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Don't Call Me A Hero

Chapter Text

 

It was cold in the city.

Peter had felt the first flutter of light snow that afternoon as he had made his way to the local food kitchen. He knew it was always warm and welcoming there and he usually managed to hang out for a good hour before having to make way for other people to sit and eat. It wasn't just a place for him to get some food but also where he could catch up with others he had met over the past months. It made him feel less alone with his predicament.

 

Sometimes there were people from the neighbourhood hostels and he could get a bed for the night, but increasingly he would then spot a younger person more in need of that one night of security than himself. He opted for his own solution, a disused lock up facility he had broken into after staking the place out for a week to make sure nobody else was using it. It was dry and pretty secluded. He secured the opening where he got inside with a large piece of corrugated iron he found discarded beside some trash.

So far he had been lucky nobody had discovered it. He had managed to get a sleeping bag and some warmer clothes from one of the homeless charities that came round with a bus every so often. While they always tried to convert him to whichever beliefs they followed he always remained polite and listened. He knew it meant at the end of the religious monologue there would be the gifts he so desperately needed.

Peter was very wary of individuals offering 'help' as unfortunately he knew from experience they often had malicious predatory intentions. He had witnessed too many occasions where a lone guy had shown up and talked the more vulnerable younger kids into going home with him with the promise of a bed and food and clean clothes.

"I will take care of you, don't worry, I used to be in your shoes, I just want to give something back by helping others." That was usually their bullshit.

At first Peter had tried to warn them not to go with these kind of men, but mostly he had been met with them either telling him to mind his own damned business or them just exclaiming "Hey I'm cold and hungry and what are you going to do to help me?!" so he retreated and watched those situations unfold. He would encounter the same kids days or a week later, often in a state with visible bruising on their faces and sometimes broken limbs and in some awful cases they just didn't come back and then word would get round that a body had been found, often showing signs of extreme abuse. Peter's blood ran cold as he was reminded that he could have just as easily ended up as one of those bodies.

It wasn't always men who approached them, sometimes it was women. He knew of at least 2 guys who now lived in apartments in Midtown Manhattan being funded by wealthy women who used them as their play thing. Similarly a few guys and girls had hooked up with so-called sugar daddies and were basically being kept as sexual trophies. Some would argue these had been the lucky ones, but not really, because who wanted to be kept like a pet, except you were lower than a pet as you were expected to sexually perform and your life was owned by these bored rich idiots. Add onto that the fact that you would always be dispensable, because after a while there would always be somebody more needy, younger and willing than you. It was all about control for those people, they didn't care a jot about the young lives they were playing with.

Others had ended up falling into prostitution out of desperation and there were no fancy apartments or designer outfits for them, just a rough dirty act behind a dumpster for a quick ten bucks. Sometimes it would involve a visit to a sleazy backstreet hotel where for thirty dollars they would be expected to participate in all manner of depravity, sometimes not even getting the money just a black eye and enough bad dreams to last them a lifetime.

Peter decided early on that no matter how bad things got he wouldn't go down that path. He had been tripped up badly once and he had been hyper-vigilant ever since. No he would rather starve than allow some disgusting sleazebag to use him like that. 

Peter would see damaged and lost souls every single day and it caused him indescribable pain in his heart. He was useless to them, all he could do was offer a few supportive words and some kind of friendship to try and look out for each other on the streets. It was a way to feel less lonely. Some of the others sought comfort with one another and found places to doss down together, but Peter chose to be alone, he simply didn't trust anybody. Desperate people do desperate things and he had his own disturbing memories to deal with without having to take on someone else's. He shook his head, not wanting the bad thoughts to enter his mind. He had to stay focussed in this weather, it was better to keep moving in order to keep warm.

