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Petey and Wade discuss the proper way to go about vigilantism (and maybe they fall in love too)

Chapter Text

Peter could not have been more surprised when Deadpool pushed his way into the Daily Bugle’s break room through the window (twelve stories up, but who’s counting?) and scanned the room. Jameson’s secretary, Betty, (who Peter had gone on one date with before she’d let slip that she hated Spiderman and, well, the magic had been lost) let out a little shrieking noise and made a run for the door. Deadpool gave her a flippant wave as she fled but didn’t follow.

Peter was only in the break room to warm up some left-over soup Aunt May had pushed into his hand before he’d left the house that morning. For some reason, this break room only had one microwave and a mini-fridge despite having at last count seven coffee pots. He tore his eyes away from where Deadpool was standing menacingly (if one can be menacing with fluffy, fingerless, panda gloves on one’s hands) by the window still scanning the room, in order to check how much time was left on the soup in the microwave. A minute and forty seconds. Damn.

Deadpool still wasn’t talking, which was slightly more worrying than the glock he was holding and the katanas strapped to his back. Peter, as Spiderman, had had a few run-ins with Deadpool, and he’d learned in those short periods that Deadpool just didn’t do silent. It wasn’t a thing he was good at. And Peter, still as Spiderman, was totally ok with that, because Peter tended to ramble a lot as well, and it was nice to find someone to commiserate with. They’d even grabbed hot dogs once and sat on a roof to eat and talk. It had been a nice ending to a nice night of crime-fighting. Deadpool could talk the ears off a china doll. He was never silent, except, apparently, now he was.

Peter glanced at the other two people left in the room. Jeff was an editor’s assistant, and he looked like he was about to piss his pants. Carol was higher up but had been stealing staplers from management for the past three years and Peter didn’t think she’d last much longer, not with Jameson in charge, but maybe Jameson wouldn’t have to fire her because she looked about to die of fright. Peter realized belatedly that he should probably also be looking at least a bit scared. But, meh, work sucked, (read as: Jameson sucked) and he just couldn’t bring himself to care. He was starting college in the fall, so for this one summer he was free from school, but Jameson had obviously taken that to mean that it was hunting season on Peter’s free time and he was exhausted from running around taking photos for every article Jameson could even think of having written. So, meh.

“Alright,” Deadpool said, finally breaking his silence, “I’m just going to ask this once.”

Jeff squeaked and took a step back. Carol clutched at her heart and dropped her bag, scattering staplers across the floor. The microwave beeped and Peter removed his soup which he began to eat with a plastic spoon. It was broccoli cheddar and divine. He hummed.

“Which one of you asshats is P. Parker?” Deadpool asked, waving his glock around.

Jeff and Carol simultaneously pointed wavering fingers at Peter and then made a break for the door. Peter narrowed his eyes at them and took another slurp of soup.

“What can I do ya for?” Peter asked. He should probably try acting at least a little scared. There was, after all, a mercenary pointing a gun at him in his place of work. But, he actually liked Deadpool, and it was hard to pretend to be frightened of someone he thought was that funny, so…meh.

“P. Parker?” Deadpool asked, and Peter could tell he was smiling, even through his mask. He holstered the gun and stepped forward, hand outstretched. “Nice to meet you. I have a business proposition. You’re going to take it and it’s going to be awesome.”

Peter quirked a smile at the masked man and shifted his soup to one hand so he could finish Deadpool’s handshake. “What kind of business proposition? I hope it doesn’t have anything to do with, you know, killing people. I’m just a simple photographer.” Not that he really thought Deadpool would ask a civilian to help out with murder, but it was best to cover all his bases.

And then Peter’s stomach dropped and he had to clutch the bowl of soup to his chest just so it wouldn’t splatter on the ground. What if this wasn’t a civilian deal? What if Deadpool had figured out Spiderman’s secret identity and had come to confront him about it? What if this was blackmail? Or worse? Deadpool was an ok guy, but that did not mean that Peter trusted him with his secret identity. That would be disastrous.

Deadpool flapped his hands, obviously misreading Peter’s expression, because the next words out of his mouth were, “Don’t be worrying your little head now, darlin’. I’m not here to unalive you or nothin’, I just want to talk to you about some of your photos concerning the friendly neighborhood Spider-hottie.”

Peter wasn’t sure he’d ever felt such relief piled on top of embarrassment. Thank god Deadpool hadn’t figured out who he was but, uh, Spider-hottie? Really?

“Uhhh,” Peter said articulately.

Deadpool pulled a newspaper from behind him (from a pocket? From not a pocket?) and flipped it over to show a large black and white photo of Spiderman. Peter recognized it as one he’d rigged to take during a fight with Doc Ock a few weeks previous. Deadpool tapped one gloved finger against the words below it which Peter knew read: Photographer: P. Parker.

“That’s you, right?” Deadpool asked. “You’re the photo-guy who takes all these sweet pics of Spidey.”

Peter nodded slowly.

“Oh good!” Deadpool said and quickly folded the newspaper up and shoved it into what Peter hoped was his back pocket. “First, Mr. Parker, Sir, let me say what an honor it is to be talking to the man who can make Spidey’s ass look as fine in 2D as it does in real life.” His hands were clasped together and pressed to his chest. Peter would not have been surprised if Deadpool was also batting his eyelashes beneath his mask.

“Spiderman’s…ass…” Peter said slowly. He could feel heat rising in his cheeks and tried to will it away.

Deadpool nodded emphatically. “Oh hells yeah! I wanna tap that so hard…” He trailed off, his eyes focused in the middle distance.

Peter thought that maybe this called for him vomiting. It seemed like something that would be appropriate to do. Or laughter? Should he be disgusted or find this hilarious? Or maybe he should be thinking about how annoying it was to be cornered by a mercenary in his place of work. Yeah, he should probably be feeling that emotion.

But, he didn’t think he was feeling any of those emotions, at least none that he recognized. He didn’t want to vomit, or mime vomiting for that matter, and he didn’t want to laugh, and he didn’t want to yell. If he was being honest, he was in a state of emotionless shock (which may or may not be an oxymoron) and so had no idea what he should be feeling or what he wanted to feel or any of that jazz.

Which Peter supposed, after a moment of contemplation, might be a good thing considering that Deadpool didn’t seem to be leaving any time soon.

“But!” Deadpool finally said, shaking his head and startling Peter, who had also been staring off into the middle distance, “That’s not what I came here to talk about, Mr. Parker, sir.”

“Oh my god,” Peter found himself saying, without any input from his brain whatsoever, “you can call me Peter.”

“Oooohhh,” Deadpool simpered, “does that mean you like me?”

Peter found himself laughing after all, and with wide eyes but a smile on his face he said, “More like, I just turned eighteen and I don’t think I’m old enough to be a ‘sir’ to anyone, you feel?”

“Wowza,” Deadpool said, “hot jailbait alert.”

Peter rolled his eyes. “I just said I’m eighteen. Full adult alert more like it.” He downed the rest of his soup and placed it on the counter where there was no sink. He’d wash it in the bathroom later, or wrap the bowl in paper towels and wash it at home. Whichever one made him feel less like a slob at that moment. “Anyway, you said you wanted to talk to me for an actual reason, right? Well go on then!”

Deadpool sighed, long and suffering, as if he were the one being hindered by this. “Well, like I said so prettily to you before, baby boy, I really like the way you capture Spidey’s fine ass. I will throw cash in your face if you make me look as good.”

Peter’s eyebrows scrunched up. The combination of “fine ass” and “make me look as good” had him blurting out “I don’t do porn” before he could think.

Which, actually, yeah, that’s how most of his conversations went, him spitting out words before they reached his brain.

Deadpool made an exaggerated disappointed noise and sagged a little. “Awwww, but I wanted to be in a porno! Adult films for the win! Put three X’s in there, baby!” Then he bounced back up again. “Nah, I’m just joshing with you, Parker. See, this is a much more above-board business proposition. I promise. No porn. Unless it’s co-starring you.” He leered down at Peter which for some reason made Peter feel much better. He could handle joking about porn. That was a safe gray area. “Damn, you’ve got an ass almost as fine as Spidey’s!”

“Hey!” Peter objected putting his hands on his hips. “What makes his ass better than mine, huh?” And then he contemplated throwing himself down a flight of stairs because why the fuck would he say that? To DEADPOOL???

Deadpool snickered. “No, we’re not getting into a who’s-ass-is-best competition, unfortunately,” he said, but it didn’t seem to be directed at Peter so he let it go. “No,” Deadpool reiterated, and then focusing back at Peter said, “No, I want you to make me look like a hero.”

Peter blinked and for a moment didn’t speak. He scratched the back of his head. “Alright, I’m going to give it to you straight, Deadpool, I am, like, one-hundred-percent confused right now. Could you run that by me again?”

“I. Want you,” he said slowly, “to make me look. Like a hero.”

Peter blinked again and cocked his head to the side. “What, like a makeover or something? ‘Cause I don’t know my way around a blush palette any more than I know how to make porn.”

Oh god, Peter, he thought to himself, stop talking about porn!

Deadpool let out a little giggle before he could stop it, and then straightened his shoulders once more, seeming to shake away the humor. “No, I want you to take my photo like you do Spidey’s. Then everyone will see how much of a hero I can be.”

“You rhymed,” Peter felt the need to point out.

“I do that sometimes,” Deadpool confided in a whisper, as if he were sharing some secret that no one else knew.

“Alright,” Peter said, “we’ve got a lot of topics to tackle concerning…everything you just said. Let’s start with: why do you want to look like a hero? For example, aren’t you a mercenary? There’s not much hero-ing there, just murdering people for money.” Peter realized belatedly that he probably shouldn’t be complaining to the mercenary about mercenaries, because well, mercenaries kill people and Peter was a people. He didn’t particularly want to die. “Not that I don’t think you could be a hero…” he winced, because now it sounded like he was backpedaling, “but, you know…” he trailed off, unsure how to move forward after having shoved his foot into his mouth.

“I retired.” He said it like it was common knowledge and he was annoyed that he kept having to repeat himself.

“Ah,” Peter said understandingly, which was a huge lie because he didn’t understand jack shit.

“Right? So I retired from unaliving people for moolah,” he rubbed his fingers and thumb together in the symbol for ‘cash,’ “but people won’t leave me alone about it. Baby boy, you have no idea how annoying it is having people harass you to kill their wives or husbands or ex-kidnappers or whatever only to get pissed when you tell them you’ve retired. They then try to kill you.”

“Uh, no,” Peter agreed, “I can’t say I’ve ever had that happen to me.”

“Well it’s no fun.” He crossed his arms and pouted.

“So you want to look like a hero… so people won’t assume you’re still a mercenary?”

“Exactly, Parker! If they see that I’m a hero they’ll stop coming for me, ya see?”

Peter nodded slowly. “Wouldn’t it be easier than to just be a hero? Or act heroically? If you do enough good things you’ll get into the paper eventually.”

“But I have!” he whined. “I haven’t killed anyone in months!”

“Uh…” Peter squinted at the mercenary. The ex-mercenary. Whatever. “Not killing people doesn’t actually equal being a hero. You know that, right?”

Deadpool made an intrigued noise. “So what does it take to be a hero?”

Peter shrugged. “I don’t know. Saving people? Rescuing hostages and stopping robberies? That sort of thing?”

Deadpool crossed his arms and cocked his head to the side. He looked like he was contemplating something. “But…without unaliving them.” The sentence sounded like a statement, but Peter nodded anyway.

“You got it. Don’t kill people, and stop people from being killed. A motto to live by.”

Deadpool was silent for a moment before beginning to bounce on his toes. “Do you think Captain America would be impressed? Or Spiderman?”

“If you became a hero?” Peter felt his lips relaxing into a smile without his volition. “Yeah. I think they probably would.”

“Yes!” Deadpool fist-pumped the air. “I’m going to be a he-ro, I’m going to be a he-ro,” he sing-songed.

Peter laughed. “Yes. Deadpool the crime-fighting ex-merc with a mouth. I can see it now.” Then another of his questions popped to the forefront of his brain and he paused. “I do want to know why you think that my taking photos of you could help you out.”

“You take a lot of pictures of Spidey,” Deadpool pointed out unnecessarily. “And you make him look,” he shuddered and made a moaning noise, “delicious.”

Peter found himself blushing again. “Ok, maybe, I mean, let’s never talk about this again, but the articles that go along with those photos aren’t good at all. They cast him in a really bad light, the worst light. Jameson hates Spiderman more than Hitler. I mean, Jameson hates Hitler less than he hates Spiderman. I don’t mean that Jameson and Hitler are having a competition about who can hate Spiderman more. Hitler is dead.”

At that Deadpool looked completely thrown, and Peter discovered that he found that adorable. And what the ever-loving fuck did that mean? Peter chalked it up to having met him before, already having a soft spot for the merc—ex-merc, from his time hero-ing around New York.

“Do they?” Deadpool asked. “I’ve never actually read any of the articles.”

Peter chuckled. “Seriously? You broke in here and made three of my coworkers run screaming from the room and you didn’t even read the articles? They all suck! Deadpool, if I may call you that,” the ex-merc nodded, “dude, Jameson’s favorite nickname for Spiderman is ‘Menace.’ And if they’re that rude to a superhero, what do you think they’d say to an actual, well, antihero?”

Deadpool crossed his arms over his chest and once again proceeded to pout. “You could have given the photos to someone else. Someone nicer.”

“Hah! And lose my job? I don’t think so.”

Deadpool drew one of his guns and pointed it unerringly at Peter’s head. “I could make you do it. I can be really very persuasive when I want. No really, I can!”

Peter leveled him with an unimpressed look. “No. You really couldn’t.”

“Is that a challenge?” He gasped dramatically.

“I don’t know, Deadpool, would you really shoot me?”

Deadpool looked at his gun and then replaced it in his holster. He sighed. “I guess not, sweet cheeks.

Peter grinned at the man. “There you go. A real hero after all.”

Peter heard the stamp of many feet coming down the hall before it registered for Deadpool, but it wasn’t but a few seconds later that Deadpool was swanning out the window with all the flare and drama that Peter had come to expect of the now ex-merc.

By the time three armed police officers had burst into the break room Deadpool was long gone and Peter had poured himself a mug of coffee. He saluted the officers with the mug and gave them a winning smile.

Chapter Text

Peter had thought that was the end of it. Deadpool had looked up P. Parker ‘cause he thought he could help him, it hadn’t worked out, that was that.

In this, like in most other things concerning his life, Peter was wrong.

It wasn’t two days later that Peter was leaving the Daily Bugle, ready to just go home and sleep, when he came face to face (face to mask?) with Deadpool once more. Peter froze and clutched his messenger bag a little closer to his side. He gulped. He didn’t know what Deadpool wanted, but by the way the man was staring at Peter and not moving on made Peter think that Deadpool wanted, well, him. For some reason or another. He gulped again.

“Is there something I can help you with?” he asked the ex-merc after a moment of awkward silence.

“Walk with me, camera-boy,” Deadpool said, and then gestured widely to the bit of sidewalk in the direction Peter had already been walking down.

Peter grunted and let go of his messenger bag, but when Deadpool stepped back into the stream of traffic Peter followed. He was curious, sue him! (no, don’t)

They were halfway down the block before Deadpool spoke, Peter keeping stride with the older man easily even though Deadpool had longer legs. Sometimes spider-fueled energy came in handy. “Ok, Petey-boy, I need you to teach me how to be a hero.”

Peter let out a sharp bark of laughter. “You want me to teach you how to be a hero?” He remembered, almost belatedly that Deadpool didn’t know that Peter Parker was the ‘masked vigilante’-slash-‘menace’ known as Spiderman. His humor fled him. “Why?”

“C’mon,” the man begged, clutching his clasped hands beneath his chin like some southern belle, “please? I really need the help.” He made vague kissing sounds that caused Peter to relax more despite himself.

“Ok,” Peter said slowly, “why would you possibly choose me to help you figure out how to be a hero?” He held his breath while he waited for Deadpool to answer. He didn’t think Deadpool had figured him out, yet, but it never hurt to play it safe.

Deadpool shrugged. “You seemed to know what you were talkin’ ‘bout the other day. Plus, you’re like Spidey’s number one stalker.” Peter fake gagged but Deadpool ignored him. “You paparazzi around Spidey all the time, and I know he’s a hero, so you must have some idea on how to do that thing I just said.”

“Just because I take photos of Spiderman for the Daily Bugle does not mean that I know what it takes to be a hero.”

Deadpool scoffed and skipped ahead of few steps only to spin and begin walking backwards, facing Peter. “You knew that I shouldn’t unalive people. That’s pretty important maybe.”

Peter rolled his eyes. “I’m actually pretty sure that’s both common knowledge and common sense.”

Deadpool shrugged. “You say that, but I caught a mugger last night and I wasn’t sure whether it would be appropriate to stab him or not. And if not, what do I do with him? I can’t just let him walk away, he did a no-no, but I can’t kill him? It’s confusing, I’m confused. All the confusion, Parker. All of it.”

Peter stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. “Did you kill him?” his voice was dry and he found himself hoping against hope that the answer was no. He was rooting for Deadpool, knew the man could make it if he tried.

Deadpool flapped his hand, unconcerned. “Psshaw! ‘Course not! You told me that already. Jesus, Parker, you got old-timers syndrome or something?”

Peter rolled his eyes but couldn’t stop the slight smile that lit up his face. His shoulders relaxed as some tension eased from him. “Well good. Murder is a no-go, ok? Also, it’s pronounced Alzheimer’s, but I’ll let it go because you didn’t kill someone.”

Deadpool jumped into the air and then held his hand out for a high-five which Peter graciously returned. “See, Parker-baby? I need you to be my moral compass or, who knows?” He shrugged, “Maybe I’ll accidentally kill someone or something.”

Peter narrowed his eyes but the smile didn’t leave his face. “Are you blackmailing me, Mr. Pool?”

Deadpool let out a delighted chuckle. “Come on, sweetcheeks. Let me treat you to tacos to celebrate our new relationship. You’ll be my moral compass, and I’ll promise not to murder anyone.”

“And buy me tacos,” Peter put in, because he knew how much Deadpool loved Mexican food (anyone who’s had the pleasure of spending any amount of time with Deadpool knew that he liked Mexican food) and if he was going to be stalked by an ex-mercenary he might as well be getting free food out of the deal.

“And tacos!” Deadpool agreed with a yell. Some passersby turned their head, but seeing a guy in a red suit and mask with swords and guns, quickly went back to minding their own business.

“You know,” Peter said as they continued onward, led by Deadpool’s unerring ability to hunt down quality Mexican, “what with your complete acceptance that Spiderman is a hero, I gotta wonder why you came to me and not him.” And wasn’t the irony in that statement just overwhelming? “I mean, he’s a hero. I’m not. He’s got to be able to give you more tips than a bystander could.”

Deadpool shrugged but looked away. The man fiddled with his glove, pinching the stretchy material, making the webbing distort between his fingers. In a quieter voice he said, “Spidey’s a real hero, you know?” Peter blushed, warmed by that comment, but didn’t turn away. Deadpool stretched his fingers out, looked at them and then placed them on his hips, determined. “And I’m going to woo him. Only way to do that is to prove I’m a hero first.” Peter inhaled sharply, shock shuddering down his spine, and began hacking when he accidentally inhaled some spit.

Deadpool slapped his back a few times, not actually being helpful and probably giving Peter some light bruises that would be gone by morning anyway. “There, there, kid. But that should teach you not to eat with your mouth open.”

“What?” Peter said through a strangled cough, “We’re not eating yet!”

Deadpool looked around in confusion. “Huh, I could have sworn we would have appeared at the restaurant before now.” He shrugged. “Well whatever. Don’t die either way.”

“No,” Peter said, “shut up, rewind. You’re going to woo Spiderman? Woo? As in, court? Proposition? Ask on a date?”

Deadpool nodded sagely. “Duh! Have you seen that ass? Hot damn! So I need to become a hero first, impress the guy, you know? And he can’t be impressed if he taught me the hero stuff, ‘cause he’d’ve seen all the rough edges. That’s why you gotta teach me.”

“Because you want to woo Spiderman,” Peter deadpanned, his mouth in a hard line.

Deadpool shrugged, looking slightly self-conscious. “Well, yeah, and because I want to meet Captain America and have him like me. And ‘cause Wolvie won’t stop giving me shit ‘cause I keep, ya know, unaliving people for money.”

Peter’s mouth softened. “Alright, I’ll help. I can’t guarantee about the wooing thing,” Peter shuddered, “but I can at least give you pointers on how to not be a villain, or an anti-hero or whatever.”

“Great!” And then Deadpool looked up and cooed. “And look! We get Mexican after all. Casa, sweet casa." He shoved the door open to a dimly-lit room with the faint sound of a mariachi band played on a scratched cd echoing around the place. Peter sighed, sighed again because what the hell had he just gotten himself into, and followed.

