Six hours and five minutes until Peter Parker died.
Wade used a favor to get the exact time of birth for the brat to make triple-sure the kid was a legal adult when Wade shoved Bea and Arthur into the teenager’s skull.
Or maybe we’ll just shoot him.
“Always keep your options open!”
“Despite what everyone seems to think, I’m not that good of friends with Spider-Man,” Peter said, dropping his shoulders as he heard his abductor approach. The blindfold covered his eyes and prevented him from seeing the man that got the drop on his spider-sense. “I don’t have the guy on speed dial.”
“This isn’t your first Rodeo, I got it.”
Peter snapped to attention when he recognized the voice. “Deadpool?”
“Hey! You know who I am,” Deadpool said. He ripped the blindfold off and Peter stared up into a crinkled mask, warped by the wide smile under it. “Does Spidey talk about me?”
“Maybe,” Peter said. He looked around the warehouse and took in all the exists. Deadpool was not someone to play games with if he was working. “Why do you need me to find Spider-Man? Aren’t you two already friends?”
“How do you know I kidnapped you to find Spider-Man?”
“It is literally the only reason anyone ever kidnaps me.”
“You’ve got me there,” Deadpool said. He kicked over a crate with a strong push from his boot and hopped onto the edge of the box. “So here’s the deal. I need to find Spider-Man, but I don’t want him to see me. Which means our usual meet up tactics are a no go.”
“And that man is impossible to sneak up on, so I really need to know where he is ahead of time.”
Peter got a sinking feeling in his stomach and looked around the room again. A skylight on the roof was his best chance. “And why do you need to sneak up on him?”
“Sorry! That is need-to-know information and you’re not need to know,” Deadpool said. He reached over and poked Peter in the nose. “But you have information that I do need to know.”
“I don’t think I should tell you anything.” Peter shifted his arms behind his back and pushed on the bindings as slow as he was able. If he snapped out of the ropes, it’d give away his super strength, but if he stretched them out, they should slip off when Deadpool wasn’t looking. “Spider-Man’s my livelihood, man.”
“I’m sure you’ll find some other amazing hero to stalk,” Deadpool said. He pinched Peter’s cheek. “But anyway, I don’t kill underage people, but I’m not opposed to roughing them up. If you don’t tell me where Spider-Man likes to hang out, I might have to get rough.”
Peter leaned back away from the man’s hand. “He won’t like that.”
“I’ll deal with that when the time comes,” Deadpool said. “Now, why don’t you use that cute little mouth to tell—”
A phone rang, blaring out a catchy, pop tune with bubble gum lyrics.
“One moment,” Deadpool said. He pulled out a phone with a unicorn charm and hopped off the crate as he answered. “What’s up, Weasel?”
Peter put his hands together and the stretched ropes slipped off. He used his webbing from the web shooters hidden under his sleeves to escape to the ceiling while Deadpool’s back was turned. Peter hid in the corner and inched his way to the bay window.
“Yes, I still want the shipment,” Deadpool said. He turned and dropped the phone when he saw at the empty chair. “Parker? Where’d you go?”
The mercenary lifted the chair and looked under it. Peter covered his mouth to hide the laugh and he slipped out the window. He ran and jumped to the next roof, openly laughing.
He could hear Deadpool yelling his name from a block away.
Four hours and fifty-six minutes until Peter Parker died.
Wade slid down the fire escape by the sides and ran through the back alleys. The kid didn’t have the most reliable schedule, but Wade knew where he was going to be for sure.
We’re doing this out of order. You kill the mark first and then kill for fun. It’s more professional to save the personal stuff for after the job is done.
No, no. Killing Parker is now part of the job. If we cut his head off and put it on a pike, Spider-Man’ll come to us.
“And who says you can’t have fun on the job?”
Wade pulled out his favorite handgun and checked the ammo. He came to a stop near the edge of the Bugle building and peeked his head around the corner.
“Let’s see him dodge a bullet to the knee,” Wade whispered under his breath. “I deserve some fun after taking such a shit job.”
We’re going to miss Spidey when he’s gone.
We’ll buy new friends with the money we’re going to get.
So, so much money.
“Come on, Parker,” Wade said. He pulled back the slide. “Walk out the door.”
