"Wade?" Peter poked his head into his room. Aunt May had taken to Wade staying over, and the upperclassman, despite his generally inappropriate sense of humor, seemed to adopt May as a surrogate mother. "You up yet?"
A muffled groan came from under the covers. "Baby Boy? It's only six am!"
Peter rolled his eyes and pulled the blanket off, revealing the blond senior, clad only in a T-shirt and boxers. "It's eleven am and—"
"Fuck no! Morita said if I got another tardy, I'd be—" Peter placed a hand on the top of Wade's head. "It's not a school day, is it?" A head shake and Wade gave his boyfriend a pout.
"It's the first day of Christmas break. And you said we'd go shopping, remember?" Peter had Wade's gift. He just needed everyone else's. They'd been together for three months, ever since Wade rendered Flash unconscious for calling Peter "Penis Parker" across the cafeteria.
Wade was looking at him with a blank expression. "Petey? You okay? You look like you've wandered into the wrong story." Peter blinked a couple times and turned his attention back to Wade. "We're not still going to the ballet, are we?" The pout never faltered.
"Yes, we're going." Wade started to protest but Peter put a finger to his lips, which Wade took into his mouth. "Jackson's playing the Mouse King, remember?"
"Fitting for his size." Peter smacked his shoulder. "Ow!" He whined, clutching his arm.
Peter hopped off the bed. "Why I let you two within five feet of each other, I'll never know." Wade and Jackson seemed to live for antagonizing the other. Thinking about it now, it was probably better Wade didn't go. Peter knew there was something off about Jackson; he just didn't know what.
He stepped towards the door. "Put some pants on and get ready to go." He felt a blush coming on. If he didn't escape soon, Wade would tease him about it all day.
"Fine." Wade drew out the word and watched Peter and his fine ass leave the room. "Pants." He dug around Peter's laundry, scattered among the floor. Then a phone rang, and Wade couldn't help but roll his eyes. The Game of Thrones theme meant that pipsqueak Jackson. It wasn't that Wade didn't like the guy. He was just annoying, and it seemed like he wanted to get rid of Wade so he could go out with Peter.
"What do you want?" Wade's tone was cold as he answered.
"What are you doing answering Peter's phone?" Jackson's voice dropped once he realized it wasn't Peter. "I need to talk to him about tonight. If you say one word about my role, Wilson, I'll kick your ass."
Wade couldn't help but smirk. "Love to see you try. Peter's in the shower. I'm going to go join him." With that, he put the phone down, tugging his shirt over his head and heading for the bathroom.
Peter looked at Wade, annoyed. Jackson had emailed him a reserved seat but with a message: 'I know what I said, Pete, but no Wade tonight. He knows what he did. Bet he's happy he doesn't have to go now. See you at six.'
"I'm not even going to ask." He pocketed his phone and opened the front door. "Let's go."
"You're mad at me, aren't you?" Wade tapped his shoulder repeatedly. "Don't be mad. I didn't say anything he doesn't deserve." Peter glared at him. "Why are you friends with him?" It wasn't supposed to come out.
Peter stopped in his tracks and remained silent, save for his deep breath. "We're not going over this again. I don't like him like that, and all I want is for you two to get along." He relaxed slightly. "Get in the car."
The Uber ride was quiet. Peter just watched out the window while Wade picked at the seat. He loved Wade to death and they needed each other. Ever since Uncle Ben died, Peter had distanced himself from everyone. Wade told him about his less-than-desirable home life, with an abusive father who was either violently reacting or passed out in his chair.
"Petey?" The brunet glanced over to see Wade watching him expectantly. "I got you something already." He peeked at the driver, who seemed preoccupied, and pulled a small box from his red hoodie.
"Wade, that better not be a—" Wade referenced them getting married all the time but Peter, of course, never took it seriously.
"Nah, Petey. Not that. Just a promise." He opened it to reveal a chain, and popped open the locket. It was Peter's favorite picture from a photo booth on their first date. "This is gonna sound totally cheesy and the writer should be ashamed of himself..." He looked up at the roof. Peter ignored this; he was used to it, although he never understood what Wade was talking about. "I love you, Peter, and being with you makes life worth living."
