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Elektra Was

In a former life, Elektra was someone else.

She tried to remember sometimes - rainy nights when she knelt at the edges of buildings and felt stray bits of gravel imbedding themselves into the fine scars on her knees. That other world. That other person. But the memory was fuzzy, far away, like the windows she spent her nights looking through - an image here, a second there, a story that refused to put itself back together.

Like those parties she used to go to - the ones where everyone tipped a glass at her father, where everyone said, "and is this little Elektra? How you've grown, dear," - those terrible parties where everyone had the same smile, everyone had the same face.

She had started every one of them perfect - pulled into a dress that barely seemed to fit, the satin stretched tight across her body, her hair pulled and twisted and pinned, her feet in awkward, strappy shoes that, combined with the skirt, limited each stride to a foot and a half. She wood look in a mirror, and there she would be. Together. Clipped. Confined.

By the end of the night, her hair would have fallen down around her shoulders like a mane, her skirt would have split another inch or two up the slit, and her face would be flushed and bright across the cheeks, and in any reflection she glimpsed of herself in the big mirrors while she was dancing with men twice her age, she looked wild and frayed and uncivilized.

She wished she could remember their names, was perversely glad that she couldn't. They were nameless, empty people - the men would ask her where the bruises on her arms came from, and when she told them that it was karate, they would say something like, "Oh, how daring," and shoot disapproving looks at her father. And the women - the women. Soft, silly things who thought they were exercising when they did zumba or water polo, who would eye her busted-up knucles and sawed-off nails with quiet horror before averting their eyes politely up to her smeared mascara. They would look up at her and squint and say things like, "My, are all grecian women so tall," or, "how exotic you are," or "where did you get that dress, dear, it's lovely," and of course she wouldn't know.

She wondered how many of them would know her now, crouched in the dark like a gargoyle balancing on a ledge. How many of them would dare come up and ask her for a dance. Ask her where she got that dress.

Elektra bowed her head and let the rain hit the back of her neck, drip down her clean face like fingers. 

Elektra was a good daughter until her father died. As good as she knew how to be. She sat up straight with her knees together. She was even politely distant to the blind attorney who was so kind to her, who couldn't see her for anything but what she was. 

She waited for him, sometimes. In the dark. On the edge of a building. Because of all the windows in Hell's Kitchen, she knew his the best. His and Milla's. 

Milla. Quiet girl with the tiny cheerleader body and the soft steps, tap-tap of the cane. Strange that she didn't hate her. Old Elektra might have.


Old Elektra, girl who died because she couldn't kill someone. Girl who got angry when she should have gotten scared or sad. Girl who only knew how to say "I love you" by hitting somoene.

Girl who forgot herself.

She is different now.

In the past, Elektra was the kind of person who let people down. Her father. Matt. Matt again. Stick. The Kingpin. Nelson. Matt.

Herself, most of all, more than any of them. Herself in the dresses that didn't fit right, the heels that hurt, the hairpins that tried and failed to morph her into someone tame and pretty and refined.

Herself on the cold pavement as she hugged her dead father and sobbed.

Herself, dressed in white, standing before an old man with sad, empty eyes as he told her to go, that she wasn't learning, that she would never learn.

She kissed her calloused fingers and pressed them to the familiar hilt of her sai.

She is no longer the kind of person who lets people down. Even if people don't always understand that the best way not to let them down is to keep on disappointing them.

"I'm not as far away as you think I am," she says, and her voice is low and rough like the gravel, like the sound of the rain in the gutters.

Go ahead. Imagine Deadpool in a tutu.

I really do apologize for this. This is crack, relatively plotless crack, all dreamed up as a sequel of sorts to my last story.

Rated PG13 for Musical Watching and Disembowelments.
I do not own Wicked, its actors, or Cable and Deadpool.
Characters: Wade, Nate.
Title: Totally Wicked.

Nate was actually serious about the musical. As in serious-serious. As in he was actually going to do it, probably not bluffing. And how do you explain to someone like Cable that straight guys just do NOT go to musicals, period, much less with other guys? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just not his thing.)

            Especially, how do you tell him if you’re not actually there yet, and not actually 100% sure that he’s not just fucking with your head again?

            Wade hadn’t been sure, the whole way to where they were going – up and down the rainy streets of Manhattan in a trench coat, a fedora pulled down to hide his mask, he’d been asking about it, and by the end, he didn’t have any better idea than he did before. The conversation went something like this:

            “So, okay, this is great. Where are we really going.”

            Nathan had stayed very dry under his umbrella. He smirked down at him in the superior-Nate-way and said, “Scuba diving.”

            “Okay, that’s almost more ridiculous than you taking me to a musical. Almost.”

            “You said you wanted to go,” Nate said.

            “How do you know I wasn’t being sarcastic?”

            Nate said, patiently, “Because you weren’t being sarcastic.”

            “Okay, Nate, you can’t know that. At all. Even I’m not 100 percent sure I wasn’t being sarcastic.”

            “Well,” Nate said, “I am.”

            “I thought you couldn’t read my mind, Mr. Brainwave-Surfer.”

            Nate ducked under a shop’s banner and said, “Try me.”

            “Okay, fine. What am I thinking about right now?”

            “Bea Arthur. Stabbing me in the face. Where we’re actually going. In that order.”

            Wade stopped walking. “How in the Hell did you…”

            “Lucky guess,” Nate said.

            “You just guessed that?” Wade asked.

            “Absolutely,” Nate said. “It wasn’t hard to figure out…Or maybe I’m lying, and I really can read your mind now. I guess you’ll never know.”

            “I hate you,” Wade said.

            “I know,” Nate said, and smiled.

            Five minutes later, it started again.

            “Okay, Nate, we’re all really impressed with how well you keep a secret. Where are we actually going?”

            “Bungee jumping off the Statue of Liberty.”

            “No way. You’re making that up.”

            “Yep,” Nate said, still insufferably calm.

