure?” he asks.

Peter feels like his heart his going to pound out of his chest.

“I’m sure,” he affirms, “are you sure?”

Wade swallows.

“Super duper,” he says but his voice wavers and Peter has to kiss him, gentle, kind.

He relaxes when Wade returns it, just as careful, chaste and healing instead of the more heated one they shared in the bed. Wade’s hands settle on Peter’s hips, careful of the bandages, and his touch is hot and exciting but also grounding, helping Peter stay focused.

Peter’s already shirtless but Wade isn’t and he breaks their kiss to take a small step back, resting his hands on Wade’s chest to sooth down his arms.

“You have a lot of leather to lose,” Peter whispers, the shower the only noise separating the silence in the background.

Wade’s expression is somber, heavy, as he unbuckles his utility belt, lets it fall to their feet.

“The teleportation device still broken?” Peter asks, trying to break the tension that’s settled around them but his voice wavers and it doesn’t work, just brings more attention to how quiet they were before, how everything feels more delicate.

“Yeah,” Wade answers, and his voice is rough, not with arousal, but with nerves, and Peter can see the slight tremor in his hands, “can you unzip me?”

Peter remembers doing that when they first kissed, but then it had been a different atmosphere, with a different context. This feels like they’re seeing each other for the first time, like Peter is just letting Wade in completely, and maybe he is, maybe the reason why it feels so different, so important, is because it is.

“Turn around,” Peter says and he’s so glad Venom’s not talking, so glad that the symbiote has begun to recognize when to give Peter room to breathe, because he can’t feel the symbiote’s presence in the back of his mind like he normally can.

Wade turns and Peter unzips the top half of his suit, all the way down to the dip in his lower back, and Peter has to take a second to run a tentative hand up Wade’s spine, feeling the muscles in his back bunch and relax with the gesture.

“Does your skin hurt today?” Peter asks, gentle.

He can hear Wade trying to breathe even, but his exhales are shaky so Peter presses a soft kiss between his shoulder blades, tries to will Wade to calm even as his own heartbeat is drumming in his ears.

“Not too bad,” Wade answers, “not great, either.”

“Does it hurt when I touch you?” Peter wonders, pulling back so Wade can turn to face him, his bare chest and defined abs taking a lot, if not most, of Peter’s attention.

“Eyes up here, sweetheart,” Wade laughs, grinning.

He cups Peter’s face in his hands, runs a thumb along Peter’s bottom lip, and Peter’s mouth parts immediately, pliant and susceptible.

Wade’s watching him with that dark, still gaze, blue eyes now blown black.

“No,” Wade says, answering a question Peter forgot he asked because Wade’s thumb is still on his lip and it’s very distracting– “doesn’t make it hurt anymore than usual.”

“If the shower is going to cause you pain I don’t want to do it,” Peter affirms and Wade moves his hand to Peter’s neck, holding him.

“I want to do this,” Wade says and leans forward and kisses him quiet.

It works, it’s a smart tactic, and Peter keeps it in mind as he moves his hands up Wade’s chest to grip his shoulders and make the kiss just a little deeper.

“Pants,” Wade breathes against Peter’s lips, hands moving to the waistband of Peter’s jeans, “can I take them off?”

Peter’s heart does a funny little stutter and Peter’s nervous, feels exposed, but he nods and kisses Wade to distract himself. He tries not to be too impressed as Wade undoes the button and zip with his eyes closed and his tongue in Peter’s mouth, and they break away so Peter and kick off the jeans and his socks, leaving him in his black boxer briefs that are starting to feel tighter than normal.

“Now you,” Peter instructs, breathless, and watches with hooded eyes as Wade hastens to unzip the bottom of his suit, thumbs hooked into the band before he hesitates.

“Are you sure?” he asks, “the downstairs looks the same as the worst part of my face, honey, it’s not pretty.”

“Babe,” Peter responds, taking Wade’s hand in his and pressing a soft kiss to each scarred knuckle, “you skin is a part of you. And I like you with it, it doesn’t disgust me, or make me think less of you. I could go on for a while, and I’d be happy to tell you for hours how much I like your skin and how it feels and how–”

Wade touches Peter’s lips, silencing him.

“Okay,” he says, voice thick, and if Peter knew any better he’d think Wade is getting choked up, “next time. Wax poetry tomorrow, lets shower while we still have hot water tonight.”
Peter smiles, and grabs Wade’s hips.

“Deal,” he says, “we’ll both strip on the count of–”

Wade tears his pants off.

The leather almost rips from the force of it but Peter can feel the bottom half of Wade’s suit hit his bare feet and without another second to feel self-conscious Peter removes his underwear.
It feels like a very precarious moment, and Peter doesn’t want Wade to overthink his own appearance so he takes Wade’s hand and they step under the spray of the shower.

“Holy shit, that’s cold!” Wade hisses, pulling Peter close on instinct, and Peter doesn’t mind, Wade’s warm.

“We missed the hot water,” Peter grumbles, his wound starting to itch a little as the water seeps through the bandages.

“You were taking up too much time staring into my eyes,” Wade says and kisses Peter, wet and cool.

Peter can feel Wade, all the vast expanse of him, and Peter would be turned on if he weren’t so emotionally and physically drained, and if the water wasn’t like a bucket of ice over them both. He still is aroused by Wade, but he’s only half-hard, and Wade is in the same state, but they just keep kissing lazily under the stream until their lips are swollen and the water has lost all the heat it had been carrying.

Even so, Wade soaps up his hands with the motel bar and takes time to get all the dirt from Peter’s skin, behind his ears, between his fingers, and Peter leans against Wade’s broad chest and breathes.

Every part of him hurts, is sore beyond belief, and standing his long has his stomach twanging every few breaths he takes.

“This okay?” Wade asks, voice rough as his hands skim Peter’s lower back, teasing.

“Yeah,” Peter breathes, “more than.”

Wade hums and presses a kiss to Peter’s hair.

He cleans Peter gently, his scars rough against Peter’s sensitive skin, and Peter must lose time, must disconnect, because the next thing he knows Wade is drying him off with a white towel and sitting him down to check his bandages.

Peter feels out of his body, warm and safe, and Wade is his tether back down to earth, to reality, and he’s letting Peter float a little while longer, lets him escape from the grueling reality for Peter to catch his breath.

Wade tucks him into bed, shoving aside pizza boxes and not seeming to care when the contents fall with sticky splats to the carpet.

“Come cuddle me,” Peter mutters into the pillows and relaxes when Wade does, immediately.

“We have to meet Dom,” Wade whispers against Peter’s hair.

“Wake me in twenty,” Peter slurs before falling asleep tucked against Wade’s side.

Chapter Text

Peter and Venom

by nimagine

 

///

The bar is dimly lit and sticky, filled with locals in wrinkled clothes who are drinking the working day away.

There’s a small jukebox in the corner and it’s currently playing “Stairway To Heaven” in a low scratchy timber.

“I have so many jokes I could make right now,” Wade whispers into Peter’s ear.

“Same,” Peter sighs, a little disappointed in both of them.

People do turn to stare, however, there was really no avoiding it. Peter’s face is bruised, his right eye still swollen, and a cut that hasn’t healed prominent under it.

Wade elected to not wear his suit, and Domino had left him a paper bag outside their door with acid-wash Baby Phat jeans and a hoodie that looks like someone threw up on the hem of it.

Wade’s skin definitely can’t not draw attention, no matter how much Peter hates how people can’t mind their own fucking business and be polite, so there are a few people seated at the bar who turn to look, openly.

Wade doesn’t seem bothered, gives them a messy salute and Peter’s pretty sure he lifts the bottom of his hoodie just enough so that the flash of metal from his glock is visible. It gets people to turn back to their drinks, and Peter has to temper down Venom’s feelings of intense possessiveness and his own protective righteousness.

It’s tough, especially when Venom seeps out of his fingers and Peter has to put his hands in his jean pockets, not risking letting anyone see the symbiote.

Him and Wade, standing side by side at the entrance of this hole in the wall grubby pub, look sick and dying and like they’d fuck anyone up. It’s a weird, power-trip feeling, that Peter knows the big guy to his left sees the dried blood literally all over him and sinks back into the leather backing of the booth he’s sitting in.

“Wow, we’re such a power couple,” Wade hums and Peter feels a tired smile pull at his lips.

“I am covered in blood, it can be a fashion statement,” Peter answers as they step further into the bar, because they can’t just stand at the entrance and stare the patrons down the whole night.

‘we can,’ Venom says, ‘assert dominance’

‘not now, V’ Peter thinks.

Wade looks him up and down, expression unreadable in the dim gold light but Peter’s sure it’s a mix of amusement and also pride.

“Well, it’s a statement I’ll give ya that,” he hums, “like you just left Burlington Coat Factory during an animal rights protest.”

“I don’t think that’s a good look,” Peter answers.

“Please, sweetheart, with that ass? You can pull off anything.”

They spot Domino at a table in the back and she’s wearing a tourist I <3 NJ sweatshirt and is surrounded by at least fifteen different drinks.

Peter smiles when he sees her.

“Let me guess,” Wade sighs, taking one of the glasses, “you didn’t pay shit for these.”

“Nope,” Domino says, pleased, and gestures for the two men to sit in a booth that isn’t hers but feels like it is.

Peter slides into the seat across from Dom and Wade presses against his side. Venom has woken up more in the past hour, drained from bringing Peter back from the brink of death, and is now reaching out to rest on Wade’s knee.

Wade looks down, the whites of his Deadpool mask wide and questioning.

“Is V making a move?” he asks.

‘just checking’ Venom says but doesn’t withdraw.

“They said they’re just checking,” Peter says and thanks Domino when she pushes, what Peter assumes, is a whiskey on the rocks to him.

“You can’t get drunk, can you?” Domino asks Peter, taking a sip of her own preferred drink from the pile.

“I can get tipsy,” Peter answers, “it takes a lot to get me drunk.”

“Ugh, that sucks,” Wade groans and lifts his mask to down the entirety of his own glass.

“How can you get drunk?” Peter asks, “Your metabolism has to be faster than mine with your healing.”

“I have to try really really really hard,” Wade says, reaching for another drink, “you gotta have the right attitude.”

“The attitude is getting shit faced?” Peter clarifies.

“Right, baby, see, it’s all in your belief system. Like, "technically", I can’t get drunk. But if I can trick my mind into thinking I’m drunk I can maybe get buzzed.”

“So, basically we’re on the same page,” Peter says.

“It you wanna label it.”

“That’s not labeling that’s a fact.”

“Dream a little, Pete. Believe in something.”

“And that something is you getting drunk?”

“Bingo.”

“That’s–”

“Hey, I don’t mean to interrupt to remind you that I’m here and we need to come up with a plan ‘cause we managed to get away from Kasady, not detain him, but I'm going to have to,” Domino interrupts and Peter and Wade both look to her.

“Sorry,” Peter says, “yeah, okay, so fill me in on what happened.”

Wade wraps an arm around Peter’s shoulders and sips his bourbon, pinky held high like he’s at a nice tea party and not a run down bar.

Domino leans forward, rolling her sweatshirt to her elbows.

“Okay,” she whispers, and Peter leans forward too because it seems like it’s the good, secretive thing to do, “Wade got you, right? Then we threw some bombs into Kasady's mouth, I cut his ankles, and we ran. That’s it. He followed for about thirty minutes before we lost him somewhere in Connecticut.”

“The poor bastard,” Wade sighs, “he’ll never find his way out of all those CVS’ that look like they’re from a Homes and Gardens catalogue. All the white people, all the pompous…he’ll die slow.”

“Shh,” Domino shushes and Wade blinks, surprised.

“Did she just shush me?” he asks, looking at Peter for clarification.

Peter pats Wade’s knee and turns his attention back to Domino, the only person here trying to solve anything.

‘we know’ Venom pipes up, ‘we can sense where he is’

That gets Peter’s full attention.

“Um, what?” he hisses and Domino looks confused.

“I didn’t say anything,” she says but Wade shushes her and she shoots him a look.

“He’s talking to the big guy,” Wade explains, trying to whisper but really just talking louder.

‘kasady’s symbiote is a part of us’ Venom clarifies, ‘we can sense when they're near now’

“Why didn’t you tell me that sooner?” Peter asks, realizing he probably looks a little crazy but not caring.

‘we didn’t realize until now’ Venom says, like it’s not a fucking big deal.

“Well where is he?” Peter pushes, trying not to show how anxious he is in case Venom gets offended and loses their patience.

‘can’t see location’ Venom says, ‘closer than earlier’

“This isn’t helpful,” Peter groans, burying his face in his hands, “we can’t just play a game of “hot and cold”.”

“Not with that attitude,” Wade mutters, “that game is a classic.”

“V, can you tell where Kasady is or can you only sense him when he’s close?” Peter sighs, and Venom’s spiking irritation is making his head throb.

‘don’t know’ Venom says, testy.

“Basically we’re still at square one,” Peter says, addressing the table, “we still need a plan.”

“Oookay,” Domino drawls, “lets start with the basics. How do we kill him?”

“That’s the basics?” Peter asks.

“Honey-bun, we can’t come up with a plan if we don’t have an end goal,” Wade chastises, “haven’t you ever come up with plans before? I’ve had at least one. One and a half?”

“I normally just follow my instincts,” Peter says, feeling foolish.

“God, you’re adorable,” Wade sighs, not sarcastically, and presses a kiss to Peter’s ear.

“Well, I know what hurts Venom,” Peter says, “and if Kasady created his symbiote hybrid through Venom then it might be the same kind of weakness?”

“Worth a shot,” Domino gestures for him to continue.

“High frequency noises,” Peter says, “that’s why they had us underground, to cut out the high frequencies.”

“Then how do you know high frequencies affect the symbiote?” Domino asks but Wade has gone still and quiet, the way he does when he’s angry, when he’s close to snapping, so Peter reaches out and takes Wade’s hand to give him some soft of affirmation that Peter is here and he’s okay.

“I mean, they didn’t torture me for nothing,” Peter jokes, but it falls flat when realization creeps slow as ice over Domino’s features.

“They tested different methods to see what hurt the symbiote,” Domino says, slow. “And that was one?”

Peter’s holding Wade’s hand, so he’s sure the other man can feel how he’s shaking. He isn’t sure if the tremors are from him or Venom or both.

“Sonic attacks and heat,” Peter says, oddly detached as he recalls the means of torture that hurt Venom most, “fire.”

“Lets burn the fucker alive and blast Taylor Swift,” Wade says voice tight, “lock him in a ventilated cell and let the bastard burn. Burn baby burn.”

“That’s…not a horrible idea,” Domino says, pushing a drink to Peter who takes it and downs it in one gulp, “we could definitely try that.”

“The cell Ajax is being held in,” Peter adds, the pieces falling into place, “if we can trap Kasady in that it could work. That glass is built to withstand the Hulk, I’m sure if we have both sonic and heat bearing down on him Kasady won’t be able to break out.”

“Great!” Wade claps his hands and stands, a dramatic flourish that knocks the table and rattles the drinks, “then lets go burn the psychotic asshole alive!”

He says it loud enough the entire bar turns to them, expressions of varying degrees of confusion and disgust splaying across their faces.

“That what happened to you?” A gruff voice calls jeeringly from the back of the room and Peter isn’t even aware that Venom is pulsing with anger until they’ve shot from his shoulder, ripping his hoodie, and slamming the owner of the voice through the fake wood paneling and into the drywall.

“Fuck,” Domino whispers.

“Uh,” Peter says as Venom retracts as fast as they appeared, “sorry? Well, not really, that guy was an asshole, but um, bartender guy? I’m sorry for ruining your wall?”

The bartender is looking at Peter with wide eyes and an open mouth, his ACDC shirt wet from where he dropped a drink in sudden surprise.

“That was so hot,” Wade breathes, “holy fuck. Can I be next?”

“We should go,” Domino says, standing and taking three drinks with her, “bye! Thank you!”

Everyone waves to her, stunned.

Peter thinks its best to stick close to her, and he takes Wade by the wrist and drags him out the door of the bar. Peter can hear the bartender fumbling with a cord phone behind the counter.

“He’s calling the police, we should–” Peter begins but Wade is turning to him, grabbing his face and smashing their mouths together.

It’s a kiss that’s entirely indecent for standing in the middle of a parking lot. It’s a kiss that has Peter’s heart stuttering and his dick twitching in his jeans because Wade is bending him over and holding him tight, tongue in Peter’s mouth and right hand gripping Peter’s ass–

He breaks it as abruptly as he started it, and Peter must look as dazed as he feels because Wade is wearing a giddy, smug smile and he wipes a dab of saliva off Peter’s chin with his thumb.

“You’re sexy when you’re over-protective,” Wade says.

“Uhhhh,” is all Peter can say.

‘we did good’ Venom hums, sounding smug, like they planned this.

Domino isn’t paying them any attention, just drinking one of her bourbons and looking out over the poorly lit lot with squinted eyes.

“We should call Stark,” she says, “he can get us access to that cell.”

Oh, right, reality.

Peter has to step away from Wade or else he isn’t sure what he’ll do. He’s also hard, and is so thankful that all this happened at night.

“I don’t have my phone,” Peter admits.

He hadn’t planned ahead.

“I have mine,” Domino says, “we can just google his number.”

Peter wants to warn her that that’s a public line and it’ll take them days to get through and longer to make an appointment but then he remembers Domino’s power and keeps his mouth shut.

“We need a car,” she mumbles around an ice cube, “Wade, go hot wire that one.”

“Ooh, I get to blow things up?” he sounds too excited and Peter shoots Domino a warning look.

“I’ll do it,” she says, quickly, “hold my alcohol.”

“Go get ‘em, tiger!” Wade shouts, dropping two glasses but keeping one solid.

Peter’s head hurts, just a little.

 

///

 

Peter didn’t think he’d be going on another road trip again so soon.

They had to stop back to the motel and grab Wade’s suit and Peter’s backpack (he’s surprised they even thought to grab it when they saved his ass), and then they were all piling into a pickup truck Domino had stolen (“borrowed”) and smushed into the front seat with Peter in the middle and Wade taking up all the space even with his legs bent awkwardly on the dash.

Peter has a feeling they could have called Tony for a ride, Peter could contact him through his suit, but for some reason he wants to stretch time, just a little longer.

He wants to draw out the good moments while he can, because who knows if he’ll have many more?

 

///

 

They get into New York not two hours later, and Domino abandons the truck somewhere in Harlem.

It’s a long subway ride with a lot of connections to get to the Avengers Tower, but it’s faster than if they were to go to the compound. It’s probably eleven at night and Hank, the security guard, recognizes Peter immediately.

“You need me to call Mr. Stark?” Hank asks as Peter approaches, dressed in bloodied clothes and flanked by two trained killers.

“That’d be great, thanks,” Peter says and Hank runs inside to make a call.

 

///

 

“You’re the dumbest person I’ve ever met,” is the first thing Tony says, followed by Natasha when they arrive at the tower less than twenty minutes later.

“Nice to see you too,” Peter says, but he takes the insult because maybe he deserves it?

Tony hugs him.

“Kid, you need to stop going on solo missions, they always end terribly,” Tony continues, stepping away, and Peter nods, wincing when Tony spots the blood on his hoodie and jeans and…well everything.

Tony, if possible, looks even more upset, but before he can open his mouth to speak again Natasha is cutting forward and pulling Peter into a hug as well.

“Seltzer water and lemon gets out blood,” she whispers into his ear and steps back.

“Well I coulda told him that,” Wade grumbles and Natasha shoots him an uneasy glare before turning her attention to Domino.

“Natasha Romanoff,” she introduces herself and Domino shakes her hand, smiling wide and wait, is Natasha blushing?

“Domino! Nice to meet ya,” Domino says, and gives Tony a short wave.

“Is no one gonna ask how I am?” Wade whines, crossing his arms and somehow managing to pout through his Deadpool mask.

Natasha gives him a look.

“You’re in one piece so I’m assuming you’re okay,” she says, stilted.

“Wow, okay, appearances aren’t everything honey,” Wade answers, tilting his head to the side, “like, for example, you seem ok but you have a huge stick up your–”

“We’re not going to fight right now,” Peter interrupts, “we need to get our plan together.”

“You made a plan?” Tony asks, dumbfounded.

“I can make plans,” Peter snaps, but it’s a weak defense and he knows it.

