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It Had to Be You

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1:  

Sometimes, during a fight, Peter’s suit got ripped.

It was just nylon and spandex. These things happened.

Sometimes it got ripped so badly that it’d be indecent to keep webbing around in it. JJ would have plenty to say about it if he found out Spider-Man was accidentally exposing himself to the general population on his patrols.

And sometimes it was his mask that got ripped, which was always a disaster. Either way, Peter had gotten quite good at coming up with off-the-cuff fixes for his little wardrobe malfunctions.

Today, he was helping out with what he privately thought of as a Big Boss fight, and his mask was torn irrevocably by a stray blast. Peter was lucky he’d been experimenting with fireproof nanofiber fabrics, or he’d have more than just his privacy to worry about.

Point being, the other supers had things on lock for a few minutes, so Peter could take care of this. There was a costume shop within about half a mile of their location, which was always the most convenient choice, since he could always be assured of finding some kind of suitable mask.

Peter arrived at the shop and stealthed his way inside, sticking mostly to the ceiling while half his face was still exposed. He did his shopping from there, quickly finding a horrible, cheap yellow suit with a full coverage nacho libre style mask and webbing it up into his grasp.

Once he’d found the changing room, he tried on the mask and decided he’d need to wear the rest of the suit too, purely so that no one who took a picture would know for 100% certain that it was Spider-Man wearing this nonsense. At least the cape was detachable.

He left it in the changing room and went back to the register wearing the new suit and mask, announcing, “I need to buy this.”

The guy reclining in a chair behind the counter glanced at him and showed absolutely no surprise at finding Peter fully suited up in one of his products.

Instead, he gave him a slow once over and said, ”That’ll be $56.62, pal.”

“What?” Peter exclaimed, lifting his arm to examine the price tag in his armpit. “It says it’s like twenty bucks!

“You tink you gonna pull the wool over my eyes?” the man demanded, though he still hadn’t put down his magazine or sat up at all. “I see dat Spidey costume you got behind your back. I ain’t no fool.”

“This is mine,” Peter said, bringing his suit out to show him. “Look at the material. That’s not cheap costume fabric. That’s my suit.”

“Yeah, an’ I’m Captain fuckin’ America,” the man said lazily. “$56.62.”

“I wore this in!” Peter exclaimed, gesturing with his suit to the front door. “Where’s my clothes then, if I grabbed this off the rack?”

“Changin’ room,” the man replied without missing a beat. “I’ll find ‘em later. Happened before.”

Peter glared at him, though the mask rendered that ineffectual. “You don’t even have any Spider-Man costumes! I checked!”

“Ah ha, so yer even admittin’ you wanted a Spidey suit. Classic mistake. You payin’ cash or credit?”

“I-- wha-- no!” Peter threw up his hands. “I’m not paying you for my own suit!"

“Well ya ain’t stealin’ it either.”

“I’m not stealing!”

“Dat’s the spirit. $56.62.”

Peter let out a wordless growl of frustration. “Listen: I. Am. Spider-Man.”

The man behind the counter gave Peter a lofty, unimpressed look. “Prove it.”


By the time Peter had proved himself sufficiently to the costume shop cashier, about twenty minutes had passed, which was ages in Big Boss Fight time. Peter returned to the scene just in time to find the Avengers and a few stray X-Men wrapping things up.

Embarrassed, he decided not to announce himself. Accidentally abandoning the fight was bad enough. Turning up in a crappy nacho libre costume after the danger had passed was somehow infinitely worse.

He did get a few funny looks from passerby and super alike, but since he was walking around and not up in the air, no one could quite place who he was, if he was meant to be anyone specific at all.

That was for the best.

Peter decided to just go home. He’d get a few blocks away, then take to the air once he was sure no one was watching.

“Hey, Spidey,” someone said, and Peter very nearly answered before he caught himself and turned around.

It was Deadpool, and he wasn’t even looking up. He was on his phone, perching casually on a newspaper box that had been driven halfway through a wall at some point.

“Uh-- you--” Peter stared at him until Deadpool looked up and his face beneath his mask split into a wide grin.

“The fuck are you wearing, Webs?” he asked, delighted. Peter heaved a deep sigh.

“I don’t wanna talk about it,” he said, arms crossed as he squinted at Deadpool. “How’d you know it was me? Why are you even here?”

“Uh, excuse you, I was helping,” Deadpool said, pressing one hand daintily to his chest. “Although if you wanna wrestle, I’m totally willing to see who can pin who down and--”

“How’d you know it was me?” Peter interrupted, cheeks burning under the cheap mask. He’d really brought this whole situation upon himself, but damn if he wasn’t gonna be mortified anyway.

“Oh, it’s the way you move,” Deadpool said, shrugging. “Real distinctive. Very sexy. And sweetheart, that body is rockin’ no matter what you cover it with. I’d know that ass anywhere.”

Peter pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to ignore the faint Smarties smell inside his uncomfortable mask, and said, “Whatever. Just-- don’t tell anyone it was me. Okay?”

“I’ll take it to my grave,” Deadpool said, then cackled. “Every single one.”

“Uh, yeah...” Peter said, turning, then awkwardly turning back and finding he didn’t have any good response to that. “So. Bye then.”

Adios, papi chulo !”

Peter kept walking, and resolved not to look that up.


2.

Peter was in a bar. It had the ambiance of a speakeasy, which would’ve been kind of cool except that Peter suspected that ambiance came in part from being a front for organized crime dealings. As a precaution, he was wearing an image inducer, and currently looked like a forty five year old coke addict with a combover and a plaid suit jacket.

He was here as part of an extended team up with Daredevil, working to take down a trafficking ring that had sprung up in one of the bigger crime families. Peter suspected Tombstone’s involvement, and had been working on an ‘I’m very disappointed in you, young man,’ speech that he’d give while Tombstone threw bricks and sledgehammers at his head once they’d tracked him down.

He was currently debating how worth it it’d be to tell Tombstone that his mother would be ashamed of him, too. On the one hand, it’d be funny, but on the other, it might piss him off a little too much. He’d have to read the room on that one.

Someone sat down next to him at the bar, which was strange since there were plenty of free seats. Peter glanced sideways to find a very attractive, well built man with a chiseled jawline and bright, knowing eyes.

“What’s our angle?” he whispered, gesturing to the barkeeper. Peter stared at him while he ordered a whiskey, neat.

“Excuse me?” Peter asked, since he was pretty sure he didn’t know this man. Something about him felt familiar, but he couldn’t place it.

“Is this really what you look like under the suit, baby boy?” His neighbor continued, and Peter had to resist the urge to let his head thunk down onto the bar.

“What?” he asked, his voice flat. It was Deadpool. It was fucking Deadpool. Of course it was.

“Cause, y’know, it’s not... what I was picturin’,” Deadpool said, rolling his shoulders. He paused when the bartender returned with his drink, and took a long sip. “But it’s not like, a deal breaker either. I still think you’re hot.”

“Oh my god,” Peter said quietly, staring down into his beer. “How did you know it was me? How could you possibly know it was me?”

“Saw you sittin’ over here,” Deadpool said, twisting his glass back and forth and drawing his finger through the condensation. “Told you last time, didn’t I? It’s the way you hold yourself.”

“The way I--” Peter broke off, clenching his jaw, then spoke very, very quietly. “I’m not even me right now. I’m using an image inducer.”

“Oh shit, me too!” Deadpool beamed at him, and Peter realized he must be telling the truth. He hadn’t thought about it immediately, but he’d seen the lower half of Deadpool’s face before, and while the smile looked basically the same, this version of him had smooth, perfect skin.

“Is this what you, uh... used to look like?” he asked, hazarding a potentially risky guess.

“Before I got beat to death with the ugly stick, yep.” Deadpool lifted his glass half an inch off the bartop and clinked it lightly with Peter’s. “You can call me Wade when I’m this pretty. Wilson if you’re nasty.”

“Right,” Peter said. He turned to look at Deadpool again and asked, “Is it that obvious who I am? Is someone gonna notice me and start something?”

“I doubt it,” Deadpool said, keeping his voice low in deference to the topic at hand, which Peter appreciated. “Honestly, I thought it was you, but I wasn’t positive til you did that lil’ thing you do with your mouth when you’re bored.”

“That... thing with my mouth,” Peter repeated, looking at himself in the mirror behind the bar and frowning. A stranger looked back, with nothing of Peter in him as far as he could tell. Peter had thought he’d be fine with an image inducer on. It wasn’t as though anyone who knew him as Spider-Man would know enough about him to mark him.

Except for Deadpool, apparently, and Peter knew if he asked, he’d be treated to some choice information about Deadpool’s visual familiarity with his mouth, and probably all the ways he’d like to be more familiar. Peter resolved to stop leaving his mask rolled up while he ate in his suit.

“Yep,” Deadpool said, though he didn’t volunteer further information, possibly because he had something else on his mind at present. “So what’s our angle? What’s a babe like you doin’ in a place like this?”

Peter leaned back on his stool, palms flat on the bartop, and stared at Deadpool long and hard for several seconds, during which Deadpool sat patiently, without fidgeting, just waiting.

“Fine,” Peter said, gesturing Deadpool closer. Wade. Whatever. “I’m not gonna say too much right now, but basically, keep an eye out for a guy with a cross tattoo on the back of his neck. He’s involved in some high level organized crime, real nasty stuff, and we need to get hold of him and get him to answer some questions...”


3.

J. Jonah Jameson was a man of many words, most of them harsh. Unfortunately, he was also an astute businessman, and had realized newspapers were a dying breed.

If Peter had ever missed standing in Jameson’s office, getting screamed at and wondering if today was the day that blood vessel in the man’s forehead finally popped, he needed look no further for a walk down memory lane than Just The Facts, Jameson’s new and wildly popular podcast.

In fairness, when there wasn’t a chance of stray spittle hitting him in the eye, some of Jameson’s rants were pretty funny. And it was always nice to know the context of the invective hurled at him from street level. Ever since a middle aged woman with an ‘I Want to Speak to Your Manager’ haircut had screamed at him and called him a ‘pigeon eating monster’, Peter had resolved to keep up-to-date on Jameson’s newest theories.

Today, Jameson introduced himself with that particularly strident ring to his voice that suggested he had a juicy topic in store for them. Peter braced himself.

“Hello, listeners. You all know I’m a reasonable man. I like to hear both sides of the story, and form my judgements based on the facts, not wild speculation.”

Peter snorted and took a sharp turn up Canal Street, letting himself slow down and widen the arc of his webs. He wasn’t in any hurry to get home this afternoon.

“Now, we know our perception of Spider-Man as a danger to society, a menace, a blight on our community--”

A throat cleared, pointedly interrupting before he really hit his stride, and Peter realized abruptly where this must be going. Jameson had a guest.

Unusual.

“Uh, yes. So... it was... suggested to me, strongly suggested, and by that I mean I’m not-- uh.” Jameson broke off again, and Peter frowned, alighting on a rooftop so he could pay more attention. This was strange.

Jameson cleared his throat. “We have a special guest on the show today, who wants to tell us about Spider-Man from his point of view.”

Peter was glad he’d landed when he did, because the voice he heard next might have made him fall right out of the sky if he’d still been midair.

“Thanks, Jonah,” Deadpool said. His deep, gravelly voice worked particularly well on air. “Spidey and I are B-F-F’s, and I’m gonna set the record straight.”

Peter closed his eyes, horror washing over him as Jameson seized on that just like Peter had known he would.

“For our listeners out there, let me make this very clear. I’m speaking with Deadpool, a vicious mercenary who is at this very moment--”

Deadpool interrupted, his tone light hearted, almost whimsical. “Oh come on, Joanie, you’re gonna do me like that? I’m a reformed character! Thanks to Spidey!”

“You are holding me and my staff hosta--

“It’s all in good fun!” Deadpool interrupted again, more hastily this time. Peter took a few seconds to cover his face with his palms and let out a short scream, then fumbled his phone out of his pocket.

“I’m gonna tell you what Spidey’s really like,” Deadpool said as Peter dialed. Thankfully someone answered, and Peter was able to convince them with relative ease to patch him through to Jameson and Deadpool.

“Looks like we have a caller,” Jameson announced, sounding relieved. “Andrew, from Queens, what’s your take? Have you called the police?”

“Well, I don’t think taking people hostage is the right way to prove Spidey’s a good guy,” Peter said, trying to hide the anger in his tone. Maybe he could talk Deadpool down without admitting who he--

“Spidey, you listen to this asshat too?!”

