On the ride home I thought a lot about my childhood. Innocent days spent with Neo, Dad, and Pops. Mine and Wade's first kiss on the couch that night so long ago, all of it sort of seemed so distant it felt surreal. Like it never really happened or existed. It was hard for me to think about prom and the fun we had together there because the last months had been so damn horrible.
Wade didn't say much to me except when we stopped to gas up or use the bathroom or get snacks. It was a good two day drive back to New York, and despite Wade's compact car Neo found no problem getting comfortable in the back seat. He was so well behaved and patient with it I couldn't help but thank him over and over in my head.
Somewhere in my repressed memories and feelings I found a new string of shame and guilt that came with thinking that I had potentially caused both of my fathers' deaths. I was infected and defective and a sad case for a son, let alone a good one. They were fighting through all that time, even if Dad was in hiding, and that last battle…I could feel my scars throb with remembrance, with regret, with pain.
"Peter…" Wade's voice broke me out of thinking and I turned to look at him. I noticed we had stopped and I looked around at our surroundings. "Why're you crying?"
I hadn't noticed I was. I placed my hands against my eyes feeling the moist tears saturate my skin, the repression seeding into soil to bloom into facing it. "I don't know," I answered. "I'm sad,"
Wade put a hand on my shoulder with those eyes I adored so much, I could see true concern, true care for me in them. It was odd to see in this moment where I was feeling things for the first time which I should have felt and processed a long time ago. I should have gone to a therapist instead of trying to be a "man" about everything to help me through the agony of being a teenager with divorcing parents, when Wade was going off to college, when I was figuring things out with my sexuality, it was just all bubbling like a pot of water and I couldn't stop myself from sobbing.
He and I sat in the car for a long time while I let my emotions be expressed, and when I was too exhausted to cry anymore I fell asleep.
It was late on our last night as Wade pulled over to stop at a gas station for our last fillup. I took Neo's leash and walked him around for both of us to stretch our legs. A pin-like trickle danced across my neck and I turned around wondering why my senses had picked up on something.
Wade was leaning against his car with an absent hand on the pump as he watched the gauge, the store had only one person in it who was working behind the counter cleaning something-or-another, and the massive skyline of New York lay beyond the horizon. It was dazzling in all its stupor and twinkling lights of tall buildings where people crowded to have their dreams fulfilled. I stared longingly wishing to go home, back to the house I grew up in with Dad and Pops, but my new home in the Avengers Tower would be there for me.
Another cascade of shivers scaled my spine and I looked around wondering why my powers were going nuts over nothing, I even looked down at Neo to see if anything had caught his attention, but in his old age he just sniffed at the grass finding a place to piss. With my free hand I massaged the back of my neck in attempts to soothe my nerves.
The click of a full tank brought me back to my senses and I looked over at Wade who then put the pump back on the shelf, his receipt printing with a tired groan. "C'mon, Peter," he called over his shoulder to me as he went to the driver's side.
As we drove to the edge of the massive city my body was going crazy. I felt sick and nauseated, my neck springing with pain. "Wade, something's wrong," I finally admitted.
Glancing over at me with a quick eye the man swallowed the piece of licorice he was chewing and answered, "Why? What is it?"
"Since we were at the gas station...I feel like I'm gonna puke," I complained feeling bile crawl up my throat as a new wave of pins stabbed my skin. We were in a suburb near Hell's Kitchen, only a half hour from our destination and where Pops had mentioned an old friend resided.
"I can pull over-"
"No, no." Hurriedly, I responded. I felt like something bad was going to happen, that the night city was shining diamonds to tease me, and just as I felt my eyes pulse with agony an explosion several blocks away halted our stop, a cascade of bombs like a metronome proceeded towards us down each block, our time quickly running thin. Neo began to bark as he rose in the back seat, but I pushed him down and sprayed web around him as I knew the inevitable was going to happen.