“He helped come up with tactics and everything,” Wade coos, ruffling Peter’s hair.

“All right, no PDA, that’s rule #1,” Tony says, firm.

“There are rules now?” Wade asks, ignoring Tony and wrapping an arm around Peter’s waist, “Um, since when?”

“I’m making them so I don’t have a heart attack,” Tony snaps, pointedly avoiding where Wade’s hand is settled familiarly on Peter’s hip.

“You and Pepper kiss in front of everyone all the time,” Peter says, crossing his arms.

“Yeah, we’re in love,” Tony responds, and there’s a daring note to his tone, questioning as well, almost goading Peter to admit that him and Wade love each other.

Peter has to physically bite his tongue to keep from saying something brash. Thankfully, Domino cuts in. She has very good timing, Peter’s realizing.

“Can we tell them the plan?” she asks Peter and Wade, “and maybe get some water? And food?”

“I agree,” Natasha says, “lets move this inside and keep the personal shit out of it.”

“At least until we know what we’re doing,” Domino says with a wink and follows Natasha inside.

“I like your hair color,” Domino’s saying as Peter and Tony exchange a glance before falling into step behind the women, “I wanna go blue, maybe.”

“I’ve tried that one, can’t pull it off,” Natasha says.

“I doubt that,” Domino replies and Peter has to look at Wade to see his shit-eating grin.

 

///

 

So they have a plan.

Tony is going to set up the cell with surround speakers that can handle high frequencies beyond human capability of 20hz.

Ajax has already been moved to a high security prison off the coast of North Carolina specifically made to deal with supers and people with enhanced abilities in the East Coast region.

Natasha and Domino are laying down a plan that will involve Peter leading Kasady to the cell in a way that doesn’t look planned or forced and Tony and Wade will assist Peter so he doesn’t get hurt.

It sounds like it may actually work.

Wade didn’t like it at first, wanted Peter to just take a vacation to the Caribbean’s, and Peter had to take him aside and explain to him that without Peter and Venom they wouldn’t be able to get Kasady at all.

“Pete, this part is important,” Tony’s saying, leaning over the conference table to keep Peter in his eye line, “when you get Kasady into the cell you have exactly thirty seconds to get the hell out of there. If you don’t, you could die. Do you understand?”

“Wait, hold the fuck up,” Deadpool interrupts, hand itching to his glock, “just fucking manually control everything, wait till Peter gets out–”

“Kasady’s smart,” Peter cuts in, looking over at Wade from where he’s perched on the edge of the table, “we need to close the doors to the cell as soon as he’s inside. If we give him any time to escape, it’s over. We have one shot.”

Wade’s jaw tightens and he takes a big breath.

“Why not send me in? I can’t fucking die, everyone keeps forgetting that.”

“You really think, given the chance, Kasady would chace you over Peter?” Natasha asks, and Peter realizes, belatedly, that Domino knows his real name now.

Oh well.

He’s shit at keeping secrets; she probably already figured it out.

Wade paces for a moment before nodding to himself and leaving. The door swings open, hits the nearby wall with such force it dents, and swings weakly back.

“I don’t think he likes the plan,” Natasha whispers.

“I’m gonna talk to him,” Peter says, making to stand but Domino lays a gentle hand on his forearm, stilling him.

“Let him be,” she says, “just for a little while.”

“He’s going to do something reckless,” Peter argues, “I know it.”

“You’re not wrong,” Domino soothes, “but he’s in no place to hear your argument on why you should lead Kasady into a metal container to light on fire and blast with high frequency sound waves.”

Peter’s shoulders slump.

“Well when you put it like that,” he grumbles, settling back down on his perch on the table.

There’s a tense silence, and Tony’s the one to break it.

“We’re good then,” he says.

The subdued silence is all the agreement he gets.

 

///

 

Peter finds Wade on the roof of the Avenger’s Tower, sitting precariously on the edge of the helicopter-landing pad.

“We have to stop meeting like this,” Peter says lightly, coming to sit beside Wade, the wind rushing in his ears and through his hair.

Wade isn’t looking at him, holding his glock thoughtfully in his hand, running his fingers over the metal almost lovingly. Peter waits, because Wade can’t ever stay quiet for long, but when the man doesn’t speak for nearly five minutes Peter knows something isn’t right.

“Hey, Wade, what’s–”

“I can’t do it,” Wade admits, voice rough and breaking and Peter falters.

‘he’s getting soft’ Venom says.

Wade shakes his head, almost like he can hear the symbiote, but Peter knows better, knows his boxes are acting up. The gun suddenly seems more ominous, more dangerous, and Peter doesn’t like how it looks against the red of Wade’s delicate wrists and beating heart.

“I’ll be okay,” Peter tries to comfort but Wade turns to him, tension set in every hard line of his body.

“You don’t know that,” Wade snaps, and there’s real anger in his voice, different than the frustration Peter heard yesterday, “I can’t keep watching you tear yourself apart, Peter, it’s gonna drive me insane and I’m already insane.”

“We have a plan,” Peter says, “last time there wasn’t a “we” and I didn’t know what I was doing.”

“That doesn’t make me feel better,” Wade says, but some of the anger has faded, dulled down to mild irritation.

“You have my back. I have yours. And we also have Domino and Tony and Natasha, we’re going to be okay.”

Wade stares at him for a long moment, the only noise is the wind and the traffic it picks and carries up.

“You don’t believe that,” Wade whispers, voice barely understandable it’s twisted so horribly, “you don’t think you’re going to make it out.”

“I’m going to try,” Peter insists, “I’m not going to roll over and let Kasady kill me.”

Wade’s grip tightens on his glock, so hard Peter can hear the leather creak.

“There’s so much that can go wrong,” Wade says, broken, “there’s…Pete, I can’t lose you.”

Peter doesn’t know what to say, so he stands, kicks off his shoes and socks, and walks along the edge of the building, sticking to the smooth surface until his feet are on either side of Wade’s thighs and he’s able to hold Wade’s face in his hands, tilting his head up to him.

“Listen to me,” Peter says, speaking slowly, “I don’t want to die. But I’m scared, I’m terrified, that Kasady is going to hurt May, or Tony, or you if we don’t get him soon.”

He runs his thumbs along the leather of Wade’s mask, over the older man’s jugular.

“Wade, this is it,” Peter whispers, urging Wade to understand, “we do this one fight and we’re golden, baby. We can go to Spain, remember that? You promised me you’d take me to the beaches there, remember?”

Peter can’t see Wade’s expression but he can see Wade’s hands shake as he drops his gun to the roof beside him and grabs Peter’s wrists, holding on tight.

“You know, you telling me you’re scared of dying while standing on the side of a building over ninety floors high isn’t reassuring,” Wade says, trying for a teasing tone but falling flat.

He takes a breath, lets it out, and draws Peter’s hand to his mouth, runs the leather over Peter’s skin.

“I remember that,” Wade admits, quiet, “thought you weren’t serious.”

“I would never joke about taking a vacation,” Peter says, laughing a little, and Wade looks up to him, the whites of the mask searching.

“If you get hurt I’ll drag you back from the afterlife in a heartbeat,” Wade promises, “Death and I got a rapport. And I talk about you constantly.”

Peter smiles, weak and soft.

“See? There you go, I’m invincible.”

Wade shakes and Peter tilts his head, presses a kiss to the mask.

“When’s this plan going into effect?” Wade asks.

“Three days,” Peter says, “give or take.”

Wade hums, runs the outline of his nose over Peter’s wrist.

“Roll my mask up I want to kiss you,” Wade rasps and Peter moves to comply, pulling it up to Wade’s nose and kissing him gently.

‘we want to train’ Venom says, ‘and chocolate’

Peter ignores the symbiote, sliding his tongue along the seam of Wade’s lips and Wade parts his mouth so readily, making a low noise in the back of his throat when Peter moves his head to deepen the kiss.

‘pancakes’ Venom interrupts, ‘chocolate syrup’

Peter groans and pulls away.

“V wants pancakes,” he says. “Maybe if we give them some they’ll shut up.”

‘maybe’

“Funny, that’s all Yellow’s been talking about for the past hour,” Wade says, a grin pulling at his lips. “Lets make these kids some food.”

 

///

 

They take over the kitchen on the seventy-fifth floor, because it’s tucked away and private and it’s the only one with the ingredients Wade needs.

“Well, there are no chocolate chips,” Wade says, digging through the pantry, Peter perched on the counter, watching him, “so I’ll grind up this Hershy’s bar.”

Venom practically sings in delight.

“V is okay with that,” Peter says, feeling happier now that Wade’s enthusiasm and humor is back.

Wade desposits all his items on the counter and moves to stand between Peter’s thighs, large hands smoothing up and down Peter’s jeans. His touch is fire, lighting Peter’s skin with a slow burning heat and Peter has to shift because he’s getting turned on and the sight of his legs around Wade’s waist is doing things to him.

‘pancakes’ Venom reminds.

“You know,” Wade hums, licking his lips and Peter can’t help but track the movement, “with your hair all crazy like that it’s giving me ideas.”

There’s a heat building in Peter’s gut, simpering and threatening to melt into his bones, and he reaches out and cups Wade’s face in his hands, runs his thumbs over Wade’s mouth in a strange desire filled haze.

“What kind of ideas?” Peter croaks, too focused on Wade and his large hands to be self-conscious about his voice cracking.

“Well,” Wade whispers, leaning forward and pressing a light kiss to Peter’s neck, and that’s really not fair, “I wanna bury my fingers in it. Wanna know if I can make it messier.”

Peter tightens his legs around Wade’s waist, a little delirious when he feels Wade, hot and hard, press against his inner thigh through the leather of his suit. Peter swallows, mouth as dry as ash.

“You got such great lips too, baby boy, my God,” Wade groans, biting lightly at Peter’s jaw, moving to his bottom lip and nipping it between his teeth, making Peter’s breath hitch in his chest and his hands drop to Wade’s shoulders, tightening so hard the leather nearly rips.

It only seems to spur Wade on.

“And your legs? Hot damn, you could kill me with just your thighs.”

“P-pretty sure that’s you,” Peter breathes, heart hammering in his chest.

Wade smiles, wide and sharp, and the hands on Peter’s thighs move up, slowly, slow enough that Peter knows exactly what Wade’s planning before the man does it. When Wade’s hands settle on the button of Peter’s jeans the air gets heavier, gets more electric, and Peter’s shaking so bad with so many pent up emotions and sexual frustration he feels like he’s gonna pop.

“Is Snarly getting impatient?” Wade asks, voice rough and low and fuck fuck fuck

“Big time,” Peter answers, wanting Wade closer and simultaneously feeling like he’s burning them both alive.

“How about this,” Wade says, leaning forward, his breath tickling Peter’s skin and making him shiver, “I suck you off in Tony Stark’s twenty-second kitchen and then I make pancakes. Does that sound okay?”

Wade’s giving Peter an out he doesn’t need.

“Fuck,” Peter groans, body thrumming in a collision of nerves and adrenaline and arousal, “I–yes, yes please, Wade–”

Venom sets out a pulse of annoyance but retreats and Peter could cry with relief when Wade undoes the button of his jeans, so rough that Peter’s sure he hears it hit the tile floor. Maybe. He’s kind of focused on one thing right now and that’s Wade, and Wade’s hands, and how Wade is now kissing him, hot and demanding and so fucking thirsty–

“Hips up, baby boy,” Wade growls against his lips and Peter does rip Wade’s suit, he’s grabbing him so hard.

He complies, lifts his legs and Wade gets his jeans and boxers off in a swift practiced slide, sucking on Peter's neck simultaneously and making his toes curl.

“Anyone ever do this for you before?” Wade asks against Peter’s collarbone and Peter has to count backwards from ten to focus enough to answer.

“No,” he rasps, tongue heavy, skin buzzing, “never.”

The smile on Wade’s face would be terrifying on anyone else, before it fades, just a little, and Wade leans in to kiss Peter softly, not as heated. Peter makes an embarrassing whimpering noise as Wade pulls away, his bare hands on Peter’s bare thighs and that feels great, that feels so good and Peter is so hard it hurts–

“You tell me when you don’t like something,” Wade instructs, all the teasing gone from his tone, “right away, okay?”

Peter nods, breathless.

“Say Kangaroo and I’ll stop and we can just cuddle instead.”

“Okay, Wade, I’m fine, really, just–”

Wade wraps a rough hand around him and Peter’s entire body jolts. Is it embarrassing if he cums now?

“Okay?” Wade asks, making sure and Peter can only nod, can only pull him forward and kiss him, desperate.

He hasn’t had an orgasm in years.

He hasn’t been this turned on in longer, he hasn’t felt this good, this present in his own skin, his own body in his entire life.

Wade…Wade is doing this for him. Wade is making him feel good, feel alive, exposed and vulnerable in the best fucking way and Peter just wants more, wants all of it, wants–

Wade twists his hand, runs his thumb over the head of Peter’s cock, smearing precome and making Peter moan brokenly. He’s not above begging.

“Tell me when you’re close,” is the last thing Wade says before he’s kissing his way down Peter’s body, moving Peter’s legs to his shoulders, and sucking him down. There’s isn’t any teasing, or preamble, and Peter is grateful because he’s not sure he’d be able to survive it, he’s so turned on.

The feeling of Wade’s mouth is intense, much more intense than just his hand and a bottle of lotion. It’s warm and wet and hot, and Wade’s doing this thing with his tongue and fondling Peter’s balls and hollowing his cheeks–

Peter lets out a choked noise, sounding almost pained as he grips Wade’s bald head, can’t help but move his hips to meet Wade’s tongue.

“Wade, fuck, babe, this–fuck,” he babbles, incoherent, and Wade just moans around him, the vibrations enough to make Peter shake so horribly he can see it.

Wade between his thighs is an image he will never, ever forget.

He doesn’t last long.

He’s able to scrabble at Wade’s head, his shoulders, give him a stuttered warning, before Wade is taking him all the way down his throat the bastard

Peter cums, his orgasm so intense the world flashes, and his entire body convulses with it. He’s pretty sure he’s crying, he can’t tell for sure, collapsing back onto the counter and knocking off the glass bowl Wade had brought out for mixing. He barely hears it crash because Wade is fucking swallowing and Peter’s so sensitive, so over-hyped but he’s not soft yet, still hard in Wade’s mouth.

Wade pulls off with an obscene wet noise, and Peter blushes, all the way down to his chest, when Wade pushes his legs apart to lean over him on the counter.

Fuck, Peter,” Wade groans, in awe, leaning down to lift Peter’s shirt to his chest and lick at his newly exposed skin.

Peter can’t even talk, can’t even remember what words are. He makes another pathetic noise and rubs his hips against Wade's. He’s sensitive enough that it sends shocks through his entire body, but he needs to cum again.

“Shit, sweetheart, you’re still hard,” Wade pants, and Peter can feel Wade’s arousal pressing against his own, leather on tender skin and Peter is aching.

“You…” he tries, having to swallow what little spit there is left in his mouth to speak, “you too. Wade, want you to cum too.”

“Fuck,” Wade hisses, kissing Peter deep, and maybe it should be gross, tasting himself on Wade’s tongue but it just makes him more desperate, more turned on.

He reaches down to tear off Wade’s dumb broken belt, pressing his palm against Wade’s crotch. Wade makes a low noise against Peter’s lips, reaching down to help Peter take his pants off, leaving them both only in their tops. They must look ridiculous, but Peter doesn’t give a fuck, because Wade is spitting into his palm and wrapping his large, warm hand around both their cocks and fuck

Peter's second orgasm hits him harder than the first.

He can feel his semen land on his stomach, sticky and wet between himself and Wade, and Wade moans and follows Peter soon after, making a complete and utter mess before collapsing on top of him.

Peter runs shaking hands over Wade’s back, his head, his neck, and he can feel how hard Wade is breathing, how hard they’re both breathing.

They lay on the counter until the cum has cooled between them, become more uncomfortable than sexy, and Peter angles Wade’s head so they can kiss, easy and slow.

“Thank you,” Peter whispers when they pull apart, “that was…you’re really good at that.”

“Only the best for you, honey,” Wade says, licking a stripe up Peter’s sweaty neck.

“We should definitely shower,” Peter whispers, wrinkling his nose when Wade shifts and their cum sticks to his skin.

“That’s a great idea,” Wade agrees, sitting up slowly, and pulling Peter with him.

“Maybe you can teach me how you did that thing with your tongue,” Peter says, grinning when Wade’s breath stutters.

Wade gets his hands under Peter’s thighs and lifts him up, and Peter laughs against Wade’s lips as they kiss, wet and deep and shit, Peter’s getting hard again.

A bonus, he’s discovering, of his healing abilities: short refractory periods.

‘then pancakes’ Venom says but Peter’s a little distracted and can’t really answer and Wade’s tongue is back in his mouth and his hands are sliding to grip Peter’s ass and he’s never been happier.

 

///

 

They only fall once in the shower and it’s Wade’s fault.

Peter can’t blame him, he’s pretty sure he’s never gotten a blowjob from someone who can stick to walls before.

 

///

 

Midnight pancakes after multiple orgasms?

Peter’s new favorite thing.

It’s also been a great distraction from the inevitable fight to the death approaching, and it seems both him and Wade are on the same page of trying to get as close to each other as possible before–

Well.

Maybe this is all the time they have left.

 

///

 

They eat pancakes in towels on a couch in one of the common rooms after asking Friday to wipe all footage from the kitchen.

Peter doesn’t need anyone seeing that.

Especially Tony.

 

///

 

It’s on the second day that they move back to the compound and Tony announces he has the cell fixed and ready to go.

 

///

 

It’s on the third day that Peter realizes he likes when Wade curls his fingers inside him and makes his back arch off the bed.

It’s also the day Peter grips the headboard so hard it snaps in half, and the day that Natasha says there’s a photo of Peter putting a guy through a wall in a bar on the Internet.

 

///

 

It’s on the fifth day, at seven forty five at night, low winds and light rains, that Kasady finds him.

And he isn’t alone.

Chapter Text

Peter met Taya on a Tuesday afternoon, with the first chill of fall and the leaves changing, dead and colorful, around them.

It was in the common room in the North Wing, the glass windows facing out over the mountains and trees surrounding them, where they had their first meeting. Peter had been anxious, had sat jittery in a chair across from her.

She had out a clipboard and a nice pen. Her nails, Peter remembers, were a vibrant red.

“I’m Taya,” she had told him, and her voice was soft and calming. “I’m here to help you.”

Peter hadn’t known what to say to that, so he hadn’t said anything. Instead, he had taken a tissue from the box by his chair and had torn it to white shreds in his lap.

“I don’t know what to talk about,” Peter admitted.

Taya had smiled, reassuring.

“That’s okay,” she had said, “we don’t need to get into anything heavy today. Why don't you tell me about yourself?”

Peter, who didn’t know who he was after torture and live experimentation, was at a loss.

Taya seemed to be able to sense this, and she wrote something delicately in her clipboard.

“How about you tell me about your childhood?” she had asked, adjusting.

Peter remembered learning about his parent’s death. He remembered thinking that if he kept pretending they were in the other room sleeping that they’d come back out and make him dinner.

But they slept through his birthdays, holidays, first days of school and graduation–

He remembered Uncle Ben dying at his feet on a cold January evening, his blood the only thing warm and it stained Peter’s shoes. The shoes he'd taken from his dad's room.

“I don’t want to talk about my childhood,” Peter had said.

Taya nodded.

“Okay,” she had said, “what do you want to talk about?”

The trees have shed those colorful leaves; thin branches stretching like crooked fingers into the sky.

Peter sees Taya standing beside the man he told her had tortured him for years and he isn’t sure if he’s surprised. Not much can surprise him anymore, but he is confused, concerned for her despite her obvious betrayal.

Kasady is standing behind her, and she’s up on the front steps, sunglasses over her eyes even though it’s dark, the air still and cold around them, the rain turning into a sleeting fall, a frozen slide, as the weather drops in temperature.

There’s a cut on her lip, and Peter’s certain he sees a bruise forming purple on the dark skin of her cheek. He isn’t in his suit, just a ratty t-shirt and sweats, still riding a rush of post coital haze, and really, Kasady couldn’t have picked a worse time.

Wade is behind him, and Peter hopes, prays, that Friday has alerted Tony so he can get his suit and they can start on this goddamned plan.

