Say Anything…Except That

By Cortexikid

Chapter 23: I Love You, Peter Parker

Hey guys! How's—

BACK, FOUL DEMON!

Uh…what?

BE GONE, WITCH!

Wade, what the—did you just try spray me with holy water?

I'm not takin' any chances with you, writer lady. Who knows what else you're capable of.

What do you mean 'what else'? What have I supposedly—oh. Ohhhhhhh. This is about that scene in Deadpool 2, isn't it?

Fuck yeah it is! I mean, I don't believe in coincidences so—

So, I must be what…psychic? A witch? Demon? Satan's Little Helper?

All of the above? Fucked if I know. All I DO know, is that in Deadpool 2 I'm paying homage to the man John Cusack himself in Say Anything and uh…what's the name of this fic again? What movie were you thinking of when you titled it? Huh? HUH?!

Okay, okay. I admit, it's one hell of a—

Do not. Say. Coincidence.

—Parallelism.

Parallelism? Are you kidding me?

Fuck man, I don't know. There aren't many synonyms for 'coincidence.'

So, you can predict the future but not come up with another word for something? Huh. So much for that fancy Master's Degree you wasted a year of your life on.


"I don't care if Monday's blue, Tuesday's grey and Wednesday too, Thursday I don't care about you, it's Friday, I'm in—"

[It's Sunday]

{Is it?}

[Who knows anymore. This day's eternal]

"—Didn't peg you as a Cure fan."

The words were murmured into the space between Wade's neck and shoulder.

"Oh yeah," the merc mumbled in response, "I love me some guyliner and angst. Was practically my signature brand in the '90s."

His tone was low as they sat on the subway, huddled and jaded, looking smaller than any guys tipping (or exceeding) six feet tall had any business being.

Peter shifted a little, his lips brushing Wade's skin as he heaved a sigh, "well, I wouldn't know about that, old man. I was like in diapers when that song came out."

{And Tom Holland was but a twinkle in his dad's eye}

[More like a swimmer in his dad's junk]

{Sperm don't last that long}

[Well, sorrrry. Didn't realise this was a biology lesson]

"Fuck you, Parker."

"Sounds fun but gonna have to take a rain check," Peter smirked as their finally caught each other's eye, "I've had one helluva day." He punctuated the end of his sentence with a poor attempt at stifling his yawn.

Wade marginally registered an older woman giving them the stink-eye from across the carriage as he drew the shorter man into a side-hug, resting his chin on top of his matted brunet hair.

"Soft, tender love-making it is then," he smiled, throwing the scandalised woman a wink, "the fucking can wait."

He knew that if Peter had had the energy, he would have surely paid for that comment, but as it stood, the arachnid was barely in shape to stay upright, let alone admonish him. Whatever Blye had given him had pretty much left his system, but he was still groggy and weary from everything nonetheless.

"You gonna let one of Stark's team look you over at the tower?" Wade asked into his hair, already knowing the answer.

"I'm fine, Wade."

"I know you're fine, Petey-Pie. Ain't no one sexier. But medically, you could do with a once-over."

Peter chuckled into Wade's shoulder, his breath bouncing against his collar bone, "all right, I'll get checked out if it stops you from worrying, Aunt May."

The merc let that comparison slide. He didn't care if he sounded like a concerned loved-one, because right now, that was exactly what he was. He could admit that, if only internally, so he didn't push the issue. Seeing Peter squeeze himself under that beam and disappear…his heart was in his throat even now, just thinking about it. The sight had stolen his breath, robbed him of any semblance of calm he may have been projecting as he and Matt worked tirelessly to get all the kids out.

But they were safe now. The kids. The teacher. Eddie. Peter. Giovanni Blye had not succeeded in permanently harming any of them, at least not physically. But Wade didn't need to be one graham cracker short of a s'more to know how friable the human mind could prove to be.

"…ade? Wade? This is our stop."

He allowed Peter's soft tone to shake him from his reverie, a small smile gracing his face as their gazes met again.

They were safe. Everyone was safe.

They could rest.

For now.

{*Dramatic pause*}

[DUN DUN DUN!]


He couldn't explain it, really. The feeling he got when he hugged his Aunt May. It was warmth, safety and contentedness all wrapped up in the weight of her arms around his shoulders. Ever since he was a kid, whenever he scraped his knee, or Flash called him names, or school stressed him out, one hug from May had all that negative energy seeping out of him like a deflating balloon.

Tonight, was no different.

Peter's shoulders sagged as he heaved a sigh, wrapping his arms around the smaller woman, fighting down the well of emotion that had been clawing up his throat since he set foot in Avenger Tower. He could feel Wade's gaze boring a hole into his back, watching them both intently from his position in the doorway.

"Wade Wilson, you come here too," May spoke up, pinning him with a pointed look over Peter's shoulder, "come on."

She lifted a hand off her nephew's back to gesture at the Canadian, coaxing him over to them. Sheepishly, Wade did as he was told and barely managed to contain his squeal of surprise when the older woman pulled him into their embrace with a shocking strength. Wade could feel Peter's snort of amusement when he rested his chin on top of his head, bringing his arms around the Parkers and squeezing tight. He hid a smile into Peter's brunet tresses as both Peter and May extracted an arm each to loop around Wade's back, closing their circle tightly.

They stood like that for several seconds. Minutes. Maybe hours. Wade wasn't sure, all he knew was that he wanted to bottle the warm, gooey feeling that had taken up residence in his chest and hold onto it for as long as he could. He could feel a very slight tremor wrack Peter's body as he took a breath and didn't have to meet his gaze to know what the younger man was feeling.

Relief.

Sorrow.

Acceptance.

"So sorry to interrupt," a charming British voice broke through their quiet moment, "but the taxi to bring you all back to Mrs Parker's residence has arrived."

May chuckled, giving Wade and Peter one last squeeze before letting the boys go and stepping back, "how many times do I have to tell you to call me May, Jarvis?"

Wade took this opportunity to side-glance his friend? Lover? Flover?—who was still a little pale and frazzled, despite getting the all-clear from Stark's people only twenty minutes before. Hazel eyes met his and he took a deep breath before throwing him a small smile.

There was still a lot to do. A lot to discuss and decompress and analyse.

But not tonight.


SECRET LABORATORY EXPOSED AFTER RCORP FIRE!

In the wake of the fire that broke out at the RCorp building three weeksago,a secret government facility known as 'Skyline Laboratories' has been discovered. It has come to light that RCorp's founder, Walter Rickards, heavily funded a program at Skyline that engaged in human experimentation and unethical research practices. The connection that the recent fire at RCorp and the fire at their prior address a year previously has also been linked to not only Skyline Laboratories, but to the murder of one of its patients, Charles Hanway. Giovanni Blye (of Brooklyn Blye's Furniture Emporium) has been implicated in Hanway's murder and the recent arson at RCorp and is currently being questioned at New York's 12th Precinct. As for the laboratories, the facility has since been shut down and its remaining patients undergoing treatment at Stark Industries. When questioned about the progress of the patients, founder Tony Stark had this to say: …continued on page 4

"You look like a sexy librarian."

Wade Wilson glanced up from The Daily Bugle, his reading glasses slipping slightly down the bridge of his nose as he tilted his head at his companion.

"I never knew you had glasses fetish, Parker."

Peter Parker chuckled from his side of the bed, mushing his head further into his pillow as he studied Wade's profile. The sun was beginning to stream into his room through a crack in the drapes, basking them in a soft morning glow as Wade sat propped up, pages sprawled across his lap, his bare chest on full display.

The brunet made a show of raking his eyes tantalisingly slowly across Wade's exposed skin before cheekily meeting his eye, "not just a glasses fetish, Wilson."

The merc barely suppressed a snort, "don't I know it. Weirdo."

[Oooh is Petey into kinky stuff?]

