Chapter 1: Dunkin Dognuts
Peter just wants lunch.
It’s been a long day, and he’s more than a little hungry. He’s eyes feel gummy and he hasn’t slept in a while-that web formula won’t perfect itself!-and to be perfectly frank, coffee and a sandwich sounds completely perfect to him. That’s why he’s standing in line at a Dunkin Donuts-Peter hates Starbucks, and couldn’t afford it even if he didn’t-at 11 pm on a Friday, clad in the same shirt he was wearing yesterday and a pair of sweatpants with one leg rolled up.
Overall he probably looks like a mess, unwashed bedhead and all, but he doesn't much care. He has to patrol tonight and doesn’t intend to waste any energy giving a fuck about something as meaningless as basic personal hygiene and courtesy. Such is the life of Spider-Man.
“Large, yeah,” he clarifies to the struggling woman at the counter. She’s young-probably barely 18, Peter can remember those days-and freckled and panicked, her messy, sandy blond hair split at every end and her lip held hostage by her overbite, which is in turn kept in line by sky blue braces that make her look a little like a kid out of a 90’s cartoon.
“Um, you said you wanted the, uh, grilled cheese? With ham, or…?”
“Ham is fine,” Peter agrees. He’s trying his best to be gentle with her-if it’s not her first day on the job, he’ll eat his shoe-but he also isn’t really cataloging anything that she’s saying, his thoughts blurry and half-there.
She barks out his total a little loudly. The place isn’t crowded, thankfully, so nobody notices when Peter drops his wallet with a muffled curse. There are only a few other people; an elderly couple, two teenagers on macbooks sitting at a booth in the corner, and some huge guy in a dark hoodie perusing the coffee beans. The man in the hoodie is wearing a pair of abrasively pink crocs over Nike tube socks, which Peter’s eyes were drawn to the moment he walked into the store.
Peter gives an embarrassed apology as he pulls out his debit card and hands it to the young woman at the register. She, equally flustered and only fueling their mutually accumulated nervous atmosphere, tells him it’s nothing and scans his card.
Peter does not get his coffee or his sandwich before somebody tries to rob the place.
It’s like crime FOLLOWS him. Peter knows that this sort of thing isn’t uncommon by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s possessed by the notion that trouble is hot on his heels at every hour of every day like a thirsty bloodhound seeking out the nearest do-gooder to abuse. His Spidey sense gives him only a few seconds warning before a man in a long, dark overcoat-Peter should have known-yanks a Glock 30 from his pocket and screams at the cashier.
She reacts only minimally, seeming almost underwhelmed for a moment as she processes what’s happening, before she throws both her hands up and looks nervous at Peter like he’s supposed to do something about this.
Maybe she’s psychic, Peter thinks dumbly. Or maybe he’s just one of the calmer people in the building right now and THAT’S why she’s looking at him like he might have a plan, because one of the two elderly folks seems to be having a conniption, and both of the teenagers in the corner are absolutely shrieking.
The man by the coffee beans does not even bother to look up. Peter gives him a respectful nod, even as he’s slowly raising his hands.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much he can do in this situation. He doesn't have his Spidey suit on him, and even if he did, his web shooters aren’t loaded and it’s not like he’d have time to change into it. He’ll intervene if things get violent, but for the moment he has to play the part of frightened bystander, as frustrating as that might be.
“Hands up!” the man with the gun shouts, as men with guns are often inclined to do. He’s wearing sunglasses, probably to protect his identity. They look old, The Matrix Reloaded era, the rectangular ones Keanu Reeves’ character wore. What was his name again?
“My hands are up! My hands are up!” the girl at the counter cries. Behind her, another employee stomps out from the kitchen, observes the situation, turns around, and walks hurriedly back from whence he came.
Neo. Right, his name was Neo.
Peter hates robberies. Petty ones, especially. Who the hell robs a Dunkin Donuts at gunpoint? What’s he gonna get, a hundred bucks and raspberry filling? Peter is righteously surly about the current state of affairs. He’s still hungry, and his sandwich is JUST behind that counter, and now he can’t have it because this guy wants his goddamn two dollars.
“You, put the money in the bag!:
It’s a plastic Wal-Mart shopping bag. Peter would laugh if this weren’t a legitimately life threatening situation. The girl at the counter glances at him again, and she’s crying, and then he feels bad for being sort of callous, but it’s hard to be shocked by every single robbery he encounters when he’s been Spider-Man for a great number of years and he sees far worse almost daily.
He does his best to look sympathetic, but he has no idea what kind of expression would count as sympathetic, so it just comes off as kind of a sad shrug. She opens the register with shaking hands, and-
Then she tries to grab the gun.
Peter almost shits himself.
So does the robber.
There’s a lot of screaming, and damn, that teenager has guts, because she grabs the barrel of the gun with both hands and points it away from her head, the man dropping the bag-which floats airily down to the ground, as plastic shopping bags are known to do-and wrestling with her.
The gun fires and she screams. Peter figures now is the time to intervene, but only manages to take one wary step forward before the gun-toting fuckhead at the counter notices him, and then he has to stop, too far away to lunge and catch him, but too close to escape his notice. He could get her killed if he jumps into the fray, and he could get her killed by not jumping in.
Peter only knows that the hoodie-man perusing the coffee has finally taken notice because his Spidey-sense makes him rather sensitive to small noises, aka the squeak of crocs as he turns around to face the chaos.
Peter is about to lunge forward when the robber punches the girl square in the jaw. She goes down like a sack of potatoes and Peter is immediately fucking furious.
“Holy Cannoli,” crocs-n-socks says loudly. It’s rather surreal. If Peter wasn't so mad about that poor cashier, he’d turn around and acknowledge the exclamation.
The robber, now wild eyed and panicked, his shades skewed, teeth bared, and damn, that’s meth mouth if Peter’s ever seen it, turns the gun on Peter.
No, not on Peter. Just to the left of Peter, on crocs-n-socks.
Fuck Peter Benjamin Parker’s actual entire life.
It seems to happen in slow motion, Peter’s Spidey-sense giving him clarity in the moment. The man seems to pull back on the trigger for years, hammer cocked, eyes wild, the plastic bag ghosting at his feet like an affectionate housecat, the two teenagers at the booth somehow increasing in volume. Peter has long since gone whole hog on the whole do-gooder thing, so he might as well take a bullet for a total stranger. Wouldn’t be the first time.
That's how he gets shot.
He lunges to the side just enough to catch a bullet for crocs-n-socks, and manages to snag it in a non-vital part of his body. His upper right shoulder, to be exact. An eruption of pain explodes there and his feet slip out from under him.
He lands on the tile with a thud, hoping the bullet didn’t go right through him and kill crocs-n-socks anyway, because wouldn’t THAT just be the kicker.
His eyes squeeze shut and his hand clamps tightly over the wound, trying to stem the bloodflow as he crumples in on himself. Getting shot never starts to suck less, does it? It always sucks the same amount.
When he opens his eyes, though, crocs-n-socks has leapt over him towards the gunman. Peter shouts after him before the gunman unloads three more rounds into his torso. Peter watches in slightly offended horror as crocs-n-socks wastes his perfectly good deed, blood exploding from his back as the bullets go right through him. More ambient shrieking from the teenagers at the booth ensues.
Then crocs-n-socks smacks the pistol out of discount Keanu Reeves’ hand like an ice cream cone from a child’s fat fist, spins him around, and places both hands on either side of his face. Then he breaks his neck with such efficient and brutal savagery that Peter almost screams, the man’s head bent around like this is The Exorcist and he’s about to spew pea soup, the bones of his neck poking strangely through his skin, dirty hair hanging around the two powerful hands that killed him.
At this point, Peter is fairly certain that he’s entered the Twilight Zone. He contemplates this for about two and a half seconds before crocs-n-socks turns towards him fully, hood flopping down. He’s wearing a mask. Peter recognizes him in spite of this, or, more accurately, because of it. The corpse of The Matrix Reloaded falls to the ground in a crumpled heap like a marionette with its strings cut.
“Hoo-boy, that was one hell of a shootout!” the masked man shouts, jumping into the air and clicking his heels together in an expression of pure murderous jubilance. “Pow-pow! Put ‘em up, cowboy!” he shouts, pointing finger guns at Peter, who is bleeding profusely onto the ground, the grin in his voice so giddy and guileless it makes Peter's head spin. “This town ain’t big enough for the two of us.”
It’s Deadpool. Of course it’s Deadpool. Why the hell wouldn’t it be Deadpool?
Peter Parker, you dumb son of a bitch.
Peter passes out. He thinks he’s earned it.
Chapter 2: sugar and spice
Peter wakes up to some unpleasant (and some less unpleasant) surprises
Peter Parker wakes to the sound of “All That Jazz” being played at ear-splitting volume.
It’s so distractingly loud that it doesn’t seem real for a while, but then the pain kicks in and Peter remembers that he’s been shot. He becomes aware of his own discomfort-crick in his neck, pain in his shoulder-and slaps one of his hands onto his face, digging the heel of his palm into the socket of his eye, scrubbing away sleep-crust and maybe some dried tears.
He croaks out a sad little noise and wrenches his other eye open. As the world comes into focus, (“start the car, I know a whoopie spot!”) he realizes that he’s not in his apartment, or in a hospital room. That stain on the ceiling is definitely both unfamiliar and completely unsanitary. It’s large and grey-green and Peter thinks it might drip every once in awhile, appearing slightly moist, the ceiling otherwise switching between aging, yellowed paint and grey smoke stains.
He groans much louder this time.
He remembers...yeah. Robbery.
Deadpool, he thinks lamely and grumpily. Then, with more urgency, DEADPOOL!
He sits up quickly and regrets it, wincing immediately as it irritates his burning wound. He reaches for it, gingerly slipping his hand under his shirt-crusty with dried blood-to feel it.
He blinks, feeling generally sticky and disgusting, and looks around the room. Bright colors accost him, bright and pastel and pretty like Springtime. For as horrible as the room he’s in seems to be, his spot on a dingy, dark green couch is surrounded by a crowd of brightly colored flowers, all packed neatly in vases and facing him like an attentive, slightly unsettling, and very pretty audience.
He blinks again, feeling like he’s just been shot out of reality and into another world where this kind of thing manages to happen. The flowers are fresh and many, bright yellow tiger lilies and baby’s breath and little pink roses that have barely bloomed, their petals still hugging together, green at the stems and very, very long.
“Um,” Peter says, to no one.
Then, as if summoned, Deadpool swings into view through a doorway that appears to lead into a tiny and dirty kitchenette. He hangs onto the door frame with one thick hand and swings around it like a stripper on a pole, leg extended before he dips down, knees spread, wearing his usual getup but with a very frilly nurse costume stretched over it. He looks like a size 2 sausage in a size 1 casing, the fabric stretched tight over his chest, clearly made to support breasts, not bulging pectoral muscles.
“There’s my hero!” he sings brightly.
Peter actually physically recoils, eyes going wide, mouth going slack, leaning back and pushing his chin down. He stares at Deadpool over the tops of his feet.
Deadpool stands and flounces a couple steps toward him; Peter leans further away with each oncoming step, eyes as wide as dinner plates, all coherent thoughts effectively stripped from his head.
“Right up HERE,” Deadpool sings along, flipping up the front of his skirt with a great amount of seductive dramatic flare, “is where I store the juice!” he does a sexy kick and rolls his hips, pointing at Peter with a gloved finger.
“And all that jazz!”
Peter’s mind struggles to come up with a decent explanation for what is currently happening to him. No justification seems to really do it justice, and honestly he thinks he doesn’t deserve this. He was just trying to do something good for people. That’s kinda his thing. Why can’t the universe ever reward him for that? Surely the karmic scales are tipped unfairly to his disadvantage. Maybe one day he’ll win the lottery or something, just to make up for this.
“C’mon, Superhero, sing along!” Deadpool croons loudly, giving an enthusiastic kick and grabbing his leg, holding it up and standing on one foot like he expects applause.
“And all that jazz,” Peter mutters weakly along with the song, forcing himself to look away, at anything, anywhere but at Deadpool. He looks at his sneakers. Man, they’re dirty.
“So, little man,” Deadpool says, hands on his hips, leaning down and sideways so he’s forcing his face into Peter’s line of sight again. “You feelin’ any better now that good ol’ Pooly has doctored you the fuck up?”
Peter’s mouth flaps uselessly.
“You look like a muppet,” Deadpool comments, helpfully.
“I’m…” Peter struggles, scrunching his face up and rubbing his temples. All That Jazz is really, really loud, and a LOT is happening. Things just keep happening. They just won’t stop. “I’m...okay?” he asks? “Why aren’t...why am I not at a hospital?”
Yeah, he thinks. That’s probably a reasonable concern at this point. Good job, Peter.
“Yeah, well, funny thing about that,” Deadpool says, righting himself so he’s standing upright with both legs blessedly down. He looks wistfully away and claps his hands together. “Well, turns out me snappin’ that needle-dick bug fucker’s neck didn’t go over so well, y’know? And those brats, they already contacted the police, probably mid robbery. Like, with the internet,” he clarifies, as if that’s an important detail to include. “Scared the SHIT out of everyone there. I tried to wake ya up, kept on, y’know, makin’ sure you weren’t dead or nothin’, but then the cops showed up.”
Peter nods. This all sounds perfectly likely and reasonable.
“And you know, the cops, they just don’t like me, I mean...our professions kind of put us as odds, right? And they were chasin’ me and shootin’ me, and I had to get you outta there, but they kept followin’ me in their flashy little cars, and I couldn’t exactly sit in the ER with you when I was dodgin’ an entourage like THAT, so I sneaked you back here!”
“You patched me up?” Peter asks, looking around the room again, at the flowers and the stain and the tiny couch. The decor is virtually nonexistent outside of those three things.
“Yep! Had to really root around for first aid stuff, but I have steady hands. Bandaged you up and everything,” he says quickly, putting his hands out, “I was real careful! It won’t leave a big scar on your pretty lil’ self! Girls will love it!”
Peter blinks several times like he’s going to wake up from this dream, but doesn’t. “Wait,” he says sharply, “did you anesthetize me? I didn’t wake up.”
“I chloroform-ed you,” Deadpool says, “sooo...tomato tamato.”
“Why do you have chloroform and not a first aid kit?” Peter asks, somewhat incredulously. Deadpool gives him a flat stare. “Right, sorry. Nevermind.”
“Anyway, Petey,” Deadpool says, walking up next to the couch. “Scoot your boot, will ya? I’d like to pop a squat real quick,” he says, before grabbing Peter’s feet and throwing them off the couch. He takes a seat, daintily plucking lint from the front of his dress. His weight makes the springs in the couch squeal.
“How do you know my name?” Peter asks, narrowing his eyes suspiciously at Deadpool, trying his best to sound as annoyed as he feels.
“Your wallet,” Deadpool says flatly. Peter’s hand immediately goes to his pocket. “Cool your jets, I didn’t steal your five crumpled ones and Shell card with one hole punched in it,” Deadpool sighs exasperatedly. “Get coffee at a Shell station four more times, and the last one is free!”
Peter gives Deadpool a hard and fast stink eye because he WANTS that free coffee, thank you very much.
But he’s also been hanging on to that Shell coffee card for more than a year, so who knows if they’re even offering that particular promotional deal any more. Peter should clean out his wallet.
Deadpool looks him up and down. “You look like death warmed over, bucko, and I ain’t even lyin’, here,” Deadpool says, pointing at him.
“I’m not the one who was sporting pink crocs over socks in public yesterday, so bite thine tongue, philistine,” Peter replies. He probably DOES look like terrible, given how terrible he feels and how objectively bad he was doing yesterday. His hair is probably now twice as dirty, and he might smell like a gym sock, but he doesn’t care. It's not as though Wade "you're supposed to wash,the suit?" Wilson is in any position to pass judgement.
Deadpool ignores the crocs comment completely.
“Man, I got so wrapped up in this circlejerk-how could I not, you’re some centerfold material here, my dude-I totally forgot lunch!”
Peter groans, head falling back. He’s petulant and he has a right to be petulant. He kicks his feet (not childishly) as Deadpool gets up from the dirty couch and walks into the kitchen, skirt stretching around his thick thighs. All That Jazz ends and Every Time We Touch begins, and Deadpool turns it down to a much more tolerable volume. Peter praises whatever gods may or may not exist. Then he hears some rustling.
Deadpool emerges again moments later with a large paper bag, the Taco Bell logo emblazoned on it as if they had any right to be so proud of such severely inauthentic, gut-fucking Mexican food.
“Taco time, slut bucket!” Deadpool shouts, pointing at Peter. Peter doesn’t bother telling him not to just call people sluts, mostly because the Taco Bell bag has gripped his attention so completely that he very nearly forgets how weird all of this is.
“Food?” Peter mutters. Fuck, that’s right; he’s HUNGRY. Deadpool sits next to him again and hands him the bag, which he immediately rips open. “Oh my God,” he mutters, on the verge of tears. He yanks out one of what must be forty tacos, examines it, and says “oh my god,” again.
Taco Bell is what a person does to themselves if they’re looking to be walked into an early grave by a pile of wet grey beef masquerading as Mexican food, and Peter is currently more than ready to inflict that on himself with extreme prejudice.
Deadpool snorts. “Jeez, does anybody feed you? You’re starved, huh? This ain’t Castaway, you should eat better. No stranded-on-an-island shenanigans here,” Deadpool babbles as Peter murmurs “oh my god,” again, unwrapping the taco viciously. “I mean, my last name IS Wilson, but I ain’t much good as a volleyball unless you behead me and bat my noggin around a little.”
“Om mah goff,” Peter says around a mouthful of taco.
“Although if we WERE stuck on an island together, I could think of a few ways to pass the time,” Deadpool says, nudging Peter with his elbow. “I mean anal sex,” he says. There’s a brief pause. “I just winked.”
“Shut up,” Peter says, putting his entire hand on Deadpool’s masked face, trying to enjoy his food. The movement causes him agonizing pain, but he suffers through it. Hopefully his abnormally high pain tolerance doesn’t come off as suspicious. “Be quiet for a second, you’re ruining the moment.”
The delicate and tender moment being had between Peter and a sad but delicious little taco is not one to be interrupted, particularly not by obnoxious assholes wearing tiny nurse uniforms.