Peter covered his eyes with one hand and stomped his foot to vent his frustration, feeling the roof give slightly beneath his heel. Of course.

“Glad you’re here to weigh in on this,” Deadpool continued cheerfully, talking over Jameson’s sudden splutter. Peter didn’t even bother to ask how Deadpool knew this time, opting to do damage control.

“Deadpool, I swear, if you hurt anyone in that office--”

“Is this really Spider-Man?” Jameson demanded, his words strident. “Did you send your thug after me? Am I getting too close to the truth, you costumed--”

“Deadpool, put the gun down ,” Peter said, sharp and icy. Instead of a verbal response, he got a shout of fear from Jameson and a whine from Deadpool.

“I wasn’t gonna shoot him, like, fatally,” he grumbled. Peter sighed, loud enough that he could hear it on the live feed in his other ear.

“Unload the gun,” he instructed. “Now put the gun away. The knife too. I’m not kidding, Deadpool.”

“If I just cut off one pinkie finger, though,” Deadpool wheedled, and Jameson made a strange whimpering noise in the background.

“Do I have to come down there?” Peter asked in his sternest tone.

Five seconds passed, then ten, then finally, Deadpool groaned. “No,” he said. Peter could practically see the scowl on his face.

“If you touch a hair on that horrible man’s head--” Peter began, and Wade interrupted him.

“Ugh. YES, MOM. I’ll be good.”

“That’s all I ask.” Peter paused, then softened his tone somewhat. “Thank you for doing the right thing, Deadpool.”

“Lame,” Deadpool said, and then there was the sound of a scuffle. Peter frowned, but fortunately, Jameson came back on the air a few seconds later.

“The vicious mercenary has left the station,” he announced, sounding disgusted. “And you all heard it here, that’s Spider-Man’s B-F-F. Now, since I have you on the line, Spider-Man, I think it’s about time you answered for a few of your crimes--”

Peter hung up the phone.


4:

“Am I invisible yet?”

“Uhhh, nope,” Johnny said, not even glancing toward him from where he sat, high in a nearby tree, fancy binoculars fixed on the castle Peter was about to infiltrate.

“You didn’t even look,” Peter complained, as Sue rolled her eyes at him.

“Your suit is bright red and bright blue,” Johnny pointed out, the binoculars still pressed against his eyes. “It screams 'Look at me, I'm Spider-Man!' I can hear that you’re still not invisible yet.”

“You’re just jealous,” Peter began, and Sue shushed him.

“Just hold still for a second, Spidey,” she said, lifting her hands to finally, finally make Peter invisible. It was gonna be so cool. It was worth doing the favor for the Fantastic Four, just to get to do a stealth mission while actually invisible. “And listen carefully. You’re looking for a small piece of tech. It should be about the size of an orange.”

“Is it orange?”

“Probably not,” Sue said. She drew a shape in the air around him, then frowned. “We need you to retrieve the tech without Doctor Doom knowing you were ever there.”

“Got it,” Peter said, and made a rude gesture at Johnny, who had finally dropped the binoculars to look at them.

“You’re not invisible yet, Spidey,” he pointed out, unimpressed.

Peter turned his gaze back to Sue accusingly. She shrugged. “I’ll tell you when you’re invisible, if you listen .”

“Yeah, okay,” Peter sighed, trying not to look too impatient.

“As I was saying, he shouldn’t ever realize you were there. I’m sending you with a replacement orb. When you find the tech, the replacement orb should be able to replicate its appearance, and you can leave that in its place.”

“Okay but... how do I know when I’ve found it?” Peter asked. “What does it do?”

“It gives off a specific EMF signal, and that’s as much as I can tell you.” Sue fiddled with her phone, and a moment later, the left lens in Peter’s suit lit up with information.

“Cool,” Peter said, glancing over it all and nodding once. “Okay, I’m ready. Am I ready? Am I--”

“Yes, you’re invisible now,” Sue said, with a small smile. Peter grinned.

He leapt off his branch and set off for the castle, calling over his shoulder, “Awesome! Take that, Johnny!”

“I don’t know what you did, because I can’t see you!” Johnny called after him, and Peter cackled.

He sobered quickly as he drew closer to the castle. Doom’s fortifications were serious business, and Peter couldn’t quip his way through this one. He couldn’t talk at all, in fact.

“Who builds a castle in upstate New York, that’s what I wanna know,” he muttered to himself, one last allowance before he webbed over the alligators in the moat and twisted through the motion detectors that roved over the castle walls, in order to jimmy open a window on one of the upper floors and crawl inside. They call them McMansions here, he thought, far too late to say it out loud. Dammit.

He stuck to the ceiling, with all his senses, including the extra ones, alert to any traps or tricks he might fall afoul of. Peter had to give it to Doom, he was a paranoid kind of guy, and it was working out in his favor.

Or at least, it would if Peter hadn’t agreed to help. His Spidey powers coupled with invisibility made him the most badass super spy ever, if he did say so himself.

Laser sensors in one hallway were easy enough for Peter to acrobat through, and the myriad cameras in every nook and cranny were simple enough to avoid, since none of them were pointed up.

There were still traps on the ceilings, which Peter had to respect even as he neatly avoided them by crawling around them whenever his Spidey senses blared. Doom had tried pretty hard.

Peter knew he wasn’t supposed to talk, but subvocalizing the Mission Impossible theme song wasn’t talking, and who would really fault him for it?

The problem with searching for something by using an EMF signal was that lots of stuff gave off EMF. Tons of stuff. Especially in a castle fitted out with every conceivable security system known to man. Nothing in the world was so important that it needed this much security. Peter wouldn’t be surprised if Doom did it just to screw with anyone who tried to sneak in.

Once Peter isolated a frequency, he was able to eliminate everything within half a mile that used that frequency, but unfortunately, that still rendered his EMF sight useless for the first twenty minutes of his visit to Doctor Doom’s Deluxe Deathtrap.

He was able to narrow it down eventually, and his search led him deeper and deeper into the recesses of the castle, until he finally isolated the frequency to a single room, in what Doom probably called the dungeons, but which anyone else living in upstate New York would describe as the sub-basement.

He took a deep breath, several feet away from the door, and planned his strategy. There was sure to be some kind of security inside, and it was even possible that opening the door would set it off. Doom wasn’t exactly stupid enough to have man-sized vents, either, which was really inconvenient if you asked Peter.

He had time, though, which might be what saved this mission in the end. No one knew he was here, so no one was looking for him. He’d know if he’d tripped any silent alarms, because his Spidey sense would be screaming danger at him if anyone was looking for him in a place like this. So he could wait.

After what might have been twenty minutes or several hours (Peter refused to check the time in his lens, though if anyone asked, he was planning to tell them his watch was invisible), the door opened, and a man exited, carrying a tray of balled up food wrappers.

Peter didn’t waste any time, scurrying into the gap seamlessly and ending up crouched on the wall to the left of the exit, surveying his new surroundings. The EMF signal was coming from the next room, which fortunately was connected by a short passageway with no doors involved at all.

Peter moved slowly and deliberately now, every movement carefully considered and executed with utmost caution. If Doom knew anyone was after the device, this would be where all the most devastating security protocols were established.

He crawled into the room via the ceiling and hesitated, not quite able to believe his eyes.

Deadpool was here, tilting back in a opulent, velvet upholstered wooden chair with his feet propped up on the table next to it, whistling and tossing a knife into the air. When he caught it, he paused, then started whistling again with a flourish.

Of course Deadpool was the final layer of security. Peter wanted desperately to express his frustration, but he was on a mission, and Deadpool or no Deadpool, he wasn’t gonna screw it up. He’d just have to figure out how to get around the mercenary.

Peter crawled further into the room, sticking to the corners of the ceiling and taking in as much information as possible. Deadpool was a clever man with a lot of fighting experience, but Peter was ultimately a lot faster and stronger, and if he could catch Deadpool off guard, he could almost certainly--

“Would you rather fight one man-sized spider, or like, a bazillion little spiders all working together to be man shaped?” Deadpool said suddenly, into the quiet of the room. Peter froze. “Ugh, no, holy shit. I’m freaking myself out just thinkin’ about it. No thank you. I bet it’d try to eat people.”

Peter stared. No way. There was no way Deadpool knew he was here.

“You’re not secretly just... spiders under that suit, are you, baby boy? Cause I can handle a lotta weird shit, hell, I’m a lotta weird shit, but that might be too much even for me, and--”

How did you know I’m here?!” Peter demanded, moving as he spoke in the hopes that Deadpool couldn’t actually see him, and therefore wouldn’t actually know where he ended up.

“You think I don’t know when I’m not alone in a room?” Deadpool scoffed, tossing his knife in the air and catching it again. He hadn’t moved from his relaxed position or even untipped his chair. “Come on, Webs, you gotta give me more credit than that.”

“But how did you know it was me ?” Peter asked, pretending he didn’t sound just a little bit whiny. This whole thing with Deadpool was starting to drive him nuts. “I’m literally invisible.”

“It’s a small room. And you smell super good,” Deadpool said, and inhaled audibly, as though Peter needed the demonstration. “There’s a trace of pizza in there, and hmmm.... Is that... mmm, yes, mid-range deodorant with just a hint of sweat, and a bouquet of--”

“Please stop,” Peter interrupted loudly, not quite drowning out the phrase ‘man musk’. “Look, we both know why I’m here.”

Deadpool’s white lenses seemed to stare at the spot where Peter had been when he’d last spoken, which gave Peter some relief. At least he didn’t know exactly where Peter was at any given time.

“You mean, for this ol’ thing?” Deadpool asked, inexplicably producing a small, orange sized, metal device from somewhere. It pulsed with the correct EMF frequency, and Peter felt a surge of triumph.

“Yep,” Peter agreed, already calibrating the replacement orb to match. “So... can I have it?”

“I’m gettin’ paid a lot of money to keep this thing outta the Fantastic Four’s hands,” Deadpool said, examining it thoughtfully. “I’m guessing that’s how you’re here, and why you’re invisible.”

Peter had been about to deny it, but he didn’t have any better explanation.

“Well, yeah, but... we’re the good guys?” he tried. Deadpool grinned.

“Do the good guys have three hundred thousand dollars to outbid Latveria?”

“Three hundred--” Peter cleared his throat. “I don’t know. I definitely don’t have it. But you’d be doing the right thing.”

Deadpool yawned. “Y’know, I’m starting to suspect ‘the right thing’ is a relative term. Cause it changes awful quick whenever you super hero types need something.”

“It really doesn’t,” Peter said, his voice flat. “Don’t help people who want to take over the world. Do help people who want to protect it. Don’t take money for murder. Don’t murder anyone at all. It’s a pretty simple list of rules.”

“Hey, does it look like I’m getting paid to murder anybody right now?” Deadpool asked, making a jerky motion with his hand like he’d been about to toss the device in the air. He clearly thought better of it and tucked it back away in his pocket, which was a shame. Peter would’ve had the stupid thing in his possession in a second.

“Did you forget rule number one already?” Peter asked. He came down in front of Deadpool on a web, moving with caution. He didn’t think  Wade would try to hurt him. All the evidence of his recent interactions with Spider-Man suggested quite the opposite, in fact, but Deadpool was unpredictable, and Peter was currently on an opposing team. Who could say what he’d do?

“Right, right, no helping anybody take over the world,” Deadpool said. “And if I do, I should definitely be charging more than 300k.”

“Uh, right,” Peter said. “Close enough for now. So... how about we just trade? No one will know you gave me the--”

“McGuffin,” Deadpool supplied. Peter frowned.

“Sure. You can keep this one.” He took Deadpool’s hand and dropped the replacement orb into it now that it was an exact replica of the ‘McGuffin’, then smacked his fingers away when Deadpool tried to hold on.

“Hmm, convincing,” he said, and pulled out the original device, comparing them. “Eh, what the hell. Anything for Spidey. I’ll do it, on one condition.”

Peter suppressed a sigh. “What’s that?”

Deadpool waggled his eyebrows under his mask. “I want a kiss, just like this.”

“On the cheek,” Peter said, scowling. It was probably not a good thing that he considered this the easy way out, but at the moment, he’d take it.

Deadpool brightened. “On the lips! Masks on.”

“On the cheek or no dice,” Peter demanded, and Deadpool groaned.

“Fiiiiine, on the cheek.” He turned his face upward toward Peter and puckered his lips behind his mask anyway. Peter reached down and took hold of the original device, though Deadpool still held it tight.

