It had been a few months since Peter started working with Deadpool. Occasionally, the news would catch a blurry picture of Peter’s costume or gain an eyewitness report. People were asking who he could be, trying to get a good enough view of him to label him with a name. Nobody seemed to connect him to the long forgotten Spider-man, however.
A few times, Peter had come close to getting cornered by other heroes, but had managed to avoid them. They tried while Deadpool was around, as well as times he wasn’t. Peter was well versed in not getting caught, so he was able to handle himself. Deadpool would make a grand spectacle of himself when he could, to give time for Peter to disappear.
Deadpool pushed for Peter to name his costumed self a few times, but Peter refused. He wasn’t comfortable yet solidifying what he was doing. Part of him entertained the idea that he could collect up enough money to make sure he was set for life. He could pull from it little at a time and never revisit mercenary work.
The other part of him… was addicted.
The rush he got when he had an alpha desperate and reliant on his help was incomparable. After every mission, Peter would take Wade hard and brutal, spewing everything Peter had ever wanted to say to an alpha. Though he couldn’t understand it, Wade seemed to enjoy the humiliation and rough sex. To each their own, Peter supposed.
Beyond the money and the high of seeing an alpha needing an omega’s help, there was also reliving the parts of his past he thought he’d blocked out. Making webbing again, swinging through the buildings, righting a wrong, saving someone… Those were things that had given his life purpose, once upon a time. Things he believed made him special, and helpful to those in need.
Doing those things again, being reminded of what they meant to him, hearing his uncle’s words in his head once more… It was hard to walk away from it. It was hard not to hide in the shadows and web a mugger to the wall on his way home. Hard not to keep an eye on a drunk group of girls stubbing their way to the subway after a night of fun. Hard not to scare off drug dealers when they caught sight of potential new users.
It was desperately hard not to be a hero.
Especially when he enjoyed mercenary work so much.
This left Peter feeling conflicted, to say the least. So he did what he could to distract himself, and help the people it felt normal to help, like the other brothel workers. This lead to Peter finally questioning Wade on how he had managed to boost revenue at the brothel while also keeping the dangerous alphas away.
“Keeping them away?” Wade chuckled. “The trick is, I didn’t.”
Peter was understandably confused. “What do you mean?”
“See, some of the bigger brothels around got together and formed a database of sorts.”
Peter knew about that. Momma Alex used it as well, keeping an eye on potential troublesome clients and reporting those she encountered.
“I just looked up the Johns that didn’t like playing by the rules, but weren’t overly dangerous. Then I narrowed their known blacklists down to places they were most likely to visit next. After that, I just visited all of them. Their instructions were to go to said brothels, have the most boring sex in the world, and then leave a big tip. If there was a single muttered complaint from an omega, I’d kill ‘em.”
Peter gaped. “You sent known dangerous alphas to our brothel?”
“Almost all alphas end up thinking they can break the rules eventually.” Wade shrugged. “Besides, the actually dangerous ones, I made sure wouldn’t visit anywhere again.”
Peter spluttered. “That just leaves them going after innocent omegas in their daily lives!”
“You sure are picky, you know that? You want them to pay for sex or not? Anywho, they won’t be doing that either.”
“How can you possibly guarantee that?!”
“Because it was a trade off I made with them. I made them believe the brothels are paying me to keep their omegas safe, and if they do what I say, I won’t take any hit jobs that might pop up with their names on it.”
“I can’t believe you…” Peter dropped his head into his hands.
“Whaaat? It’s been working for months, hasn’t it?”
“What if it goes wrong?”
“Then I kill ‘em.” Wade said it like it wasn’t even a big deal, like it was just an item on his grocery list. The problem was, Peter was more bothered by how much that didn’t bother him.
Still, his paranoia over knowing that Momma Alex’s was now booming with alphas that had a problematic history, left Peter feeling unsettled. So more often than not, they stayed in Peter’s room at the brothel rather than Wade’s apartment so Peter could keep an eye on things.
