He finds out from the news, of all sources.
Karen is in the next room, on the phone with Frank. She knows everything now, about the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, about Team Red- hell, she’s hauled him through her window at night and shut it tight against the terrors outside.
Karen Page is a one-woman army, and she has the Punisher on speed dial.
She must know he can hear her. Which either means she’s daring him to say something so she can grind him to dust under her heel, or she really just doesn’t give a fuck.
Matt is not willing to bet on which one.
He’s leaning back in his seat, pressing his hands down over the arm rests. He feels and hears the leather creak against his skin as his head cocks. Listening. Always listening. The other tenants’ sounds begin to filter in.
“... we pay the electricity and call the water company-”
“... we should try that new Thai place across the street!”
Don’t. It’s bad.
“... new Spider-Man spotted swinging his way through Brooklyn this week! Key witnesses state the new Spider-Man wears a black suit and-”
Matt can hear nothing but his own heartbeat, thudding and throbbing in his ears- in this throat- behind his eyes-
There are hands on his shoulders. When had his knees hit the floor? There’s a sheet in front of him. It’s gold, it’s sunny, it’s-
It’s Karen. She’s speaking to him?
What? What are you saying? What?
How can anything you say possibly matter right now? There’s another Spider-Man, Karen. Another one.
“-call Foggy? I should call Foggy. Or, you want me to call Frank? Matt, talk to me. ” her voice finally breaks through everything. Cuts through the thick roar in his mind and his hands snaps up, gripping her wrist.
“No.” he shakes his head once. “I need to- I have to make a call.”
He staggers to his feet with her help, groping for his desk, which seems more alarming to her than anything else.
Hah. Girl, if only you knew.
“Matt, I really don’t think you should leave…” Karen pauses, uncertain, when he lifts his head to finally. He tilts his head towards her; meets her gaze as best as he can.
“I need to make a call, Karen.” he repeats quietly.
He feels her exhale. Feels her hands go lax against the sleeves of his jacket. Feels her relent.
Maybe he should thank Frank. Karen is so much more chill with his bad decisions nowadays. It’s awesome.
Wade picks up on the fourth ring of his sixty-third call.
“Fucking- what, Red? I’ve told you not to do this shit when I’m on a job. I’m-”
“There’s another Spider-Man.”
A beat. Then two. Matt can’t even hear him breath over the phone.
“Say that again.”
Oooh. He hates that tone when Wade uses it. Still. Calm. Ruthless. Deadly. He hates it. Hates everything it implies.
“There’s another Spider-Man. Wears a black suit. Sticks close to Brooklyn. That’s all I know.” Matt explains as quickly and quietly as he can. He needs Wade to stay calm about this. To not go crashing through the city cutting down everything and anything in his way.
He needs him to be Wade Wilson, and not Deadpool.
It’s a full two minutes before Wade answers. Matt knows because he counted.
“I’ll be home in three days.”
Man, he should have been a fuckin’ spy.
He could listen to everything anyone said from two blocks away. Plus, no one ever suspects the blind guy.
Matt flies through the shadows and sticks to his new target like glue. The new Spidey has no idea he’s there. Either he doesn’t have the same sense for danger that Peter had, or the sense knows that Matt isn’t a threat. He’s not sure?
Peter was never super clear on that one.
By the time Wade gets home, Matt knows a lot about the new Spidey.
He’s a kid, definitely. Younger than when Peter started, he thinks, but he hasn’t gotten close enough or heard enough to really know.
He knows that his heart beats the same way Peter’s did. He knows he sticks to things like Peter did. He uses the same web shooters, he throws himself recklessly into danger the same way, and he runs the same way.
But the kid is different, too. He can turn invisible, apparently? Which Matt never would have known if he hadn’t heard people shrieking about it up and down the street.
Thanks, New York.
There’s something else there, too. Something Matt can taste in the air and feel on his skin when he really gets close. It makes his hair stand up, like static. It makes the back of his throat burn. He doesn’t know what it is, and he doesn’t like not knowing.
When he hauls himself back through his window, Wade is waiting on his couch.
“He’s… like Peter, and he isn’t.”
Super helpful, Matt. Nice one. A for effort.
“I don’t like someone else using his name.” Wade says this slowly, and Matt has spent enough time with him to hear the undercurrent in the phrase. A threat.
“I don’t think it’s like that, Wade. I think… I think we should talk to the kid.” Matt pulls the black fabric from his face, eyes fixed on what he assumes is the ground as he takes a breath. “He’s young. Younger than Peter was when he first started, I think. Or close to it.”
He’s relieved when Wade makes a contemplative noise. Deadpool doesn’t hurt kids.
“I’m not lookin’ for a replacement for Parker.” Wade’s tone is still wary, and Matt understands. He gets it, he really does. No one will ever be Peter Parker. Not like theirs was.
Matt almost feels bad for what he’s about to do. There’s that Catholic guilt, squirming up into his consciousness as he hits Wade with the one thought that made him falter.
“Peter would have wanted us to help him.”
He can practically taste the way Wade takes it like a punch to the gut. He can feel the way the air shifts and changes when Wade gets angry. He definitely feels it when Wade stands from the couch and looms over Matt, all tall, tightly packed muscle bound in leather. Yikes.
“You don’t know that.” when Wade speaks, it’s a hiss.
“Yes, Wade. We do.” Matt responds calmly. Because he does know. They know that Peter would have thrown himself in this kid’s corner immediately, no questions asked.
The same way he did for them.