            After about an hour of this, Wade was ready to kill one or both of them, and maybe a few black-umbrella-wielding bystanders, just to make sure he drove his point home. He was even going to a previously-unheard-of extent of actually thinking PAST the killing part to what he’d do with the bodies. Maybe it could be like that thing New York did a while back, with all the painted cows – a posed, disfigured body on every corner. It’d be like art, only without all the paints and stuff.

            “You’d never get it past the city commission,” Nate said.

            “Too far ahead of my time, I guess,” Wade said.

            “Ahead of mine, even,” Cable offered. Only a little sarcastically.

            And then Wade realized that there were an awful lot of billboards depicting dancing ladies and masks. “We’re actually going to a musical,” he said.

            Wicked. I told you,” Nate said.

            “So, what do I read into this,” Wade said. “Are you just making fun of my first oh-my-god-you’re-not-dead response, or is this like, a weirdo Nate-signal for…”

            Nate tried without a lot of success to conceal his smirk. “I’m from the future,” he said. “I don’t know anything about your time’s musical associations.”

            “You just brought them up!”

            “That doesn’t mean I adhere to them.”

            Wade thought very loud, strangly thoughts. Like the kinds of gurgles Nate would make if he put two fingers on his throat and squeezed really, really hard. Glowy-eyed gurgle. Maybe even some shiny, cybernetic flailing.

            “Maybe I just really like the Wizard of Oz,” Nate said, and if he was picking up on the really great mental image that Wade was entertaining, he sure didn’t react to it.

            “Yeah, well, judging from what I heard about your brain-acid-trip the first time you got yourself lobotomized, I wouldn’t doubt it.”

            Nate rolled his eye. “That was my subconscious – I told you.”

            “Suuure it was,” Wade said, and then they were inside. A very crowded inside, with a chandelier and various other weird things, and people wearing clothes that cost more than Wade’s apartment. It was the kind of classy that Wade only usually entered when he was killing someone REALLY important – like a president or a billionaire or something. He poked a garbage-can-sized, red-velvet-coated ash tray. It wobbled. “I can’t believe you’re doing this,” he added.

            “Arguing with you?”

            “No,” Wade said, letting Nate steer him toward the stairs, also crushed red velvet – whoever provided that service must be really, really rich. Thick-ugly-velvet-carpets-R-Us. They probably hid bloodstains really well. Maybe even those stray gut-particles that were so hard to get with a vacuum. “I can’t believe you’re actually gonna be seen in public like this.” He tugged the brim of his hat a little lower, feeling very unprofessionally conspicuous.

            Nate’s calm-and-smirky face changed to his slightly-incredulous-and-halfway-to-caring face. He almost even stopped walking. “Wade,” he said.

            “I mean, you world-savior types have to worry about how you look, right?” Wade made it a point not to look at Nate and poke-poked the ashtray some more. “So if you want to rethink this…”

            “Since when have I cared about being seen in public with you?” Nate sounded almost offended.

            “I meant at a musical,” Deadlpool said, well aware that he’d lost at his effort at blank-face - his grin was showing through his mask. “Your rep as future-messiah-tough-guy will NEVER recover if CNN gets ahold of this.”

            “What about YOUR rep?” Nate asked, now moving again, wandering down the aisles in search of their seats – no doubt, Wade thought, mentally calculating the number of seats to a row and mapping out the likeliest locations. Nate, he decided, had probably been THAT kid at all the scavenger hunts, the one putting all likely locations on a grid and dallying out tasks to each person. You know. The kid that everyone else shoved into a garbage can before they actually ran off to do it the right way, with screaming and disorganization and pushing each other for no good reason.

            “No one’s gonna have the guts to say anything to me about it. If they do, I’ll shoot ‘em inna head,” Wade said, pointing two fingers at the ceiling like a gun barrel and winking (temporarily forgetting the mask-thing). “But you get all icky and moral about that stuff.”

            Nate snorted – which was Nate-lingo for “I’m way too responsible to laugh right now.” And sat down, because he’d apparently found their seats.

            Wade sat down, too, plopping a bag of popcorn into his lap. “Do musicals have previews?” he asked.

            Nate was looking down at him incredulously. “Where did you get that?” he asked.

            “Well, movies have them.”

            “No, not the preview idea, the…where did the popcorn come from? They don’t even sell it here.”

            Wade blinked. Looked down at his lap. “Huh. Maybe the editors just forgot to check this panel.”

            “Fine, if you don’t want to tell me, don’t tell me,” Nate said, sounding amused in spite of himself, which he was really good at.

            “I won’t,” Wade said amiably. Then the lights went out.

            “This is going to be cheesy, isn’t it?” Wade whispered.

            “Almost as cheesy as TV-land.” It was Nate’s turn to be amiable.

            Wade stuck his tongue out at him. Settled back into seat. And prepared himself for the absolute and utter cheesiness of Broadway

 

 

            The funny thing about putting someone like Nate in a theater is that he doesn’t actually fit in the seat. His shoulders are too wide, his arms take up the whole armrests, and Wade was never all that tiny a guy himself (except next to Priscilla-the-fucking-giant Summers), so there wasn’t a whole lot of room. In fact, Wade’s whole right arm from the elbow up was pressed up against Nate’s techno-organic limb, which was warmer than he thought it would be, probably due to the whole “organic” thing.

            As for the musical, well, it was cheesy. And acid-trippy. And, for that reason, easy for Wade to follow along with. The only problem was - well, it wasn’t really a problem. It was more of an “issue.” As the whole musical was about people not always being what they looked like, and how sometimes, what was underneath was more important, and all you had to do was look at them a different way. Which was total bullshit because if that was true, then Wade would be rockin’ out with a chick every night instead of, you know, not that he’d give up Bea Arthur for anything, but he guessed it worked okay on stage. Sort of.