"Peter," Taya says, and her voice sounds rough, like she's been screaming. "I'm sorry."

She reaches into her handbag and pulls out a taser. Wade moves to intervene, but Peter holds out his arm to keep him back. Kasady is watching him with dark eyes, made darker by the limited light, and Peter wants to reach out to Taya, wants to help her.

“It’s rude not to knock,” Natasha’s voice calls from the roof and she’s knocking Taya out the moment her feet hit the porch.

Peter doesn’t hesitate, he can see Kasady move toward Natasha and he puts himself between the two, blocking the force of Kasady’s attack with his arms as Venoms seeps over his skin.

“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” Kasady asks, and he looks worse somehow than the last time Peter saw him.

Peter opens his mouth to answer but is cut off by a sharp gunfire, and he jolts as the back of Kasady’s head explodes in ribbons of blood.

The symbiote side of him screeches, and it twists half of Kasady’s mouth, sharp teeth like Venom’s crooked and yellow as Kasady’s body tumbles down the porch steps. Peter turns, sees Wade lowering his gun, smoke rising grey from the barrel.

“Well,” Wade sighs, “that was all very anti-climatic.”

“He can heal,” Peter reminds, wired and frantic, and he grabs Taya and throws her over his shoulder, issuing everyone into the front hall.

Peter can hear Kasady’s symbiote moving around on the ground, can hear it regrow, and they really don’t have a lot of time.

“Nat, get Tony, we need to start heading into the city,” Peter instructs, not waiting for her to acknowledge his directions before he’s sprinting off to his room, throwing open the door and tearing his clothes off to get his suit on.

He needs all the extra padding he can get, and the built in radio-com to communicate.

His heart is racing in his chest, he’s scared, but he isn’t about to let Kasady see that as he makes to pull on his mask.

Wade’s hand stops him from following through with the movement, and Peter turns to face him.

“Are you sure you can do this?” Wade asks, and Peter hooks a hand around the back of Wade’s head and pulls him down into a deep, desperate kiss.

“You got my back?” Peter breathes.

“Always,” Wade promises, and kisses him one more time. “Lets go cook a mad man.”

Peter makes a face at Wade's choice of words but he fist bumps Wade when the merc holds out his hand. Peter watches as Wade starts to get into his Deadpool suit, and feels an ache, sharp and sad, in the bottom of his stomach.

 

Peter is going to miss him.

 

“Wade,” Peter says, mask gripped tight in his hand, “I have to tell you something.”

“Now?” Wade hisses, sliding on his katanas and grabbing his own mask, “Ya know, baby boy, confessions are good during or after sex, not while an embedding fight is about to go down, it's too cliche. We're better than that. This fic is hopefully better than that.”

“I need you to hear this,” Peter pushes, “in case…in case I don’t make it–”

“Peter–”

“I need you to know that I l–”

The entire wall behind Peter is ripped open and Peter has about two seconds to grab Wade and get them out of the way before Kasady comes barreling through, his symbiote red and crazed over him, morphed with him like a parasite, and there’s barely any of Kasady left, only the right side of his face visible.

He’s transformed, almost entirely, and Peter pulls on his mask, scrambles to his feet, and gets the momentum to punch Kasady back outside and into the falling snow.

“Webs, wait–” Wade calls, trying to reach for him but Peter is already moving forward to follow Kasady’s path, he can’t stop now.

“We have to move! Get Tony!” Peter yells over his shoulder before shooting a web and propelling himself out.

Kasady catches him mid-swing, wrapping a large hand around his ankle and ripping him from the air but Peter is expecting it and he gets a good solid kick in, Venom covering his legs to power it, and Kasady’s head snaps back but his grip doesn’t loosen.

‘kick him again’ Venom urges and Peter tries, he does, but it’s difficult at this angle, him having to stick to Kasady’s chest, so he raises his hand to get a good hit in but Kasady is twisting his ankle and–

Fuck.

Ow, yeah, that hurts.

He can hear his ankle snap and the hit he lands on Kasady’s jaw is stronger than he’d usually allow but if he doesn’t use his full strength Kasady is going to rip him in two

He twists from Kasady’s hold and rolls to his feet on the ground, Venom now covering his suit, seeping into the blue and red and changing it to black. Peter would take more time to admire how cool it looks if Kasady isn’t so incredibly deranged.

“Is baby boy a nickname now?” Kasady asks, his voice distorted and morphed but still hauntingly familiar. “Should I call ya that, Spider-boy?”

“It really doesn’t suit you,” Peter says, voice tight, because Kasady can’t ruin Wade, Peter won’t let him, so he shoots out a web, gets Kasady’s shoulder, and he pulls Kasady towards him, jumps from his reaching arms at the last minute and braces himself on Kasady’s back.

He did this to Wade, and he’ll do it to Kasady too. He webs the crazed scientists wrists, presses his foot between large shoulder blades, and tugs

Kasady’s arms break.

Peter feels sick but Venom is cackling in his mind, loud and shrill.

“Oof, I heard that from here, baby boy, nice move! Got me once, remember?” Wade’s voice statics in Peter’s ear and Peter relaxes upon hearing it.

“Peter, you okay?” Tony’s voice crackles over the com and Peter flips from Kasady’s back, the man’s screams wretched and twisting the quiet serenity of the forest.

Peter, despite wanting to stay and fight, runs.

He has to lead Kasady to the cell, and hopefully he’s given Tony enough time to get everything up and running in the tower.

“All good!” Peter grits out, his ankle beginning to heal but it’s still painful, still causes him to limp, so he shoots a web and decides to swing his way there.

He won’t be able to stay ahead of Kasady if he runs.

“I’m set up here,” Tony confirms.

“Same,” Domino replies and Peter’s grateful that her and Natasha are helping because God, do they need it, if the cracking of trees behind him is any indication for Kasady’s strength.

He’s pretty sure Deadpool is with Tony, that they’re all in place in various parts of the city to help Peter stay on course, and Peter really hopes this works because all he can think when he hears Kasady’s voice is lab rooms and tables and metal straps and pain–

‘don’t let him in your head’ Venom says, ‘focus’

“I’m trying,” Peter snaps; almost missing a web and freefalling just briefly in the air, heart hammering in his chest.

Peter chances looking back.

He wishes he didn’t.

Kasady is only twenty feet behind him, alternating between running towards him and shooting tendrils of the symbiote out as webs, and his movements aren’t natural, aren’t human, and Peter wonders how much of Kasady is present and how much the symbiote has taken over.

‘chaos,’ Venom hisses, ‘carnage’

“Well,” Peter sighs, rolling his ankle and feeling the sparks of pain lessen, “lets get this party started.”

“Don’t do anything reckless,” Tony chides over the coms but Peter ignores him, turning mid-swing to meet Kasady’s wild gaze.

“Ya know,” he calls, loud enough that Kasady can hear him over the rushing wind, “you always had horrible breath but I think the bloodthirsty symbiote you forced to bond with you isn’t really helping. Instead of just coffee its coffee and stale onions. I might have a breath mint, do you want one?”

“You never did shut up,” Kasady snarls and leaps forward, clearing the space between them in one jump and Peter curses as they collide, crashing down over cars at the very start of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Ten people honk and the sound makes Venom shiver in aggravation.

The pavement scrapes along their skin and Peter winces as his back collides with the windshield of an SUV, cracking the glass and causing the man behind the wheel to start cussing him out.

Right in his ear.

“C’mon, dude, I’m trying my best here,” Peter grumbles, keeping close eyes on Kasady and how he stands, larger than life, larger than Venom, clearing at least ten feet tell.

The man yelling behind Peter shuts up when he sees him.

“Oh, lets go Peter,” Kasady says, the symbiote moving across his skin, alive and twisting, red flesh and pulsing muscle, “no, what was it? Baby boy? Lets go, baby–”

Peter webs his mouth shut and hits him in the throat, angry and moving without thinking, just knowing that he has to shut Kasady up because Kasady is already in his head 24/7 he doesn’t need his voice coming from Wade’s mouth too.

Kasady’s laughing, muffled behind the webbing, but he slashes Peter across the chest and it rips Venom, through the vibranium suit and tears his skin, blood swelling like needle points and pain coming just as sharp.

“Shit,” he hisses and Kasady scratches the webs from his mouth.

“Did I hit a nerve?” he asks, having too much fun for someone with damaged shoulders and a bruised throat, “that deformed guy someone you care for? You a faggot now?”

Peter feels another flash of anger, closer to rage in its intensity, in its blind heat, and he has to really fight to hold himself back.

“Sweetheart, focus,” Deadpool hisses in his ear, “c’mon move.”

Peter dodges another one of Kasady’s lunges and begins to swing himself across the bridge, trying his best to not hit cars, to make sure Kasady doesn’t hit any civilians, but Kasady knows him, knows his morals and he breaks a window and pulls a young man out from behind the wheel of a silver Subaru, dangling him over the edge of the bridge.

“How many can you catch, hero?” he chides and Peter doesn’t have time to tell him to stop before Kasady’s flinging the man over the side and out into open air.

Peter shoots a web, dives and grabs the man around the waist, using the momentum to propel them up.

His spider sense doesn’t alert him to Kasady waiting for him, his large hand grabbing Peter’s face and Peter lets the guy go and hears him hit the roof of a nearby car but it’s safer than being this close to Kasady–

Peter can’t breathe.

Venom spikes, wrapping themselves around Kasady’s torso, his arm, trying to break his hold on Peter.

“I have dreams about breaking you,” Kasady snarls, his grip tightening and Peter can hear his nose snap, can taste the copper tang of blood in the back of his throat, “makes me all hot just thinking about it.”

Peter chokes, nails digging into Kasady’s wrist but Kasady doesn’t relent, doesn’t let go, and Peter can’t get air into his lungs, he’s trying and he can’t breathe–

A familiar blast hits Kasady’s head and he lets Peter go with a growl that sounds like a higher screech than Venom’s.

“Pete, go!” Tony instructs, and it’s not over the coms, the red and gold suit flashing in Peter’s peripherals and another blast hits Kasady, straight in the chest and Peter stays long enough to see the man stumble back, trip over a car, before Peter is scrambling, breathing shallow, and swinging up and into Manhattan.

“You okay, kid?” Domino asks and Peter can’t really respond, has to lift up his mask to his nose and spit out a wad of blood.

“Peachy,” he pants, his wrists aching from the over-exertion, the suit not doing much to take the strain away.

‘keep moving’ Venom says, and Peter listens, borrows some of Venom’s strength to get them around the buildings faster.

“I’m waiting for ya at the tower,” Wade’s voice cracks over the line, “just hurry up and get to me.”

“I’m trying!” Peter snaps.

Thankfully the tower is getting closer, coming into view–

‘behind us’ Venom hisses, too late, and an object, heavy and powerful slams into Peter’s back, knocks him from the air and sends him crashing into the busy street below.

“Tony, do you copy?” Natasha asks over the line and Peter feels his heart drop when static is her only answer.

Peter pushes himself up on his elbows, his entire body hurting, thrumming with the force of the blow, and Peter sees a car skid to a stop to his right.

“Did he just throw a car at me?” Peter pants, bending to make sure no one was inside.

“Where you running to?” Kasady’s voice calls and Peter breathes deep, ignores the horrible, nauseating pain in his ribs as he stumbles to his feet.

His left eye lens is cracked, and Venom is hurting, Peter can feel the throbs from their body over his torso, trying to heal the scratches on his chest while simultaneously acting as another coat of body armor.

Kasady is throwing cars out of his way like they’re ants, the sleet now snow as it falls cold and beautiful around them.

“I’m surprised you’re struggling to keep up,” Peter goads, and yeah, Kasady knows how to push Peter’s buttons but Peter knows how to get under Kasady’s skin.

“Then come over here, baby,” Kasady mocks and Peter hates that, hates that Kasady is twisting that nickname, hates–

“Sorry, only red-blooded Canadian mercenaries can call him that,” Wade says and lands on Kasady’s shoulders, his katanas sinking through Kasady’s skull and out his chin.

Peter jolts back, alarmed, and Deadpool plants his boots and twists his katanas in a cruel imitation of churning stew. Kasady’s entire body twitches, convulses, before one of his arms is reaching up, morphing around Wade’s torso and Peter feels a terror he hasn’t felt before, cold and somehow still hot, fill him to the brink–

“Wade,” he tries to warn but Kasady’s mouth is stretching and he’s pulling Deadpool from his perch on his head.

Peter can see the katanas blades in the back of his mouth, glinting through Kasady’s tongue, blood spilling like saliva through Kasady’s teeth–

He bites Wade in half.

Wade!” Peter screams, running before he’s even thought anything through, before Wade’s body has even hit the ground.

Kasady tosses Wade aside like he’s nothing, like he’s as worthless as gum on the bottom of his shoe and Peter’s vision tunnels, goes pigeon holed, because Kasady has hurt Tony and he’s hurt Wade and he’ll hurt more–

He tackles Kasady so hard they both fall back and Peter can’t even feel his punches land, can’t even feel Kasady’s bones breaking, can’t even find the presence of mind to think of his actions as Venom reaches out and rips Kasady’s throat out.

He can hear Wade breathing over the com, can hear him cursing, so he’s still alive, and that’s good, but Peter can’t even focus on that, can only process that he wants Kasady to hurt, that he wants him broken, bruised, bleeding.

Someone comes up behind him and Venom shoots out, holds them back, because Peter isn’t finished yet, pulls Bea and Arthur from Kasady’s limp form, not enough, not enough, he hurt Wade he–

“Peter!” Natasha says but her voice is muffled, underwater, and Peter feels Venom covering his head, smoothing over the jut of his jaw, and yes, this is what Kasady deserves–

“Baby,” Wade’s voice croaks and Peter freezes, instantly.

His knuckles are broken, his hands wet with blood and he’s breathing, shallow, heavy, shaking so horribly he feels like he’ll fall apart.

He looks down, slowly. Kasady is out, his eyes rolled into the back of his head but the symbiote part of him is still moving, still stretching, and Peter is too freaked, too out of control, to even be aware of what anything means.

He feels like he’s drowning, like he’s going to crush himself if he breathes.

“Peter,” Wade says, voice stronger, and Peter snaps out of his head, looks over his shoulder to where Wade’s broken body is laying on the asphalt, a blanket of red surrounding him against the dark grey of the ground.

“Wade,” Peter rasps, standing on shaking legs, his nose still throbbing, his hands stinging.

He falls to his knees, incapable of registering the hurt that brings. He lifts Wade’s head, gentle, and rests it on his thighs.

Peter doesn’t want to look over Wade’s body, can’t stand to see Wade’s insides decorate his outsides, can’t stomach seeing half of Wade gone–

“Is he dead?” Wade asks, rough.

“I don’t know,” Peter chokes, all his emotions boiling over, clogging his throat. “He can regenerate like you, he’s not–”

“Move him now,” Wade interrupts, “put him in the cell while he’s out.”

Peter shakes his head.

“Not gonna leave you,” he says and Wade tsks, raises a gloved hand to rest against Peter’s cheek where Venom hasn’t covered yet.

“Pete, I’ll be good as new in ten minutes. And so will that murderous blob over there, so if we want to finish this then you need to move him and you need to move him now.”

Peter hesitates, unsure. The snow is falling slow around them, seeping into the concrete, the heat of the cars melting it before it can build. There are crowds of people forming around them, traffic backed up beyond belief and Peter can’t let these people be in danger, can’t let more people get hurt…

“I’ll watch him,” Natasha says and Peter turns to see her approach, “Domino has control over the cell. She’s going to close it. I’ll help Wilson get to his feet but he’s right. You need to go now.”

Peter takes a deep breath.

“Okay,” he relents, standing and laying Wade’s head gingerly back down, “okay.”

“You got this, honey,” Wade says from Peter’s feet, “then we’ll take a vacation.”

Peter nods, wordless, and turns to Kasady.

The man is already beginning to stir; his only human eye blinking and Peter rushes over, tries to get his arms around him before he’s fully regenerated, before he regains consciousness. Peter bends down, doesn't want to even touch Kasady but he does, gets his hands underneath the man's torso and shoulder.

“I can’t wait to taste your blood,” a disembodied voice says and Peter freezes because it sounds almost like Kasady but not quite, not normal, and when he looks up its to see the symbiote, eyes like Venom’s mouth just as wide, staring at him.

Peter has a feeling, a fleeting realization, that this isn’t good.

He leaps back before the symbiote can get him and doesn’t waste any more time in turning and running into the tower, crashing through the front doors and ignoring the glass that glitters in the air around him.

He makes his way to the elevator shaft, forcing the double metal doors open and making his way to the tunnel underground.

He can hear Kasady, if it’s even Kasady anymore, tearing the lobby apart to get to him.

‘we have to hurry,’ Venom says as Peter runs, as Peter hears the elevator screech, the doors being torn from walls, from hinges, ‘it will tear us apart’

“We have got to work on your positive reinforcement, V,” Peter pants and runs through the metal detector, sliding over the tiled floor and nearly crashing into the cell.

“Dom,” he breathes, voice strained over the com because Kasady is getting closer, he can hear him closing in, “I’m in position.”

“I see you,” she confirms, “remember Peter, you have to get out immediately–”

“Close the door,” he says, seeing Kasady turn the corner, the red symbiote screeching and running towards him, hands morphed into talons, white jagged eyes wild and bloodthirsty.

“Peter,” Domino warns, “get–”

Kasady crashes inside, slams Peter against the wall. His vision swims, ebbs in and out, underwater, crashing, cold–

“Now!” he grits out, Venom covering his face as Kasady lands a blow so hard his head cracks.

“You’ll die–” Domino pushes, panic creeping into her tone, “Peter–”

The world is fading in and out, but Peter can’t feel the pain anymore. Venom has covered him completely, helped take over, lend space, and Peter doesn’t have anything left to give.

‘this will hurt’ Venom cautions.

“We’ve been through worse,” Peter reassures them.

He can hear his ribs crack, his leg dislocates. He’s being torn apart, ripped from himself, and all he can think of is Wade, and beaches, and how happy he had been–

“Now, Dom,” he says, voice barely working, barely audible.

He can’t feel pain but he can taste his blood.

There’s a moment of hesitation, where Kasady lets his body crumble, lets him fall to the ground, and Peter tries to pull himself to his feet and isn’t surprised when he can’t find the strength to do it.

Then the cell is sealing shut and Peter braces himself.

“You know,” he tells Venom, “I was starting to like you.”

Venom curls around him, a parody of a hug.

‘we like you’ they say.

“Hey, Dom,” Peter rasps, Kasady turning back towards him, confusion and rage morphing his features, “lets get this fucker.”

“You got it,” Domino confirms, voice cracking and then there’s a horrible noise, terrible in its intensity and if Peter’s head wasn’t hurting before it’s breaking open now–

Kasady is screaming, the symbiote trying to rip itself from his skin but not able to, blood and bone showing through mangled human flesh and painting the glass a deep maroon. Peter can feel Venom clawing along his skin, the symbiote breaking free on instinct, grabbing at the glass, and Kasady is writhing, twisting, a man possessed–

Peter spits up blood and something else, something black, and it’s a horrible burning sensation, a pain like being ripped in half, but then he’s being pulled back, being pulled away, and the cell opens again, just enough for him to be dragged out–

It seals shut and the fire comes in, blasting through the heavily oxygenated air, and Kasady is in shreds, tatters, his symbiote not caring about damaging its host, just wanting to free itself.

Peter looks to his arms, sees only a piece of Venom holding on.

“Thanks buddy,” Peter croaks, voice unrecognizable, entire body shaking, stained with blood and broken bones and a pain so intense he can’t feel anything.

Kasady’s banging against the glass, the shrill frequency still blaring through, still making Peter’s ears pop

Peter can see the rest of Venom against the inside of the glass, coming in and out of focus between the flames, the orange of the fire consuming them as well and Peter wants to go back in, wants to pull the symbiote out, help them like they helped Peter, but he can’t move, can’t make anything work…

He’s dying, his body is shutting down.

He feels both cold and hot, his healing factor weaker than ever without Venom and this is it. He’s oddly calm about it.

He uses every ounce of strength he has left to move himself out into the hall, blood following him like a twisted bread crumb trail. He manages to drag himself out of the small cavern, the noise and screams and fire less intense out in the corridor.

His legs are broken, his ribs snapped, he’s almost certain he has a punctured lung, a broken nose. Kasady must have stepped on his wrists, and he’s bleeding internally, shaking like he’s in shock.

