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I've Been Thinking

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When they get home, Wade flops face first down on the air mattress he bought for until they get the real deal from Peter's aunt. Peter follows him to his room. "Long day?"

"Yeah..." Wade mumbles. "I mean, not that it's not a worthwhile thing. I don't regret spending Christmas with her, I just-I'm a huge fuck up and pretending to be less of one is exhausting."

"I'm going over to my aunt's later. Are you gonna be okay?"

"This about last night?" Wade lifts his head a bit to look at Peter and the brunet nods. "I'm fine, baby boy. It happens."

"Okay." Peter says softly.

---

Wade wakes up to cold water being dumped on his head, which is one of the top ten worst things that could happen. He grits his teeth and tries not to scream while every nerve in his body lights on fire. He struggles, trying to remember how he got here. He fell asleep at his and Peter's place. Then what? Then what?

[is Peter here too?]
{he could be dead}
[he went to his aunt's]
{doesn't mean he got there safely}

"Wake up!" A hand slaps him across his face. Not a voice he recognizes, but it's not like his memory functions at 100%, so that doesn't mean anything.

Then he woke up a few hours later. Peter wasn't home. So he went...somewhere. Well, all that really matters is that Peter isn't involved.

[probably a concussion]
{we weren't home so Petey is safe}
[well there's the silver lining]

"I'm gonna make you pay." The voice says. Wade still doesn't open his eyes.

[clearly, you did something]
{when?}
[who knows?]

---

Sure, he has experienced worse torture, but it's never fun. It's really, really not fun.

[i like the usual ending]
{are we gonna get the good one?}
[i hope so]
{seems like this is the only way we're gonna get it}
[i miss dying]

Sure enough, a gun cocks. Whoever this person is, and Wade doesn't know because he refused to look, they don't know about his regenerative abilities.

[finally]
{YES}
[sweet, sweet death]

Shaky hands make you miss the important stuff. Shaky hands don't let you kill instantly. Shaky hands make the victim suffer more.

{STOP FIGHTING IT}
[we want to die]
(they couldn't have hit wherever the fuck you guys are, could they? would've been too good)
[you'll get a break if you just let go, just relax]
{JUST DIE ALREADY}

He feels cold but not and shivers like he's...scared.

(am I going into shock?)
[when was the last time that happened?]
{JUST DIE}
[why are you scared? it's not forever]

He is scared.

(i don't want to die)
[you don't have a choice]
{LET IT HAPPEN}
[that cold, sick feeling is you bleeding out faster than you can heal]
{DIE}
[an artery got opened. we are going to die]
(no)
{WHAT THE FUCK MAN}
[just relax. it's going to happen either way]
(NO)
{DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE}

Yellow's chanting chases him into unconsciousness.

---

"I have no idea where he could've gone." Peter says restlessly. He can see Ellie through the window and he knows that look, that feeling. He has felt it.

"I hate to say it, but..." Preston sighs.

"No." Peter insists. "No, all of his weapons are still at my place. His go bag, everything. Something's wrong."

"He could have other stashes." She shakes hear head. "Look, I don't want it to be the reason he's gone, but we can't rule out the possibility. This wouldn't be the first time he gave up, it probably won't be the last either. He has been under a lot of pressure and he usually runs when things get tough."

"He just doesn't want to hurt anymore..."

"I know." She says. "But the fact remains."

Peter wants to be mad, but she's right. Wade isn't known for sticking around. "I want to believe he's serious this time."

"Me too." She looks out the window sadly. "I'm not ready for this again."

"Was it bad?" He asks.

She nods. "He wasn't even in her life until a little over a year ago. I was raising her. She's mine, too. Family isn't all about genes."

"I know."

"She only just let him back in." She says. "Before that, it was the cold shoulder. She put him through hell."

---

"I shouldn't have left him alone." Peter says.

Mat squeezes the younger man's shoulder. "This isn't your fault. He always comes back."

Peter can't say that if Wade took a job that led him to kill, he could lose a lot of progress with his daughter, so he continues with the guilty conscience. "He was vulnerable and I left. It is my fault. Whatever happened, I could've stopped it."

