Peter moved out of May and Ben’s apartment after Diana came to stay. She was an old friend of May’s, someone in the same sorority way back when, whose husband had died suddenly.
Being the wonderful people they were Ben and May welcomed her into their tiny home with open arms, making arrangements for her until one of her children could arrange to come back and help her. Without her husband she could no longer afford her house and the bills were piling up, so it made sense for her to move out as soon as possible and begin trying to organise the next portion of her life.
Or at least it made sense to everyone except Peter, who found himself sleeping on the living room couch, his possessions boxed out of sight while Diana made space in his room for her displaced life.
Peter didn’t actually mind that he was consigned to the couch, he was happy to give his room for any of May’s friends, but it sort of cemented for him that what was coming was inevitable. He had already been feeling cramped in his childhood home, and the hour-and a half commute to college each day was taking its toll. He also noticed that while he was growing up quickly, settling into his classes and branching out, his aunt and uncle were getting old. They still worked, probably twice as hard as anyone else they knew, but they were waking up tired and slowing down earlier in the evening. Having to both work full-time to support themselves and Peter, as well as a house, was beginning to make no sense. Especially since Peter had managed to find some stable work at the paper.
So after one of Diana’s children, Rickey, finally came and collected his mother and her things to take her back to zir’s family, Peter, Ben and May made plans.
They put Peter’s room on the market first, hoping to find a tenant, while Peter crashed between a classmate’s and Gwen Stacy’s places for a while, but after a disastrous few attempts they simply gave in. They put the house on the market and found a nice apartment on the edge of town for Ben and May, while Peter moved further in to get closer to both school and work.
It was difficult at first, after so long all living together to be split, but eventually they all settled in. Peter made trips to their place on Saturdays and Sundays, all the while doing his best to keep them from his dingy apartment. The rent was good, if only because the clientele weren’t. It also didn’t help that it needed constant maintenance and probably some doors and walls that weren’t paper thin, but it was good enough for the time being.
All of this is how Peter found himself staring at an increasingly damp ceiling one evening in September.
He had been resting on his couch (a remnant from the Parker household) when he had first felt the condensation making a home in the crook between his nose and eye. He leant up desperately hoping that he was imagining it, that the ceiling wasn’t furiously soaked through and leaking into his couch, but after a few more drops he resigned himself to the worst.
Peter managed to make it up the steps in record time, easily locating the apartment above his, only to find the door ajar and intense pop being blasted obnoxiously loudly.
“Uh, hello,” he managed, knocking, which only served to swing the door further, “Hello? I’m your neighbour underneath and-“
He stopped when he realized how dumb it was to be trying to speak into the music’s presence, so after a few deep breaths he entered the apartment. If he were lucky the tenant may have simply had to rush out and forgot a sink. He could turn it off and leave and forget this whole thing, as long as his ceiling didn’t collapse on him suddenly.
The layout to the apartment was similar was, except the kitchenette, bathroom and bedroom being to the left of the door instead of the right. Also, his wasn’t strewn in dirty clothes, empty take away boxes and what he really hope wasn’t blood in that corner.
After carefully navigating his way through the mess he made it to the bathroom. He could dimly hear the sound of a tap under the blare of the music, but it didn’t help that the door was closed, meaning someone might be in there. He almost turned away before he realized something bad might have happened, like the tenant having slipped and falling, or maybe something even worse.
Gripping the handle he took a few more calming breaths before swinging the door open expecting the worse.
He didn’t expect to see a large, scarred and incredibly conscious man filling the tiny bath-tub. He definitely didn’t expect the water to be a pinkish-red hue from some grazes to the man’s knuckles and shin.
It was no surprise then that he was totally unprepared for the man to turn to him suddenly, look him up and down twice, smile lecherously and say “Room for one more,” while patting the tubs side.
This was how Peter Parker met his upstairs neighbour Wade Wilson.
“I’m sorry I left the tap running,” Wade said casually as he trudged around his apartment for a pair of pants to complement the hoodie, underwear and towel he had so far managed to throw on (in that order). Peter merely stood in the corner closest to the door, both unable to watch or to tear his eyes away. He still had no idea what had even happened, or why he was still in this apartment. Every atom in his body was yelling to run away, but since Wade had opened his mouth the first time he’d been unable to leave. He was just so relaxed about the fact that Peter had barged into his apartment and then into his bathroom that Peter felt unable to leave, lest he somehow end up being at blame for something.