Chapter Text

“So you’ve already got the first lesson down,” Peter said, three nights later, across the table from Deadpool at a different mariachi-playing Mexican restaurant. Wade had already downed three chimichangas and Peter was on his fourth taco. (Hey! If Deadpool was footing the bill, why not go all out? Right?) “No killing people, no matter what.”

Deadpool nodded solemnly and took a giant bite of chimichanga. Orangey-red grease trickled down his uncovered chin, following a path between raised scars, zig-zagging in the direction gravity pulled it. Deadpool licked his lips, and tried to get at the grease, but his tongue wasn’t long enough and he only got some of it. He shrugged and took another bite. More grease flowed down his chin. He smiled wide, like he was proud of making a mess, and Peter had to suppress the instinct to tell the man that he liked it when he pushed his mask up past his mouth so Peter could see his lips undeterred. In fact, Peter took that thought and shoved it off a conveniently placed cliff in his mind. Deadpool took a third bite and a cascade of grease flowed down his scarred skin.

“Oh for fuck’s sake,” Peter muttered quietly, and grabbed a napkin from the table. He reached across the table to wipe the grease off Deadpool’s chin with gentler hands than he meant to. “What are you, in kindergarten?” Peter crumpled up the stained napkins and tossed them at Deadpool’s face, perhaps proving that Peter was also in kindergarten.

Deadpool gave Peter a wide grin, caught the napkin as it bounced off his face, before it hit the ground, and lobbed it back at Peter. Peter caught it before it hit his face. “Ohh, baby-boy’s got skillz!”

Peter rolled his eyes. He hadn’t even need his extra speed or reflexes to catch that one. It was a napkin coming towards his face. A napkin. No ‘skillz’ needed. “Anyway, you’ve got lesson one in the bag.” Deadpool fist-pumped the air. “Lesson two is what to actually do if you catch a bad guy.”

“I tie him up and make him watch Teen Titans Go! for fourteen hours straight?”

“Wow, inhumane much?” Peter asked, biting into another taco. “But no, you turn him in to the police. They will arrest him and then he will go to trial and then to jail.”

Deadpool made an exaggeratedly confused expression. “The poe-lease?” he asked. “What’s a poe-lease?”

Peter rolled his eyes, “What I do—have seen Spiderman do,” Peter wanted to slap himself for his slip-up, “is web up the criminal and call the police to come get him.”

“Don’t they trace Spidey’s phone?” Deadpool asked, sounding actually, genuinely worried.

Peter blinked. “No, sorry, I didn’t explain that right. Spiderman uses the perp’s phone to call the police. Leaves it at the crime scene. Swings away before anyone can catch him.” He shrugged. “Guy’s paranoid like that.”

“You got a lot of info on him,” Deadpool said, leaning forward in a slightly menacing way.

Peter found it oddly charming and not scary at all. Which was very, very weird, he decided. “Like you said earlier, I’m like his stalker, but it’s my job.” Peter tapped at his camera where it hung around his neck.

Deadpool shrugged, suddenly unconcerned. “Alright, so I should catch the bad-guy, tie him up, call the police?”

Peter nodded. “Sounds good to me. Though I guess since you don’t have webs, and it’d be awkward carrying around yards of rope, you could just incapacitate him or her some other way.” Peter belatedly realized that he should at least try to sound like he didn’t do this regularly and laughed awkwardly. “Or something,” he tacked on, and winced because that sounded stupid and kind of suspicious.

Deadpool flapped his hand at Peter. “I got it, I got it. I’m not going to make you plan all my heists for me.” Peter gave Deadpool a steady look. “Ok, not heists, whatchamacallums, uh, rescues?”

Peter nodded. “That’ll work.”

Deadpool bestowed upon him a shit-eating-grin, and then took another huge bite of chimichanga. A line of red-orange grease rolled down his chin.

Peter found himself reaching across the table again to wipe at Deadpool’s chin. The man just gave him a shit-eating grin.

“Didja know you’re really hot?” Deadpool asked out of nowhere, making Peter blink.

“Um, thanks?”

Deadpool made a loud buzzer noise. “Wrong! You didn’t answer the question,” he sing-songed.

Peter shrugged helplessly. “I’ve never really thought about it. Some people compliment my looks, some people don’t. The people who compliment me are usually related to me, so…” he shrugged again.

“Well don’t doubt it, jailbait,” Deadpool said and he took another bite. Orange grease flowed down his chin. Again.

Peter sighed. “I’m pretty sure I’ve told you multiple times that I’m not jailbait. I’m an adult. Which might explain why I have a job.” He gestured to his camera where it hung around his neck.

“You still in High school?”

“Nah,” Peter said around a bite of taco. “Just graduated. Starting college August 24th.”

Deadpool made an impressed noise and Peter couldn’t decide if it was sarcastic or not. “Tell me more about you, small-Peter. Got any secrets?”

Peter choked on his taco and let out a strangled and not entirely convincing, “No!”

Deadpool huffed and slumped a little in his seat. “Awww, I thought maybe you’d be a prostitute or a billionaire or something.”

Peter couldn’t help the snort of surprise. If he had been drinking something he would have done a spit take. As it was his snort was followed by a short peal of laughter, and then he was doubled over, clutching his taco and laughing harder than he had in a long, long time. “You thought—” he wheezed out finally, looking up to see the man grumbling and pressing his crossed arms closer to his chest, smushing his chimichanga in the process, “You thought I could be a prostitute—” he gestured to his threadbare jeans and the t-shirt he’d gotten when he joined the ecology club in freshman year, “dressed like this?” He let out another guffaw.

“Or a billionaire,” the Deadpool bit out petulantly.

Peter’s vision was blurring he was laughing so hard. “That—” he tried to say through his laughter, “That makes even—” he took a deep breath, chuckled, cut himself off and took a deeper breath, “less sense,” he finally bit out. He forced his hand to place the taco back on his tray so he wouldn’t destroy it. “Why would a billionaire dress like this?” and his voice hit an embarrassingly high pitch at the last word.

“I know a billionaire who dresses like that,” the man defended.

Peter’s breath slowed as the laughter finally stopped trying to bubble out of him. “You know a billionaire who dresses like a poor high-schooler? Or a poor high school graduate more like.”

The man seemed to blink for a moment, scrutinizing Peter once more before nodding slowly, as if Peter might not believe that he knew a billionaire. But, well, why wouldn’t he know a billionaire? Peter kind of knew a billionaire. Sort of. Did Harry’s dad count? Peter wasn’t sure anymore.

“Alright,” Peter said, “And I suppose you also know a prostitute who likes to dress like a poor high-schooler?”

The man shrugged. “It could be somebody’s kink.”

Peter snorted again. “Alright. I admit, I guess I could be mistaken for a billionaire or a prostitute. I am neither of those things, but I can kinda, sorta, see where you’re coming from.”

“That’s the spirit, Salt-Peter!” Deadpool said and took another bite of chimichanga.

Peter watched as more grease dripped down his chin.

“Alas,” Peter said, “I am but a poor photographer. Do you think I should take up prostitution to get some extra cash flow?” Peter shook his head, “Nah, I’m not really a people person.” Peter paused to pick up his taco and take another bite. “Also, did you just call me Potassium nitrate?”

“Wha?” Deadpool asked.

“Potassium nitrate. Salt Peter,” Peter clarified. “You just called me Salt Peter. I know that the urban myth says that salt peter suppresses, like, sexy-time urges. Are you saying that I’m killing your libido?” Peter stuck out his lower lip. “Didn’t you just say that you thought I was cute?”

“Excuse me! I said you’re hot. There’s a difference.”

Peter laughed.

“And!” Deadpool continued, “I most definitely did not compare you to a libido-killer. Hah!” He took another bite of chimichanga, and Peter took a bite of his own food in order to avoid thinking about the stream of grease that ran down Deadpool’s chin. “If anything, I’d say you were absolutely explosive!”

Peter furrowed his brow. “Explosive? Oh!” his expression cleared. “Right, because they use potassium nitrate in explosives. Got it.”

“You are a nerd!” Deadpool accused with a grin. “A science nerd!”

Peter sketched a bow over his taco. “At your service.”

“I bet you’re real smart. That’s why you’re going to college, right Petey-boy?”

Peter smiled. “I guess you could say that. Not smart about everything, honestly, but smart enough to know that potassium nitrate is also used in fertilizers. Why Deadpool, are you saying that my very presence helps to make things… grow?”

Deadpool cracked up. “Oh my god! Why Mr. Parker, who knew you had such a dirty mind.”

Peter leveled Deadpool with an unimpressed glare. “You do know that I’m a red-blooded teen, right? I swear, high schoolers are the worst with dirty jokes.”

Deadpool didn’t seem to care about that at all, and his sniggers continued. “You’ve ruined it!” Deadpool bit out. “Next I was going to call you Saint Peter, at the pearly gates. You just made a dick joke! An erection connection! I can’t compare you to an Apostle! The pope will castrate me!”

“Oh?” Peter said, his lips twisted in an attempt not to grin. “So you know the pope personally?”

“Maybe I do!” Deadpool shot back. “What’s it to you?”

Peter shrugged. “Maybe put in a good word for me? I keep making all these dick jokes and this guy I know says that that’s not good on a resume if I want to get a job upstairs.”

Deadpool stuck out his tongue at Peter and then bit into his chimichanga. A veritable fountain of red-orange erupted from it, completely coating Deadpool’s chin. Deadpool looked down at the dripping chimichanga and tried to lick the grease off his chin though he wasn’t getting anywhere near enough of it. He gave Peter his best wide, puppy-dog, I-don’t-know-why-this-is-happening-to-me, I’m-innocent eyes.

Peter rolled his eyes and was already snatching at the napkins. “Oh for goodness sake, you child.”

Chapter Text

Peter was tired, but beside him on the bench, Deadpool looked exhausted. The man’s suit was ripped in several places and there was dried blood clinging to his body, though the wounds had long since disappeared. Deadpool’s head was tipped back on the bench, and he was breathing deeply, heavily. Peter clutched at the pizza box in his lap spasmodically. He wondered if this was how it felt on the other end. Peter had always been the one to go out and fight the good fight, he’d never been the one who had to wait and then patch up the stupid superhero who had gotten himself hurt. He wasn’t sure he liked the feeling.

Peter opened the box and pulled out a cheesy slice of anchovy and mushroom and sausage and pineapple pizza. He nudged Deadpool’s shoulder softly and did it again when he got no response. Deadpool finally looked down at Peter and then grasped for the pizza with a frenzy Peter had only really seen before in ravenous squirrels. He shoved the bottom of his mask up without a thought, without the slight hesitation he’d shown at the second Mexican restaurant they’d gone to, or the longer hesitation from their first meal together. At the time he’d wanted to tell Deadpool not to worry, that he’d already seen that layer of skin due to hotdog breaks with Deadpool as Spiderman. Now he wanted to smile.

Deadpool’s moan as he chewed the pizza was nearly indecent. It made Peter grin.

“Lesson number nine,” Peter said, when Deadpool had finished off five slices, and Peter the remaining three, “is to not get hurt.”

“What happened to lesson eight?” Deadpool asked. “Last time you ended with seven, you skipped eight.”

Peter shook his head. “Eight is important, but I want to cover nine first. Eight can wait.” Peter eyed the holes and bloodstains of Deadpool’s suit. “I don’t want nine to wait.”

Deadpool looked down at himself. “Oh, you mean because I got all cut up today?” He shrugged, unconcerned, “Don’t worry about it, I heal.”

Peter frowned. “Tough luck, Deadpool. I worry. Now, lesson number nine is to try your best not to get hurt. I don’t want you hurting others, or god-forbid unaliving them, but I’d rather you hurt them than they hurt you.”

Deadpool quirked his lips into a half smile, and Peter had to abruptly bury the impulse to smile at Deadpool’s uncovered lips. He’d been having to do that a lot lately.

“So you’re giving me the go-ahead to beat up the bad guys?” Deadpool swooned dramatically. “Oh Peter, I knew you loved me.”

Peter laughed to cover the sudden frog in his throat. “I’m saying that I don’t want you getting hurt. Even if you have to run away, I don’t want you getting injured. Lesson nine.”

Wade scoffed. “Parker, I’m not going to run away. Wounds don’t even stick around!” He peeled back some ripped leather to show flawed but flawless skin. “And if I want to be a hero I gotta take down the no-good-guys. You know that. You taught me that.”

Peter sighed and moved his gaze to look out over the park instead of at the man beside him. “I know, and I know you won’t run away, but please, if they’re trying to hurt you make it difficult for them. Don’t let them gut you just cause you know you’ll heal.”

“Aw, baby-boy, I didn’t know you cared,” he crowed.

“I do,” Peter said, and his voice was quiet, but solid. Deadpool froze.

“It’s only been a few weeks,” he laughed awkwardly.

“I care,” Peter reiterated.

There was a moment of silence where Peter still refused to look at him, and then a large hand came down on his head and began ruffling his hair. “You’re a good kid, did ya know that?”

Peter looked up at the man with his own fond expression. “It’s been said. Mainly by my Aunt, but sometimes by others. Little old ladies who I help cross the street. Kittens I rescue from trees. Ex-mercenaries. You know, the usual.”

Deadpool chuckled. “You’re one of a kind.”

Peter shrugged, suddenly feeling awkward. “Alright. Now, lesson eight is don’t wear a cape.”

“Ack!” Deadpool said, triumphant, “You stole that from The Incredibles! You thief! You fiend! You thiefy-fiendish-thief!”

Peter chuckled and felt his muscles relax. “Hey, I can’t get all my material from Spiderman. I do other things too. Like…” Peter paused. “Actually I mostly just work. And do school stuff, duh.”

“Oh yeah?” Deadpool asked, as if he wasn’t aware that Peter was about a month into school. Getting into the flow of things in college hadn’t been necessarily difficult, but it had taken some time to get used to everything. The first few weeks Peter had had to cancel their get-togethers more times than he’d wanted because of class-work and studying that had snuck up on him, and the realization that professors did not care nearly as much about his grades as his high school teachers had.

“Yeah. Astronomy is kicking my ass and so is Early Shakespeare. I like Logic so far, but the professor says there’s only one test so, yowza.” Peter pulled at his collar dramatically.

“Lot of homework than, for the child prodigy.”

Peter laughed. “Child prodigy? Yeah right.”

Deadpool gave him an unimpressed look. “You’re like the smartest person to ever smart. Don’t even try to tell me otherwise.”

Peter smiled and gave Deadpool another slice of pizza. “It’s nice of you to say so, honestly, but I know several people way smarter than me.”

Deadpool harrumphed and bit into the pizza.

Peter looked out to the grass that surrounded them. They’d found themselves in an unpopular corner of central park and had decided to eat their pizza there on a bench whose only view was scraggly bushes on one side and cracked asphalt on the other. A squirrel was inching its way towards them, but Peter would die rather than forfeit his pizza to a squirrel. Spiderman wasn’t a menace, squirrels were. Tourists thought they were all cute, but all they wanted was food and they were not above biting to get what they wanted.

“Not that I’m not smart,” Peter felt the need to point out as he stared down the squirrel. “I’m not dumb. But I’m no genius. I’m just a regular guy who likes science and photography.”

Peter lifted the camera from where it hung around his neck. He uncapped the lens and raised it to his eye, the squirrel in his sights. He waited a moment, breathed out, and took the shot.

“Menace,” Deadpool added helpfully.

Peter cracked a grin. “They are aren’t they? Always getting in the way and trying to take your food.”

“Oh yeah!” Deadpool agreed wholeheartedly. “Photographers are the worst. The one I know is always taking my food, trying to change me.”

Peter chuckled and reached into the box to hand Deadpool another slice. “Yeah, photographers, the real menaces.”

Deadpool couldn’t answer besides a nod due to the slice of pizza he’d shoved into his mouth.

Peter grinned and aimed the camera at Deadpool. Through the lens Peter watched as Deadpool flailed a little at being on the spot, tried to gulp down the pizza without chewing, and steadied himself by clutching at the bench between his legs. Deadpool looked up, just a second and the sun low on the horizon hit the red of the suit to make it glow. Peter took the shot.

“Perfect,” he said quietly.

“You taking my photo, Petey?”

Peter nodded.

“Awww,” Deadpool said, “you didn’t even let me pose first.” He pursed his lips and lifted the back of his hand to his forehead. Peter obediently took the photo. Deadpool changed positions, making his arms form a square around his face. Peter took the photo.

“Work it, darling,” Peter drawled in the phoniest British accent he could think of. “Work it, vogue, you’re a tiger darling, growl for me.” Peter depressed the button at a steady pace, giving time for Deadpool to change positions between each shot, but it didn’t take long for Deadpool to grow bored.

“C’mon, Petey,” he said as he relaxed back into the bench, “don’t tell me all you do is take photos.”

Peter mock-glared at him. “It is my job.”

Deadpool made the shoulder-roll equivalent of an eye-roll. “What I meant was, don’t you ever want to be the one getting the photo taken of? Don’t you get bored always being behind the lens, behind the curtain?”

Peter raised his eyebrows. “Are you trying to give me a Wizard of Oz analogy?”

Deadpool shrugged and held out his hand. “Is it working?”

Peter couldn’t suppress his grin. He reached up and pulled the camera strap from around his neck. “Careful,” Peter warned before giving his livelihood to the crazy ex-merc beside him.

“Of course, Peter-er-er,” but despite his playful tone he took the camera with gentle hands and place the strap around his neck with care.

“That was a bit of a flop,” Peter said. “Peter-er-er just sounds strange.”

Deadpool shrugged, completely unconcerned, and then focused the camera at Peter. “Say cheese!”

Peter smiled wide. “Brie!” Deadpool snapped a photo. Peter shifted slightly, brought his hands to his chin. “Gouda!” Deadpool took the photo. Peter leaned in closer and lowered his eyelids to half-mast. “Cheddar,” he said trying to sound suave. There was a pause before Deadpool took the photo.

“There!” Deadpool said, pulling the strap from his neck. “Proof that you’re model material.”

Peter chuckled. “More like proof that I should stay on the other side of the camera.”

Deadpool stuck out his tongue, but before the camera could be placed in Peter’s hands Deadpool paused. “One last photo?” he asked.

Peter shrugged. “Why not? What have I got to lose? I’ve got a 64 gig card in there, all the room in the world.”

Deadpool’s mouth split into a wide grin. He carefully lifted the pizza box from Peter’s lap and placed it at the ground by their feet. He scooted in closer to Peter and turned the camera in his hand to face the two of them. “Complicated selfie time!” he exclaimed.

Peter rolled his eyes but he couldn’t help the smile on his lips. “Well, if this is a selfie, we should make sure we’ll both be in the frame.” Peter moved the few inches closer to Deadpool’s side and slung an arm around his shoulders.

“Ayyyyy!” Deadpool said.

“How can you even be sure you’re pointing in the right direction at all?” Peter asked. "You could be cutting off our heads right now.”

Deadpool nudged Peter’s torso with his shoulder. “Hey! I am—was the best mercenary ever. If there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s how to aim and shoot. Now smile Petey-boy. You should be happy. You’re next to me.”

Peter grinned, and couldn’t help the feeling of genuine happiness that rose in him thinking of the photo of the two of them sat side by side. Deadpool pressed the button and then lowered his arms.

“Perfect,” Peter said and Deadpool finally returned the camera.

“You haven’t even seen the photo yet.”

Peter shrugged and slipped the strap around his neck. “I don’t need to. Like you said, I was happy next to you, and smiles are the key to selfies. I bet we look amazing.”

Deadpool laughed. “We better, since my smile is the only thing about me you can see.”

Chapter Text

“Lesson fifteen,” Peter said shoving his chopsticks back into his chinese take-out carton, “in most cases, if you catch a criminal it’s considered polite to warn them, give them a chance to repent before taking them down.”

Deadpool shoved some white rice into his mouth and seemed to think over Peter’s words while he chewed. Peter glanced at the older man who had taken his and Deadpool’s order. He was glaring at Deadpool, but Peter thought that probably had something to do with the fact that Deadpool was sitting on the table instead of on one of the chairs.

Deadpool swallowed before opening his mouth. “Ok, so, theoretically, baby-boy, I come across a bank robbery. Are you saying that I should just walk in, plain as day, and say ‘Ok losers, give up?’”

Peter rubbed his chin. “Um, actually this is way more complicated than I thought. Ok, let’s break it down. If this robber is trying to rob because he’s desperate, if he doesn’t actually want to hurt anyone I’d say give him the benefit of the doubt. You’d probably be able to talk him down. Um, if it’s a robbery with a lot of guys in masks, if there are hostages, if it looks planned and/or if the cops are willing to negotiate and give them what they want, get in, incapacitate them, get out. Hostages are priority.”

Deadpool nodded slowly, but he didn’t look completely sure.