He is in shock.

His organs are failing.

“Fuck,” he wheezes, coughing up another glob of red and black.

“Peter,” it’s Tony, “we’re comin’ for ya, kid, just hold on–”

Peter laughs, broken and wet.

There isn’t any time.

“Wade,” he gasps, barely able to get the words out, the world around him spinning and melting into greys and reds and oranges, “I still have to tell you something.”

“Hey, baby, enough of that, tell me in person, I’m five minutes away, I’m so close, I’m almost there, okay? I–”

“I love you,” Peter gasps out, a horrible pain cutting through the numb and making him jolt, making the next words rush out in a jumbled mess, “I need you to hear…I love you so much.”

Wade makes a broken sound, caught between a disbelieving laugh and a horrible sob and Peter’s heart feels warm despite the cold sensation in his limbs.

“None of that,” Wade says, and Peter can hear footsteps above, thudding, heavy boots, “no goodbyes honey, we’re going to Spain remember? I promised I’d take ya to the beach, darling, you can’t ditch last minute I already bought the tickets. Refunds for international flights are a bitch…”

Peter can’t feel his legs.

He listens to Wade’s voice, and he tries to think of the good times. He thought dying would supply him with the memories, play them back like a record, but it’s drawing blanks. So he thinks hard, has to really focus, and then he’s remembering.

 

He remembers Aunt May. He remembers her happy laugh, her overjoyed pride, when he told her he got the internship at Stark Industries, the real one. He remembers meeting MJ, putting on the Spider-Man suit for the very first time. He remembers Tony becoming his mentor, he remembers fighting alongside the Avengers, joining them officially.

 

And he remembers meeting Wade. He remembers Wade making pancakes and watching TV shows, and he remembers how Wade’s voice gets high when he’s excited, how loud he laughs when he’s happy.

 

Peter wishes they had had more time.

“Is it nice in the winter?” Peter asks, closing his eyes, “Spain?”

“Perfect,” Wade says, voice tight, panicked, “baby boy, I love you. You gotta know that, right? You know I’d do anything for you.”

He can’t feel his body.

It’s separated from him. Or maybe, he’s separated from it.

“Peter?”

He hopes Wade put in a good word to Death for him.

He thinks he’ll need it.

Chapter Text

Wade Wilson didn’t love many things.

He cared about fewer.

He grew up in a home that was cold and uncaring. He grew up in a home with ice for doorknobs and monsters under his bed. He grew up in a home that took his childhood away.

He still has nightmares about his mother holding an orange, hanging up the phone in her ratty robe wearing vodka-scented perfume. He can hear her voice asking him, “What will you do for it, little man?”

Sometimes, he thinks he can still see the burns his father left on his skin, thinks that he has scars under scars under scars, that that’s all he is: an accumulation of pain and unforgettable abuse.

He loved Vanessa. He did. In a way he still loves her, down to his bones, down to his soul. And he loves Ellie, even though she cut ties with him years ago, when she found out about her mother, when she was old enough to drive and leave and want a normal life.

Wade often thinks about how he kills everyone he cares for, whether he means to or not. The boxes don’t let him forget it, how could they? It’s all he is.

Scars upon scars upon scars.

 

///

 

Wade Wilson doesn’t love many things.

He cares about fewer.

He grew up with broken parents and broken bones and broken homes. He grew up to war and land mines and stairs whose creaks would give him away.

He kills the people he loves.

And now he’s killed–

“Peter?” he asks, blood still coating his throat, his lungs, but he’s moving regardless.

He began moving the moment Kasady stood up and didn’t stop. He’s stumbling through the torn up lobby of the Avengers Tower, Natasha by his side, limping from when Kasady hit her out of his way.

Wade hasn’t been this scared in a very long time.

[It’s your fault] White reminds him, scathing and cold and everything Wade deserves, [you can’t protect anyone]

{Where’s Snarly? The apple of my eye better not be dead because of you}

Wade doesn’t bother trying to be careful like Widow while climbing down the elevator shaft. He lets himself drop and feels his kneecaps shatter. It doesn’t matter; he’ll crawl to Peter with just his teeth if he has to.

“I see him,” Widow reports, even though she’s behind Deadpool, even though she can’t possibly feel as wretched as Wade does, “he isn’t moving.”

Wade wants to find the energy to retort. He can’t.

He drags himself over, knows his right leg is still twisted the wrong way ‘round, knows his shoulder is somewhere near the middle of his back, but he can see Peter, he can see his baby boy, and he isn’t stopping for anything.

Widow almost reaches Peter first, but Wade pulls her back and out of the way. He doesn’t care if he’s being selfish because Peter is all torn to shreds, all red and purple and broken, oh fuck, holy shit, he’s going to be sick–

{Dead} Yellow hums, {you failed him}

“I tried,” Wade begins, voice catching and his leg gives out but he doesn’t care, just reaches for Peter instead.

[You’re fucking pathetic; you can’t even walk to him? What’s wrong with you? Fucking pathetic piece of shit]

Peter’s cold, skin clammy, and he doesn’t feel real in Wade’s arms, feels like wax, like a mannequin, like he’s–

{Dead!} Yellow sings, off key and shrill, {dead, dead, dead, dead, dead–}

“Shut up, he isn’t dead,” Wade snarls, pressing two fingers to Peter’s neck and begging, fucking praying, for a pulse.

[Wow, look at him. Is he seriously about to cry? Really? You’re gonna cry now?]

“Shut the fuck up,” Wade snaps, tears falling and trapping against the leather of his mask, “I can feel his heartbeat.”

“He’s alive?” Widow asks, bending down a few feet away, reaching for Peter’s pale wrist and pressing her fingers to it.

Wade remembers doing that. He remembers running his tongue over the ridge. He remembers Peter shivering.

{Dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead–}

Wade would carve his brain out with a spoon to get the voices to stop.

“It’s faint,” Widow says, under her breath, talking to Tony, no doubt, “he doesn’t have much longer.”

[This is your fault] White informs, like Wade doesn’t already know, [he’s dead because you’re a weak deformed meat suit who can't fight for shit]

{Ew, his blood’s getting on our boots}

“Hey, Widow,” Wade rasps and she looks to him, a nice bruise making her right eye swell shut, “you hate me right?”

“Now really isn’t the time,” she snaps, “we need to move him–”

“He has about one minute left,” Wade interrupts, and unclasps his Desert Eagle from the holster on his thigh, “so I’m gonna off myself, and you’re gonna take Bea here and twist my heart around until I get back from visiting my home girl Death, got it?”

Widow looks paler than usual, and she’s looking at Wade with wide, disbelieving eyes.

“What?”

“I don’t have time to explain the improbabilities of comic book writing, okay? Now start mixing. No one likes chunks.”

[Your fault, your fault your fault, pathetic, weak–]

{Dead, dead, dead, dead, dead–}

Wade shoots himself.

He wishes it hurt more.

 

///

 

Death is always happy to see him.

Her dark outline is stark against the violet sky, the stars swirling together like melted butter. Time moves strange here. Wade doesn’t look at himself. He knows, having come here more than once a month that his skin is clear, that it looks like he wishes it did.

It’s twisted, but he wants Peter to see him like this.

Death’s head is bent, her hood covering her skull, hollow eyes and bones shielded from Wade’s sight. Clothed and in darkness, she could almost look real.

“I haven’t seen you for a while, beloved,” she whispers, but her voice is all around him, an echo from all sides.

It’s only here, in death, that his head is quiet.

“I have a huge favor to ask,” Wade says, walking through tall wheat grass to her.

She doesn’t look to him, just holds out her hand. He takes her bones in his fingers, the cool, rough slide of them.

“You’ve never asked for a favor before,” she ponders, and Wade can feel her confusion as she tilts her head to study the sky.

Purgatory moves different than the afterlife. There’s more here, Wade realizes, more to see. Trees, he thinks, lines the stars.

“You know this must be serious then,” Wade whispers, feeling drained and empty.

Death senses this and turns to him.

“You’ve changed,” she says, almost immediately, “there’s something different about you.”

Wade gives a weak, twisted smile.

“What can I say? I’m a man in love.”

She tsks, and reaches up to run a knuckle over the blonde hair falling across his head.

“Isn’t love supposed to make you happy?” she asks, “Not want me?”

“I always want you,” Wade says, can’t help it.

It’s true.

Or, it was. With Peter he didn’t crave Death. With Peter, he wanted to crave living.

Death stares at him with her hollow, eyeless skull, dim and then dimmer, flickering in and out of his sight, like she’s wavering, washed in light rain.

But it isn’t raining here.

“You’re crying,” she murmurs, “I’ve never seen you cry.”

“I lost someone,” Wade tells her, voice catching, “I lost someone who shouldn’t be here.”

Death hums.

“People die, Wade. It’s what people do.”

Wade shakes his head, vehement.

“Not him,” he says, “take anyone else. Take me, not him.”

“Darling,” Death coos, sympathetic but condescending, like she’s speaking to a child, “there are no exceptions. You can’t save everyone.”

“Not everyone,” Wade pleads, “just one. Peter. Peter Parker.”

Death steps back but Wade doesn’t let go of her hand, holds it tight, keeps it close. In the past he would have been happy to see her. Now, he’s desperate.

“Ah,” she says, “I’ve seen him. He has a pure soul.”

Wade feels close to breaking. He’s never been above getting to his knees, and he falls to them now, takes both her hands and holds her fingers to his lips, kisses each knuckle with salty tears and adamant resolve.

“I’ll give you whatever you want,” Wade implores, beginning to feel the stirrings of his skin, his limbs, the tingling sign that his body has begun to regenerate, “whatever you want, baby, I’ll give you anything.”

Death’s cloak flows around him in tattered smoke, leaves gooseflesh rising up on his skin. She bends over him, takes her hands from his and rests them on the side of his head. He stands when she urges him to, and draws him close.

“A trade,” she says. “And I’ll return him.”

“Anything,” Wade promises.

Death looks at him and places a hand on his chest, over his heart.

She leans forward and kisses him.

He doesn’t feel anything from it.

He’s returning back to himself.

“I’ll come to collect my payment when I see fit,” she says, “whenever I desire.”

Wade can’t answer. His body is fading.

“Take care, my darling,” Death says.

Then she’s fading out into the dark, her skull the last thing Wade sees before he’s jolting back and out and away.

 

///

 

Peter is staring at him when Wade’s brain knits itself back together.

Brown eyes, who knew they’d be the most beautiful color Wade has ever seen?

“Sweetheart,” Wade gasps, slumping forward, barely feeling Domino’s hands helping to guide him up, “baby boy, Peter…”

“I heard you,” Peter croaks, before his eyes are rolling back and he’s going limp.

“He’s passed out,” Widow reassures Deadpool before he can overreact, “he’s okay.”

Wade looks up at her, and she’s holding Bea, blood coating her hand up to her wrist. She’s staring at him with an expression so intense Wade can’t decipher it.

“You did something,” she says, and Wade doesn’t answer, just moves forward so he can gather Peter into his arms, presses his ear to Peter’s chest and hears his heart, “what did you do?”

“Don’t worry your little Russian head about it,” Wade replies, memorizing the warmth seeping back into Peter’s skin.

He’s pretty sure he can hear Stark clanking around in the lobby, can hear sirens outside. That’s good, Peter desperately needs medical attention.

{Hey big guy} Yellow yawns, waking up, {what’d you fuck up now?}

“Nothing,” Wade mutters, “just the plot.”

[Whatever] White interrupts, [at least you only fucked him over twice]

Wade can’t be bothered with the boxes now.

Peter’s alive, he can feel him breathing, he can hear his heart; can kiss his skin.

Peter’s alive, and it’s all Wade cares about.

 

///

 

The first EM nurse that tries to take Peter from Wade gets two nice bullets in the foot.

The second gets a metal-toed boot to the dick.

The third backs up and helps Wade onto the SHIELD issued jet.

{They’re learning!}

Tony Stark has his arm in a sling and bandages on his face. But Peter’s in a stretcher with an IV bag and a young man stitching his side together so Wade doesn’t feel bad for anyone else.

“Is he going to be okay?” Tony asks the nurse.

He nods, and keeps stitching.

“He’s stable,” Widow tells them as Domino helps her up into the jet, “he’ll be okay.”

[Lets leave!] White groans, [This is so fucking boring]

{Don’t you wanna kill someone?} Yellow asks as Wade sits down on the other side of Peter, out of the doctor’s and nurse’s way, lets the jet's door close with a whoosh behind him {we can blow up a dumpster. We love blowing up dumpsters. On second thought, can we blow you up?}

“Deadpool,” Tony says and Wade doesn’t look away from Peter’s face, “thank you. For getting to him in time.”

He can still feel Death’s bones rattling against his skin.

“Don’t thank me,” is all he says.

 

///

 

 

Peter’s taken to a high level hospital for supers somewhere outside New York.

He’s stitched and bandaged up and swaddled in a blanket in a white room in under an hour.

Wade hates hospitals. Can’t stand them. Maybe it’s because of Weapon X, and experimentation, and all that horrible shit, or maybe it’s because they’re so fucking boring he wants to gauge his own eyes out.

Seriously, who decided to make all hospitals look so miserable? Wade wants to die just looking at the dumb hotel art hammered into the walls.

He takes it upon himself to decorate Peter’s room with crayons he bought from the gift shop by the shitty cafeteria on the second floor. No one has stopped him since that first orderly but Wade’s pretty sure that threatening them with castration put an end to anyone having issues with his interior decorating skills.

{Draw a dick} Yellow supplies.

“Go suck one,” Wade grumbles and draws a vagina.

 

 

///

 

 

People hover.

A lot of the staff thought Spider Man was dead. It’s pretty obvious who’s lying in the bed, all pale and bruised and weak. The red and blue of the costume is unforgettable, and Wade didn’t let them throw it away, even though it’s stained in blood and dirt and burnt black slime. Wade folded it carefully and set it in a chair in the corner of the room.

He plays “Go Your Own Way” until he hears it even when Tony turns the radio off.

 

 

///

 

Natasha brings Peter chocolate.

Domino left Peter a stuffed animal unicorn.

Tony never leaves, and neither does Wade.

Peter doesn’t get a lot of visitors. Most of the people who know he’s alive are in the room with him.

 

 

///

 

 

Only a small sliver of Venom made it, and SHILED confiscated it immediately.

Wade was too busy shooting EM's in the feet to notice.

 

 

///

 

After two days, when Peter has healed almost entirely, Tony moves him to a safe house in California overlooking the North Pacific Ocean.

Pepper is there, and she opens all the windows and lets in the breeze.

It’s beautiful, and Wade wants to light it all on fire.

 

 

///

 

 

{You know what’s fun? Offing yourself. Autoerotic asphyxiation. The erotica will be a sad piece of shit swinging –}

[God, no one wants to see that]

{I do}

“Shut up,” Wade sighs, pressing his palms to his eyes.

The boxes were better with Peter. Quieter. They’ve gotten louder in the past week. It’s almost unbearable.

Almost.

Peter’s sleeping across the room from him, and he’s snoring a little, and getting drool on the pillow, and it’s the most adorable thing Wade’s ever seen in his life.

[Fuck. The big guy’s in love] White whispers, still loud in Wade’s head [I thought he was just excited to get his dick wet]

{That never ends well}

“Hey baby boy,” Wade breathes, moving so that he’s kneeling by Peter’s side. It helps drowning out the voices, to talk to Peter instead.

“When you wake up lets go get some ice cream,” Wade says, taking Peter’s hand and holding it in his, “and chimichangas. I haven’t eaten since you went out, honey, and I’m starving.”

{Literally}

Wade kisses the back of Peter’s hand.

“Lets do another road trip,” Wade continues, “just please wake up soon.”

[He’s gonna cry again. Ya know, for an adult man he sure is sniffling a lot like a two year old]

{Remember when your mom made you–}

“Please, baby, wake up.”

 

 

///

 

There’s a knock on the door to Peter’s room.

Wade pulls on his mask just as it swings open and Pepper comes inside, a tray in her hand. There’s food in it, but it’s so dark Wade can’t see what it is.

“Can I turn on a light?” Pepper asks.

She’s always so polite to him. So nice, and Wade never knows how to respond to kindness.

“It’s your place,” Wade answers and Pepper shuffles across the large room, flicks on a light and then dims it.

“I brought you some dinner,” she whispers, placing the tray on Peter’s nightstand.

“Oh,” Wade says, “you don’t have to do that.”

[Let the avocado man starve]

“I don’t mind,” Pepper answers, giving Wade a soft smile, “it’s no trouble. And Tony told me you like enchiladas? I hope that’s right, I brought you some.”

Wade’s throat feels suspiciously tight.

“Thank you,” he whispers, voice cracking and he coughs to cover it up.

He’s pretty sure Pepper doesn’t buy it.

She doesn’t leave right away, like Wade thought she would. Instead she hesitates by Peter’s side, and moves his hair out of his eyes, like Wade does.

It’s a caring gesture.

“He talks about you all the time, you know,” Pepper says, voice quiet like she’s sharing a secret, and maybe she is, “he stares at his phone constantly. He showed me the video of that small pig you sent him. It’s cute.”

Wade doesn’t know what to say.

[So he’s as pathetic as you are] White says.

“I’ve never seen him so into another person before, you know?” she asks.

Wade doesn’t know.

His heart has kind of stopped.

“I love him,” Wade admits, because he wants people to know, and if Peter can hear him he wants him to know again, “I really love him.”

Pepper’s expression is so soft Wade is blindsided by it. He thought she’d react with pity, or maybe disgust. He wasn’t expecting happiness or approval.

“Have you told him?” she asks.

Wade swallows.

“Once,” he says, “but we were both kind of dying so I don’t know if it counts.”

Pepper snorts, and shakes her head.

“Try again,” she advises, “when he wakes up.”

“I plan on it,” Wade says, “I’ve been practicing in the mirror and everything.”

“And?” Pepper asks.

Huh. The boxes have shut up.

“And it feels right,” Wade tells her.

He hopes Peter can hear him.

 

 

///

 

 

Wade isn’t thankful to Tony Stark for many things.

He is thankful for the Tin Man's alcohol dependency, now more than ever. He grabs a bottle of vodka and everclear from the pantry in the living room and rolls his mask up to take big gulps of each while staring out at the ocean.

It’s all very poetic.

Wade should try his hand at writing sometime.

[You can’t even think right, why do you think you can write?]

He lets the alcohol burn on its way down. It warms his gut, makes his skin hurt a little less.

“Everything sucks without Peter,” he groans, frustrated, and tries to see if he can down a whole handle of vodka in one go.

“Whoa, hey, save some for the rest of us,” Tony says from behind him and Wade doesn’t bother turning around or feeling bad about drinking the other man’s goods.

{That sounds wrong}

“Look, man,” Wade says, raspy and rough, “I’m just tryin’ to liven things up.”

“This is a pretty sad party,” Tony says, leaning against the doorframe and watching Wade from a safe distance.

His arm is still bandaged, face still bruised.

They’re both quiet for longer than what’s natural to both of them, the waves breaking against the sand and the voices in Wade’s head creating a cacophony of mania in his head. It’s so loud he almost misses Tony talking to him.

“What’d you do?” he asks.

Wade takes a hearty drink.

“Does it matter?” Wade rebuffs, wiping the back of his mouth with his hand, and really, does it?

No one cares if Wade lives or dies, and Wade can’t blame them for that. He’d choose Peter over himself any day. The Avengers have never cared about Deadpool, have never tried to reach out and help him, have never offered support after a battle. In fact, Tony not shooting him for taking his alcohol is the nicest thing the man’s ever done for Wade.

“It’ll matter to Peter,” Tony says, after a long pause, “and if it matters to Peter it matters to me.”

“Aw, ain’t that sweet as rain,” Wade can’t keep the bitterness from his tone. He suddenly doesn’t want Tony seeing his skin and he pulls his mask back down, holding the alcohol bottles tight in both hands.

“Look Wilson,” Tony sighs, running a hand over his face, “you’ve saved Peter twice now. You haven’t killed needlessly in months. I…we, might have misjudged you.”

{Is he drunk?}

[Most likely]

“What?” Wade asks, throat tight.

Tony looks uncomfortable, shuffling from foot to foot and Wade wants to melt into the floor.