{It's always the quiet ones}

[Big guy's hit the jackpot!]

A soft smile spread across Wade's face as Peter leaned up, brushing his lips lightly against his.

"Good morning."

"Great morning."

Peter pulled back, a hum vibrating in the back of his throat as he gripped Wade's bicep, tilting his head, a pensive look on his face.

"We could make it a fantastic morning…"

Wade quirked a non-existent eyebrow, "oh? And how ever would we do that?"


He was drowning.

A deep, dark surge of pressure was weighing him down.

He couldn't breathe.

Couldn't see.

Couldn't hear.

He just…was.

He just existed in this space – this ink-blot wasteland of nothingness.

Wholly alone but ever aware of his own struggling breaths as he fought the invisible binds that bound him.

Until, a wisp of…something.

Light, smoke, he didn't know. Didn't care. All he knew was that it was better than this agonising emptiness.

He grabbed it with both hands, marvelling as it spread up his arms and down his chest until he was covered, basked in its glow.

"—ames? Mr James, can you hear me?"


Wade Wilson was 100%, unequivocally, an ass man.

Like, no doubt about it. He liked a perky peach. Delectable derriere. A gorgeous gluteus maximus.

But damn. There were times where a guy just had to admire the often-times overlooked, but no-less sexy deltoid muscles.

[Those are shoulders for those of us that don't speak nerd]

Christ, did Peter Benjamin Parker have some sexy shoulders.

And Wade would know. He had quite the view from where he currently had him bent over the bathroom sink, pounding into him with fearless abandon.

"Fuck, Wade!"

Watching the muscles strain against their combined weight, the Canadian marvelled not for the first time at the sheer strength thrumming through every inch of Peter.

{Snort}

[So many jokes, so little time]

"Got-gotta say, Parker. You do have…the best…ideas…" Wade gasped as he watched the slide of his cock, hard and throbbing, disappear into Peter, "this is…a fantastic morning."

Peter threw him a smug smirk over one over his sexy, sexy shoulders, releasing a short groan, "told ya."

Wade knew what the other man was doing, of course. Contrary to popular belief, the merc was far from stupid. He just played the fool sometimes. It helped if people underestimated him and who was more underestimated than the village idiot? Or in Wade's case, the city idiot. He knew Peter didn't think him dim, though. Was aware that Peter probably knew that he had figured it out, but was keeping quiet lest he get called on it.

That fucking mirror would be the end of him.

He kept catching his own eye in its reflection as he thrust into Peter, over and over and over. The sight was…breath-taking. Unlike last time however, the tightness that Wade had felt in his chest, like his heart was the prey that a boa constrictor enjoyed choking the life out of, was barely there. It was now less of a boa's grip and more of an apathetic worm's, really. Present, but almost not.

It probably helped that Wade may have mentioned the little dream he had had when Blye whammied the two of them at RCorp. It seemed Peter was working on recreating that dream, arching his back and reaching behind him to pull Wade in by the neck, so that his chest was flush against him, their faces almost side-by-side.

Chocolate eyes met hazel in the mirror.

"Gorgeous," Peter breathed, throwing him a wink.

[Omg is it just hot in herre, Nelly, circa 2002, or is the big guy's face actually on fire?]

{Aww, he's blushing. How cute.}

[Very loose definition of 'cute' ya got there]

{Meh. I'm feeling generous}

"Shut up, Parker," Wade murmured into Peter's neck, breaking his gaze away from their heaving bodies and latching onto the tantalising skin, sucking and biting an impressive hickey into it.

"Oh, Stark is definitely gonna see that," the brunet chuckled when after a few moments, Wade's lips pulled off his neck with a loud pop.

"Good. I want the world to see my handy-work."

Peter leaned back to press a kiss against the edge of Wade's jaw, "and here I thought you'd settle for just a handy."

"I'll take whatever you give me, baby boy," the merc smiled, once again ensnared by the picture the two of them made in the mirror, the breath knocked from his lungs for what felt like the millionth time.

What a fantastic morning, indeed.


"I swear, if one more thing goes wrong this morning, I'm gonna lose my shit."

Steve Rogers levelled his friend with a stare, "I thought this was you losing your shit?"

[Huh. Someone clearly hasn't seen—]

{Nope! Don't you dare even think about that!}

[Geez. Sorrrry. Ixnay on Infinity-kay. Gotcha.]

"I take it Eddie hasn't woken up yet?" Natasha Romanoff asked as she entered the large briefing room in Avenger Tower, taking note of her friends' stiff postures and the tension between them.

[There's always tension between them]

{Hence the fanfiction}

[And fanart]

{And RDJ and Evans making heart-eyes at each other every five seconds}

"The last attempt didn't work either," Stark filled her in with a wave of his hand, "and I really can't take another day of Parker's kicked puppy face."

Steve took a step forward, catching his gaze, "you and Bruce are doing all you can. Peter, the team and Rickards too. God knows what Blye did to him, and I can't say he'll be the same when he wakes up, but…he will wake up, Tony. Take it from me."

Tony stared up at his friend, heaving a sigh before nodding. He hated feeling like this. Antsy, on edge, just…waiting for something to happen. It was maddening. Attempt after attempt after attempt had failed in the last three weeks to wake his employee from the coma he had slipped into, and with every passing hour he remained unconscious, it got harder and harder to bear.

His family had finally arrived back from their travels and were currently hauled up in one of the many guest rooms that adorned the tower, getting a few hours of sleep. They barely left the observation room in the lab at Stark Industries apart from that, however. They stood watch, vigil, over their son, their brother, at the large window that overlooked James's quarantined room as dozens of hospital staff roamed in and out, day after day.

Peter often stood with them, when he wasn't assisting with the battery of tests that were undertaken on his friend. He spoke to them, clearly familiar with the family, tried to reassure them, joke with them, but it all fell flat in comparison to the young man's genuine interactions. He felt an overwhelming guilt, that was clear to anyone that glanced at him. He blamed himself for what happened to his friend, his colleague. And interacting with Eddie's parents and sister only heightened that to a level where at the end of each day, Peter was hallowed out, a husk of himself.

Thank god for Wade Wilson.

Those were words Tony Stark never thought he'd think.

Paradoxically, Wade was the one keeping Peter sane. Accompanying him every time he came to see Eddie, waiting for however long it took as Peter spoke to the family and ran tests and consulted with his boss and colleagues before accompanying him back home, doing his best to keep his spirits up, in whatever way he could.

Unfortunately for Tony and the majority of Stark Industries' employees, that meant by being as 'helpful' as possible. This entailed cooking over a hundred pancakes for the cafeteria's lunch, nearly burning the kitchen to the ground in the process, dressing up as a clown Patch-Adams-style and rollerblading through the hallways, and, not that Tony would ever admit this if his life depended on it, doing a hilarious impression of him to everyone and anyone that happened to walk by.

It was quirky, funny and at times, downright nuts. Just like the merc himself. But it worked. Tony saw the improvement in Peter's mood. How he was getting a little more positive, despite the failures so far. He hadn't lost his hope that his friend would awaken. In fact, he had only grown more and more determined as the days wore on.

But that didn't mean he didn't give Tony the puppy-dog eyes at every given opportunity and would no doubt do precisely that when he came in this afternoon.

Hence Tony's foul mood this Tuesday morning.

He hoped Peter's morning was going better.

At that thought, he braced himself for his journey back to James's room, where Bruce and a house-arrested Selena Rickards were waiting for their eleventh attempt at rising the young man from his deep sleep, but before he could step around Steve, Banner came bounding into the room, panting heavily.

"Bruce what—"

"He's awake, Tony!"

Huh. Guess this morning was looking up.


Peter pulled at the collar of his shirt for the dozenth time.

"Keep tryin' Petey Pie," Wade smirked, stepping around him with a twirl, "but that love bite ain't goin' nowhere."