Peter blinked back tears. Wade confided in him that he was on the brink of suicide when they met. He took the chain and put it on. "It's perfect. Just like you."
"Stop." Wade still wasn't used to compliments, even though he knew Peter meant them. He blushed a little and put his hood up.
Peter dug into his pocket and produced a very small wrapped gift. "Merry Christmas, Wade." He held it out.
The blond looked it over and carefully removed the paper. He gasped loudly, startling the driver. "You kept it?" His voice was hushed as he held up the Skee-ball token. "Petey—"
"Look at the engraving." Wade observed the minuscule writing closely. 'To Wade. I love you. You annoy me more than I ever thought possible, but I want to spend every irritating moment with you. Peter.'
Wade was ready to jump Peter when the car pulled up at the mall. "Okay, lovebirds. C'mon. I got another pickup." Peter tipped him a couple extra dollars, which earned him a smile. "Thanks, kid. Happy holidays."
"Thanks, Charlie." Peter got out, Wade behind him. "Ready?"
"Ready." Wade took his hand.
They both had lists. Peter needed to find gifts for Aunt May, Mr. Stark, Ned, MJ, Harry, Gwen and Jackson. Wade had Vanessa, Weasel, Ellie and Yukio, and Piotr, and he wanted to get something for May, since she was always so nice to him.
"Meet back here in an hour?" Peter kissed Wade's cheek and set off towards the LEGO Store. From his departure, he could hear Wade make that adorable squeal before his footsteps ran away. He shook his head fondly.
The internship he had with Tony Stark paid so well that Peter could afford to get his friends nice things. For Ned, he found a Star Wars Ultimate Millennium Falcon set. MJ, in an old bookstore, a first edition of Sophie's Choice. He recalled her talking about crossing off the Modern Library's 100 Best Novels. When it came to Harry, Peter found a flipbook to insert their old pictures. Gwen recently found an interest in DJ'ing, and Peter had seen her eyeing a setup. He was a little embarrassed when the guy at the counter ID'ed him for the amount he was spending.
He wasn't sure what Mr. Stark would even want. The genius was basically the father figure he needed since his uncle. Maybe a couple weeks of not correcting him all the time. Aunt May was insistent on not giving her anything materialistic, so Peter made a mental note to utilize what arts and crafts skills he did have and make her something.
Wade knew exactly what to get his friends. Ellie and Yukio got 'I'm hers. She's mine.' matching coffee mugs. Vanessa was his closest confidant, and whose knowledge of Star Wars is equal to Jackson's (Wade thought she knew more but he was biased). They got into spirited debates all the time, ones that usually ended with no one else knowing what they were talking about. He found a set of original Empire action figures.
He came across a store of outdated technology, and chose a Walkman for Piotr. The guy really liked antiques. Wade had tried to get him onto Spotify, to no avail. Weasel was probably his oldest friend, since fourth grade when they were both sentenced detention for giving Mr. Nicieza a hard time. It was in a ThinkGeek store, those long-distance touch lamps he'd seen in memes. Weas was so getting Africa tapped in the middle of the night.
Wade's mother left early on, leaving him in the neglectful care of his piece of shit father. He had trust issues with most female authority figures, at least until he met Peter's Aunt May. She was the kindest woman he ever met and she never showed him a sign of pity, the way most adults seemed to when his private life came up. He passed an Urban Outfitters and he saw it. Every time he woke up at Peter's, May had coffee with her. This mug was it.
"Find everything?" Peter carried a couple bags and a box tucked under his arm. He gave Wade a grin. The older boy looked like a little kid on Christmas morning with the packages he had.
Wade nodded. "Got it. It's gonna be amazing!" He took Peter's hand and squeezed it gently. "You?" Peter's grin grew. "Let's get home so I can change."
Jackson was at rehearsal all day. When he was cast, he devoted all of his free time to perfection, but he always made time for Peter. The junior was his only close friend. They met in Jackson's senior year, Peter's sophomore. He'd had a bit of a crush on the younger male but it was quickly swept under when Peter didn't return his affections. Now Jackson saw Peter as something of a younger brother, and that was why he didn't like Wade. He wasn't very fond of how the elder behaved around Peter, with his endless stream of innuendo and cracks about Jackson's short stature.
