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Blood Isn’t Everything, but It Pays the Bills

Chapter Text

Peter had so many nightmares that started the same exact way as this one did. Third period English class, and a man in a suit came in and flashed some kind of a badge at the teacher, and Peter just knew he was there for him, but that just made it even worse, because beyond that, he didn’t know why. And the ‘why,’ could be one of a million little things that kept Peter awake at night. Most of those reasons all traced back to his extracurricular activity of webbing up badguys and leaving them on the curb for the cops to pick up like trash. For some odd reason, people didn’t like it when he did that, so it wasn’t too far out of left field for some police officer to figure it out and bring him in. 

When the teacher and the stranger exchanged a few words, he had no doubt that they were discussing him, and he was proved right with the way she pointed him out with one long, boney finger. It was so much like his nightmares that he was convinced he would wake up and find out that he had dozed off during English class again. 

“Are you Peter Parker?” The nicely dressed stranger said, flashing the badge and a smile at him, but Peter didn’t even bother reading the name on it. 

He pinched his hand and frowned when he realized with a note of dread at the twinge of pain that directly followed. 

He stole a quick glance at the teacher again, who hadn’t dismissed him from class, but also hadn’t stopped the stranger from addressing him. “Yes…?” 

He really hoped this had nothing to do with Spider-Man. None of his senses were going off, and the man was looking down at him with this soft look that made Peter immediately on edge and annoyed. 

“I have some rather grave news,” the man mumbled apologetically before putting the wallet back into his jacket pocket. “Perhaps this conversation would be best carried out in the hall?”

He doubted this man would be so kind to him if he knew what he got up to at night. Not about Spider-Man, then…

The pit of dread in his stomach continued to pool as Peter’s second anxiety reared its ugly head. “Is Aunt May alright?”

His voice was way louder than he meant it to be. The instant way all eyes were suddenly on him made his body tense. The telling way the… agent (?) suddenly frowned and avoided eye contact made Peter’s heart stop. 

Somewhere at the back of the class he could feel the mocking gaze of Flash boring into his neck, and to his right and left he felt MJ’s pity and Ned’s worry. The Teacher at least had the decency to look away. 

“Let’s… discuss this in the hall,” the agent tried again, desperately motioning to the door. 

Peter knew it wasn’t rational what he did next, he knew he was making a scene, and that he would no doubt be talked about and gossiped over for ages, but he couldn’t stop the wave of terror that worked its way through his system. He knew this was what fight or flight felt like. He could already tell that he wasn’t going to run, despite how much smarter it would have been. He was scared. A cornered animal. He didn’t want to be alone with this man, because if he was… he didn’t know what would be said. He didn’t know if he could handle it. 

He stood, an angry growl erupting from the back of his throat as his fist slammed the desk a bit too hard, making the fake marble plastic top crack when he forgot to reign in his powers all the way. The room went deathly silent as everyone observed Peter’s uncharacteristic outburst. “I’m not going anywhere with you until you tell me she is okay!”

The man looked at him, pity heavy in his eyes. “I have a feeling you already know why I can’t do that.” He put his hand on Peter’s shoulder, trying to maneuver him away from the desk for some reason that Peter couldn’t completely understand. His whole body was shaking. 

“I’m not leaving with you!” Peter reminded the man insolently, pulling back and slapping the man’s hand away from him. “Where is May!”

The man sighed, “There was an accident this morning. I am sorry to say she didn’t make it.”

All that anger fizzled out and died instantly, taking all of Peter’s strength with it. He slumped to the floor, a strangled cry escaping his lips. His head hit painfully on the corner of the desk, finally making him understand why the man wanted to get him out of the room filled with sharp corners and hard surfaces. 

It was nothing compared to the stabbing pain in his heart. 

Uncle Ben flashed before his eyes, bleeding out on the sidewalk. This was why he became Spider-Man, wasn’t it? To save people like he didn’t save Ben. He was selfish and irresponsible, and Ben died, so he became Spider-Man. 

…but aunt May died anyway, apparently. According to this man.

Was he not doing enough? Was he being too selfish? Why did he go to school? Why did he spend so much time with Ned? If he wasn’t so focused on graduating and studying and getting good grades, maybe he could have stopped this! Maybe…

“…ter! Peter! Please! Your hyperventilating!” Ned was kneeling down next to him, holding him up and talking him through breaths. Everyone else had left the room except the man in the suit, who was kneeling next to him, and MJ, who was standing in the doorway. 

Oh, God!

“What’s going to happen to me?” Was the only thing that escaped his lips, but the realization of the whole issue was much deeper than that. 

With May gone, what was going to happen to Spider-Man? What reason did he have to dawn the mask anymore, without her to come home to? Her, and her terrible cooking. Her warm hugs. Her.

He should have seen it coming. Everybody left him. His parent. His aunt and uncle. Even Ned would leave him one day. He was bad luck. Parker luck. It ruined everything. 

He needed to get as far away from everyone he loved so they didn’t die either. He needed to stop being so selfish. 

“We were able to find your maternal uncle.” The man gently took Peter’s hand and lifted him up, plucking him from his best friend’s arms and onto unsteady feet. 

This would probably be the last time Peter would ever see Ned again. He was going to a new home. Maybe even out of state. He still couldn’t bring himself to say goodbye. 

Ned would be better off without him, anyway. 

“It took a while to track him down,” the man said gently, leading him out of the classroom and past the crowds of students in the hall, “but he will meet us at the station. He is your last remaining blood relative and he has agreed to take you in for the time being, until more permanent arrangements can be made.”

Peter nodded. He didn’t even feel his feet move under him till they reached an official looking black car. 

“I didn’t know my mom had a brother,” Peter finally voiced. Then again, there was a lot he didn’t know about his mother’s side of the family. His uncle use to tell him all about his father growing up, and even his aunt knew a few stories about the man before he met his wife and had Peter, but little was known about the woman. The lady she was before becoming part of their family was a mystery. In fact, Peter wasn’t even sure he knew his mom’s maiden name. It wasn’t something that ever really came up.

“What is his name?”

The man opened the passenger door and coaxed him inside, making sure to buckle him, which was a good idea on the man’s part. Peter didn’t really care if he lived or died on the way to the station, and his arms were like led. 

Would they make him identify the body?

“His name is Jack Hammer,” the man supplied. Peter had a hard time not laughing at that hilariously stupid sounding name, then testing it with his mother’s name.

Mary Hammer. 

He didn’t know what he was expecting, but it wasn’t that. 

What would he look like? Did he resemble the woman Peter had seen so many times in pictures, but he couldn’t remember her face by itself no matter how hard he tried? Would he have a hard time remembering Aunt May and Uncle Ben soon, too?

He really hoped the man wouldn’t mind that he would refuse to call him ‘Uncle Hammer.’ That just sounded… wrong. 

Everything about this situation sounded wrong.

When would he wake up?

Chapter Text

Peter didn’t want to think about the thing they made him look at, but he refused to believe that it was his aunt, even if her wedding band was there. 

She was unrecognizable. Bloody. A mess. The funeral would no doubt have to be a closed casket. One of the officers had mentioned that he would need to pick out a casket, but he wasn’t even 17 yet. Someone else would do that, right? All he wanted to do was go to the funeral, say goodbye, and figure out what to do about his whole Spider-Man thing now that he would be living somewhere else. 

He hoped his uncle would let him attend the funeral. 

It wasn’t like he hadn’t seen something like his aunt’s body ever before, but since his Ben he hadn’t seen a dead body of someone he actually knew. Being Spider-Man, he had been the first responder to a lot of accidents. With his aunt being a nurse, she had payed for him to get his first aid and cpr training without batting an eye. 

He wondered if his new uncle would be that kind. He wondered how hard it would be to sneak things past him like he did every night when he snuck out his window. Obviously it wouldn’t be too hard considering they had never even met before. Did he even know Peter existed before now? Why was he even taking Peter in, come to think of it? Something was majorly wrong with all of this. 

Peter tried to shake that thought lose from his head, finding a bench in the police waiting room to sit down in that wasn’t occupied. He needed to stop thinking that way. He was having a hard enough time accepting his aunt’s death, but it was pretty unfair for him to immediately jump to conclusions based off of how upset he was at the situation. For all Peter knew, this Jack Hammer guy was probably just as upset about this whole thing too. He didn’t ask to get duped with a teenager. He was probably a really good guy. 

And how bad could a man with a killer name like Jack Hammer be in the long run? Peter chuckled a little to himself, wiping away some tears. He could do this. He just needed to stay optimistic. He was good at that. Focus on the bright side. 

After all, his aunt just died, and as terrible as that was, surely the universe was done screwing him over for the year. This had to be as bad as it got for a while, right? After all, he couldn’t imagine too much worse. May was dead, but he had someone to take him in for the time being. 

Someone from his mother’s side of the family this time. Maybe they could bond. He could ask some questions about her. His relationship with this stranger would never be exactly like the one he had with Ben and May, but it was unfair to assume it would be bad. He would just have to wait and see. 

It turned out he didn’t have to wait too long. Shortly after he came to that conclusion, a ragged man smelling strongly of beer and body odor showed up, pushing his way through the crowd.

Peter looked at the hunched figure and took a very deep breath in and out, praying that the man was visiting his parole officer or something. Because surely he didn’t just jinx himself by assuming his Parker luck could ever take him this low. 

Oh, who was Peter kidding. It probably wasn’t his uncle. If he was, then Peter’s previous thoughts were totally right. There was already no way in hell he would ever hold a candle to May or Ben. Even if he was rich, which that was extremely doubtful with the way he looked, he would never be as kind, moral, or perfect as the people he grew up with. 

No! Peter caught himself. He wasn’t doing this to himself. He had just seen a stranger and assumed that he would be a criminal. All based off of his physical appearance. He was stereotyping, and that was something Spider-Man didn’t do, even out of the mask. 

He was probably a really nice man that had a rough morning. Yeah… that was it. And he was at the police station to… to…

The man signed some papers with his shirt’s collar pulled up, back suspiciously angled so he was facing away from the cameras at all times. Peter noticed that, even when a few officers tried to start small talk, he made sure not to turn until his face would be fully eclipsed by whoever he was talking to. His long, stringy hair helped hide his face when he finally finished talking to the lady at the desk, who pointed out where Peter sat on the bench, now next to a grinning man in handcuffs who had been subtly scooting closer over the course of a half an hour. 

If Peter had been anyone else, he may have felt uncomfortable at the way the man leered at him, but the tingling of his spidey senses was a welcome distraction from everything else in his life. That, and while it didn’t appear it, he was in full control of the situation. While he looked small, he had no doubt that if the man tried anything he could easily overpower him with his strength and none of the police would even notice it. 

Peter’s spider hearing picked up on the words as the desk lady spoke to the stranger that had recently walked in, and the realization that this really was his luck fully sunk in. “Mr. Hammer, your nephew is waiting for you just over there.”

No. Don’t assume. Give him a chance. Don’t stereotype this man he never met before. A man who never made a move to meet him before, either. 

No. Nope. He wasn’t going down that road. Stay positive. Things couldn’t get any worse.

He really needed to stop thinking that. 

Jack Hammer seemed to notice what was going on, though, because his pace both faltered and picked up speed, grabbing Peter and removing him from the bench to stand somewhat behind him. 

That wasn’t the surprising part, though. The surprising part was what Jack said next. 

“Alberto,” he grimaced (or maybe that was just how the man smiled) down at the heavily tattooed man who had been edging into Peter’s space. There was an uncomfortably wheezing chuckle that made its way past his uncle’s lips. “Fancy seeing you in cuffs again. Thought you just got out?”

Peter’s stomach dropped. Oh, God! Things really could get worse! 

The criminal just gave the widest, most chilling grin as he looked away from Peter for long enough to smile at Jack. “Hey, Wease! Restraining orders. You know how they are,” he shrugged, licking his lips like a hungry dog and smiling way to brightly for a man in a police station with ink on his fingers. “I doubt I’ll get out of this anytime soon with the bitch testifying, though.”

Peter’s mouth gaped at what he was hearing, but his uncle just gave another uncomfortable little chuckle, pushing Peter towards the door and out of a normal person’s range of hearing with a hissed, “Wait outside.”

Thankfully Peter wasn’t normal, because he heard his uncle whisper once he was far enough towards the exit, “You know my number if you need help taking care of anything,” before he swiftly turned and swept his shocked nephew out the door without another word. 

Peter shook his head clear. He must have misheard. Surely… he was jumping to conclusions. That had to be it! Him trying to find something wrong with the man because he was already so upset with the situation. Maybe there was a story between his uncle and that man? Why was he being so quick to judge? He didn’t know the details of the situation at all. 

Once they were out of the building and away from surveillance cameras his uncle seemed to stand a little straighter, though not quite confidently with his hands stuffed in his pockets and shoulders drawn inward.

Jack Hammer looked nothing like he expected, or even a little like Peter’s mother, though Peter finally figured out where he had gotten his poor vision from before his spider bite, and the kinks in his brown hair if he didn’t remember to keep it cut and well combed. 

“So… your aunt died,” the man said awkwardly, still avoiding eye contact. “That sucks.”

Peter gave the man his strongest, ‘Are you serious? No duh,’ look, finally taking longer to look at the man. Mostly to fully catalogue every single little detail about the man to memory just so he could hate him a little more. 

No. Maybe this guy was the type of person who said insensitive things in uncomfortable situations. Ned was a bit like that sometimes. And so was MJ, actually. And maybe he was a little mad that he was taking Peter in without much notice. Children were a very big responsibility, even if he was old enough to mostly take care of himself. Peter would just have to prove to him that he wouldn’t be a burden.

Did aunt May ever think of him as a burden? How many times had she been asked out and she had to decline because of her nephew waiting at home? How many things did he stop her from doing in life?

Then they came to a stop. And that’s when Peter wondered if his day could get any worse. Because of course it couldn’t at this point.

Peter was metaphorically ripped raw, heart bleeding all over the sidewalk as he stood in a parking garage with a man who, for all intents and purposes, exuded that stranger-danger, bad-touch, pedo-bear type vibe, staring at the worn-down, rust-bucket of a car that he was expected to get into. 

Okay. Peter could do this. Aunt May had a pretty crappy car too. And that was probably why she… wasn’t alive anymore. 

It could always be worse, Peter tried to convince himself, attempting to stay positive despite everything about the situation screaming the opposite. After all, at least the car was better than a white, windowless van. At least the man wasn’t holding him at gunpoint. At least the man next to him didn’t offer him any candy to get inside.

“Hey, kid… um… I’m not to good at this.” He sighed, head thrown back and shoulders sagging like he was asking God for strength to get through this. Peter understood all too well what the man must have been feeling. “There is a stash of skittles in the glovebox. You can, like, help yourself once you get in.”

Okay, Peter thought to himself, just barely able to hold back a brokenly hysterical giggle. This man was exactly the kind of man his uncle advised him to knee in the nuts. Sadly, his uncle was dead. Still, this was the same type of man his aunt would have told him to run to the police about… but his aunt was also… and the police were the ones who handed him over to the man’s custody in the first place! 

Peter cast a betrayed glance in the direction of the police station. How did they walk out of that place without the man next to him setting off any alarms? Something really wasn’t right about this. 

Okay, maybe Peter was being a bit shallow. After all, the man actually looked relatively harmless. A little overweight? Maybe, but many Americans were and his uncle didn’t exactly have Peter’s high metabolism or active lifestyle to help burn off fast food calories. Was he a bit sloppy with his patchy shaving job, extremely smudged coke-bottle glasses, long strands of greasy, thinning hair, and unevenly done button-down shirt with brown food stains on it? Definitely, but then again, the man probably didn’t have the time to change his clothes or clean himself up before rushing to the station to collect him. That was really nice, all things considered. None of it exactly meant he was actually a degenerate. None of that meant the man would skin him and wear him like a prom dress. He could survive this. 

This was fine. Everything would be fine. He could do this. 

But why were his spidey senses low key buzzing? Something about the situation was stopping Peter from moving closer to the car, despite the fact the other was already manually unlocking it and opening the door. 

When Jack noticed Peter wasn’t following, the man’s awkwardly whiny, somewhat tired voice broke through again, motioning at the car. “Listen… kid?”

“Peter.”

The man nodded kindly for a moment before a serious, ‘don’t fuck with me,’ look crossed his unassumingly boyish features, making the teen freeze a little more. “Listen Peter, I’m gonna cut the crappy emotional bullshit, because I don’t do that, so sorry if I offend your delicate sensibilities.” He tapped the roof of his car with his pointer finger as he stated in the most dry, nonchalant tone he could muster, “People die. Today it was your aunt and a few thousand other people across the globe. Be thankful it wasn’t you, and get into the car.” 

The man himself ducked into the car, snapping the door behind him, and turned on the overly noisy engine. 

Peter physically recoiled, not because any of the words were spoken with extreme vitriol, because they weren’t. They were said with a flat, unattached, clinical voice of a man who didn’t think anything he said was inappropriate for an adult to say to a teen who lost both of his parents growing up, and his aunt and uncle who had raised him recently. 

Shaken, Peter did the only thing he could do. He got into the car. He didn’t buckle his seatbelt, but from the looks of it, neither did his Uncle. 

“I’m about to drop a few more bombs on you before the end of the day, preferably before we reach my place,” he put the car in reverse and backed out of the lot without another glance at Peter’s no doubt glossy eyed face, which was a blessing. It turned out he had a similar way of shielding his face with his hair, like his uncle did. All these similarities were starting to wear on Peter.  It made everything that much more real. “Just some ground rules for living with me.”

Peter numbly nodded, knee nervously bouncing at the unsettled feeling he got being so close to this man. He just wanted to go home. He wanted one of his aunt’s amazingly warm hugs. He wanted her burnt cooking. He missed everything and now it was gone and he could never tell her how much she meant to him. 

Something smelled like drugs in the car. Peter would know what that smelled like considering the number of drug dealers he had taken down already. Maybe the man was a drug dealer himself? How was that supposed to work for Peter? He couldn’t exactly turn in his only remaining blood relative! Not until he was old enough to move out! And that was still a couple years down the road! 

No. Stop assuming. Everything would be fine. This was all a mix up. Or, that’s what he was really hoping for right now, because the longer he was here, the smaller that shred of hope was getting. 

Stuff like this didn’t happen. It was a mistake. 

He had to go along to get along for the time being. After all, this man had the ability to make Peter’s life very difficult in the near future if he didn’t. Especially if he was a criminal of some sort, which was becoming extremely likely. 

He was suddenly very glad he had left his phone and bookbag at school. He really didn’t want this man going through any of that.

Peter’s mouth moved faster than he could think through the words he was about to say. “O-okay Mr. Jack Hammer, Sir.”

The man slammed on the brakes, leaving Peter to go slamming into the dash, though thankfully his senses blasted quickly enough that he was able to catch himself. Sorta. 

Jack gave an exaggerated shiver. “Oh, fuck. I’m going to Hell. You are literally going to get eaten alive, and I’m going to hell.” He dug his fingers under the bridge of his glasses, pinching like he was getting a headache as horns blasted angrily behind them. That wasn’t exactly building Peter’s confidence in the man. “First rule while you live with me? Don’t do that.”

“Do… do what?” Peter asked, innocently confused and worried where this was going. Oh, God! Peter didn’t think he could possibly miss his aunt more than he already did, but just five minutes alone with this man and he already regretted so much. 

The oversized eyes behind those framed magnifying glasses turned to him, obviously unimpressed with Peter’s oblivious frown. “Don’t do the whole… desperate need to please people thing? And don’t ever call me or anyone you meet while you are with me by any sort of honorific title. In fact, don’t talk to anyone. Don’t look at anyone. Stay in the room I give to you, and don’t leave until I figure out how the government got ahold of the fact we are in any way related, or that I even exist anymore in the first place.” 

Oh, God! Peter was really starting to freak the heck out the longer the man rambled. What was his life now? 

“I thought I deleted everything about ‘Jack Hammer,’ in their system years ago. For fuck’s sake, I don’t know what your grandparents were thinking when they named me that. It sounds like a mother-fucking pornstar’s name, thankfully, so no one in their right mind would ever guess it, but where I work, information is power, and my real name would make a lot of the people I piss off very happy. So, from this point onwards, call me Weasel or risk me being very pissed off at you.”

“Uncle Weasel?” Peter tried, not quite liking the sound of it, but he couldn’t help but agree that it fit the man way better than Jack Hammer. Or uncle Jack. Definitely better than uncle Hammer. 

The man snorted. “Yeah… sure. Whatever.  Also, sometime in the next week we need to go pick up your stuff at school, because you are homeschooled now. For numerous reasons that I won’t even get into at the moment.” 

Peter kinda suspected that he wouldn’t be going back, it was a very expensive school and aunt May had a hard time keeping him there, but he didn’t expect to be homeschooled. That would pose as an issue when it came to his webbing. No Chem. class, no materials, no way to make his canisters, but he would figure it out. It just might take him some time. 

“Now that we got that out of the way,” Weasel drummed on the wheel, “any questions before I continue?”

Peter thought about asking him what he did for a living, but he was also unsure if he was ready for that yet. So he settled on the second most important thing to him. “You were… my mom’s brother?”

Jack- Weasel, rolled his eyes. “Yeah. Another ground rule. Don’t bring her up.”

Peter didn’t know why that response hurt as much as it did. Of all the things he was losing today, he thought he would at least gain this little bit of information. “Why?” 

“Fun fact,” Weasel grinned bitterly, “me and your mother weren’t exactly on the best of terms when she was alive. I was smarter than her, so she resented me, but she got her pick of internships because all our bosses drooled over her, so I resented her. Anyway, there was a reason you were sent to live with your dad’s side of the family. I honestly didn’t even know she got knocked up or killed until today.”

Peter didn’t know how to respond to that, so he kept his mouth shut. 

The silence drew out until Weasel decided to continue his list of rules. “I live in a flat above where I work. Place opens at 8 p.m., and like in Cinderella, your fairy ass better be upstairs, in your room, and far away from my clients, because I am so not going to be held accountable for something bad happening to you.” 

Peter shuddered and drew in on himself. This really was his life. It really could get worse. “Why did you take me in if you think something bad could happen to me?”

Weasel rolled his eyes like Peter was asking one of the dumbest questions in the world. “The only reason you are even living with me is because I don’t want the government looking in on me. It’s easier to hack into social services and write a fake house visit where everyone was happy than say no to the government and have multiple agencies within look in on the name they suddenly discovered and get suspicious and poke around where they aren’t wanted.”

Oh, God! This was getting worse and worse by the second. He had jinxed it. 

He just noticed the neighborhood they were driving through, and it was one Peter, even as Spider-Man, usually avoided. He couldn’t not ask at this point. “Where… um, what type of place do you run?”

Weasel pulled up in front of a rundown building slowing down just enough so Peter could see the plaque just outside. 

“Sister Margaret’s School for Wayward Girls”

Chapter Text

The first thing Peter did when he got into the establishment was ask where the bathroom was. 

The second thing he did was lock himself in the farthest stall and cry till he puked. He was done holding it in at the police station. He couldn’t be brave anymore, and that was okay. Spider-Man was brave, but nobody expected scrawny Peter Parker to be brave. He needed to let it out, and he would be darned if he did that in front of his new uncle. 

He had been in there for close to 15 minutes before there was a hesitant knocking at the stall door that was no doubt paper thin. Obviously the man heard every single sob, because Peter hadn’t already embarrassed himself enough today. 

“Listen, kid,” Uncle Weasel tried, sounding much more uncomfortable than before. Wich was amazingly refreshing considering how Peter himself was feeling. “Pete, I’m…  going to make you some food.”

“Go away.”

“I will,” and just like that, the irritation was back in his voice like it had never left. “The bar opens in thirty minutes, anyway, and there is shit- stuff that needs to get done. But I am going to whip you up some – how do you feel about nachos?” 

Peter stayed silent and let the man talk to himself for a bit, turning his head so it rested against the toilet seat. Wasn’t the most hygienic place for him to catch his breath considering he didn’t know the last time Weasel cleaned it, and considering how the man kept his own appearance, he doubted it was often. He stared at the stall wall, blinking heavily until the tears no longer clouded his vision. Lines of graffiti slowly made themselves clear, and there, next to the toilet paper dispenser (which was empty) was a large hole drilled into the neighboring stall. Peter wondered what sort of equipment use to be hanging from the wall to make a hole that big. Whatever it was, it obviously had been stolen or taken down. His uncle should really focus on getting a new wall, or something to patch the old one, because someone would easily be able to peak through if they were disgusting enough. 

Peter’s musings were interrupted by his uncle, again trying to coax him out of the bathroom. 

“I mean, im not exactly equipped with too much more than crappy, overpriced bar food. I have some hot pockets in the fridge, too, but the microwave is down stairs, so you will have to figure out what you want before open.  Once we open, I don’t want you to step foot from upstairs. Be as quiet as a mouse, don’t go into my room, don’t touch my computers, and most of all, don’t bother me.”

Peter could do that. He could pretend like he didn’t exist. He did that most days at school, hoping Flash wouldn’t notice him. Shouldn’t be too much harder than that. 

And he was pretty hungry. The last thing he ate was the waffle his aunt made him for breakfast that morning…

“Make me nachos. I’ll be out in a little bit.” Peter forced his voice to be even, despite the fact he still wanted to cry a little bit more. He didn’t have that luxury, though. After his mother, father and uncle died he learned that life would go on, even if theirs stopped. Feeling sorry for himself and the moments he would never get back from them was pointless and only lead him to deeper depths of despair. 

“Better get out of there sooner rather than later. It takes 5 minutes to make them, and I have a nasty habit of stress eating,” Weasel sassed, walking out of the restroom with a bang of the cheep door. 

“You can do this, Pete,” he tried to coach himself. “You fight bad guys for a living. You have been shot at. This is going to be easy.”

Easy… yeah. Peter really needed to stop doing that to himself. 

He pulled himself up off the floor, brushing off the filth, then washing his hands. After all, refusing to wear a seatbelt was one thing, but dying of some disease he picked up off the bathroom floor was another thing completely. Once he was done scrubbing his fingers nearly raw, he found his way into the heart of the establishment. 

It was so very surreal, sitting on a barstool in his new… well, ‘home’ seemed a little too strong of a word. Hole in a wall was more like it. 

Just like the one he had seen in the bathroom. 

Speaking of holes in the wall, there were lots of holes all across dining area’s walls as well. And some in the floor and ceiling. They almost looked like bullet holes…. He probably shouldn’t think too hard about that. Ignorance was bliss, after all. What he didn’t know about his uncle wouldn’t kill him. 

Graffiti was painstakingly carved into the wooden bar, so detailed that it was hard not to imagine Weasel didn’t see the person doing it at the time. One carving was a poem that, while riddled with misspellings, was also extremely profane. Another was a very detailed picture of male genitalia. 

Yeah. He really didn’t want to look too closely at the rest of it. 

Behind the bar was a chalkboard listing specials of the day, and a “Dead Pool,” with lists of people’s names accompanied by numbers. There were also crudely drawn pictures of a red and black man committing various acts ranging from killing, to riding unicorns etched on the walls of the establishment with what looked to be crayon. The figure looked disturbingly like Spider-Man with swords on his back. 

Peter observed this all silently, and occasionally with a deep flush to his face, trying to understand what he was getting himself into. 

Maybe he should try to contact someone on the outside. 

Maybe that wasn’t a very good idea.

Then again, a foster home would be better than this death trap, wouldn’t it?

But Peter was Spider-Man! He would survive. And Weasel was his uncle after all, right? Surely he must have some redeeming quality. Something Peter could learn from him? 

After all, the place was not a whorehouse like Peter had first suspected after reading the plaque out front. That was a plus. Coming to the mistaken conclusion that Weasel was a pimp was almost laughable now that he thought about it. 

Thank god. 

It didn’t mean that Peter wasn’t extremely suspicious, but he was trying to turn a blind eye to that all. All he had to do was survive. It was what spiders did best, after all. And a hole in the wall was exactly the last place people would go looking in for a hero, wasn’t it?

It was oddly genius now that Peter thought about it! All this time he had been worried about some police officer showing up and outing him in front of his classmates, but he wouldn’t have that problem anymore. He would be homeschooled. Lest opportunities to let anything slip about Spider-Man and his powers. 

However, he also wouldn’t have anyone to turn to if this thing between himself and his uncle fell through. He would be isolated. Part of Peter suspected that was why Weasel was planning on homeschooling. To prevent him from telling anyone what happened at the bar, especially considering he was avoiding the government. One wrong word to a teacher could cause an avalanche of officials raining down on his uncle. 

Peter looked at the door to the back room, where his uncle no doubt disappeared to if the noise being made was anything to go by. His uncle sure was a loud man, which wasn’t the best considering Peter’s advanced senses. He thought school was hard to get through without a sensory overload, life living above a bar was going to be hell. 

“Listen, asshole!” Weasel was shouting from the other room, and for a moment, Peter was terrified into thinking he was addressing him. “Pick up the damn phone! I know you’re not dead, and if I find out you have been ghosting me I’m gonna skin you alive, wait for it to grow back, and skin you again!” Those words made Peter’s heart dance a nervous tango in his chest, “… except I won’t, because you know how I am about blood,” Peter exhaled in relief, “but I will find someone to do it for me, and it will hurt like a bitch!”

Slam!

Before Peter could fully work through what exactly he had heard, Weasel himself reappeared through the doorway, large plate of cheese covered Nachos in hand and a scowl on his face. 

“You have fifteen minutes to eat this, then I’m tossing you upstairs and preparing for open.”

He nodded enthusiastically at the seemingly angry man, who took a deep breath and reached across the bar. 

Peter hated the fact that he flinched away from what no doubt was an attempted hair ruffle, but his new environment was freaking him the heck out, and he really had no clue how to read his new uncle. Was he mad at Peter, or whoever he was yelling at on the phone, or what? Was he just a grumpy man in general?

Whatever the reason, the man ignored his flinching and ran a gentle hand through Peter’s hair, pulling away so fast Peter didn’t get the chance to lean into the comforting touch of family. 

Maybe he wasn’t all bad. 

Weasel smiled awkwardly at Peter before storming back into the back room. 

Peter slowly munched on the nachos, which were not nearly as disgusting as they looked, and listened in when he heard a phone being dialed. 

“Okay, nevermind my last message. I’m kinda under a lot of stress right now, people are breathing down my neck, you’ve been MIA for a month now, and there is a kid! I don’t do kids!! You know that! And I think it hates me!” Peter didn’t know weather to be offended or laugh. “I could really use you heckling my terrible luck right now just so I can go back to feeling normal, or at least let me get a look at your face so I can convince myself that it could always be worse – so get your ugly mug back here before I start going grey!”

Slam. 

Peter smiled and began digging into his dinner with a bit more enthusiasm. While he still wasn’t sure how to feel about his uncle, it was refreshing knowing his uncle was feeling the exact same way. 

Chapter Text

Peter only got through half of the nachos before his uncle returned and whisked him off to the back room, through an innocuous door, up rickety steps, and into one of the most messy, terrible smelling disaster zones Peter had ever seen. 

He held his nose and stumbled backwards only to run into his uncle’s stomach. 

“Yeah, Yeah,” Weasel grumbled, unimpressed, pushing his nephew further into the room. “Not like I had time to tidy up the place.” A clever smile twitched its way onto his lips as he eyed his younger ward. “But, since you are here now, and I’m technically in charge of you, being the adult or whatever, my first order of business is to leave this mess to you.” He gave Peter a congratulatory pat on his back. “After all, I live to give your life meaning.”

“Of course I’m going to clean it,” The smaller brunette shot back with a scowl. “Obviously YOU aren’t if you have been living in this trash for so long!!”

Peter wasn’t the best at picking up after himself, but when things started smelling, that was where Peter drew the line. If aunt May were there…

No. It was unfair to compare them, and he really didn’t want to dwell too much on his still bleeding heart. It wasn’t fair to his aunt, and it wasn’t fair for Weasel either. 

They both deserved better than that. 

Weasel ignored him and stepped around a few piles of takeout boxes (many of which Peter noticed still had food inside), and stopped in front of a couch piled with papers, boxes, plates and mugs, and anything else Weasel seemed to drop on it when he was coming and going from his flat. 

He rifled around through the mess, plucked a few stacks of important looking paper off of it, and continued off to another room without sparing Peter a second glance. 

Peter, unsure what exactly he should be doing, followed after the man, arriving at a room full of some of the most advanced, homemade computer equipment his eyes had ever seen outside of a government sanctioned lab. Several monitors were set up, and there were several circuit boards laying open, and even a few dissected laptops with parts missing. 

His mouth started salivating at the sight. This was a poor nerd’s wet dream. Peter found himself taking a few steps forward, fingers itching to grab the nearest soldering iron and get into the circuitry when a hand planted itself firmly on his face and pushed him back out to where he came from. 

“Hey!”

Weasel removed his hand from the young nerd’s face, wiping it on his pants like Peter had licked it, which he very much would never do, thank you very much. Not like he wasn’t tempted with how rude the action had been. 

“Another rule to add to that endless list: No touching uncle Weasel’s tech.” He turned to lock the door, then narrowed his eyes at Peter’s puppy eyes. “That’s not gonna work with me, bud. My house, my rules.” Peter watched forlornly as his uncle pocketed a ring of keys so big it was comical. “You are more welcome to the magazines under my bed than you are to touch one of my babies.”

Peter shot his uncle a disgusted look. “Ew. No thanks. What do all those keys go to?”

Weasel, who obviously was expecting more pushback over his lab, huffed and ran a weary hand through his hair while contemplating his new nephew. “I’ll get a new key to add onto it for your lips if you keep asking questions like that,” Weasel snapped, once again shoving Peter’s face away like he were some sort of pest. 

Despite the fact it was super annoying being moved around like that, Peter couldn’t deny that the action felt strangely teasing, light hearted, jocular, and even familial in a way that he hadn’t expected. 

That, however, just made Peter a little more irritated for reasons he couldn’t quite place, and he felt the tips of his ears burn in frustration at the older man. 

Weasel turned to a closet and pulled a stack of mismatched blankets out of it, taking a big sniff of the fabric (either deciding that it was good enough, or that there was nothing he could do about it at that point anyway), and shoved them all into Peter’s hands. “Clean off the couch and you can sleep there.” The man shrugged and moved back towards the main entrance. “Or, you could clean off a section of the floor and sleep there. Point is, your gonna have to clean something off, so it might as well be the couch.”

Peter followed after his uncle like the nervous puppy he was, only to stop dead in his tracks after looking at the carpet in front of the window. 

Oh, God…

There, right in the middle of the graying shag carpet, was a giant reddish brown stain. 

Peter quickly looked away from the patch, only to see a similar stain on the floor on the other side of the room. 

Okay. Okay! There has got to be some sort of explanation for this. 

Oh, God!! There was another stain by the TV!

“W-what’s with all the stains on the carpet?” Peter winced at how high his voiced was pitched for that little question. Why was he scared? Surely it was nothing!

“What stain?” The bespectacled man spun so fast, eyes landing on one of the three Peter had noted. “That stain! Oh! Yeah, I should probably tell you that… um…” he scratched the back of his head, looking rather put upon, and Peter couldn’t help the sinking feeling he had recognized since meeting his uncle grow. This was it. This was where he learned his uncle was a murderer. Oh, God, he was gonna die!

“I’m not a morning person,” Weasel grasped, taking a few steps forward, hands out like he was trying to calm the no doubt visibly panicking teen. “And coffee! Yeah. It’s hard to hold onto mugs that early in the morning after keeping the bar open all night, so there you go!”

Peter looked back at the stain, squinting. 

It did kinda look more brown than red, now that he looked at it. “It’s just coffee?”

“Yup!” The answer sounded a little too rushed to be convincing, but Peter was too tired to question it. “Totally! I swear, I break a new mug every week!” 

Weasel quickly began backing away towards the door. “Oh, would you look at the time! I really gotta go. Bar’s opening soon. You can watch the TV if you find the remote! Once again, don’t come down, or, like, you’re grounded. Good luck!”

Peter turned back to the door to ask where the cleaning supplies were, or if he even had any, but the man was already gone, door slamming in his face. 

Peter took a few breaths and slumped against the wall. Maybe he would feel better about all this after a good night’s sleep. 

He eyed the large pile of random garbage on the couch and groaned. 

Things really couldn’t get worse, could they?

Chapter Text

It took a few moments for Peter to get comfortable enough with his surroundings to really start cleaning. After all, he wasn’t sure what his uncle would want him moving around or not, and he wasn’t the type to instantly feel comfortable enough in a new environment to assume he was welcome to anything and everything without asking. Even when he went to Ned’s house, he still asked for something as simple as a cup of water. 

But, seeing as how his uncle was already gone, he would just have to beg for forgiveness later. 

First thing he did was locate trash bags. When he turned up nothing in that search, he settled on plastic grocery and carry out bags instead. They were smaller and harder to fit a lot of trash in, but it was better than nothing. 

Of course, bagging endless amounts of moldy food did nothing to hide the smell. When Peter accidentally overloaded his first bag and it ripped, contents spilling all over the floor, he finally gave in and allowed himself to open a few windows, hoping his uncle wouldn’t be too unhappy with that. 

He leaned out the window and breathed just long enough to take notice of the crowd of bikers making their way into his uncle’s bar. He wondered if they belonged to a gang or if they were just avid bike enthusiasts out for a night on the town. Deciding that he would probably never find out considering he was going to follow his uncle’s rules, and that he very much didn’t want to screw things up with his only living family so soon after meeting him, he turned back to his task at hand for about five minutes. 

His hand faltered as he began clearing the space in front of the couch so he could pull it out, nearly splitting another bag. 

What if they really were a biker gang? 

What if his uncle was down there getting accosted by people in a gang, and he was up stairs, minding his own business because he was told to and his new uncle died?

What if he was shot like uncle Ben?

Peter shook his head.

No…

No, that was absurd! 

Just to be sure, Peter grabbed a few handfuls of bags and carefully tiptoed down the steps, leaving them by the door and listening in, just in case. He wasn’t breaking the rules so long as he didn’t leave the stairwell, was he?

He leaned against the door for a moment.

“Sal!” His uncle’s voice called out. “Gregory! Long time no see. How’s work treating you?”

“It’s murder,” a new, gruff voice laughed. “That’s why we come here!”

Peter heard his uncle make a very dry, unamused laugh. “Now I remember why I was glad you stopped coming for a few weeks. No amount of expensive cocktails is worth listening to your stupid jokes.”

“Oh, come on, Wease! It was just a joke, and after his last job, I’m sure he can afford your prices. I heard he made a real killing! Haha!”

“Great…” his uncle growled. 

Peter heaved a sigh of relief and moved silently back up the stairs. 

Obviously he was still freaking out about his aunt’s sudden death. And his uncle’s before that. And his parents. 

He was being paranoid, and his senses were more alert because of his internal freakout, rather than an external threat. That crawling sensation under his skin that normally told him something bad was about to go down was… psychosomatic? Yeah, Peter was pretty sure that was the word he was looking for. 

His uncle was going to be fine. In fact, it sounded like he knew those men. And even if he didn’t, what all could he do without his mask and costume, anyway? 

He returned back up the steps and threw himself completely into his work, ignoring the way the crowd on the street and down below got louder and more rowdy as the night progressed, and his neck prickled more and more as their numbers grew. 

When Peter finally lay down in his somewhat clean, makeshift bed, he realized that, despite the fact he was extremely exhausted from the day, his overactive senses would never allow him to fall asleep. On top of that, his entire body was crawling with that need to move. 

Jump. 

Get out of the way. 

Run. 

It was like a constant itch all over his body. He wasn’t in any immediate danger, and he wasn’t fighting anyone, so why the heck did it feel that way?!

The teen attempted to take deep breaths to get the feeling of his overactive senses in control, but then another group of motorcyclists rode up, and the noise, and their chatter mixed with everyone else in the bar and on the streets shattered Peter’s nearly newfound calm, driving him to dig his nails into his scalp and curl into the smallest ball he could. 

Perhaps it was a good thing he was going to be pulled out of school if this was what he was going to have to deal with every night. 

He could hear gunshots in the distance, which while unsettling, it wasn’t surprising. It was a bad neighborhood, and the crowd his uncle served seemed to be rough around the edges as a result. 

It was nice, though, realizing that his uncle could serve all his customers despite all that. In fact, the bar seemed like a neutral zone of sorts. 

That didn’t mean that Peter didn’t overhear a man and a woman outside of the bar negotiating the price of sexual acts. People leaving the bar seemed to talk a lot about new jobs that they got, and the price they would get for said jobs once they were done. All while never explicitly stating what it was they did for a living. 

Maybe it was contract work, Peter wondered to himself. That made sense with how they worded everything. 

As the night drew on and the street became colder, most people either left, or crowded into the bar below, which was thumping with a steady base that nearly ripped Peter’s attentively listening eardrums in half when it started. 

He turned right. Then left. Then grabbed a moldy smelling pillow and tried to smother himself with it. 

The sooner he went to sleep, the sooner he could get to the next day without dwelling on his aunt. 

Her dead body. The deep cuts and gashes. What she must have thought about in her last minutes. Did she have the time to think about anything? Was she with Ben now? He liked to think so. It was the only good thing that came out of this whole situation. 

Peter curled in on himself further, fingers digging into his ear holes, clenching his eyes shut as tightly as possible. 

Even like that, though, he could still make out the sound of creaking metal just outside the…

Just outside…

Peter’s eyes widened as his body went into full alert, spider-senses tingling up and down his arms as he pushed himself into a crouch on the pullout bed to watch the ghostly curtain in the window. 

He was nearly certain that was the window he felt the strange presence in…

He stared at it for a good few minutes more, almost giving up when the sound of oblivious patrons down below distracted him with their boisterous laughter. 

Then the wind blew a little harder on the shades… except that wasn’t a gust, because a large shadow planted itself firmly on the wall beneath the sill, and one handedly pulled a head, torso and body, all shrouded by darkness, into the room with him. 

Peter’s initial reaction was to freak the heck out. After all, what type of person would break into a room above a bar? 

A drunk person. And drunk people didn’t exactly have the best record of doing the right thing. 

He tensed, ready for anything, but beyond a groan that the figure made before rolling onto its back, nothing else happened. 

He waited a few more minutes just to be sure they were out and breathed a sigh of relief. 

If they were drunk, they must have already passed out, because they didn’t move from their place on the carpet. 

Carpet that happened to have a stain in that particular spot, now that Peter thought about it. 

Carefully, as not to awaken the slumbering drunk, Peter stood to turn on a light. 

The sight he was met with was not one he should have ever seen, much less within the same day that his aunt died on. 

He launched himself over the bed and immediately fell to his knees beside the… the…

Peter bit back the bile rising in his throat. 

There, on the carpet, was the mutilated body of a corpse. It was half naked, and what it was wearing was shredded like it had been in a fight or explosion of some kind. It’s skin looked melted, like that of a burn victim. It was missing an arm and a good portion of it’s torso, and Peter wondered how the heck it had been able to pull itself all the way up a fire escape like that. 

There was no rise or fall of the person’s chest, but Peter couldn’t just sit there and do nothing as a second person in his immediate care died!

But they were already dead…

No, he could save them!!! He knew CPR! He could…

But they’re missing a good chunk of their torso!

No! 

Peter scrambled beside the corpse, hands assessing the damage. 

Oh, God there was a lot of blood! 

What was he supposed to do again? Stop the bleeding, or chest compressions first? 

He needed to call an ambulance first! But… he looked around desperately only to remember he had no clue where a phone was in the house. 

“It’s okay! It’s okay! Everything’s gonna be okay!”

Peter had no clue if he was talking to himself or the deadman, but it was quite obvious how false those words were either way. 

Peter leaned forward, hesitant hand reaching for what he already knew to be a nonexistent pulse. 

Then, as if from a horror movie, the corpse’s only hand reached out and grabbed Peter’s own, who screamed. 

Because who wouldn’t scream? 

The head, which had been up until this point turned away from Peter, swiveled up at the noise, pulling away from the carpet and…

Peter almost threw up. 

It wasn’t because the skin of the man’s face was lumpy and scarred, or the way his eyes were hazy and out of focus like he was moments away from death. No. Peter could have probably handled that. What he couldn’t handle was the way the other side of the man’s face was caved in like a deflated basketball. 

A deflated basketball covered in strawberry preserves. 

“Hey,” the deep, calming voice of the corpse said, its fingers clenched so tight around Peter’s wrist that he couldn’t pull away and run without dragging the man with him. “You aren’t We-We-We-Weas…” The man started spasming on the floor, head twitching, body flailing while Peter could do nothing more than watch, a literal captive audience. 

He thought to pull his hand away, but he didn’t want this man to die alone. Not like his…

No.

“Shhhhh.” Peter tried, tears falling from his face despite the way he was fighting it. “It’s okay. I’m here for you. Don’t try to speak. It will be okay, I promise.”

The spasming stopped, and the man’s body went rigid, eyes rolling partway back and drool beading from his mouth as one last rasping, wet, body shaking breath left his mouth. 

Peter just sat there for a moment, eyes wide, just taking in the sight of the now absolutely dead stranger in front of him. 

Yet another person he couldn’t save…

Was this what May looked like when they found her? So undignified and helpless and… unable to pull herself back together. 

With shaky fingers, Peter reached over and closed the man’s eyes and mouth, but unlike in the movies neither stayed shut completely. 

He pulled his arm from the man’s dead fingers and scrambled away, falling backwards onto his bed a couple of times before he found his feet and dashed to the door, pulling it open and nearly falling down the steps in his haste to escape. 

Oh, God. That was the second dead body in one day, and no matter how hard he tried to block it out, he couldn’t help but replace the mutilated face behind him with aunt May’s. 

He needed Weasel. Weasel would make this all better, right?

How on earth could this day ever be made right?

Chapter Text

Peter dashed down the stairs, not even remembering to put on his shoes as he stumbled and almost tripped over the trash he left by the door. He was only able to save himself last minute by using his powers and gripping the floor with one foot, while using the wall as a stepping off point, grabbing the doorknob mid air and flinging it open, diving through without losing any momentum and landing in a breathless crouch on the floor. 

While he wasn’t exactly happy to see his uncle wasn’t right there, it was lucky that he didn’t see that no doubt mind bending display of acrobatics. 

Peter quickly stood, preparing to burst through the next door and into the bar, only pausing to wipe the back of his hand across his face to dry any wayward tears.  

Obviously Weasel wouldn’t mind him breaking a rule over a dead body, right? Most adults said something along the lines of ‘don’t bother me unless someone is dying.’

Well, someone was dead, and if Weasel had a problem with it, oh well! 

Peter was done with this day, and he was not going back upstairs with a dead body by himself! He wasn’t sleeping in the same room as a dead body, or in a room where someone died. Heck, he probably wasn’t going to sleep at all tonight! Not with the vision of his aunt cold and dead, and definitely not with that man’s dying breath repeating over and over in his head.

He needed a distraction to get his mind off of that, and he needed it now!

Peter should have known better to think something like that at this point. 

He pushed his way past the swinging door and dashed around the bar, nearly jumping over it in his freakout, only just stopping himself when he realized how unnatural that might look to the patrons. He then nearly bowled over a large man with a mug of beer, who, while being rather sturdy looking, probably was no match for a frantic, mutated teen at full speed.