It was quiet every evening, and they’d never once had an issue where Peter needed to be called in. They days passed by in a haze of sex, training, and the occasional job. Eventually, Peter was more focused on Aunt May’s upcoming trip than he was on his lingering paranoia. Everything was fine.
Right up until it wasn’t.
Wade had been wrapped around Peter, whining about how the sex swing that the brothel had stored away was never brought up. Peter was fighting off Wade’s clinging grip when he heard it. Sitting straight up in bed, he slapped a hand over Wade’s mouth and strained his enhanced hearing to verify the noise.
There it was again, one floor down, muffled and desperate — someone was screaming. Peter was out the door in an instant, clambering down the stairs as fast as he could go, tearing through the hallway without any regard to the other clients. The path ended at Adam’s locked door. Peter didn’t even pause. He threw his shoulder into the door, and broke part of the frame on his way in.
On the bed was Adam, nude and wrapped up in too tight strips of leather that kept him immobile. Between those strips were bright red lines of blood that were dripping over his skin to soak into the sheets. A gag was stuffed in Adam’s mouth that he was screaming through. Tears were leaking down his red blotched face. He looked at Peter with pure fear in his bloodshot eyes, desperately begging for help.
Sitting over Adam, was an alpha with a knife.
The unknown man was thrown across the room and into a wall before Peter even registered that he was moving. Blood rushed through his ears so loud he felt deaf. Rage burned through his veins as he approached the alpha who was now on the floor, struggling to catch his breath, clamoring for his dropped knife.
Peter kicked the weapon out of the way and then brought the heel of his foot down hard on the man’s hand. The alpha screamed. Peter could feel the bones break under his foot. He reached down and lifted the scum up by the front of shirt, slamming him back into the wall. Peter’s pulse was pounding so hard he could see it. The veins in his eyes throbbing with his heartbeat, making the world tint red in cadence.
Time slowed as he pulled his fist back, ready to release every last ounce of his strength into a single swing. His lips were pulled back in a snarl. His chest rumbled with a growl he couldn’t even hear over the noise in his own head. He could feel sweat running down his spine.
The worst part of it all, was that the alpha looked indignant. He should have been terrified and in pain, and likely was, but his reaction to that emotion was to demand that Peter obey. It turned Peter’s stomach just to look at it. He’d make sure the alpha’s face would never be able to show such an expression ever again.
An arm wrapped around Peter’s waist, and a hand covered Peter’s pulled back fist. Deadpool’s now masked face settled beside Peter’s ear. “Don’t.”
“He deserves it.” Peter’s body shook with barely contained violence.
“I’m not saying he shouldn’t get his due, I’m saying you should let me do it. You’ll regret killing him later. Don’t do that to yourself.” Wade slowly pushed Peter’s hand down. “Let me do it.”
Peter was panting, barely able to catch his breath, his vision still throbbing and bright with focus. “I need to hurt him.”
“He’ll be hurt. I promise.” Wade’s voice was soothing and calm, muffled as it was through the noise in Peter’s head. “Your friend needs you. Go take care of him.”
Adam. Yes… Adam needed an omega that he felt safe around to take care of him. He was still bound and immobile. He didn’t need to see someone die in front of him like that.
Shakily, Peter let go of the alpha’s shirt and pulled back. The man opened his mouth, but Wade put a knife under the alpha’s chin in a second, effectively silencing him. Peter took a few unsteady steps to the side and allowed Wade to drag the man from the room.
Taking a deep breath, Peter turned around to look at the bed. His eyes skipped over Adam in a disjointed way, hyper focusing on the spots of pain, fear, and brutality. Peter couldn’t linger on any of what he was seeing. He stumbled over to the bed and forced his hands to work on each strip of leather at a time.
His fingers felt numb as they fumbled over the ties. He couldn’t get them undone. The knife was still on the floor, but he couldn’t very well bring the same knife over. That would be terrifying for Adam. So Peter just forced his fingers under the straps and pulled them apart bare handed. The exertion of strength helped his adrenaline find an outlet. By the time he was ripping off the gag, he almost felt in control again.
