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Mourning Glory

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Wade splays himself out with an arrogant, careless disregard upon the gold-trimmed red velvet chaise longue, replete in its resplendence with a tasseled fringe. He has one arm strewn across the back while he scratches with his other at his bare midriff where his suit has ridden up. With one leg stretching out across the cushions to hang off the end, and digging the toes of his other foot into the plush fur of the tiger skin rug that covers the floor, he is reminiscent of 18th Century French aristocracy, the very picture of redolent decadence, and Nate scoffs in disgust.

 

“Wow, isn’t it kind of--what’s the word? Gaudy? No! Gauche! For a therapist to have such an, I don’t know, ostentatious couch? Has the National Therapist Association banded together with PETA to ban leather couches?” Wade says, digging around in his abdomen with a finger for the stray shrapnel from a shotgun blast that he can feel irritating his intestines.

 

Nate sighs, even as he steps down on the back of the poor asshole trying to crawl away with just one arm, and legs missing from beneath the knees. He doesn’t even bother aiming before he shoots the guy in the back of the neck, putting him out of his misery. He turns to Wade and holsters his pistol.

 

“In the future, there’s no room for the moral high ground. You make the most of what you can, using leather because you have to, not to show off your wealth,” Nate tells him somberly, as he appraises the couch in question.

 

It’s truly hideous, in that way that the très-riches seem to clamour over. Once again, Nate doesn’t understand this century’s obsession with aesthetics--and the deliberate disregard of them. Making things to be displayed rather than used . It’s not a very practical couch. Long enough for someone to stretch out on, like Wade is demonstrating, which means that it’s long enough for more than one person to sit side-by-side. Only, only half of it has a back, and there’s just one arm. Not very comfortable for anyone sitting on the other side.

 

Nate considers it to a waste of space. A demonstration of status, to spend all that money on something barely functional. Nate frowns at it.

 

“Hey, are you sure you got it all? I think you might have left some behind,” Wade says, gesturing with an over-exaggerated flourish to where the skin on his stomach is knitting itself back together.

 

Nate resists rolling his eyes, but only just.

 

“Yes, I’m sure,” he grunts.

 

“If not for you literally just talking, I would have thought that the future selectively-bred words out of you--”

 

Nate ignores him, instead electing to look around the office. He and Wade had been contracted to take out a psychiatrist prescribing a price-gouged medication who was in league with a fraudulent pharmacist--who happened to be her brother-in-law--replacing it with a placebo.

 

They were charging exorbitant rates for fake medication, and the situation had resonated with Wade. He had practically offered to pay to take the contract.

 

It was a fairly… how had Wade put it? Ostentatious? Office in general. The chaise had a matching chair placed across from it, with an impractically small table in between that was barely large enough to support a uranium-glass vase that looked kind of like a dildo, the green of which contrasted horribly with the red of the rest of the furniture.

 

“Oh come on, please ,” Wade weedles. Nate looks back to him and levels him with a glare, crossing his arms.

 

“Pretty please with Rainbow Dash on top?”

 

They have a staring contest, but Nate knows he’s lost when Wade makes a little love heart with his hands. He sighs through his nose, nodding, and Wade fist-pumps the air.

 

This time, Nate does roll his eyes. He walks towards Wade, glaring at the callous disrespect of the complexities of ecology as represented by the tiger-skin rug. Honestly, he thinks. No wonder the world went to shit.

 

He takes a deep breath before kneeling in front of Wade, knowing that even as he does so, Wade will say--

 

“God, I love it when you’re on your knees for me.”

 

Nate doesn’t bother responding.

 

He reaches out with his TK, trying to feel for any aberrations in Wade’s abdomen, but feels nothing.

 

He tells Wade as much as he stands.

 

“Are you sure? ” Wade hastles him.

 

“Are you the one with telekinetic powers?”

 

“Not in this continuity,” Wade chirps cheerfully.

 

Nate grumbles something under his breath that Wade wasn’t supposed to hear, so Wade blithely assumes that Nate is reminding himself to pick up more toilet paper later--Wade had used the last of it to create a life-sized papier-maché swan in flight, and had suspended it over Cable’s bed using fishing wire while he was sleeping. Unfortunately, Wade hadn’t gotten the fire-breathing mechanism right just yet, and it had caught aflame.

 

Which is a shame, Wade thinks, and frowns underneath his mask. Swans are scary enough already, but a fire-breathing swan??? It could have been so cool .

 

Wade swivels around so that he’s upright on the chaise longue, and yanks up the psychiatrist he decapitated earlier to sit beside him. Wade wraps his arm over her shoulders, and leans in as if to whisper into her ear--only her entire head is missing.

