There was a gentle buzzing in the back of his brain. It was soft for now. Just a calm warning; pay attention, someone dangerous is here. This would be totally fine and normal, dangerous is a broad term and the amount of people meeting that description you pass on the street everyday would probably traumatize anyone he told, if he could tell anyone, so it would not be at all alarming if he were not in his own apartment, alone, in the middle of the night. Peter groaned and sat up on the bed. Patrol had just ended an hour ago and he was hoping to get a solid four hours in before his alarm, but now there was no way he was going to be able to rest until he figured this out.
There were footsteps in the hallway. Not his hallway thankfully, but the one outside his apartment door. His spidey-sense spiked as they passed his door but settled back into a low-level buzz when they continued down the hall. Peter crept out of bed, his feet silent as he moved through the apartment to his door. Nothing through the peephole, but he knew that already. The threat was down at the end of the hall now, her could hear the door to the last apartment open and close. Peter only knew Mr. Johnson in passing, and as a name on a mailbox, but he’d never set off his spidey-sense before now. Is it possible he has some dangerous friends? He didn’t seem like the type, but sometimes people don’t. Looks can be deceiving.
Peter was debating putting his suit back on and creeping around to Mr. Johnson’s window, when the sound of a gunshot rang out. He was already flinging the door at the end of the hallway open before he remembered that he was dressed in threadbare pajamas. A large man in a dark overcoat had been kneeled next the bleeding body of Peter’s neighbor, searching through his pockets, but he stood and spun around as Peter threw open the door. They locked eyes long enough for Peter to take note of his face, tanned skin, green eyes, deep scowl, and a fairly distinctive scar curling from his left temple to the corner of his lips. There was a second of shock, and the man had his gun up, firing immediately. Peter leapt to the side as fast as he could without giving himself away. He felt the burn of a bullet across his bicep, but it was shallow, and he was Spider-Man. Peter sprinted down the hallway, bullets struck the drywall in front of him as he swung around the corner. He just had to stay out of sight, get outside, and double back to get his suit. Then he can take down this asshole and check on his neighbor. He pressed the down button on the elevator as he ran passed and burst into the stairwell, heading up.
Luckily for Peter, for many reasons, the door to the roof is never locked and he emerged into the cold night air, running for the edge of the roof.
“Woah, woah, woah, man. I gotta say, I’ve never seen someone so gung-ho about offing themselves, but I’m afraid I have to stop you. I mean, I’m right here,” Deadpool gestured at himself, seated on the edge of the adjacent building. “Aaaand I’m eating,” He shook his taco at Peter “Rude. Also, you know you’re bleeding, right? Sometimes I have to be told, but I thought that was the sort of thing other people noticed.”
“Deadpool,” Peter huffed out. “I am so glad to see you.”
Deadpool narrowed his eyes, somehow. “And why is that? Bloody doe-eyed twinks are not normally glad to see armed mercenaries on rooftops.” He was still holding an unwrapped taco, even though his mask had been fully covering his face this entire time.
“I’m not sure that I really want to know how you’d know that, but I don’t have time for you to tell me anyway. There’s a crazy dude in my building trying to kill me.” Deadpool straightened up, all playfulness gone from his posture. “He’s already maybe killed my neighbor.” Peter’s heart clenched at the idea that there may be a man lying dead downstairs even though he was hallmates with Spider-Man. “A-and you’re not a mercenary anymore, right? I heard that you were friends with Spider-Man, and that you were kind of a hero now.”
Deadpool had chucked his taco away (gasp) and leaped the gap between building before Peter had even finished his sentence. Peter wasn’t surprised. He’d known that Deadpool would help him as soon as he’d seen him. Because he is friends with Spider-Man and he is mostly a hero these days. Peter could relax now. Wade would take care of things and his identity wouldn’t be at risk anymore.
“Well.” Wade clapped his hands together, “I never could resist a damsel in distress. Lead the way, kid.”
The hall was clear when they got back downstairs but Peter wasn’t fooled. He had seen that man’s face and watched him murder someone in cold blood, there was no way anyone would leave a loose end like that.