He knew of another soup kitchen a few blocks away where he'd not been for a few days which stayed open late. He picked up his pace as the evening was drawing in and with darkness came not just more extreme cold but the added danger of being a target out alone on the streets. He had a couple of dollars he had managed to collect after begging down by the subway entrance until he spotted a police car and quickly took off down the street. He would use those later when he needed something warm to drink. He had found some gloves under a bench, clearly dropped there by somebody who had perhaps stopped to talk or had been waiting for a friend.

Peter often found items that had been lost and he liked to imagine the story behind them. It offered his mind some form of escapism and relief from his hopeless situation. It also reminded him of a time not that long ago when his life had been so very different. It made him remember how life was when he had felt happy and safe. More importantly it reminded him of when he had felt strong and able, full of purpose and determination.

Those days were gone.

I am no use to anybody now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The snow had started falling thicker by the time Peter was getting ready to leave the soup kitchen. He had a warm full feeling from the food. He had talked to the nice young woman who helped out there, she was cheerful and generous always making time to listen. With her blonde hair and warm laugh she reminded him of someone he used to be close to and it gave him a glowing feeling inside. She had finished her shift and made her goodbyes having to leave to catch her bus. The last thing her friend had shouted over was "Be careful, message me when you're on the bus." Peter watched her go, her head covered with a red woolly hat, snowflakes already settling on top of it and the shoulders of her black coat. He made his way outside and wrapped round the scarf he had found by a bus stop, it was thick and soft, it was a lucky find. He pulled down his black beanie hat and put on his gloves and started walking quickly towards his shelter. He didn't want to hang about in the snow.

As he approached the corner of the block he heard a noise coming from the alleyway just to his left, he looked down into the dimly lit shadows and could see two guys arguing with a third person. He was going to keep walking but then he heard a woman's voice, she was pleading. He looked again and saw she was wearing a red hat and one of the guys had his hand round her throat. It was the young woman from the soup kitchen. He started walking down the alleyway raising his voice as loudly as he could. He knew he was potentially putting himself and the young woman in more danger but he couldn't just walk away and do nothing.

"Hey man nothing to see here, keep on walking yeah!" The second guy approached Peter as he got closer. He could see the woman crying and trying to push the other guy away from her. Peter called over to her. "Don't worry I'm not going anywhere." He glared at the guy in front of him and without stopping to think he pushed into him trying to muster all his strength. The guy lost his footing and slipped back onto the floor and his buddy swung his head round yelling at Peter "What the fuck? Who the hell are you?" With the creep distracted the young woman kicked him hard in his shins and he cried out, letting go of her throat and grabbing his leg. "RUN!" Peter shouted to the woman and she took off, she glanced back at him briefly but he motioned to her to get out of there "Just GO! Keep running!"

Before Peter knew what was happening he felt a sharp pain in his side as his body hit the ground, he knew he was in trouble as he had no strength to fight anybody, let alone two violent thugs who were decidedly pissed off that Peter had interrupted their 'fun'. He yelled out in pain as he felt repeated hard kicks to his body, they lifted him up by his coat and slammed him against the wall punching him on his head and face. They took it in turns to slam their fists into his abdomen over and over. Then they grabbed him and threw him onto the grimy snow covered ground. He felt a kick right into his ribs and more kicks to his back and his head as he rolled over. He felt some of his fingers crack as one of the scumbags stamped on his hand. All the while the two creeps hissed at him "You motherfucking cocksucker you think you can just fuck us over like that?! You must want some real pain you useless fucking piece of shit!" They laughed as Peter lay groaning on the floor, they were right he was completely useless.

The bigger of the two put his hands round Peter's throat and started to choke him. Peter tried to move his arms to push him off, but he had nothing left, slowly feeling his eyes rolling back as he couldn't breathe. He thought in that one moment he was going to die, this was it, this was his end. Kicked to death in a shitty alleyway by two good for nothing assholes. His chest felt compressed and he had no way of escaping anymore, so he just lay there and let it happen. He gave up trying to even think about fighting, the pain was too bad.