            Except what guy in his right mind gives up a good-looking girl like Kristen Chenoweth for Idina Menzel, green or not-green, no matter what? Especially a good-looking girl who’s crazy about him? Then again, Idina’s just green. She gets to keep her hair and eyebrows. So maybe it could happen, but…

            Okay. So maybe this was hitting a little close to home now. Remember Wade, we’re straight. Now is not a time to start taking musicals seriously. Or personally. Unless maybe that was actually the point of coming here, and Nate was being kinda less good at the subtle manipulation thing than usual.

            And okay, his arm was still touching Nate’s, all the way up to the shoulder. That’s right – this is what it feels like to be sixteen again. Cue one-sided awkwardness, sweaty palms, and a terrible, terrible desire to listen to a boy band.

            There was only one thing to do. Distraction.

            Wade poked Nate’s arm with his pointer finger, right on the bendy part of the elbow. 

            Disappointingly, Nate didn’t jump. He just glanced over at him with his shiny eye in what Wade figured was stern disapproval.

            Poke, again. He even thought it. Poke. Take that, disapproving shiny-eyed Nate.

            Without even missing a beat, Nathan snagged Wade’s hand with the being-poked arm and set it right back down on the armrest.

            Wade tapped his fingers on the armrest, gave his wrist a tug or two, and had to admit to himself that Nate had a grip like a vise. Okay, so he wasn’t getting his hand back that way. But there might be another way.

            Wade leaned himself over and whispered, “So, are we holding hands now? At a musical? What’s next, roses?”

            Nate did not fluster, turn pink, or let go of his wrist. Instead, he splayed his fingers, slid them down, and threaded them in between Wade’s. So they WERE holding hands, sort of.

            “You’re messing with me. Again,” Wade whispered, while his chest, in spite of the rest of him, did that really annoying gasp thing that didn’t happen often. That happened most often, if he really LET himself think about it, with Nate.

             “I’m calling your bluff,” Nate corrected.

            “Messing,” Wade insisted.

            “Shh,” Nate said.

            And Wade did. Except he tightened his fingers a little. And Nate didn’t even clear his throat.

           

 

           

             “You’re shitting me,” Wade said. Exactly an hour and a half later, in an alley way, as both he and Nate were standing over a very recently-dead body. It had once been a thin, geeky-looking young man with a pointy face and shaggy, red hair. It was currently a very-gutted, limb-tangled wreck of a human being, ghost-white and still in the dim light of the post-eight-o’clock alley way. Wade shook the entrails off his katana with a practiced wrist-flick and slid it back into its sheath with a comfortable-sounding metal swish. (Nice word, swish. Play with it later. Concentrate on yelling at Nate now).

            Nate avoided his eyes. “Had to be done,” he said. He tugged at the collar of his shirt.

            “You dragged me to a musical – a musical, with you, which kinda bears repeating since it’s so, you know, weirdola -so that we could kill someone. Or so I could kill somebody for you. Do I have that right?”

            “Well,” Nate said, conspicuously free of his usual I’m-right-so-don’t-bother-asking air, “mostly. Yes.”

            It was actually fucked up enough to be funny, sort of. Wade shook his head. “And people tell me I’m sick.” He tried not to sound like he approved.

            “It had to be done,” Nate said. “If I’m going to try this whole Providence thing again, it was…necessary. The whole project would’ve derailed if…”

            Wade crossed his arms. “I thought you were all past this whole kill-people-who-get-in-my-way thing, Mr. Messiah-guy.”

            “This is the last one,” Nate said.

            “Huh-uh, don’t say that,” Wade said. “It’s never the last one. Right? Just ask Hitler – wait, you can’t. He’s dead. That whole make-a-country-like-I-want-it thing kinda blew up in his face, just like – hey, now doesn’t that sound familiar?”

            Nate started to reply – stopped. Shook his head. “It had to be done,” he said again.

            “Jesus, Nate, do you even listen to yourself anymore? I mean, not like I have any problem offing a guy now and then, but this whole kill-people-to-make-people-happy thing is just plain…”

            Nate met his eyes, finally – and there was that expression that Wade hated. Actually, that wasn’t clear enough, because he hated a lot of Nate’s expressions, ranging from his holier-than-thou expression to his ha-ha-I-duct-taped-you-again expression. But of them all, he hated this one the most. It was impossible to qualify, name even, except that it was knowing – the kind of look that really made you believe that Nate had seen it all, years ago. Sad, tired, and full of the understanding that no one else would ever really see it the way he did. “Wade,” he said, “do you ever wonder how you die?”

            “Last I checked, it usually has to do with not breathing anymore,” Wade said, “and then there’s the white light, and a whole lot of vowels like ‘ooh’ and ‘aah.’”

            Nate hesitated. Again. Which was really weird for Nate. “No, I mean – with your healing factor like it is. How do you think someone’s going to manage to kill you?”

            Wade shrugged. “Tell you the truth, Prissy, I can’t see where worrying about that’s going to improve my life.”

            “Well,” Nate said, “I do.”

            “What, so this...” Wade poked the body with his toe distastefully, “was going to kill you? C’mon, Nate, even you can’t know that.”

            “Not me,” Nate said.

            And it clicked. Again, Wade looked down at the body at his feet – small, nerdy, and very dead. “Okay,” Wade said. “If you expect me to keep being your bestest-best buddy, you really gotta give me more credit than that.”

            “It was…”

            “No, seriously,” Wade said. “Look at him – he couldn’t pick UP a gun. Jim Carry stands a better chance of killing me with his lousy…”

            “It was a virus,” Nate said. Blurted, really.

            Nate didn’t blurt things. Wade reminded himself not to believe him. Because yeah, too complicated. “Okay,” he said, trying to work his way around it, “so even if a virus DOES kill me, you didn’t know me in your future.” Wade knew it was true the minute he said it - feeling surprisingly sure of himself, feeling the ground under his feet again. “You met me here, right? Or you would’ve gotten my jokes right away, and you didn’t before.”

            Nate nodded.

            “So what I’m saying is, there’s no way you could actually know for sure.”

            Nate seemed to think about that for a long time. Then, slowly, “I didn’t mean to.”

