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Bleed the Water Red

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While some people may consider spending time with an unstable mercenary some 15 years his senior a bad idea, Peter enjoys Deadpool’s company. He’s helpful in some situations.

Like now, for instance. Strapped to a chair by unbreakable steel by someone who calls herself Karma in a bare cement room, both heart and spider-sense hammering, Peter struggles to conjure up his default humour. Thankfully, in Peter’s silence, Deadpool’s motor mouth works double time.

“Snookiums,” Deadpool croons at the woman, “if you wanted to see me again, you could’ve just sent a postcard. An email. An excessively filthy sext. I respond to dick pics.”

The villain, Karma, ignores him. She focusses on Peter, who’s still struggling fruitlessly, and traces the masked curve of his jaw with a long fingernail, laughing when the hero flinches away from her touch.

“Spider-Man,” Karma says, “I have been waiting to meet you for the longest of times.”

“Wish I could say the same, but I have no idea who you are,” Peter shoots back, eyeing her low corset with distaste, the criss-cross leather binds on both of her arms. “Although, from the outfit I’d guess some kind of lonely old cat lady that’s especially into BDSM?”

Deadpool cackles at Peter’s words. Karma bares her teeth, and slaps the hero across the face with her open palm, the harsh sound echoing in the bare room.

“I’ve seen what you do,” Karma spits. She’s a wild thing, her curls in disarray, dripping in beaded jewellery, murky crystal pendents dangling over her leather corset. She’s older than even Deadpool, approaching her 40s. The lines around her eyes only add to their sharp, dangerous edge. “I’ve been watching you, Spider-Man.”

“Okayyyy, that’s creepy,” Peter says. “And Deadpool’s right. It’s 2015, lady. Just DM me.”

This time she doesn’t slap him, but clicks her fingers, beckoning forwards the muscled man stood behind her.

“Fetch the supplies,” Karma tells the man. “The sharp set.” She casts a glance at Peter, dark eyes glinting in the dim lighting. “Actually… throw in a few blunter ones. This one is due to suffer.”

Deadpool noticeably stills, his hands balling into fists. Tersely, the mercenary bites out, “You going blind in your old age, you fucking biddy? Because in case you hadn’t noticed, the guy with the cute ass over there is a superhero. Superhero. As in, good guy.”

“I know who he is,” Karma says evenly. “Haven’t you seen the destruction he causes? The carnage and the death he leaves in his wake?”

“Stuff caused by the villains he fights—”

Karma waves a dismissive hand. “He has to suffer for his crimes, just as you already have.”

“Wow, you’re batshit bonkers.” There’s no humour in Deadpool’s voice, turned rough and raw in a way Peter rarely ever hears it. It’s worrying. “If you think Spidey deserves any of that, you’re fucking crazier than I am—”

The lackey returns with a gunmetal grey toolbox, padlocked shut, the contents clattering as the box is jostled. Karma unlocks it, and plucks out a sharpened knife, presenting it between her long, dark nails. Peter’s spider-sense, previously a dull chime, begins to shriek in the back of his head.

“Deadpool,” Peter says with a sense of intense foreboding, “what’s… what’s going on?”

He’s beginning to suspect that he’s missing something crucial here. He feels his stomach sink as Deadpool bucks against his restraints and hisses something low that makes Karma scrunch her nose up.

“Who are you, really?” Peter demands. “What do you want with us?!”

“You didn’t tell him about me?” Karma asks Deadpool. “I’m hurt. We had such good times, Wade. Such good, good times…” She traces the solid curve of Deadpool’s jaw. She snatches her hand back when the mercenary tries to bite at it, striking him cleanly across cheek for his actions. “Did you remember nothing of the lessons I tried to carve into your skin?”

“Fuck you,” Deadpool spits, “fuck you, fuck you—that’s 3 fuck you’s from me and my two boxes. Even they fucking hate you.”

Peter glances between the two, feeling increasingly confused. “Deadpool, who…?”

