Tony Stark considers himself a clever, intelligent and philanthropic man. A gorgeous and useful member of society - society that he in fact helped to improve. A part of his job is noticing little things, the smallest details and particulars, mostly to repair them or keep them in mind for future purposes.
Sometimes it’s hard to see, but he also cares a lot about his teammates, one of the reasons he thinks of himself as a generous and kind human being. The thought of having friends - apart from sweet Pepper - was kind of… confusing for him, initially. He was used to being by himself, to solving his and the city’s problems alone, occasionally helped by a good glass of bourbon or a beer. Now it’s not rare to see a large group of super people eating and laughing in his Tower, in his rooms, in his dining hall.
His stunningly good nature and care for his friends has made him notice something quite serious. Well, it’s not that serious, but it bothers him, because it has to do with Deadpool, the Merc with a Mouth, Wade Wilson, Spider-Man’s boyfriend, Peter Parker’s lover. The crazy, loud man that now helps the Avengers on a daily basis, basically.
It was Parker’s idea. “He wants to do good!”, “He’s not the stupid man you all think he is!”, “Give him a chance, he has a big heart!” and all that jazz. Cap believed him instantly, he also said he worked with Wilson on multiple occasions and knows that Parker is right. The others were wary and unsure about it; however they slowly changed their minds, especially when the merc actually showed himself capable of being useful and good both on the battlefield and during meetings.
Okay, cool, the merc is not that bad. Even Tony has to admit he helps a lot and can follow orders… albeit in his usual, original style. Plus Parker is extremely proud of him, they team-up during every mission, fighting baddies and enemies together like an old married couple, joking, flirting and telling each other sexual innuendos that the whole team has to hear through the intercom.
It’s… disgusting. And disgustingly sweet too, so much he thinks he has already teeth decay marring his otherwise perfect mouth.
Anyway Wilson isa problem. No, scratch that, he has a problem. And, yes, everyone knows he has many, so many one needs both hands - and maybe a feet too - to count them all.
Tony is thinking about a precise, particular problem though. It’s crystal clear, as bright as the sun, it’s there, like a flashy sign on Wilson’s head.
It’s the problem of clinginess.
He’s always around Parker. Always. Tony suspects he follows him to the bathroom too and he wonders how the wall-crawler hero deals with that. Parker is also pretty clingy, he obviously loves the merc and doesn’t seem bothered by his constant talking, following and cuddles. His manners are not as loud and chaotic as Wilson’s though; the merc is his shadow and Tony would understand this if it was limited to the battlefield. That’s not the case, as Wilson is even worse when they are not fighting people. When they come back to the Avengers Mansion or the Stark Tower to rest and eat, the crazy mercenary becomes like a puppy, spending the entire time with Parker, never losing him from his sight.
If the young man gets up to take another drink or hot dog from the kitchen, Wilson follows him, never shutting his mouth. If some other hero calls Parker to talk, there is a 100% probability that a big, tall man clad in red and black will go with him. Parker never complains, he always smiles at him, always answers to his jokes, always kisses and hugs him and returns his cuddles and touches.
Still! Stark goes mad just seeing how clingy Wilson is. He would have gone crazy after two days if one of his old lovers had been like him and he can’t understand how Parker does it. He must be bothered by that extreme closeness, by that lack of personal space and, above all, personal time. If Wilson is like that even at home, Parker’s life must be tremendously full, loud, like having a puppy barking every second into his ear asking for attention.
He has to do something. That nerd is a good man, he has suffered much and Tony is happy for him, he’s happy for the relationship he has with Wilson. He just wants to… make it better? That’s what he does in his life, after all. Fix things, small and big, appreciate something beautiful and at the same time finding new ways to improve it.
It’s a sunny, warm day, the team is resting at the Mansion after a delicate mission involving radioactive squirrels (poor Squirrel-girl was horrified) and there is a comfy chit-chat and clatter of glasses and plates in the main dining room. As always Wilson and Parker are eating together, talking with Luke, the merc munching happily on Parker’s shoulder with the young man’s hand on his thigh.
Tony waits patiently - patience is another of his strong points, really! -, sipping his drink while glancing at the couple to seize the right chance. It comes when Luke mentions a TV show that should air in few minutes and Parker and Wilson get up with him to go into another area of the Mansion where they keep the TV and other recreational stuff.
The merc turns around, his maskless face looking rather surprised. It’s been difficult for Tony and some of the girls to get used to the sight of those scars, to the patches of skin constantly changing and at the same time always the same, swollen and raw. That’s another thing that Tony can’t get - how does Parker do it? He have seen them kissing and touching each other, he sees them doing that every day, he and Cap even walked in on them doing the do in a room. There was only a tiny chance to glance at Wilson, but Tony saw enough to know that the poor man is disfigured on his whole body, some parts looking more painful than others.
That’s another great mystery that Tony will probably never solve. He knows it depends on love though. Love makes everything beautiful and that’s another detail that makes him happier for this couple, another good point that makes him want to fix some pieces of the colorful mosaic Parker and Wilson create together.
“Very funny. Never heard that one before.” Tony deadpans, his lips curling upwards when he changes topic: “Can I talk to you for a sec? It’s important.”
Luke shoots him a perplexed look while Parker’s interest grows and the young hero goes closer to the scarred man, his sweet features now wrinkled by a hint of worry; Wilson looks confused, but also pleasantly surprised.
“Yeah, cool. Tell us what’s on that brilliant mind of yours, dude.”
“Is it about the mission?” Parker steps in; Luke must have seen the attention Tony is giving the two men and got the message, stepping back to give the trio some privacy.
“No, actually…” Tony grabs Wilson’s shoulder, making him flinch. Peter is the only one who can touch him freely; if someone else tries to have friendly, normal contact with the merc, he tenses up and is never completely relaxed and at ease.