“I’m judging you,” Peter informed him. Deadpool dropped the pucker for long enough to grin widely.

“You and every other person on the planet,” he said, as Peter turned his chin and pecked him lightly on the cheek. “And yet here I am, 300k richer and getting kissed on by Spider-Man. I’m doin’ alright.”

Deadpool let go of the device, and Peter took it, moving away to check that he hadn’t just been given back the orb. It was the ‘McGuffin’, so Peter headed for the exit again, device tucked away safely.

“Thanks, Pool,” he said over his shoulder as he left.

“No, thank you ,” Deadpool called back cheerily. “See ya, sweetums!”


5:

If there were cameras following Peter’s current situation, they’d pan in right about now on a wide shot of the skyscraper he was standing on, hands in the air, next to another man in a Spider-Man suit who was in the exact same position.

Black Widow and Hawkeye stood across from them, each holding two guns, one pointed at each Spidey.

“Don’t you usually have a bow and arrow?” Other Spidey shouted, into the wind. Peter rolled his eyes.

“Everyone knows that! You’re not impressing anyone by knowing that!” he shouted back.

“Shut up,” Black Widow ordered, and they both fell silent. “Which of you is the real Spider-Man?”

“It’s obviously me,” Peter said, just as Other Spidey spoke up.

“I think we all know this poser isn’t the real deal--”

“Excuse me?” Peter snapped back, turning slightly away from the guns aimed at him to glare. “You’re the clone, you half-baked wannabe spider-impost--”

“Shut. UP,” Black Widow snapped. Peter’s mouth snapped shut, and he turned back to face the guns again. He’d almost forgotten.

“Look, Spidey,” Hawkeye said, speaking to both of them. “We’ve seen you with clones before. There’s gotta be a way to tell you guys apart. What about under the mask? Is there anything that could help us?”

“Any differences under the suit wouldn’t help you figure out anything,” said Other Spidey. Peter scowled.

“He’s right, you wouldn’t know the difference since you’ve never seen me without it,” Peter said. “Not that that makes him any less of a stupid, lying clone--”

“You know, I swear I’ve seen this exact movie six times, and I’m pretty sure they usually figure out who’s the right one by shooting the guy on the left in the shoulder and seeing what happens,” Other Spidey said snidely.

“God, you are the worst , you--” Peter began, then spotted Black Widow opening her mouth again out of the corner of his eye. He lifted his hands higher and turned back to face her. “‘Shut up’, I know, I know.”

Peter and the Other Spidey stood in tense silence for a minute or so while Hawkeye and Black Widow conferred with a series of eye and head movements, facial expressions, and body language. Peter would be impressed if he weren’t so convinced he was about to be hauled off to the Raft for impersonating himself.

There had to be some way of proving he was the real deal. He knew he was really him, but this clone had just enough in common with Peter that it was going to be difficult convincing anyone else. He wasn’t sure how many memories they shared, and he didn’t particularly want to air his secret identity to two SHIELD operatives in order to figure this mess out.

It took longer than it should have for Peter to come up with the solution, then even longer still to decide whether he was willing to try it. It wasn't until he saw a terrifying expression cross Black Widow’s face, and her guns come up to point at the pair of them more fully, that Peter finally shouted, “Go get Deadpool!”

Everyone, including Other Spidey, stared at him.

“Deadpool,” Black Widow repeated, her tone void of expression. Peter pushed onward, though he was more than a little terrified.

“He does work for SHIELD sometimes, right? Deadpool will know which of us is which.” He glanced at Other Spidey. It was clear from his body language that he had realized Peter’s angle, which proved that he had at least a decent number of Peter’s actual memories. “It’s uncanny,” he added, in challenge.

“You want us to ask the mercenary, Deadpool, to decide which of you is the real Spider-Man,” Black Widow repeated. Hawkeye was already scrolling through his phone like he might have Wade’s number, and hesitated at her words.

“Yeah, what the hell’s that all about?” he asked, tucking his phone away hastily. “Does he know who you are under the suit?”

“No. At least, I don’t think so. But he always knows it’s me,” Peter said cryptically. Other Spidey looked to be weighing his options.

“I think we have more efficient ways,” Black Widow began, raising her guns again, and Other Spidey piped up suddenly.

“No, actually, I agree,” he said, glancing at Peter. “Deadpool can figure it out.”

Other Spidey’s agreement sent Peter into a sudden whirlwind of doubt. Maybe Deadpool had just been lucky? Or maybe his awareness of Spider-Man wouldn’t be enough to spot the differences between real Spidey and a clone? It was clear the clone thought he had pretty good odds, or else he wouldn’t have agreed. But if Peter backed out now, he’d look suspicious, wouldn’t he?

Shit.

Black Widow and Hawkeye were already conferring again, and their decision came quickly.

“You’ll both stand by his decision?” Widow checked, but Hawkeye was already getting on the phone. Both Spider-Men nodded anyway.

“Yeah, we need a contract with Deadpool,” Hawkeye said into the phone, one gun still pointing generally in the space between Peter and Other Spidey as he spoke. “Get him down here, ASAP. Yeah, I don’t care. Our coordinates. It’s urgent.”

Once Deadpool had been summoned, it became a waiting game. Other Spidey started tapping his foot after about five minutes, which was deeply annoying.

Peter sighed loudly after a while. “Can I sit down?” he asked. Black Widow glared.

“No.”

Peter sighed again, then crossed his arms. Other Spidey imitated him, and Peter turned his head to glare. He didn’t know what the clone’s goals were, or who he worked for, or, frankly, if he was even a clone. Peter had seen a bit of skin and the bottom half of Other Spidey’s face when they’d met and started fighting earlier (Peter had very nearly ripped his mask off before getting punched in the solar plexus). He did look an awful lot like Peter Parker. It was worrying.

“Take a picture,” Other Spidey snapped. “It’ll last longer.”

“Oh my god,” Peter exclaimed, throwing a hand out to encompass the clone. “Come on! I do not sound like that!”

“Yeah, that’s one thing you can’t duplicate, clone , is my hilarious sense of humor!”

“You are so much more annoying than me!” Peter shouted, pointing a somewhat wild finger at him. “The real Spider-Man is cool, okay? You’re some dorky idiot who can’t even come up with original jokes!”

“I’m sorry, who made the ‘this town isn’t big enough for the two of us’ joke earlier?” Other Spidey asked, hands on his hips. “‘Cause it wasn’t me!”

“That was classic ,” Peter exclaimed. “ Classic!

“It was outdated!

“You’re just mad you didn’t think of it first--”

They both leapt about a meter into the air when Black Widow fired her guns twice into the roof, each about half a foot away from either Spider-Man’s toes.

“Everyone’s going to be quiet until Deadpool arrives,” she said, brooking no argument. Peter and Other Spidey fell silent at once, though they still occasionally glared at each other.

It took at least another twenty minutes for Deadpool to appear, pushing open the roof access door and ambling out in a decidedly anticlimactic arrival.

“What up, bitches?” he asked, looking back and forth between the two Spideys. “Holy shit, am I dreaming? Is this about to be the best orgy ever?”

“SHIELD is contracting you to tell us which is the right one,” Black Widow said, ignoring Deadpool’s words entirely. That seemed to be the best way to deal with him. Peter took mental notes. Wade refocused on her, intrigued.

“Yeah, I heard about a contract,” he said, pulling out his phone. “But I don’t see any more zeroes in my bank account.” He gave both Spider-Men finger guns, one each, and said, “No offense, babes. You know I’m gonna do you right.”

Peter and Other Spidey grumbled in unison, then glared at each other.

“You’re confident that you can figure out which is the right one?” Black Widow asked, looking highly skeptical.

“Sure,” Deadpool said, flicking open a switchblade, only to break the tension by scratching his ear with it. “And I’ll be more confident once I’ve got my money.”

Hawkeye and Black Widow shared a glance, after which he sent a few texts.

Deadpool’s phone pinged within the minute. After a brief glance at it, he grinned and said, “Cool beans!”

Then he shot Other Spidey in the kneecap without even a moment of hesitation.

Peter nearly sank to the ground at the same time as Other Spidey, weak with relief.

Deadpool tucked his gun away and turned to leave as Black Widow and Hawkeye rushed to subdue Other Spidey (who was now cursing like a sailor. Way to keep it PG, imposter ). When he reached the door, he turned back and winked at Peter, then vanished down the stairs before Peter could react.


+1:

The thing about being Spider-Man is that he’s always low-key worried that someone’s going to find out he’s Peter Parker.

The problem with being Peter Parker is that he’s often worried someone’s going to realize he’s Spider-Man.

It’s a little bit less likely as Peter, since he’s just another generic face in a sea of millions, living out his life without doing anything too impressive. That is, as long as you don’t include fixing Aunt May’s furnace with nothing but a wrench and a screwdriver, or securing a job at Pym Technologies straight out of university. Nothing ‘super’-impressive, anyway.

So Peter lives his life as quietly as possible, dealing with the same every day, small-scale irritations as everyone else, like getting motor oil all over his nicest shirt at work, or having to take the subway halfway across town to drop off some delicate supplies for his boss because he’s still technically the new guy, even after a year. Or awkwardly spotting someone he recognises in public and knowing immediately that he doesn’t want them to notice him.

Unfortunately, when it’s Deadpool, Peter’s ability to go unnoticed is nearly nonexistent.

He presses himself further into the corner of the subway car, grateful for the fact that it’s crowded, and for how short he is in comparison to Deadpool. He’s not small by any definition, but Deadpool’s got four inches on him. This means that Peter can see his red masked head sticking up out of the crowd like a sore thumb, but ideally, Deadpool won’t notice him in a crowd that’s made up of people of all shapes and sizes. There are five other brown haired guys of about Peter’s height and build in this car alone.

Then again, Peter’s not holding out hope. The best he can expect is that Deadpool won’t say anything til later, or that he’ll manage to be subtle and not give Peter away in the crowded car.

He should’ve just webbed back to work.

He stays in his corner, trying to watch Deadpool without looking like he’s watching him, and the train empties and fills at each stop like a crouched, breathing animal.

Peter watches Deadpool, who looks to be playing a game on his phone and doesn’t seem prepared to move any time soon, and feels trapped.

The more Peter watches him, the more he wonders what he has to lose. Deadpool’s going to see him. Peter has to get off this train eventually, and in all likelihood, his stop will come first. He might as well control the situation, right?

Right.

Summoning all his courage, Peter moves with the exiting crowd at the next stop, but instead of getting off the train, he stops in front of Deadpool and sits in one of the empty seats next to him. Even with a full train, no one wants to sit down next to a masked guy with katanas strapped to his back.

Deadpool clearly knows this, since he shoots Peter an incredulous glance before... his eyes drop back to his phone and he starts playing again. Candy Crush.

Peter sits next to him, half terrified and awkward in his smelly, oil-stained, button-up shirt, no mask between them, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Sweat actually beads on his forehead, and he pushes his glasses up his nose whenever they start to slip, glancing at Deadpool each time.

It takes another two stops before Peter realizes Deadpool has no idea. He finds this out when Deadpool leans over into his personal space and whispers, “This a dare or a bet?”

“W-what?” Peter asks, totally thrown off. Deadpool looks him up and down, and this is it , Peter thinks, but instead...

“Somebody either dared you to sit down next to me, or bet you wouldn’t,” Deadpool explains, grinning a little under the mask. “What I wanna know is, are you winning money, or do you just get to look cool?”

Peter about dies. After all this time, with Deadpool always spotting him in literally every single situation imaginable, he doesn’t see Spider-Man when he’s staring him right in the face?

He doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. He could’ve just gotten off at the last stop and everything would’ve been fine.

At this point, Peter has to screw with him. He puts on a Brooklyn accent, pitches his voice slightly higher than usual, and, embarrassed but determined, says, “It was a dare.”

“You’re a patsy,” Deadpool tells him, relaxing in his seat again now that he’s ‘solved’ the mystery of what Peter wants. “Shoulda held out for twenty bucks, at least. I coulda gutted you, buddy.”

Peter’s eyes widen. It’s true that he doesn’t think Deadpool would do that to Spider-Man, but if he doesn’t realize who Peter is, then maybe--

“Jeez, I’m not gonna,” he adds, reaching out and messing up Peter’s hair. Peter scowls at him. “You’re harmless. And I’d probably get in trouble. That’s a thing that happens to me sometimes these days, yanno.”