“If, when all this is over, you want a spot on the team, you’ve earned it,” Tony says in a rush, like someone is holding a knife to his neck to force the words out.

Wade looks.

{No knife}

“Wait,” he drawls, pointing a finger and a bottle of vodka at Tony, “you askin’ me to join your super secret club?”

Tony looks like he’s regretting it.

“As a reserve,” he amends.

But Wade’s grinning, ear to ear, and he’s sure Tony can tell.

“Wow, you old softie, you! You’re asking me to be an Avenger? For realz?”

“Forget I said anything,” Tony grumbles but he’s smiling, Wade can see the upturn curve of his cheeks as he turns to leave.

“You’ll only regret this a little!” Wade calls after him, “I’m free on Tuesdays and Wednesdays but Saturdays I sleep in and don’t answer calls until after five pm!”

“Go to sleep, Wade,” Tony sighs, stopping and looking back over his shoulder, “and please, for Peter’s sake, take a damn shower.”

Wade’s too giddy to make a snappy response.

 

///

 

Peter wakes up after seven days.

Chapter Text

Peter wakes up and the first thing he notices is that he feels light.

There’s a weight that’s gone, and Peter misses the familiarity of it.

He’s in a room, in a nice king-size bed with white linen sheets and hardwood floors and a view of the mountains and ocean beyond. The stars are just showing themselves in the sky, small pinpoints of yellow light in desert dry heat.

Heat.

Heat and fire and pain.

“V?” Peter asks, because he can’t feel them in his head.

Panic holds hands with dread in Peter’s throat when Venom doesn’t respond. He knows, deep down, that Venom isn’t with him anymore. He looks down at his arms. His veins don’t stand out against his skin, they aren’t black and sickly… they’re normal.

Peter runs a finger over one, careful.

He feels like he’s lost something important.

He lays there for a while, until he hears a crash and a horrible clatter and he’s up on the ceiling in a heartbeat, knees bent, ready for a fight, bracing for pain, for Kasady to come ripping through the soft curtains and grab him–

“Fuck shit popsicle, this is all your guys’ fault! I never wanted to make fucking cupcakes, who likes cupcakes? They’re just smaller versions of cake no one needs that just eat a god damn cake you cowards–”

That’s Wade’s voice.

Peter relaxes, but doesn’t leave his hold on the ceiling. Instead, he crawls along it, opens the door and moves without a sound into a large common room. It’s an open floor plan, and he sees Wade hunched over a oven in the kitchen, an apron tied around his hips and his mask pulled over his head.

At his feet is an overturned tray of what Peter can only guess is cupcakes, frosting smeared all over the floor and Wade’s bare feet. Wade’s standing with his shoulders hunched, a dejected finality to his posture, and he’s muttering to himself, harsh insults that Peter doesn’t want to hear.

He drops, careful, to the floor. He doesn’t want to startle Wade, not when Wade seems to be so far into his own head. He clears his throat.

Wade goes still, then, slowly, turns.

“Hey,” Peter croaks, flinching at how dry and sharp his words sound, “I heard a crash, are you–”

Wade’s leapt over the counter and is crushing Peter to him in the next second flat, his strong arms squeezing Peter to him and Peter doesn’t hesitate to take Wade’s weight and wrap is own arms around broad shoulders.

Wade nuzzles into Peter’s neck. He’s shaking like dead leaves caught in a strong wind.

“Oh, thank Death, baby, oh fuck,” Wade’s rambling, words running over and trampling each other in their haste to escape, “I was starting to think I got fucked over, sweetheart, baby boy, my darling–”

And he’s kissing Peter, bold and desperate, and Peter can only grab Wade’s face in his hands and melt into it, because while Peter feels like he just fell asleep and woke up with sore muscles and aching bones Wade has been in a panic, in a fit of unknowing if Peter would ever wake up again.

Wade’s kissing him with a desperate relief that makes every cell in Peter’s body light up, and before he knows it Wade’s hands are under his thighs and he’s being hoisted up, balancing against Wade’s hips. He breaks the kiss on a gasp of surprise and Wade is smiling up at him, white teeth a harsh glimpse of conventional beauty against the scars of his skin.

Peter loves Wade’s skin.

Peter loves Wade.

“Hey there big guy,” Peter laughs, Wade’s face still cupped in his hands, “what a way to wake up.”

“If that’s all it took I woulda been kissin’ on you years ago,” Wade sighs, turning his head and nipping Peter’s palm.

Peter freezes and Wade notices. Wade always notices.

“Have I been asleep that long?” Peter asks, anxiety coming back with a horrible vengeance.

Wade quickly backtracks.

“No! No, this isn’t some Walking Dead shit, you were asleep for seven days five hours and fifteen minutes.”

“Wow,” Peter whistles, “please tell me you haven’t been counting.”

At Wade’s silence Peter kisses Wade’s nose, the leather rough against his chapped lips.

“Wade,” Peter says, “what have you been doing this whole time?”

“Waiting for you to wake up,” Wade answers and Peter’s heart does a funny sad flip and he has to kiss Wade again for that, can’t seem to stop, because the last time he’d talked to Wade he had been convinced he was going to die and he didn’t, he’s here, and Wade’s here, and Peter really truly loves–

“I love you,” Peter says in a rush, “I love you so fucking much, you heard me right? You heard me say–”

“Yes, God, yeah, I heard you baby boy,” Wade interrupts, tilting his head up so that Peter can deepen their next kiss, and Wade parts his lips so well for him, so easy.

It’s even easier to get lost in the heat of their embrace, to forget about his wounds and his new scars and the emptiness in his head because Wade’s curling his tongue and gripping Peter’s ass and Peter wants to just feel this, wants to drown in this.

All he has felt lately is pain and depression and hurt and he’s so tired. He’s so fucking tired and weak but Wade’s making him feel alive, making him feel electric.

They separate and Peter needs to see his face, is about to ask, but Wade removes his mask without Peter having to say anything.

Wade’s looking at him like he’s memorizing him, like he’s tattooing Peter into his very soul. It leaves Peter breathless in a way that kissing doesn't. Peter swallows, mouth dry as sand, and presses his forehead to Wade’s.

He needs him so bad.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t save you,” Wade whispers, voice breaking and Peter pulls back, is surprised to see the tears that touch Wade’s cheeks and chin. “I should’ve saved you, I should’ve been faster, I–”

Peter kisses him quiet.

“Hey now,” he rasps, tightening his hold on Wade’s shoulders, “enough of that. No more blaming. More kissing.”

“I can do that,” Wade says, and Peter almost pulls back, almost asks Wade why he’s crying, but then Wade’s kissing him, the air, the pain, the hurt, all escaping with it.

Peter isn’t sure where they are or where everyone else is.

He isn’t sure about his injuries or Venom or Kasady.

But he’s sure of Wade and he sucks a mark under Wade’s ear as Wade walks them into the bedroom, kicking the door shut so hard the frame splinters.

Neither of them cares.

“Pete,” Wade pleads, hands spreading along Peter’s hips, pressing him into the bedspread, “I, fuck…I want–”

“Yeah,” Peter interrupts, pulling at the hoodie Wade’s wearing, “c’mon, Wade, c’mere…”

Peter spreads his legs and Wade falls between them, close as they can be. It’s unbearably quiet, in Peter’s head, and he’s thankful Wade never stops talking because the silence may drive him insane.

“How far?” Wade asks, palming Peter through his boxers.

Words are difficult for Peter to find, they keep falling from his tongue and getting lost in the sheets.

“All…all of it, I just, fuck I just really need to feel you, I need,” and he’s gasping, Wade pulling back and holding him close, holding him tight.

“I got you,” he promises, presses gentle kisses to the side of Peter’s face, his neck, “I got you, Peter. Ain’t ever gonna let you go.”

Peter lets out a quiet, broken noise and rolls them over, so Wade is the one against the pillows. Wade’s looking at Peter like he’s made of stars, tastes like candy, and Peter bends down, their hips sliding together, and it’s delicious because Wade tastes like coming home feels.

“Fuck me,” Wade gasps against Peter’s lips, his hands traveling all over, counting Peter’s ribs, his knees, the jut of his shoulders.

Peter shudders, a strangled whimper catching against Wade’s skin.

“Are you sure?” he asks, voice hitching because Wade’s hand is palming him through his boxers and all rational thought is slowly melting into the pleasure that’s glowing through his veins.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been more certain about anything ever,” Wade swears, pushing himself up and wrapping his arms around Peter’s waist, “are you sure?”

Peter feels dizzy, lightheaded with how sudden this all is, but not sudden, not really, because Peter’s been dreaming about Wade for months, wanting him for longer, and he thought he was going to die, he thought he’d never see Wade again, never hold him again, never–

“Yes,” Peter says, certain in nothing else but this, “yes, please.”

Wade laughs against his lips and Peter drinks the sound like wine.

He breaks it to push Wade gently back, because if they’re going to do this, if they’re going all the way, then Peter is going to worship every inch of Wade Wilson. He wants to kiss the chronic pain of his skin away, he wants to take the boxes, shut them up, prove them wrong. He wants to show Wade that he loves him, every part of him, entirely.

It’s overwhelming, how much Peter cares.

He’s never felt love like this before.

It’s never been this vast, this deep, this all consuming, and he’s floating, teetering, with Wade the only anchor he needs.

“Suit. Off,” Peter demands between kisses, bites, hickies, and Wade’s shaking under him, already falling apart, already leaking and Peter undresses him with care, with patience.

He doesn’t want Wade to ever feel like Peter isn’t appreciating him, like Peter is rushing to get it over with just so he can cum.

Peter takes his time; so long it feels like hours, like time has slowed and solidified to amber. They’re stuck in its coagulated sap, electric touches and fire lips the only thing left.

Wade’s panting under him, his eyes swelling with tears that are too stubborn to fall, and Peter hates that no one has done this for Wade before, that no one has treasured him like this.

Peter kisses his knuckles, his scars, his ever-shifting skin.

“Am I hurting you?” Peter asks when Wade’s tears finally do fall, when they land cool and delicate on Peter’s tongue.

Wade swallows, and for the first time Peter’s known him, is lost for words.

“No,” he answers, every syllable broken, “feels…you feel good.”

Peter shifts, spreads Wade’s legs, and settles between them.

“Can you walk me through this?” Peter says, too turned on to feel embarrassed about asking.

Wade seems to come back to himself, blinking through the fog and haze, eyes clearing.

“I can do this part,” Wade says, reaching down for his suit and rummaging through the pockets, pulling out two small packets, one lube and one a condom, “you don’t gotta dirty your pretty little fingers, baby.”

Peter grabs Wade’s wrist before the man can move to push Peter away.

“Wade,” Peter whispers, “I want to do it.”

Wade looks at him, uncomprehending.

Venom would think Peter broke him. It’s a thought that makes something in Peter’s chest tighten but he ignores it, focusing on Wade instead, on how off guard the other man looks.

“You…” Wade begins, blushes, and starts again, “you want to prep me?”

“Is that okay?” Peter asks, afraid he’s done something wrong, stumbled over a hidden land-mine in Wade’s head.

“Honey, you’ve already gotten me in bed. You don’t need to try to seduce me anymore, I swear, you can fuck me to your hearts content–”

“This isn’t just a fuck,” Peter cuts him off, appalled, “this isn’t just a fuck for me, Wade. I love you. I want to be as close to you as humanly possible. I want to know every part of you because I love every part of you and I swear to God, I’ll track every single person who has ever made you think you aren't worthy of this and make them pay.”

Wade’s staring at him, open mouthed.

“I don’t understand,” Wade whispers, “I’m…my skin…”

“Is hot and feels amazing,” Peter cuts in, taking Wade’s face in his hands and caressing his thumbs over the sharp curve of Wade’s cheekbones.

“Wow,” Wade breathes, “you’re serious.”

“Completely,” Peter agrees.

Wade lifts his hands away from the packets, rubs them up and down Peter’s thighs in soothing strokes instead.

“He is an idiot,” Wade says to himself, kissing Peter deep and hot.

“He can hear you ya know,” Peter says, taking the lube and tearing open the foil.

Wade leans back against the pillows, spreads his thighs wider, and he’s looking up at Peter in awe.

“Tell me what you like,” Peter instructs, kissing Wade, his own nerves nonexistent now that he’s taking care of someone else, now that Wade has all of his attention.

Wade’s breath is a rattle in his chest, and Peter would be worried if Wade wasn’t so hard, wasn’t so turned on and flushed.

Wade tells him what he likes.

Stilted, breathy moans that only grow louder and he’s eventually gripping Peter’s hips, his ass, urging him deeper, faster, harder, and Peter puts his fist through the wall but it makes Wade laugh, deep and genuine and giddy and Peter loves it, loves him, loves him, loves him, loves him–

Wade cries when he cums, he holds Peter tight, kisses him harder, and Peter can hardly breathe, can’t think, because Wade is everywhere, surrounding him, every inch, every cell.

Peter kisses him sweetly and Wade doesn’t let Peter pull out, keeps his legs wrapped around Peter’s waist to hold him still.

“You’re amazing,” he says, lips brushing Peter’s ear, “so spectacular. My little spider.”

“Who would’ve thought you get sappy and poetic after an orgasm?” Peter asks, but he’s smiling so wide his cheeks hurt.

“It sure is a surprise to everyone,” Wade muses before humming Fergie in Peter’s ear and making him shiver when he tightens his thighs.

Peter does pull out, eventually, and Wade drags him into the shower, washes his hair, his body, sinks to his knees and makes Peter fall apart all over again.

“I was so scared,” Wade tells him, after, “I was so scared I’d never see you again.”

Peter cuddles against Wade’s bare chest, breathes him in.

“I’m okay,” Peter reaffirms, “I’m here.”

Wade doesn’t say anything, just holds him tighter.

 

///

 

“Wade you have to let me go eventually.”

“Says who?”

“Biology. And common decency.”

“Good thing I have none of those,” Wade says from where his face is smashed into Peter’s neck.

Peter laughs against Wade’s head.

“Honey, do I need to explain to you what biology is and how it works again?” Peter asks and Wade just snuggles closer, an octopus around Peter’s relaxed form, his strong thighs wrapped around Peter’s hips and arms looped over his shoulders.

“Oh, baby boy, I get biology,” he hums, reaching out a hand to trace the ridge in Peter’s wrist.

Peter’s breath stutters in his chest, heat rushing to his stomach in a fast current. It’s a little dizzying, and overwhelming, to be turned on and hard again so soon after sex.

“I wish you never found out about my spinnerets,” Peter breathes, close to a moan, especially when Wade applies just the smallest hint of pressure.

Wade’s eyes are dark, his smile wide and sharp.

“Really?” Wade dares, shifting so that he’s lying over Peter, both of Peter’s wrists in his hands pressed against the soft down of the pillows.

Peter’s breathing heavy, growing hard against Wade’s hip, and he’s known his wrists are sensitive but he never knew the extent until Wade.

“Is this okay?” Wade asks, flexing his grip so Peter knows the question is directed at their position, at Peter being held.

“Yeah,” Peter rasps, because this is nothing like Kasady, or labs.

This feels good, and Wade is a safety net, a comfortable familiarity that would never, ever hurt him. Wade nods, then bends, lick a stripe over Peter’s wrist and Peter jolts, a full body motion, and if Wade were any weaker he’d have been thrown across the room.

“Do you think you can cum from just this?” Wade asks, scraping his teeth gently and Peter makes an embarrassing, whiny noise.

“Don’t–don’t know,” he groans, but he’s certain he can if Wade keeps using his tongue and teeth and lets him rut against the hard ridge of his abs.

“Hmmm, you like science, right?” Wade pulls back, sucks a hickie on Peter’s clavicle, continuously rubbing his thumbs over Peter’s sensitive wrists.

“I–I was gonna major in biophysics and engineering,” Peter gasps, feeling like he’s going to melt out of his skin because Wade’s doing that damn swirly thing with his tongue and pressing against him and it’s stimulation from every angle–

“So you know a little,” Wade purrs, and Peter could cum from his tone alone, “lets conduct a little experiment.”

“Wade,” Peter pleads, because this suddenly isn’t enough, he needs more, he needs–

“I wanna see if you can cum from just me eatin’ out your wrists.”

Peter flushes, all the way down to his chest.

“That–that’s so not what you should call this,” Peter chokes.

“Suckin’ off your spider webs?”

“Please stop.”

“Going down to arachnid town–”

“I’ll suck you off if you stop talking right now.”

“Deal,” Wade laughs and closes his mouth over Peter’s left wrist.

It’s one of the most intense orgasms of Peter’s life.

But, to be fair, every orgasm with Wade is intense. And the best.

 

///

 

Peter’s pretty sure they should leave the room at some point.

The sun has just risen through the curtains, draped them in liquid warm gold, but Peter can’t find the urge or desire to extract himself from Wade. He can’t get enough of him. It’s like a dam has broken, has opened up, and he’s never felt so good in his life.

He’s never felt so loved, treasured, and then been able to also give those emotions to someone else. The room is stuffy, smells, but Wade’s opened a window and now a cool breeze is blowing through, drying the sweat on both their bodies.

“I missed you,” Wade admits, quiet and shy against Peter’s skin.

Peter kisses him, reassuringly slow but reserved.

Wade pulls back, studies Peter’s face.

“What’s wrong? Are you feeling sick? Are you in pain? Does it feel like something is trying to come out of your chest?” Wade asks in rapid succession and Peter blinks.

“What? No– what? Is that another alien reference?”

“Either that or a soul exiting the husk reference but forget it, what’s wrong sugar-buns?”

“You’re so hyper,” Peter sighs, sinking back into the pillows as Wade shifts their positions, laying so that his arms are wrapped around Peter’s waist and Peter’s back is pressed snug to his chest.

“Just excited to see ya,” Wade admits, pressing small kisses to Peter’s neck, careful of the bruises that still haven’t healed.

They’re quiet for a while, and even Wade gets silent.

“They’re gone,” Peter whispers, vulnerable and nervous to say it out loud, “I can’t hear Venom in my head anymore.”

Wade’s arms tighten around him and Peter leans back into the touch, pushing his face into one of the pillows.

“Do you miss them?” Wade asks.

Peter takes a breath.

“I feel lonely,” he admits, “not like, lonely lonely, but like some part of me is missing.”

Wade loosens his hold so Peter can turn in his arms to face him, their legs entangled on the bed. Wade takes Peter’s hands, kisses his fingers, his wrists, his arms, careful of every new scratch, bruise, freshly healed wound.

“You’re not alone,” Wade says.

“I know,” Peter answers, tired.

“I’m not goin’ anywhere, Webs,” Wade insists, “and V isn’t either. You got them in your memories and shit, right?”

Peter nods, throat tight.

“I shouldn’t miss them,” he croaks, “they were forced into me. I never had a choice and I haven’t felt this in control in my body for years but…”

Peter trails off, unsure of how to continue, and Wade pulls back, looks Peter in the eye.

“You went through a lot together,” Wade reasons, “you and that lil’ alien guy. It makes sense you’re upset.”

“If you stopped hearing your boxes would you miss them?” Peter asks.

Wade goes quiet, like he’s listening.

“No,” he says, after a moment, “not even a little bit.”

 

///

 

They make dinner in the kitchen at eight that night.

Peter watches Wade putter about, throwing anything he can find in the fridge into the skillet with probably too much oil. Wade’s been singing non-stop, different, random songs, and he’s not cooking anything in particular, just a lot of everything.

He has a frantic energy about him, jittery, like he’s had way too much caffeine, and it’s making Peter a little cautious, a little wary, because he knows Wade falls into manic episodes, they’ve talked about it briefly, but what they didn’t talk about is what Peter can do to help.

“Wade?” Peter asks, and Wade turns to him, still humming under his breath, “are you feeling okay?”

“Golden brown, baby, like a perfectly cooked marshmallow. Though, in all honesty, the best way to make a s’more is to burn the marshmallow because then it’s crispy on the outside and melting on the inside, do you want s’mores? I bet we can make nachos, this house has everything–”

“Hey,” Peter cuts him off, gentle, “c’mere for a sec.”

Wade drops the spatula on the floor and makes his way over to where Peter is leaning against the island in the kitchen, the top of it acting as a support for Peter to rest against.

Wade stops a few inches away but Peter grabs his hips to move him closer, and before Wade can start talking, or singing, again, Peter pulls him down into a hug. He hopes its reassuring, because Wade is all nervous energy, like he’s expecting Peter to disappear.