Adam was a shaking and sobbing mess. The moment his mouth was free of obstruction he started babbling apologizes. Peter pulled Adam into his arms and held tight.
“It’s not your fault… Not your fault…” Peter murmured, unable to fully process any of what Adam was babbling.
That’s right. It was Wade’s fault. Wade who had sent dangerous alphas, known dangerous alphas, to the shop. It was a ticking time bomb. Peter knew it would all blow up eventually. Of course this happened. The anger still swirling around inside of him finally found a new target — new person to blame.
The click of shoes hurried down the hallway. A moment later, Momma Alex was rushing into the room. “Oh my god! Adam!”
“Momma, I’m so sorry!” Adam immediately sobbed.
She ran over to him, running soothing hands through his hair and shushing him. Her eyes assessed the cuts, the blood, the deep welts from the bindings that were already bruising…
“Peter.” She kept her voice soft, noticing Peter’s still fever bright eyes. “Help me get him to the back. He needs medical treatment.”
Peter nodded. He felt hollow and on fire all at once. Still, he needed to take care of his friend. He stood up, supporting Adam as best he could without pressing too much on any of the injuries. Alex kept a steadying hand on Adam’s other arm. They carefully made their way across the room, but Adam’s knees gave out.
“I’ve got him,” Peter said. He scooped the sobbing Adam into his arms and they made their way downstairs, Adam spewing apologies the entire way.
Every time Adam said he was sorry, it felt like Peter was being stabbed. It was his fault. He was the one that kept Wade around, never questioned the man’s methods, and put everyone in danger. Peter knew something like this could happen, and he had stood by and allowed it. He was just as bad as Wade was.
It took some time for Adam to calm down enough to stop sobbing. Once the blood was washed away, Peter was relieved to see that the cuts weren’t too deep. With the proper care and enough time to heal, Adam might just get away with minimal scarring. Still, he’d be out of work for a while because of this. Assuming he could go back to work at all after what happened.
Then again, what other options did he have?
Peter’s mouth tasted sour and his thoughts spun in circles. His chest was painfully tight. He paced the floor, unable to sit still as Momma Alex continued to patch Adam up. The whole situation was so messed up. Peter knew there were people like that out there. Sick and twisted people that hurt those with little recourse. Knowing it and seeing it happen were two completely different things.
“I don’t understand how he even made it past me. We should have known about someone with his reputation.” Alex frowned as she sanitized another cut. Peter felt sick. “When did he even come in? We need to get his information to the other brothels. Peter, did you see what he looks like?”
“I…” Peter could barely recall the man’s face. It was a blur of red in his mind. “Deadpool has him. We can get pictures.”
“I’m so sorry!” Adam choked out.
Peter gritted his teeth and slammed his fist against the wall, barely pulling back in time to not punch a hole in it. Adam flinched. “Damn it! This is not your fault!”
“It is!” Adam sobbed, shaking all over. “I let him in through the back so nobody would see him…”
Peter froze and turned to look at Adam in shock. Alex took a deep breath to compose herself, and asked calmly, “Why did you do that?”
Adam’s crying picked up, as did his shaking. He looked sweaty and pale, and a step away from throwing up. It took some time for him to be able to speak again. “H-he said he was going to cut m-me off!”
Something cold dropped into Peter’s stomach. He took a few quick steps forward but stopped himself when Adam flinched. “Are you using ?”
“I’m s-sorry!” Adam doubled over, hiding his face in Alex’s shoulder. “Please don’t k-kick me out!”
“Shh, calm down.” Alex ran a soothing hand over his hair. “Take deep breaths. You’re not in trouble.”
Peter scrunched his eyes closed, trying hard to breathe through his conflicting emotions. It wasn’t uncommon for those in their positions to get addicted to drugs. It was an easy escape from the reality of their situation. It helped them get through the times when it felt like they couldn’t handle it anymore. It was also an easy catalyst to making bad decisions if threatened with it being taken away.