Turning back to Peter, Karma smiles and continues, “I’m Karma. I judge the worthiness of people, the weight of their actions and their failures—” Here, Karma leans in close, and presses the blade against the vulnerable curve of Peter’s neck, creating a thin, bubbling line of red against his white skin. “—and I judge them accordingly.”

Deadpool attempts to twist against binds. “You have a damn mercenary captive, and you’re going to punish the wholesome fucking hero? What the fuck—”

The lackey in the corner snaps on a pair of plastic gloves, and hands over a longer, thicker blade to Karma, who takes it, twirling it between deft fingers, smiling close-mouthed.

She places the blade to the soft skin of Peter’s inner elbow, and presses down, down, dragging the blade through skin and flesh, and seeming to revel in the guttural sounds the action forces from Peter.

When she finally draws back, leaving a long bleeding wound in her wake, Peter is gasping up at the ceiling. Deadpool is twisting desperately in place, the lackey watching on impassively, and Karma smiles, and laughs, and plucks a new tool from the box. Peter squeezes his eyes shut.

“Don’t loose consciousness on me just yet,” Karma murmurs, running a hand up and over Peter’s shoulder. “We’ve still got a long way to go.”




Peter had seen the horrific crimes committing by super-villains time and time again, but now, strapped down by thick, unmovable steel, blood wetting his face and neck and arms, he’s beginning to realise the lows at which some people will sink to.

Karma draws fully away for the first time, and hands off the dripping scalpel to her lackey. In the unexpected break, Peter gasps. The breath ripped from his chest is ragged, shaky, blood and spit dribbling from his open mouth. Karma had pulled his mask to his nose; she wanted to see his pained whimpers, the way he bit down on his lip in vain attempts to quiet himself. Thankfully, she does’t much care for his identity.

“Spidey?” Deadpool prompts. His voice sounds distant, as though Peter is submerged under water.

Peter realises the mercenary wants an answer, a confirmation he’s okay. Deadpool was loud in the beginning, howling and spitting and swearing, reflecting Peter’s clawing panic. He had become quieter the longer Karma had sliced, until he fell completely, worryingly silent, only now speaking up.

“I’m—I’m—” Peter spits out a mouthful of blood; he’d bit his tongue at some point. “I’m fine.”

“That’s a boldfaced lie. You’d think heroes would be more honest, wouldn’t you?” Deadpool speaks lowly, and not to Peter, to someone else. Peter lets his head fall back, gasping against his pain and fear and panic. He’s too far gone to question the mercenary’s imaginary conversation partners.

Karma swims back into focus as she grasps Peter’s jaw firmly, moving the hero’s face from side to side, surveying the damages along his jaw and neck. Peter is too exhausted to flinch away from her touch. “Hm… I think I need a new set of tools.”

“I will fetch—” Karma’s lackey begins.

“No, no.” She waves a hand, straightening up and releasing her hold on Peter. Without her piercing grip to hold him up, Peter slumps forward, chin thumping on his chest. “I will fetch them. Mr. Spider-Man needs a breather anyway, lest he pass out before he’s fully paid for his actions.”

Karma wipes Peter’s blood off of her hands with a spare rag, before throwing the soiled cloth onto Peter’s head. He remains slumped over, without the strength to shake the rag off, and she laughs, thick and mean at his expense.

Her booted heels click on the cement floor as she leaves. In the remaining silence, Deadpool turns his entire focus to Peter.

“Spidey? Hey, Spidey, you in there, babe?” Peter gives no response. “Hey! Spider-Man!” Finally, Peter coughs weakly and squints up at the mercenary. “You doing okay?”

“Peachy,” Peter manages.

Deadpool shakes his head. “Fucking Karma—and hey, I kind of get why she chose the name now. It’s kind of ironic.”

“Better than Deadpool,” Peter says. His voice is weak and barley decipherable, but Deadpool seems to understand him just fine, pretending to gasp, offended.