The younger man tried his best to scowl as he let his collar drop, knowing well that the crimson mark was in plain sight, the material doing absolutely nothing to mask it, but he could feel the edges of his mouth turning up as he remembered just what, and who, caused the hickey in the first place.

"I think you have a neck fetish," he said instead of a proper reprimand, abandoning his clothes and instead focusing on the wild mop that was his hair.

"Oh, I definitely do. Hundred-percent," Wade nodded, coming up behind Peter and running his hands through his brunet locks, messing it up further, leaning down to breathe in his ear, "and a hair fetish," he nibbled at his earlobe, "earlobe fetish," before coming to rest his lips on his cheek, blowing a raspberry onto his skin with a loud smack.

"WADE! GROSS!"

The mercenary was too busy laughing however, doubled over and clutching at his stomach, tears stinging his eyes.

"I had…I had my tongue in your ass like…twenty minutes ago, and you think that's gross?" he gasped between laughs as Peter wiped at his damp cheek, eyebrows crinkled in disgust.

He wasn't genuinely grossed out, considering the wealth of bodily fluids the two had shared over the last few weeks, but Wade's reaction to him was downright adorable and he'd do anything to keep that smile on his face. Even if it meant playing the foil.

"Shut up asshole, my aunt and Rick will be here any second!" he scolded, swatting at him before nervously looking over his shoulder.

He knew that they were still a block away, but it got another snort of laughter out of Wade as he no doubt tried to force down the inevitable "you didn't shut your asshole twenty minutes ago" joke, so Peter figured it was a win.

"Hey," the Canadian spoke up suddenly, taking a step towards him and gripping his hips, pulling him in to meet his gaze, "you nervous about meeting Rick?"

It was scary how well Wade could read him.

He raised his eyes to meet the warm ones he had become so acquainted with, "a little. I mean, I've known Rick a while now. He's been our neighbour for a few years but—this time I'll be meeting him as…"

He trailed off with a wave of his hand.

"Your aunt's boyfriend," Wade finished a little sheepishly, squeezing his hips.

Peter nodded slowly, breaking eye-contact as he fidgeted with a loose thread on Wade's shirt.

"But it's okay," he murmured, sounding a million miles away, "I mean, Aunt May already met my boyfriend so I figure it's only fair that I meet hers."

He felt Wade's entire body tense under his fingertips, his form as solid as if Medusa herself had caught his gaze. It was then Peter reflected on his words and his heart stopped beating.

Fuck. You've done it now, Parker.

"Uh—I mean—you know, it's uh—"

"Boyfriend?"

A million thoughts and emotions were strung between those two syllables. The tone giving so much away and yet he couldn't pick out a single, tangible thing that gave him any indication what Wade's actual reaction was to hearing that word.

Peter floundered, his mind racing a mile a minute but his mouth unable to make a sound. He couldn't look at Wade, his eyes glued to where his fingers had frozen over the loose thread. He hadn't intended on having this conversation, not now, but he knew that if he didn't talk about this, he was risking everything.

And he had been through too much to do that.

They both had.

Dragging his eyes up Wade's clavicle, neck, then face, to finally land back on that gaze that never failed to make his heart flutter, he unstuck his tongue from the roof of his mouth and mumbled, "uh…yeah. Boyfriend. If uh…if that's okay with you?"

And they say romance is dead. A-fucking-plus, dipshit.

{Wow. Petey's inner monologue is nearly as cruel as us}

[Ha, yeah. Now all he needs is another voice thrown in the mix and he's all set]

A deafening silence followed Peter's meek question, where which he hatched several escape plans, some feasible, some that would require not only fancy footwork, speed and agility that even he may not have been capable of, and at least one that would no doubt result in Wade collapsing on the floor from second-hand embarrassment. When he saw the beginnings of a small smile on the Canadian's face however, those plans evaporated into thin air.

"That's more than okay, Parker," Wade murmured, dark eyes twinkling as he moved a hand up from Peter's hip to run through his hair.

A wave of relief flooded Peter veins, a short sigh escaping his lips as he closed his eyes, enjoying the feeling of the merc's fingers against his scalp.

That was easier than he feared. Everything with Wade seemed to be.

"So, boyfriend," Wade began, a hefty emphasis on the b-word, clearly aiming for levity but the soft expression on his face giving him away, "you want some coffee?"

At the brunet's nod, Wade gave his hip one last squeeze before turning on his heel and starting up the coffee maker. Thing was, caffeine-addiction aside, if he was honest, he really just needed a moment to compose himself.

Peter Parker's boyfriend.

Wow.

Who woulda thunk it.

[Definitely not us, that's for damn sure]

"Is that the French roast, I smell?" a familiar voice called as the front-door creaked open a few minutes later, prompting the merc to snort and reply, "you said the best, May. So, I put on the best."

He could hear Peter stand up from the table behind him, feet shuffling nervously as he waited for his aunt and her companion to enter the kitchen. He decided to stay where he was, leaning over the frying pan as butter sizzled quietly, melting like pools of golden pearls against the heat.

"Pancakes? I hope you didn't go to too much trouble on my account," a deep timbre entered the conversation, accompanied by steady footsteps and an almost imperceptible shift in atmosphere.

"Nah, it's no trouble," Peter's warm tone responded, "Wade loves any given opportunity to show off."

Before the merc could let his indignation be known, his boyfriend (god, he loved thinking that) continued: "I'm really glad you could join us, Rick."

The weight behind his words did not go unnoticed by anyone in the room.

"I'm really glad to be here, Peter."

The sincerity in those words was just as heavy.

With that, Wade took his cue, whipping around, spatula in hand, pointing it at the older man, "you're about to be even more glad when you get your mouth around this Canadian goodness."

A beat of silence swept the room.

"Oh! Uh, no, ha, I-I meant the homemade maple syrup," the merc hastily explained, gesturing behind him to the pan and pointedly ignoring the smirks both Parkers were throwing his way, "not—not uh, anything else…Peter, any time you wanna jump in here—"

"Oh no, you're doing great, Wade," the brunet replied smoothly, holding up his hands and taking a step back.

{That treacherous, traitoring traitor}

Rick, it seemed, was taking this all in his stride, and with only a cursory half-glance at May, held out his hand for Wade to shake, "nice to meet ya, Wade. I'm sure my American mouth will love your Canadian goodness."

[Oooooh. He's a keeper]


He needed a better filing system. Not that he would ever admit that to Foggy Nelson of all people. Matt Murdock didn't need sight and a snarky partner to know that his office looked like a bomb made up of paper and stationary had exploded in the vicinity, but that was the price of thorough research and snagging the mother of all clients.

Selena Rickards was a fascinating case. One that would no doubt either make or break a career. In the three weeks since the RCorp fire, Nelson and Murdock: Attorneys at Law had not only been up to their collective eyes in strategy and legal manoeuvres, but also found themselves ensnared in a morality conundrum as they tried to prevent a trial by media before they ever entered a courtroom. While certainly not as condemnable as clients of other defence teams, Selena Rickards was not a cut-and-dry innocent either. She straddled duel realities – a victim of Giovanni Blye's abhorrent plan, mind-controlled into carrying out horrendous deeds, yet, for a time, also worked in a facility that experimented in much the same vein on patients of all ages.

The media was awash with frenzied opinions once Rickards had been granted bail and took up residence with the Avengers, some positive but a lot negative in their views. Matt himself knew her to be actively working on an antidote for all those dosed with LK90 and was well-versed in her attempts to make things right, so when he got the call from Peter about he and Foggy representing her at trial, it wasn't too hard of a decision. Her heartbeat spoke volumes. Her very own purveyor of truth that eradicated any and all of the remaining doubts that the lawyer may have had.

"Jesus, Matty. Did a Staples projectile vomit in here or…?"

Matt turned towards his office door, where he knew his best friend was standing, surveying his office with what was no doubt a mixture of awe and distain.