“I almost think you love that taco more than me, hot stuff. If this were a different fic, I’d call that sacred moment you’re having there a soul bond or some shit,” Deadpool says, muffled by Peter’s hand. “But hey, I’m a long time lover of Mexican food, so we could arrange a threeway in a jiffy,” he says, sighing dreamily. “That’d be the bee’s knees. You, me, and every chimichanga in a ten mile radius, all hot and beefy in every single way that matters.”
Peter can’t really tell, but he swears that a tear dampens the fabric of the mask. It is very emotional.
Unfortunately, Peter needs BOTH hands to unwrap and inhale tacos at a satisfactory pace, so he has to let go and allow Deadpool to continue yammering about how great it would be to touch tips with Peter through refried beans and ground beef. Somehow it fails to put Peter off of his food at all.
Halfway through his fourth taco, Peter finally slows down. He feels warm inside, and it makes the pain from his wound slightly less agonizing. Just that small comfort is reviving him. Deadpool hasn’t shut up for a moment, but Peter has sort of tuned him out.
“What wiff all thuh flowers?” Peter asks, pointing at them.
“Oh, they’re for you, sweet cheeks,” Deadpool says. Peter stops chewing and passes Deadpool a narrow-eyed, suspicious stare.
Deadpool holds his gaze for a moment, one arm over the back of the couch, and then laughs. “You took a bullet for me, it’s just proper bedside manner! Well, you SORT OF took a bullet for me. It kinda popped right out the other side and went at me anyway,” Deadpool clarifies. Peter smothers the urge to punch himself in the face. He can’t even blame Deadpool for this, this is literally a situation of his own dumbass making.
Deadpool just keeps talking, as he’s often inclined to do. “But it hit the coffee behind me, so I doubt that thick fuck’s aim was good enough to nail me even if you hadn’t attempted to shield me with your meat,” he says, waggling his eyebrows, and then gives Peter a saccharine look of adoration. “But it’s the thought that counts, buddy!”
No good deed goes unpunished, Peter guesses. He got himself shot for at least 3 different kinds of no good God damn reason at all.
Peter chews slowly, giving Deadpool the hairy eyeball, mostly out of spite for his current situation in general.
Deadpool squirms and gives an exaggeratedly erotic sigh. “Why undress me with you eyes, when you could just undress me?”
Peter points his finger (menacingly) at him again. Deadpool laughs and smacks his arm affectionately. “I’m just fuckin’ with ya!” he cackles. Than he turns away and says “mostly,” under his breath, to no one in particular. “No, I mean it!” he hisses, and then pauses. “Fucked if I know, bubba. Why don’t YOU ask him?”
Then he devolves into quiet mumbling.
Peter eyes all the flowers, and hopes that Deadpool doesn't mean to make him take them all home, because the room is FULL.
“Hey, you gonna eat any of these?” Peter says, gesturing towards the gargantuan bag of Tacos, carrying more food than Peter could ever be reasonably expected to eat on his own.
“Nah, nah,” Deadpool replies, waving a hand at him. “That’s all for you. I didn’t know how many you’d eat, so I bought 37.”
Well, Deadpool has never been reasonable, really.
Deadpool resumes babbling to himself as Peter puts away his fifth taco when Peter’s Spidey sense tingles a little. Wade crosses his legs and his dress slides up, revealing a holstered knife on his thigh, small but more than deadly enough if placed well.
Peter does not doubt that Deadpool would place it very well. He goes stock still and tries not to stare at it, but Deadpool catches and follows his gaze.
“Oh, that,” Deadpool says casually, giving his meaty thigh a hearty and noisy slap.
“You’re not gonna hurt me, are you?” Peter asks warily. He doesn’t fear for his own safety so much as he fears letting his identity slip.
“Not if you don’t start any shit, I won’t,” Deadpool says, his voice suddenly hard and steely.. Deadpool says it like he’s thought it all out, how he’d do it and why, and even though Peter knows that’s just in his nature-contract killer, mercenary, murderer, whatever you want to call him-it’s still unnerving to detect genuine ill intent from someone Peter vaguely considers as friend.
Vaguely. Sometimes. Not most of the time, because most of the time Peter is the only thing keeping Wade Wilson’s cheese from sliding off his cracker, down a drain, and into a sewage treatment plant, but sometimes. On the good days, when they have little to do and it’s just Deadpool and Spiderman and all the things they don’t know about each other and don’t even want to ask, they’re very nearly friends..
So much for Peter trying to keep a healthy distance. He was apparently one coincidence away from waking up in Deadpool’s apartment this entire time.
“Fair enough,” Peter huffs out nervously, swallowing the last bite of his food. “Hey, um,” he starts, scratching at his cuticles-a habit which he hasn’t dropped since it formed in childhood, in spite of whatever admonishment he may have received over it.“Thanks. For patching me up and stuff.”
He does not mention the flowers because he hasn’t really come to terms with that yet, and saying anything about it out loud would mean acknowledging that it’s all real and having to face the consequences of that. Consequences like his feelings on the matter, and what they are. Nope, nope nope nope nope!
“No problemo, compadre,” Deadpool says easily, his tone shifted back into goofball mode. “It wasn’t hard, you were out like a light after I dosed you. Had to take your shirt off, though-sorry about that, but man, what an eyeful!” Deadpool announces. “Is it weird to say that you have a perfect body?” he asks very seriously.
Peter shoots him a cold stare. It’s obviously very weird, so he’s not going to even bother pointing that out.
Peter is a very private person-he has to be, what with the multitudinous occupational hazards of his (ahem) career-and doesn’t like being invaded. Maybe it’s just because he’s been keeping an entire half of his life a secret basically since he was fifteen, but he gets iffy when people push his boundaries.
Deadpool pushes his boundaries almost constantly. Sparks fly.
In the interest of his emotional wellbeing, Peter decides to change the subject from his naked body to literally anything else.
“You’re really Deadpool,huh?” Peter says. “The merc with the mouth, all that stuff.”
Deadpool claps his hands joyously together and points at Peter with both hands. “You’ve heard of me! Man, that’s great. Most people who know of me are lookin’ to pump me full of lead and dump me in a ditch somewhere. You a fan?” Deadpool bounces in his seat a little.
Peter considers it for a long moment. The lie is harmless enough, and Deadpool seems to excited at the prospect that he can hardly deny it.
“Sure. Yeah, that’s a fair assumption to make.”
“Yeah, well, you’re my knight in shinin’ armor, hot stuff. I mean, you took a bullet for me! Usually people throw me in front of bullets,” he says. “I make a decent enough meat shield, but getting shot is such a damn pain. I mean, it hurts, you know?”
“I know,” Peter replies playfully, relenting to the atmosphere of camaraderie, and nudges Deadpool with his elbow, pointing at the wound on his shoulder.
“Yeah, you’re runnin’ with the big boys now, H.R. buffnstuff,” Deadpool says, throwing a beefy arm over Peter’s shoulders and jostling him playfully, though it hurts Peter’s wound. “Gettin’ shot and all that. Soon you’ll be doing all the good deaths. You ever been drawn an’ quartered? One of my favorites. Hurts like a motherfucker, but the dramatic effect is,” he turns toward Peter slowly, “to die for.”
Peter snorts a laugh into his hand and barely conceals it.
“How’s your shoulder?’ deadpool asks suddenly, a little more seriously than normal. “You nauseous? Confused? Flipped-turned upside down?”
He’s checking to see if I’m bleeding internally, Peter realizes. Given that Peter is putting food away like a starving man, he can put any concerns about nausea away. “I’m okay,” he replies carefully.
“You’re lucky,” Deadpool announces suddenly. “No signs of internal bleeding, and from what I can tell, the bullet didn’t hit a bone or nothin’. It was clean, as far as gunshot wounds go,” he says, patting Peter’s shoulder very gingerly. It still hurts, and Peter winces. “You should get your little runty pretty boy ass to a hospital pronto, though.”
Peter narrows his eyes again. “I’m not that tiny.”
“All wiry and thin and short. Cute as a button, don’t get me wrong. EXACTLY my type,” Deadpool sighs. “But totally a small fry.”
This small fry has enough super strength to break your arms, Peter thinks spitefully. Small fry his ass. Peter is a kickass fighter, and while he may not be able to go toe-to-toe with Deadpool based on weight class, he’s certain he could take him if he could get him off his feet. Peter has made a superhero career on strength and size not being everything he has.
“Not all of us are built like a brick house, man. Some of us are more...studio apartment.”
“Yeah, yeah. Every motherfucker under six feet says that,” Deadpool snorts, and then pauses. “Speaking of six feet under, that guy who shot you-he’s the only one who died, unless the cops capped somebody tryin’ to get to me. They get real pissy at me for slingin’ lead, and then they roll up on my ass like a fuckin’ firin’ squad, the damn hypocrites,” he mutters.
Peter looks at Deadpool. “Everyone was okay?”
Deadpool snorts and ruffles his hair-Peter hates it-before nodding. “Yep. That seemed like the kinda thing you’d worry about, being a little lamb of God and all, so I figured I’d put those fears to bed.” he gives Peter a guilty look. “I try not to kill for no reason. It’s just-bystanders have a way of getting between my bullets and my mark’s tender, bullet-hungry meat, y’know? They attract ammo like magnets, it isn’t my fault.”
Peter looks away. Deadpool bothered to make sure everyone else was okay, though, and that-that’s progress. That’s a difference. That shows that he didn’t want other people to get hurt, and Peter just has to hang onto that, and try to remember that Deadpool can be a monster, but he can be other things, too.
“I’m glad they made it out okay,” Peter says genuinely. Then he snorts. “I hope that cashier gets a raise. Or a better job.”
“She’ll just about have to,” Deapdool remarks, “After my mini-shootout with the fuzz, that Dunkin Nuts don’t even exist any more. It’s naught but a frosted fart on brick foundations now.”
“Anyway!” Deadpool finally announces, roughly ruffling peter’s hair (Peter swats his hand away immediately) and stretching his arms over his head. Peter wrinkles his nose because Deadpool smells like ketchup and roadkill. “I have some business to attend to, so I gotta bail on ya, kiddo. Try not to start jerking off right away.”
Peter chooses to ignore the masturbatorial implications at the end. “I’m 25, you don’t have to use kid gloves,” he asserts. “You’re gonna go shoot some people with guns, and maybe cut them with swords, and then you’re gonna get paid for it,” Peter accuses. Deadpool just giggles merrily, one hand over the place where his mouth might be.
“Guilty!” he singsongs, before standing up. “You can leave or stay, but I recommend stayin’ stationary ‘til that wound closes up. Unless you wanna wonder out in this neighborhood with that much blood on your shirt,” Deadpool says, gesturing to Peter’s front. Peter looks at his shirt again. It has a bullet hole.
“And if you call the cops on me,” Deadpool says, pointing right at Peter’s face, his expression hard and unreadable behind his mask, his size suddenly intimidating. Peter can feel himself shrinking away from the looming, steely body above him and the frankly MURDEROUS voice. “I’ll skullfuck you with a colt 45 and disappear before they find what’s left of the body.”
Peter musters his nerve and scoffs, pushing Deadpool’s pointing hand down and away from his face. “I doubt they could make a prison that could hold you anyway.”
“Damn straight,” Deadpool confirms coldly. Then his demeanor changes again; he rolls his shoulders back with a sigh, popping his neck, and then he’s completely relaxed again, like switching on a light. “Anyway, if you decide to stick around and recover, I got a couple Sudoku books lyin’ around and I could leave you my DS. You can play Animal Crossing or somethin’,” He lists off, as if he’s an actually legitimately concerned host and Peter is his guest. “But the plumbin’ don’t work in the bathroom, so if you gotta piss, the sink is fine.”
“I’ll pass, thanks.” Peter replies carefully, unsure of what to do in the wake of all that courtesy and the flowers and the sugary nicknames.
“It’s up to you. I won’t hold it against you if you leave. Scout’s honor.” Peter seriously doubts that Deadpool was ever a scout. “You promise me you’ll get that to a doctor whenever you decide to leave, Petey?” Deadpool says seriously.
Peter presents his extended pinky finger with a subdued, tired smile. Deadpool takes it with his own, sealing the sacred pact.
“Pinky swear,” Peter says.
“Good,” Deadpool replies gruffly, and then lets go. “I’m gonna go get changed and then I’m out. Toodles!” Deadpool says, and walks right past him toward another doorway. Bedroom and bathroom, Peter thinks. Probably where he stores whatever weapons he has, and whatever cash.
He shouldn’t say anything. He should let this go and have it just be a weird thing that happened to him one time, an experience he’ll look back on and laugh at after a few weeks. He squeezes his eyes shut. He shouldn’t bother asking questions he doesn’t want the answers to, especially not where Deadpool is concerned.
“Hey!” Peter calls out, in spite of himself.
Deadpool stops in the doorway, one hand on the door frame, the other playing with the hem of his skirt. He looks over his shoulder. “Yeah?”
“Why are you being so nice to me?” Peter asks quietly, looking at Deadpool intently over the back of the couch. The merc stands there, his stance easy, and taps his finger against the frame of the door five times. Then he looks down and away from Peter for a moment, considering, before shifting his weight and looking back up.
“Not everybody is down to save a life like mine. Ya dig?” he mutters.
Peter is frozen in awkward limbo by the sincerity and the gravity of that statement, the hairs on the back of his neck standing up. He opens his mouth once, before closing it again.
“See you later, alligator,” Deadpool announces quickly, and then disappears through the doorway, not to be seen again.
Peter slowly turn back around, sighing in relief and putting his head in his hands, scrubbing at his eyes again. He sits there for what seems like hours, just holding himself and letting the pain of his injury wash over him, succumbing to exhaustion that he hadn’t wanted to show around Deadpool.
He looks between his fingers at the flowers. They’re so bright they burn his eyes.
“In a while, crocodile,” he murmurs.
Chapter 3: contact
peter receives a number of gifts from deadpool
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Peter can’t manage to score time off even with a bullet wound assisting his case, so he has to take some selfies and write unflattering articles about himself over the following few days. J. Jamison’s hatred of him would be almost gratifying if that very same loathe-boner didn’t constantly jeopardize his identity by putting him under the microscope and damaging his public image.
He’s been trying to sleep more, but patrol makes that hard. He’s always barely squeaking by with a few hours of sleep, a practice made extra dangerous by his habit of swinging from building to building by only a very thin, but very strong, string of artificial webbing. The nights are long and difficult, but at least those he can find joy in-the days are mostly spent either at work or alone in his apartment. Unfortunately, the life of an unaffiliated superhero isn't as grand as he'd convinced himself it'd be when he was fifteen and trying to figure out what he wanted to do with all his newfound power. Mostly, it means loneliness. Some great fun, adrenaline, action, the satisfaction of a good deed done, but...a lot of loneliness, and a lot of second guessing, and a lot of swinging through the streets after midnight, wondering how old he'll get before this job finally kills him.
Peter is circling back towards his end of town late at night when he finds Deadpool attached to his bedroom window. He spots him mid swing, a strange figure hanging from the wall of his apartment building.
“What the fuck,” he hisses under his breath, dropping onto the roof of an adjacent building and crawling quietly to the edge, peering over to watch Deadpool hang from his windowsill like a strange piece of forgotten laundry, hung out to dry and left for too long. He’s making a great lot of noise for a person who seems to be breaking and entering, jostling the window frame and singing loudly, his usual merry demeanor apparently unimpeded by home invasion.
“Love me love me, say that you love me,” he singsongs, loud enough to wake Peter’s neighbors. Peter preemptively gets upset about the future noise complaints. “Leave me leave me, just say that you need me…”
“Hey!” Peter barks down at him, not exactly enthusiastic about Deadpool breaking into his apartment. The merc’s head swivels to look at him. There’s something unsettling about him hanging off of a windowsill in the dark, like something from a bad Stephen King novel.
“Oh, Spidey!’ Deadpool rejoices. Then he punches the glass of Peter’s window in with his fist, sending the fragments on a journey across Peter's bedroom in an explosion of tinkling music. Peter wants to murder him. “Funny meeting you here. I was just about to pay a visit to a friend!”
“It looks to me like you’re about to break into someone's apartment,” Peter says, pointing down at Deadpool with what he hopes is an appropriate amount of authoritative disdain. “And you know I can’t let you do that.”
“Uuuuuuugh,” Deadpool whines exaggeratedly, pieces of glass jutting out of his fist and catching the light that spills out of Peter's bedroom. “First it’s, ‘Deadpool, don’t commit murder!’ and then its, ‘Deadpool, vehicular arson isn’t an appropriate outlet for your self esteem issues,’ and then it’s, ‘Deadpool, don’t break into Peter Parker’s apartment!’”
Peter just waits for whatever absurd thing is about to pour from Deadpool’s mouth like hes an open, bullshit dispensing faucet.
Deadpool gives him a narrow eyed and spiteful stare. “What’s next, ‘Deadpool, don’t touch yourself, it’s bad for your eyes!?'"
“You talk more shit than a manure salesman with a mouthful of samples,” Peter grouses, mostly to himself. Deadpool either doesn’t hear him or doesn’t care, because he lurches forward through the broken window and into Peter’s bedroom. “Shit,” Peter hisses.
This is ACTUALLY bad.
Peter’s Spider-Man paraphernalia might not be super visible in his apartment, but all Deadpool would have to do is open the door to what he’s disguised as a darkroom to find all of Peter’s little experiments and gadgets and new web formulas, and even Wade Wilson isn’t oblivious enough to not connect the dots. Well, that, and Peter kept the flowers Wade gave him, and it would be embarrassing if he found out. Embarrassing and confusing, because then Peter would have to confront himself on that, and he wouldn't like it, he's sure. Peter webs his own apartment building and swings forward, feet planting on the windowsill with a thud, narrowly avoiding the smattering of broken glass.
“Man, this place is so neat!” Deadpool announces from inside. Peter can already hear him walking around like he’s been invited in, his heavy, treaded boots thumping along the carpeted bedroom floor.
“Deadpool, I am going to count to three,” Peter warns, crouching in the windows, wary of the broken glass.
Deadpool turns around and fuck him, he’s holding one of Peter’s many hard drives in his big meaty fist, a hard drive which contains recorded progress on his web formulas, various blueprints, basically one of many backups on Peter's entire career. Peter's FRAGILE EQUIPMENT is sharing a room with Deadpool right now. Peter feels a twitch in his upper lip. “What, so you’re allowed to come in and I’m not?”
"Yes,” Peter answers flatly.