Tony expected this, so his touch isn’t too strong or invasive, more like a pat that doesn’t put much pressure on his skin and have an angry meaning behind.
“Actually I’d like to talk with you privately, Wade. Is that okay for you?”
Parker and Wilson share a more surprised and now mildly anxious look.
“Yeah… I guess. You don’t want to study me for one of you weird lab things, do you? Because I really, really hate labs.” Wilson is laughing nervously, his smile is crooked and Parker has fears written all over his face, so easily readable like an open book.
“No labs, I swear. Just a simple chat between…” Tony hesitates, looking for the right words. “… colleagues.”
“Now I am worried!” Wilson jokes, but follows him the same, giving Peter a sweet peck and a reassuring smile. Parker watches them go to the terrace and only when they are out of sight he joins Luke, who looks at him quizzically; he shrugs, not able to give him an answer, and the anxiety and the pain of not knowing what’s going on are clear in his brown eyes.
“Okay, Beardy, what’s the problem? I didn’t kill anyone, I followed the orders, Peter and I totally nailed our objectives today, so…”
“You should really stop with the nicknames.” Tony sighs folding his arms. “And that one is more suited for Logan, don’t you think?”
“Nah.” Wilson grins. “He’s Stinky. Or Claws. Sometimes Broody too.”
“Fair enough.” Tony looks at the city, at the clear sky, looking again for the right way to start. Cap is ten times better at this, he has more tact, he’s more sensitive and charismatic… Tony just gets straight to the point and in some delicate cases this can be hurtful or painful. He’s aware of that - Pepper has told him countless times too -, so he tries to change the usual direct approach into something… gentle.
“So… you… umh… do you come up with those nicknames alone? I noticed you call Parker in different ways too.” He can’t help the small grimace. “They are quite… cheesy. But sweet.”
“Those are my personal nicknames for my baby boy!” Wilson says with a nod and a proud smile. “I made some of them with Peter, but they are mostly my doing.” His chest swells and Tony shows an amused smile.
“I see. He uses some nicks with you too.” He laughs thinking about them, because they ended up being hilarious thanks to their mushiness and they are getting quite famous in the group. ‘My sweet, big taco’? ‘Sweetums’? Really?
“Yes and they are totally cool!” The blush under Wilson’s scars show how much he appreciates them. That’s why he suddenly frowns.
“Is that what is bothering you, Tin-Man? The nicknames?”
“No, I think everyone got used to them by now.” Tony replies honestly resting on the ledge of the terrace; Wilson is near the door, still looking at him with a scowl etched on his rough features, so different from Parker's.
“Really, no problem! Keep using them. My ears have stopped bleeding so long ago, I guess nothing else in the world can make me cringe so much now.”
“You are so funny. You should be a comedian, not a lazy ass billionaire.”
Okay, now it’s the time, Tony thinks. To hell with tact and careful approaches, he needs to have this conversation and teach Wilson how to give and receive the best in his relationship. He’s in expert in that too.
“You and Parker really have a strong bond.” he starts abruptly and the merc tenses up as if thousands of hands have landed on his shoulders. Tony doesn’t stop, though, and his next words are pronounced calmly and with a kind smile: “It’s very beautiful to see. Some of us had doubts, at first, but you are a good man, Wilson, and your help is extremely appreciated.” It’s true, he’s honestly grateful and happy for the two men. He does his best to reassure Wilson, but the mercenary seems to be on the verge of a panic or rage attack.
“There is just a…”
“Are you kicking me out of the team?”
There is alarm in the merc’s voice and Tony shakes frantically his head.
“God, no, no! It’s not that!”
“Then I don’t like where this is going.” Wilson steps back; he’s trying to glare at him, but failing, there is only dread in his eyes and in the clenched fists at his sides.
‘Shit.’ Tony rubs his eyes and sighs. ‘It’s now or never, I guess.’
“I love talking, Tin-Man, everyone knows that. I love talking so much my adversaries can’t even hear their own breathing, I love using convoluted words and sentences - see? - and being enigmatic and shit, because it adds charm and it’s funny to see the enemies all dumbfounded.” His eyes falls on the other man and his voice falls to a whisper: “But I don’t like it when it’s the opposite. I don’t like when people are all mysterious and shady to fool me, when they think they can fool me because I’m stupid or ignorant.” This time he manages to glare at Tony. “I’m not stupid. So tell me what the hell you want.”
“It’s about you and Peter.”
Now Wilson looks terrified and outraged.
“It’s not about your whole relationship! Everybody is happy for you, I swear!” Tony hurries to correct himself because the mercenary is emitting murder waves, there is a hard glint in his eyes and his mouth is a tight, straight line. “It’s about… about the way you are around him.”
“I’m disgustingly sweet, I know, but who cares?! He makes me happy! Like I never was before!”
“I know! I…” the billionaire sighs heavily. Maybe this was a bad idea. He’s not good at this whole talking thing and Wade is extremely difficult to deal with. It’s like he picks every single word and undresses it of its meaning, asking why one has said that and not something else instead. He can understand why he’s so paranoid, though, especially if those words concern his relationship with Peter.
“Listen, I don’t want to interfere in your business, but…” Tony makes a weird sound, shrugging with his palms open upwards. “I think you don’t give him enough space. Enough air. You know what I mean?”
“I always let him breathe when we kiss! I’m a gentleman, you idiot!” Wade retorts. “And why do you look at us when we kiss? That’s sick, man! I didn’t know you were into those things!”
“What the…! You two are always kissing each other! There is no a single soul in New York who hasn’t seen you two kissing and smooching after a battle or flirting in the streets!” He waves his hands in front of his face with frustration. “Let’s… let’s go back to the main topic, okay? I meant that you are always with Parker. You don’t respect his personal time, hell, you are his personal time now!”
“Jesus Christ, dude, are you drunk?” Wilson is at loss for words for once in his life. Tony would bask in that stunned silence if the accusation didn’t hit home.