“Here’s the deal,” Peter said, trying to explain it all, “when catching crooks you want the least amount of casualties possible. Including yourself, remember lesson nine. So, if you stop a mugger you can probably take him out quickly, if he looks like he doesn’t actually want to hurt anyone, talk to him first. If there are multiple hostages the stakes go up. The lives of the innocent are more important than the lives of the criminals. Make sure the hostages are not going to get in the way of crossfire at all costs, sometimes that requires taking down crooks before giving them a chance to change their mind. There are always options.” Peter shrugged. “Nothing is cut and dry, but sometimes, sometimes you can talk a crook down, talk them down from doing something stupid, ruining their own lives because they think they are out of options. I like those, I mean, hearing about those cases, the best. Uh, yeah.” Peter scratched the back of his head and shoved a mouthful of lo mein into his mouth before he could say anything else.

“Alright,” Deadpool said around a mouthful of rice, nodding with more certainty. “I think I got it. Try to save the life of the criminal unless it endangers the lives of his or her victims. Right?”

Peter’s face broke into a wide grin. “You got it! Hah, I’m actually a little jealous you were able to say that so concisely. If I were the president I’d hire you to write my speeches.”

Deadpool snorted into his carton. “If you were president I’d marry you so I could be the first lady. Or, no—I got it, I’d be your bodyguard, and then there’d be a romance where some asshat tries to kill you ‘cause you’re the president and I gotta save you and then we fall in love. Bam!” There was a pause where Peter opened his mouth to respond but then Deadpool spoke again, not addressing Peter, “Well of course I’d fall in love with the president. He’s rich and lives in a city with giant stone penises everywhere.” Another pause. “Yes they are giant penises.” He rounded on Peter, who’d taken another bite of food while Deadpool spoke to the someone or someones in his head (this happened often enough that Peter tended to just go with it). “Peter. Aren’t there lots of stone Penises in Washington?”

Peter shrugged. “I’ve never been personally, but I don’t think politicians are actually made of stone.”

Deadpool snorted into his rice, and then guffawed because a single snort obviously wasn’t enough. Peter smirked.

“I know,” Deadpool said quietly, still not addressing Peter, “he is.”

Peter waited for a moment to see if Deadpool would say anything else but there was only silence. Peter scooped the last of the noodles into his mouth, chewed and swallowed. “Well, my knifey-shooty friend, I think I’m all lesson-ed out for the day. I’ll try and think of more things for, when are you free? I could probably do Thursday, but I’m busy Wednesday and Friday, and the weekend of course.”

Deadpool seemed to bring himself back to the present with a shake of his head. “Hmm, yeah, I’m free Thursday. I’m free any day for you, sweetcheeks.”

Peter grinned at the man, watched him eat the last of his rice, and then began packing up. He slung his messenger bag over his shoulder and stood up when Deadpool spoke again.

“Hey,” he said, sounding anxious, and it automatically put Peter on high alert. Peter subtly checked the surrounding area, looking for suspicious behavior, but he and Deadpool were the only customers and the old man behind the counter seemed content to just glare at them. “Um,” Deadpool continued, and began fiddling with his chopsticks, “I know you don’t want to teach me any more today, and that’s fine,” Deadpool rushed to say even though Peter hadn’t tried to interrupt him, “But do you want to possibly, if you think it’s a good idea, maybe want to hang out?”

Peter blinked, his mind automatically going to the blue and red suit he had stashed in his messenger bag.

“We could play video games,” Wade hurried to say, his pitch rising as he spoke, “or we could watch movies or tv or something? Or we could play board games or I could teach you self defense or we could just sit next to each other and do separate things while hanging out? Or I could shut up now?” He left the last one hanging, his voice so high and reedy that Peter had to laugh. Spiderman could take the night off.

“Ok, Deadpool, let’s hang out. Any of those things sounds good, except, maybe if we’re hanging out we should, like, talk to each other and stuff.”

A giant smile lit up Deadpool’s face and he jumped off of the table. “Let’s go, Petey-pie. Come on!” He tugged on Peter’s jacket and Peter only had a few seconds to grab their discarded food cartons and dump them in the trash before he was being pulled out the door and down the street by an excited and jittery Deadpool.

He had to laugh again. “Petey-pie?” he asked as they rounded a corner and Peter finally got enough speed to walk next to Deadpool instead of being dragged along behind him, “I haven’t heard that one before.”

Deadpool shrugged, but did he look—Jesus, he did! He looked embarrassed! “Well, that’s easy,” Deadpool said trying to make his voice sound normal, and failing horribly. “Petey is short for Peter. You know, sometimes friends add that ‘ie’ sound to their friends names to show friendship. Good old fashioned friendship. Like, ok, Peter is Petey, and Stephen is Stevie,” he sounded nervous and Peter thought it was adorable. And then Peter mentally took that thought, tied it up, and shoved it into a broom closet. “Karen can be Carrie,” Deadpool continued, because even when nervous he still talked a lot, “and Constance can be Connie, and Joseph and be Joey, and Katherine can be Katie, and Charles can be Charlie, and Lucinda can be Lucy, and Wade could be Wadey,” he choked a little but continued, “and Angela can be Angie, and Harold can be Harry, and Meredith can be Mary, and James can be Jimmy, and Margaret can be Peggy…” he trailed off. “Wait a minute!” he exclaimed. “That can’t be right!”

Peter put a hand to his mouth to try and stifle his giggles but he couldn’t.

“Margaret should be Margie!” Deadpool exclaimed, not noticing Peter’s laughter, “Or Marjorie, or Margarety, or something! Peggy doesn’t even start with an ‘M!’ What the fuck, English language!”

Peter clutched at his stomach, trying to get his laughter under control as Deadpool ranted. Finally, when he thought he could speak without chuckles spilling forth, he said, slightly breathless, “Deadpool, that is not what I meant. I know how nicknames work,” he couldn’t help a chuckle that flew from his mouth. “I meant, why pie?”

Deadpool gave him a confused look, his mouth down-turned. “Three-point-one-four?”

Peter had to clutch at Deadpool’s bicep to keep from falling over as more laughter was ripped from him. His stomach hurt from laughing so hard, and his cheeks hurt from smiling so much, and it was possibly the funnest he’d had in years.

“No,” Peter said, when he’d once more caught his breath, “earlier you said Petey-pie. That’s a new nickname, why pie?” He hiccoughed a little to try and stave off more laughter.

“Oh!” Deadpool’s expression cleared, or as much of that could be shown through the mask still covering the top half of his face. “Well that’s easy, Petey-pie, it’s ‘cause you’re so sweet!” He made little pinching motions in the direction of Peter’s cheeks, and Peter had to dodge a little to stop from getting pinched. He couldn’t stop smiling.

“How was I supposed to know?” Peter asked. “You could have meant meat pies, or something.”

“Oh Petey,” Deadpool said with mock seriousness, “If this were Victorian England, you’d definitely be made of cat.”

Peter choked on a laugh. “Are you saying that,” he giggled, “if we were—if I were in—are you referencing Sweeny Todd? Are you saying that I’m one of Mrs. Lovett’s pies? Are you saying that at any minute,” he laughed again, “I could go all soylent green?”

Deadpool laughed at that too.

“Oh honey,” he said in strong Texan accent, “I’d never let no one turn you into a Peter pie, no matter how tasty you’d be.”

Peter turned to Deadpool with mock-seriousness. “Thank you. That means a lot.” And then he collapsed into giggles again.

He had half a brain to wonder if his late nights playing Spidey and long days at the Daily Bugle, and therefore short nights actually sleeping, were catching up with him or if he was simply this punch-drunk off of Deadpool’s ridiculousness. Either was a possibility.

They paused in the middle of the sidewalk and it took a moment for Peter to realize that they’d reached their destination.

“Welcome to mi casa,” Deadpool said, and Peter turned to stare up a run-down building in what he now noticed was also a run-down part of town. Deadpool kicked the front door and it shuddered before creaking open. Deadpool held the door open and gestured inside. “After you, my liege.”

Peter looked into the dark hallway, remembered that he was Spiderman and that if anything bad were to happen he could just web everyone to the wall with the web-shooters he always wore beneath his long sleeves, and stepped inside.

“So what floor do you live on?” Peter asked, taking time to glance at the pealing wallpaper and the ruddy stains on the floor as he walked toward what Peter assumed was the elevator.

“Top,” Deadpool said simply, and skipped ahead to hit the button to go up.

“Ooohhh, fancy shmancy penthouse suite.”

The elevator arrived and they stepped inside as Deadpool said, “Yeah, not to brag or nothin’, but I’m pretty much rolling in it.” He hit a button on the console and stuck out his tongue at Peter.

Peter made a show of examining the pile of trash, old take-out cartons and, ew, was that a used condom in the corner of the floor? “Oh yeah,” Peter agreed in a dry and unimpressed voice, “I was wondering how you could afford such a snazzy place.”

“I’m fucking magical, baby boy,” Deadpool said, and then the doors opened with a ding and they stepped into a dimly lit hall. He led them to a door at the end of the hall which used a keypad to unlock instead of a key.

Peter watched Deadpool punch in a twenty digit code that he didn’t even try to memorize and then the door swung open and Deadpool ushered Peter into a room that was more mess than organized. More mess than anything else. At least it wasn’t too disgusting. A few pizza boxes scattered about, dishes piled high in the sink, but there weren’t rats or cockroaches. At least none that Peter could see.

“Take a sit.” Deadpool gestured to the threadbare couch that had one corner completely obscured by a pile of weaponry. Peter shrugged and sat on the opposite corner and watched as Deadpool bent down to rummage through a bucket to the left of the TV. It was always awkward going into someone’s house for the first time, and for a moment Peter didn’t know what to do. He wasn’t sure if he should compliment the place or should strike up a new conversation. He was on someone else’s turf, and even though he felt safe, trusted Deadpool (probably more than he should), it was still slightly awkward watching Deadpool’s back as the guy rifled through a bucket discarding items left and right. Finally he stood and held out two games to Peter, like one might offer a sacrificial lamb.

“Mario Kart?” he asked, raising the game in one hand, “Or Tekkan?” and he raised the other.

“Mario Kart,” Peter said simply and relaxed back into the couch with a smile on his face.

Chapter Text

“Hey Deadpool?” Peter asked as they walked down the sidewalk away from the Daily Bugle, “Do you think it’d be ok if we put off lessons this week?” Peter had just gotten off work, and he was honestly looking forward to hanging out with Deadpool, really looking forward to it, but the homework was really piling up and he honestly didn’t think he could put it off much longer.

“Why Petey-pie, do you not like me anymore?”

Peter smirked at the joking tone, but when he met Deadpool’s eyes he could see just the tiniest smidge of hurt, and the line of his shoulders read resignation. Peter’s mouth was open to respond with something joking, but at the last minute the truth popped out instead. “Never.”

Deadpool’s eyes were wide. Peter felt the need to defend himself, suddenly self-conscious about what he’d just said.

“Hanging out with you is great. It really is the best part of my week, what with my job under J.J.J., where each “J” stands for a variation of “ass-clown,” and my night… schedule, and school. Really, seeing you is the thing that makes my week, like, actually endurable. But I still have to do that other stuff, and right now it’s school that’s the problem. I have a mid-term tomorrow I’ve only sort of studied for, I have to write an essay on sexism in Titus Andronicus due at the end of the week, and a bio project with three idiots who couldn’t tell a phylum from a philosopher.” He let out a long breath. “Wow, I’m sorry about that sudden outburst. My point though, is that while you make—help make school bearable, I still have to do the work.”

Deadpool blinked. “Ok. Parker.”

Peter’s shoulders dropped. “So, yeah.”

There was a pause. “So, uh, sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate.”

Peter thought back to the very empty mini-fridge beneath the bed in his dorm. “I’m not sure I’d have used that analogy, but sure, I’m pretty busy tonight.”

“Would you mind a little company?” Deadpool asked and Peter straightened at the realization that he’d never even considered that as an option. “Unless you don’t want…” Deadpool said after Peter had let the pause lengthen for too long.

“No!” Peter exclaimed. “No, that’d be awesome! I didn’t think you’d want to just sit around and watch me growl at textbooks and word documents and project partners who aren’t even there because they suck.”

“You got wifi? Wherever we’ll be at, I mean?” Deadpool asked.

Peter nodded. “Yeah, whole campus is hooked up. I’ll give you the login.”

“Then I’m good,” Deadpool said with a shrug. “Want me to buy you dinner first?”

Peter thought back to his empty mini-fridge, imagined it with left-overs, but shook his head anyway. “No need. Deal was I help you if you feed me. I’m not teaching you anything today. You don’t need to shell out for food. Easy.”

Deadpool blew a raspberry at Peter. “Well tough shit, kid. I’m hungry, and my mama raised me better then to eat in front of someone, so I’m going to buy you food. What do you want? Hot dog? Lasagna? Korean Barbeque?”

“If you insist on eating, I can just buy my own food,” Peter said and hid a wince at the thought of his already depleted bank account.

“Pish posh,” Deadpool said with a wide sweep of his hand. “I want the food. You’re practically a guest. I’m paying.”

“I don’t need charity,” Peter bit out.

Peter couldn’t see Deadpool’s eyes, but he got the distinct feeling that he was rolling them. “Oh stuff it, Pete. It’s not charity, it’s…I don’t know, niceness?”

Peter crossed his arms. He could feel the swell of irritation rising in him, a lifetime of worrying that people only liked him because he was smarter, because he could help them in some way, either with homework or an alibi. A lifetime of people not giving him anything unless they wanted something from him. A lifetime of people only asking what Peter could give in return, and Peter didn’t want anything, didn’t want anything for charity or pity because it meant that someday Deadpool would come to him for something and he’d feel obligated to do it, and he didn’t want to feel obligated to hang out with someone whose company he enjoyed, especially from Deadpool. Not from Deadpool.

“Niceness,” Peter drawled out, parsing his irritation into syllables that sounded enough like normal for him not to feel too guilty.

Deadpool froze and Peter took a few more steps before realizing that Deadpool wasn’t catching up. Peter stopped and turned to find Deadpool standing, shoulders up and head back, as if readying for a fight. Peter felt a stab of guilt and stepped towards the ex-merc.

“I can be nice,” Deadpool said, his voice low, defensive, but like he maybe didn’t truly believe it.

Peter’s irritation left in a rush, pushed out by his own guilt and exasperation. He dropped his arms. “That’s not what I meant.”

“I can be very nice,” Deadpool continued, as if he hadn’t heard Peter. “I can be the nicest. I’m a nice guy. A very nice guy.”

“I know,” Peter said softly. “I know you’re nice.”

Peter looked at Deadpool, who was standing tall, looming almost, as if he was going for menacing, but all Peter could see was hurt.

“I know you’re nice,” Peter reiterated. “That wasn’t what I meant. I just don’t want…” Peter sighed, feeling suddenly ridiculous.

“What?” Deadpool bit out, but it was more statement than question. His stance was set and he looked larger, scarier, he looked like he could do damage if he put his mind to it.

Peter smiled at the man. “I don’t want to feel like you’re giving me something I can’t return. I don’t want an uneven relationship.”

Deadpool abruptly relaxed. “Oh. You’re an idiot,” he said like it was some sort of explanation. Or revelation. He grinned.

“Uh,” Peter said, “I’m pretty sure you’re trying to make me feel better or something, but it’s not working.”

“You’re an idiot,” Deadpool clarified, “because this isn’t an uneven relationship. It’s a—a friendship. God, Petey, do not make me the emotionally reliable one in this conversation. I don’t think the world could take it.”

Peter rolled his eyes. “Sure, we’re friends, I get that.” He made a go on gesture.

Deadpool let out a huff and moved forward to loop his arm through Peter’s before continuing their walk. “You idiot,” Deadpool said, almost affectionately, “We’re friends. It doesn’t matter if I buy you food all the time or if you teach me shit. Friendship isn’t, like, what you can bring to the table. It’s not a trade, you idiot. If it were, you’d be toting a lot more guns than you do, which is none, so there. There’s no give and take, there just is.” He blew a raspberry.

Peter blushed a little, feeling like the idiot that Deadpool kept telling him he was. “Ah,” he said, hoping the ex-merc would read Peter’s agreement in that one syllable and let it go.

“If I was strapped for cash I wouldn’t offer,” Deadpool continued. “Just like I know you aren’t going to offer to feed me, ‘cause I know you ain’t got that cash flow, honey.” Peter blushed again and opened his mouth (possibly to offer to buy Deadpool food), but Deadpool steamrolled right over him. “So I provide the munchies because I’m good for it. I’ve got so much money I don’t know what to do with myself. I mean, I do, I buy us food and sometimes guns, and then I buy aprons and dresses and hamsters and more guns. But I have that cash flow so I don’t gotta worry about it.”

“And I just…” Peter tried for nonchalance, “bring my winning personality?”

“Duh,” Deadpool said.

Peter scoffed a little. “That doesn’t sound very even.”

“Oh my god, my little nutmeg, let it go! Math is not the answer to everything! No, do not give me that affronted look, it isn’t. Not everything has to be even. We’re friends. This isn’t some weird prostitute shtick where I pay you to perform certain duties or something. You said you weren’t a prostitute. You swore!”

“I’m not a prostitute,” Peter agreed, trying to keep his face straight.

“Well there it is, baby boy. You’re not selling your services. I’m not buying you food as payment for lessons.” Peter gave him a look. “Well not anymore. Are you telling me that if I didn’t buy you food you’d stop giving me lessons?”

“Of course not,” Peter said, and couldn’t help how scandalized he sounded.

Deadpool gave him a shrug that Peter interpreted to mean, Well there you have it.

Peter sighed. “I—alright. I’m sorry. So, ah, what’s for dinner?” his voice cracked a little at the end and Peter rubbed the back of his head.

Deadpool stopped, and since their arms were still linked he pulled Peter to a stop too. Peter looked at the man, and then followed Deadpool's finger as he pointed to the sign of the shop they had stopped in front of.

“Italian?” Peter asked.

Deadpool nodded. “I wanted chimichangas, but someone,” he tapped at his own forehead, “said that Mexican every night would scare you away. So lasagna it is. I know the owner.” He shrugged.

“Oh,” Peter said, confused but unworried, “cool.”

“It is cool,” Deadpool said and pushed open the door, dragging Peter behind him. “It’s very cool, because Dawna loves me and will give me all the lasagna that I can eat and that means that she will also give you all the lasagna that you can eat, which will be amazing, because food!”

The restaurant was small and dim, and there was a small girl in her late teens with smooth black hair pulled tight in a pony tail standing at the podium. “Dining in tonight?” she asked, not even pausing at the sight of a sword-wielding, gun-toting, masked guy standing before her.

“Not tonight, Camille. We just want,” he glanced over at Peter with an assessing gaze, “let’s make it three things of lasagna to go. And give Dawna my love.”

Camille smirked and stepped away from the podium to put in the order. When she returned she was following a tall, imposing woman with hair so dark red it was practically magenta, and a long, draping skirt. She stepped in front of Deadpool, crossed her arms and spit on his shoe. “What are you doing here, maggot?”

Peter lifted an eyebrow. Was this what Deadpool meant when he said he knew the owner? More like, he was despised by the owner.

“Dawna!” Deadpool exclaimed and threw his arms out in excitement, almost whacking Peter in the face in the process. “It’s been too long, my cherry blossom, my sweet cardamom, my bottle of three year old Bacardi that’s been sitting on top of the fridge since I bought it. You are as lovely as the day we met.”

Her face twisted into something horrifying and it reminded Peter of MJ when she got catcalled or when someone underestimated her because she was a girl. Scary. Maybe it was a redhead thing?

“Deadpool, if I never see you again it will be too soon.” She took a step back as if just standing near him would make her catch fire or something equally inconvenient. “You are going to leave and never return, you progenie del diavolo. I hope you die covered in slime and your own shit, you rat bastard.”

Deadpool frowned in thought and then his expression cleared and a wide smile split his face. “Spawn of the devil? That’s a new one! I like it.”

Peter wasn’t sure what to do. He was all about standing up to people, and he didn’t like what the woman, Dawna, was saying to Deadpool, but Deadpool didn’t seem to mind. He even seemed to find it entertaining. Peter decided that the best thing to do would just be to let it go until he could figure out if Deadpool was really okay with being called the spawn of Satan or if he was just putting up a front. He looked past the seething woman to the girl standing at the podium. Deadpool had called her Camille. She didn’t seem concerned at all and was in fact typing away at her phone looking bored.

Miserabili pezzi di merda,” Dawna spat, and Deadpool laughed quaintly.

“You too, sweetcheeks,” Deadpool said, and Dawna sneered.

“I’m going to grip tight your balls and then push you from the roof.”

“Ooooh,” Deadpool simpered, “kinky.”