In his haste not to bother the threatening stranger, he immediately began begging apologies despite the fact the man didn’t even seem to notice he was there. 

It was the polite thing to do, after all. 

Then Peter tripped backwards over an unseen foot, flailing wildly to catch himself in the crowd, which was probably not the best idea considering how packed the place was. 

But catch himself he did.

His hands found purchase on the most scantily put together, low cut dress line imaginable, hand fisting right between two, large, round, shapely…

He gulped. 

Peter’s face burned, thanking his lucky stars that the fabric was stronger than it looked like it should have been in order to catch him without tearing. “Ohmygosh! I’m so sorry, ma’am!!!”

Peter tried to look away, or at least look up at the woman’s face he was no doubt talking to, but he was too mortified, expecting a well deserved drink to his face, or a slap. 

The worst part of all was that he knew he had something else to be freaking out about, something much more important, but the only thing his hormonal driven, teenage brain could comprehend was, ‘I just touched boobs!! I just touched some stranger’s boobs, and aunt May is going to be so disappointed in me because…’

Oh, yeah, that’s what he was supposed to be freaking out about. Dead people. Like the one upstairs. 

He needed Weasel. 

“I am so, so sorry ma’am!” Peter quickly pulled his hand away from the woman’s neckline only to get his wrist grabbed and dragged back, his entire forearm now being practically eaten by the woman’s cleavage. “Wha?”

“Sweetie, don’t start what you can’t finish,” the sultry, raspy voice finally spoke, jarring Peter into a different type of panic. 

Surely she didn’t just say what he thought she did… right?  It was a very crowded bar. Maybe he misheard her? Yeah, that had to be it. 

Wait a minute… didn’t he have superior hearing?

Wide eyed, he finally pulled his eyes away from the lady’s chest long enough to see the older woman’s overly made up face smiling down at him. Maybe she would have looked pretty and young to someone who couldn’t see the way her eyelashes were glued on, or the line around her neck from where the makeup stopped and her real skin began, but his enhanced eyesight was both a blessing and a curse. 

He didn’t need that, though, to see the way the older woman was leering at him in an objectifying way that made him feel sick to his stomach. 

Suddenly, all of MJ’s talks about women being sexually harassed made so much more sense now that he was right there, being inappropriately touched for reasons he had no direct control over. 

“I-I think you have the wrong impression!” The woman didn’t let go of his hand, and Peter had no clue what to do. It wasn’t like she was hurting him or anything, so using force seemed extreme, but he really wasn’t comfortable with the way she was advancing towards him, making him stumble back in the direction of the bar. 

“Hmmmm… you look young… and fresh,” the woman whispered, and if it weren’t for Peter’s hearing, he might not have picked up on it. 

God, she made it sound like she was going to eat him! What the heck was wrong with her?! Weren’t men supposed to be the ones sexually harassing women? 

… wait… 

No! No, that didn’t come out right! 

Nobody should sexually harass anybody! Why was she? Why him? If someone was doing this to someone else on the street he would have stepped in at this point, but no one else in the bar seemed bothered by it. 

Maybe he was overthinking it? Maybe it wasn’t as big of a deal as he was making it out to be? Maybe he should just go along with it till she lost interest…

No!

No, it was a big deal, and he didn’t want this!

Maybe he should push her away?

But uncle Ben always told him not to lay hands on women, and if he pushed her, with how much he was freaking out and how much the crowd around him was making those bad vibes tingle the back of his neck, he couldn’t be sure he wouldn’t accidentally slam her through a wall. 

He looked around, frantically searching the crowd for his last hope. His uncle would save him from this drunk woman, right?

The woman combatted that by cupping his chin, making him look her in the eyes while steadily pushing him back towards the bar like a predator cornering prey. “Hey there, sweet boy,” she purred her face taking on a falsely worried frown that creased the makeup on her forehead. “You look lost. I can help you find yourself.” And all at once that wolf-like smile spread back across her features.

“N-n-no thanks, ma’am!” Peter yanked at his hand again, not putting too much effort into it because he finally realized how much attention they had been earning from the other patrons in their slow progression across the room. Some looked on, amused, and some looked disturbed. Sadly, all looked relatively invested in whatever the outcome of this disaster might be, and not a one seemed too interested in lifting a finger to help. 

“I-I swear, I’m just looking for–“ 

“A good time? You’ve found it.”

Peter’s words were caught in his mouth when his back finally hit whatever the woman had been angling him towards. 

Which, in this case, happened to be a bar stool occupied by a man who’s legs had to have been purposefully spread so Peter would be trapped right between them. They clamped firmly on either side of his hips, making him squeak and squirm when there was no place left for him to escape from the busty woman who crowded him further into the man’s lap. 

“Delilah,” the man drawled in a heavily accented, southern voice, the likes of which Peter had only ever heard in movies. “Why are you trying to keep this sweet little angel all to yourself?” Peter turned to look at the man, incredulous. Disturbingly enough, the man was probably more handsome than the woman was, but that only seemed to make his smile all the more sour on that classically masculine face. “What have I told you about sharing, love?” Unseen fingers traced up Peter’s back, and all he could think was that he should have listened to his uncle Weasel. 

He should have never come down. 

This was a mistake. 

Why the heck did he come down, anyway? There was a reason he came down, wasn’t there? 

He couldn’t think above all of the sounds, and all the smells, and touches, and that gosh darn painful buzzing in the back of his head that became louder the longer he stayed. 

The woman pouted, peering behind his shoulder at the man who had him braced between his knees. “I just want to play with him a little. You can watch.” She let her long fingernails walk down Peter’s shoulder, stopping at his rib cage, and tracing back, grabbing at something of the man’s directly behind Peter’s spine and tugging. “I’m sure you will enjoy it just as much.”

The man made a groaning noise, “I’m sure I would…”

Oh, God, oh God! Nope! Nope! This wasn’t happening! Nope! Peter elbowed the man behind him, but he was so shaken and freaked out that he put too little force behind it and the man simply chuckled and grabbed his elbow back with bruising force. 

“Please, just… I need through!” 

He was on the verge of hyperventilating. 

“What would your daddy say if he saw you in a place like this?” Peter flushed red and squirmed even more against the uncomfortable hold when the man behind him licked a trail up his neck while whispering in his ear, “or is your daddy in jail? If I was your daddy, I’m pretty sure I’d be in jail, too.”

Why wasn’t anyone stopping this? 

“Th-that’s freaking gross!” Peter bit back, acid in his tone, hoping whatever he said would be enough to make them reconsider. “My dad is dead!” That had to be a turn-off, right?

Disturbingly enough, the man behind him just groaned, his breath coming hot against Peter’s neck. “Me and your daddy have a lot in common, then. We’re both stiff.”

What the heck!?!?

Okay, that was the last line, and they crossed it. Heck, Peter didn’t even know where the heck that line was anymore, that’s how far they took it! 

Of corse, the moment Peter decided to shout was the exact moment the song on the jukebox stopped playing. 

Perfect.

“I NEED UNCLE WEA– I-I mean,” he swallowed as the eyes of nearly every patron in the bar were on him all of the sudden. “I-I need Weasel!” 

Okay, Peter may have screamed a little louder than he meant to when the woman’s hand started wandering beneath his shirt. 

Both the man and woman snorted in unison but didn’t move while the rest of the bar, which had nearly been in full swing, went silent. 

Every single eye turned to them, and not a one belonged to his uncle. 

Great. 

“Baby-doll, you’re Weasel’s play thing?” The woman cooed like it was the most precious revelation in the world. “Oh, darling, you could do so much better.”

“I-I’m not a plaything! Where is Weasel? I-I need him!” Peter, finally fed up, kicked out, but the woman simply pushed him back and slotted herself between his legs in that same motion, making Peter’s furiously buzzing head spin. 

He needed to run. He needed to escape. This was danger. Everything was danger and he needed to leave. 

GET OUT NOW!

“Honey, you don’t know what you nee—Eek!”

The woman was finally cut off from her train of thought when a focused spray of liquid shot directly into her face. The woman fell back, scrubbing desperately at her nose and mouth while Peter sought out whoever saved his virtue. 

His gracious smile faltered when his eyes landed on his very pissed off uncle armed with a spray bottle of industrial strength cleaning solution in one hand, and a plunger in the other. “Okay, dickwads, whoever was the genius that tried to stick an entire roll of toilet paper down the pipes, I will find you and make sure you will never be able to use the men’s room again. Fucktards.”

“Damnit!” The woman screeched, still scratching at her face. “What the hell was that, you motherfucker!”

“Bleach,” Weasel followed that up by crossing the room, grabbing a pitcher of ice water off of a random table, and dumping it over her head. 

Peter knew his uncle was probably going to turn that anger on him next, but he really wanted to hug the man right then. 

“If you don’t like it, next time make sure not to piss me off when I have shit in my hands.”

And, just like Peter expected, that ire turned to him, where he was still standing, or now more like cowering, in the lap of a stranger. 

Oh, God. He would be lucky if his uncle decided to keep him after this. 

“Weasel, I–“

“No, no, no,” Weasel raised his hands in a cutting motion. “You don’t talk, you listen,” he jabbed a bitten down fingernail into Peter’s chest as he rounded on him. “What did I tell you about staying upstairs!” He looked at the man that had previously been accosting him, shaking a plunger threateningly in his face. “And what have I told you dick-faces! Weasel’s house rules 101: no bringing minors into my bar, and no touching them.”

“But we didn’t break those rules,” the man argued in a tone of voice that made Peter sure he was at least smiling without even turning to look. “Or, at least, you broke your own rules first.”

“Seems a little hypocritical,” the woman parroted from behind, which was probably a dumb move, considering the way Weasel just turned and stared at her, spray bottle still ready, mouth slightly open as if he were considering if the woman could actually get any dumber than she actually was. 

“Wow! ‘Hypocritical.’ That’s a big word for you dipshits,” Weasel finally forced out once he found his voice again. “My bar, my rules, and if you don’t like the way I run the place, have fun trying to get jobs somewhere else.”

With that, Weasel shoved the plunger into the man behind him’s gut, hard, and finally reached out and snagged the collar of Peter’s shirt, roughly yanking him from the man’s loosened grasp and pushing him towards the back room. 

Right back to the rooms that now housed a dead body, which he wanted to be left alone with under NO circumstances.

Oh, yeah! That was the reason he needed to talk to his uncle! 

He desperately grabbed onto his uncle’s wrist, pleading that the man would actually listen to him before shoving him back upstairs. “But I-I…”

“I’ll deal with you later, but if your ass isn’t upstairs in the next five minutes–“ he shoved, brow furrowing when Peter magically clung to his hand in a way that shouldn’t have been physically possible. 

“I really need to talk to you!” Peter tried again. 

“Weasel, come on. Can you blame us, really?” The man Peter had previously been pressed against unwisely drawled from the other side of the bar. “We didn’t know you were hiding this delectable piece of ass. He’s probably more than you know what to do with. Let us take him off your hands.”

Peter had heard the phrase ‘spitting fire,’ before, but never before that moment had he seen someone so close to actually doing it. “No, you sick fucks.” His uncle’s hand was still firmly, almost protectively now, fisted in Peter’s collar, shaking with barely concealed rage. “This is none of your business. It’s between me and the kid, who, if he values his life, better get his ass upstairs! Right! Now!”

Weasel pushed Peter towards the door again, and this time, Peter let go and stumbled back, nearly falling through. 

“Oooh. Naughty!” The man teased, mocking Weasel’s fury. 

His uncle’s voice dropped into a deadly growl as he leaned over the bar. “You are really lucky Wade isn’t here right now, because my board would be wiped clean of you freaks.” He pointed up to the chalkboard ominously. “Fuck off!”

“Seriously, though, Wease. He looks a little too young to be legal,” another man in the crowd, large, tattooed and scary, (one who had previously only been watching the scene unfold without a problem) finally spoke up. 

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Weasel shouted, false sympathy colored by venomous sarcasm dripping heavily from every word, “and the shit that you normally get up to is? If you have a problem with illegal shit, you are drinking at the wrong bar!” There was a long moment of silence where his uncle’s face went from righteous anger, to horrified at what exactly he was defending himself against. “Not that any of what you are hinting at is happening, or ever will happen! I do have morals, damnit!”

A few people snickered at that, making Peter wince pityingly. 

“Cool your jets, Wease,” the large stranger guffawed. “Just an observation.”

“What would Wade say about you keeping a child,” the pervert on the stool finally spoke up again with a vicious grin.

The entire bar was watching the whole exchange like a tennis match, waiting for the game point. 

“Obviously, Wade isn’t here,” Weasel roared back, looking close to jumping over the bar to throttle the man. 

“Exactly,” the woman called Delilah humphed, sashaying back to the man with a haughty smile on her lips despite her ruined makeup, hair and dress. “So we can have a little fun till he gets back!”

“Don’t make me trade out my spray bottles for the shotgun beneath the bar,” Weasel hissed dangerously. 

“You guys, lay off him,” another man whined, finally returning to his drink with a bored look on his ratlike face. “You’re gonna make Weasel blow his top and throw us all out. Some of us don’t get off on, in or with children, so if you all like where your genitalia is, I suggest you stop. Whatever it is between Weasel and the kid, it ain’t none o’ my business.”

“Kiss-ass,” someone else in the bar called out. 

“My business is whatever Weasel makes it,” the man responded sharply, eyes turning to land on the man and woman who had been giving Peter a hard time. “And if it ends up being you two, I’m pretty sure half the bar wouldn’t mind jumping on that.”

“You’re right,” the vile man had the decency to look repentant. “Sorry, ‘uncle Weasel.’”

Weasel froze, a look of sheer anger and terror shuttering his face. “What the hell was that, asshole!?”

“It’s what your not-fuck-toy called you,” the woman answered in his stead. “Don’t you like it?”

Weasel  turned to the door and glowered down at the teen who had still yet to listen to him and go back up to his bed. “What can I say. Some people have daddy issues, and apparently I have Uncle issues.” He quickly shot forward, grabbing Peter by the back of his neck and pushing him through the door, turning back to address the room with a crooked smile. “If anyone has anything to say about it, I suggest you think before speaking. It’s kinda stupid to piss off the guy who’s gonna be settling your tab. I might just add a few extra zeros to the end of it and call it a night.”

The room when quiet while Weasel roughly dragged his errant nephew out. 

“Please, don’t stop yourselves from killing each other on my account.” That announcement was met with several hoots and hollers, and the bar chatter started right back up once the door swung closed. 

Weasel leaned close to Peter once they were out of range of the now very noisy bar. “This better be fucking good, kid, because if it isn’t, I really don’t know what I’m going to do, but it won’t be pretty.”

“There is a dead man upstairs!!” Peter finally shouted, quite honestly terrified at his uncle, the situation he was just in, and everything, but he wasn’t going to let himself get distracted again. 

Weasel froze, pulling back like Peter had suddenly gone deranged and bit at him. “Dead?” 

He grabbed Peter’s face and began inspecting him. For what, Peter didn’t know, but he must not have liked what he found there. “How did a dead man get up there? Why is he dead?”

The man’s face turned pale and he grabbed Peter’s shoulders and held him tight, like he was convincing himself he was still alive then leaning close, conspiratorially hissing, “Pete, did you kill someone?” 

He looked frighteningly serious about that question, and Peter didn’t know weather to laugh it off, or be insulted. Before he could figure it out, Weasel was right back at him with another question. “Oh God, did he touch you?” He began checking Peter’s whole person again.

“He- he- through the window! He was bleeding everywhere, and- and NO he didn’t touch me… well, he did a little, but not like that!! And then he died, and I don’t know! I can’t deal with a second dead body today!! I can’t!!” Peter’s voice cracked at that last part and his uncle had the decency to look ashamed. 

“Fuck… fuck, fuck, fuck!” Weasel ran a harried hand through his hair, staring uncertainly at the bar door, then back at Peter. “Okay. Show me where, and I will… make a call. Don’t worry. Even if it is your fault, I won’t be mad.” His brows furrowed when he realized what exactly he was saying to his nephew. “Well, that’s a lie. I’ll be pissed. My rooms have enough bloodstains in the carpet as it is without you adding to them.” He turned and stormed to the upstairs door, wrenching it open, and kicking his way through the garbage bags with Peter nervously following after. 

“I thought you said those were coffee stains,” he choked out uncertainly. 

“Yeah,” Weasel sassed back, “and I thought your transcript said you were smart.”

“I am smart!”

“And gullible.”

“It’s called being trusting and giving people the benefit of the doubt!”

“Tomayto, tomahto.” Weasel shrugged when they reached the top of the steps, turning to shake a finger at his nephew and give him a proper scolding. “You’re going to live a very short life if you go around trusting everyone you meet. People are absolute shit-heads. You’re going to get taken advantage of, and I don’t just mean in the way you almost got taken advantage of in my bar.”

“I can take care of myself!” Peter lamely countered, only to get laughed at outright. 

Which was rude, by the way. He was Spider-Man, right? Who was he if he couldn’t protect himself against a couple of amorous drunks. 

At least, he kept trying to convince himself they were drunks, because the alternative was not something he wanted to consider. 

His uncle pushed open the door and made his way up into their rooms. “Yeah. I could tell by the way you were straddling a man’s lap while a woman straddled yours. You were totally in control of the situation!”

“Sh-shut up!” Peter entered behind him, kicking the door shut. “I was handling it.”

“The only thing you’re going to be handling is somebody else’s dick if you don’t listen to my rules!” Peter turned to yell back at his uncle, but faltered when he recognized the look of absolute anger, terror and guilt on the man’s face, no doubt at what nearly transpired a few moments ago in the bar below. “There is a reason I asked you to stay up here!” Weasel grabbed his shoulders and shook him a couple of times, like he might shake some sense into his nephew. “Next time somebody drops dead through a window, call the phone downstairs.”

“A few problems with that,” Peter pointed out, still a little miffed as he held up a finger between them for every counter argument he was about to make. “I don’t have a phone, I don’t know where one is, and I don’t know what your number is.”

Weasel pulled away from his nephew, dramatically rolling his eyes as he stomped frustratedly onward. “Oh, so it’s my fault for not predicting the future?”

“Yeah, kinda! You’re the adult!”

The older man responded to that by holding up a finger and thumb till they were nearly touching. “Really testing my patience, kid. Now where is the body.”

Peter pointed to the window and Weasel cautiously approached, stopping dead in his tracks and scowling down at the corpse like it personally offended him. 

“You motherfucker, Wade!”

“Good to see you too, Weasel!” The deadman’s voice chimed, making Peter do a double take. “Can you give me a hand over here? If the arm is attached to it that would be awesome, but I think the new one is already starting to grow in, so it’s kinda too late. It’s the thought that counts, though! You might want to look away, or get me a blanket to cover up with. I know how squeamish you get about my kiddy limbs. Speaking of, there was a kid up here a little while ago. Might want to look into that. He was kinda freaking the hell out.”

Peter slowly rounded the couch to stare down at the… living, breathing man his uncle was glowering down at. A man who was laughing like he didn’t just die right in front of him a few moments ago. 

The warped face turned to him at the movement and a brilliant smile spread across the mutilated surface. 

“Oh, look! There’s the kid! Hey, kid!” The man did a one handed wave. 

Weasel looked over to his nephew with a completely deadpan expression, unimpressed by the fact the man was talking like normal with an entire limb missing and his own blood all over the carpet. “If you want me to drive you back to the station and beg them to reconsider letting me take you at this point, I will. Just say the word.”

Peter had no clue what to say, so he wisely kept his mouth shut and sat down on the pullout couch before his legs gave out.

What was his life?

 

Chapter Text

“Well,” Weasel huffed when his nephew made no move to run out of the bar screaming like he probably suspected any normal 16 year old would do in that moment. 

Thank goodness he didn’t realize how completely not normal Peter was yet. It was one of the only positive things he still had going for him. 

“Peter, meet Wade Wilson. An undying pain in my ass, and the cause of all of the blood stains on my carpet.”

Wade? As in the man he had heard hints dropped about all day? And, ‘Undying?’ 

Peter wasn’t sure if that was meant literally or not, but considering the man was no longer dead, he decided it was a reasonable explanation for everything. And if that was true, then the man was different. 

Different like Peter himself was. 

That was an intriguing thought. Peter didn’t know many people like that. 

People like him. 

Of course, Spider-Man had met many people who were different before. Usually, those people were the ones he was fighting against. When they weren’t that, they tended to be people he was fighting with. None of them really knew the high school nerd behind the mask, and beyond that, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to tell them. The stigma behind the word ‘mutant,’ or any variation of it in society or mainstream media wasn’t exactly something Peter wanted following him around. 

But, if this man was a mutant, mutate, or whatever the heck he wanted to call it, and his uncle was friends with him? Maybe that meant he could trust his uncle with his secret identity. 

Some day. 

You know. When he was ready. Which probably wouldn’t be any time soon, but still. 

Looking between the two men, Peter saw a striking similarity between himself and Ned. Maybe they leaned on each other for support, too?

“Hey!” The not-dead man whined from his place on the floor, pulling Peter’s mind back into focus. “Not all of those stains were caused by my blo–“

Weasel stomped down hard on Wade’s shin, cutting the man off with an angry, eye bulging stare. “Sh! We aren’t getting into that right now,” his uncle hissed. 

Okay, maybe he wouldn’t go so far as to say ‘striking,’ but Ned wore glasses like Weasel and owned computery stuff, and Wade climbed through windows like Spider-Man. 

It was… similar-ish?

Who was he kidding?

Peter closed his eyes and covered his face with his fingers, trying desperately to block out whatever was happening. He decided that the less he really understood, the better off he probably would be. 

Still, Peter thought, peeking through the cracks in his fingers, he couldn’t seem to look away. It was like a car cra…

… a car crash. 

Like aunt May. 

Had somebody been there, unable to look away when she…

His heart thudded in his chest painfully at that reminder. Darn it! Why did he have to keep thinking about that?!

Wade looked at Peter then back at Weasel. “Ohhh! He doesn’t…?” He made an odd, finger wiggling, wrist flopping motion with his hand, which may have made a whole lot more sense if he had a second hand to play off of. As it was, it left Peter in an even greater state of confusion, which he honestly had thought was impossible. 

“No,” Weasel reaffirmed with a growl and grind of his heel. “Not another word. Now get off my floor.” 

“What? I just got here,” the injured man whinged, flopping back down on the soaked carpet with a splat like a lazy teen being asked to do basically anything. 

“Don’t care,” Weasel kicked again, which was really making Peter cringe. The man was literally missing an arm and Weasel didn’t seemed the least bit bothered by it, not even enough to pull punches. 

The man on the floor, however, didn’t seemed bothered by it either. In fact, the only person bothered by any of it at all seemed to be Peter himself, the one not involved. Well, Peter suspected Wade wasn’t bothered by it with the large, crooked, almost charming (if it weren’t for all of the scarring) grin on his face. 

Weasel wasn’t impressed. “Get up.”

The man, Wade, still showed no sign of moving. In fact, he almost seemed to make himself more at home in the puddle of his own blood. “Where are we going?”

“WE aren’t going anywhere,” Weasel tried. “You’re going to the bathroom. Into the bath, where you won’t be able to continue to bleed all over my completely ruined carpet,” Weasel continued to nudge him with his foot till he (almost purposefully in Peter’s opinion) rolled to the side, directly onto the bloody, missing arm stump. Then he wiggled around a little, grinding the fleshy bit as hard as he could into the stain. 

Peter winced. That couldn’t be sanitary. All of that bacteria that was no doubt infesting the uncleaned carpet was probably going to make a breeding ground in that man’s open wound, and nobody else seemed the least bit concerned. 

“Come on! That’s disgusting,” Weasel whined, obviously just as off-put as his nephew. “I’m billing you for a new one.” Or maybe not. 

This was messed up. 

“Pft,” at least the crippled man seemed amused at his uncle’s unending ire. “Like you will actually spend the money on a new carpet and not your por-,” his eyes widened when they landed on Peter again, “por-por-porpoise collection! Yeah! Weasel sure is weird about Porpoises!” He finally sat up and leaned towards his uncle, conspiratorially hiding his mouth behind his hand while mock whispering, “I think he bought that one, don’t worry.” 

Weasel pushed his glasses up onto his forehead just so he could palm his face better, letting out a long, suffering sigh. 

Wade leaned back again, propped up on his elbow, looking surprisingly comfortable considering the circumstances and eyeing Peter in wonder while Weasel took several deep breaths in the background. “Oh, wow. Keeping things PG is a lot harder than I imagined it would be.” 

Peter really doubted that, should any of what was happening somehow land on a movie screen, it would make it anywhere near a PG. 

“Not that I ever imagined, you know,” Wade pointed at the teen, who was still miserably slouched on the couch with a confusedly furrowed brow, “that little sugar covered pop tart over there.”

“What?” Peter didn’t even realize that he voiced that thought till the man smiled brighter and Weasel stopped his sulking long enough to eye him over his fingers. 

“Just take it as a compliment and don’t worry your adorkable little head about it.” The smile that accompanied that statement was confusingly charming. 

Peter was glad his uncle’s attention was back on Wade, because his face was feeling strangely warm at that odd… compliment?

What the heck was wrong with him?

“You’re an idiot, Wade. Just shut up! Bathroom. Now!”

“Yeah,” The armless man conceded, standing and sniffing his one arm pit with a gag. “I probably should take a shower.”

“Yeah,” Weasel agreed. “And that’s also where you’re sleeping tonight. Better get anything you want now, because I’m locking the door behind you.”

Wade jolted at that announcement. “What? Why? What about the couch? I’ll shower, and then I’ll just-“

“Nope,” Weasel snubbed unapologetically. “Bathtub. Peter is sleeping on the couch, and I don’t want you corrupting him, and there ain’t no way you are walking back to your apartment like this without getting several calls to the police.”

“Corrupting? Me? Pah!” Wade waved off the notion. “More like you don’t want me telling him all your dirty little secrets. And since when do you keep children up here, you filthy old pervert? Or…” A large grin warped his features as he eyed up his friend and smacked his hand against his cheek in a swooning fashion that would have made more of an impact if he had another arm. “Oh Em Geee! Who’s the baby mama!!”

“My sister!” Weasel looked thoroughly scandalized at the thought of having an actual kid, which was probably a good thing. 

There was an odd, drawn out silence where Wade looked between the two, a wrinkle in his brow as he tried to figure something out. Something that obviously pained him if that expression was anything to go by. 

“O-kay…” he drew out, eyes squinting as he continued looking at them like something might magically start making sense any moment. It wasn’t that unbelievable that they were related, was it? “Totally not what I was expecting, but I’ll try not to judge…” he ribbed Weasel with his elbow, a leering smirk on his face, “until I see a picture. But if she looks anything like you, imagine a harsh judging look on my face,” he sassed, circling his features with a finger to further drive home his point, which lead to the man he was talking to to palm his own face with a groan. “Considering the circumstances, though, he looks pretty normal.” Wade’s eyes turned back to Peter, who was still trying to figure out what the heck the other man meant. “Better than normal, actually.” He let out an impressed whistle. “I mean, from where I’m standing he’s perfect. No blatant deformities, unless being actually good looking counts with your genetics.”

Because Weasel was too busy repeatedly hitting himself in the face with his own fist to answer, Peter decided to correct the odd man with a disturbed scowl. “I’m his nephew, not his son!”

“Oooooooh, thank God!” Wade snapped his fingers at that revelation. “Okay, yeah, that makes a lot more sense, and totally saves me from that huge ass lie. Because I was totally lying about not judging you. Or your sister, if that was the case. And, like, seriously? I was wondering who out there would want to fu-“

Peter swiftly palmed his own face. 

That really wasn’t something he wanted to think about. Ever, thank you very much. 

“Nope! Yup, you two are totally related!” Wade exclaimed excitedly. “Hitting yourselves randomly seems to run in the family!”

“Wade!” Weasel grabbed him by the ear, yanking the taller man down to his level. Holy crap, how did Peter not notice how tall he was till now? “This is what I’m talking about! I don’t want your disgusting, sick ass anywhere near my nephew. He’s had a hard enough day without you adding onto it.” He turned back to Peter, a serious frown on his face. “And Peter, don’t talk to him, it only encourages him.”

“What?” Wade whined pathetically, shoulders slumping. “Is this because I broke my phone again? Have you been getting pissy over that?”

“You broke your phone again?”

“I mean, I thought you might have figured that out since I haven’t been staying in contact.” Wade shrugged. “Not that I normally do, so I guess now that I think about it, it wasn’t completely unreasonable for you to suspect I was just ignoring you,” the man rambled, making Peter hold back a smile at that admission. 

“Idiot! Do you think burners grow on trees?” It looked like Weasel was close to ripping the man’s ear off. 

“If I say yes?”

“Fuck you, Wade,” he shouted directly into the man’s ear before letting it go with a shove. “It’s been a month! Work has been backing up with you gone!”

“Oh, I see how it is.” Peter thought Wade was going to say something about how uncaring his uncle was being. But no. That would have been too normal. “YOU can say fuck in front of the kiddy, but I can’t. Rude.”

“I’m almost 17,” Peter muttered irritatedly, only to get both men’s instant attention. 

“Shut up!” Weasel snapped, while Wade responded in the same airy breath with a finger held out, “Mommy and Daddy are talking. Please don’t interrupt.”

Despite the fact both of them had said basically the same thing, Weasel looked even more pissed, perhaps due in part to the fact that the man he had been vehemently disagreeing with was agreeing with him suddenly. “Don’t you tell him to shut up, and get into the bathroom!

“What? But you just said the same thi–“

Peter finally had enough. He stood and stepped between his uncle and Wade, standing protectively in front of the injured man with his arms spread wide. It was a stance he was much more use to making while in costume. He also wasn’t use to standing up for people like this out of costume either, but he couldn’t let the armless man sleep in a tub. It went against all the teachings about hospitality aunt May had ingrained in him since forever. 

“You can’t,” Peter objected staunchly. 

Weasel swiftly rolled his eyes, hand finding purchase in the middle of his nephew’s face again and shoving him out of the way with only a muffled yelp from Peter in protest. 

Peter scrunched his nose up and rubbed the embarrassed flush off his face as he scowled back at the man. 

He really should have expected that. 

“Peter, I’m the adult, and I decide what I can and can’t do.”

“I’m an adult too!” Wade threw out dejectedly from beside them, sounding surprisingly more like a child than Peter did with his intonation. “Don’t I get a say in this?”

“Wade, I don’t want to hear it,” Weasel held up. “Because of you the kid ran into the bar-“

“Did it hurt?”

“-freaking the heck out, and got caught up between Delilah and Virgil while trying to get my attention.” He shook his head as if he was suddenly coming to some great realization before throwing it back and moaning, “I should have known it was you playing dead up here.”

Suddenly, the mutilated man looked excited, angry, and merderous all at the same time, turning that intense look of bloodlust on Peter full force. “Oh, baby,” he held out his one arm as if to embrace the younger man in a comforting hug. “Come on over here and tell uncle DP all about what those disgusting fucks did to you so I can return their advances tenfold with my swo-swo-swoll fists!” He winced. “God damnit, PG rating!” Once again, Peter severely doubted that would ever be the case. “I’ve been looking for a good reason to knock them off the board for long enough.”

Peter mouthed the letters D and P to himself uncertainly while his uncle delivered yet another slap to the back of his friend’s head. “You are not his uncle, I am, and you get no say in any of this.”

Peter really needed to learn what the heck they meant by that board thing. That was the second time. 

“Until their names are gone, you’re sleeping in the bathtub. I don’t want him anywhere near you. Also, I don’t want Peter to be even more scarred than he already is when your arm grows back.”

Peter jolted, eyes widening in scientific excitement. “What?! His arm grows back?!”

“Yeeeah,” Weasel hedged, as if he wasn’t sure if he should have mentioned it, but it was too late to do anything about it. 

“Pretty fucking bad ass, right?” Wade grinned. 

Weasel combatted it with a scowl. “Now you’re just saying it on purpose.”

“Saying what?”

“Fuck.”

“See? You’re doing it too.”

Peter stepped forward, trying to speak over their bickering. “But-but… how does that work? On a molecular level? Can I see?”

Surprisingly, Wade suddenly looked about as interested in it as Weasel did all of the sudden, looking away with an uncomfortable chuckle. 

Weasel patted his nephew on the head consolingly. “As cute as your little geek out is, my answer to that as a mature adult,” Wade snorted, earning him a far reaching slap, “is no. Mostly because Wade is going into the bathroom. Right. Now.”

“But your tub is so tiny,” Wade whined, already enroute to the door in question while Weasel followed, pulling out his keyring, “and my arm and legs will…”

“Wade,” Weasel grumbled tiredly. “Just be quick. I need to get back to the bar before they start rioting. 

“What,” Wade turned back to his friend with a crooked smile, “don’t you trust me?”

“Oh, sure I do!” Weasel responded immediately, pressing his finger in the center of the man’s bloody chest, that same deadpan, unamused expression bleeding into his words. “I trust you with a lot of things. All of which make me extremely weary to trust you with or around a young, impressionable child that is totally freaking traumatized.”

“Hey! I’m not a child!” Peter shouted. 

Weasel turned to his nephew with an indifferent smirk. “But you are traumatized? Yeah. Thanks for proving my point, Peter. Go back to bed.”

“Wha-?” Peter turned to the man who was moments away from getting locked away, hoping for some kind of defense. 

“Eh,” The man shrugged. “He kinda makes a good point. Sorry kid.”

Just as the door was about to be shut, Peter Jolted forward, kicking it back open and standing as tall as he could in the way of his frowning uncle. 

“N-no! 

“Peter,” the man drawled, glasses flashing dangerously. “What did I tell you?”

“He just died!” Peter blurted quickly without thinking, letting his emotions speak for him. “Please, uncle Weasel, I saw him die, and he is still missing an arm, and all night I’m gonna be freaking out because I’ll imagine him dying again just on the other side of that door and I won’t be able to help him!”

Peter stopped to breath, hands clasped in front of him as he looked beseechingly at the man holding the keys. 

Why did he feel his spidey-senses low-key almost whispering to him all of the sudden?

“Geez…” Wade muttered from behind him, and Peter nearly jumped onto the ceiling when he felt a hand land on his shoulder from behind. “Weasel was right. I really screwed you up, didn’t I?” Peter flinched again when his uncle swiftly reached forward and pinched Wade’s hand, who pulled away almost immediately. “Sorry! I’m a kinesthetic learner!”

“You will kinestheticly learn the back of my hand if you even think about touching him again,” his uncle hissed, making Peter cringe. 

He really didn’t want to be the cause of these two having a falling out with each other. Wade would have been sleeping on the couch if he wasn’t there, and Weasel wouldn’t have even known he was back till morning. 

Maybe it really was better if Peter had gone into the system. 

“Come on, Weasel,” Wade tried, grabbing both sides of Peter’s face from behind and making him look directly at his scowling uncle. “Look at that precious face. How can you not want to reach out and comfort that precious little potato cake?”

Once again, Peter’s brow furrowed and face flushed at that odd, food related endearment. 

“What part of touch my nephew and die don’t you understand?”

Wade had the decency to immediately retract his hands. “The part where you never said that before?” He didn’t have the decency to leave the sass out of his voice, however. 

Oh, no.

Peter really didn’t want them fighting over him. He also didn’t want his uncle to lock a poor, injured, bleeding man in the bathroom for the night, healing be darned! 

That went against everything Peter believed in! Especially after everything he went through today. 

With his aunt, lying cold and dead in the morgue somewhere, with no one to keep her company but other dead bodies. 

No! No, don’t think about that!

“Please, uncle Weasel,” Peter tried again, desperately leaning into the man’s personal space as if the distance would some how make him come around faster. “I’ll… I’ll wash the carpet, and I’ll sleep on the floor, and bandage his arm so he doesn’t bleed on everything, and I’ll take really good care of him, just please don’t make him go!” Peter was embarrassed to note that he actually felt tears filling almost past his lashes, threatening to spill. 

“Wow,” the voice from behind him muttered in surprise. “Never before have I felt more like an adorable stray puppy than I do in this moment. Are you sure this kid is related to you?”

“I’ve been questioning that all day,” Weasel responded tersely. 

Almost like he was disappointed in him. 

Was Peter that disappointing?

“I just want to make sure he is okay!” Peter pleaded, nearly wincing at how pathetic he sounded to his own ears. No wonder Weasel was disappointed. “I want to take care of him like I couldn’t do to… to…” aunt May. The other person he no doubt disappointed by not being there. Just like Uncle Ben before that, and Wade just a few minutes ago, bleeding out on the carpet….

Except he wasn’t now…

He wasn’t dead! Peter hadn’t failed him so what if…?

“Oh god….Oh God, if he isn’t dead– if Wade isn’t dead– then what if she–!”

He could imagine it now. His aunt, waking up locked in that cold, metal box, banging desperately for someone to come get her, screaming that she was still alive. But no one would hear her, because everyone would be gone. They were at home, exactly where he should be with her.

“I have no clue what’s happening, but a terrible feeling this is mostly my fault,” Wade whispered behind him. 

Meanwhile his uncle just kept staring at him with that unreadable expression. 

Peter quickly covered his eyes, not wanting his uncle to see the tears as they fell down his face. 

He really was an embarrassment, wasn’t he?

On top of that,buzzing in the back of his mind got louder again, making Peter even more frantic. 

“Peter,” Weasel muttered, swiftly pulling his palms away from his face and tilting his head back so he could look directly into his uncle’s eyes. 

Peter looked up at him searchingly. Hopefully. This was it. This was where most adults would say something to make all his troubles, all his pain, go away. 

At times like these, Ben would always have some inspirational quote to throw out. May would have just hugged him until he cried himself dry.

“Your aunt is dead,” Weasel said with blunt finality, making all that hope he had been coaxing to life extinguish in a breath, seemingly unrepentant as he stared deep into Peter’s eyes without a trace of a lie in his expression. “I told you I wasn’t gonna sugar coat the truth for you. Wade is just a freak of nature.”

“Hey,” Wade groused. “Harsh.”

Weasel ignored him with practiced ease, holding Peter’s chin with one hand and his wrist in the other till he stopped trembling. “I’m really sorry to burst that perfect little bubble of yours, but it’s true. Not everybody can come back like this annoying prick can,” he pulled away and ruffled Peter’s hair like that would make it all better. 

It didn’t. Peter still ached unbearably. 

“Once again, hey~!” Wade complained, obviously trying to divert attention to himself for some reason. “I’m right here, asshole. No need to be calling names.”

“P-please,” Peter begged again, pulling back when his uncle tried to tug him from the doorway. “Don’t send him away? Please? I…” Peter swallowed, avoiding Weasel’s probing gaze, “if I close my eyes, I swear I’ll just see him dying again, and then I’ll think of her, and…” he shook his head, trying to rid himself of that thought. “If he is here, living and breathing and talking to me, maybe that will be enough to help me forget that I watched him stop breathing in the same room I’m supposed to sleep in,” Peter grasped. “And you mentioned him in the bar! The way you talked about him, he can’t be that bad!”

“Awe!” Wade interjected unhelpfully. “You talked about me? You do care!”

“Shut up!” Weasel finally snapped, grabbing his nephew by the wrist and yanking him out of the door. “Peter, my answer is no. It’s not about the carpet, or the blood, or the mess. This is for you, and trust me, Wade doesn’t even give a crap. Now I need to get back downstairs to—“

Weasel reached for the doornob and Peter responded without thinking. 

SLAP!

The hairs on the back of his neck instantly stood on end. 

“Shit!” Wade’s interjection was completely unneeded, but totally warranted given the look Weasel was leveling at Peter. 

Did he really just slap his uncle’s hand?

Oh, crap! Oh crap! Oh crapohcrapohcrap!

The sudden terror did little to stop the angered babbling that was defensively escaping Peter’s lips, though. 

“Maybe seeing this guy die is normal for you, but it’s not normal for me!” Peter stepped back into the doorway with a determined stance. “I’m having a hard enough time dealing with everyone else that has died in my life! I can’t detach myself from this as easily as you can yet!”

His words hung ominously in the air between them. 

Weasel looked surprisingly like he had been poleaxed at Peter’s admission, but he loomed closer than Peter was comfortable with.

“Yet?”

The word hung in the air like a threat. 

“Wade…” Peter tried to push that surge of anger back at bay. How did his uncle manage to look so unbothered most of the time when Peter felt like he was falling apart inside? “I overheard you talking to him earlier on the phone.  Leaving him messages. You’re his friend, right?”

“Um… close enough,” his uncle hedged, screwing up his face like he really didn’t like outright admitting to any emotional attachments or the direction any of this was going in. 

Peter didn’t care if he was being too emotional for his uncle or not. 

Peter needed to know. He just wanted to understand. He needed to stop his mind from purposefully seeking out ways to torment his heart. 

“How do you get over it every time you see someone – him – like that?” Peter pressed, his eyes shutting and imagination instantly filling that dark space with images of his dead aunt and uncle, and then Wade. “If it’s anything like what I saw… how do you do it?” He looked pleadingly up at Weasel, hoping for more of that blunt honesty if only it would help numb that pain he had been carrying all day. “Will it get easier with age? How do you make it stop hurting?” Peter fisted his trembling hand over his heart. 

Weasel just stood there for a few seconds, eyes blinking rapidly like the flickering of a computer screen trying to reboot. 

Then the hairs on the back of Peter’s neck began tingling again. That same feeling Peter had been getting since the beginning of this whole, long, sordid conversation. 

Now that Peter thought about it, that feeling only arose when he was talking to his uncle. That was weird. 

Why did he keep—

He ducked, seemingly needlessly, at the same time that Weasel spun around and punched the wall so hard Peter practically fell backwards at the sudden flair and sharp jolt of danger down his spine despite the fact it wasn’t being directed at him.

“Shit!” His uncle immediately nursed his hand to his chest before lashing out and kicking the wall with a similar result, making Peter actually stumble back. “Fuck! Goddamnit! Shit!” What was happening? Did he break his uncle? What the heck did he do wrong?! “Fine! Okay? Fine!” Weasel conceded. “I won’t lock Wade up in the closet!”

“Bathroom,” Wade tossed out, completely unimpressed by the outburst. 

He must have known it was coming. 

“Shut the fuck up, Wilson!”  Weasel rounded on his friend again, fury in his eyes and blood on his knuckles. Wade, at least, had the decency to keep his mouth shut, though he mockingly raised his hands in surrender which only served to make Weasel’s face turn almost purple. 

Oh jeez, he must have punched the wall hard to split his knuckles open like that. Was that Peter’s fault, too? Peter shrunk in on himself, unsure of what he did to make his uncle blow up this bad. Whatever it was, he would have to figure it out so he could avoid it in the future. Maybe Wade would be able to shed some light on it after Weasel left. 

He really was a terrible nephew, wasn’t he? He didn’t need someone to point out that fact when his other aunt and uncle were already dead because of him as proof. He knew. 

His uncle’s blazing eyes landed back on him for a moment, eyes softening ever so slightly while his breaths came out fast and heavy in his anger. “Do whatever the hell you want. You’re obviously going to anyway,” he hissed, “but don’t you dare come downstairs again, is that fucking clear?!” Weasel spun, stormed down the hall and threw the door open to leave. 

Peter took a step forward, not wanting his only uncle to walk away angry. “O-okay… I-I’m sorry! I didn’t mean—”

SLAM!

Oh, God. 

“What did I do?”

Wade stepped out of the bathroom to get a better look, standing right at Peter’s back.

There was a long, drawn out moment of silence where the only two remaining occupants in the room just stared at the door unblinkingly.

Wade was, unsurprisingly, the one to break the peace. 

“Wow. You touched Weasel’s feels button HARD,” the man chuckled, giving Peter a congratulatory pat on the shoulders. Somehow, that made Peter feel even worse. “Never saw him run from a room that fast before. Or… you know… run in general.”

Peter just let himself sink down onto the floor, face burrowing in his hands. “Oh, god, he hates me now, doesn’t he?”

Wade shrugged. “I doubt it, but it probably would have been easier to just let me get locked in the bathroom for a night. I’ve been through much worse, and I swear, he really did mean well.”

Hindsight was definitely 20/20. 

Chapter Text

Peter startled when Wade plopped down on the balls of his feet to grin dopily at him while he tried to blink the emotions out of his eyes. “You are just too freaking adorable!!” Wade gushed and immediately started… “I will name you Squishy, and you shall be mine, and you shall be Squishy!” …reciting Finding Nemo? What the actual heck? How young did this guy think he was?

Peter really couldn’t blame anyone else for this. This was why his life was so screwed up! Only this time, because of his do-gooder ways, a rather dangerous man (though possibly only to himself considering his state of, you know, near deadness) was trapped in the apartment with him. A man who he honestly knew nothing about other than the fact that he knew his new uncle (a person Peter hardly knew as well, but had seemed adamant about Peter NOT being in the same room with said stranger), was missing an arm, and looked like he survived a bomb. 

And now they were alone. 

But, honestly, how hard could a one armed guy be to handle, even if he did turn out to be as bad as the people in the bar below? After all, he did have his spider powers if anything went wrong. Then again, Wade would probably notify his uncle if he did anything too out of the norm. He did seem to know his uncle pretty well if climbing through his window half alive was anything to go by. It also seemed like a reoccurring thing that the man did, considering the many stains. If he ended up staying with his uncle he would probably have to get use to that. 

Still, even if Wade did look terrifying, he hadn’t done anything too bad beyond add another stain in the carpet, even if Weasel had seemed intent on locking him away. 

But, then again, Weasel had been right about Peter not going downstairs earlier. On top of that, even Wade himself had admitted that his uncle meant well in trying to lock him away. That didn’t bode well. Shouldn’t an innocent man defend himself just a little? Had his uncle left him alone with a crazy murdering psychopath rapist just to prove a point? Would his uncle even do something like that? Peter really wished he could assure himself that Weasel totally wouldn’t do something like that, but then again, he really didn’t know the man enough to make that sort of a judgement call. 

Peter sat there on the floor, eyeing the man up a little while the other just smiled brightly back. Wait, hadn’t he had a giant dent in his skull earlier? Had that just been the poor lighting, because it obviously wasn’t there anymore. Could a person heal that fast? It just didn’t seem possible. 

He flinched slightly when the other reached out suddenly, but he felt terrible when he realized that there was no triggering senses going off at the movement. He was stereotyping again. Even his Spidey-senses didn’t seem to see Wade as a threat, despite the fact that everything about his well muscled, too tall even when sitting down, hulking, mutilated form said the exact opposite. 

Okay, if Peter was gonna be honest, he looked like a freaking Zombie, okay? For goodness sake, who wouldn’t be the least bit unnerved by that? Which was a terrible thing to admit to himself, and he would totally never voice that aloud, because judging a man so harshly because he had survived an accident resulting in his scarring and missing body parts was so not cool. All he should have been focusing on was that, obviously, Wade didn’t register as a threat. Nothing else should matter. 

While he was contemplating his own personal prejudices, he suddenly found himself being petted like a kitten by the other man, who was still smiling at him. 

“Don’t worry, you precious little plum! You defended our nonexistent virtue, which was so freaking adorable to watch. That means we have to like you!” 

