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Eventually they end up back at her place. Used to be their place, and sure, Wade can still spot a few things that used to be his—but it’s been a couple years. And even if it’d only been a couple days, he knows he gave up his claim to anything in this apartment the moment he left. He knows that.

Vanessa’s watching him look around, watching him take stock of everything that’s the same and everything that’s different—or maybe just looking at his pepperoni pizza of a face. She’s so fucking beautiful.

He’s so fucking not.

Still, she’d said…

Wade cracks a smile and points to his mouth. “Sit?”

Vanessa narrows her eyes. “Asshole.”

“Any hole you want,” says Wade, moving toward her. “It’s ladies’ choice night.”

But she’s not having any of it. She actually steps away from him, which, ouch. “I meant asshole as in ‘you are an asshole.’”

“Yes. Yes, I am. I am also a pee-hole and a mouth-hole and, oh yeah, the occasional bullet-hole, although those tend to heal themselves pretty quick these days, and ooh, hey, did I mention I have superpowers now? I just regrew my entire hand, like less than half the movie ago! You should’ve seen, it was creepy as fuck, looked like a dick with fingers—”

“Okay, do you just communicate entirely in dirty jokes now?”

“Heyyy, I resemble that comment,” says Wade, trying his best to keep it light even though, fuck, this is going downhill so fast and he has no idea how to stop it. “And in case you forgot, I’ve always communicated entirely in dirty jokes.”

Her lips tighten and her face stays mostly impassive, but something moves behind her eyes. Something like she might be trying not to cry. He seriously wants to go over there and just wrap his arms around her and hold her and let her cry it out all over him, but… but, yeah, he doesn’t think he’s really allowed to do that just yet.

“I didn’t forget,” she says after a second, her voice really low. “I should’ve, though. I should’ve forgotten every stupid thing about you. God knows you gave me enough time to do a whole lot of forgetting—”

“Hey,” says Wade, putting his hands up.

“Hey yourself, dickface,” she says, and starts pulling her torn stockings off. “I need a shower.”

“So do I, actually.” Wade sniffs his pits and grimaces. “I smell like ass. And supervillain blood. Hey, got room for two in there? I could scrub your—”

“No,” says Vanessa, who’s taking off her dress now. She didn’t even ask for help with the zipper. She always used to ask for his help with the zipper. “You can wait your turn, okay? And when we’re both done, you’d better be ready to have a real, adult conversation.”

He nods, and she drops her dress to the floor and goes into the bathroom. Doesn’t even swing her hips as she walks—maybe because she knows how much he’d like it if she did.

As soon as the door shuts, he sits down. Not on the bed or any of her chairs, since his suit’s grody as hell, and he doesn’t think getting blood all over her stuff would help his case any. Just the floor. Linoleum. Easy to scrub blood off linoleum. It’s one of many things Wade’s become an expert in over the past few years.

The sound of shower water reaches him, and soon another sound follows. Lower. Harder to hear. But he’s pretty sure it’s Vanessa, crying.

His whole body tenses with the urge to go to her, to comfort her, but he doesn’t. He makes himself stay right where he is. And he makes himself breathe, because he’s way too riled up, and if he doesn’t calm the fuck down, he’s just gonna keep trying to snark his way out of talking to Vanessa for real, and she’s gonna get more and more pissed off at him, and he’s gonna get more and more pissed off at him, but he won’t be able to stop his stupid mouth, because he can never figure out how to stop his stupid mouth, and—

Breathe, Wade tells himself, pulling out his phone so he can play a nice relaxing game of Candy Crush while he waits for his turn to shower. Breathe, breathe, just fucking breathe.

Eventually, the sound of crying stops. Eventually, the sound of shower water stops too. And when Vanessa comes out and finds him sitting on her floor, he notices right away that she hasn’t tried to hide the puffiness around her eyes. Maybe she didn’t want to cry in front of him, but she definitely wants him to know that he made her cry.

Which… yeah, fair enough.

“Your turn,” she says, jerking her thumb toward the steamy bathroom. “There’s, um—I kept your—uh, your shampoo’s still….”

Wade’s heart swells up like a fucking balloon. But only until he remembers: “I… don’t really use shampoo much anymore.”