A man wearing a white chef jacket and carrying two plastic bags packed with Styrofoam to-go containers stepped into the lobby. He stepped around Dawna, giving her a wide berth, and handed both bags over to Deadpool. The man was smiling and there was a more than a glimmer of amusement in his eyes. “Mr. Deadpool, for you,” he said.

“Why thank you, Niccolo.”

The man dipped his head. “Anything for you Mr. Deadpool.”

Dawna was spitting insults in Italian under her breath, and Peter wished he had a translation because some of them sounded really interesting and it was always good to know insults in as many languages as possible.

“So,” Deadpool said, hefting the two bags up, “thanks for the way more than I ordered food. How much do I owe you?”

Che cazzo, you know your money is worthless to me,” Dawna said with a sneer.

“That’s right, Mr. Deadpool,” Niccolo said. “We would not make you pay for this food. Not after how you helped us.”

Figlio di puttana,” Dawna snarled. “Now get out of here. I never want to see you again.” She turned to Peter as Deadpool started to clomp away. “And you are a friend of his, your money is no good either.” She sniffed at Peter disparagingly. “Next time you come you get the panna cotta. It is delicious. Do not bring that man. I hate him.” She sounded so grumpily disgruntled that Peter couldn’t help but smile as he followed Deadpool out.

“Bye, Mr. Deadpool,” Niccolo called out jovially.

“Have a great day,” Camille added in a similarly kind voice.

“I love you all!” Deadpool called out as he stepped over the threshold. “Remember me when I am gone.”

“Leave!” Dawna shouted. “Get out of here, you abominio! You disgust me!”

Deadpool laughed charmingly and Peter couldn’t help but join in when the door swung shut on Dawna’s yelling.

“What was that about?” Peter asked, breathless, as they walked down the street. He tugged at one of the bags in Deadpool’s hands until the ex-merc released it to him. If nothing else Peter could help carry the food.

Deadpool shrugged. “There was a minor drug cartel that used to rough up the neighborhood. Niccolo almost died during a—um—fight, up until I stepped in. Saved him, took down the cartel. Now Dawna gives me free food. Niccolo is her favorite chef, maybe her boytoy, maybe her nephew, depending on who you ask.”

Peter smirked. “Looks like you were already a hero to someone.”

Deadpool shrugged, but his posture looked more bashful than flippant.

When Deadpool didn’t say anything, Peter continued. “Why does she yell at you so much if she likes you? Like, she’s thankful but she still hates you? That’s what I find most confusing.”

“Oh,” Deadpool said easily. “That. Well, I might have broken her best bottle of Mascato over her head. On accident. She’s never quite forgiven me.” He shrugged. “Still likes me though, and gives me free food. Honestly, with Dawna it’s more like her yelling means she loves you.”

“Hmmmm,” Peter hummed noncommittally. “That sounds like it’s not the full story, but I’ll let it go. For now. I’ll have to ask Dawna if I see her again.”

“You’ve gotta see her again, baby boy,” Deadpool said. “She said she’d give you free food, would willingly serve you her best panna cotta. It’s to die for, Petey! To die for!”

“Alright, alright!” Peter said, holding his hands up in defeat. “I’ll go sometime.”

“Damn straight!” Deadpool said.

Peter rolled his eyes. “Sometimes I think—”

Peter’s Spidey-sense tingled, but he was Peter Parker now, not Spiderman, and so couldn’t dodge the person about to bump into him without looking suspicious. The man was coming out of a doorway and ran straight into Peter, and Peter would have fallen, probably scattering lasagna every which way had Deadpool not caught him.

“Thanks,” Peter said to Deadpool, only to be interrupted by a familiar voice.

“Hey, watch where you’re going you—Parker? Is that you?” The face of Flash Thompson resolved itself in front of Peter. “It is you! Puny Parker, what are you doing with this spandexed freak?”

Chapter Text

“Excuse me?” Peter bit out. Flash couldn’t be that stupid, right? He couldn’t be stupid enough to insult Deadpool to his face, could he?

“I said,” Flash said slowly, looking down at Peter, “What’s Puny Parker doing walking around town with a super villain on his arm?”

Peter rolled his eyes because of course Flash would have no self-preservation instincts.

“He’s not a villain, Flash,” Peter said, letting his exasperation seep into his tone.

“Did you just call Petey Puny?” Deadpool demanded.

Flash reared backwards a little, as if it hadn’t occurred to him that the guy he was insulting might be able to actually hear the insults. Then he shook himself and straightened up. “Yeah? What’s it to you, freak?”

“He’s not a freak,” Peter bit out. Flash was honestly harmless. A jerk, but a harmless jerk. That didn’t mean that Peter would let him insult Deadpool. No way, no how.

Deadpool tossed the bag of food he was carrying at Peter and Peter scrambled to catch it before it fell. Deadpool advanced on Flash, and backed him against a wall. “Peter is not puny,” Deadpool growled. “You had best learn to respect your betters, boyo, or you might end up in a ditch some day.” Deadpool pulled a short knife from a strap at the base of his spine and pushed the tip lightly against Flash’s throat.

“Woah, Deadpool,” Peter said slowly, “no need to get so dramatic.”

Flash gulped nervously, and his gaze swept between Deadpool’s mask and Peter’s face. “Dude,” he said in a strangled voice, “I don’t mean nothing by it, I swear.”

“You’re going to apologize,” Deadpool informed Flash calmly, “and you’re never going to bother Peter Parker ever again or so help me I will slice you into tiny pieces and feed you to the tigers in the zoo.”

“Deadpool!” Peter chastised.

“Parker,” Flash yelped, looking past Deadpool to meet Peter’s eyes square on. “Help, please.”

Peter rolled his eyes. Flash never had been able to keep up his big and bad persona in the face of actual weapons. “Deadpool,” he said, trying to sound cool and calm and not like he was friends with an idiot, and enemies with another idiot. “Let Flash go. He didn’t mean anything by it.”

“The hell he didn’t!” Deadpool barked. “He insulted you, baby boy! I do not stand for that shit at all.”

“Parker,” Flash said with an edge of desperation, “come on, make your boyfriend let me go.”

“He’s not my boyfriend,” Peter yelped and hoped his face didn’t look as flushed as it felt.

“Whatever!” Flash said as the knife’s point pressed a little deeper. “Your friend! Your lover! Your bodyguard! I don’t fucking care. Get him off of me!”

Deadpool growled just to hear Flash yelp again, and Peter got the distinct impression that Deadpool was overacting just to watch Flash freak out a little more. Honestly, Peter should feel worse about it than he did. Peter rolled his eyes.

“C’mon Deadpool, let’s go. Don’t want this lasagna to get cold.”

Deadpool didn’t move for a second, and then abruptly backed off. In the blink of an eye his knife was sheathed and Flash collapsed against the wall. He was breathing heavily and looked a little winded, but Peter had known Flash for more than four years, as his victim for most of that, granted, but he knew the guy well enough to know that he would bounce back from this.

Sure enough, as Deadpool grabbed one of the food bags and started to lead Peter away, Flash yelled, “Parker, your friends are all freaks. Help me with calc next Wednesday!”

Peter shook his head and Deadpool made a noise of surprise. “He’s just going to act like I wasn’t just threatening to kill him?” Deadpool asked, sounding a little bewildered. “He’s right, Peter, your friends are freaks. If you can count blond shit-face as a friend.”

“I don’t usually,” Peter said, but waved at Flash to let him know he’d think about it. “He was kind of a jerk through High School, but he gave me some advice when I needed it, and he could be worse. He’s a small fry. Now Jameson on the other hand.”

Deadpool laughed. “Are you saying I should threaten your boss?”

Peter made a tsking noise. “I would never say that,” Peter said while nodding vigorously. “Out loud, that is.”

Deadpool made a delighted little noise that made something in Peter’s chest jump to attention.

“Now that we have food,” Deadpool said, “and have threatened one of your friends, where are we off to?”

“Campus.” Peter paused in thought. “Ideally I would say my dorm, but I don’t have a table or anything, and I don’t really want to be making a mess of lasagna on my bedspread. I’d feel weird laying out a four-course meal in the library and I don’t know if the food court is open this late.” Peter gestured to the darkening sky.

“Well then,” Deadpool said, “you’re not giving us many choices are you, Petey-pie.”

Peter stuck his tongue out at Wade. “Ok, how about this? We go to my dorm, and we sit on the floor and very carefully do not make a mess and then you pretend you’re on your phone playing angry birds or whatever—”

“Fruit Ninja,” Deadpool interjected.

“While I pretend to do homework.”

“The floor?” Deadpool whined.

“The floor,” Peter agreed grimly. “’Tis the only safe place to eat lasagna.”

“Baby boy, I’m going to buy you a dining room table.”

Peter bit off a laugh. “Don’t you dare!”

Deadpool pouted. “Why not? Didn’t we already have this conversation? If I want to buy you something it’s not ‘cause I want something back. You’re an idiot.”

Peter scowled. “Stop calling me an idiot, you idiot. You can’t buy me a table because my room can barely fit two beds and the closet. The table would have to go on the ceiling.”

Deadpool shrugged. “We could make it work.”

Peter rolled his eyes. “Please don’t. I don’t need the hassle, and my RA would have a heart attack and report me if he found out.”

Deadpool scrunched up his face. “Are Ay?”

“RA, like the letters.”

Deadpool’s expression cleared. “Oh, R-A. Like, Rascals Aboard?

“Pfft. What?”

“Reader’s advisory? Are you part of some book club, honey-bun?”

“I’d say yes,” Peter said, “but I can’t think of a good punchline. So…no.”

“Ranch Action? Registration Authority? Republican Apple-blossom? Reviewer Antics? Wrinkly Afro?”

“Wrinkly doesn’t start with an ‘R,’ Deadpool. And no, none of those were correct. RA stands for Resident Assistant. He lives on our floor and helps us if we need help, but also tells on us if we’re doing something hanky.”

“Like murder?”

“Uh, more like drinking or smoking, or having opposite-gender sleepover parties.”

Deadpool blinked. “Sex. The word you’re looking for is sex.”

Peter rolled his eyes. “I can call it whatever I damn well please. When people do the do.”

Deadpool giggled. “Petey-pie, I thought we talked about this. I cannot be the emotionally stable or morally responsible one. I just can’t. I used to unalive people for money. I once stole the President’s dog on a dare. I’m on my fiftieth free 30-day Hulu account despite having the money to just pay for one. I am not responsible. Stop it.”

Peter stuck his tongue out.

“Also!” Deadpool said loudly, before Peter could vocalize a retort, “Why is he only against opposite-gender sleepover parties? Why not same-gender sleepover parties? By which I mean sex. Because I’m an adult.”

“I don’t think he’s homophobic, Deadpool. I think it’s just the same reason boys and girls have different bathrooms. And it’s not like he actually checks anyway. Lots of the guys on my floor bring girls over and he doesn’t even notice.”

“You bringing girls back to your dorm, Petey?” Deadpool waggled his eyebrows.

“The only person I’ve brought back to my dorm is you, Deadpool, and you’re not spending the night.” Peter specifically ignored the part of his brain yelling, Get it! Get it! Let him spend the night! You want that D, boy! You want that DP-D! Fucking get it, Parker! Because shut up, brain. That is extremely unhelpful.

“Awwwww!” Deadpool whined.

“Not happening.” Do it! “No sleepovers for you.” Come on Parker! You want it!

Peter viciously ripped his mind away from that train of thought. They were friends. Friendly friends who ate lasagna together. That was it. Peter needed to seriously shut down his libido, ASAP.

“Fine,” Deadpool said and stuck out his lower lip. Peter wanted to kiss away his pout.

“Anyway,” Peter said, shaking all of those very unhelpful thoughts out of his head, “I think the point of this conversation was: no tables. We’re eating on the floor. It’s got a rug. It’s snazzy. Deal with it.”

Deadpool sighed in a put-upon way. “Fine, but when we’re done eating I get to lay in your bed and play fruit ninja on my phone.”

“How about this?” Peter said, “You let me sit in my bed and do homework, and I let you sit next to me on my bed and do what you want while I have minor panic attacks over how fucking hard school is. Does that sound good to you?”

“You know, Petey-pie, you make my life very complicated.”

A laugh tumbled from Peter’s lips unbidden. “I make your life complicated?” Peter glanced at the bag of food Deadpool was carrying. “I’ll show you complicated,” he said, and then grabbed the bag of food from the stunned man and took off down the street. They were close to Peter’s dorm and maybe Peter just felt like acting juvenile. Plus, looking behind him, Peter saw that Deadpool was giving a good chase. He obviously wasn’t running as fast as he could have, slowing down in order to never quite surpass Peter (who was also slowed down in order to emulate a person who had not been bitten by a radioactive spider), and he was grinning wide beneath his mask.

“Get back here, Parker! Give me my lasagna! Give it!” Deadpool shouted from close behind Peter, his voice steady and playful.

Peter laughed and threw a smirk over his shoulder. “You’ll have to come and get it!”

And the chase was on.

Chapter Text

Peter knocked on Deadpool’s door and then shifted backwards so the ex-merc would be able to see him through the peephole. The guy was awkward like that, but Peter found it endearing. (It had been a few months since Wade had brought Peter back to his place the first time, and by now Peter knew almost all of the dude’s quirks. Peter also knew that he found Deadpool’s quirks endearing, but he’d been ignoring that thought for so long that pushing it back down was almost second-nature).

“Petey-pie!” Deadpool yelled as he pulled the younger man through his entry way, “What lesson have you got for me today?”

They’d taken to meeting at Deadpool’s apartment more often than not, if only because after their “lessons” they could play video games or watch movies and Deadpool had a sweet entertainment system even if all his storage units for the games and movies were various buckets and crates scattered around the room. Usually Deadpool would snag some food before Peter arrived and they’d eat while they talked and then collapse onto the couch, but this time Peter had told Deadpool that he’d provide the food.

“Lesson seventy-six,” Peter said as he put his messenger bag down on the cleared-off kitchen table, “is how to make pasta.”

Deadpool snorted and Peter couldn’t help but give the man a grin. “Are you joking baby boy?”

Peter shook his head and flicked open his bag to pull out a box of rotini and a jar of alfredo sauce. “Not on my life, Deadpool. You know I don’t joke.”

Deadpool’s laugh was something rough, course, but it was warm, and Peter couldn’t help but relax into it. “Alrighty, Sweetie-Petey, tell me, how does making pasta come into play with being a superhero?”

Peter pulled a pot from a cabinet that looked like it got no regular use, filled it with water from the tap, and set it on the stove. “Well, as you know, pasta is delicious.” He turned the dial.

“I’m following you so far, honey-bun.”

“And as pasta is delicious and easy to make, superheroes should eat it all the time.” Peter shook some salt into his hand and threw a pinch into the pot.

“I think your logic may be missing a few steps, and that’s coming from me. Wanna run that by me again?”

Peter let the corners of his mouth twitch into a smile. “Pasta is cheap and easy, and superheroes cannot survive on junk food and take-out alone. This leads perfectly into lesson seventy-seven: eating is important to keep up your energy, and seventy-eight: stay hydrated.”

Deadpool pressed a faux-scandalized hand to his chest. “Baby-boy, are you telling me that pasta will keep you hydrated?”

Peter snickered into his hand. “That’s not what I’m saying at all, you goof. I’m just trying to point out that sustenance is, like, important. Eat healthy, drink a lot. Water is fine, so it’s not like I need to make a lesson for how to fill up a glass from your sink, but I thought it might be nice to know how to make a dish.”

“But what if I want it?” Deadpool whined. “What if I need a lesson on how to drink water?”

Peter bit his lip to hold back his laughter. In mock-solemnity Peter nodded and said, “Very well, young padawan, lesson seventy-nine is how to get a drink of water.” Peter slowly reached for the glass cabinet, pulled out a cup with Popeye the Sailor Man on it, and filled it from the tap. He handed it to Deadpool. “And so it is finished.”

Deadpool was shaking from suppressed laughter, but he took the cup and lifted it to his uncovered lips and chugged it. A few drops of water worked their way down Deadpool’s chin, and Peter had the sudden urge to lick them away. Instead he opened the box of pasta and poured the entire thing into the now boiling pot.

Deadpool pulled the empty cup away from his mouth with the sound of smacking lips and a refreshed “Ahhhhhh.” Peter bit his lips to keep from kissing the man, and then decided that he needed to slap himself upside the head for the crush he’d obviously developed for Deadpool. Which was just a stupid sentence, because hanging with a guy who used to be a mercenary, and teaching said guy the basics on not being a dick should in no way enforce the idea that the guy was adorable or kissable or huggable or hot or amazing or daring or lovely or any of the other ridiculous notions Peter had suddenly developed for Deadpool. Suddenly. Over the course of half a year. Lovely.

Perhaps Peter needed a vacation.

Aaaand now Peter had the image of Deadpool relaxing beach-side on some island in the Caribbean with a fruity drink in one hand and Peter’s hand in the other.

Instead of doing anything stupid like kissing the man or sticking his head into the boiling water of noodles, Peter said, “And now you know how to use the knob on your sink. Perhaps this will increase the likelihood of you doing your dishes?”

“Meh,” Deadpool said, because of course he did.

“I hope you like alfredo,” Peter said, “I would have brought red sauce but I’m wearing a white shirt today and I’m not always able to avoid stains, so…”

Deadpool snorted and balanced the Popeye glass precariously on the haphazard pile of dishes in the sink. “Alfredo’s fine, my small child. Also, I should probably tell you that as a grown adult, I definitely know how to make pasta.”

Peter pouted at the man. “Fine, be that way, take away my excuse to make a nice meal that isn’t tex-mex or pizza. See if I care.” He crossed his arms petulantly, feeling foolish, but Deadpool’s responding hoot of amusement made it all worthwhile.

Peter stirred the pasta with a wooden spoon so it wouldn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, which he thought was very impressive of him to remember to do. Despite bringing the supplies, Pete was not always very good with pasta. He preferred baking things, but pasta was easier and healthier than pie, so…

“How’s the superheroing?” Peter asked. Peter, as Spiderman, hadn’t seen very much of Deadpool around lately and he was honestly curious how the transition from mercenary to not-a-mercenary was going.

Deadpool shrugged as he leaned against the refrigerator. “I haven’t unalived anyone.”

Peter grinned. “Cool. Very nice. I’m super proud.”

“I’m not a child,” Deadpool said, but his expression was pleased.

“But tell me about it,” Peter said, “I want to know how your, ugh, I want to call it your night job, but that makes it sound like you’re a stripper or something.”

“I’ve got a really short dress I could put on right now,” Deadpool offered, “it’s not quite stripper material, but it’s close.” He winked. “I could give you a,” his voice dropped a few octaves, “private show.”

Peter gulped. But plastered a nonchalant smile on his face. “If by ‘private show’ you mean alfredo sauce, and if by ‘give you’ you mean warm up, than yes, I’d love that. Please warm up the alfredo sauce. The pasta is almost done.”

Deadpool made an aggravated noise, but Peter could tell that he didn’t really mind. Peter wasn’t able to bring up the conversation again until food had been served and they were sitting on either side of Deadpool’s surprisingly clean kitchen table. Usually the ex-merc had to clear it off last-minute so they could eat on it.

“No, seriously, I want to know how you’ve been doing.”

“You, Mr. Parker, just want to know if your lessons are actually worth anything.”

Peter stabbed his pasta and hummed as it hit his tongue. “You got me. All I really care about are these ‘lessons’ I’ve been giving you about being a hero. If they turn out to be good I’ll publish them. Probably get a Nobel Peace Prize out of the deal. That’d be pretty sweet. And then everyone could learn to be a hero with such freaking amazing rules as ‘eat pasta,’ and ‘stay hydrated.’”

“If you publish them I want a cut,” Deadpool said around a bite of pasta. “I tested them out, I’m, like, your guinea pig or something. I deserve some of that cash flow.”

“Yes,” Peter said at his deadpanniest, “because guinea pigs always get a percent of the profit for whatever they were used for. Of course.”

“Oh stuff it, Parker.”

“You keep avoiding the subject, ‘Pool.”

Deadpool huffed out a breath of laughter that made Peter’s heart flip. “Fine, nosy! Where to start, where to start?” He made a half strangled noise and raised a finger in the air. “I know! You’re just trying to pump me for information about Spiderman. You are his stalker. I keep forgetting that!”

Peter blinked and a corner of his mouth quirked up. “Uh, not quite.”

Deadpool frowned and his fork, halfway to his mouth, lowered to the plate again. “You mean you aren’t Spidey’s stalker anymore?”

“No, I meant that I don’t care about hearing stories of Spiderman. I want to hear about you.” Not like he ever needed to hear about Spiderman. He got all his knowledge about Spiderman from the source. He was the source. Besides, Spidey had been seeing a lot less of Deadpool running about recently, and Peter was genuinely curious about Deadpool’s work. “Plus, whatever info you even could give, there’s not much I could do about it.” He cracked a grin. “I’m just a photographer.”