Peter’s brow furrowed at that statement, looking back at the man’s blissed out expression as he continued to roughly pat Peter’s head. What the actual heck? How unusual was it for people to use the royal plural in everyday speak? Maybe he was overthinking it. Maybe it was just a ‘Wade’ thing. He would have to ask his uncle. If his uncle ever wanted to talk to him again, that is. 

The man grinned even brighter at Peter’s no doubt stupid looking, face-twisting expression as he tried to figure out why his uncle was trying to lock this man away in the first place. He seemed idiotically harmless. 

“In the future, though, don’t worry too much.” Wade flexed his arm like an excited child. “I’m a big boy and I can handle myself. I don’t want to see you getting hurt because of little ol’ me, but seeing you go all white knight on Weasel was just too freaking cute!” He grabbed Peter’s cheek and pinched it like an old lady. 

“In the future,” Peter snorted, swatting at the hand and looking away. “Good luck convincing Weasel to keep me after that,” Peter sniffed and swiped at his face with the back of his hand awkwardly. “Sorry you had to be a part of that.”

The man snorted and pulled his hand away. “Kid, I’m pretty sure - and this is just me so correct me if I’m wrong - but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t just a ‘part’ of that. Pretty sure I caused that. Which means I should be apologizing to you.” He boopped Peter’s nose, which was really freaking patronizing. He wondered if he was getting that kind of treatment because Wade thought of him as a child, or if the man did that sort of thing to everyone. 

Peter looked down when he sensed his piercing gaze, because as nice as Wade’s words were, he knew the truth. If Peter hadn’t been there, none of this would have gone down the way it had. There would have been nothing for Weasel and Wade to fight about. 

The man sighed, obviously recognizing the stubborn look on Peter’s face. “Look, kid, you didn’t do anything wrong. People in Weasel’s line of work don’t talk about their emotions.”

Wait, bar tenders? He thought those were the kind of people that dealt with problems and emotions the most. That’s how they were depicted on TV, at least. 

“Don’t take it personally,” Wade tried, but for Peter it was already a little too late. “I know I don’t. I know he loves me deep down in that shriveled little heart of his. The fact that you got any level of emotion out of that S.O.B. means he does care.”

“What if he realizes I’m too much trouble,” Peter fretted, “and gives up on me? What if he gets rid of me already?”

“Kid, if he gets rid of you, it’s not because he is giving up on you, and it’s definitely not because he doesn’t care,” Peter felt the man’s large hand wrap around his bicep and, with a single arm, lift him unsteadily onto his feet. That was rather impressive. Sure, Peter wasn’t exactly big for his age, but the level of dexterity and strength in just one arm had to be pretty amazing to do something like that. “It would be because he cares too much. And he would be giving up on himself, not you, if he got rid of you.” 

“Sure.” 

Once Peter was on his feet again, the man let go to give him a consoling, if a bit forceful, pat on the back. It was times like then that Peter really appreciated the fact his body could stick to any surface, because without that, Peter would have ended up right back on the floor. 

“Trust me. I may not be a psychologist, but I know a thing or two about disappointing male role models to last me a lifetime.” Wade laughed heartily, a broad, infectious happy go lucky smile shining brightly across his face as he scratched the back of his head and puffed out his chest proudly. “My dad was a dick!”

Peter tilted his head in confusion. That didn’t sound like something anyone should have been boasting about. “I didn’t know my dad,” he admitted. “I had an uncle, though! Before Weasel, I mean.” 

The man nodded politely, once again looking Peter up and down, then circling him. The way he was staring didn’t seem predatory, but the cramped space definitely made it more uncomfortable than it had to be with how they brushed up against each other every orbit. He must have been born without a personal space bubble. 

“Nope. Still don’t see it.” Wade stopped in front of him, index finger on his own chin and eyes squinted. If he had his other arm, Peter imagined it would be purchased on his slightly cocked hip. “I still can’t believe you two are related. You must take more after your other uncle. What was he like?”

Peter’s chest ached, but a fond smile found it’s way across his lips. “He was pretty awesome. He wasn’t as smart as Weasel probably is. He was a simple, uncomplicated man, and what he lacked in book smarts he made up for in other ways.” Peter didn’t know why he was saying all of this, but once he started he couldn’t stop. All those words that he never spoke to anyone before just continued to find their way out, flowing from his mouth like the lyrics of a song he had trapped in his head for weeks but refused to sing. “He was already retired when they got me, so he had to go back to work to support me. Mostly hard labor jobs where he could find them, just to make ends meet. That became harder as he got older. That’s what made him so amazing. I never saw him get frustrated or angry at our luck. He was always thankful for what we had rather than wishful for what we didn’t. I use to get mad at him. Kids at school would tease me for my secondhand clothes, and I was embarrassed to be seen out with him. I got angry at him for what I didn’t have, and one day he was added to that list.” Peter blinked rapidly. “I regret that the most. I wish I had more time with him, you know?”

For the first time since Weasel had left, the other man frowned. “Don’t be too harsh on yourself. You were a kid. Kids rarely ever appreciate stuff like that.”

“No matter how crappy I was to him,” Peter continued, “he taught me all about doing the right thing. Helping people. And in the end, I failed. I failed him.”

“Well, this is starting to make sense. He was the exact polar opposite of Weasel.” He palmed his forehead, almost looking like he didn’t want to know the next answer. “What happened to him?”

“He got shot,” Peter croaked. “Bled out on the sidewalk in front of me a couple years back during a carjacking gone wrong.”

“Ah…” Wade looked extremely uncomfortable all of the sudden. “Does Weasel know?” 

Peter shook his head forlornly. “He opened the bar shortly after I got here, and he doesn’t exactly seem interested in listening to my problems.” The teen grimaced. “You probably aren’t interested either. Sorry for complaining to you about how crappy my life is. I mean, yours is obviously a lot worse.” He was probably just being nice like the cashiers in grocery stores were when they asked how Peter was doing. 

The older man shrugged, batting the notion away like a playful cat. “Not like I have much else going on. And long, drawn out silences are the worst. You mentioned an aunt?”

“She was pretty great too,” Peter hedged, rubbing the back of his neck. If he had already gotten this far, he might as well explain what happened to land him with Weasel in the first place. “You would have thought I learned from what happened to my uncle and made sure I told her how much I loved her. But I didn’t.”

“Holy fuck!” The man certainly wasn’t a detached audience. He seemed almost overly invested in what Peter was saying, though it strangely didn’t come across as mocking. “You gotta be kidding me. She’s dead?”

Peter forced himself to nod. After all, the first step to any problem was admitting it happened, though it still seemed too fresh to say outright. “This morning she… I’m sure you’ve guessed. Honestly, I didn’t even know my mother had any siblings until this morning either. Then I met Weasel, and it kinda made sense why we were never introduced.” He sighed. “To put it bluntly, it’s been a long day.”

“I’ll bet!” Then, the man’s mouth fell open in a horror stricken expression, hand clapping to his cheek. “And then I,” Wade drew his thumb across his neck, making an inappropriately wet slashing noise, “right in front of you? Fuck, I’m sorry kid.”

“You didn’t really seem to have any control over it. Also, I’m not a kid,” Peter huffed again, though it was more because he was too tired to deal with this argument anymore. “I’m almost 17.” He eyed the man’s arm again dazing out. Well, he stared at the lack of an arm, technically. “And I’m sorry you died.”

Wade squinted his eyes at Peter, as if he wasn’t quite sure he believed him. “Eh. It happens more often than I’d like to admit.”

The teen suddenly shocked himself out of his self pitying depression at the realization that the man was still dripping onto the carpet, large, bloody footprints left all over in his wake. 

Oh, God that was a lot of blood! He needed to make it stop! The man would die in front of him again if he didn’t, and Peter wasn’t exactly in the best mental state to handle something like that again.

Honestly, Wade was quickly turning out to be the nicest person Peter had dealt with all day, which really didn’t mean much now that he thought about it. Still, he was so desperate for even the slightest sliver of kindness that he refused to let this man suffer. Even if he did claim he would come back from it, Peter didn’t want to watch that happening to someone he was already forming a strange, semi-attachment to. 

“Here you are, missing an arm and bleeding out, and you’re the one comforting me? You’re making me look like a jerk. Here,” Peter stepped forward, pushing Wade back into the cramped space of the bathroom, possibly harder than he really needed to. “Let me take care of you.”

The man looked mildly uncomfortable at being manhandled into the crowded space. “Wow!” He stumbled over his own rather large feet, narrowly avoiding getting tangled in a crumpled towel on the floor at the shove. “You’re pretty strong for a nerdy kid, aren’t you!”

“Not a kid.” Peter pulled open all of the drawers and cabinets, coming up with some medical tape, some washcloths, rubbing alcohol, and small scissors and tweezers, which he immediately threw in the sink before turning on the hot water. 

“What are you-“

Wade looked even more uncomfortable when Peter turned back to him and went to grab at the tattered remains of his shirt. So uncomfortable, in fact, that in an awkward series of movements he jumped up on the ledge of the toilet, a nearby scrub brush held out loftily in front of him like a blade. 

It was so hilariously stupid that Peter couldn’t hold back his chuckle at the sight. It was good to know he could still laugh, no matter how painful it was to do so soon after his aunt’s death. “What on earth are you doing?”

“Listen kid, not gonna tell you how to live your life. That’s Weasel’s job now, but pushing strangers into the bathroom and trying to undress them isn’t the normal way to say hello in most cultures,” he scrunched up his eyes. “Or, like, any culture, now that I’m thinkin’ about it! It’s also a quick way to make Weasel cut of my-my-my…”

Peter crossed his arms, frowning and tapping his foot while the man obviously attempted to find a ‘PG’ word to fill in the blank with. “Other arm?” Peter supplied dryly. 

“Yeah! Absolutely! That is 100% what I was gonna say!”

Peter rolled his eyes and yanked the scrub brush out of the man’s hand and tossed it into the hall. “I’m trying to clean your…” Peter frowned, curiosity getting the better of him. Before he could truly think through what he was about to say, he found himself blurting, “Hypothetically, could you grow that part of your body back?” The moment those words crossed his lips he realized how extremely inappropriate and personal it was. His face went red hot. But science had demanded he ask!

The man’s brow’s furrowed, “My real arm, or my ‘Hypothetical,’ PG rated ‘arm?’” He made air quotes, curling and uncurling all four of his fingers on one hand to make up for the lack of the other. 

Peter hit himself in the face. “Never mind. I really wasn’t that curious. Now could you please step down from the toilet? I was going to try to help you clean your arm… shoulder… stump thing. It can’t be easy for you to do with only one hand, so let me help.”

Wade jumped down exaggeratedly wiping his brow of sweat. “Oh, um… you don’t have to do that.”

“I want to,” Peter pressed. “You are literally a bloody mess, and it will put my mind at ease knowing you won’t die of an infection.”

“I won’t.” The man tried to push Peter back into the hall, but he stood his ground, flashing him that look that everyone but aunt May usually caved to, and that was only because she knew better. He wondered if it would work on Weasel. For some strange reason he doubted it. “Please?”

Wade looked down at his hand, then back at the boy in the doorway that should have at least budged, instantly forgetting that little fact when he was placed under that intense look of pure kicked puppy-ness. “Jesus! How does Weasel say no to you?

“It’s a Jedi mind trick, that’s why.”

“Hey!” The man laughed boisterously. “Are you calling me stupid? Harsh, my little banana bread cupcake! Harsh.”

Peter quirked his brow and snorted. “Maybe. Do you even remember my name? Because that’s like, the third food related thing you cave called me since meeting me.”

“Sure do, Petey-Pie! Now it’s four!”

He shook his head and pushed Wade back till he was seated on the toilet, thankfully without any resistance this time. “Just take off your own shirt if you’re so against me doing it.” 

Wade was really making this hard on Peter. He was upset. He was angsty. His aunt just died, and he wasn’t on the best of terms with his new uncle, for goodness sake! He didn’t want to laugh or be happy right now. Yet, he found himself fighting back a smile anyway. 

“Goodness, Mr. bossy pants! Weasel’s rubbing off on you!”

Peter scowled, “I hope not.”

He was almost instantly met with a snort, and a, “That’s what she said!”

Peter rolled his eyes. “That’s inappropriate,” he responded flatly, disinfecting the tweezers and scissors with alcohol before drying them thoroughly with a towel that he really hoped had been cleaned at some point in the last six months. It was so routine for him that he could have done this blindfolded if he were still at his aunt’s. It wasn’t like he hadn’t done this a million times or anything. 

“Dude, I thought you were a high schooler!” The man responded, a gobsmacked look on his face when Peter caught his expression in the mirror. “Isn’t that joke totally hip? I’m just trying to jive with my fellow children!”

Peter didn’t even try to hold back the snort. “And you call me a kid. You’re less mature than I am without the excuse of age.”

Wade grinned and leaned forward when Peter turned back to him, his scrapped t-shirt balled in his lap. The teen’s eyes widened when they landed on the man’s very large, well defined pectorals (which was quite a feat considering the heavy scarring probably covered up a lot of it), and one threateningly large arm. Peter would have felt nervous at the sight if it weren’t for the man’s disarmingly simple smile. “Well, isn’t that sad. I mean, if you’re already mature at the young age of 16. Imagine how much more boring you will be in a few years. You don’t actually want to be like Weasel, do you?”

He flushed and quickly averted his gaze to the shirt on the man’s lap and winced. He didn’t even want to try to guess what color it had originally been. 

He maneuvered between the man and the bathtub, trying to find the best way to get at the man’s shoulder and extremely fleshy, ripped raw, torso of a man he had assumed dead not an hour ago. He felt faint and forced himself not to think of his aunt having looked somewhat similar when they showed her to him.

“Right now, boring is the furthest thing from my life if you haven’t noticed.” Sure Peter had gotten into some scrapes since he had been a hero, but nothing so gory as this. And the man acted like it was an everyday occurrence. Just what had he been doing to lose that arm? 

Maybe he should be a little more worried?

“But I’m still older than you, and I have more fun, so HA!”

“This is fun?” Peter shook his head, leaning over the man’s lap to get a better look at the wound, which wasn’t too hard considering how cramped the space was, though it gave a rather intimate feel to the whole process that was totally unneeded. 

He winced at the burnt flesh smell and sight of shrapnel. Wade went noticeably stiff under his hands as he assessed the gore, trying to put all thoughts of dead bodies out of his head so he could better focus on helping. It definitely didn’t help that the image of her corpse was still so fresh in his head. The realization that this man needed aid was the only thing stopping him from throwing up his nachos. That, and the thought of puke in the open wound made him even more sick just to think about. 

So he just wasn’t gonna think about it anymore. Easy, peasy. He was totally going to have some heavy nightmares about everything later, though. 

Peter readied his tweezers and held the man’s stiff shoulder steady with his other hand. He noticed the man’s discomfort and took pity on him, assuming it had something to do with what Peter was about to do. After all, it was no doubt going to hurt like crazy. 

“How does Weasel put up with you?” Peter tried to tease, a poor attempt at a comforting smile gracing his lips when he readied to pull at the first metal splinter. It looked like there were three in total. That shouldn’t be too hard.

“I’m pretty sure he just keeps me around for my good looks.”

“Obviously.” 

Peter’s brows raised in surprise when the shard practically pushed itself out of the man’s arm socket without too much prodding at all. “Wait… What?”

The chuckle that followed explained it all. Peter looked up at the man, only just then realizing how close and cozy he had gotten to Wade in order to help. “You should really see your face right now. I told you that I didn’t need help,” Wade hummed with a devilish smile that made Peter flush in mild vexation, “but who am I to deny a curious young almost-man-though-still-a-kid who was so adamant on getting me shirtless.”

“You’re terrible,” Peter deadpanned, then startled when the other two shards pushed themselves out of the man’s shoulder with a jolting, full body flex that literally rippled across the man’s skin. As much as Peter wanted to be frustrated at Wade’s teasing, it was rather fascinating to watch as the holes literally began closing before his eyes. He leaned closer, practically climbing the man so he could watch the skin regrow at an inhumanly accelerated pace. “You said you could grow your limb back, but I didn’t know it would happen this fast! Are you watching this?! This is so amazingly awesome!!”

He felt a hand ruffle his hair, but he was too distracted to be bothered. “And you are amazingly good at cleaning wounds.” Peter quickly detached himself and clamored to his feet when he heard the lightly suspicious tone. He had dealt with that constantly ever since he created his super-secret identity. Wade narrowed his eyes, grabbing his filthy shirt from his lap and wiping up his bloodied chest with it. “Where did you pick up that amazingly useful trait, I wonder?”

“Oh, ummm…” Peter had to think fast, “YouTube Videos!” He was almost positive the strangely simple man would buy that excuse without a second thought. After all, Wade didn’t seem to be the sharpest tool in the shed. It would be fine!

But it wasn’t fine. Peter’s heart caught in his throat when the man instantly called him out with a mockingly harsh laugh. “Really? A scrawny, nerdy, hormonal 16 year old boy with all the internet at his fingertips, and you are looking up how to clean and dress a wound?” He snorted. “You expect me to buy that? I mean, at least have the decency to come up with something better than that garbage. I know I’m not Einstein, but I’m also not that dumb.”

“My aunt is a nurse?” He tried again. 

“Hmm. Better. Though the way you worded it like a question was kinda telling. You’re gonna have to get way better at lying if you’re gonna live with Weasel. Just saying.” The man stood, his looming presence pushing Peter back a couple of paces. After all, the man was probably a full foot taller than him and at least twice as big around. 

“I have first aid,” Peter shot out, “and CPR training. My aunt thought that was important for me to know growing up!”

“Really?” Wade humored with a shrug, turning his attention to his reflection. At least the man didn’t seem overly upset with being blatantly lied too. He suddenly seemed more interested in observing his stump in the mirror and pealing off the dead bits. “Now that’s interesting. So, with me lying there all helpless and dying on the floor a little bit ago, you didn’t happen to do a little mouth to mouth on me while I was all defenseless and vulnerable, did you?”

“No!” Peter flushed angrily, but the man barely spared him a glance in the reflection before snorting. 

“Awe, you’re so flustered! I was only teasing! I don’t expect that on the first date. You gotta buy me dinner first.”

Peter gaped at the man, dumbfounded at the new topic of conversation and how easy it was to make the last one end. “You truly are one of a kind.”

“Hey! Take it while you can get it. I’m an ass most of the time.”

Peter winced and hissed, when Wade pulled off a large scab like it was dried glue on the back of his hand. “What happened to you to make you like this?” He gestured to the stump. Then he realized how wrong that was to ask of a victim something like that. He read somewhere that questions like that generally caused them to relive the trauma. Oh, crap. Was he being too insensitive? “Or do you not want to talk about it? You probably don’t want to talk about it! Sorry for bringing it up!”

“No! It’s fine!” The skin beneath the large scab made it appear as if the man had been an amputee for most of his life. How was that even possible? “Don’t worry! I mean, I can’t exactly tell you without Weasel freaking out, but I don’t mind you asking. You’re fine, baby boy.”

“Oh, my gosh!” The scab plopped heavily into the sink. “That looks so…!” Disgusting probably wasn’t the best word to use. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m usually not this insanely insensitive.”

“Pft! I know a thing or two about insane and insensitive,” the man babbled mindlessly. “Like, sometimes I get a q-tip and poke the voices in my head that’s how bad it gets, and when that doesn’t work I sub in a knife.” 

Peter chuckled at the man’s obvious joke aimed to make him feel better. “Sure.”

“Trust me. You are nowhere near where I am. We can talk about it more later, but I need a shower.” He made a shooing motion with his hand, stepping closer till he had crowded Peter back into the hall. 

“Do you need help into the shower?” It was probably going to be hard to avoid slipping with only one arm for balance. 

The man once again gave that infectious laugh Peter was learning to like. “I will admit, I will have a hard time doing my usual shower-going rituals,” Wade sighed regretfully, “but I’m sure I will survive a day or two without… ah… scrubbing one side of my back.”

“Okay!” Peter agreed obliviously, grinning back. “I can see if Weasel has any spare clothes, and I’ll clean up a bit more around the place.” Wade probably didn’t want to look at that stain on the floor all night after… you know, dying on it. But the reminder of his uncle made him frown and wonder if the man would be mollified enough by his cleaning attempts not to take him back to the station. He had a feeling, being a teenage boy, he wouldn’t exactly be the easiest to place in a home, and most of the TV shows that he watched didn’t exactly paint foster homes as great places to live. 

He must have voiced something along that train of thought out loud without realizing, because Wade suddenly frowned down at him from the crack in the door. “Kid… not to be rude, but Weasel is literally the least equipped person to handle a growing child I know of, and I know a lot of ill equipped people, believe me.”

“Once again, I’m not a child.” That argument was getting really old. He was Spider-Man. Emphasis on ‘Man.’ Nobody mistook the superhero for a child when he had his mask on. 

Speaking of, he decided he really needed to go back to school and get his stuff from his locker. He couldn’t let his aunt’s death prevent him from doing what was right. That would just be selfish to wallow in his own self pity. 

Then again, so was donning the mask just so he could escape everything that was happening in Peter Parker’s life. But really that was the lesser of two evils, wasn’t it? After all, he would still be helping people! How could that be worse than sitting idly and doing nothing?

“Well, you sure as hell aren’t an adult.” Wade shot back with a smug quirk of his lips. “Or legal in any sense of the word. And if Weasel is still mad at you come morning, he doesn’t deserve you, you precious little unicorn fart.” With that, the door swiftly shut in Peter’s face.  

“What?” 

Because seriously, was this guy real?

“It’s a term of endearment!”

“No,” Peter scowled into the chipped wooden surface. “No, it’s not. I think I’m beginning to understand why Weasel wanted to lock you in the bathroom.”

“Awe! I’m growing on you!”

“Like a disease,” Peter muttered back. 

“Like cancer!” For some strange reason, he sounded far too psychotically excited at mentioning a deadly illness for Peter’s liking. 

Peter scowled and knocked rapidly, shouting when he heard the shower start. “Cancer isn’t funny!”

“Never said it was,” the immediate, mockingly jovial reply came. “Been there, lived it. Still living it, actually.”

Peter shook his head, deciding that level of insanity was a little too much for him. Wade had managed to distract Peter from his problems for a short while, though. Now that he thought about it, he wondered if the man had done that on purpose, or if he really was that much of an oddball. Maybe both. 

He turned around with a faint smile and winced at the sight of the apartment behind him. There was blood everywhere. On the carpet. Smeared over the walls. It looked like a crime scene. Peter was pretty sure he was going to be sick.

“Well,” he huffed tiredly, rubbing his heavy eyes, “better get started before it dries.”

He quickly stumbled around, hoping his uncle at least had a bucket or a scrub brush he could use. 

It was going to be a long night. 

Chapter Text

All of Peter’s skelletons, surprisingly, didn’t fall out of the closet to haunt him that night. Though that may have had something to do with Peter failing to remember actually falling asleep. In fact, when his mind was awake enough to digest his thoughts, he wouldn’t even remember getting much further than hanging a pair of sweats on the outside of the bathroom door (Wade was loudly singing the theme of My Little Pony on the other side), and setting up a bowl of soapy water and a scrub brush near the biggest stain. 

One second, Peter was on his knees, dunking the brush in the water with one hand and blotting the carpet with a dry takeout napkin, and then? Blank. Nothing. 

He must have cleaned it, though. Then he obviously fell asleep, because he was fairly certain he was on the uncomfortable pullout, slumbering like the dead. Or, he had been before he started waking up.

As distressing as the missing time was, he was glad to note that he was relatively unharmed, warm, and wrapped up in a soft, thick blanket. His senses weren’t going haywire anymore, so that was good. The bar must have closed. 

His chest was aching something awful, like his heart had been beating overtime all through the night because of that anxiety. Thankfully, with his ear pressed up against a warm pillow and the sound of lungs expelling air and a heart thrumming a steady rhythm, he was nearly coaxed back under the waves of exhaustion without his groggy mind fully realizing everything that happened the day before. 

Unfortunately, that was exactly when Peter realized that his own heart beat and breathing had a completely different speed and pattern from what he was hearing against his ear. Peter’s brow crinkled in confusion and he burrowed deeper into the cushion. 

Weird. 

Then, his pillow gave a disgruntled cough. “You know, now would be a really good time to wake up before Weasel comes up here and castrates me. My arm is kinda starting to fall asleep. Just so you know. No hurry or anything.”

Peter groggily attempted to slit his eyes open as he tilted his head up to look at the magical talking and breathing pillow. A pillow that, now that Peter was paying attention, had two smaller, built in pillows that his chin rested perfectly between. It was like the couch was made for this. 

Screw this, Peter decided. He was too tired to open his crusty eyes anyway. Nope. Sleep first, worry later. 

He didn’t remember why he didn’t want to wake up, but he knew he had a pretty good reason. Sleep would prevent him from remembering. “Shhhhhhhh, ‘m sleeping.” Peter, in his normal, ‘I’m not awake enough for this crap’ fashion, reached up and smacked the cushion above like he would an overly loud alarm clock, then hooked his leg up to further sprawl himself across his magical talking pillow. 

What a weird dream. 

Once he was done slapping it several times for good measure, his hand dragged down the pillow’s face (since when did pillows have faces?), and came to a stop at the top of one of the two big, firm poofs under his cheek. 

When did they make couch cushions so hard?

His brow crinkled and his fingers dug into the uneven, warm, pleathery surface and massaged the stiff peak, hoping to loosen it up enough to become more comfortable. 

“Ah! Um, good to know Weasel’s nephew is not a morning person!” The pillow squawked in a panic, which really didn’t make sense. What did pillows have to panic about? “Or you very much are a morning person.” 

A hand appeared and began prodding at Peter, which he simply batted at, snuggling further into the warmth of the couch to evade with a pitiful whine. Why was the couch being mean to him? What did he ever do to it?

“Oh, if you weren’t a twelve year old kitten and in any way related to Weasel I would be so conflicted right now. But, since both of those things are absolutely true, I am so totally not conflicted. Not. At. All.”

“‘M not twelve.” Weasel? Peter wasn’t related to a furry rodent, was he? No. He was a spider. Did weasels eat spiders, though? Wouldn’t  that make weasels more frightening than spiders? But weasels didn’t have eight legs. Two weasels would have eight legs combined, though. 

This was too confusing. All Peter wanted to do was sleep. 

Peter whimpered and reached up to slapped the pillow’s face again. Why wouldn’t the pill–OH!

In the matter of a few seconds, Peter’s mind was completely awake. 

His eyes tore open and landed on the face of the man he had watched die the night before, though was very much not dead, which was still a little bit of a shock to his system because miracles like that didn’t happen every day. 

Why was his face so close? 

Peter looked down at the pillows he had been snuggling into, only to realize his face was perfectly pressed between both of the man’s large, scarred pecks, one hand still resting on top of the fleshy mound in an aborted squeeze. 

They looked at each other for another moment, Peter with mortification, embarrassment and confusion, and Wade somewhere between surprised and amused shitless, more than likely due to Peter’s facial expression. 

“Finally awake, baby boy?”

Spider-Man’s knee jerk reaction was to try to do a summersault to get as far away as possible, possibly to the ceiling. Unfortunately, half awake Peter’s body wasn’t nearly as on board with this plan as his instincts were. Just as he kicked away from the bed, his hands and feet went instantly sticky, and his body became even more tangled with the sheets than any normal person’s would. 

He landed painfully on his boney hip directly next to the discolored red spot from the night before. 

Well, apparently he didn’t clean up the blood like he thought he did. His uncle was probably gonna be angry about that.

What on earth had he done last night?

Chapter Text

Blood. 

There was blood all over the floor. Right next to Peter’s body. He wanted to close his eyes or look away, or anything, but he knew that even if he did he would still be able to smell it. The same smell as his uncle. The same smell as his aunt. The same smell whenever he was the first responder to an accident. Would he even be useful on the street anymore if his mind kept getting stonewalled by the new memory of his aunt? His uncle’s death had driven him to try his hardest. His aunt’s death brought with it the futile nature of his self appointed job. No matter how hard he tried, everyone would die. He couldn’t save everyone, so what was the point? Even if he did go back out there, would he just freeze like he was doing now? Would someone die because he was being so childish about his aunt’s death that he would freeze up and not do everything in his power to fix the situation?

The blood. He needed to fix and get over this stupid hang up before it got someone killed. Starting with the blood that he failed to clean the night before. It needed to be gone. His problems wouldn’t go away as easily, but it would be a start. A step in the right direction. Overcoming his fear of… 

“Okay, so, before you start screaming rape,” Wade hastened, obviously noting Peter’s distress and interpreting it for something else considering how quiet the younger man had been since he fell from the makeshift bed, “might I just remind you, you were the one who started the groping.”

“Crap.” There was still blood on the carpet! Didn’t he promise Weasel he would clean it before morning? And Weasel was already angry last night. How much more angry would he be when he got upstairs and saw that Peter hadn’t done anything he had promised? He needed to fix this now!

“You can say shit,” Wade threw out. “Ain’t nobody around here gonna give two shits about it.”

Peter ignored the man on the couch, opting instead to sit up and look around nearby for the water and scrubby he had set out to use the night before. 

There was, however, only so much he could do still literally stuck inside his cocoon of blankets, limbs refusing to detach. “Weasel is gonna kill me! I promised him I would clean this! What was I doing last night?!” He struggled against the sheet, trying to disconnect his hands and feet without ripping the fabric, which was becoming less and less possible the more frantic he was becoming. It became a vicious cycle that probably wasn’t helping calm his powers down, but his mind was blanking the freak out at the sight of all that blood. Had there been that much last night?

That earned him a snort as the figure on the sofa made no signs of moving to his aid, obviously content to let Peter work himself out. “You were doing the same thing last night that you’re doing now. Panicking. Don’t you remember me dragging you into the shower?”

Peter finally looked up in surprise at Wade, instantly forgetting the blankets and the blood. “You dragged me into the shower?!” He squawked. 

The man rolled his eyes and curled up on the couch to watch Peter’s panicking with a concerned frown. ”Of course you don’t remember. I probably wouldn’t remember either, with the lack of oxygen reaching your brain. I was just trying to keep you calm.”

“Keep me calm?” Peter took several deep breaths, eyes drifting back to the blood, and willing his hands and feet to unattach from the blankets. It still didn’t work. Half a second later he was back to kicking and lashing out at the fabric with renewed vigor. This was totally not the time for sticky fingers. “Yeah! That certainly worked very well!! I’m super calm now! Look at how freaking calm I am!”

Peter snapped silent when he heard the creaking of the stairs, covering up his also shirtless torso with the blanket. When exactly his shirt had come off and where it was now, Peter had no freaking clue, but he really didn’t want to give his uncle anymore ammunition against Wade, or the ability to say, ‘I told you so,’ despite the rude wakeup call. Also, it didn’t seem like the blanket was going anywhere anytime soon. 

Peter couldn’t quite remember going to sleep, so it was entirely possible nothing bad had happened at all. Surely there was a completely logical and harmless explanation for waking up in bed with a stranger that you met just the night before. Either way, it wasn’t right to immediately blame Wade when he didn’t even have any evidence to back that up with. Or any memories. 

Peter’s arm hairs stood on end when his uncle slammed the door open, red rimmed eyes instantly locking onto Peter, the blood stain, and then Wade laying completely relaxed in the bed. 

Peter shrunk in on himself, expecting a scolding about the carpet. 

“Wade… you seriously made my nephew sleep on the floor?” The man’s body sagged in frustrated acceptance. “Next to the blood? What the hell is wrong with you!”

“I-I-I insisted!” Peter spoke up before Wade could suicidally admit to the real sleeping arrangements, which seemed doubtful, but Peter wouldn’t exactly put it past the other. He also spoke up because of how embarrassing what actually happened was. And, because he just couldn’t stand anymore fighting. “He was hurt!” Peter added lamely when his uncle shot him a penetrating glare, making him shrink and look away again. That tingling in the back of his head was thankfully short lived. His uncle had the ‘if looks could kill,’ thing down pat… or maybe it was more of, ‘if looks could promise bodily harm.’ Thankfully, Wade seemed to be the target of said look, and Peter was just unfortunate enough to be in the room with the two men at the moment. 

“Oh, is THAT how he convinced you?” His uncle glared more daggers at Wade, who kept up his pokerface by… winking at Weasel. 

“I know you’ve caught me doing so much worse. Do you really want me to list it in front of your precious, baby nephew?”

“N-no!” Peter shot a glare at Wade, begging for him to shut up this once, then he turned his beseeching gaze to Weasel. “I mean, May taught me to be hospitable to our guests! And he is a guest! So, I gave him the couch?” Oh, god! Did his voice really decide that the end of his sentence was a good place to crack? That didn’t sound convincing at all!

“Sure, Peter. Sure.” Weasel turned to Wade and gave him another look. “You and I have soooo much catching up to do.”

“Sure thing, boss!”

Peter looked between the two with a dawning understanding. “Oh! That’s how you two know each other! You work at the bar for my uncle.”

Both just looked at him with this patronizingly uncomfortable expression. Like the ones adults give children when they ask if Santa is really real. “Yeah. In a way, I guess,” Wade finally admitted after a beat. Peter was pretty sure one of his teachers gave him the same exact answer about Santa a few years back, too. 

Weasel staunchly avoided the question, which made Peter pretty sure that wasn’t the case at all. In lieu of answering, he blinked a few times, eyes focusing on Wade’s leg sticking out from the comforter, and the way the pant leg of the  sweats was way too short for the large man, showing off his thick, scarred ankles. 

“Are you in my pants?”

Wade smiled salaciously. “Goodness! So forward!” Wade leered and struck a provocative pose on the couch, showcasing more ankle for his uncle. A pose that made Peter look away with a flushed frown. “Do you want me to be?”

Weasel gave one last scowl, cursing so colorfully under his breath that Peter blushed before he headed to the room filled with computers, keys in hand. “Go fuck yourself, Wade. I have work to catch up on. Don’t bother me. Either of you.”

“Wait!” Peter wrapped his blanket around himself even tighter so he could stand and chase after his uncle. “No! You need to take me to the school to get my stuff!” He needed his suit. ASAP.  Not just because he was going stir crazy without it, but what if the janitorial staff found it? “And all the stuff from my aunt’s apartment before they clear it out, too! I don’t have any clothes.”

Weasel turned and dissected him with an unimpressed look, eyeing the blanket suspiciously after a moment. “Why are you wearing a sheet like that?”

“I… ah… don’t have any clothes?” Peter flushed harder, letting go when his uncle grabbed a corner and tugged it away. 

Of course, his skin decided to unlatch it’s grip completely at the least opportune moment. Because that was what superpowers were good for. Being unreliable. 

At least, Peter was glad to note, he had pants on. 

 

“Why were you sleeping in a room with a relative stranger, without a shirt? And where did the hello kitty PJs come from?” 

And there was that ominous buzzing again. Yup, that definitely came from his uncle. Though dangerous, the light hum didn’t seem directed at him. “I… uh…” Peter really wished he had the answer to this question, but he didn’t.

“When I got out of the shower he was covered in the blood he had promised you he would clean.” Wade growled, coming up behind them with his own blanket tied around his neck like a cape, covering his injured shoulder from sight. “Just get a new carpet, you cheep ass. I know you know a guy.”

Weasel’s scowl was back again, and Peter had a feeling it had something to do with the curious statement about knowing a guy. Peter had a sinking feeling that his uncle ‘knowing a guy’ translated into, ‘he knew a guy who would change the carpet without asking why there was so much blood on it.’ Which once again made him wonder what type of guy Weasel actually was. 

“L-let’s not worry about that right now! I need clothes!” He tried to divert their attention before he could no longer continue living in blissful ignorance. He had the loss of his aunt to work through, and his fear of no longer being able to swing it as Spider-Man before he even began trying to unravel the mystery of his uncle. Sure he often bit off a little more than he could chew, but he was so not ready to go back for seconds just yet. 

“Why?” Weasel groaned, flopping his head back in exhaustion. “Why does this happen to me?” 

Was he whining like a child now? Really? And this was the man who was supposed to be Peter’s new guardian? He really didn’t know what to think. One second the man was radiating danger, and the next he was huffing and puffing like a toddler. 

Though, the man had been up all night. He supposed anyone would be murdery and off balance after a full night of work at a bar, only to come back to the reality of having a new child living with them. Peter would let it slide for the moment. 

“I want to say Karma,” Wade chipped in unhelpfully. That seemed to be a commonly occurring theme where he was involved, now that Peter thought about it. 

“Fine,” Weasel conceded with another whine and a pouty huff of breath. “Let me shower and take care of a few things.” His eyes landed on Wade with a sleep depraved, possibly slightly hung over desperation. “Wait, Wade, since you are here, why don’t you do something useful for a change and take him to get his stuff?”

“What? For real?” Wade perked like an overly excited dog. “You actually trust me around your ‘impressionable nephew?’”

That seemed to sober his uncle up pretty quickly. “Actually…”

“Sure!” Wade practically cheered, slinging his arm around Peter’s shoulders with a manic grin. “Crashed the car recently. But I guess I could take him for a spin on my bike! It only has a tiny dent in it, and it’s not leaking fluids anymore.”

“Nope!” Weasel quickly turned to his bedroom, grabbing clothes at random off the floor (Peter wrinkled his nose at that) before walking briskly to the bathroom. “Never mind. You aren’t taking Peter on that death trap.”

“Like your car is any better.” Wade cajoled with an exaggeratedly disappointed pout. “I promise I will take good care of my darling waffle stack.”

“It is a lot better than your bike,” Peter’s uncle railed back, “and that is what I’m afraid of!” Weasel lingered in the bathroom door, eyes narrowed as he looked between Peter and Wade. 

He obviously suspected something, and Peter was sure the way he was avoiding his uncle’s eye contact was not helping anything. Thankfully, his uncle didn’t voice it, for which, Peter as eternally grateful. “Be ready to leave in ten.” He pointed at Wade, who was mid fist pump. “Not you.”

The bathroom door snapped shut. 

Peter let out a breath of relief. 

Still, both waited for the water to start running before daring to say a word. 

“Whooo!” The scarred man cheered once the coast was clear. “You really saved my bacon! I thought you were gonna tell Weasel we slept together for sure! Which would be totally untrue, B.T.W.… well, in a technical sense it probably is true.”

Peter wasn’t amused in the slightest. He quickly removed himself from under the much taller (seriously, how was he that freaking big?) man’s arm and attempted to look down at him. “Speaking of, why was I in the bed with you, or I’m going to call him back in here.”

Wade looked shocked, and shook his hands frantically. “Not because of what you are thinking!” He gestured to the red stained carpet that was no doubt a very lost cause. “When I got out of the shower you were hyperventilating in my blood. You were covered in it too, carrying on and on about how you couldn’t wash it off or some such nonsense,” Wade babbled with a flippant hand wave. “I mean, I would have laughed about how melodramatic you were being, except for the part where I had to fight you into the shower, clothes on and everything, just to get you to sober up a little.”

Oh, God! Why was so much of this ringing true? Peter hid his face in his hands as breif snippets of memory fluttered back to him. “My clothes?”

“Covered in blood and soaked. You changed yourself, though. Don’t worry! I didn’t peak! Though, you are wearing my pants from an old duffle I keep strategically stashed in Weasel’s mess, and I really would like them back when you are done. It’s hard to find PJs that soft and with that pattern in my size. I grabbed the nearest thing that wasn’t Weasel’s, mostly because I doubt any of his stuff would be clean, and I thought you might appreciate it. As I am learning, you didn’t come with any clothes.” He attempted to sling his arm around Peter’s shoulder, but was met with air when the teen swiftly dodged. Still, he seemed very far from put off at the gesture. “If Weasel can’t hook you up, we are totally going shopping, girlfriend!” He flipped his hand. 

“What… what happened to my life?” Maybe the whole melodramatic way of coping with things was a trait he also got from his mother’s side of the family, because he could totally see his uncle saying the same thing. 

“Eh. Shit happens. And this is exactly the level of dramatic I got last night, too. Just so you know.”

“You still didn’t answer my question of why I was in bed with you.”

“Because you still were hyperventilating.” Yup, Peter was definitely remembering this, despite how much he would rather not. “When you came out of the shower you were a bit calmer, but you started right back up again once we were back on the couch. I had to force you against my chest to listen to my own breathing to calm you down. Not sure if you fell asleep or passed out, but you stopped freaking out, so that was a plus.”

Okay, that sounded completely and embarrassingly likely. And he totally was remembering snippets here and there the harder he thought about it. Wade’s calming voice filled his mind for a moment, bringing him back. ‘Shhhhhhh… it’s okay. Do you hear me? Listen to my voice. Listen to my breathing. It will be okay. You’re alive. I’m alive…. Your aunt’s not, but…’ the memory of soothing fingers tangled in his hair as he was pressed against the man’s warm chest was strangely comforting, despite the unhelpfully panicky words that had accompanied the motion. 

Yeah. That had definitely happened. 

His eyes landed on the blood pool that started all of this in the first place, and he once again pictured his aunt bleeding out in it. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He needed a new subject before he started hyperventilating again. 

Peter looked back at Wade for a momet, frowning when he saw the way the blanket shifted suspiciously at the man’s side. Almost like something was under it. 

“Your arm!” Peter gasped and stepped closer to inspect before Wade could stop him. He was shocked at the sight he was met with when he tore the cover away. 

While the sight of a much smaller, underdeveloped arm was rather shocking on the muscular body, Peter was more amazed to see anything there at all. It shouldn’t be possible! Scientifically, it made no sense! Even creatures who could regrow limbs couldn’t grow them back over night! “I didn’t see it before!”

“That’s because it wasn’t there.”

“Don’t be a smart Alec. It healed that fast?”

Wade laughed, bringing the smaller hand (probably closer in size to Peter’s own) up to ruffle his hair, while Peter smiled and gawked in amazement, grabbing both of the man’s wrists and pulling them out in front of him to compare. The size difference between the two limbs reminded him of a fiddler crab. It was amazing and grotesque in the most fascinating way. 

“You’re a nerd,” Wade relaxed into the odd hold as Peter gushed over him with a fond smile, seemingly unnerved in a good way. “And also the first person I have met not to freak out about this… process.”

“I watched a documentary about a scientist recently who is studying lizards and stuff to see what makes their limbs grow back,” Peter said in awe, grabbing the mutant’s small hand again and moving it every which way. “He would be freaking out to know someone could already do what he’s trying to recreate! And so fast!”

Wade went from pleasantly smiling to blank faced in the matter of seconds, tugging his arm out of Peter’s fascinated hold with a dry chuckle. “I’ve done enough lab ratting to last me a lifetime, thanks!”

Peter’s gut dropped when he realized what that no doubt meant. Wade had been experimented on, apparently. Way to step in it. “Oh, no, I didn’t mean-“

“Sure you didn’t.” Wade’s smile didn’t reach his eyes. Peter was pretty sure this was the first time he had ever seen Wade look like that. He didn’t even know where he could begin with apologizing. 

“I… I understand. If I were ever put in your position, I wouldn’t want people doing stuff to me either.” Peter had nightmares about that very thought far too often to even count them. 

Wade’s lips thinned and he looked away. There was a long stretch of silence, which once again, Peter was fairly certain was a rare occurrence for the talkative man. 

“Sympathize,” Wade finally gave in with a harsh grunt.

“Huh?”

“You don’t understand,” Wade pressed. “You sympathize. There’s a difference.”

“Yeah,” Peter agreed solemnly. “I guess there is. I can’t begin to imagine what you must have been through. To become like this. It must have been painful.”

“Like you said, you can’t even imagine, and I really hope you never understand.”

Peter slowly reached forward again, hoping to bridge that gap, but giving Wade ample time to pull away before resting his hand on the man’s overly scarred torso with a frown. 

He really wished his overly scientific mind would turn off sometimes. It would prevent him from saying things like, “Why did your body regrow your arm before healing your skin?”

If Peter thought Wade had pulled away fast before, he was in for a shock this time. Wade even went so far as to snatch the blanket off the ground, wrapping it around his body protectively. 

Oh, God! “I-I didn’t mean that!”

“I had cancer,” Wade growled. “The short, TV edited version of it is that the cancer got worse, but somehow I mutated to the point I literally can’t die from it. Thus… all of this,” he gestured beneath his blanket defensively. “To put it simply, this is all me. If it unsettles you, you’re shit out of luck. Try living with it.”

Peter had no clue what to say. “Oh,” was the only syllable that fell from his parted lips. 

“Aren’t you going to say your sorry?”

“Is that what most people say when you explain it to them?” Peter took a slow step forward, pausing when the man hunched his shoulders and his body tensed, prepared to run. 

“No,” Wade bit, his voice hard and acidic, eyes narrowed, daring Peter to do his worst. “Most people say I deserved it for being a dick. Those are the people who knew me before. Not many of them left now, though!” His smile turned sharklike as his eyes drifted off, as if reliving a memory. 

Peter felt a shiver rip through his body, though he refused to back down. The man was hurt and lashing out. Peter had hurt him. 

“The people who meet me now generally gasp and run away.” He cocked his head and barked out a dry, menacing laugh, leaning forward as if to tell a secret. “Of course, that isn’t always because of my face. 

The strange thing was, no matter how terrifying the man may have looked or sounded… Peter didn’t feel that tingling in his body warning him to step down. So, Peter held his ground confidently, staring directly into those cold eyes and responding with an even, “Do you want me to say sorry?”

That scarred face twisted painfully, flipping through several emotions before landing on confusion. Why did this man look so lost at Peter’s words? “I don’t know.”

“Well,” Peter took another slow step forward, and the man startled at the movement, eyes flicking to Peter’s bare feet before darting back up to his face, puzzled further when Peter reached out to him with a calming smile, talking him down from that ledge like he had done to so many people as Spider-Man, “It seems to me like you didn’t hang out with really great people before if they told you that you deserved something as horrible as cancer. As selfish as it might sound, I’m glad you’re still alive,” Peter smiled, thankful he didn’t have the mask on, which often concealed his genuine emotions. “And, in my opinion, all those people who don’t even bother getting to know you definitely don’t know what they are missing out on. I think you are a really great guy.” The man had stuck with him, some kid he barely knew, all over a panic attack. He couldn’t be that bad.

The man was still frozen, eyes zoning out a little as Peter inched closer.

The teen didn’t even know what hit him. 

In an almost cartoonish moment of excitement, Wade threw off the blanket dramatically and pounced on a very shocked Peter, enveloping him in a hug, smashing his face into the very pecks he woke up on. 

They were definitely as firm as Peter remembered. 

“O. M. GOODNESS!” Peter let himself get manhandled as he was twirled around the room in the once again exuberant man’s hold. “I want to slice you up really thin, fold you in half, and market you as an over priced hallmark card!! You are too a-freaking-dorable!”

“Um… please don’t?” The teen wheezed, muffled by the larger man’s cleavage. 

“But in all actuality, I’m not a really great guy, or even a good guy,” Wade stated enthusiastically, still hugging the life out of Peter as he rag dolled in his arms. “But hearing you have that much faith in me, even though we don’t even know each other yet… it makes me want to try, you know?”

Peter was finally let up for a gasp of air. He was extremely happy that he hadn’t offended his uncle’s friend. The man seemed to have a good heart, and a hard life if anything that he was saying was even partially true. Peter had no reason to doubt any of it. 