Worst of all, it meant that Wade wasn’t the one who had caused the current situation. It was Adam’s own circumstances. Circumstances that had been forced on him by how society was set up. Because alphas were obsessed with control to the point of manipulating an omega into setting up their own torture session.
Alex’s voice finally broke through the furious thoughts in Peter’s head. His eyes snapped over to her and he realized his breathing had picked up, and his clenched fists were trembling with the need to lash out.
“Do you need some air?” Alex pointedly asked. Adam whimpered.
Peter forced himself to take a calming breath. “I’ll help you get into a rehab facility. You need to detox, and the sooner the better.”
Adam choked. “I can’t afford that!”
“I’ll pay for it.”
“You can’t afford that!”
“DON’T—” Peter gritted his teeth and willed his voice back to a softer tone. “Don’t argue with me. It’ll be fine.” He looked over at the frowning Alex before adding on, “I’m going to go get some air.”
He sped from the room as fast as his feet would take him, making his way up the stairs three at a time until he could finally burst through the door and to the rooftop, sucking in cool night air. He wanted to break something — or someone. He wanted to rage and scream and destroy.
And what kind of hero did that make him? That was exactly why he had to stop entertaining his fantasies of going back to being a costumed vigilante. Heroes didn’t want to lash out at the world. Heroes didn’t want to kill. Heroes saved people. Heroes had a responsibility .
Peter tilted his head back to the dark sky and took a long and shaky breath. “I’m sorry, Uncle Ben…” he whispered. “I’m just so… weak.”
Peter was sitting on Wade’s bed in the early morning light when the mercenary finally returned home. Wade paused upon entering, carefully studying the still and quiet form on the bed. After inspection, he paced over and kneeled in front of Peter, taking bruised and bloody hands into his own, carefully assessing the damage.
“What did you get in a fight with?” Wade asked, voice soft.
“Is there anything left of it?”
“Doesn’t look like it.” Wade rolled up the bottom of his mask and dropped light kisses across Peter’s damaged knuckles.
Peter sat still and watched Wade for a long moment in silence. “I blamed you.”
“I blamed me, too.”
“But it wasn’t your fault. That alpha was Adam’s dealer. Adam snuck him in because he was threatened.”
“I know. Your friend wasn’t his only victim.” Wade pulled a phone from one of his pouches. He pulled up a picture and handed it to Peter.
It was the alpha. Surrounding him were large printed out pictures of what he had done to other omegas. It was similar to Adam. All of them were bound in painful ways, all of them were covered in blood and wounds, all of them were either desperately screaming, or still and pale. On the alpha’s chest sat a phone in a plastic bag, likely containing the evidence needed to solve the murders of all those omegas that surrounded him.
Not that he’d be going to jail for it. Deadpool had taken care of that. The alpha was pinned to the rooftop by various sharp and pointed instruments strewn throughout his body. Wade must have sacrificed a lot of his weapons to create such a spectacle. Blood splatters dotted the pictures around the alpha, along with little baggies of fine white powder, and a large puddle of blood stained the gravel, tar, and shingles.
“I sent that picture to all the news outlets: local, national, international, independent, web based. Everyone will know his face. They’ll know what he did.”
Peter felt numb while staring at the phone in his hands. What Wade had done was bad. Cruel. Murder. Yet, Peter couldn’t find it in himself to care. The only emotion available was… jealousy.
“I wanted to kill him,” Peter whispered.
“I wanted to rip him apart until there was nothing left of him.”
“That’s why I couldn’t let you do that.”
“What kind of person does that make me?” Peter looked down at his hands, and the brutal evidence of his desires.
“It makes you human.”
“I have so much… hate.” Peter closed his eyes, trying to keep the flood of emotions inside of him buried under the numbness he’d found. “I want to hurt them. All of them.”
Wade placed his hands on either side of Peter’s face. He leaned up as he pulled Peter down, bringing their lips together. It was light as air and full of comfort. It was everything the world was not.