The vehicle flew back, Wade and I only saved from cracking our skulls open by the seat belts that held us in place, Neo stuck to the bench from my web looking startled like he just peed himself; the car on its top and our surroundings lit with fire.
"Wade," I heaved out, our bodies upside down while I went for my seatbelt. We had to get out of the death trap. I looked over and saw blood stream into his hairline from where his head had hit the steering wheel. His eyes fluttered and he looked over at me and I could see him come to.
Trying to get my seat belt unlocked was unsuccessful, so I had to grin and bare it as I slammed my fist into the lock and bust it open. I fell painfully to the roof of the car, the smell of gasoline filling my nose.
"What happened?" Wade asked dazed.
"Bad stuff, I'm going to break your seatbelt so hold on," I warned him as I broke his safety mechanism. I caught Wade the best that I could and it wasn't graceful. "C'mon, get out. I'll get Neo,"
Without a word Wade got up on his knees and pushed a button on the driver's side, the trunk popping. He broke the window at his right and crawled out disappearing from my sight while I pulled the web from my dog, holding him close and safely to my chest. "It's okay, buddy," I told him. He was shaking. "I know, I'm scared, too."
Outside, the entirety of some twenty blocks was in flames. The wind was hot as it sent embers and sparks in our direction, the night sky glowing orange and yellow with the forced light. The one thing out of place I immediately noticed was the lack of people. I held Neo like my life depended on it, his paws gripped my arm like his did, too.
Wade faced me, his two sharp blades in his hands, fire gleaming off of the metal like a ray from Heaven. Although he was still bleeding from his head it had slowed down to a minimal stream to which he and I were soundlessly okay to agree on.
Neapolitan couldn't get hurt. He was the last living member of my family, my only brother who needed me just as much as I needed him. If push came to shove Neo was going to live while I took a bullet. I couldn't care less who would judge me for it, or that a dog's life is minimal compared to a human's, but Neo wouldn't die tonight.
Pointing with a blade Wade said, "Someone's coming. Hide Neo. We'll get him when we're done."
When we're done.
I knew he was right however much I disliked the fact that I had to fight again. I didn't want to fight or be involved in attacks that could potentially cost my life, but I had to shove my past trauma behind me and help my friend. My boyfriend.
I hid Neo in a patch of bushes off a building's side and sealed him there so he couldn't move. I also made sure to web his mouth shut so he wouldn't bark revealing his location, just in case. He looked at me with his big eyes, desperation and worry in them, and I ran my hands over his head and around his ears. "I'll be okay, buddy. Just stay here, don't make a sound. I'll come back. I promise."
The person that came towards us wasn't a man, but a woman. She was dark skinned and beautiful, her ebony hair tied high on the back of her head, and she had a red handprint painted on her face. "I bring great tidings," she called, an accent so thick Peter almost couldn't understand her. "My boss is sad that he wasn't able to be here. And...that you're still alive, Peter." She was Russian, I understood then. Holding two assault rifles, one in each hand, she aimed them high at me and Wade and gave us a beautifully cynic smile, "I wish that venom would have ended you. I should be sitting on a pile of gold right now, but because you continue to live, and your fathers continue to cause me grave pains it will be a great honor holding your severed head on a spit to ward off others,"
I cringed at her heavy words feeling no fault in them. She meant every single one and I would not be able to compete with that kind of shade, but that didn't stop Wade.
"You can underestimate him, but you know my work," Wade said with a cocky smile. I wanted to tell him to shut up but didn't. I didn't know what he meant by his 'work' so I grew a little curious as he continued.
She laughed, a melodic sound, "I have no doubt of your skill, Wilson. I know your body count, and I came prepared."
I froze then. Body count? He's killed people? Wade had only been out of my life for a few weeks and he already had a damn body count?
Turning to face him I then saw a face I hadn't known before. It was chiseled with a sort of darkness I hadn't known before, just under his eyes and in his jaw line. His eyes that I so hellishly adored felt like a stranger's.