Vanessa’s gaze flits to the top of his head, bare and pockmarked and gross. She goes pale. “Oh, sorry, I—”

“No worries,” he says. “It’s not all bad, the no-hair thing. Means I don’t have to shave my balls anymore, either. Heyyyy.” And, Jesus, there he goes again, talking talking talking like a shitstick with a mouth. “Uh. Sorry. I’ll just, yeah…”

And he disappears into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. He stuffs the suit into a spare trash bag—he’ll clean it later—and runs the shower. Three-quarters of a turn on the hot water knob, one-quarter on the cold. The exact proportions come right back to him like muscle memory, or like he never left at all. And he waits a solid twenty seconds, just like before, for the water to reach the exact temperature he likes.

Vanessa’s still got her favorite lavender bodywash, and he’s seriously tempted to use it. Not because he likes lavender—although, let’s be real, he does like lavender—but because there’s a really good chance she might not let him stay the night with her, and if she kicks him out, at least he’ll be able to smell her when he’s jerking off alone in his own bed.

He really, really hopes the chick writing this fanfic doesn’t make him go home and jerk off alone in his own bed.

But just in case, yeah, he’s definitely using the lavender shit.

Five minutes and one seriously thorough scrub later, he turns off the water and dries himself with one of her towels, and he’s ready to—

No. Fuck, no, he’s not ready. He’s the exact opposite of ready, because he can’t exactly put the suit back on, and he doesn’t have any regular clothes here, and even if she kept any of his old threads, they’d be out there in the closet, and sure, he could cover up with a towel, but she’d still see his arms and legs and his feet and, and, and the face was one thing—the face was the big thing, and hooboy is he glad he got that part over with when he was still pumped full of adrenaline from the fight—but he hasn’t even had time to think about the rest yet.

About Vanessa seeing the rest.

“Wade?” she calls from just outside the door.

“Yeah, just a second!” he calls back. “Popped a little boner in here, and I just gotta take care of it so I don’t get distracted during our Real Adult Conversation….”

No reply. She’s probably out there rolling her eyes. She probably thinks he’s telling the truth, even. But nah, truth is, Wade’s never been further from turned on in his whole life. He’s scared as shit, like scared enough that his balls are trying to climb up inside his body.

Breathe. Breathe.

He wraps the towel around his waist, leaving his chest bare. Better to not try and hide it, right? Yeah. Better to just get it over with.

He opens the door. And she’s there, dressed in a silk robe that comes down to her knees.

And she sees.

Her eyebrows kind of scrunch up, and her throat moves as she swallows, but she doesn’t say anything.

“Ta-da,” he says. “Behold! The side effects of being a mutant superhero type… thing.”

Her eyes roam over him, face to chest to stomach to legs to feet. All that burned, mutated, fucked-up skin. She doesn’t try to touch him, the way she touched his face before. Maybe she’d been full of post-fight adrenaline, too. Wasn’t like she hadn’t done her share of ass-kicking, after all….

“Gross, right?” he says.

Her tongue flicks out to lick her lips—in a nervous way, though, not a sexy way. She meets his eyes and gives him the tiniest of smiles.

“Yeah. Kind of gross.”

“See, this is why I love you,” he says. “You don’t lie to spare my feelings. You think I look gross, and you just come right out, balls to the wall, and you fucking say so—and look! Now we have something in common! You think I’m gross, I think I’m gross—”

“Wade,” she says, and oh, shit, right, he’s rambling again. He stops. She points to an empty chair. “Sit.”

He sits, and she sits across from him. Okay. Yeah. Time for that Real Adult Conversation. He can do that, even if the movie writers apparently didn’t think so. He can totally, totally do that.

“So, okay,” says Vanessa, smoothing her robe over her knees. “Let me get this straight. When you walked out on me that night—shut up, don’t talk yet, okay?—when you walked out, you went to see that guy. The one you… the… Francis. Ajax, whatever. And he… turned you into a superhero? To cure your cancer?”

Wade nods. “Yeah. Poof, no more tumors. Poof, unlimited regenerative abilities. Poof, suddenly I look like the Phantom of the fucking Opera.”

This gets a smile out of her, finally. “At least you have a better mask than that guy.”