            This was, Wade realized, how people must feel when talking to him all the time. Man, he thought, I’m a jerk. “Mean to what, tell me to slice this guy in half?”

            “The infonet,” he said. “I didn’t mean to do it. You understand. But I was searching through old newspaper clips – old for me, not printed yet for you – and there it was. It was a virus, and…” he put his hand behind his head.

            “And what,” Wade said. His hands, inside his gloves, felt weirdly cold.

            “And that’s how you die. Not just you. Lots of…” Nate trailed off. Cleared his throat. “It’s a bad way to go,” he said.

            Wade blinked.  Then, for emphasis, he blinked again. “So you did this because…”

            Cable put his hand behind his head. “Can we go now?” he asked. It occurred to Wade again how different Nate looked when he WASN’T 100% sure of what was going to happen. Almost like a real person instead of Jesus Patton.

            “You said mostly,” Wade said.

            Nate, usually so good at following his line of thought, stared at him oddly. “When?” he said.

            “I asked you if you did all this so I could kill this guy. And you said mostly.”

            “Oh,” Nate said. And it seemed to Wade he colored slightly.

            Oooh, look at that – Mr. Messiah Guy not so confident now! Wade spared a moment or two to gloat inside his head. Then, “What was the other thing?”

            “Well,” Nate said. Met his eyes. Smirked. “I always had a thing for Idina Menz…”

            Wade punched him square in the face. Or square in the telepathic shield. Which wasn’t quite as satisfying. “I hate you,” Wade said, shaking his stinging hand.

            “I know,” Nate said. “Does that mean you don’t want dinner?”

            Wade’s jaw dropped. “Okay, Nate. You know what we call this? We call this ‘mixed messages.’ It’s what happens when you keep throwing somebody different hints so that he never actually knows what you’re trying to say, and eventually, this gets really, really…”

            “I’ll buy you a beer.”

            “…I cannot be so easily bought.” Wade crossed his arms and turned his nose up, assuming the Cable-being-noble pose™ for the sheer annoyance factor.

            “And a Mountain Dew.” Nate smiled, just with his eyes, and Wade sort of wanted to punch him again. But…

            “It better be a BIG bottle,” Wade said.

            “Well,” Cable said. “With standards like those, I’m sure you’ve never been accused of being a cheap date.”

            Wade poked Nate in the chest with his index finger and smirked very obviously through the mask. “Nate my boy,” he said, “you’re the first one who’s ever even accused me of being a date.”

            And then he realized, for the first time ever, he’d actually succeeded in rendering Nate speechless. In his head, a tiny, miniature Wade did a victory dance that looked alarmingly like Kristen Chenoweth’s “Popular” routine. He decided that was something he could live the rest of his life without anyone knowing.

            Nate cleared his throat. “Wade,” he said.

            “Yes?”

            “The tutu – it’s not your thing.”

            “Oh, shut up.” Wade said. “Just ‘cause you don’t have the legs for it.”

            “Bodyslide now?” Nate asked. “Or did you want to try to get a cab.” 

            “You know, I don’t usually allow any ‘bodysliding’ until after you buy me a drink, but…”

            Nate sighed. “I had that one coming,” he admitted. “Let’s take a cab.”

            “To where?”

            “Dinner. I told you.”

            Wade looked at him oddly. “You’re not really taking me to dinner.”

            “No,” Nate said. “We are going to dinner very separately in the same location.”

            Wade grinned. “Now you’re speaking my language,” he said.   

 

           

 

Rebound (sort of)

Title: Rebound (sort of)
Characters: Cable, Deadpool
Rating: PG?
Summary: Fluff. Just fluff. And a foray into characterization.


It had been exactly three months, two weeks, and five days since Nathan Dayspring Akansi-son Big-Fancy-Smancy-Name Summers (known to some as the X-man Cable, known to a much more selective group, on odd weekends of all months containing the letter R, as Priscilla, the Gi-I-Jesus) died in a blaze of depressingly-stereotypical glory, and Wade Wilson (known alternately as Deadpool, honorary X-man and various other four-letter words) was finally taking a real shower. Not a quick sponge-off in the sink and a spraying down with Axe body spray (or Febreeze, if nothing else was available) – a real honest-to-God shower, with water and loofas and everything. (And loofas could too be manly, no matter what Weasel said about them).  

“Y’know what this means, Priscilla?” Deadpool asked of the ceiling as he tilted his head back to let the water hit the right spots on his scalp.

He paused, let the suspense build. “It means,” he said – pause again, or if you’d rather, imagine a different little yellow narrative box – “ that I am so far over you now.”

“Not,” he amended after a moment, “that it took this long, even. I mean, don’t let your big swelled head get any bigger. It’s just official now.”

Which, Wade guessed, was at least mostly true. He WAS over it. Sure, it was really bad at first. First full couple of days, he didn’t leave the couch. Or even turn the tv on, which was a new personal low. And sure, for the next day or so, even Bea Arthur couldn’t cheer him up – sure, all the Maude in the world just wasn’t enough to fill the big gaping…

But that was in the past, and Wade was completely back to normal – back to 10 hours of TV a day (even the news, which had finally stopped running bullshit broadcasts about Providence), and he figured the next time his phone rang, he might even actually answer it instead of training the beads of his current-favorite-pistol on it and squinting real hard so it looked a vague little bit like Nate’s head. Pow.

But that was then, and Wade was better now. He wasn’t still mad at Nathan for pulling the holier-than-thou-self-sacrifice thing again. He wasn’t still anything at Nathan. Because he was better, it was over, and sooner or later, a self-respecting merc had to suck it up, spit it out, and get right back to kicking heads in. And getting back into routine was a good step toward kicking heads in again.

Which you couldn’t do with dirty feet. Or could, but that was just adding insult to injury, and come to think of it, that wasn’t a bad idea, so it wasn’t a good argument for taking a shower. “Not really sure where I was going with that one,” Wade said to the ceiling.