Matt’s head barely twitches when Wade curses and hurls something against the wall. He can’t tell what it is, but he can hear the way it shatters. The way the pieces ping to the floor and scatter, rolling this way and that. He really hopes Wade offers to clean that up later. He’ll be stepping on that shit for weeks.
Breaking things has a way of being cathartic. It’s unfortunate Wade has chosen some of his things, but really, it could be worse.
He could have chosen to break bones. Like Matt.
Yeah. Maybe Wade’s way was better.
“Fine.” Wade breathes out through his teeth. Matt listens to the way his teeth grind together. “Fine.” he repeats. “We’ll go find the kid. You’re right. It’s… it’s what he would have done.” his shoulders sag and Matt reaches for him.
Wade is the second best hugger he’s ever met. Granted, Matt has allowed maybe a grand total of twelve people to hug him, but Wade is definitely at the top of the list. Right after Foggy.
“Think you can find him tomorrow night?” Wade asks from somewhere near his left temple.
Yeah, he can.
Miles can do this. He knows he can do this. He’s done this before. If Tombstone would just- just give him a second. One second to breathe. One second to step back and collect himself.
Just a second.
That’s all he needs, man.
“Sloppy, kid.” Tombstone’s laugh is mean when Miles hits the ground. “Same as before. Easy to follow. Easy to find. Easy to beat. You’re not Spider-Man. You’re a joke.”
Miles throws his arms up to protect his face and Tombstone’s boot hits his ribs.
He can practically hear them crack.
He really hopes they’re not broken.
Miles rolls with the hit and feels the brick of the wall against his back. Alley was a bad idea. He needs room to swing around. Room to fight. And he chose an alley.
Tombstone scoffs above him, and he listens to the soft thud of his boots as he approaches.
He curls in on himself, bracing for the next blow when Tombstone gags from above him.
For one, wild moment, Miles thinks Peter B. has arrived. That somehow he’s figured out how to reach through time and space and come to his rescue. But the hands that touch him are wrapped in ropes, and that’s strange enough that Miles opens his eyes.
“Whoa.” he breathes.
The Daredevil is crouched above him. And when he looks past him, he sees Deadpool standing. Immovable as a stone with a huge forearm pressed tight around Tombstone’s throat.
He struggles, clawing at the leather wrapped around his neck.
Uh huh. You keep trying that, buddy.
Miles sits up with the help of guiding hands, and then winces, touching a hand to his ribs.
“Cracked. Not broken.” Daredevil offers without any sort of explanation.
“How close, Red?”
“One minute out.”
Deadpool spins around with Tombstone and begins walking towards the mouth of the alley, dragging his passenger along with him.
Only Daredevil’s hand on his arm brings Miles’ attention back to him and not the display.
“Get to the roof. Wait for us there.” he instructs, and then he’s striding after Deadpool, heading towards the street.
Miles hesitates for only a moment, but then he’s scrambling up a fire escape, throwing himself onto the roof.
They don’t exactly wait for the police.
Instead, Matt zip ties Tombstone’s hands behind his back and Wade decks him, knocking him out and leaving him in a slump.
They leave him there, and head to the roof.
The kid is just laying there, breathing. Staring at them from his spot on the ground. Mask eyes wide, staring with the open wonder of a child. What he should be doing is calculating. Figuring out who’s the bigger threat, (Wade. Duh.) and how to take him out.
But nah. Apparently they’re the best thing he’s seen in weeks.
“And he’s Deadpool.”
“This is so cool.”
“He’s so itty bitty.” Wade crouches next to Miles, head cocked. He can tell Wade wants to pet him, like a puppy.
“Kid.” Matt approaches slowly, and Miles pops up.
“I’m Miles. Morales-”
He pauses at Matt’s exasperated noise, bewildered. “What?”
“You’re not supposed to just give your name out like that, kid. We could be here to kill you, for all you know.” Wade advised, unfolding from his crouch and taking a step towards Miles. A solid wall of muscle and death.
Miles doesn’t so much as flinch.
“You guys were Spider-Man’s team though. Peter’s team. I saw you guys all the time. On the news, on the streets. On a poster once, actually.”
Oh. Well that’s. Flattering.
Wade backs off.
“How long you been doing this, kid?” he asks instead.
“Three weeks.” Miles answers promptly. Three weeks, and he’s almost getting the shit kicked out of him in an alley.
Yeah, he’s definitely Spider-Man.
“Red, this simply will not do.” Wade extends a hand, spread towards Miles. “Team Red can’t afford that kinda embarrassment.”
Matt ignores the indignant “Hey!” from the kid, shifting from one foot from the other.
“We taught Peter.”
The weight of that statement settles over them. They taught Peter. They fought with Peter. They stood shoulder to shoulder with Peter in some of the best and worst moments of his life.
They let Peter die.
“Will you teach me, too?”
Wade’s hands hit his hips, settling there.
Matt cocks his head, listening. The kid’s heart speeds up. Thuds against his chest. Through his skin. Into Matt’s ears.
Nervous. Hopeful. Excited.
He reaches up, pulls his mask from his face.
“Matt Murdock. And Wade Wilson.”
While Wade waves with too much enthusiasm, he pulls a card from his boot, extends it in the kid’s direction. “If you’re healing factor is like Peter’s, your ribs should be good to go in two days. You stay off the streets until then. You don’t do any stupid shit. Don’t get a building dropped on you.” Miles’ fingers brush his when he takes the card. “After that? You come find me at that address.”
We’ll teach you, too.