“Right,” says Wade. “Plus, I don’t kill as many people. Well… no, probably way more people. But at least I only do it when I’m getting paid. Well… mostly.”

Vanessa raises a delicate eyebrow. “If you tell me you’ve started kidnapping opera singers, we are so over.”

“It was just the one time,” Wade protests. “Opera singer, singular. And I let him go after he gave me a kiss, so I’m still a totally redeemable character, I promise.”

This time Vanessa actually laughs and, fuck, what a gorgeous sound. He’s missed that sound. He’s missed this. Sitting in the same room as her, throwing jokes around like a couple of kids with nothing much to worry about.

“In sleep he sang to me,” he intones, in his best melodrama-voice.

And that’s her cue, or at least it’s supposed to be. She’s supposed to go “In dreams he came” or whatever the next line is, and then they’ll giggle together like twelve-year-olds because, ha-ha, she said came, and it’ll be just like old times.

But she doesn’t take the cue. Instead, she says, “Has there been anyone else, though? For real?”

Wade points to his face again. “What, you think I go around picking people up, looking like this? Think some pretty guy’s gonna want his cock sucked by this mouth? Think some hot chick’s gonna want to sit on a dick that, spoilers, did not get spared from the mutation-o-rama?”

“Not everyone’s as shallow as you seem to think,” says Vanessa crisply.

There’s silence for a second. Then Wade asks, “How about you? Dating anyone?”

She shrugs. “Tried for a bit. Nobody stuck. Still got a few regular clients, but they don’t count. You know.”

Wade nods. Vanessa’s work has always been its own thing. It never counts unless she wants it to.

“Is that really why you didn’t come back?” she asks. Her voice is loosening a little; he can hear hurt starting to seep through. “Because you thought I, what, wouldn’t be able to deal with the shallow stuff?”

“I mean, I can barely deal with the shallow stuff,” says Wade.

“And more than that,” she goes on, “why the fuck did you leave in the first place? No, don’t answer that. I know why you left. But we decided—together, we decided together—that we were gonna fight. And then you just figured, well, fuck that, I’m just gonna go off and do my own thing and not even tell my fiancée where I’m going, or for how long—”

“I didn’t know,” Wade says quietly. “All I had was that phone number. I didn’t know who they were, or what they’d do to me, and I didn’t want to involve you—”

“That was not your decision to make,” says Vanessa. “I don’t care how noble you think you were being, you do not get to decide how involved I am.”

“It was for—”

But Wade stops himself before those next three words can come out. Your own good. Christ on a gluten-free cracker, was he seriously about to say that? Was he that guy? It was the single most annoying alpha-male superhero trope in the fucking book, and here he was, about to rattle it off like he was Wolverine or some shit. No way. Just, no fucking way.

Vanessa stares at him. “What was that you were about to say?”

Wade takes a deep breath. “Oh, you know. Something about how I’m an asshole? And how I wasn’t thinking straight because I was scared shitless, and how that’s totally not an excuse, and I should’ve told you, and I should’ve called, and I should’ve known you wouldn’t give a flying fuck about what I looked like—”

“Oh, I give many fucks about what you look like,” says Vanessa. “Flying and otherwise. Doesn’t mean I can’t get over it, though.”

“What about me being the guy who walked out on you?” says Wade. He’s clutching his towel so hard that his fingers hurt. “Can you get over that, too?”

Vanessa looks at him. Just looks, long and hard.

“I’m sorry,” says Wade. “I really am, Vanessa. I’m so, so sorry.”

There's a pause. The longest pause in the history of all fanfiction. The whole rest of Wade's life depends on whether or not Vanessa accepts his apology.

“You know,” she says, “sometimes I go for months at a time without thinking about that.”

“About what?” he asks.

“About how Canadian you are.” She grins. “And then you say sorry like that, like ‘sow-ree,’ and whoop, there it is.”

It’s a lifeline. She’s just thrown him a lifeline, and it’s up to him to take it.

“Yup, that’s me.” He stands up, making sure the towel’s still secure around his waist, and holds a hand out to her. “Hi. My name is Wade Wilson, and I am Canadian, and sometimes I kill people for money.”

