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Pride

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Peter thinks the best thing about being a villain is that you’re hated already, so there really isn’t anything  worse  one can do that will have people changing that opinion. People can hate you  more,  sure, but the fact of the matter is that once one is branded a villain, or any derivative thereof, they are disliked and, as such, public and even personal opinion matters very little at that point. 

Now, why was Peter thinking about the  tiny  list of   pros to being a supervillain in the first place? 

“It’s just Pride— everyone  goes to Pride. Tony goes to  Pride,  Clint goes to Pride...I’m pretty sure Black Widow goes to Pride. She just watches from afar because she’s cool and calm and collected and  definitely  nothing like me,” he mumbles anxiously, clutching his backpack tightly in his hands. Any tighter and the strap will rip and he’ll have to return, sheepish and red-faced, to the flea market where he gets all his backpacks from—from the little Chinese lady who always clicks her tongue at him but gives him a heavy discount for a new one, since he can barely afford his most basic necessities as is and she is fond of him for catching a thief who ran off with her box of money once.  

Except Peter doesn’t  just  want to go to Pride. 

He wants to—  

I want everyone to know,  he thinks and nearly chokes on the admission.  

And he didn’t even say that out loud.  

“WEBS!” 

Peter squawks and jumps to another building, jumping back when he notices it’s only Deadpool and he’s— 

“Whoa, I didn’t think I’d see you here this early! What are you doing hanging around this shithole lookin’ like you’re hiding somethin’? Sister Margaret’s ain’t exactly the best place to have an existential meltdown in, t-b-h. Been there, done that. Weasel called the cops on me.”  

“What...what are you  wearing ?” Peter says instead, a little breathless. Deadpool beams brightly at Peter as he does a perfect curtsy in his white and coral pink and frilly and beautiful  Regency-era dress. His mask is professionally made up in place of actual make-up on his skin and it looks, strange to say,  really good . Even the immaculately curled, golden blonde wig on Deadpool’s head looks high-quality and expensive. It makes Peter’s Pride-special Spider-Man suit that he has in his backpack look sad in comparison.  

“Do you liiiike it?” he sings. He bunches up his dress in his hands and twirls. “I made it alllll by myself!”  

“You did? Wow. Wow, Wade, that’s...that’s so awesome! I didn’t know you were  that  good at sewing! It’s incredibly beautiful and it looks great,” Peter says sincerely and the merc ducks his head bashfully. Peter’s smile hasn’t been this wide in a whole week. The merc tends to do that to him; he can be unexpectedly cute sometimes.  

“You didn’t answer my question, Itsy! What’cha doing having an angst session on the roof of Weasel's shitty bar? You could have at least chosen a kitschier place, like Taco Bell. Or Starbucks. Or neither, you could have just gone home like I do. I have an angst chair,” he adds, unhelpfully.   

“Oh, I’m not—I just, it’s not that. I just...happened to stop here on my way—I mean, I just happened to, y’know, it was close. So I stopped here,” Peter lamely explains, his shoulders slumping. He can’t  lie,  why does he even try?  

“Uh huh, uh huh, of course,” Deadpool answers, like his reply made sense. Peter's only a little thankful. The merc bunches up his dress in his hands again and walks on over to him on glass heels, by-passing him to stand in front of the ledge that overlooks the street.  

“Um. So,” Peter swallows, unused to either of them being quiet for long.  

“Y’know what I love about Pride?” Wade suddenly says, nostalgically. Peter tenses, ready to flee if need be. Leave it to Wade to be blunt. “The acceptance! The sheer support everyone throws at you when you’re yourself. Wanna hear a real joke? Last year, I went  maskless! Can you believe how manic I was last year? Holy fuck, I needed to be put on meds stat, but I did it. I was fuckin’ terrified, baby boy, you wouldn’t believe it, I don’t take off my mask even to  shit!  And I take some mean shits. No, really, sometimes you  gotta ’ take deep breaths between dumps, you feel? Don’t eat the burritos down by 36th,” he explains. Peter chuckles. “But Pride was the only time, aside from Halloween, that people  didn’t  actively avoid me on the streets. Any other time and I’m a goddamn  nightmare , am I right?” 

“Your face isn’t a nightmare, Wade,” Peter says softly.  

“It was still the best time I ever had since before my stint in Weapon X,” Deadpool continues, patting his dress. “I wish it was like that every day, but I can take two days out of the year.”  

Peter quietly steps up beside him. “It shouldn’t be like that. You should feel comfortable every day.”  

