The first Peter B. Parker did when he got back to his dimension was look up Miles Morales. The kid had done well for himself in Peter’s world, running his own graphic design company and everything. He’s a good deal older than Peter’s Miles, but still young enough for Peter to think of him as a kid. Doesn’t seem touched by the Spider-Man stuff and even though Peter thinks that’s a crying shame, he can’t make contact and risk dragging Miles into the train wreck of his life.
He does buy a dozen stickers off the website. He’s pretty sure the stylized spider is the same as the one Miles painted on his uniform. He leaves them on a couple of his I-found-you-a-criminal notes for the police in lieu of his friendly neighborhood spider-man signature, but that’s as far as it goes.
When Peter spots the kid, it’s broad daylight. He’s still shaking last night’s mild concussion, but the low buzz in the back of his head seems to confirm that he’s not hallucinating. The kid has a pair of headphones around his neck and a backpack slung over his shoulder. He’s clutching his jacket tightly around him, probably because he got caught out in his suit. Peter can see the tell-tale red and black gloves.
He stops in front of Peter. Peter freezes in reply, the rest of the city filtering past them.
Miles looks tired, his face tight with tension. He bounces once on his toes, bites his lip and then says in a rush, “Look, I know this is going to sound really weird, Mr. Parker, but I’m pretty sure I’m in the wrong universe and I was wondering if you would be willing to give me a hand.”
Peter blinks hard and looks behind him. No one passing by seems to have noticed the weird conversation. “Wow,” he says, turning back around. “You really just lead with the wrong universe thing, huh? Like a crazy person.”
Miles’s face falls, like he was expecting a different response. “I haven’t always had a lot of time. I guess I could lead with your big secret but you haven’t always reacted super well to that and—“
“Kid, it’s fine. It’s me.” He finds himself grinning. Miles being here is probably a sign of some impending shit show, but he’d missed this. He’d only had it for about two days, but it had ached like a bullet wound when it was gone. “Did you really not recognize me?”
Miles launches himself at Peter and then the kid is clinging to him in a hug. His momentary bewilderment fades to fondness as he recovers enough to return it.
“You look way better,” Miles says. “I didn’t recognize you.”
Peter hasn’t changed much in the two months since he’d last seen the kid. He’s talking to MJ again, and he’s off his all-pizza diet, but he’s still objectively a mess. “I wasn’t that bad.”
“You were wearing two different shoes and sweatpants.”
“Let’s see how well you manage when dumped into the wrong universe. I think I did okay even finding shoes.”
Miles pointedly looks down at his own outfit.
Peter scoffs in mock frustration. “And here I was thinking that I missed you.”
Miles ducks his head, looking pleased. “I missed you, too.”
Peter slings an arm over the kid’s shoulder. “Of course, missing your or not, I’m assuming you presence in my city means there’s some world ending cataclysm. Come on, I’ll call out from work. We can go back to my place and figure it out.”
The phone call is less traumatic than it would have been if J. Jonah Jameson was still his boss. Peter’s been a staff photographer at the Bugle for the past decade and while he’s got the reputation for being a bit of a flake, his stuff is good. His colleagues call him the photo ninja because of the insane angles he manages and he’s been the Bugle’s submission for the breaking new photography Pulitzer once or twice even if he’s never won. As long as he stays on deadline, he’s forgiven most of his absences. Besides, it’s not unusual for a staff photographer to be out on assignment for the bulk of the day.
Miles follows him, close enough that they bump shoulders every so often. Like he needs to contact to ground him. Peter finds himself spinning horror stories about what happened. Miles’s universe collapsing. Peter’s universe collapsing. The multiverse collapsing. The—
He unlocks the door to his apartment and holds the door while the kid slips in. He sits down hard on the futon, but keeps the backpack on his person. Peter closes the door, locks it behind him and then turns on the box fan to make sure none of the neighbors can hear them. He glances around his studio apartment. MJ came over a few days ago, so it’s cleaner than normal. Only a few pairs of mismatched socks and a single empty pizza box.
“All right, kid,” Peter says. “Lay it on me, who are we fighting? How can I help?”
“Not fighting anyone,” Miles says. “I just really want to go home.”
“That’s fine, kid. No problem.” Peter feels some of his bravado fade. “I love it when I don’t have to actually fight bad guys. We find whatever portal got you here and sneak you back through, no harm no foul.”
“It wasn’t a portal that got me here.”
Peter frowns. “Then how did you get here?”
Miles sighs. “Okay, so working theory is that the spider that bit me wasn’t actually a spider from my universe. So whatever it did to my DNA, it kind of destabilizes me sometimes?”
“Wait, that’s great!” Peter says. “You can come visit! I can show you the ropes. You can meet MJ and let me tell you man, she is curious about you.” He falters taking in Miles’s expression and realizes, “You can’t control it.”
“I’m not even sure the spider theory’s right! That was last universe’s Miles’s guess. He was a geneticist. And like forty. It was weird.”