“I was completely zoned out I mean,” Wade continued completely unaware of Peter’s predicament,
“I had no idea I even had a downstairs neighbour, then suddenly here you are because I’m fucking up your ceiling.”
“It’s alright,” Peter managed to mutter, eyeing the door nervously. He had no idea what the protocol was for this situation.
“I mean don’t get me wrong,” Wade responded while attempting to wrestle himself into the cleanest pair of dirty jeans on the floor, “I usually don’t leave the tap on. Or I do, or I leave the stove on, but the stove is normally a bigger problem. Those scorch marks let me tell you- they are recent and not the first. That’s why I use the microwave but still, I’m sorry about your ceiling um-”
“Peter,” he finally supplied, realizing that while the man had managed to introduce himself and supply a torrent of apparently random information, Peter hadn’t even managed to introduce himself.
“-right, Petey,” Wade said finally coming to face him, giving him the full gaze of his attention for the first time since the entire debacle had begun. Up close Peter could see the scars were dappled across his face from the right side to the left. His right ear was choppy and disproportionate to the left, but otherwise his features seemed to have escaped the worst of it. He had a straight nose and a clear smile, and his structure was definitely visible beneath the texture of his face. But his eyes were the most striking and they were also the bit most focused on Peter right now shit-
“Right,” Peter finally managed to cough out, finally tearing his gaze away from Wade’s face to look at the door, “right, well. It’s fine. I mean. I might have to get the maintenance to look at my ceiling, but I think it’s probably alright.”
He finished awkwardly, clapping his hands together and then, realizing how dorky it must have looked, letting them drop to his sides.
“Nah, I’ll come look at it. No need to bring Logan into this, he’s fucking useless,” Wade said happily walking towards the door and motioning Peter to follow.
Two minutes later Wade had climbed onto the top piece of Peter’s couch and was poking with unmasked delight while supplying that it would be fine, unless it wasn’t, but also this feels really funny seriously come touch this Pete. This would pretty much set the tone for the next while.
The afternoon after the tub incident Peter found a six pack of beer, missing only one, resting against his door.
Wade would follow a couple of hours later, making himself at home on Peter’s couch and chatting happily about anything and everything. Which was how Peter learnt that Wade was ex-army, friends with the grumpy maintenance guy Logan and a bouncer and odd jobs man at a bar a block over.
He also learnt that Wade was aggressively flirtatious.
It surprised Peter and at first he was sure he was imagining it, but Wade kept making references to Peter’s face and ass. He was equally mortified by each.
Despite that, he found himself happily chatting to Wade for the couple of hours before he went to work and accepted an invitation to Wade’s apartment later that week for movies and tacos (“ I just feel like I gotta repay you for the ceiling Petey, the emotional trauma alone must be devastating.” “Wade, the ceiling is fine, even the mark is going away.” You poor brave boy, I’ll help you get through this time of hardship I swear.”)
After about a month they had a set routine, notable for the fact that it was utterly random. Wade oftentimes simply showed up at Peter’s place to harass him while he tried to edit photos or get school work done, bringing snacks and beer as he felt the occasion deemed it necessary.
Not that Peter didn’t return the favour, sometimes showing up at Wade’s place at random times of the morning or, once or twice, at the tail end of Wade’s shift as a bouncer.
Sometimes they’d talk for hours on end, or they’d play videogames at Wade’s, or they’d just occupy the same space. Peter learnt pretty quickly that silence wasn’t really a thing for Wade and it was pretty quickly soothing to hear Wade jabber on in the background while he read articles or simply relaxed.
He enjoyed the company, even if Wade seemed a bit unhinged, he always had something interesting to say or do and even if it got them chased out of a supermarket once under the glare of a very insulted woman and her tiny dog (“Rat, Petey, call it what it is it was a rat and it was terrifying”) it wasn’t ever anything that felt unnatural or awkward.
Peter hadn’t actually realized how much time he’d been spending with Wade until Gwen brought it up one day as they were taking a break from classwork.