“But I can’t, coz people are shitty and they’re fucking assholes and they hate if things look or act differently than themselves for one second,” Deadpool shrugs. Peter clutches his backpack tighter, dropping his gaze to his feet. “It’s just how it is. No need to run from it or get all bent outta’ shape over it! Haters gonna’ hate, like the wise Taylor Swift once said! You just gotta’ be fab enough not to care!” and he throws his hair over his shoulder and strikes a pose that has Peter giggling under his breath.  

“That’s your grand advice? Just be fab enough not to care?” 

“Umm, yeah, duh, it’s the same advice a therapist will give you after three hours and I gave it to you in five minutes and forfree so you’re welcome.” 

“... Thanks, Wade,” Peter says after a moment. He’s glad he has a mask on. “I guess you’re right.”  

It’s quiet for a long moment. 

“I’m genderfluid.”  

Peter darts his eyes over to Wade quickly.  

“And pansexual, which kinda’ goes hand-in-hand, if you really think about it, like pie with a can of Mountain Dew,” Wade says in his trademark cheerful tone. Peter’s lips twitch at the comparison.  “People don’t take kindly to that, though. It sucks, a lot, especially since I look like  this, ” he gestures to his, admittedly, extremely muscular and cut body.  Masculine , Peter’s mind goes to, but his eyes get stuck on the frill and soft colors of his dress. He thinks back to Deadpool’s wide variety of clothing choices, pronoun choice,  word choice,  and thinks he shouldn’t be surprised. He feels guilty for not noticing. “But I don’t necessarily  feel  like it all the time,  y’know ? I just look like this. I can’t help it and, trust me, I’ve  tried .”  

Peter feels like an outsider, too.  

It really does suck.  

“It’s not...” 

“Hmmmm?” Wade says, cocking his head down at him. The whites of his mask's eyes narrow almost playfully at Peter, seeming to curl up with the winged eyeliner.  

“I’m not...it’s not that interesting,” he mumbles, then hastily adds: “For me! I mean, for me. It just...is for me.”  

“But of course it is, Spidey! Everything you say and feel matters! Don’t put yourself down like that, that’s my schtick!”   

“No, I don’t mean it like that, I just...it’s just, my aunt —she raised me, but since my ex, um, passed away she just thinks I’m...stagnating, I guess? She keeps trying ,” Peter tries again, unsteadily. “To. To set up blind dates, with her friend’s daughters or other women she meets at the shelter she volunteers at, but—it's not, I mean, it was easy when I was fifteen. A lot of things were easy when I was fifteen and that was—I wasn’t even sure, until I got older...” He swallows. He doesn’t really know how to say it. “It feels wrong, like I’m disappointing her again. I disappoint her a lot because...I lie. A lot, about Spider-Man. I know she cries at night...”  

A large hand falls on the crown of his head and gently rubs it. Peter leans into it, feeling worn out. His backpack falls on the floor by his feet.  

He can’t stop talking even if he tried.  

“She just wants me to be happy,  but it’s more—complicated, than that? I lost more people than she knows, it’s not just  her  I lost I lost others and it just—stacks. It stacks and I handle it really badly. She doesn’t— know  about Spider-Man or... that... and I don’t want to tell her about either. I don’t want to tell anyone about  anything  if I can help it. But she’ll still love me if I do. She said she would, no matter what. No, I know she will , but...she’ll be... sad ,” Peter ends on that for a long moment. “She doesn’t mind it but she doesn’t... like it , either.”  

It’s quiet for a moment as Peter gathers himself.  

“I just don’t wanna’ make her sadder .”  

Wade’s heels click on the concrete as he goes to stand behind Peter’s hunched form, dropping his chin on top of his head and leaning forward like cats do to someone they’re fond of. Peter bites the inside of his lip because it feels so  nice  and safe, especially when Wade’s hands come up to rest gently on his shoulders, like he’s just holding on when Peter web-slings them somewhere. Peter curls into himself a little more, fitting into Wade’s chest like he was a blanket he could hide beneath.  

“It’s not worth making yourself sadder, though. Nothing is, Spidey, and that’ll be hard to swallow at first,” Wade says softly. “There isn’t an easy way to do any of this, and I've been alive  way  longer than you have which is why I have  huge reservations  about us being shipped together by our fanbase on Twitter, no matter what bullshit I say, okay, you’re like...so  young  compared to me. This proves it! Like, not young-young. That’s gross. I didn’t mean it like that. I  know  you’re in college just by the way you have a panic attack when I say ‘Deadline’s in two hours!’”  

“Not funny."

“Totes funny!” Wade sniggers, then sobers up. “I just mean, I’ve been alive a long ass time  and learned to swallow those hard pills, ya’ feel?” 

“Really?” 

“Yep, I was alive back when taking a tire-iron to the head was a good way to beat the gay outta’ someone in the 70’s and a little further back still.” 