“I’m going to Mr. Johnson’s apartment. I have to see if he’s alive.” Peter had brought Deadpool up to date on the situation while they made their way down, so he just got a nod in return. This was “on the job” Deadpool, he was quieter and more alert of their surroundings. He didn’t leave Peter’s side and seemed to hover over him. Spider-Man didn’t get to see this side of his partner that often, and never directed toward him. Spider-Man could take care of himself, but Peter was a helpless civilian with a target on his back, as far as Wade was concerned.
Mr. Johnson was not alive. He lay on his floor in a puddle of blood, a shocked expression on his face. Peter’s fists clenched, his eyes were burning.
“If I hadn’t run-“
“Then there’d be two bodies here.”
Peter made a noise of protest. But Deadpool raised a hand to stop him. "Sorry, Hun, I know your type. You wanna feel like you were somehow responsible for this, but this was a clean, professional hit. Dude was dead as soon as you heard the gun go off.” Peter got a split second of relief before he continued. “The only way you could’ve stopped this is if you somehow knew something bad was gonna happen beforehand. No one’s expecting you to be psychic.” Guilt churned in Peter’s stomach. “Right.” He croaked. Deadpool sighed and stood up.
“Really, the weirdest thing is that you did hear the shot. Most professionals that aren’t me use silencers when they sneak into a target’s apartment building in the middle of the night. Speaking of which, How come none of your neighbors have come out, or called the cops? You said he was shooting down the hallway.”
“He was.” Peter interjected. He was getting a little defensive now. Because Wade was suspicious, which was new because usually Wade trusted him implicitly and he didn’t like this new dynamic. Also, Peter was kinda just now realizing that the guy probably had used a silencer, and he had only heard the gunshots because of his advanced hearing. Try explaining that.
“Here, hold this,” Deadpool spoke offhandedly and Peter reached out automatically, only to be handed a gun. He balked and held the weapon up loosely. It was a little heavy (Wade has big guns) and the metal was cool against his skin. Deadpool was staring at the gun in his hand with a considering look on his face, somehow.
“Is there a reason for me holding this?” Peter asked, slowly. Wade was acting weird.
“Just checking.” Deadpool answered breezily but didn’t elaborate any further. “So, are you gonna call the cops? Seems like something most people would do in your situation. Like, a while ago?
“I guess I should.” Peter shrugged, not looking forward to having to explain this whole mess again. He'd give the police a more edited version of events. It’s not like his presence really has anything to do with the case.
Deadpool tilted his head like he was listening to something, and then shook it.
“Knock yourself out, babe. I gotta skedaddle then though. You know the deal. Coppers aren’t exactly fans of us vigilantes.” Deadpool winked at him, somehow. “Call the Po-Po, then wait for them in your locked apartment. I’m gonna do a sweep of the building even though I’m pretty sure this guy took off. When the police offer protection you take it. Go stay somewhere that is not here. I’ll do some digging into your neighbor to find out who wanted him dead, and then we’ll know who wants you dead and I can take care of it.”
Peter was touched that Wade intended to keep looking into this, that he was still planning to help even though the immediate danger had passed. He nodded his agreement, feeling pretty guilty that he was not going to do any of that aside from maybe calling the police.
Peter never realized how suspicious he looks on paper.
Peter did not call the police. He’d thought about it, and he felt really guilty about it, but he decided that he just couldn’t afford to have his name tied to this. Besides, his story would sound just as sketchy to the police as it had to Wade, and he really couldn’t explain how he had heard gunshots but no one else in the building had. So instead, he just paced around his apartment trying to convince himself that he was doing the right thing until he heard his alarm go off. Then, He showered, got dressed, and made his way out of the building as casually as possible. It helped that he had had plenty of experience pretending that he had no idea that something was going on. He arrived at The Bugle in time for his 8am meeting with Jameson, got yelled at, on and off, for about forty-five minutes, and received his new assignment (to get some pictures of Spider-Man causing property damage).
