The call comes over his phone at 0900, just an hour after he’s finally gone to sleep. It’s his special phone for special people. “What?” he grunts, rolling over as he picks up, grabbing for the blankets. He can taste his own terrible morning breath in the back of his mouth.
“Kurt Wagner. 28 Eilendorf, Aachen, Germany,” the voice says on the other end, mechanical as always.
He whistles, low. “Damn. Target accepted.”
“Added information: target is a demon.” He’s fought scarier. True fear is Wolverine after a few days without showering.
“Okay.” Transaction done, Wade Wilson hangs up, buys tickets to Germany for tonight, and grabs some shuteye.
The next morning, after a delicious breakfast of bread, eggs, meat, and honey, Wade is staring down into the face of his target. Kurt Wagner blinks back up at him with wide yellow eyes, tail curling shyly around his ankles. Wade was not expecting to find him in a circus. Wade was not expecting his target to be seven.
“Fuck,” he groans, rubbing at his eyes. Said target is clearly not the demon bitch in his 20s that Wade was expecting. He’s blue. Definitely some form of mutant. “You’re a baby,” he says to the kid, who shakes his head.
“Nein. I’m seven!” At least he speaks English, which Wade is grateful for.
“Yeah, great, you’re seven.” Wade glances around at the circus tent concealing them from view of other people; he really wishes the writer of this story had made it easier for him to escape.
His finger twitches on the trigger of his gun, which was pointed at the back of the kid’s head til Wade realized how small he was. Now it’s hidden behind his back, Wade trying to look casual. Yellow and blue are both screaming in his head, a long chorus of don’t do it, for once in agreement. Red is saying just go for it, make the problem go away. Wade usually tries to keep red silent, killing himself if he has to. Red is. Not a good time.
“You’re very big,” Kurt points out, disappearing in a puff of purple smoke and reappearing dangling from the bars above Wade’s head. He really is tiny. Wade holsters his gun.
“Where are your parents?”
“The circus is my family!” Kurt says, his tail twitching in front of Wade’s face. He grabs it, tugs, and the kid comes tumbling down, disappearing in midair and this time showing up on solid ground, frowning. “You could’ve hurt me!”
“I’m not the one who’s gonna hurt you. I would probably only, like, break your arm accidentally at the worst.” Kurt does not look reassured. He looks like he’s going to call for help at any second, turn this situation worse. “Look, kid-”
Kurt’s eyes widen at something behind Wade, but before he can react Wade feels two familiar pricks of fire at his shoulder and waist as he’s shot, turns to see John Fen, an assassin he’s partied with a few times before. Great. They called in two people for this job, had them compete. Wade hates when clients do that; it really makes it awkward to be super badass drinking buddies at mercenary bars when the person you’re sitting across from has tried to garrote you.
“Fucking hell!” Wade swears as John pushes past him, levelling his pistol right between Kurt’s eyes. Kurt disappears and reappears behind Wade, clinging to the back of his costume. John Fen has already froze, turning to Wade with wide, horrified eyes. Wade, shrugging the two bullets out of his healed wounds, does a kind of shoulder shimmy that’s meant to mean ‘what can you do?’
“He’s just a kid,” John Fen says, putting his gun away. He’s a medium sized Asian man with a streak of his hair dyed green and a penchant for drama when it comes to his kills. He’s also, if Wade remembers correctly from several bleary drunken memories, an excellent kisser.
“I don’t kill kids.”
“Neither do I.” They stand in tense silence for a few moments before John Fen nods, stepping past Wade and Kurt and out the tent. Hate to see him leave, love to watch him go, Wade thinks to himself.
Kurt still hasn’t let go of his costume, which would be a maiming offense for anyone who wasn’t currently looking up at him with big yellow eyes and a wobbling bottom lip. “I’m scared. I want Margali.”
“Uh, the thing is…” Wade scratches the back of his head, where hair would be if he wasn’t in costume and he had any. “People want to kill you,” he finally says bluntly.
“People have tried to kill me before,” Kurt says, heartbreakingly honest. “In our last village, a man called me a demon and stabbed me with a knife.” He shows Wade one spindly arm, where there’s a thin scar cutting through the blue fur.
Wade bites his lip, feeling all the sunshine and happiness of yellow fade as blue muscles in, chants Kill everything they all deserve to die KILL KILL KILL. Wade shakes his head til everything slipslides back into place, smooth as butter on his tongue. “You’re coming with me.”
“But I don’t want to,” Kurt argues, with the reassurance of a seven year old that everything will go his way.
“We all do things we don’t want to. I want to be in bed right now under eighty pounds of chimichangas, but life just doesn’t work that way.”
“Margali already said you have to go.” Reassured, Kurt immediately slides his two fingered weirdo hand into Wade’s and beams up at him with complete trust. What the hell, do they not teach kids about stranger danger anymore or something? “Can you teleport people with you?” he asks as they step out into bright sun; Wade had assumed the darkness that swamps the kid was only cause of being inside, but even now he’s shrouded in shadow, probably another aspect of his powers. Spooky.
“Yes, but it makes me tired.” People are starting to look at them with curiosity. There’s only a matter of time before it turns to concern.
