Wade was not particularly known for his attention span or, you know, attention at all, so the first time he noticed Nate has moved in is months after it happened.
“He lives here?” he asked Al, not even bothering to catch the long strand of melty cheese dangling from his quesadilla.
Al grunted in the affirmative around her chimichanga.
“Like….here?” Wade clarified. “Like in this apartment?” He flapped his hands wildly around his head to specify.
“He sleeps on the couch.”
“When?” Wade asked. He had definitely probably walked through this room at all hours, he should have seen a mound of sleeping Cable at some point if this was true.
“Fucked if I know,” Al said and stole Wade’s guac.
And Wade assumed that was the end of the conversation because it was Al and she was as terse as he was loquacious so usually “fucked if I know” was her version of an end stop. But then she said an additional sentence and it sort of threw his entire goddamn worldview off:
“I figured if he wants to do the vacuuming, he can sleep wherever and whenever he goddamn likes,” she said. And this one really was the end of the conversation, Wade was sure because she just grunted at him when he tried to press her and then she threatened to shoot him so he sort of got the message.
They were holed up in a safe-house just outside Homer, Alaska and Wade was just getting into the groove of Illiad-inspired dirty puns when Nate came out of the kitchenette with an oven mitt on his flesh hand, holding a….a cake of some sort?
Wade stopped in mid-sentence so abruptly he really worried for a split second that he had swallowed his tongue. He checked and, no, the tongue was still in place.
“I have so many questions,” he said finally, once he had patted down his tongue.
Nate grunted, but Domino jumped out of her half-doze in the window seat and said, “Sweet, is it the pecan or the cinnamon?” like that didn’t raise even more questions.
Nate’s frown deepened like he had been hoping to leave the small cake (???) on the table and retreat without questions being asked. Which. Wade had so many questions. “Didn’t have pecans this time,” he grunted.
“Wait, what?” Wade asked and then his brain just plucked the least important question out of the queue and said out loud, “You bake for Domino and not for me?”
What. He had meant to ask about frilly aprons or maybe to just skip the asking about frilly aprons and just paint a verbal picture of Nate in a frilly apron or maybe to offer one of his frilly aprons and his stupid brain goes and ruins this perfect, anomalous opportunity.
But Nate was looking at him in that way Nate did when he was having an Insight and Wade hated that face because it usually led to Nate doing something that made Wade feel things and that was the worst. The absolute worst.
No one was willing to engage with Wade re: frilly aprons (which he turned the conversation towards immediately and if this conversation was a car chase, he would have left tread marks on the road with how fast he skidded away from Nate not baking for him, Wade, who he supposedly lived with). But Nate kept looking at him and so he kept talking, but, damn, the cake thing was delicious.
And then Nate darned his sock.
These were words Wade technically had known beforehand in the way someone knows words like “lollygag” or “forthwith” but he had never been called upon to use it (or the others) in a sentence before. These were the words you laughed at someone for using because they were so old.
Also Wade had never bothered to mend anything because duct tape was his friend and also he was a mercenary who could afford to keep himself in silk stockings and frilly aprons if he so chose.
It would be one thing if Nate darned his own sock. Wade would have had ample material to pick from then. He would have started with the puns, maybe done an ‘old man’ voice, maybe even a full body impression. It would have been fun.
But no. Nate darned Wade’s sock. That was….I mean, who does that?! Wade didn’t even bother to hang onto his own feet most days, who would darn a sock for a foot that was almost definitely going to be left in an enemy base or a bar brawl within a few days?
“Thank….you?” said Wade, holding the sock between his two hands. Nate had embroidered little “DP” symbols around the cuff.
Nate glared sort of in the direction of Wade’s shoulder without at all making eye contact.
“Whatever,” he said.
“How the hell do you know how to darn a sock?” Wade asked.
Nate shrugged, still refusing to make eye contact or to stop making a face like Wade was currently force-feeding him lemons. “I just do.”
“And you bake,” said Wade. “And vacuum.”
“You live like a pig otherwise,” said Nate.
(Al added a vehement but delightfully judge-free, “preach” from the couch where she was “watching” her stories.)
“And that …. offends you?” said Wade, trying to work through the puzzle.