Deadpool stuck a fork of too much pasta in his mouth and seemed to ponder that statement as he chewed. “You could have given it to your boss. Thrown my anecdotes about Spidey at whoever does write the articles.” He pointed the fork at Peter and waggled his eyebrows beneath the mask. “I see a lot of Spidey, you know? I bet you’re jealous.”

Liar.

“I see a lot of Spidey too, only I see him through the lens of my camera.” But then Peter was a liar too. “Plus,” Peter continued, “I don’t know how many times I’ve got to tell you this, but my boss actively hates Spiderman. Any story I give to the guy he’s just going to warp and use to call Spiderman a menace and insist he be arrested or put down or something.” Peter shrugged. “And to be honest, I kinda like Spiderman and don’t want to add any fuel to the fire.”

“You take photos!” Deadpool accused. “You take Spidey’s photos and give them to your mean boss. Isn’t that the same thing?”

Peter shrugged. “I just capture a moment, I don’t assign it meaning.”

Deadpool blew a raspberry at Peter’s head, shooting spittle all over the table. Peter tried to cover his food to protect it. He wasn’t sure how well that worked out. “But you still give the photos to the dickweed who does, baby-boy. You might not ‘assign meaning,’” he made enormous air quotes as he said that, flinging a glob of alfredo across the room where it smacked into a wall and slid inelegantly to the floor, “but the guy you sell your photos to sure does. If you don’t like it, why sell it to the guy?”

Peter shrugged and scratched the back of his neck. “Well, as much as I love taking the moral high ground, I’m kind of strapped for cash. In high school I did it kind of,” he made a back-and-forth gesture with his hand that sometimes meant so-so and sometimes meant kinda and kinda meant anything, “to supplement my Aunt’s income. I didn’t want her to lose the house or something, so I tried to help pay for rent.” He rolled his eyes. “I know now that she was just taking that money and saving it up to help pay for college. And then this summer, when I met you, I too was saving up for college, so I was working a lot, and now I’m in college and I have loans and debt and all that good stuff, so yeah, I can’t afford not to sell my photos.”

Deadpool nodded sagely. “Ah, poor-kid back story. I can dig it.”

Peter rolled his eyes. “Now, enough about my enormously entertaining life, Deadpool. Your turn.”

Deadpool rolled his eyes. “Fine. Where do I start?”

Peter shrugged helplessly. “Wherever, dude. Give me your first, your most recent, the funniest. I don’t need to record it or anything. I’m just curious.” Peter’s lips curled into a small smile. “I want to know what you’ve been up to.”

Deadpool stuck out his tongue, but seemed to relax. “Ok, fine, so the other day I was walking down the street, just minding my own damn business, when out of an alley pops this rank dildo-clover wearing a gasmask and a briefcase handcuffed to his hand. So, obviously, I decided that he looked suspicious as shit and needed to be checked out.” He gave a smug little smile and made a show of straightening his bag. “Just the job for your friendly, neighborhood Deadpool.”

And Peter didn’t even mind the theft of his descriptor; he just smiled as Deadpool’s tale unfolded.

Chapter Text

Peter sat perched atop a pointed roof, swinging his legs and watching the nightlife swirl and disperse below him. It wasn’t a busy night and so far he’d only had to stop one mugging, and he was thinking about just swinging back to his dorm. It would be nice to get an actually decent amount of sleep instead of the four or less hours that he usually got. Between his second semester kicking his ass in homework and essays, his day job taking photos of himself, and his secret life as a vigilante he didn’t get much rest. He’d just stood up, ready to take that swinging leap off the edge when his Spidey sense gave a little buzz that was more a nudge than a zap and Peter turned around to see Deadpool had climbed onto the roof behind him.

Peter’s first reaction was to give a wide smile because when wasn’t he happy to see Deadpool lately? He actively adored the man, if by actively he meant passively and secretly. Which he did. Because Deadpool was a really great guy and didn’t deserve to have to deal with an accidental crush that some guy had on him that hadn’t gone away for fucking months.

Peter’s second reaction was to realize that Deadpool didn’t know that Peter and Spiderman were the same person and to freak out. What if he was here because he found out? What if he hadn’t found out but Peter had given it away by acting so excited? What if Peter hadn’t given it away, but he was about to because surely Deadpool would recognize Peter’s mannerisms and voice in Spiderman now that he’d spent so much time with Peter as Peter.

Solution? Don’t talk and don’t move.

Perfect. There was no possible way that could go wrong.

Peter stiffly lowered himself back into a sitting position and waved at Deadpool to sit with him. Being a self-inflicted mute didn’t mean he couldn’t be polite.

“Sure,” Deadpool said, sashaying over and plopping down beside Peter, “I’ll pull up a shingle.” He sighed, looking way more serious than Peter had ever seen him, and that was saying something because Deadpool was still wearing his mask and Peter really shouldn’t be able to tell if he had a serious expression at all. “Look, I want to talk to you about something personal. You don’t mind, do you?”

Peter blinked a few times and then quickly shook his head. He had no idea what Deadpool was going to say, but no matter what it was Peter wanted to help.

Deadpool’s serious expression cracked and he shot Peter a half-smile. “Why you so quiet today, Spidey? Someone steal your voice box?” He lowered his voice conspiratorially, “You lose a bet?”

Peter’s eyes shot wide open and he could feel his heart pick up speed, but he’d always been a quick thinker and a quicker liar, and so he gave a little cough, and in his roughest, least-Peter-like voice said, “Cold. Sorry.”

Deadpool’s expression morphed instantly into one of concern. “You sick there, Spidey?” He touched the back of his hand to Peter’s forehead, and even through the mask and Deadpool’s glove, Peter could feel his warmth. He blushed, and was instantly glad that he was wearing said mask so Deadpool couldn’t see that he’d become a lobster. “Hmmm,” Deadpool said, removing his hand, “doesn’t feel like you’ve got a fever. Better get home quick anyway, wouldn’t want to get worse.”

Peter couldn’t help the small guilty frown that formed on his face, invisible beneath his mask. He really didn’t mean to lie to Deadpool, but he was in deep. Peter was friends with Deadpool, Spiderman was sometimes a colleague to Deadpool. The secrets made things awkward. The lies were possibly friendship-ruining if they ever got out. Peter did not want to lose Deadpool’s friendship. Peter wasn’t sure of very many things in his life, but this he was sure of. He liked Deadpool, more than liked Deadpool, and he would do anything to keep that friendship. Even stupid things, like fake a cold.

Peter nodded to the street below. “Was on my way home,” he rasped, hoping his voice was unidentifiable, “when you showed up.”

“Oh,” Deadpool seemed to deflate a little. “Well, I wouldn’t want to stop you. You probably need sleep and chicken noodle soup stat. You can go. We can maybe talk later, if you don’t mind? I know I can be annoying, but I’d really like to talk and I don’t really have a lot of friends anymore. Except for Wolverine, but he keeps threatening to remove my balls whenever I get within shooting distance of him, and I’m a very good aim, so that’s quite a distance. But I’m not actually shooting anyone anymore, I’m not. Did you know that? I’ve retired from my mercenary ways. Now I can be one of the good guys and we can team up some times together if you’re into that. I know I’m into that, but I’ve been told that my interests are weird and wrong, and I’ve also been almost arrested a lot, and I was once hunted down by a witch pack in Mexico because I asked them if an orgy was appropriate, but I don’t actually know too much Spanish, well I do, but not “orgy” and I might have accidentally asked for something else and not known because—”

Peter interrupted Deadpool by placing a finger against his lip in the universal sign for “Shhhhhhhhh.” Deadpool stopped speaking mid-sentence and seemed to be frozen, mouth hanging open, watching Peter.

“Tell me,” Peter rasped, and then coughed a little to really ham it up. Deadpool looked torn between speaking and running far, far away, so Peter made a little ‘hurry up’ motion and Deadpool nodded.

“Ok, so, first thing first, you’ve got to promise to listen to everything I’m about to say before you say anything, ok? Because I keep talking to White and Yellow about it, only they are so much the opposite of helpful that I want to shoot myself in the head just so I can get a little peace and quiet once in a while, but that would be going against lesson number nine and that’s a no-go, so…promise?”

Peter’s heart had jumped at the reference to one of his lessons, but he nodded. Of course he’d help Deadpool do whatever he could. Of course.

Deadpool exhaled slowly. “Where to start, where to start?” He chuckled to himself, muttered, quiet enough that it was obviously not meant for Spiderman, “I say that so much nowadays,” and then continued, in a louder voice, “Remember not to freak out or do anything rash like web me to the wall, or kill me or something, alright? Ok, so, I’ve been hanging out with your stalker.”

Peter started forward a little, and he could only be glad he was already facing Deadpool, because if he hadn’t been he would have probably given himself whiplash trying to get a fix on Deadpool’s expression.

“Don’t freak out!” Deadpool admonished. “It’s for a good cause. He’s your photo guy for that newspaper that sucks. You know, the one that hates your guts?” Peter nodded slowly, because wait a minute, was Deadpool talking about him? “Cool, so I’ve been hanging out with him lately, and he’s really cool and I like him a lot. He’s a good kid.”

Peter wanted to roll his eyes. A good kid. Yay. Just how he wanted his crush to think of him.

“And he’s been coaching me.” Deadpool continued, getting sucked into his own story, not caring that Peter was quietly fidgeting beside him. “But not in sports because ew, what am I, a lonely dad from Connecticut?”

Peter chuckled. Because only dads from Connecticut can like sports. Sure.

“Oh you know what I mean!” Deadpool said. For half a second Peter was scared that Deadpool could actually read minds, but then he realized that, no, Deadpool was just that in touch with Peter’s train of thought. They literally spent so much time together, this was not the first time Deadpool had guessed what Peter was thinking based purely on his own previous sentence. It was ridiculous. “He’s been coaching me in how to be a superhero. Giving me lessons!” He sounded so proud of himself that Peter wanted to wrap him up in a big hug and never let go.

“Now,” the ex-merc went on, “you might be wondering how a photographer would be able to teach me how to be a hero, a good guy.”

Peter nodded, because sure, that’s probably what he would be thinking if he weren’t himself. Which he was. For reasons. Such as birth and life. And in the future death, but not yet.

“But he’s awesome!” Deadpool sounded oddly defensive, and Peter couldn’t help smiling. “He’s so good, and he gives me all these lessons I should learn, and tells me what to do, and a lot of it is really obvious, and I should probably tell him that most of that shit is common sense before he publishes his book. Which, by the way, did you know he’s that smart? He wants to publish how to be a hero as a book. He thinks he’s joking but I think he’s fabulous.”

Peter blushed.

“And I even brought my notes,” Deadpool said, pulling a spiral bound notebook with Hello Kitty on the front from behind him. Peter could only guess that it had been tucked into his waistband, “in case you wanted to read it and give me some pointers to pass back to him. Better run it by a real hero before getting it published, in case there’s something stupid in there that we both missed.”

He shrugged and handed the notebook to Peter. It was obviously well-worn and well-loved, and was this notebook filled with Peter’s ‘lessons?’ Is that was Deadpool meant? Peter had never seen the man taking notes. Did that mean that every time they separated, after Peter left Deadpool’s apartment to trudge back to his dorm where he shared a room with a stoner art major who was never there, Deadpool stayed up, head bowed over this Hello Kitty notebook, writing down the lessons?

Woah.

“But you don’t need to do that now,” Deadpool continued, not caring that he’d just flipped Peter’s world on its ear. “That was like a secondary thing that I think would be really cool but you don’t have to do.” He grimaced. “In fact, after the actual thing, I’m not sure you’ll want to do much of anything for me ever again.”

Deadpool hung his head and kicked his feet a little, and Peter gaped at him. He’d never seen the man so, vulnerable. Ever. The guy was always chatting away, exuberant about everything. Sometimes he turned serious or nervous, but never so open. Peter momentarily felt overwhelming jealousy for himself, for Spiderman, because Deadpool had never been this exposed for Peter, and he’d spent way more time with him as his real identity than as his alter ego!

And then Peter mentally bitch-slapped himself because what the fuck! What a stupid-ass thing to think. This was not about Peter right now, and he would not make it about himself by being jealous! Of himself!

“Go on,” Peter whispered.

Deadpool sighed out, and stretched his hands out before him. Peter found himself clutching at the notebook, his fingers curling around its edges tightly, unable or unwilling to let go.

“I think I like him,” Deadpool whispered back, and Peter’s heart stopped. “I mean, not the kind of like, like I like you or Wolverine or chimichangas or Captain America. I mean like-like. You know.” Deadpool shrugged and avoided eye-contact.

Peter would have rolled his eyes at how juvenile Deadpool sounded if he hadn’t lost all ability to breathe or speak or move.

Deadpool spoke again, obviously not needing Peter to encourage him more, which was good, because Peter’s brain was still rebooting. “I’ve been hanging out with him for a long time, you know. This isn’t a new thing. This is a long time coming. I mean, it’s been more than half a year, fuck! And I didn’t mean for it to happen. I swear I just wanted to meet him for, like, totally legitimate, non-creepy ways, but then it snowballed and now I don’t think I can live without him.” He let out a strangled laugh and rubbed the back of his neck, and Peter could still not talk. “And I know that you and me kind of have a chase-me-if-you-can thing, so I wanted to ask you before I ask him out. Is it ok, Spidey? Can I ask Peter Parker on a date?”

Peter wanted to speak, he honestly did. He had so much he wanted to say. He wanted to ask what the fuck Deadpool meant when he said that he had a chasing thing with Peter. What was that, and when had it been agreed upon? Or was it one of those things where Deadpool thought about a thing so hard he began to believe it? Is that what Deadpool had meant when he’d first broken into the Daily Bugle and told Peter that he wanted to woo Spiderman? And he wanted to yell yes! He wanted to tell Deadpool that that was a great idea. Deadpool should go right now and ask Peter Parker on a date immediately, yes, yes, god yes!

And he wanted to say nothing, just take off his mask and explain that Deadpool didn’t have to choose, because apparently Deadpool had liked him long before Deadpool had liked or even known Peter as Peter.

Fuck.

Fuck!

He wanted to tell Deadpool his secret, reveal himself to an ex-mercenary with a fondness for tex-mex and an inability to shut up. Jesus Christ!

Instead of any of those things happening, Deadpool made a sudden, horrified, squeaking noise and slipped off the ledge.

“Wait!” Peter shouted, but he was too late. Peter looked over the edge and could only just make out the limping figure of Deadpool thousands of feet below him before the ex-merc disappeared into a dark alley. Peter breathed out, breathed in, breathed out again. His eyes were wide as he stared into the dark, and he realized he was still in shock.

Deadpool wanted to date him!

Peter didn’t think he’d ever been this light. It was like there could be nothing wrong with the world, there was no darkness when Deadpool like-liked him. There was only a smidgeon, a corner of guilt and doubt that worried about Deadpool running away. But Deadpool had run away from Spiderman, he wouldn’t hate Peter for that! And that meant that Peter could choose his own timing and way in which he was going to reveal himself.

Because it was obvious. He trusted Deadpool, and since Deadpool knew both of him and was practically unkillable, why not? Deadpool should know that Peter and Spiderman were the same person if he was going to date him. (If Deadpool still wanted to date him, he had run away, after all, a traitorous part of his brain added, unhelpfully.)

First he’d make a plan on how to tell him, figure out the best way to do it so that Deadpool wouldn’t run away in the middle or do anything stupid, and then they could go out on a date and everything would be happy forever.

(Dear god, was he going to be that kind of guy? Was he a—gasp! A romantic? Sickening!)

Peter smiled down at the Hello Kitty notebook still clutched in his hand. Some light reading before bed, and then tomorrow he’d come up with an idea during class, and then he was meeting with Deadpool for dinner. Perfect day.

(A date!)

(A DATE!)

Chapter Text

Peter made sure he was completely cocooned in blankets in his extra long twin before opening the notebook. During sleep he’d probably kick most of the blankets off him, but as it was he liked feeling like he was floating in a nest of soft. He held the notebook upright, letting it rest on his chest. He ran a finger along its edge, noting how smooth it was.

“Come on, Parker,” he muttered to himself. “Just do it.”

Peter cracked open the notebook and folded back the front cover. On the first page, in bright red pen was written: PETER PARKER’S RULES TO RULE BY! Peter couldn’t help laughing a little at Deadpool’s obvious enthusiasm. There was a little drawing of Deadpool’s iconic symbol on the bottom corner, the circle with a line running down the center, and it looked like Deadpool had drawn rays off of it, as if it were a sun.

Peter folded back that page, revealing the first of Peter’s lessons.

Lesson 1, the top of the page proclaimed, and directly below it, in bigger letters was, Don’t kill anyone ever for any reason forever! The word ‘don’t’ was underlined three times. Beneath that was a stick figure Deadpool (made recognizable by the two katanas strapped to his back) and another stick figure standing side by side. The Deadpool stick figure was holding a gun which he was pointing into the air. The other stick figure had a speech bubble that said, “Point it at the ground, point it at the sun, just don’t point it at people lest you kill someone.” With a flutter of recognition Peter realized that the other stick figure was him. He had to bite the inside of his lip to keep a wide grin from splitting across his face. Yes, there was no one there to see him, but that didn’t mean that he wanted to be the kind of guy who smiled at stick figures alone in his room. Ew, no.

Below the stick figures were a few bullet points, written hastily, that looked like maybe Deadpool had been trying to figure out the limits of lesson one. A lot were questions that had been crossed out, like, What if they suck? and Can I kill them if they kill me first?. In contrasting black pen at the bottom of the page was written NO in big letters.

Peter turned the page.

Lesson 2! it read, How to treat bad guys!

In smaller script below it was written: (because no killing).

There was another child-like drawing below those words. Stick figure Deadpool was holding a stick figure person above his head. Next to stick figure Deadpool was a stick figure in all blue with what looked like a police cap on its head. Beside the police officer was a stick figure wearing a mortar board and who had a speech bubble. “If you catch a bad guy, before you disfigure, call the police-police or an authority figure.” Peter winced a little at the forced rhyme, but he smiled around it, because it was so cute.

Below that were more scribbles. Peter squinted and thought he might have worked out one of the sentences to read, Torture is not good. Give to police. Forcing them to watch bad tv is torture. Leave the police to decide how to punish.

Peter flipped to the next page.

Lesson 3!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Below that, in smaller, more concise letters was, That means if you’re confused about a rule or situation, you go to Peter, got it? Peter blinked, that was almost word for word what he’d said to Deadpool at their second meeting. “Deadpool, if you’re ever confused about a rule or a situation, come to me, ok? I’ll help you figure it out. Let’s make that lesson three,” he’d said to the man over a bowl of pho.

Looking back, it was hard to think that that interaction had happened over half a year ago. Sometimes it seemed like he’d just met Deadpool, and other days it felt like he’d known the guy forever.

Stick figure Peter, holding an apple in one hand and a pointer in the other, said, “If you ever need help, you can always come to me, I promise on my camera or my name ain’t Petey.”

Peter ran his finger over the little drawing. He wished he could say something to Deadpool, call the man up right now and tell him how much Peter appreciated him, really, really appreciated the guy, because Deadpool deserved it. He really, really did, because Deadpool had made a choice, a hard one, and had chosen justice over monetary gain, and that was a difficult choice to make. Peter wanted to show Deadpool how amazing he was, how beautiful it was that he put so much effort into learning and living by the lessons Peter had given him.

And Peter also felt a little guilty that he had this much influence over the man. A seed of doubt wormed its way into his heart, and Peter bit his lip, worried that maybe he’d been abusing his power. He couldn’t think of any times out right when he had, but he couldn’t be sure, and he didn’t like that uncertainty. He only knew that he wouldn’t have done it on purpose.

Peter closed his eyes. He refused to think of this right now. He was going to finish looking through the notebook, tomorrow he’d talk to Deadpool, and they’d move on from there.

Peter’s eyes flowed over the rest of the page, and there, at the bottom, was Peter’s phone number. He’d given Deadpool his number over the Pho, because how else was Deadpool supposed to ask Peter any questions if he didn’t have his phone number? It wasn’t like Deadpool only had questions when Peter was around. Plus, it was evident, even by their third meeting, that their get-togethers would continue, and Peter didn’t want Deadpool to just have to wait outside the Daily Bugle every week hoping that Peter was free. That wasn’t fair to either of them.

And really, Deadpool was a funny texter. He was. But they didn’t text all the time, it was only about meet-ups, nothing recreational. Which, now that Peter was thinking about it, was a shame.

Peter pushed that thought out of his head as well and flipped the page.

Lesson 4! Do not insult the bad guys, it makes them angrier!

Peter wasn’t exactly good at following that rule himself, but it was good advice anyway.

He skimmed the page, smiling at little bits and pieces that he recognized himself saying. He flipped another page, and another, and his smile didn’t diminish as he flipped through every single rule he’d ever given Deadpool. Every. Single. One.