"I may have gotten…carried away with research," he admitted with a sheepish grin, "once Selena gave me access to Skyline's records it was kinda like tumbling down a rabbit hole."

Foggy snorted, "that's one way to put it, buddy."

He shuffled closer to Matt, holding something out to him, it brushing against his fingertips, "for now though," he began with a smile in his tone, "time to take a break and enjoy the fruits of our labour."

Matt's nose crinkled in a way that was not at all adorable, "is that…champagne?"

"Yup. Courtesy of Peter and Wade for our, and I quote, 'intellect, valour and general badassery.'"

He slipped a small card lined with circular bumps into Matt's palm and low and behold, it said precisely that. What caught his attention however, was the P.S. near the bottom:

P.S.: Tony is getting more insistent that you meet with him. He has extended an invitation to you at Avenger Tower tonight. Wade and I will be there too, so, you know, moral support or whatever. Think about it. ~Peter.

The sound of a cork being popped tore Matt away from the note.

"Foggy. It's eleven-thirty in the morning."

His best friend let out his patented snort, "Matty. Matt. Matthew. What do I always say in times like these?"

A wry grin forced its way onto Matt's face, "that it's happy hour somewhere?"

"Exactly."

He took a swig from the bottle and held it out, still, even now, careful to brush it against Matt's fingers. The gesture absolutely did not cause a swooping sensation in Matt's stomach.

"Spoken like a true alcoholic."

His words were slightly undercut by the fact that he had already pressed the bottle to his lips, taking a gulp. Matt could feel Foggy staring at him as his Adam's apple bobbed, his tongue pleasantly surprised by the sweet taste. His gaze burned hotter than any inferno his world on fire greeted him with.

"I take it we still have no clients today," he murmured as he lowered the bottle, passing it back to Foggy who left it down on his desk with a soft clunk.

"Too swamped with Rickards to take on anything else, so, no. Just us today. You're stuck with me, amigo."

There were worse fates. Not a lot better ones, though. That Matt knew for sure.

They were just two avocados trying to make it in the big city. He would happily be stuck with Foggy for as long as he'd have him.

"Good," Matt forced himself to nod, ignoring just how vow-like his thoughts had turned as he passed the card like a poker-chip between his fingers, "so…you always wanted to meet Thor, right?"


She stood on her tip-toes, ever aware of the rocky foundation that the rickety step-ladder provided her. She was so close, the tips of her latex gloves brushing against the manila folder. She rose a half-inch higher, her calf-muscles straining as she thanked her two whole months of ballet classes for this feat.

Just one. More. Inch. And—

A sharp rapping of knuckles against wood made her jump, bonking her head against the cabinet with a loud thump.

"Mother-fuc—"

"Huh. And here I thought you were outta the closet."

Selena Rickards froze mid-expletive. That voice, she hadn't heard it in so long. Its Scottish lilt still washed over her like waves, even after all this time.

"What are you doing here, Eliza?" she asked the filing cabinet in lieu of turning around and descending the ladder where she felt the presence of five-feet of quiet rage radiating her way.

"Thought I'd make the first move, seen as you're so determined to avoid me."

That rage was quickly getting louder.

"I'm not avoid you, El. I'm—"

"Dr. Banner asked for your assistance," the nurse cut across her briskly, "so don't make the mistake in thinking that this happy reunion was in any way my idea. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time when he needed someone to fetch you. That's all."

With that, Selena heard her turn on her heel and power-walk away, as was her form. God, she even missed the way she walked, like a bullet in the chamber of a gun about to be fired.

"Eddie James is awake, by the way. So, you might wanna get a move on with that magic potion of yours."

Those words brought her musing to a screeching halt, record scratch and all. Without thinking, Selena practically jumped from the ladder and stumbled (the fancy house-arrest ankle bracelet was clunky as hell) over to Eliza who was now the one speaking with her back turned.

"Banner needs you ASAP—"

"The new job suits you," the scientist cut across her, the words bursting from her without consent, "I always knew you'd be a good fit here."

She watched as Eliza's shoulders stiffened minutely before her mass of amber hair swayed with a curt nod. With that, she walked away from the filing closet, the conversation and Selena. Not for the first time. Probably not the last either, now that they were officially working under the same roof again.

But Dr Rickards couldn't dwell on that right now.

Because Eddie James was awake.

And she, Stark, Peter and a hell of a lot of other people—needed answers.


It was on his fifth mouthful of pancake and Wade's third joke that Peter's cell phone rang. With an apologetic smile, he quietly left the table, chewing animatedly as he rose the phone to his ear—

"'El-lo?"

"Parker?"

Peter hurriedly swallowed the last of the Wade's Canadian goodness, trying not to cough, "s-sorry yeah, hi Tony. What's up?"

There was something in the silence that followed his question that told him all he needed to know. He tried not to get his hopes up, even as an excited thrill bolted through him.

"Is it Eddie? Is there any—"

"He's awake."

Any elation that Peter should have felt in that moment was lodged between his overwhelming sense of dread and the sound of Tony's voice.

Something was wrong.

"He's awake," he began, hating that his voice was barely above a murmur as he forced out the question he feared the answer to, "that's…good. Right?"

The pause was too long.

So long in fact, that Wade had time to leave the kitchen table and join Peter out in the hallway, catching his eye and mouthing, "what's up?"

Peter stared at his boyfriend, ice running through his veins as he waited for Tony to answer him.

"Just—just get here ASAP, kid."

He couldn't remember a dial tone ever feeling so unnerving.


Natasha Romanoff wasn't thankful for a lot in her life, but anything she was thankful for, nearly always came down to one thing. One person.

Clint Barton.

A piece of paper slid across the table towards her, her partner offering her a shrug and half-grin, "I mean, it's not a polaroid, but it's the thought that counts, right?"

She glanced down at the paper, realising that it was a screencap of grainy CCTV footage that showed a very familiar figure being tackled to the ground by a robust man in hospital garb.

"Please tell me you have copies."

Clint chuckled, "paper and video. What do you think I am, Romanoff? An amateur?"

Nat snorted, her gaze zeroing in on Tony's aghast face peeking out from underneath a chubby armpit, "and who exactly did you have to bribe to get these?"

Barton tapped his nose, eyes twinkling mischievously as he finished his search, making his way towards the giant bookshelf in the corner of the room.

"So, the kid woke up?" he asked, his finger skimming along the book-spines, leaving a trail of cleared-dust in its wake.

Nat nodded, folding the piece of paper and shoving it in her back pocket for safe-keeping, "about a half-hour ago. Never seen Banner move so fast in my life," she paused, nose wrinkling as she examined a beaker with a green sludge sloshing around in it.

"The egg-heads were all riled up about it, so I nominated us to check this place out," she shrugged, putting the beaker back down, carefully.

You never knew what was what in these secret labs.

Ever since they were made aware of it, Peter filling them in on what Daredevil and his unnamed associate had found, Stark's minions had descended on the place like ravenous flies, examining every inch of Blye's home-lab, once it was cleared of all explosives and other assorted boobytraps.

Nat knew that while a bunch of nerds may have understood the experiments, the scientific ambiance of the place, she and Clint understood something else entirely – the criminal mind. So, she thought it could do with a once-over.

"And what exactly is it we're looking for?" Clint asked offhandedly as he thumbed through the books with about as much enthusiasm as Tony had for his monthly audit.

A soft click rang throughout the room.

Clint frowned down at the book he had just begun moving off the shelf, only to notice that the shelf itself had shifted several inches away from the wall, revealing a sliver of light from behind it.

"Something like that," Nat replied evenly, making her way over to stand beside her partner.

Fucking secret passageways. Was Blye reading 'Crime for Dummies' or something? She was beginning to understand criminals less and less these days.

She met Clint's gaze, he nodding slightly just before she reached out and slowly opened the bookshelf further.