“Deadpool is an amazingly clever name, I’ll have you know—it implies that I’m either the walking manifestation of death, or that I like to fill up swimming pools full of dead things.” He cocks his head, considering. “Both are pretty accurate, actually.”

“It’s better than ‘Spider-Man’,” the lackey weighs in. His Russian accent is thick.

Peter squints up at him. “First torture and now cutting insults? Man, this place is the worst.”

The lackey shrugs his huge shoulders. “Ms. Karma is not so bad.”

Peter stares at him for a long moment. “She just tortured me.” Peter tries to sound indignant, but his voice cracks, still sore and useless from screaming.

“Maybe,” he allows, “but she is good person.”

Deadpool’s laughter is loud, obnoxious. “Good person? Wow, that crazy has you convinced, too? She just tortured New York’s favourite bug boy, and you’re defending her?”

“The spider has done wrong—”

Deadpool snorts. “Don’t let that sinful ass distract you, he’s almost as righteously moral as Captain America. I don’t know what it is about hot people in blue tights, but apparently it really inspires heroism.”

The lackey casts a glance at him. Peter tries to muster up a crooked, rueful grin, but his lips are split, chin and cheeks soaked; he feels ruined. From the way the lackey purses his lips and Deadpool goes worryingly still once more, Peter assumes the expression only makes him appear even more pitiful.

“All persons have done wrong,” the Russian tries. “And Ms. Karma is good. She protects her employees. She protects the children.”

Peter frowns. “What?”

“Oh, right!” Deadpool realises. “I’d totally forgotten about that. I guess even crazies have redeeming qualities.”

What?” Peter repeats.

“Don’t want to shock you into an early death or anything, Spidey,” Deadpool says, “but, some villains happen to have standards, and no, I don’t mean me—though surprise surprise, yes I do have moral standards too. And, well, not all villains, but some have standards. Boundaries. It’s a thing.”

“Villainy is villainy,” Peter says, confused. It feels a little strange to be having this conversation when he can barely manage to think around the pain and pressing exhaustion. Still, it’s good, in a way. Distracting. “Just because someone only commits some crimes doesn’t mean they’re justified. A thief is still a thief, regardless of whether or not he’s ever murdered.”

Deadpool shrugs. It looks strange, bound as he is to the chair. “Fuck me, I dunno about morals and shit, but I do know that a good majority of criminals hate hurting kids. Like me. And Karma. Actually, now that I think about it, she’s pretty damn renown for being a psychopathic, torturing sadist who spends her weekends volunteering to help children in need.”

The lackey beams in pride. This too is strange—a looming, muscle bound man clad in black leather and blood soaked gloves smiling like that, a little fond, a lot proud.

“Ms. Karma looks after the children,” says the lackey. He still has a scalpel in one hand. It’s very disconcerting. “She is very protective of peoples under 18.”

Peter looks at him, skeptical. “Really?”

Both Deadpool and the lackey nod empathetically—apparently, this is wide-spread knowledge in the super-villain community.

“Yeah,” Deadpool says, “she’s a crazy scumbag, but she doesn’t torture kids.” His grin is crooked as he sings an off-key, disjointed tune, “If you’re under eighteen, you’re torture freeeeeee!”

“As it should be,” says the lackey.

“As it should be,” Deadpool agrees. “Fuck people who hurt kids, man!”

Peter blinks. “You… you guys are kidding, right?”

Deadpool shoots him a confused look. “I thought you of all people would be all for protecting kids, Mr. Hero—”

“Of course I am,” Peter says, “but Karma mustn’t be.”

The lackey glowers at Peter, thick eyebrows narrowed, and Deadpool shakes his head. “Like I said,” says the mercenary, “villains will surprise you. I’m going to fucking rip her chest open, huge tits or not, and pull her intestines out through her ribs for hurting you, but! But, I admire her dedication to kids and teenagers.”