Peter slid off the bed to straddle Wade’s lap, burying his face into the crook of the man’s leather clad neck. The omega in Peter felt comforted, surrounded as he was by Wade’s bulk and alpha smell, those strong arms holding him in place. It felt wrong. He shouldn’t crave the embrace of an alpha. Not after what had just happened. Not with the way the world was.
But Peter was a slave to his desires.
Peter was weak.
The phone in Peter’s pocket buzzed yet again. He ignored it and focused on Aunt May, giving her one last hug before she headed off inside the airport to take her trip. Peter dropped a kiss on her cheek.
“Have fun! And remember to not worry about me.”
“Oh!” May playfully smacked at his arm. “I’m always worrying about you!”
Peter grinned. “This is you time. Just take lots of pictures for me.”
Aunt May fussed over him some more before she finally agreed to leave. Peter waved happily at her, glad that she was heading out on her vacation at last. May was practically vibrating with nervous excitement. Once she was finally out of sight, Peter’s shoulders dropped and he breathed a sigh of relief.
Pulling his phone from his pocket, he dialed the number that kept texting him.
“Harry, I told you I was alright how many times now?” Peter turned around and started heading back out of the airport.
“I just… couldn’t calm down until I heard your voice with my own ears.” Harry sounded even more stressed and tired than usual. “Where are you?”
“At the airport. I was seeing off Aunt May.”
“For her Hawaii trip?”
“I’m surprised she left after what happened.”
“And that’s exactly the reason I made sure she didn’t see the news at all for the past few days.”
News of Deadpool’s very public murder was all over the place. Peter had intercepted their worrying neighbor countless times in order to keep Aunt May in the dark. She most certainly wouldn’t have left had she known. The knowledge of a serial killer with a preference for omegas had everyone worried.
“Pete, please, are you sure you don’t need to stay in one of the safe houses for a few days?”
“The guy’s dead already, Harry. It’s fine.”
“Yeah, but… The debate is causing a lot of noise…”
Peter’s mouth twisted in annoyance. The death of the alpha was considered “controversial.” People were in debate as to whether he deserved to die, despite what he had done. There were even those who argued that nothing had been proven and it could have been a setup to “ruin an alpha’s good name.” Everyone was highly focused on the life and death of the alpha.
Not so much the omegas that had died at his hands.
“I can handle myself, Harry.”
“I know that…” Harry sighed. “I just can’t stand the thought of something like that happening to you and me being completely unaware of it until it’s too late… It scares me, Pete.”
Peter stopped walking, his heart twisting in his chest. It was nice to know that they still cared about each other that much, even after all this time, and especially after everything that Harry went through with his dad. It made Peter feel a little guilty for being suspicious of Harry after discovering Norman’s illegal dealings. Harry was a good guy.
“You scare me, too, ya know. Dealing in such high powered politics and money. You’re much more likely to have someone looking to take you out. And what can I do?”
“Well, don’t we make quite the anxious pair…”
Peter smirked. “Thanks for worrying about me.”
“You, too. Please stay safe out there, okay? Call me if you need anything. Promise.”
“I promise I’ll call you if I have a problem,” Peter relented, exasperated.
“Thank you.” Someone in the background was reminding Harry of the things he needed to be doing. It sounded like his secretary, the one who definitely dressed to Harry’s preferences. “I gotta go, Pete.”
“Sure thing. Remember to eat something today.”
Harry chuckled. “Don’t worry. Felicia schedules my meals as well.”
“You’re due for a snack in thirty minutes, sir,” Peter could hear the secretary say in the background.
“I’m glad someone’s looking after you,” Peter teased.
Harry huffed out a laugh. “I’ll talk to you later.”
Putting away his phone, Peter walked out into the bright afternoon light. He still had a lot to do over the next few days. Making sure Adam wasn’t trying to leave the rehab facility, paying Adam’s bills, then digging into the personal history of every other person Peter worked with at the brothel. Invasion of privacy it may be, but he would be damned if something like what happened to Adam ever happened near Peter again.