“You gotta breathe, man,” Peter whispers, hooking his chin over Wade’s shoulder to keep an eye on the skillet, “everything is okay. I’m here, I’m alive, and so are you. And later today we can buy plane tickets and travel and forget about everything, okay?”

Wade’s stiff in his arms, a hard line of solid muscle. His sudden silence is unnerving, and Peter feels a tingling in the back of his skull, his spider sense offering a small warning.

“Wade–”

“I may have fucked up,” Wade interrupts, and when Peter pulls back Wade lets him go, steps away to put more distance between them.

“What do you mean?” Peter asks, stomach dropping. He feels sick, because the only thing that’s coming to mind of what could be a mistake is the sex they just had and what if they moved too fast? What if Wade is backing out? What if Wade is realizing that Peter’s too fucked up, too emotional, too needy–

“You died,” Wade blurts and Peter’s struck out of his head.

He doesn’t really know what to say to that.

“No, Wade, I’m alive. I’m right here–”

“Because I brought you back,” Wade says, words a messy haste, “you were dead, Peter. You died.”

“Babe, I’m okay,” Peter tries to reiterate, because Wade doesn’t seem to understand, “it’s all right. Look, I’m fine! I can move and breathe and everything!”

But Wade doesn’t react, doesn’t even smile, and Peter has a feeling, a slippery cold sensation, that Wade isn’t telling him something.

Something important.

“Wade, what’s going–”

There’s a click from the front door and Peter is on the ceiling as fast as Wade is aiming his gun. The door opens and Wade fires, a nice bullet hole forming in the thick wood.

Shit! It’s me, don’t shoot!” Tony’s voice calls out and Peter drops from the ceiling to land perched on Wade’s broad shoulders.

“Well, he’s still talking, so I didn’t fatally wound him,” Wade mutters and Peter reaches over to lower Wade’s hand and consequently the gun said hand is holding.

“And who else?” Peter asks as the light to the living room flicks on and Tony walks in, followed by Natasha and Pepper.

“You’re awake,” Tony says, shocked, before turning to Pepper, “he’s awake, how were we not alerted about this?”

“Wade said he’d call,” Natasha drones, looking entirely unimpressed, and she’s noticed that Peter is shirtless and Wade is in a purple satin robe and fluffy slippers.

“Is that my robe?” Pepper asks, but she doesn’t sound upset; only mildly amused as she meets Peter’s gaze.

“Yeah, Wilson, the hell?” Tony snaps.

“I would say I’m sorry but I’m not and I’m trying not to lie to people anymore starting right now,” Wade says, and Peter can feel how tense he is without his mask and an audience to notice its absence, “also if you knew how flexible Webs is you would be blaming him and not me because I couldn’t move for hours after–”

“Oh-kay! That’s enough!” Peter shouts, covering Wade’s mouth with a frantic hand.

Everyone is staring at them.

“God damn it,” Tony groans under his breath, looking at the wall to the far right and resolutely not at Peter and Wade, “well, kid, I’m glad you’re awake and feeling better.”

“Much better, by the looks of it,” Natasha smirks, and Peter flushes a deeper red than Deadpool’s suit, “if Pete can hold down Deadpool for hours I’d say he’s in top condition.”

“Oh god, oh god, please stop talking,” Tony interrupts, rubbing the bridge of his nose. “I just wanted a movie night, I didn’t ask for this.”

“I’m still happy to see you guys,” Peter tries.

Pepper walks over to them and pats Peter’s foot on Wade’s shoulder.

“We’re happy you’re awake,” she says, genuine, “but please, both of you, get dressed and join us in the living room. Also, whatever you were cooking is on fire.”

 

///

 

They all pile onto the couch in the living room, and even though they can’t all fit on the long piece of furniture they certainly try.

Wade sits by Peter’s feet and falls asleep, drools all over his shin, and Peter watches him instead of the movie because well, why not?

 

///

 

Wade has nightmares.

For the next week Peter wakes up because Wade’s thrashing, whining into the sheets. Sometimes he finds Wade in the bathroom, curled on the tiled floor. Peter always eases him back, holds him close, and tells him stories of when he was a kid, tells him about Uncle Ben, tells him about high school and MJ and becoming Spider-Man for the first time.

Wade calms, after that.

 

///

 

Peter’s been in a strange sort of haze, between waking up from being out for a week and Wade’s nightmares, his anxiety has increased.

He feels strange without Venom, like he’s defenseless, like his guard is down. He feels weaker.

It’s strange, but he misses the symbiote.

“Tony,” Peter calls one morning, finding the man outside with one of his green smoothie drinks, the sun just rising over the peaks of the mountains.

“You feeling okay?” Tony asks and Peter nods, holding his mug of coffee close to his chest and taking a small sip.

“Can I ask you something?” he wonders after a moment of quiet and Tony turns to look at him, inquiring.

“If it’s about your suit I’m sewing it up. If it’s about when we’re returning back to the city it’s in two weeks, once things have died down on HYDRA’s end. If it’s–”

“You know I love a good guessing game but why don’t I just tell you what I’m doing out here,” Peter interrupts.

Tony grins.

“Is it not to enjoy the beautiful morning air?”

“Tony, this is my third cup of coffee and I’ve never voluntarily gotten up before two p.m., I’m not out here to enjoy nature.”

“Touché,” Tony agrees, taking another short sip.

“Is Venom still alive?” Peter asks, getting right to it.

Tony swallows, squinting.

“A part of them did,” Tony says, wary, “but they’re in SHIELD’s hands now, Pete.”

“That–that’s not fair,” Peter sputters, a sudden insulted anger making him almost break the ceramic mug he’s holding, “Venom’s a part of me, they can’t just take them.”

“They can if the thing they took was their property to begin with,” Tony says, leveling Peter with a stern look, “that’s what Wilson was supposed to get when he broke you out: a drive on Venom, and where the symbiote was. SHIELD’s been looking for them for four years.”

Peter doesn’t know what to say. Peter hates labs, hates chambers, and Venom hates them just as much. Peter knows the symbiote; they’re a part of one another. Peter isn’t about to let Venom rot away under florescent lights.

Not when Wade said he’d take them both away.

When Peter’s silent for too long Tony faces him fully, making sure Peter meets his gaze.

“Pete, you gotta listen to me on this one. Don’t do anything rash, or reckless, or impulsive, or stupid. I can’t protect you against SHIELD, and I just got you back. I…I keep losing you, so promise me you’ll sit this one out.”

Tony’s staring at him intently, gaze unwavering, and Peter just nods, despondent. Tony lets out a breath of relief.

“Good,” he sighs, walking past and patting Peter on the shoulder, “it’s better this way.”

Peter doesn’t think it is because all he is picturing is labs and lights and white walls and he’ll be damned if Venom spends the rest of their life with that view.

 

///

 

He wakes Wade up with a gentle kiss and urgent hands.

“Babe, wake up,” he whispers and Wade blinks, groans, rolls over so he’s pinning Peter down with his entire body weight.

“Mmrph, m’sleeping,” Wade slurs and Peter pokes him in the ribs.

When Wade doesn’t so much as stir Peter does it again, harder.

“Wade,” Peter hisses, “wake up, I need you.”

Wade’s eyes snap open, immediately.

“Wha’s up?” Wade asks, not looking any more awake but trying his best.

“Do you wanna blow stuff up?” Peter asks.

A light comes on in Wade’s eyes, replaced with a cautious calculated look, and he shifts so he’s bracing himself on his elbows on either side of Peter’s head.

“Oh, honey, keep talkin’ dirty,” he grins, and Peter’s not even a little surprised that his boyfriend’s hard.

“I want to track down Venom and break them out of wherever SHIELD is holding them without any causalities and as subtly as possible.”

Wade blinks.

“That’s not as hot,” he says, “go back to talking about blowing things up.”

Peter sighs, running his hands up and down Wade’s chest.

“If we pull this off without getting caught– and no one dying– then you can blow up an abandoned building or something,” Peter tries, “and I’ll do that thing you like with my webs.”

Wade’s smile is so sharp and giddy that Peter almost regrets his offer.

Almost.

Chapter Text

Wade pulls on his suit in a rush, leather crinkling as he moves, katanas catching the gleam of the setting sun.

Peter takes a moment to watch him move, to study the meticulous way Wade gears up, how he handles his guns, how his posture is loose and relaxed, his muscles defined against the tight fitting leather.

He walks forward and brushes his fingers along Wade’s forearm, and Wade turns to look down at him.

Wade isn’t too much taller, but when Peter stands beside him it’s obvious.

“We’re idiots, right?” Peter asks and Wade grins, turning so that he can rest both of his hands on either side of Peter’s slimmer waist.

“Either that or we’re too smart for our own good,” Wade hums, “I’m afraid my stupidity might be rubbing off on you.”

“Pretty sure it doesn’t work that way,” Peter says, leaning forward to rest his forehead on Wade’s shoulder, “when is this going to end?”

Wade’s silent for a moment before he adjusts his arms and pulls Peter into a tight hug. It’s a comforting gesture, and one that Peter desperately needs. He’s wearing the new suit Tony gave him over dinner, and it’s more breathable, has more hidden abilities than his last one.

It feels almost like armor over his skin, even shines like it’s made of steel. Wade didn’t stop wolf whistling for ten minutes when he first saw Peter in it until Peter webbed his mouth shut.

“Almost there,” Wade says gently, resting his head against the side of Peter’s, “and then we’re gonna get bad sunburns and eat sushi off each other’s asses.”

Peter snorts, stepping back, though Wade’s hands don’t leave his waist. If anything, they’ve dropped lower.

“Wade,” Peter cautions when Wade dips down, runs his lips over Peter’s jaw, teeth nipping at the sensitive spot below Peter’s ear.

“’M not doing anything,” Wade says, hands smoothing down to grab lightly at Peter’s ass.

“We are not going to fuck in our suits,” Peter reprimands, but can’t help melting a little in Wade’s hold.

“But you look so good,” Wade whines, sticking out his bottom lip and pouting, “like, damn, baby boy, Fergie wrote Fergalicious about your ass in this suit. And Stark did this to torture me, I know it.”

“Ew, no, stop,” Peter laughs, and Wade gives him one last squeeze before dropping his hands with an exaggerated groan.

“Petey, c’mon, I’m horny.”

“You’re always horny,” Peter grins, grabbing his mask and pulling it on, keeping his mouth visible to tease Wade just a little longer, “like, literally all the time.”

“Can’t help it, you’re a dream, Webs,” Wade says, winking before grabbing his mask off the bedside table. “Also, I get horny when I know I'm about to fuck people up.”

“That’s…we can unpack that later,” Peter sighs, walking forward and kissing Wade gently, running his tongue over Wade's bottom lip and grinning when Wade chases his mouth after.

“God, you’re gonna be the death of me,” Wade says, but it’s not teasing, just wistful, resigned, and Peter cups his face in his hands, takes a deep breath and urges Wade to do the same.

“No one is dying anymore,” Peter says, “this is simple recon.”

“Honey bunches of oats, our track record is shit. Have you read our new team up comics? You’ve died two times in the past four issues–”

“Your dreams are getting way too complicated,” Peter interrupts before Wade keeps going and works himself up, “we can do this. This is what we’re good at.”

“Fuck, that’s sad.”

“Maybe,” Peter agrees, heart heavy, “but this is it. Last big thing, right?”

Wade swallows, his gaze somber even through the mask.

He reaches up and traces Peter’s lips with his thumb, a gentle, almost subconscious gesture. It makes Peter’s breath stutter, makes a dread he’s been ignoring grow stronger inside him.

He hates that at any moment he could lose Wade. He hates that if something goes wrong tonight, one or both of them could be apprehended. He’s sure Tony could pull some strings, but they wouldn’t get off without a punishment.

They’re breaking at least five laws with this plan.

Peter kisses Wade gentle, soft, and they pull apart with a reluctant air.

“Lets go get that alien chocolate loving booger,” Wade grins and Peter gives him a fist bump when Wade motions for one.

Peter takes a deep breath.

He has Wade with him; he has Deadpool on his side.

What could go wrong?

 

///

 

“What are you two dumbasses doing?” Natasha’s voice rings sharp from the back of the jet and Peter and Wade freeze where they’re sitting at the front of the aircraft.

“I thought you locked the doors,” Peter hisses.

Wade shrugs.

“Either that or I deployed all our parachutes.”

“Oh my god.”

“Hey, you left me in charge of the flying–”

“Answer my question,” Natasha interrupts and Peter and Wade turn with cautious movements to face her.

She doesn’t look happy. She also doesn’t look surprised, and Peter isn’t sure if that’s good or bad.

Wade isn’t saying anything so Peter assumes this is on him. He clears his throat and stands.

“We’re going to go get Venom.”

Natasha stares at him for a long, tense moment.

“Peter,” she says, and the use of his real name has him on edge, “Venom is SHEILD’s property. HYDRA took the symbiote before they came for you. It–they–belong to SHEILD.”

“They’re a sentient being with feelings and emotions and if you think I’m going to let them be experimented on for the rest of their life then you don’t know me at all; and if you’re going to stand in my way then apparently I don’t know you, either.”

Wade ruins the moment by squealing.

Shit, baby boy, that was a harsh burn, does she need some ice?”

Natasha shoots him a withering glare.

“Look, Nat, I’ll keep an eye on them. I mean, we’re still bonded; Venom was a part of my cells. I felt when they died. Or when most of them did. But this way they won’t be hurt, or experimented on, and if HYDRA thinks SHIELD has them then they’re even safer coming with us.”

Natasha still doesn’t look like she’s buying it, and Peter is starting to grow frustrated. They’re losing time.

“I can give them to Tony to look after most days or something? Build a safe environment for them, like Hulk’s training cell. But either way we’re going and I don’t want to have to fight you ‘cause we’re already running late.”

There’s a tense, heavy silence, before Natasha groans and walks forward, coming to a stop a few feet away from Wade and Peter.

“Do you know how to get to the SHILED base in Amboy?”

Wade and Peter share a look.

“Google maps?” Peter tries.

“Do you have a plan?” Natasha presses.

“We were just going to wing it,” Wade says, sounding way too confident in his and Peter’s lack of planning.

The look Natasha gives him makes Peter want to sink into the floor of the jet and into the engine.

“I know this sounds like we didn’t plan for anything–” Peter begins.

“You didn’t plan for anything,” Natasha interrupts.

But Wade was able to get the blueprints of the base and where they would most likely be holding Venom.”

Natasha almost looks impressed.

“How did you figure that out?” she asks Wade, who Peter knows is smiling like an idiot under his mask.

“I have my ways,” he says, cryptic.

“He called Domino and asked her to do research,” Peter corrects.

“Dammit, Webs, let me have this one cathartic moment–”

“Oh,” Natasha says, acting too casual as she crosses her arms, “is Domino coming?”

There’s an awkward silence.

Fuck we should’ve called Dom,” Wade mutters, dejected.

“I’ll help you,” Natasha says, shooing Wade out of the pilot seat, “but only because you’ll both die without me.”

“Hey,” Wade begins before Peter gives him an unimpressed look, “okay, fair, but still rude.”

“Sit down and buckle up,” Natasha instructs, activating the engine and powering the muffler to dampen the noise, “lets go save that weird alien goop.”

 

///

 

The plan is actually simple.

They kill the power to the base, and that gives them a five-minute window before the generator kicks in. In those five minutes Natasha is going to disable the security cameras and unlock the West Wing, where the labs are located. While she’s doing that, Wade will pick off the guards, one by one (no killing), and Peter will be the one to get Venom out.

If everything goes right they’ll be done in an hour and be back home with Tony’s jet before the sun comes up. Then maybe they’ll all go get some breakfast, and shower, and sleep for the rest of the day.

Peter has come to appreciate the little things in life. Like not dying and being able to drink coffee without feeling like someone's going to maim him. He’s still waiting for the second part to come true, because he’s only been awake for three days and he still sees Kasady in his head.

So.

Little things.

 

///

 

The jet lands four miles away from the main grounds in the mountains surrounding the small desert town of Amboy.

Natasha stands and walks over to the far wall at the back of the jet. She begins pulling out all sorts of instruments, and she hands small discs to Peter.

“These can kill any kind of magnetic field,” she tells him, “it’ll be useful for if you run into any locked areas when looking for Venom.”

“Cool,” Peter breathes, holding the disk up and studying it. “It looks like it’s made out of non-ferrous alloys–”

“Webs you know I love when you talk dirty but we don’t have all night,” Wade interrupts and Peter hooks the disks into the waistband of his suit with flushed cheeks.

“It’s just cool is all,” he grumbles.

“I bet it is sweetheart,” Wade consoles, patting his head, but quickly becomes distracted when Natasha extends another panel on the wall, filled head to toe with a variety of guns.

“If you're going to use these put mufflers on them,” Natasha reminds Wade as he reaches for the nearest weapon.

Wade scrunches up his nose.

“I’ll just use Bea and Arthur,” he says, reaching back a hand to pet the handles fondly, and, if Peter’s being honest, totally suggestive of what Wade did to him last night, “who needs bullets when I have two sharp pointy things? I can poke people to death.”

“No killing,” Natasha and Peter say at the same time.

“If we’re caught and you’ve killed people there will be no breaking you out of SHIELD custody with only a pardon,” Natasha says.

“And, you know, killing is bad,” Peter adds, but Natasha and Wade don’t really listen.

Wade reaches for a gun bigger than Peter’s body and Natasha slaps his hand away.

“We’re breaking out an alien, not blowing up the compound,” Natasha says.

Wade’s shoulders hunch in disappointment and Peter pats his back in support, even if he agrees with Natasha on the whole not blowing up the SHIELD base.

Natasha gives them both earpieces for communication, and Wade turns his head to lift his mask to place his in his ear. Natasha keeps her gaze on Peter, and lends Wade the privacy he needs.

“I’ll drop you both over the compound once I cut the power,” she tells them, “Wade, you’ll cover Peter, and we’ll be out of here in no time. Just keep an eye on the guards in the watch towers, I’ll try to take them out from the jet if I can without drawing too much attention.”

Natasha turns to face out the window, steering the jet up from where they landed to get organized and into the sky. Peter can’t shake his nerves, this itchy, foreboding feeling that this isn’t going to go according to plan.

He’s been feeling itchy and on edge ever since Wade and him were interrupted in the kitchen, and he’s not sure if what he’s feeling now is because of that or something else entirely. Either way he feels like he’s going to crawl out of his skin.

Wade must sense this because he reaches out and hooks his pinky around Peter’s, a reassuring silent comfort.

Peter remembers the first time Wade did that for him, on his couch in Brooklyn, and it feels like it happened years ago, that their road trip was another life, a far away half forgotten dream. He turns to Wade, takes in the red leather of his Deadpool suit, his mask, the whites of his eyes.

He’ll never tire of looking at him.

He still feels off balance, like he’s on a tight rope that’s swinging side to side, but Peter has Wade, and that’s all he needs.

If he falls he knows Wade will catch him.

He’ll always catch him.

 

///

 

It’s going surprisingly well, for a half-assed plan that was rushed after sex only hours ago.

Peter’s worried that maybe they were wrong, that Venom isn’t here, that they were moved or their information was false.

It’s easy to maneuver the corridors; he stays on the ceilings, dismantling cameras and smoke alarms and anything he can find as he moves. His spider sense has been on alert ever since Wade and him dropped from the jet, and he pays attention to it and its fluctuating intensity as he moves.

He’s thankful Tony installed night vision in this suit because Natasha had to cut the power for the generator when Wade was surrounded by a group of agents on the third level.

Peter can hear Wade down below, can hear the groans of still-alive SHIELD operatives. Adoration is warm in his chest as he turns the corner, and he’ll have to remember to tell Wade that he’s proud of him.

He always likes it when Wade gets flustered.

“Okay, focus Parker,” he tells himself as he drops from the ceiling on light toes, not making a sound as he walks to the double doors in front of him.

“What is up with all these laboratories being white?” Wade asks in Peter’s ear, the line crackling and Peter fights a smile as he wedges his fingers into the middle of the doors and pushes them apart.

“I was just thinking that,” Peter answers, gritting his teeth and bending his knees.

The reinforced metal bends and breaks under Peter’s strength and Peter can hear guards down the hall take note of it, can hear their confusion and their footsteps.