“I get it Peter,” she said delicately stirring her cup of cofee, looking crisp and clean and put together in a way that was so opposite to Wade, “You’re working and studying practically full-time, and these things slip through the cracks, but I feel like we haven’t hung out in ages.”
“I know,” Peter replied smiling apologetically, “It’s been crazy, settling into this place-“
“Oh please Peter you moved in months ago get it together,”
“and keeping up with work and homework.” Peter finished ignoring Gwen’s interruption, “Plus I’ve been spending heaps of time with my friends-“
“Friend. Which is another thing,” Gwen intruded smoothly, settling her hands around her cup and smiling at Peter, “I wanted to talk about. Mr Wade Ulysses Wilson-“
“That’s not his middle name-“
“Has been monopolising your time and you know me Peter,” she said gracefully settling her hand to her chest in a mock attempt at southern belle etiquette, “I am not demanding of my friends’ time. I don’t mind that I’ve been cruelly abandoned for this towering behemoth of a man-“
“Oh come on,” Peter tried, smiling all the while, “He’s-”
“very important to you yes I can tell Peter I can tell, it breaks my heart but someday I knew you’d find a love to rival mine, I just hoped it would not be this day,” she finished by dramatically flinging the back of her hand to her head, perfectly encapsulating the movie moment. Or it would have if she hadn’t noticed Peter’s expression.
He looked like he’d swallowed something incredibly hot and freezing cold at the same time. His mouth was open slightly, lips moving minutely, and his face was a shade of red Gwen had previously only thought of as a lipstick.
“Peter,” she said dropping all airs, “Please tell me-“
“We’re not a couple, I mean we’re not in love or- or anything,” Peter finally gasped, dread curling heavily around his stomach all the while.
“Peter,” Gwen laughed, “You can’t be serious. All you talk about is Wade. ‘Wade did this, Wade said this, I can’t believe Wade ate that many in one sitting’. You smile all the time when you talk about him. You blush sometimes! Positively glow! You mean to tell me you didn’t realize that you had a crush on him, at the least?”
“I don’t, I mean,” Peter clenched and un-clenched his hands hopelessly, trying to pinpoint the moment that the conversation fell out from under him.
There were a few tense moments while Gwen watched Peter work through the motions in his head when finally he simply fell forward onto the table, narrowly avoiding spilling their drinks, and groaning.
“I’m so fucked,” he said finally, to which Gwen, in her characteristic loving cruelness replied, “Well, not currently, but I’m sure time will fix that.”
After his conversation with Gwen and the realization of what he felt, Peter became acutely aware of his every action around Wade. Each time their hands grazed while they were walking, the way he unconsciously settled his legs against Wade’s side when they shared his cramped couch while watching movies. How much Wade seemed to just occupy the space he was in so totally, making it difficult to focus on anything else. Or something equally sappy, get it together Parker.
Honestly, he doesn’t know how he didn’t realize earlier. Or how Wade hadn’t, for that matter. He seemed completely unable to control his face around Wade and it was impossible the other man hadn’t noticed him blushing or stuttering or just plain leaning into his touches all the damn time. It was getting to be ridiculous that Peter was even trying to hide it, he may as well have put a placard around his neck and-
“Yoohoo,” Wade said waving his hand in front of Peter’s face, “Earth to Petey-panda.”
“That’s not my name,” Peter finally managed to choke out.
“Whatevs, I was asking you who would win in a fight and you were totally zoned out, dreaming of electric sheep or something, which is incredibly rude.”
“Win in a fight between what?” Peter finally managed to catch up.
“I dunno, I forget, Mothra or someone. Critical stuff you are missing,” Wade replied, pouting miserably. Peter had to keep himself from tracing his features with his eyes. Which was ridiculous. Peter was an adult and he could handle a crush damnit. At least he thought he could before Wade moved suddenly and began to merciless dig into his ribs with his fingertips, dragging shocked laughter from Peter.
“You were doing it again,” Wade said, not even pausing in his tickle assault, “You were in dream land! I can tell! I was trained for this type of observation!”
Peter thought he would die trying to keep the air from escaping his lungs all at once, trying to respond breathlessly and keep in his giggles at the same time.