He smiled encouragingly up at the man, who beamed back. “I don’t think you have to try at all. Weasel seems to like you.” That earned him a laugh. “Well, he seems to hate you less than a lot of stuff. He obviously knows about you… your- your not dying thing. And he is okay with that?”

“Yup,” Wade popped. “Me an’ ol’ Weasel-face go way back! And now he literally can’t get rid of me even if he tried, so he might as well learn to not hate me.”

Wade was teasing, obviously. But, still, Peter wanted to be sure. “But he’s tolerant of….” He wasn’t sure how to word it. 

Wade’s eyes narrowed again. “My face?”

“No! Your mutation- not physically!” He frantically backpedalled, now extremely aware of the man’s insecurities over the subject. “Your power, I mean! Because, like, I know how the media portrays mutants. I mean, look at that X-men school, and Spider-Man, even. They get crap, just for being different. But my uncle… he isn’t like that, right?” It would be somewhat harder to live with his uncle if he found out he was J. Jonah Jameson’s second coming or a bigot of any kind. 

Wade laughed openly at that, obviously relieved and amused. “You think your uncle thinks less of me because of that?! Pft! He probably likes me now more than before the mutation,” he guffawed. “And everyone knows that spider-booty and the X-files institute for the insanely boring are relatively harmless.” Peter had no clue how to take that, so he ignored it for the time being. “Naw! Weasel is the least judgmental person I know, now that I think about it. You got to meet some of the people who visit your uncle’s fine establishment last night. Do you really think he would do well in this business if he judged every single person he had to deal with?”

Peter furrowed his brow adorably as he considered Wade’s point. “I… I guess you are right.”

“Why are you worried?”

Peter didn’t really want to talk about it, but considering what he had just put the man through concerning his own sensitivities, he guessed he could tell Wade a little. It only seemed right. “When my aunt died, I left a lot of things unsaid,” he hedged guiltily, crossing his arms over his stomach when he felt it start to turn. “I wished I told her more about who I am. I wish I could have known how she would have reacted to so much about me.”

Wade snorted disarmingly. “You are twelve-“

“I’m not twelve!

“-what did you have to hide from her?” 

“Oh…!” Crap! He didn’t think he shared enough for the man to be suspicious! “Um. You know! Normal stuff!” The panicking really wasn’t helping him sell the whole innocent act. 

“If it were normal stuff,” Wade probed gently with a shit-eating grin, “you wouldn’t feel guilty about hiding it. I doubt you are too guilty about not sharing your search history with the woman.” Peter’s heart stopped at the smile Wade shot him, the grin of a predator having cornered its prey and contemplating the kill. “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t-“

But if he didn’t say anything then it would look even more suspicious, and his uncle’s friend would keep an even sharper eye on him! He needed to admit to something he needed to– “I’m gay!”

An awkward silence hung in the air. 

Wait… what did Peter just admit to?

It was shot down by Wade’s barking laughter. 

Peter’s face burned at the embarrassment that accompanied that outrageous lie. Did he not buy it? Was it really that unbelievable that he saw through Peter again? 

He delivered it confidently. He didn’t hesitate. He didn’t make it sound like a question. How did Wade–

“Oh, you sweet baby boy.” Peter was thrown when the large man grabbed his shoulders and dragged him closer, enveloping him in the cozy warmth of the embrace. A very shirtless, now that he was thinking about it, skin on skin embrace.  “It’s okay.” Wade petted his head consolingly and Peter frowned in confusion. “Rest assured, I’m pretty sure your aunt knew, even if you never told her.”

Peter’s face took on an even brighter red than his suit and he pushed away. “What the heck is that supposed to mean!?”

Chapter Text

The moment Weasel stepped out of the bathroom the pace of the day picked up drastically. Peter was whisked out of the house by his still scowling uncle, still shirtless and in hello kitty pajama bottoms because he took to long getting ready. Only the promise that he had a change of clean clothes at his aunt’s apartment kept him from fighting it too much. 

He highly suspected that the rush was created to escape Wade’s presence, but the odd man was already in Weasel’s car before they could even make it out of the building, somehow wearing jeans and a drawn up hoody. The man complained about how his legs hurt from jumping out of the window to make it down before Weasel could drive off without him, and once again, Peter was unsure if he was being serious or not. 

Weasel, with his no doubt years of experience with the man, ignored him. 

Time and the cityscape passed in a chaotic blur. Suddenly, Peter was standing in the shadow of his old apartment building, coming to a hesitant stop with his hand on the main door to the building. A portal connecting his old life to his new one. A completely different world that he would never be able to visit again after today. 

He had come and gone from that very door so many times, but had he ever looked at it? Payed attention to the little things? How different would it feel crossing the threshold of his apartment, knowing that his aunt wouldn’t be there waiting for him with a hug and a smile? Could he even go in there? It didn’t feel right, somehow. 

He must have been standing there for a bit too long, just staring, because Weasel sourly shoved him to the side and pushed his way passed through the front door without a backwards glance. 

“Some of us actually want to sleep today.”

Peter sighed and followed after his miserly uncle. He probably should have known that would happen, but it didn’t make the bluntness of his personality any easier to pallet. 

The apartment building owner, a frail older man with a bushy, greyed mustache and tinted glasses, smiled at Weasel as he approached and gave a gentle smile and wave to Peter, which the teen returned. He would probably never see him or the inside of the building again. As his uncle bartered with the landlord to let them in he let his eyes wander around the modest lobby. 

Keys and money exchanged hands quickly and Peter was startled into motion when large, scarred hands began maneuvering him along after his uncle at a brisk pace. “I know Weasel is being kind of a snippy bitch right now, but go easy on him,” Wade’s gruff voice grumbled in his ear. “He doesn’t deal with this side of these situations very often.”

Peter nodded at the voice and smiled at the older gentleman when he was pushed pass, digging his heals in long enough to mutter a quick, polite, “Goodbye Mr. Stan, sir.”

“Goodbye, kid,” the older gentleman nodded with a kindly smile, his gravelly voice carrying through the hallway after them. “I’m sure going to miss you.”

Peter very much doubted the man cared all that much. They had rarely traded more than three words all the time he had lived there, after all. The only thing he would be missing was rent till he found a new tenant, but it was a sweet sentiment all the same. Peter supposed the man felt some level of pity for his situation. 

Peter found himself pushed into the elevator just as the doors tried to close on him and Wade, settling himself as far away from his impatient, stiff backed uncle that was staring a hole into the metal of the sliding doors. 

Peter had never taken notice of the fact that the elevator in his building had no music in it, which made the oppressing silence of the ride all the more palpable. It also made Wade’s sudden whistling all the more jarring. He could practically hear his uncle grind his molars. 

Once they reached Peter’s floor, he lead them to the front door, stepping to the side so his uncle could stab at it with the keys and violently wrench it open. He followed after the man as he stormed into the kitchen on a mission like a guilty pup, scrunching up his nose at the still fragrant oder of burnt waffles from the morning before. 

The crowns of strawberries were still scattered across a messy cutting board in the sink, attracting flies, and a half drunk cup of tea was still sitting on the edge of the counter, lipstick staining the edge of the glass. May always left a cup around the house in her rush to get ready, and Peter often found them in the strangest places, sometimes days later. She must have been in a hurry and left it somewhere obvious this time, but it didn’t change the fact that Peter saw it and imagined that May would come bustling through the doors, fingers of one hand trapped between her heal and the back of a pair of work shoes as she hopped around the apartment, asking Peter if he had seen her mug anywhere while grabbing a few remaining items off the counter. 

Peter slowly approached the mug, robotically dumping it down the drain, unsurprised when the teabag splatted into the sink as well. She forgot to remove it after steeping more often than not. She was very obviously not a morning person. 

Weasel tore apart several cabinets while Peter contemplated the mug with a blank expression. He was jarred back into reality when a single trash bag was shoved into his hands. He looked up to see his uncle’s buggy eyes staring at him from behind his glasses, still seemingly annoyed. 

“Fill up this bag with whatever you need, and then we are leaving. I’ll send someone tomorrow to move the rest to storage so it doesn’t end up on the streets.”

Peter nodded when his throat knotted up too much to form words, and he shuffled to his bedroom, passed Wade, who he refused to make eye contact with but could tell was watching him from the movement in his peripherals. 

Once in the safety of his own bed, with the door shut tightly and without strangers watching his every step, he sagged. He let his feet carry him across the room and he collapsed into his bed, inhaling the scent of their fabric softener and letting out a few broken sobs into the mattress.

This was all still too soon.

He flopped onto his back, staring at the scuffed ceiling with a fond, teary-eyed smile. 

Wade was right. She must have known. She must have a least suspected. It was easier to convince himself of that, rather than continue to live with the guilt that she didn’t, and now never would know. How much did it matter now anyway? She knew or she didn’t. None of that changed what happened now or in the future. None of that could have saved her. 

He couldn’t save her. 

There was audible murmurings from outside his door, and Peter decided it would be better to listen in and focus on something other than the way his heart ached and his muscles seemed to give out on him every time he attempted to push himself up. 

Wade’s voice was light and chipper in the depths of the apartment. “I never pictured you with a kid.”

“Wade,” Weasel reminded tentatively. “You and I both know that my one stipulation through life narrows down to this: I don’t do kids. Not in any way shape or form. I can’t stand the little terrors. I always thought my sister was a bitch, but never before did I think her spawn would come back to haunt me for my life choices. She is rubbing it in my face from the grave, I swear.”

Peter would have winced at that had he not already kinda got that vibe from his uncle the day before. Still, knowledge of how the man felt about their situation didn’t change the fact that it ached a little more knowing his only surviving relative didn’t seem to want him, or even like him all that much. He tolerated Peter. 

Still, it was better than the nothing he now had without Weasel. 

“So, do you have any plans on what you are actually going to do? Like, how are you going to get rid of him if you don’t  plan on keeping the kid?” Peter’s blood ran cold at that. “Or, will you keep him to spite your sister. If you hate her as much as you pretend, I’m sure she is rolling in her grave right now.” 

Peter clenched his teeth, digging his hands in his hair to hold back a scream. How could they talk about him so easily like this? Like he was nothing more than a stray dog that followed them home? It wasn’t his fault that he was an inconvenience. He didn’t want to be a nuisance. He would run away and play homeless if he could, but honestly, the idea of roughing it on the streets was terrifying. He knew what was out there. Sure, he was Spider-Man, but he couldn’t wear the mask 24/7. He wasn’t even 17 yet! Why was life so unfair?

“This isn’t about vengeance,” Weasel hissed, “though if it was, you would be so right. My sister would have killed me for last night alone. Annoyingly enough though, this is about what’s best for Peter. Which is something I don’t have the first clue about, because once again, I don’t do kids.”

Peter couldn’t stand this conversation anymore. He pushed himself to his feet and started digging through his drawers, looking for his noise canceling headphones and an iPod. He wasn’t meant to hear this. There was a reason they were talking about him while he was out of the room. 

Frustratingly, their voices didn’t even pause has he tore apart his room. “Well, I’m pretty sure the first step in figuring out what is best for someone else is talking to them.”

“How?”

“The same way we are talking now, I imagine.” Peter’s heart ran a little faster when Wade admitted that. Was he going to tell his uncle all about everything he said to the strange man in confidence? “I talked to him a little last night.” Oh, God! He was, wasn’t he?  “He seems a little messed up, but a good kid overall.”

“Messed up? How?”

Peter tore through his room at an accelerated pace, but the words kept coming and he couldn’t turn it off. He could still hear them just as well as if he was standing right next to them. He didn’t want to hear the pity in either of their voices.  He didn’t deserve it. So many other people deserved it. He had powers. He should have been able to protect what he loved. He didn’t deserve pity. The people he failed? Those were the people who deserved it. 

“Well, I mean, his parents are dead.” Wade stated. “Most kids are pretty messed up when they have missing or dead parents. And according to him, his uncle was shot right in front of him a few years ago.” Peter’s hands scrabbled for the pair of earphones he spotted on the floor, tugging them out from under some laundry only to frown at the unattached cord on the other end. Crap. “Now his aunt died, and while he didn’t say it to me directly, I get the feeling he probably was shown the body.” Peter quickly stuffed the earbuds into his ears anyway, irritated at the way that the words were still audible, though slightly muffled. Where was his iPod? 

“His uncle was shot in front of him?” 

Weasel’s question echoed in Peter’s head, reminding him what he lost and what he still had left to loose. He couldn’t let Weasel get rid of him. He had to convince the man to keep him. What if he was shot just like Uncle Ben all because Peter gave up and didn’t fight to stay and protect him? He couldn’t stand the thought of letting yet another relative die when he had the power to protect them. Weasel ran a very dangerous bar at night. It wasn’t unlikely that the man would die there if he didn’t find a way to help.

“Yup,” Wade popped. “Failed theft according to the kid. Uncle Ben was his name, I think?”

“That’s a brand of rice,” Weasel returned doubtfully. 

“I know! That’s why I remembered it.”

“Well,” suddenly Peter heard a chair scrape across the floor, followed by a gentle tapping. It was fast and irritating, and the teen didn’t know what to make of it. Why did the walls have to be so paper thin? He probably would have been able to listen to all of this without advanced hearing. “That’s interesting. Definitely something worth looking into. I hope the people who did that aren’t in jail or the ground. I really need something to take my frustrations out on.”

What the heck was that supposed to mean?

“So, are you planning to keep him, now?” Wade chirped slyly. “Because it seems to me like you are getting a wee bit invested.”

“Somebody killed the kids uncle,” Weasel grumbled back sulkily. “I mean, I’m a bastard, but I’m not fucking heartless.”

Wade hummed for a moment as the tapping continued. “You gonna check in on his aunt’s death, too?”

“Samuel Parsons. Driving under the influence in a stolen vehicle. Ran a stoplight while driving on the wrong side of the road.” Nobody told Peter that at the station. Then again, he didn’t really ask. “Took care of it last night after I sent Peter to bed the first time.”

Peter frowned and paused in his tracks. Weasel had been looking up information about him? That was both creepy and strangely sweet. Especially considering he only knew his uncle going on a day. 

“Oooh!” Peter winced at the girlish shrieking that even the ear buds couldn’t save him from. “The way you are going protective papa bear over here is making me mucho caliente!”

“Fuck off, Wade. I really don’t know what I’m gonna do. I never in a million years pictured myself having a kid.” Peter supposed he could understand the man’s troubles. After all, his aunt and uncle had always wanted a child, at least according to them, and Peter landed right in their lap after many failed attempts. He couldn’t imagine what it must feel like waking up to a phone call or email telling him he was suddenly a parent, especially if he never had any plans of becoming one. 

“I mean,” Weasel continued, “if I’m going to have a kid, shouldn’t I at least get to have some part in making it? I mean, that’s the fun part!” Oh, god! Never mind. He really didn’t want to hear his uncle talk about this! “Why don’t I get to bang some hot chick before getting stuck with a kid! I mean, talk about a cock block. Now I can’t bring people back to my apartment to-“

“Not like you did before,” Wade thankfully interrupted. “Or could before. You are more likely to be able to convince them to step past the threshold with him acting as your personal cleaning service.”

“It’s the principle of the thing!” Wade snapped back. “Kids mean no privacy. And if I ever did find somebody I wanted to be serious with, kids tend to be a deal breaker.”

Peter changed tactics when he realized his music was probably in his bag at school, deciding the fastest way to get the two men to stop talking was to grab everything he needed and shove it in his bag. 

“You have a lot of hypotheticals. Very unrealistic ones, but okay,” Wade drawled. “Let’s travel down this road for a second. Don’t most women love kids?”

Peter found the loose panel under his bed and pulled out two half used canisters of web fluid. Not a lot, but any little bit helped. He wrapped them safely in a ball of sweatshirts, then moved on to dig around in his drawers till he found his zip drive. 

“Women like to make their own kids so they can fuck them up themselves. Not some kid somebody else already screwed over. Its part of the fun of parenting.”

“You are gonna make a really great guardian,” drawled Wade while Peter found one of his old sweatshirt and pants combo that he used before he made his official suit. It was always nice to have a backup costume. “And you learned so much about women… when exactly? I didn’t even know you were interested in the dating scene. Or people beyond what you handle at work.”

Peter looked down at his bare feet and remembered shoes. And something to replace the dumb PJ pants. And socks. And underwear. His aunt would have his hide if he forgot to pack clean underwear. 

“I’m not. I don’t exactly do the whole family thing, and that’s the point. But, if I did ever decide to change my mind…”

“No privacy. Yeah. I get it. What I don’t get is that you are complaining about privacy all while hacking into your nephew’s computer.”

Peter, who had been digging around under his bed for any journals he might have written about his spider-activities in, sat up hard enough to crack his head on the frame. Weasel was doing what with his what now? Peter had it password protected and everything! There was no way!

“Hey,” His uncle grumbled defensively. “I’m the adult. Kids don’t deserve privacy, and it’s his own fault for being so needy that I couldn’t check some stuff before leaving this morning.”

He was! That was what the tapping noise was!! Weasel was on his computer! 

“Wanting clothes is needy?”

“Shut up. It’s not like I’m going to go through his search history. I’m looking things up for work only.” Peter breathed a sigh of relief. “But, if I did happen to look at his search history, I would just like to say he is very, very vanilla. Or, he gets his rocks off by reading science journals.”

Okay, Peter may be a nerd, but that was kinda insulting! And rude! Who actually got off reading science journals? That didn’t matter though. He was pretty sure the most damning evidence was on his usb drive, safe in the bag. 

“Ooooh!!” Wade crowed. “Are they the kind of journals with the anatomically correct pictures of the human body? Because, I’m totally not gonna lie, pretty sure I did that with my science textbook in high school.”

Why did that not surprise him?

“What the fuck, man?! No!” Weasel scolded. “Though, now that I’m thinking about it, am I supposed to give him the sex talk, or do you think that it’s already been covered.”

Peter felt all of the blood drain from his face at that. It would be a cold day in hell before he let Weasel, probably the least prepared person in the world, explain the birds and the bees to him. 

“Think they do that in schoo– I mean, wait! Yes! Yes, he needs that talk, and you so need to do it when I am there. I’ll help!” 

Peter really hoped his uncle didn’t buy into Wade’s bull crap. He shoved the contents of all of his clothing drawers into his bag as fast as he could, then turned back to the blankets, trying to figure out what he was going to do about them.  Thankfully the two men were quiet for a few minutes, only the tapping of what must have been a mouse and keyboard filling the air. 

“Wow… this is really his search history?” Wade sounded disappointed for some reason. “Is that really all he looks at? Science? That’s not healthy. No wonder he was so weird about my healing factor.”

“He seems to have an interest in mechanics and biochemical engineering. Looks like he read a few papers written by Dr. Banner, and more stuff by Stark. And… wow.” Peter smiled at the door in the direction of his uncle at the way the man spoke with an impressed tone of voice. He wasn’t a disappointment for once, and wasn’t that a great feeling? “He is obviously a maths and science kid, because his grammar and spelling leave a lot to be desired. Even google seems to be confused at some of his searches.” 

Oh. Yeah. Peter blushed. It wasn’t his fault the Internet was dumb and couldn’t figure out what he was thinking!

“Awe!” Wade cooed. “You have yourself a little baby nerd! Maybe you could teach him a few things! Make him your apprentice. Show him your ways like a Jedi master.”

Peter felt like he was listening to himself and Ned all grown up. Still, he didn’t know which one would be him and which would be Ned. It was a very frightening revelation, to say the least. 

“No. He isn’t to be involved in any of my business, is that clear, Wade? I don’t care how smart he is. Not. Happening.”

“Heard you loud and clear boss man!” How did Weasel handle being friends with a man who’s every word sounded patronizing?

“Thank God he didn’t take after his mom when it came to his intellect or I don’t know what I would do. I mean, the woman was smart, but there is a difference between smart and genius.” That… sounded almost like praise again. “Hmmm… here is something…”

“What?”

“Maybe the kid isn’t so vanilla after all.” Oh no! What did he find? What on earth was on his computer worthy of that sort of a comment? Had Ned searched something weird last time he was over? “He seems to have favorited several Spider-Man fan sites.”

Oh. 

Crap. 

“Hey!” Wade screamed like an excited child, and from the creak of the floorboards he was jumping like one too. “He mentioned something about Spider-Man to me this morning!”

Double crap. 

“Really?” Weasel drawled out in an uncomfortably low, overly intrigued, dangerous tone. “In what context?”

Triple crap!

“I don’t really remember… he asked if you were accepting of things after seeing my baby arm. He saw my baby arm, btw, and he didn’t scream. Then he said some stuff about Spider-Man and X-men, and then he said he was gay–”

“Gay?! Great!” Weasel spat. While Peter wasn’t actually gay (he would know if he was gay, right?), he did feel the tinniest bit offended. There were worse things he could be rather than gay, and that was what his uncle chose to get hung up over? “Now I really can’t let him get put through the system without feeling like a complete shit face. Can you imagine what would happen to a little gay kid like that in a foster home? They would eat him alive!”

Oh…. 

For some strange reason he didn’t expect his uncle to be supportive of that. Though, the fact his uncle thought he was gay would save him from being kicked out in the streets, or put into a home. That was a plus if he made sure to play it up a little. He would need to do some research. 

Didn’t most people have the opposite problem?

Peter wasn’t going to complain. If he had to keep up this charade of being gay to stay close to his relative, so be it. He could live with it if it meant keeping Weasel alive and close. His image as a heterosexual male was a fair trade. 

“Be careful, Weasel. Your heart is showing.”

“Yours will be soon too if you don’t stop leaning on my shoulder. Hands off the mouse!” There was the sound of a scuffle, then a sharp yelp from his uncle followed by a curse from Wade before the clicking continued again. 

“Wow!” Wade breathed. “I thought I had an unhealthy obsession with Spider-Man! I have never even visited some of these sights!”

Weasel seemed to agree. “Spider-Man merch, Spider-Man activity tracker, fan theory, a page devoted to people’s first hand encounters with Spider-Man, and several photo contests.” A few more clicks as Peter remembered some old wires and attempts at new webshooters in the closet. He didn’t want whoever his uncle got finding these when they packed up the place. “Looks like he has entered photographs a few times. Never won anything over fifty dollars, but apparently a few his pictures have been published in the Daily Bugle. And here is a Spider-Man Reddit.”

“Anything fap worthy?”

“Wade! You need Jesus.”

“So do you.”

“It’s mostly just action shots.”

“Hey, one man’s action shots are another man’s spank bank.” Peter spluttered and tripped over a box, failing to catch himself when his foot landed on a shirt that prevented him from getting any traction. He banged his head painfully into the back wall of the closet with a crash just as Wade finished his inappropriate thoughts on the subject of Peter’s… Spider-Man. “Spider-Man brings a whole new meaning to the words ‘action shots.’” Peter didn’t know if he was flushing at the comment, or the embarrassment and rush of blood flowing to the bump on his head. Crap, that hurt! 

Weasel ignored both the crash from Peter’s room, and Wade’s crude words. “Did you see this one? It looks like it was one of Peter’s submissions.”

“Well, he has taste! I will give your kid that! And skill.” Peter heard a catcalling whistle while he tried to peel himself from the closet. He highly suspected it was Wade that made that noise. Mostly because he couldn’t imagine his own uncle making such a sound. Especially at his pictures of his own nephew, whether he knew it or not. Thankfully, Weasel didn’t seem too enthused either judging by the unimpressed grunt that followed. “Dat angle! Dat ass!”

“He’s not my kid. And stop groping Spider-Man through the screen! It’s messed up.”

Peter spluttered again at his uncle’s words. 

“Haha! Look! There is a separate reddit for Spider-Man fanart!”

Weasel hummed, disinterested. “It doesn’t look like Peter visits it.”

“Who the fuck cares? Click it! Click it! Clickitclickitclickit!”

No, no, no! Peter prayed to whatever God existed out there, but as usual, his prayers weren’t heeded. 

“Fine… people have way too much time on their hands to…” there was a very long, distinctive pause before his uncle made a sound like he was choking. “Oh, God! What the hell is wrong with people? Did they really draw that? Jesusfuckingchrist!”

“No!” Wade pleaded desperately. “I don’t think I understood what exactly was happening. Go back? Please?”

“Somebody drew Ironman with a dick!” Weasel screamed, obviously unable to control himself. “A mechanical dick! Who the fuck does that?!”

Peter was all to aware how extreme some of his fans were. 

“Oh, that part I understood. What I don’t understand was what Spider-Man was–“

“No! Just no!”

“I love this!” Wade cheered in spite Weasel’s disgust. “More reddit plz! Spider-Man costumes fails? Sounds hot. Click it.”

“Fine,” Weasel relented far to easily in Peter’s opinion. “But if it’s another not safe for work site, I will kill you.”

Peter came to a stop in his room, now wearing a T-shirt, hoody, and old pair of jeans, fairly certain he had stashed away everything that needed taken in his bag, but no longer able to bring himself to interrupt them when they were talking about this. It definitely wasn’t a conversation he wanted to interrupt, mostly because he feared he would get dragged into it. So, he sat on the bed, hanging his head helplessly in his hands as he listened. 

“That threat barely worked on me before,” Wade laughed. “Just do it! Click and scroll.” 

The click was all Peter needed to hear to let him know he made a safe bet by staying away. 

“Okay,” Weasel spoke up in a skeptical tone, “that one is obviously photoshopped. There is no way Spider-Man was webbing around the city with his dick flopping about. What the hell is wrong with some people.”

Peter forgot about that one circling the internet. It had been a picture some hacker used as clickbait on a fake Facebook article a year back, and somehow it still circled the internet despite its obvious falseness. 

“Yeah,” Wade moaned like a child imagining a bowl of his favorite ice cream. “Only in my dreams.”

“Case and point.”

“Oh, God!” Wade once again screamed. “That one’s real! How can a photo be both tragic and hot at the same time? No wonder your nephew stalks Spider-Man online! This must have been his big gay awakening!”

“I don’t see how this photo is hot at all.” Peter was thankful to have his uncle on his side in this, even if he didn’t know what the picture was of. “Spider-Man looks like he got the shit beat out of him by Tombstone. And I doubt it ended well with the way the guy is standing over him with barely a scratch.”

Oh. It was that picture. Yeah. Peter knew from first hand experience how not hot that picture was, thank you very much. Especially after painstakingly stitching up his costume and body after that epically brutal showdown. There was nothing sexy about picking glass out of your own forearms, no matter what the people of reddit seemed to think. 

“That’s what makes it so hot!” Of course, Wade would think that. “Peter would agree with me. We are fellow web heads after all. Hey, this gives us something to bond over! You can bond with him over smart shit, and I can bond with him over Spidey-ass!”

Yeah. That wasn’t going to happen.

Weasel seemed to agree. “First off, I don’t want you talking to him about anybody’s butt. I barely tolerate you talking to him in general, and I decided that before I knew he was gay. Second, I still don’t see it.”

“Look at the way Spider-Man is just sprawled out across the pavement, propped up on his forearms,” extremely bloody forearms. “The way his heavily ripped costume,” that almost needed to be replaced, “that already leaves very little to the imagination is just barely clinging to the man’s modesty while the imposing figure of Tombstone stands above him. But he refuses to surrender. You might break his costume, but you can’t break his spirit! Because Spidey is a hero! And heroes are sexy!” Okay, that explanation was actually pretty sweet! It was better than what most commenters said about that photo. 

“Okay, I know what I’m looking at. I just don’t understand how it’s hot. You need an intervention.”

“No. What I need is that image transposed into a dakimakura.” Peter took back what he said about Wade being sweet. 

“Please stop talking.”

“What, are you not going to ask me what a dakimakura is?”

“Nope. Because I don’t give a shit.”

“Or is it because you already have one? Weasel, you sly pervert. Is it Sailor Jupiter? Or… don’t tell me you had a pillow of me commissioned for your own wicked fantasies.”

There was another loud smack, followed by yet another Wade-like scream, then silence. 

Peter pushed himself back onto his feet, grabbing the bag and pretending to struggle with its weight as he made his way out to his uncle. Best get this over with before they started up another inappropriate conversation about him. 

What a weird double life he would soon be living. The things Peter did for family. 

Peter shuffled uncomfortably, making his footsteps that much louder as he approached the main room to let them know he was done. Unsurprisingly, neither were anywhere near the computer when he finally stepped out of the hall. 

Even though he was trying to play it off cool, he still couldn’t bring himself to look either of the men in the eyes. Thankfully, neither of them seemed to notice. 

He just had to survive till he got his backpack from school. That shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Chapter Text

The car pulled up in front of the school and idled for a moment. Peter took that as his cue to jump out and start up the steps, figuring they would wait there for his return. He was proven very wrong on that assumption when Weasel cut the engine and stepped out not a moment later, leaving the car in a very illegal parking spot. Heck, it wasn’t even a parking space to begin with! Peter paused mid step, looking over his shoulder in growing panic as Wade then crawled out of the back seat window of the car while Weasel tried to lock the doors with the man still inside. 

They were the furthest thing from subtle. 

“Um. What are you guys doing?”

“Let’s just get this over with,” his uncle muttered, trudging up the steps, head down, shoulders hunched exhaustedly with his hands stuffed in his jacket pockets. If the man weren’t noticeably older, Peter might almost mistake him for another high schooler based off of his posture alone. 

“Just stay in the car,” Peter soothed with an extremely forced smile. “I’ll be in and out really fast, then we can go back to the bar and you can sleep.” Weasel didn’t even spare Peter a glance until his nephew jumped in front of him, arms barring the way. “What are you doing? Just stay right there! Don’t come in!” 

Okay, so Peter may have lost his cool a little bit, but what could he say? He really didn’t want his seemingly shady new life anywhere near his straight laced old one. 

Weasel came to a stop, eyes zeroing in on Peter, face completely blank. “Kid, there is a reason I own my own bar,” Peter flinched when his uncle raised a single, tingle inducing finger, pressing it into Peter’s shoulder pointedly. “It’s because I’m not the kind of person to take orders from someone else. Especially a scrawny little brat like you. So, step to the side.” The finger pressed almost imperceptibly forward, but it was enough of a threat that Peter swung to the side like a door. 

Peter faltered only a moment more before racing frantically after. Just because he couldn’t physically wall off his uncle from entering the school, that didn’t mean he wouldn’t be very vocal about it. “You don’t have to come in with me! I’ll be fine on my own. I don’t need you to babysit me 24/7!”

“I really doubt that,” Weasel laughed cruelly, “but if I’m pulling you from school and we are already here I might as well get started. Talk to the principal or whatever the hell I need to do. Don’t worry. I’ll be on my best behavior.” Uncle Weasel shot Peter a dangerously wicked grin over his shoulder, complete with eye twinkle. “The person you should be worried about coming with us is Wade.” Peter froze and was instantly run into from behind by the closely following mutant of a man. “Speaking of, I thought you weren’t allowed within 100 feet of most schools?”

Wade steadied himself by bracing against Peter’s stiffened shoulders before he toppled over the much shorter male. “Shit!” That really wasn’t the reaction of an innocent man. “Wait a second… that was me with my old face! They will never recognize me now!”

Really? 

What should Peter have expected, though?

Weasel shrugged and continued his trudge up the steps, holding the door open for Peter as Wade shuffled the stiff jointed teen in, who was slack jawed and wide eyed at that proclamation. “If you get arrested,” Weasel reminded his friend with a harsh enough shoulder squeeze that Wade let go of his nephew, “I don’t know you.”

Peter turned around and quickly tried to shove the man back out into the parking lot. Wade merely laughed at the attempt, tweaking Peter in the rib cage, which was unsurprisingly sensitive, making the teen bark out a very inappropriately timed laugh before jumping away with a very red, frustrated scowl. 

“W-why aren’t you allowed near schools,” Peter hissed, thankful that no one was near enough that they could be overheard. 

“Meh,” Wade waved it off like it wasn’t a big deal. “Once upon a time some boy was stalking some high school girl, threatening her and scaring her.”

“Please tell me that wasn’t you?” Peter groaned, then mockingly added, “Crap, did I say that outloud?” 

Peter winced a little at his somewhat ballsy response. His Spider-Man persona was leaking through in his exhaustion. Thankfully, neither of the men seemed too bothered with his sass. 

“You wound me,” the man laughed back, clearly far from offended. “Anyway, that guy was a much older high schooler. So, I payed him a visit and returned the favor.” 

“Oh.” Well, that was thankfully a whole lot more lackluster than he imagined it would be. Peter let out a breath of relief. “That was really all it was?”

The expression on the man’s face told a different story. “Well…” 

“Shut your fucking trap, Wilson!” Peter’s uncle panicked from a few paces in front of them.

Peter couldn’t believe his eyes. Was Wade actually pouting? “I also maybe did it during his gym class with a knife. And a gun. And several other scary, piss-yourself inducing scenarios,” Wade awkwardly boasted in defense of himself. 

Who the crap boasted about that sort of thing?! Was Peter’s relief at how underwhelming the original situation was misinterpreted as disappointment? Was Wade saying this to impress him? 

Wade leaned conspiratorially forward, and Peter leaned understandably back. “Apparently, that’s illegal for a guy to do that to another guy,” No! Really? “But the cops didn’t give a damn about what he did to the little girl till I stepped in. Still. In the end I had to stop doing business near schools.”  The man huffed and crossed his arms over his chest. 

He had to be joking. This was a prank. Hazing. Something. 

Peter looked over to his uncle, hoping he would see the truth of the situation written on the man’s expression. Weasel was simply rubbing his open palms up and down the length of his face, repeating “Goddamnit, Wade,” at every pass beneath his glasses, which were in danger of falling off of his face. 

“Um… okay then.” Peter chose to ignore the realization that this meant the story was at least half true, and focus on the situation. “I’m sure… the girl was very grateful for the help?”

After all, Wade had kinda done something good… right? Well, what he did was done with somewhat good intentions, the execution was just a little… less than good. Well, maybe ‘execution’ wasn’t the right word for this situation. Peter didn’t know if he should be thankful that stalkers were now getting away unharassed when the law caught up with Wade, or disturbed. Either way, it was a pretty messed up situation. And did he really have room to look down at the way the man seemed to take matters into his own hand? After all, Peter did do the same sort of thing as Spider-Man. He didn’t usually harass and threaten people. Guns were a very big no-no, but… 

Wade smiled toothily at Peter while his brain worked through everything. “Now I threaten stalkers very far away from the school they go to!”

Oh god. Peter felt the blood drain from his face while he tried to force a smile on it. Weasel’s best friend was criminally insane. Or extremely delusional. Either way, why did the man have to sound so viciously and sadistically pleased about threatening bodily harm? “You… ah- you do that often?”

“Ye-“ Weasel tellingly stepped on the man’s oversized feet. “I mean, NOOOOO! Pft. Of corse not! Especially not since my makeover. I have a life.”

“Only because you won’t freaking die already,” Peter’s uncle muttered under his breath bitterly. 

Wade, in the most self deprecating way he  possibly could, conceded to that point with an easy smile. “True.”

“And the threatening a stalker thing only happened once!” Weasel added with a scowl. “And I swear, Wade is making it out to be way worse than it was, aren’t you Wade?”

The dangerous glare sent Wade’s way was enough to trigger Peter’s senses, but the oblivious man just smiled and nodded. “Sure, sure, whatever you say, dear~!” Peter wondered if Wade was truly oblivious as to the fact that Weasel’s ‘if looks could kill’ murder glare was boring into his skull, or if the man was so comfortable in the fact that nothing could kill him that he purposefully poked the bear. 

Hey! Maybe that was what it was! Wade purposefully made up things to edge Weasel into killing him specifically because he couldn’t die! Maybe it was a game to him. See how far he could tick off his uncle till the man bit back. 

Well, it made more sense in Peter’s head…

Peter just took a few slow, steadying breaths. He could do this. Fifteen minutes and he would be in and out, and Weasel would talk to his principal and Wade would… 

Wade would…

“This is a bad idea,” Peter jolted, latching onto both men’s wrists and attempting to pull them both back down the hall and out of the school. “Let’s all just go home and pretend this never happened!”

“What are you talking about?” Weasel growled impatiently. “We are already here! I drove your sorry ass all the way here after a very long day and night, which was made longer because of you, might I add. We aren’t going home till you do what you need to do, and I do what I need to do. Wade be damned.” 

“I already am!” Wade shot them both a thumbs up and a wink. 

“It’s too soon,” Peter tried again. “I need time to process what happened!” 

“Awe!” Wade lunged forward for a hug, but was tripped by a swift and deliberate kick from his supposed friend, falling with an unnatural grace on the hallway wall beside Peter in a lazy, almost purposeful Victoria’s Secret style pose. “My heavenly jar of moonshine! You’re scared? Don’t worry! I’ll be standing right next to you the entire time!”

That was kind of what Peter was afraid of. 

“Like hell you will!” Peter’s uncle growled. 

“That’s not what I-“

“Well, surely it’s not because you are embarrassed to be seen with us?” Wade added on with the grin of a cat who caught the mouse. 

Peter balked. Sure it was kind of true, but he would never admit it to their faces! Especially with Wade’s self esteem issue that had come up earlier. Insane or not, the man still had feelings. “Of course not!”

“Good,” Weasel nodded with an eye roll and a thumb hooked over his shoulder. “Let’s go.”

“Fine.” Peter really didn’t like this. Something bad was going to happen, he just didn’t know what. 

Then again, surely nothing could be worse than the night before? And Wade had obviously been teasing him about the whole stalker, murdery thing. Weasel surely wouldn’t let a man that bonkers close to his nephew? Yeah. Everything was fine. Peter was just over thinking everything and taking it all too seriously. Things would be great!

Things were great!

The moment they stepped into the office the secretary greeted them with a shriek, which Peter thought had to do with the state of the two men flanking him, but quickly learned was because of his presence in general. 

The lady rushed him with a sympathetic hug that landed him smashed up against her bosom and with a face full of perfumed hair. Most of the time he dealt with the lady she had been shooting him disdainful looks for getting beat up by Flash and somehow being the one punished. Because obviously, with two dead parents and a murdered uncle he was the troubled delinquent. Peter didn’t even remember the secretary’s name that’s how much he cared about her. 

While the woman fussed over him, rather rudely bringing up his aunt’s death, he was pretty sure he heard both men growl. Peter was too dazed and oxygen deprived to even take offense, though, and before he knew it the woman had called in his principal. 

Peter easily slipped away once Weasel greeted the man with a well practiced smile and handshake. It was the first time Peter could remember actually seeing his uncle smiling so big, which just made it even worse considering how fake it was. Thankfully, Peter seemed to be the only one who noticed it. The man in question that it was directed at appeared at least mildly charmed. 

He turned to tell Wade he was leaving and thankfully found that the man was distracted enough by a boy seated in the lobby. 

(The pimply faced teen was no doubt pretending to be sick to go home early, and waiting to be picked up by his parents. Wade however, plopped right next to the weary student saying things like, “I hope you don’t catch what I have! Leprosy is a bitch,” before deliberately coughing and sneezing all over the quickly paling freshman with a huge smile.)

Peter quickly decided it was better the freshman than him. No one noticed him back out of the office to take off down the hall. 

He was only there to get his backpack, right? Weasel could handle the rest till he got back. 

Of course, the moment Peter stepped into the hall, the bell rang for third period and he was quickly lost in the masses. 

Alone at last. 

Well… not really. The entire student body was with him now. Was it just him, or were they all unusually loud? Maybe all this stress was making him more sensitive than usual. He probably needed a longer rest as well to avoid a tension headache. And probably food. 

Food was good. 

“Peter? Peter!” 

He spun at the sound of his name, grinning when he saw MJ headed right for him. She tackled him in a hug so tight and all encompassing that Peter felt himself folding into it, gripping her tighter than he probably should and pressing his face into her shoulder in hopes that he could hide his uneven breathing and face, squinched up from the sudden, painful need to cry. 

Of all the crappy things he had to put up with in school, she was one of the few people who made it worth while. He would miss her. And this would be the last time he would ever get to see her. 

Maybe it was all for the best? He didn’t want her to end up like Ben or May or his parents. He cared about her too much. One of those few precious gems left in his life that had yet to be stollen away. 

“Peter, what happened,” she muttered soothingly into his ear. “We tried to call you, but you wouldn’t pick up.”

As much as Peter wanted to continue living in her arms, he knew he would have to pull away before it became awkward. He was a high school boy, after all. Displaying too many emotions was a big no-no. 

With one last shuddered breath, he stepped back, a very fake smile plastered across his face, no doubt just like the one he had seen Weasel wearing. “I left my phone in my locker,” Peter admitted with a guilty grimace. “Coming back to get my effects now.”

“Get your…” Peter both loved and hated how quick his friends were. “Peter, you aren’t leaving, are you?”

Peter didn’t know how three simple letters could be so difficult to spit out, but the ‘yes’ stayed firmly lodged in his throat, and his neck became too stiff to nod. 

She seemed to get the picture well enough, though. “Peter, don’t worry. We’ll figure this out.” She swooped in to hug him again, but it felt far too final for Peter to actually hug back this time. “We’ll stay in touch! Who are you staying with? Maybe we can-“

“No!” Peter bit out a little harsher than he meant. “I mean- I don’t think I will even be in the school district anymore,” he lied. “It’ll be fine.”

MJ quite obviously didn’t seem to believe him, but she let it slide anyway. “Okay, but wait right here! I need to go—“

Whatever else she had to say was lost over the sound of the bustling students as she slipped away. The body of students seemed to thin out as Peter trudged to his locker, spinning the lock right, left, then right again. 

He opened his locker door for the final time only to gape at the very empty space before him. 

No!

He closed it and opened it a couple more times, double checking the number on his locker door. 

Nothing quelled the whirlwind of panic raging inside. 

His suit was in there!

His web fluid was in there!!

His IPod was in there!!!

It couldn’t be gone be gone!!

Peter slammed the door of his locker, turning to run down to the science lab, praying that he accidentally left his backpack in the room during his free period while mixing up a new canister of fluid. Surely it wasn’t gone-gone. 

He threw the door open, not even bothering to turn on the lights before tearing through the empty lab. 

Unfortunately, not even the jars of experimental web mixtures were in the small fridge anymore. Who would take that? It had Peter’s name on it and everything! 

Who the heck would-

“Penis Parker.” He felt the hair on the back of his neck stand on end, spinning around to come face to face with the biggest reason Peter had to actually be glad at the prospect of leaving the school. “Of all the places I thought you might be heading, I should have known you would duck into an empty science classroom. Nerd.”

Peter gritted his teeth, preparing himself for whatever would follow. He didn’t have time for this. He just wanted to get his stuff and leave this chapter of his life far behind him. Was that too much to ask?

Stupid Parker luck…

Soon, he would never have to see Flash Thompson’s stupid face ever again. That was one thing to look forward too. Still, before that it looked like he would have to put up with one last beating. For old time’s sake.

Chapter Text

The larger teen kicked the door shut behind him at the sound of approaching footsteps, but it didn’t matter. Most of the students would be in class by then anyway with the exception of a few wanderers, and nobody would be looking for Peter. He wasn’t even supposed to be at school today. All he wanted to do was get his stuff and leave, was that too much to ask? This wasn’t supposed to take fifteen minutes! Flash, on the other hand was supposed to be in class, but most of the teachers turned a blind eye to his behaviors. Anything to ensure their star sports player stayed on the court/field. 

Flash smirked, twisted and cold. The sight of it caused Peter’s senses to hum lazily like a mosquito in his ear that he couldn’t quite bat away. Realistically, with Peter’s powers that was really all that Flash was it him. Still, just because they were harmless didn’t change the fact that he hated mosquitoes just like he hated Flash. 

Hopefully it would be over quick. 

“Sneaking away in hopes of meeting up with your boyfriend?” 

Why did the subject matter keep coming back to Peter being gay today?

Peter sighed, shaking his head in disappoint at the unoriginal quip. Heck, Rhino could probably come up with something better. Heck, a normal rhino, unrelated to the super villain ‘The Rhino,’ could probably grunt something more intelligible and witty than Flash. 

“Look, Flash, any other day, I would be totally down to… Wait, no, that was a lie,” he snarked at the bully, earning himself a deeper, more irritated scowl than before. Like, scowl face times two. This would probably be the last time he ever saw that specific dumb look unless Flash took up a life of crime in the future. Hopefully. Then Peter wouldn’t have to worry about holding back. 

Well, might as well tell him how he really felt before letting Flash pulverize him. “See, what I am trying to say is, the last 24 hours are kind of a blur without you beating me up, and while I really wish I could forget a very good portion of it, I would rather I not forget it via your fist. So, if you could please just hand me back all my stuff, that would be perfect.” 

Flash snorted. “Why do you think I have your stuff, Penis Parker?”

Peter sighed, resisting the urge to palm his face. “Oh, I don’t know, maybe it’s because you obsess about me? I mean, my best friends don’t keep as good of tabs on me as you do. Then, the whole ‘Penis Parker,’ thing. I mean, I don’t even think you thought that through all the way.”

It didn’t surprise Peter at all when his senses flared to life a second before Flash charged him, an electric current of ‘dodge,’ coursing through his system. He had dealt with it often enough over the years that it normally wouldn’t have made him bat an eye, right? What did surprise him was the intensity of the blare. It was so jolting that Peter accidentally dodged the flying fist without meaning to, oddly going from a static shock level warning to ‘I just stuck my fork in a light socket with my mouth,’ level Spidey tingle. 

Like, when the heck did his childhood bully register as being this big of a threat? When did Flash graduate villain school to become dangerous enough to warrant that kind of an alarm? Did he get bitten by a radioactive foghorn or something? 

The smaller teen had to take a step back, swiftly dodging the fist as Peter’s fingers fisted into his own hair at the almost shattering, ear ringing static-y screech that tore through his senses like a derailing train. It was almost like those few times that he had a concussion grenade launched at him from kingpin’s men. The world went blurry around him, all other senses going into a panicked lockdown, which was very much unhelpful, especially mid fight. If he had been in his suit he would have blindly shot his web shooter and swung himself till he either outran the danger, or collided with a building and knocked himself out (that had actually happened a few times before, but he thankfully woke up before he was kidnapped or unmasked). Trapped in the classroom with no costume or webshooters as he was, there was little he could actually do beyond stumble into a desk. 

Everything was so disorienting, that he wasn’t too surprised that he didn’t feel Flash’s second punch land on his chin, or feel a hand tightening around his collar, slamming his back into the lab desk, scattering vials, most of which went rolling to the ground, glass tinkling prettily on impact, though to his wacked our senses, it sounded like a car crashing. 

“At least I’m not a fag like you!” Peter almost didn’t hear Flash’s words over the verging on painful buzz that suddenly intensified at that vicious bark. Heck, he couldn’t even feel the next hit as it rained down on his abdomen, though he doubted he really would even if his senses were going off script. Flash definitely didn’t hit nearly as hard as King Pin. 

Peter let his body go slack on the desk for a moment. It felt like his ears were bleeding, his brain oozing out through the canal. This never happened. 

Crap! This irritation couldn’t be Flash’s doing! Was there a bomb ticking down in the school or something? Why did it just keep on getting progressively worse? What the heck was-

“If by fag you mean ‘Freaking Awesome Guy,’” a voice suddenly broke the silence, “then you would be right. You are very much NOT a fag.”  