Peter—firmly ignoring that first part—shakes his head. The movement hurts; his neck is stiff. He must have hurt it when he was thrashing in place under Karma’s skilled hands. “‘Dedication?’ If she’s tortured me, then she—”

Peter is cut off as the room’s heavy door swings open, and Karma strides inside, her curls falling into her dark, manic eyes, a clear bag of metal implements swinging in her grip. Peter can’t contain his choked whimper as he spots sharpened knives, blades with jagged teeth, rusty pliers—

“Oh, god,” Peter murmurs, eyes slipping closed.

“Hey-o!” Deadpool sounds forcefully cheery, doing his best to wave excitedly at the villain despite his restrained position. “Speak of the godawful she-devil and she will appear!”

Karma raises an eyebrow at her lackey, who beams, and says, “We were discussing your work with the children, M’am!”

“Oh!” This time, when Karma smiles, it isn’t the menacing display of the teeth, a unspoken threatening promise, but something genuine and proud. “Why, yes! I’m dedicated to helping disadvantaged children in New York. Children are such an important part of the community, you see.”

Karma drags a stool over and settles in, placing the bag by her feet. Peter shakes before her, heart hammering, his sweat dripping into pools of blood.

“Little tykes,” Deadpool says. “So cute.”

“They suffer so much,” Karma continues, “and they don’t have the power to stand up for themselves.” She runs a long finger over Peter’s hand idly, tracing the open line of a bloody wound almost subconsciously. Peter bites down on a pained whine. “Teenagers, too. They have such a bad wrap—”

Deadpool nods furiously. “Fucking taken advantage of, too!”

“Did you know I have a perfect record?” Karma asks. She collects a rusted pocket knife, tracing it up Peter’s arm, over his shoulders, down to his collarbone, as though considering where to cut. Peter focuses on controlling his breathing, fear twisting awfully in his belly. “You may look down on me, Mr. Spider-Man, but for all the righteous suffering I inflict, I’ve never hurt a child. Not once.”

The pointed end of her knife sinks into the soft skin of Peter’s chest, just above his heart. Peter cries out. Blood bubbles and drips down his already ruined suit. His heart beats frantically underneath the blade, and Peter feels trapped, cornered, Karma looming before him, knife in hand. The words bubble forth in rush, before Peter can properly consider their implications.

“Y'know, I don’t think you do,” Peter blurts. At his words, Deadpool's stare intensifies. “Have a perfect, non-child harming record, that is.”

Karma looks up sharply. “Excuse me? I’ve never laid a hand on a child in my life—”

“You have.” Peter tries to sound conversational but his voice is wobbly and a little too breathy. He nods his chin toward his bloody arms, where Karma’s hand is clamped around his forearm, her sharp fingernails creating red crescents in visible skin. “See? Harmful hand. On me.”

“What are you on about?” Karma hisses, face twisting in anger. The lackey stares, blank and confused, but beside him, Deadpool goes very, very still. “I have never—”

“Yes, you have,” Peter says.

Spidey…” Deadpool begins. There’s something in his voice, something raw and strangled. Peter tips a silly smile in the mercenary’s direction. “You’re…”

Surprise.” Peter would’ve done jazz hands, if his arms weren’t bound and bleeding.

Karma’s curls fall into her eyes. She’s wild in her denial. “I don’t know what you’re on about, but I look after children, I protect them—”

Peter tries to laugh, but his chest aches, his lungs sore and heavy, and the sound gets stuck in his throat. “You’re a fraud, lady.”

“A fraud—?”

“Spidey,” Deadpool repeats, a little urgent. “Buddy, don’t antagonise her, she’ll—!”

“How dare you!” Karma grasps his arm in an unrepentant grip, clawed fingernails digging into gapping wounds. Fresh blood bubbles around her fingers, and Peter blacks out for a moment, back arching, a pained cry torn from his lips. “How dare you try and—and—! I have a clean record—”

Not anymore!” Peter’s voice is thick now—he can’t find himself to be ashamed of the threat of tears, all his thoughts washed away by a sickening pain and a burning, chasing anger. “I’m sixteen!”