“Still happens now,” Peter mumbles. He feels Wade huff out a wry laugh.  

“True. Don’t move to Alabama or Missouri. Actually, don’t move to any red state if you’re any type of minority.”  

Peter snuggles deeper. “So. You’re old.”  

“Yessire.” 

Do it,  a voice hisses inside of himself.  Tell him! Ask him! Do it. Show him you’re interested  like that .  

“...It... doesn’t bother me.” 

Coward.  

“It should ,” Wade sings a little. “You’re in your roaring twenties, but old enough to know—” 

“I do know better,” Peter interrupts. “I do. Okay? I do. That's why this is so hard now. I have...a lot to lose. It's not so much that I’m afraid of what my family will think as I am of New York. The media’s opinion of me changes every hour, and I’m not an Avenger or a member of the Fantastic Four. I’m just Spider-Man. I don’t have a base to rely on if things go...badly.”  

Wade hums thoughtfully.   

“You do got yourself in a pickle, huh?”  

“Huge pickle. I don’t even like pickles,” Peter mumbles. “Or I do. But not literal pickles. Those are kinda' gross. Wait, no, I messed up, I take it back—!”  

“I’m never gonna’ let you live that down, but I’m shelving your statement for now,” Wade cuts him off and Peter whines high in his throat, slouching into Wade’s chest as the man tries not to cackle. “Yanno’? In all these years, I haven’t figured out a way to make it easy. People will either accept it or they won’t. You can try to teach ‘em, but a lotta’ ‘em don’t take kindly to that even though they say they  want  to learn. Tends to go in one ear and out the other, but you get some people who  do  listen and want to understand. Once you find ‘ em , you keep ‘ em . You just  gotta ’ take what you can and run with it, Itsy,” he hangs a little more on top of Peter, protectively. His fingers dig into his shoulder. “But maybe, since you make some good points...not this year, yeah? People don’t get any nicer— trust me— and Pride will be there every year. Even if they shut it down because the government is a bigoted piece of shit, it’ll  always be there, y’know? We just have to keep fighting for it however we can.”  

Peter feels something unclench inside of him at that. He feels so  relieved , a stress and anxiety he felt would never leave just dissolving at his comforting words.  

He turns a little in Wade’s hold so his cheekbone rests against his pec, fingers clutching at his dress loosely. 

“I feel guilty for not going,” he confesses into his chest. 

“Nonono, baby boy! You can be supportive in other ways. You can volunteer or, actually, fuck that, you’re Spider-Man, how many hate crimes have you stopped?” 

“Lost count.” 

“You are the  best  help we can get right now, Webs,” Wade says, and his words are bright and grateful. “You should never feel pressured into doing this.  It’s  gotta ’ be your choice, always your choice. That's another thing I’m a super stickler for— consent.  I’ve fucked up people pretty bad back in my  unaliving  days for crossing that line,  lemme ’ tell  ya ’! Or not. Because  unaliving  is bad and I don’t do it anymore, of course, I totally don’t— whatever Weasel tells you is lies, I’ve been a good noodle! ” Wade hisses into Peter’s ear and he giggles, burying his face further into his chest. “Oh! You're so  precious!  You're a precious spider! You're so  cute , oh, my gosh, the cutest spider to ever skitter into my arms,” Wade squeals, losing all pretense and squeezing his huge arms around Peter, lifting him off his feet as he laughs harder—especially Wade begins to scour his arms and sides for tickle spots, booming out a laugh when he finds a spot and now has a  wriggly  spider in his arms, a wriggly, happier, spider who is the absolute  best—  

“HEY!  Quit  gaying  it up here and come back down to clean up this mess, Wade! You  know  how hard it is to get that spray off my walls, you sack of shit, you said you’d wallpaper this time!” Weasel shouts, glaring daggers into Wade’s back. “I’m takin’ the repair costs outta’ your next paycheck—” 

“I will shoot your testicle,” Wade snarls, whipping out a gun from somewhere beneath the many layers of his dress.  

Peter is faster. 

“No—it’s fine, it’s fine,” he laughs softly. “I’m not upset.”  

Wade looks torn, like he believes him but also doesn’t.  

Really, I’m not,” Peter wiggles out of Wade’s arms, squeezing his wrist when Wade makes a noise of discontent. “Sorry, Weasel. I’ll be outta’ your hair in a few. Just took a breather here.”  

Weasel looks at him suspiciously. “Whatever. Just make Wade clean up the rainbow mess he made of my walls, alright? When beer and  other  fluids get on it, it does  not  look right, man. This is why I was tellin’ him to wallpaper! Then I don’t have to worry about that...” 

