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The Rumor of Us

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Wade shows up at his window at an ungodly hour that night. The bright red numbers glare 2:12 at Peter when he groggily opens his eyes. It’s too early—or late, maybe—for Wade’s shit but Peter stumbles out of bed and opens the window anyways.

He rubs at his eyes, hair fluffed up with nothing on but a pair of navy boxers. His head feels heavy with sleep and he’s really just half tempted to fall back against the bed and give in to the soporific sounds of his room, the low buzz of his computer still on and the clamor of traffic in the distance.

Sleep quickly becomes a lost hope, though, when Wade presses up against him. He’s too close to his face, but the kid has really never learned what personal space means. They’ve known each other for something close to forever, or as long as the eternity of family friends can withstand. So it’s not particularly odd for Wade to be knocking at his window at two in the morning so much as it is annoying.

“Peter,” Wade whispers, though his voice is still projecting loud enough to definitely not constitute as discrete, “We’re going driving.”

“I’m already in enough trouble,” Peter frowns back at him, looking at the beanie on his head and wondering when Wade decided to try out pretentious. His jeans are baggy, though, none of the tight ones that Peter wears that he gets teased by Wade for. But then again, his shirt is dorky enough to give him a sense of familiarity, to remind him that his best friend is just a misguided fanboy that wears a Star Wars shirt when he goes around doing his rebel thing.

Peter snatches his Portal shirt off the ground and shoves it on over his head like they’ll match in geek intensity this way.

Wade pouts. It’s an honest to god pout that looks more like he’s trying not to cry unmanly tears than looking endearing. “I know. Your dads are being dicks. I heard from Logan. So let’s go. Live a little, Pete.”

Five minutes later, he’s in the passenger seat of Wade’s screeching car with the driver making crude comments about his pants. He’s not sure why he tries anymore, but he swallows the situation down anyways, figuring that he should just roll with it at this point.

“I’m just saying, your ass looks fantastic. Unnaturally fantastic. I just want to grab it.”

Peter wrinkles his nose, pulling his black hoodie around himself tighter as he tries to slip back against the seat to hide. The night air is whipping against his face and he has to keep reaching up to push his hair out of his face that goes wild in the wind. Wade’s car is an old junker, a tiny red and black model that is more than likely not of their decade, but it runs—though he can remember all the times it’s broken down and Wade casually fixes it and talks about becoming a mechanic when he can’t get into college.

There’s no air conditioning, but it’s late enough that the air is just humid and lukewarm instead of blistering August heat. Wade drives a little (a lot) too fast and he feels himself being thrown against the door on turns, occasionally, but it’s nice. He likes looking out the window, watching the familiar locations pass them by in a blur. Wade chatters next to him happily, but he really only half pays attention.

This is his life, he thinks, watching the dull green numbers on the dashboard change from 2:36 to the next minute. There’s grime from the years building up on the creases of the buttons, and he’s not sure if most of them work. The car itself smells like fast food—if the Taco Bell wrappers piling up on the cracked leather of the backseat have anything to do with it—and like sex.

Peter tries not to think too much of the last.

It’s not that he’s oblivious. He knows Wade has sex, and probably a lot of it in the backseat of his car. But he doesn’t want to think about it in the way that Wade is having sex with someone else. With Nate. Even though they’ve broken up for what was supposed to be good when Nate left for college, apparently coming back for the summer doesn’t stick with that continuity.

So Peter doesn’t think about Wade fucking Nate in the backseat of his car, because that makes him a little nauseous and he hates it. He doesn’t want to feel that way, even though he thinks it’s his fault, a bit. Wade has offered; he’s told Peter they could have sex, they could mess around and hell, Wade has pushed it. But Peter backs out because Wade is his best friend who he’s a bit in love with and he doesn’t think he can handle being a good fuck and nothing else.

Peter breathes in the night air and focuses on Wade’s off tune version of Somebody That I Used to Know before joining him for the refrain because he’s fucking tired of that song, but he and Wade love it. He’s breathless and laughing by the end of the song, because Wade makes these god awful voices for different lines of the song and they both talk about how much they hate it.

The clock reads 3:02 when Peter’s phone rings.

“Fuck,” he whispers, seeing his dad’s name flash up at him, “Fuck, fuck, fuck.”

“Give it to me,” Wade says, and Peter blanches at him because there is no way that he is letting him talk to his Dad when he’s the one who convinced him to sneak out of his house at two in the morning. “Jesus Christ, I’m not answering it. Give it to me.”