The hand drops his wrist as though burned. “No,” she breathes.

All the energy leaves him in a rush, and he slumps, nodding. “Yeah,” Peter says, feeling defeated. “I’m a high schooler.”

Karma shakes her head frantically. “No, no—you can’t be—!”

“Why didn’t you say anything?” Deadpool says. He remains still, voice low. His stare is unwavering.

Peter shrugs. His exhaustion is catching up to him, body shaking, the remnants of burning rage still chasing their way through his veins. “Does it matter?”

“Does it matter?!” Karma shrieks. She has never looked more wild—curls strewn about her face, eyes wide not in insanity, but in shocked horror. “Does it matter?!”

Deadpool’s hands are fisted into tight, shaking balls. “It matters.”

“Untie him!” Karma demands. When the lackey doesn’t immediately jump to action, Karma whirls on him and shouts, “UNTIE HIM!”

The Russian fetches the key. He’s pale, and refuses to meet Peter’s gaze as he steps forward.

The binds come loose with a click, and Peter rises, trying to stand up on shaky, uncooperative legs. Karma is there, steadying him with hands his shoulders, but palms are too warm, her touch scorching, somehow. Peter flinches away from her, and she lets go, stumbling back. Karma looks as though she’s been struck across the face.

Without her support, Peter falls to his hands and knees, gasping and shaking against cold cement, shuddering under the force of his tremors.

“What do you need?” Karma asks, frantically. Behind her, the lackey is trying to find clean towels, drinkable water, something to give the traumatised teenager.

“Deadpool,” Peter gasps. “I need—I—”

With the twisting of a key and the clattering of steel binds, Deadpool is free. He rushes to kneel beside Peter. The teenager shimmies closer, falling against Deadpool’s broad chest.

“Spidey,” Deadpool says. “Spidey, Spidey—”

“I didn’t know,” Karma says hurriedly. Her hands have flown to her hair, tangled and bunched in thick curls. “I didn’t know! I’m not a bad person—if I’d know, I wouldn’t have—”

Peter’s eyes slide close. His body feels too heavy. He can hardly carry himself; he doesn’t have it in him to carry Karma’s grief, too. “I want to go,” Peter mumbles. “Please, Deadpool. Can we go?”

Deadpool tightens his hold on Peter for a moment, before nodding. “Yeah. Yeah, we can go.”

Karma continues to babble to herself, “I didn’t—I didn’t know! Is he really—?”

“Really a teenager?” Deadpool cuts in. “Yeah, I think he is. I believe him.” He untangles Peter’s hold on him, propping the hero up against the wall. Peter’s head droops low, eyes still closed.

If Peter was watching, he would see the way Karma shakes, the way her long pendents and beaded necklaces rise and fall over her heaving chest. He would see Deadpool climb slowly to his feet and snatch up the clear bag of torture instruments.

“Which means,” Deadpool continues with a terrifying calmness, “you tortured a teenager. You hurt a hero—a high school aged hero.” The bag unzips without a sound, the contents inside clattering together. Karma whimpers, choked and fearful. “And what goes around, comes around, after all.” The bag drops with a quiet thud. Deadpool steps forward, Karma steps back. “That’s just karma.”

Peter—too tired and hurt to be wholly aware of his surroundings, misses Karma’s pleads, Deadpool’s lack of mercy, the lackey’s howl of pain—slips, exhausted, into unconsciousness.




“Aw, frick! Be careful!”

“Hey, his swearing-thing makes sense now! Your mom not let you swear, huh? OW! He punched us!”

Peter mumbles against Deadpool’s shoulder, “You deserved it.”

“Deserved it, huh?” Deadpool jostles the teenager pointedly. Peter yelps, and clings tighter to the man, arms locked around his neck. “I can still drop you in the sewer, incy-wincy.”