“Use wallpaper next time, Wade,” Peter repeats and Wade grumbles but agrees. “And at least hire someone to help Weasel clean up the walls? I’d help but, um...well, I can probably take an hour or two out of my patrol to help.” 

“I’ll do it, honey, you don’t have to worry ‘bout it,” Wade waves off. “I like giving Weasel a hard time, but not the fun way, ew.” 

“Ya’ll going to Pride?” Weasel ignores that jab, scrolling through his phone for something. “Coz it just started. Aren’t you supposed to be in the parade, Wade? You were bragging about it for the last week and a half.” 

“MAYBE! What’s it to you?”  

“It means you’re a liar if you weren’t in it after all.” 

“I TELL NO LIES!”  

“What, you were supposed to be in the parade?! Wade! Oh no,” Peter says, horrified that he’d taken up so much of his time. “You’re late!”  

“I’m late! I'm late!” Wade sings. “Don’t worry your cute little button nose about it, Spidey, I can make it there in heels!” he says as he skitters across the rooftop.  

Weasel rubs his face when he nearly trips, but saves himself and does a superhero landing instead, complete with his hands on his hips. 

“Ta-da!” 

“I can drop you off!” Peter rushes, looking down at his cracked phone to check the time. “It’s along my general patrol route, anyway, I can drop you off at the parade and that way you don’t have to damage your shoes or your knees. Again.”  

Superhero landing,” Wade whispers, giggling when Spidey leaps over to him and quickly, but carefully, picks him up in a bridal carry, ensuring his dress doesn't crumple in his arms. “Ooh! Ask a lady first before you sweep her off her feet, Spidey, you might never get rid of me if you don’t!”  

Weasel looks bored. 

“I’m gonna’ watch it from the TV. Have fun, Wade, try not to break your ankle. No, seriously, don’t, that shit was brutal and you’ll be on live TV this time. Think of the children, and my stomach,” Weasel drawls, turning on his heel to leave.  

“Right,” Peter breathes out sharply once the door shuts behind Weasel. He looks down at Wade. “Um. Pronouns? I should have...asked before. Sorry. I’m bad at this. I’ll-I’ll work on being better.”  

Wade cocks his head, quiet for a moment. “They/them.”  

“Right. Got'cha. Okay, hold on,” Peter takes a running start, thwiping his way to the parade while Wade watches the floor pass beneath their feet with oo’s and aaah’s, like Spider-Man has never given them a ride on his webs before. Before long, the screams and shouts catch Peter’s attention along with the music and general mayhem that came with parades. He stops atop a building, scanning the streets below him. “Do you know where you’re supposed to be?” 

“Yep! I have a float.” 

“Really? That’s awesome,” Peter blinks, impressed and a little envious. That sounded like such a good time! But every time Peter glanced down at the hundreds of thousands of people below, his stomach swooped in a way it never did before, even when he first leapt off a building to web-sling when he was fifteen. “Can you spot it? We can go to the start of the parade if you want? I think this is the middle.” 

“I’m towards the back—oh! Right there! I see it coming down the street!” Wade points, and Peter spots the  very  decadently designed float complete with people donning various risqué Deadpool suits. It was red and black and Peter thinks Icona Pop is blasting from the speakers. He is particularly fond of the men in unicorn and Hello Kitty balloon suits that line the sides of the float. 

“Um.” 

“Oh, don’t worry, only, like, half of them are actual bad guys.” 

“Wade?!”  

“Just kidding. But, seriously, don’t look at them too closely,” Wade says, squirrely, and Peter tries not to stare too hard at the faces as he swings up and then lands on the float, swallowing when the crowd gasps and goes deafening as Deadpool swings his arms out and cackles into the mic.  

“HELLO NEW YORK! DEADPOOL IS HERE!”  

Peter manages to salute and  not  have his voice crack as he says, “Happy pride! I’m just doing a drop off delivery!” and he takes a running start and jumps,  thwiping  to a building as the crowd shrieks and a chant of his name goes through them. And for a moment, just a brief moment, Peter considers doing a wide arc back to Wade and hanging out; switching out his suit from the neck down to the representative color of the Pride flag—the suit he had sown years ago. The suit he hasn’t been able to wear, not because he doesn’t want to be supportive, but because it’ll come with questions about why he wore the suit  now  of all the years he’s been active and Peter is such a bad liar.  

Peter also doesn’t want to lie about  this  

If they press, he’ll come out to New York City  and he—he— 

Not yet,  Peter thinks as he swings up to a building and waves down at the crowd, continuing his patrol route around the parade as he did every year—out of sight, out of mind, but helpful and supportive nonetheless.  

Next year, maybe,  Peter thinks with some resolve and a little too much fondness, watching Wade belt out the lyrics to  Dancing Queen  while the crowd sings along.