“Getting in trouble?” Peter prompts, well aware of how Deadpool can talk and talk if given the opportunity, and entirely willing to use it to his advantage.

“Oh, yeah,” Deadpool tells him, slouching in his seat and stretching his feet out, either ignorant of or unconcerned with the two businessmen he forces out of that space in the process. They both turn with angry expressions that die the moment they see Deadpool. “I’m practically a good guy these days. I only kill the worst kinda people. And I’m besties with Spider-Man.”

“Oh really?” Peter asks, raising an eyebrow. “Does he usually make friends with scary dudes who murder people? Uh-- no offense,” he backtracks quickly, remembering suddenly how Deadpool had wanted to cut off one of Jameson’s fingers for a similar jab.

“Spidey’s tryna reform me,” Deadpool says, his voice a touch dreamy. Peter stares. “I’m super into it. One day I might even let him.”

“Thought you said you were practically a good guy, anyway,” Peter points out, curious. Deadpool shrugs.

“Yeah, but like. I do what I want. You want a selfie or something, to send to your friends?”

Caught off guard, Peter blinks and frowns. “What?”

“Y’know, to prove you really did the dare.”

“Uhhh, yeah,” Peter decides, pulling out his phone and swiping it open, already wishing he had someone to show this to. There isn’t anyone else in the world who’s in a position to understand how funny this picture’s about to be, and that’s a damn shame. “Absolutely.”

Deadpool leans in and does a duck face under his mask, and Peter throws up a peace sign, unable to resist smirking at the camera just a little bit. Maybe one day he’ll show this photo to Deadpool and watch him self-destruct over it.

Then the subway starts to slow, and it’s Peter’s stop, so he stands up and turns around to face Deadpool one more time. There’s a frown there under his mask, and Peter has to suppress a grin, because he can see Deadpool’s brain working double time, trying to figure out what he’s missing.

“Hey,” Deadpool says as the doors open and Peter starts to move toward the exit with the other commuters. He’s been careful keep his messenger bag behind his back since he stood, shielding his ass from view. It’s dumb, but he still does it, just in case. Deadpool stares anyway, and raises his voice so Peter can hear him. “What’s your name?”

Peter can’t help it. A sliver of a grin slips out. “Andrew,” he lies, wondering if Deadpool will remember the phone call from Spidey on Jameson’s show a few months back.

Then he’s out on the platform, the doors are closing, and Deadpool’s sitting up straight, staring as he’s whisked away into a subway tunnel. Peter waits til he’s back on street level to duck into a quiet alley and laugh until tears spring to his eyes and his stomach hurts.

He’s gonna hear about that when he and Deadpool cross paths again, but maybe if he plays dumb, he can keep up the act for a little while longer. The fear and worry he felt twenty minutes ago about Deadpool discovering his identity have dissipated like smoke. Wade’s not going to betray Spider-Man.

He'll probably be loyal to Peter Parker, too.


 

Chapter Text

 1. The First Time     

0. Not So Much 

It started out small.

Peter was minding his own business, spidering around the Lower East Side with some time on his hands. He was currently perched on a pole above a stop light, ignoring the honking horns and occasional shout while he worked. He’d developed some teeny little spiderbots, which were both adorable and, hopefully, functional. One of them was proving its worth right now, spinning a web between the horizontal bar that held up the stop light and the vertical pole Peter was crouched on.

Directly below him, a hushed voice called, “Hey, Andy!”

Peter tuned it out. It was weird that it had caught his attention at all.

The point of the bots was that they could use the webs they spun to tune into specific vibrations and frequencies; specifically, a few unique frequencies--

“Andy! Yo!”

--used by Doc Ock, the Green Goblin, and Electro in their tech. It’d taken a lot of work for Peter to gather all that information without also losing any limbs, but the long and short of it was that he was hoping to set these little spiders up all around the city and be able to track those three particular super villains whenever they decided to start something. Ideally before they did any serious damage.

“Andrew?”

“Work smarter, not harder,” Peter murmured to the spiderbot as he watched it weave. “Right, buddy?”

The spider bot was struggling now to finish the final section of the web, which was vitally important if Peter wanted to be able to receive communications from the little guys.

“Andrew!”

They’d managed it under laboratory conditions, obviously, or else Peter would never have brought them out to test them now, but lab conditions didn’t account for the general mishmash of sound and vibration cluttering up the spider’s processors as it tried to complete its task, or for wind speed, or any number of little complications. He frowned, wishing he’d brought something to take notes with.

“Drew? ...god dammit!”

Down below, Peter heard a clatter, and someone shouted, “Hey, watch it!”

He glanced down, only to see a man climbing to his feet from where he’d fallen against a newspaper box and gesturing rudely down the block at Deadpool, who was in process of storming off, radiating irritation from the hunch of his shoulders.

Peter blinked. Had Deadpool been standing down there that whole time, trying to get his attention? All he had to do was say something.

Vaguely, the idea that someone had been calling a name, even if it wasn’t his name, filtered into his awareness, and he started to grin when he realized what that name had been.

So Deadpool had figured it out, on the subway. And Peter had managed to foil his heavy handed attempt at confirming his suspicions without even meaning to.

Deadpool would obviously try again later.

This could be fun.


 1. The Real First Time 

0. He’s Doing His Best

About a week later, Peter dropped in at Avengers Tower to talk to Dr. Banner about a bacterial agent he had been working on for Harry, and was surprised to spot Deadpool bouncing around near the elevators on the sixty-fifth floor.

“What are you doing here?” he asked as he came in through a balcony door. They were useful little entrances for any airborne super who was keyed into the security system. Stark had given Peter the code recently, only after making him promise he wouldn’t use his new access to creep around and harass people. Peter had been offended, since the only reason Stark had any idea Peter had been doing that at Avengers Tower was because Hawkeye had been creeping around too, and they’d met in a vent.

It was Stark’s fault for building the vents so large, anyway.

“I’m here to see you, of course,” Deadpool said cheerfully, and immediately turned away from the elevators to follow Peter down the hall. “What’s up, buttercup?"

“Not a lot, apricot,” Peter responded without missing a beat. “And you weren’t here for me. I’m never here.”

“Now that you’re here, I know fate only forced me into that debriefing so that our paths could cross,” Deadpool explained, pressing a hand to his heart.

“That’s so wild,” Peter said, smiling a little under his mask and pretending he wasn’t. “Because I had this horrible feeling of foreboding right before I got here, like going inside would be a huge mistake. I guess now I know why.”

Peter tapped out a code on a set of double doors, and the locks clicked open with an audible snick . Deadpool tugged on the handle before Peter could reach it, and held the door for him as he asked, “Do you always ignore that kinda feeling? Cause if you do, I have some requests.”

Peter laughed despite himself, and Deadpool followed him down the hall, looking inordinately pleased.

They reached Dr. Banner’s lab, and Peter was relieved to see that he was inside.

“Oooh, are we gonna have a chat with the Hulk?” Deadpool asked, peeking in through the window as Peter knocked. Dr. Banner caught sight of them both as he came to unlock the door, and a long suffering expression passed over his face before vanishing.

“Be good,” Peter ordered, as the door opened. “Hey, Dr. Banner!”

“Spider-Man,” he said, stepping aside so that Peter could come in. Deadpool followed closely so that Dr. Banner couldn’t shut the door in his face. A good tactical maneuver, maybe, but not necessarily one that fell under the umbrella of ‘being good’. “And Deadpool, what a surprise.” 

Peter looked directly at Deadpool, which was as good as a quelling glance in their suits. He certainly got the message.

“Hey, Brucie, my dude, my bro, my main man,” Deadpool said, having already wandered twenty feet away into the lab. He was crouching in front of a delicate looking instrument and peering at it.  “I promise I won’t touch anything. Don’t wanna feed the green-eyed monster.”

Dr. Banner watched Deadpool with a resigned expression. “I’m curious if you know his eye color first hand, or if that was a lucky guess,” he said dryly.

“Oh, I’ve gazed into those emerald orbs more than once,” Deadpool said dreamily, now examining a line of cages with little white rats inside.

“I actually had a few questions for you,” Peter said to Dr. Banner, before Deadpool got a chance to build up steam on that particular tangent.

“About your bacterial compound?” Banner asked, and he and Peter fell into a deeply technical and highly fascinating discussion about Peter’s work on Harry’s environmental initiatives. Peter felt incredibly lucky to be able to walk right into a lab with one of the best scientists on the planet inside and be allowed to freely pick his brain and ask for advice. It was like he’d won some kind of science lottery.

“I’m mostly concerned about pathogenesis if we don’t account for the broader environment of dispersal,” Peter said as he watched Wade. During Peter and Banner’s conversation, he’d made friends with one of the rats, making little kissy faces at it while it put its paws up on the glass and squeaked back. It was honestly adorable, odd though it might feel to describe Deadpool that way.

“The potential is there, especially if you’re interested in releasing this compound into something like the Pacific garbage patch,” Dr. Banner agreed, pushing his glasses up his nose as he looked over the notes Peter had brought along. “It would be worth it to take some environmental samples and run some tests to see what kind of metabolites you’ll be dealing with.”

“What kind do you think?” Peter asked, glancing away from Deadpool to peer over Banner’s shoulder and see which page he was on. “I mean, speculation is as good as it gets here, isn’t it? I can’t just go take a sample of the garbage patch. I’m not exactly the type of guy who has access to that sort of thing.”

“I totally have a type,” Deadpool said, apropos of nothing. He seemed to be speaking to the rat. Peter glanced at him, then at Banner, waiting for an answer. “I just love brunettes, y’know?”

“Uh,” Banner said, frowning. “Well. As a matter of fact, you probably could be, if we commandeered one of Tony’s jets or asked him to take a few samples for you next time he’s in LA. He could probably even send a suit.”

“Does he spend a lot of time out there?” Peter asked in surprise.

“Nerds too,” Deadpool told the rat, rocking back and forth on his heels as he crouched in front of its cage. He nodded at it. “Nerds are so sexy.”

“More than you’d expect,” Banner said, and it took Peter a second to remember what he was talking about, because he was focusing very hard on pretending to not pay Deadpool any attention at all. His cheeks were suddenly very warm, which was another thing he was pretending hadn't happened.

“It’d be really helpful if he could, but I’m not sure how he’d feel about lending an assist to one of his competitors. It’s already essentially proprietary research. I’m just helping out.”

“Glasses!” Deadpool exclaimed out of nowhere, and Peter had to focus his gaze firmly on a poster of the periodic table behind Banner’s head in order not to choke. He’d never been more grateful for his mask among allies. “Glasses really get me going. I love glasses on a man, mmm, yessir.”

“You make a good point,” Banner said, frowning directly at Deadpool now. It was clear that he was nowhere near as willing as Peter was to pretend that Deadpool wasn’t carrying on his own little conversation over in the corner. “Though I personally feel that the value that would come out of this research is great enough that the sacrifice would be worth it, as long as it isn’t--”

“But big brown eyes are what really get me every time,” Wade told his rat friend, and that seemed to be the final straw for Dr. Banner.

“Deadpool, I feel that what you’re doing is extremely inappropriate,” he said, his voice calm and firm. Peter blinked. He hadn’t expected someone to address the elephant in the room head on.

“But I’m just--”

“No. This is my lab,” Banner said, crossing his arms. “And while I understand that your personality could best be described as... brash... I’m not comfortable with allowing you to stay here during this conversation if you’re going to hit on me.”

Deadpool fell over onto his ass at Banner’s proclamation, and Peter went very, very tense immediately to hide his reaction, biting down hard enough on his lip to make it bleed.

“What?” Deadpool asked, shuffling around and pushing himself up into a sitting position. “What?! Brucie, I--”

“I understand this is how you joke around,” Banner continued, talking over Wade’s shock. “But the fact remains that this is my place of work, and I am setting a clear boundary. Do you understand?”

“I didn’t mean to--” Deadpool tried again, but Dr. Banner was having none of it, and Peter was going to have to leave if he was going to maintain his dignity.

“Look, there’s a time and a place,” Banner said. Peter lifted a hand to get his attention, pointed at himself, then over at the door. Banner nodded and didn’t break stride, waving Peter away. “When you’re welcomed into another person’s space, you respect their boundaries--”

Peter sidled out the door, waving at Deadpool as he stared, clearly unwilling to push too hard and set off the Hulk, but also just as clearly outraged that Peter had managed to slip through his fingers again.

Leaving Deadpool alone in a room with Bruce Banner was probably a prosecutable offense, but Peter had to. He made it all the way to the double doors, and got them shut behind him before he leaned against the wall and shook with laughter for a full minute.