He relents, albeit hesitantly, and watches as Wade chucks the phone out the window while going 70 mph.

“What the fuck.”

“You’re welcome,” Wade says to him cheerfully, “We both know your dad has that creepy family locater in your phone. Now he’ll just think you're dead in a ditch.”

What the fuck,” Peter punctuates, still staring out the window where is phone, his connection to the little bit of social life that he hangs onto, had just been tossed out.

“Your parents are loaded. You’ll be fine,” Wade mutters, sounding a little bitter. Not that his family isn’t well off, but they scrape by enough to meet the average middle class range with Logan working overtime and Scott’s job with the police force. But he’s always been a bit touchy about Peter getting the latest and greatest when he knows it’s hard enough to keep the bills paid at his household.

“I hate everyone,” Peter laments to whatever greater power is listening.

“I’ll buy you a Monster to make up for it,” Wade offers, apparently deciding that the value of a smartphone can be equated with an energy drink. Peter lets him, though, even though he protests that they’re terrible for your heart and Wade is going to die an early death from drinking so many.

Wade stops at a gas station where the lights are too bright and the only people around are truckers. Peter tells him that he sucks at parking, which he does, because his car is barely between the lines, and Wade slings an arm over his shoulder when they walk in to buy their junk food. The lady at the counter is too tired to give them a look that is anything more than wanting them out.

Peter definitely does not overthink the way that the weight of his arm feels around him.

They grab a giant bag of cheetos and a six pack of Monster energy drinks and haul them to the counter. Peter hopes that she doesn’t think it’s a stoner thing, but realizes a moment later that the woman doesn’t care as she scans the items, and that her opinion won’t affect him anyways. Wade pulls out crumpled bills to pay, and they’re walking back to his car, Wade’s hand having drifted low to rest low on his hip.

He settles back into the passenger seat, grabbing the cheetos for himself while Wade jerks the car back with a laugh, like he doesn’t mind that his driving is less than adequate because it’s funny when Peter nearly falls on top of him. Wade has one hand on the wheel, the other gripping the black can which he chugs and Peter gapes a bit because no, that is just not right.

“You’ll learn the way of the cool kids one day,” Wade says to him sagely, setting the empty can in the dirty cupholder and reaches over for a handful of cheetos. They only swerve a bit when he shoves orange calories into his mouth.

“I guess,” Peter shrugs, munching on a cheeto thoughtfully. They’re passing the suburbs of the city now, bright lights of the buildings in the distance like a bed of stars. There’s a distinct whirl when Wade’s car gets onto the interstate, which is for the most part empty, understandably.

He doesn’t know where they’re going, but he can’t bring himself to care anymore.

Peter looks over at Wade, who is for once watching the road as he’s driving. His eyes flash a brilliant shock of sapphire when they pass under one of the tall road lights. And Peter thinks he’s perfect like this, blonde hair messy under that stupid black beanie, humming along to the radio. Wade is attractive, to him at least. He’s always been like this to Peter, with all of his burn scars that he’s still sensitive about.

It’s not like he’s shy because of them; Wade’s actually an arrogant bastard extraordinaire because he knows he’s hot. He’s attractive in that way that his scars are just a texture when he’s grinning wolfishly and making everyone in the room hate him just because he can. His personality is something so overwhelming and cocky that his appearance is just a footnote in the character that is Wade. In that Peter still traces the contour of his jawline with his eyes and can think of all the reasons the structure of his face and brilliance of his eyes are attractive.

Peter is just a bit in love with him, really.

And it’s the most ridiculous thing he’s ever done because Peter Parker is the kid already planning to go to college with full scholarships before his junior year starts. He’s overlooked for the most part and doesn’t get into much trouble, though he’ll sure as hell stand up to bullies. So Wade is this extreme outlier in the average life that is Peter Parker, and it’s something that he’s not willing to give up.

My parents are getting divorced,” Peter says softly, even though he knows that this isn’t news to Wade when Logan has already filled him in. There’s been tension that’s been nearly tangible between his dads over their difference in views, and Peter has somehow wound up in the middle of it all.

Wade nods. He’s terrible at comforting people, so he really doesn’t try anymore. But he talks, and that’s something helps Peter through it. “Logan told me. It’s scaring the shit out of everyone, I think. Even Scott was weirded out by it. I think it has something to do with Erik and Charles for Scott though, after Erik and Charles separated and all, you know? He mentioned something about Charles and your dad.”