"Shanley!" He snapped to attention. "Didn't you hear me? Evacuate!"
"Wait, what, why?" The director pointed out the window and Jackson narrowly dodged a boomerang. "Holy shit!"
He could hear people gasping and ooh-ing, and he knew who it was. "Fucking Spider-Man," he grumbled before going out the back way, taking the stairs three at a time. He discarded his suit and pulled his mask on. He saw the red-and-black-suited hero. "Every goddamn time." He teleported onto a nearby balcony and found Spider-Man at his side. "You really don't like me, do you?"
"Doing my best to protect the city," was his response before swinging into action.
"I do it too, asshole!" Kid Psionic reappeared on the ground, firing an ice construct at the villain. "This one's mine!"
"I'll be back around nine. Will you stop?" Peter fixed his tie the way Aunt May taught him. Wade was clinging to his arm, acting as if he was leaving for good. "Call Weasel or Vanessa."
"But they're working tonight! Can't I come too? I'll be good. I promise!"
Jackson was going to kill him but Peter couldn't say no to the look on Wade's face. "Okay. But you have to sincerely apologize to Jackson first." That damn pout. "I mean it. Promise?"
Wade folded his arms like a petulant child. "Promise. Only because I love you."
"Peter, man, what the hell?" Jackson was only in the bottom half of his costume when they arrived. Taking down Boomerang took longer than expected, and he was half an hour late getting back. "The fuck are you looking at, Wilson?" Wade reached out but Jackson smacked his hand away. "Don't even try." He returned his attention to Peter. "What is he doing here?"
Peter nudged Wade in the side. "'m sorry," he mumbled. Peter nudged him again, harder. "Okay!" He stood in front of Jackson. "I'm sorry, Jackson. You're not that bad a guy."
Jackson raised an eyebrow at Peter, who nodded encouragingly. He rolled his eyes. "Fine. Apology accepted. I'm sorry too. Do you want to stay?" Wade nodded excitedly. "Take box five." Wade grabbed Peter's hand and dragged him away but not before Peter caught "You owe me big time" from his friend.
He and Wade shifted through the crowds and Peter almost collided with someone. Wade caught him and was about to give the guy some words when Peter spoke first. "Charlie?"
"Oh, hey, Peter, Wade." The man smiled. "You guys fans of the ballet?"
Wade opened his mouth to respond when Peter elbowed him hard in the side. "We're here to support our friend. He's playing the Mouse King." He jabbed Wade again before he could say anything.
"You know my son Jackson?" Peter and Wade blinked and glanced at each other. Jackson never mentioned his father. Both had met his moms; Wade got along more with Megan, Peter with Sophie. "He hasn't told you about me?" Charlie only looked guilty. "Guess he's right not to. I've never been much of a d—"
"You were never my dad. You were never around." Jackson reappeared, in full costume, behind the man. "You abandoned my moms before I was born. What are you doing here?" He walked over to Peter and handed him an envelope, and Wade a lengthy parcel. "Get going. Starts in a few." The look on his face was enough for Peter to pull Wade along into the box.
Once settled, Peter opened the envelope to find a letter, along with a Jedi belt buckle. He read it while Wade unwrapped what looked like a sword, which got him excited until he realized it was an umbrella. A folded piece of paper read, "I know you love swords and this one comes in handy. Merry Christmas, Wade. –J"
"I ever tell you how much I love Jackson?" Peter scoffed and wiped his eyes. "You alright, Petey?"
Peter nodded. "Yeah." Jackson's note was about how he considered Peter his best friend and how much he meant to him. The lights dimmed and he leaned on Wade's shoulder.
In the lobby afterwards, people were milling and chatting. Wade snuck up behind Jackson and picked him up, making him yelp. "I had no idea you were so talented!" Jackson swatted at his arms. "You're so graceful." Jackson gave Peter a pleading look but the brunet shook his head.
"This may be as affectionate as he gets so enjoy it now." Jackson gave up and slumped in Wade's arms.
"There are no words for your performance, Jacks. It was brief but you stood out." Charlie arrived and Wade put Jackson down. "I wanted to support you a little. Noticed your moms weren't here."
