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‘Aren’t you supposed to be out with…What was her name again? Tiffani? Teresa?’ Peter cocks his head. He’s supposed to be working tonight on a secret project, really important stuff that could change the face of physics forever (okay, so it probably won’t but it’s totally a maybe borderline possibility thing!), and naturally Johnny has dropped by unanounced to ‘visit’ his little brother.

‘Toni?’ Johnny replies as he makes himself comfortable on Peter’s bed, frowning as he locates the one spring that always jars into Peter’s back. ‘Yeah, that kinda fell through last minute, so I thought your miserable life could do with my awesome company. No need to thank me.’

Peter raises a questioning eyebrow as he only half-tinkers with his precious bit of techno-gagetry kit. It’s a cold day in New York, his apartment’s heating system isn’t up to the challenge, so he’s keeping himself busy every which way he can.

Throwing himself onto his back with a dramatic flourish, a hand resting over his features Johnny sighs. ‘There may have been a tiny accidental mix-up with names.’ He protests through Peter’s groans. ‘I wasn’t cheating, I swear, I just got distracted and, well, Tina was a blonde, Toni’s a blonde…It’s a simple, albeit totally clichéd mistake!.’

‘Casanova eat your heart out.’ Peter drawls. ‘How do you even get dates anymore?’ Oh right, charm, supposed good looks and the out and proud superhero thing. Jerk.

Johnny throws a pillow, but Peter easily catches it with one hand, the other still tinkering with what looks to Johnny like something the kid and Reed will be obsessing over later no doubt.

‘I forgot,’ Johnny is suddenly sitting up and smiling far too much for Peter’s liking. ‘I could never compete with your epic romance of the ages…’

Heat flares in Peter’s cheeks for a moment. ‘Shut up.’ He throws the pillow back.

‘Oh c’mon, Pete. I’m practically legally obliged to ride you over this. I mean you and Deadpool?’

‘His name is Wade.’ Peter stiffly corrects.

Johnny rolls his eyes. ‘You and Wade? I mean, he’s just so…so-’ he waves a hand in a vague motion.

‘Crazy? Obnoxious? Dangerous?’

Ugly.’

Peter stops his work and glares at his brother, and suddenly it’s like all the precious heat in the room has evaporated. And that’s a pretty mean accomplishment when you’re sitting less than five feet away from the Human Torch.

‘Seriously?’ Peter snaps. ‘That’s the only reason you think I shouldn’t be dating him? His looks.’ He shakes his head, disappointment overtaking anger. ‘Unbelievable. How are we even related?’

‘Hey, it’s not like a birthmark or a couple of warts or anything,’ Johnny’s arguments suddenly seem to be falling away from him by the second. ‘I mean you’re lying if you tell me it’s not more than a little weird-‘

Peter cuts him off sharply. ‘I stick to walls, Johnny. I’m kind’ve a freak already and I’m actually cool with that. And if you hadn’t already noticed, you’re not exactly Mr Average Schmoe yourself, you know.’

Johnny opens his mouth, but Peter continues. ‘And, yeah, I know you like the babes all right, but I never actually thought you were this…this shallow.’

Rubbing his face with the back of his hand Johnny sighs. ‘So, you’re really into him despite,’ he twirls a finger in circles by the side of his forehead, ‘everything?’

Peter turns in his seat and matches Johnny’s gaze. They’ve fought before – brothers always do – and they’ve questioned each other’s choices; moral, musical taste, philosophical, choice of dip, you name it, but when it comes to the important things – the real important ones – they respect each other’s opinion. This is one of those things.

‘Yes, I do. I know what I’ve got myself in to, but I also know that he’s actually trying to be a better person, and not just because of me.’ He scratches the side of his head, his gaze drifting to the frosted windowpane for a nanosecond, and his voice gets just a fraction louder. ‘Sure, that doesn’t stop him from being a mouthy, annoying, loony tunes asshole, but-‘

‘He’s your asshole?’ Johhny wrinkles his face in disgust. ‘Wow, I could have put that so much better.’

Peter laughs. ‘You really could.’

Johnny stands and clasps Peter’s shoulder. ‘Knew I could weasel it outta you, kiddo.’ he grins. ‘Just don’t make me start with the ‘feelings’ hoolah and pointing out that I will fry him to a tiny crisp if he hurts you, and all that jazz, okay?’