The ceiling said nothing. It didn’t even smirk in a vaguely-superior way, or remind him that he was getting off topic, babbling, just plain dumb. And it didn’t glow. At all.

“You’re a putz,” he told the ceiling.

Am not, he filled in for the ceiling.

“Are too,” he said.

Am not.

Wade rolled his eyes and turned off the shower. “You are so immature,” he said.

Nothing.

“So, so immature.”

Nothing.

“So, ceiling, y’know what the great thing is about everybody already thinking you’re a nutball?”

Nothing.

 “You can do stuff like this, y’know, without worrying about going off the deep end. ‘Cause y’know, you’re already there.”

Nothing.

“And y’got no reputation to lose, because everybody already figures you’re crazy.”

Nothing.

Nate would’ve had something to say.

“Y’know. What with talking to the ceiling and dead guys and all.”

Nothing.

“Echo.”

Nothing.

“If I still had my dialogue boxes, one right now, over my head, would say *sigh* in great big black letters.”

Quiet.

Wade stepped out of the tub, took a second to dry off. “Y’know, sometimes the tv and the talking and babbling, it’s really just to fill it up, you understand what I’m saying ol’ buddy? Like it gets into your ears and your head and you just wanna break something because it’s so…quiet.”

Wade pulled his mask on. Took a second to flex in the mirror, because pudding-skin or not, he was still pretty ripped, damn it. Adjusted his mask to make sure it was on straight. Pulled on his (very narcissistic) boxers. Almost pulled on a T-shirt and went back to watching tv – but no, damnit, he was done rebounding.

Well, not really rebounding. Rebounding implied girly-man talk and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. This was more of a shoot-holes-in-walls-and-think-of-all-the-reasons-Nate-is-an-idiot-fest, with a lot of Cheetos and TV-watching. (And only one carton of Ben and Jerry’s. Really.)

He was going out.  And he was going to do something. Like…well, something. Maybe he could beat on Hydra again – that was always good for a laugh. Or he’d go hand upside down, hope someone mistook him for the web-head, and beat on one of HIS baddies. The guy had a lot of them – he wouldn’t mind lending out a few. Like the Rhino – again.

“It was a lot more fun with you around, Prissy,” he said.

But he didn’t let the ceiling answer, because he was recovered, and he was GOING out. “Except for the whole divorce thing. And you didn’t even LEAVE me nothing, you worldly savior you – so what do I need you for?” He picked up his uniform pants. And a gun. Aimed it at the mirror. “And I don’t wanna hear any arguments from YOU, either, mirror guy. Stealing my look and all.”

Silence. Then, in the resounding, well, silence of the room, it hit – he heard it. Not thought-he-heard-it, HEARD it. And it said, “Bodyslide by two!”

“NO” Wade all but screamed, but it turns out that you can’t actually stop a bodyslide by yelling at it.

And there he was. It was that nightmare you have sometimes, when you’re standing in front of the entire United Nations in your underwear, tv cameras everywhere, and you know your second grade teacher with the funky loafers is due to put a dunce’s hat on you just any second. Only he wasn’t showing up for some reason.

Wade looked around. There were lots and lots of people. Even guards, who were at that moment looking way too shocked to start shooting. And about the point that he realized that he couldn’t spell “Slovokia, and there it was on a nametag right in front of him, he realized it wasn’t a dream.

Which meant –

Wade turned 180 degrees and found himself staring straight at a little-bit-worse-for-the-wear-looking-Nate who, for once, looked totally shocked.

The Nate-looking thing put a hand behind his head. “Whoops,” he said under his breath.

“Whoops? WHOOPS?” Wade felt his voice creeping dangerously up the octave, took a deep breath. Briefly, he struggled to decide…shoot the Nate-looking-thing, or retreat.

When the guards started looking not-so-shocked anymore, Wade decided he did not want blood on his boxers. “BODYSLIDE BY TWO!” he said much more adamantly than was completely necessary to make said bodysliding work.

And then they were back in his apartment. In the living room. Both of them.

The Nate-thing had the good grace to look embarrassed. He didn’t meet his eyes. “Hi, Wade,” he said, staring very hard at the floor.

Wade raised his (very convenient) gun to point it square at the Nate-thing’s head. “Who are you,” he said.

The Nate-thing looked up at him and squinted his (very convincing) eye. Smiled. “Donald Trump,” he said.

“Not even a little bit funny,” Wade said, surprised at how, well…angry he sounded. He cocked the pistol. It made a VERY nice click, even over the white-noise of TV-land commercials. “C’mon, who is it? Mystique? Why’d you pick such a butt-ugly body?”

Nate blinked. “Hey now,” he said.

“You’re dead,” Wade said.

“No, I’m not.”

“Are too.”

“Am not.”

“Stop it.”

The Nate thing grinned that tiny little grin that Wade sometime wanted to carve off real-Nate’s face with one of his duller katanas.  “Make me,” he said.

“Prove it’s you,” Wade said. His hand kind of hurt, from squeezing the gun so hard.

Nate-thing (maybe Chamelion?) arched his eyebrows at him in a very Nate-ish superior way. “Your fly’s down?”

“Is not. I’m not even wearing pants,” Wade said reflexively. Stopped. Felt a weird thing in his stomach.

“It IS you,” he said, very much not lowering the gun.

And Nate’s face did that weird…softening thing it did, sometimes, where he almost really smiled without the smug I-know-everything thrown in.

The stomach-thing got worse. “It IS you,” Wade said again. Felt it out. Thought about it.

Then he reached over to the coffee table, picked up a (still somehow) full can of soda, and chucked it at him as hard as he could. “You stupid son-of-a…why would you even DO that!?”

Nate chuckled nervously. “Sorry,” he said. “I didn’t think that…”

“What, you’re back from the dead, and you think to yourself, ‘Hey, how can I tell my old former-buddy Wade about it? I know! Let’s do a little peep show for the UN and…IT’S NOT FUNNY!” he yelled as he saw Nate’s lip twitch.

Nathan put his metal hand over his mouth to hide the twitch. “No,” he said, sounding kind of muffled. “It’s not.”