 

“Maybe using highly-flammable glue in the papier-maché wasn’t the way to go,” Wade tells the headless man, sotto voce.

 

Nate grunts his assent from where he’s rifling through the therapist’s desk, looking for the address book.

 

After fifteen minutes of Nate looking, and Wade looking at Nate looking, Nate looks over at Wade. It’s a very romantic moment, really. Lots of meaningful looks being exchanged.

 

Wade tries to look Nate over, but his dick is hidden behind the grotesquely ornate cherry wood desk, so Wade pouts a little.

 

“Well?” Nate asks, succinct as always.

 

“Sorry,” Wade says, not contrite in the least. “But my new friend here was telling me about her new Skyrim conspiracy theory. Go ahead, tell him what you just told me.”

 

Frustrated, Nate slams his hand on the desk, and a dull thud comes from underneath it.

 

Nate and Wade stare at each-other for a moment, before Nate cautiously crouches down to inspect whatever it was that made the noise, which turned out to be the suspiciously missing address book. He had apparently hit the desk hard enough to dislodge the book from the tape adhering it to the underside of it.

 

Nated snorts, and picks it up to riffle through it.

 

Names, addresses, and phone numbers of their accomplices involved in the medical fraud ring. Nate takes a pen from the desk, and crosses out the entry of the brother-in-law, who he had shot not twenty minutes prior.

 

Satisfied, he pockets it--or rather, puts it in his manny-pack.

 

Wade jumps to his feet and claps his hands excitedly.

 

“Time to go celebrate!”

 

He turns to the headless corpse, which has now fallen forward.

 

“Sorry, pal. I’ll never remember you!” Wade shouts over his shoulder as he skips to catch up with Nate, linking arms as they leave the office together.

 

Later, after they’ve debriefed the rest of the X-force, Nate considers Wade with a pensive look on his face.

 

If Wade’s honest, it makes him look kind of constipated.

 

“Looks like someone had one too many celebration chimichangas!” Wade sing-songs.

 

But Nate doesn’t react like he normally does. Instead his face does something weird. He half-smiles down at Wade who is lying down on their couch, and was enjoying watching an A.I play video games before Mr Not-That-Tall but Dark and Handsome stood in front of the T.V, blocking his view. He looks down at Wade, and his eyes go soft and crinkly at the corners like when Nate talks about his family.

 

“Maybe you should see one,” Nate says, softly, like he’s talking to a horse. Wade’s just as stubborn and easily spooked so it’s probably actually a really good analogy, now that Wade thinks about it.

 

“See what?” He asks, with a feigned nonchalance.

 

“A therapist,” Nate says, simply.

 

“How was I supposed to know that’s what you meant?” Wade exclaims, throwing his hands in the air. “I’m not the one with telepathy.”

 

Nate shrugs, and motions for Wade to move over so that he can sit on the couch too.

 

They end up having a YouTube party, Wade needing to show Cable one more video, until it’s 3am and Cable begs off to bed.

 

Rather than going to his own room, Wade lies down on the couch, his hands crossed over his stomach, and stares at the ceiling awash in pale blue light from the T.V.

 

Okay, maybe Nate’s suggestion did have some merit. He was still struggling with Ness’s… with Ness. He had been internalising all of his feelings--his grief, his despair, his loneliness at his loss; his anger, his frustration at his impotence to protect her; his fear of getting attached again, allowing himself to be vulnerable, and his fear of losing that someone again--and self-medicating with probably financially unsustainable amounts of Ben and Jerry’s.

 

Unfortunately, though, his attempts to minimise his emotions hadn’t entirely worked, and he found himself becoming increasingly irritable and unfairly snapping at the other members of the X-force for no reason.

 

Ness would want him to live his best life, and this wasn’t living. This was… approaching a simulacrum of living.

 

It wasn’t like Nate was the first person to have brought up the T word in his presence lately, either. It seemed like the entire Gang was conspiring against him. Wade wouldn’t be surprised if they held an intervention soon.

 

First it was Negasonic the Teenage Witch who had sardonically suggested it to Wade when Russell was telling him about his own therapy sessions. That had been about a month ago, and Wade hadn’t really put much thought into it--but Neena had been around to hear it, and brought it up again last week.

 

Their Bear Grylls marathons were supposed to be sacred , so when Neena brought up offhandedly that she had been back to her therapist, Wade pretended like he had left the stove on and made a tactically sound expeditious retreat.

 

Now Nate, too?

 

Who would be next? Weasel? Wade snorted and rolled away from the T.V and into the crook of the couch, wrapping his arms around himself as he fell asleep.