Nate rolled his eyes and tried to, like, sink into his sulk even more. He sighed and looked up at the ceiling and reluctantly mumbled, “AndImadeyoudinner.” It looked like he hated having to admit it, which.
No, actually, Wade couldn’t process this.
“Is it chimichangas?” he asked. Nate angry-sighed again, but nodded.
“Oh my god,” said Wade, “I think you might be in love with me.”
“Whatever,” Nate said, still grumpy, forever grumpy, but he didn’t object when Wade kissed him either, so.
Another one for swingsetindecember: "wade unconsciously flirting with nate. nate actually is 100% down for what wade is suggesting. wade not believing it and cue nate courting wade via future etiquette standards (which are unbelievably sweet)"
“If I said you had a banging bod, would you hold it against me?” Wade asked over his shoulder while he was simultaneously decapitating a henchman.
Nate grunted something that Wade had begun to suspect was a stand-in for “your retro speak is foreign to me, but I am too manly to admit to needing a dictionary.”
“Was your mother a beaver?” Wade continued, skewering another dude. “Cuz, damn.”
This time Nate actually huffed while he sighted his enormous compensation gun at a car trying to become a getaway car. He sighted, pulled the trigger, and mondo explosion! Best time ever.
“What do beavers have to do with anything?” Nate grumbled in that adorable fit of pique he always sunk into when Wade threw down too many pop culture gauntlets in a row.
“Did you just fart?” Wade continued, undeterred. “Cuz you blow me away!”
“Please stop,” Domino said, walking by at a leisurely pace and swiping a bazooka from a henchman who conveniently tripped onto a piece of rebar.
Nate glowered, even though he was totally blowing up allllll the shit, which is crazy. That much wanton destruction should absolutely compensate for Wade throwing a little innuendo his way. Wade had timed it.
Later that night, when Wade was regrowing half of one of his arms, he said, “Do you have a band-aid? Cuz I scraped my knee falling for you.”
He was expecting another big huff of exasperation, maybe, if he was very very lucky, even one of those moments when Nate couldn’t hide his confusion and he would make that face like a constipated badger that was just so goshdarned cute.
Instead, Nate froze where he had been leaning into Domino’s fridge. He’d been looking for something, but it was clearly an abandoned project when Wade spoke.
“I can provide you with bandages,” he said in the tone of voice he usually reserved for talking about preventing the apocalypse. It was the Srs Bzns Voice.
“….ok..ay?” Wade asked because he never did achieve full speechlessness, but this was damned close.
“I am capable of providing for your continued health and wellbeing,” Nate continued, still solemn and making that weirdly intense eye contact.
“….thank you?” Wade asked and scratched the tiny hand growing at the end of the new baby forearm. “You’re missing the point and also the fact of my indestructibility, but thanks?”
This made Nate frown down at his hands. Man, the dude had more varieties of angst than Beaches.
“Ooh, have you even seen Beaches?” Wade asked. “Bette Midler at her finest, goddamned icon that she is.”
He broke into the song (as best he could remember it which, granted, wasn’t very well) and didn’t particularly notice how Nate’s frown got more sad!pout and less angry as he watched Wade.
Nate presented him with a bar of chocolate with another bout of solemn and intense eye contact a day later. Wade high-fived him and gave an extensive commentary on the respective chocolate bars, ranked according to the presence of peanuts.
Nate threw his hands up and retreated angrily after Wade started in on the lack of Caramilk in the barbarian US of A. It’s not like Wade needed an audience anyway.
“Look, you two either need to sort this out or I’m instituting a mandatory strip poker game and we all know I will walk away fully clothed,” Domino said suddenly. Wade was preeeettty sure there had been no lead up to the declaration because all that had happened was Nate had tried to give Wade bandages again which, weird, but also suuuuper unnecessary.
“Um, I’m pretty sure non-sequiturs are strictly main character purview, Dom,” Wade said, throwing another cotton swab at Nate’s head. “But I am never not down for strip poker! Especially as we both know Future Booty over here is gonna lose.” He drew out the last word into the melody of Bad Romance just for funsies.
“If I get naked with Wade, it will only be with Wade and we will be too busy for poker,” said Nate, angrily putting cotton swabs back in the box.
“Yeah exACTly–wait, what?!” Wade said and fell off the couch.