“You couldn’t have called, or…CALLED?”

“I did. You didn’t answer.”

“What, you think I wait by that thing all the time? Maybe I was out!”

“Wade,” Nathan said. “You wait by that thing all the time.”

“I do not!”

“Where were you yesterday?”

“Off doing interesting things! Elsewhere! And if you don’t wipe that I-knew-it-look off your face, I swear to God…”

“Wade,” Nate said. “I called you ten times.”

The gun was shaking now, just a little bit. Enough to make the sights blurry. A little. “Maybe I didn’t want to talk to you!”

“Why wouldn’t you want to talk to me?” Nate asked.

“Well, among other things, you DID bodyslide me in front of the UN in my UNDERWEAR.”

“That was later. Why else?”

“You’re a JERK,” Wade said. “And you also shot me. A whole bunch of times.”

“Well, in all fairness, you DID shoot me first,” Nathan said.

“So?” The gun was shaking a little harder now. Almost rattling. Wade told himself that Nate would NOT notice.

“So,” he said in his infuriating-Nate-voice, “you started it.”

Now that was just playing dirty. “Yeah, well…well…you died,” Wade said. And his voice was about as steady as the gun.

“Yeah, I guess I did, sort of,” Nathan said. He looked over at Wade and said it like he meant it: “I’m sorry?”

“You’re sorry! You hear that world?” Wade almost gestured with his gun, but stopped himself. “Mr. Big Messiah Guy is sorry! What’s that fix, huh?”

“I’m back now,” Nathan said. Gently, almost.

“I told you not to say…”

“I never do what you say,” Nate said. More gently.

“It’s still you.” Wade said. “Six seconds later. “

“So if you know it’s me, why is that gun still…”

“Because,” Wade said, “I’m not sure if it being you makes me want to shoot you less or more.”

“I guess that’s fair,” Nate said, and started walking forward, as if he was absolutely sure Wade wasn’t going to shoot him. Which was stupid, because Wade would shoot anybody. “But look, I did the bodyslide thing because…well, because I couldn’t get ahold of you, and no one’s seen you in months. Not even Weasel. So I figured in your line of work…”

“*I* don’t die, Nate,” Wade said, and his voice was almost back to normal. “*I* don’t die. You do.”

Nathan was very close. Almost chest-to-gun-barrel. “Are you going to give me the gun now?” he asked.

The gun rattled so loud Wade was absolutely sure Nathan could see it moving, and hear it. “No,” he said.

Nathan smiled. Again. Reached out, put his hand over the barrel. Pushed a button. The magazine clunked to the floor between them.

Wade dropped his arm. “Where have you been?” he asked. “Trying out for the next Harry Potter movie?”

“Putting some things back together,” Nate said. “Mostly me.”

“Yeah, well, while you’ve been growing yourself back together like some giant self-repairing VCR, it’s actually been all non-bibley around here, and some of us have actually, y’know, been all busy moving on, and…”

“Wade,” Nathan said.

“And hey, speaking of that, what the Hell are you doing here? You comin’ back from the dead doesn’t make us any less divorced, and damn it, I GOT the apartment in the settlement!” Wade pointed his finger at Nathan, shook it, “I didn’t think I was gonna have to get the lock changed on account of your being, well, DEAD, but they still issue restraining orders, pal, and…”

“Wade,” Nathan said, more firmly, slowly grinning in that I-know-something-you-don’t-know way.

“I know what you’re thinking – ‘Does being dead violate the statue of limitations?’ – well let me tell you, let me tell you…”

Wade,” Nate said, and his I-know-something-you-don’t-know face was gradually turning into the much more rare grinning-like-a-total-idiot face. “You’re babbling.”

Wade felt himself deflate. “Yeah,” he said. “Yeah.”

He barely even noticed when Nate took his gun out of his suddenly-numb fingers. Had he really been holding onto the barrel that tight?

“It’s good to see you again,” he said.

“Wish I could say the same,” Wade said.

Nathan chuckled. “Funny,” he said. “Last time I came back from the dead, you seemed really, well, you about it.”

Wade snorted. “Loses the effect the second time.”

“So,” Nathan said, “That means you don’t want to go see a musical?”

Wade stared. And stared. And…stared. “No,” he said very slowly. “I want to go for a polar bear swim. And to a football game. And, um, a strip club, and a bar, and… “

Nate was dangerously close to grinning like an idiot. Again. Third time today. “All those manly places?” he asked. “That’s a shame. I had my heart set on ‘Wicked,’ but…”

Wade was starting to feel lightheaded. Which, for him, was a very unusual sensation. “Let me go get my good bodysuit,” he said. “And decide if you’re joking, because I can’t tell, at all. And I also need to remember that I really, really want to kick your head in.”

 “Okay,” Nate said. And he looked so…happy Wade almost wanted to hit him. Or something.

“So yeah. I’m going to get dressed now.”

Nate’s eye creased around the corners. “Please do that,” he said.

“And Nate?”

“Yeah?”

“Don’t you ever do that again,” Wade said. “For me or anybody else. Or I really will shoot you. A lot.”

Nathan fancy-name Summers opened his mouth to speak.

“Don’t promise,” Wade said. “Just don’t do it.”

Nate smiled, and touched his arm, just light-like. “Okay,” he said.

And then Wade really knew he was nuts, because he believed him.

“Wade?”

Wade realized he’d been standing there staring at Nate for at least a few seconds. “Yeah?” he said again.

Nathan grinned at him for what had to have been the hundredth time in a row. “Get dressed,” he said.

“I miss my gun already,” Wade said, and under the mask, he grinned back. He started to go to his room, stopped, looked  back. “And the United Nations thing?”

Nate smirked. “We’ll stop by on the way.”

Wade still didn’t know if he was joking or not. And he didn’t care. “Give me five minutes,” he said. “I need to fix my hair.”