They were awash with unnatural light, the small, hidden-room a sterile, almost blinding white.

The completely empty hidden-room.

"Huh."

That noise stood in place of what was no doubt a dozen questions her partner wanted the answers to.

"No way this secret room was always empty, so…" Nat muttered, glancing around at the vacant shelves, an unease settling in her gut as she asked the most pertinent question, "where the hell is everything?"


Peter took a deep breath, staring at the door, urging his hand to reach out and push it open.

His hand stayed limp at his side.

A pressure landed on his shoulder, squeezing gently.

"You can do it, Pete," Wade murmured warmly from where he stood behind him, "I'll be right out here if ya need me."

Peter smiled softly despite himself, appreciation for Wade Wilson and everything that came with him flowing through his veins like warm honey.

"Thanks Wade," he replied quietly, reaching up and squeezing the fingers on his shoulder briefly before forcing himself through the door, letting it close softly behind him.

It was a hospital room. Or rather, it was made up to look like a hospital room. Complete with white walls, beeping machines and a sterile, cold ambiance.

He hated it.

What he didn't hate however, was his best friend, Eddie James, awake and upright in the solitary bed, watching him with interest.

"Hey Eddie," he smiled, crossing the room in three quick strides.

Eddie flinched at the sudden movement, causing Peter to halt dead in his tracks, holding his hands up, adopting a passive stance.

"You're all right, man. It's just me. Peter."

Eddie continued to stare at him as if he had never seen him before, his dark gaze like a heavy weight, a stone sinking further and further into the depths of his stomach.

"Pete…?"

At his friend's croaky noise, Peter was on the move again, edging closer to the bed, just more slowly this time. Eddie made no move to stop him and merely kept his inquisitive eyes on every movement he made, following as he pulled out the chair and dropped himself lightly into it.

"You want some water?" Peter asked, gesturing at the jug on the tray in front of them, trying not to shift uncomfortably under the unrelenting stare.

Eddie shook his head, tilting it as he forced out, "I want you to tell me…" he trailed off, clearing his throat.

Peter waited with bated breath, swallowing down the nerves tingling from his spine when those dark eyes met his again.

"I want you to tell me how the hell you get that lard ass of yours into that suit."

Peter's brows furrowed, the words ringing in his ears.

"What?"

A short laugh echoed in the near-empty, not-quite-hospital room.

"Don't play dumb with me, man. Don't worry, I can keep a secret…Spider Man."

Peter's heart lurched in his chest. Tony's ominous tone made so much more sense now.

"H-How…?"

The words died in his throat as Eddie's smirk only grew bigger and smugger.

"I may not remember much about what happened to me, Parker. But I do remember that lil nugget of info."

Peter saw his opportunity for distraction and he took it.

"What exactly do you remember?"

Eddie threw him a look that told him he knew what he was doing, and their conversation was far from over, but after a beat, he heaved a sigh and shrugged.

"It's like I told Mr Stark, I don't remember a whole lot. All I can remember is taking my trash out through the alleyway beside my apartment and being…I don't know, jumped? Stabbed in the neck with something? Whatever. Next thing I know, I'm hauled up in some room, handcuffed. I—I don't…everything goes a little fuzzy after that."

Peter's heart sank. He had feared as much.

Blye only allowed Eddie to remember what he wanted him to remember.

Shit.

"Sorry, Pete," his friend mumbled, clearly frustrated, "I wish I could—"

"Don't be sorry, Ed. I'm just—I'm just so glad you're okay," Peter leaned forward, gently resting his palm on his forearm.

Eddie nodded, clenching and unclenching the sheet in his fists as he asked quietly, no longer meeting his gaze, "…am I? Okay?"

Peter had no idea how to begin answering that. He knew first hand how violating it felt, having Blye manipulate him, drug him. But Eddie…Eddie had had it so much worse. He couldn't begin to imagine how he must be feeling after everything that had happened to him. Even if he couldn't remember all of it.

"You will be, Eddie," he gave the only answer he could without feeling like a liar.

His friend gave another nod, his hands relaxing a little as he forced his eyes back up to Peter.

"Okay, good. You done stalling yet?"

Peter heaved a sigh, realising it was futile to hope that he'd drop it. He had been friends with Eddie James long enough now to know better.

"All right. What do you want to know?"

It was if a button had been pressed somewhere in the young scientist, the floodgates opening, questions upon questions tumbling from his lips with a fervour that Peter failed to keep up with.

"How did you become Spider Man? Experiment gone wrong? What other powers do you have? Who else knows who you are? Am I the only one? How did you get to know the Avengers? Do they know your real name? Seriously man, how do you fit into that suit?..."

Peter smiled, his friend's excited tone washing over him like a soothing balm.

Eddie James was back.


"Hmm…someone's a fan of Dirk Gently."

"What?"

Wade brandished the megaphone-gun-contraption at Tony, pointing at the opposite wall with a shrug, "Dirk Gently? Season 2? Nobody?"

The Avengers remained silent, none of them catching his eye. Wade threw up his hands and guffawed, "look, I know technically it's meant to be like 2016 timeline-wise, but it's not my fault that—"

A tentative knock cut him off mid-rant.

[Rude]

{But probably for the best}

[Yeah. The big guy is worse than President Orangeface McBabyhands when he gets goin']

Wade leapt to the door before Tony could move a muscle, flinging it open to reveal three figures standing in the hallway, one with his hand still poised to knock.

"Well, well, well, if it isn't The Three Musketeers."

Peter rolled his eyes at him, gesturing to his two companions, one bouncing excitedly on the balls of his feet as the other stood stock-still, head tilted at an angle.

"Holy shit, holy shit," Foggy Nelson mumbled under his breath, not quite quietly enough as Wade stepped aside, and Peter led them into the large conference room adorned with glass windows, chrome furnishings and eight pairs of expectant eyes.

Matt shifted slightly, he and Peter unconsciously flanking Foggy who was busy gaping around himself, trying (and failing) to be subtle about it.

Tony took one look at them, his eyebrow quirked, gaze locking onto Peter with an unreadable expression on his face.

"Parker," he nodded, "you get bitten by a giant mosquito or something?"

Peter's face had caught fire. It must have. That was the only explanation for the sheer wave of heat that enflamed his cheeks as he pulled at his shirt collar for the dozenth time that day. Wade was busy studying the floor, carefully avoiding his incredibly pointed glare.

{Don't gloat. Don't gloat. Don't you dare gloat}

"Something like that," the brunet replied through gritted teeth, trying his best to ignore the over half a dozen smug faces directed his way as he waved a hand at the lawyers, "uh, this is—"

"Nelson and Murdock: Attorneys at Law. I've heard a lot about you," Tony cut across him, he finally taking the first to step forward, holding his hand out for Foggy to take.

"All—all good things, I hope," he replied, clearing his throat but shaking Stark's hand firmly.

Wade snorted, "oh please, he's been practically wooing Murdock for months now. 'Good' doesn't cover it."

"You'll be the death of me, Wilson," Tony muttered as he moved to shake Matt's hand.

"You keep saying that, and yet I see no coffin. Quit bluffing, T-Bear."

A wry grin spread across Matt's face at this exchange, his shoulders loosening somewhat as he clasped Stark's fingers, tightly.

"I changed my number three times in the last two months, Stark," he remarked sardonically, "you really don't know when to give up, do you?"

Tony flashed his patented grin, "well, you're here aren't you?"

"Ooh, he's got ya there, bub," Wade chuckled at Matt as he threw an arm around Foggy's shoulders and led him over to the tall, blond man who was playfully poking Bruce Banner in the ribs, wholly unperturbed by the scientist smacking his hands away.

"Knock it—knock it off, Thor, I swear—"

"Thor Odinson, Foggy Nelson. Foggy Nelson, Thor Odinson," the merc cut across Banner's annoyance with a wave of his hand.