“Okay, well, take me as far as you can go and we’ll run from there.” Kurt squints up at him like Wade’s crazy or something , which he probably is but not right now, and suddenly Wade’s organs feel like they’re outside his body and he’s freezing and burning all at the same time and he’s seeing colors that don’t exist and then they’re right outside the circus ground, as Wade bends over to take in gasping breaths. Never again. He is never letting Kurt teleport with him ever again.
Kurt is gone with a soft bamf and back again, grinning. “I told Margali we were leaving so she doesn’t get worried!” Wade scoops him up and starts to run before a mob of angry circus people catch them, just as clear green light swirls around his ankles, holding him still. Great. Great. Like this day couldn’t be any more of an assfuckery, they had to get magic involved. He turns to see a woman who normally he would be thrilled to see, considering she’s beautiful and apparently about to kick his ass. Not right now though, as Kurt squirms out of his arms and runs to her, enfolded in her skirts. “Margali!”
“What are you doing with my son?” Margali asks, resting a protective hand on Kurt’s head, her magic twining out from under her fingernails.
“Would you believe we were going to tea?” Wade babbles as her magic comes up around his throat, choking him.
“People are trying to kill him,” he gasps out, scrabbling futilely at the green light; his fingers can pass through, touch his own throat as it’s squeezed. He’s kind of enjoying the head rush.
“You? People are always trying to kill him,” she sniffs, like Wade is nothing. She’s probably right.
“No. There’s…” He inhales a shallow breath of oxygen. “There’s a hit out on him. Real high up stuff. Professional.”
“I will protect him.” He has no doubt she’ll try.
“They’ll keep coming.” He can see the horror on her face, the emotions she’s trying to hide from Kurt; exhaustion, fear, despair. She always knew this day would come, Wade is sure. A woman like her, she’s too smart not to. “Are you one of them?” she asks as the light uncoils from around his throat. Hot, yellow whispers somewhere in the back of his head.
“Hell no. I don’t kill babies.”
“Can you protect him?”
“For a while. Til I stop the person who did this.” They exchange a knowing look. He means kill, he means rend and tear and gut for doing something like this to a child. There has to be a line, and if there isn’t Wade will make one, with intestines if need be.
“Fine.” Decision made, she pushes Kurt towards Wade, kissing his forehead once. “Be a good boy, or the Krampus will tear the points off your ears,” she tells Kurt, which is mildly horrifying but hey. Wade’s childhood was worse.
“Yes, Margali,” Kurt says like the obedient child he clearly is. He takes Wade’s hand again and they’re off.
Six hours later, on a train that’s speeding past gorgeous German wilderness, Wade examines the child in front of him. Kurt is engrossed in his lunch of sandwiches and schnitzels and Sprite, licking chocolate from his accompanying ice cream dessert off both his fingers. It’s not hard to make a child happy. Give them food. Or a machine gun, Wade thinks, sitting back with his hands on his stomach.
Kurt is chattering happily away about being an acrobat or something when Wade’s special phone for special people rings. He holds up a finger, cutting Kurt off. “Y’ello?”
“The target was not taken care of,” mechanical voice on the other side says.
“He’s seven,” Wade answers, stuffing as much food in his mouth as he can so it comes out muffled.
“The job was not completed.”
“So I won’t receive payment. Who cares?”
“The job must be completed. They’re coming for you and the boy,” the voice says, calm as ever. Wade goes cold, then prickles into anger as red takes over, filling him up to the brim with glorious crimson.
“Then you can tell them I’m waiting, and I’ll pick out their insides, chew them up, and shit it into their mother’s mouths,” he growls, hanging up. And remembering Kurt is there.
They stare at each other, Kurt openmouthed with his fork halfway to his lips, before Kurt laughs. “You’re weird, Deadpool.”
“No, you’re weird,” Wade retorts, but he’s smiling.
Later on, when the sun has gone down and Wade’s really feeling the time difference, he peels his mask off. Kurt stares at him for a few seconds, head tilting. “What, never seen an ugly person before?” Wade asks in a ruder tone then he wants to, as Kurt’s small shoulders hunch up towards his ears.
“People say I’m ugly too.” Kurt has big yellow eyes that are too trusting, that have seen too much but been unaffected by it. His dark hair falls in his face, over his pointed ears, his tail curling up behind him like it has a mind of its own. He curls his legs towards his chest and lays in a position most children wouldn’t be capable of, too small. He is, in a word, adorable. Wade feels a strange stab of paternal instinct.
“You’re not ugly. Don’t let people say that to you.”
Kurt beams at him. “Do your scars hurt?”
Wade touches his face, skating his fingers over the cratered scars that are more familiar than normal skin at this point. Mama wouldn’t have liked it, but Mama didn’t like anything about Wade. “Sometimes.”
“Could be worse.”
“You could be blue!” Blue is a lovely color. Wade wishes he was blue. So he just laughs.
Soon as they’re off the train, Kurt’s freaky lil hand in his, Wade knows. He doesn’t know how he knows, but he knows. They’re being followed. It’s hard to be inconspicuous when one of you is 6’2 and wearing red spandex and the other one is a blue furry child.