Nate shrugged. “Whenever you’re ready,” he said with a frankly undeserved amount of nonchalance.
“OK, can we pause for a flashback to any, any warning that this was an option,” Wade said, “oh, wait, we can’t because there are no scenes where this was even slightly foreshadowed.”
Domino rolled her eyes and said, “You’re inventing new levels of stupid everyday, Wade. I’m gonna bounce before you two get busy.” And she made “busy” sound dirty.
“That’s not fair, it’s my job to make busy sound dirty,” Wade whined half-heartedly, never having broken eye contact with Nate.
“I was just waiting on you,” Nate clarified as Domino made fast work of skedaddling. He loomed over Wade.
“…oh,” said Wade. Looming was….looming was good.
This one is gen because it's a parent-teacher conference that Wade can't get to due to re-growing arms. Another one for .
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The idea to enroll Russell in the high school down the block from Wade came about because (a) Professor Xavier had had a LOT to say about Russell’s moral character and Wade was just not picking up what the dude was putting down and (b) Russell had wanted to interact with people, not superheroes-in-training or other traumatized orphans. So. Russell had actually come to Wade with forms that required the signature of his legal guardian and Wade hadn’t really given it much more thought than, “OK, kid, if that’s what you’re into.”
Russell had started well. He’d watched a lot of 80′s high school movies with Wade in the weeks leading up to the beginning of the school year and they had both decided that was adequate prep. They’d strategized about bullies and wedgies and mean girls. They’d come up with awesome counterattacks (and a sick routine to T.Swift in case of dance challenges) to all of the above that would not even call upon Russell to even glow.
Within the first hour of his first day, Russell realized they had forgotten a pretty key element: the actual school part. Essex School had not been heavy on actually educating the young mutants so much as….torturing them….and Russell was meeting with a cool, Professor X-approved therapist once a week for that, but that didn’t help when a teacher asked him for the major themes of Hamlet or the Pythagorean Theorem.
It was probably fine, Russell figured. He’d do a studying montage like the movies said and then he’d be caught up and it’d be fine.
It wasn’t fine.
And it was just his horrible, no good, very bad luck that Wade had just come back from a job with both arms re-growing when the call finally came about the parent-teacher conference. Wade, of course, had a solution.
“No, no, noooooooo, no. No,” Russell said.
“Definitely not,” said Nate.
“Ha, that’s hilarious,” said Domino. She was eating a piece of pizza someone had handed her on her way home. It was artichoke and red onion, her favorite.
“Why? How is this a bad idea?” Wade demanded. “Nate is very adult-y. He’s going to fool everyone into thinking he’s a solid role model.”
“I am a solid role model,” Nate said.
“I am,” he insisted.
“Yeeeeeah, not picking that up with a ten-foot pole,” said Wade and waved away all their concerns. “It’ll be fine.”
It was not fine.
“Maybe your curriculum shouldn’t be so focused on rote memorization and dead white men,” said Nate, his eye glowing ominously.
“Um?” said the teacher. “You’re probably right?”
“It’s just,” said the principal and then audibly gulped when Nate’s attention swerved to him, “It’s just….the Board of Education? Requires these?”
“You take responsibility for this school and all of these strangers’ children and you tell me you take orders from a Board?” asked Nate, still glowing a little. The metal arm make a sort of grinding sound. “You take this sacred responsibility and you tell me you will not take responsibility for what you ask of them while they are in your care?” He flexed the metal hand and the grinding sound revved louder and then quieted.
“Um?” said the principal.
The school secretary snorted. Nate’s gaze swiveled to her where she sat outside the principal’s office.
“Look, sweetie,” she said, not even a little hesitant under Nate’s glare and no one had ever called Nate ‘sweetie’ in his goddamn life, “The Board calls the shots. You want change? Write to your representative and get us some more funding for a new curriculum.”
Nate cocked his head a little to the side.
“Fair,” he announced. “I will return with funds.” He turned to Russell. “We will address the faults in this curriculum, but until then, I shall tutor you in these useless, out-dated trivia.”
“Oh, you don’t have to–”
But Nate had walked up to the secretary and they were discussing how much money the school would need and how it would be spent.
Look, my dudes, I am a teacher and I know from department secretaries, OK? I would absolutely put my money on a department secretary in a secretary v. superhero showdown.