           


 


 


 

The first of many

Title: Rebound (sort of)
Characters: Cable, Deadpool
Rating: PG?
Summary: Fluff. Just fluff. And a foray into characterization.

It had been exactly three months, two weeks, and five days since Nathan Dayspring Akansi-son Big-Fancy-Smancy-Name Summers (known to some as the X-man Cable, known to a much more selective group, on odd weekends of all months containing the letter R, as Priscilla, the Gi-I-Jesus) died in a blaze of depressingly-stereotypical glory, and Wade Wilson (known alternately as Deadpool, honorary X-man and various other four-letter words) was finally taking a real shower. Not a quick sponge-off in the sink and a spraying down with Axe body spray (or Febreeze, if nothing else was available) – a real honest-to-God shower, with water and loofas and everything. (And loofas could too be manly, no matter what Weasel said about them).  

 

“Y’know what this means, Priscilla?” Deadpool asked of the ceiling as he tilted his head back to let the water hit the right spots on his scalp.

 

He paused, let the suspense build. “It means,” he said – pause again, or if you’d rather, imagine a different little yellow narrative box – “ that I am so far over you now.”

 

“Not,” he amended after a moment, “that it took this long, even. I mean, don’t let your big swelled head get any bigger. It’s just official now.”

 

Which, Wade guessed, was at least mostly true. He WAS over it. Sure, it was really bad at first. First full couple of days, he didn’t leave the couch. Or even turn the tv on, which was a new personal low. And sure, for the next day or so, even Bea Arthur couldn’t cheer him up – sure, all the Maude in the world just wasn’t enough to fill the big gaping…

 

But that was in the past, and Wade was completely back to normal – back to 10 hours of TV a day (even the news, which had finally stopped running bullshit broadcasts about Providence), and he figured the next time his phone rang, he might even actually answer it instead of training the beads of his current-favorite-pistol on it and squinting real hard so it looked a vague little bit like Nate’s head. Pow.

 

But that was then, and Wade was better now. He wasn’t still mad at Nathan for pulling the holier-than-thou-self-sacrifice thing again. He wasn’t still anything at Nathan. Because he was better, it was over, and sooner or later, a self-respecting merc had to suck it up, spit it out, and get right back to kicking heads in. And getting back into routine was a good step toward kicking heads in again.

 

Which you couldn’t do with dirty feet. Or could, but that was just adding insult to injury, and come to think of it, that wasn’t a bad idea, so it wasn’t a good argument for taking a shower. “Not really sure where I was going with that one,” Wade said to the ceiling.

 

The ceiling said nothing. It didn’t even smirk in a vaguely-superior way, or remind him that he was getting off topic, babbling, just plain dumb. And it didn’t glow. At all.

 

“You’re a putz,” he told the ceiling.

 

Am not, he filled in for the ceiling.

 

“Are too,” he said.

 

Am not.

 

Wade rolled his eyes and turned off the shower. “You are so immature,” he said.

 

Nothing.

 

“So, so immature.”

 

Nothing.

 

“So, ceiling, y’know what the great thing is about everybody already thinking you’re a nutball?”

 

Nothing.

 

“You can do stuff like this, y’know, without worrying about going off the deep end. ‘Cause y’know, you’re already there.”

 

Nothing.

 

“And y’got no reputation to lose, because everybody already figures you’re crazy.”

 

Nothing.

 

Nate would’ve had something to say.

 

“Y’know. What with talking to the ceiling and dead guys and all.”

 

Nothing.

 

“Echo.”

 

Nothing.

 

“If I still had my dialogue boxes, one right now, over my head, would say *sigh* in great big black letters.”

 

Quiet.

 

Wade stepped out of the tub, took a second to dry off. “Y’know, sometimes the tv and the talking and babbling, it’s really just to fill it up, you understand what I’m saying ol’ buddy? Like it gets into your ears and your head and you just wanna break something because it’s so…quiet.”

 

Wade pulled his mask on. Took a second to flex in the mirror, because pudding-skin or not, he was still pretty ripped, damn it. Adjusted his mask to make sure it was on straight. Pulled on his (very narcissistic) boxers. Almost pulled on a T-shirt and went back to watching tv – but no, damnit, he was done rebounding.

 

Well, not really rebounding. Rebounding implied girly-man talk and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. This was more of a shoot-holes-in-walls-and-think-of-all-the-reasons-Nate-is-an-idiot-fest, with a lot of Cheetos and TV-watching. (And only one carton of Ben and Jerry’s. Really.)

 

He was going out.  And he was going to do something. Like…well, something. Maybe he could beat on Hydra again – that was always good for a laugh. Or he’d go hand upside down, hope someone mistook him for the web-head, and beat on one of HIS baddies. The guy had a lot of them – he wouldn’t mind lending out a few. Like the Rhino – again.

 

“It was a lot more fun with you around, Prissy,” he said.

 

But he didn’t let the ceiling answer, because he was recovered, and he was GOING out. “Except for the whole divorce thing. And you didn’t even LEAVE me nothing, you worldly savior you – so what do I need you for?” He picked up his uniform pants. And a gun. Aimed it at the mirror. “And I don’t wanna hear any arguments from YOU, either, mirror guy. Stealing my look and all.”

 

Silence. Then, in the resounding, well, silence of the room, it hit – he heard it. Not thought-he-heard-it, HEARD it. And it said, “Bodyslide by two!”

 

“NO” Wade all but screamed, but it turns out that you can’t actually stop a bodyslide by yelling at it.

 

And there he was. It was that nightmare you have sometimes, when you’re standing in front of the entire United Nations in your underwear, tv cameras everywhere, and you know your second grade teacher with the funky loafers is due to put a dunce’s hat on you just any second. Only he wasn’t showing up for some reason.

 

Wade looked around. There were lots and lots of people. Even guards, who were at that moment looking way too shocked to start shooting. And about the point that he realized that he couldn’t spell “Slovokia, and there it was on a nametag right in front of him, he realized it wasn’t a dream.