The whole exchange had been excellent, but when Peter’s laughter finally settled, he decided that what he liked best about it all was that Wade had looked so resigned.

He and Peter both knew he could have gotten out of the delicate, awkward situation Peter had just left him in by telling Dr. Banner that he’d been talking about Spidey. But that would mean he’d provided someone who didn’t know Peter’s identity a physical description of Spider-Man. And so he hadn’t even tried.

A warm feeling settled in Peter’s chest as he left through the same balcony door he’d arrived by earlier. He’d talk to Banner more later, and maybe next time he’d throw Wade a bone.

Maybe.


 
1. The Actual First Time, For Real This Time

0. Get Your Shit Together, Wade

Peter occasionally had to take criminals down to the local precinct personally. It wasn't always enough to just web them to a wall with a little note and leave them. Sometimes what they'd done was bad enough that Peter needed to be absolutely sure they were taken in and dealt with, or he didn't quite trust that they'd be found before his webs wore off, etc, etc.

Besides, it was fun to string baddies up by their ankles and everything, but Peter wasn't an idiot. Leave someone hanging upside-down from a lamp post for too long and you could do serious damage.

So here he was, whistling tunelessly as he webbed four different criminals to the outer wall of the police station, right near the doors where the cops couldn't miss them.

He finished webbing the second man to the wall and took a step back, fishing around in the secret pocket at his hip for his phone while the other two struggled near his feet, bound and gagged. He'd text his contact at this precinct to let him know what these guys had done. He had a feeling they had outstanding warrants, anyway. These were that type of criminal.

“You gonna put lil shame signs around their necks?”

Peter glanced sideways in time to see Deadpool toe at the more conscious of the two criminals still on the floor, snickering when he flinched.

“Y'know, like, 'I chewed up my owner's favorite slippers’, or ‘I robbed the bodega on seventeenth street.’ Something like that?”

“I tried to mug an elderly woman and kicked her Pomeranian,” Peter said absently, gesturing with his phone to the one Wade had poked at. Then he paused, took a picture of the second man on the wall, and went back to texting.

“Fuckin’ monster,” Wade said, shaking his head. He watched Peter in silence for a second, then pointed at the one Peter was currently dealing with and asked, “What about that dude?”

“Tried to sexually assault a teenager in the park,” Peter said, his voice losing any humor it might've had as he looked up and scowled at the criminal in question. Deadpool's eyes narrowed in his mask, and his hand went for his gun.

“He's already been apprehended,” Peter said, lowering the hand that held his phone and turning his attention fully to Deadpool. “Shooting someone while they're tied up is low, Pool.”

“Attacking a kid is lower,” Deadpool pointed out, his voice gravelly and cold as he drew his gun from his holster, slowly enough that Peter believed it was mostly for show. The man in question looked like he might piss himself, and though Peter wouldn't admit it, that gave him a small measure of satisfaction. “And anyway, these are rubber bullets.”

“Oh,” Peter said, caught entirely off guard. “Are they really? Since when do you carry around rubber bullets?"

Wade grinned in Peter's direction, though his focus was still clearly on the attempted rapist. “Since I thought it might impress you, baby boy.”

Peter bit back a smile and went back to his texting, not wanting to admit that Deadpool had struck on exactly the right kind of flattery. “I guess one wouldn't hurt,” he said after a few seconds, infinitely casual. Deadpool's shoulders straightened.

“For real?” he asked, bouncing on the balls of his feet. “Fuck yeah! And it totally is gonna hurt, but not fatally and only this shitstain's gonna feel it!”

He fired the gun without waiting for further commentary on the issue, and the man webbed to the wall screamed. Peter looked up long enough to realize that Wade had shot him in the dick, and winced.

True to his word, though, it had been a rubber bullet, and while the guy might be in a lot of pain for a while, there wasn't any blood and he wasn’t going to die from it.

Peter sent his text and picked up the dog kicker, webbing him up next to the still whimpering attempted rapist. While he worked, Deadpool started chattering away behind him.

“The rubber bullets were actually for a job I had recently, one of those intel-only kinda gigs. They were pretty clear about not wanting a body count, so I was bein’ super careful and I even left my grenades at home, Webs, you woulda been proud--”

“I am proud,” Peter interjected, taking a step back from his newly webbed mugger and pulling out his phone again. “That's awesome, Pool, great job.”

Deadpool fell silent for the time it took Peter to snap a photo of this new criminal, then started back up again, stumbling over the first few words.

“I-- yeah, uh, I-- thanks, Spidey-- but I-- I just figured I might as well hang on to them, yanno, cause non-lethal isn't really my deal, but if I ever wanted it to be, well, this is a pretty good middle ground, I think, and.. and anyway, like I said, it was mostly intel gathering, so I was riding around on the subway tryna be all subtle with my hoodie and baseball cap combo, kickin’ it old school like the Capsicle, only I looked less like a fucking hipster, although if we're gonna talk about who wore it better, it's no contest. That man's jaw could slice my panties right off, that's for damn sure--”

Peter glanced back at him, askance, and Deadpool hurried to leap back onto his original train of thought, which was an unusual reaction. Peter would’ve expected him to double down on the panty talk.

“Anyway like I was saying, I was doing a lot of subway riding, so I got one of those unlimited metrocards, and I figured since the job is over and I don’t really need it anymore, do you want it?”

Now it made sense. And for the record, Peter loved his mask. He loved it so much. His ability to remain impassive and respond normally relied so much on Deadpool being unable to read his expression.

“Huh,” he said, pretending that he wasn’t currently filled with glee at being able to respond as he was. “No thanks, I never ride the subway.”

So much for throwing Wade a bone next time. But Peter was a jerk at heart and this cat and mouse game they were playing was too funny. He couldn’t resist.

Wade fell silent for a full ten seconds of visible consternation. Peter continued his texting as though nothing was wrong at all, quietly delighted.

“Are you sure you don’t want it?” he asked, scratching the back of his head with a deep frown etched into the lines of his mask. “It’s good for another three weeks and change, couldn’t hurt to have it on hand just in case, right?”

“Nah, it’d be wasted on me,” Peter lied, tucking his phone away to pick up the last criminal (who’d also been involved in a mugging, and who Peter had recognised as a repeat offender) and web him up. “Thwip thwip, you know? You should give it to someone who’ll actually use it.”

Wade made a noise that sounded a bit like a strangled cat, but let it go.

“Fine,” he said, watching Peter finish his work. “You wrapping things up, or can I tag along to bust some more heads?”

“Nah, I’m basically done for the night,” Peter said, even though he’d been planning on staying out for at least another hour. He suspected that if he gave Wade the opportunity, he’d ask point blank, and that would just ruin Peter’s fun. “Early morning tomorrow, you know? Gotta get some sleep.”

“You got work in the AM or something?”

Peter grinned. He was finished texting his contact, so he tucked his phone away again and shot out a web behind himself. “Or something,” he said, tugging once the web had attached to a building and sailing away, leaving Deadpool behind. “See you!”


 1: The Really Real First Time 

(For Really Real This Time)

Peter loved his job. It was fulfilling and fascinating and he had career advancement potential, according to his boss. And he was doing good in the world, advancing science that could really help people. He was making a difference. And he had health insurance. Score.

That didn't mean it wasn't sometimes exhausting work, especially after a patrol the night before that ran into the early hours of the morning. He drank a lot of coffee at the best of times, and on days like today, Peter just wanted to go home, climb under his comforter, and watch Netflix until it was time to get up again and go on patrol.

He adjusted his messenger bag wearily over his shoulder as he pushed open the heavy glass double doors of Pym Technologies’ front lobby and stepped out into the fading sunshine, absentmindedly trying to remember which dumpster he'd hidden his suit under this morning. Sometimes he wore it under his clothes all day, but it wasn't always worth it, and it was muggy out today. He couldn't stand the extra layer even with the AC in his lab. 

He was already walking at a half-assed clip down the block to where he was pretty sure his suit was hidden when his Spidey senses twinged and he frowned, narrowing his eyes. It wasn't a look out kind of twinge. More just a be careful feeling. An instinctual someone’s looking at you . He stepped out of the way of foot traffic and turned to put his back to the building next to him, pretending to check his bag while he glanced surreptitiously around and managed to catch a glimpse of red spandex and black leather from the corner of his eye.

Calmly, Peter pulled his phone out of the outside pocket of his bag and kept walking, allowing himself a very small smile.

Running into Deadpool wasn't necessarily a constant thing, but Peter saw him around on occasion. Usually not when he was walking home out of his suit, though. Clearly, Wade had given up on the direct route and was hoping a more subtle approach might trip Peter up.

That showed how much he really knew about Spider-Man, Peter thought to himself, biting back a much larger, satisfied smile. He walked a bit further, stopping in at a coffee shop for a drink as an excuse for the direction he'd taken, keeping aware of Deadpool's position as best as he could without giving away that he'd noticed the man following above and occasionally behind him.

Then, just to infuriate Wade and because once the thought occurred, Peter knew he absolutely couldn't do anything else, he walked right down the steps to the subway sipping his coffee, without even a hint of hesitation.

If he cackled quietly into his drink as he cruised away toward home, loosely gripping an overhead rail, nobody noticed or cared. This was New York, after all.


 2: Time Number Two

Peter's team up with Daredevil re: the trafficking ring in the financial district was going surprisingly well, in part (though he wouldn't admit it) due to some good tactical advice from Wade a while back.

In fact, Deadpool had proven himself helpful enough, and was interested enough in taking down this particular set of scumbags, that he was tagging along tonight now that Peter and Daredevil had coordinated a sting with the local precinct to take this group out, once and for all.

“We should just bust in there now and kick some ass,” Deadpool said, crouched low on the roof of the warehouse across from where the criminals were currently meeting. “We could have the whole gang wrapped up in five minutes, between the two of us.”

“We have to wait for the signal,” Peter reminded him, his eyes darting between each of the entry points to the warehouse, one after another after another, and then back again to the first to start over. He wasn’t going to miss anything. “Once everyone’s in position, we can kick ass as a group. They’re not all inside yet, and I’m not missing out on taking down the top brass ‘cause you got impatient.”

Wade sighed heavily, but remained where he was, waiting. Despite his complaints, he was preternaturally still, his whole being focused on the warehouse below, same as Peter.

That didn’t mean he couldn’t talk while they waited, though, and if there was one thing the Merc with a Mouth excelled at, it was filling the silence. And honestly, Peter didn't mind it at all. That extra layer of quiet chatter to half-focus on made it easier to sit patiently and wait for what came next. Kind of like when he used to study with music or Kitchen Nightmares on in the background.

“--you know that guy, right? He's like Danny Phantom: arsonist edition?”

Peter’s grin was hidden under his mask, thankfully, or he’d never be forgiven. “You mean Johnny Storm?”

“Yeah, what’s his catchphrase, anyway? ‘I’m going roast’?”

Peter very nearly looked away from the warehouse, but managed to restrain himself to a quiet snort. “I’m gonna tell him you said that.”

“You can,” Wade said, scoffing. “I’m not scared of him, or Danny Phantom. Johnny Storm doesn’t have a cool secret identity, though. You can just look him up in the phone book.” 

“There are still phone books?” Peter asked. Wade didn’t dignify that with an answer.

“I like a good secret,” he said instead, and it became suddenly clear what he was trying to work up to. Peter crossed his fingers that the signal would come before Wade managed it. “Keeps things interesting. Everybody’s gotta have a secret, yanno? You’ve got your identity, Iron Man has all that alcohol in his toilet tank, I have my mostly mint-condition collection of superhero-based sex toys--”

“I’m gonna have to stop you there,” Peter interrupted, simultaneously needing to know more and wanting to avoid the mental images that would surely follow. “What?”

“You heard me,” Wade said, then didn’t elaborate, instead shifting for the first time in twenty minutes to adjust his grip on his binoculars. “Sometimes secrets turn out to be cool and interesting, like if we found out that Daredevil was a Hannibal Lecter type--”

“Did we find that out?”

“Not that I know of, but wouldn’t that be something? He’d be a classy cannibal, I can totally see it. And everyone needs a hobby. All work and no play makes Jack miss the taste of human flesh, I think that’s how that saying goes.”

Peter snerked. “It’s not.”

Wade waved his hand dismissively. “It could be. But like, I wanna have a secret hobby. And not just my mostly mint-condition--”

Peter rolled his eyes. Nothing moved at all, down below. “You mentioned that already. Are we talking in circles here?”