“Wait is that why you were so nervous when you found me?”
“Last time I found a Peter Parker, he tried to kill me,” Miles says miserably.
Peter’s eyes widen. “Dude, even an alternate universe me wouldn’t--”
“It’s fine,” Miles says. “The multiverse is super weird. There was an extra dimension in one of them and I spent the whole time puking. I’m just happy to see someone I recognize even if you don’t have a plan.”
“Oh.” Peter allows himself a moment of smugness. “I definitely have a plan.”
Before the portal appeared, Peter had thought the multiverse thing was bullshit. After, well, he’s pretty sure he owes Wade Wilson some tacos and probably a beer. So Peter’s plan now is almost identical to the one he’d had before he stumbled across Miles and his goober.
Find Wade and ask how he managed cross dimensional trips. Simple. Easy.
He glances behind him.
Easy, but introducing a very new Spider-Man to Deadpool probably isn’t the best mentoring around.
Eh, the kid knew what he was getting into.
Miles has improved with the webs since the last time Peter saw him. The panicky shouts are gone, replaced with occasional whoops. His aim’s almost surgical. More flare than Peter uses, but Peter’s pushing forty so he can’t discount the possibility that he used to showboat a little, too.
He lands them on a rooftop outside Wade’s current bolthole and eases himself down the fire escape, an increasingly skeptical Miles trailing him.
“Are you sure we’re in the right place?” Miles asks. “Because I’ve got that buzzing in my head that means something bad’s coming.”
“You got the spider-sense too?” Peter says. “That’s cool. Super handy in a fight, a little less in real life because it goes off around danger. And Wade’s not the… safest.”
“Seriously,” Miles says. “Who the hell is this guy?”
“Deadpool,” Peter offers after a beat, unsurprised when Miles doesn’t react to the name. “He’s my…” he falters. “Oh my God. He’s my best friend. When the hell did that happen?”
“Questionable life choices,” Miles mumbles.
Peter can’t find it in himself to disagree. He raises a hand and knocks on the blacked out window. There’s a second of rustling from behind it and then it’s thrown open in one large motion and Peter finds himself with a gun in his face held by a masked Deadpool. He’s not actually wearing the costume, but rather a pair of short shorts and a baggy Spider-Man T-shirt.
“Hey Wade,” Peter says. “You got a second?”
“Spidey! It’s been way too long since our team up.” He lowers the gun. “Just give me a second to get freshened up. What kind of weapons we talking today? Because I’ve got a sweet new…”
“Not interested in the plasma guns—which you should absolutely not have by the way—more hoping to take a look at your dimension hopping tech.”
Wade gestures into the apartment with the gun. “Mi casa es tu casa.”
Peter climbs through the window and gestures for Miles. “Come on, kid, it’s fine.”
Miles, dubiously, follows him inside.
“Oh em gee,” Wade says, catching sight of Miles for the first time. “Spidey, darling, are you trying to tell me something. Have you been hiding our illegitimate love child?”
He darts forward and pinches either side of Miles’s cheeks through the mask. Miles ducks and sweeps his legs out from under him.
Peter taught him that. He feels a rush of pride.
Deadpool hits the ground with a thud. Peter steps between him and Wade just in case Wade decides to come up swinging.
Instead Wade’s laughing. “He’s got your eyes, Spidey. And my manners.”
Peter offers him a hand up. “He’s Spider-Man from an alternate dimension.”
“So a baby you,” Wade guesses. “His suit’s way cooler.”
“I know, right?” Peter agrees. “But no, not a baby me. Still a kid, but not a Peter. He’s in the wrong universe.”
“Oh!” Deadpool spins in front of Miles. “Are you from the one with zombies?”
Miles shakes his head.
“The one where Pete’s madly in love with me?”
Again, Miles shakes his head.
“Trick question on that one,” Wade trills. “That’s all of them.”
Peter snorts, unwillingly amused.
“We gonna be mask buddies or you gonna take it off?” Wade asks. Which is a bit of a hypocrisy considering Wade’s still wearing a mask.
Miles looks at Peter as if asking permission and suddenly Peter remembers that the importance of a secret identity was one of the few things his universe’s Spider-Man managed to impart before he died. “Your call, kid. It’s a different universe but Wade’s about as sketchy as they come so that’s probably a wash.”
Wade makes the clutching his pearls gesture. Peter grins and tugs his own mask off.
“I was in a universe where Peter was Deadpool for a while,” Miles offers.
“Was that the one where I tried to kill you?” Peter asks, because that wouldn’t surprise him. Wade handled Weapon X better than most people would and Peter absolutely does not want to think how he would have fared. Getting divorced was bad enough without adding in literal torture.
“Oo!” Wade shouts. “Was I Spider-Man in this universe? Because I always wanted to find the universe where I was Spider-Man.”
“I didn’t find a Spider-Man in that universe,” Miles says, not taking his mask off. “And I never really got the plan, Peter, are we here for a magic goober or something?