“Wade, what’s your ETA?” Peter asks, slipping into the lab and trying to bend the doors back shut.

He webs them closed to try and buy himself time. He doesn’t want to deal with agents right now.

“You need me, honey?” Wade calls over the line and Peter can hear him down below, moving up the staircase at the far end of the hall.

“I will in about five minutes, I got about seven guys tailing me,” Peter answers, blinking as his night vision adjusts to the new room.

“Wow, you can take them all at once?” Wade asks, and Peter hears one of the agents groan in pain and fall just outside the doors. The other five go down in a similar fashion.

Peter walks through carefully, around tables and screens and notices charts on the walls. It looks pretty rudimentary, and he isn’t quite sure what he’s looking for, but he takes his time, scans every wall he can, every table, every container, before he comes to another set of doors with “CAUTION” in red along the front.

So he breaks in.

This room is somehow darker than the others, and Peter can’t feel his spider sense any more. He still stays on alert, eyes scanning, until he sees a large glass tube suspended from the ceiling, almost on display under large lights that look like they’d be blinding if they were on.

Like they’d be hot.

Peter doesn’t like them.

He approaches the tube with caution, and he can hear more commotion outside, hears Wade’s katanas, his curses–

“Wade, are you okay?” Peter asks, half distracted as he places his hands on the glass and tries to clear his sight to see inside the long container.

“Doing–just–fuck!–great,” Wade groans in his ear and Peter needs to hurry because he can hear more agents coming up from the lower levels and Wade’s good, a fucking professional, but Peter doesn’t want to see him hurt, not when he knows the agents have guns.

“V,” Peter hisses, feeling a little foolish but there’s something alive in this tube, something moving and Peter needs to know what it is– “Venom, it’s me.”

A tendril hits the inside of the glass and Peter almost drops the tube in surprise. His spider sense doesn't alert him to the creatures movement, and Venom can’t trigger his spider sense, having bonded with him, so maybe–

“V?” Peter asks, and the thing hits the glass again, a parody of a wave.

Peter almost laughs, he feels so giddy.

“Got ‘em,” he says, breaking the tube off from it’s holding stand and tucking it under his arm.

“Good,” Natasha says, “now both of you get to the roof, ASAP.”

“On our way,” Peter affirms, running from the room and webbing the tube to his back, a makeshift backpack.

A gun shot pulls Peter up short and he hears Wade curse as another one goes off, this time the bullet whizzes through the gap in the double doors, hitting the far wall as Peter ducks out of the way.

“Webs, stay in there,” Wade tells him, “they got a lot of–shit– c’mon asshat, my back was turned you fucking piece of–they got a lot of guns!”

“I’m going to help you,” Peter argues, jumping up on the ceiling and making his way over to the doors, the commotion on the other side growing in aggression and noise.

“Keep your tight little ass in that room,” Wade growls and Peter hesitates at the real desperation in Wade’s tone, at the abrupt anger and panic in his words.

It’s almost enough to make Peter listen.

Almost.

There’s another gunshot, another shout of pain from Wade, and Peter can’t stay still and listen to his boyfriend get hurt.

He kicks the right door off its hinges with strength he usually doesn’t display. It goes flying down the hall and knocks out about half the agents. Wade turns to him, eyes of his mask wide.

“You can get mad at me later but I’m not leaving you,” Peter snaps, shooting off a web and smacking two men in the face before slamming them against the wall.

“Um, not mad just trying to fight with a massive boner,” Wade says, dazed, before cutting off the arm of an agent aiming his gun at Peter’s head.

“No killing!” Peter reprimands but Wade doesn’t look like he feels bad about it, just uses the dismembered arm to slap another agent across the face.

“If he bleeds out that’s on him, honey, no one points a gun to your head,” Wade says, low under his breath, his movements much more precise and brutal than usual.

Peter doesn’t want to argue with Wade now, not with all these SHIELD operatives surrounding them.

“Babe, we gotta get moving,” Peter says, reaching out and grabbing Wade’s arm to drag him down the hall, both of them moving in sync around fallen agents to make it to the stairwell leading up to the roof.

“Almost there,” Peter tells Natasha, keeping his gaze in front of them as Wade shoots at the feet of agents following.

Peter is thankful for how dark everything is, or else SHIELD would be able to see his and Wade’s iconic suits, and then this whole operation really would be blown.

He kicks open another door and him and Wade scramble up three flights of stairs, Peter trying to angle the glass tube towards the wall so no stray bullets puncture the glass.

They make it up the stairs and outside in record time, the air hot around them but still dark. Peter can make out the watchtowers, outlined in thermal heat in his lens. He sees movement in one, but Natasha is lowering the jet, and Peter’s webs might not be able to reach whoever is in the tower–

A shot echoes loud and sharp through the air and Peter’s whole body feels cold in panic when Wade jolts behind him, his body crumbling to the ground by Peter’s feet.

“Who was hit?” Natasha orders, but Peter is preoccupied with bending down to pick Wade up and over his shoulder to answer her immediately.

The back of Wade’s head is blown out, his brain matter sprayed on the glass of the tube, his blood dripping onto Peter’s boots. Peter has a moment, a fleeting desire, to kill whoever pulled that trigger.

“Peter, are you hurt?” Natasha’s voice cuts through and another bullet whizzes past, grazing Peter’s arm but he barely feels it.

“I’m fine,” he grits out, “but they got Wade.”

“He can heal,” Natasha says, “get on the jet, now.”

“Doesn’t mean he can’t feel pain,” Peter snaps but listens, shooting up a web to propel both him and Wade through the open side door of the jet.

They crash inside and Natasha seals the entrance, bullets ricocheting off the body of the jet but not piercing through.

Peter gently moves Wade so that he’s lying with his head propped on one of the emergency parachute packs, and he tries not to be sick when he sees the blood matted to Wade’s mask.

“You sure that’s even Venom?” Natasha asks, looking back at Peter from her seat up front.

“It better be,” Peter says, ripping the webs from his shoulders and ignoring the jolt of pain that causes him.

“You are hurt,” Natasha observes, but Peter doesn’t answer, just places the glass tube by his feet and Deadpool’s left arm.

Inside is a familiar black mass, moving like liquid, and they tap on the glass to get Peter’s attention. Peter feels a relief so strong it’s almost overwhelming and he fiddles with the metal ends of the tube to get Venom out.

He breaks one off, cracks the glass down the side, but Venom is crawling out and looping around Peter’s arm in an instant, the feelings of home, safe, security, emitting from the symbiote.

Peter was bonded with them for three and a half years but he’s still surprised he can read the creature so well.

“Aw, hey pal,” Peter greets, and Venom reaches up to touch his face, then moves to his hurt shoulder to wrap around and heal him up.

“Wow, they actually missed you,” Natasha says, looking over her chair, “is Wilson bleeding all over Tony’s jet?”

“Don’t talk about him like that,” Peter tells her, cold and sharp, and leans over to slowly take Wade’s mask off.

He wants to see the wound, needs to see it heal for the queasy feeling in his stomach to subside.

Wade’s eyes are open in shock and Peter closes them with shaking hands, moving so that Wade’s head is resting on his thighs instead of hard canvas.

He’s watching the exit point intently, and he knows time feels like it’s moving slow, moving like its frozen, because Wade’s wound isn’t healing. There’s still a small stream of blood, and Wade’s skin is pale, is losing color the longer the wound stays open.

Peter feels the beginnings of fear in his gut, dread mixing in and making him nauseous.

“Hey, V, heal Wade now will you?” Peter asks and Venom slithers down, wraps themselves around Wade’s head.

Peter reaches out and takes Wade’s hand, holds it as Venom works. Even Natasha has gotten curious, turning on autopilot and walking to stand beside the two men.

“How long does it usually take for him to heal?” she asks, tone stiff, like she’s holding her breath, like she’s figuring something out.

“Not long,” Peter answers, swallowing his own nerves and trying to distract himself with intertwining his and Wade’s fingers, “I mean, he can’t die, he can heal from anything.”

Natasha doesn’t answer, and Peter can feel her gaze, heavy and forlorn, as she studies Wade’s prone form.

“How long has it been?” Peter asks, growing a little desperate when Venom slinks up his arm again and Wade’s head still isn’t healed.

Natasha’s hesitation doesn’t help his growing anxiety.

“About fifteen minutes,” Natasha says.

Peter bends over, shakes Wade, gently at first, then more aggressive when he doesn’t even stir. Venom broke his neck and he healed in less than three minutes, a bullet wound to the head shouldn’t take almost twenty–

Peter’s hyperventilating, he knows it, can feel it in the way his chest tightens, in the way air doesn’t seem to come, how everything is tight and suffocating and wrong

“He’s not healing,” Peter gasps, “why isn’t he healing?”

Natasha’s silence is both unnerving and frustrating, and Peter looks up to her, sees the tightness in her jaw, the tension in her shoulders.

“Nat, what do you know?” he demands, and when she hesitates he almost breaks the nearest door, he’s so frantic.

“I know he killed himself when we found you dead,” Natasha says, choosing her words carefully, “and I know he did something with Death. I just don’t know what.”

“Death?” Peter repeats, feeling faint.

He looks down at Wade’s still, pale form.

He looks down at the blood, cooling, against his gloves.

He looks down and he knows, in that moment, that Wade isn’t going to heal.

Chapter Text

Wade had told him, one night when the leaves were changing and the air was crisp, that he could heal from anything.

That he’d tried taking his own life in any and every way imaginable: that he’d shot himself, electrocuted himself, got impaled on the tusks of an elephant, and Peter had felt sick and sad but there had been a feeling underneath all of that, a selfish, twisted part of him, that was relieved Wade couldn’t die.

He had been comforted, for a split second, that he had finally found someone who couldn’t be taken away from him.

That Death couldn’t touch.

He had been naïve.

Death, no matter your past, present, future, no matter you abilities, your morals, your drive, will come for you.

Peter isn’t as naïve as he was then.

He can’t be, because he’s holding Wade’s lifeless body in his lap, his blood dried between their suits, and hours before he’d been kissing Wade’s lips and laughing against his skin.

This isn’t real.

“I’m hallucinating,” Peter says, but he can’t hear himself, his words are displaced, broken, sprinkled light as pollen around him, “I haven’t done that in a while, I’m overdue.”

“Peter,” Natasha says, gentle, coaxing.

He can’t hear her.

He can’t hear Wade’s heart.

“Tell me you can’t see him,” Peter presses, tearing off his mask and turning desperate to Natasha, “tell me I’m fucked up and losing it again.”

She purses her lips.

“I’m sorry,” is all she says.

I’m sorry.

Sorry.

Peter doesn’t want sorry. He wants Wade.

He feels hollow. He feels like someone gutted him, dug out every feeling he’s ever had, every memory, every truth, and left a shell, a dry, crippled husk in his place, like someone tore away all the things that make him human, that make him alive, and scorched it.

He doesn’t feel real, so this can’t be real.

It’s reminding him of a cold New York night in Manhattan, on a dirt sidewalk by a bodega. It reminds him of loss, and losing, and the way Uncle Ben’s glasses had been cracked, shattered, jarring the nearby streetlights into kaleidoscope patterns against the cement.

It’s reminding him of Gwen, of when he was twenty and fearless, of when he caught her too late, too fast, too much. He can still hear her bones breaking, snapping like dry twigs.

Peter has held two loved ones in his arms as they’ve died.

He should be used to the weight by now, but Wade feels heavier, and Peter’s arms are tired.

“Kasady,” Peter croaks, not looking away from the hole in Wade’s head, the hole that refuses to heal, “he could regenerate. Did his symbiote live? We could go back, we could check–”

“That room was burnt to ash,” Natasha says, “we can't go back, Peter, you need to breathe.”

“This was supposed to be easy,” Peter rambles, unceasing, “this was supposed to be simple recon this…this is my fault. This was my idea, I did this. I–”

“Enough,” Natasha snaps, stepping forward but not reaching out to touch, “you didn’t pull that trigger.”

“I may as well have,” Peter shoots back, chest tight, and breathing is becoming difficult.

His vision is fading, in and out, and his hands are shaking so horribly he can barely run his fingers over Wade’s cheeks.

Pale, lifeless cheeks.

Dead.

Venom is wrapped around his wrist like a living bracelet, Peter can feel them in the back of his head again, not as intense as when Venom was inside his body, but a humming, a tickling, along the edges of his subconscious.

Before him an Venom bonded completely the symbiote was like another suit, a blanket, that covered Peter’s body, communicated, but couldn’t take control. It feels like that now, with Venom around his wrist, connected by not obtrusive.

‘death’ Venom’s voice is in his ears, and it’s bizzare enough that Peter blinks, can feel the tears that fall down his face, ‘widow talks like death is alive’

Peter swallows, bends down and presses his lips to Wade’s skin.

“Wake up,” he whispers, uncaring of how he looks, uncaring that Natasha is watching him, “c’mon, Wade, you promised me we’d travel. Wake up.”

When Wade doesn’t move, doesn’t blink, Peter pulls back, a desperation that feels violent clawing its way through him.

“Wade this isn’t fucking funny,” Peter snaps and he can see Natasha shift from his peripherals, “please, c’mon, you can’t leave me. You can’t leave me–”

“Peter,” Natasha interrupts, soft but unwavering, “you need to stand up. You need to get yourself together.”

“I–” he chokes on tears, on a sob that’s lodged itself in his chest.

He’s going to be sick because this is a dream and it isn’t real and Wade will wake up and smile at him and say something fucking inappropriate ‘cause he can’t read a room to save his life and Peter will feel happy again, he’ll feel whole, he’ll feel safe because Wade is safe and warm and–

“God, fuckin–” Peter gasps, digging his nails into his forearms, hoping the pain will ground him to something, anything, because he feels like he’s leaving himself and that’s almost as terrifying as the idea of this being a hallucination.

A noise that doesn’t sound human leaves him, somewhere deep inside his chest, his soul. He aches with the force of it, with the way it scrapes raw out of his throat, the way his eyes sting, hurt, and he digs his nails in and bends over Wade’s body and breaks.

He breaks and breaks and breaks.

It takes a lot for him to lose his voice.

It takes a lot for him to collapse over Wade, hug his prone form to his chest. He can’t cry, anymore.

‘breathe’ Venom reminds him, and when Peter can’t take a breath Venom presses on his chest and makes him.

Like Wade used to.

“It hurts, V,” Peter tells them, his words just noise, just syllabus and vowels that have been stomped into gravel and turned into dust, “this isn’t real, right? This isn’t…”

Natasha returned to her seat up front, but Peter can feel her eyes on him every now and then.

He doesn’t care.

Wade’s eyes are closed.

 

///

 

Wade didn’t think Death would take him up on their payment so soon.

He should’ve known better. She doesn’t like to be left waiting.

When he wakes up in purgatory it’s not surprising. This is usually where he goes when he dies.

The sky is different.

Wade has never seen it bright like this, has never seen it this orange, this vibrant. There are no stars, no creatures. Just a setting sun.

“Hello darling,” Death’s voice is all around him, and Wade sits up, his head throbbing as he does.

“Hey, honey, I’m home,” Wade groans, burying his head in his hands and trying to stop the afterlife from spinning.

“I didn’t expect to see you so soon,” Death hums, and when Wade drops his hands she’s before him, doused in smoke and dark swirling mist, devoid of light in a world now vibrant with it.

“Dido,” Wade says, “I could go?”

Death tilts her head. Wade knows that look too well.

There’s heaviness in his stomach, a strange weight to his limbs. He feels resolved, finished. He feels like he’s left a lot behind, and that for the first time he doesn’t have the option to go back for it.

He tries to think of Peter’s face, of the light freckles on his shoulders. He wonders if he’ll ever see him again.

“So,” Wade sighs, looking up at Death with a smile that feels as fake as it looks, “what do you want? My hopes and dreams? My soul? Is this it? Are you gonna torture me for all of eternity? I know our break up was a little messy–”

“Wade,” Death interrupts, her voice an exhale, and Wade listens, lest he miss it. “I’m not cruel. I want to have a drink.”

Wade blinks.

“Um,” he says, “I’m taken. Happily taken. Like, super taken, babe, like, lovesick, head over heels puppy dog humping love–”

“Do you want me to damn your soul?”

“I’ll shut up and have a drink,” Wade agrees, sitting up and moving with heavy legs to where Death has sat on the grass, and Wade notices a small table, with a ceramic pot and two cups, that he didn’t see before.

Death pours, the steam rising up, the motion similar to how Death’s cloak moves. Wade takes it but doesn’t drink.

“This smells like tea,” he says. “And healthy things.”

“It’s earl grey,” Death corrects, holding her cup, bones wrapping around the glass.

Her eyeless face tilts towards Wade’s and she waits, patiently, until Wade takes a tentative sip.

“This is poisoned, isn’t it?” he asks, flinching as the drink burns his tongue and makes his mouth feel like sandpaper.

“No,” Death sighs, and places her drink down, “tell me about your partner.”

Wade blinks.

“You…want me to voluntarily talk about Petey?”

Death can’t smile, but the air around her gets soft, imitating the feeling of warmth and good will. Wade doesn’t know what to do with it.

“Talk,” she says, and settles back against the grass, resting her skull on Wade’s knees.

Wade’s never had a problem with talking; the problem has been getting him to shut up.

And Death doesn’t want Wade to shut up. So Wade does what he does best: he talks.

 

///

 

It takes the jet landing and Natasha coming towards him for Peter to be able to focus again.

“How can we contact Death?” Peter asks and Natasha stops a few feet away from him, wary.

“What?”

“You said Wade met with Death, so I’m assuming Death is a being of some kind? And that we can contact them, I mean, that’s what séance’s are for right?”

“Peter, no,” Natasha begins but Peter simply scoops Wade into his arms and stands, trying his best to not fall right back down because Wade hasn’t woken up yet and a part of Peter thought he would.

A part of him still thinks this isn’t real.

‘it’s real’ Venom says in his ear, and Peter can’t even feel relieved that he can speak to Venom again.

Wade’s heavy in his arms and he isn’t moving.

“Where are you taking the body?” Natasha asks and that almost makes Peter snap, almost makes him scream, because Wade isn’t just a body, he isn’t he isn’t he isn’t

“I’m gonna call every super I’ve ever heard of and try to find some way to–”

“Baby boy you’re kind of crushing me.”

Peter nearly jumps out of his skin.

He certainly drops Wade.

Even Natasha lets out a sound of surprise and Venom spikes over Peter’s shoulder, no longer than six inches long but still trying to protect him.

Wade lets out a groan and rolls to sit up, the hole in his head slowly knitting itself back together. It’s like Hannibal Lector making a sweater from strips of skin.

Peter is going to pass out.

“What…the fuck…” he hisses as Wade rubs his neck and stumbles to his feet.

“Shit, honey, sorry ‘bout that,” Wade says, standing and holding his hands up in a placating gesture at the look of sheer horror on Peter’s pale face, “but Death is a little possessive and wanted to have a catch up. The afterlife has great earl grey.”

Peter and Natasha stare at Wade with varying degrees of distress but Peter is the first to move, lifting up a shaking hand to touch Wade’s cheek.

“What the hell,” he breathes, other hand coming up to cup Wade’s face, “Wade, you were dead.”

“Sweetheart, I always die. That’s my thing.”

“You weren’t healing asshole,” Peter tries to sound angry but he feels like his legs are going to give out.

He had been convinced Wade wasn’t going to wake up and then he fucking did.

“Okay, so, funny story,” Wade begins before spotting Venom and losing his train of thought, “oh my GOD SNARLY! Wow, it’s been too long you little killer booger you!”

Wade holds his hand up for a high-five. Venom slaps his hand so hard his wrist cracks.

“Wade,” Peter snaps, “you need to explain what the hell just happened because if you almost really die every time you die I’m gonna lose it.”

“Did you hear what you just said?” Natasha asks, voice weak.

Wade exhales, his shoulders hunching, and he rubs his hands together, shifting on the balls of his feet in nervous, jittery, motions.

“Now, before I tell you this story, promise you won’t hate me,” Wade says.

There’s a pregnant pause.

“Why would I hate you?” Peter asks, dread forming in his stomach, and he’s so emotionally tired he might cry just for some form of release.

“I’m gonna go,” Natasha says, stilted, and Venom reaches out and jumps onto her arm, suctioning around her shoulder’s like a small snake.