Lesson nine was there, don’t get hurt. And the misnumbering that was Peter’s fault had Lesson eight coming after. That page might have been his favorite, because little stick figure Peter was wearing a cape, a big no-no, as the speech bubble let him know, and stick figure Deadpool was on one knee, pleading for Peter to take it off. Fucking adorable.

Lesson fifteen, try to save the bad guys.

Lesson twenty-seven, don’t insult bad guys’ mothers. The drawing had stick figure Deadpool literally punching a stick figure with stereotypical mom hair in the face. Stick figure Peter was reprimanding stick figure Deadpool.

Lesson forty-two, always save the dog.

Lesson fifty-five, don’t ask those you’ve rescued for payment.

Lesson seventy-six, pasta, with lessons seventy-seven and seventy-eight on the same page. The word dehydration was crossed out in black, scribbled out more like it, and the word eating was underlined eight times.

Lesson seventy-nine, how to get a glass of water, had five pages to itself which was really just a mini-comic of stick figure Peter trying to teach stick figure Deadpool all about water. Almost everything was horribly wrong and adorable.

Peter came to the sudden realization that he was going to have to either take a picture of every single page to save forever or he was going to have to take the Hello Kitty notebook to the library the next day to photo copy each page.

He was definitely going to do it.

Lesson ninety-nine, if people ask for help, don’t brush them off. That one was the last one Peter had told Deadpool, and it had been strange trying to explain that sometimes, if you were well known as a superhero people might come to talk to you about helping them. Deadpool had never had that happen, which as far as Peter was concerned, was just wrong. Deadpool was just as much a hero as anyone else. People should call out to him for help as much as they did to Spiderman.

Peter turned to the next page which was blank. He flipped through the rest of the pages of the notebook. He knew they were all going to be blank because Peter hadn’t yet given Deadpool those lessons, it was mostly just a fidgety habit. But towards the end of the notebook, on the third or fourth-to-last page was a drawing in blue ink. Every previous page had been in red and/or black, and the sudden change made Peter flip past it automatically. When his mind had caught up with his fingers he stopped and returned to what Peter could only assume was an old drawing, from before Hello Kitty had been relegated to Peter’s lessons. The drawing was slightly better than a stick figure, but not by much. It was only just wide enough for Peter to recognize the web-design as the one he put on every night. Below it, in precise letters, as if Deadpool had really concentrated on getting it right, was Spiderbabe, with a heart after it.

Peter grinned at the little drawing and suddenly his mind was made up. Tomorrow Peter would find Deadpool as Spiderman, swing up to him so Deadpool knew it couldn’t be an imposter, and then pull his mask off. There, secret revealed. If Peter went to Deadpool and pulled on the costume, there was the possibility that Deadpool might think Peter was some weird cosplayer and might get pissed and run off before Peter could prove himself as Spidey.

And maybe Deadpool would be angry with him. Peter would totally understand that, he’d been effectively lying to the man since they’d met, but it still gave him a little twinge. And maybe telling Deadpool would ruin the possibility of them ever having a relationship, but Peter wasn’t about to start a relationship with a guy who knew both of him and not tell him that he was…well, both. He’d rather eat his own mask.

So it was decided.

Peter flipped idly back through the pages, devouring the images on the pages with his eyes, and when he once more got to the page after Lesson ninety-nine he made a split-second decision.

Lesson 100! he wrote with a black pen on the blank page. His own handwriting seemed overly-stylized, with its loops and short i’s after immersing himself in Deadpool’s scratchy, small letters. He breathed out through his nose and couldn’t help a little smile of anticipation from curling his mouth as he wrote below the number, Peter like-likes you too.

Lesson One Hundred, Deadpool, Peter likes you too.

And with that thought, Peter placed the notebook on his backpack with care, flicked off the light, and fell into an excited slumber, if one can be excited while asleep.

Chapter Text

For half a second, when Peter woke up the next day, he was content just to be warm in his too skinny bed. Then it all came rushing back, Deadpool asking if he could date Peter, the notebook full of doodles and memories, and Peter couldn’t help but beam as he rolled out of bed and got ready for the day. On his way out he made sure to carefully slide the Hello Kitty notebook into his book bag between his thin laptop and the false back which hid his Spidey suit.

Halfway through his first class he realized that maybe he should have gone to the library and photocopied the notebook before class, if only because he couldn’t stop thinking about it which meant that despite listening to his professor lecture about gamma radiation and its effects on the biological elements of the world, Peter hadn’t heard a word. But between this class and the next he only had a fifteen minute break, and he had to use that time to actually get to the class which was usually cutting it anyway. So, he’d have to wait for another two hours before he could get to the library.

In his next class, Differential Equations, Peter found himself tapping his food in impatience, making the lap table of the seats in the lecture hall jiggle with his leg. The girl who sat in front of him turned to glare at him and he abruptly stopped, looking sheepish. He needed to relax. The end of class was soon.

As soon as the professor released them Peter leaped for the door. He usually really enjoyed that class, and honestly, he had some questions that he would normally ask the professor about after the lecture, but he couldn’t wait.

At the library the line for the photocopier on the first floor was at least twenty people deep, which was impressive, because the line for the coffee cart wasn’t even that long, and usually Peter had to wait forty minutes just to get a cup. (Worth the wait, completely. Katie, who ran the little cart, could make a cup of joe that would have Chuck Norris begging for a refill.) But Peter was a smart little cookie, and happened to be somewhat friends with Jason at the reception desk (somewhat friends meant that Peter helped Jason with homework in Organic Chemistry and Jason covered for Peter and signed his name on the attendance sheet if Peter was absent from class. Peter tried not to be absent, but it was hard what with the superhero-ing and the day job and etc etc. It wasn’t like Peter couldn’t learn the same stuff with some self-study if he had to, it just took longer.)

Jason had shown Peter a rinky-dink little photocopier hidden behind stacks of old classic literature theses in the basement, which meant that Peter was in and out in thirty minutes, making sure to copy all of the pages written on, including Peter’s Lesson 100 and the drawing of Spidey, and bypassing the line to the photocopier upstairs completely. Peter had emailed the copies to himself, and he knew that he was going to be ridiculous and print out all the pages and hole-punch them and put them in a nice binder with a cover because he was weird like that. He didn’t need to lie to himself, he knew he was strange.

But he didn’t have time for that, he only had forty minutes until his last class of the day, just long enough to grab chips and salsa and a slushie from on-campus dining.

Finally, in microbiology he was able to concentrate, he even took fairly decent notes, if he did say so himself, though he couldn’t help running his finger against the top edge of the Hello Kitty notebook inside his backpack. At the end he made his way sedately out of the room, pushed along by the ebb and flow of the students around him, everyone ready to go home and relax, or stay a bit longer to enjoy night classes. Peter debated just leaving from there. He could change in an alley on the way, he’d done worse, and Deadpool wasn’t expecting him for another couple of hours so that would give time for them to talk without Deadpool being on the lookout for Peter to show up.

But then he remembered that he still had his laptop in his backpack, and though he didn’t mind stashing his bag in dirty places, he didn’t want his laptop getting banged up. He wasn’t exactly rich, he couldn’t just go out and buy a new one if someone stole his or it got busted.

Back to the dorm then.

Walking through his door he realized that his plans for the evening would have to change. He paused, taking in the mess around him. The window was broken, letting in a cool breeze, his clothes were all tossed from the closet, and drawers were scattered about the room as if they’d been thrown. His bedding was shredded, and his desk over turned. Even his lamp was broken, lying on its side, sad and dejected.

Peter screwed up his eyes and tried breathing slowly and evenly. Now was not the time to freak out. The person who had done this obviously hadn’t found Peter’s Spidey suit since Peter had had it in his backpack all day, but they had also, obviously, been targeting Peter. This wasn’t just some random robbery, home invasion (dorm invasion?), because it was only Peter’s side of the room that was wrecked.

Peter opened his eyes and inhaled, deep and long. He exhaled. Inhaled again and dug his phone from his front pocket.

Sorry, DP,” he typed, “Something came up, can’t make it tonight.” He hit send.

No reason to say anything that would freak the guy out until Peter knew more. He didn’t want Deadpool rushing in half-cocked and doing something dangerous. Half-truths until then.

Then Peter called the police, and then his Aunt, telling her what had happened and that he’d probably need to spend a few nights back home and commute to school since he didn’t like the idea of sleeping at the scene of a crime, even if that scene was his bedroom. Then he belatedly called his RA, Robert, and told him what had happened. Perhaps ironically, Robert freaked out more than Aunt May had.

It was a long time before Peter was able to get home that night. Talking to the cops took a long time which was to be expected but was annoying all the same. Do you know anyone who might do this? Do you know any reason someone might do this? Can you give us the names of anyone who might hold a grudge against you? Did the Green Goblin count? Doc Ock? Probably not.

Aunt May showed up almost immediately and waited calmly during the questioning to take Peter home. Peter’s roommate arrived with their RA in tow. Robert was practically hyperventilating. Peter’s roommate, who insisted on being called Zachariah even though the name on the lease was Zachery, punched Peter’s arm good naturedly and offered him a blunt. Within a ten foot distance of a cop. Not exactly the smartest guy, obviously, but whatever.

Peter hastily packed his bags after the cops left and Robert helped carry them to Aunt May’s car. Peter offered to help Zachariah pack up his things, but the stoner waved him off with some comment about his brothers coming by.

The car ride was mostly silent. Peter was grateful to Aunt May for letting the quiet wash over the car. He didn’t know what to say, and he knew that she recognized that talking wouldn’t help him in that moment. At the house she gave him a quick kiss on the nose, told him she’d be there if he wanted to talk, and let him go up to his room, still his even while he lived away.

He threw his bags on his bed, collapsed onto the bed next to them, and pulled out his phone. There were three messages, all from Deadpool, and it made Peter smile. They were from a few hours previous, not long after Peter had first texted him, but Peter hadn’t had time to look at his phone with all the hubbub.

No probleroni, Peter-zoni!” The first one read.

Then, a few minutes later, he’d said, “So I guess Thursday? Like we planned? See you in two days, Petey-pie!” Which was good for Peter. Today was Tuesday, which meant that he could totally go see Deadpool as Spiderman on Wednesday when he would not be expecting Peter to be showing up sometime soon.

The third message was from a few hours after the initial two which just said, “Whatever’s up, you can kick it’s ass! <3” and it made Peter laugh and laugh and laugh, which was good, because after the day he had he needed a good laugh or two.

Chapter Text

Wednesdays were Peter’s short days, when it concerned classes, but were actually his long days usually. Wednesday classes, Bioengineering and Materials, finished up before noon, but he usually worked at the Bugle until eight or nine to get himself more hours. This week he took a personal day with the perfectly valid excuse that someone had broken into his dorm room and wrecked the place. Betty was very kind about it, and even promised to stall Jameson on the project Peter had coming up soon. (He expected to feel a pang of regret when talking to Betty, regret that the possibility of a relationship between the two of them had floundered after only one date. He felt no pang, and realized with a start that he was grateful to Betty for hating his alter ego, because now he had a chance with Deadpool and that thought made him happier than Betty ever had.)

So Peter was free after noon, which was why he found himself stowing his backpack beneath a dumpster after donning his Spidey suit, and tucking the Hello Kitty notebook reverently into the front of his waistband, beneath his suit. Time to find Deadpool.

He swung out of the alley, and decided to swing by Deadpool’s apartment first. The place was all windows so it’d be easy to see if Deadpool was home or not, and if he wasn’t (which Peter thought was likely) then he could do the rounds on Deadpool’s usual hang-out spots until he found the guy. It might be difficult, Peter knew, but he would succeed. There wasn’t any other option. He needed to speak to Deadpool soon, today, before he lost his nerve.

As Peter suspected, Deadpool was not in residence at his penthouse apartment. Peter was already compiling a list of places to look, and trying to think up a route that would be efficient and wouldn’t have him swinging all over the city all willy-nilly (why did he not have a GPS installed in his suit?), but instead of having to go to any of them, Peter spotted Deadpool sitting on a roof just a few blocks from his apartment.

Peter changed course mid-swing and landed with a small thump behind Deadpool. Deadpool looked up from the gun he was polishing, its pieces laid out before him in a curving pattern of organized chaos that made Peter smile. “Sup, Spidey?” Deadpool asked, and Peter could tell that he was trying for nonchalance, but he didn’t quite make it.

Peter nodded and pulled the notebook from beneath his shirt. He handed it to Deadpool who took it and tossed it over the edge of the roof without a second thought. Peter made an involuntary noise of shock and distress, and was at the edge of the roof staring down at the fluttering notebook in a flash.

“It’s nothing important,” Deadpool said, continuing to polish his gun and avoiding Peter’s gaze, “I shouldn’t have given it to you. It’s stupid.”

“No!” Peter exclaimed, not bothering to try and disguise his voice. Deadpool didn’t even seem to notice.

“Look, let’s just pretend that conversation never happened. I was just being an idiot. I see that now.”

“No.” Peter said, adamant this time, “You were not being stupid. Nothing you said was stupid.”

Deadpool scoffed. “The fuck it was! I was wrong and I see that now. Let it go, Spidey!”

“So, what?” Peter asked, fingering the edge of his mask, “Are you telling me now that you don’t like Peter Parker? You don’t want to ask him on a date?”

“It was a stupid idea!” Deadpool began slotting the pieces of his gun back together speedily. “We’re better off as friends. Teacher and student. I’m a fucking mercenary, he’s not going to want to date me.”

Peter sighed in exasperation. “You don’t know that. You are an ex-mercenary. You’re a good guy, a hero. You fight for truth and justice and the American way.”

“Don’t you quote Holy Musical B@tman at me, Spidey! I’m too upset for dance numbers.”

“I’ll quote what I damn well please!” Then Peter caught his breath and decided to change tactics. He brought his fingers to the edge of his mask again, prepared to draw it off. “Listen, there’s something I want to talk to you about.” Deadpool twitched but didn’t stop as he holstered his gun and tried to walk away. Peter grabbed his arm and Deadpool froze, still avoiding Peter’s eyes. “It has to do with Peter. Just—” He sighed, “after I tell you this you can walk away if you want. That’s fine. But let me—”

Peter was interrupted by The Killers singing from one of Deadpool’s pouches. “Coming out of my cage and I’ve been doing just fine, gotta gotta be down because I want it all. It started out—” Deadpool pulled the phone from his pocket and pressed it against his ear. “I’m retired,” he hissed, “I’m not taking calls. I’ve clocked out. Please don’t leave a message with my secretary, I have no open appointments, I won’t be attending any meetings, goodbye, have a fucking horrible day, and leave me the fuck alone.”

“Mr. Deadpool,” said the tinny voice coming from the phone which Peter would not have been able to hear were it not for his Spider-improved hearing, “I have something I think you’ll want.”

Deadpool scoffed. “I don’t think you do. Buh-bye now!”

“Please,” a new voice said from farther away than the first speaker, and it took Peter a minute to place the voice, but it took Deadpool no time at all. Peter watched him straighten, watched as his shoulders pushed back and his chin went up, and Peter watched as he became something dangerous, something fearsome, something that Peter had never seen in him before, and then he realized that the voice was his own.

“Please,” Peter’s voice repeated from the phone and Peter took a step forward in confusion.

“What have you done?” Deadpool growled and Peter heard the tinny laughter of the first speaker.

“I told you I have something you want. You’ve been spending some time with Peter Parker as of late. Don’t you know it’s dangerous to be around you?” The man laughed again. “I have a job for you, a hit on some politician you’ve never heard of, probably. It won’t hurt you any. But if you don’t take the job than I guess we’ll have to return Mr. Parker to you in pieces.”

There was a pause in which Peter could read the anger and desperation in Deadpool’s stance, in what little expression Peter could make out on his face, and Peter shook his head even as Deadpool responded. “Give me the information.”

“No!” Peter shouted. “Dammnit, Deadpool, listen to—”

Peter cut himself off when a katana pressed against his throat.

“Ah, ah, ah,” the speaker reprimanded him jovially. “Not over the phone, Mr. Deadpool. Never over the phone. You can meet me in at the address I am currently texting to you. We can talk negotiations then. Come alone or Mr. Parker dies. Goodbye, now.”

The phone cut off and Deadpool flung it across the roof. He was seething, his whole body shaking in anger, and Peter took a step back from the katana still raised against him.

Peter held his hands up and spoke softly, in a way that was not unlike how someone might speak to a wild and cornered animal. “Now Deadpool. Listen to me. It’s all going to be all right.”

“It’s not!” Deadpool shouted, and Peter flinched back. “Don’t you get it? They’ve got Peter! Sweet little Peter. And they’re going to kill him!” Deadpool started across the roof but Peter tugged on his arm before he could jump off.

“They’re not going to kill him,” Peter said calmly. “You don’t even have any proof it was really him.”

“I know him!” Deadpool roared and lashed out, flinging Peter across the roof. Peter flipped and landed on one knee next to Deadpool’s phone. He picked it up and brushed it off before standing. “He’s not a hero,” Deadpool continued, in a quieter tone that more obviously showed his worry and desperation, “he’s not like us, Spidey. He can’t get out of this. I won’t let anything happen to him.” Deadpool’s voice firmed. “Nothing.”

Peter wanted to sigh, or perhaps laugh, because there was so much wrong with what Deadpool had just said. Peter was a superhero, and he wasn’t being held against his will. He was right there.

“Deadpool, I have to tell you something. Please,” Peter tried again. He could just pull his mask off right then and then Deadpool would know Peter was fine and they could try and figure this out together.

But Deadpool hadn’t waited for Peter to even finish speaking before he stepped carelessly off the edge of the roof.

“Shit,” Peter grumbled and flung himself off the roof after him. He caught Deadpool around the waist and with his other hand thwipped a web to a nearby building, and then he was swinging with Deadpool hanging off of one arm. It would be very romantic if Deadpool weren’t struggling to get free. “Stop it,” Peter snapped, “I want to help, you idiot. I’m actively trying to not drop you.”

Deadpool settled, even going so far as to hook his arms around Peter’s neck to give Peter back the use of his other arm, which he needed for swinging, but he held himself stiff, like he was slightly uncomfortable and trying not to look it. “Why are you helping me?”

Peter rolled his eyes. “Because I obviously can’t talk reason to you right now. I will convince you to actually let me change your mind if it kills me, but for now I’m curious about this whole charade as well.”

“And you don’t care at all about the innocent kidnap victim who’s your photographer?” Deadpool demanded incredulously.

“Parker’s a fine kid,” Peter said, feeling supremely awkward. “That’s really not the point. My point is that you’re being an idiot.”

“Fuck you!” Deadpool growled. “I always looked up to you, but if you don’t care that an innocent kid was kidnapped, I was obviously wrong.”

A small stab of hurt made Peter’s breathing stutter, even though he knew that the reasoning behind Deadpool’s words were flawed. “No,” Peter said slowly, “you’re an idiot because Mr. Mean-Kidnapper-Man said he’d text you the address and you promptly threw away your phone.”

Deadpool made a strangled noise and tried to let go of Peter’s neck. “I’ve got to go back! I’ve got to—”

Peter sighed, a small smile hidden beneath his mask. “You child,” he said, and it came out as more of an endearment than he’d meant. He pulled the discarded phone from where he’d tucked it into his waistband and slipped it into Deadpool’s grasp.

Deadpool tightened his hold around Peter’s neck and finally seemed to relax, hanging off Peter’s side like he did it every day. “I’ll navigate,” he informed Peter, and Peter nodded, allowing Deadpool to give him directions in real time as he pondered what the hell had just happened.

He bypassed all of the Deadpool things, because there was nothing Peter could say to the man when he was so worked up. Instead Peter tried to think of a way the man on the phone could have gotten Peter’s voice. The fact that he was only able to get a single word meant that they were working with some recording that only had limited speaking on it, or something. Peter ruled out the possibility of them teaming up with someone, like a mutant, who could imitate or recreate a person and their voice. If they had, they could have made that person say anything, not just “please” twice. Other than that, if someone had been following him they probably would have been able to record Peter saying the word “please” at any given time. He was raised to be polite; he always said please and thank you. Someone could have walked past him at the coffee cart at the library and recorded him saying “please” at the end of his order and that would have been that. Peter honestly didn’t know.

They arrived at the address too soon. It was some warehouse, a storage facility near the docks, and they landed close enough to spy on the building but far enough away to be unseen.

“You stay here,” Deadpool demanded, pointing at the ground.

“Nuh-uh, I don’t think so,” Peter said and crossed his arms. If someone was claiming that he was captured, Peter wanted to see the guy.

“Stay,” Deadpool hissed. “They said to come alone or Peter will die. I’m not sacrificing an innocent life because you’re curious.”

Right.

Peter had forgotten that was happening.

Deadpool’s expression was firm, solid. He wouldn’t be changing his mind any time soon, and Peter didn’t especially want to get into a fight with a desperate Deadpool right at the moment. Plus, Deadpool wasn’t really in danger, and neither was Peter.