“Whyyyy?” Deadpool responds, stamping his foot on the ground. The childishness of the gesture is offset by the loud thud his foot makes. His largeness makes the things on Peter's desk shudder a bit.
“Because,” Peter reasons, “I’m Spider-Man.”
It isn’t technically a lie. This is his apartment.
Deadpool just scoffs and goes back to rifling through Peter’s things, almost knocking over his desk lamp. "I'm not here to steal anything! I’m just leavin’ him a thank you note,” Deadpool chatters, shifting from foot to foot.
Peter genuinely doubts that’s all he’s doing, but tries to put suspicion aside. Deadpool has no reason to want to harm Peter Parker, so this little drop in can probably be chalked up to some form of property-destroying eccentricity.
“Can't you just contact him some other way? Something that DOENS’T include breaking and entering?” Peter groans, exhausted and wanting to go to bed. Preferably in his bedroom, without Wade Wilson present. It's only a few feet away, and he can't curl up under his wonderful blue duvet because his room is currently occupied by a trained mercenary who is-who is knocking over all of his things! Including, but not limited to, his pad of sticky notes, a mug with a frog on it, and a pen he accidentally stole from the bank.
“I ain’t exactly got his digits, Spiderbabe. Besides, who doesn't like a little unlawful entry into a domicile in the middle of the night?” Deadpool replies easily, as if that should be a thing that everyone enjoys doing, like a bounce house or some other unanimously enjoyable thing, Peter doesn't know, he's too angry to think of anything. “Oh man. This kid is such a nerd. I wonder what’s on his laptop!” he trills, joyously approaching the hulking mass of Peter's laptop, situated at the foot of his bed.
“Don’t even think about it, shithead,” Peter says, pointing a finger at Deadpool. Deadpool rounds on him, all wild, nervous energy and big, white eyes.
“I know, I know!” he hisses. Peter almost recoils, but Deadpool's battle seems to be mostly with himself. “Right! Just leave him a note!” Deadpool turns around and then seems to get disoriented, because he only turns again, stumbling slightly in place. “Shut up! I know!”
Talking to himself, Peter concludes. Right. Peter should have accounted for being ignored during a home invasion of his own home.
“I know it’s not-look, I get it,” Deadpool announces, pointing to Peter. “Spidey gets it! Everyone gets it! You don’t have to say that shit to me, I know! I’m you!”
“Wade?” Peter asks, a little gingerly. Deadpool either doesn’t hear him or fails to notice anything at all, because he just keeps waving hid hands around and talking like he's in a room full of angry people who are all competing for his attention.
“He’s good, we’re not! He’s good, he’s nice, there’s no way, he’s-”
“Wade!” Peter barks out suddenly, a little unnerved, and Wade stops, stiff and quiet, his shoulders tense and up around his ears. After a moment, he turns to face Peter slowly. Peter feels guilty suddenly, and sighs out, trying to calm down. “Wade, are you-can you hear me?”
“Sort of,” Deadpool replies. “A little fuzzy. It’s really loud in here right now, what with all the bitching and moaning from every angle, you bunch of-” he pauses and sighs, frustrated. "Sorry, they can get a little noisy," he says, knocking on the side of his head like a cartoon coconut. “Gets real loud when I-never mind. Doesn’t matter. You wouldn’t get it anyway,” he huffs darkly and then sifts through Peter’s desk again.
Peter watches him quietly from his perch at the window, suddenly having second thoughts about what he should do. He can’t condone this sort of behavior; he’s very lucky that it’s HIS apartment Deadpool is breaking into. If it had been anyone else who took a bullet for him and made this situation a reality, they’d probably be dead by now. He can’t encourage this.
But how can he push Deadpool out without hurting him? He doesn't want to. It’s not in Peter’s nature to want to hurt people, it’s just-it’s easier when he can ignore that Deadpool can be hurt at all. It’s easier to do his job and keep the merc in check when Deadpool is nothing but a man with a gun. Peter knows how to deal with men with guns; he's made a career out of it, sort of. He does not know how to deal with this.
Peter has always talked Deadpool down for the benefit of others. It’s strange to think of doing it for Deadpool’s benefit.
“Wade,” Peter says softly, trying not to amp up the already panicked energy that saturates the room as Deadpool mutters and sorts through Peter’s things. “Wade, calm down.”
“I just-I have to thank him properly. People do that, right? Thank you cards and junk, all that Hallmark bullshit,” Deadpool says in response. His speech is clipped and devoid of his usual attitude. It makes Peter uneasy.
“Wade,” Peter says, gingerly reaching out to touch his shoulder. The very second his fingertip brushes Wade’s back, the mercenary jumps, muscles tight, and turns around, hunched low and guarded, left hand on his holster, one of Peter’s pens clutched in his spare hand like a knife. Peter isn't stupid; Deadpool could kill him with that if he wanted, or at least he could try. Peter would probably be able to fight him off, but the point is that Deadpool is resourceful as all hell, and pen is not that hard to kill someone with.
Peter goes still and quiet, holding both hands up. “It’s okay, it’s just me.”
“I know that. I know that, don’t you think I know that!” Wade barks, and then turns back around. “Sorry, sorry, I got-you scared me. I shouldn’t be here. I ain’t doin’ nobody no good.”
That’s true. It’s true, but…
“Here, let’s write him a note,” Peter says, picking up a receipt from his own desk and handing it to Deadpool. “Leave it here. I’m sure he’ll get it.”
Yeah. Pretty damn sure. What is he doing?
Deadpool watches him for a moment, and then takes the receipt from him gingerly. “Why’re you helpin’ me?” he says, eyes narrowing. Apparently he’s having the same doubts about this that Peter is.
“You aren’t hurting anyone,” Peter says simply.
It takes a moment, but that explanation seems to check out, because Deadpool calms considerably and puts the receipt on the desk, pen in hand. “Shit, what do I write?” he mutters to himself. “Damn. Do I look like Shakespeare? All I write are dirty notes on bathroom stalls. Hey, Spidey, you any good at this kinda shit?”
No, actually, Peter has never been good at this sort of thing. He just shrugs. “I could proofread it, if that would help.”
Deadpool snorts. “Damn, you’re a nerd, too. Proofread," he says in a nasally imitation of a nerd voice. "What is this, high-school?” Then Deadpool just looks back at the note. “C’mon, Pooly, don't write the same stupid shit you say all the time,” he mutters to himself. “Not stupid this time. Serious. Don’t be stupid.”
“I don’t think he-” Peter starts, and then bites whatever he was going to say back. “You aren't stupid.”
Watching Deadpool try to be genuine is like watching him rend himself in half. Whatever the farce is he’s built around himself is too intertwined with whoever he ever was on the inside. He's always existed with about a mile of suppression between himself and any genuine feeling. When he has to be REAL, that’s the problem, Peter realizes.
Because there may not be a “real” Deadpool. There may only be bits and pieces that don’t agree with each other, a patchwork of defense mechanisms made to protect someone who doesn’t even exist. The confused memories, the delusion, the insecurity. They're pieces of a person who protects themselves from everything. Deadpool is so far removed from reality that he's removed from himself by extension, and that kind of thing doesn't happen by accident.
Peter hates having insight into this. He hates feeling like he’s picking Deadpool apart, like he can see all that vulnerability. All it took to unwind him like pulled pork was an act of kindness, apparently a thing so rare that it garners all of this EFFORT, all of this work. It is work, Peter realizes. It is hard work for Deadpool to grate against his own nature so hard, to stand here trying to convey what Peter realizes is genuine gratitude. Deadpool can’t be WEAK. if he’s weak, then who the hell is Peter supposed to protect?
It makes Peter want to run.
“Dear Peter,” Deadpool says out loud. “I like you, do you like me? Yes or no.” Then he pauses and scoffs. ”That’s stupid. I shouldn't send him nothin’. He’s better off on his own.” The air of dejection that surrounds the merc could suffocate a small animal on sadness alone.
Peter wants to punch himself in the face again.
“Everyone likes to be appreciated,” Peter insists, against his own better judgement.
“Not by somebody like me,” Deadpool retorts, and THAT shuts Peter up. Deadpool looks at him for a long moment. His gaze is somewhat blank, cogs turning behind his eyes. Then holds the receipt and pen out to Peter.
“You write it.”
“What?” Peter splutters.
Deadpool whines and stomps his foot. “C’mon! You’re polite and people aren't scared of you! You can do it better!” he insists, a hint of desperation poisoning his tone. “Just tell him, ‘hey, good job being a good samaritan! Xoxo, Spider-Man.' He’d actually be happy. Just do it, okay! C’mon, don’t make me-don’t make me scare him! Don’t let me scare him, alright?”
Peter stares at him for a long moment, and then takes the receipt from his hand. He’s going to write a note to himself. This somehow feels more self aggrandizing than taking pictures of his own ass for pay at the Bugle. Peter sighs. He shouldn't do this; he shouldn't enable this kind of contact. If it were a regular civilian who had jumped in front of that bullet, who knows how this would have played out. Who knows how many bodies there would be, or how long it would take before Peter even found out. Who knows what it would mean for some guy who did a good deed, who hadn't expected that good deed to go towards a hired gun. And yet, as he watches the dull ache of a tiny, insignificant little hope flit across the eyes of someone he'd almost call a friend, he can't quite make the right call.
"Okay, I’ll write it. But you aren’t getting off the hook,” he says, pointing the pen at Deadpool. “Don’t break in here again, alright? Just-anything you want to give to Peter, give to me. I’ll take care of it.”
“Really?” Deadpool asks, showing an awfully adult amount of suspicion. “You’d do that? For me?” he says, pointing at himself.
“If it means you won’t punch any more windows in, yes,” Peter hisses, and puts the note on the desk. He writes himself a quick thank you note, from himself. What a thing to do. “There,” he says, and sticks it under the top of his laptop. “Now he’ll know you appreciate whatever he did for you.”
“Thanks,” Deadpool says, breathing a cartoonishly exaggerated sigh of relief. “Wow. How nerve wracking. God, is this what it’s like being nice to people all the time?” He looks at Peter with disdain. "How do you DO it?”
Peter smiles. “It’s my job.”
Deadpool just stares at him for a tense moment, and then giggles. “Man, I knew there was a reason I idolized you! What a chump you are. What an absolute goody two-shoes thing to say. That’s so cute, Spidey! That’s like somethin’ on TV!”
Peter’s cheeks heat, not unpleasantly. He looks bashfully away with a snort, and-yeah, that was a pretty corny thing for him to say. He gives Deadpool’s bicep a slap, reluctant to be teased without consequence.
Then Peter shoos Deadpool out of his apartment, pretending to stick around to clean up. It takes quite a bit of shoving, but he finally manages to force his ass out of the window and into the alley below. Down in the dark among the refuse and scuttling rats, Deadpool blows him a kiss. Peter catches it and makes a theatrical performance of whipping it as far away from him as possible and as quickly as possible.
The next day he has to report a break in. His own break in.
Man, he thinks. If the Daily Bugle knew that Spider-Man broke into my apartment and left me a suspicious note, they’d have a field day.
He duct-tapes a garbage bag over his window once he’s done cleaning up all the glass (which takes a long time, since Deadpool left behind not only glass shards but little dots of what Peter assumes is blood) just to keep the wind out until he can replace the window. Fortunately, this cost is covered, so he doesn't have to purchase the window out of pocket.
“I’m fine, Aunt May,” he insist over the phone as he’s changing the bandages on his bullet wound, which is healing up quite nicely. “There wasn’t-no, I wasn't even home at the time. The police don’t know who it was. They didn’t even take anything.”
Which Peter knows for certain, because he didn't take anything, and if Deadpool took anything Peter can just sniff him out and wrangle it back from him.
He walks into his kitchen and almost jumps at the sight of the flowers. Right. He forgot he took these home.
He sighs and walks in anyway. He didn’t have any vases to put them in, so the stems are shoved into empty cups and thermoses, scattered about the counter. They’ve begun to wilt, stems dipping downward slightly and petals looking a tad sullen and weak, but Peter couldn’t bear the thought of throwing them away, not when they’re so pretty. He leans over them to retrieve a clean mug from his cabinet and drinks tap water, unsure of what to do about this whole…Deadpool situation.
He looks at the flowers over the top of his mug.
It’s like being wooed by a person who read what romance was once in a book, but has never experienced it personally.
Not that it’s romantic.
His replacement window is installed later that day and he makes sure the lock on it is solid, not that the lock apparently matters at all to some people.
In the days following the break in, Peter gets home from work to find things left on his doorstep or windowsill. Some crude notes, a rock that looks like the state of New Jersey, a Speedway gift card, a stolen VCR. He doesn’t tell the police because he knows exactly who left them and why, and while Deadpool may not have taken up Spider-man’s offer to be his delivery boy, he’s also taken a step back and not broken in since the initial incident.
It’s a strange gesture of respect. Peter isn’t used to respect. It’s particularly unexpected coming from Deadpool, who has never shown any sign of giving a shit about boundaries, but appears to be dancing around Peter’s as best he knows how.
Which is still weird and creepy (anyone else would have called the police long ago) but ultimately harmless. Probably. Hopefully.
Peter’s Spidey sense goes off sometimes in the night, and he glances at his window sill to see a shadow flit by like a ghost in a hurry. He rolls his eyes and goes back to sleep every time. In spite of Deadpool’s small crisis during the break-in, he seems unable to resist re-initiating contact with Peter.
Peter very deliberately does not think about why that may be. Acknowledging that Deadpool may have feelings-real feelings, not fake flirty feelings made to keep Peter and anyone else who might get close at a disgusted distance-knocks Peter’s world off kilter, like shaking a pinball machine.
He won’t say the little gifts are charming, because they aren’t. But they’re all Deadpool knows, and the genuine nature of gesture is-well, it’s not horrible.
“Okay, well,” he sighs, picking up the box of magnum condoms from his doorstep. He stares at it for a long moment-there are hearts drawn on it, and a tiny Deadpool face-and then he snorts. Then he starts giggling. Then he’s laughing so hard he has to crouch down in his bathrobe on his own welcome mat, and if his neighbors didn’t already think he was weird, they certainly do now.
Unsure of what to do with the condoms-they do not, probably to someone’s disappointment, fit him at all-he uses canned air to fill them up like balloons and kick them around for a little while before he gets bored and has to throw them away.
One morning he wakes to find a carton of milk placed just inside his window, the lock broken. The milk has something written on it. He picks it up-still cold-and examines the note. It says something to the effect of growing boys needing their man milk (written in parenthesis and in handwriting that would fail a person out of kindergarten, “milk that is intended for men, not semen, you dirty little pervert!”), and Peter hates that he’s going to have to put it in his fridge and look at it every time he wants cereal.
He’s not the type to throw food away. Not on his budget.
He sighs, and walks into the kitchen to put the milk in his fridge.
The flowers have all wilted. He should really throw them out. There’s only so many times he can cut the stems and replace the water before they just turn to rot.
He puts the milk in his fridge-sparse, populated mostly by condiments, raw vegetables, and juice concentrate-and walks back into his bedroom. He finds his wallet in the pocket of a pair of dirty jeans, and retrieved his Shell card. It’s time he put it to good use.
He stares at it for a moment, pen in hand, chewing his bottom lip. What the fuck is he doing?
He writes his cellphone number on it, and goes to his window. He wrenches it open-he will have to replace the lock, damn it-and sticks the card at the sill, before closing the window on it, trapping it there.
If Deadpool can just contact him, he’ll stop leaving weird gifts, right? It’ll be easier to mitigate the effects of whatever this is with contact that Peter has control over. The fact of the matter is, this DIDN'T happen to some John Doe. It happened to Peter Parker. Peter Parker jumped in front of that bullet. Now he's presented with a few options about how to proceed; he could very easily choose to cut off all contact. He could call the police, he could issue a warning as Spider-Man. He isn't JUST Peter Parker; he's also a superhero. That's part of who he is. And Deadpool is almost his friend. He has an opportunity here; he has the ability to hand out this second chance with a very low likelihood of repercussion. Because this happened to him and not some John Doe, he can control it; he can make sure everyone involved is safe. That's why he did this, wasn't it? The whole Spider-Man thing?
He squeezes his eyes shut for a moment. He has a code. He doesn't kill. He doesn't kill for a lot of reasons-because it would destroy part of him, because he can't let the bad things about other people make him into a murderer-but mostly he does it because everyone deserves a chance. Everyone deserves the opportunity to change. Maybe-as Peter Parker, rather than as Spider-Man-he can offer that to someone who he...kind of cares about. Can't he do this? Not because he has any moral duty, and not because he is obligated, but because he wants to? For Wade?
“I’m going to regret this,” he mutters bitterly, staring at the little orange card, which twitches impatiently in the wind. What a mistake. Why does he have to be such a bleeding heart?
Then he flops down onto his bed and waits for his friendly neighborhood mercenary to give him a call.
i have up to chapter 5 written already theyre just sitting in my drafts,,,oops,,,
Chapter 4: home cooked
peter spends an evening with aunt may
"hey um why do the texts look like that" because listen, buddy. listen, friend. my workskin indents paragraphs and i dont know how to solve the problem of it indenting stuff i dont want it to so for now,,,alas,,,we are trapped in this hell
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Peter, honey, Stop trying to bring the mountain to Muhammad,” Aunt May scolds. Peter stops, a pot of boiling water in hand, and stares at her across the warmly lit kitchen. “Just add the noodles to the water, don’t bring the water to the noodles!”
Ah,” He says, nodding dumbly, “Right.”
Aunt May always had a way of making him feel like an idiot. Her skill at this is only exacerbated by his current airheadedness; he's been a little distracted this week, first by being shot, and then by Deadpool, and then by a later assault he received when stopping a bank robbery. It was all pretty typical stuff, save for the Deadpool nonsense, but it had a way of putting him out of his head. When he's Spider-Man he's completely alert and tuned in to his spidey-sense, exposed like a raw nerve, but when he's Peter he has to do everything to keep that subdued so he isn't constantly distracted every time anything even slightly dangerous or suspicious happens a block down the road. As a result, he's always a little far away and dreamy-eyed when he's coming down from that Spider-Man supersense high, unused to the world seeming like it's underwater again as he muffles his own senses as best he can.