Peter ran some errands, trying to take as long as possible, and strolled up to his building with his arms full of grocery bags around noon. Coming home with groceries is as non-suspicious as it comes, right? No one would walk up to a murder scene carrying brown paper bags full of ramen and frozen burritos and one random baguette (because you can’t carry a brown paper grocery bag without a baguette poking out of the top). He was the picture of casual innocence. He even managed a look of wide-eyed surprise at the commotion out front. Several cop cars were parked against the curb with their lights on. A crowd was gathered and police officers were milling around, talking to his neighbors. Peter made a few, totally nonchalant, inquiries to the crowd about what was going on. All they knew was that someone had died, and the police wanted to talk to anyone that lived on the seventh floor. So, he walked right up to the nearest police officer and volunteered himself for questioning just like a person with absolutely nothing to hide would. The questions were very general. Yes, he was home last night. No, he didn’t see or hear anything suspicious. He was in bed by eleven o’clock, since he had an early meeting this morning. No, he hadn’t noticed Mr. Johnson’s door being ajar when he left. Yes, he had noticed the holes in the drywall, but he had no idea what might’ve caused them. The officer gave Peter his card in case he thought of anything else, and then Peter was free to go. He felt pretty good about how boring and normal he managed to seem. Absolutely no one could suspect that Peter had anything to do with this crime.
When Peter was suiting up for patrol that night, he noticed that his burner phone was blinking. He frowned, Deadpool was the only one that had this number and it wasn’t like he was late for their meet-up yet. Yes, he had a burner phone just to talk to Wade, shut up. He also needed it for when he had to call up the cops to pick up criminals. So.
Peter thumbed in his passcode and saw that Wade had actually messaged him early this morning, one text and then several voice clips. Peter couldn’t pretend he didn’t know what they would be about.
DP<3 4:47 am: Hey Spider-Babe! You would not believe the night I had after we split up!! I’ve got an actual murder mystery on my hands, Baby Boy! You wanna be my Watson 😉?
Peter relaxed. Wade just wanted Spider-Man’s help investigating Mr. Johnson’s murder. That was fine. He was going to do that anyway. The sooner they solved this, the sooner he didn’t have to worry about having a target on his back in both of his lives.
The voice clips, however, caused that relief to fly out the window. Peter played them one after another, His anxiety spiking higher after each one.
“Baby boy! This was waay too long to text. And you don’t want to read all that anyway. Allow my dulcet tones to paint you a picture instead. A gruesome picture of a grisly murder and the murderer who totally tried to pull one over on me.”
“So, there I am, eating a late-night snack on top of some random building in Chinatown. When suddenly, this rockin’ twink with a bullet graze on his arm comes barreling out of the stairwell on the next building over and runs straight for the edge of the building! I’m telling you Spidey, he was a cutie with a booty, but he was totally about to swan dive into the pavement right in front me!”
“But, luckily, me being a dashing hero straight out of a romance novel after all, I manage to stop him from becoming a road pancake. And then he tells me this insane story about a dude with a gun offing his neighbor and then chasing him down the hallway trying to shoot him!”
“So, since I am very heroic, I decide to come to his aid and he leads me downstairs to nothing! I mean, yeah, his neighbor was totally dunzo. But that’s it, no other dude! No evidence of anyone else being there!”
“As a former professional killer, I can tell you for sure that professional killers do not just leave after being caught in the act. I’m looking into this kid and shit is shady, let me tell you. I mean, he totally offed his neighbor and then was gonna off himself, right?? Call me when you’ve emerged from your cocoon for the night or whatever. Byeeee.”
Peter had never hyperventilated before, so he couldn’t be completely sure, but based on movies, he’s pretty sure that’s what’s happening. Wade was investigating him. Wade thought that Peter had murdered someone.
Peter couldn’t wait for their patrol to talk to Wade. He just threw his mask on and swung to the ex-merc’s apartment as fast as he could. He swung straight through the open window and landed in a crouch in Wade’s living room.
Wade didn’t even look up from the pile of papers he was sorting through.
“Finally. I was beginning to think you weren’t even a little bit interested in the greatest mystery of our time. And you didn’t even bring any evidence with you. Do I have to do everything?” Wade gestured to the piles of papers all around him and the honest-to-god corkboard that looked like it belonged on the set of a police procedural. Peter’s picture was in the middle of the board.
“What” Peter croaked. But he couldn’t dwell on the fact that Wade had gathered evidence to prove that he was a murderer. “Why do you think this guy is the killer?” Peter asked calmly and in a totally normal tone of voice.
“Ooooh. Sit down Sit down Spidey! This just keeps getting better.” Peter collapsed onto the couch, which seemed to satisfy him.