“Ok,” Peter said complacently, his hands raised again in a vain attempt to calm his friend (love interest?) down, “how about this? You go in the front door and I spy from one of the upper windows. That way Peter,” he couldn’t help drawing his name out in a weird way, “will be safe, but if you need my backup I can be there in an instant.”

Peter held his breath as Deadpool seemed to think that one through. Finally he said, “Ok,” in a very small voice and Peter breathed out in relief. Deadpool didn’t wait for a response before turning on his heel and stalking to the metal doors. Peter snuck around the building, staying low, until he found a corner that looked hidden enough for him to climb without drawing any attention.

Peter scaled the metal walls carefully, keeping a keen ear out for any patrolling gunman, or rabid monkeys or really anything at this point. His day had flipped so insanely on its head that he wasn’t actually sure he’d be surprised if fucking Barney the purple dinosaur came after him with a boomerang. And he was just climbing this wall in the middle of the day because the man he was trying to ask on a date thought he’d been kidnapped.

So, just another day at the office then.

Peter swung onto the roof and crawled over to one of the high windows. He peered down, down, down into the vast and dim warehouse and could see that Deadpool was already standing in front of a man wearing a suit. Surrounding Deadpool were eight men handling military-grade weapons, all pointed at Deadpool. Peter wished that he could slip through the window to get a better look at what was happening, and actually be able to hear what was being said, but he’d made a promise and he didn’t break promises.

Deadpool held himself in a relaxed position, unconcerned by the men with guns pointed at him or the man in the fancy suit. Actually, Peter couldn’t tell if it was fancy or not. He didn’t know suits. Peter didn’t even own a blazer; he couldn’t tell an Armani from a Goodwill. But he could tell that the suit guy looked sketchy as hell and smarmy to boot. The man was getting increasingly pissed off at Deadpool, and any number of things about the ex-merc, probably, and Peter wanted to applaud but he held back. But only just.

And then smarmy-suit-guy pulled one hand out of his pocket and Peter could see a small yellow dot hang a little out of the guy’s pocket. Peter squinted at it, thinking it looked familiar, and then he groaned. Quietly, he was a professional, but still.

Because he recognized that small yellow dot, it was a Pac Man keychain. Up close he’d be able to point out the scratch over one of the eyes from the time he’d thrown it against the fridge, and the darkening of the chain where the silver paint had worn off. And if Peter could have plucked it from the man’s pocket, he would have been able to see that it was attached to an equally yellow flash drive upon which he stored his recorded lab experiments. Megabyte after megabyte of mp4s of him at the labs. And Peter suddenly knew, with the same shock mingled with understanding that Oedipus had felt upon realizing that he’d been doing the do with his mom, that in one of those audio recordings Peter had said the word “please.”

That’s where they’d gotten Peter’s voice, from a lab recording he’d kept for school. Which they’d stolen (drum roll) from his dorm! That meant that this douche nozzle was the guy who’d broken into his dorm and trashed the place!

Or more probably, was the guy who ordered other guys to do that.

But still.

Douche nozzle.

And then Deadpool gave a short little nod and was out the door before Peter had time to think. Peter rolled from the roof and chased after Deadpool.

“Shit. Shit, shit, shit.”

Chapter Text

“Deadpool!” Peter called after the man, but he didn’t stop, just continued practically running away from the warehouse. But with purpose, not with fright. He had someplace to be, and Peter was scared that he was going to do something irreversible.

“Deadpool!” Peter tried again, and when the man didn’t stop Peter just swooped down and grabbed hold of Deadpool’s waist before swinging forward again.

“Spiderman,” Deadpool bit out, “let go of me.”

“I don’t think so,” Peter said with a note of false cheer.

“I don’t want you getting involved!”

“Well tough shit, Deadpool, I’m already involved.” Peter took a moment to observe how tense Deadpool looked. In a softer voice Peter said, “Tell me what happened in the warehouse. What did he say?”

Deadpool gave in once more and wound his arms around Peter’s neck, but unlike when he’d done it previously, this time it felt more like a hug. As if he was trying to get whatever amount of comfort out of Peter as he could. Peter didn’t necessarily feel like letting go either.

“They told me that they’d been trying to order a hit on their guy for months now. Some hero politician who wanted to fund orphanages and soup kitchens.” He gave a wet chuckle. “These guys are first class ass-clowns.”

“So they tried hiring you,” Peter prodded.

“But I don’t do that shit anymore,” Deadpool defended himself. “And when they figured that out, they figured that the reason I stopped was because I’ve been “getting cozy,”” he sneered the words enough that Peter knew it was a direct quote from smarmy-suit-guy, “with Peter Parker. If I stopped killing because of him, maybe I’d start again because of him too.”

“That’s stupid!” Peter ground out.

Deadpool was silent.

Peter gasped. “You’re not really going to do it, are you? Lesson one, don’t kill people.”

“So you read it,” Deadpool grumbled. “It’s stupid, I know, but you don’t have to make fun of it.”

“I’m not making fun of it. They were good rules. And lesson one is a good rule: don’t kill people.”

“Lesson five: rescue the innocent at whatever cost. You obviously didn’t do your research,” Deadpool responded.

“Lesson three. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.” Peter paused. “Deadpool, let me help you.”

Deadpool let out a long sigh. “You can’t help me. I have to do this to save Peter, and I know he’ll hate me for it, because of lesson one, but I have to do it. But you can’t help. I mean it, Spidey, you’re a good guy. I’m not going to drag you into this mess.”

Peter couldn’t help a bark of laughter. “I think it’s a little too late for that.”

“It isn’t too late. Drop me off. I’ll take care of this without you.”

Peter decided that maybe he was going about this the wrong way. After all, Peter wasn’t actually a kidnap victim. “How can you be sure that Peter was even taken? He wasn’t in the warehouse.”

Deadpool let out a long, ragged breath. “They called someone, put Peter on speakerphone. He was only able to get out, “Please, help me,” before smarmy-suit-man hung up.” Peter blinked at Deadpool’s nickname for the guy being so similar to his own, but he chalked it up to coincidence. “It’s real. It was really Peter’s voice. They’ve got him.”

Peter rolled his eyes beneath the mask because, Hello! He wasn’t even disguising his voice anymore. How did Deadpool not recognize him?

“Let’s just think about this,” Peter started soothingly.

“No!” Deadpool snarled. “I am not sacrificing Peter because you’re a pacifist. Now let go.” He jabbed an elbow into Peter’s sternum, hard enough for Peter to loosen his hold and then Deadpool was dropping.

“Fuck,” Peter muttered and without a second thought dropped after him.

Deadpool rolled to a stop on a roof not far from where they’d begun this merry chase back when Peter had tried to return the Hello Kitty notebook, and Peter dropped down beside him.

Deadpool swung at him with a katana, readying for a fight, and Peter dropped back, dodged the wide swing (meant to scare, not to harm). “Stop!” Peter yelled. Deadpool did not stop. Deadpool swung at him once more, again going wide. “I can fix this damn thing!” Peter shouted, ducking back and skipping to the side.

“Get out of my way!” Deadpool yelled back. He fought with none of his usual finesse, swinging wide and leaving himself open to attack.

Peter paused a few paces out of reach. Deadpool was panting heavily and looked a little wild. Peter put his hands up in front of him, trying to give the air that he was harmless. “Deadpool, listen to me.”

“No!” Deadpool screeched and dove for Peter. Before he’d taken a single step Peter had shot five webs at the ex-merc. The webs connected with him and flung him backwards. He stuck to the ground where he fell, his hands and legs cemented in place. He struggled against the webs, but Peter was soon upon him, and had shot more webs at him, his arms and legs, his torso, his neck, to hold him still.

Deadpool struggled against the webs for a moment, spasmodically jerking, before giving out and letting his body sag against the concrete. “Why?” he asked in a broken voice that made Peter’s heart wrench.

“I promise,” Peter said, trying to push as much sincerity into his words as possible, “you don’t need to do this. You don’t need to kill anyone.”

“You’ve killed him. Killed Peter,” Deadpool choked out. “How can you call yourself a hero?”

Peter bit his lip and then took a step forward and sat on the ground facing Deadpool. Deadpool turned towards him and Peter picked at his gloves a little, trying to pluck up his courage. “I just want to show you something. It’s important. And I’ll do it quick, please don’t lose hope.”

Deadpool nodded slowly. “And then you’ll let me go?”

Peter sighed. “Yes. I’ll let you go, and then you can do whatever you want, but first I just…” he wasn’t sure what else to say, and so gathering as much courage as he could find he lifted his fingers to his neck and pulled off his mask.

It felt anticlimactic. There were no fireworks. No sudden rain. The earth didn’t halt in its course around the sun.

Peter caught Deadpool’s swift inhale and looked up into Deadpool’s eyes. He gave him a small, nervous smile. “Hi.”

“Peter?” Deadpool asked with a sort of baffled wonderment.

“Yeah,” Peter scratched the back of his head. “I’m sorry for lying to you. I really am, but this is what I wanted to talk to you about earlier today. And I tried to tell you yesterday but then, well, and I understand that you might not like me anymore now that you know who I am, and that I haven’t been completely trustworthy, but—”

“Let me go,” Deadpool interrupted with a growl.

Peter stuttered to a halt. He looked at Deadpool with wide eyes before nodding. “Alright.” He breathed out. “I deserve that.” Peter pulled one of Deadpool’s katanas from his frozen grasp and hacked away all of the webs holding him down. “I don’t want to wreck your suit,” Peter said as he worked, “but the rest of it should dissolve within the hour.” Peter shrugged and leaned back when Deadpool was completely mobile.

Deadpool lunged at Peter and Peter flinched a little, expecting a punch, which he would totally deserve for lying to the man for so long. Instead Peter found himself enveloped in the tightest hug he’d ever experienced. Peter’s head was forced into the crook of Deadpool’s shoulder, and one of Deadpool’s hands was wrapped around his torso, the other cradling the back of his head. “Thank god,” he breathed out in such genuine relief that Peter felt his eyes prick with tears. “Thank god you’re safe. I thought you were going to die.” Deadpool shuddered, and Peter belatedly wrapped his own arms around Deadpool, and pulled him close against his chest. “You’re safe,” Deadpool reiterated and squeezed tighter. Peter let him. Crushed lungs were such a relief, much better than murderous rage or extreme anxiety.

Peter wanted to say something like, “Yeah, I’m safe,” or “It’s all going to be ok,” or “I’m sorry for lying for so long, please, please forgive me?” Instead he found himself saying “Would you maybe like to go out for coffee sometime? Like, as a date? To clarify? Because I know we already hang out a lot as it is, and I’d like to keep doing that no matter what, but I’ve kind of wanted to kiss you since October and I think it’d be really cool if you let me buy you coffee so I could convince you that I am good dating material, and thinking back we’ve been hanging out constantly for so long so maybe we’ve already been dating and I didn’t notice only I’d like a real date where we both know it’s a date so I can be on my best beha—”

Deadpool interrupted Peter by pushing his own mask up and then sealing his lips over Peter’s. Peter melted into the kiss, pushed back against Deadpool’s chest, and found himself totally overwhelmed by the feel of Deadpool’s soft lips against his own. He set about immediately trying to memorize every single part of Deadpool now that he was allowed to kiss and touch, but he’d only gotten as far as enthusiastically losing his breath and working the rest of Deadpool’s mask off so he could run his hands along the many and varied scars of Deadpool’s head.

Deadpool was the one to break away, but he did so with a smile and a quick peck on the lips as if maybe he couldn’t stand to be away from Peter’s lips either. Panting lightly, Deadpool leaned his forehead against Peter’s and said, “Yes, gods yes, baby boy.” Peter blinked and it took a minute for him to remember that he’d just asked Deadpool out on a date. And Deadpool was agreeing! “I’ve wanted to do that forever,” Deadpool continued, “please let me have your spider kids.”

Peter found that way too endearing. In his own sort of breathless voice he said, “Date first, Deadpool.”

“Wade,” Deadpool said, a faint blush suffusing his cheeks. “My real name is Wade. Wade Winston Wilson, at your service.” He made to sketch a bow but since their foreheads were already touching all his lean forward did was make his lips more accessible. Peter found that idea theoretically interesting. He also found that his lips didn’t care about theoretical situations at all and were already enthusiastically trying to permanently meld with Deadpool. Wade.

Wade.

Wade!

Peter had to pull away from Wade’s lips in order to nip at Wade’s jaw bone and slowly mouth his way over to Wade’s ear. He leaned in close, could feel Wade’s Adam’s apple bob as he gulped, and whispered into his ear. “Hi, Wade. Want to go on a date with me?”

Wade turned his head to meet Peter’s lips with his own once more. “I promise you coffee, Petey-sweetie, and a date and the rest of my life, I do, but first I’ve got to see a man about pretending to kidnap you.”

Peter couldn’t help the wounded noise he made but he pulled back. “I guess that is most important,” he said with reluctance. Peter stood and held his hand out to help Wade to his feet.

“You’re always most important, babe,” Wade said as he stood. “Never think otherwise.”

Peter could feel his cheeks heating up. In response he grabbed his mask and shoved it back onto his head taking only a second to adjust it to lie correctly against his face. Wade let out a pleased little chuckle and held out his arm like a Victorian gentleman asking for a dance.

Peter took Wade’s arm. “Alright, let’s go kick some ass.”

Wade grinned and swooped in to plant a kiss on Peter’s temple through the mask. “Oh, Spidey-baby, I thought you’d never ask.”

Chapter Text

Peter followed Wade as he stomped through the doors of the warehouse. It hadn’t even been an hour since they’d last been there, and obviously Mr. smarmy-suit-guy had not been expecting Deadpool to return so soon. Smarmy-suit-guy was lounging against a crate, playing with his phone when Deadpool stomped in, and the rag-tag maybe-maybe-not-soldiers jumped to their feet from where they’d been lounging on the ground and against crates sans masks. Their firearms seemed to leap to their fingers, every barrel aimed at Wade.

This time Wade wasn’t alone.

Peter stepped in after Wade and slid into a place by his side that felt worryingly like home.

Smarmy-suit-guy stepped forward, straightening his suit and trying to look way more dangerous than he could actually pull off. There is a point where slicked-back hair stops looking smooth and evil and starts looking greasy and like you’re trying to imitate a bald person. “Deadpool, I wasn’t expecting you back so soon,” he turned to Peter, “and I see you brought a friend.”

Peter ducked his head, “Oh I’m so embarrassed. I really didn’t mean to crash your party. I didn’t know it was a private event.”

Smarmy-suit-guy crooked an eyebrow upward. “Somehow I doubt that.” He turned back to Wade and raised his head imperiously (like a gecko trying to imitate a cobra). “It seems I wasn’t clear enough about coming alone, but I will give you another chance. Take the hit or the boy dies.”

Wade stepped forward, uncaring that the array of guns followed his movements. “I think we might be at a stand-off.”

“A stand-still,” Peter agreed.

“Standing room only,” Wade continued with another step forward.

“Make a stand!”

“A stand to remember.”

“No leg to stand on.”

“This is no one-night stand.”

“This is a stand for truth and justice!” Peter called out, and his voice echoed through the warehouse.

Smarmy-suit-guy had taken a few steps backwards and he was looking particularly pale. “Don’t you care about the boy?” he asked, and his voice dipped and rose with nerves.

Wade drew both of his swords, and the sound of guns cocking rustled through the room. “Now now,” Wade said, “we just want to chat a little. No need to stand in our way.”

“Yeah,” Peter agreed, “It stands to reason that violence will only exacerbate the situation. Let’s just all stand around and talk this out logically.” And then, ignoring his own advice, Peter shot out a web to the guy farthest from him and swung him through the three other gunman on that side. He webbed them to the floor, cemented them as he’d done to Wade earlier. A single gunshot rang through the room and Peter whipped around but Wade had already knocked the four on his side out. Smarmy-suit-guy was shaking where he stood and had a single gun in a loose grip pointed upwards.

“None dead,” Wade said as he sheathed his katanas.

Peter smiled at the man though Wade probably couldn’t see it through Peter’s mask. “I know. I wasn’t going to ask.”

Wade had his mouth opened to respond when smarmy-suit-guy lowered his gun to point it at the two of them. “Get away!” He shouted. “Get back! Or I’ll—I’ll kill the kid! I’m going to kill the kid!”

Wade sighed loudly and Peter only said, “Stand back,” to the ex-merc before shooting a web at the gun and yanking it from the man’s grip. He caught it mid-air and then handed it to Wade who tucked it into the back of his utility belt.

“Please don’t hurt me!” Smarmy-suit-guy bit out and he collapsed into a shaking, sobbing mess on the floor. “Please don’t hurt me! I’ll tell you anything you want, just don’t kill me! I have a wife! Kids! I—”

“Oh shut it!” Peter advised.

“Yeah!” Wade agreed. “You’re the worst so-called kidnapper-slash-bad guy that I’ve ever seen. If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen!”

“Oh good one,” Peter said and raised his hand for a high-five.

“Right?” Wade agreed and met Peter’s hand with a fist-bump.

Peter paused, stared at the hand-to-fist connection, and then shrugged. “I’ll take what I can get.”

“Don’t you care about that Parker kid?” smarmy-suit-guy warbled. “You said you’d do it. We’ll kill the kid.” He was almost whining and completely ignoring that he wasn’t actually stringing his sentences together into anything coherent.

“I stand corrected,” Wade said, “you’re worse than the worst. I’m going to punch you in the face.”

Peter whistled. “Two in a row! I stand defeated next to your magnificence.”

Smarmy-suit-guy hiccoughed out a few sobs. “I’ll kill the kid?” he questioned.

Peter sighed. “Look, we know you don’t have the kid. We’re not scared of you killing someone you don’t even have.”

“We tried,” the man argued in a thready voice. “We wanted to kidnap him, but we got his schedule mixed up. He should have been at his dorm, but he wasn’t.” Peter would have described the man as pouting if he hadn’t also just pissed his pants. “We were on short notice, didn’t have time to find him later, plus then there were cops sitting outside his aunt’s place. We needed the hit done tonight at the latest, we’d already waited this long.”

“How did you do it?” Wade asked, his voice gone all growly and menacing. “Have you been stalking him? Recording him?”

Smarmy-suit-guy shivered.

“Oooohh, you’re making my hairs stand on end,” Peter said, “but I think I have the answer to this one.”

Peter stalked forward till he was looming over the man, reached down slowly, got a small blip of joy at making smarmy-suit-guy flinch backwards, and pulled his Pac Man keychain from the man’s pocket. Peter tossed it into the air as he walked back to Wade’s side.

“What’s that?” Wade asked.

“Flash drive with recordings of Parker’s voice,” Peter said. “They stole it when they ransacked his dorm room.”

“They did WHAT?” Wade yelped.

Peter winced away. “Did I forget to mention that?” He shrugged. “That’s why I cancelled yesterday. It was no big thing.” Peter bit the inside of his cheek when he realized what he’d said, but smarmy-suit-guy’s eyes were so wide that he probably wasn’t processing any of what Peter was saying anyway. “I mean, when I realized that Parker’s room had been ransacked, and he’d gone back to his family’s house,” Peter glared at smarmy-suit-guy when he replaced “aunt” with “family,” not wanting the jerk to get any ideas, “I knew I couldn’t come over. I didn’t think anything had been stolen.” Peter tossed the flashdrive into the air again. “Looks like I was wrong. I’ll…return this…to Parker.”

Wade nodded slowly, and then turned back to smarmy-suit-guy. “Did you take anything else from Peter? And when you answer, remember that if I find out you’ve lied to me, you won’t stand a chance of surviving.”

Peter rolled his eyes and nudged Wade’s shoulder with his own.

“Nothing! Nothing, I promise!”

“Good,” Peter said with false cheer, and webbed him to the floor like he’d done to the man’s comrades. “Now, time for lesson two. I’m gonna call the cops to arrest these jerk-bags.” Peter shot a web at the man’s phone and pulled it towards him. Wade caught the flying piece of technology.

“I got this one, babycakes.”

“Good,” Peter said with a grin. “When you’re done let’s blow this popsicle stand. I’ve got a date.”

Chapter Text

Peter found his discarded backpack in the same position he’d left it in and let out a little sigh of relief. He’d hate to have lost his backpack on top of the already really strange day he was having.

(Break it down: He was kidnapped, without being kidnapped. He had to stop the guy he liked from committing murder to save his kidnapped self. He revealed his secret identity to the guy he liked. They have a date in—Peter checked the time on his phone—twenty minutes.)

Peter looked down at his Spiderman suit. He had normal clothes in the backpack, but he was going on a date. He wanted to look good, not like he’d just thrown on some clothes that he’d found hidden behind a dumpster in an alley in New York. Did Peter have time to go back to the dorm and change before they were going to meet?