“I’m completely fine, thank you.” he replies coldly, then he gets carried away again: “I’m not the only one who noticed this, but the others think it’s cute and - to quote Bruce - ‘extremely heartwarming and restoring faith in humanity’. I agree, but I also think you are way too clingy.” He gestures towards the dining room visible from the door; there are still some of the Avengers there, glancing at them once in a while with curiosity, but Peter and Luke haven’t come back yet.
“Hell, Wilson, you don’t even let him talk alone. If someone starts speaking to him or asks him something, you are there, listening and intervening. It doesn’t matter if the question doesn’t concern you, you have to listen and comment and believe me, it’s extremely annoying and… creepy.” He points at the city this time. “The fact that you help him in battle is good, I can totally understand that. Please do it and keep each other safe. But don’t expect anyone to not raise eyebrows when you follow Parker around the Mansion or my Tower like a lost doggy. You look so dependent on him and I can’t believe that poor boy doesn’t feel overwhelmed!”
There, he said it. And if Wilson’s silence is anything to go by, his words really have had some effect on him.
“Let me tell you a secret, son.” Tony continues, feeling more confident about this and the success of his little intervention. “What you and Peter have is very special and beautiful; however the key for a healthy relationship is letting your lover be alone and relax when it’s necessary. People need to be alone once in a while and you are not giving your boyfriend any space for himself.”
Wilson has been staring at the floor the whole time; now he blinks and slowly raises his head. There are various emotions on his marred face, they are mixed and confused and the scars don’t help. So Tony can only wait for his answer or reaction to see if he has really convinced him.
"I…" Wilson starts, then clears his throat and continues: "I think two people who love each other - yeah, I used the big word - are happy to be often together." He laughs nervously, sounding so frightened that Tony feels guilty for a long moment. "Isn’t that the whole thing behind it? Being together a lot, possibly…" he stops again, spluttering and lowering his voice to a whisper: "… possibly forever?"
“Of course that’s the thing! But it’s the big, general idea! In order to accomplish that you have to be not always together.” Tony looks at him with a hopeful face, completely opposed to his scared expression. “Do you understand?”
“I… I love being with Peter.” Wilson is closing on himself, holding his forearms like he wants to give himself a reassuring hug. “And he…” he shakes his head, his eyes settled on the ground again. “And I know he’s happy to be with me too. I… I know it, okay?”
“Of course he is, son, but… come on, you really exaggerate.” Tony chuckles, unaware of the panic written all over the mercenary’s face. “Two days ago Parker asked me use my lab to work on his web-shooters. You could have done something completely different, like hanging around the Tower and annoying the hell out of Jarvis or Steve, eat, watch the reruns of Golden Girls. But no, you went with Parker and bothered us while we were working, like a child.” Tony still can’t shrug off the annoyance that the merc caused him that day and he’s sure Peter would have worked a lot better without his pestering presence.
“He… he didn’t look angry.” Wilson insists, albeit weakly. “He never looks angry when I’m with him or when he’s working and I’m talking and…” He seems so unsure, now, and his next words are low, almost inaudible: “He never told me he was annoyed or tired by me.”
“Well, you know how he is. He didn’t want to hurt your feelings.” Ah, l’amour! It’s really a complicated matter and Tony is glad to give a helping hand when he can. His smile grows as he goes near the merc and pats his arm.
“There, there, no need to be so sad! It’s not like you have to sleep on the couch or don’t eat ever again with him! Just give him some personal space and time to be by himself. If you see he’s working on something important, leave him be, don’t go chatting about your TV shows or what happened during your day. That can wait. Do it later.” He looks around, searching for inspiration and other advice. “Umh… let’s see… Oh! I bet you always take a shower together, am I right?”
Wilson nods; his face has changed, he’s looking at Tony like he’s the only one who can help him, a prophet, really a hero come to offer him sentimental assistance, a topic in which he has really little - and not positive - experience.
“Well, that’s wrong! Let him take a shower alone every now and then. As for missions and battles, I’ll repeat what I told you before: keep an eye on him like you have done for all this time, but don’t be too obnoxious.”
“Can I at least snuggle with him at night?” and Wilson’s voice is screaming ‘please say yes, please say yes’.
Tony must do what a man must do, though. So he pats the mercenary’s back to comfort him as he answers understandingly: “Not every night. Let him move and spread his limbs, poor boy.” He frowns with disapproval. “Do you give him bear-hugs at night even when it’s so hot outside? How do you two even breathe?”
Wilson opens his mouth and closes it when no words come out. It’s really an event that occurs once or twice in a lifetime - even if Parker probably has seen it more. Tony writes a mental note to remind himself to sign it on the calendar later. Now he has to reassure this poor, scarred man that everything will be even better thanks to his advice, that his experience will be extremely helpful to make his relationship with Parker a gem, a glorious example among relationships.
“Is everything clear?” he asks. Wilson looks mortified and sorrowful, but he nods and Tony pats his back for the last time before smiling brightly at him and saying: “Good! I’m sure Peter will appreciate it a lot. Just wait and see. The sex will be ten times better thanks to the little distance.” He opens the door, finally stepping inside the Mansion again, into the now empty dining room, and Wade slowly follows him, numb and quiet.
“Let me know how it goes, okay?”
Another nod and the merc walks over to the other side of the room, towards a door. Before he can grasp the handle, it opens and there are Peter and Luke discussing the two episodes just ended.
The young man goes near him, smiling cheerfully but with the same anxiety he had before.
Wade is pale under the scars and nods automatically, gently freeing himself from Peter’s touch and mumbling fast: “Yes! Yes, everything is good, Petey. I’m… I’m going to…” he gestures towards the hallway, opening and closing his mouth like a fish. “… to the bathroom! Yes, I have to take a big dump, man, those hamburgers gave me an epic stomachache!”