Peter had only woken once they were out of Karma’s hold and already half way across the city. Most of his wounds have stopped bleeding so fiercely, but they still scream in pain. He’s still exhausted. His legs feel weak and shaky and useless. Peter hasn’t protested Deadpool carrying him, piggyback style.

Deadpool jumps off the low rooftop’s ledge and lands roughly on a dumpster’s lip, his foot almost slipping off the wet metal surface. He fumbles, gloved hands scrambling to maintain his secure hold on the teenager.

“Waterspout,” Peter gasps out, bloodied fingers digging into the other’s collarbone. “It’s—it’s a waterspout that washes out the spider. Not a sewer.”

“You okay there, incy?” Deadpool asks. His broad hands cup the back of Peter’s knees, keeping him in place. Despite the layers of spandex between them, the point of contact feels warm, Deadpool strong beneath him.

“I haven’t eaten since yesterday morning, so no, not really,” Peter says. He pauses, as though considering something inconsequential. “I guess the copious torture wounds are kind of inconvenient too.”

From there, Deadpool takes them to his apartment, doing his best to avoid jostling Peter further as they climb the fire escape. Surprisingly, Deadpool owns a First Aid kit, and surrenders it to Peter. He won’t be able to fix up Peter’s long, bloodied wounds after so long living with a healing factor.

Dawn begins to spread along the horizon. Deadpool climbs back out the window, leaving Peter behind with bandaged arms, left over blood dried along his skin, pain killers making his eyes shutter closed. He falls asleep to the sounds of distant traffic and Deadpool’s muffled descent.



Deadpool crashes into the bedroom sometime later with a flourish of limbs, and a loud declaration of, “Breakkkkfasssst!”

Peter blinks sleepily at the older man. “Is that McDonalds?”

“Yeah,” Deadpool says, and he sounds strange. A little strangled. “You know, Spidey, I would’ve literally killed to get you in my bed before, and now…”

Peter scrambles out from under the blankets and into a sitting position, hands braced against the headboard. If he wasn’t fully awake before, he is now.

“Oh! I’m sorry,” Peter babbles, “I wasn’t thinking. I just thought ‘hey, I’m tired’, and then ‘hey look, a bed’, and then I collapsed onto it and fell asleep, and sorry, I’ll go—”

Peter makes to scuttle off of the bed, but Deadpool waves his hands in the air quickly. “Oh, shit! No, I’m sorry! I forgot, you’re like, twelve—”

“Sixteen,” Peter corrects.

“—and so I’m going to shut up and take all of my gross, old man fantasies and put them in a box, and then lock the box, and then blow the box up with a bunch of grenades.”

Peter blinks up at him. Deadpool scratches the back of his head awkwardly. “Um,” Peter says.

Deadpool exhales hugely. “Okay, let me start again: Hey, Spidey! Good morning and junk, I bought breakfast. Let’s eat!”

“Hey, Deadpool,” Peter parrots back. “Good morning and junk to you too. What’d you get?”

“I bought a bunch of Big Macs, and a couple of fries, and a Happy Meal. I also got coke but I accidentally dropped it when I was climbing back up the fire escape, whoops—”

For what feels like the dozenth time that day, Peter feels his stomach sink. He eyes the greasy paper bag with obvious distrust. “Did you get me a…?”

Deadpool doesn’t answer, oblivious to the hero’s suspicion, too busy rifling through the paper bag and pulling out a partially squished Happy Meal with obvious delight. It isn’t until Peter’s face closes off and he visibly shifts away, that Deadpool looks up, frowns, and asks, “What’s up, kiddo?”

“Don’t call me that,” Peter snaps, “and you can keep the breakfast. I don’t want it.”

“Don’t want…” Deadpool trails off. “But you never reject free food!” He pulls out three Big Macs and chucks them, the burgers landing in Peter’s lap with a soft thud. “I even asked for ‘em without pickles, pickle!”

Peter stares at the Big Macs with obvious surprise. “The Big Macs are mine? So… so the Happy Meal’s not for me?”