‘God forbid,’ Peter drily replies, but he can’t contain that stupid warm happy feeling surrounding him. He steps back before he does something really dumb like attempt a hug.

A beeping noise permeates the room and Johnny runs a hand through his hair before turning the alarm on his phone off. ‘Gotta fly, Pete. Hot date.’

‘I thought you said-?’

Johnny smirks. ‘C’mon, man – you really think I’d let a girl down just to spend a little quality bonding time with you when I could do both?’

‘Jerk!’, Peter yells as Johnny hurries through the door.

‘Don’t catch any nasty STD’s!’ is the last piece of helpful advice Peter hears before his big brother vanishes completely from sight.

Peter shakes his head and walks back to the window, opening it. ‘You know, the Anglo-Saxons used to fine people for evesdropping.’ he calls over to the man lurking adjacent to the frame. ‘I’m thinking of bringing that back.’

Wade scrambles in through the window, all limbs and elbows. ‘So it’s romance and upside-down kisses when you do it, but suddenly there’s restraining orders when I do? Pfft! I got even worse PR than you do, Spidey.’ He removes his hood and, almost as an afterthought, his mask before glancing around the room. ‘Did I miss you boys hugging it out something fierce or what?’

Peter slams the window shut with a scowl that’s not as heartfelt as he was aiming for.

‘Just how much did you hear of that?’ he asks as Wade absently rubs his hands over his own arms, trying to warm them. Peter cranks up the juice on his already protesting radiator.

‘You totally Brienne’d me, Pete,’ Wade says as he sprawls on the bed in a similar fashion to Johnny, only – mercifully – Johnny wasn’t displaying his crotch quite so obviously.

‘What?’

‘”His name is Wade”’, the mercenary quotes in his best dramatic voice. ‘Game of Thrones, y’know? It’s like you’re Jaime (only with morals ‘n stuff), and I’m the ugly chick with the surprisingly nice rack. Oh wait, you don’t get HBO do you? It is surprisingly affordable though when you’ve got a buddy to hack in and get you free cable.’

‘Shut up,’ Peter shakes his head and sits on the bed , touching Wade’s cheek for a moment before yelping in a less than manly fashion, he’ll admit. ‘You’re freezing! A hoody over spandex does not a winter warmer make.’

Wade shrugs absently and considers shoving a hand down the back of Peter’s tee-shirt, just to hear the girly screech he’s certain he’ll make. ‘s’fine. I’ll warm up in two ticks. Of course I hear naked bodies are great in case of hypo-‘

‘No.’

‘Wuss.’ Wade pouts and his fingers dance across the sensitive spot at the back of Peter’s neck, only to be rewarded with a shrill noise and a none-too-gentle smack on the arm. ‘Well if you won’t even do that then the least you can do is put on the tv.’

Peter fiddles with the heap of junk he calls a television for a few minutes and returns to his seat by Wade, who, true to his word, has already warmed-up, moreso than Peter now.

‘You weren’t kidding, huh?’ Peter casually entwines an arm with Wade’s who is already flicking through channels, muttering, ‘boring, seen it, boring, boring, oooh porn, but looks too much like Cap to get me going…’

They lay in silence for a little while, and Peter eventually shifts his position so that that his head is resting on Wade’s lap. He yawns contentedly.

‘Heh, I see how it is now,’ Wade’s fingers are idly running through Peter’s hair as he’s using his other hand to mime gunfire at the screen as the evil Teletubbies merrily trot by in their creepy little land of sunshine and gibberish. He’ll spare the one with the little purse though, not because it’s kinda neat, but so that any others that might be hanging around can get a fair warning, yeah. That’s it. Really.

‘Hm?’

‘You only like me ‘cause I’m warm’ Wade accuses as Peter snuggles closer into the touch. He rigidly stares at the screen.

‘Nah, I don’t like you ‘cause you’re warm, Wade,’ Peter speaks very carefully, his voice low ‘I love you ‘cause you’re warm.’

‘Oh,’ Wade’s hand stills for a moment, and something satisfyingly final seems to settle between them. ‘Well, that’s okay then.’

-end