“Jesus, Wade, that’s gross!” Luke grimaces while Peter laughs.
“Dork. Wanna see this old movie Luke dug out from his collection?” His smile is sweet and playful when he adds: “I’ll rub your belly to make the stomachache pass.”
Wilson’s panicked eyes dart across the room, meeting Tony’s.
‘No!’ the billionaire mouths. ‘Remember what I told you!’
“I…” Wilson lets out a fake laugh. “Oh, Petey, I just remembered! I have to do something important, like, super important and I can’t stay any longer!” He steps back, avoiding Parker’s hand and grabbing his mask from the couch where he left it. “Sorry! I’ll see you at home, okay?” He runs away before the young man can open his mouth to answer.
“Man, he looked so weird.” Luke comments scratching his head while Parker stares at the door Wade has just exited from with a surprised and worried look. “Hey, Tony! What did you tell him?”
The billionaire shows the most innocent face he can.
“Nothing!” he lies. “We just talked about the mission. I don’t know what’s wrong with him.”
“He…” Peter is fidgeting and murmuring now. “He didn’t even kiss me…”
Tony feels a little bad, but he knows he did the right thing, that the good consequences of his intervention will come soon. Parker and Wilson may not understand now, but they will once their relationship will bring them more happiness than ever.
Just a little fix here and there can change everything in better, Tony knows that too well. So he leaves the room with a satisfied smile, happy that his brilliance and care are going to improve another beautiful thing.
- - -
Peter notices that something isn’t right when he comes back home. Wade doesn’t jump on him like he does every time he comes from work, there are no large arms hugging him and rough lips pressed on his mouth.
A sound from the living room, then his boyfriend’s voice answers a bit too fast and loud: “Hi, Petey! How did it go?”
“Good.” He takes off the jacket and drops the bag, taking the costume and a DVD case from it.
“The movie was nice.” he continues stepping into the living room; Wade is on the couch, the TV is on and its faint glow creates playful shadows between the cracks and lines of his face.
“Here.” Peter hands him the case to let him see the title. “Want to watch it later? I’m sure you’ll like it.” And he smiles, his other hand going down to stroke the bald head. Wade moves, though; he sits up on the cushions, restless and nervous.
“Huh… You already watched this today, Peter. Don’t worry about me.”
“You don’t worry.” Peter’s smile falters a bit when he sits next to him, a hand on his thigh. “I want to watch it again with you. It’s really funny and…”
“Don’t do it for me!” Wade exclaims, getting up and walking backwards until he’s far enough from Peter. “Really, sweetie, pick something else, something you never saw before. Like… like that documentary you found in the bookshelf!”
Peter raises his eyebrows until they are one with his hair. His smile is still there, but it expresses only bewilderment.
“That’s… not very romantic though. And I thought that kind of things bored you.”
“Hey, I love learning! I’m the best at it!” Despite the playful tone, the merc doesn’t sound very convincing, especially because his current anxious expression contradicts his voice. “I… I’ll polish my swords and take a shower while you enjoy the film.”
Now Peter is 100% sure that something is horribly off. Wade taking a shower alone? Without him?
“You… you don’t want me to join you?” and damn, he must sound so hurt and pleading, but he can’t help the way his question leaves his mouth and his eyes widen with sad surprise.
Wade looks at him and for a moment the shadow of regret, a soft, sorrowful glint, appears in his eyes, before disappearing.
“Don’t worry, I’ll hurry and won’t waste too much hot water!” He’s about to come near Peter again, maybe to give him a kiss, but changes his mind and adds in a low voice: “It will be all yours in less than ten minutes, I swear. Enjoy your documentary in the meantime, okay, baby boy?”
Wade is gone again before Peter can speak; there are so many questions in his head, so many concerns, but he decides to wait. Wade can be such a big enigma and he doesn’t want to scare or make him even more nervous. Maybe he’s losing self-confidence again, maybe he read something that upset him…
There are many possibilities and Peter doesn’t want to put pressure on him. He will wait and be there for him, like always.
Sighing, he goes into their bedroom to change into something more comfortable and then comes back into the living room, hearing with a heavy heart the water streaming down in the shower. It’s so strange not doing it with Wade, not being there with him; there must be a reason why he wanted to be alone, though, so Peter respects his will and tries not to think about his strange behavior, starting the documentary.
Things get serious later.
“Honey, do you want to make dinner together?”
Wade is on the bed and Peter - whose own shower has just ended - is standing under the doorframe, his hair still humid and untidy, wearing only a bathrobe.
Wade looks like a rabbit blinded by the headlights of a car. He’s polishing his katanas, legs crossed on the mattress; the sight is familiar to Peter and he smiles.
“How do you feel by the way?”
The merc blinks and looks at him dumbfounded.
“Your stomachache.” Peter explains with a fond laugh. He enters the room and sits on the bed, noticing the subtle gestures of his boyfriend, who moves his arm so the elbow doesn’t touch Peter.
“Oh, that. It’s… cool. No more pain.” Wade is stubbornly looking at the sword, rubbing the cloth on it with so much strength Peter is scared to see the metal break somehow.
“The scars, then?” He rests his chin on the muscular arm, which immediately stops. “Is everything okay?”
“Y-Yes!” Wade smiles shakily at him. “Of course it is!”
“Did Stark tell you something bad?” Peter frowns. “He didn’t complain about the mission, did he?”
“We nailed that mission, Petey.” the merc taps a finger on his nose. “Relax. Everything is fine.”
Peter stares at him for long moments; he doesn’t insist, of course, so he leans into Wade, kisses him and whispers in his ear: “I’ll be here if you need me, okay?”
“Y-Yes. Thank you.” That crooked smile again, then: “I’m… I’m not very hungry, to be honest. Do you mind if I skip dinner?” He points at the bed with a gesture of his head. “I think I’m gonna go to bed soon.”