For once he has a day off-the first in a while-and he’s spending it with his aunt in her tiny apartment because it's quiet and familiar and it reminds him that there is a life outside of crime-stopping and danger and adrenaline highs. It’s homey and small and she keeps it nice, the dinner table tiny and fitted with two matching wooden chairs that look like they’ve been plucked from the wrong time period. The lamp hanging over the table looks like it was stolen from a rinky-dink Italian restaurant in the 70's, with a flower shaped bowl made of stained glass around a light bulb. It casts warm amber light on the kitchen like a spell and it reminds Peter of the house he grew up in.
Aunt May is leaned over the kitchen counter chopping onions at a frightening pace, tendrils of her silvering hair escaping the bun atop her head to hang over her wrinkled face, her sharp, dark eyes focused on what she’s doing. He sleeves are rolled up around her arms-stronger than they look, used to folding bread dough and plucking Peter Parker up by the neck of his shirt like a mother cat picking up a kitten by its scruff-and she's wearing a pair of tiny diamond earrings-so tiny, tiny enough that Uncle Ben could afford them-that she has always worn, ever since he can remember. Her face is so familiar that he forgets it sometimes, his eyes so used to seeing her smile that his brain doesn't even register her. But she's beautiful, he thinks; he's always waiting for her to start dating again, even at this age. But she never does.
“There. Now, what were you saying?” she says, huffing out a breath and wiping her arm over her forehead before turning her attentive, scrutinizing gaze on him.
“Oh, um,” peter starts again, Putting the pot down and moving to grab a box of pasta. “Just that things at the Bugle have been slowing down. I think with the lack of alien invasions or Avengers related panic, the Bugle is running out of things to pin on Spider-Man.”
“Well, good,” May says definitively, wiping the edge of her knife on the cutting board. “The Bugle is a rag and everyone with good sense knows it. I’m not alright with that Jamison running you ragged up and down the city like you’re an errand boy, Peter. Why can’t you just go work for Stark?”
Peter sighs. “Well, that certainly would be great, Aunt May, but to do that I’d have to be qualified for any job under him.”
“You’re more than qualified!” Aunt May says, turning sharply on him, eyes narrowed. Peter almost shrinks away from how fiercely she believes he can do whatever he puts his mind to, but it warms his heart a little, too, to have someone in the world who believes in him like that. It can be a little tiresome, though. He supposes she and Uncle Ben played a huge role in making him into a man who would become Spider-Man, the sort who tries to do entirely too hard. If young Peter Parker had said he'd someday be the first man on Mars, Aunt May probably would have told him to hop to it already and pushed him out the door with a fresh fruit and a Lego martian in hand. On one hand, it made him ambitious, unafraid of challenge; but on the other, he spreads himself thin. On the other, he'd like, some days, just to lie down.
“I mean-I didn’t graduate from an Ivy League school or anything,” Peter says, reading the cooking time on the box of pasta before salting the boiling water. “I interned there once, but-the job they offered me, the hours…” They would have made it difficult for Peter to keep being Spider-Man. Nigh impossible, in fact. The balancing act of his life is rough enough already. There are only so many hours in the day, and Peter is already living two entirely separate lives.
“Oh, Peter,” May sighs. “You make things so hard for yourself, you know that, don’t you? Soon you’ll be thirty. Imagine that, my little boy, thirty years old!” She laughs suddenly, and jostles his shoulder fondly. He smiles. "Seems like just yesterday you were crying because you accidentally flushed your bike chain down the toilet. Which I still do not understand, by the way."
“You imagined I’d have a wife and kids by now?” Peter teases. "A job at Stark Industries, maybe? A house?"
"No, goodness, no!” She says, waving the knife around. Peter tactfully avoids it, adding the pasta to the boiling water. “A house, maybe. Picket fence, and all that. A dog. Peter, why don’t you have a dog? You love dogs!”
“Aunt May, we can’t have dogs at the apartment-”
Peter’s phone beeps loudly. "Shit,” he hisses, patting himself down looking for it.
May snags it quickly out of the back pocket of his jeans like she’s been a pickpocket all her life and holds it out for him. “It had better be off when dinner’s on the table, Peter,” she says sternly.
“Yes, ma’am,” Peter sighs, faux childish, before he gives her an exasperated smile and holds his hand out expectantly.
She puts it in his hand. “Fine, but you only get one hour on the computer before bed. It’s a school night, lil’ man,” she mocks.
Peter just snorts and swipes right, opening up his texts.
“Who is it?” Aunt May asks.
“I dunno,” Peter says, just before he realizes EXACTLY who it is. “Oh, wait,” he amends. “I do know. Yeah. Um, friend from work, if you catch my drift?”
Aunt May mimes a superhero pose, fist into the air. Peter snorts.
“Sort of, if you squint really hard and have a very loose definition of the word 'homicide,'" he says. Aunt May gives him an awfully parental look of suspicion.
He stares for a moment, and then the flood begins, his phone buzzing incessantly in his hands.
“Your sort-of work friend being a pain?" Aunt May asks, stirring a saucepan of pasta sauce with a wooden spoon, wafts of light steam floating up over her face.
“He’s always a pain,” Peter grumbles, leaning against the kitchen table.
Maybe Peter shouldn’t joke about that. For all he knows, he actually IS feeding into some kind of fantasy, but-Wade probably isn’t doing anything like that. He can joke.
Then he sends a picture.
It’s a blurry picture of his feet, socks on, propped up on what might have once been a coffee table. In the foreground, his fist is giving an out of focus thumbs up. The entire thing looks like a picture taken by an elderly relative who doesn't understand how the camera on an iPhone works. His socks have tiny pineapples on them, and he's wearing Spider-Man print pajama pants.
Peter laughs, a grin breaking out across his face.
Then he catches a sly look from his aunt, who looks quickly back down into the saucepan, the timer on the noodles counting down.
“What?” he says.
“Nothing. You’re just over there smiling like a kid on Christmas.”
Peter’s mouth drops open, offended by the accusation.
“I am not!”
Peter isn’t smiling like ANYTHING. That was just a regular smile, because he’s annoyed, but also a little amused. There was no other meaning to his smile. He gives his aunt a sharp look which she answers with a blithe wave of her spatula. He's offended by how casually she's treating the very severe (and untrue!) accusations that she's leveling at him.
“Peter, you know, it’s okay to have friends!” Aunt May says and Peter groans, rolling his eyes.
“Not this again-I HAVE friends, alright? I just-they can’t get close, you know that!"
"I mean real friends, Peter, not people you keep secrets from,” she replies, with an annoying amount of wisdom.
Technically, he’s keeping quite a lot from Deadpool, but he doesn't have to divulge anything. It’s not as though Deadpool has done very much to earn any trust at all, so Peter isn’t in the wrong, here! He's not "keeping secrets from his friends" because Deadpool isn't his friend. Well, not really. It's debatable.
“He's-this friend isn’t...” Peter starts, and then sighs, putting his phone on silent and pocketing it quickly. “Never mind, forget it. I came over to have dinner with you, not talk to that jackass.” He tries very hard not to sound bitter, but fails.
“Jackass, huh?” Aunt May says. “Tell me about this jackass friend of yours.”
Peter scoffs and gives her a disbelieving look, his arms crossed over his chest as if they might protect him from her prying questions. She looks at him with big doe eyes, as if that’s going to get her out of this, or guilt him into telling her anything. He's not 12 any more, it won't work. (It works.) “No! That’s-that’s work, this is family. Home. They stay separate.”
“Peter, they’re both your life. I get to know about your life!”
“I’m an adult! I don't have to tell you anything!” Peter defends, rather pathetically.
“I raised you, Peter,” she says, very sternly, and Peter huffs a little, stomping about the kitchen, before taking a defeated seat at the kitchen table. She stares at him over her nose and he's struck by the sudden desire to stand in the corner wearing a Dunce cap until his five minutes are up.
“Fine. He’s…” God, how does he say this? “He’s...S.H.I.E.L.D agent-esque?” he says, and it sounds like a very suspicious answer, even to his own ears. Aunt May narrows her eyes. “Okay, he’s-look, you can’t TELL anyone about this, understand?”
She mimes zipping her mouth shut and casually flicks the key away.
Peter sighs and rubs his temples, elbows on the table. “He’s a friend. Sort of. A couple weeks ago, I did something nice for him without knowing, but I did it as Peter Parker, and now…” he sighs again. “Now it’s like I have to balance a relationship with him as Spider-Man AND as Peter Parker, and somehow those relationships are totally different! He treats Peter Parker totally different, and I just-I don’t know how to handle it, May, I really don’t.”
“Totally different, how?” Aunt may asks, lower lip jutting out, eyebrows furrowed.
“Just-different. He’s NICE to me. He got me flowers, for fucks sake! And a gallon of milk, and a box of these stupidly huge condoms and everything!" She muffles a small laugh and pretends not to be judging him very harshly. "And I get why he's doing it, he thinks...he thinks I did something special for him, something he didn’t deserve. And as Spider-Man, I've always been at odds with him. But now…”
“You feel like the way you see him is changing, and you don’t know if it’s for the better or not?”
“Yes!” Peter says, pounding his hands on the table and laughing, “Exactly! God, I just-I can’t talk to anyone about this. It's so stupid.”
“Well,” Aunt may sighs as the timer goes off, gripping a pair of potholders and hoisting the boiling noodle water into the air, carrying it over to the sink. She upends it into a colander. “In my experience, learning new things about the people close to you is never bad. That’s how it was with your uncle, you know? Even after all those years, he just kept surprising me.”
“Don’t make parallels between this and your happy marriage, please,” Peter grouses, “you make this all sound very domestic and melodramatic.” Which it isn't, because there are some high stakes superhero related things going on. This is all about crime fighting and morality and-Oh, crud. She's giving him The Look.
“Well, because it IS,” she says, setting the steaming pot down and pulling off the oven mitts. “But that’s life, y’know? A little drama, a little domesticity. You forget that that’s what life is like for the rest of us who aren't out there giving our entire selves to the world, Peter. You don't feel this way because you can't reconcile with your own morality; you feel this way because of him.”
“But me and this guy, we aren’t like you and uncle Ben,” Peter says, and then shivers as a vision of himself and Wade Wilson in this very kitchen pops into his mind, elderly and kissing over a pot of spaghetti. In the vision, Peter is wearing an apron. He is so immediately repulsed that he pushes his chair back away form the table, as if physically trying to escape the idea. “In ANY respect. I’m-well, you know how I am-and he’s...he’s worse. More complicated. Learning new things about him might just drag me further down some awful rabbit hole, and I’m just not equipped to...fix him, or whatever he wants from a friendship with me.”
Aunt may snorts out a laugh and waves him off, though, tossing the pasta gently. “Oh, Peter, you don’t-not everything is some big problem you have to solve. Differences are things to be appreciated, not fixed. Maybe what he wants out of a friendship with you is a friendship with you.”
Peter just chews his lip for a moment, gears turning.
“How am I supposed to do that with someone who...someone who I know is bad?”
“Relationships with people,” she says, serving pasta onto a plate and pouring sauce over it, before placing ti gently in front of him. “Are not about fixing or being fixed. They're about change, Peter. Three years into our marriage, your uncle wasn't the man he was before we married. I changed, too. The way we were together; that also changed. It's natural. You can choose to leave this person behind. You could also choose to pursue getting to know him outside of your...professional field. Put that to the side, if you want, and just have someone for yourself. You forget that you can do that, but you can. Alright, sweetheart?”
He feels her hand on his shoulder and his stomach instantly settles. He sighs out. Change. Right. He can handle change; he become Spider-Man when he was fifteen, he can handle a little...interpersonal shifting of gears. It feels like, between him and Deadpool, tectonic plates are shifting, the entire landscape is morphing into something else, stuck in a state of metamorphosis, going in a direction that Peter can't seem to control or even see clearly. What if it changes him? Is that a bad thing? God, it has been so long since Peter has really participated in a relationship. Since Gwen, maybe. He hasn't really even had a good friendship in a long time, not after Harry. He forgot how chaotic it is, how much you just have to put yourself in the hands of another person.
“Thanks. For the advice, and also the food.”
She cackles and slaps his back. “Any time, kiddo! Besides,” she beams, “I like to see you smile like that.”
In the taxi on his way back to his place, Peter texts Deadpool. Deadpool regales him with tales of punching a zombified quarter-pony in the head so hard he broke his fist, and pulling arrows out of his flank, and a story about how he once hitchhiked his way to New Zealand with two guys named Murderer and One-Handed Eddie. He tells Peter about the entire circus of his life and Peter can't really distinguish truth from fantastical imagination, but it doesn't seem to matter. Rain beats down on the window and the cabbie’s radio plays lightly and Peter just tries to focus on the moment in stead of the consequences.
When he gets back to his place, belly full and head fuzzy, he flops face down onto his ratty couch and turns his head to look at his phone.
Peter bites his lip, staring at the bright little screen, and then groans, before tossing his phone onto the carpet with a low whine. He rolls onto his back and drags his hands over his face, feeling his cheeks, warm and probably a little pink.
"No,” he whimpers.
Chapter 5: thats a little gay, homeboy
peter has a bad day at work and gets drunk with wade wilson
“Parker!” Jamison shouts. Peter flinches, shoulder high. He just wanted some shitty coffee to go with his shitty day. He turns, slowly, wringing a smile out of his face like dishwater, hoping he doesn’t look totally cowed like a frightened hare.
"Yes, Mr. Jamison?”
The man himself, stout and marching furiously in Peter’s direction, huffs like a racehorse. “Listen, kid,” he says, one hand on his jutting hip, the other pointing firmly right at Peter’s nose. “I know you think you’ve got this all figured out, but I run this paper, and when I say you stick to something, you stick to it!”
Ah, right. Peter remembers what he’s talking about. Peter isn’t much of a journalist-it just isn’t what he is-but he writes articles online for the Bugle and provides photography, so he’s part of the staff pretty firmly after all these years.
He’d maybe glossed over some things Jamison had wanted him to cover in explicit detail, particularly some information regarding his moonlight activities. Well, his moonlight activities and Deadpool being in town, which complicates things massively when people constantly mistake him for Spider-Man.
Things had nearly exploded recently when “Spider-Man” had been caught stealing a police car and going on a joyride. The officer was found zip-tied to a toilet in a truckstop, shaken up but unharmed, and although the authorities were unwilling to confirm that it was Spider-Man, Jamison was more than happy to jump to the conclusion.
Peter had just...dampened his parade a little. Mostly to save his own skin, but also to avoid out-and-out lying; there was no PROOF that it was Spider-Man (because it wasn’t) so Peter couldn’t justify saying that it was.
Jamison had other ideas about what his priorities should be.
“When I say that I want that menace’s mugshot framed and hung over my fireplace, I mean it, Parker. You aren’t gonna get very far skimping on stories that are VITAL to the Bugle!”
“Yes, Mr. Jamison. I understand, I’ll-”
“You’ll nothin’,” Jamison snorts. “Just-stick to taking photos and writing clickbait. You’re my top source for information on Spider-Man, Parker, and I appreciate that, but if you can’t cover the story properly, the job has to go to someone else.”
Peter deflates. “I understand, sir.”
“You aren't fired, just-” Jamison sighs and waves his hand. “Put to the side for a while, ‘til you pull your head outta yer ass. You've been here a long time, boy, and I’d like to keep you here. You’ve done some decent work. Don’t disappoint me. You’re on research until further notice.” Jamison said with a gruff twist of his mustache, and then stalks away. Peter stands there, paper cup in hand, fiddling with his long black tie. Sometimes he hates having to be mild mannered Peter Parker. Back in he old days, when he was in high-school, it was his big stupid mouth that got him in trouble all the time. Now, as an adult, he has it under much better control, but part of him wishes he could just whip out some mean and cutting thing to say, just once. It'd be juvenile and pointless and it would probably get him fired, but sometimes biting his tongue is more exhausting than putting up a fight.
He wanders listlessly back to his cubicle, swinging into his desk chair with a fresh cup of very terrible coffee. A coworker-he can’t remember her name, but Jamison likes her only marginally more than Peter-pokes her head up over the grey divider.
“You got read the riot act, huh?”
“Day in and day out. You know how it is.”
“I coulda told you that one was coming, Pete, but you never listen,” she says, shaking her head, her dense, curly hair bouncing. “You should've just ripped Spidey a new asshole and let it be done. I know you don’t have anything against him, but this is your job, man. You gotta keep your job.”
“Student loans,“ Peter says, holding up his paper cup.
“Student loans,” she answers back, holding a matching cup over the edge of the divider. He reaches up and touches the cups to each other and they drink awful, terrible, no good coffee together in solidarity.
Peter’s phone buzzes and he almost chokes on his coffee, quickly palming it out of the pocket on his slacks.
Peter pokes his head up, looking around the office to make sure no one is watching, before ducking back down, phone concealed under his desk.
Peter thinks on it Yeah, she’s pretty cute; dark skin, curly hair, pretty smile, crooked, charming teeth.
Peter chews the nib of his pen and looks around at his sad little corner office, with his sad little Dell computer, and the single, sad little family photo pinned above it. He looks at his sad camera, which he uses to take pictures of his own sad ass, which he then sells to his sad boss, who he hates.
It’s hard to get fucked up when you’re Spider-man.
Well, not really. It’s really pretty easy to get the un-fun kind of fucked up, the kind of fucked up where Peter has to take a couple days off so his speedy healing can put him back together. The kind of fucked up where he spends a few of his early years in high school learning from Gwen Stacy how to apply makeup over developing bruises, and ends up getting so damn good at it he could probably run a youtube channel dedicated to such things if he weren't already balancing the whole Spider-Man thing with his pre-existing life as Peter Parker.
But, no. The fun kind of fucked up? That’s a little complicated.
One of the many pitfalls of having superpowers is expedited healing. AKA, it is hard to poison oneself. It’s not that Peter CAN’T get drunk, it just takes a suspiciously large amount of alcohol, and even with quite a lot, he’ll bounce back in a few hours.
Pros? No hangovers. Cons? Everyone is always concerned that he’s going to get alcohol poisoning. Ambulances have been called.
Which means, of course, that Peter can’t be a social drinker. If he drank the amount of alcohol required for him to get drunk around normal people, they’d get worried. Peter isn’t much of a drinker anyway-he just has too much shit on his plate to waste time being inebriated-but when he does drink, he drinks heavily, and he drinks alone.
Sad. Again. Like a lot of things.
Fortunately, Deadpool seems to suffer from a far worse affliction. His healing factor-being of literally legendary proportions-makes him almost IMPOSSIBLE to get drunk, which he yells about, loudly and often.
Also fortunately, Deadpool has found a way around this.