Peter winced and looked over his shoulder, relieved to see the outline of his uncle and Wade in the doorway, and also a little weary. Being found in unfortunate situations was bound to get on his uncle’s nerve eventually. After blinking a few pained tears out of his sensitive vision, he could clearly see the looks on both men’s faces, neither of which were good. 

While Wade, with his drawn up hoody obstructing most of his face, looked confusingly chipper about the scene he just walked in on, his uncle looked every bit the off the scale threat level he was picking up and mistaking for Flash’s. Surely, judging by his amazing luck, the high levels of murder vibes were coming from his uncle. Perfect. Like he didn’t deal with enough baddies on patrol without including his uncle on that list. 

On top of everything else, Wade was very bad at reading the room. 

“I’m a fag,” Wade continued to supply enthusiastically, much to Peter and Flash’s confusion as he stepped further into the room, Peter’s uncle jerkily following after. “Peter is a precious little fag.” Then Wade hooked his thumb over his shoulder, “But that guy there? Eh. He can be a fag… sometimes. More of a drag. Depends on his mood.”

Weasel fumed from his place in the doorway. “Don’t ever call Peter a fag ever again, Wilson. I will personally mellonball your eyes out. I don’t give a shit what you call yourself, but Peter is my responsibility and I would really appreciate it if you would leave this to me.”

At the appearance of adults (or the two beings currently masquerading as grownups), Flash’s grip loosened, but his attitude had yet to come down. He was obviously annoyed at the fact they had been interrupted. “Who the hell are these freaks, Penis Parker?” 

Why did the universe hate him? 

“Woah, woah, woah! Time out,” Wade made a ‘T’ with his crossed arms to further cement his point, a giant smile on his face. “Penis Parker? Really?” He sent a smirk Peter’s way and the teen suddenly had a sinking feeling that this entire conversation was going to come back and bite him in the butt. It wasn’t too far out of the realm of possibilities that Wade might actually start going around calling him ‘Penis Parker,’ too, was it? “Is this a porno about a taxi-driver? Because let me just say this, that better be what you are referring to. My cinnamon topped sugar cookie is too young to go around parking his penis anywhere, thank you very much.”

Crap. Peter felt like his face caught on fire at that announcement, and he was suddenly very glad he would never see Flash again. 

“What the hell is wrong with your face?”

The blush. Of course if anyone were to notice it, that would be Flash. Crap. 

Unfortunately, when Peter turned to respond to Flash’s comment, he realized his bully wasn’t even looking at him. He was looking directly at Wade’s half shadowed features.

Oh, crap…

“Well, Sweet heart,” Wade singsonged lazily. Peter’s senses were edging louder and more panicked at each and every oblivious step the man took, tremors jolting through his body and making his arms and legs twitch involuntarily like a dying bug at the verging on painful Spider-sense, till suddenly-

SLAM! 

How did Wade get Flash face first into a desk with his arm behind his back so quickly? “I didn’t get this fugly face by being a good girl!” 

Oh. So it wasn’t Weasel causing the tingly freak out episode. Good to know. 

All those sweet smiles Wade had been shining at Peter all morning were instantly replaced with the twisted, deranged face of a murderer, and Peter fought his body just to stay breathing. 

He needed to run! His body wanted him to run, escape, hide, but, despite how much he hated Flash, he couldn’t leave him. Wade was gonna flipping murder the guy if he left, and Peter wouldn’t be too surprised if it wasn’t the first time he killed before. His uncle didn’t even seem bothered or surprised by his friend’s actions. He just looked on with a blank, dispassionate face of someone who had done this before, glasses flashing dangerously as he stepped closer. 

He was going to be living with these people the rest of his life…

Peter needed to move. Talk. Stop this! Annoyingly enough, though, Peter’s body and mouth were still on lockdown as another jolt went through his system. 

“Wanna know the difference between me an Freddy Kruger? Freddy is a fictional character. I’m the real deal, and I don’t only exist in your nightmares.” 

“Wade, stop it.” Weasel (surprisingly) finally stepped in. “Let me handle this.” Wade, surprisingly, backed off at weight of Weasel’s hand on his shoulder, pulling away from the bully like a sulky child to pout in the corner. Weasel rolled his eyes, but returned his focus to Flash, who looked angry rather than scared. “Kid. You got a name?”

“Flash Thompson,” said teen responded back with a growl, almost like he expected them to know who he was and back off. 

Wade and Weasel most certainly didn’t. They looked at each other, back at Flash, back at each other, and then… threw their heads back, laughing like idiots. Thankfully, Peter noted that with the laughter, the threat level edged down enough that he could stand on wobbly feet. “Wait, Wait, Wait! What was your name a again?”

“F-Flash Thompson!” Okay, if anything good came from this situation then the level of ire radiating off of the usually confident bully was laughable. 

Both men ended up laughing so hard that they sagged against each other, gasping for air. 

Wade wiped a fake tear from his eye, “I swear, I’m trying not to-“ whatever he was trying not to do desolved into uproarious giggles and knee slapping jerks. Peter wondered how the heck a grown man could convincingly giggle. It was honestly concerning. 

“What my friend is trying to say is, that’s a dumb name,” Wade blurted bluntly between his own snorting cackles. “I thought Apple and Space probe-“

“Probe!”

“-were dumb names! What, were you named after your conception?”

“Bahahaha! I bet his dad was done in a ‘flash!’”

Flash stomped his foot at the two completely unphased men. “It’s Eugene, actually. My friends came up with the nickname!”

“Wow,” Wade guffawed. “With friends like that, am I right? Or was it an ex girlfriend? Im betting it was an ex.”

Peter buried his head in his hands, wishing he could be anywhere else. Why couldn’t his uncle be normal? Why did life have to screw with him again?

Weasel finally raised his hand to signal a stop, clearing his throat with one last snort. “Okay, okay, enough with the jokes. So your name is Eugene?”

“Yes!”

“Still a pretty dumb name,” Weasel blurted. “Of course, it’s not your fault for that I guess. You got parents I suppose?”

“What, you gonna call them?” Flash growled defensively. “Peter doesn’t even go to school here anymore! You can’t get me in trouble!”

Weasel simply waved the kid off. “Just answer the question. I promise I won’t get you in trouble with them. So, you got a mom?”

Flash still looked uncertain, but he answered with a nervous and seemingly defensive, “…Yeah.”

“How about a dad, then?”

Anger flared to life in Flash’s eyes for just a moment too long. “I don’t see what this has to-“

“Oh…” Weasel nodded, mockingly consoling. “No dad? That’s rough.”

“Yes, I do have a-“

A smirk lit up Weasel’s face like he had somehow convinced Flash to admit he still wet the bed. “Hmmm. See, I’m not a psychologist, but I have a lot of life experience dealing with men and women who hate their parents,” the man chattered amicably, like his friend hadn’t just been on the verge of killing Flash moments ago. He shrugged, “Just comes with the territory of… my job. So, the way you deflect like that? It makes me think that you would be really upset if something were to happen to your mother and you were left all alone with your pops. But, once again,” Weasel smiled self depreciatingly, “I’m not a psychologist. You really should see one, though. Sooner, rather than later. I tend to have that effect on people when they piss me off.” He pointed out Wade, who waved excitedly at the teen he was just threatening like it had never happened. “Wade as well.”

“Guys, please, let’s just go…” unsurprisingly, Peter was ignored. Well, except by Wade, who stepped up behind Peter, tucking the teen’s head under his chin and wrapping him protectively into his chest before he had a chance to struggle. 

He gave up after a split second when he remembered that… this was his uncle’s friend, and no matter how deranged, he should probably stay on his good side, to stay alive if for nothing else. 

“What the hell’s that supposed to mean?” Flash’s voice shook, and Peter felt a bit guiltily happy the other boy finally was feeling the fear that he caused in so many students. 

“It means that,” his uncle drawled with an indulgent smile like he was speaking to a very stupid child, “before you go around picking on other people’s misfortunes, maybe count yourself lucky for what little happiness you still have in your miserable life. For now.”

“Is that a threat?”

“Oh, the stupidity of youth.” Weasel ruffled his own hair with a fond, lighthearted chuckle that juxtaposed the levity of the situation hauntingly. “I don’t threaten. I know people who can do that for me,” he pointed casually to Wade, “one of whom you already managed to piss off.” He waved it off like the idea of it was a joke. “No, I don’t do that shit anymore. I just make the promises and cash in favors. And I know a lot of very bad people who owe me some very big favors that an insignificant little punk like you wouldn’t even begin to put a dent in. Next time, think before being a dick, because you might piss off an even bigger dick. Get the picture?”

There was a long silence where nobody spoke. Flash looked like he was ready to pass out or pee his pants. Peter was pretty terrified too, wondering if his uncle was bluffing to scare Peter’s bully, or he did have that level of power. 

Of course, Wade broke the silence, his chest rumbling in his ear. “Wow. That’s some disgusting imagery. Unless you are into watersports.”

Peter blinked in confusion. “What does any of that have to do with anything water related?”

The madman just snuggled Peter closer. “Oh, you precious child. Never change.”

Weasel was ignoring them in favor of looking down his nose at Flash. “You are lucky you are a kid. I don’t bother with kids. But, I have your name now. If you’re lucky, I won’t remember to check in on you when you are a big boy to see if you decided to play nice.” He leaned in close enough to whisper in Flash’s ear, “I don’t have to explain what will happen if you tell anyone about this little conversation, though… do I?”

Flash shook his head frantically. 

“Then leave.”

The bully bolted out of the room, glass crunching under his feet as he almost slipped on his way out, slamming the door shut behind him as if it would impede their ability to follow. 

Weasel sighed and shook his head. “Ten bucks I see him in my bar in a couple of years.”

Wade laughed. “Naw! I think you scared him enough that he is gonna go the military route.”

Wade shrugged and looked back at Peter. 

Peter was extremely happy to note the moment Flash was gone, the spidey-tingle had died, leaving him empty and shaken all the same. He pushed away from Wade, only to stumble and almost fall in the glass he had knocked off the desk. 

Both men reached forward to steady him and Peter had to try really hard not to flinch. Surely none of that was true. Surely his uncle didn’t know hitmen. He was bluffing. It was a bluff, and Wade had been far too sweet to him last night and that morning to be a killer! No! People like that didn’t exist except for on the other side of his web-shooters. People like that were definitely not related to him! 

Weasel drew Peter forward, eyes searching his face for something before moving down his body, pulling up his shirt and frowning at the bruises. “I should have let Wade have a bit more fun with him,” he hissed.

“Shit! Look at his back!” Wade yelped behind them, and Peter was suddenly aware of the stinging pain there. 

Weasel slowly rotated Peter, carefully and clinically prodding him like the circuits in a computer board. “Looks like some of the glass got into your back. We can patch it up later.”

Peter took a few deep breaths and looked back at his uncle. This day was too much. He needed sleep. He needed food too, but he wanted sleep. “I just want to get my stuff and go home.” The moment those words escaped his mouth, he realized home as he knew it no longer existed. He had no home. He just had Weasel who was a relative stranger, and a couch above a bar. And Wade didn’t seem too keen on leaving his side any time soon. 

Before Peter had long to dwell on that fact, running footsteps down the hall alerted them of another person coming their way. 

“Of course he told. Pansy-ass bitch!” Wade growled glaring at the door. 

It flung open at the same moment that something was released from Wade’s hand, shooting across the room and lodging itself in the wood inches from the intruder’s face. 

“Wade, what the actual fuck?” Weasel shrieked. “This is why I wanted to leave you at the bar!”

“Sorry! It’s a reflex.”

Peter wasn’t paying attention to them though. His eyes were focused on the person standing stock still in the doorway, eyes glued to the knife like it was a advanced mechanics textbook. 

“Ned?!”

Chapter Text

Peter pushed away from the two men and practically tackled his best friend through the door, slamming it shut behind him while Wade and Weasel began furiously hissing at each other. Thankfully, Ned didn’t hear their words, but Peter could make out quite a few colorful curses used in extraordinarily creative ways as he dragged his buddy down the hall and around the corner to the bathroom, where he hoped they wouldn’t be interrupted any time soon. 

Ned put up little resistance considering. 

“Hey, Ned! Fancy seeing you here! What’s up?” Peter tried with a very forced smile once they turned the corner, walking as fast as possible to the facilities before his uncle or Wade decided to go after them.  

Obviously his chipper greeting didn’t work as a distraction. Probably because Ned was way too perceptive for his own good when it came to Peter. More than likely, though, it was mostly due to–

“Dude, was that a knife?”

“What? Pft! What?” Spluttering, Peter shook his head, frantically waving off the (not so) absurd thought. “No! I mean- What knife? What are you talking about?” Ned wasn’t even looking at him, though. He seemed to deep in his own thoughts while being propelled down the hallway. Peter swiftly slapped his friend’s back, hoping to dislodge whatever ideas were going on in that head of his while shoving him forcefully into the ‘Men’s Restroom,’ alcove. “You are such a kidder, Ned! You almost got me! Knife! Haha… ha….” 

Yeah. Peter really needed to work on his lying. Life was going to get way more difficult if he didn’t. How did he keep his identity a secret for this long again?

“It looked military grade!” Ned continued, eyes narrowing in concentration at the memory. He acted as if Peter had already agreed with him, which was kind of rude and just the tiniest bit insulting. 

Peter quickly shushed Ned and left him by the sinks before methodically checking the stalls for anyone snooping. Thankfully no one was, because Ned didn’t seem to be paying attention, which Peter kind of couldn’t fault him for because- 

“Did I almost get knifed? Seriously, what the heck dude? Not cool!” Ned finally startled from his shock to grab Peter’s shoulders as he paced in front of the stalls, shaking him in sudden realization. Peter did his best to ignore the stinging jolt from the glass in his spine. He should probably look at that sooner rather than later, but at the moment his friend’s sanity ranked slightly above Peter’s own physical health. “Wait a second…” Ned jolted back, suddenly looking even more pale, “crap! Did you bring… ‘work’ to school with you?” Ned hissed urgently. “Do they ‘know?’ Do we need to call someone? Are you okay? What do you need me to do?”

The rapid fire questions had Peter stuttering before he finally looked down at what was strapped around one of the wrists manhandling him, smacking his ribs at each panicked gesticulation. 

“Ned! You beautiful, beautiful human being!! My bag!” He dodged the questions (a much easier but also equally as telling tactic) while diving for his bag and instantly checking that the contents hadn’t been messed with. The suit was still there, and with the exception of web fluid canisters that had been crammed on top, nothing had been touched. “Oh, god! You don’t know how happy I am to see this. I thought Flash—“

“Yeah, speaking of Flash,” Ned interrupted, “he ran out of that hallway looking like he was going to… wet himself….” His eyes narrowed. “Peter, what’s going on? I’m missing something, aren’t I?”

Peter huffed, zipping up his bag and securing it over his shoulder while deciding how much to tell his ‘guy in the chair.’ Since when could he ever keep a secret from Ned? “Well,” Peter hedged with a wince, “remember how that man the other day had some,” don’t think about it, don’t think about it, “stuff to say? About things? And after all that he took me away, and said he would take me to my uncle?”

Ned’s eyes widened as he took in the facts a little too quickly. “Your uncle almost stabbed me!?”

“What?! No!!!” Peter jumped in, quick to assure. Of course, he couldn’t just leave it at that though, because his diarrhetic mouth continued to run. “That was just my uncle’s friend!” 

Okay…  in hindsight, that was very far from assuring. Ned’s face did all the talking for him, obviously panicking, which made Peter panic too. 

“I mean,” Peter salvaged, “in their defense, they just met Flash…?”

Yeah. That still wasn’t having the calming effect he wanted judging by the way Ned’s eyes just widened even more. “What?!”

Crap. Okay, time to backtrack and find a rope to pull himself out of this pit he dug himself into. “Well… I think he is the closest thing my uncle has to a friend….” Okay, that obviously wasn’t far enough back in the conversation, because Ned still looked moments away from a full blown freak out. Even more so than he had been when he thought Peter had a villain threatening him. “It’s complicated, but Wade’s cool! Weasel’s cool, too! We are all cool!” 

Yeah… the only rope Peter was finding was one to hang himself with. 

“It doesn’t seem complicated!” Ned hissed in a shrill, voice cracking squeal. “That dude had a knife! He had a knife and…” it was the first time that Ned actually glanced down at him since being dragged into the bathroom, and Peter was sure after a quick peak In the mirror behind him that the rumpled, blood speckled clothing was doing little to assure his best friend that what Peter was saying was true. 

“Okay, in their defense,” Peter redirected with a wince, “this was all a goodbye present from Flash.” He gestured down at his body. “They stepped in and–“

“Threatened him with a knife too?” Ned panicked, and suddenly he was the one pacing the length of the bathroom hands waving as wildly as an orchestra conductor. “Pete, do… are you actually safe? MJ said something about you being pulled out of school. Are you in trouble? Do you need me to–”

“What?! No!” Peter snapped back, Ned’s panic feeding his own to the point he was pretty sure his heart would explode. 

He couldn’t leave his uncle alone at that bar! There were dangerous people there!!And Wade! Wade had powers like Peter! Well, not exactly like Peter, but he had powers that he was seemingly unabashedly unashamed of displaying to the general public considering he must have hobbled up to the rear window of Weasel’s apartment in full view of the world the night before. He needed to protect Weasel and figure out how Wade did that without fearing… society in general like Peter did on the daily. 

“Pete,” Ned shot him a disbelieving scowl when he finally stilled, “you are absolutely crap at lying.”

“I’m not lying, okay? I’m perfectly safe!” Peter panickingly reinforced. Then he remembered the night before, dealing with his uncle’s shady patrons at the bar, and grimaced. Yeah, that was still a thing. Though, Weasel had handled it fairly competently. “And even if it does become dangerous, it’s… it’s not directly because of Weasel, and its nothing I can’t handle! I mean, I’m me, you know?” He shot Ned a reassuring smile that somehow had the anxious frown melting off his friend’s face. “And he is my uncle. My last living relative unless I have some super secret evil twin somewhere, which knowing my luck, am I right? But, seriously.”

Ned took a few breaths, leaning against the sink and running a hand through his hair as he tried one last time to talk his best friend into letting him intervene. After all, Ned might have Peter’s best interest at heart, but he also was a huge pushover. “Being blood relatives doesn’t exactly mean they won’t be abusive. Look at Matilda! Or Harry Potter! He lived in a closet under the steps! What if they figure it out! You could be in even more danger!”

“That’s not…” well, was the couch in the middle of the living area above a bar really that different? Yeah, maybe he shouldn’t mention the fact his uncle even owned a bar for the time being. “I mean,” Peter hedged with a grimace at that realization. “He means well. He really does. He’s not really a people person, but he is trying for me despite the fact we don’t even know each other! I mean, I was as much of a surprise to him as he was to me! I’m lucky he even decided to come by the station and collect me!” Peter conveniently left out the actual reason Weasel had given him as to why he was forced to take Peter into his home. Yay mouth for actually censoring something out! “And, like, sure he might be pulling me out of school, but at least he is still fairly close?” 

Darn it! If Peter had been planning on cutting ties with Ned, maybe that wasn’t the best thing to admit that he would still be in the state, but maybe it would be better to say in contact just a little longer… just to give his buddy the piece of mind that he was actually being cared for before Ned no doubt forgot about him existing. “I mean, who knows where and with who I will be placed if I get shipped to a home till I’m old enough to leave.” Hopefully that would work where nothing else did. 

Ned nodded thoughtfully, though it didn’t look like his friend was completely convinced. “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. I get you. But still, I don’t like it. Try to stay in contact. A text a day is all I’m asking for now.”

“Oh. Right,” Peter brightened, slinging his backpack over one shoulder in hopes that they were done talking, thankful when Ned took the hint and began walking towards the door with them. “About that, you wouldn’t have possibly grabbed my phone from my locker while you were in there?”

“In the front pouch. MJ wouldn’t stop calling it last nigh— EEK!”

Who actually went ‘eek!’ unironically? That was just embarrassing for Ned, and for Peter, who’s eardrums almost burst at that outcry. 

Peter jolted into action at the way Ned had gone pale and stiff as they turned to go, holding tighter to his backpack and crouching down into a slightly more defensive position till his eyes landed on the man standing in the entryway, leaning up against the brick with a satisfied, amused smirk. How had the man gotten there without them noticing? 

“Oh. It’s just you,” Peter huffed before returning to his regular stance. 

“Naughty, naughty,” Wade shook his head in disappointment at the sight of the two youths. “This isn’t a suspicious place for two young, curious boys to be hanging out while ditching classes at all!” He took a lumbering step into the much too small space, sizing up Ned as he went with an unconcealed, judging focus before drawing near enough to hook his arm around Peter’s shoulders and jostle him closer, all the while shooting Ned this strangely, almost playfully threatening glower complete with a bitterly false smile. “Gossiping? Are we having a potty party over here? What’s up, my nerds?”

Oh, dear. How long had he been standing there?! “W-Wade!” Peter’s mind instantly jumped to everything they had discussed in the past several seconds, how much Wade might have heard, and how he possibly interpreted it. “I swear, this isn’t what it looks like!”

Wade nodded, but his eyes narrowed even more in Ned’s direction, his molar grinding smile getting thinner by the second. “Sure it isn’t. Are you going to introduce me to your… ‘friend?’” Wade’s arm tightened around Peter’s neck incrementally, drawing him intimately close in the process, which caused Peter to flush. Mostly because the bathroom was the last place you wanted to be this intimate with someone, especially a much larger, very intimidating man that you only knew for a day, had muscles the size of a tree, and a healing factor so powerful that Peter would have a hard time figuring out which of his large, heat radiating arms had been grown back from scratch in the last 24 hours. 

“Before you answer,” Wade mock whispered, “if you say he’s your boyfriend, you could do so much better. I know this adorable little emo chick that’s gay, too. I could introduce you.”

“Hey! I’m not… HEY!” Ned choked out indignantly. So much for convincing him Wade wasn’t a complete jerk. 

“Um…” Peter hung his head in resignation. He had just convinced Ned he was fine. Why did Wade have to be the one he introduced Ned to first? “First, I don’t think that’s how being gay works, and second, this is actually my best friend. Ned, meet Wade, my uncle’s best friend.”

All the (what Peter assumed was shovel talk related) tension leaked out of Wade’s body, making him turn practically boneless against the much smaller man’s back, chin perching once again (insultingly) on top of Peter’s much lower reaching head, while his large, bear paw sized arms went limp, hanging down Peter’s front like the sleeves of a knotted cardigan. 

Now that the apparent threat to Peter’s innocents was found false, Wade turned on his… charm? Peter wasn’t sure if it could be considered that way, but the man seemed to vibrate with an over abundance of scarily friendly energy all of the sudden. 

“More like his work friend, actually,” Wade pitched in enthusiastically. “But I irritate the living snot out of him enough that I should have been bumped up to bestie status ages ago. He just always forgets to upgrade my card to platinum membership when we hang out and paint our nails.”

Peter swiftly elbowed the man in the gut to get him to let go, but Wade continued to cling like an octopus. “Wade stop. You’re embarrassing me.”

“Oh.” Ned took a step back, taking in Peter’s no doubt sulky expression while being used as a human headrest. He probably wanted to start a fight with the man who threw the knife at him, or at least tell him off, but was no doubt put off by the simple fact of– ”You’re…” Peter prayed to whatever would listen that Ned would at least be sensitive enough not to mention the scarring, and was rewarded when, after a tense moment of deliberation his friend finally finished it with a weak sounding, “tall?”

“Yup!” Wade chirped with a overly bright cheer, so Peter assumed that response must have earned his friend some browny points. “Oi, Petey, while I’m on the subject of your uncle, he had to take a call. He will meet us back at the car.” Wade’s chest rumbled against Peter’s back, though he made no effort to move. 

“Did he tell you this?” Peter highly doubted his uncle would let a man who brought knives with him to a school and threw one at a student out of his sight willingly. 

“Not really,” Wade hedged, finally pulling off of Peter enough that he could readjust his bag and turn and glare at the man. “I mean,” Wade tittered, scratching the back of his hoody, “he was yelling. A lot. And I don’t really like it when people yell at me, so I kinda tuned him out for a bit. Then his phone rang, and then he was yelling at the phone, or probably more at the person on the other end of the call, I really wasn’t paying enough attention to see if he had actually answered, but I decided to take my chances and run while he was occupied.” Wade smiled like the exuberant puppy he was. “But I did tell him I would get you, and drag you back to the car under the threat of chloroform if I had to.”

Peter delivered another swift elbow to Wade’s side for that. “Ahaha!! Oh, Wade! He’s such a kidder! Ah-hah…ha.” 

When Peter threw a look in Ned’s direction to see how well he was taking it, he was met with his friends most constipated expression yet. 

“Well, see you Ned! Can’t leave my uncle waiting!” Peter made to dash out of the restroom and leave. Wade, obviously of the same mind, followed no matter if Peter wanted him to or not. Ned, unfortunately enough for Peter, decided to chase after as well, flanking Peter on the right where Wade took up the space to Peter’s left. 

“I’ll come with! I want to meet your uncle,” Ned finally stated when he got over his initial shock and found his voice. And there was an unwavering egde in that voice that put Peter on edge, especially when he saw the way Ned looked over the top of his head at Wade. “You threw a knife at me.”

Peter took a deep breath, not liking the direction things were going. He knew that look on Ned’s face. He was determined. 

And Wade was a moron. 

This would be great. The last place he wanted to be was stuck between these two, yet that was where he was. 

“Yup!” Wade responded with the exact same amount of enthusiasm as a child being asked if they wanted more candy before flipping his wrist like a preppy girl. “Nasty habit. Ex-military. Please excuse the dark humor. Being able to laugh about death and violence is all there is left to help me cope with this dark, dark world full of pain and suffering that is the human condition.”

With the giant smile and level of over the top sarcasm he delivered that with, Peter wasn’t surprised when Ned shot the man an, ‘I’m not buying that,’ scowl. “Ex?”

Peter really didn’t want to deal with this right now. “Ned, seriously, not necessary, I–“

“Yup!” Wade interrupted. The two seemingly content in letting Peter watch this train wreck from the other side of a one way glass, because it was almost like he wasn’t there despite the fact he was directly between them as they walked. The scarred man scratched the back of his hood almost bashfully. “Got discharged a while ago, but the old habits die hard, you know what I mean?”

Peter floundered at that, looking for a way to save this situation from devolving into Ned’s friendly interrogation techniques and Wade’s inane babbling. This would not help Peter’s case at all with winning Ned over and convincing him not to tell someone. “Wade, seriously, you do know you don’t have to answer anything you don’t–“

“Not really,” Ned spoke right overtop of Peter’s voice with an equal parts pleasant and threatening smile. Wade was either oblivious, or unthreatened. Possibly both. “Honorably, or dishonorably?”

“Yup!”

That… wasn’t really an answer, but considering Peter just told him not to answer if it made him uncomfortable (or he had tried to), he was going to take it as Wade responding to that and nothing else, despite the fact they seemingly only had eyes and ears for each other at the moment. 

“Okay…” Ned fished, obviously not as convinced as Peter was, “what branch of the military, then?”

“Canadian!”

Okay… Peter couldn’t help but palm his face at that very Wade like, innocent seeming response, complete with a thumbs up. Being stuck in between these two was the biggest mistake in the world. He picked up his pace to the entrance of the school, glad when he noticed both of the people flanking him doing the same. 

“That’s not a branch of the military,” Ned shot back, clearly unimpressed at the man’s intellect and evasion tactics. 

“Not over here, no,” Wade pointed out like Ned was the stupid one for needing it explained to him. “But over in Canada, the whole military is Canadian! Crazy stuff, right? But I had to leave.” Wade shrugged regretfully. “I mean, on top of the violence, the cost of sorry letters and postage stamps for every person I killed was insane. And when I learned about how America had their own captain that was actually called Captain America I felt cheepened. I mean, even if I did become the next best thing since flapjacks, who wants to be Captain Canadia? Sounds like a store brand, superhero knockoff that might get copystriked. So… I came to America to follow my dream! But then Captain America got thawed out, so becoming the new Captain was kinda out of the picture when the old one was still in it. So, here I am! Living the American dream!”

“What does that exactly mean to you? What exactly do you do for a living?” Ned probed further. 

“I bug Peter’s uncle at his job.”

“Oh?” Ned finally looked sharply at Peter before asking, “Where does his uncle work?”

“A bar.”

Peter palmed his face, hiding from the incredulous look that earned him.

“Oh. So you are a drunk?”

“Ned!”

“Me?” Wade gasped. “No! Never!” He paused for a moment in contemplation before tacking on a much more believable sounding, “I’m actually not lying about that. I haven’t been drunk in quite a few years now that I think about it. I should join AA. I would be an inspiration to them all, especially when they learn my secret!”

“Look, there’s the car!” Peter averted, pointing out the front doors to his uncle’s beat up car before realizing that might be points against him in his friend’s eyes too. When would this day be over? “Go back to class, Ned! I’ll get in touch with you later.”

“No,” Ned held him back with an angry smile. “I think I want to meet your uncle. What was his name again?”

“Uhhhh…” crap. “His friends call him Weasel?”

Ned blinked a couple of times. Yeah. It was hard not to think of him as a criminal with a name like that. “Hmm. Okay. And, Wade?” He turned to the man in question, who made to open the door while Peter and Ned bickered. “What was your last name again? I don’t think I caught it.”

In a big, over exaggerated fashion, the much larger man flung open the door and beckoned the both of them through like a gentleman from an old movie. “I don’t think Peter told it to you,” he tilted his head up and grinned this overly excited, ominous grin at Ned that made both teens rethink how much of the conversation was him just messing with them, “and if it’s all the same, I would rather he didn’t. I enjoy this whole, twenty questions, Rumpelstiltskin type vibe we’ve got going here,” he made finger guns at Ned, pretending to shoot a few times while they passed through the door. “All those curious, rapid fire questions makes me feel like I’m on a speed date! It’s fun, and the moment you abuse it by typing my name in that google bar, well… it stops being fun. And I hate when things stop being fun, don’t you?” 

Wade ducked behind Peter so he could sling his arm around Ned’s shoulder in an inappropriately friendly manner for someone who just met another, but paused mid air when he saw Weasel standing by the door to his car, a very displeased expression on his face. 

A silent moment passed where Ned nervously ducked away from the knifey man.

Then another.

Then–

“WEASEL! Save me! Because of these two I have White and Nerdy playing repeat in my head and the voice won’t shut up no matter how many times we tell it that it is a terrible singer!!” Wade shouted nonsensically, possibly only to escape Ned’s interrogation (even though it already seemed to have come to an end), and jetted across the Parking lot, collapsing on top of an extremely irked Weasel, who nearly fell over under the weight of it before cursing up a storm. 

Ned shot Peter an unimpressed look. “What’s his name.”

Peter cringed. “Come on, man. I just met him yesterday. And he said he didn’t want you googling it!” Peter defended to the best of his ability. “I kinda understand it. I mean, the moment we look him up and form opinions about him based off of whatever we might find, the less we will be likely to form our own opinions about him now. Give the guy some privacy and the benefit of the doubt. If he does raise any red flags, I’ll look it up myself. I promise.”

“None of any of that raised red flags? Seriously?”

“So what? He is a little insane! Who isn’t?” 

Ned’s eyes narrowed again. “There is more to it isn’t there.”

“It’s… not my place to tell.” Peter knew that wouldn’t fly when Ned continued to shoot him the look. “Okay, fine. He told me some stuff the other night and this morning, and I saw some stuff too. This guy… he’s like me, okay?”

“Like you?” Ned snorted. “For some strange reason I can believe that.”

“He has mutant powers, okay?” Peter hissed imploringly. “I haven’t met anyone like that before!

“Um, yess you have!”

“Not as Peter though,” he pointed out. “I want to know how he does it. He could help me accept myself in a way nobody else can. He could be good! So… don’t scare him away yet. Okay?”

“Fine.” Ned reluctantly gave in with a head shake. “But I still want to meet your uncle.” 

“Oh.” Crap. “Okay. Um… he’s a little direct. Not very soft and cuddly like Wade is.”

“Wade’s soft and cuddly?” Ned nearly shouted with a disgusted choke. “The guy who threw a knife at me is better than your uncle? Is that what your trying to tell me?!”

“Well, no! Not exactly… I mean, I barely know these people, okay?” Which was true. “I met them yesterday, and Weasel’s been awake all night running the… his business.”

“The bar,” Ned tacked on acidically. “Just call it a bar. 

“He might be a little cranky, that’s all I’m saying!”

And, of course, that was perfect timing to say something like that, because he was interrupted from his conversation with a harsh, “Peter! Quit dawdling. I’m leaving, and if you aren’t in the back seat soon, it will be without you.”

“Oh!” Peter jumped in with an overly helpful smile before his nerves got the better of him. “Um, actually I wanted you to meet someone before we go. Ned, this is my Uncle Weasel, and Weasel, this is my best friend Ned.”

The change was almost instantaneous. In the blink of an eye, Weasel had taken in the sight of the boy next to him and flipped on the most genuine smile Peter had seen on the man yet.

“Hey! Ned! Peter’s… guy friend! Peter’s told us so much about—”

“He’s not his boyfriend,” Wade interrupted in a loud whisper into Weasel’s ear. 

“I didn’t say boyfriend.”

“Yeah. You were testing the waters. It was kind of obvious.”

Weasel rolled his eyes, and stuck his hand out in greeting. “Call me Weasel. Please. I can’t take any of this ‘sir,’ bull sh-ah-crap.” He skilled charmingly enough at Ned that the slip-up almost went unnoticed. “Sorry about Wade. With the knife. He can be a little hard to control.”

The man in question was currently climbing back into the car the way he had left it. Which, Peter was reminded, was through the open window. A window that seemed far to small for the man’s frame, but somehow he made it work anyway. 

“Yeah…” they watched Wade contort his way into the car with a disbelieving wonder, while Peter was once again hiding his face in mortification, hoping no one was watching this from within the school, and thanking his lucky stars that even if they were, he would never see them again. “What was that about really?” Trust Ned not to believe the first thing he heard. 

“Oh… well, Wade here use to be in the circus! A real clown. Did the whole knife throwing bit perfectly, but when it came to the ring of Fire… yeah, we don’t talk about it.”

“Oh…”

Is it bad to admit that Peter wasn’t sure which one was lying? Or if both were? Weasel was far more convincing than Wade had been, but that might just be because he was a better liar. Peter didn’t know them well enough to guess yet. 

“Peter!!!” Wade shouted from within the car. “Hurry up! I want to get Tacos!!”

“Wade,” Weasel scolded. “You are worse than a child. Why didn’t you go home already.”

“My car blew up. I need a lift.”

“Jesus Christ,” Weasel looked in mortification at that announcement, eyes bouncing between Peter and his friend as if to check that they didn’t believe the man’s story. “What is my life right now? Fine! When we get back to the bar you can call an Uber.”

“Can’t.” Wade grinned insolently. 

“Why?”

“No phone. I blew that up too, remember? And not in the good, you’re getting lots of kinky texts way.” His eyes landed on Peter’s friend with a twinkle. “Oh! Ned-head! You’re still here!!!”

“One moment,” Ned quickly interjected before Weasel could whisk Peter away in a frantic panic over what the man in the car might say next. “I just… want to say goodbye to my friend in private if you don’t mind,” Ned smiled tensely, almost as if he was expecting to be denied. 

Weasel, thank goodness, played along with an almost genial smile. “Take your time.”

Yeah. Just because he was smiling sweetly didn’t do a thing to hide the fact his voice was hinting at the opposite. Still, the man ducked into his car, rolling up the windows and starting it, giving Peter and Ned some much needed space. 

“Peter… are you serious right now,” Ned tried again, obvious worry seeping into his voice as he tried to prevent it from bleeding onto his face. 

“Positive,” Peter affirmed. “I will find a way to contact you if things do go south, but let me give them a chance. It’s only been a day. What’s the worst thing that could happen realistically? I mean, I am a superhero.”

Ned reached forward and wrapped his arms around Peter so quickly that he didn’t realize it was a hug before the other teen had pulled away, flushing embarrassedly at the action, no doubt the comments from earlier further fueling his discomfort. “Promise me you will let me know the moment things get too much?”

“I promise.” Peter didn’t know how his life was going to be complete without Ned watching his back. “I don’t think it will happen, but you have my word.” 

“Okay,” Ned steeled himself before walking towards the car with Peter. “Let me talk to him one more time, okay?”

Peter nodded. “Fine.”

They approached the car, and Weasel rolled his eyes in time with rolling the window down, obviously being driven insane by Wade’s presence in the car with him. “Yes?” He did his best to sound patient. 

“We were planning on hanging out this weekend,” Ned hinted as Peter opened his door and began strapping himself inside while the two discussed things over him. 

“Tomorrow is Saturday. Kinda late notice,” Weasel eyed Peter speculatively, as if realizing how much he might get done if Peter was occupied with someone else. “I need time to get Peter settled, but maybe I could make arrangements for later?”

“Fine,” Ned agreed enthusiastically “Two weeks from today, Friday. Me and MJ were planning a party. It will be pretty lame without him there.” He smiled at Peter like he knew what Ned was talking about. 

Peter had no clue about any party, but he played along with a huge grin and enthusiastic nod. 

“Do I need to meet your parents or whatever?” Weasel looked almost pained at that thought. 

“Probably.” Ned shrugged. 

“Fine,” Weasel sighed. “We will work out the details later. For now we need to go.”

“Before you do,” Ned hurried before the window could roll up all the way as Weasel was setting the car into drive. “I just want you to know that this guy right here? He is my best friend. If anything happens to him, and I mean anything…”

“Hmmmm… I like you kid,” Peter’s uncle dismissed blandly. “You have promise.” Weasel didn’t even spare him a glance, though. “Watch your toes.”

And with that, they tore off, leaving Ned waving to Peter supportively in the rear view window. 

Thank God that was over. 

Peter shifted in his seat at the painful tingling in his back that came with his newly seated position, reaching down to inspect the wounds without drawing too much attention to himself. That was pretty easy to do, thank goodness, considering the two men were back to bickering again. 

Peter brushed a finger against his spine, drawing his hand away with a frown when no blood came away with it. 

Okay. Things may not be as okay as he had previously hoped. 

 

Chapter Text

Peter wriggled and fidgeted the entire way back to the bar as the tingling sensation beneath the skin on his back turned into needle like pain.

Yeah. That answered that question. The glass was definitely still trapped in his body and the skin had absolutely healed over it. Also, that patch of skin definitely didn’t like the way it was stretched over the shards when his flesh was pulled tight over the muscles of his back where he was sitting.

Which was great. Just great! As if he didn’t have enough problems and secrets to keep from his uncle! The list just kept growing and growing and Peter didn’t know what he was going to do about it! He didn’t know if he was breathing a bit heavier because of the multitude of potholes littering the road and jostling his injuries against the car seat, or the ball of stressed out panic growing in his chest like an alien threatening to burst out.

Because this was a thing now. Life was royally screwing him over so often and regularly he really ought to start charging it hourly rates.

Discovering weird and unsettling things about himself was becoming so normal that he was almost upset at being shocked at this new revelation. When Peter suddenly acquired his spidey powers after being bitten by a radioactive spider (because what were the chances of THAT happening) he most definitely did NOT think there would be this much of a learning curve. Wall climbing was the least of those worries. The flexibility did kind of freak him out a little. Didn’t normal bodies break at that angle? And don’t even get Peter started with how many door handles and alarm clocks he went through in the first month of his powers.

And now this.

Like, yeah, with great powers comes great responsibility and all that jazz, but wouldn’t it have been nice to have some sort of instruction manual outlining what he should do and what he under no circumstances should ever let happen to his person while under the influence of said spider bite? Maybe even some superpowered guru to explain the ins and outs of everything? ‘Cause yeah. That would have been really great. Maybe it/they would even be able to warn him about malfunctions, like is haywire spidey-senses, and warned him not to under any circumstances leave FREAKING GLASS in his back for too long!

It was irritating how every minute that passed during the drive back the feeling got more and more agonizing, making him go from mildly wincing at each turn, to actively biting back laborious whimpers at each small bump in the road.

It was getting worse and worse, to the point that his skin felt like it was becoming too tight for his person.

Peter could only speculate why his body was reacting the way it was. His best guess was that his minor healing factor decided to heal the flesh first, before realizing that there was something not quite organic trapped beneath. And now, after he was already mostly healed, his body decided to reject the bits of glass while still trying to prevent the newly healed skin from tearing open again. It was very far from being the most painful thing he had experienced, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t agonizing. It was pretty far up there on the weird scale of things his powers did, though.

There was a reason healing wasn’t a power Spider-Man was well known for. He usually was able to dodge the worst of it, thus avoiding these types of situations. He could have really gone the rest of his life without figuring this whole thing out and he would have been absolutely fine with that.

Peter remembered how Wade’s healing had practically spat the shrapnel out with a single flex while healing and regrowing the limb within the night. He winced and rubbed his tailbone in an attempt to soothe himself, feeling the small, inflamed bumps scattered across his lower back like a rash. Why couldn’t Peter have had Wade’s healing instead of the wall climbing? Why couldn’t he be a normal teen with normal, not glass filled pimples on his back? Not that he actually wanted that, but some semblance of normalcy would be nice.

When they arrived home, Peter took a couple of deep breaths and exited the car. He managed to balance his bags precariously in one arm, hiding a grunt of pain with one of exertion.

Peter tried his hardest to walk to the bar without giving his excruciatingly painful, stabby-like feelings away, but he either failed miserably or Weasel took note of the old blood on his clothes again.

His uncle did his best to ignore his nephew as he pulled out the enormous key ring, continuously jabbing random keys into the front door’s lock until the handle turned. It took a few minutes longer than Peter would have liked. Either all of the keys must have looked relatively the same with no distinguishing features, or Weasel was too lazy to check.

“Wade bleeds all over my things enough as it is,” the man huffed under his breath so that a normal, unenhanced nephew might not have caught it, leaving the door wide open as he pushed his way in. “Now I have to peroxide and bleach my car and hope I can get the stain out.”

Peter grimaced at both the pain and the loving words of his uncle before following Weasel into the bar with an intermittently babbling Wade at their backs. The loose waistband of Peter’s old, ratty pants definitely didn’t help the situation when the fabric rubbed up against injuries as they rode down his hips with each and every step towards the back room, guarded ominously by the bar door still swinging back and forth

Peter took a deep breath and pushed through, thankful when Wade’s hand reached over his shoulder to hold it open long enough that he didn’t risk the swinging door coming back to hit him in the butt. Peter had no doubt such a sensation on his back would have had him screaming and crying in seconds.

“Okay,” Weasel finally broke the relative silence, the dark circles under his eyes reminding Peter how little sleep the already easily annoyed man was running on. Peter felt a twinge of guilt for the man. It might have been greater had he not been so uncomfortable. “I’m going to make some food,” Weasel pointedly looked at the man over Peter’s shoulder with a scowl. “Wade, you have a choice. If you aren’t going home like I told you to, at least make yourself useful and help Peter.”

Peter shook his head, clutching his backpack and the trash bag containing everything he could salvage from his aunt’s apartment closer to his chest. “No thanks, Uncle Weasel! I’m good!” There was no way he was going to let Wade help him unpack his very incriminating luggage. Nope. Not gonna happen.

Wade furrowed his brow obliviously, paying absolutely no attention to Peter’s vehement refusal. “Help him with what?”

“The glass?” Weasel spat back in a ‘no duh,’ manner.

Oh, lord no! No, his uncle wouldn’t stoop so low, would he?

Yeah, suddenly Wade helping with unpacking didn’t sound so bad.

Wade’s head tilted and his smile grew with Peter’s uncle’s impatience. “What glass?”

“The glass on his lower back!”

“Oh! You mean the glass in his ass!” Wade exclaimed enthusiastically, making it sound like the man had been waiting to say such a foul mouthed rhyme unironically his entire life. “I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it!!”

If Peter’s hands were free he would have covered his face in complete embarrassment. As it was, he could only burry it into the plastic bag and hope he would suffocate. There was no way he would let this idiot anywhere close to his back. “No.”

“Yes!” Weasel jabbed a nail bitten (now to the point of bleeding) finger in Wade’s direction, then sliding it slightly down to Peter’s. “Fix it!”

Peter gaped at his uncle indignantly and slowly hedged his way around the man and towards the stairwell door. “Um… I think I can take care of it by myself,” judging by the instant looks of righteous disagreement on both men’s faces, that wasn’t going to fly. “No offense,” Peter hurried to correct, face turning sheepish and chagrined as he looked from one man to the other, “but I’m not exactly comfortable pulling my pants down for someone I just met yesterday.” That was a very reasonable excuse in Peter’s mind, though they obviously didn’t seem to agree.

Weasel rolled his eyes and threw his hands up in the air, “Well, I don’t do good with cleaning the blood of someone I just met yesterday, so I guess we are all on a bit of a learning curve, aren’t we?” Yeah. Peter supposed that would probably remain true. Especially when it came to Spider-Man and everything else that was Peter’s screwed up life. “Luckily for you and me both, Wade deals with injuries and shit all the time.” He turned to grab a head of lettuce and cheese out of the fridge, slamming it on the counter hard enough to bruise the slightly wilted produce.

Wade nodded enthusiastically over Peter’s shoulder, further confirming Peter’s theory about his lack of a personal space bubble. Because when exactly did he get there? The only thing that prevented him from jumping out of his skin and leaping away from the man was the fact he knew it would hurt, but he was definitely alarmed enough to shriek. “Don’t worry, Peter! I’m a pro at pulling inanimate objects out of places they don’t belong!”

Peter winced at that very jubilant proclamation. “That doesn’t sound very comforting. I think I’ll risk it alone.” He turned to leave, grabbing the door handle, bags still clutched tightly to his chest when a heavily bruised fist flew over his shoulder and punched the exit firmly shut.

The sight of those scabbed up knuckles from the night before so close to Peter’s face suddenly reminded him of how he accidentally set Weasel off the night before. Also, it reminded him of what a normal person’s healing looked like.

Yeah, there was no way he was going to play this off as normal, not mutated stuff if either of them looked. He was screwed.

“Peter, don’t be stupid,” Weasel hissed in to the back of his neck before pulling away and turning back to the food he was preparing. He then plucked a knife from the utensil block, hacking a head of lettuce like it owed him money. Yeah. That action totally didn’t make the hair on Peter’s arms stand on end even more than it already was. “I don’t want to have to take you to the hospital if we can avoid it.” And that definitely didn’t sound threatening. “Let Wade have a look at you. He knows what he’s doing.”

“Yeah!” Wade pitched in, having shadowed Peter across the room like a playful guard dog, tugging at the side of the younger man’s bloody shirt like an over excited child. “Pull down your pants and let me have a look at you! I know what I’m doing!”

BANG!

Peter winced when Weasel swiftly grabbed the blunt cutting board he had been using off the counter and swung it down over Wade’s head, leaves rained across the kitchen space with it. He was just barely able to dodge the wildly arching slab of wood himself, though the pain from jolting to the side to avoid the blow may not have been completely worth it.

Wade really should stop provoking Weasel. Peter knew Weasel for less than a day and already he knew the man wasn’t to be crossed lightly.

Wade, however, barely stumbled at that onslaught of violence upon his person. Either Weasel was a lousy hit, or Wade was used to it. “Hey! What was that for!” He rubbed his hood covered forehead, which Peter had thought for a moment had a very sizable lump, though it must have been the lighting… or Wade healed just that fast.