And yes, Peter told himself that he must not insist, that he must wait for Wade to feel ready and tell him what’s wrong, but this… this is serious! This means something horrible, apocalyptic, tremendous happened!
“Y-You don’t want to eat?” he sounds so incredulous and shocked, he’s aware of it. “Oh my God, Wade, what…”
“Everything is okay!” the other man repeats, hands wide open in front of his chest. “Breathe, Petey, it’s not like I can die or something. I’m just not hungry.”
“Is it the cancer?” Peter is standing up now, his bathrobe slightly open; Wade stares at his abs and crotch for a millisecond, licks his lips and then forces his brain to focus on the situation at hand.
“Do you want me to put the soothing cream on you? We… we could call Banner, there must be something we can do…”
“Peter, hey, calm down! The cancer pain didn’t get worse nor ruined my appetite.” he shrugs, squeezing one of his boyfriend’s hands to reassure him. “I’m just tired. And I was thinking…”
He gets up, leading Peter into the hallway up to the kitchen, where some ingredients and plates are already on the counter.
“Why don’t you make something good for yourself? You don’t have to worry about my tastes today.” He looks mortified and sorry, now, and brings Peter’s hand to his mouth to kiss it… the young man blushes and feels warmth and love invade his heart, together with a sadness he can’t quite understand. Maybe it’s because Wade looks so down, maybe it’s because of his bittersweet gesture.
“I know my tastes are picky and we have to cook different things every time. So eat whatever you want now! I’ll go buy groceries while you are at work tomorrow, if the fridge is empty.”
This is even more odd and frightening.
“But… but we always buy groceries together! It’s the Saturday ritual!” and it’s not right that he has to remind that to Wade, not when these things, these details, are so important to them. They are their special, personal activities, those cute, domestic things that every couple does.
“Yeah, I know, but you come back from work already tired and stressed!” Wade cups his cheek and tries to smile, though Peter’s face makes it so difficult. “There’s no need for you to go out again when you can stay at home, rest your sexy legs and take a hot bath while I take care of groceries for once.”
“I enjoy doing that with you, Wade.” Peter insists this time, because even if he can see some kind of logic behind his boyfriend’s words, he really doesn’t want to renounce this.
“I’m sure you will enjoy more reading your books in peace and scratching your balls on the couch, sweetums.”
It’s supposed to be a joke, but Peter doesn’t laugh and Wade can only kiss softly his forehead - forehead? - and push him towards the kitchen.
“So… umh… goodnight! I’m going to rest my butt - damn, my back hurts like hell! - and have wet dreams about you.” He blows him another kiss, adding: “Enjoy your meal, honey. Tell me what you made tomorrow!”
He dashes back into the bedroom, closing the door behind; he hasn’t been fast enough, though, because Peter has seen his suffering face, his eyes screaming ‘I don’t want to do this’ and his trembling lips.
‘What the hell is going on?’
It’s so weird eating alone without Wade’s chattering and hoarse, deep voice resonating in the room, without his jokes and comments, his touches and playful groping under the table, their shared food - Wade is a picky eater, but they have always managed to eat perfectly well together. He doesn’t like vegetables, but that doesn’t mean Peter can’t cook them for himself and enjoy fully a meal with him. His whole reasoning about different tastes didn’t make any sense, actually.
Peter eats only half of his dinner (it’s nothing special, he didn’t feel like cooking a complicated dish in a situation like this) and puts the rest in the fridge. It’s quite empty and they seriously need to buy at least the necessary ingredients to make a decent breakfast. Well… apparently only Wade will have to do that, since he seems so convinced on his idea of letting him relax while he goes to the supermarket. Even if that’s one of their favorite activities, a playful date that occurs every Saturday.
“Our Saturday ritual…” Peter mumbles, sunk deep into the sofa, sniffing because tears are stinging his eyes.
Whatever is the problem that is affecting Wade, he hopes he will tell him soon, that he will let him help. He doesn’t like what’s happening, doesn’t like seeing him like that, so nervous, so tense and… distant.
Yeah, now that he thinks about it… Wade didn’t touch him in his usual manner. He loves touching Peter, pressing his lips on his whenever he can, feeling his hands on his scarred body. Yet he just held his hand, kissed his forehead, didn’t hug him… he cupped his cheek, a gesture he does quite often, but never with that expression, never with that… resignation written all over his face.
“Stupid.” Peter whines, unable to focus on the second part of the documentary he started again. “Stupid!”
When it’s clear he hasn’t listened to one second of the film, he turns off everything and joins Wade in bed.
The merc has his back turned to the space usually occupied by Peter; he can’t see his face, but he’s pretty sure he’s already sleeping, if his heavy and rhythmic breathing is anything to go by.
He changes into his pajamas, crawls under the light blanket and presses himself against the big, muscled, rough back, kissing the neck and the bald head.
“Yes, honey?” he answers, still pressing soft pecks on the raw skin.
“Aren’t you hot?”
“My, thank you!” Peter leans on his elbow to look down at the scarred man; he’s awake, staring at the window with that anxious expression he has been wearing all day.
“You always say I’m hot.” Peter continues with a warm laugh, bending down to kiss a coarse cheek. “You are too, you big dork.” another kiss, on the neck, that slowly becomes sloppy and sensual; Wade lets out a low whine.
“I-I didn’t mean that. No, wait, you are hot, you are gorgeous! But… aren’t you hot?”
He moves to face Peter, who’s now looking at him quizzically.
“You mean, like, feeling hot? Warm? Sweaty?”
“Yes! Exactly! This is why I love your brain so much!”
“I’m feeling good, Wade.” Peter tugs at the blanket. “This is pretty light after all. Why? Are you hot?”
“N-No, I just thought that you could be.” the merc glances at their bodies so near. “Why don’t you move a little bit away? So you can spread your legs better… huh, not in that sense, I swear.”