She takes his hand, her skin so warm and smooth against his, and says, “Nice to meet you, Wade Wilson. Anything else I should know about you?”

So he goes on: “Well, I used to have like twenty-seven different kinds of cancer, but I traded ’em in for Mick Jagger On Meth skin and my own brand-new set of superpowers. Which reminds me, you may know me better by my other name. Deadpool.”

“Yeah, I wondered about that, actually,” she says. “Deadpool. The name have anything to do with Weasel’s board?”

“Yeah,” says Wade. “Did you know that dicksack put money on me? Thought I was gonna bite it. And now he’ll never win. Now nobody can ever bet on me and win.”

She gives him a coy smile. “Even me?”

Ooooh, shit, there it is. There’s the old Vanessa, flirty as sin and witty as fuck, and yup, Wade’s maybe starting to get a semi underneath that towel.

But he’s gotta keep it cool. At least for now. Squeezing her hand, he says, “That depends. Whose acquaintance do I have the pleasure of making this evening?”

“Vanessa Carlysle,” she says. “American. Cocktail waitress and escort. No superpowers to speak of, but I do occasionally have extraordinarily good luck at the poker table.”

“I used to have this girlfriend,” says Wade. “She was so far out of my league it was stupid. I left her because I thought she couldn’t handle my shit, but I really should’ve known better.”

“I used to have a boyfriend,” says Vanessa, moving a few steps closer. “Great ass, total animal in bed. He left me, then let me think he was dead.”

“Sounds like your boyfriend was a giant dick,” says Wade, moving closer too. He can almost feel the heat of her body. They’re so close. So close. And she’s not even freaking out about the skin thing.

“Well, he was a giant dick with a giant dick,” says Vanessa, “so at least I got some fun out of it.”

“Up top!” says Wade, raising his hand for a high five, which she gives him.

She quirks an eyebrow, smiling the same damn smile that got him addicted to her in the first place. “Speaking of which… the equipment still works, right?”

“Does it ever,” says Wade. “It just… uh, like I said, you know. I look like this all over.”

Vanessa reaches for the towel. “May I?”

He hesitates—but not for long. “Go for it.”

She pulls the towel away. He’s totally naked now, watching her look at him. It’s the first time anybody’s looked at him since he called the number on that little black card.

“It looks weird, right?” he says. “You can say so. It looks completely weird.”

“Looks like Ribbed For Her Pleasure, is what it looks like.”

“Jesus Christ, I love you,” says Wade.

“Hey, take it slow, huh?” Vanessa says, grinning as she touches his chest with two fingers. “No L-word yet. It’s only the first date.”

“Ooh, right,” says Wade. “So I guess I should ask: Do you put out on the first date? Because I definitely do.”

She unties her robe and shoulders it off. And yup, she is wearing absolutely nothing underneath. Every drop of blood in his body starts racing toward his dick.

“If you ever leave me in the dark like that again,” she says, “we are over. And I mean that, Wade. Wade, hey, my eyes are up here.”

“Sorry,” he says. “It’s just, your boobs are so great…”

“I know,” she says seriously. “But did you hear me?”

“Loud and clear,” says Wade. “I will never, never do that to you again. I swear on Mariah Carey’s grave.”

She smiles. “Mariah’s not dead.”

“Wait, then who am I thinking of?”


“Someone died. Someone really important. It wasn’t Celine Dion, was it? Tell me it wasn’t Celine Dion, because as a red-blooded Canadian man, I swear if nobody told me—”

Wade. Come here.”

And she shuts him up with a kiss.

It’s not until three hours later, when he’s sticky and sweaty and so exhausted he can’t even move, with Vanessa curled around him, a lightly-snoring big spoon to his barely-awake little spoon, that he remembers who he was thinking of.

“Whitney fucking Houston,” he whispers. “Duh.”

“Hmm?” Vanessa murmurs, stirring against his back.

“Nothing, sorry. Go back to sleep.” He goes quiet, listening for her breath to even out again. And when it doesn’t right away, he sings quietly, “I have nothing, nothing, nothing…”

“If I don’t have you,” Vanessa sings back. She kisses his neck, right below where his hairline used to be. A few minutes later, she’s snoring again.