“Don’t talk about my nephew’s ass like that,” Weasel spat back with vitriol.

Okay, Peter was done with this whole silly argument. “How about you both stop referring to it as an ass? I mean… that word feels kinda overly sexuialized. Lower back. Rear. Bottom. Heck, just call it a butt.” That at least got them to quit bickering at each other.

Both men paused long enough to turn on the teen with abhorred expressions. “Peter! Don’t you dare use that language in my house!” Of course, Peter thought to himself, throwing his head back and looking towards the sky in surrender. Why had Peter expected a different reaction other than his uncle’s deflection.  

“Yeah!” Wade pitched in with a shame wagging finger. “No using the ‘B’ word. Naughty naughty!”

How had Peter’s life devolved into this so quickly? Just yesterday everything was as close to perfect as things had ever been after Ben.

Of course, that immature proclamation from Wade earned him another foreboding look from the bespectacled man. “Wade, do you really want to irritate me while I have this knife in my hand? Don’t make me castrate you before letting you near Peter.”

Wade seemed to be weighing his options at that. “Are we talking one and done or…”

Eyes narrowed, “You know exactly what I mean.”

Wade, unsurprisingly enough, responded to his uncle’s threat with an exaggerated huff, shoulder sag and eye roll. “You don’t want to look at your own nephew because blood, but you are willing to cut my wrinkly avocado balls off? Not gonna lie, buddy, your priorities are a little fucked up!” He held up two scarred fingers, pinching them as close to each other as possible to prove his point.

Peter slowly edged away from them, clutching his things closer to his chest as his spidey senses tingled, making his tense muscles clench under shards of glass even more agonizingly.

Peter as quietly as he could edged the door open, putting his body between it and the escape before Weasel could notice and slam it shut again. “I’m leaving,” he took a cautious step backwards and up the steps when both his uncle and Wade looked at him increduly again. “I’ll just… deal with this myself,” he raised his hands, both of which were fisting his personal effects, and smiled in a way he knew wasn’t nearly as believable as his Uncle’s fake put ons. “No big deal! I swear!”

“No, no, no!” Weasel shook his hand frustratedly at his nephew before realizing the knife was still in it.  

Peter’s uncle was so distracted by the no doubt mistakenly threatening gesture to his ward that he didn’t even make a move to stop his much larger friend when Wade bounded towards Peter with an excitable, enthusiastic energy, practically pushing him the rest of the way up the steps. “You played nurse for me last night. It’s only fair I return the favor. I’ll be on my best behavior, I promise.”

Weasel tore his eyes away from the knife long enough to process that. “Wait… what happened last night?”

“Nothing! Right Peter?” Wade’s enormous gait allowed him to casually stand with his legs four steps apart, leaning far enough down the stairwell to grasp its door handle and wink. “Toodles!”

Slam!

With that, Wade rushed the teen up the steps before Weasel could reconsider going after them. No doubt with the knife still in hand.

Peter looked over his shoulder at the scarred man, nonplussed when his makeshift luggage was snatched from his grasp and tossed none too gently to the couch he had cleared the night before. “You know acting like that is just going to make him more suspicious, right?”

“Hmmm… yeah.” Wade rested his hand near enough to the small of Peter’s back to make his spidey-sense go off like a trigger warning in his mind. He picked up his pace, staying just ahead of Wade’s guiding limb to avoid getting touched. Peter didn’t even register where they were going till they were standing outside the bathroom door. “Winding up Weasel until he pops is how I get by, though.”

Peter turned just before the doorway to scowl at Wade, using the motion to easily slap the hand nearing his back away as naturally as he could. “You are really putting a strain on me and my uncle’s relationship when you pull stuff like that.” There was no way Wade was going to go into that bathroom with him. No way. Nope. That wasn’t happening. Not only because Peter deserved his privacy but because he totally didn’t want Wade to figure out the whole Spider-Man thing. This was Peter’s secret, and right now Peter was grasping at any semblance of control he could cling to after the past 24 hours of hell.

Wade rolled his eyes, but seemed chastised enough to groan out a, “Fine, fine! Sorry. That better? Now, how do you want to do this?” He motioned for Peter to step back into the bathroom but the teen stubbornly crossed his arms and refused to budge. Wade shrugged, “I know that the circumstances aren’t the best, but work with me kid.”

Peter glared harder, but Wade didn’t seem to register it. He tried to move Peter back into the bathroom again, but his hand was batted away. He mockingly clutched the smacked wrist to his chest in offense, gasping. Other than that the man seemed unphased.

In fact, he prattled on like Peter wasn’t trying his darndest to recreate his uncle’s murderous glare. “Normally I would offer to get out my nurse outfit to really set the mood,” the man explained with a flippant hand wave an head shake, “but I have a feeling that’s a little too R rated for you. And not quite the mood we are shooting for.”

“Seriously,” Peter huffed in annoyance. Of course his uncle had to be friends with the most crass, persistent man in the world that didn’t know when to leave well enough alone. “You don’t have to do this. I can take care of it myself.”

“Nonsense!” Wade grinned his big toothy grin, leaning close enough to Peter that he was finally tricked backwards into the restroom at the sudden and alarming proximity of the other body. Wade fist pumped in success as he bullied his way in, closing the door behind him. “Just take off dem pants and let me get down to business. I’ll be quick!”

“Do you really need to word it like that?” Peter whined with a flush. He tried his hardest not to let the panic show on his face. That would just give everything away. This situation was hopeless, though. Wade wasn’t giving up, and Peter’s last line of defense was his flimsy, well worn shirt and jeans. Not like they would do much if Wade decided to get serious. Which he very much wasn’t, yet Peter still found himself stuck in a bathroom again with the man anyway.

He nervously gripped the edge of his shirt, pulling it down more securely as if that would help. “This is embarrassing enough as it is! Please just wait outside.”

Wade’s eyes tracked Peter’s movements with a frown. “Look, I promise, if I’m making you this uncomfortable, no more jokes,” he assured, suddenly speaking in a deep, serious voice that made Peter relax just the tiniest bit. “I’m sorry. But you need that glass removed, and the cuts disinfected. Who knows what sorts of chemicals were in that dirty high school lab.” Wade moved to grab onto the hem of Peter’s shirt, but the younger man easily dodged the move with a pained wince. “Don’t worry, I’ll be gentle - fuck, why does everything sound like a sex joke now - but I need you to trust me. Can you do that?”

The teen scowled. Anyone else would be too awkward to actually attempt to lay a hand on someone else, much less make blatant innuendos over it all, even accidentally. Obviously trying to go for Wade’s conscience wasn’t going to work, because in the man’s mind he really was just trying to help. “I swear, it’s not about the sex jokes! I… I know you would never…” He squinted and sized Wade up after a moment of realization. “I mean, I hope, because I don’t really know you that well… I just really don’t want to make this into a big deal?” Peter breathed out at last, hoping that rambling didn’t offend the man. “Alright? Just go back downstairs, tell Weasel I’m dealing with it. Then you won’t fight, and everything will be fine. I mean, you don’t actually want Weasel to be mad at you, do you?” If Peter were in the other man’s shoes, he wouldn’t want his uncle mad at him. “I mean, you have a working relationship to worry about.”

“Not to sound pessimistic,” Wade smirked, “but Weasel will start a fight with me whether I come down with or without you. It’s better to just do what he wants and let me get this over with quickly. Then, maybe there will be some food left over when we get downstairs. You dig? And I swear I don’t normally sound this much like a sexual predator. I’m just really, really worried about you, and the longer you put this off, the worse it’s getting.”

Peter winced at the obvious sincerity in Wade’s voice and pleading eyes. In reality, Peter knew there was no way to avoid this. Wade was obviously committed to helping weather Peter wanted it or not. Peter was both annoyed and flattered by that. Not many people were so stubbornly committed to keeping him alive no matter how stupid he was being. “Just go ahead and eat without me,” Peter begged, preparing for a fight and flight scenario. Wade wouldn’t hurt him if Peter decided to fight, would he? “Please?”

“Kid, I’m sorry for teasing you,” Wade tried again, but this time Peter could tell by the way he edged closer that he was looking for a way to get the jump on him. That did little to sooth his already panicking mind. Because not only was this man whom he met yesterday about to find out about his freakish mutation, but he was probably going to get pantsed if he didn’t get out of there quick!

Yes, in some section of his brain, Peter knew that the man had a healing mutation too, so maybe this all would not be too freakish to him, but his mind was in too many places to really focus on that fact. He was not going to be found out today! No way! No! Which meant he couldn’t jump over the man, because he was way too tall for that to come across as natural, and he also couldn’t climb the walls or actually attempt punching his way past the man without giving any of his other powers away. What a predicament.

“I know Weasel doesn’t want anything happening to you,” Wade continued in a very soothing voice, “and I don’t either. I don’t normally act like a mature adult, but… I can’t leave you, an injured kid, up here by yourself in good conscience without helping you.” Wade held up his hands placatingly, though also far enough apart that he could catch Peter if he tried to dash past to the door as he creeped closer. “So,” Wade proposed with an innocent seeming smile, “you can either bend over the bathroom counter and drop trow, or I’m gonna have to make you.”

Peter spluttered, instantly dropping his guard, rearing back in indignation. “First off, I’m not a kid, and second off, why do you have to say it like that,” He whined, startling when he realized his injured back was almost against the aforementioned sink as he let himself be crowded into the space even more by the much bigger man. He needed to take a deep breath and think. Maybe he could grab something and use it as a believable weapon? The only thing close at hand was a plunger and a hand towel. Little good either of those things would do.

“Fine! You’re not a kid,” Wade placated in that calm, overly patronizing tone of voice. “Then act like a man and let me help you, because God help me, you are being so freaking childish right now!” Peter really wasn’t surprised by how quickly that calm devolved into childish huffing and puffing as he folded his arms across his chest like Peter was the one being difficult. “It’s only your ass! I’ve seen asses before! You don’t even have to take off your pants all the way! Just–“

“No.” Peter reaffirmed.  

“Listen,” Peter really didn’t like how Wade continued to edge closer while he had no more room to move back. His heart was literally pounding in his chest till he realized the closer Wade got, the more space he had to side step the bigger man. “I know. You are self conscious or some shit. Your body is going through a lot of changes. Newsflash, you are in high school. It’s gross and disgusting, but everybody has been there and I’m certainly not going to judge somebody else’s body for not looking right. You know what I mean?”

Peter scrunched up his face in disgust. “Okay, first off? Ew?! And second, leave me alone!”

“Awe! Our first disagreement!” Wade flippantly laughed, before rolling and squaring his shoulders. The problem with that is, I’m the adult. Or, well, I think I am. So, this whole thing,” he pointed between the two of them lamely, “is kinda irrelevant, because your pants are coming off. Now.” Wade put one hand on his hip in an authoritative manner, jabbing a pointer finger in the air like it would magically make Peter Listen.

“No,” Peter calmly shook his head, watching in amusement as all of the wind left the larger man’s sails and he slumped in almost defeat. “You aren’t my uncle. And this is none of your business. Go home like Weasel asked you to ages ago.”

“No.”

“YES!”

“NO!”

“Peter! Don’t make me–“

Hurriedly, Peter grabbed the towel and threw it at Wade’s face before he lost his chance at escaping.

Unfortunately, He underestimated how big the man was. And how fast.  

Quick as a flash, Wade’s fingers caught onto Peter’s belt loop, the momentum of his body, mixed with his grip on the floor and the strength pulling in both directions caused exactly what Peter was trying to avoid.

His pants ripped at the seems.

“Shit! Sorry!” Wade instantly let go once the cloth was no longer obscuring his features, looking as horrorstruck as Peter probably did.

But the damage was done. When Wade released his hold, Peter tripped and fell in a heap on the floor. And, of course his shirt had to ride up as his boxers rode down with his mangled pants, revealing the last thing he wanted Wade or Weasel to know about him right then.

Unblemished skin, covered in smears of dried blood and small, almost unnoticeable little bumps.

That, and a good portion of Peter’s uncovered backside, but his modesty was pretty low down on his list of things to worry about in that moment.

“Um… okay…” suddenly Wade was practically on top of him, kneeling down to get a better look at what exactly he was seeing while Peter tried to reorient himself. “Um… I know there were… where did?” Wade pressed down on one of the small bumps, only to jerk back at the strangled grunt Peter made when the inflamed skin cut itself open from the inside out, a shimmering crystal like shard revealing itself. “Glass?”

Peter just went limp against the tile, heaving a deep breath and biting his lip to stop himself from crying out in pain when Wade traced a finger confusedly against the shard again.

It was too late to try to cover it up now. “Please don’t tell anybody?” He pleaded with a pitiful whimper.

“Is everything okay up here? I heard some shout…ing.” And of course, Weasel had to choose that moment to open the door.

Crap.

Peter spun around and tried to cover the exposed skin by rolling so his back was against the tile floor and out of Weasel’s direct line of vision, but all that did was cause Peter to cry out as the glass still trapped beneath his skin dug it’s way deeper. And judging by weasel’s eye bulging and greenish pallor, Peter was pretty sure he saw enough to know something wasn’t right.

“Oh, God!” Peter winced at his uncle’s obviously disgusted tone, trying to steady his uneven, laborious breathing. He bit his lip hard enough to stave off a scream when cold floor met his inflamed back.

Wade’s hand shot out, gripping Peter by the hips and rearranging him so he was curled on his side, shushing him and flapping his hands about wildly. “Hey, shhhhh. Calm down. We will get the glass out. It’s okay. Weasel and I aren’t going to tell anyone! Right?” He shot Weasel a look, but the man was shocked silent. Obviously he saw enough. Peter was too late, his uncle saw what had become of his back, and now… now what? So far nothing Peter has done made Weasel change his mind about keeping him. Heck, he even thought he was gay and didn’t seem to have a problem yet. Would this be the final straw?

“I’m… I’m sorry!” Peter looked up beseechingly at his uncle, licking the blood off his lips . “I can leave if… if it’s too much trouble… just please don’t tell anyone?” Oh, god, Peter really didn’t want to leave. Sure, Weasel was far from being what he had hoped for in his mind, but he was the last breathing person he could call his own. He didn’t know if he could stand losing someone else.

“No!” Wade quickly interjected, grabbing Peter by the head and forcing him to look away from Weasel and up at his own compassionate eyes. “Your not too much trouble. Weasel knows better.”

Weasel still didn’t respond, though. He was just staring off into space like he had frozen.

“Don’t mind him. I know I don’t,” Wade said with a sympathetic grin. “Focus on me for now. We don’t have to talk about anything you don’t want to, but all I have to ask is this, and I am being very serious, so I expect a serious answer; is the glass still inside of you?”

Peter looked at the floor, cheeks bright red in frustration that he already let himself be discovered. “Yes.”

“Okay.” Wade smiled down at Peter, obviously glad he didn’t try to lie to him anymore. “I’m leaving to get a knife. We will talk about how on earth you thought you could do this by yourself later, and I might yell at you, Weasel probably will too once he finds his voice, but for now, I’m going to get a knife and we will get through this together. Okay? One step at a time, gumdrop.”

Peter nodded, letting his body go limp against the floor, temple pressing against the cool tile. “O-okay.”

Wade pushed past his uncle, jostling the man out of his daze as he left. “So… you have a healing factor too?” His uncle croaked when he finally seemed to figure out what he wanted to say. “That explains why you took to Wade so easily… and took his side last night.” Weasel took a very deep breath, closing his eyes as he thought back to everything that was said the night before. “You know, just because I said Wade was a freak of nature doesn’t mean… I don’t… you aren’t… you know?”

Peter refused to meet the man’s eyes, shrugging guiltily. “I…  I’m not the same. I don’t think I can grow back my limbs. I can’t regenerate like him, but it’s… mildly accelerated? And because of that I have a high metabolism.”

“Okay.” Weasel nodded to himself stepping backwards out of the doorway without once taking his calculating eyes off of his nephew. “Okay. Ummm. Wade,” he shouted down the hallway, an almost panicked desperation bleeding into his voice. “Wade knows what he’s doing when it comes to this stuff. He’ll be back. And he will fix this. And… oh, God, your gonna be hungry, aren’t you?” He ran a stressed hand over his already ragged features. “Of course you are! I’ll just be… we will talk about this later, okay? After the food.”

“O-okay. Sorry.” 

Weasel shook his head, “It is what it is. No use apologizing. Actually… this might be the best news I have heard all day. Don’t stress it. We’ll figure something out.”

Peter wasn’t buying the enthusiasm, “Sorry.”

“Just–“

Wade pushed his way back into the room, holding a thin, sharp looking knife. Honestly, Peter had been expecting the man to come back with a butchers knife. “I’m back! Weasel, I think something’s burning.”

“Shit!”

With that, he was gone, leaving Wade to look back at the now vacant doorway with a sad smile. “You know, if you keep this up Weasel is going to start losing weight with all that running he is doing.”

Chapter Text

Wade picked Peter up as gently as possible, depositing him over the limited counter space of the bathroom sink. He didn’t even talk, which showed an inhuman amount of restraint where the mutated man was concerned. The only sounds that he did make were maternal hushing noises at each blatant gasp and breath hitch, rubbing Peter’s hips and side carefully enough that he didn’t irritate the tented skin with his ministrations.

Once Peter was situated, subtly using the grips in his fingers and hands to take a majority of the weight off of his legs and lower back, Wade began talking, explaining step by step what was going to happen.

“We are going to finish this where we started,” Wade gestured to the small room around them. “Mostly because Weasel will probably have a conniption if I get blood anywhere else in his pad, but also because this is probably the most sterile room in the house. That’s saying something.” Wade yanked open the medicine cabinet, rifling through till he pulled out the orange bottle with a label he was satisfied with, shaking it to check if it still contained anything. Of course, to Peter’s amplified and overly sensitive ears, it sounded like a hail of bullets.

The only reason Peter could think of as to why he was suddenly able to hear EVERYTHING so agonizingly clear was that his pain was making him react like a wounded animal, overly vigilant to every stimuli on the off chance it might be a threat to his already injured form. Every one of his five senses was ripped raw, distressingly so.

The smell of a dumpster that must have existed behind the building was rancid, especially mixed with the lingering mist of exhaust and motor fuel. Even all of the delectable scents wafting from each kitchen window around the block weren’t enough to weaken it. On top of that, he could hear his uncle cursing up a storm just below, the sound of breaking glass several blocks away, the angry yowl of a cat just outside the building, and every single overly exaggerated sound in between. Peter really needed his earbuds and music to block it all out, but he had no clue how to ask for it without seeming strange, so he just worried his lip and waited for the inevitable. He could power through this. He would be strong. He was Spider-Man, after all.

“Have you ever had high strength painkillers before?” Wade’s voice hurtled Peter back into the present, where he was laying horizontally against the cold countertop of a bathroom with his pants partially down, backside exposed to the open air.

Yeah. Not a normal or comfortable position for anyone to be in.

He had patched himself up before many times, and he had felt extremely taxed by the end of it, but never had he allowed someone else to see him in such a vulnerable state before. He always just grinned and beared with it until he was far enough away from people to deal with it himself. He had passed out a time or two, but he never had to worry about his spidey-senses acting up when it was his own hands maneuvering the tweezers into a bullet hole or cleaning a gash.

Already Peter felt a zinging pang of something worrisome jolting down his spine just at the sight of the knife on the counter next to him, but he was certain Wade would definitely refuse him if he asked to do it himself at this point. He just had to suck it up and deal with it.

Peter refused to make eye contact with the man. He was sure he looked absolutely miserable. Choosing instead to glare at the wall, Peter nodded shortly.

“Did they work?”

Peter shook his head with a grimace. “Not really.” It wasn’t like he had gone to the hospital to get the pills. He and his aunt wouldn’t have been able to afford that, not to mention the questions it would have raised. Of all the things Peter could have done, steeling a script off the desk of one of the jerkier doctors his aunt worked for wasn’t the worst, though it did cause a small amount of shame to flood his system when he remembered how his aunt deserved so much better from life and her own nephew. Sure, it was against the law, but so was Vigilantism. And he could have just hawked the pills on the black market for enough that he and his aunt could live comfortable lives, but he wasn’t that type of person. And the drugs had been useless to his enhanced system anyway, ending with him dumping the rest of them down the drain. On the bright side, his theft of the scripts were noticed and it made the doctor decide to up the security around the office, preventing the possibility of further crime, so something good did come out of it. “The pills really didn’t do enough to notice.”

Wade nodded his head for a moment, thinking before coming up with a brilliant idea. “I’m all for giving options, then. So, you can take this with water like a good little boy and hope it doesn’t give out on you mid slice. I could also dip into Weasel’s alcohol stash and you could see if drinking takes off the edge. Just a warning, it usually doesn't.  You can also go without, and that? It’s going to be very painful, my cinnamon dusted Churro. Or, I can disregard that little emergency warning on the label about consuming with alcohol and hope two wrongs make a right in this case. What do you say?”

Peter thought about it as much as his on fire brain could comprehend. If he was remembering right, both alcohol and most pain killers had the intended effect of depressing the functionality of the central nervous system, so taking one with the other could increase the potency. It seemed like sound logic, but then again, Peter wasn’t sure if this was the kind of experiment to try without testing it first. And increasing the potency of a drug meant to slow down his body could possibly lead to brain damage, liver damage, anxiety/depression, and so much more that Peter couldn’t even bother to think about right at that moment.

“No,” Peter affirmed, voice sounding a whole lot more confident than he actually was. “I will be good without it.” He would be better if he were unconscious, though.

“By ‘without,’ do you mean drugs, or alcohol, or both?” Wade’s hand fisted around the pill bottle so tightly that it rattled.

“Both. Be quick.”

Wade’s mouth curved down, roughly slamming the pills onto the sink. “You know, I get the feeling you have pulled this kind of shit before. Am I gonna have to be pulling something else out of your ass again soon? And if you don’t look me in the eye and say, ‘no sir!’ it will be my foot I’m removing next!”

Peter hissed at the loud tone of voice, knee  jerking into the counter when his tensing form made another ripple of pain explode across his back.

“Shit! I’m sorry! It’s gonna be okay, baby.” He quickly placed his hands on Peter’s bare hips, rough skin soothing Peter’s soft sides until his muscles went lax and he gave in to the feel of it. If he focused on Wade’s unusual texture, following the path of his fingers against his body, he could almost block out everything else.

Well, not really, but it was one of the few nice stimuli he had to battle against all the others at the moment.

“It’s gonna be fine,” the larger man soothed once Peter was back into the position he had jerked himself out of, slowly pushing up Peter’s shirt with more gentle, slow touches that Peter hadn’t thought him capable of.

“DP- Wade has you, baby boy. I’ve got you and I’m not leaving till we fix this. We will get through this together.”

Peter was a shaking mess. The stress of the situation, over stimulation, and the lack of food and sleep was finally getting to him while Wade smoothed the soft skin of his upper back with his roughly padded fingers, slowly bunching the fabric of his shirt further and further up, making Peter shiver. Whether it was from the cool air of the restroom hitting his heated back, or the reassuring stimulation and grounding presence of the warm hands and body hovering behind him, he wasn’t sure. All he knew was that he didn’t want Wade to leave him. And wasn’t that a strange and confusing feeling to have?

A hand towel, which Peter thankfully remembered changing the night before, was pressed just below the affected area, giving him a modicum of modesty where his backside was concerned, and washcloths were quickly bunched up on either side of his hips on the counter.

This man understood to some degree what Peter was going through. He had to with his healing factor. His obvious, caring response to everything Peter was enduring made that perfectly clear. Had anyone ever done this for Wade before? The mere thought of it made Peter both want to smile and cry. He let out a dry sob instead when Wade’s hand, notch by notch, firmly and reassuringly glided down his spine, circling down around his waist, slowly enough that Peter knew what he was doing without him saying it, which was nice considering there were too many noises happening right then. The fingers ghosted to his waistband before slowly edging it down to avoid letting it catch on Peter’s glass filled back.

Normally, Peter would have tried to avoid crying, but the cat was out of the bag, after all. By no choice of his own, which just added to the pain and frustration and anguish over everything else that happened out of his control.

He didn’t want to be an orphan. He didn’t want his uncle and aunt to be dead. He didn’t want to be bitten by a spider and turned into a useless ‘hero,’ that couldn’t even save the ones he loved. He didn’t want some stranger he didn’t even know very well cutting him open, and despite the fact it was for his own good, because his spidey senses didn’t seem to be on the same page.

They flared to life, screaming at him so loud the moment Peter heard Wade lift the knife from the counter and slowly run the blade over his skin, lightly enough not to cut but putting enough pressure on it to find the shards. It was suddenly way to much.

Peter absolutely didn’t want to hear the sound of the metal brushing against his skin, sounding like sandpaper on wood to his sensitive ears as the blade caught on every hair as it glided across.

Peter’s body tensed and his teeth ground together dangerously as fingertips scrambled at the cold surface, fighting every instinct in his body to lash out and hit Wade and escape before the knife could bite into his flesh.

Why bother hiding his pain anymore if there was no longer anything to hide about the injury.

“I can’t do this!” Peter cried out at the same time as the knife bit down.

He heard it before he actually felt it. That may have been attributed to the fact he felt everything. The cold counter, the humid air of the damp bathroom against his uncovered skin and the rough texture of faded worn out clothes everywhere else. And Peter’s feet. He couldn’t forget his feet, which were sore from holding him up, and hot from having never removed his shoes or socks. The sweat beading down his  neck was a… not necessarily good, but much needed distraction as it ran lower, dancing around his hairline, racing down his collar bone, then escaping down the neck of his shirt like an angry spider, looking for a place to bite.

His whole body was buzzing with sensations so loudly that he almost couldn’t tell how far or close anything was, but he was pretty sure the metal tab of a can being opened was from the kitchen below, along with the slurping of someone taking a liberal sip of the substance and letting out a litany of curses bemoaning their life while the skillet sizzled on the stove, wafting the strong smell of butter and cheese into the air. He also was so lost in his body that he only halfway paid attention to the racing sirens and honking horns of traffic a few streets over on a busier road.

Peter was so distracted by the memory of what lead him there, on his stomach in the bathroom above a bar with a crippling anxiety of feelings rushing through him so fast that he couldn’t catalog them all without getting overwhelmed and drowning in the depths till he felt like he was floating outside his body, that he didn’t even feel the incision till he heard the ‘ftht’ of the knife, pressing in and drawing along the tip of the glass in his back. He didn’t even recognize the words escaping his lips until he realized they were moving and more loud, painful, overwhelming SOUND escaped his body.

With the pain, though, came shocked silence. And, not a second later, everything came rushing back, tenfold. Pain, feet, anxiety, sound, light, hot, cold, pain, hunger, discomfort, PAIN, PAIN, PAIN! Get out! Run! Fight! Someone is hurting you! Fight back! Hurt them! Pain!!! So much pain, why aren’t you moving?! Instincts!! Survival instincts!!!

It was almost more painful for Peter to resist his instincts and fight his muscle memory than the actual cut, which seemed to awaken every nerve ending that usually helped him prevent getting hit by being so sensitive and allowing him to dodge. It was now working against him, almost punishing him for letting himself get hurt in the first place.

Wade was saying something. Peter couldn’t tell what. Then he  ran from the room, coming back with something black and red and leathery that smelled like it had never been washed to Peter’s overwhelmed nose. Peter had no clue what the heck Wade was doing waving it around in his face until it was gently pressed between his lips, forcing Peter to let up on his clenching teeth long enough to bite down on the… glove?

Peter didn’t know and he didn’t care anymore. All he could do was let out a hitched sob as he forced himself to remain still while the knife was picked back up and yet another incision was made. And another. And another. After a time, Wade was forced to place his hand firmly on Peter’s back to prevent him from any further writhing that was no doubt mutilating him more than the glass had.

It felt like it went on forever, and Peter knew Wade must have felt the same judging by the pitch and frequency of his voice. Peter still had no clue what the man was saying, considering he couldn’t unravel it from the rest of his senses. It got to the point that Peter was fairly certain he passed out a moment or two, but his grip on the counter along with Wade’s firm hand kept him upright.

When Wade finally put down the blade and began the slow and steady process of disinfecting and  wrapping his back, Peter almost felt like he had gone deaf from all of his senses. Everything was quiet. His back still throbbed, and to some extent Peter knew that the heavy weight of the hand towel on his back was from blood, just like the soggy wash cloths beneath him. Thankfully, all of that was peeled away and removed before a fresh towel was pinned around his waistline, and his shoes, socks, and pants were eventually discarded, no doubt ruined after everything. It was really too bad considering Peter hadn’t salvaged a lot of normal outfits from his aunt’s.

Wade eventually broke the silence with a soft, “I know you told me you didn’t want anything for the pain, but with how much blood you lost and how exhausted you are you may need it. At least until healing kicks in.”

Peter nodded and spat out the bloody… yup, that was definitely a glove. Peter wondered if Wade had been wearing that glove the night before when he was blown up, because the taste of blood and smoke was strong on Peter’s tongue and clung to his teeth, though Peter supposed it was good he still had them.

Peter was so busy running his tongue over his teeth that he didn’t realize Wade had left and come back into the room till he jolted into the touch on his shoulder.

“Sorry!” Wade hushed, gently wedging his arm under Peter’s chest and arms, slowly raising him and stopping every time Peter let out a whimper of pain till he was standing, back awkwardly bowed so the injured section was as far away from Wade’s front as possible and his shoulders and head rested against Wade’s firm chest for support. Peter didn’t need to look to know how lewd the position no doubt was, but seeing as how there was nothing else to view but the bathroom mirror in front of him when he opened his eyes to take in the pills Wade was gently prodding between his lips….

Wade, thank goodness, seemed so worried about Peter’s condition, him being the center of the man’s concentrated gaze, that he wasn’t looking at the picture the two of them made in the mirror. Though, Peter definitely blushed.

It was oddly comforting to see the usually manic man slow down long enough to take care of someone he didn’t even know that well. Someone who blatantly lied, or at least omitted the truth about his true nature. And he was still omitting quite a bit more about himself. He was the worst.

Wade just coaxed the pills into Peter’s slack mouth, making sure they were secure on the back of his tongue before reaching for the glass he had apparently placed on the counter while Peter was fussing over his teeth, nursing it to his dazedly parted lips.

“Take a big sip,” Wade prompted. “Let’s hope this works. Or at least knocks you out for a little bit.”

Peter severely doubted that any kind of pill would have that sort of effect on him till the clear liquid hit his taste buds after the preliminary quick swallow to wash down the capsules.

So that was what Vodka tasted like? Disgusting.

Peter attempted to pull his head away, gagging and spitting the liquid, but when that only served to make it splash down his chest when Wade stubbornly refused to pull away, Peter made to down it as quickly as possible to avoid tasting it too much longer. When the cup was finally pulled away, Peter made a very big show of scrunching his face up in disgust and throwing his head back and forth like an upset horse as it surged through his system.

“What happened to water?” He coughed a few times, making sure his displeasure about being tricked into drinking the foul liquid was known.

“I thought we already agreed that pills by themselves didn’t work,” Wade muttered angrily. “And you lost your right to make an adult choice when you decided to take nothing and force me to listen to you screaming while I carved into you like a monster. I don’t care if Weasel kills me for the alcohol bit. I’d be surprised if he didn't load a gun already. If I were him I’d be waiting for me downstairs after listening to the way you carried on.”

Peter winced in sympathy for the man, trying to pull away, but the alcohol probably wasn’t the best idea on an empty stomach. Peter wasn’t sure, because he didn’t drink, but he thought he remembered something about eating before consuming alcohol.

Instead of pull away, Peter’s hands shakenly found purchase around the back of Wade’s neck for further support as his limbs began feeling oddly tingly. For one oddly fuzzy moment he felt like the outward facing ‘do not disturb’ sign on a hotel door. Wade’s head was the knob, obviously.

Pft! Knob-head.

Peter didn’t realize he was laughing till Wade cupped his chin and turned him. The world tilted with him till all he could see was the wide expanse of the topographical map that was Wade’s face.

“Shit,” the avocado said heatedly. “I overdid it, didn’t I?”

Peter reached up through the candy floss cloud of air that enveloped him, patting Wade’s cheek in a way he hoped was endearing with a heavy, “PLAP! PLAP!”

Those big, emotionful (that was a word, right?) eyes stared back at him for a long time before the wrinkly skin wrinkled even more. “Weasel is going to kill me if he finds this out. Shit!”

Peter couldn’t help the giggle that escaped his fluffy lips as his hand (which was still firmly planted on Wade’s face, stroking the waxy smooth, yet bumpy and squishable texture in fascination, because, like, why hadn’t he been doing this sooner?) pinched Wade’s cheek. “You said shit.”

Wade hefted Peter further up into his arms as Peter felt the ground disappear beneath him for a moment. Thank goodness Wade was there to catch him when the unreliable ground decided to go on strike! At least, that’s what Peter suspected happened. He couldn’t pull his eyes away from Wade’s long enough to check.

They were pretty.

“Quit looking at me like a roofied puppy,” Wade grumbled, awkwardly maneuvering Peter’s uncoordinated body so they were chest to chest. When the moment presented itself, Peter squished his face into Wade’s shirt and nuzzled it, instantly wrapping his arms around Wade’s neck, legs locking over hips, clinging like a baby monkey. Wade, very carefully placed one hand beneath Peter’s thigh, the other pressed to his upper back. “Let’s get you situated and hope you sleep this one off. That sound good?”

Peter nodded enthusiastically, enjoying the feeling of numb…ness. The world spun in a hurricane like motion, and suddenly Peter knew how Dorthy felt when she dropped out of that tornado and into la-la-land. Though, in this case, Oz was a filthy pull-out couch.

“Kid, you gotta let go,” Wade hissed, and Peter realized the man had pulled his arms away from Peter’s form, letting him dangle from his chest over the couch, awkwardly bending forward and bouncing up and down, shimmying to make gravity work.

The young hero did what any normal drugged person would do when it felt like he was about to fly off the face of the planet. He clung tighter and screamed, “NO!”

After what was probably ten more minutes of Wade trying to coax Peter off of his body without using extreme force and unintentionally hurting the person he just tried to help, Wade gave in and slumped back against the couch, Peter muttering victorious gibberish as he coiled himself across the chest like an overgrown, spoiled cat.

Just as Peter began to doze off, breath evening out, Wade’s chest began rumble beneath his like the heavy bass at a rock concert. Peter didn’t really focus on what was said, more the way it felt against his body as the man carried on what must have been a conversation with himself.

“Shit! Shit! Shit!” He didn’t sound happy. “You both need to shut the fuck up!” Wade palmed his forehead, careful not to disturb the passenger reclining on his chest. “Yellow, you are a fucking disgusting pile of fucking shit! Don’t talk about baby bear like that!!! He is a kid, he is scared, and he is so fucking confused! I don’t care how erotic you think his panicked shitless face is! Not gonna happen!” The man groaned, smacking his forehead again with a little more enthusiasm. “I know we saw his butt, fucktard! I heard the noises he made while we pulled fucking glass out of his backside! That was not sexy! Blood and gore are not sexy! And white?” Another smack for good measure. “You little shit! Don’t encourage him! Don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing! You’re being pissy because I stopped talking to you, aren’t you? Trying to get a reaction out of us? Whatever!” Wade threw his hands into the air to further his point, nearly unseating Peter from his roost against the vibraty mountain of fun. “This kid has been through too much, introducing either of you to him might put him over the edge just like you both put me over the edge every fucking day of my life, so shut the hell up! This is my body.”

Peter smiled at the strange yet lovingly stated words. He had a feeling he should probably be paying more attention to the very enthusiastic ramblings of the dude currently providing himself as a mattress, but that was too hard and those words came out so fast Peter couldn’t keep track. He would probably forget most of it all by the time he woke up, anyway.

Chapter Text

Obviously, Peter was not lucky enough to wake up before his uncle came into the room this time. You know, because Parker luck.

He woke not ten minutes after falling asleep to a very loud crash.

“WADE! Where the HELL are Peter’s pants?!”

Peter grumbled and stirred against Wade’s chest, squeaking into impaired alertness when Wade’s large, half awake, groggily quizzical hand landed on Peter’s towel covered rear and squeezed as if to figure out what it was exactly.

“Wha—“ both Peter and Wade muttered in unison before lifting their heads and blinking rapidly at each other.

The situation was made all the more awkward considering Peter’s legs were currently sprawled on either side of Wade’s barrel chest.

Weasel was standing at the door right behind them, cursing Wade’s existence under his breath, promising a very violent dismemberment if Peter was hearing correctly. That, or he was talking about playing fetch with a dog later, but for some strange reason Peter didn’t take Weasel for a dog person. Either way, Peter had a feeling Weasel’s placement was not conducive to the situation at hand, but those wires didn’t seem to be crossing in his brain the right way to understand why.

After another long moment of staring each other in the eyes (and one last flex of Wade’s fingers), horrified realization lit up in the larger man’s face.

“Shit!”

The hand retracted itself instantaneously and Peter groaned at the loss of warmth on his strangely cold backside…

Wait, no, that sounded weird. Maybe it was more from the irritation at being forced awake so suddenly? Peter wasn’t sure.

He wanted to sleep longer. He didn’t want to think.

Sitting up, he owlishly blinked at his surroundings as if it was the first time he had seen the rundown apartment, completely oblivious to the fact that he was being hurriedly nudged down Wade’s thighs.

Very thick thighs.

Peter reached out and gave them an experimental squeeze. After all, Wade was the one to squeeze him first. It was obviously okay if Wade was doing it, right?

The man let out a shocked, nervous titter while shooting an apologetic grin over Peter’s shoulder before focusing back on him.

“How you feelin’ stringbean? Better?” The scarred face grinned down at him while Peter tried to cling to sleep and Wade’s calves, which were quickly slipping past his unusually lax grip.

Peter shook the cotton balls out of his head. “Huh?”

Goodness, that man’s eyes were beautifully blue. Like blue raspberry icee. He wondered if he could lick them. Maybe they would taste the same.

Wade pulled a somewhat concerned face, which was really funny looking. “Um… maybe don’t do that?”

Weasel let out a screech like a boiling tea kettle. “Get the FUCK off of my nephew!”

Wade scowled at something over Peter’s shoulder again. “Your nephew is on me, technically. If you want him off, maybe you could come over and help me. He is like a freaking octopus!”

Meanwhile, that very much not PG rated, sweary-filled voice became even more agitated, making Peter shiver.

“Where the fuck are his pants? Why the fuck a towel? Last time I left him alone with you he was missing a shirt, and I was all, okay. Whatever. He is a boy. But PANTS?” Peter turned to face Weasel, trying to figure out exactly what he was saying by looking at his mouth, but the room was rocking way too much for that. He could tell the man had folded his arms and was tapping his foot impatiently, but that was all Peter could really make out for some odd reason. “Why aren’t you moving Wade?”

Peter’s brow furrowed a little more as he shakily tried to move so Wade didn’t have to.

They were fighting about him again, weren’t they? Why did they keep doing that? Peter knew he would be disgusted with his simpering attitude later, but in his current state he couldn’t bring himself to care. All the shouting made Peter want to cry, and his head was strangely fuzzy, and noises were loud…

Oh, God, he was going to be sick.

Wade patted Peter’s hips a couple of times with urgent hands, and finally Peter drunkenly disentangled himself from the also half awake man as fast as he could. Unfortunately, that meant he also fell off the couch and onto his butt. That was probably when he finally realized that he hadn’t completely filtered all of the drugs out of his body or mind.

Wade tried to catch him and failed.

That was nice. When Peter usually fell from sky scrapers people didn’t even attempt to catch him. Then again, usually the only people around when that happened were the people who threw him off of the building.

“I hope you are talking metaphorical skyscrapers here, because I am fairly certain your healing factor wouldn’t exactly save you from falling that far.”

Peter’s brow furrowed and he squinted back up at Wade. Could he read minds too?

“Don’t tell me my nephew is suicidal, too.” Weasel breathed out behind them, making Peter gasp.

Because holy crap!!! His uncle was a mutant too!!!

Clasping his legs together, Peter was even more dazed and confused when he randomly lost balance and his head hit something. Maybe someone pushed him? An invisible someone.

Peter blinked around the room again.

Why had he done drugs again? And where had his pants gone? He clasped his legs even tighter together and pulled the edge of the fabric down, flat against his thighs.

“Yeah, kid,” Weasel groused from the doorway, hands rubbing over his eyes in mortification. “A little too late for either of our sakes.” He peeked between his fingers and looked pointedly at Peter’s towel. “Way more than I ever wanted to know about you.”

Peter flushed, clutching both the towel and shirt in embarrassment, swaying back and forth where he sat on the floor. Did his uncle see his butt? Did Wade? Well, of course Wade did. Wade had been in the bathroom with him.

Wow. This was awkward. Aunt May hadn’t even seen his butt before. Not since he was little. Now, not one but two grown men had seen his behind within the hour.

Weird.

“D-DON’T say it like that,” Weasel choked out. Probably at Wade. Wade probably was talking and Peter was too busy thinking about his butt. His own butt, not Wade’s. Though now he was kinda thinking about Wade’s butt, and wasn’t that weird?

Wade made a strangled choking noise, but Peter ignored it. He didn’t want to hear them fighting again.

He looked around the  room a few more times with a confused frown. “Where… what?” This… wasn’t his aunt’s apartment. There was a reason for that. Why were the walls moving? Where was May?

Weasel just dropped his hand from his face and looked at him for a long moment with a discomforted frown. “Pete… May is Dead.”

Oh… did he say that out loud?

“Yes, you di— WADE WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH HIM?”

Peter flinched away from the sound while Wade was still reclined on the couch, head burrowed in his hands. “Dude, if I think you are to loud, imagine what the kid is thinking. Calm down.”

“That’s not an answer! And I am totally cutting your balls off, you fucking fucker!”

Wade rolled his eyes dramatically, and that just seemed to tick Peter’s uncle off even more. “I gave him meds.”

His eyes narrowed as he stared Wade down unblinkingly. “How much did you give him?”

“The recommended dose on your pill bottle. But the kid said pills don’t work well with his high metabolism, so I had him chase it with some good ol’ vodka. Which totally worked by the way. I don’t think he can feel pain at all now.”

“The kid can’t feel anything, you idiot!” The man raved while Peter swayed back and forth, looking despondently at the crusty, bloody carpet that still hadn’t been cleaned from the night before. “Including the fact that he has no pants on!” Peter looked down again at that proclamation, and it was like discovering his pantless state anew all over again.

“Where are they?!” Both Peter and Weasel asked in unison.

That was a really good question. And a hilarious one for some strange reason. Because someone was laughing.

Oh. Okay. That was Peter laughing. Hmmm. Awkward.

Also, it wasn’t as nearly funny as he seemed to be making it out to be, because both of the other men in the room were looking at him funny. Unfortunately, that only served to make Peter laugh even harder before folding over and pressing his cheek into the cool carpet so he could catch his breath.

While the lack of general control and functions of his body was strangely freeing, it also scared the ever loving heck out of Peter. He probably wouldn’t be able to properly express that for a while longer because the mere thought of freaking out made nervous laughter build up in his chest again.

“Um,” Wade coughed uncomfortably before resuming his and Weasel’s conversation, “his pants are covered in blood and in the bathroom. Obviously. What, did you want me to yank them back over his hips and make him wear that? Really? Especially with all of those cuts that could get infected.”

“I… I don’t feel so good…” Peter took that moment to pull himself back up and wobbly look up at his uncle with shimmering eyes… then throw up all over the floor.

Weasel just watched him, mouth agape in horrified disgust, fury painting his scowl a flushed reddish color. “You’re cleaning that up, idiot.”

Peter sniffled, staring at the mess of alcohol flavored stomach bile on the floor with a wobbling lip. “O-okay. I’m sorry! I didn’t–“

Sagging against the doorframe in exasperation, Weasel took a moment to let all of the wind leave his sails, taking deep breaths to collect himself. “I was talking to Wade, not you Peter. Get back on the bed. Couch. Thing.” He pointed at Wade, dangerous eyes glinting. “I need you downstairs, though. We are going to have a little chat, and you are going to help me remake all of this,” he gestured at the food and dish covered ground just inside the doorway.

So that was what the cause of the crash had been when Peter had woken up. Weasel must have been carrying so much that he dropped it.

Poor unenhanced uncle.

Peter nodded understandingly and crawled back onto the couch, pushing a startled Wade back down when he made to rise and curling back up on top of him.

A moment of silence followed where Peter almost let himself drift off before Wade’s chest rumbled, “See, this really isn’t all my fault. He is like a puppy.”

“He isn’t a puppy,” Weasel snapped. “He is my nephew, and the only person allowed to touch him is ME!”

“Oh… I see what’s going on.” Wade wiggled his eyebrows a bit too salaciously considering his compromising position, which wasn’t helped considering he wouldn’t just sit still and let Peter lay on him. Every time the larger man would move a limb, Peter repositioned and reattached even more impossibly. Which, in hindsight, once the drugs were worn off, may not have been the best idea considering what he was wearing. Then again, Wade was working double time to keep him as covered as he could while trying to remove him, which was difficult considering the deathly rays shooting from Weasel’s eyes every time his hands wandered too close to Peter’s back. “You are jealous because he likes me better than his own uncle.”

“Wade. Don’t make me kill you in front of the kid.” Weasel stormed out before he could reply, thundering down the steps so loudly that Peter found himself burrowing his head into Wade’s arm.

Wade shook his head and sighed heavily before he easily picked Peter up and gently placed him stomach down on the couch. “Don’t roll over. Give it some time to heal. I’ll go down to the bar and get some ice, food, and talk to your uncle. We will be right back.”

“I don’t want to go.” Peter sobbed again into the pillow, reaching out for Wade, but his arms were still too heavy to actually find anything.

“You aren’t going anywhere, sweet stuff,” Wade ruffled his hair, pulling the blanket up and around Peter’s shoulders. “I’m going, and I’ll be right back. Promise.”

“Weasel…. I don’t want to go,” Peter choked out again, and he was irritating even to himself to listen too. He really needed to stop before he spilled too much, but the drugs and alcohol really loosened his tongue. “But what if he gets rid of me?”

“Shhhhh. He won’t.”

“You didn’t see the way he looked at me,” Peter drunkenly rambled. “He’s disgusted. He never wanted me, and now he has a reason to-to-to…”

“No, he isn’t. He’s just surprised. He was surprised to see me after my makeover, too. Don’t worry. Weasel won’t get rid of you. I promise.”

Peter lazily groped at the open air for a moment, unable to even pull his head up from the cushions of the musty smelling pull-out. It wasn’t until he heard Wade’s heavyset footsteps down the rickety steps that he realized there was nothing there for him to grab. It took him several more minutes to gain enough awareness of his being to lower the still groping hand to the floor, tangling his fingers into the carpet as he felt an overwhelming, helpless weight bear down on his heavily bandaged back.

The drugs were making him unusually emotional. He wanted to punch someone probably about as much as he wanted to curl up and sleep, and that just made him cry even harder. Emotions were so freaking hard, and everything was terrible, and his back was starting to hurt again with all of his moving around. And aunt May wasn’t there to hug him and tell him everything was okay, because nothing was going to be okay ever again, and he couldn’t stop being a freaking drama queen, even inside his own head and he just wanted to SCREAM!!!