“I…” Peter shakes his hand. All this goes beyond his capabilities, he’s genuinely lost. He has no idea of what is happening, he can’t comprehend Wade’s weird ideas, this new logic so confusing and… protective?
“O-Okay.” he babbles in the end, because he really doesn’t know what else to say. He rolls on the bed, already missing Wade’s scars, his heat and scent. The merc smiles sadly at him over his shoulder and wishes him goodnight.
“Sweet dreams, baby boy.”
“You… you too, honey.”
Probably it’s Wade who wants to have more space for himself, Peter thinks. Guilt crushes his soul; maybe the constant friction at night makes his skin more raw and swollen! Maybe that’s why he asked him to move further! And he didn’t express clearly his concerns, saying he was worried about Peter instead to not make him worry! Yes, that must be the reason.
He still doesn’t understand why Wade didn’t eat with him or wants to go to the supermarket alone. It probably depends on the cancer pain; that must be also why he went to bed so early. The pieces of this strange puzzle seem to be appearing, although there are still some details he can’t give an explanation to.
He’d like to apologize and asks him if he needs the cream, but Wade may be already asleep, so he stays quiet.
‘Tomorrow.’ he thinks, closing his eyes with the image of Wade’s back printed in his mind. ‘Tomorrow we will talk and everything will be clearer. Everything will come back to normal.’
Oh, he can’t sleep like this though! It’s difficult and his body craves for the physical contact he and Wade have had until now.
Slowly, so slowly, he moves a hand under the blanket, until he reaches the scarred back. His fingers grabs gently the simple t-shirt Wade is wearing and he falls asleep like that, not hearing the other man’s sniffles.
- - -
There is no chance to talk the next day, though; when Peter wakes up, Wade is already gone, a note with his surprisingly neat handwriting on it telling him that he went to the supermarket.
There are still milk and cereals, meaning that Wade didn’t have breakfast. Peter eats in a gloomy mood, slowly dressing himself with mechanic gestures to get ready for work. The last thing he wants is making Jonah mad; this day is already bad enough as it is.
It’s also a long day and all Peter wants to do when he comes back home in the afternoon is not take a bath, not spread on the bed to read a book. He only wants to be with Wade and spend the rest of the day with him, like they always did before. The fact that they didn’t went to buy food together like every Saturday irks him, it’s another proof that something is off and reminds him that he has no idea why.
At least Wade has already come back when he steps tiredly into their apartment, his trusty camera still hanging around his neck.
“Hi, Petey! How was your day?”
Wade is smiling at him from the bathroom door; he is bare-chested and has something in his hand… is that…?
“You… you are putting the cream on your scars?” Peter exclaims; it’s more like a high-pitched sound due to enormous surprise and hurt. “Alone?”
Without me?, he would like to add, but the words don’t come out.
“Y-Yeah, well… I didn’t want to bother you, Petey.” Wade replies scratching his neck and not looking at him. There is a weak smile on his lips. “I thought that I could put it alone this time. There is no need for you to stop everything you are doing just to waste your time with this.”
“Waste my time?!” God, he’s going to cry, he can feel it. “W-What are you talking about, you know I love doing that for you!” He sniffs and quickly rubs a hand on his eyes. This was their most important ritual, the one that has the biggest meaning, the one that best expresses their bond, relationship and love.
“You aren’t supposed to do that alone, Wade.” he continues, ignoring his own voice so croaky and shaky because of tears. “It’s something that we always have done together.”
Wade looks on the verge of tears, too, but he replies softly: “Peter, you could do a lot of other better things rather than this. You shouldn’t spend your afternoons or nights putting a medicine on this shitty skin.” He tries to smile. “Use your time for yourself, not for me.”
Peter gawks at him, at loss for words; his brain is searching for something to say when the phone rings and he numbly goes into the living room to answer it.
“Yes… ? Oh, Aunt May!”
He distractedly sees Wade retreat back into the bathroom, leaving the door ajar; in the meantime Aunt May is asking him how things are going and if they want to go to her the next day.
“I’ll prepare something special! I’m sure Wade will love it too.”
“I… Yes, Aunt, that’s a wonderful idea. Thank you.”
They talk for more few minutes, then he finally hangs up and pushes the bathroom door, peeking inside.
Wade is washing his hands to remove the sticky cream from them; his back is glistening under the white light, his face unreadable.
“Was it Aunt May?”
The merc smiles at him, putting back on his shirt, and Peter fights the urge to extend a hand and touch him.
“She invited us to her place for dinner tomorrow.” He says returning the smile, although he knows it must be very strained. “I accepted, she said she will make something special.”
“Oh, that’s… that’s great. But…” Wade looks terribly nervous now. “Maybe it’s better if you go alone. You know… to spend a ‘nephew and aunt’ evening in peace?” He shrugs, folding his arms on his chest as if to shield and hug himself. It’s actually a pretty disconcerting and sad sight. “Since we are together you really didn’t have a chance to be alone with her because of me. You should go without me and make up for lost time.”
“Wade, you are not an intruder!” Peter cries out, coming near him and taking the scarred hands in his, a plea in his teary eyes. “What the hell are you babbling about?!”
“I know, silly web-head!” Wade cups his cheeks, but the gesture isn’t natural, it’s like he’s hesitating to touch him. “I’ll come next time. Go alone tomorrow. So you two will talk with calm, without any bother in the way.”
“You are not a bother! We are family! And you know Aunt May adores you!”
“Calm down, Peter! I didn’t say I won’t come ever again, I just want you to spend some time with your aunt!”
“No! It’s not only that, we have to talk about this!” and he’s about to push Wade against the sink and talk with him until they are both mute when his cellphone rings with the special ringtone that indicates Avengers duty.
“Another shitty mission, I guess.” Wade softly says. Peter is staring at him, ignoring the cellphone, and the merc sighs, kisses his cheek - even if he hesitates over his mouth - and calls his name: “Peter.”