“Nah,” Wade said. “I said not my mostly mint-condition--”

“--Collection of superhero-based sex toys, I know. You already lost your chance to explain that one. Now I don’t wanna know.”

“Damn.” Wade paused, and they turned their heads in unison at a sign of movement from the north end of the warehouse. Several men appeared, then quickly disappeared into a side entrance. Peter tensed, sure that the signal would come soon now that everyone seemed to be in position.

After another solid three minutes of silence, nothing else happened, except that Wade started back in on his chatter, unexpectedly picking up the same thread. He was weirdly focused tonight.

But then, he was building up to something, Peter knew it.

“More people should have secret hobbies,” he said, his voice way too casual to be trusted. “Like, did you know Black Widow does ballet?”

“I--” Peter frowned, thrown off. Had he known that? “I guess I’m not surprised,” he offered.

“Yeah, she’s got mad moves. But you know what I’ve always had a secret interest in?” Wade paused, probably for the drama, then said, “Photography."

Peter’s mouth twitched under his mask, but he otherwise refused to give Wade the satisfaction of a reaction as he paused for effect again, then gave in and kept talking.

“I feel like if I knew a little more, I could secretly place hidden, high quality cameras wherever I’m fighting, right?”

“Right,” Peter agreed, careful to sound just as indulgent and distracted as he had so far.

“Then I’d get all these really nice shots of me doing amazing poses during the heat of battle.” Peter didn’t look, but he could tell Wade was watching him pointedly now. “And then , I think I’d sell my selfies to newspapers for cash. Doesn’t that sound like a great idea?”

Mercifully, just as Wade finished outlining Peter’s old job at the Daily Bugle, the hand radio that had been sitting silent on the ledge this whole time crackled to life with the signal to move out.

“I guess,” Peter said doubtfully, standing up and crouching on the ledge, ready to fly into action. He glanced over his shoulder. “Doesn’t sound like great money though. Probably wouldn’t really be worth your time, Pool.”

Then he leapt away before Wade could respond, glancing over his shoulder in time to see Wade pretending to wrap his hands around an invisible someone’s neck and choke them. He grinned to himself and landed on the roof of the warehouse, then shot a web back to Wade so that he could zipline across.

It was good to have confirmation that Wade had definitely figured out his identity. And nicer to find that he didn’t mind in the slightest what Wade knew.  

He was still gonna be a dick about it, though.


3. The Third Time 

2. Technically We’re Still on Two

The X-Men and Spidey didn’t often have cause to interact. Peter had only been out to their big school in Westchester once or twice, and last time, he’d been kind of pissed off when he left, and said a few not-so-nice things about them as a whole.

So when he got a message from Hank asking him to come out and talk to one of their new students who wasn’t settling into her mutation very well, he was glad to know that they weren’t still too mad.

When he arrived, he was introduced to a girl who couldn’t have been more than thirteen, gangly and awkward and staring at him with an embarrassing amount of awe as he waved and said, “Hey there. I hear you have some pretty cool powers?”

She did, as a matter of fact. The girl, Lilly, took some convincing, but soon they were walking on the vaulted ceilings of the mansion together, with Peter explaining in an undertone how people almost never looked up as she giggled and watched from above as one of her new classmates failed spectacularly at asking out a girl with hair that sparked and frizzed more and more wildly the longer he spoke to her.

“I can’t wait to tell Veronica,” she whispered back, and Peter shook his head.

“You can’t just be wandering around spying on everyone all the time,” he said, pointing at a window. They crawled down the wall and out into the sunlight, over the brick facade and up onto the roof. “And anyway, you start telling people what you find out and everyone’s gonna realize they need to be looking up. You’ll ruin your own edge.” He paused, looking out over the green expanse of the lawns, frowning. “Wait, I’m not doing this right. Don’t spy on people, it’s not nice. Now, let’s see what else you’ve got, spider-wise.”

It turned out in addition to a whole host of powers very similar to Peter’s, Lilly could also talk to spiders. Peter crouched on the tile roof, his face half a foot away from a wolf spider that was waving a little leg in Lilly’s direction and ignoring Peter utterly. He couldn’t wait to tell Miles about this. He’d go nuts.

“I am so jealous,” he said, causing Lilly to glow with pride. “Seriously, this is a million times cooler than anything I can do. Once you graduate, we should team up or something. Maybe we’ll get Black Widow and another friend of mine and form a... a spider-based crime fighting squad.” He hesitated. “If that’s what you wanna do, I mean. No pressure. Not everybody has to fight crime. It’s kind of a niche thing anyway.”

“It would be so cool to fight crime with you,” she said, letting the spider crawl up her fingers and setting it on a nearby roof vent, which it crawled into. Peter decided not to ask. “But... I don’t know if I’d want to do it all the time. I want to be a doctor.”

“Awesome! You’re gonna need a lot of science for that,” Peter said, and the conversation took a decidedly nerdy turn from that point onward.

By the end of the day, Lilly was bursting with excitement, a far cry from her initial refusal to even show Peter the little web glands at her wrists. Logan met them out near the hedge maze, looking surly as always, but he waited to light up his cigarette until after Lilly dashed back toward the main building to catch her final class.

“Looks like a successful mission,” he commented, narrowing his eyes at a pair of teenage boys passing by a few hundred feet away. They caught his gaze and immediately stopped their conversation, which had been about sneaking out after lights out. Peter had no doubt Wolverine had heard them just as clearly. 

“I think so,” Peter agreed. “She’s a cool kid. She’s gonna be fine.”

“You’re good with ‘em,” Logan said, gesturing vaguely with his cigarette at the mansion. “Kids. Could do with another consultant around here.”

“Oh, dusting off the old recruitment speech, huh?” Peter asked, grinning. “Thought I wasn’t mutant enough for you guys?”

Logan squinted at him, irritated. “I said consultant, bub. Don’t get the wrong idea.”

“Oh, come on, we were having such a nice conversation. Mission accomplished, remember?” He offered his fist for a bump, waiting patiently as Logan took another drag off his cigarette and ignored it.

“C’mon, Wolvie,” Peter wheedled, wiggling his fist a little in Logan’s direction. “You know you want to. I’ll even think about the consultant thing. Don’t leave me hanging!”

Logan exhaled a heavy cloud of smoke, put his cigarette back in his mouth, and grudgingly bumped his fist against Peter’s.

Peter cheered, and an offended gasp from the hedge maze had him turning half a step to see who’d just joined them.

“Every time you do that with me, you slice my hand open with your claws!” Wade said, his mask gripped in one hand, the other pointing an accusing finger at Wolverine. “You said it was a reflex, you fuckin’ liar!”

“Hey, Pool,” Peter said as Logan shrugged, unconcerned. Deadpool was already yanking his mask on, dragging the material over his scars in a hasty, jerky motion that looked painful, his eyes cutting to Peter and away quickly before they were covered by the white lenses. He didn't like to be unmasked around Peter, which was a fact that made Peter worry that Wade secretly considered him a huge asshole or something. It was kind of a shame, too, because his eyes were a really vivid shade of blue and Peter liked how easily he could see what Wade was feeling when he actually got to see them.

“It is a reflex,” Logan said, dragging Peter's attention away from being disconcerted by his own thoughts and back to the conversation at hand. “I reflexively wanna stab you, so I do.”

“You sick son of a bitch,” Wade continued, joining them and turning their little duo into a group as two women trailed along after him. “Hey Spidey. You’re a gorgeous ray of sunshine in my sad, dark little world, as always.”

Peter rolled his eyes, forcing down a smile so Wade wouldn't get ideas about his cheesy one liners working. “Nice to see you, too.” He glanced at the women, one of whom beamed at him.

“Since this asshole’s never gonna introduce us, I’m Negasonic Warhead,” said the other, more surly looking woman.

“Negasonic Teenage Warhead,” Wade corrected, ignoring her put-upon sigh and immediately doing jazz hands at the other, pink haired woman, who laughed at his antics. “And this is Yukio!”

“Sup,” Peter said, waving at them both. Yukio waved back.

“It was wonderful to meet you, Spidey,” she told him, taking Negasonic Warhead’s hand and tugging her away. “We’re heading inside. Don’t be long, Wade!”

“I would never leave you waiting, Yukio!” Wade declared, then turned back to Logan. “I want a fistbump, you bastard, and no blood this time!”

Logan smirked. “No promises, bub.”

Wade grumbled, then offered his fist anyway. “Just do it! I deserve a solid fist bump for bein’ such a good sport about all the fingers you’ve cut off!”

Logan dropped his cigarette into the grass. He glanced at Peter as he ground it out with his foot and said, “How was the trip up? You swing the whole way?”

Wade gasped at the blatant snub as Peter shrugged. “Took the bus. Web fluid’s expensive.” He glanced at Wade, who was doing the same little fist wiggle Peter had done earlier, to less than stellar effect. “There’s a weird smell out here in the country. I can’t quite place it.”

“It’s the lack of stale piss,” Logan said, looking Wade up and down as he shoved his fist into Logan’s personal space, still wiggling. Peter glanced between the two of them, and took a short step back just in case there was blood spatter.

“You think so?” Peter asked, from a safe distance. Logan nodded.

“It’s either that or the pesticide,” he said, lifting the hand not holding his cigarette slowly. Wade bounced on his heels with what looked like excitement. “Guess you might have some trouble with that, bein’ half bug and all.”

Peter took another step back. “Spiders aren’t bugs, they’re arachnids. Duh.”

Instead of replying, Logan formed a fist and bumped it into Wade’s ruminatively, his claws extending at the last second and pushing through Wade’s knuckles, coming out at the bend of his wrist. Peter winced.

“Ah, son of a fucking bag of cocks,” Wade said as the claws retracted and he got his fist back. He cradled his injured hand in the palm of the other, examining it as it began to slowly heal. “You dickhole. ...still worth it.” He shook blood off his hand and continued grumbling as Logan chuckled to himself and lit up another cigarette.

“So, on that note,” Peter said, taking another step back and jerking a thumb over his shoulder. Wade looked up as though caught off guard, his hand still dripping blood into the grass.

“Wait! I had something to say to you,” he said, coming half a step toward Peter and stopping to glance back at Logan. He hesitated, then looked at Peter again and with heavy significance, said, “ I know.”

Again, Peter appreciated the subtlety. It was nice to know Deadpool was capable of it. “Uh, okay,” he replied anyway, affecting confusion. Deadpool huffed.

“No really, Spidey, I. Know."

And now Peter had to make a decision. Because this was it, Wade calling him out on the little game they’d been playing, and he needed to decide if he was going to double down or admit defeat. And he needed to do it quickly. Logan stood watching from just beyond Wade’s shoulder, more curious than he’d seemed the whole time they’d been standing out here together. He had to handle this right. 

Peter could just nod at Deadpool. Or agree with him. Say something that suggested that Peter knew that he knew, and that he was okay with it.

Or he could be a confusing asshole. Really, there was no reason not to be.

So Peter stepped closer and took Wade’s injured hand, turning it over to see that it had already stopped bleeding and was well on its way to fully healed. Then he looked up into the startled expression apparent through Wade’s mask and said, “It’s okay, Deadpool. I know, too.”

Startled morphed into confused very quickly. “Wait-- what?”

“Wade! Wade, hurry, we’re starting!”

It was Yukio, standing up near a side door into the mansion, waving expectantly at them. Wade stared at Peter for a solid couple seconds, clearly searching for a way to ask what he wanted to ask without giving too much away. Peter let go of his hand and checked his own glove for blood.

“We’ll talk about this later,” Wade decided, pointing at Peter as he backed away toward the mansion. “I’m onto you, Spidey. This is a thing.”

“Okay, Pool,” Peter said, waving. Wade kept walking backward till he tripped and nearly fell, then pointed one last time at Peter from several hundred feet away and turned around to jog toward the still waiting Yukio.

“What the hell was that about?” Logan asked, after Wade and Yukio had disappeared inside. 

“Honestly? I have no idea,” Peter said with a shrug, like a liar.


3. Third Time’s the Charm

The day after his trip to the Xavier Institute, Peter was relaxing in his apartment, savoring a rare couple hours of free time by simultaneously watching Netflix and reading an article about sulfation in natural and synthetic heparins. He took a short break to go on Reddit and post a picture of one of the cool spiders Lilly had summoned out on the roof yesterday (his username was ‘actuallyspiderman’, but he only ever posted or commented on pictures of normal spiders under that account), and paused when he found the selfie he’d taken with Deadpool a few months ago.