Deadpool dug his heel into Peter’s arm as he pressed it into the back of Peter’s spine. He twisted, putting his entire weight into it—almost enough to snap the limb. “I will give credit where credit is due. For a seventeen year old, you’re pretty good at this escape thing.”
“Thanks?” Peter asked, wincing harder as Deadpool pushed harder, straining the bone. He should have known his day was going too well. He’d escaped Wade four times, but his luck ran out when his spider-sense made him choose between getting hit by a car or getting grabbed by Wade. The car would have given him away as Spider-Man when he walked away from the crash unscathed, so he didn’t have much of a choice. “That really hurts.”
“That’s the point, you little shit,” Deadpool said. He tapped Peter’s ear with his sword and breathed in and out. “I don’t know how you keep getting away or knowing when I’m coming, but it stops now. I’m serious. I really need to find Spider-Man and you’re going to tell me.”
“I don’t know! I swear!” Peter lied. “Leave me alone!”
Deadpool dropped the katana down, slicing a knick in his ear. Peter winced and breathed hard. “Where does Spider-Man hang out?”
“Just text him!” Peter yelled. “I know you have his number!”
“I have already told you,” Wade said, kicking him in the back. “I don’t want him to know I’m there!”
“Why not?” Peter asked. He licked his lips. Deadpool had been cagey the last few times he’d run into him as Spider-Man. He hadn’t said anything about kidnapping Peter Parker on his own. Peter had brought it up once as Spider-Man and Deadpool sprinted, whispering “tattletale” under his breath. “What do you want with him?”
Deadpool whined and stepped off Peter’s back. He kicked the ground and waved his swords around. “He’s my mark, okay? I have to kill him, but I don’t want him to know it was me!”
“What?” Peter turned over his shoulder to look at what he thought was someone he could trust—at least as Spider-Man. “What do you mean your mark? He’s your friend!”
“Which is why I don’t want him to know it’s me!” Deadpool shouted again. He put his hands in front of him, his katana sticking out wildly. “A hit’s a hit, so no hard feelings, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to rip out his heart before I stop it!”
Too late for that.
“I’m not telling you a thing,” Peter said. He spit on Deadpool’s mask and embraced the burning anger in his chest. “Go choke yourself.”
“I guess I need to repeat myself.” Deadpool growled and slammed the swords back into the ground, one on either side of Peter’s neck. “Just because I won’t kill anyone under eighteen, doesn’t mean I won’t make you wish I’d break that rule. Tell me where Spider-Man is!”
Peter risked exposing his identity with a quick swipe of his leg. Peter didn’t use enough strength to knock Deadpool over, but he did distract him for the second needed to wriggle out of his hold and sprint.
“Get back here!” Deadpool roared. Peter’s spider-sense flared to life and the pain made it hard to see, but Peter kept running. Deadpool was quick on his heel and Peter slid down an alley, doing his best to avoid him. “When I get my hands on you, it’s going to hurt!”
Both Peter and his spider-sense believed the mercenary.
It took an hour of running, but Peter used a combination of stealth spider-powers and a more intimate knowledge of the city to avoid Deadpool, but he got away.
He waited until he was absolutely sure it was clear before he went to his apartment and gathered an overnight bag. It’d be easy to find his place and that’d be the first place Deadpool looked for him.
When he was safe in a hideaway spot on a favorite roof, dressed as Spider-Man, Peter curled up and pretended that one of his few masked friends wasn’t willing to kill him for money.
Three hours until Peter Parker died.
Wade dragged the boy behind him by his ankle. He let the unconscious seventeen year old’s head bump on the ground as he whistled. A dark trail of blood ran behind him as blood seeped through the makeshift bandage wrapped around the bullet wound that put the kid on the ground.
This is going to be so much fun.
I wonder if Spidey’ll show up to save him.
“Now, where’s the perfect spot to kill someone on their birthday?” Wade asked. He tapped his finger against his lip and giggled. “Oh! I know!”
All alone and private.
“Perfect for Peter Parker,” Wade said. He turned at the next stop and lifted the kid by the ankle, holding him upside down in the air. The blood on his chin ran down his cheek and Wade sighed. “A shame you’re such an annoying pain the ass. You’re pretty cute.”