Peter faintly heard a hurried voice "Leave it man, somebody's coming, he's not worth going to prison for, let's split." he heard their footsteps run away and then a commotion "What the hell man? What the fuck are you man?"

Then another voice "HEY?! What's the hurry? Don't you want to stay and play? We could have a fiesta mis amores. I could show you my knife throwing skills! AH! Mi corazon esta muerto!"

The last thing Peter remembered was being lifted up by someone, a glimpse of red and black.

The young woman in the hat....she must have got help.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Peter?" He could hear his Aunt May's voice outside his bedroom door.

"Hmm?" Peter was only half awake.

"Peter you said you needed to get up early for college today, it's 8 am."

He loved how attentive Aunt May was, she always looked after him, made sure he always had enough to eat and drink and he knew she worried about him being Spider-Man. He tried to reassure her by showing her how strong and agile he was and that he had a healing factor thanks to the spider DNA inside him, but that didn't really set her mind at ease. The truth was that since losing Uncle Ben she had never fully been able to relax and she was getting older and Peter knew she worried about what would happen to him after she was gone. She didn't have a lot of money. Uncle Ben had been smart and taken out some life insurance so she at least had some savings and in a completely selfless gesture she had paid for Peter to go to college. He tried to help out working part time at the local grocery store and selling his photographs freelance to the Daily Bugle. He didn't make much but he felt better for at least trying to contribute. He knew when he had completed his course he could go out and find a better job and repay Aunt May for all that she had done for him.

He got out of bed and made for the bathroom, but he suddenly felt a terrible pain inside his chest and his head was swirling round, he felt like he was falling forwards. He grabbed onto the wall, but his hands met with nothing, the room fell away, he couldn't focus, it all looked out of place.

Peter came to his senses and realised he was sitting in a strange bed in a strange room, he didn't move. He could smell something sweet, like coconut. Slowly he looked down at himself and saw he had a t-shirt and boxers on and his skin was clean and soft, he raised his hand to touch his face but a sharp stabbing pain hit him in his side and he lowered his arm quickly.

Where the hell am I?

He noticed his other hand was bandaged, his fingers had been set with a splint, it looked professionally done. Had he been to the hospital? He could feel pain over his whole body and he carefully lay back down, his head on the soft pillow. He could smell the coconut again, was it his hair?

Suddenly a horrible thought crossed his mind. If he was clean and smelling all nice and bandaged up that meant somebody had taken his clothes off and had bathed him. Some stranger had touched his naked body. He panicked.

What if it's some creep? What if they've touched me? I need to go!

He sat up and tried to move off the bed, he was in a huge amount of pain, every single part of his body was aching so badly, he threw back the duvet and was shocked by the cuts and bruises on his legs. He moved them over the edge of the bed, wincing with the pain. He went to stand but his legs gave way underneath him and he landed with a thud on the floor next to the bed. He yelped with the pain.

I can't fucking move.

"Hey are you ok?" Peter froze as he heard a man's voice behind him.

He felt a hand touch his shoulder and he freaked out "Get the HELL away from me!! Don't fucking touch me!!"

He heard the guy back off and move over to the doorway, then his voice said softly "Please don't be afraid, my name's Wade, this is my apartment. I found you lying in an alleyway in a really bad state."

Suddenly it all came flooding back to Peter and he felt a deep breath emerge from his chest as all his emotions flooded out in one heart wrenching sob. He grabbed on to his knees for comfort.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wade had watched the younger man sleep. He had cleaned him up as best as he could. He had felt so relieved when he discovered he was still breathing. Those scumbags had really messed him up badly. There was no way he was going to leave him out there in the cold to freeze to death. Wade could tell he had probably been on the streets for a while because of his skinny frame and how messed up his hair and skin were.