The young man breathes deeply, holds tight a scarred hand and murmurs: “We will talk about it later.”
Wade sighs again with a little smile and pinches his cheek, but Peter is serious and wants to get to the bottom of this.
All his doubts are confirmed when Wade doesn’t join him in battle. He helps him from a great distance, using a rifle to shoot at their adversaries’ legs, but they don’t fight side by side, don’t start joking and telling each other fun sexual innuendos. There are no fond smiles and longing gazes, they are too far from each other to do that.
Peter misses it immensely, as much as he missed Wade’s body the previous night. He knows he’s not alone, that he’s following him to make sure nothing bad happens to him, but it’s not the same thing.
He feels lonely and disconnected from his lover, the distance between them too ugly, too much.
Even the others are perplexed and worried. Wade is joking less than usual, his answers through the intercom are simple and distracted. Peter tries to start one of their usual conversations, but the battle makes it difficult, especially because they are so distanced and the intercom doesn’t work well with all these loud noises and Thor’s thunders. Logan says it must be a dream.
“Maybe it’s my birthday.” he muses during a break; they know some enemies are going to come back soon, so they stop for a moment to catch their breath and reorganize their plan. Wade hasn’t joined them, though, preferring to remain on the rooftops to study the situation and warn them in case of danger.
“Son.” Steve intervenes talking to him through the intercom. “Wilson. Is everything alright?”
“Huh? Yeah, I’m okay, Cap.”
Logan and Luke raises an eyebrow, looking straight at Peter… the others do the same, much to his displeasure.
“You are being very… responsible tonight.” Steve continues while Peter blushes under their questioning gazes. “You don’t need to overdo yourself to impress us. Come here and rest for a while.”
“Hey, I’m not doing it to impress you! I just want to make sure they won’t take us by surprise!”
“That’s wonderful, Wilson.” Tony steps in and everyone gawks at him. “Spidey is proud of you. Am I right, boy?”
Peter is glad that his mask is hiding his red cheeks.
‘I’d rather have him here with me, groping my butt and whispering lewd things into my ear.’ he thinks with sadness and longing burning in his chest like a fire.
“Y-Yes.” he manages to blurt out. “I’m very proud, Wade.”
There is silence on the other end of the line for long seconds, then Wade’s cheerful voice resonates in his ear and for a moment it’s like everything is back to normal.
“I’m happy to hear that, sweetums.”
But nothing is back to normal. The battle starts again and Wade is on the rooftops, a deadly sniper, shooting casually and without effort, with grace and great aim. Peter is safe down on the battlefield, safe and alone.
- - -
When they come back home, tired and sweaty, and Wade is chatting about the numbers of adversaries he immobilized, Peter says it.
“There is someone else, isn’t there?”
Wade stops abruptly, turning so fast to look at him that his neck cracks painfully.
Peter is crying openly now, hot tears streaming down his pale cheeks, lower lip bitten so hard that soon blood will pour out.
“You are seeing someone else, aren’t you?” He raises his eyes; Wade is a blurry figure behind his tears, but he can see the look of absolute shock on his scarred face. “T-That’s why you are so distant and push me away, right?” He chokes down a sob, which becomes a low sound of despair when Wade walks over to him in long strides, hugging him.
“Peter, I’m the one who is supposed to be crazy here! What are you saying?!”
“Tell me who it is!”
The young man steps back, ignoring the arms that are extended towards him; he’s breathing heavily and his chest hurts, his everything hurts.
“Just tell me who it is.” he begs again. “Is it for something that I have done? I’m sorry, Wade, I’m so sorry, I…”
Wade is holding him again and before Peter can complain, he says, pressing their bodies together: “Peter, there is nobody! I swear, Peter, honey, it’s not that! I did it for you!”
Peter stays still, unable to understand. He sniffs and pulls away slowly to look at his boyfriend, who looks like a lost puppy.
“I talked with Stark. He… he said that couples are supposed to do this. That people need their own time and a lover should leave the other alone more often.” He looks away, shy and bashful. “Some of the things he said sounded right, I mean… he is right! I think.”
“I never left you alone before, I was always with you, even when you talked with the others and the subject didn’t concern me. Even when you went to the bathroom… sometimes. And Stark said that can be really bothersome.” He gulps, takes a deep breath and stares into Peter’s wet eyes: “He said distance is a good thing and I was so fucking confused, I swear, Peter, I hated this, but… but what if you really were annoyed by me and didn’t tell me? I’m not an expert on these things, I… I…”
He finally calms down and Peter takes his head in his hands, thumbs rubbing the rough cheekbones.
“You were worried about that? About me being annoyed by you?”
“And you really believed Stark - Stark, of all people - and followed his relationship advices?”
They stare at each other for long minutes, in complete silence, until Peter says: “Wade… I think that’s the stupidest thing you have ever done.”
Peter’s lips curl upwards, into a beautiful, relieved, joyous smile.
“You don’t annoy me. You never annoy me. God, Wade, I missed you so much and this mess lasted only one day! Can you imagine an entire week like that?”
The other man whines, horrified by the thought. He presses their foreheads together, inhaling his scent, and finally, finally, he gropes his butt, touches his hair, kisses his lips.
“I missed you too, Peter.”
His voice is husky and deep and sends warm shivers all over Peter’s back; he grinds happily against the scarred man, sucking his tongue, repeating his name.
“Never again.” he moans as Wade unzips his pants and they stumble towards the bedroom. “Please, Wade, never again!”
“I swear, Peter, I swear, fuck… come here…!” They are on the bed, now, their clothes already gone; Peter lets out a happy whimper when Wade’s rough hands stroke his body and he straddles him, leaning down to kiss his face, his neck, to finally have that contact that he missed the whole night and day.
Wade is moaning and panting under him, holding him close, whispering sweet things into his ear, saying that he’s sorry, that he felt so alone and was going to go crazy again.