Two baby-blue eyes raked up the blond lawyer before a dazzlingly white smile spread across a ridiculously handsome face.

[Ugh, I've such a heart boner for Chris Hemsworth]

{You and the rest of the Marvel cast}

[Ha! That makes it sound like writer lady is a part of the Marvel cast]

{How do you know she isn't? How do you know she's even who she says she is?}

[…Tom Holland is that you?]

{You know he would be all about fanfiction}

[He's practically a real-life Ben Wyatt so no duh]

{That settles it. Writer lady is Tom in disguise}

[We wish. He'd add a touch of class to the place, at least]

"The human defender. I have heard much about you from Dr. Rickards," he beamed, clutching Foggy's hand and shaking it so vigorously that it rocked his entire body.

For probably the first time ever, Franklin P. Nelson was at a loss for words. His mouth opened and closed several times, like a fish out of water, but sound had lodged somewhere deep in his oesophagus and was refusing to budge. Almost like a mirage, Matt Murdock appeared at his partner's side, hand outstretched.

"Matt Murdock. Foggy's partner."

Wade caught Peter's eye over Matt's head, barely concealing his grin.

"Easy, boy," the Canadian murmured at his ear, "tall, blond and handsome here is no threat to Fogsworth."

Thor, his nonchalant attitude never slipping despite this definitely-audible exchange, took Matt's hand in high spirits but was noticeably less vigorous with his shake. If Peter had to guess why, he would say it had less to do with Thor pulling punches and more to do with Matt's undeniable strength working in tandem with his desire to save face.

"It is an honour, human-defender, Matthew Murdock."

"I think that's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to a defence attorney," Foggy finally piped up with a surprised and somewhat undignified snort, crimson colouring his cheeks.

Tony, the rest of the Avengers, Peter and Wade looked on as the ice was broken, Thor and Matt shaking their hands firmly before letting them drop, the former snatching up his vanilla latte from the conference table, taking a mighty sip and the latter turning back towards the group. He and Foggy shook everyone else's hands before an austere look crossing Matt's face as he asked:

"So, how has Selena been?"

From there, the ambiance was considerably more pleasant, (Matt and Foggy joining them all around the large conference table, steaming coffee cups in hand) save for the sordid recapping of the events that brought them all together in the first place.

"Blye is refusing visitors, but I'm pulling strings to keep up to date with the case," Wade informed them, slurping on the smoothie he nabbed from the cafeteria.

"Pestering Detective Beharie within an inch of her life is not 'pulling strings,' Wade," Steve admonished not unkindly, but loud enough to hear over the merc's energetic sucking—

[Ha!]

—of his straw.

"Potato, potahto," he waved his hand dismissively, leaning back in the conference chair, his shoulder brushing off Peter's, "regardless, the detective loves me and has absolutely not threatened me with a trip to Guantanamo if I call her mother again."

Peter barely retrained an eye-roll, knowing for a fact that that had 100% happened. On multiple occasions over the last three weeks.

"Beharie and Cassidy are running lead on the case, but it is a joint taskforce," Matt piped up head tilted downwards as if he were speaking to his coffee, "the FBI are muscling their way in too. Won't be long before they take over and Blye is moved to a different facility."

Peter's gut lurched at that, nausea rising from the depths of his stomach.

"If he's moved—"

"He won't be," Tony cut across him, "the feds aren't getting him, kid. He stays in New York."

Peter had a feeling that there was something more to what Tony was saying, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. The conviction in his tone was convincing enough however that his nerves were somewhat abated for now. Eddie was still struggling to remember anything about what happened, was set up with a therapist and number of specialists that deal in memory to help him, but for now they were still in the dark about a lot of things.

"On that note," Tony regarded Matt, "a word, counsellor?"

An almost imperceptible rising of the lawyer's eyebrows was all that the rest of the group were privy to as both parties stood up from the table and exited the room, the weight of Foggy's gaze following them particularly notable. There was something on his face that told Peter that he knew exactly just what Tony and Matt were discussing but he didn't press. He had a fair idea himself.

"Hey, Fogmeister," Wade snapped his fingers, startling Foggy from where his eyes had glued to the spot Matt had just vacated, "wanna see something cool?"

Peter didn't bother smothering his laugh as he watched his two friends float around in the zero-gravity chamber, doing somersaults and cartwheels and bashing into each other good-naturedly. The sheer, unadulterated glee on Foggy's face was contagious, it pulling at each of the Avenger's heartstrings as they all watched from the observation deck.

"He's good at this," Natasha piped up, her arms folded as she came to stand beside Peter.

"Oh yeah, Foggy's a natural," he replied sarcastically as he watched the lawyer bump off each and every available surface (including Wade) for the umpteenth time.

The ex-assassin shook her head, levelling him with a knowing look.

"I meant Wade, Parker," she paused as if she regretted ever opening her mouth in the first place, but persevered regardless, "he's…good with people. Making them feel better. He's been helping you. Right?"

Peter traced Wade's movements as he effortlessly glided through the air, looking the most graceful that he had ever seen him. He had clearly been practicing, no doubt sneaking down here when Peter went to work over the last three weeks. A smile tugged at his cheeks as he watched Wade and Foggy spin each other around as if engaging in an elaborate mid-air dance routine.

"He has," he murmured, barely loud enough for her to hear, "he has helped me so much. I don't think I'll ever be able to thank him enough."

Natasha nodded, profile its same stoic frame as always, but just that little less rigid, as if Peter's words had unfurled something in her.

"You're good for him too, you know," she remarked offhandedly, "alike in some ways and different in others. The best teams are ones that complement each other."

[Psssh! We compliment Petey all the time! Just this morning, the big guy practically worshipped his ass with his mout—]

{—ComPLEment. Not ComPLIment. Idiot. We've been over this.}

Peter wasn't sure what he had done to warrant such high praise from Natasha Romanoff of all people, but he wasn't one to look a gift horse in the mouth. He really wanted to return her words in the shape of her and Clint Barton's dynamic and what that could possibly mean, but he also wasn't one to push his luck. He valued his limbs too much.

"Thanks, Nat."

It was during her nod of acknowledgement that Tony swanned back into the room, Matt at his side, an unreadable expression on his face.

"Someone care to tell me what Wilson is doing in the zero-gravity chamber?"

Peter slipped on his best mask of innocence as he lightly replied, "looks like he's floating, Mr Stark."

[He's such a little shit]

{I know. I love it}

Tony didn't give him the satisfaction of exasperation, just a mere rolling of his eyes. Still, better than nothing.

"Well get him outta there. Mr Murdock and I have an announcement."

[OMG, when's the wedding?!]

{Don't think Stark is Matty's type}

[Yeah. And he wouldn't cheat on The Fog Man]

"Fogs was just finding his flow," Wade called as he re-entered the room five minutes later, an air of impatience in his stride as he regarded Tony and Matt, "this announcement better be 'blow your dick off' good or I swear I—"

"I'm Daredevil."

A hush fell upon the room at Matt's deadpan delivery and even more inscrutable expression.

Peter carefully gauged the rest of the Avengers' varied reactions, they ranging from shocked—Bruce, to indifferent—Clint, to…bored? He never could tell with Nat.

After a beat or two, Wade gave an overly loud gasp, clutching his chest and stumbling back, knocking against him, "oh me oh my, Mr Murdock. I had no idea!"

Why he was exclaiming like a Southern Belle was anybody's guess, but one thing was for certain—no one was buying it.

"Yeah, yeah, save the theatrics, Reba," Stark waved him off, "Mr Murdock and I have just been coming to an arrangement regarding…any future—"

"Team-Ups! Oh my god, it's happening," Wade clapped his hands excitedly, practically vibrating with excitement.

"—Collaborations," Tony finished his sentence as if he had never been interrupted by the physical embodiment of a hyperactive five-year-old let loose in a candy store.