He had gently removed the young guy's clothes and bagged them up to be thrown out. There was no point washing them they were in too much of a poor state. The young man's head and hair were grimy and bloodstained. His torso, back, arms and legs were covered in blood and bruises. He looked as if he had probably fractured his ribs and the angle of some of his fingers was definitely off.
Trying to be as careful as possible Wade had lifted the young guy into the bath tub and grabbed the shower head, letting the warm water wash away all the grime and blood. He had no shampoo as he himself had no hair, so he had used some coconut shower gel to wash the young man's hair, slowly massaging it in to get out all the caked on blood. The water turned a deep rust colour as it washed away. Wade rinsed his hair and used more of the shower gel to wash the guy's torso and arms and then his legs. He didn't want to invade this young man's privacy any more than he had already, but he knew he would feel so much better if he woke up clean. he rinsed all the soap off and saw how at some point this man would have had an athletic physique, his muscle tone not completely gone, but damage from the attack and malnutrition made him look physically broken. Wade also noticed a large scar on one of his pectoral muscles, like he'd been slashed with a knife. It didn't look that old, maybe a couple of months.

I wonder what happened there?

Wade got a large bath towel and wrapped the young man in it. He lifted him out of the bath tub, he smelt nice and once his mass of brown hair was towel dried he looked half human again. Wade noticed he had long dark eyelashes and his face was soft. He carried the man to the bedroom and laid him on the bed still wrapped in the towel. He found him some boxers and carefully put them on him, they were a little big but it didn't matter, they were clean and warm. He got out a box with medical supplies and applied a large bandage to the young guy's ribs where he was cut and bruised the worst, he fixed it with surgical tape and did the same for the wound on the side of the guy's head. Then he reset his fingers and applied a splint. Lastly he applied some Vaseline to the dry sore skin of the scar on his chest. He slipped him into a clean t-shirt and lifted him up to pull back the covers. he laid him on the sheet and covered him securely with the duvet so he was all cosy.

Wade had looked at him lying there all wrapped up in bed. He could see his soft face better, some colour had returned to his cheeks, he was beautiful.

Oh boy! No Wade, don't even go there.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When he heard a thud coming from the bedroom Wade had hurried over to see if the young guy was ok. He could see he was sitting on the floor, his back turned to Wade. He went to help him up but as soon as his hand touched the guy's shoulder he went crazy at him. Wade stepped back mindful that this was a perfectly understandable reaction. He moved back over to the doorway.

The young man was holding his knees up to his chest sobbing loudly and swaying backwards and forwards. "What do you want from me? What did you do to me? Where are my clothes? I am not interested in your fucked up sugar daddy sex games!" He sobbed louder and then shouted angrily "Did you touch me you creep?"

Wade was horrified "No, no, NO! Oh my god please don't think that. I swear on every inch of my soul that I didn't lay a finger on you. I am not interested in fucked up shit like that. I just wanted to help you." Wade tried to convey a comforting tone in his voice. "I couldn't leave you there all alone in that stinking alleyway. At first I thought you were dead."

Wade could see the distress the young guy was in and it broke his heart. His whole instinct was telling him to go and comfort him, but he didn't want to scare him even more. "Can you please tell me your name at least?"

The guy shook his head "NO! I don't want you knowing anything about me. And you HAVE laid your hands on me because how else did I get cleaned up and who's clothes are these? Where's my own stuff?" More sobbing as the guy held his head in his hands.

Wade was in bits.

I don't know how to help him.

"Please don't be upset. I still have your clothes, but they were covered in blood and crap, they weren't fit to wear anymore..." Wade couldn't finish as the young man screamed out "BUT THEY'RE MINE!!

You had no right to touch me or take my clothes! Please just let me leave okay."

Wade watched as the guy tried to get up but then yelled in pain as he sat back down. The crying increased and the man's body slumped forward.

"It hurts too damned much. Those bastards just wouldn't stop kicking me. I couldn't do anything to stop them. I just let them beat the crap out of me like some pathetic loser, but what else could I do? They were attacking the woman from the soup kitchen, she's a nice person and she was so scared. I couldn't just leave her there. They would have hurt her badly I know."