"You can't save everyone."

"Yes, I can." Peter insists. Because he knows that statement means Wade can't be saved and he knows that's not true. He can feel it.

---

[you know what he's going to think]
{what they're all going to think}
[where they think you've been]
{doesn't matter what's true}
[it never does]

"Maybe I should just...go." He whispers to the door of Peter's apartment. "If it's already ruined, what's the point?"

[good plan]
{running away, i like it, it's my favorite kind of plan}

"Petey yells at me a lot, so...it won't hurt so much." He sighs, reasoning with himself. "And then, if he doesn't believe me...I'll know. Because he's believed me before." He knocks on the door before he loses his nerve.

[this is a mistake]
{RUN FORREST RUN}

The door creaks open to Peter still mostly dressed. Just his shoes and belt off and his shirt twisted. Wade feels like a deer in headlights. Nothing good can come. Nothing good ever comes.

"Peter..." He mumbles. "I-"

[don't cry]
{you fucking wuss}
[don't be that weak]
{don't be such a baby}
[Deadpool is always fine, remember]

Peter pulls him into the apartment and shuts the door. "Where...?"

"I didn't do anything wrong, I didn't, I swear." He babbles. "No one is gonna believe me, they never do. Something always goes wrong and it's my own stupid fucking fault every fucking times and now-now because of something I did, probably years ago, something I don't even fucking remember- I'm going to lose everything. Again. Why do I even keep trying?"

"I'm so sorry." Peter says, and his voice cracks. He wraps his arms around Wade but the merc doesn't respond to the touch.

{say what now}

"Why are you sorry?" Wade asks. His arms still hang limply at his sides. There's too much going on to deal with. One thing at a time.

"You'd just been through something stressful and I left you here alone." Peter says. "I shouldn't have."

Wade almost wants to laugh. Or cry. Out of relief, hysterically. "I didn't kill anyone." He says instead.

"I'm glad, but that's not why I'm sorry." Peter let's him go. "Preston isn't happy."

"Of course." Wade feels drained and blank and empty and numb. He knew something like this would happen. He just assumed that he would actually do something to cause it.

{a perfect time to give up}
[Ellie will have a happier life this way]
{trying isn't worth it}
[something always goes wrong anyway]

"Wade." Peter puts his hands on the other's shoulders and squeezes. "Wade, I know that thousand yard stare. Don't give up."

"Why the fuck not?" He pushes Peter's hands off. "I'm bad, bad shut happens. I'm good, bad shit still happens. So why shouldn't I give up?"

"Because I've never seen you work so hard for anyone or anything." Peter says. "I know you don't want to throw it all away, not after so much."

"But everything is fucked up."

"Life is a series of fuck ups, you either deal with them and get the brief happiness that comes after, or you give up and accept eternal misery." Peter says. "Don't you want to be happy at least sometimes?"

"But..."

"Stay, work this out." Peter sighs. He hovers his hands over Wade's shoulders but drops them after a few seconds. "You don't have to do this alone anymore."

---

"You can do this." Peter says. They've been sitting on the curb a few houses down from Preston's for several minutes now.

"I don't know." Wade bites back a whimper.

{stop being so fucking weak}
[we saw this coming]
{you're such a pathetic piece of shit}
[we even prepared for it]
{and you're still gonna cry, aren't you}
[yes]
{suck it the fuck up}

"I'm right here with you."

[not that we deserve it]
{'cause we definitely don't}

"Let's get this over with." Wade sighs heavily. "Then I can figure out how to deal with it."

{click click bang}
[ideally]

---

"He didn't do anything wrong." Peter says.

"I appreciate how concerned you are, and I would love to believe that, but I can't just take him at his word." Preston says. "I've given him the benefit of the doubt before and it was a mistake."

"He's telling the truth."

{wow, we're right here}

Wade looks out the window into the backyard, where Ellie is kicking up dirt and idly twisting in a swing. He gets up and goes outside after Preston says she's going to investigate his claims. Ellie needs a goodbye. If he waits, there might not be another chance.