Of course, just as he was about to do that, the voices started up bellow.

“Wade, give me the number of the bald fucker in the wheelchair.” Peter furrowed his brows into the fabric. What the heck was his uncle going on about?

“Who?” Peter was sure wade knew exactly who was being discussed considering the heavy dosage of sarcastic sweetness in his voice. “I mean, I know it’s odd to admit, but I know a lot of men in wheelchairs. You’re gonna have to be specific.”

“The one with that team of virgin weirdos that like to wear matching leather bondage gear with the first letter of his name blazoned across the front.”

Peter sat up quickly, head spinning. What the heck kind of people did his uncle and Wade know exactly?!

“Oh! How do you know Jerry?” Wade teased Weasel in the kitchen down below while Peter attempted to regain equilibrium before the sudden rush of blood to his head made him dizzy enough to fall back off the couch.

There was the heavy sound of a knife chopping into something that Peter really hoped was produce or a cutting board before Weasel bit back in a much harsher tone,  “Xavier! Charles! Him!”

Peter flopped, fumbled and stumbled to his feet at the mention of that man’s name. No. Just no! There was no way Peter would allow his mutations to come to light like this! These were his powers! It was all a part of him, and like hell was he going to allow his uncle to out him like this to the entire mutant community! New York would be in danger if they sent him away, not to mention he would be in danger if the school was ever forced to register all of it’s student’s powers! His name would be out there anyway as a mutant the moment he stepped through those doors, branded for life because he attended a school for mutants. It would be ten times harder to get into the colleges he wanted with that on his record!

While Peter doubted he would ever be able to stop being Spider-Man, he definitely didn’t want to be forced to stop being Peter Parker as well!

Peter stood, knees knocking together, threatening to go out as he took a few steps like those of a freshly born faun.

If Spider-Man’s villains could see him now, they would be laughing at this pitiful display. Alcohol was definitely not fun. Neither was the pain. He would have to look into a better alternative in the future.

“Oh! Well, if you knew his name why did you–“

“Number. Now.”

“Don’t have it,” there was a heavily dramatic sigh accompanying that forlornly apologetic statement. “Not virgin enough to be one of his choir boys, so he blocked me when I spammed him to many glorious pictures of myself in various states of undress and unalivedness. I do have The Soviet Murder Statue’s number! Why do you need me to contact him?”

Weasel didn’t sound happy at all. “Isn’t that obvious?”

“Um… no?”

“Peter. He’s…” the long drawn out silence that followed was so painful to Peter’s mind. He could fill in that blank a million different ways. His body finally gave out on itself and he sagged back into the carpet, sobbing hysterically. Nobody wanted him.

“Oh… OOOOHHHHH!” Peter heard Wade snap his fingers.  “I get it now! You finally found a way to get rid of the kid without feeling guilty about yourself!”

“Shut up! I have no clue how to raise a normal kid,” his uncle bit out in an acidic tone. “The problem doesn’t lie with that, though! No! Because Peter isn’t normal! He has dead family, you say he’s gay, and he is also a mutant! And some how he is still so fucking innocent, Wade! Somehow, he survived all that and got placed in MY care, and fuck it all if I end up being the bastard that ruins that for the kid!”

Wade obviously didn’t agree with Weasel’s assessment, because he snorted derisively. “Oh? So you would rather send him to Xavier like a lamb for slaughter than deal with worrying about mentally scaring him.”

“No! It will be for his own good!”

“Sure,” Wade laughed uproariously. “I’m sure Peter and his very minor healing factor will fit right in with a school filled with people who can accidentally vaporize someone with a sneeze. After all, we just learned that he got bullied at a school full of unenhanced people. Considering the number of black marks on his record, it makes sense that he constantly got in trouble for starting it if all the bruising disappeared before a teacher looked in on it.  But with Charles? Next to his kids, Peter’s healing factor won’t do squat. But, at least your conscience will be cleared, and you won’t have to worry about collecting your nephew come holidays. And even better news, I doubt Xavier will be able to induct him into his virgin circle jerk because Peter will already be fucked six ways from Sunday because of you. Seriously, he will be better off if you put him through the system. At least there he has the upper hand because he won’t be fighting mutants for survival.”

“Fuuuuuck,” Weasel hissed out.

“Yeah. But, like, I was thinking,” Weasel chipped in helpfully. Peter was overcome with gratitude for having someone on his side in this. “He has a healing factor! Like me! I could be his guru! We need to figure out how fast he goes. What should we do to check it? Because, like, I’m kind of curious on how it works, but I’m pretty sure we shouldn’t stab him.”

Okay, never mind.  Peter was very much not happy to have someone that insane on his side.

“You aren’t going to do anything except stay as far away from Peter as possible.” Thank goodness for Weasel… maybe?

“Awe! Is this you being jealous again?” Wade snarked at Peter’s uncle. Peter knew exactly what was going to come next, even in his mostly delirious state. Why couldn’t Wade just hold his tongue? “I promise I won’t actually stab the kid. At least not till he is old enough to be a consenting adult. Because consent is sexy. How old is that in New York again?”

“Seventee— I mean fuck you! No you aren’t!”

“You know I didn’t mean that kind of stabbing,” Wade sounded mockingly offended. “He’s your mutant nephew. Only the violent kind, not the sexy… though I guess both could be if you really were into…

“Once again, no you aren’t! And fuck you! I know what you meant! Stay away from Peter after this. He has had a hard enough life without you coming in and ruining things like you always do!”

“Oh! Oh? You really want to go there? I’m the one ruining him?” Peter clenched his eyes shut and pressed his forehead even harder into the carpet, trying to will himself into being unable to hear the argument. “I’m the one who held him through his panic attack! I’m apparently good enough when it comes to cleaning the glass out of his back. And please, enlighten me, Who found out about his Uncle being murdered in front of him? Who sat down and talked to him? Who did he come out to? Who has he felt comfortable falling asleep on twice? Because the answer is a resounding not yo—“

“… twice?”

“Yes! Twi… awe shit.”

“You slept with my nephew TWICE?!”

“NOT FUCKING LIKE THAT!!! He was having a panic attack! He was scared and I—“

“Slept with him!!! You fucking slept with my nephew!!!”

“Slept, but like I said, there was no fucking.”

“Listen here,” Weasel cut in, “I honestly don’t care what happened. You are… you, and Peter is a growing boy with some… extra shit he needs to grow into. He needs actually positive influences in his life to help him overcome his losses. The last person he needs in his life is someone like you! You fucked up your own life. Like hell I am going to let someone like you around him to fuck his life up even more than it already is! You are a very bad influence Wade. Especially now that I know what similarities you have. I don’t want him anywhere near you now that I know he has a healing factor.”

“What?” Wade actually sounded genuinely offended and hurt. “If anything, I know how to help him the best!! I’m just like him!”

“No! No you aren’t! He is nothing like you, and he never will be, because he is staying far away from you and that’s final.”

Wade very obviously had no clue what just happened. “What?”

“You heard me.”

“Hahahaha!!!” And now he sounded very, very angry. Crap. Why did they have to fight like this? It wasn’t like they even really liked him. “Oh my goodness! This is great!!! So, first, you kick him out of school, pack up all of his things, and then what? Just lock him up in your private rooms and hope he never decides to rebel? He needs someone in his life that isn’t you, or he will go as batshit crazy as me within the year! He needs a support group, and you are literally pushing everyone he knows away! Like hell you are going to follow up with that Ned kid if you can help it!”

“Your opinion on the matter is noted and disregarded,” Weasel spat back. “He needs time. He is not going to take up the family business, and he certainly isn’t going to follow in your footsteps in any way!”

“Fine!”

“Fine!”

“I’m leaving! I don’t have to take this shit!” Wade shouted back like he thought it might be a decent enough threat that Weasel might back down. 

It wasn’t.

“Then go! And don’t come back until you finish your job or need a new one!”

“I might not come back at all!!!” Peter felt his heart freeze up in his chest at Wade’s proclamation. Wade couldn’t go! He said he wouldn’t! 

“Good!”

There was the loud slamming of the door, followed by cursing from both inside and outside the house.

“And don’t forget to call the giant tin can while you are at it!” Wease had the gall to shout after him. “I still want to talk to him!”

Peter didn’t see it, but he highly suspected Wade flipped his uncle off at that.

Peter laid there on the floor, hiccuping a little while longer before he remembered Wade was supposed to be coming back to clean the room and put ice on his back.

Wade promised him he would be back.

And he just left.

And he told his uncle he wasn’t coming back.

Peter started sobbing all over again. 

That was how his uncle found him a few minutes later.

Chapter Text

When his uncle found him on the floor, arms folded across his stomach in an attempt to hold himself together, Weasel kindly said nothing. He simply placed the replenished tray of food on the end table next to the couch and shoved everything that was once piled there onto the floor to make room. He then made his way back to Peter, standing over him for a contemplative moment while Peter curled further in on himself.

Peter already knew how different his old aunt and uncle were to his current caretaker. He was expecting the man to tell him something along the lines of, ‘sitting there crying won’t make anything better.’

Those words never came.

All Weasel did was grab one of Peter’s wrists and hook it behind his shoulders while wrapping his other arm around Peter’s middle. It gave him better leverage to hoist the boy off the ground and awkwardly drag him towards the sofa.

Unfortunately, the position also aggravated Peter’s injured back.

Peter cried out, rolling his head to the side and whimpering against the man’s collarbone, but still, Weasel didn't make a single comment about his pitiful behavior.

Once Peter was settled on the couch, he at least expected the man to leave. Instead, Weasel snatched the first thing off of the tray, a half of the cooled grilled cheese sandwich. Much to Peter’s shock, he tried to nudge it against Peter’s lips.

Peter turned away.

“Come on, kid. You need to eat,” Weasel finally huffed out, plopping down onto the half made couch next to his nephew. “You have a high metabolism, you’re injured, and you have drugs in your system. This will help.”

Peter narrowed his eyes, hating the way that the room still spun sickeningly. “It won’t help.” He flopped onto his stomach on the couch, knowing that he was being melodramatic about the whole situation, but also being unable to stop himself as the usually damaged emotional filter had been completely obliterated by drugs and alcohol.

He was Spider-Man. And now he wasSpider-Man on drugs.

“It won’t bring May back. It won’t bring Ben back. It won’t bring my parents back. It won’t bring Wade back.” Peter just wanted to stop talking, stop feeling, and stop saying such stupid things for once. Weasel didn't care.

He wondered if he could teach a D.A.R.E. class as Spider-Man to explain the dangers of controlled substances after this.

Weasel snorted before grabbing Peter’s arm and pulling him back into a lazy slouch. “Wade had some business to take care of. He is a very busy man, and he usually takes long trips for his work. That’s why it might be better for you not to become too emotionally attached to him. Trust me.”

Peter pressed his lips in a firm line when the sandwich was pressed against them again. “You made Wade leave.”

Weasel pulled the sandwich back, shocked, blinking at him from behind the thick glass frames. “You heard that?”

Peter nodded enthusiastically, refusing to make eye contact with a pout that was absolutely, 100% caused by the alcohol. “You don’t like him so you made him leave. And you don’t like me, so you are gonna make me leave too.” He threw himself dramatically across the couch again, pressing his face into the pillows.

“Peter, that’s not at all what–“

“You want to send me to a mutant school!!!” Peter sobbed heavily, body shaking on the verge of convulsions. “I don’t want to be different as Peter Parker! And if you send me away, all those people at school will know that’s why I acted up. I was a mutant. Because that’s the only type of person who goes there. And mutants are bad, because that’s what the media reports, and when is the media bad? That’s why I had so many black marks on my record, and skipped classes, and missed assignments. Not because I was bullied, or lost my backpack,” which still happened way too often when he forgot where he webbed them, “but because I am a mutant! You see how Wade gets treated because he looks different? His mutation is physical. He doesn’t have the ability to hide that from people, but me?” Peter laughed hollowly. “Once you put me at that school, my name is out there. People will know. And what if Mutants are forced to register in the future? What then? I won’t be able to get a job, or finish schooling, especially with X-men academy on my record. I won’t get to go to college. People will be scared of me without even being able to tell them what I can actually do! I don’t want that!”

Weasel sat there quietly through Peter’s entire rant, then calmly set the sandwich back on the tray. He gave Peter a very serious look before taking a deep breath and….

“Okay.”

“Okay?” Peter sat up in shock before swaying and almost falling back down. That was definitely not what he expected.

Weasel nodded, “Okay. If you don’t want to, I’m not going to make you.” He hesitantly reached out a hand to pat Peter’s knee. It felt awkward. Then again, both Peter and Weasel were awkward people to begin with, so that may have had something to do with it. “I have to confess to you, though, I don’t know the first thing about raising a child.”

Peter nodded. “Obviously.”

“And I am not a very good man. Sometimes I will get frustrated—”

“Obviously,” Peter interrupted again, taking note of the slight twitch of his uncle’s eyebrows while he tried his hardest to ignore his nephew and get through his speech. It was kinda adorable. Peter wondered if his eyebrow twitched too.

“—scream at you—”

“Already happened.”

“—and be an overall ass.”

“Yup.”

“Just let me finish, okay?!”

Peter made a jerking, lip locking motion, but because of his still impaired coordination it looked like he was turning a key into his neck.

Weasel reached back out, grasping Peter’s knee again and squeezing tightly for strength as he forced the last words out of his mouth. “Wade is a very bad man, Peter. And so are a lot of people that come to my bar, as I am sure you figured out. And I am, by association, obviously a pretty bad guy as well.”

“But Wade’s nice,” Peter made sure to disagree.

Weasel looked at him, and for a moment, Peter could have sworn he saw a sliver of hurt flash across the man’s eyes. “You have gotten to see Wade when he is nice. You also saw him with Flash. Remember?”

Peter nodded hesitantly.

“Wade can be unpredictable. He is a live wire. He also has a lot of people who want him dead, and seeing as how that can’t happen, people find those he cares about and kill them instead.” Peter was pretty sure most of his villains would do the same if they ever found out his identity. “I don’t want you to become one of those targets. You might already be enough of a target with me as your uncle. Do you understand?”

Peter really wanted to ask what exactly Wade did for a living, but his lips stopped working. Instead he just nodded along till they found a chance to loosen. When they did, something else came out instead. “I have a hard time keeping the people I love alive, too.”

Weasel furrowed his brow.

Peter stared up at the man, knowing and hating the fact that he was on the verge of tears for some reason, “I will protect you this time. I promise not to let you die like May and Ben did. But you can’t send me away.”

Weasel froze, and for a moment Peter was worried that he stopped breathing. His hand fumbled as he reached up to sloppily pat his uncle’s cheek, feeling something oddly moist tangled in the man’s six O’clock shadow.

In an instant, Peter found himself dragged into Weasel’s arms, head tucked over the older man’s shoulder while he just hung there in shock. “I’m the adult, Peter. I take care of you. Not the other way around.”

Peter felt the back of his shirt gently get raised and realized the man was trying to play this all off as an excuse to look at his wound. Peter knew better. He leaned into the touch a little more hooking his arms around the man’s middle while pressing his face tighter into the stubbly nook of his neck and shoulder. It at least enabled him to hide his tears for the moment as well.

He wasn’t going to let anything bad happen to Weasel.

Sure, he ran a shady bar. Sure, he seemed pretty shady and mean himself, but different people had different coping mechanisms. Hadn’t Peter considered shutting himself away from everyone in his life several times already since his Aunt passed? And Ned showed him why that was a stupid thing to do, along with MJ, and Wade.

Peter just needed to help Weasel realize how good it was to open himself up to people again. Peter needed something to care about just as much as Weasel did, and obviously the man had been going without for so long he didn’t know how to make this work.

Peter could help him. Peter could save him from the self-destructive behavior that he had almost lost himself in time and time again.

“Your back is still a little cut, but it isn’t bleeding,” The man said from over his shoulder. “Wade really did a number on you, didn’t he?”

Peter nodded into the neck with a smile.

He already seemed worried about Peter. Maybe, the real reason he fled from the bathroom was because he didn’t want to see Wade hurt him. Maybe he was scared for Peter? Or maybe he just didn’t like blood like he kept saying.

“He was just trying to help,” Peter supplied.

“He is always just trying to help.”

“I don’t think he would have done it if he didn’t care about you, you know.” Peter sniffled as his uncle readjusted the bandage behind his back. “I’m just your nephew, but he’s known you for so much longer. You are lucky to have a friend like him.” Wease scoffed at that. “I doubt he enjoyed having me scream like a banshee at him. But he helped me so you didn’t have to. That was nice.”

“If that’s how you see it,” Weasel conceded. “I guess he has to be useful for something. At least his violent tendencies can be used for good where I am involved.”

Peter smiled, unable to detect the sharp inflections in his uncle’s voice. “Yeah. You’re nice too. Thanks for not throwing me out.”

“Don’t even mention it. I’m serious. The more you mention it, the more fresh it is in my mind.”

Peter chuckled, letting himself be gently drawn away from his uncle’s chest, and propped back up on the couch. “You’re funny.”

“Yeah, kid,” Weasel gave his hair another short ruffle, and Peter drunkenly butted his head into it. “I’m a regular riot. That’s why I have so many repeat customers at the bar. Just can’t get enough of me.”

Weasel tried once more to grab the grilled cheese and prod it into Peter’s mouth, but once again Peter humphed and turned his head with a pout.

Weasel’s previously calm demeanor snapped, though this time Peter could tell the man was more worried than frustrated over the fact he wouldn’t eat. “What now? Don’t tell me you have Gluten allergies.”

Peter turned away shamefully, feeling an embarrassed flush as we realized what was upsetting him the most about the sandwich. “It’s nothing.”

“It’s apparently something,” Weasel sassed tossing the sandwich back at the plate.

I…” Peter hated being drunk and drugged right now, because apparently that meant he lost control of his tear ducts as often as an infant. “It’s just… my aunt use to cut them into triangles. And she always b-burned the edges a little bit. B-b-But it’s fine! I’ll eat it! I’m sorry to be such a both—“

“Stop right there,” Weasel stood up, angrily snatching the plate off of the table and heading for the door. He noticed Peter’s bag and grabbed it, tossing it over to his nephew on his way. “If stupid sandwitches in stupid triangles burnt to hell is what will get you to stop sobbing like an idiot and actually eat, I guess I can do it just this once. But only because Wade is the dipshit that got you high as a kite, understand?”

Peter nodded hurriedly, trying his hardest to keep the stupidly adoring grin off of his face when the man turned back to him, using half of the rectangular cut sandwich to point menacingly at him.

“Do you understand? Next time you better eat what I give you.”

Peter nodded, “Yes uncle Weasel.” He apparently failed to keep his smile at bay, though, because weasel’s scowl deepened and his flush darkened.

“Don’t fucking smile at me like that and get some godamn pants on.”

The door was slammed shut, leaving Peter still smiling like an idiot for seemingly no reason, hugging his bag of clothes to his chest with a dopey expression.

His uncle definitely liked him. If only Peter could get the man to express that without getting angry. If Peter was lucky, though, he might just have the rest of his life to achieve that.

Chapter Text

It took Peter several tries to actually get a pair of pants on. They were backwards at first. Then inside out before he finally fixed them once and for all. He was unfortunately unable to prevent much of the drunken fumbling or distractingly loud laughter that he burst out with along the way. But that was life. His uncle would have to learn to get use to it or prevent Wade from drugging him again. Though, Peter supposed it was probably better than the pain.

While digging through his bags of stuff he also found his phone that Ned thankfully rescued for him. That would be useful. He was, however, unsurprised that it was dead. Parker luck mixed with his friends no doubt blowing it up with messages the day he was taken out of school.

Of course, his charging cable had also been left back at his apartment, though he was certain his uncle would be able to spare him one. After all, he remembered the glance he stole into his uncle’s work room. That man would definitely have a compatible cord somewhere in there.

Now that he thought about it, wasn’t that a little weird for a man who owned a bar to also have a room full of stuff like that? Then again, Peter supposed even bartenders needed a hobby.

Still… if his uncle was that smart, why was he working some crappy job at a hole in the wall bar instead of coming up with innovative world changing tech like the people at Oz Corp, or Stark International?

Obviously genius came in many different shapes, but his uncle seemed… kinda like he had given up long ago.

There must have been a story there somewhere.

Once Peter finally got changed and settled into his makeshift bed, his uncle came up and provided him with a plate laden full of a loaf worth of grilled cheeses and a new salad. The first salad, may it rest in pieces, was still scattered in the doorway up from the bar. A half full bag of corn chips that was clothes-pinned shut was also thrown at him from beneath the man’s sweat stained arms.

Lovely.

Weasel shoved the heavily laden bar tray onto Peter’s lap, pointedly avoiding Peter’s blinding smile, possibly using a faked glasses adjustment to put his hand between himself and his nephew’s radiance. He grunted grouchily at Peter’s enthusiastic thanks, face flushing deeper beneath the scruff when Peter commented on how his uncle made the melts perfectly. He also looked increasingly constipated before scurrying to his room, slamming the door quickly to escape the awkward praise.

Just moments later, Peter heard the hurried beeping of a phone on the other side. Then hushed whispers after a few seconds more.

“Shit, Wade. I know you are pissed off, but change of plans. I need you to NOT contact any of Xavier’s goons,” Weasel hissed. “Also, we must have been way too loud when we were fighting, because Peter is beside himself. We were being loud right?”

Peter nearly choked on his second sandwich. Crap, his uncle was way sharper than Peter had originally thought!

“I mean, how common is it that mutants have more than one mutation, really?” Weasel continued, so focused on what he was saying that he was unaware of his nephew trying to give himself a one man Heimlich in the other room. “I’m just being paranoid because I’m in shock at his healing thing, aren’t I? Aren’t I?! Fuck! I don’t know what I am doing, Wade! I don’t do the whole kid thing. I’m not a family guy. I don’t know the first thing about powers! And Peter is pissed that I kicked you out. He is also still pretty high off his ass. Thanks for that. Not that I really give a shit, because I still don’t want you anywhere near him, but…”

Peter finally spat the wad of cheese and bread out on the floor just in time to be able to hear the long string of expletives, followed by a “And you won’t hear any of this, because your God DAMNED PHONE IS BROKEN! FUCK YOU!”

Peter winced when he heard a loud crash coming from his uncle’s bedroom, which he was fairly certain was the sound of his uncle shattering his own phone against the wall. Not good. He had just started to calm down, too.

Well… his uncle had anger issues. Peter was pretty sure there were worse things in the world. After all, his uncle showed that he would rather bruise his knuckles over hitting his nephew in the face. That was good, right? He was lucky to have Weasel. He really was. Especially considering that without Weasel he would have no one.

Oh, goodness wasn’t that a depressing thought no matter what angle he looked at it from?

Peter finished his grilled cheese in relative silence. Like, computer keys were violently crackling in the background, as well as a few hissed curse words. Peter was learning to block that out, though.

Experimentally, he dipped another sandwich wedge into the cup of ranch that came with a bowl of poorly minced lettuce. Obviously the man was trying to include different food groups. He also had never made a real salad in his life. It showed. It also showed that he was trying to do the whole parenting thing. And that warmed Peter’s heart so much that he could look past the very profane and violent curses a little easier.

Peter finished the ranch cup and grilled cheese half, then peeled back the top of the next one, layering chips on the inside, then taking a bite. It was… different. And anything to get more food and calories into his body was good, right? The sooner he finished, the sooner he would probably heal and not be so disgustingly drunk. He wasn’t exactly sure of how that happened, because science facts were really slow and jumbled in his mind. But food was good when dealing with alcohol and drugs. Lots of food was better.

“That’s fucking disgusting!”

Peter’s knee jerk reaction was to turn and web-blast the person who snuck up on him. It was an instinct that saved him more often than not.

However, without his suit and web shooters on, the movement translated into him launching his sandwich at the offending voice.

Peter winced the moment the crisp bread escaped his fingertips as the reality of what he just did settled only a millisecond too late.

He must have been so caught up in the mushy crunch of chips in his mouth that he didn’t hear his uncle leave the room and rejoin him in the main living space.

Luckily, his aim was still off. Unluckily, he threw it so hard that it splattered across the wall behind him with a similar squelching noise that his shooters made, ironically enough.

Peter and his uncle just stared at the sandwich for a moment longer till it half of it plopped to the ground.

“I’m sorr—“

“Don’t apologize,” his uncle huffed, sounding very much the defeated man he appeared. He pinched the bridge of his nose and took several deep breaths. “Just… clean it later.” He raised his head just long enough to look at the rest of the room with even more of an irritated scowl, along with a muttered, “…fucking Wade, leaving before he fucking cleans….”

Peter blinked around the room, taking in the scattered and broken bits of food and dishes by the entryway, and the puke soaking into the carpet. And the blood. Blood that was in the carpet just as much as it was in the doorway and across the walls. It looked like a murder scene.

Yeah. Peter had to agree with his uncle that it was rather convenient for Wade to decide to up and leave all of the sudden. It definitely didn’t help lessen his uncle’s ire at the man. Or Peter’s long list of chores to make this place more inhabitable.

“Fuck!” Weasel exclaimed, looking on the verge of tearing out his hair. Peter wanted to get up and… do something to help lessen Weasel’s stress. But his body was still kinda not with it and he stumbled and fell back into his nest of blankets.

“I’ll call the carpet guy tonight. If I’m lucky he will come in for a beer and I won’t…” Weasel closed his eyes mid ramble, taking five more deep breaths. Peter was pretty sure the man’s blood pressure was through the roof. He decided to quietly watch, just in case anything he said incidentally set the man off again. He didn’t want to lose the man to a heart attack so soon after gaining him. Even if he was nothing like Peter would have hoped.

“I’m taking a nap. You should too. The bar opens in… four hours?” Weasel’s eyes bulged when he looked at the watch on his wrist. “Which means two hours until I need to wake up, work on the contracts, set things up for the bar…” Weasel ran a hurried hand through his hair. “And remember, DON’T ENTER THE BAR! If Wade falls through the window half DEAD, please leave him there to freaking bleed out! He freaking deserves it at this point. Mother fucker.” He paused a moment before continuing, “In fact, if anyone comes through that window, please leave them to die. Or stab them. I will leave a knife right here for emergencies before I open,” he pointed at the table near Peter’s nest. “I would rather deal with a dead customer or client than a dead… YOU! We will find a better way to handle it tomorrow, but my phone is broken and for one night I would like to make it to close without having a heart attack. Understood?”

Peter just blinked curiously at the mention of contracts, then zoned out during the rest of it. What did owning bars have to do with contracts? Maybe he had some maintenance work that needed to be done? The carpet. That must be it Or maybe he meant permit? Yeah. That sounded much more…

Peter blinked and yawned, nodding along agreeably when his uncle’s voice lilted up in a questioning tone.

What was he thinking about again?

Weasel crossed the room while Peter fussed desperately with the tangle of sheets. He quickly and efficiently pulled the blankets out of Peter’s hands, layering them across his chest without a word, and quickly made his way back to his room. “Don’t get into any trouble tonight, okay kid?”

Peter smiled blearily as he dozed off.

What a nice guy.

 

Chapter Text

Peter woke up as refreshed as a person who had been majorly drugged into unconsciousness could be. Which was… not very, to be quite honest.

What a shocker.

In fact, he had a splitting headache, possibly due to the fact he didn’t drink any water after the “medication” was administered, nor had he been given anything with the meal his uncle brought him. It probably didn’t help that Peter had almost bled out just before that as well.

Hopefully he was just dehydrated and that was it.

Peter groaned, and scratched his back, scowling when his fingers ghosted over a cloth covered scab. It was no wonder he wasn’t healed yet with how deep Wade had to cut with his knife to retrieve the glass. His skin was probably already tender after improperly healing itself the first time, and getting cut there again so soon was not helping. Nor did the dehydration or exhaustion.

On top of all that, as if to make up for his overly relaxed state when drunk, his senses were jarringly heightened again. Thankfully, nothing as bad as they were when Wade was cutting him open while he forced himself to stay still, but still much worse than normal.

The crowd at the bar down below definitely wasn’t helping either, and comsidering the state of Weasel’s customers from the night before, there may actually be several valid reasons for that.

Hopefully there weren’t too many dangerous people down there like Peter had seen last time, but judging by the ever-increasing anxiety building in his spine and stomach, there probably were. Weasel knew how to handle them, though. Right? How long had he owned the bar anyway?

Peter rolled to his side, blinking a couple of times when he realized he probably wouldn’t get back to sleep with the low-key buzzing in his brain caused by the mass of shady bar goers just a floor below.

That, or he had a hangover.

Or both.

Peter squinted at the window, trying to determine how long he had been out based off of the light outside. That was a hard game to play when living in the city, though. At times like this, Peter really wished he wore a watch. His uncle definitely didn’t seem like the kind of guy that kept a working clock in his apartment.

That’s when Peter spotted the vomit stains on the carpet again and wrinkled his nose, holding back a gag. They were just as fragrant (if not worse) as they had been yesterday.

Hadn’t his uncle mentioned something about contacting his carpet cleaner soon? It was a bit hard to remember. His brain was still fuzzy enough that he didn’t quite trust his memories yet.

Peter eyed his personal bags just a few feet away, thanking his lucky stars that his uncle hadn’t noticed the bit of web shooter tech that had fallen from the plastic trash bag when he drunkenly dug around for pants. He looked down at his legs and noticed that he had chosen a pair of bright blue sweats that used to be a part of his costume back when he was first gearing up to fight crime. Parker luck had thankfully not reared its ugly head last night. Well, no more so than normal.

Peter ran a hand over his face in relief. That would have been an impossible conversation for him to have with his new guardian while he was under the influence. It would have been an equally impossible conversation even without the drugs. Still, maybe he should consider having it. He didn’t want to live with any more regrets.

Since Aunt May died, his secret on the subject of his alter ego was probably Peter’s biggest regret. Not like it would have changed anything. She would still be dead today even if he had told her.

Still, at least Peter would have known… at least she would have understood how guilty he felt after Ben’s death. Maybe she would have hated him as much as he hated himself. Maybe she would have hugged him and told him it wasn’t his fault like he always hoped she would when it all finally came out.

That didn’t change the fact that it was no longer possible to tell her, but maybe it was an option for him and Weasel? He doubted Weasel would hug him and tell him everything was okay. He wasn’t stupid. The man never minced words. He would be honest. Maybe that honesty would be for the better. After all, he listened to Peter when he explained why he didn’t want to go to a mutant school, didn’t he?

He did, right? That hadn’t just been the drugs?

Also, he didn’t throw Peter out first chance he got, did he? He wasn’t overtly cruel. It would also be pretty nice not to have to hide anything for once. Maybe if he knew Peter was Spider-Man, he might be able to plan ahead in case any villains figured him out? Wade could help protect Weasel. That way Peter would have one less thing to worry about.

He was sure he would still have nightmares for a very long time centered around some villain figuring him out and kidnapping or killing Aunt May. Soon, Weasel would be yet another face and name added to the body count that existed in his dreams.

Maybe telling him would help Peter heal? Maybe it would help with his already insane anxiety?Just… not yet, Peter decided after a long moment of staring at the water damaged ceiling. He needed to lick his own wounds a little longer first.

Peter resolutely sat up, wanting to find something productive to do while the sounds of the bar kept him awake, but the world tilted dangerously out from under him.

Peter rushed to the window catty corner to the one with a still-drying puddle of blood (because he sure as heck wasn’t gonna step in that), and threw it open. He made sure to take several deep breaths of the slightly cleaner city air before opening his eyes again.

The city lights were way too strong, and so were the smells. The nausea was more than likely caused by his spiking spidey sense mixed with the hangover, but he had never been under the influence of both before, so he would have never been able to tell the difference.

He ended up dry-heaving to the sound of a very old Rolls-Royce pulling up to the curb of his uncle’s bar. Peter watched on in confusion, blinking back tears as a couple of well-dressed men stepped out of the car. One had a suitcase. That wasn’t at all suspicious. The other, a rather large and silent man, simply stood guard at the car door while a very old woman in a heavy, fur scarf stepped out onto the curb. She glided into the bar without a fear in the world. Several shady figures leered at her from their dingy spots under lamp posts, but none dared to approach.

Peter’s brow’s furrowed. Well… that was certainly different. Weasel definitely catered to quite a diverse crowd.

But you know what? Good on him! He must be doing something right to get such different groups flocking to his establishment!

… that, or something very, very wrong…

His uncle mentioned contracts the night before, right? Maybe this was a business partner? Investor? Co-owner?

Yeah.

Yeah, that had to be it.

Peter shook his head and stepped away from the window, trying to jar those thoughts loose from his mind. He speedwalked out of the trashed room, keeping his eyes averted where he could.

He stepped carefully into the bathroom, wincing in shock and horror at the amount of blood that still covered the floor tiles and counter. Peter flinched away from a small pile of ruby colored shards that were in the corner. A leather glove that was covered in teeth marks was tossed into the sink with a washcloth and the knife that Wade had no doubt used.

Peter’s hand flew to his back again, wincing at the memory. No wonder he had been so out of his mind the other night. He took several deep breaths before hesitantly grabbing the tall and very empty glass that had contained the alcohol Wade had prompted him to drink.

He scrubbed it out furiously with several pumps of hand soap and hot water before he trusted the thing enough to drink from it. Three glasses later and he still didn’t feel much better. One glance in the mirror told him he didn’t look too much better either, but it was the best he was going to get.

Peter shrugged his shoulders, convincing himself that he didn’t look that bad. It was probably more due to the poor lighting than anything else. Bathrooms always had the worst lighting. Then again, they also tended to be the only rooms in a house that contained a mirror.

Peter hesitantly stepped out of the restroom, surveying the living room again now that he didn’t feel quite so queasy. Maybe he could clean up a little?

Peter snorted at that thought outright. Yeah. Who was he kidding. It was a mess. Even worse than when Peter had first started cleaning on the night he had arrived.

It was a good thing someone was going to be there to change the carpet sometime soon. After all, it looked like it hadn’t been changed since the 70’s. Even in the places that weren’t hopelessly stained, it was discolored and smelled strongly of mildew.

The main problem Peter had with the carpet wasn't the carpet specifically. It was the things on the carpet. Peter’s things. The things he had to hide so they didn’t accidentally get pitched by the maintenance guys, or looked through by his uncle.

It wasn’t exactly like he could hide his Spider-Man suit in the apartment without living in constant fear of discovery. He didn’t know the places that were safe from his uncle yet, and he couldn’t get to a loose floorboard through the carpeting. As things were, there was always a chance that it could get found by pure coincidence, and then his secret identity would be ruined.

Even if Peter did eventually reveal everything to his uncle, he wanted it to be on his terms, in a controlled environment of his own making.

Definitely not like this.

Peter quickly dumped out both bags and sorted them by what he needed for Spider-Man, and what he could get away with keeping in the apartment. Once he had all of the suspicious stuff crammed into his backpack, he hoisted it onto his shoulder and…

And what? Where exactly was he supposed to put everything if not HERE?!

Peter shook his head and began pacing. Not that it really helped.

Ned lived too far away to be able to drop it off with him. Not without donning the mask and suit to swing there. If he did that, he would need to find a ride home after and hope and pray he didn’t get mugged or assaulted once he made it back to his new neighborhood. That was the thing. Peter’s entire form just screamed, “easy target.” It’s part of why he was bullied.

Even with the powers and newly gained confidence, that didn’t seem to change.

There had to be another option. One that didn’t involve webbing the suit to nearby dumpsters. Peter had done that before, and to put it bluntly? It stunk. Half the time the backpacks would go missing anyway. Storing everything in one place that wasn’t secure was just asking to get it stolen or unfortunately misplaced  

Peter hopped onto the wall and climbed over to the window Wade had used to sneak in the night before. He really didn’t want to be nearer to the blood puddle than that, plus it wasn’t like anyone was there to see him defy gravity. He eyed the empty backalley for any possible hiding places, almost giving up until he took notice of a manhole cover.

That had potential.

He double checked that the coast was clear on that side of the building, then scaled down the wall as swiftly as possible, landing with bare feet as firmly as he could on the dirty, bottle glass covered ground.

Wasn’t that just triggering?

Thankfully, Peter was able to avoid getting cut as he danced across the pavement, stopping directly on top of the round metal cover and performing an acrobatic jump-flip with his feet firmly stuck on the metal. He grabbed the disk off of his toes mid-air in a move he had seen a skateboarder perform. He quickly pointed his toes downward, stretching out his body as thin as possible while letting gravity take hold. The flip drove him straight through the hole, the cover slamming back into its original position like nobody had ever been in the alley in the first place.

When Peter’s feet met the passage below, he thanked his lucky stars that he didn’t land in the abundant amounts of sewage filled water.

Peter: 1

Parker Luck: 0

Peter quickly climbed up the tunnel wall, stopping in a nice, dark corner that was unreachable to an unenhanced person. In the dark, it took a moment to locate his web shooters and a canister of web fluid he had been testing at school. The webs were supposed to take much longer than normal to disintegrate, but be much easier to rip and cut. It was perfect for things like long-term backpack attachment, but it was still in the experimental phase. He would have to make sure to check it every couple of days to be sure it was holding.

Once the backpack was reasonably secured, Peter slid the web shooter back inside, just barely remembering to dig his phone out of the front pouch before he zipped it shut. He clamored his way back to the manhole cover, easing it open and pulling himself back into the alleyway as stealthily as he could manage. He probably looked like a mole person from one of those old sci-fi films he and Ned watched, but whatever.

Peter coughed a couple of times, dusting himself off to try to get rid of the terrible smell that accompanied him. It was probably stinkier than the dumpsters, but at least nobody would be stealing his stuff this way. Unless there were actual mole people down there, which seemed rather unlikely. Still, based off of the number of animal themed villains Spider-Man had, he really didn’t want to tempt fate.

He grimaced and pulled up his shirt, slowly peeling back the gauze so he could gently prod at his exposed back. It had scabbed, but it was no surprise to Peter that it hadn’t fully healed considering his dehydrated state. He had been doing this long enough to know he needed to take better care of his health to keep his powers at their strongest.

The air was chilly enough that it made his skin tighten up and sent a shiver down his spine.

He was going to need a shower after all this. When exactly was the last time he did that, anyway? With actual soap and shampoo and everything? He lowered his shirt and ran a hand through his clumped up, very ratty hair, pulling his phone out with the other hand, and pressing the side button. When that didn’t work, he pressed it again. Then he held it, only to get a low battery sign, which was exactly what he needed at the moment. He really shouldn’t have taunted fate when bragging about beating his Parker luck earlier.

He had suspected that Ned and MJ would blow up his phone with messages and texts when he had been called away from school. Still, they didn’t have to call him till it died. Peter had enough dead things to worry about.

He quickly slapped his forehead, trying to banish the thought from his mind. God, that came out wrong.

Peter clenched his phone as tight as he could without shattering it, and threw his head back. Knowing his luck, he totally forgot his charging cable at his old apartment.

While he normally wouldn’t mind asking someone to borrow theirs, he was pretty sure his uncle wouldn’t be too thrilled at the idea. He would be even less enthusiastic about Peter having a phone of his own that he didn’t know about. Based off of the fact that his uncle had  totally hacked Peter’s computer within minutes of being in his aunt’s apartment, on top of the very advanced equipment the man had in one of his private rooms, he doubted very much he would have any privacy if Weasel learned of Peter’s phone. Which meant Peter had to find a way to pay to keep it working on his dead aunt’s phone bill somehow. Thankfully he was pretty sure he still had a few more weeks till payments were due. He would cross that bridge when he got to it.

Wait…

Peter opened his eyes, looking up to the room in question, which glowed ethereally in the light of several screensavers. Oh, goodness. His uncle would kill him if he found out.

There was a lot of equipment in there, though. A lot. Maybe there was even a charger cable compatible with his phone? If not, there definitely would be enough scraps to make his own. It was messy enough of a room that his uncle probably wouldn’t even know something went missing! If Peter had learned anything from the night before with Wade, it was that upper story windows were usually left unlocked. It would be so easy for him with his powers to sneak in and sneak back out with his uncle being none the wiser.

Before he could step any closer to the gum covered wall of his building, Peter felt another shiver run through his body.

Then another.

And another.  

That was kind of odd. It was a bit nippy, but not that cold. He wasn’t usually this–

“Hey! Isn’t that Weasel’s twink from the other night?”

Oh. Crap.

Peter froze, body thrumming even more with those aborted chills that Peter hadn’t realized were his powers.

He spun to face them, bending slightly at the knees, hands clenched at his side. It was only three men, ranging in sizes from tall and skinny, to short and fat, and… short and skinny.

Yeah. Definitely not something he wasn’t capable of handling on his own. Who would believe them if they claimed he, a scrawny little teen, beat them up in a dark alley anyway? That wasn’t exactly something to brag about.

How long had they been there, though?

What was the point in having his powers if they kept acting up?! At first Peter had thought that they were being overly sensitive due to adjusting to a new environment and new people. Maybe the drugs were still floating around in his system, too? He really hoped that was the case, because if he was stuck above his uncle’s bar for the rest of his teenage life, unable to sleep through the night because of the man’s rowdy patrons, Peter was going to snap.

“Hey aren’t you Weasel’s little kept boy?” Short and fat grumbled with a wicked smile. “What? He not paying you enough?”

Peter squared up his shoulders, readying himself for a very well deserved fight. There were three guys, and one of him. He could do this. He could do this even with his powers being dumb.

They were also very obviously drunk judging by their inflatable-tube-man-outside-of-a-car-dealership stances. “Why do you people always think I’m a prostitute?” Peter snapped back, which, come to think of it, wasn’t as witty as he normally did in these situations, but this whole thing was really getting old. Was this his new life now? Living with his bartender uncle, getting called a whore whenever he left the building?

Yeah. Peter really needed a distraction right now. He really wanted to punch something.

Drunk perverts would have to do.

Unfortunately, the next second had Peter nearly doubling over in excruciating pain as a full body jolt that felt more like his entire being was a freshly hit funny bone coursed through his system.

Not good. Definitely not good.

Why did the sight of a man leaping down from the rooftop with none of the grace or style that Peter usually used when going for his heroic landings not surprise him?

The bone shattering crunch upon impact, though? Yeah. That had to hurt.

The gun in the man’s hand glistened in the reflective city lights, instantly drawing him from those thoughts, though. It was so distracting Peter almost didn’t recognize the face beneath the tipped back hoodie.

“It’s mostly wishful thinking on their parts, gumdrop. Don’t worry about it!”

Perfect.

“Wade.” Peter’s fighting stance dropped slightly when he realized that fighting was no longer an option since his uncle’s friend was around. It didn’t stop the adrenaline from coursing through his veins, though.

The man was way too observant for Peter to play it off as several consecutive lucky hits. Even if he was fighting three drunks. He was going to have to take a step back. 

Still, now there was a gun involved, and even if it was in the hands of one of his allies, he needed to tread carefully.

“That’s the greeting I get?!” Wade huffed casually like the three men didn’t suddenly look like they were going to wet themselves at his appearance. Wasn’t that a little concerning? They seemed to be looking at his uncle’s friend like they knew him, perhapss a little too well. “I’m back! Just like I promised I would be!”

Peter blinked at the scarred man, then tilted his head, squinting. “Um… what?”

Wade visibly deflated. “I… you got all weepy when I tried to leave and talk to your… Weasel?” The man attempted to jog his memory, but ended up looking even more like a kicked puppy when Peter just squinted harder. Thankfully, Peter noted that it made Wade lower his weapon. “You made me promise I would come back. Don’t you remember?”

“Um, its kinda fuzzy,” Peter muttered, then frowned disapprovingly at the man. “But that may have been because you roofied me.”

Why wasn't he more surprised about the fact that Wade was wielding a gun?

Oh, yeah! Maybe because he threw a knife at Ned’s face unprovoked?

Surely the man wouldn’t actually shoot someone, though? That was just…

Oh goodness, who was Peter kidding? This was totally Peter’s life now.

“Hey! You consented,” Wade shot back, though thankfully not literally. “So it was a consensual roofie for your own good, and nothing more.”

“You roofied the kid?” One of the drunks gasped, and Peter wasn’t sure if it was in disgust or amazement.

The gun quickly raised in the man’s direction.

Great.

Thankfully, Wade’s complete focus was still on Peter.

He could work with this.

“I’m not an adult, as you so love to remind me. I thought I couldn’t consent to anything until I’m older.” Peter crossed his arms, probably looking like the least intimidating person there with his bare feet and pouty frown, standing close to a foot shorter than everyone else present.

Wade looked up at the sky, taking several deep breaths while weighing the gun in his hand. “Kid, you are really testing my patience.”

Peter snorted, but eyed the gun wearily. “Yeah. Because shooting me is really gonna get you back into Weasel’s good books.”

“Oh, it wouldn’t be you getting the bullet,” he snapped back, hand closing tighter around the gun, now fingering the trigger. “Trust me.” Wade’s voice dropped a dangerous octave at that, cold tone resonating between the brick walls.

Peter watched on helplessly as Wade finally turned his full attention to the three men, gun suddenly steady and purposeful.

Peter shivered at the intensity. This was the side of Wade he had been unlucky to glimpse the previous day with Flash.

This was… not Wade at all.

“Wade, please,” he tried, taking a step forward and raising his hands in both surrender and placation. Either one would do so long as it got him to, “Put the gun down. I don’t need to see another dead body any time soon.”

The gun started to tip down centimeter by centimeter. It was almost…

“Yeah! Fuck off, Wade,” tall and skinny puffed, ignoring how his comrades shook their heads, and tried to get him to disengage. “We were just gonna have a little fun.” The angry hiccuping definitely didn’t help him sell his point.

Peter bodily flinched back several steps at the wave of pure rage that suddenly burst forth from his uncle’s gun toting friend. The gun that Peter had previously talked Wade into slowly lowering was immediately raised and aimed dead center at the head of the idiot who had just spoken.

The sound of the gun cocking made Peter full body flinch again.

This wasn’t good. This wasn’t good at all. He needed to stop it.

“I know. He’s pretty cute, isn’t he?” The voice that was far too deadly and serious to belong from Wade crooned. If his lips weren’t moving to the sound, Peter would have never believed it was him.

Peter broke out in a cold sweat, breath catching as he was transported back to that empty street corner not so long ago.

He was just as helpless back then, too. The gun was just as threatening. His powers were just as useless.

Someone was going to die if he didn’t do anything. Someone was going to die, and he was just a stupid kid that couldn’t stop it. He couldn’t stop a bullet. He couldn’t…

“I would call him ‘jailbait,’” Wade continued, taking a slow step towards the men, “except for the fact that you and I both know I don’t call the cops. That, and Deathbait sounds sooooo much better.” Peter sucked in a deep breath, trying to calm his racing heart despite the fact no oxygen seemed to get through. “So, I’m gonna ask you again real nice-like: keep your grubby little hands off my precious little murderbait, okay?”  

Nobody responded, so Wade took aim at one of their feet and fired a deafeningly loud shot into the concrete, making everyone jump.

Peter clenched his eyes shut, fighting against the wave of panic the sound brought with it, along with the memory of a blood soaked sidewalk.

He stumbled back, and caught himself against the wall.

Despite how quickly the situation devolved, Peter couldn’t help but try to get through to him one more time. 