He tapped on it and gazed at his screen for nearly a full minute, debating his options.

It was obvious that Deadpool needed to be reminded of this photo. The real question was: how?

Peter scrolled past it for long enough to post the spider photo, then jumped over to Twitter (@PBParker, not @NYCWallCrawler) and, with only a very small amount of dithering over phrasing, posted the picture, captioning it: “Met @CaptainDeadpool on the subway!”

He got a few likes for it over the next hour, but the response he was really waiting for came while he was heating up leftovers for dinner. He opened the notification from @CaptainDeadpool eagerly, then laughed out loud.

@PBParker 👀👀💅🏻😩😩😩👎🏼👀🤔🤔🤔🤔😡😡😑👌🏼👈🏼?”

The tweet was followed quickly by another that was just a picture of the Spy vs Spy characters shaking hands, each with an explosive hidden behind their backs.

Peter didn’t hesitate this time, responding with a single question mark and a confused emoji.

Wade responded with a gif of a woman banging her head against the top of a desk, and Peter went back to his Netflix binge with a smile and a warm feeling in his chest.



4. Fourth Time, Almost There!

“Country roooad... take me hooome...”

Peter was clinging to the outside of Fisk Tower, fifty stories up, carrying a goober with enough top secret information on Fisk's various business interests to put the man in prison for a long time, if he got away without anyone noticing he'd been here.

“To the place... I beloooong!

All the way in, he'd had no problems. He'd dodged all the spotlights that trailed across the facade of the building in random designs, ostensibly to add to the visual appeal at night, but much more likely as a deterrent to stop someone like Peter from crawling in a window and doing exactly what he'd just done. He'd avoided security. Gotten around all the cameras and motion detectors unnoticed. Found Fisk's office. Figured out his password and downloaded all the info he needed, no trouble. In and out, clean and beautiful.

WEST VIRGINIA! MOUNTAIN MAMA!”  

“What the hell are you doing?” Peter hissed, dropping down on a webline next to Deadpool, who was cheerfully scaling a fifty-third story window with a grappling hook and singing at the top of his lungs.

“Spidey-babe!” Wade exclaimed, his whole countenance brightening. “What's up, buttercup?”

“You are,” Peter said, scowling. “Fifty floors up, in fact. What I want to know is, why?”

“Oh, you know me,” Wade said, pushing off and letting himself swing a little wildly in the wind before landing back on the glass with an audible thunk. Peter winced. “Just hangin’ out. What about you?”

“Tonight is not the night, Deadpool,” Peter said, glancing into the building and grabbing Wade by a shoulder holster. He dragged them both up forty feet or so until they were out of sight, dangling against the brick a couple stories up. A spotlight neared and they both tensed, ready to spring away if it came any closer.

Once the danger had passed, Peter got right back to it. “Fisk can't even suspect that anyone was here tonight, okay? Not until I'm able to back up what I found with solid proof.” He gestured to Wade, generally. “If you're wandering around doing whatever it is you're doing, he's gonna realize I was here and destroy all the evidence I currently have on him before I can do anything with it. Go home.”

“You're not the only one with a secret mission, Webs,” Wade said, adjusting his carabiner. “I need that intel too. Whatever you got and then some.”

Peter glared at him. “You-- how could you possibly know if you need more if you don't even know what it is?”

“I’m not too worried. And I'd tell you to turn that frown upside down, but you kinda already did,” Wade said, gesturing to Peter's feet, up above both their heads.

Peter pressed his lips together behind his mask and just looked at Wade. It didn't have the desired effect.

“So, uh, if that's all...” he said, already starting to climb again.

“That's not all!” Peter had a quick flash of warning! and without missing a beat, unhooked Deadpool's line and flung them both behind a decorative protrusion of brickwork in time to avoid another passing spotlight.

“Hot damn, Webs,” Wade said, his feet scrabbling for purchase against the narrow ledge below as Peter crouched above him and held his shoulders pinned against the building, focused entirely on ascertaining whether or not they'd been noticed. Wade's grappling line was still drifting in the wind out there, and if any of Fisk's men were eagle-eyed enough, they’d be spotting it soon.

“You can't go inside tonight,” he repeated, tracking the closest spotlight. “So how about we get your rope cleaned up and you come with me?”

“With you, huh?”

Wade’s voice was oddly breathless, and it was unexpected enough that it drew Peter’s attention, his head turning until his nose brushed against Wade’s, and he realized that they were very, very close.

Neither of them moved or spoke for several beats, until Peter gathered himself enough to say, “Uh... yeah. To... not Fisk Tower.”

Peter had a sudden flash of intuition: Wade would say ‘I’ll do it, on one condition.’ He’d loosen his iron grip on Peter’s forearms and let his fingers graze over Peter’s adam’s apple, where his mask tucked into the rest of his suit. He’d demand a kiss, a real one this time, and Peter would have to agree. It was either that or lose all this crucial intel, because Deadpool had clearly not been intending a quiet incursion into Fisk Tower tonight.

Wade swallowed, and Peter could see the movement through the material at his neck. They were going to kiss. This was definitely happening. He was going to kiss Deadpool. Without a shadow of a doubt, they were going to--

“Okay.”

Peter blinked, so certain of his expected version of events that Wade’s response made no sense.

“...what?”

Wade cleared his throat, shifting his grip on one of Peter’s forearms without letting go even a little. “Let’s blow this popsicle stand,” he elaborated, his voice still somewhat unsteady. “Sail away with me to another place, baby boy.”

Peter pulled his bottom lip between his teeth, mask still fully covering his entire face, struggling to understand how quickly Wade had given in, and why.

“You’re just-- you’ll just go? That’s it?” Wade’s shoulders flexed under Peter’s hands in what felt like a shrug.

“Yep.” There was no uncertainty or hesitation in his tone. Frustratingly, Peter believed him.

But just in case... “You’re not gonna come back here when I’m not paying attention and do what you were planning on doing anyway?”

Peter could see the curve of Wade’s grin under his mask, up close and personal.

“I won’t, but if you wanna make extra sure, we could spend the night together--”

“I don’t think that’ll be necessary,” Peter said on autopilot, attaching Wade to the wall with a bit of webbing. “Just hang out here for a second, I’ll be right back."

Retrieving Wade’s grappling hook took less than a minute, but it was an essential minute that gave him a chance to take a few deep breaths and slow his racing pulse. When he crawled back down to where he’d left Deadpool, he was still there, perched precariously on the two inch ledge, the white eyes of his mask upturned to follow Peter’s every movement.

Peter considered it very briefly, but somehow, letting Wade press against his back while they webbed away felt like too much.

It turned out that carrying him like he carried most people, with one arm wrapped around his waist and Wade’s arms around his own shoulders, was even more of too much, and they landed on the closest possible rooftop outside the range of Fisk’s security so that Deadpool could travel under his own steam from that point onward.

Wade, of course, took longer than entirely necessary to let go and retreat to the edge of Peter’s bubble, still teetering on edge of too close, and it was playing havoc with Peter’s nerves for reasons he refused to dig too deep into while Wade was still there, watching him.

“So,” he said instead of addressing the tension or even taking a step back himself. “You won’t go back? You promise?”

“Stick a needle in my eye,” Wade said, nodding once. “I’ll let them know the job’s off tomorrow, so they don’t try an’ replace me right away.”

Peter nodded, worrying at the corner of his lip with his teeth again. “Great,” he said, and nodded again for no reason. “Okay, good. This is-- yeah. Thanks.”

“No problem,” Wade said, sliding his thumb under one of the holster straps at his shoulder as though to adjust it, his gaze steady. “So, I was thinkin’--”

“Thanks, Wade,” Peter said, sensing a shift in the conversation that he didn’t think he was currently emotionally prepared for. He took a step back, then another, up onto the parapet. “I’ll see you soon. You’re the best. Bye!”

He’d never felt the need to flee from Deadpool before, but that last step off the side of the building was cold feet, pure and simple.

Peter needed more than ten minutes to figure out what to do with all the disappointment sitting heavy in his chest.


5. The Fifth Time!

The night had been a boring one so far. Very few criminals to harass, and Peter hadn't seen many of his fellow supers out and about. So when he'd spotted Daredevil earlier, beckoning him over from a distant rooftop, he changed directions without hesitation and landed next to him with the soft thump of feet on concrete.  

He hadn't wanted anything much, just to say hello on a quiet night, so he and Peter sat on the ledge of the building, feet dangling, and compared notes from the past week.

“I got that info on Kingpin two nights ago,” Peter said, though his memory of the night was focused less on his success and more on the feel of Wade's broad shoulders under his hands, and how he’d gone home and freaked out afterward about what his own reaction to the situation must have meant.

“Good,” Matt said, nodding his approval. “He's due for being taken down a peg.”

“Yeah, the cops are building a pretty watertight case.” Peter shrugged. “Or I hope so, anyway. You know how it is.”

Matt agreed with a hum, and fell quiet. The two of them sat in comfortable silence for a while, listening to the half-empty streets below, until Matt casually said,

“So, you and Deadpool, huh?”

Startled, Peter lifted his head from where he'd been watching a man totter drunkenly across the street below and looked right at Daredevil, whose face was pointed up at the sky. “What do you mean? Uh, me and-- that's such a strange-- did he say anything?”

Daredevil smiled faintly and turned his ear toward Peter. “I hear he’s been acting weird about you lately.”

“Oh,” Peter said, shoulders dropping. “Oh yeah. You know how he is. He’s just kind of a weird guy, isn’t he?”

“Uh huh.”

“Yeah, and that's not really surprising for such a... really weird uh, person...” Peter trailed off, realizing that he was overselling when he spotted the little smirk on Matt’s face. “Or whatever. Ha.”

“What’s this specific weirdness?” Matt asked, and Peter forced himself to chill out and consider how to answer.

Matt was an interesting anomaly, because if Peter met him literally anywhere, he wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if Matt knew him right away. Mask on or off, it made no difference.

For now, sure, Matt didn’t know Peter’s identity, but he’d long since had to come to peace with the fact that it might happen someday, and in that, Daredevil and Deadpool were very similar. So it was with no small amount of relief that Peter realized Matt might be just the person to bounce ideas off of.  

“It’s just... he thinks he knows something,” Peter began tentatively. Matt nodded once the pause had gone on long enough, and prodded further.

“What does he think he knows?”

The drunk man had given up on finding somewhere to go and slumped down against a wall. Peter sympathized, even though he thought the guy might’ve just passed out. In any case, he wasn’t very interesting to look at anymore, so Peter stopped stalling and admitted, “He thinks he’s figured out my identity.”

Matt took a moment, then said, “Ah.”

“Yeah, it’s this whole... thing now,” Peter explained, starting to warm up to the topic. “Like, he’s over here trying to trip me up and I thought I knew how it was gonna go and it was pretty funny watching him try all kinds of ridiculous crap and getting to mess with him, but--”

“Wait, I’m confused,” Matt said, his head turning away from Peter entirely. “Is he righ--”

“A- HA!"

The universe took that moment to exact revenge on Peter for all the wrongs he’d committed recently, because without rhyme, reason, or even a blip from his spidey sense, Wade popped up out of the HVAC unit at their backs with a clatter of metal and a shout like a demented jack-in-the-box. Peter sprang six full feet into the air like a scalded cat and nearly missed the roof on landing.

“I knew it!” he declared, while Peter clutched at his chest and tried to work out if he was having an actual, honest to god heart attack, because what the fuck?! “I knew you were screwing with me!”

“Deadpool,” Matt said, pinching the bridge of his nose in obvious frustration. “This was your idea and you couldn’t wait an extra thirty seconds for me to finish my question?”

“I got the answer to my question!”

“The real question is how you even fit in there; you didn’t tell me you were planning on dissembling my building’s air conditioner in the middle of July--”

“Don’t try to distract me, no-eyes--”

While they argued, Peter banged on his chest with his fist to try to knock his wild heartbeat back into the right gear, and focused on the most salient details first. “Traitor!” he gasped at Daredevil. “How could you? You set me up!”

“Yeah, sorry,” Matt said, not sounding especially apologetic. “He’s been hounding me for six weeks to agree to do this, and yesterday he came to where I work and--”

Wade interrupted him neatly, raising his voice as he clambered out of the HVAC unit with an unholy racket. “--convinced him with my sparkly powers of totally legal persuasion without any backroom deals at all-- and I was right , Spidey, admit it!”