He threw Parker over his shoulder and jogged to his favorite roof in New York: The Avengers Headquarters.
If that didn’t get Spider-Man’s attention, nothing would.
Precognitive abilities came in handy nine times out of ten, but there was always that tenth time where even if you knew the hit was coming, you couldn’t get out of the way.
Peter struggled in the metal restraints, twisting and pulling to see if he could slip his hands out of the cuffs. Two days before his eighteenth birthday and instead of party planning with MJ he was chained to a wall.
“I don’t know how the hell you keep escaping but it is not happening again,” Deadpool said. He breathed hard and kicked Peter in the stomach. It knocked the air out of Peter’s lungs and he coughed through the next hit. “No more distractions. No more slithering away like a snake. We are finishing this conversation and you are going to tell me where Spider-Man hangs out.”
“So you can kill him.”
“Yes, so I can kill him,” Deadpool said. “I am a man of my word and a job’s a job. Tell me where he is or I’m going to break your bones one at a time until you tell me. You’re good at this kidnapping thing and I would admire it, but I’m too pissed off. You’re going to break, so just save us both the trouble and tell me now.”
Peter spit on him again. “No.”
“Fine,” Wade said. He took a step back and spun back around, punching Peter in the rib. He heard a crack and the mercenary spoke in his ear. “That’s one.”
Peter gritted his teeth and dropped his head.
He’d survived worse.
He could hang on.
Wade grabbed his pinky finger and twisted it back and forth. “Should this be number two?”
Peter trembled but steeled himself for the pain. “More like two through four.”
“Two through four.”
Wade snapped his finger back and Peter screamed.
“Where is Spider-Man?”
“No,” Peter said. He’d heal. Then he’d get his costume. Spider-Man would make Deadpool pay for hurting him. His chest hurt, glaring at someone who shouldn’t be doing this. Not to Peter. Not to Spider-Man. He snarled, “Screw you.”
“Where should number five be?” Deadpool asked. “Should you pick or me?”
“Wade! Are you in here?”
Peter and Deadpool both looked up as they saw a man walk inside. He had a metal arm and a glowing eye.
“Cable! What’s up?” Deadpool asked. He walked away from Peter to greet the man. “What brings you here?”
“I was looking for you.”
“Of course you were! You love me!”
Deadpool threw his arm around Cable’s shoulder and walked the man out of the room. Their conversation drifted off as they walked down the hall to somewhere more private.
Peter used his super strength to break the chains off the wall. He didn’t bother to hide his tracks and climbed the wall, escaping to the roof once more.
He cradled his wounded hand to his chest and breathed through his mouth as he retreated to his temporary campsite.
After Peter got some rest, he’d clear his head fighting crime and taking a few pictures for the Bugle.
It’d get his mind off how much his chest hurt from losing a good friend to money.
One hour and five minutes until Peter Parker died.
Look at that sleeping angel.
We’re waking him up, right?
“Of course,” Wade said. He whistled as he set the scene for his kill on the corner of the Avenger’s roof. The security had been a piece of cake to disable, even if it took him close to an hour. But best of all, with the Avengers out on a mission, no one would bother him for the next three or so hours. “He has to feel it or it doesn’t matter.”
The unconscious brat wasn’t getting away.
“But first,” Wade said. “Let’s set the mood.”
A good kill was nothing without the right atmosphere.
And what sort of killer would we be if we didn’t celebrate such a momentous occasion?
We’ve got time to kill anyway.
The bullet cut through Peter’s knee, exploding blood across the sidewalk. The pain dropped him to the ground and he screamed.
His spider-sense warned him.
But it didn’t tell him how many bullets were headed his way in direct succession.
Peter dodged the first, but not the second.
One minute until Peter Parker died.
“Wake up, sleepyhead. Your cake is waiting!”
Peter opened his eyes and focused on a set of burning candles through his blurry vision. His one eye was swollen shut but he could clearly see eighteen burning candles on a cake with large, sloppy writing that read “Happy Birthday” under it.
He looked around and swallowed thickly: They were on a roof, but there were mobile lattice walls around them like they were in a room. A large pink carpet was under them and there were shiny, glittery birthday decorations everywhere.