Wade listened and deep inside he felt immense warmth for the young guy.

Damn he's a hero.

"Listen, you are not a loser. What you did was totally selfless and pretty heroic. You saved that woman from those creeps and yes they got to you, but look at the state you are in! You are physically weak through lack of food and I bet this is the longest you have slept in... weeks? Months? How could you have fought them off? The truth is you're lucky they didn't kill you! I got a look at them when they ran out the alley and when I saw you lying there I was all set to call the cops because you looked dead. Then you made a sound and I realised I couldn't leave you there to freeze. So I brought you back here and patched you up. Yes, I did take your clothes off and showered you, but I really truthfully did not touch you anywhere intimate or even thought about anything like that. I just wanted you to be alright. I'm so sorry if you feel I violated your body in any way."

The young guy sat quietly, he seemed to be calmer. "My name is Peter." his voice spoke softly, a little croaky from all the crying and shouting.

"Ok Peter, good to know, like I said my name's Wade. I think you should try and get some more sleep. I'll leave you alone here and if when you wake up later you still want to leave that's fine. I can get you some clothes. Please don't be afraid of me, I promise I really won't hurt you. If you need to call someone or tell someone you are here I can get you a phone. Anything you need just tell me ok." Wade reassured him.

He watched as Peter managed to crawl back on to the bed, his face frowning with the pain, pulling the duvet right over his head.

Wade left him and walked away, then he heard Peter's voice.

"Wade?"

"Yeah, you ok?"

"Yes, I just wanted to say thank you."

The Merc smiled to himself.

I really hope he doesn't leave.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When Peter wakes up again it's dark in the bedroom and the only light is coming from the partially open door. He carefully gets up off the bed, his legs still wobbly from his injuries, but he already feels slightly better than before.

"Hello? Wade?" There's no response.

He spies the bathroom across the hall and goes inside. His bladder feels about ready to burst. He does the world's longest pee and as he's stands there he catches sight of his reflection in the bathroom mirror and is he's visibly shocked. He finishes using the toilet and moves more towards the mirror. His face is black and blue and there's a bandage on the side of his head. When he lifts the t-shirt he can see how badly his torso is bruised and cut. A big bandage is covering the worst area. It hurts when he breathes in. He sees the scar on his chest and notices there's something been rubbed on it, like Vaseline, there's residue on the inside of the t-shirt. Peter feels tears welling up in his eyes again at the thoughtfulness of this man called Wade.

He looks down at his legs , more bruises, he scans his arms and the way his hand is bandaged up, he wonders if Wade is some kind of paramedic. He washes his hands and walks out through the hall into the living room. There is a lamp switched on and a note on the table.


Hey Peter
 I hope you're feeling ok!
Hungry??
Guess what??
I left you something yummy in the kitchen!
OH and WAIT FOR IT!
There
is
ICE CREAM
in the freezer!!
Help Yourself! Eat as much as you like!
Buenas Noches
xoxoWade

The note is written in purple ink on pale blue paper with dancing unicorns on it, Peter sniggers at the way it's written.

In the kitchen he uncovers a plate with pasta and sauce and a bowl of grated cheese, a post it note on the microwave reads "2 min, add cheese, 1 min and PING!" Peter smiles to himself as he heats the food up. He opens the fridge and takes out some juice, there's another post it note "No Ice Cream here.....check the lower level" Peter opens the lower half of the refrigerator and there is another note "You have completed your frozen dessert mission.....now to pick a flavour!" Peter shakes his head.

This guy is something else.

There are four Ice cream flavours, Peter picks peanut butter and chocolate. He takes all the food and drink to the table and sits down. He is starving, the food tastes amazing and he devours it. As he's eating he glances round the room. There's a lot of stuff scattered about, books, comics, films. There's a big tv and a nice comfy looking sofa with big cushions on it and a soft fluffy blanket folded up. There are a few pictures and posters, mainly film and cartoon characters. Peter doesn't see any photos or personal stuff. He returns his attention to the food as he opens the ice cream and eats it like it's the best thing he's ever tasted. The sweetness of the chocolate is just what his body's craving, the sugar giving him a little lift.