“Wade?” He knew his voice was too raspy and shaken to carry to Wade’s ears, but it was all he could manage to force out.

As expected, the man paid him no mind, strolling dangerously on up into the tallest man’s space, pulling him forward by the belt loop, and shoving the still smoking barrel where no gun should ever go. “That was my warning shot. Next time you won’t be so lucky. Understand?”

“Yes Deadp–“

“Don’t talk to me!” He practically screamed in the man’s face before an overly bright smile warped his features. “I’m being really nice right now. You might want to run before I change my mind and blow my load in your pants. Capiche?”

Peter winced in sympathy at the very unfortunately worded threat, still trying to pull himself together enough that he could intervene if the need arose.

The situation was deescalating by itself. Everything would be fine. Wade wasn’t going to kill anyone. It was a bluff! This was fine. Everything was fine. Nobody was going to die.

Oh, God, Peter was Spider-Man! He saw things like this everyday! This shouldn’t be affecting him as badly as it was, but he never had to face a situation like this as Peter before.

Not since Uncle Ben.

That realization made Peter’s legs weak and his chest tighten. Thankfully, a second later, Wade’s fingers released the man’s belt loop.

All three drunks bolted before the gun was even fully removed from the first man’s pants.

Once all of them were out of sight, the tension that had built in Wade’s shoulders had vanished, and the smile no longer looked quite so bloodchilling.

This man was… God, Peter didn’t know what to think. It made him a little sick how quickly he could turn it off and on, though.

It had been an act, though, Peter tried to convince himself. That was the only explanation. Just an act. He was safe now. His senses were calm. No more buzz. He was safe with Wade.

He was safe.

“Sorry I was running late,” Wade offered kindly, his voice suddenly back to that chipper playfulness. “Had to catch up on my job, but I promise, I didn’t forget! Just like I’m sure you didn’t forget your uncle yelling at you not to come down to the bar. Naughty naughty.” He shook a finger in Peter’s direction like a scolding parent.

“Weasel told me not to come down to the bar,” Peter pointed out shakily, fingers still clinging to the brickwork as his anxiety ratcheted down bit by bit. Just because his senses were no longer going haywire didn’t mean his anxiety disappeared after that scene. “I didn’t go to the bar. I climbed out of the window.”

“Well, little Mr. Rapunzel,” Wade bowed exuberantly. “Your knight in shining armor has arrived.” He winked.

Yeah. Peter wasn’t too sure about that anymore. “If this were Rapunzel, shouldn’t you be climbing through the window again?” Peter had to keep himself talking. Talking was normal. That would help him calm down. Talking always helped Peter calm down. Talking was good.

“Well, the night is still young,” Wade chuckled. “I promise to get you back home before your wicked step-uncle notices. Preferably without the hair pulling. Oh ! By the way! I forgot the ice!” He smacked his head with the back of his armed hand, making Peter jolt. “But you look like you don’t need it anyway. Not as much as those goons will be needing it tomorrow night. How about I put them on ice to make it up to you?”

“Haha?” That was a joke, right? Peter still trembled despite what he was trying to convince himself.

Wade finally seemed to notice Peter’s terrified state. Unfortunately, he misinterpreted it as Peter having been scared of the drunks instead. 

“Kid,” Wade sighed, shaking his head and turning back to Peter as if he didn’t come close to making a very large, very scary thug piss himself. “If you aren't going to listen to Wease and are going to keep getting your precious little butt into situations like this, then you need to start carrying protection.”

Peter’s face flushed so bright he was certain he might be glowing in the darkness of the alley. After all, insinuating that Peter needed to start carrying ‘protection?’ That was just inappropriate and rude! 

“It’s not like I invite people to do this stuff to me! I don’t exactly dress like a prostitute!” It wasn’t like Peter couldn’t have kicked the men around if Wade hadn’t decided to throw himself into the alley at that exact moment. Peter squared his shoulders, and took several measured steps forward, completely ignoring the fact that the man had just threatened murder to someone just a few moments ago. “You implying that I do? That’s victim blaming! And I thought you were cooler than that!”

Wade rolled his eyes, smacking the safety on the gun with a lazy, well practiced clap before throwing it casually through the air at Peter’s face.

Even with his reflexes, it still almost hit Peter, and then it nearly dropped to the ground, where he was fairly certain it still may have gone off, safety or not. Peter didn’t have much practice with guns when he wasn’t on the business side of it and in a mask. He still didn’t want to check and find out if he was right  

“Not that kind of protection, snow pea.” Wade grumbled flatly. “I mean the kind of protection that makes sure they can’t get it or themselves back up again to do it to you or someone else. You feel?”

“Wade,” Peter’s eyes were wide, fingers dangerously shaking around the barrel and handle. “I can’t.”

“Sure you can! Think of it as a gift from me to you,” he waved the notion off as absurd. “I have plenty more where that came from. You aren’t putting me out or anything. I know for a fact Weasel already ordered one for you anyway. If you’re that worried about it, just give it back once the order comes through. At least you’ll have something on you till then. Especially if you keep trying to break Weasel’s rules. You dig?”

“I very much do NOT dig!” Peter squeaked with a horified hiss. He was very tempted to throw the gun at Wade, but once again, he was pretty sure guns weren’t supposed to be thrown. “You just threw a GUN at me! A loaded gun!”

“The safety is on.”

Peter and Wade stood blinking at each other. Peter because of Wade’s stupidity, and Wade because… Wade. Only the sounds of the bar in swing just inside kept the moment from being dead silent.

“What? Do you just not know how to use it?” Wade tapped a finger against his chin innocently, seemingly a little shocked that not everyone was as desensitized to violence as he was.

Peter’s hands were literally vibrating underneath the gun. He wasn’t quite sure if it was out of fear, anger, or exhaustion.

Sure he dealt with crazy maniacs who shot at him with the same kinds of guns all the time, but never in his life did he imagine he would be holding the object that caused him so much strife. Nor did he think that getting a hold of one would be simply as easy as knowing someone as terrifyingly insane as Wade Wilson. Heck, the man probably handed them out like candy. Maybe he was an arms dealer?

Oh, god! What if he was some big mafia arms dealer that did business in Weasel’s bar? Maybe Weasel paid him protection?!

“Pie-baby?” The man in question grumbled uncertainly. “You are thinking way too hard and it’s kinda scaring me. Say something.”

“I don’t want to use it, Wade!” Peter thrust his open palms out toward the maniac before firmly stating, “I don’t like guns!”

“What about these guns?” Wade quickly snapped back with a huge smile and a wink while flexing his biceps.

Probably just to avoid taking the gun back from Peter.

At that, Peter was sorely tempted to throw the gun right back at the man’s face. Instead he just pinched it at the handle like a used tissue, shaking it at the man. “Gun violence is a major problem! I don’t want to be a part of that problem! I want to be the solution!”

Wade was surprisingly unbothered at being scolded, almost literally at gunpoint. “Sweetheart,” he waved Peter off with a flippant bat of the hand. “I understand where you’re coming from, I really do, but you aren’t in Kansas anymore. This neighborhood is dangerous. You saw that tonight, and probably last night too. I’m not going to be around to protect you all the time. Especially if Weasel holds firm about me being some kind of a bad influence.”

“Oh, god! He was right!” Peter totally didn’t mean to say that out loud, but he also didn’t regret it.

“Hey, none of that! Rule numero uno of this block is ‘if you can’t beat them, shoot them.’ And looking at you and your scrawny body…” he eyed Peter thoroughly enough that Peter flushed. Wade politely looked away while clearing his throat. “That’s all I’m saying.”

“My uncle was shot with a gun,” Peter reasserted with a firm and steady tone.  

“Oh, shit. I forgot about that.” Wade winced, rubbing the back of his head before finally forcing out, “I know that this is probably one of those ‘too soon,’ moments, but even so, I don’t want you to end up like your uncle. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t either. Which is why I want you to carry the gun. Please?”

“No.” Peter really wanted to hit him for that. The comment about his uncle was totally uncalled for and very much ‘too soon.’

“You don’t have to use it!” Was he actually begging Peter to keep it? “Just…”

“Wade, you take this gun out of my hands now, or I am dropping it down that storm drain.”

Wade rolled his eyes, but thankfully his large hands partially eclipsed the gun and Peter’s own fingers a moment later before packing it away into the back of his waistband.

“Such a drama queen.” Wade rolled his eyes when Peter still scowled at him, now with his arms crossed, “but now you owe me one.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

“No.”

“Kid,” Wade raised his hand so Peter wouldn’t interrupt him. “You climbed out of your window. Probably to be a stupid teen and rebel or whatever the hell because you want to make stupid decisions in a moment of grief.”

Peter couldn’t help the way he jumped when both of the man’s large hands came down to clasp his shoulders and pull him close.

How was Wade still smiling like that despite everything that had just transpired?

He poked Peter’s nose for emphasis. “Well, buddy, I’ve been there, and that’s why I look like I do today. I won’t let you run off and be an idiot without adult supervision, at the very least. And you are not going back to the bar until well after closing when it’s safe… ish.” Peter was just about to open his mouth and reject the offer when Wade cut him off with, “If you’re good and promise not to run off on me the first chance you get, I promise you that I won’t tell your uncle anything about what just happened. Okay?” Wade… threatened? Oh goodness, that was a threat, wasn’t it? It didn’t sound like it, especially with his chipper, happy go lucky tone, but Wade was totally blackmailing him! “You were lucky last time when the only people you ran into were Delihla and Dorian, may they Rest In Peace.” Wade made a quick cross over his chest.

Peter squinted his eyes and blinked. “Um… what?”

Before he could ask any more questions, Peter found Wade’s hand curled behind his back, dragging him down the street and away from the light of the bar and apartment windows above.

There was no way he was going to be able to escape this man now. Especially with the threat of him telling his uncle about the alleyway incident hanging over his head. His uncle would put bars on his window and never let him see the light of day again if he knew Peter got into yet another unfortunate situation on his second night in Weasel’s care.

“Come on. What were you planning?” Wade prompted. “Strip club? Alcohol? Revenge on the guy that killed your aunt?” He supplied, smoothly, “Because last I heard, he died in the hospital a little less than an hour ago while waiting for release.”

Maybe a couple of years ago Peter would have wanted revenge, but right now he just wanted something peaceful and quiet. 

“Oh? Um, I didn’t have anything specific planned.”

Peter’s brow furrowed a moment too late when his brain caught up to what Wade he just said.

Wait. How had Wade known about some random druggy dying in a hospital?

“Hmmmm…” Wade tapped his finger to his chin. He obviously didn’t believe that Peter had nothing planned, but he skipped right over it anyway. “Hey, I know what we can do! It will keep us both out of trouble!” He smiled so brightly that Peter was pretty sure nothing good would come from this.

Wade pulled out his phone. He pressed and held one number, speed dialing the contact. Peter’s eyes narrowed at the sight.“Didn’t you tell Uncle Weasel your phone exploded?”

Wade held the device up to his ear with a devilish smile, wink, and a finger to his lips. “Shhhhhh. It’s ringing.”

Peter waited till a deep voice picked up on the other end. They sounded half asleep and not quite American.

“COME QUICK!” Wade yelled frantically, interrupting the deep voice.  “BRING THE GIRLS! It's an EMERGENCY!” He slammed the call end button before Peter knew what was happening, grabbing his arm and running off down the alley with uproarious laughter that Peter couldn’t quite understand.

Peter had to jog to keep up just so he wouldn’t get dragged behind. “Don’t you have to tell them where to meet us?” Peter panted.

“Don’t worry!” Wade grinned even wider, reaching over and ruffling Peter’s hair. “They have a guy for that.”

Peter really wished he had the foresight to grab his shoes. He had a feeling this was going to be a very long night.

Chapter Text

Wade, as Peter was beginning to finally accept, was completely insane. Maybe it was the cancer that infested every nook and cranny of his body? Perhaps it was damage caused by his violent lifestyle? After all, the first time they met was no doubt very far from the worst shape Wade had ever been in, and there were some things in the human body that just couldn’t be regrown. Even so, Peter had a feeling that this was more than likely just Wade’s baseline, and the more comfortable they got around each other, the more crazy would be exposed. 

Still, he was oddly sweet when it came to Peter, in a very intense, very loyal, and extremely, stupidly insane sort of way. Kind of like a giant, tail wagging puppy with teeth sharp enough to kill if given the right incentive. Well, actually more like a shark. A shark-dog. Both fortunately and unfortunately, that very large, great white puppy decided to bond to Peter. 

He had never been as embarrassed or mortified in his life than he was in that moment, getting dragged down the sidewalk by the madman, chattering inanely about anything and everything that could come to what was left of his mind. Which was ironically enough focused around how much he wanted to meet Spider-Man. The only good thing was that very few people were out at this time of night. The few thuggish looking people on the streets outside the bar were smart enough to give Peter and Wade a wide berth. 

Once he and Wade had made it halfway across the neighborhood and somewhere slightly less shady, the manic man finally noticed that Peter wasn’t exactly dressed for the occasion. A flimsy t-shirt didn’t exactly keep out the nighttime chill, and… well, the no shoes thing was starting to get a little painful. So, Wade dragged him into the nearest 24/7 fast food restaurant, insisting Peter wear his hoodie, which wasn’t something the teen took lightly. The man obviously didn’t choose to wear that kind of a top simply because he found it fashionable. Still, when Wade insisted, Peter deemed it a wise decision to accept. Not that he showed signs of wishing harm on his person, so much as the people near or around him on a few occasions according to further analysis of his spider-senses. It was more so he wouldn’t have to deal with a full grown man pouting and badgering him for the rest of the night. Also,Peter mostly accepted because it would have been rude to deny it. Wade already seemed rather self-conscious about his looks, and Peter was sure if he denied the gesture Wade would find reason to take offense or feel that Peter would rather risk his own comfort and health over being seen in public with his scarred face. 

So, he took a deep breath, smiled and gave him his most genuine thanks, despite the tattered, well worn state of the thing. It wasn’t like he hadn’t worn worse with the amount of money he and his aunt scraped by on. Comfort was much more important, and Peter had to admit that Wade’s shirt was extremely comfortable once he shrugged it on. It was still warm. Almost unnaturally warm, leading Peter to wonder if Wade’s mutation and simultaneous illness meant he was running a near constant fever. He smelled surprisingly nice, too. Well - the hoodie smelled nice technically. Like cherry chapstick, the hint of gun smoke, baby powder, oddly enough, and…. 

Peter pulled at the hood and pressed his nose into the drawstringed edge. “Is that lavender?”

Wade hummed from his spot squatted next to Peter’s feet, grabbing one and nearly yanking him off the ground to check the underside for damage. “Yeah. Good for the skin. Especially for the newly regrown, extremely sensitive skin of a cancer ridden arm,” he answered airily before clicking his tongue. “Babycarrot, why would you run out of the house without shoes on? I mean, I know people do dumb things when they rebell, but do you have any level of self preservation?” 

“Probably not,” Peter snorted back dryly, tugging down the sleeves of the shirt to keep his hands warm, then pulling the hood up to hide his face. “I’m here with you, aren't I?” And if Wade hadn't shown up, Peter would probably be back on the couch, still not sleeping with how loudly the occupants of his uncle’s bar carried on. He yanked his foot out of Wade’s Prince Charming like grasp when the gentle hands caressed the sensitive bridge of his foot. Thankfully the oversized red hoodie helped hide his equally red face. 

“We need to sit you down. I was going to give the good professor a little bit of a run around, but we just can’t now!” 

Peter wasn’t surprised to find himself grabbed around the middle, lifted effortlessly off the ground, and dragged further inside the restaurant.

“Ooooohhhh! Look at the toys! They have my little pony! I hope I get rainbow sparkle.”

Peter fussed just enough that Wade dropped him onto the carpeted floor by the condiment bar. Wade continued to gush about an episode he had seen recently, and how friendship really could fix anything, while Peter shot an apologetic smile at the gangly teen behind the counter, who was eyeing Peter’s bare feet and Wade’s back with a funny look on his face. 

Then Peter’s senses picked up on a very strong gust of wind just outside. Litter ran past the window, chased by the unnatural squall. Peter’s ear picked up on some kind of a high powered jet engine, which really shouldn’t be a noise he registered in the inner city. 

“Wade, who exactly did you call?” 

“Possible friends for you. Old acquaintances for me,” the man tossed over his shoulder. “Probably a little more suited for someone like you than I am. Plus, you definitely need some new friends. Everyone needs friends. Especially when working through some shit. Trust me, I have been where you are right now. Only having Weasel to lean on in a time of crisis is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. Why?” The man’s head perked, and his eyes shot towards the door, bouncing to his feet when he took note of three, black suited figures strolling past the windows at a brisk, no nonsense pace. 

The first one, a very tall and broad, gleaming statue of a man (literally) lead the way with authority and a calm, collected stoicism. He was followed by a pink haired teen, flouncing behind him with a grin, exuding that fairy princess vibe that made her seem way too dainty and innocent to be accompanying the other two, or wearing the big X on her outfit. The last was a girl with an outdated Justin Bieber haircut, a major case of the resting bitch face, and very much looking for all the world that she wanted very much to be anywhere else. 

Peter’s throat constricted. He was actually hoping for a second that they weren’t going to step through the front doors. He prayed they would just pass right on by, but Wade’s enthusiastic, “That was fast,” killed that idea. 

They stormed through the front doors in their leather costumes, filing out in front of Wade with the larger man front and center like a superhero team. Which they very much were, come to think of it. Wade was far too busy gushing over them to notice how absolutely lethal they looked. He was probably used to it, or the danger didn’t even seem to register anymore. It was probably the latter, but he didn’t want to assume. He had been doing too much of that lately. 

Peter suspected that the five of them all made quite an interesting tableau to the very nervous and extremely underpaid late night fast food workers that had slowly started to congregate at the front to watch the scene. 

There they all were: three X-Men (two of which were, ironically, girls close to Peter's age), Peter looking like a homeless kid stuffed in Wade’s oversized hoodie and no shoes, and Wade in his wife beater, dopey grin, scars and… the forgotten gun peaking noticeably up out out of the back of his pants, all standing at the beginning of the checkout line just in front of the colorful kid’s meal toy display. 

Wade had called the X-Men. Right after Peter had let his uncle know he wanted nothing to do with them. These people must have been Wade’s contacts that he mentioned to Weasel just before running out. 

Well, Peter thought after a moment of contemplation as the enthusiasm pouring out of Wade erupted like a screaming teakettle, complete with the excited shriek. Wade’s affiliation with a group like the X-Men had to mean something about his moral alignment. They were heroes for the most part, right?

Before Peter could dwell on that thought any further, Wade practically threw himself at one of the teen girls in the costumed trio. Obviously, he chose the one who looked most likely to kill him. “You actually came!!!” He shot playful finger guns at her before consuming her much smaller form in a hug. 

Peter was both unsurprised, and just the smallest bit irritated to find out how easily Wade interacted with other people on a physical level. Which was really weird. Why did he care that some guy he barely knew hugged other people? Was he really becoming that dependent on the only friendly person he had been in contact with since his uncle took him in? Even after he almost witnessed a triple homicide? Maybe it was good that Wade was trying to introduce him to other people.

“What’s up my Nega?”

“D-don’t say it like that!!!” Peter hissed, but Wade’s joyful cry had already earned them a rather affronted scowl from one of the ethnically diverse members of the staff behind the counter, who still seemed to be on the fence about calling the cops. Peter really hoped it would stay that way. 

Wade, who was roughly punched in the stomach by the surly lesbian chick (Peter wasn't being salty about the hug, she really had that feel about her), quickly refocused his attention on the very large, very metal man next to her. Peter definitely wasn’t prepared for what came next. 

“Ah!!! And there’s my giant communist fuck! Bring it in! Invade my territory. You know my safe word.”

Peter blanched, choking on his own breath at that announcement as Wade leapt up at the statue, ending up awkwardly cradled in the discomforted looking mutant’s arms that struggled to get him to let go without using brute force. It was rather surprising to Peter, considering he was one of the only men Peter had met so far that could actually dwarf Wade in size. Despite the fact that Wade would heal, the man still seemed uncharacteristically gentle given the circumstances. Maybe he was just used to dealing with people a lot more breakable than Wade. Surely it wouldn’t last. 

This was definitely not the way Peter ever envisioned himself meeting any of the X-Men. He quickly buried his head in his hands, hoping he could hide himself from the judging eyes of the staff and the mutants. As much as Peter hated to admit it, he couldn’t help the, “My uncle was right about you,” from tumbling past his lips. “He is going to kill me when he knows where I went.”

“Yukio!” Deadpool finally climbed off of the metal man to scoop the very beautiful Asian girl off her feet and spin around in circles. She probably responded the best out of all of them, actually laughing at the idiots antics. A response Peter wouldn’t have recommended seeing as how it just spurred Wade on even more. “You are just as… oh, I can’t even think of something negative to say about you. You just ooze positivity, sparkle emojis and cute kitten videos. You will get along so well with my Peter.”

“I will personally cut your peter off if you even try that.” The girl previously identified as ‘Nega’ hissed, taking a menacing enough step forward that Wade dropped the Disney-princess. 

Unfortunately, as much as Peter hated to admit it, Yukio was everything Wade just said and more. Maybe her superpower was being so pretty? She looked like she was around Peter’s age. Maybe he could say hi. Girls liked it when people said hi to them, right? 

“What? No! This is my Peter!” Peter never wished he didn’t exist as hard as he did in that exact moment, when all eyes turned to him. “Peter, say hi.” 

“‘I'm sorry.” What else could Peter do but apologize for Wade’s behavior. After all, he was guilty by association. “I just met Wade the other day.” Wade proudly wrapped his arm around Peter’s shoulders and squeezed him close while Peter continued to insist to the three narrow eyed strangers, “I really don’t know him that well!”

“So cold!” Wade feigned hurt with an affronted hand above his heart. “You have more of Weasel inside you than I thought.”

“I swear, you word things disgustingly on purpose just to get a reaction,” Peter hissed under his breath so the other three couldn’t hear. “It’s honestly pretty amazing.”

With one last squeeze of his shoulders, Wade danced away, throwing himself flirtatiously up against the large, gleaming mutant’s chest with a swoon. “The only amazing reaction I want is a reenactment of the battle of the bulge with this sexy scrap of metal.” 

Peter’s eyes snapped wide open at that announcement, feeling strangely slighted and just the tiniest bit jealous. “I thought you liked Spider-Man.”

“I like to keep my options open.”

Finally, the ‘giant scrap of metal’ spoke. “Why do you have a child with you?” Instantly, Peter knew where the foreign voice over the phone had come from. He had a heavy Russian accent, which suddenly explained all of the comments. Except, Peter was pretty sure the ‘Battle of the Bulge’ was German. Then again, Peter wasn’t a history buff, and he doubted Wade was much of one either. 

“Why do you have two children with you?” Wade shot back with a smirk. “Gotta show me up or something?”

“Wade.”

“Fine! Fine,” Wade exaggeratedly huffed, throwing his whole body into it. “It looked like you had so much fun dragging around a bunch of teenagers that I decided to see what the fuss was about. Plus, now we can commiserate about the pains of child rearing. Peter, this is Colossus, Yuki, and Nega Sonic Teenage Warhead. I know. Her name is a bit of a mouth full. Thankfully in a few years she will hopefully get a new name. Although, Nega Sonic Adult Warhead sounds kinda like an adult toy.”

She flipped him off, earning a judging frown from her mentor, and a gasp from Wade, who instantly tried to slap his hands over Peter’s eyes. “Not in front of my Peter!”

Metal Man’s eyebrows rose. “He is your kid?”

“No!” Wade shook his head exuberantly before presenting Peter to them like a showcase model. “This is my baby boy!”

“I don’t understand.”

“It’s a sex thing.” Nega blurted, causing both Peter and Colossus to splutter at her indignantly. 

“Now, now,” Wade chided, “Don’t go corrupting him yet. You two have so much in common to bond over first. Like the fact you are both gay!” Why was this Peter’s life now? Why? “And orphans! He needs a good gay orphan rolemodle in his life. I’ll order the kid’s meals for you three on your play date, and me and the knockoff Oscar statue are gonna have our own grownup date. No kids allowed.”

Any protests Peter might have had died on his lips when they were all but shoved into the children’s play area one by one. The door slammed shut, leaving the three of them standing there on the squishy rubber mat near a tube slide. 

Things could always be worse, Peter supposed. What was a couple of hours of forced conversation in the grand scheme of things, anyway?

Chapter Text

The ‘play date’ went about as well as one could expect when you throw three socially awkward teens into a designed-for-kids-under-ten play space while exlaiming in a loud afterthought not to have “too many gay-bies together.” Which was an extremely resounding, ‘not very well at all, thank you.’ 

The sign on the kid zone said no playing after 9pm. Of course, the door had to be broken. And so Peter now found himself, knee bouncing, worrying the inside of his cheek and lip between clenching and unclenching teeth with three kid’s meals on the table in front of him, all without their toy. Because of course Wade took them, declaring that only good boys and girls who ate all their food got their toys. Peter was fairly sure he would never see the little pink unicorn again even if he did eat all his food, and quite honestly, that was the least of his problems. Because right now? He was trying very hard to avoid the eye contact of the other two teens in the room with him. 

Nega Sonic (that couldn’t be her real name, right?), for her part, seemed just as content doing the same thing, but with less of the nervous jitters and more of the grinding molars and angry glaring in his direction, daring him to break the silence under pain of death. Maybe that was just her neutral face. Maybe Peter was reading way too much into things. Thankfully, Yukio had a calming effect when it came to the other. Especially when she reached out and softly brushed her hand over Nega Sonic’s until her fist unclenched. 

Aw, they were holding hands. That was sweet.  Wait… Peter was missing something, wasn’t he? Wade had been going on about how Nega Sonic was gay. Now Yukio and Nega Sonic were holding hands. 

“You two are gay together!” Peter accidentally blurted, a little too proud of himself for figuring that one out. Which was the exact opposite of what he should have said considering the budding moment between the two girls was instantly shattered. Nega Sonic pulled away and turned up her heavy frowning and disemboweling him with her eyes thing. 

“Yeah. What of it?”

“N-nothing!” Peter was so screwed over. Way to put his foot in his mouth. “I was just- Wade was going on and on about how you were gay! I didn’t expect you to be gay together! That’s all!”

The silence resumed, much to Peter’s disappointment. Yukio was blushing, and quite honestly, Peter didn’t want to check to see what the other was doing. Yeah. This definitely would be the friendship of the century if he somehow managed to turn this terrible first impression around. 

He turned to shoot a disapproving glare at Wade through the playroom glass, but was frustrated to notice the big metal man was the new focus of his uncle’s friend’s attention. That was all Wade was to him. His uncle’s friend. Yeah, he was also the only person who tried to talk to him and make sure he was okay besides Weasel these past couple of days. Sure, Weasel didn’t exactly exude friendly ‘tell me all about your problems,’ vibes, but he was definitely more sane and less murdery and unhinged than Wade. There was absolutely no reason for Peter to feel like a kicked puppy at the sudden lack of attention from the one man who had hovered around ever since he learned of Peter’s existence. This man had a life. Friends. Lovers, even. Maybe a family. 

Point was, Peter shouldn’t have felt like a toddler who got its toy snatched from him when big, shiny Colossus, famous X-man, came in and stole all of the attention away from him. After all, how did Peter, a poor orphan boy with a tragically pathetic history, actually compare to a legendary hero, anyway? It definitely didn’t make him bitter. Should he have been in his costume, he wondered if he still might not measure up to the larger mutant in Wade’s eyes. He and Colossus seemed like they had a history of some sort. 

Peter, try as he might, couldn’t stop his hearing from picking up the conversation. Blame it on the quiet room, and the fact that it was really hard to block something out if he didn’t have something to distract or cancel it out. And the two girls in front of him were obviously too awkwarded out to do much more than blush and scowl. Peter wasn’t doing much better on that front either. It turned out that teenagers, mutated or not, were all the same where it mattered: Socially awkward. 

“I am not sure of this idea you have. A bar is not an appropriate place to raise children,” Colossus’s heavily accented voice boomed through the restaurant. Like, seriously, did this guy not have a quiet voice? The two in the playroom with him probably heard that, and they probably weren’t even enhanced like he was. 

Wade, who also had a problem controlling his volume on a good day, laughed, chin in hand, drawing little patterns up and down Colossus’s smooth arm in a way that suggested familiarity, even when his attentions were thwarted and roughly batted away. “Oh, come on. The kid has a dead mom, pops, uncle and aunt.” Peter’s face reddened, and he quickly dug through the kids meal bag to pull out the noisily wrapped sandwich. Even that didn’t help block out the conversation, though. “He is also a mutant little twink that constantly gets shit on by life. Pretty sure he was fucked way before Weasel got to him, but you know what kind of a return policy kids have.”

The wrapper ripped at Peter’s fumbling attentions, falling with a splat on the rubber play area floor. “I’m not gay!” Peter exclaimed, seemingly randomly, right in front of two very… well, he didn’t really want to assume gay, despite what he said earlier on the matter, because he knew MJ would crawl up his butt about that, but they definitely were both female, and dating each other. 

They both shot him a look, one with her head cocked in innocent confusion, and the other a murderous glare promising at the very least pain. 

“Not that gay is bad!!” Peter quickly amended. “I mean, I love gay men!” He snapped his mouth shut just a moment too late in mortification of what just passed his lips. “I mean, no I don’t!! And not to say I don’t like gay women too! I love men like you love men!” Yeah, this really wasn’t working. He needed to shut up, but the word vomit was too strong. “Not that you don’t love men! Maybe you love men and women? Who am I to judge! And if that is the case, then we definitely don’t love men the same way. Which is to say I don’t like men! Because I’m not gay, but it’s okay to be gay! Because I love gays, just not in a gay way!”

A long drawn out silence was all Peter was met with at that very convoluted announcement on his sexuality. 

“After that, I definitely know I hate all men,” the shorter haired girl drawled, looking at Peter like he just announced that he still wet the bed as an adult. 

“Relax. He didn’t mean anything by it.” The pink haired girl smiled kindly at Peter, making him flush uncomfortably and look away. Yup. She was adorable, Peter could definitely see himself crushing on her if she was single. He was totally straight. End of discussion. He didn’t need to think about this ever again. “You’re intimidating him! And I think it was kind of cute!” While Peter really wanted to melt when she said that, it definitely didn’t help his case with the mean one. Especially when Yukio reached out and patted Peter’s hand consolingly. 

Yeah. Nega Sonic just glared at Peter harder after the soft look her girlfriend shot him. He was going to die here, next to a tube slide. 

The loud, boisterous voice of the X-man from the next room over thankfully interrupted Peter’s thoughts on his imminent demise. “I am… unsure if you are joking. If he is a mutant, should I contact the professor about him?”

Peter was moments away from running from the room before Wade’s voice interrupted with a resounding “NO!” It was nice to know that Wade at least liked him well enough that he didn’t want to let him get taken away. “It’s only a very minor healing factor!” Wade assured enthusiastically. “He wouldn’t fit in with your lot.” He shook his head and waved his hands frantically at the notion, making Peter frown again in irritation at how little this man actually thought of him. “At all. Also, I called dibs. He is an official member of X-force. I ordered a t-shirt in his size and everything. Just don’t tell him yet. I want to be the first to break the news.”

Whatever that meant, Peter had no clue, but it made Colossus smile and pat Wade’s shoulder hard enough to wind him. “Haha! You are joking! This is good!”

Wade laughed back. “I’m mostly just here because the kid needs socialization and probably some kids his age that he can relate to. That, and lots of clean diapers. At least, that’s what the parenting book I bought for Weasel said. Also, I just love spending time with you.”

“While I disapprove of your methods to get me here,” Colossus lectured, “and the time of night it is, I am glad you recognized how out of depth you are in this situation and sought out help.” 

Wade chuckled uncomfortably under the positive attention the X-man was giving him.  “Weeeeellll… I also may or may not have gotten into a fight earlier with Weasel,” he hedged. “And you know me. When I fight with people I usually just act even worse to them until they realized what a fucking angel I was being back then by comparison. So, I kidnapped his nephew for the night.”

“You WHAT?!” Peter was equally disturbed by that announcement. Here he was, thinking Wade was actually trying to look out for him and be his friend, and it just turns out he was using him to get back at his uncle. Wade could have taken him right back up to his rooms if he wanted to. He was an adult, babysitting a teen that he barely knew. Of course he didn’t think of Peter as his friend. 

Peter should probably leave. Find some rooftop to lick his wounds on and let his uncle rip Wade a new one for both taking him and losing him. Why did Peter even feel so betrayed? He barely knew this guy. Sure, he was the first mutate Peter had ever met outside of a fight, but beyond that they obviously had little else in common. 

Peter snuck a glance at the two adults through the glass, irritated to see Wade’s huge smile as he gesticulated wildly. “I mean, he runs a bar at night. Relax. He probably doesn’t even realize Peter’s gone yet. Not to mention I caught the munchkin trying to sneak out the window. Who knows where he might have ended up if I hadn’t intervened.” It was at least a little helpful to Peter’s aching chest to see the way the man froze at that memory, dropping his hands on the table before shaking his head. “Oh, god… just the thought of that makes me want to puke a little.”

“What happened?”

Wade shrugged off Colossus's question with an uneasy chuckle. “Nothing. Nothing you need to worry about. I’ll take care of them later. The kid… He is just a magnet for trouble is all. Always ends up in the worst situations, it seems.”

“I have learned,” Colossus said with a gentle smile, reaching out and patting Wade’s hand, “that most children do not have a very good understanding of the concept of danger. It is even worse for the mutants, who have an exaggerated concept of their own mortality due to powers. Most adults are just as bad.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Wade pulled his hand away, obviously aware that he was being talked about. “Bite me.” There was an uncomfortable silence, which was made worse by the uncomfortable silence inside the playroom as the two girls continued to be as awkward as Peter was. “Anyway, how’s the professor? Not too upset at the early wake up call to locate me, I hope?”

“I think he was tempted to leave it alone,” Colossus said with an amused smile, “but when he heard the call was you he changed his mind.” 

“Probably convinced I was off killing someone and you might be able to stop me, or hopeful that you might finally be able to make me change my ways.” Yeah. It was pretty hard for Peter to believe Wade was a good person when he said things like that, even if he did know the X-Men. Then again, the X-Men surely killed people before.

“You could do so much good,” Colossus tried, picking at the large fry on the table in front of them. 

Wade scoffed. “And I do! Both in the world, and in my bank account. I bet you don’t even have a bank account, do you?” He snapped petulantly. “You are welcome for the food I payed for, by the way.”

Peter took a deep breath. He really didn’t want to listen to this anymore. He turned back to the other two mutant teens in front of him, completely baffled by the strange looks they were shooting between him, and what he had been staring at for the past several minutes. 

It took a moment for him to realize how odd he must have looked, staring through the window at Wade and Colossus with no doubt frequently changing emotions flashing across his face. So much for bad first impressions. This was the absolute worst. 

“So… how do you know…” Nega Sonic nodded at the glass partition he had been staring forlornly at, towards the merrily laughing man, who was saying something no doubt profane to the human statue going by the blank scowl of disapproval on the other’s face. 

“How do I know Wade?” Peter completed for her. She just blinked, turned to her girlfriend, who also blinked in surprise, before nodding. 

“Yeah… ‘Wade.’ ” She gave a quick, sardonic eye roll that Peter couldn’t quite interpret beyond ‘angsty teen.’ “How do you know him?”

“Um… my aunt died the other day, so my estranged uncle that I didn’t know existed showed up out of nowhere and took me in.”

Nega Sonic’s nose wrinkled in distaste. Not like she wasn’t already scowling at Peter like he was dirt. “Don’t tell me you two are related.”

Peter quickly and vehemently shook his head, “Goodness no! Yuck. And I don’t mean that because of… you know. That. ” He hooked a thumb over to Wade’s table, hoping they understood what he meant when it came to the scarring. Despite what he had just heard Wade say about him, he couldn’t help but force himself to admit while looking away from their probing gazes, “I mean… he’s really nice when he wants to be, despite all of the crude comments and unhinged behavior. Like, I am at least 85% sure he has killed people before,” that earned him two less than comforting snorts from the couple across from him. Not a good sign. “But I get along with him a bit better than my uncle? At least, so far. Uncle Weasel is a work in progress.”

Both of the girls froze. “No shit!” Nega Sonic cursed out. “The guy who owns the bar?”

Peter’s eyes widened and he nodded his head. “Um… yeah. He owns a bar. I’m not sure if it’s ‘the bar.’ That’s my uncle. Wade climbed through his window half dead,” he admitted with a chagrined smile. “First night for me in a new place, actually. Probably not the best first impression for either of us.”

Nega Sonic and Yukio looked at each other for a moment before turning back and staring at Peter, dumbfounded. “You… you are the nephew of the guy who runs Sister Margaret’s?”

Okay, their level of interest was suddenly terrifyingly uncomfortable all of the sudden. He really wished he could go back to them pretending he didn’t exist. “Yes? Do you know him or something?”

“Only by reputation,” Yukio finally spoke, her soft voice helping Peter calm down a little. “And only through Dea– Wade’s stories.”

Peter narrowed his eyes at the strange stutter. “He lives right above the bar, so it’s a bit noisy late at night. I actually was trying to sneak out when Wade caught me and dragged me here after threatening some drunk patrons.”

Yukio looked almost worried when she reached across the table, laying a hand on Peter’s arm. “You really don’t know anything about those two, do you?” Nega Sonic didn’t even look upset about the physical contact this time. 

Peter narrowed his eyes, not really knowing what they were getting at. “I mean, we just met. We have plenty of time to get to know each other. And, in case you didn’t hear Wade, I have powers too. I can take care of myself.”

Nega Sonic looked mad at that proclamation, “Sure, you say you have powers, but you’re normal!”

Peter scowled back, “Normal? What about my life seems normal?”

Yukio shook her head at her girlfriend, trying to get her to back down. “What she means is, you aren’t like us. You’re a civilian. She wants you to be safe.”

Peter really wanted to out himself as Spider-Man just to spite them for thinking he was incapable of taking care of himself, but he also really just wanted to get away from them. Telling them he was a famous vigilante was probably a surefire way to get himself enrolled at Xavier Institute. “Whatever.”

“Okay,” she looked at her girlfriend, confirming her thoughts at whatever she read in the broody expression there. Peter really didn’t like the slightly unnerved glance they traded. “Okay. How about we exchange numbers.”

Peter narrowed his eyes even more. “Why?”

“You’re a mutant, right?” Nega Sonic interrupted, pulling out her cell and pushing it across the table for Peter to add his number. “In case you have any questions, or need any help or advice. I’ll shoot you a text. Don’t hesitate to call, and we’ll see what we can do?”

While Peter didn’t exactly like the strange looks he was getting from them, it might be nice to have a contact in the hero world if he ever got into a tight spot. What was really the harm anyway? 

By the time he finished typing the number into the very nice cell, there was a commotion up front. Peter looked up to see a harried Indian man burst through the front doors of the restaurant and run straight to Wade. 

Peter slid the phone across the table. “There. My phone is kinda dead right now, so don’t expect an instant response.”

She typed out a quick message and pressed send, stuffing it back in her pocket and fixing Peter with a serious stare. “Text me back as soon as you can.”

Peter nodded just in time to see Wade and the new man race to the doors of the play place. 

“Peter!” Wade crowed urgently. “Play time’s over! Your uncle decided to close up early, and he’s throwing a fit because you decided to sneak out. We need to get you back, champ!”

Peter was happy to leave, even though he wasn’t exactly happy about who he was leaving with anymore. He really needed to find his earbuds and charge his phone so he didn’t end up overhearing things he didn’t want to overhear. It wasn’t Wade’s fault Peter heard how he actually felt about him.

“Bye,” Peter said to the two girls who were now watching the interaction with guarded expressions. Nega Sonic scowling even harder when Wade wrapped an arm around Peter’s shoulders and dragged him away. 

“Dopinder, let’s blow this popsicle stand!”

“Yes, Mr. Pool!”

Peter frowned at that odd nickname, as he was rushed to a taxi. It must have been some sort of an inside joke. Who calls someone ‘Pool?’ Maybe Wade liked swimming. He would have to ask him about it later. 

Chapter Text

The moment they got themselves into the back of the cab, Wade launched across the space to buckle Peter’s seatbelt, getting a little more up close and personal than Peter really would have liked considering what was said about him in the restaurant. He was just a kid to Wade. Which, considering the way the man conducted himself, was probably a good thing. And even if it wasn’t, what exactly did Peter want to be to him? A hero? That wasn’t going to happen with the way he looked. There was a reason Peter was bullied all his life, and it definitely wasn’t because he looked like a hero. 

It still didn’t change the fact that Wade was the first mutant to meet in his civilian life, and he already underestimated him. It was exactly why Peter preferred life in a mask. Nobody thought Spider-Man was too young for anything. Nobody viewed Spider-Man as an idiotic kid or a burden. Then again, that was exactly what Peter was since the moment his aunt died. No, from the moment his uncle died. When was he going to grow up and be more like his alter ego? Then again, wasn’t that the whole point so he didn’t get caught?

Peter turned his head to the side so he didn’t have to look at the focused, tongue half sticking out expression on Wade’s face as he reached around to click the contraption into place, fumbling in the dark for a few moments. He could feel his face flush a little at the warm breath against his cheek, but the car was pretty warm too, and he was a little indignant that Wade seemed to think he needed the help. 

“I can buckle my own seatbelt, Wade. I’m not a child.”

Wade flopped heavily next to him when he was done, knocking on the window to let Dopinder know they were ready to roll. “I know you can buckle your seatbelt. I also know that you won’t.”

“Like you won’t?” Peter snapped back. “It’s not like a car crash will kill people like us.”

Wade just hummed noncommittally. “I’ve seen people who were trained in combat, and way more powerful than yours truly, bite the dust on little more than a very, very, painstakingly well placed bar of soap.” What was it about Wade that made him word things in an eerily incriminating manner with such a chipper, carefree smile that it made Peter second guess the validity of such statements and Wade’s possible involvement in them? “Until you can grow your head back, or pull a metal pole out of your chest cavity, the seat belt stays. Weasel may not be able to kill me, but I bet if I let anything happen to his darling nephew he would definitely try a couple times.”

Peter had to admit, he was very tempted to unbuckle his seatbelt and throw himself out of the moving car, just to show Wade how capable he really was. Then again, he wasn’t sure exactly how Wade’s regeneration power worked. Sure he could grow back limbs, but how did that work with a heart attack?

Still, it was very tempting. 

The moment of stilted silence drew on, Wade completely oblivious to the way Peter had eyed the door handle for a few seconds while his own eyes flicked back and forth in the air for a few minutes. Wade’s expression changed rapidly with each tick of his neck before slashing his hand through the empty space violently as if he were aiming to hit something that only he could see. Then, he swiftly turned his attention quickly back to Peter before he could become distracted again by what Peter could only imagine had been dust particles. 

“So, what did you think of the X-brats?” Wade smoothly transitioned as if he didn’t just try to karate chop the driver’s headrest. Peter just watched the man with cautious, narrowed eyes for a few moments longer. “I would have introduced you to wolvie, but… well, I figured it would be best to start with the training wheels. He tends to stab holes in his kiddy gloves. And me, but that’s neither here nor there.”

Peter’s ears tuned out and his eyebrow twitched at the mention of ‘training wheels.’ As if he were a child that needed coddled. He most certainly didn’t need that. He definitely didn’t deserve it. 

Despite those thoughts, he wished once again he were home, back in his aunt’s apartment, and that this was all a strange dream. He wished he were sleeping in bed, about to wake up from his alarm, tug on his suit and go swinging around New York. Instead he was trapped in the back of a cab with some man he barely knew who grossly underestimated him and his abilities because he was young. 

Peter bent forward, digging the palms of his hands into his eyes at the sudden realization that he kinda did want Wade to underestimate him… didn’t he? After all, he was Spider-Man. It was all for the best. He had been leading him and his uncle on for good reason. He couldn’t trust them yet. Plain and simple. Why was he so insulted that Wade treated him like a child when that was exactly what he wanted to be seen as at this point? What was wrong with him? 

Peter didn’t even realize how much he needed the release of fighting people until he found his hand reflexively flexing with a need to punch something. Web something, at least. He wasn’t going to last a whole week in his uncle’s bar without doing something stupid. 

“They were nice,” Peter bit out bitterly. It was even more bitter on his tongue considering it was true. They had been nice in a strange, uncomfortable way. Though, Peter had to admit, most of the awkward parts were caused by him paying way too much attention to Wade’s conversation, for some strange reason. Was he that thirsty for some form of recognition, some grand acknowledgement in his abilities from the first person with powers he ever met outside his mask, that he was going to obsess about Wade’s opinion of him? “They asked for my phone number. Nega Sonic said she was going to text me.”

Wade gasped over exaggeratedly, bouncing excitedly while fanning both of his hands like Peter just fed him the juiciest gossip. “Oh no! Don’t tell me they twisted your mind and turned you lesbian too! I don’t think Weasel’s heart will be able to take it if you tell him you like girls now!”

“What?! NO! I don’t… what?”

“Oh, thank goodness,” Wade slumped into Peter’s shoulder in a way he was only used to Ned doing, arm slinging itself around his neck in a way too comfortable half hug that made Peter’s body tense and his face color in a strange mix of emotions that made his insides churn. “Don’t ever let someone or something stop you from being who you are, or doing whatever and whoever you want.”

“Oh, god!” He was quick to elbow Wade. “Stop! We aren’t having this talk!”

“Ouch! Motherfluffer! Your elbows are like freaking daggers!” Despite the complaints he was laughing like Peter was doing little more than tickling him. Still, the comment did remind Peter to pull back and be a bit more aware of his strength. 

Wade recovered quickly, a shit eating grin in place that Peter was sure would mean nothing good, “I gotta say, though, if you still have your heart set on Spidey, you should probably know I called dibs first.”

Peter blinked at the sudden change of topic, right into the topic he should be avoiding at all cost. Unfortunately, the comment piqued Peter’s morbid curiosity for reasons unknown. “But I thought you and Colossus…?” He steepled his forefingers together a couple of times, mimicking… God, Peter didn’t even want to think about what he was mimicking. 

Wade’s eyes zeroed in on the motion, mouth hanging open in shock. “What? You callin’ me a manwhore?” Peter instantly was prepared to backtrack at the offended tone of voice. Before he got the chance, however, he was slugged in the arm with a laugh. “‘Cause, like, true. I ain’t even gonna fight that one. I am. I am also older than you, which means I can legally call dibs first since I am actually an adult, so ha!” Peter’s face flamed even brighter in indignation. If his chest fluttered slightly at the fact Wade ‘claimed’ him, or Spider-Man at least, he definitely was going to keep that to himself. “But seriously, about Spidey? You gotta give me all your good sites. Me and Wease were looking through your history, you know, for safety reasons… don’t tell him I told you that. Anyway, while it is a little more tasteful than what I am use to, there was some quality content in there. Some stuff that, as his biggest fan, I feel like I should be privy to.”

“I am not having this conversation with you,” Peter finally bit out, digging his palms back into his eyes to help shield his face. 

“FINE! Keep your secrets.” Wade waved the matter off. “I will just blackmail Weasel into hacking your computer again.”

“NO YOU WON’T!”