Peter, who still wasn’t quite over Wade’s sudden appearance or that he’d managed to hide undetected less than ten feet from Peter that whole time without him realizing, did the only sensible thing he could think of, which was to take a step backward off the roof and let the swooping feeling of falling center him for a floor or two.

Then he fled as fast as his webs would take him.


+1 About Damn Time

Peter alighted on a rooftop billboard almost a mile away, clinging tightly to the vinyl and trying to convince himself that he wasn’t beyond freaked out. Almost everyone tripped his spidey sense a little, whether or not they meant harm. Wade shouldn’t have been able to catch him so off guard. He’d never flown under the radar like that before.

“Waiting on somebody to throw up a Spider Signal?” Wade asked from down on the roof, startling Peter all over again. He twitched and tensed, but otherwise didn’t respond, too busy trying to work out if his warning sense was broken, somehow. Wade looked up at the sky, squinted, and shielded his eyes with one hand against the dim light of the moon. “Not very good cloud cover tonight. Might not even see it.”

His spidey sense had worked with Daredevil. And with the people on the roof two blocks back where he'd considered landing first. It couldn't be broken. Maybe just defective? Did it work that way?

"You'd think they'd come up with something more reliable, but maybe Gotham's just always cloudy. Definitely fits the aesthetic." Wade had his back to Peter now, looking out over the city. Giving him a chance to escape again, if that was what he wanted.

Wade was pretty great, honestly.

Peter took a slow breath and relaxed his posture, letting his feet drop down to dangle as he sat instead of crouching on his narrow perch. “How did you do that?”

Wade turned, eyes still shielded, and squinted up at Peter instead. “Do what? I just gutted the AC unit, Spidey, it wasn’t hard.”

“No, not--” Peter hesitated, then pushed off and landed lightly on the roof in front of Wade. “You surprised me. That shouldn't have worked."

Wade tipped his head as though considering the idea, but instead of offering a hypothesis or something useful, said, “Peter Parker.”

Peter took a short step back. “Who’s that?” he asked, but his voice was weak and it sounded lame to his own ears. Wade followed with a larger step forward, and Peter found himself stepping back again. 

“It’s you,” he said, poking Peter in the chest. Peter took another step back, and Wade followed. “I’m not an idiot, baby boy.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” Peter said, though at this point a large part of his brain was clamoring for him to just admit it already. Another, much larger and deeply instinctual part was throwing up warning signs and flashing red lights and screaming klaxons. Peter hadn’t realised how terrifying this would be until he couldn’t pretend it was all a joke anymore.

By this point, Wade had backed him up against the slatted metal base of the billboard, and while the panicking part of him calculated how fast he could slide through the slats and get swinging, the rest of him was looking at Wade, who radiated earnestness.

“C’mon, Spidey,” he said, and it would have felt easy like almost every other time Wade had started a sentence with those words, except this time he was standing less than a foot away, with an intimidatingly focused gaze. “You know you can trust me. I didn’t find this out on purpose. I feel like you practically told me and now I’m kinda goin’ crazy. Just admit I’m right and you’re the cutie I met on the subway, and your name is Peter, not Andrew.”

Peter swallowed hard, and Wade paused to track the movement. He wondered if it was hypocritical to want Wade to take his mask off for this confrontation. Probably.

“I’ve been trying real hard here,” Wade finally continued, still earnest, but with a note of frustration leaking in. “Cause I wanted to stalk you and confront you out of your suit, but I thought you’d get pissed if I did, and I wanted to follow you home, but I didn’t, honest, and I’m goin’ nuts and the boxes are half-convinced I’m wrong at this point, but I know it’s you, I just know it.”

They stared at each other for what felt like an almost painfully long time, and though Peter had been grateful for his mask in the past, he genuinely didn’t think he would have managed this time without it. Even with, he was barely holding it together, and had no idea what the plan was when he eventually opened his mouth and said,

“Man, I’m glad you didn’t follow that poor guy home, cause that would’ve been messed up--”

Wade made a noise like a dying man and collapsed against Peter’s chest, pinning him against the metal slats. Then he clutched at him and let out a whiny, wailing, whale-like sound, and Peter sputtered out surprised laughter, one arm dropping to Wade’s waist to hold him up.

“Okay, okay." The laughter wasn't ideal, since he already felt like he couldn't quite catch his breath, but he patted Wade’s back and dropped his forehead to rest on his shoulder, voice almost inaudible as he admitted, “I’m kidding, I’m sorry. It’s ... it’s me, you’re right.”

Wade, who was still dead weight in Peter’s arms and appeared content to stay that way, made a pleased noise and hissed, “Yesssssssss! Fuckin’ called it.”

"No you didn't," Peter said, closing his eyes. He did it. He actually did it. Holy shit. His mouth curved up into a small smirk and he added, "I had to practically tell you, remember?"

One of Wade's arms snaked around Peter's waist and pulled him in closer, and Peter allowed it, his heart beating out of his chest with nervous anticipation.

"Yeah, you got me," Wade said easily. He braced his other arm on the slats behind Peter's back and straightened up. "You win, baby boy."

"Yeah, I do," Peter agreed. He met Wade’s gaze as best he could, and took a deep breath. “So, now that you know, what do you want to do about it?”

Wade’s head tipped very slightly, apparently considering the question. “I don’t wanna do anything,” he said, shrugging. “I just wanted to know one way or another. You were baiting me and I had to solve the mystery.”

Peter squinted at him, but the eyes of Wade’s mask remained wide and guileless. He seemed to be genuine. That absolute son of a bitch.

“Seriously?” Peter asked, when Wade offered nothing further. This was Fisk Tower all over again, wasn’t it? “You can’t think of one thing you want? Not a single thing?”

Wade hesitated, then glanced left and right as though someone else might offer him a suggestion. “Didja have something specific in mind?”

“Did I--” Peter broke off, scoffing. He huffed when Wade just looked generally lost, then once more for good measure, feeling his face start to heat. “Seriously?” he demanded again, for lack of anything else to say.

“I mean,” Wade offered, standing up properly now and adjusting one of his holsters. “You don’t have to bribe me into keepin’ it a secret, if that’s what you’re implying, Spidey. T-B-H, I’m kinda offended. Thought we were pals.”

“To-- bribe you?” Peter repeated, his face flaming as he combined his thought process with what Wade had been thinking. “No! That’s not what I was getting at, I swear. I just kind of--”

He trailed off. It’d be a hell of a lot easier if Wade had needed a little bribing. Or a reward for solving the mystery. Or something that wasn’t just this casual, open acceptance, complete with a tacit understanding that nothing had changed between them as a result of Peter’s revelation.

Especially since Peter was realizing now that he’d fully expected a change. He’d expected that admitting his real name would come wrapped up with... something. He was still imagining that kiss on Fisk Tower (which he’d been soundly cheated out of by, again, Wade’s frustratingly reasonable ideas about how friendship worked). Peter wanted to be able to go along for the ride, but Wade apparently wasn’t going anywhere without directions. He should have known.

(And maybe he really should have, and maybe that explained a few things. Maybe his brain had known how thoroughly Wade could be trusted, and maybe that’s why Wade had somehow moved into the Aunt May/MJ category where his Spidey sense didn’t make an effort. So maybe he should.)

This thought process took about ten seconds, and then Peter was faced with the reality that he had to actually communicate his interest to Wade instead of hiding behind deception and jokes and a literal mask. He needed to come at this like an adult. Sit down with Wade and explain to him that he’d been afraid even while he wanted what was developing between them, and apologize for messing with his head all these months. Spell out his feelings explicitly, and talk about what a relationship between the two of them might end up looking like, with all the potential for conflict and their very different lives and motivations and ethics-- and that all sounded awful.

Instead, Peter yanked his mask off and raised his eyebrows at Wade challengingly. “Look, are we gonna kiss now or what?” he demanded.

“Whoa,” Wade said, the eyes of his mask going wide. “I mean-- YES. But, what? You want-- wait, forget that-- lemme make it clear that yes, we can do that right now.

Peter grinned at him, some of his uncertainty about Wade’s actual intentions (despite his near-constant flirting) finally disappearing. They were still standing close, and Peter looked at Wade, expecting that his clear and emphatic agreement would be followed by him quickly tugging his mask off and following through.

When a couple seconds passed and Wade just stood there, fingers twitching, Peter’s smile dimmed slightly.

“So, uh...” Peter said, dropping his own mask to the ground and lifting his hands. “How about I just--”

He reached for Wade’s mask, only to find his wrists caught and held against his own chest. Peter stared at his hands, then at Wade, who had the decency to look sheepish.

“I’ve seen your face, you know,” Peter said, keeping his words calm and even.

“I know,” Wade agreed. He wasn’t quite making eye contact. Peter wasn’t sure how he knew, but he did.

“I really have no problem at all with what you look like,” Peter continued. “You don’t need to worry.”

“Worry?” Wade asked, his tone blithe even as he continued to hold Peter’s wrists and avoid his gaze. “Who, me? I don’t worry. Everything’s peachy. See?”

He leaned forward and kissed Peter on the forehead. Or rather, bumped his masked lips against Peter’s forehead. It was fortunate that he took a couple seconds to do it, too, because it gave Peter an opportunity to wipe the scowl off his face before Wade got a chance to look at him again.

“Look,” Peter said, carefully. “I’m not trying to make this about me, but do you really think I’m enough of a dick that I’m gonna see your face, again, and--”

“It’s not like that.” Wade squeezed Peter’s wrists reassuringly, and he brought one of them up to give Peter’s fingers another mask-bump kiss. “Not about you at all, baby boy, honest. I just wasn’t... didn’t know this was gonna happen today.”

“What’s wrong with today?” Peter asked, somewhat mollified as he did it again with the other hand. Maybe the whole masked kissing thing was a little cute. Sort of.

“Some days are worse than others,” Wade said simply, pressing his masked lips to the palm of Peter’s hand now.

Peter considered this, but there wasn’t a question, was there? Wade had been so patient and willing to let Peter put him through all kinds of nonsense so he could move at his own pace. He’d sat through what must have been at least a fifteen minute lecture from Dr. Banner without saying anything dumb enough to set off the Hulk and destroy Avengers Tower. Peter had to do the same for him.

But... he still wanted that kiss. A real one, without a mask in the way.

“I can close my eyes?” Peter offered, doing it already as he spoke to show willingness. “Or you can roll the mask up just enough, or both, or something else. I don’t care. I won’t complain.”

Peter waited in the darkness behind his own eyelids for an answer, feeling both hopeful and even more vulnerable than he had when he’d first unmasked. He wanted to open his eyes to see what Wade was doing, but that would kind of defeat the purpose, even if it’d make him feel better. Hopefully, Wade would react somehow or tell him he was being stupid or--

“Fuck, you’re perfect,” Wade said finally, releasing Peter’s wrists. Peter’s heart pounded hard when he heard something that sounded like Wade’s mask being lifted, and felt fingers cupping his jaw and tilting his head.

Wade’s lips on his felt scarred. There was a faint texture to them that was unfamiliar, but not in a bad way. Peter’s brain noted the difference and then moved almost immediately on to warm and want and-- well, that mask was still kind of in the way, and was this what Gwen and MJ had felt like when he kissed them with his mask on, because he wished they’d said something-- and then Wade sucked Peter’s bottom lip into his mouth and that thought process went straight out the window--  

Peter had a faint recollection of the steps he’d taken to turn them around and pin Wade against the metal slats at the base of the billboard, but they were fuzzy, and he had enough to think about when he very nearly forgot to keep his eyes shut when they finally broke apart.

“So, uh,” he said, sliding a hand up Wade’s chest toward his neck, to check if he’d lowered his mask yet. His fingers glanced briefly over bare skin before Wade’s hand caught his and pulled it away again. Peter kept his eyes closed. “Is there something we can do about this bad skin day situation, or do we need to get me a blindfold?”

“Getting you a blindfold sounds hotter.” Wade guided Peter’s hand downward as he spoke. Peter had very specific ideas about where he thought it was going, so when his hand ended up on Wade’s ass instead, he couldn’t stop himself from laughing as Wade continued talking. “If you don’t mind, beautiful.” 

He leaned in after that and kissed Peter again, unexpectedly, and then grabbed his ass with both hands, which Peter had honestly been waiting for for about twenty minutes now.  

“As long as I can take it off at some point,” Peter agreed, pulling Wade back in for another kiss. He paused briefly to add, “But no hurry. I can wait.”