Peter thinks about Wade and the fact that he doesn't feel anxious being in his apartment. He is after all a stranger and his initial shock when he first woke up was all too real, but as Wade spoke to him something in his voice reassured Peter. It was almost like he had met him before, a familiarity, but Peter couldn't place him. Maybe he just had that vibe about him, some people are naturally calming. After feeling so wary of strangers for all these months Peter felt relieved to be able to just let his guard down a little bit. He was still suspicious of Wade, but his gut told him not to be afraid.

When he's finished he clears away the plate and throws the empty ice cream tub in the trash. He spies some potato chips on the side and some sodas in the fridge so he takes them back to the bedroom and climbs under the duvet. He switches the lamp on and sits eating the chips and drinking the soda in bed. He feels strangely content.

Soon he starts feeling sleepy again, but just before he drifts off he realises something about Wade.

I don't even know what he looks like.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The high rise buildings swept past him as he glided through the city. His lungs filled with sharp crisp air, his exhilaration increased his heartbeat, he felt so alive as he flew over the busy streets. He landed on top of the Empire State Building and looked out across the rooftops, he felt so lucky, so blessed. Endorphins coursed through his body, this was the best feeling in the whole world. He looked down and pointed his wrist in the direction of an adjacent building, he leaped and aimed his wrist to shoot a web, but nothing happened. Panic ensued as he tried with his other wrist, but that too was empty, he was plummeting to the ground below, he tried to reach out to the side of the buildings but he was too far away, he knew this was bad, really bad....

"Ahhhh don't let me fall!!" Peter woke up with a shock. For a moment he panicked as he didn't know where he was, then things realigned in his brain and he remembered he was in Wade's apartment recovering from his previous ordeal.

"Hey Peter you ok?" Wade's voice questioned him softly from the doorway. Peter looked up from his pillow and saw a figure wearing a hoody, it wasn't quite light enough for him to make out Wade's facial features. He was leaning against the door frame, hands in his pockets.

"What time is it?" Peter had lost all concept of time. "How long have I been asleep?"

"It's 5am. I'm guessing you slept six or seven hours, I see you enjoyed the food I left you." Wade sounded happy.

Peter sat up and smiled in Wade's direction "Yeah it was delicious thank you for that, oh and the ice cream was the best ever." Peter remembered the cold sweetness as it had slid down his throat.

"How are you feeling? I thought I heard you shout something just now." Wade lingered in the doorway.

Peter reached over and switched on the bedside lamp. He noticed Wade took a step backwards. "Yeah I'm ok I was having a weird dream, one of those where you're falling. I'm still aching but I think sleep is helping me heal."

Peter's hair was sticking out in messy peaks, his brown eyes were half shut and he was biting the inside of his lips as he thought about the dream.

Wade felt his breath catch at the sight of Peter's face in the soft light of the lamp.

Holy shit he is so pretty.

Too pretty for you Mr Stalker McGlary eyes!

Shut up!

Wait until he sees your face!

Hahahaha oh boy he's gonna freak the shit out!!

Wade scrunched his face up trying to shut out the voices in his head. But they were probably right. Peter hadn't actually seen Wade properly yet and he really needed to explain before he exposed him to the unsightly reality of his deformed exterior.

"Peter I need to talk to you. I don't want you to be alarmed or anything." Wade saw Peter's expression change, he went from 'cute-fluffy-just-awake-Peter' to 'scared-staring-face-Peter' in a matter of seconds. "Oh hey no don't worry, it's just about my face...well no actually it's about my whole appearance. I have a ton of scars on my skin and I don't want to scare you." Wade stood awkwardly as he waited for Peter to reply.