Peter kisses him deeply, then stops for a moment to retrieve the lube; Wade spreads his legs, hissing and making filth sounds when he inserts two slick digits into him.
“I-I know.” Peter laughs, eyes closed because this feeling is magical; it doesn’t matter that horrible distance lasted only one day, it felt like an eternity and he was so scared of losing Wade that this feels extremely good, extremely relieving.
He takes and caresses the scarred manhood, playing with the wet head and making Wade yelps and thrusts faster against his fingers.
“You never annoy me.” Peter repeats into his ear, continuing to twist his digits inside him, until he finds the special spot. “I love having you around me, Wade, I love when you tell me your day while I work, I love when you hug me at night and kiss my neck, I love when you try to touch my butt in front of everyone. I love you.”
He smiles and Wade’s moans get so high and loud that the whole neighborhood has probably heard him.
“Peter…! I’m going… I’m going to…”
Peter takes out his fingers, ready to coat his dick with the lube, but Wade precedes him, doing it himself.
“I kissed you last night while you were sleeping.” he admits sheepishly. “God, I wanted to squish and smooch you like every other night, but…”
“Shh…” Peter pushes him back on the bed, lifting his legs and putting them around his waist, their bodies aligned. “We are going to cuddle a lot, honey. But first…” He slips into him and they both gasp.
The pace is slow, the thrusts deep and they kiss each other sloppily, not wanting to come yet, enjoying each other and the hot, gorgeous feeling already building into their cores.
After a while, Peter starts moving faster; the noises in the room are only their gasps, Wade’s giggles when Peter murmurs endearments in his ear, then their moans, their growls. The first to come and shout is Wade, dripping cum all over Peter’s stomach.
“Keep… going…” he pants and Peter, on the edge himself, bites his lips and God, it feels so good, Wade is holding him so close that he can hear his heartbeat, the scars pressed on his skin are the best thing he has ever felt in his life and the way Wade is looking at him is making his heart flutter with love.
“Wade…” he calls and the merc moves his hips again to meet his thrusts; he finally comes, hot and deep into him, some of the cum leaking onto the bed.
They hug each other for long moments; Peter nuzzles the scarred neck, Wade kisses his hair and rubs circles on his back.
“Please don’t fear anything like that ever again.”
Wade smiles sheepishly and nods, his hands never leaving the smooth, lean body, never breaking contact.
“And you thought I was seeing someone else, Peter? Really?”
Peter pouts and Wade lets out his booming, happy laugh, giving him the bear-hug they both missed so much.
“How could I leave a sweet web-head like you?” he says; he is astonished and in awe, because what Peter feared was ridiculous, the craziest idea ever and he can’t believe he really thought he could leave him. “I love you, Peter.”
Peter talks quickly, his voice muffled by the uneven skin: “It… it was so surreal and I was so scared, I didn’t know what to think and… and…” He pouts again, squishing Wade’s cheeks. “Don’t do that ever again, you big knucklehead!”
The merc nods, spluttering something, and Peter lets him go, resuming the nuzzles.
“… So you don’t mind if I follow you everywhere?”
“Of course I don’t mind. You are my boyfriend.”
Wade frowns with worry.
“Can I keep hugging you at night?”
“You must hug me at night.” Peter giggles. “It’s the rule number three.”
“Oh?” Wade is grinning now. “And what are the other rules?”
“Second one.” the young man licks his chin, draping a leg over his waist. “We must take a shower together after every mission. Possibly every morning too.”
“Mh, interesting.” Wade mumbles pressing a kiss on his shoulder. “And the first one?”
Peter looks at him in the eye, smiling brightly.
“Stay together for the rest of our lives and keep embarrassing the team with our beautiful nicknames.”
Wade snorts, hiding his blush into his neck. Then he looks at him again, stroking his cheek.
“I definitely can do that.”
- - -
The next morning Tony notices something. Something that shouldn’t happen, not after the conversation he had with Wilson.
Yeah, Wilson. He abandoned the distance, apparently forgot his advices and is doing again what he told him not to do. He and Peter are inseparable again, he follows the young man everywhere… they are hand in hand, for God’s sake!
The rest of the team isn’t even surprised - actually they are happy that everything is back to normal after Wilson’s strange behavior of the previous day. Tony is shocked though. Why does that man keep insisting about this? Surely he must have convinced poor Parker to go around the Mansion like that, not leaving each other’s side for two seconds; Parker looks extremely happy, he admits that, but come on.
“I bet they will go to the bathroom together later.” he scoffs. “Wilson, what the hell are you doing?”
Then Parker sees him. Their eyes meet across the room and the young man smiles coldly at him.
He says something to Wilson, kisses him and then approaches Tony, his weird smile never faltering. The merc observes them both with an equally creepy grin.
“Hi there, Parker, how…”
He doesn’t even see the fist and next thing he knows is that he’s on the floor, groaning in pain. His face is burning like hell and Parker is standing above him, his smile gone, replaced by a furious frown.
“Mind your damn business, Stark! Did I make myself clear?”
Tony groans some more, aware of the others’ astonished looks; Logan has stopped sipping his beer, Steve has dropped his newspaper on the table, Clint and Luke’s eyebrows are almost touching the ceiling.
Parker glares at him one last time, then goes back to Wilson, who is waiting for him with a huge, happy smile. They leave the room arm in arm, talking about a certain movie they want to watch.
Tony wobbly gets up; there is someone next to him, an angry and disapproving Steve, and he can feel the rest of the team glaring at him.
“So…” Steve says with his special ‘Captain America’ scowl. “Want to explain me what the hell you did this time?”
Tony sighs, rubbing his hurting, bruised, red cheek. It’s clear to him now that every couple has different needs and his advices totally don’t count for everyone.
Maybe, after all, he isn’t so clever and brilliant like he thought.