She barely glances up at him when he takes the second swing next to her. "If you didn't do anything, why are you in trouble?" She mumbles.

"Preston doesn't trust me." He answers. "And I get that. I...you know I'm not the best role model, right?"

She nods. "There are worse, but yeah."

"And I've done a lot of things. I know know how many are bad, but a lot of people think a lot of them are. And I've never kept up the hero act this long." He continues. "So...everyone expects me to screw up. I've never given anyone a reason to think I won't."

"I'm sorry I make your life harder." She says honestly. His heart breaks when she looks up with teary eyes.

"No, no." She blinks and looks down. "Ellie, look at me."

She shakes her head and let's out a sob. "I'm sorry."

"You didn't do anything wrong. This isn't your fault. It's mine, and I'm trying to fix it." He babbles. Anything to get her to stop crying, to stop feeling guilty. "My life isn't meaningless anymore, Ellie, and that's because of you. I never even wanted to try to get my life together before you, now I don't just want to try, I want to succeed."

She nods quickly, wiping her eyes on her sleeve. "Okay."

{what's that saying about where apples fall}

"I'm gonna fix this." He says. He isn't confident, but damn it, he's going to try. "I may not be able to come see you for a while, but it won't be like this forever."

{sure}
[don't make promises you can't keep]

She gives him a sad smile and nods again.

---

Peter leaves Wade on the sofa and goes to the basement of the building when they get home. He doesn't want to, but laundry has to get done. He is gone for 6 minutes maximum. Wade isn't on the couch when he returns and his heart starts hammer out of control in his chest.

"Calm down." He says to himself, a pretty useless command. He hadn't seen that tortured look in Wade's eyes in a long time and there aren't words to describe how completely and totally he hoped he would never see it again.

He breathes a sigh of relief when he finds Wade sitting cross-legged on his bed with a photo album open on his lap. "Didn't think to check my room." He says. "What're you snooping in?"

"Found this a while ago." Wade answers, tilting the album so Peter can see the title on it. "Your college projects cheer me up."

"Oh god." Peter laughs and takes a seat next to him. "I bet they do, some of them are awful."

"Nah, just really cheesy and cliché." Wade flips through a few pages. "Did you really go out on the street asking people to empty their pockets and show you what they had?"

"Okay, it sounds creepy." Peter admits. "But picture me as a college freshman."

"Oh, go on~" Peter rolls his eyes at the lilt in Wade's voice.

"Scrawny, wide eyed, with the stereotypical geek attire: white button ups with bright argyle sweater vests- it was ridiculous." Peter says. "And carrying around a camera and stammering because I wasn't used to talking to strangers. I wore clips in my hair. It was like I was taken from a high school anime and put in the real world."

"Tell me you have pictures of yourself from then."

"I do, but they're hidden way better than this was." Peter laughs, then his expression turns more thoughtful. "So...do you have any favorites?"

Wade does. He has a few in particular. When he first found the album, he searched cover to cover for the project they used in their fake story. He's not ready to admit how beautiful they looked in the row labeled 'photo 1: before', nor is he ready to wonder if he could be as happy about a picture of himself as the same people are in the row labeled 'photo 2: after'. Nothing about their appearances changed, except their perception of it. Peter helped them genuinely feel okay and happy about themselves.

No, definitely not ready to touch that. So, he flicks past that project to one labeled 'Hope'.

"Why these?" Peter asks.

Wade shrugs. "They're...I dunno. Personal, intimate."

"...Thanks." Peter blushes and bites back a smile. "My professor didn't get it. I nearly failed."

"Rude bitch." Wade scoffs. "You can't decide what gives other people hope." He smooths a hand over the pages and sighs. "Wish I knew what gives me hope, I could sure use some right now."

Peter places his hand gently on top of Wade's before he can stop himself. "I won't let you get punished for something you didn't do." He says, threading his fingers between Wade's. "I promise."

Wade's eyes are sad when he looks at Peter. "Okay." He says, even though he doesn't sound like he believes it.