Because of course he has.
"What is that?” Peter says after a couple hours of casual drinking. Deadpool has just pulled a small clear plastic bottle from one of the ammo pouches on his belt. He stops, arm stiff, and looks at Peter.
They’re currently sharing Peter’s couch.
“Nothin’ you want, dude,” Deadpool says, and sucks some of the liquid down through his mask, swallowing loudly.
Peter is fiercely jealous. Deadpool may not have noticed-he doesn’t pay close attention to things that won’t make him money or get him off-but Peter has been through a small bottle of whiskey in the past hour and is feeling “buzzed.”
If Deadpool is holding out, he’ll be pissed.
“No, seriously, what is that?”
“I dunno,” Deadpool replies, swirling it in the bottle and giving it a suspicious stare. “My own concoction. Lysol, some stuff I scraped off of a car battery, a few other choice ingredients. Not made for good little boys who won’t survive drinkin’ it,” he grumbles. “Manages to put my healing factor on the run enough to get a little buzzed.”
“You drink that...poison? And it works for you?” Peter asks, disbelieving.
That’s…extreme. That’s a lot of literally deadly chemicals for a person to drink for fun. Surely there was some trial and error involved.
“Yeah, it’s...well, deadly for any normal person, but fortunately I have the intestinal fortitude of...well, an immortal. Which is what I am, technically speaking,” Deadpool says, and then catches Peter’s gaze. “And God-No, you can’t have any, stop looking at me like that. I get that you're 25 and you think you're the hardest motherfucker on Earth but this will literally kill you.”
“You better give me that,” Peter warns, pointing at Deadpool.
“No!” Deadpool exclaims, incredulous and a tad petulant. “God, no,” he says, pointing at it. “It has killed me-at least twice! You can’t have it!”
Peter, who is a little buzzed, does not care about that. Or much of anything, if he's being honest.
But he can’t exactly EXPLAIN why he’d like to try it, and he can’t really get away with trying it and surviving, either. This is stupid. He sighs.
Then he up-ends the rest of the whiskey, straight down his throat.
“Whoa, whoa!” Deadpool says, lurching forward, and Peter is briefly touched that the merc cares for his safety. “Jesus, sugar pea, I ain’t been human in a while and even I know that's-that’s just not right, okay? Don’t glug-a-lug that stuff, you’ll end up in the hospital.”
“What do you care?” Peter grouses.
“I’m ‘sposed to keep you safe, dicksquirt. Don’t make me incapacitate you for your own good!” Deadpool says, making a threatening-esque karate-chop gesture with his hand. Peter isn’t intimidated.
Deadpool has gotten a lot less threatening over the past couple of weeks. Peter tries very hard not to think about that.
Peter could almost crumble under the weight of all the things he’s trying to suppress or keep secret.
“Ugh, God, I just wish,” Peter starts, and then sighs. He rolls his body and flops onto his back, swinging his torso so he lands in Deadpool’s lap. Deadpool jumps a little, getting all tense and frenzied in that way that he does, mumbling slightly under his breath, the blank white of his eyes peering down at Peter.
He puts both of his hands up as if either surrendering or proving he won’t touch Peter. Either way, Peter scoffs and rubs his face, feeling a little fuzzy.
“I just wish I could tell you all this stuff I wanna tell you,” Peter grumbles, rubbing at his eyes.
“You can tell me anything, sugarbutt, I’m a merc. What am I gonna do, call the cops? I’m not a snitch. If I tried to rat on you, it'd just get me shot, and THEN who would take the title of 'most heavily disfigured cocksucker in the land'? Just kidding, I'd survive. I ain't ever passing that torch.”
“I dunno! You could freak out, maybe?”
“I am prone to that,” Deadpool concedes, giving his shoulders an animated shrug. Then he wavers a little, swaying a little in place and making a sickly noise in the back of his throat. "Ugh. The juice is kicking in,” he slurs.
“If you die on my couch, I swear,” Peter grumbles.
“Sorry,” Deadpool grumbles. “I might puke blood here in a few minutes, but thah-that’s normal, I promise.”
Peter sighs. “No, don’t be sorry. This is what I wanted. Us getting fucked up together on the couch.”
And, honestly, it’s not that bad. It hasn’t been that bad at all.
Deadpool showed up with a stack of DVDs, booze, and a load of cheap children’s party favors like Chinese finger traps and party poppers. Peter had immediately set off all of the party poppers, and rejected any participation int he Chinese finger traps, as he isn't a total idiot.
They’d sat on the couch and drank and talked and done very little else. It’s been kind of a long time since Peter has done that. Years, maybe.
And it has been sort of wonderful.
“I hate you,” Peter grumbles, throwing his arms over his face so he can hide in the crook of his elbow.
Deadpool just lets out a manic giggle. “You love me.”
Peter sighs, and gives a non-committal nod of his head. “Kind of.”
“You ever manage to suck your own dick?”
Peter snorts loudly and probably unattractively. “Oh, my God. No. I mean, I tried in high school, but I couldn't. Why?”
Deadpool just makes the sign of the horn with his hand and nods sagely.
“You did NOT!” Peter gasps and slaps his chest.
“Dismemberment has it’s advantages!” Deadpool says sunnily. Peter recoils with a combination of disgust and amusement, still lying in Deadpool’s lap, pleasantly buzzed like he’s in college and doesn't have to roam the streets as a Spider-themed superhero tomorrow.
“That’s so terrible," he snorts, "That is literally the worst thing I’ve ever heard.”
“Oh, wow. Boy, do I have some saucy stuff to tell you!” Deadpool says with exaggerated enthusiasm. Peter just chuckles. Then his phone buzzes.
“God,” he grumbles, and fishes it out of his pocket while Deadpool takes another swig of his poisonous car battery concoction. “It’s Aunt May. Now is NOT the time.”
“What, you don’t want her to catch you with your homeboy Deadpool?” Deadpool inquires with a weird, suggestive undertone, trying to suck down the strange clear fluid through his mask. Peter rolls his eyes.
“You know, you can take that thing off and actually drink. I won’t mind.”
Deadpool stops and lowers the bottle a bit, before quickly capping it and tossing it onto Peter's coffee table. It’s quiet for a long stretch of time, Deadpool staring straight out at nothing, Peter laying in his lap. “You okay, man?” Peter asks after a moment.
“I didn’t say that," Deadpool hisses coldly, and for a moment Peter is startled, and then he realizes that Deapdool isn’t even talking to him. “Shut up!”
“Hey, you okay?”
“M’fine,” Deadpool says, but his voice is quiet and a little choked and the way he’s moving is nervous and a little manic, twisting his hands and nodding his head, swallowing loudly. Peter recognizes the behavior. “M’fine, it’s fine.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to...I mean, you don’t have to do anything, or feel like I expect you to do that for me,” Peter assures, feeling guilt crush down on his chest. Ah, damn. He’s always lacked tact.
They had a good thing going. They were having a good time, and then Peter had to open his big mouth. He flaps his jaw uselessly for a moment and then fidgets, unsure of what to do under the weight of the new silence.
"Sorry, man,” Deadpool mutters quietly. “I’m a little-y’know, I ain’t pretty like you. I don’t wanna scare you off. You’re a good thing, Petey. Just about the only good thing I got, an’ I-I-ain’t no point in scarin’ you off. Not now.” He's only half there, having a side conversation somewhere in his head that Peter isn't privy to.
Peter chews his lip, brows furrowed, some strange little part of him wanting to sit up and wrap his arms around this trained mercenary and hold him until his whole world is nothing but good things.
To Deadpool, Peter Parker is just a regular guy. A normal person who, for some inexplicable reason, saved his life and chose to befriend him. Peter feels a little guilty.
“You have good things besides me,” Peter says. “I’m not that great. You’ve got Spider-Man, right? You two are friends.”
Deadpool just shakes his head, chuckling softly. “Nah. We ain’t...I mean, kinda. But he’s not…he thinks I’m a loose cannon. Dangerous. Bad. He looks over me, ‘cause I guess he cares enough to do that, but only ‘cause he’s scared I’ll hurt people. Which I guess I will, so...it’s not like he’s wrong.”
“Wade…” Peter starts, but Deadpool cuts him off with more strained confession that he seems to be yanking up through his mouth like a fishhook through his guts, dragging it up his throat and through his clenched teeth.
“That’s the worst part, y’know? That he’s right. I’m a bad guy, that's the fact. I’m bad and I’ve always,” he grimaces, winding his hands together, “I’ve always kinda liked being bad, or...found it easier than bein' good. You gotta understand, Pete,” Deadpool says. “I wasn’t turned like this. I was already a merc when I get juiced with that sicknasty Weapon X elixir that made me messed up. I was already mad wicked and fucked up. I dunno if I was ever made like this, or if I can be fixed, ‘cause I don’t think that’s how it works,” he sighs.
Peter just watches him for a long moment, waiting for him to speak again.
“I guess I just got dealt kind of shit hand in life. And that is no excuse, y’know? Not for the things I've done. But whatever made me like this, it wasn’t one thing. It was a w hole bunch of things. Bad is part of who I am. It’s in my DNA, it’s my birthright, it’s in every single thing that has ever happened to me and changed me and formed me as a person, and you...I want you to understand that, if nothin’ else, I’m strugglin’ not to be bad. I don’t think I can ever be good but-I can be not evil, I guess. Maybe.”
Deadpool sniffs quietly and gives Peter’s belly a soft pat with his big hand. "You’re good, my man. You’re good like Spidey an’ Cap an’ all them other spandex wearin’ jackasses are good. You walk on a whole other plane of existence than me. You’re good and I’m not and that’s that.”
The wall clock ticks and Peter feels frozen in place by this show of vulnerability. He’s tense and stiff, lying there in Deadpool’s lap.
"Fuck,” Deadpool finally hisses, leaning back, hands searching for something to do. "Fuck me running with a god damn dildo. I’m drunk. Sorry, Pete. You don’t need me to put this on you.”
Peter whines, defeated. “Fine. That’s it, then. Okay,” he says, lip quivering, flopping his arms at his sides.
“That’s what?” Deadpool asks, hesitant and a little scared sounding, his arms held close to his torso like he's on a roller-coaster. Keep all limbs inside the emotionally exhausting ride at all times.
“That's it, you win. You’ve broken me,” Peter announces.
“I fucking care about you, dickhead!” Peter bursts with a frantic, humorless little giggle, sniffing and wiping what could have been a tear from his eye, but wasn’t, shut up. “Oh my God, you-you are just…” Peter’s breath rushes out of him and he deflates, at a loss for words. He’s buzzed, too. Fuck this. He feels Deadpool's eyes mapping his features out slowly and analytically, like he's looking at a bomb he's about to defuse.
“You care about me,” Deadpool finally teases in a nasally, singsong little voice, making a mocking little cackling sound and elbowing Peter playfully in the ribs. “What kinda idiot cares about ME?”
Me, Peter thinks. This stupid dumb idiot cares about you.
“I like the way you text,” Peter grumbles, rubbing his eyes and trying to curl into himself. “We’re friends, alright? You don't have to worry about if you're bad or I'm good or-or whatever.”
“I didn’t do a damn thing to deserve you,” Deadpool says quietly.
“Yo don’t deserve people, man,” Peter replies. “You don’t earn them like money or points in a game or something. I either care about you or I don’t-all of you, all the terrible parts-and...obviously, I do. Or you wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t be hanging out.”
“Huh,” Deadpool mutters, quiet for a moment. For a second, Peter almost tricks himself into thinking the merc is about say so something meaningful. “Gaaayyy.”
Peter laughs, almost hysterically.
“That’s fuckin’ gay, Peter Parker,” Deadpool continues. “You could suck my dick and it’d be less gay than all those hardcore emotions we just jammed out to.”
“You are a fountain of homoeroticism, you do NOT get to pull this card like I’m some rube who fell into your weird sexual trap.”
“Can you imagine what a fountain of homoeroticism would look like?” Deadpool sighs, propping his elbows on Peter’s belly, which prompts a quiet “oof” from Peter.
“Your face,” Peter snaps back through a genuine grin.
“Oh, wow, back at it with the sick burns, huh Pete? Get me to the burn ward, kiddos, Peter Parker just called my face gay.”
“I calls 'em like I sees 'em,” Peter says back, a touch smug, sitting up so he’s situated weirdly in Deadpool’s lap, legs hanging off the side of the small couch. He sniffs and blinks and loses track of his thoughts for a moment. “Mmm,” he mumbles. He needs to drink more, probably. Yeah.
“You know what I sees?’ Deadpool croons, supporting Peter’s back with his hand and, uh, this is all a little too close for comfort, isn’t it? Something In Peter’s brain informs him that this probably isn’t appropriate conduct, but he doesn’t care at the moment. He chooses to blame alcohol and his stress levels for the fact that he's sitting in Wade Wilson's lap, being held there like they're college buddies who have known each other too well for too long.
“What do you sees?" Peter asks, playing right into the game, looking at Deadpool. whose face is only inches away and who smells like lighter fluid. This close, Peter can almost parse the shape of his face; sharp jawline, the way the mask smashes his nose down, the shape of his chin, his eyes.
“I sees a young pretty bachelor in my lap,” Deadpool begins, and Peter snorts. “Who, for real, needs a girlfriend. But he’s awful desperate to be canoodlin’ on the couch with a guy Deadpool, methinks.”
“Oh, please,” Peter leers, pushing Deadpool’s shoulders. “You just decided that I’m on the market just like you decided I was straight. You never asked.”
Deadpool’s eyebrows (or, the place where they might be if his face wasn’t covered by a mask) raise comically. “What, you sayin’ you arent 100% hetero? Y’know, picket fence and 2.5 kids and all that crap? The whole nine yards?”
“I dunno,” Peter sighs, suddenly wondering, a little too late, if this conversation is a bit too personal to be having with Wade Wilson of all people. He hasn't had it with Aunt May, or even himself, really.
It’s not like Peter was ever in the closet, per se. Everyone just assumed he was straight, and since he has a pretty strong preference for girls, he never corrected them. It was easier to fly under the radar-he guesses that if anyone had ever asked he would have said, "maybe I’m bi, I don’t know," but that’s it. It’s not like he ever did a lot of soul searching about it. Compared to the Spider-Man stuff it was always such small potatoes.
Peter is mostly about women and femininity in general. Not to knock the short haired butch girls out there, but Peter has always been pretty traditional about who he was attracted to. He just liked holding onto long hair and he liked he smell of perfume and he liked the soft way it all the affectations of femininity felt next to him when the rest of his life was so damn sharp. Masculinity had never had much appeal. He’s had a couple of crushes on boys when he was in high-school but he’d never acted on it, and even they had been very effeminate, the loud gay boys with rainbow bracelets who did their nails and wore chapstick. They were pretty and braver than him. It wasn’t until he got to college that he ever acted on anything, but by then he was pretty set in his ways, he guesses.
“Hey, no pressure, I get it,” Deadpool says quickly. “People give you shit for wantin’ to, y'know, sit on the fence. I mean, it never mattered to me ‘cause, y’know, what with lookin’ like I'm made of prosciuttio ham, i never had many romantic prospects. I had bigger fish to fry. Like, who would give me shit,” he says, turning a little dark again like he sometimes does, “when I could just un-alive them?”
“That’s not a good long term solution to homophobia,” Peter says simply.
“Um, it’s the PERMANENT solution.”
“Death is pretty permanent,” Peter concedes. A moment of quiet crosses between them.
The moments of quiet are new. Usually Deadpool babbles incessantly, but lately he’s been sort of...laid back. It’s strange, the absence of his usual manic energy and constant babbling. He still does it sometimes-he’s a motormouth, even when the motor occasionally isn’t running-but he also mellows out. Peter likes to think that he’s dropping his guard.
He usually projects the things about himself that he hates, Peter has discovered. Things he’s ashamed of become things he boasts about to drive people away. Nobody gets close if you trot out the things you hate about yourself all the time, but-not all of those things are bad things. Peter figures that if Deadpool just preemptively disgusts people, he doesn’t have to deal with rejection later. And that’s kind of sad. But Peter is in no place to judge. He’s not exactly good at stable relationships or being especially personable either.
Most of the people he has loved have died.
Peter doesn’t know when he put his head on Deadpool’s shoulder or when his breath slowed down and got quiet, but it happened. Wade Wilson cradles him quietly and says nothing, and it’d be creepy, normally, but this time...this time it’s just private.
This is what it’s like to be friends with him, Peter realizes. Nobody gets to see this except me.
Peter smiles a small, hesitant, forlorn little smile. He must be buzzed. He must be stupid. Yeah, that’s it. He’s drunk and stupid and emotional and he cares. Because that’s always been his weak spot, caring a little too much. It's the mark of a superhero.
“Hey,” Peter breathes, right into the crook of Deadpool’s neck. The merc jumps slightly, flinching almost, but just makes a humming noise in the back of his throat that Peter hears a little too well from this close, ear pressed into his shoulder, hearing the low rumble of his voice from the pit of his stomach upward. “Hey Pool-man.”
“Yes, Parker-boy?” Deadpool leers menacingly back at him. Peter is not menaced
“You won’t ever die for good, will you?” Peter asks. He doesn’t know why he asks, he just-he needs to be reassured.
“I already told you, no, I won’t. I’m pretty sure that I’d regenerate from nothing at all, even every one of my cells got fed through some kinda megaweapon.”
“Good,” Peter murmurs, an arm moving around Deadpool’s neck and he breathes out again. God, he smells whiskey on his own breath and it’s unpleasant. Deadpool laughs a defeatist laugh and Peter hear it in his chest.
“Not many people think that way.”
“You’ve made a lot of enemies,” Peter agrees.
Deadpool turns slightly toward him, forcing Peter’s head out of the crook at his collarbone so he has to look at him. “Some people make better enemies than friends,” Deadpool says, a little sagely, and then sniffs, looking away quickly.
“You think I’d make a good enemy?”
“Well, a fun one, anyway. Most of mine are no fun. A buncha grumpy gus motherfuckers who can’t take a joke.”
“Maybe if your jokes weren't usually so…”
Deadpool just hums in assent and turns to look at Peter again. “You don’t mind, do you? My jokes, I mean.”
“I don’t mind your awful jokes,” Peter says.
Deadpool’s mask is intricate and distracting. All the little stitches, the little flaws, the marks made by shrapnel and fists, the hard black leather, the strangeness of his white-out eyes.
What is he DOING?