Oh wait, that’s right, his dorm was a crime scene now and all his clothes were in Aunt May’s house in Forest Heights. So… no…

Peter ducked down to quickly shuck his spandex and wriggle into his wrinkly jeans and threadbare Slickee Boys t-shirt. When he stood up he felt a little grimy and weird (as one feels after changing clothes behind a dumpster), but at least he was wearing clothes acceptable for a date.

Peter checked his phone again, and saw that he had ten minutes to get to the Starbucks by Wade’s apartment to meet for coffee at the time they’d agreed upon. It gave them both time to get to where they were going and put on real clothes.

Peter took off down the street, feeling overwhelmingly normal with his backpack hitched over his shoulder and his converse slapping against the sidewalk in time to the beat of the city. As Spiderman he was the eye and ears of New York City, and that was wonderful, watching how the city moved and gyrated from above, but down on the ground he could be part of the pulse of New York and he loved it.

Peter stopped outside of the Starbucks, peaked in to see that there was zero standing room, and decided to wait for Wade outside. He pulled out his phone, more to look busy than because he actually had something to do on it, but before he could even unlock it a voice called out, “Hey, Petey-pie!” Peter’s head jerked up to see Wade and his heart picked up. Wade wasn’t wearing his Deadpool outfit. Peter had seen him without the mask before, but even when they’d hung out at his apartment Wade had still worn the suit. Now he was wearing ratty jeans and a Spiderman hoodie that tourist traps sold around the city. The hood was pulled low on Wade’s face, but it couldn’t hide the wide smile Wade was bearing.

“Hey Wade,” Peter said, and had to suppress a shiver of joy at being able to use the ex-merc’s real name. At knowing his real name. “Ready for that coffee date?” Peter jerked his thumb towards the entrance to the Starbucks.

“Ick!” Wade made a gagging motion. “I’m not taking you to Starbucks on our first real live date, Petey. We’re not hipsters.”

“Some of my old friends would disagree.”

Wade shrugged. “Tough shizz, Petey. Now come on, we have reservations for tacos!”

Tacos, it turned out, meant Dawna’s restaurant. “I don’t think they sell Mexican food here,” Peter said as Wade dragged him through the door.

Wade shrugged, unconcerned. “I’m sure we can work something out, hey Camille!”

The same girl as before was standing at the Podium. She put away her phone and nodded to Peter and Wade. “Hello, Mr. Deadpool, Mr. Deadpool’s friend—”

“Boyfriend!” Wade interrupted.

Camille didn’t even blink. “Mr. Deadpool’s boyfriend. Your table is ready.” She led them through a low-lit dining area, past tables of well-dressed young professionals and older men playing cards and snapping at each other in Italian. The table Wade had reserved was in a secluded corner of the room, and it had a single candle in the center which gave it a very cozy feel.

“Romantic,” Peter said and bit his lip.

“I know I am, but what are you?” Wade said in a voice that could only be described as Middle-school-esque. Peter rolled his eyes and pulled Wade’s chair out for him before sitting.

“Your server will be with you shortly,” Camille said and stepped away.

“No menus?” Peter asked.

“Just like my money is no good here,” Wade said, “I’m also not allowed to use menus. On the plus side, that means I don’t have to read anything and can spend my time looking at your face.”

Peter blushed.

“Ahhh,” Wade sighed, “Perfect. What a great face you have.”

“Thanks,” Peter muttered, feeling his face heat even more.

Wade squealed.

“What do you want, you bastardo?” A voice said, and Peter looked up to find Dawna standing above them, her red hair wild and wearing a long skirt patterned with the night sky.

“Hello, Dawna,” Wade said pleasantly, “It’s me and Petey’s first date. Aren’t you just so happy that we chose your restaurant as our first date?”

Dawna spit on the ground. “You disgust me.” She turned to Peter. “It is good to see you again, young man. You did not return quickly. I will have the panna cotta for the end of the meal.”

“Uh, thank you,” Peter said. He liked Dawna, but she still sort of worried him, if not downright scared him.

Dawna grumbled. “Now what will you two idioti be forcing my precious Niccolo to make your dinner?”

“Tacos,” Deadpool cut in cheerfully, “chimichangas, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas—”

“Yes!” Dawna interrupted, “I understand. You want my dear Niccolo to make you false Hispanic food when he has been classically trained by the best Italian chefs—you don’t care. Why do I bother speaking to you of your horrible indecencies? You are a thief, a cock, a furbacchione.” She spun on her heal and stalked away.

“I’m telling you, man,” Peter said, “that is not normal behavior for someone whose nephew-slash-lover you saved.”

Wade shrugged. “Niccolo is awesome, but Dawna knows just how to make a guy feel all warm and fuzzy.”

“Mmmm,” Peter said noncommittally. “And what about Camille? The girl at the podium?”

Wade grinned. “She once kicked me in the shin with her stilettos because I was talking too much. It hurt. A lot. I like her.”

Peter couldn’t keep the affection from his voice when he said, “Of course you do.”

Dawna slid over to them, clunked down two glasses of ice water in wine glasses, and slid away without saying a word. Peter looked at the water.

“Do we not get to order drinks?” Peter asked, “Is that like the only exception?”

Wade shrugged. “I told you about the mascato. No wine for me. Here. Not allowed.” He made a buzzer noise. “Against the rules. If you come without me she’ll get you whatever you want, I bet.”

“But she thinks if she got me something now you’d just steal it?”

“And ruin it!” Wade said. “Of course.”

“In her defense,” Peter pointed out, “you probably would.”

“Well, yeah. Obviously. She’s not stupid. That’s why I like her so much.”

Peter smiled and took a sip of his water. “I think I like her too.”

“Oh good! Now we can come here all the time!”

Peter took another sip of water and realized that he was absolutely starving after such a long day. And probably dehydrated. He took a bigger sip of the water.

“Drink your water,” Peter commanded. “Lesson seventy-nine.”

Wade lifted the glass to his lips and gulped it all down. He gave a theatrical little shiver due to the ice and then plunked the empty glass back on the table.

“You heathen!” Peter said with quirked lips.

Wade shrugged. “Maybe table manners could be Lesson One Hundred.” Then he winced. “Only I tossed the notebook. I liked that notebook.”

“So did I,” Peter said, “You’re an idiot.”

“I’ll go find it,” Wade said decisively and stood, pushing his chair backwards in the process.

Peter raised an eyebrow. “During our date?”

“No?” Wade questioned. “I shouldn’t do that?”

“No.” Peter shook his head to emphasize his words.

“Oh,” Wade’s voice was small, “but I liked that notebook. I want it back.”

“I know,” Peter said softly. “I liked it too, which is why I wanted to keep it forever.”

“And I threw it away!” Wade snorted derisively and avoided Peter’s gaze.

“I know. But before that I photocopied it all.”

Wade’s head snapped up. “You what?”

Peter blushed. “When I read it I loved it. A lot. A lot, a lot. And I wanted to keep it forever, so I might have photocopied every page. Ah, even that Spiderman doodle near the back. It was adorable.”

Wade was gaping. “Really?” he asked. Peter nodded. “Really, really?” He asked. Peter nodded again. “Oh my gosh,” Wade said quietly, “how the fuck do I deserve you?”

Peter looked away, uncomfortable. “How do you deserve the guy who lied to you for more than half a year? How do I deserve a guy who listens to me and respects me and draws me into cute little rhyming comics? How do I deserve the guy who would have thrown away his own happiness and morals just to keep me safe? How do I deserve that guy?”

Peter came to the fascinating conclusion that Wade blushed very prettily, and Peter wanted to tug on the hood of his jacket so he could mash their lips together and then never let go.

Cibo,” Dawna’s voice barked, and Peter dragged his eyes away from his boyfriend (And wow, thinking that sure did bring up the internal screaming pretty fast) to see the owner approaching flanked by two men holding treys of food. “Here, your disgusting food. I hope you rot in hell.” She leaned forward to ruffle Peter’s hair playfully before motioning for the men to unload the treys. It was just as Wade had ordered, which was really just tons upon tons of tex-mex. She oversaw the transfer of food from trey to table begrudgingly, her hands crossed tight over her chest.

“Thank you,” Peter said sincerely. “You really didn’t have to go out of your way, but thank you so much.”

Dawna graced Peter with a smile that was all teeth. “Your birbante is a nuisance, but if I did not think Niccolo could make this food I would have told him to shove a hot poker into his eyeball.”

“Been there, done that,” Wade said with a wave of his hand.

Dawna huffed. “You are young and sweet,” she told Peter, “and that man will corrupt and kill you. I wish you both happiness.”

Peter blinked. “Thank you,” Peter said to her already retreating back, “I guess.”

“Oooohh,” Wade said liltingly. “Someone’s got a crush.”

Peter frowned. “Are you saying I have a crush on Ms. Dawna? Because I’m dating you, asshole.”

“No,” Wade drew the word out, “You’ve got a crush on me.”

Peter let out a long sigh, but his mouth refused to do anything but curl into a smile. “Obviously.”

“That’s ok,” Wade said consolingly, and reached across the burritos to pat Peter’s hand. “I have a crush on you too.” He let go of Peter to grab a burrito which he bit into enthusiastically.

“Thank goodness,” Peter said, and snatched a slice of quesadilla from beneath Wade’s hand, “I’d hate to be the only one.”

“How could I not?” Wade asked. “You are literally perfection, from you globular ass to you brainy-brain-brains. I’d follow you off a cliff.”

“Let’s not test that,” Peter said quickly. He bit into the quesadilla. “But I’m not sure I’m all that perfect.” He gulped down a bite that was too big and winced. “I did lie to you,” he felt the need to point out.

Wade shrugged. “It was for a good reason. I get that I’m not all that trustworthy.”

“You are trustworthy. Dude, you are worth, like, all the trust. I’m just super paranoid and don’t want to lose whatever family I have left by telling my secret. It makes things awkward. So it was definitely not you, all me there.”

“Petey-baby, I trust that you’re a good guy. If I didn’t think you had a good reason I would hopped on the ‘let’s get outta here’ train, destination ‘the fuck away’ a long time ago.”

Peter wrinkled his nose and reached an arm to grab a taco across the table. “I want to kiss you,” Peter explained, “but I’m going to wait till we don’t have hoards of Mexican food between us. You are amazing and awesome for saying that, even though I’m not sure you’re right.”

Deadpool rolled his eyes. “You’re my moral compass, Petey. Before I knew anything about you I knew you were good and you’d teach me how to be good too. Oooohhhh, I know, you’re my Peter-piper. You play and I follow. You lead me to being a better guy. And I get to follow your sweet ass wherever you want. What a wonderful ass.” He made grabby motions with his hands and then shook his head. “My point is that, shut up, Parker. You’re an amazing guy, a good guy, a really great guy!”

“Not everyone thinks so,” he said a bit petulantly.

“Oh stick a cork in it, Peter-piper-pie. Do you know who doesn’t like you?” He paused but Peter only shook his head. “That’s right, J. Jonah Jameson, and jerks like blond shitface who called you puny. They’re both awful people, and they have awful taste. Therefore you are awesome just because they don’t like you and they suck. Science!”

Peter shoved a chimichanga into his mouth so he wouldn’t do something stupid like confess his love for the guy sitting across from him. He chewed, swallowed, and then spoke, secure in the knowledge that he had tamped down his original urge. And then he said, “God, I love you.”

Peter clamped his mouth shut, eyes wide.

Wade’s answering smile was wide, but softer than Peter would have expected. “You’re not too shabby yourself, you know.” Peter grinned.

“Aww, shucks,” Peter said and reached for an enchilada only to be met with an empty plate. He looked down to see that while they’d chatted they’d finished off most of the food.

“Awwww,” Wade whined, having followed Peter’s line of sight. “Food’s all gone.”

“That’s all right,” Peter said, “We’ve still got dessert to look forward to.”

“Panna cotta!” Wade whooped, and threw one of his knives into the air in excitement. He caught the hilt and stabbed it into the table a good half-inch.

Peter whistled low. “Ok, lesson one-hundred-and-one: no destroying furniture because you’re excited. Or at least, not other people’s furniture.

Wade nodded for only a second before frowning. “Hold up, Petey-pie, we only got to lesson ninety-nine last time. You missed one. Furniture should be lesson one-hundred.”

“Ah,” Peter said and could feel his cheeks heating up. He shifted in his seat.

Wade’s eyes narrowed. “Peter,” he drawled, “why do you look like you’re about to lie?”

Peter’s eyes flicked across the room and then back to Wade. “Well, do you remember when you asked Spiderman if you could date me? And then gave him your lesson notebook?”

Wade nodded.

“And then you ran away?” Peter asked.

Wade nodded again, slower this time.

“I read the notebook, you know that. But after lesson ninety-nine I, um, I thought that I could write my own lesson one-hundred for you to see when I gave the notebook back to you.”

Wade made a noise like a wounded calf and shot to his feet. Peter grabbed his arm from across the table and dragged him back down.

“Stop,” Peter commanded, “I told you, I photocopied it. Don’t you dare ditch me on our first date to go find a notebook just so you can read immediately that Peter like-likes you too. Ugh,” he buried his head in hands, “I feel like I’m twelve. And let me tell you, middle school is not a good look on anyone, but especially not me.”

“Lesson one-hundred was that you liked me back?” Wade asked in a small voice.

Peter gave a sharp nod. “Yeah. I know, it was stupid, but—”

“No!” Wade interrupted, “No, that sounds amazing, Peter. Really amazing. I wish I hadn’t tossed it before I could read it.”

Peter shrugged. “It happens.”

Wade clapped his hands together gleefully. “Now, to celebrate our mistakes turning out for the better, for the most awesomest ever!” He raised his voice and turned to face the kitchen, “Panna cotta, Dawna! The time has come!”

Chiudi il becco!” Dawna shouted back at them in a voice louder than Wade’s had been. She stepped around the corner, a plate balanced on agile fingertips. “Shut up,” she said in a quieter voice, “or you won’t get anything at all, you figlio d’un cane.”

One of the men playing cards choked and had to be slapped on the back by one of his companions.

Deadpool grinned and whispered, “Son of a bitch, she said,” to Peter out of the side of his mouth as Dawna set down the panna cotta.

“It looks delicious,” Peter told her, as he looked upon the glistening white desert, topped by a red sauce with a slice of strawberry topping it.

Grazie, Tesoro,” Dawna said and ruffled Peter’s hair. She flipped Wade the bird.

“Awww,” Wade said, “she called you darling. She must really like you. But don’t worry, baby, I love you more. Now,” he turned to Dawna, “hot stuff, could we get some coffee to go with dessert?”

Dawna’s expression grew dark. “If I have told you once, you miserable piece of shit, I have told you a thousand times. No more drinks for you. You are an abomination and you will destroy everything I hold dear.”

Wade pouted as Peter tried to stifle a giggle. “Dawna,” he whined, “stop exaggerating.” She raised an eyebrow. “Please,” he begged, “I promised Petey a coffee date. Please, please, please, please, please, pl—”

Dawna threw her arms up and growled. “Fine! I will get you a coffee because I like your boy. But if you destroy my livelihood I will track you down and cut off your cazzo in the dead of night and feed it to you.”

“Thanks deary!” Wade simpered with a wave of his fingers.

Dawna stomped off and Peter dipped a fingertip into the drizzle of strawberry sauce. He licked the digit and watched with satisfaction as Wade’s eyes tracked the motion.

“You didn’t need to do that,” Peter said, when he’d cleaned his finger of the sweet sauce, “It wasn’t like my sights were set on a coffee date.”

Wade grinned mischievously. “I don’t know, Petey-piper, this could be fun.”

Peter rolled his eyes but before he could say anything Dawna had returned with two cups of coffee. She dropped them on the table hard enough that the coffee sloshed up the sides of the mugs and stalked away without a word.

Peter reached for his mug. “I still really don’t understand your relationship with that woman. She seems to hate you, really hate you, but she likes me even though I’m with you, and she has been our server this whole time despite the fact that other wait staff work here and she hasn’t been serving anyone else. You’ve got the owner of the restaurant playing waitress for you despite seemingly hating your guts and you enjoy it.”

Wade picked up a spoon and scooped up some panna cotta before reaching across the table and feeding it to Peter. Peter licked the spoon clean. “I don’t know,” Wade said and scooped another piece of panna cotta for himself while Peter sipped at his coffee (made to perfection with just the right amount of cream and sugar). “I love Dawna. Not like I love you, baby boy, but she’s meravigliosa in her own way. That means marvelous, you should know. We’ve got to teach you some Italian if we’re going to keep coming here. It’s important. All her best curses are in Italian! Italia!” Wade shouted and slammed his fist on the table.

The jolt tipped over Wade’s mug which spilled hot coffee onto his lap. He yelped and jerked backwards which knocked his seat into the wall hard enough to make the painting behind him rattle. Wade grabbed at the edge of the table cloth to try and blot the steaming drink from his jeans, mainly in the crotch area, and in doing so he accidentally pulled the cloth from the table, slinging the dishes and the candle to the ground.

“Wade!” Peter yelped and leaped to his feet to stamp out the candle before it could singe more than a tiny burn mark into the floor.

Wade looked up at the sound of his name. “Peter, I spilled my coffee.” He sounded like someone had just told him Santa didn’t exist.

“I know,” Peter said soothingly, clutching his own cup of coffee tight to his chest, “it’s ok.” Peter bent down to pick up the fallen dishware to place back on the table.

“No!” Wade exclaimed, “Let me!” And he lunged forward to try and help but in doing so pushed Peter backwards, which sloshed Peter’s coffee onto his chest.

Peter hissed as the steaming drink bit into his flesh, and his first thought was to be grateful that his t-shirt was black so it wouldn’t stain.

“Peter!” Wade yelped and dove for Peter with the table cloth outstretched in order to clean Peter off as well. On his way his foot snagged on one of the table’s legs and tipped the table over, which knocked against the wall and jolted the already shaking painting hard enough for it to crash to the floor.

“Wade,” Peter barked and grabbed Wade’s wrists. Wade stilled, his eyes wide. In a gentler voice, Peter said, “Calm down. It’s going to be fine.”

“DEADPOOL!” They heard Dawna’s voice screech through the restaurant.

“Except,” Peter said, “perhaps Dawna was right. No more drinks for you.”

Wade grinned sheepishly. “I don’t know why this keeps happening. The coffee wasn’t even alcoholic like the mascato, though really the percentage of alcohol in wine is so low—”

“Deadpool,” Dawna growled as she stomped into the room. “I am going to tie you to the bottom of a speed boat and go for a leisure cruise, paid for with your credit cards.”

“Been there,” Wade said with a roll of his eyes, “done that. I mean, I’ll pay for damages, Dawna, just like last time—”

“You cretin!” She hissed, “Fottiti! Get the hell out of my restaurant!”

She grabbed hold of Wade’s ear and pulled him to his feet.

“Ow, ow, ow, Dawna, ow!” Wade whined as she dragged him through the restaurant towards the exit.

Peter scrambled to follow. “We’re really sorry, Mrs. Dawna, honestly,” he said. “We’ll pay for damages, we’ll help clean up—”

“Get out! Get out!” Dawna yelled, and dragged them past a giggling Camille at the podium and past a guffawing Niccolo at the front door. She tossed Wade out, grabbed a white paper bag from Niccolo and handed it to Peter.

“Ouch!” Wade said as he hit the ground outside. “You old busybody, be a little nicer to my ears. And my butt. It’s a nice butt.”

Dawna muttered something unsavory about Wade under her breath and turned to Peter. “There is more panna cotta in the bag. I had a feeling your Deadpool would ruin dinner before you could finish it. Take him somewhere far away.”

She ruffled Peter’s hair once more and pushed him from the door.

“Goodbye, Mr. Deadpool!” Niccolo cried as the door slammed shut on Peter and Wade. “Goodbye, Mr. Deadpool’s boyfriend,” he yelled, and his yell was muffled by the door.

Peter gave a little wave and turned to find Wade with his arm out-stretched. Peter took it and they began walking.

“So,” Wade said, “I think our first date went pretty well.”

Peter laughed. “Yeah, very memorable.”

Wade scoffed. “Oh shut it. You don’t even know half the words she calls me. And she didn’t have to pull my ear so hard. I feel abused.” He glanced at Peter out of the corner of his eye. “Kiss it better?” he asked.

Peter smirked. “Of course, anything to help my little ball of destruction.” He got on tiptoes to place a quick peck on Wade’s ear.

“Perfect,” Wade said, “now what to do for our second date?”

Peter beamed. “Jumping straight into things, aren’t we? Ok, first thing first, when should it be?”

Wade looked down at his wrist, as if there was a watch there to examine when all there was to see was the sleeve of his hoodie. “Well, I’ve got time right now, if you want.”

Peter dropped Wade’s hand in order to wrap his arm around Wade’s waist and lean into his side. “And I’ve got dessert. Let’s do it.”