Peter nods, because he knows. He knows that his dad has talked to Charles about divorce papers and moving out. He knows that this is all settling in when everyone thought they’d be this giant power couple forever.

“Dad asked me to stay with him,” Peter admits, “I think he wanted to move to California just to get away from New York. He asked if I would go with him. And Pops wasn’t really too happy. And I just…you know, not touching that.”

Wade snorts. “Your parents are awful. Haven’t they watched enough movies to know forcing your teenage son to move across the country is a bad idea? It’ll be like Mean Girls, Peter Parker style.”

“I’m from America, though,” Peter argues, “It can’t be Mean Girls because I’m not Australian and you would follow me there and ruin my chances with the popular clique.”

“There will never be another Regina George anyways,” Wade agrees and pauses for a moment, “Are you choosing one?”

Peter shakes his head, gripping the bag of cheetos between his fingers with a crinkle. “No. I can’t. I love them both too much.”

“You should stay with me,” Wade suggests, looking over at him with a grin. And he’s serious about this, it’s not an outlandish plan that Wade has concocted because he’s Wade, it’s an impulsive and very sincere offer.

Peter thinks about it for a moment, about how living with Wade and his parental figures would work out when he still has two years of high school left that starts in less than a month. Though he doesn’t want to leave, that’s true, but staying means staying with Steve and inadvertently choosing a side.

Wade tells him that they could do it, because he isn’t smart enough to go to college anyways and will probably stay at home. Maybe he’ll become a garbage man, Peter jokes, before the light shifts in Wade’s eyes and he’s staring back at the road with a fixed gaze.

“I think I want to go into the army,” he says in a low voice, “Not right away. I think I’ll stay home and work for a year or two before they own my ass. Kind of what Logan did. He said he can probably talk to some friends at SHIELD and get me into the program.”

“Oh.” Peter swallows thickly. The thought scares him, that Wade might never come back. He doesn’t want to think about it, to the point he just blurts out anything.

“Are you dating Nate again?”

Wade raises a brow at him, making a grabby hand for another Monster. “Nope. He turned out not to be the love of my life, but he’s still good in bed. He’s already left for school,” he pauses, a smile curling on his lips. It makes Peter’s heart skip a beat. “Jealous?”

Peter sputters. “No. No, just. No. Why would I be jealous?”

“Because you like me,” Wade points out like it’s obvious. He pulls off at an exit that Peter’s not familiar with, somewhere outside of town with a million different fast food places lit by glowing signs. The clock reads 4:28 when he pulls into an empty parking lot. The buzz of the energy drinks is the only thing keeping Peter going at this point, and he really wishes he could go home and sleep.

Wade leans over the console of the car when the car is parked, getting too close to him again. “You do like me, right? I mean, it’s really cute and shit. I like that you like me.”

“I don’t,” Peter says weakly, inhaling sharply, “I just. I like you. Okay. Yeah.”

Wade kisses him; their noses bump and Peter isn’t experienced with kissing so he tentatively tries to copy what Wade does with his lips. He’s warm against him though, and he can smell grease and something smoky on his skin. It’s more of a slow, warm burn than anything electric and fast like he had been imagining.

“Backseat,” Wade mumbles against his lips, and he listens. The moments between getting out of the car and getting into the backseat are a blur, but Wade pulls him against him so that he’s laying on top of the older boy and they’re kissing again. He can feel Wade’s fingers at his waist, and he feels a little dizzy when there’s a tongue in his mouth. It’s going too fast for him to keep up.

I don’t want to have sex,” Peter manages when Wade’s hand slips under his shirt. Part of him screams no, that he does want the rough, calloused hand on his bare skin. But there’s just too much right now. He likes Wade, and he doesn’t want to have sex because that’ll just make it messy and he might fall apart under the emotional instability.

He’s genuinely surprised when Wade says okay, having expected a guilt trip or a fight. Wade kisses him again, and seems content just making out in the back of his car at four-thirty in the morning.

At some point, he pulls away and just lays down on his chest, nuzzling into the crook of his neck. Wade talks, about inconsequential things and people, trailing a finger over his back in idle patterns. Peter doesn’t want to think about his parents getting divorced, about school starting back, and having to deal with his lack of phone and angry parents in the morning. He doesn’t worry about what this is between him and Wade, because with Wade a steady weight under him, grounding him, it just is.

He’s content like this, for the time being.