Deadpool scoffs. “Get your own plastic barbie toy, biatch. This one’s mine.”

The mercenary collapses onto the bed next to Peter. Thankfully, he doesn’t try and wriggle under the comforter like Peter had thought he might. He doesn’t invade Peter’s personal space. There’s no sly arms snaking out to encircle Peter’s waist, no larger body squirming close and breathing his air.

Deadpool, above the covers, booted feet nudging gently against Peter’s, happily sets about unwrapped the plastic toy with one hand, shoving fries into his mouth with the other. Idly, he pops the barbie’s head half off with his thumb, laughing through his full mouth at the headless doll.

Peter’s grip on his burger tightens. His throat feels tight. “Deadpool…”

Deadpool chews on his fries, and gestures at the pile of junk food on Peter’s lap. “Growing spiders need as much saturated junk food as they can get, so eat up before I steal it back.”

Peter fingers the paper wrapping, biting at his lip. He still feels unsure. He still feels as though they’re relationship is beginning to splinter under the weight of Peter’s revelation. There’s a reason Peter doesn’t tell people anything about who he is.

“Deadpool…” Peter begins again. “I don’t. I don’t want you to treat me differently, okay? I don’t want you to be all condescending, or tell anyone how old I am, or—or stop hanging out with me—”

“I ain’t going to treat you differently, Spidey,” Deadpool says. “I’m—no, shut up, of course we’re going to treat him differently, but like, in terms of no longer being a creepy old man and perving on the teenager, and—what? No, he’s sixteen, Yellow—”

Peter bites at his lip, eyes dropping from where Deadpool is chattering, one head cocked to the side, talking to someone Peter can’t see. The mercenary seems to sense Peter’s declining mood, because he straightens up and punches the vigilante in the side.

“You know what makes me feel better after I’ve been tortured?” Deadpool asks. “Pancakes. Like, a lot of pancakes. A LOT of pancakes.”

Deadpool jumps up from the bed, arms bouncing happily by his sides. The Happy Meal is left discarded on the comforter as Deadpool heads to the door with a spring in his step.

“Pancakes? What about this?” Peter asks, gesturing at his uneaten McDonald’s.

“You’re a super spider, Spidey! Don’t tell me you can’t eat junk food and my heavenly pancakes.” Peter concedes this point with a nod, and a slightly sad smile. This only makes Deadpool beam wider, throwing his hands in the air. “Yay! You’ll love ‘em, kid, they’re made out of my love and, like, angel cum—shit, teenager, I mean angel tears. And eggs and flour and stuff. But mainly my love!”

Deadpool bounces out of the room, but Peter can still hear the older man babbling as he moves further into the apartment, switching on the TV, pulling pans and bowls out of kitchen cabinets:

“Ooh, Keeping Up with the Kardashians is on! And, hey, I have Weasel’s copy of Mean Girls that I borrowed and am never going to give back. You seem like someone who likes trash TV, Spidey—”

Peter laughs, and stands up on stiff legs. His body is doing its best to rejuvenate torture wounds and make up for a night spent bound and screaming, but he feels a little better, after sleeping.

He’s been to Deadpool’s apartment a dozen times over, but usually, he doesn’t stay the night. He’s never had Deadpool’s famous pancakes in the actual morning. He enjoys the older man, but he’s never felt comfortable here before, under the weight of Deadpool’s constant flirting and the hint of something sexual. He’s sixteen, never had a girlfriend or boyfriend or even a first kiss, and so had always felt stupid and awkward in such situations.

Now, though, Peter feels comfortable. Safe, almost, with Deadpool flittering about in the background and morning light folding in through faded curtains and the promise of bad TV and inhuman amounts of pancakes.

Peter gathers up the burgers and follows Deadpool out into the sunny kitchen, smiling as he goes. “Yeah, Deadpool,” he says, enjoying the mercenary’s answering, bubbling laughter, “I love trash TV.”