He only catches himself leaning in because Deadpool leans away from him. He doesn’t say anything, just lingers, barely two inches away. Peter wishes he could tell where his eyes were looking or what his face was doing, because he’s pretty sure his own face is doing something pretty silly. They move like two magnets repelling each other, trying but unable to touch. Peter's breath ghosts across the stretched fabric of Deadpool's mask. He’s pretty sure he knows what this looks like from Deadpool’s perspective, made just a little too obvious by Peter's slack lips and hooded eyes. He feels like somebody cast a spell over them, the whisper soft atmosphere a little to tender and a little too personal, rendering Peter rather helpless. It is only marginally comforting that Deadpool appears to be suffering from similar effects alongside him.
“I’m not attracted to you,” he murmurs, just before Deadpool’s hand moves to cradle the base of his skull with a broad, strong palm, and he leans in and then they’re kissing, sort of, a thin layer of breathable fabric between them. Peter’s eyes close slowly and, after a brief moment of shock, he finds quite a bit of unexpected warmth in the way he’s being held and kissed, chaste but intimate. This isn't how Peter ever imagined it'd be. Deadpool is so needlessly gentle it makes Peter feel like he's the one with the power to break them both.
Deadpool’s spare hand moves to his face, a leather clad thumb on his cheekbone, a firm press of lips, far too intentional and far too wanting. Peter could almost handle it if it were lusty and aggressive and half-hearted, but it isn’t; there's more to it than that, to the way he’s being touched like clay that takes handprints and swallows them up. He’s being carefully dipped like he’s made of china, and it makes him want to roll Wade Wilson over and remind him that he’s not. Peter is soaking him in desperately, his skin committing every touch to memory, his lips secretly wishing the mask was gone so he could feel him, skin-to-skin like lovers do. He wants lips and tongue and eyes and bare naked hands and he wants it like it's a basic need, like food and sleep and shelter.
Then, after a moment of blur and fuzz that seems almost otherworldly, his heart beats too fast it wakes him up from this strange dream. He pulls quickly away, his lips leaving behind a little wet sound when they separate, his eye snapping open and staring, without focus, away from Deadpool, a hand on Deadpool’s throat like he could choke him if he wanted. The hairs on his arms are standing on end and he feels too dialed in, too raw. He is acutely aware of what their breathing sounds like together and it turns his brain to mush.
“Oh,” he breathes out, blinking heavily. Oh.
He is not drunk enough to be able to excuse that.
He is not drunk enough to blame what just happened on impulse and loneliness and inebriation and it makes his head swim.
He swings his legs over the couch and gets up quickly, dizzying himself a little bit. “I, uh,” he mutters, waving his hands around and then pulling them through his hair, which leaves it sticking up and looking exactly as frazzled at he feels. “I should, uh, go?”
He turns to Deadpool who is just sitting on the couch with both hands up like he’s about to be fired upon. His posture is tight and stiff and he looks a bit like he's posing for an old-timey photo, afraid to move.
"No,” Peter says, more surely this time, “this is MY apartment. YOU go!”
“M’sorry,” Deadpool mutters, getting up from the couch but remaining squatted and resigned, scuttling out from under Peter’s scrutiny like a tiny, embarrassed crab. Peter REFUSES to be charmed or feel bad. He REJECTS this.
Deadpool does NOT have feelings, so he couldn’t possibly hurt them.
“You-you came in here, and you CONFUSED me-!” Peter begins, his brain barely puttering back into a functional state as he tugs at his hair and paces around, Deadpool inching politely towards the door.
“So,” Deadpool says, with what must be a very lecherous smile beneath his mask because Peter can just FEEL it crawling up his skin, “you’re CONFUSED about me?”
“Ugh-no! I’m not confused about anything!” Peter lies through his fucking teeth, avoiding eye contact like it might give him a disease.
Deadpool seems to be caught somewhere between reticent and afraid and completely fucking amused by all of this, because although he’s still crab-walking toward the door per Peter’s request, he’s also making this weird little gesture with his hands like a T-rex and looks like he’s just eaten something very delicious.
“You just KISSED me!” Peter finally splutters out, pointing furiously at him. That’s it, blame him. Blame him and then it isn’t Peter Parker's fault.
Good plan, Peter. This has absolutely worked out well for you in the past, and is not at all just a deflection tactic. You’re doing great.
“You kissed back,” Deadpool says, sounding overtly contrary and sassy about things for also cowering away from Peter’s pointing finger like it’s a blade at his throat. “You kissed BACK!”
“I did not-I did NOT kiss back!” Peter also lies.
“You did so!” Deadpool says, and then hesitates, turning his head to the side as if listening for something. “He did, didn't he?” he asks, and then nods. “Yeah, he did!”
“I DID NOT!” Peter is full on shouting. His cheeks are hot and he’s flustered and he feels like the hugest fool on planet Earth. “I did not kiss back!”
“Yes you did!” Deadpool singsongs back at him like a contrarian child in an argument with another contrarian child.
Which may not be at all inappropriate, but Peter is not current in a state of mind to realize that.
“Listen,” Deadpool says, shrugging a little, “now might be a poor time, but I need to come clean about this-”
“No! No more revelations tonight, I can’t handle this!” Peter says, just...waving his arms around, god he is so stressed out!
“I may or may not have had pure intentions with you, y’know, after the initial encounter,” Deadpool admits, scratching the back of his neck like a character in a Japanese cartoon. Peter wants to kick him in the head. “Like, a little bit gay. Y’know, softcore gay. Like, I thought you were hot, but then I got to know you, and you were also cool? So, I, uh...was probably trying to woo you? Or something? But I thought you were straight, so I tried to keep it low-key...”
“What?! Low-key?! Do you even know what that means? Have you ever observed something low-key in practice, asshole, 'cause what you are isn't it!” Peter's world reels.
“It's not-I’ll stop! I’ll stop if you want!”
“Get out of here!”
“Wait-now hold on a second, Petey,” Deadpool says, as he’s being shoved out the door by Peter physically. Peter’s face, he estimates, is as red as it can possibly get without classifying him as a garden vegetable. “Petey, I’m sorry!” Deadpool says as he allows Peter to push him out of the door, putting up very little resistance. Peter is almost insulted. Deadpool stumbles backwards on his huge treaded boots, thudding around a bit before he falls on his ass with a thump and look up at Peter like a dog that has been put outside.
"No! You stay out here! I need to think!” Peter shouts, either at Deadpool or at himself, before he slams the door shuts and slides the chain lock into place, finally gasping in a hard breath of air because what the fuck was THAT.
“Pete, I’m sorry! I mean, it, I promise I’ll put my ravenous cock lust on the back burner, if you just lemme-!” Deadpool croons and scratches the door like a cat.
“Oh my God,” Peter says, slapping both hands to his face that that little dude who is wigging out in that one painting, before he paces around in tiny circles, rubbing his face raw. “Oh my God, oh my God,” he breathes out frantically. Oh man, what a mess he’s made. He’s dimly aware that he’s acting like a child, but his eyes are also as wide a saucers and his heartbeat has escalated to a point of discomfort and he feels like he might die, so who cares.
Peter flaps his hands aroudn and whines and stomps about because he is an adult man who handles these things with great maturity.
Finally, he slams his hands against the door of his apartment and the scratching from outside stops.
“You-I’m uh,” peter begins, squeezing his eyes shut. What does he do, what does he DO? “I’m feeling a little confused, um, about you, and us...so, go away, maybe? I need to think, I just need to think…”
It’s quiet for a long moment, the loudest sound in Peter’s ears the rush of his own blood and the pound of his heartbeat as he waits for a reply.
“M’sorry, Peter,” Deadpool says quietly from the other side of the door. Peter hears him shifting around nervously, the quiet shuffling putting peter’s nerves on edge. “I woulda never kissed you, not in a million years with this mouth, but-you were…”
“I know,” Peter says. “I don’t-it’s not your fault, just,” he exhales hard, banging his head against the door. “Just lemme think.”
And then it’s quiet. Peter sighs, slumps, and stalks over to the coffee table, picking up the half-full bottle of poison Deadpool left in his wake. He throws it away.
Chapter 6: 99 bottles of emotional repression on the wall
So, you freaked out on him, Peter. Good work. No, really spectacular.
“Hey, you’re Spider-Man!” The 20-something mugger he’s stringing up says, loudly. “Oh man, this is so cool!”
Peter is a little distracted. He’s wired into the city and thinking about what he’s come to refer to as “The Incident,” and this kid won’t stop-he’s just-UGH!
“Stop squirming,” Peter insists, webbing the young man’s spare hand. He’s stuck him to the side of a mom-and-pop pizza place after an attempted mugging. He’d been furious-ready to rain down the pain on some asshole who deserved it after a week of stress-but then he’d been stuck with some kid who’s acting an awful lot like he’s high and who didn’t actually take anything. He’d attempted to mug the proprietor of the pizza joint on the way to his car with a pocket knife and some unkind words, but he’d chickened out almost immediately and Peter had been denied the stress relief he’s been seeking non-stop since The Incident.
“Hey, um,” the young man says, lifting a finger, which Peter webs to the wall immediately. “Aren’t you usually, like, sassy? Y’know, quips and stuff? Like you hero types do?”
“Sorry, did you not like the performance?” Peter chirps back, anger barely disguised under a thin veil of theatrical politeness.
“Sorry, I just-I’m kind of a fan,” the guy snorts, giggling a little.
Peter’s phone buzzes in his pocket. He ignores it. The perp eyes him up and down, expectant.
It buzzes again.
“Hey, uh, somebody’s blowin’ up your phone,” the young man acknowledges politely.
“I know,” Peter hisses. “He’s been doing it for days.”
The perp nods sagely, opening his bloodshot eyes to give Peter a lopsided, sympathetic little smile. “Your dad won’t get off your back?”
Peter just gives him a long-suffering look. “Y’know, I’m gonna put a pin int his conversation. Put a pin right in it,” he says, putting a pin in an imaginary conversation with his hand, “and we’ll get back to it, assuming you try to mug someone again. But don’t do that,” Peter says, pointing his finger hard at the young man and trying to be the authority figure he supposes he should be. “Next time I catch you doing something stupid like this, I’ll shove my fist so far up your ass you’ll taste my graduation ring.”
The perp just raises his eyebrows. “You graduated?”
Peter stares at him through he lenses of his mask for a moment, his night vision rendering the perp a little greenish, before he reaches into the front pocket of his flannel shirt and retrieves a rolled up plastic bag with weed in it.
“That’s not mine,” the young man instantly and confidently claims.
“I’m taking this,” Peter says.
“Fine by me,” the kid agrees, sniffing loudly. “You seem like you need it.”
“I’m not going to-it’s not for me!” Peter doesn't smoke. Well, not any more.
“Sure,” the kid says, and nods slowly at him, before giving an incredibly delayed and sloppy wink.
“I’m going to make you eat it,” Peter says. The perp’s eyes go wide.
“Now, wait, man-”
Peter tosses it at him and it bounces off of his face. He splutters and squints his eyes up. “Not really. Stay out of trouble. And don’t-don’t CARRY IT AROUND with you, you’re asking to get in trouble!” Peter is halfway to telling him to get better at being a criminal so he can avoid wasting Peter's time in the future, but realizes that that's sort of immature and counter-productive and bites his tongue.
“Thanks, Spider-Man,” the kid slurs, giving him a thumbs up from under the webbing. Peter just waves him off with a noise that would do Ebeneezer Scrooge proud.
“God,” Pete breathes as his whips a line of webbing to a nearby building and flings himself into the air, the city speeding past him. This is it, huh? This is the glamorous life of a superhero? Maybe he should have taken that deal with S.H.I.E.L.D all those years ago after all. Being unaffiliated has plenty of perks, but he wishes he could leave the petty crime to the cops. Unfortunately, his Spider-sense can’t differentiate between the danger levels of a bomb threat and a kid with a pocket knife, so he has no way of knowing what he’s in for before he arrives on the scene.
His Spidey sense goes off one more time that night, but only because of a car crash on the side of the street, which isn’t exactly a crime. He also isn’t useful as a paramedic, so there’s no point in him showing up when all involved parties are outside of their cars arguing on the roadside already, and two of them are on the horn with the police.
He eventually works his way back around to his apartment building. Ah, home sweet home.
By the time he gets inside, takes a shower, and fixes himself up for the night, it’s almost 4 am and he has to be at work in four hours. He could go to sleep, but in stead he pulls on his jeans and lies down on his bed, flipping his laptop open and tearing open a bag of corn chips, which he shoves into his face immediately. His hair is wild from a night of being trapped in the Spidey-suit and then washed and he can see in his reflection that it’s sticking up every-which-way. This isn't exactly where he saw himself when he was fifteen and all of this started.
He tries to work on improving the web formula, but alas, his brain can’t seem to science. In stead he watches about four minutes of porn and then falls asleep before he even manages to jerk off.
He jerks awake because he chokes on his own spit several hours later.
He opens his eyes slowly-his everything hurts, his entire body aching for sleep, screaming at him to fuck literally everything about his life and close his eyes again-and blinks a little. His mouth is dry, having apparently hung open, his head tiled back over his headboard. He coughs up something dry and nasty and then leans forward, squinting and looking about his room. Sunlight filters in through the window.
Sunlight. As in morning. As in daytime. As in, late for work.
“Shit!” he shrieks, convulsing his way out of bed in a panic, getting caught in his sheets, and throwing himself onto the floor. He scrabbles hopelessly, sets himself free, and almost yanks his laptop off the bed by the power chord, instead slamming it into the wall. It awakens from it’s slumber and plays the audio of what sounds like two slabs of meat being slapped together to the upset of some young woman, and it takes Peter a moment to realize that it has just been playing through porn all night.
He scrambles to his feet, pulling his shirt down and disentangling himself from his now thoroughly unmade bed and slams his laptop shut. Frantically, he searches for his phone in the blankets. Maybe it's not that late, maybe he still has time.
He finds it wedged under his pillow, his alarm bleeping but muffled thoroughly. He turns it off.
Well fuck him sideways, he’s really about to be late to work.
Part of his brain immediately starts on a “fuck Jamison, stay home, finish jerking off!” tirade which he hears almost daily. But he can’t call in sick-not again, and not when he’s already in trouble for NOT ripping himself a new asshole in that article-so he sprints into the bathroom and does a very shoddy, rushed job of brushing his teeth and hair. He gets toothpaste on his shirt and wipes it off with his finger, and then wipes his finger on the side of the sink. He spies his bar of soap-which has a lot of shaved facial hair trapped in it, like a mosquito trapped in amber-and gives it a dirty look, before he darts out of the bathroom and into his bedroom. He doesn't have time to shave. Hopefully his facial hair will look rugged and handsome rather than like an animal has been shedding on his face, but he doesn't think he's ever looked rugged in his life, so the latter is more likely.
He quickly pulls on his shoes and yanks his shirt off, replacing it with the wrinkled button up he wore yesterday. He puts his phone in his pocket and twists his tie around his wrist, vowing to put it on it as soon as he gets to his destination, which he has to be at in ten minutes.
Now, he has some options. He could walk, but he’d be late. He’d normally have a bike for this sort of emergency, but it was stolen recently and he hasn't had the cash to buy a nice new one. He could take the bus? No, it doesn’t run until 8 and by then he’ll be late. A taxi? Traffic is hell, he couldn’t make it.
He sighs and slips his web shooters around his wrists, hidden by the cuffs on his shirt. He’ll be on time. Dirty, disheveled, and visibly exhausted-but on time.
His phone buzzes. He squints his eyes shut and hunches up like a cat trying to make itself seem bigger. Not now.
He opens his bedroom window and looks out over the fire escape. Well. Maybe if he’s stealthy.
He leans out the window, one foot free, before the leg of his pants gets caught on the broken lock of his window. In his haste it flips him comically forward, the world lurching and then flying upward in a mad spin, smashing his face into the brick siding of the building. He yelps, and then hangs there, silent and upside down, one leg stuck in his window. This is it. This is his lowest low.
His phone buzzes.
He answers it.
“Yes?” he croaks.
He’s not going to lie. He is very frustrated. He is very frustrated and angry about The Incident and he's scared of what is going to happen if he misses work, and he is about to cry. He should just admit that up front and not try to deny it, because he can hear himself crying a little bit. Upside down. There are tears in his eyebrows. He sniffs.
Oh, it’s...that girl from work.
“Hey...you…” he says awkwardly, wiping his nose. The blood is rushing to his head, but he cant let her hear him scrambling to right himself. His pride can't quite take having to explain this to her.
“What are you up to? I was gonna ask if you wanted to meet up today...” she asks brightly. Very brightly, for it being so early in the morning. How can she be that happy, knowing she has to step into Jamison's domain?
"Oh, y’know,” he says, voice strangled. “Hangin’ around.”
He sobs openly.
“Are you okay? You sound like you're crying-"
“It’s the wind,” he whimpers.
“The wind sounds like it’s crying,” she amends gently.
He sighs. “I’m going to be late,” he mutters.
“To what?” she asks.
He pauses. “Work. Duh. Y’know, the place where we go to get screamed at for hours and hours?”
It’s quiet for a moment, and then she laughs. “Oh, Peter! Thank goodness I called. It’s labor day, you silly jerk.”
Peter feels incredibly cold and still, like a cadaver. That’s it. He’s dead.
“Oh,” he says, like a man who has just learned that his entire family has expired in a house fire, but didn’t like them very much anyway.
“Sorry,” he croaks. “I’ve been a little distracted lately.”
“I noticed. The other day your phone kept going off to you got frustrated and chewed on it, before sitting on it for the rest of the day. I figured you were avoiding your family or something.”
“Um, it's a little more complicated than that,” he says, trying to quietly hoist himself back up into his apartment before someone sees him. Yeah, complicated like trying avoid texts from your hitman...friend? Love interest? Peter's head swims and he wishes he could just puke already and get rid of the nausea.
“Well, whatever it is, I hope you resolve it before you drive yourself totally up the wall. You always look like you’re halfway into your grave, Pete. It’s a miracle you’re still alive.”
“Only on the outside,” Peter mutters quietly, before he finally wedges himself back into the window. “Listen, not that I don’t love talking to you, but seeing as it’s labor day, i think I’m going to have a nap.”
“Sounds reasonable,” she says, and he can hear her pretty smile eve over the phone. Why couldn’t he have kissed HER? She's cute and smart and he likes her well enough. She wears fun novelty socks to work! Who wouldn't want to kiss someone who wears fun novelty socks?