“Okay, well for starters, dude claims to have left his apartment because he heard the gunshot, but none of the other building residents heard anything. And they definitely would have heard someone firing down the hallway like the kid claims happened. Then, with a gunman chasing him, he runs up to the roof instead of down to the lobby where he could leave and get help. And he was definitely running for the edge, like he was gonna jump off. He looked freaked out when I first saw him, but he was totally calm when we returned to the scene, not the behavior of someone who thinks there’s a murderer looking for them in the building.
Peter was nodding along, but he wasn’t really aware of doing it.
“And he didn’t take my absolutely brilliant advice to get police protection and lie low somewhere else. He just went back to his apartment like nothing happened! Does that sound like the behavior of someone that thinks there’s a hitman after them?”
Peter shook his head. He didn’t know that Deadpool had stuck around to see if he followed his advice, but he should of.
“Speaking of the police!” Wade pulled a file off of the top of one pile and waved it in the air triumphantly.
“He never even fucking called them! Just got up in the morning and went about his day. The poor old lady across the hall discovered the body and called it in.” Peter said a silent apology to Mrs. Mendoza.
“According this police report I borrowed, Peter Parker, age 26, claims that he slept soundly through the night and didn’t notice anything suspicious at all. I dug up some background info on our little killer too, and it raises several flags.” Wade grabbed a different folder and began flipping through it.
“Apparently, Mr. Parker takes pictures for that shitrag that’s always talking trash about you. Freelance. Gets paid all cash under the table. Pays all his bills in cash too. No social media presence. Two close friends from high school, but no one he sees regularly. Only one living relative, an aunt that also raised him. Several traumatic incidents in his childhood-“
“Okay.” Peter finally squeaks out. He was having a hard time handling this, had no idea what he was going to do. But, he knew that he could not sit here and listen to someone he cares about tell him about the worst moments of his life in that clinical, detached voice. “Okay Wade, I see why you’re suspicious.”
Wade beamed at him and took a bow. It was impressive, how much he had discovered in such a short amount of time. Peter sometimes forgets that Deadpool’s former job wasn’t just mindless killing. In any other situation, Peter could have let himself appreciate how hot it was, seeing Wade so in his element, seeing him be so competent at something that didn’t involve violence.
“Buuuut, What about the uh,” Peter was scrambling, trying to think of something that proved Wade wrong. “You said he’d been shot?” He asked, hopefully.
“Shallow graze to the bicep, easily self-inflicted. Especially since he's right handed” Wade waved it away, unconcerned. “No, there are only two things that don’t add up. One: the fact that he set the scene at all, shooting himself and the wall in the hallway, if he was just gonna kill himself anyway. Two: This was a professional hit, totally clean, and that kid did not seem like a professional. I wanna say I don’t think he had ever held a gun before but,” Wade gestures again to the mountain of evidence.
“So there is a chance that he didn’t do it?” Peter tried to act like the answer didn’t really matter to him. Like it wasn’t his life scattered all over the apartment and being judged by the second most trusted person he had.
Wade tilted his head back and forth. “If he wasn’t involved, that means that a totally normal dude woke up because he heard gunfire that no one else heard, and then instead of hauling his perfectly pert ass outta there, he ran towards the danger. Then he dodged bullets fired at him by a professional hitman and ran up four flights of stairs to the roof. Then he met me, an armed mercenary, and was relieved. Then didn’t call the cops, went about his day like normal, and lied to the cops when they finally were called. That seems a lot more far-fetched, doesn’t it?”
This would be a good moment for Peter to open his mouth and tell Wade the truth. He’d been using his mask as a barrier between them for far too long and it has gotten him in real trouble this time. All he had to do to make that trouble go away was reveal himself. Right now.
“Ex-mercenary.” He said instead because Peter was a coward.
Wade grinned at him.
Spider-Man finally left once Wade had finished laying out all the evidence he’d found that Peter was hiding something. There was a lot because, well, Peter was hiding something. He just never realized how obvious he’d been about it. At least he had managed to convince Wade to ask around about the man that Peter had described, just in case.
Peter patrolled half-heartedly for a couple hours before giving up and going home for the night. When he crawled back through his open window, he was surprised to find his kitchen light was on. He was even more surprised to find a shiny, black handgun with silencer sitting on his countertop. The biggest surprise, however, was definitely the police that were suddenly pounding on his door.