Natasha pales, just a little, but doesn’t shake them off.

Peter would be surprised, he’s not used to the symbiote not being in his veins, but right now he’s too exhausted for any emotion besides the fog that’s settled with the hollow weight in his chest.

‘going’ Venom tells him, and Peter really needs to run some analysis’ and tests to see how he and Venom are connected, he has an idea, the alien was in his cells for three and a half years, probably some of them still is, but right now he’s relieved that Natasha is taking them.

Him and Wade need the privacy.

He watches Natasha and Venom walk back down the slope of the mountain to the safe house, and the sun is just touching the peaks of the mountains, the valley vast and expansive beyond. Peter would think it beautiful under any other circumstances.

“You have some explaining to do,” Peter sighs, crossing his arms and looking up at his boyfriend who was dead not ten minutes ago.

Wade at least has the self-awareness to look contrite, and he takes a breath before squaring his shoulders, like he’s preparing for a fight.

Like he’s expecting Peter to hurt him.

“You died,” Wade starts, voice tense and Peter knows, he just knows, the boxes are screaming in his head, “and I panicked. So I had Red Widow carve a hole in my chest to buy me time to talk to Death, who, by the way, is a bangin’ hot skeleton who somehow has boobs because she was designed by a group of white men who don’t understand that the female gender isn’t defined by having huge knockers–”

“Wade,” Peter says, trying to get him to focus and still attempting to wrap his head around the idea that Death is real, is a humanoid being, but he’ll have to process that discovery later.

“Right, so I visited her. Um, we used to have a thing? Kind of? So I thought hey, I could ask for a favor in exchange for something.”

“You…brought me back to life,” Peter says; slow, because Wade’s stopped talking and he isn’t meeting Peter’s gaze, “Wade–”

“I made a deal,” Wade interrupts in a rush, hurrying to get the words out, “and I didn’t think she’d take me up on it so soon. Honestly, I didn’t really get any details, didn't read the terms and conditions. She just told me she’d return your soul if I gave her something and I agreed without asking what she wanted in the first place but turns out she’s just lonely and I have to have tea parties with her once a month for at least an hour and tell her about the weather and our sex life.”

Peter’s speechless.

He’s really trying to wrap his mind around everything Wade just word vomited, but his brain keeps getting caught in the whole Death is a being thing and that his boyfriend is going to be having tea parties with said being

“What the hell is going on?” Peter whispers, sinking to his knees and burying his head in his hands, “This isn’t real is it?”

“Unfortunately, maybe,” Wade says, sitting down cross-legged in front of him.

He’s wringing his hands in his lap, itching for one of his guns no doubt, and Peter knows Wade well enough to know that he wants to shoot something to get rid of the nerves clogging his throat.

“I should be reprimanding you,” Peter sighs, looking up and meeting Wade’s eyes, “but I’m too tired.”

“Ooh, you gonna punish me?” Wade waggles his eyebrows.

“Focus,” Peter sighs, a tired smile pulling at his lips.

A fluttering of hope crosses Wade’s features.

“So…we’re not breaking up?” he asks.

“Breaking up? Why would we break up?”

“We had a fight,” Wade says, like that explains everything.

“Yeah… that doesn’t mean we’re breaking up,” Peter says, slow, a pounding headache forming behind his eyes, “just because we had a fight you thought we’d break up?”

Wade shrugs his shoulders, and he looks small in the glowing copper light.

“Maybe? Usually my partners either die or cheat on me with Dracula and I thought I fucked this up pretty spectacularly.”

“Wade, after all we’ve been through one little fight isn’t going to wreck what we have. I love you. And if you think for one goddamn second that we’re not going to Spain and Paris and Rome and finish the first season of Handmaids Tale I will break up with you–”

Wade’s kissing the words from his mouth and Peter sinks into it, tired down to his bones, the hollow feeling in his chest growing warm and not as cold when Wade cradles Peter’s face in his hands, like he’s something precious, something worth treasuring.

They part in an air of exhausted relief and gratitude, and Peter slumps forward, buries his face against Wade’s throat.

“So, you and Death?” he asks, a tired grin teasing his lips, “What was that like?”

“Well we never got past first base,” Wade says, wrapping his arms around Peter’s shoulders and holding him close, “I’m not into necrophilia.”

Peter snorts against the leather of Wade’s suit and burrows closer, comfortable and close to falling asleep.

“You can’t just permanently die for an hour once a month,” Peter mutters, “I’ll have a heart attack.”

“Sorry honey buns, but that’s the deal,” Wade soothes, brushing Peter’s hair away from his eyes and off his forehead, “it’s worth it though right? You’re alive and I get to have a free therapy session whenever I get my brains blown out.”

“Ugh,” Peter groans, lifting his head and meeting Wade’s gaze, still a little dizzy and unbelieving that Wade is alive and not dead and God, he feels like he’s going crazy all over again.

“Hey,” Wade says, voice soft and raspy and Peter hates that he finds Wade so attractive because now he just wants to keep kissing, “are you okay?”

“I feel like I’ve been hit by three trucks in a row, so not really,” Peter answers, honest, “I’m still mad at you.”

“I know,” Wade agrees.

“And I feel weird about you visiting your ex once a month to have a drink.”

“Either that or she takes your soul.”

“And my head hurts and my shoulder is probably still bleeding and I need to run tests on Venom to make sure they’re okay and I’m kind of craving an egg sandwich and I want to go to the beach and also sleep for five years–”

“Whoa, okay, three things at a time, baby boy,” Wade laughs, gentle, leaning over to kiss Peter’s cheeks, his nose, his ear and making Peter shiver, “pick three to do now and we’ll do the rest later.”

“You decide things I’m tired,” Peter complains and Wade coos before standing and bending down, picking Peter up with an embarrassing amount of ease.

Peter doesn’t even care. He just curls into Wade’s chest and closes his eyes.

“Let’s sleep, then shower, then I’ll make sweet syrupy love to you on an iHop, then get eggs, then figure all this HYDRA shit out. And tonight I’m gonna blow up that building you promised me.”

“Don’t push it,” Peter grumbles, but he’s asleep not a minute later with Wade’s voice alive and soft in his ear.

 

///

 

Things are good.

They move from the safe house after a month, when Tony contacts SHIELD and figures out that there has been no new movement from HYDRA, no leads, no trails to follow, and no alarm bells ringing.

 

///

 

Peter doesn’t move back into the Avengers Compound, even though Tony renovated his room and says its always going to be available to him.

Instead he moves into Wade’s apartment in Brooklyn, closer to Aunt May, closer to the Avengers Tower in Manhattan for him to work on his lab studies with Bruce. They go to Ikea with Wade’s old roommate Blind Al and Peter gets so frustrated trying to piece everything together he just uses his webs instead.

Wade thinks it’s hot.

May tells him it makes their apartment look trashy so Wade builds everything and Peter watches and listens to Wade curse communism.

 

///

 

Venom stays with Peter some days, moves around the Avengers Compound and Tower on others.

Tony designed a room specifically for the symbiote, where they can train and move about and Tony and Peter can study them more closely and humanely.

They eat all of Peter and Wade’s food, specifically the chocolate and cereal, and sometimes they wreck all the furniture in the living room if Peter and Wade aren’t giving them their full attention but…it’s domestic, kind of like having a hyperactive, sometimes dangerously aggressive child that can kill them both without trying.

Peter thinks about his current situation and gets this warm, affectionate fuzzy feeling in his chest.

For the first time in a long time he has a place of his own.

He’s in love with his best friend, and that love is returned without hesitation.

He’s found a home. He had forgotten what that felt like.

It’s nice to be reminded.

 

///

 

“Okay,” Tony sighs, rubbing his eyes and leaning heavily against his work bench, “we should probably eat soon. I'm too old for all these all-nighters.”

“I’m almost done,” Peter, says distractedly, adjusting the magnetizing goggles covering his eyes to study the cell sample he’d taken from himself, “this is really cool.”

“Cool?” Tony repeats, “Having an alien in your bloodstream is cool?”

“It is if we can communicate telepathically,” Peter says, unbothered. “I mean, it makes sense. When Venom bonded with me they bonded with my cellular structure. Not as physical as Kasady and his steroid powered symbiote, but similar.”

“Speaking of,” Tony says, snapping his fingers in front of Peter’s face and making the younger man pay attention to him, “SHIELD did a clean up of the cell. Some of Kasady’s symbiote survived, separated into a corner of the room. It’s in their custody.”

Peter pushes his goggles up, his hair standing up in greasy clumps. Him and Tony haven’t left the lab in days, and it's starting to show. It must really be bad if Tony is the one recommending they leave.

“Can SHIELD handle it?” Peter asks, and Tony shrugs, walking over to one of the screens of Peter’s bone structure and closing it with a swipe of his wrist.

“Most likely,” he answers, yawning into his shoulder, “secured in a base in Washington.”

“We should prepare for something to go wrong,” Peter sighs, stretching his arms over his head and letting his back pop.

He kicks an empty pizza box out of his way as he stands, shrugging his lab coat off his shoulders and draping it over the back of his chair.

“Probably,” Tony agrees, a tired smile spreading over his features, “but for now everything is good.”

“That’s what’s weird,” Peter mutters, following Tony from the lab and into the elevator, “I’m not used to quiet.”

“Hopefully you’ll have a chance to get used to it,” Tony says, stepping in behind him and pressing the button to take them to the tenth floor of the new Avengers Compound, “but right now you need a shower.”

“Hey, you smell just as bad as I do,” Peter says but lifts his arm to sniff at himself.

Tony’s right.

“I’ve been meaning to ask,” Peter begins as they step out of the elevator into one of the more private kitchen areas (not the one Wade sucked Peter off in), “can you and Pepper watch V tonight?”

Tony turns to look at Peter over his shoulder and Peter doesn’t like the coy look in the older man’s eyes.

“Hmmm, you need a babysitter?” Tony asks, crossing his arms and leaning against the counter in the kitchen.

“Um,” Peter begins, unsure of what Tony’s getting at, “yes? If that’s okay?”

Tony taps his finger against his chin, like he’s pretending to think hard about something.

“And Wade’s getting back from his mission with Hawkeye tonight, right?”

Embarrassment turns Peter’s cheeks pink.

He knows exactly where Tony is going with this.

“I think I preferred you when you didn’t like thinking about Wade and I’s relationship,” Peter grumbles, “much less our sex life.”

“I still don’t like thinking about it but I do like teasing you,” Tony grins, reaching for his phone in his back pocket.

“I don’t like any of it,” Peter admits.

“Aw, c’mon, Pete, we’re all adults here,” Tony says.

“Sometimes I forget.”

“What do you want for lunch?” Tony asks, still smiling and Peter rolls his eyes but is secretly pleased that Tony has grown to like Wade enough to ask about his wellbeing.

Development. It’s nice.

 

///

 

 

Peter stops by his and Wade’s favorite Mexican joint on his way home.

He orders one of everything off the menu and arranges it on their held-together-by-super-glue-and-duct-tape Ikea table in the living room. Wade’s been away for three weeks for SHIELD, and Peter knows he’ll be starving when he gets home.

He also knows that he needs a shower and so he kicks off his shoes and makes his way to the small bathroom, keeping his phone on and setting it on the sink by the shower in case Wade calls.

They’ve made it a habit, because Peter sometimes freaks when he hears the front door open and isn’t aware of who it is, so Wade’s taken to sending him a text every time, or doing a special knock. The one time he forgot Peter webbed him to the ceiling and had holed himself in their bedroom for two hours…so Wade texts.

The water pressure sucks, and the shower never really gets warm, so Peter grits his teeth and tries not to shiver as he furiously scrubs at his hair, the snow that had begun to fall earlier today not helping with the temperature of their apartment.

He’s missed Wade terribly, and he was worried that his boyfriend wouldn’t be back home in time for Christmas. The holiday is coming up in a week, and Wade had insisted on going tree shopping with Aunt May.

They’re scheduled to meet her tomorrow, and SHIELD missions sometimes (most of the time) go longer than previously stated. Peter’s just happy Wade’s coming home at all.

He washes his body in a hurry, almost slips a couple times in surprise when his phone dings and he reaches for it with slippery hands.

Wade’s almost at the apartment and Peter’s heart does a silly dance in his chest as he wraps a towel around his waist and exits the bathroom. He pulls on a pair of old sweats and his favorite hoodie of Wade’s and tries to dry his hair when a familiar series of knocks rap on the front door.

He shoots a web and yanks the door open and Wade’s standing there in his civvies, a large canvas duffle over his shoulder and his hand still forming a fist in the air.

“Hey,” Peter grins, hair still a wet mess, food stains covering his sweats.

“Hey,” Wade greets, a matching smile spreading the scars over his cheeks, “you’re a sight for sore everything. Is that my–”

“Yes,” Peter interrupts, giddy and excited, he pulls Wade forward and practically jumps into his arms, “enough talking.”

Wade catches him in a practiced motion, holding Peter up by his thighs and Peter kisses him, deep and long, kicking the door shut as Wade walks fully into their apartment. He may have closed it too aggressively because Peter vaguely hears the wood splinter but neither him nor Wade pay it any mind because Wade’s tongue is down Peter’s throat and his hands are gripping Peter’s ass and Peter’s too hard to care about anything that isn’t Wade.

“I fuckin’ missed you, baby,” Wade growls against his lips, kisses turning rough, making Peter’s lips swell, “God damn, I’m quitting tomorrow.”

Peter laughs and rolls his hips against Wade’s and Wade makes a deep noise in his chest that has Peter shivering and heat pooling hot in his groin.

“You should fuck me,” Peter breathes, grin sharp as Wade’s pupils dilate even further, his blue eyes almost entirely black, “like, right now.”

“I think I should fuck you right now,” Wade parrots, breathless, kissing Peter harder and pushing him up against the nearest wall, hands tugging Peter’s sweatpants down over his ass and Wade makes an appreciative groan.

“Damn, no undies this time, baby boy?” Wade rasps, kissing along Peter’s jaw to suck a dark mark on the side of his neck, visible for the entirety of New York to see.

“Later I’ll wear those panties you bought for me if you hurry up and make me cum,” Peter growls, grabbing Wade’s head and mashing their mouths together.

Wade practically tears the sweats the rest of the way off Peter’s legs and that shouldn’t be so hot, that Wade can rip his clothes with no effort, but it is and Peter lives for it.

Wade’s right hand dips low and Peter feels him still, feels Wade’s breath hitch against his neck.

“You…” Wade breathes, awed, pulling back to look at Peter’s flushed features.

“I prepped in the shower,” Peter admits, hating that this is what makes him blush, after everything him and Wade have done.

Wade’s looking at him like he’s going to eat him alive, like he’s going to wreck him, and Peter’s entire body is thrumming in anticipation.

“Jesus loving fuck,” Wade groans and presses closer, presses Peter impossibly hard against the wall.

“Told you I missed you,” Peter says, breathless, as Wade unzips his jeans and lines himself up.

“That you did,” Wade agrees and kisses the air from Peter’s lungs, “now use your super sexy powers to hold yourself up, honey, I wanna use both hands on you.”

They dent the drywall, not for the first time.

They’re not getting their security deposit back.

 

///

 

It’s snowing the next morning, and they watch it fall tangled in the bed sheets and each other.

Peter wraps a scarf around his neck to hide his hickies but he’s sure Aunt May will be able to see them anyway.

Wade isn’t exactly subtle.

 

 

///

 

Christmas is a blur of snow and hot chocolate and cookies.

Venom helps May cook, and Peter and Wade forgot that they needed to have actual presents for people. They’re broke most of the time, they hope no one holds them to it.

Christmas dinner is at the Avengers Compound, and it’s a crowded rowdy mess. Steve and Bucky stick close to each other throughout the night, socializing with Sam and Tony in spades. Pepper’s had the event catered but May still brings her and Venom’s homemade cookies and strudels, and Wade insisted on him and Peter wearing the matching sweaters they’d both gotten for each other.

Maybe they spend too much time together.

Tony gets drunk off eggnog and tells everyone he loves them.

Natasha and Domino share a sweet, minty kiss under the many mistletoe hanging over multiple doorways, and Thor breaks the dining room table trying to do a traditional Asgaurdian dance.

Shuri films it on her phone with Peter and T’Challa drinks champagne with Pepper and Okoye in the foyer where the music from the living room can be heard.

Wade doesn’t wear his mask and no one comments on his skin, and he and Shuri bond impossibly fast over memes and pranks and T’Challa looks on with a resigned expression on his face.

Peter hasn’t felt this warm, this loved, in a very long time. He thinks, after everything, he’s earned this.

 

 

///

 

 

“You know, I still haven’t given you your second present,” Wade tells him when the party has died down, when only May and Bucky are awake, sharing stories on the couch with the lights dimmed and Steve asleep in a nearby armchair.

Peter hums, sips at his eggnog and leans back against Wade’s chest, staring at the large Christmas tree taking up most of the front hallway. Wade’s propped his chin on Peter’s shoulder, his arms wrapped around Peter’s waist.

“I thought you did,” Peter says, speaking low and gentle, not wanting to break the delicate ease that’s fallen over everyone like a warm blanket, “three times in three different positions.”

“That was a little teaser,” Wade whispers, kissing Peter’s neck and loosening his hold, instead maneuvering Peter so that they’re facing each other.

“Okay,” Peter hums, “what’s the rest of my present?”

“What would you say if I told you we’re going to Barcelona in thirty six hours?”

Peter raises his eyebrows, a slow smile spreading across his features.

“Really?” he asks, wrapping his arms around Wade’s neck, careful not to spill the remainder of his drink down Wade’s new sweater.

Wade waggles his eyebrows, and Peter has to kiss him for being so adorable.

“Really really,” Wade promises, “how’s that sound?”

“That sounds nice,” Peter says, “I think we deserve a vacation.”

“Some would argue that it’s long overdue,” Wade agrees, “it’s what the readers want, after all, we’ve been teasing this since chapter four. Sangrias? Beach sex? Warm weather? Hotel near Formentera?”

“You bought me a trip to heaven,” Peter grins, “thank you, babe.”

“Merry Jesus Eve,” Wade says, kissing Peter soft and gentle and yeah, Peter can get used to this.

 

 

///

 

 

They spend two weeks in Spain where Peter discovers Wade speaks Spanish and that…yeah, that’s hot. They spend hours walking hot city streets, and Wade keeps trying to pick up every stray cat he sees, regardless of its hygiene. They eat gelato and go to markets and Peter gets horribly sunburned but Wade keeps sunscreen in his fanny pack (along with a bag of catnip) so Peter isn't too uncomfortable.

They then decide to go to Paris, eat baguettes on the balcony of their hotel and drink Champagne at night walking down Rue de l'Abreuvoir. Wade makes the decision to take them to Rome, and he hasn’t been to any of these places without having a mark to kill, so he becomes the biggest tourist of all time, tacky shirts, fanny packs, sandals, everything, and Peter both hates and loves him for it.

They eat everything they can, go to all the tourist traps during the day and wander to get lost at night. Wade buys Peter a camera to document the trip and Peter spends the entire time taking pictures of Wade.

It’s what he wants to remember most.

 

 

///

 

 

It’s been a year and Peter hasn’t heard from HYDRA.

It’s been a year and there’s been no new leads, no new whispers, nothing.

Peter’s picked up the suit again, swings around the city he loves as Spider-Man with Deadpool on his back, a deadly shadow that wears a bracelet for SHIELD missions engraved with What Would Spidey Do?

It’s been a year and Peter and Wade have made their shitty apartment nice, it’s been a year and Peter no longer sleeps with one eye open, it’s been a year and Wade still has bad days, still slips up and kills.

It’s been a year and Peter doesn’t wake up every night from horrible nightmares but still has moments of dissociating, still has days where he can’t leave the bed, can’t find the energy to move at all, and Wade sits guard on the edge of their matterss and brings him food and hugs him until he's warm.

It’s been a year and Peter wakes up in a soft room that doesn’t feel strange, wakes up with the man he loves, in the city he loves, in a world he’s growing to trust again.

It’s been a year and Peter is happy.

It’s been a year and Peter is free, safe, loved.

It’s been a year, and Peter has traveled the world, been outside, can eat burgers whenever he wants.

It’s been a year and Peter knows what the wind feels like against his skin, knows affection and daydreams and security.

It’s been a year and Peter is living.

It’s been one year and Peter is home.