Ugh, no, don’t think about it. Just ignore that.
“Alright, bye, um…”
“My name is Trish, Peter.”
He exhales a relieved, embarrassed little sigh. “Bye, Trish.”
Peter hangs up, sighs, and face-plants into his bed, before sobbing again.
Alright, Parker, he thinks. This is it. You have to think about this. Your cheese is sliding off your cracker, you look like death warmed over, and even your coworkers have noticed. It’s time to stop with the avoidance tactics.
Peter groans. “But I don’t want to,” he whines into his duvet. “Things were simple before, and now they’re not.”
Things just sound more important when you capitalize them.
Peter rolls over with another defeated sight and stares up at his ceiling. He scrubs his hands up and down his face. Feelings. Right. Time to think about those. He can't put it off any more, now if THIS is how he's going to deal with it. He's a grown man and he needs to confront these things head-on. He has to do something before he expires from stress alone, ad he's been gifted with an opportunity to do it. Labor day.
The thing is, the more he thinks about it, the more he feels like an asshole. And he hates feeling like an asshole.
The Incident hadn’t been a one way street-he’d been an instigator. He’d driven down that street. He’d been INTO that street. Like, sexually, and romantically. If that street had not been wearing a mask, there might have been tongue.
That metaphor is getting away from him a little. Backtrack.
He sits up and pulls his laptop over, opening it up again and closing his porn tab before opening an excel document. He stares into it for a while, and then entitles it, “Peter’s diary, no boys allowed,” before he starts dividing up the way he feels into tiny boxes, because that’s a lot easier to parse than all the abstract feelings swimming around in his head as one vague, amalgamate sense of confusion. He's going to handle this like he has to reverse-engineer his own thought process, because he knows he has to have made a mistake somewhere along the line. He just has to run it through and explain it it himself, step by step. Treat himself like he's some rock stupid computer that needs to be told everything before it can do anything; teach himself his own lesson and backtrack on his thought process. He's good at that. Make a mistake; go back and fix it.
Deadpool. Wade Wilson. His friend and possible love interest. He makes a column labeled “pros to a relationship with Deadpool,” and another “cons to a relationship with Deadpool." That seems like a good place to start, since he's hesitant about this.
The cons one is easy. He fills it up with shit like “he’s a murderer,” and “he could expose my identity,” and “he’s annoying.” That’s the stuff he comfortable with, stuff he's dealt with as Spider-Man since he first met Deadpool. It seems like forever ago now, but these assumptions have been sitting around getting stale for a long time. Maybe it's time he drags the things he thinks he knows out into the light and see which ones are still relevant.
Some of them aren’t really...applicable reasons any more. Peter may be practiced at hating Wade Wilson, but that doesn't mean he still does. Obviously Deadpool being a merc has no impact on how Peter feels about him, because...The Incident. His moral qualms have been set to the side since they got arguably closer, and it might be a little immature of him to keep running back to them every time things get hairy. It's the ultimate excuse, his fallback when things get too complicated. He's hung up on something like, "I'm good and he's not, and I like him and I'm not supposed to," but in practice being a merc is only a very small part of who Deadpool is, and while it may be a part that Peter has problems with, it's not a part he ever really set out to change except on a superficial level, and he doesn't think he ever really considered it that important. Is his real issue with Deadpool a moral one?
Maybe it used to be, he isn’t sure. Maybe it isn’t even relevant. What he’s trying to determine here isn’t if Deadpool is a good person or not-he knows he isn’t, he’s killed too many people to be objectively good-he’s doing it to figure out how he feels. Apparently how he feels is not related to whether or not Deadpool has ever or will ever continue to take human lives, and he just has to come to terms with that. He could always cut off his relationship with the merc entirely, but-he doesn't WANT to. That's what it boils down to. He is choosing this relationship over something he believes in and that is difficult for someone like him, someone who has made a lifestyle out of sticking to what they believe in with such ferocity that they show up in the paper almost ever day. But in dealing with this, he isn't a superhero-he's just Peter Parker. He's not NORMAL-he doesn't live a normal life-so things aren't...the way they are for normal people. He can't have the same standards as normal people. Everything is too extreme with him, and this time, he has to take to the extreme of "choose something ultimately questionable, and doing it for yourself, not other people."
He takes “he’s a murderer” off of the list. Then he sighs and rubs his face. What is he doing?
Compartmentalizing, that’s what he’s doing, he thinks. Sort this out. Get it together. Figure out what you want. What do you want from him? Are you afraid he'll give it to you, or afraid that he won't?
Peter deals with his problems by bottling them up and putting them away and never looking at them again. Turn your best friend's dad into a green goblin monster? Wow, top shelf, don’t ever want to see that again. Get your girlfriend murdered? Haha, stuff that in the back of the closet and never ever think about it again!
Kiss the person who might be your only friend, only to dump them immediately and act like a huge freaked out jerk over it?
Hm. Better take that one off the self and re-examine before it pickles.
With that particular bottle comes another, bigger bottle. The “I am attracted to Deadpool,” bottle. The Big One. The big ol’...problem. The issue at the heart of all this. The axiomatic problem at the root of things.
In pros, Peter writes, “I like him.”
And that’s it. He can’t really think of anything else. He LIKES him; he likes being around him and being surprised by him and talking to him, and that's that, and yet it's somehow the most important thing Peter has written down. Peter's heart does a little pitter-patter, waking up and remembering what it's like to care about people. He stares at his list, which has three entire items, for a while. This isn’t going how he wanted. Maybe he should just take that nap.
“I like him,” He says out loud, like he’s conducting some deadly experiment that might blow up in his face. “Okay,” he breathes out, “Logic train. I like him. Why is that a problem?”
Because he does bad things, his brain answers.
"No, we established that wasn’t why. Why is it a problem?”
Peter feels something clench in his chest, dull like a bruise, and thinks, that's right. Heartbreak. I tried really hard to forget about all of that, didn’t I?
“I’m afraid something will happen,” Peter murmurs, a little weakly, rubbing his eyes and suddenly feeling much older than he is. He feels strained and heavy, like he's been lugging something around all this time that was sapping away a portion of himself every day.
All the bottles start rolling off the shelves and breaking open, one by one. Peter draws in a shuddering breath and feels wetness at his eyes, somehow detached from his own experience, this feeling so suppressed it’s almost too foreign to him to really experience. It feels like an old friend come to visit, a face so familiar that he forgot until this exact moment, until it showed up on his doorstep, the shadow of every person he ever let die.
He feels like an idiot. A stupid idiot who fell into a trap of his own making. He’s stuck in a web hes been building for years. But he also feels a little bit like a genius, like he always does when he figures out to root to any problem, and the very first hints of liberation nipping at his heels.
He can’t BLAME himself, really. If you see the same results over and over and over, you learn the pattern. You come to expect certain things. After Uncle Ben and Gwen and Harry and Mary Jane, it was all just-it was all so easy. It was easy to rent an apartment alone in a neighborhood where no one would bother him, and it was easy not to learn the names of his coworkers, and it was easy to cut anyone out who got even remotely close. It was easy to become a life half-lived, making it by on the adrenaline, constantly trying to make up for something, constantly trying to do enough good so that he might forget the bad, one day, and be able to sleep through the night and into the next day and do it all over again. His life has been cyclical, going nowhere; he's been the same Peter Parker for years. He's been stuck here for years, trying to make something up to a bunch of ghosts he pretended to forget about. He has lived in fear of someone else getting hurt, and he's sequestered himself in a little room and a little job and a little easy routine to avoid that.
“I’m afraid something bad will happen to him if I stay,” Peter murmurs into his hands, staring blankly down at his list, eyes wide open and stiff, expression slack. A shudder runs slowly through him and his lip quivers. He puts his head in his hand. “Diagnosis,” he mutters, “something like survivor’s guilt, I guess,” he shudders out with a breathless, humorless laugh. Maybe, once upon a time, it was about morality. Now it's about autonomy and it's about guilt and it's about fear. What happens if he gets involved, gives a part of himself and his control to Wade Wilson, and then Wade Wilson dies? Or gets hurt? Or leaves him? What happens to him if this all fails and ANOTHER person suffers because of him, because of who he is? Because of who he chose to be?
“God,” he mutters, wiping his face, trying to get the tears away so he can see clearly. His heart aches. It aches physically, like there's an actual physical weight on it, like it's been working double time just to keep his blood flowing. “Okay. Um. That was…”
He’s sitting in his room talking to no one, because no one is here. He is alone. He did this.
“The problem isn’t him,” he murmurs. “It’s me.”
He just sits there for a long time, letting the overwhelming emotion wash over him like waves, unable to struggle against it any more. He’s exhausted. He’s so tired, inside and out, at every level. He feels like he’s pulling a string that yanks all of his stitches tight, assembling him again from a bunch of broken pieces, still loose and raw at the edges so it hurts, it hurts so bad, but…
He’s lonely, and it feels good to admit that. But this is a problem of his own making, which means it is a problem he has direct control over and can solve.
Quickly, he retrieves his phone. He has about a hundred ignored texts from Deadpool, and he can’t bring himself to read them-they’re probably very sad, and he’ll just feel like more of a broken, shitty person if he reads them-and composes a text. He might regret this later, but he knows that if he goes to sleep and wakes up and is back in his previous state of mind, he’ll just keep avoiding this, so he forces it out. He has to do it while he's feeling stupid and brave.
Peter laughs a little and finds himself smiling, wishing desperately that they were together at the moment, whatever that meant. He just wants-he wants THIS, and he wants to be ALLOWED to want it, and unafraid of the consequences.
There is a long wait between texts. Peter just sits there and chews his lip anxiously, hoping this ship hasn’t already sailed without him on it.
Peter turns his phone off to prevent himself from sending any more embarrassing texts.
The he puts both fists in the air and whispers, “Yesss,” under his breath.
He did it.
He did it and he’s allowed to celebrate.
He celebrates by flopping back onto his bed and falling the fuck asleep, arms around his pillow, tears dried on the pillowcase.
When he wakes up again it's midday and he's ripped two buttons off of his shirt rolling around in his sleep, his blue duvet twisted around his body. He rubs his eyes-they feel crusty and sore-and looks around his room. Warm light is pouring over it from the window, and he feels the aftermath of emotional exhaustion; he's tired, but feels light as air.
"Oh my god," he grumbles to himself, recounting what he'd done this morning. He should give Trish a call and take her up on a brunch together, or something. Make some friends. Do something about the whole loneliness thing.
He stands up and stretches, the muscles in his back a little sore. His shirt hikes up and he spies himself in the mirror over his dresser, looking disheveled and messed up and red around the eyes. He walks to it and checks himself out, trying to finger-comb his wild brown hair into submission.
He's very...average. He'd been weird looking in high school, but he's grown into a man who looks like a whole lot of other men almost exactly, save for a couple of dark marks on his face, dots like a period at the end of a sentence. He has acne scars and one of his lateral incisors is crooked, but all of the things about him that deviate from conventional attractiveness are pretty superficial. Nothing remarkably terrible, nothing remarkably good. He's a 5'10" white man with short brown hair. It is not spectacular. His only really striking traits are his hair-which he has been told looks like a bird's nest, if the bird's nest were infested by rats and made of copper wire-and his chin and jawline, which is pleasantly sharp. His chin has a little dimple in it, which might have been very attractive and masculine on a different face, but it just add's a peculiar flare to his.
Being average is nice for being Spider-Man, though. Even if he were unmasked, at a distance he doesn't really look very distinct at all, and could probably be mistaken for a really large portion of the population. If about half are male, and some percentage are white, and the majority of that percentage have brown hair and hazel eyes, then, well...it doesn't exactly narrow things down.
He scrubs his hands through his hair one last time in an effort to tame it, but no such luck. All he manages to do is enhance the duck-tail thing going on at the back of his head, produced by sleeping with the back of his head mashed against his pillow, all of his hair pushed in the wrong direction. He sighs.
What a great look for meeting up with...right. Wade Wilson. Why does he care, again? It's not like Deadpool is going to pick his appearance apart, so he has no reason to be nervously examining himself like a schoolboy before a date.
He stomps around his apartment, picking up dirty clothes and putting dishes in the sink. He doesn't know why he does this-Wade has been here before, and it's not like he has any appearances to keep up-but he just has to do it. It feels like a thing a person should do if someone they like is coming over. He feels light and smooth, like he's floating.
"Jesus," Peter mutters to himself, baffled at his own situation.
When he gets back into his room, yawning and pulling himself out of his wrinkly button up, he checks his texts.
Chapter 7: face/off
When Peter opens the door to his apartment, his palms are so sweaty he almost can’t get a grip on the doorknob, and has to fiddle with it embarrassingly for several seconds too long before he can swing the door open. He has a pleasant greeting locked and loaded, but unfortunately it dies in his throat as he comes face to face with a large wad of white flowers.
"Um,” he says
Deadpool is standing there, looking awfully demure and towering over Peter, all of his bulk offset by a strange little dress he’s wearing over his usual red bodysuit. He is holding what appears to be a small bouquet directly in front of his face.
“I’ve just chickened out, goodbye,” he says quickly, and then moves like he’s going to sprint away, except Peter grabs his arm and yanks him firmly back towards the doorway.
"Now, hey!” Peter barks. “If I have to do this, so do you! Do not bail on me!”
“I’m not BAILING, I’m fleeing the scene!” Deadpool whines, leaning childishly away from Peter like he’s being dragged around a supermarket against his will. “You know, I was on cloud nine on my way here. Rock hard for the entire trip.”
Peter gives him an exhausted little huff.
“But now that I’m here, this is shapin’ up to be a lot more like a nightmare than a daydream, you get me?”
“Listen, I know we’re both a little…” Peter makes a gesture with his hand, which is vague. “Uh, not exactly fresh with...dating. Or, um. Emotions?”
“I haven’t had a good emotion in years,” Deadpool says, his tone a pale imitation of his usual mocking lilt, a well of tension hiding just under the surface.
"BUT,” Peter soldiers on, “I feel that this has to happen. You and I,” he says, putting a hand tentatively and awkwardly on Deadpool’s broad chest in the hopes that it comes off as a sympathetic gesture of comfort, “need to talk this out like adults.”
“You’re asking me to be mature about this?”
“Frankly, I’m insulted.”
Peter sighs. “Please come into my apartment before I end up staging this entire conversation out in the hall. I don’t need my neighbors eavesdropping on this, I’m already horrified enough.”
“Oh, YOU’RE horrified?” Deadpool says with an offended huff, walking past Peter and into the apartment, still holding the bouquet strategically in front of his face. “If I had pants, I’d shit them. That’s how bad it is.”
Peter attempts a calming breath. It does not work. He does not know anything about yoga or breathing techniques. He gestures with his hands, to no avail. “Okay. Right. We just have to get through this, okay?”
“Well, I’m here, aren’t I? I showed up tot his little shindig, you better make it worth my valuable time,” Deadpool says. “Is it hot in here, or is it just you?” he adds, fairly pathetically and awkwardly.
Peter sighs. “The couch, please.”
“An old friend, a comfort in my time of need,” Deadpool says, and scoots his way to the couch, still hiding, before sitting carefully on it, his legs together and his shoulder tight, looking like he’s trying to make himself small. He’s huge, so the effect is wasted.
Peter considers joining him, but in stead opts for an opposing chair, sitting down and putting his head in his hands immediately, breathing out a puff of air and trying to calm himself down, his heart doing a little hop and a skip in a way that is...not unpleasant, but certainly more awkward than Peter would like. His last relationship ended in death and he’s really...never had to do this. Gwen always just sort of understood him and understood that he was attracted to her, and their relationship had taken place at the tail end of his high school years, so it’s not as though it had even been a proper adult romance. He just isn’t sure what to do.
“How do I start this conversation?”
“Why can’t we just skip to the part where we make out and don’t have these sorts of problems? You’d be shocked how many things can be solved with a quick, dirty handjob and some spit to lube things up.”
“I don’t think that’s the kind of transaction I’m going for, here," Peter snorts. “What are you doing with that bouquet, anyway? Were you going to give it to me, or just...weirdly hide behind it this entire time?”
“Well,” Deadpool starts, as if this should be obvious and he’s explaining it to an idiot, “I INTENDED to give it to you, but then I got in front of your door and I was like, 'wow, this is a much worse Idea than I first thought!' And I know from bad ideas, Pete. Stayin' up late on a school night is a bad idea, Pete. This is-this is a damn MESS.”
“Wade,” Peter says, seriously.
Deadpool shrinks away from him, like the saddest little dog. “Okay, okay,” he mumbles. “But if you wig out, I have my mask, alright? I can just put it on, and you can pretend you didn't almost lose your lunch.”
Peter leans back in his seat, eyes wide. “Oh,” he mutters. “You don’t have to-”
“Yeah, I kinda do,” Deadpool replies, rather gruffly from behind the flowers. “If you’re, uh, SERIOUS about me, as the kids say these days, um...you should probably know what kinda fucked up freakshow mess you’re steppin’ into. I ain’t that much of an asshole, to get you on the hook and then spring this kinda shit on you. I’m gonna give you a chance to drop me like a bad habit and run screamin’ for the hills.” He sighs. “You...somehow don’t seem to mind a lot of stuff about me, which I don’t...whatever. I mean, do you even have an IDEA of what I look like?”
Peter just pauses, watching him carefully, studying his posture and the way he's trying to be absorbed by the couch cushions.
Then Pete huffs. “I, um. I know a little. I have the internet, I’ve googled you once or twice, and it's not like you keep a lot of secrets. I know that you have scars, like...all over. Is that it?”
“You’ve got the gist, yeah. My body-it’s always dyin and healin’ too fast for itself, it gets tripped up. Scars are always changin’ so I'm some fresh kinda ugly every morning when I wake up an’ look in the mirror, babycakes. That wears thin after a while, and sure as shit nobody ever wants to get with you when you look like a low res picture of a testicle stretched over a human body.”
"That’s,” Peter starts, and then snorts. “That’s a little graphic. I’m sure you don’t look like a testicle.:
“See, you SAY that...” Deadpool says, and then just grunts uncomfortably and clears his throat. “Don’t try to sugar coat it, alright? I KNOW I’m not anyone’s definition of pretty. They don't put men like me on magazine covers and I’ve long since given up on tryin’ to be somethin’ I’m not. I don’t want you to tell me I’m cute, because you’d be lyin’- want you to not...freak out.”