"Oh. Sure. 'Collaborations'," Wade snorted, sarcastic tone perfected with exaggerated air-quotes and wink, "whatever you say, T-Man."

Peter elbowed Wade lightly in the side, raising his eyebrows pointedly.

{That's code for 'shut the fuck up'}

[Aww. Petey's eyebrows say the sweetest things]

"Any-way," Stark continued slowly, "in an official capacity, Selena is being represented by Nelson and Murdock. Better for everyone if she's backed by a small practice and not—"

"Your army of chiselers?" Steve cut across with an air of practice, as if this particular topic was sore and well-trodden between them.

"—But in an unofficial capacity," Tony pressed, steel gaze raking over Rogers for a moment before falling away, "should we need assistance from the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, or vice versa…our services are mutually available."

"What about the Boysenberry Badass?" Wade murmured, leaning into Foggy, "his services also available, or…?"

Foggy shoved him playfully, moving him barely an inch, but Wade rubbed his shoulder woundedly nonetheless.

"Well, that settles it then," he smiled gleefully after a moment, clapping his hands again, "we're officially tag-teaming."

Eight sets of eyes stared at him, along with Murdock's signature head-tilt.

"Uh, you know, in the work way, not the sex way."

A chorus of relieved sighs met those words and the Canadian tried his darndest not to be offended.

"Hey! You guys wish you could tag-team me—"

Peter clapped his hand over his mouth, grimacing as Wade nipped at it playfully, "good talk, guys. See ya tomorrow!"

With that, he dragged the merc from the room, the lawyers hot on their heels.

"This is the beginning of something beautiful, guys," Wade called over his shoulder as he wrenched his mouth free from under Peter's grasp, "trust me. Team Avenger and Team Defender—the—the Afenders—god, I'm a genius," he muttered to himself, snapping his fingers before finishing with a flourish, "working in symbiotic cohesion with a sprinkling of Deadpool? We'll be unstoppable!"

Peter hid his smirk in the back of Wade's neck as he continued to push him down the corridor. He couldn't help but let his optimism and excitement wash over him in waves. After everything they had all been through in recent months, he was right to be hopeful. It seemed things were finally beginning to look up. They had done all they could to get here. Now, it was all just a matter of letting time do the rest…


It always started the same way. Dark hallways and hushed voices that he couldn't follow. The walls closing in on him, edging ever closer, tighter and tighter to him until he was lodged between them, trapped on all sides. Forced to wait. Wait for the laughter. The steely blue eyes. The sting of the serum. The rolling of painful waves crashing over every inch of him, burning him from the inside out until he ceased breathing. His heartbeat slowing, skipping, stop—

Wade shot up, gasping for air, his chest heaving as his shaking hands clawed at his throat.

"Hey, hey shh…it's okay. You're okay."

His heart continued to pound in his chest, the cacophony of panic and fear ratcheting higher and higher. A gentle pressure trailed the back of his neck, the brush of fingertips along his pulse point provoking goose bumps on his flesh.

"You're okay, Wade. Just breathe."

He couldn't breathe. He was being suffocated, locked in a glass coffin of his own making, leering eyes scrutinizing him. Eyes that haunted him, blue and piercing worse than the sensation of a million needle pricks to every inch of his—

A flash of hazel swam in front of him, replacing the steely blue with a warmth he felt every time they were directed at him. Like melted honey pooling over a shard of jagged ice.

"Hey, come back to me, Wade. I'm here."

They weren't always like this. The bad nights. Sometimes, he just startled awake, felt Peter beside him, and settled right back down. But other times…it was like this. It was quiet coaxing and careful touches and frantic, laboured breaths that he couldn't quite control. He could feel the sweat on his brow, the tremble to his lips as his fingers gripped the bedsheets, eyebrows furrowing as he realised that somehow Peter managed to vacate the bed and kneel on the floor next to him, all without him noticing.

Definitely one of those bad nights, then.

Callused fingers gently caressed his cheek, cajoling him into raising his gaze, meeting those eyes that always pulled him from the depths, back to the surface, to reality.

"It's me, Wade," Peter whispered into the space between them, "it's Peter. You're safe."

They both knew that in their line of work, the concept of being 'safe' was constantly in flux. But here, in moments like these, it was as concrete as Wade had ever felt. And coming from a man who was pretty much indestructible as it was, that meant a hell of a lot. The vice around his heart lessened more and more with each shaky breath, each sweep of Peter's thumb against his neck until slowly, the tightness eased, and he took his first, properly deep breath.

"That's it," Peter mumbled, placing something into Wade's hand, "take a drink."

The water slid down his oesophagus like molasses, his parched throat aching at the contact as he fought not to choke on it. He must have been screaming in his sleep again, the burn a familiar friend to him now, a constant companion on these nights. Still, it kept him grounded if anything. Reminded him how very…awake he was. How much he wasn't locked in a glass box, the coffin Wade Wilson died and Deadpool was born in, all those years ago.

"T-Thanks," he croaked as he drained the glass of every last drop, despite his stomach rolling in protest.

Peter took the glass and set it on his bedside table before leaning back and placing a tentative hand on his shoulder, squeezing gently. They sat in silence for a few minutes, time passing in between the space of their bodies like nothing at all, like moments such as these weren't on the same plane of existence as the rest of the world. Time tended to move like that during their mutual episodes, all the other needed being a period to catch their breath, to re-orientate themselves into their realities.

So, Wade took that time. Focussed on his breaths and Peter's eyes and the way they glistened brightly against the moonlight. He looked ethereal like this, otherworldly in a way that never failed to amaze and astound him. Halfway between a fantasy and Wade's future, in his sweatpants, with bare-chest and ruffled bedhead. Like a dream nearly within his grasp. That was when he would kiss him. Right between the flash of realisation and acceptance, where they hung on the precipice of what could be. That was when Wade leaned in and brushed his lips against Peter's as if it was the last thing he would ever do. Peter, for his part, always kissed back. Often with grace, sometimes with fervour, but never without a sigh of contentment.

He did not disappoint tonight. Six whole months after the Blye debacle, he moved into a new apartment (less of a shit box and more of an up-scale broom-closet due to his raise) and Wade maybe-sort-of moved in with him. Temporarily. Off and on, but mostly on. A five days out of seven, kinda deal. The details weren't important, what was were the sleeping arrangements and for the most part, they were awesome. More than what Wade could have ever hoped for.

Until the nightmares started back up. Not that they had ever really stopped for any long period of time. Turned out though, Peter had his own demons to deal with and was no stranger to terrors and insomnia and everything in-between. They figuratively, and quite literally, made good bedfellows.

"Peter," Wade murmured against his lips as he gently pulled him to his feet, climbing out of bed and pushing them both towards the large loveseat that Aunt May insisted on shoving in the already cramped bedroom.

Wade was never happier for its presence however, as it afforded him opportunities such as this—lightly pushing Peter down into it and climbing into his lap, pinning him with a knee each side of his hips.

"Mmph!" the brunet exclaimed in surprise but didn't dislodge them, merely burying his hands tighter into the back of Wade's t-shirt, gripping the fabric with whitened knuckles.

"What…what do you need, Wade?" he gasped between kisses, one hand sneaking under his shirt to draw circles into the skin that lay underneath.

Wade moaned at the contact, every one of his senses heightened, as they were wont to do after those types of nightmares.

"I need…I—I need to feel…you. Not the pain. The goddamn fear. Just—you," he panted against Peter's neck, latching on to his earlobe and nibbling just this side of rough.

Peter wasted no time in granting that wish. Deft fingers skirted gingerly across Wade's back before pulling the t-shirt up and off him, throwing it across the room. With practiced ease, he roamed the planes of the merc's muscles with his lips, teeth, hands, marking every inch of exposed skin with his touch. Wade's breath hitched for an entirely different reason as those hands stopped just shy of the waistband of his boxers, his knuckles brushing the ridged skin just above his bellybutton.