Jackson pulled out his phone and scrolled through rows of missed calls and texts from his mothers. "Oh God," he muttered. "I gotta go!"
"Jackson!" Peter called after him but then everyone's attention turned to a monitor, where an airplane had emergency landed in a field and there were hostages. "C'mon, Wade!"
Spider-Man wasn't on the scene, at least as far as Kid Psionic could see. What he did, however, was something in a cape messily consuming a woman. "Jesus fucking Chr—"
"What do we got?" He nearly fell off the air traffic control tower when Spider-Man swung up beside him.
"You really gotta stop doin' that! We got one hell of an ugly motherfucker cannibalizing passengers. My family is on that plane." He held out his gloved hand. "Team up? I won't curse you out."
Spider-Man looked at him for half a second before accepting the gesture. "Fire and ice?"
Kid Psionic held up his hands and nodded. "Fire and ice. Let's go."
Peter and Wade arrived on the scene but were kept back by officers. "Holy fuck." Wade watched the action wide-eyed. He and Peter practically idolized Spider-Man, and only recently had they heard about Kid Psionic.
"He's so cool." Wade pulled out his phone and started recording. "Who do you think he is?"
"No id—" Everyone ducked as something exploded. Kid Psionic was flashing in and out, moving passengers out of harm's way.
Megan and Sophie came up behind Wade. "What are you two doing here?" Sophie asked as she hugged Peter.
"We followed the news?" The women looked at each other. Jackson only kept his secret to his immediate family, namely them. "What's going on?"
Another explosion and someone screamed. A decapitated head landed on the cop car, and everyone backed away. Kid Psionic reappeared. "There. Problem solved. Not too bad for the first day of Christmas break." Spider-Man swung down next to him. "Don't give me that look. I do me, and that sometimes involves killing." He walked over and put a hand on his moms' shoulders. "You alright, Mom? Mother?"
"Not here," Megan murmured.
"What do you me—" He turned and faced his friends. "Oh shit." He covered his mouth. "Sup, guys?"
"I can't believe you never told us!" Jackson sat, arms folded, across from Peter and Wade in Peter's room. "How could you keep this big a secret from us?"
"First of all, you and I are barely friends. Secondly, I didn't tell you because this is one of those things that, if you knew, you could be in danger. Believe it or not, as much as you piss me off, Wade, I care a great deal about you."
Peter had been quiet. Just the realization that his best friend was a superhero... It was amazing. "Jacks?" Wade stopped, having been pestering Jackson to show off his powers, and both of them looked at Peter. "This doesn't change anything, right?"
"No. God, no. I'm still your best friend, dude. I'm like that short-lived UPN show, except my powers are genetic. I'm still not entirely sure." He moved to sit next to him. "It's still you and me against the world." Wade made an indignant noise. "You too."
A week passed without incident. Jackson used to spend almost all of his free time with Peter but—according to Megan—he was catching up with his father. His Instagram stories were filled with goofy selfies and pictures he got people to take of him and Charlie.
"You notice how he smiles a lot more?" Wade piped up from behind Peter. "You think that's why he was so annoyed all the time? Because he didn't have a strong male influence?"
Peter thought about it. "Maybe? I mean, Flash picks on him way more than me." That was easily contributed to them being in more of the same classes. "Sophie told me that he had to change schools four times in three years because of how bad the bullying was. Can't really blame him for being so cynical."
Wade wrapped his arms around Peter. "Kinda just wanna hug him and tell him it's gonna be okay."
Peter smiled softly. He knew he was the only one Wade showed any real emotion to, and this statement made him love the guy all the more. "You can be a real sweetheart when you want to be."
"Is that an invitation to be pervy?" Peter couldn't help but snort. "Now I want what's in here." He slid his hand down the back of Peter's jeans, earning a squeak. "Make more noises like that." Wade leaned beside him, whispering in his ear, "Why do you have such a perfect ass?"
Peter's face was scarlet and he couldn't form words, so he simply pulled away. "We gotta get that Christmas Eve party going." Wade looked at him as if he hit him. "If you're good and don't mess around, you can touch my ass all you want after. Deal?"
Wade sighed dramatically. "Deal."