“Cross my heart,” Peter says, and then physically crosses it, just to make sure.
"Hope to die?”
“Stick a needle in my eye.”
Then, without warning or preamble, Deadpool yanks the flowers down. He’s staring at the coffee table that separates himself from Peter like he’s trying to burn a hole it in, aggressively not making eye contact.
Peter sucks in a breath, shocked, and then damns himself for the reaction, pulling his lips into a tight line even as his shoulders go stiff and he grips the arm rests on his chair.
He’s never seen anything like this.
Part of him-the cold, scientific part that gets him through the tough things about life-is fascinated. His mind, for a lack of any other way to respond, immediately starts going a mile a minute on how Wade Wilson ticks, on how the cancer cells and the mutation are working for and against each other, how his biology holds itself together, how he resurrects himself from death. Cells, his mind says. Cancer cells, cells that don’t know how to shut off, cells that don’t know when to die, mixed with a gargantuan healing factor. He’s dying as fast as he’s being revived.
Peter traces his features with his eyes. He knows he’s staring, wide eyed and surprised, but he can’t seem to move or stop, his mind swallowing up every detail he can get. Deadpool is bald-not a hair on his visage-and scarred. The dark marks seem to move across his skin, streaking across his face like stripes on a tiger, zigzagging over his features like an optical illusion. The scarred flesh is darker than the healthier skin, but none of it looks truly healed. His bone structure is the most prominent feature of his face, for a lack of other features at all.
Peter would guess that once upon a time, he was a very traditional kind of handsome. He has a sharp jawline and a strong chin, his lips are a nice cupid’s bow like on men on TV, but it’s streaked with scars. His cheekbones are high-not pronounced, but placed on his face in a way that makes him seem more severe than he is. His brow is lowered and stony, creating a hollow that casts shadows over his eyes, and his eyes-his EYES.
They’re milky white. Peter had always assumed that the mask was just the mask, that he’d actually have fairly normal eyes, but they're are yellowed at the edges and almost white. Peter can’t imagine how he can see out of them, can’t imagine how a mutation like that can leave him functional. One of his pupils is smeared and broken, scarred just like his skin. Peter knew a kid once, in middle school, who had been shot in the eye with a BB gun, his pupil split strangely and smaller than the other. This reminds him of that kid, and it gives him a strange sense of vertigo.
His face is not like the mask. His face is-it’s a PERSON, and that strikes Peter more than anything. Somehow, the mask had separated Deadpool into more of an idea than a human being, but without his mask he looks...like a regular person. Peter can almost feel phantom pain, looking at him.
Deadpool blinks, slowly letting out a strained breath through his nose, and looks up at Peter with pale, searching eyes, his mouth drawn into a tight frown, his hands wrung around each other in front of him, the stems of the flowers in his hand absolutely crushed.
Peter reminds himself to breathe, and exhales a measured breath, relaxing slightly and slumping back into his chair.
They stare at each other for a moment. Peter gazes openly at him, searching every feature over and over again, hoping to kill his desire to just gawk.
“Hm,” he says after a moment. “Well, I'm not running for the hills, if that’s what you were scared of.”
Deadpool says nothing. He bows up like a cat, and looks much surlier and more dangerous than Peter would have anticipated, like he’s ready to strike back at Peter if he needs to.
“Hey, hey,” Peter murmurs, his softness a little choked up, and Deadpool looks away quickly, a muscle in his jaw jumping as he grinds his teeth and crunches the flowers in his hand like a stress ball. Peter slowly sits up and gets out of his chair, moving to take a seat next to Deadpool on the couch. He hesitates for a moment, and then tentatively puts and arm around his lower back, leaning into him. “Are you okay?”
“M’fine. M’tougher than that.” Deadpool grits out. “Pain all the time. Death all the time. This ain’t nothin’. Just a littl embarassin,’ like last place in a beauty contest. That’s all it is. It isn’t a damn thing.”
Except that it is.
He looks so sad and broken, all bowed up and defensive on the couch, a strap of the dress slipping off his shoulder, flowers ruined, expression pinched.
“You don’t have to be ‘tougher than that’,” Peter mutters, and leans onto his shoulder. “You can tell me if it hurts, or if you don't want me to look, or...”
“Well, it does hurt,” he says with a huff. “Not even ‘cause of you. You didn't do anything. ‘Cause of me.”
“If it helps at all,” Peter murmurs, “I think you look like a tiger.”
Deadpool is quiet for a moment, and then he snorts out a helpless, relieved little laugh, finally unclenching one of his fists so he can run it down his face. It shakes slightly. “Really? Tigers are pretty fuckin’ rad, y’know. People love tigers. Furries, especially. You seen that Tony the Tiger shit? Some people wanna fuck Tony the Tiger,” he rambles.
“Yeah,” Peter agrees. “And if Tony the Tiger is getting it, so can you, right?”
Deadpool laughs. “That's me. Tony the Tiger, out on the town, slayin’ pussy left an’ right.”
"Okay, that’s enough.”
“Get it? ‘Cause pussy means cat, and is slang for vagina. It’s a pun. A comedy joke, which I am known for. You pick up on that? You get it?”
"I get it, Wade.”
“Good. I’d hate it if my grade A comedy gold were to be wasted on you. I’d have to dump you on the spot.”
It’s quiet for a moment, this time less uncomfortably so.
“You know, now I feel tired,” Peter admits. “I guess I thought this would go down clean. I wanted to talk about dating and the technicalities of this crap. You just had to throw a wrench into my plans, huh?”
"That’s pretty much what I exist to do, yeah,” Deadpool replies easily, and then sighs. “What’re we doin’, Pete?” he rumbles, subdued and earnest.
Peter chews his lip and runs his eyes along Deadpool’s face, growing accustomed to it as quickly as he can. “Kissing,” he says, quietly, “if you want.”
Deadpool’s brow raises comically, his eyes going a little wide, and then a smile pulls across his face, pressing laugh lines into his skin and crinkling the corners of his eyes, his teeth brilliant, canines a little pronounced, too perfect to not have had braces when he was young. Peter’s heart stutters and it’s like somebody turned on a lamp in his chest, the little click of a switch being flipped and a light turned on.
His face is wonderful. He’s so much more expressive than the mask allows him to be. He’s like a cartoon character, with fine control over every goofy, genuine expression, every part of his face an open book, his entire being and soul pressed to the glass of reality, too bare and too naked and good lord no wonder he wears the mask. Peter can read his every thought.
It steals Peter’s breath just for a moment. He can feel his face running through a series of expressions, unable to channel what he’s feeling.
“You look a little constipated, love,” Deadpool says to him. “You doin’ okay?”
“Can I? Please?” Peter asks, and it sounds a little desperate, but he doesn’t care.
“Um,” Deadpool murmurs, startlingly restrained. “Sure.”
Peter’s hand moves to hold the back of his neck and he pulls them together, tilting his head. His eyes are closer before their lips even meet and he hits his mark square, their lips slotting easily together like puzzle pieces. It’s really not different from every other kiss Peter has ever experienced, but that doesn’t stop his heart from hammering in his chest. Deadpool is unresponsive for only a moment before he presses in, eager and jittery all of a sudden, his hands moving to grab at Peter’s bicep and touch his jaw, a gloved thumb scraping along his emerging stubble.
This time is not like the first time. It’s intentional and fast paced and a little more sure. Deadpool’s hands are gentle but they move quickly and with intention, multitasking where Peter can only barely manage to handle one thing at a time, hanging off of Deadpool’s shoulders like an accessory. Deadpool’s hands rub his sides and his back and his bicep, touch his jaw and the lobe of his ear, fingers twisting into his hair and pressing them so close that it heats Peter up like a kiln. He breathes hard out of his nose, gasping for cool air, the place between his chest and his shirt unbearably hot. Deadpool's kisses are manic, like there’s something he’s trying to dig into that he just can’t resist or even keep track of, and it isn’t a minute before he tongues Peter’s mouth open and kisses him with parted lips and a searching tongue.
Peter melts like jelly. His body, starved for contact and re-discovering all the sensations of kissing, arches up eagerly like a cat being stroked, and god, he swears he could purr.
They part with a sloppy wet sound long enough for Peter to gasp and feel the ghost of Deadpool’s breath on his chin, and then they connect again. Peter presses harder, matching Deadpool’s wild, fast energy, and manages to press him back in spite of being the shorter of the two of them. With a small gasp and a pleasant, happy little sound, Peter pushes back hard and, to his surprise, Deadpool gladly allows himself to be toppled backwards and pinned to the couch, swinging his legs up onto it so Peter can lay between them. Deadpool’s movements contradict themselves; he’s ferocious and energetic, but not dominating or pressuring. He seems to delight in allowing Peter the upper hand deliberately, making himself open and vulnerable but no less aggressive. His attention span is short; a kiss, a bite, a lick, a grope, all so fast it makes Peter's head spin.
Peter takes Deapool's lip between his teeth and bites, and get an interesting, deep rumble in response, before he twists his mouth and tries for a new angle. He tastes mint.
He pulls back with a wet smack and breathes heavily, looking blearily down at the adult man he has pinned to his couch. He never envisioned himself in this position, but here he is.
“You taste like mint,” he says, dumbly. “Did you eat a mint?”
“Figured that on the off chance you wanted to swap spit,” Deadpool breathes with a lecherous grin and a twinkle to his pale eyes, “I should be ready.”
“That is so considerate of you,” Peter breathes as Deadpool rolls his hips up, the rough denim of Peter's jeans rubbing him gently.
“I’m a god damn saint,” Deadpool growls, tongue darting out to trace over his teeth.
Peter is rather unpracticed with being openly attracted to someone, but he can’t seem to help himself at the moment.
His hands move up and down Deadpool’s warm, wide chest, fingers catching on the fabric of the sundress he's wearing, dragging over it like he might be able to absorb it. Peter kisses him again, this time in little wet, rhythmic pecks, feeling the way Deadpool’s legs squirm pleasantly around him.
Deadpool is so expressive, everything is so intense with him. His broad hands move slowly down Peter’s back, which arches helplessly into the touch, until he reaches the swell of his ass, and grabs it hard. Peter gasps, and-wow, has he EVER found getting his ass grabbed hot? Is that just a new thing that he has to deal with now?
Peter runs his tongue and teeth along Deadpool’s jawline before he sucks the lobe of his ear into his mouth and bites, and Deadpool grunts, hands kneading his ass. "Fuck,” he hisses like escaping steam. “Jesus H. Christ on a Popsicle stick, sugar, you aren’t leavin’ room for the holy ghost, are you?”
Peter giggles airily and gives Deadpoo’s side a fond slap before the mercenary, who he has decided he’d like to date because he makes good life choices, makes a surprise move and sucks onto his neck, kissing down to his collarbone and leaving an open mouthed suction mark. Peter groans and shivers, the hair on his arms standing up, before he bites, and then, if there was any blood left in Peter’s brain, it fast travels down to his cock.
“Oh my god,” Peter breathes helplessly, before he gasps and jerks away, too overwhelmed and too hot, sweat damp on his chest, his shirt sticking to it. He rears up, back arched, and looks down at his handiwork, at a messed up dress and dropped bouquet and the downright ravenous look being trained onto him as if fired through the scope of a rifle. Deadpool’s pink tongue is pinched neatly between his teeth and he's grinning like a fox.
Peter situates their legs comfortably and sits up, yanking Deadpoo's dress up (for which he receives an exaggeratedly girlish giggle) and pushing slowly down so they they can rub together, a little “oh,” escaping him when he finally gets contact, the bulge in the front of his pants pressing satisfyingly against the crotch of Deadpool’s suit, the dress hiked up around his waist in a wrinkled bunch.
“This is torture,” Deadpool whines, his hands on Peter’s hips. “Fuck my sweet ass, why does my suit have a cup? I’m so hard and it hurts,” he pants, his hips pushing up to meet Peter, moving in sync as if they’ve practiced this a thousand times. Peter is no stranger to the fine art of getting off, and he’s going to make a wild guess that Deadpool isn’t, either.
Peter quickly discovers what he assumes is the fly on the suit, and yanks it down, only to have to fight awkwardly with the plastic barrier between Wade Wilson’s dick and the outside world. “Fuck-fucking-why would you do this!” Peter says, somewhat frantic.
“It’s sewn into the suit, baby, I’m sorry!”
“I can’t-how do you pee?!" Peter growls and then dissolves into laughter, caught between amused, horny, and frustrated. “Do you have to take the whole thing off? Do you have to completely undress every time you take a piss?!”
“Everything except the mask and the gloves,” he sighs dramatically, not being helpful at all. “I like how the gloves feel on my dick.”
“That’s fucked up, man,” Peter accuses. He’s rock hard and his head is reeling and he just WANTS it, god damn it! “Oh my god, just-”
And then Peter maybe gets too excited and frustrated because he engages a TINY amount of his super strength to rip Deadpool’s pants almost in half. The merc squeaks and jumps, openly shocked at the display of desperation of physical strength. Peter's heart about stops and he looks up quickly at Deadpool, his hair hanging in his face, wondering if he’s been found out.
Deadpool just stares at him for a second. “Okay, that was-damn. That was hot. Thank’s for your generous deposit to the spank bank, we appreciate you business-”
Peter kisses him hard to shut him up. He barely muffles the surprised little laugh that bubbles out of Deadpool.
Then it’s hard to stop kissing long enough to rub their dicks together, and Peter has to reluctantly wrench himself away from that hot mouth and quick tongue.
When he leans back up, he unbuttons his own pants and yanks the fly down. He can’t get them all the way off without getting up and interrupting everything and he’s a little too into the swing of things to quite manage that, so this will have to do. His cock, held in place by thin white briefs, presses eagerly out of the opening.
Somehow, Deadpool manages to say nothing at all, and just gurgle a little bit.
Peter then yanks the fabric away from his partner’s crotch and finally presses them together, rocking forward.
“No underwear, huh?” he gasps out, hands on either side of Deadpool’s torso, supporting himself.
“Never,” the merc hisses playfully, pushing up into Peter’s movements, rhythmic like the tide and so hot it almost burns.
Peter is dimly aware that things have escalated very quickly, but he is also feeling deeply entitled to this after so much bullshit.
He grinds hard down into Deadpool’s cock and the merc’s head dips back suddenly, a string of indecipherable, babbling gibberish spilling out of his mouth, his hands gripping Peter’s hips so hard he might bruise.
Peter can just barely see Deadpoo’s dick under him, and it’s scarred like the rest of him; larger than Peter by a nearly intimidating margin, and marked with what one might mistake for circumcision scarring if it didn't stripe over the entire length. Peter’s mouth waters involuntarily.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck,” he can hear himself chanting and moaning and panting, trying to keep quiet, little more than a mass of instinct and desire, his partner writhing pleasantly beneath him in a way that make shim feel like fucking, king of pride rock or some shit, who cares, he can’t think straight.
Deadpool’s babbling gets louder and faster, his body arching up and seeking contact, their cocks accumulating heat and friction. Deadpool starts scrabbling at him with his leather gloved hands, grasping onto Peter like he’s drowning, breathing hard and fast, the cool leather of his gloves pleasant on Peter’s neck and arms and sides and hips and every other part of him that Deadpool grabs in his moment of excruciating desperation.
Deapdool tries to arch up to meet him, searching for a kiss, and Peter grunts, not wanting to lose contact between the more relevant areas of their bodies. He breathes hard as Deadpool tries to sit up, before putting both of his hands very squarely on the merc's chest.
It’s an accident, really. Again. A second accident, because Peter doesn't quite have full control of all of his faculties. The second he feels himself being physically overpowered, he purrs out a slow, gruff “down,” and slams Deapdool back onto the couch, his super strength making it all too easy. The merc’s back makes a loud thud and the whole apartment seems to shudder, the couch making a barking sound as it scoots suddenly back under the force of the blow. Deadpool looks destroyed, all the breath rushing out of him in a grunt, his eyes wide and shocked.
Peter only has to wonder if that was the right move for a tiny, minuscule fraction few a second before Deadpool moans, long and loud and extravagant. Apparently it was exactly the right thing to do. Deadpool's whole body goes tight and hard as steel, every muscle flexing, his thighs rock hard, expression strained, before he comes hard and helplessly, Peter’s hands still pinning him roughly to the couch, their bodies rocking together. Peter feels his cock pulse and release, semen streaking out over his belly and chest in thick, sticky strands, his head twisted to the side. He thrashes and convulses helplessly, pulsing out two more shots of cum onto his own chest, all over the dress hiked around his middle, and Peter watches with wide eyes. Deadpool’s mouth drops open as he finishes, and although Peter has been restraining himself-he lives in an apartment complex and would rather his neighbors not know what he sounds like when he’s fucking-Deadpool has no such tendencies, and howls like a pornstar.
Peter comes with a surprised little “guh,” sound, his own orgasm managing to sneak up on him, body going tight before the coil snaps and his hips shudder forward, come wetting the fabric of his brief and he jerks through ,bucking down. Once he’s spent and gasping, he only barely manages to keep himself upright, unable to fall forward onto the panting, limp body beneath him, as it’s covered in semen and Peter doesn’t want to sandwich it between them. For a moment, they catch their breath, gasping and deprived of oxygen, lightheaded and jelly-legged.
“You wrecked my dress,” Deadpool finally croaks up at him, bleary eyed and red.
“YOU wrecked your dress,” Peter retorts, sucking Deadpool's come from his thumb and grimacing. "Um, the jury politely suggests that you improve your diet. Your spunk tastes like it was scraped off a car engine."
“Stop that,” Deadpool whines, sounding pleasantly defeated. “You stop that. I am trying-there can’t be afterglow if you do shit like that. My refractory period is, like, five minutes, don’t do this to me.”
“Jesus,” Peter remarks, too dizzy and exhausted to conduct civilized conversation. “Healing factor?”
“Well, since I don’t have the healing factor from hell, I’m going to need a nap before anything else happens,” Peter breathes, surveying the damage. Well, one of them is going to have to do laundry.
He seems te have skipped the meaningful conversation they were supposed to have completely, but he doesn’t feel like he missed out on much. Maybe this was just an easier way to let all of that tension out. He feels inexplicably closer to Deadpool than he did before, with his naked face and his unrestrained noises and the strange, open warmth of his smile. They can work out the details later.
“God,” he grunts, and sways. “Bed?”
Deadpool points at himself, eyebrows raised. Peter laughs.