Still, Wade tries, tugging Kurt after him, through confusing Berlin alleyways and cobblestone streets that are charming but hell on his boots. “Hurry up, hurry up,” he mutters as Kurt poofs from place to place, swinging off a lamppost one second then twenty feet away, running on his hands easy as anything. “We’re gonna get caught and they’re gonna hurt you,” he says, not sure who he’s talking to. Maybe the readers?
Wade doesn’t want to see Kurt’s fur matted with blood, he doesn’t want to hold another tiny, broken body in his hands. That would be the very opposite of cool. That would be on a ‘Deadpool locks himself in his apartment and eats nothing but peanut butter crackers and the bitter taste of his own failure for days’ kind of level.
Kurt bamfs off and reappears on top of Wade, riding his shoulders like he’s a particularly freakish horse, or maybe a horse turned human by some terrible accident. He smells like brimstone, reeking through his clothing. Wade wrinkles his nose. “You stink.”
Kurt opens his mouth to reply as he’s ripped away from Wade, pulled back with a power nullifier snapped around his neck all in a second. His fur drains away like it’s been sucked back into his skin, tail shrinking and his eyes fading to normal brown under still shaggy dark hair. Before Wade is a completely normal child. He even has freckles. It should be a crime. There will be a crime, if the long fingers around Kurt’s neck get any tighter.
Wade has gone very still, mind racing. There are three men facing him. Two are your stereotypical thugs, hired for strength and intimidation. They look mildly bored, probably too stupid to care about anything.
The guy with his hands around Kurt’s throat, though…That’s gonna be a problem, Wade can tell. He’s a skinny guy with big ears and hair in clumps at the side of his head, only a few inches over four feet. He’d be mildly hilarious if it wasn’t for the hatred in his eyes as he glares down at Kurt, the tightening of his white-knuckled fingers.
Wade recognizes him vaguely; one of those people on TV with the fundamentalist families, who preach Christianity with one hand and deal out hate with the other, probably part of an anti-mutant group. “You’re, uh, Josh something, aren’t you?”
“Joe,” he corrects, pulling out a gun and tapping it gently against Kurt’s head. Kurt’s still looking vaguely baffled, gazing down at his hands, pink human skin flexing over bone, five fingers wiggling. “You didn’t complete your contract.”
“For obvious reasons,” Wade answers, something cold and ugly blooming in his chest, the voices going silent for once. All he can see in his vision is red red red, his own hands turning into fists.
“He is an abomination against God!” Joe shrills, voice rising, pressing the barrel of the gun to Kurt’s temple.
“He is a child.” Wade has his katanas out, but he’s not fast enough, he knows how this’ll turn out. He’ll kill Joe and the thugs after, leave them to rot in the street. It won’t matter anymore by then.
Joe’s finger squeezes the trigger at the exact moment Kurt vanishes with a cloud of that purple smoke, Joe coughing and waving his hands. Wade doesn’t need to wait any longer. He jumps, slashes with his sword, hears Joe go down with a horrid gurgle in a spray of blood. It splatters over his face, Wade grinning at the feel of it as he disembowels Thug #1 and crunches the bones of Thug #2 into his brain. They fall around him as Kurt rematerializes at his side.
Wade gathers him close, wraps his hand around Kurt’s still normal head and pushes his face into his side. Kurt doesn’t need to see this. “C’mon, kid. We’re getting out of here.”
Wade lets him go once they’re out of sight of the bodies, Kurt taking his hand and swinging it, examining his flat teeth with his tongue. “You’re still human,” Wade says, peering at the nullifying collar that still hangs around Kurt’s neck, red light blinking.
“Ja,” Kurt agrees; now he’s trying to do a handstand and failing, his acrobatic power apparently a part of his mutation. That makes him frown and rub at the collar, trying to get it off.
Wade ushers him into a sheltered bus stop, beginning to work on removing the collar. “But you could still teleport.”
“Ja,” Kurt says again.
“That should stop all your mutant powers, kiddo.” The collar is fastened tight, a foreboding slate gray that’s digging into Kurt’s neck, rubbing raw at smooth skin. Up close, Wade can see how long Kurt’s lashes are, the baby fat that’s still in his cheeks. He’s so young. Wade has seen worse done to younger than him.
“My teleporting isn’t a mutant power.” Wade is pretty sure normal people can’t teleport. He would remember that, right?
“What is it, then?”
“It comes from my father,” Kurt explains, swinging his legs as Wade unscrews the main panel of his collar, patient until it swings open and Kurt can relax. His fur sprouts like it was never gone, luxuriant, yellow bleeding across his irises and further, teeth sharpening into fangs. His tail is back, curling around Wade’s wrist, and he taps his newly two fingered hand against Wade’s arm. “Danke!”
“You’re welcome,” Wade replies, ruffling his hair. “And hey. If your teleportation comes from your father, and it isn’t a mutant power, then what is he?”
Wade puts his head in his hands; if he’s rescued the anti-Christ, then so be it. This world could do with a good apocalypse anyway. “Alright, kid. Let’s get you home.”
Kurt accepts Wade’s outstretched hand, and they set off.