“Congrats on making it to 18!” was written across one banner and underneath that was a handwritten “It’s long enough!”
Peter breathed harder, backing up into the chair.
“I’d sing for you, but you don’t deserve it,” Deadpool said. He cut a slice of cake and slapped it on a plate. The lit candle fell on the side, dripping wax into the cake icing. Deadpool grabbed a fork and used it to pull off a chunk of chocolate cake, dripping in white icing. “Open up.”
Deadpool shoved the bite of cake into Peter’s mouth, nearly choking him. He coughed on the too sweet icing and it dropped onto his chin and shirt in white splotches. Deadpool wiped off a smear of it with his thumb. “I’d make a crude comment, but I’ll restrain myself considering the occasion.”
Peter spit on Deadpool’s mask.
He got backhanded for his trouble.
The smack echoed across the roof and Deadpool dropped the cake plate back onto the table. Crumbs tumbled out onto the surface and Peter spit out a glob of blood from his bleeding gums.
“Happy birthday, baby boy,” Deadpool said. He picked up his gun and placed the barrel against Peter’s forehead. The warm metal dug into the skin and Deadpool pulled back the hammer. “Say hello to Spider-Man when you see him in a bit.”
Five minutes after Peter Parker turned eighteen and Wade had yet to move.
Dark hazel eyes glared at him with a viciousness and hurt that twisted Wade’s mangled insides. He looked at the young man again and noticed the energy that fell over him.
The way he holds himself.
The move of his chest as he breathed.
“Repeat that,” Wade whispered. We heard wrong. But they knew different. The gun rattled with Wade’s shaking hand. He shouted, “Say it again!”
“I’m Spider-Man,” Parker said. He narrowed his eyes and leaned forward, pressing his forehead harder into Wade’s trembling gun. “Congrats on getting your mark. How much are they paying you for this anyway?”
Wade pulled the gun away and dropped it on the table with a clatter. He looked over his shoulder at the angry eighteen year old and nodded twice. “Shit.”
Spidey didn’t say a word, still glaring. The look of betrayal he’d seen across Parker’s face over the past week of hunting amplified.
He felt sick.
We almost shot Spider-Man.
While he looked us in the eye.
“Shit!” Wade shouted. He kicked the table and overturned it. Birthday cake splattered across the roof. The candles fizzled out one by one and the wax melted into the carpet. Wade put his hands on the back of his head. “Shit!”
Spidey wasn’t supposed to know it was us.
He’d go into the night without a clue.
“Shit,” Wade said one more time. He couldn’t do it now. Spidey’d seen him. He’d seen him. Our chest hurts. Everything hurt. Wade pulled his phone out of his pocket and dialed the client. He didn’t allow the other man to speak and said a simple, “Job’s a no go. I’m out.”
He turned off the phone screen and shoved it back into his pocket, ignoring the buzz of the client’s return call.
Wade grabbed his gun once more and turned his back on Spider-Man. He shot out a security camera on the other side of the roof and an alarm blared to life across the compound.
“The Avengers’ll get you down,” Wade said. He walked to the edge of the roof. He couldn’t turn around. He couldn’t look at Spider-Man. “Enjoy being eighteen.”
Peter found Deadpool on a roof two weeks after he’d been left on a roof with birthday party decorations and a bleeding bullet wound.
Deadpool sprawled out spread-eagle with his mask off and in his hand. Staring down at him while wearing his own, Spider-Man saw Deadpool for the first time since he’d turned eighteen.
“Hey, Spidey,” Deadpool said. His usual energy was absent and his subdued form drew a wave of pity through Peter’s anger. “I see your leg healed.”
“Why’d you take the job, Wade?”
“Money,” Peter repeated. He crouched and put his arms over his knees near Deadpool’s head. He looked at the man’s upside down expression as he leaned over him. Peter exhaled and looked away. “I must have been a stupid kid to think our friendship meant more than that.”
“How’s it feel being an adult and knowing better?”
Peter kicked him in the shoulder and left.
“What do you want, Deadpool?”
The wind blew between them, like a puff of air from someone blowing out birthday candles.
“Don’t do it again.”
Six months and five days after Spider-Man turned eighteen, Wade got a second chance.