His dick had certainly taken interest in the proceedings—

[Snort]

{And writer-lady thinks she's an 'emotive story-teller'}

—blood and adrenaline rushing to his core, heating him from the inside out, droplets of sweat beginning to form on his forehead.

With a pleased smirk, Peter caught his eye, silently asking for permission. At Wade's animated nod, he slipped his hand beneath the band, grasping Wade's half-hard cock with a loose fist—

[Not an Iron Fist then?]

{H-How are you still cracking jokes right now?}

—thumb brushing the head lightly. Wade broke their kiss to hiss against his lips, hips rocking with more fervour now, grinding down into his lap, seeking more friction. Peter tightened his grip while bringing his other hand up to his mouth, tongue lapping at his palm sloppily before sliding it down Wade's cock, agonisingly slowly.

"Ah! Shit," Wade exclaimed, jerking so violently at the contact that Peter had to quickly take one hand of his cock to clutch at his hip to stop him from tumbling backwards off the chair.

"I got you," he murmured, chuckling a little as he picked up the pace, his thumb gathering pre-come, helping to slicken the slide of skin against skin.

It grew quiet between them, the only sounds being Wade's broken babbling as Peter twisted his wrist just right, he losing himself to the sensation.

"Oh fuc—Pete—just like…just like that," he gasped, hands clamped tightly on the brunet's bare shoulders, watching with divine pleasure as the strong muscles beneath his palms shifted with every jerk, thanking every deity, not for the first time, that most nights Peter slept shirtless.

"Need…need…" he tried to force words out, but his mind was too clouded with the welcoming buzz of desire, so with shaking hands, he pulled at the drawstrings of Peter's grey sweatpants, right above the hard outline of his cock and damp spot that was beginning to form through the material, hoping he'd get the message.

If the smirk he felt against the nape of his neck was anything to go by—message received. Dragging himself away from sucking at Wade's pulse point, Peter scrambled to undo the knot. Once free, Wade wasted no time plunging his hand down his pants, pleasantly surprised to find that Peter had decided to go commando tonight.

"Opted for…easy access, I see," he teased lightly, although the effect was somewhat hindered by the awe underlined in his tone as he gripped Peter tight.

His only response was Peter rising up slightly, allowing Wade the space to pull his pants down to pool under the back of his thighs, just enough room to expose his erection, it lining up perfectly with his own. No matter how many times they had done this in the last six months, (and that had been a lot), Wade never quite got used to how good it felt, to feel Peter's skin against his own.

It was transcendent.

He let out a loud groan as Peter's fingers gave another squeeze, before opening his fist up wider to take himself in, his cock sliding against Wade's roughly, that little bit too dry to be on the right side of pleasurable yet. Wade made himself useful and licked at his own palm, enclosing the space not covered by Peter's fist and matching his rhythm.

The duelling sensations were almost overwhelming, snatching a moan from the brunet, his head falling down onto Wade's shoulder, a shudder wracking his body. Together, they pumped their fists up and down, their fingers tangling together, their combined pressure exactly right.

Wade could feel his orgasm rising from the base of his spine, the familiar pull of his abdomen as if Peter had an invisible string connecting directly to his hand. He sunk his teeth into the tantalising flesh just above Peter's collarbone, whimpering as hot breath wafted into his ear:

"Come for me, Wade. Come on, let go…"

His vision whited out as his entire body tensed like a plucked string, spurts of come panting their fingers, both of their cocks and wholly ruining Peter's sweatpants. It took only three more thirsts into their joined fists before Peter was coming too, his damp forehead buried in Wade's neck, soft gasps mumbled into his skin.

"H-Holy shit."

"Hgggh."

[ERR_BRAIN_DISCONNECTED]

{Running Wade's Networks Diagnostics}

Their lips met clumsily, bumping off one another like moths to a flame, more presses than kisses, really, a swapping of air.

"You—" Peter broke away, tilting his head back to regard him with those wide, hazel eyes that never failed to bloom a warmth in his stomach, "you doing okay?"

Wade nodded, leaning back in to pepper his jaw and cheek with a flurry of pecks. He took another deep breath, eyes falling closed as he waited for his heartbeat to slow. The warmth continued to blossom around his entire body, burying into his soul, it having a name, something which he quietly had been acknowledging to himself for a while now. Those three little words.

He should say them. He would say them. One day soon.

"I am now." He said instead.

And he was. For the most part. He was not cured, would never be cured, but he was doing okay. Was doing better ever since Peter Parker walked into his life. Or should he say, he walked into his. And he would continue to do better, in every way he could, for however long he could.

They would get better.

They would be okay.

Together.


He heard the footsteps before he saw the shadow loom over him, plunging him into an artificial darkness. It had been a long, long time since he had seen any face outside of his prison guards, psychiatrist and the detectives overseeing his crimes, so it was a welcome change to a mundane routine.

It almost brought a smile to his face.

But there wasn't time for that.

Now was his time to die.


121 Days In The Future...

He would not get better.

He would never be okay again.

He was alone.


For the record—I'm not Tom Holland or in any way affiliated with him.

That's exactly what Tom Holland would say, though.

Wade.

Fine. You're a broke graduate struggling to find a job. That's soooo much sexier.

Fuck you. I wrote a book. That's something.

Pfft. Sure ya did.

No, no, really. I did. You can—

Nope. No. Not happening.

What?

You are not leaving me for some other bullshit story. Again. I don't care if it's your 'original shit' this time. You're not abandoning me on the last chapter of this shit show to—

It's finished, Deadpool. Like, already published. So, I won't be 'abandoning' anyone. The last chapter of this 'shit show' as you so lovingly call it, will be finished too. Cool your jets.

Don't tell me to—

And besides, it's nonfiction. My Master's Thesis. So, don't worry, I'm not replacing you or anything. If that's what you were worried about.

Ha. Ha. I wasn't worried. Can't wait to see the back of you, writer lady.

Well, I do have a great ass.

You're group of pandas.

What?

An embarrassment.

Oh well, that's a given. I still use the phrase 'hazel orbs' in 2018, so…

A self-roast? Really?

Like Sunday dinner, baby.

Oh my god, please stop.

Fine. Dick. Anyway, if anyone is interested, details of my book are here. Thanks!

You done?

Yeah. Oh wait—no. Actually…just in case any non-Europeans are unaware, there is a pretty serious copyright law that could be passed in September and could prohibit Europeans such as myself from posting things like fanfiction/fanart etc. More details about it can be found here. Anyway, it could prevent me from posting any further fanfiction (and my current fanfiction could be deleted) so if this fic just disappears one day, that is probably why. It's sad and unfair and I really hope it won't be as harsh as it seems like it will be, but only time will tell. So, yeah. Just so ya know.

Wow. Bummer. Not exactly a nice note to end on, writer lady.

Welp, them's the breaks Wade my friend. Wanna tell us a joke to cheer us all up?

Hmm. What did the banana say to the vibrator?

I don't know. What did the banana say to the vibrator?

"Why are YOU shaking? She's gonna eat me!"

Wonderful. On that note, here's the final chapter teaser:


NEXT CHAPTER TEASER:

"Jesus, Wade!" Peter bounded over to him in one swoop, his whole body coiled with tension, "are you okay?"

Wade stared down at the hole where his left arm used to be, watching as blood gushed to the floor like a grotesque waterfall.

"'Tis but a flesh wound."

"You have no arms, Deadpool," Captain America remarked drily, appearing to stifle his grimace with the back of his hand.

"They'll grow back."

"Pretty sure that's not how the Monty Python skit goes," Peter sighed with a put-upon roll of his eyes, "did you really have to chop off your own arms?"

Wade shrugged with a tilt of his head, "it was either that or risk Matt's purty face getting ripped off, Parker. Pretty sure that wouldn't grow back."