"Wade please come over here, let me see your face, I won't be afraid. Whatever you look like you make up for in kindness and generosity, it can't be that bad. I mean you go outside and I assume you have a job, so you don't hide away." Peter spoke gently.

Wade's heart filled with warmth at Peter's kind words. He walked over to the side of the bed. Peter's eyes looked straight at him concentrating on what he could see under Wade's hood. Wade slowly removed his hood and looked down. Peter said nothing.

His silence speaks volumes

YOU BET! He is trying to think of how to get as far away from your melted House Of Wax head as he can!

Oh hey don't hold back!

"Your face looks kind." Peter broke the silence. He looked up at Wade with the most beautiful smile The Merc had ever seen.

Oh crap. I am wrecked!

"That's better, I can see your eyes. You have really sparkly eyes Wade, they give your face character." Peter was studying Wade.

Wade couldn't believe how sweet Peter was being about his appearance.

I am going to kiss him on his candy lips and I bet they taste like peach sorbet.

"Peter you really don't have to be so nice to me. You don't owe me any favours." Wade looked down at his hands, rubbing his palm with his fingers. "You know you can stay or leave whenever you want to, I don't expect anything from you. I helped you because I wanted to. But Peter please don't think you have to stroke my ego or anything." 

"Wade sit down on the bed next to me please." Peter moved over to make room for Wade to sit beside him. Wade hesitated "Are you sure?" Peter nodded smiling.

 Wade moved his big frame onto the bed and leant back against the headboard, he rested his hands on his abdomen, his fingers interlaced. He looked sideways at Peter. "Happy now?"

Peter nodded smiling. He really wanted to ask Wade what had happened for his skin to end up like that, but it was clear Wade felt self-conscious and the last thing Peter wanted to do was make him feel uncomfortable in his own home. He figured Wade would tell him in his own time.

Peter nudged him with his elbow. "Wade I can't explain it but you have made me feel very comfortable. I don't feel anxious or afraid. I believe you when you say you don't expect anything from me. I don't feel I need to run away or worry that you will try and harm me, there is just something calming about you and this place. I am grateful that you helped me, it's something I will never ever forget. I know you don't want anything in return. I think all you want is for me to get strong enough and then I'll get back to my life and leave you to get on with yours."

"Peter, what is you life? Do you have a home? Where do you sleep?" Wade looked straight ahead as he wondered about Peter's situation.

Peter spoke honestly, he owed Wade that at least "The truth is I've been homeless for about six months now. I have been living on the streets, sometimes I get a bed in a hostel but most of the time I sleep in a disused lock up about eight blocks from where you found me."

Wade's heart filled with sadness "Peter, I don't want you to go back to that life, it's not a life, it's a living nightmare, it's dangerous and I worry if I let you go back out there I will end up finding you in a much worse state than the other night."

"But Wade you are not responsible for my safety. I need to find my own way, I can't expect you to do any more than you already have. Once I find somewhere more secure to stay I can find my footing again, I know I can." Peter was trying to convince himself as well as Wade.

"Peter you can stay here if you like, there is a second bedroom you could make your own. No pressure, but maybe just until you get back on your feet, you know. No strings at all I promise. You wouldn't be in my way or anything, I mostly work at night so I'm around during the day, we could hang out. Please just consider it."

Just say yes, you will be safest here with me.

Oh really???!! Like you won't try and bite his cute little ass?! 

Yeah Wade what's the REAL reason you want him to stay...come on don't be shy!

You know he will never see you as anything other than a FREAK!

Seriously guys you need to fuck off!

Peter felt a tear fall from his eye, he wiped his face. "Wade I don't know what to say. It's been a while since somebody treated me so nicely and behaved so selflessly towards me. Just until I get back on my feet then okay? Thank you, it's really kind of you, I mean that." He squeezed Wade's arm.

He really needs to not touch me right now.