Finally Wade stopped his assault, panting and joining in on Peter’s laughter. When they finally calmed down Peter noticed that he had been pushed into the corner of the couch, with Wade’s form looming over him. His cheeks were flushed from laughter and his eyes were so clear and blue and-
Peter had to stop himself before he said something dumb. Stop thinking of anything and everything. It had only been a month and a bit since they’d met and begun to hang out, it was silly to feel this excited and dreadful all at once when Wade crowded him on the couch. But Wade was nice, he was caring. He seemed to actually try to make Peter laugh sometimes and his face lit up when it worked. He was handsome too, the scarring doing nothing to dampen what seemed to be his personality radiating from every bit of him. Peter knew he was self-conscious about the scars, he typically wore long sleeved shirts and an interesting array of hats to hide the worst of it, but Peter actually found them attractive in some strange way. Which is when he knew he was utterly screwed.
“Fuck,” he muttered angrily, forgetting his situation for the moment.
“No but we could be,” Wade replied smoothly, still crowding Peter, having turned back towards the television while Peter had what felt like his thousandth mid-life crisis that year.
“What,” Peter replied, a bit sharper than he meant to. It seemed to throw Wade off and for the first time he seemed to actually consider what he’d just said. Meanwhile Peter felt like an idiot. Wade had been flirting with him the whole time they’d known each other. He’d even slapped his ass once, which had left Peter a yelling wreck and Wade in stitches on the floor.
“I mean,” Wade began, eyes wide and, Peter realized, blushing under the discolouration of his skin. It was hard to see but it was there and, now that Peter thought back on it, had been there more than once. “I mean that- no offense or- I” Wade furiously stumbled over his words, buckling under the intensity of Peter’s shocked stare, not realizing it was Peter’s ‘holy-shit-how-did-I-miss-all-this’ stare and not his ‘you’re-dead-wilson’ stare.
Peter finally moved, clutching the hem of Wade’s shirt in his hands and pulling him forward with a force that meant he couldn’t back out now if he wanted to. He pushed his lips to Wade’s and screwed his eyes shut, waiting anxiously for a shove, or even a punch, some sign that he’d misinterpreted this situation terribly. It didn’t come, instead there was stillness.
Unbearable stillness, with a heavy-heaping of silence resting on its shoulders. Peter finally leant back and opened his eyes, hands still clenched in the fabric of Wade’s shirt so tightly the knuckles were turning white. Wade’s face was centimetres from his own, an expression of shock clearly etched on its features, his eyes roaming Peter’s face for some kind of sign. For his part Peter was sure he was blushing terribly, wearing an expression of the deer after the headlights turned into two tonnes of metal plus the speed of the accompanying engine.
Finally, Wade moved, pushing one hand up to clench Peter’s shoulder, the other holding him on the couch.
“I-“ Peter started, not sure what was happening in the slightest. Wade just cracked a smile in response, essentially silencing anything Peter was about to say, and leant forward. He pulled Peter practically into his lap, and hugged him so tightly Peter thought he might crack. Finally he gained some of his senses back and pushed away gently, just enough so that he could see Wade’s expression clearly.
“You should have said something Petey,” he said, his tone mocking despite his furious blush now obvious under his skin, “We could have been making out so much earlier.”
Peter laughed softly, then slowly, hesitantly, began to close the gap between them. Wade met him halfway, pushing his dry lips against his own and pulling him in tighter. Peter was sure that it was Wade who licked his tongue across his bottom lip, though he’d swear later it was Peter who started it, but slowly the kiss began to get more and more heated, each of them smoothing their hands across the others’ shoulders and back, trying to get closer. Eventually they stopped for air, each panting, faces centimetres from the other.
At some point Wade had wound up propped up against the armrest of the couch, with Peter almost sitting on top of him. The ridiculousness of the situation made Peter laugh, with Wade quickly joining in.
The laughter slowed and eventually stopped altogether, leaving Peter leaning over Wade, his crazy freaking neighbour who seriously just last week managed to set his microwave on fire with a glass of water, and smiling. Wade returned the expression for a moment, before it morphed into something else.
“So,” Wade said finally, smiling lecherously, pushing his hand under Peter’s shirt and caressing his front “bedroom’s free.”
Peter simply laughed and hopped up, making his way quickly to the bedroom with Wade in tow.