Wade’s mock outrage escalates and he’s chattering about how this kind of technology isn’t magic and how hard he’d had to work to steal such a thing and that, really, it’s more of a MacGuffin than a goober before Peter walks over to his desk and digs the contraption out of it.
“Wait,” Miles says. “I can go home with this thing. Awesome!”
Peter snatches it out of his grasp. “Not so fast. Other universe you said that this was from the spider bite not the universe breaking. Which means this is one of those do it on cue things.”
“Dude, this is not messing up in a fight,” Miles argues. “This is me sneezing too hard and ending up in a universe where people have tails and the sun is a black hole.”
“Great,” Peter says. “This kind of thing is way easier to manage under pressure. Just give me a couple hours and a few energy drinks and I should have a way to track you down if you get misplaced again. DP, this thing can do two people at once, right?”
“As many as you can carry,” Wade replies.
“Awesome,” Peter says and wanders over to the workbench Wade uses to keep his guns in shape. By the time he makes it there, Wade’s managed to produce two Monsters, cracking the first open with a flourish. Peter cannonballs it to a blatantly horrified Miles, before popping the second open for more leisurely consumption. “Seriously, I got this. You guys can stay if you want, but you’re good to patrol too, I know the science part of this can be kind of boring.”
Miles shuffles his feet. “What happens if I slip again?”
“DP’s got you, right Wade?”
“It has always been my dream to babysit Spider-Man,” Wade replies.
“Then you’re good. Wade’s a bit of a weirdo, but he's okay. Just... if you see one of the Avengers, definitely don’t get caught with him.”
Miles stares at him, skepticism mounting even through the mask.
“It’s fine,” Peter assures him. “Wade’s cool. The Avengers are elitist pricks. I just need like three or four hours to finish this up.”
Three hours later, Miles and Wade stumble back in wearing costumes spattered in bright blue. Peter starts to ask, but decides that he’d rather not know and instead says, “Think you can spare me a blood sample, Spidey?”
Miles immediately crosses the room. Peter’s not 100% sure it’s not to get away from Deadpool.
He draws Miles’s blood quickly. It’s been a while since grad school and Peter’s missed the hard core science. He’s not entirely surprised that he’s a supervillain in a couple realities. He’s always loved science and he definitely understands the urge to test things on himself. He’d still be working in labs if it weren’t for the fact that it demanded a schedule that Spider-Man couldn’t commit to.
He extracts what he needs for the sample and uploads it to Wade’s trans-dimensional goober. “Mind giving me one of your web-shooters for a minute?”
Miles pulls his hand back reflexive. “Why?”
Great, Wade probably coaxed him into a loan while they were out on patrol. “Because if you’re anything like me, you keep better track of them than anything else you own. And I need to tune the beacon.”
It only takes a couple seconds to install and toss back to Miles.
“So wait,” the kid says, “What exactly did you do to my web-shooters.”
“It’s designed to emit a beacon if you wind up in a universe that isn’t your own,” Peter explains. “So if it does, it’ll ping our side and I can come get you and get you back to your universe. Easy.”
“You could just give me the dimensional transponder thing,” Miles points out.
“One,” Peter says. “It’s Wade’s not mine. Two, you said this was one of your powers.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Miles says with a heavy sigh. “I gotta learn to do it on cue.”
“Just click your heels together three times,” Wade cuts in, unhelpfully.
“Don’t look at me like that, kid,” Peter says to Miles. “You know you want to be able to drop in on Gwen without a cataclysm.”
“I want to go home first.” Miles rocks back on his heels, wrapping his arms tight to his chest.
“So go home,” Peter says. “Nothing stopping you but you.”
“Thank you.” Miles darts forward to give Peter a quick hug. “I was seriously spiraling and this helps.”
“Any time, kid,” Peter says. “And when you get this under control, you’re coming back for dinner.”
“Tacos!” Wade shouts.
Peter rolls his eyes. “MJ wants to meet you. And we can be talked into tacos if Wade can be talked into cooking.”
“Sounds fair,” Miles says. “All right. Later, Deadpool. Pete.”
He gives them both a salute and flickers out of sight.
Wade drapes himself dramatically over Peter’s shoulders. “They grow up so fast don’t they?”
Peter normally shakes Wade off when he does this, but he’s feeling fond and a little sappy so he sighs and says, “He was terrible when he first started. But he had this spark that’s only getting brighter. He’s going to be one of the greats.”
“Assuming you didn’t just send him off into the lava dimension,” Wade says. “You tested your doohickey right?”
“I’m sure it’s fine,” Wade says.
They both stare at the transponder.
A second later it glows red.
“Oh thank God,” Peter says. “The kid missed his universe.”
Which doesn’t sound like a good thing, but Peter didn’t need another several months of panicking about the kid’s potential grisly fate.
“Field trip!” Wade grins. “Rescue our Spider-son from the clutches of the evil alternate universe.”
Peter pulls his mask down to hide his answering grin.
The kid can absolutely rescue himself.
But it doesn’t mean Peter can’t help.