 

Which meant –

 

Wade turned 180 degrees and found himself staring straight at a little-bit-worse-for-the-wear-looking-Nate who, for once, looked totally shocked.

 

The Nate-looking thing put a hand behind his head. “Whoops,” he said under his breath.

 

“Whoops? WHOOPS?” Wade felt his voice creeping dangerously up the octave, took a deep breath. Briefly, he struggled to decide…shoot the Nate-looking-thing, or retreat.

 

When the guards started looking not-so-shocked anymore, Wade decided he did not want blood on his boxers. “BODYSLIDE BY TWO!” he said much more adamantly than was completely necessary to make said bodysliding work.

 

And then they were back in his apartment. In the living room. Both of them.

 

The Nate-thing had the good grace to look embarrassed. He didn’t meet his eyes. “Hi, Wade,” he said.

 

Wade raised his (very convenient) gun to point it square at the Nate-thing’s head. “Who are you,” he said.

 

The Nate-thing looked up at him and squinted his (very convincing) eye. Smiled. “Donald Trump,” he said.

 

“Not even a little bit funny,” Wade said, surprised at how, well…angry he sounded. He cocked the pistol. It made a VERY nice click, even over the white-noise of TV-land commercials. “C’mon, who is it? Mystique? Why’d you pick such a butt-ugly body?”

 

Nate blinked. “Hey now,” he said.

 

“You’re dead,” Wade said.

 

“No, I’m not.”

 

“Are too.”

 

“Am not.”

 

“Stop it.”

 

The Nate thing grinned that tiny little grin that Wade sometime wanted to carve off real-Nate’s face with one of his duller katanas.  “Make me,” he said.

 

“Prove it’s you,” Wade said. His hand kind of hurt, from squeezing the gun so hard.

 

Nate-thing (maybe Chamelion?) arched his eyebrows at him in a very Nate-ish superior way. “Your fly’s down?”

 

“Is not. I’m not even wearing pants,” Wade said reflexively. Stopped. Felt a weird thing in his stomach.

 

“It IS you,” he said, very much  not lowering the gun.

 

And Nate’s face did that weird…softening thing it did, sometimes, where he almost really smiled without the smug I-know-everything thrown in.

 

The stomach-thing got worse.

 

“It IS you,” Wade said again. Felt it out. Thought about it.

 

Then he reached over to the coffee table, picked up a (still somehow) full can of soda, and chucked it at him as hard as he could. “You stupid son-of-a…why would you even DO that!?”

 

Nate chuckled nervously. “Sorry,” he said. “I didn’t think that…”

 

“What, you’re back from the dead, and you think to yourself, ‘Hey, how can I tell my old former-buddy Wade about it? I know! Let’s do a little peep show for the UN and…IT’S NOT FUNNY!” he yelled as he saw Nate’s lip twitch.

 

Nathan put his metal hand over his mouth to hide the twitch. “No,” he said, sounding kind of muffled. “It’s not.”

 

“You couldn’t have called, or…CALLED?”

 

“I did. You didn’t answer.”

 

“What, you think I wait by that thing all the time? Maybe I was out!”

 

“Wade,” Nathan said. “You wait by that thing all the time.”

 

“I do not!”

 

“Where were you yesterday?”

 

“Off doing interesting things! Elsewhere! And if you don’t wipe that I-knew-it-look off your face, I swear to God…”

 

“Wade,” Nate said. “I called you ten times.”

 

The gun was shaking now, just a little bit. Enough to make the sights blurry. A little. “Maybe I didn’t want to talk to you!”

 

“Why wouldn’t you want to talk to me?” Nate asked.

 

“Well, among other things, you DID bodyslide me in front of the UN in my UNDERWEAR.”

 

“That was later. Why else?”

 

“You’re a JERK,” Wade said. “And you also shot me. A whole bunch of times.”

 

“Well, in all fairness, you DID shoot me first,” Nathan said.

 

“So?” The gun was shaking a little harder now. Almost rattling. Wade told himself that Nate would NOT notice.

 

“So you started it.”

 

“Yeah, well…well…you died,” Wade said. And his voice was about as steady as the gun.

 

“Yeah, I guess I did, sort of,” Nathan said. “I’m sorry?”

 

“You’re sorry! You hear that world?” Wade almost gestured with his gun, but stopped himself. “Mr. Big Messiah Guy is sorry! What’s that fix, huh?”

 

“I’m back now,” Nathan said. Gently, almost.

 

Wade tried really hard to think of a good answer. And didn’t.

 

“So if you know it’s me, why is that gun still…”

 

“Because,” Wade said, “I’m not sure if it being you makes me want to shoot you less or more.”

 

“I guess that’s fair,” Nate said, and started walking forward, as if he was absolutely sure Wade wasn’t going to shoot him. Which was stupid, because Wade would shoot anybody. “But look, I did the bodyslide thing because…well, because I couldn’t get ahold of you, and no one’s seen you in months. Not even Weasel. So I figured in your line of work…”

 

“*I* don’t die, Nate,” Wade said, and his voice was almost back to normal. “*I* don’t die. You do.”

Nathan was very close. Almost chest-to-gun-barrel. “Are you going to give me the gun now?” he asked.

 

The gun rattled so loud Wade was absolutely sure Nathan could see it moving, and hear it. “No,” he said.

 

Nathan smiled. Again. Reached out, put his hand over the barrel. Pushed a button. The magazine clunked to the floor between them.

 

Wade dropped his arm. “Where have you been?” he asked. “Trying out for the next Harry Potter movie?”

 

“Putting some things back together,” Nate said. “Mostly me.”

 

“Yeah, well, while you’ve been growing yourself back together like some giant self-repairing VCR, it’s actually been all non-bibley around here, and some of us have actually, y’know, been all busy moving on, and…”

 

“Wade,” Nathan said.

 

“And hey, speaking of that, what the Hell are you doing here? You comin’ back from the dead doesn’t make us any less divorced, and damn it, I GOT the apartment in the settlement!” Wade pointed his finger at Nathan, shook it, “I didn’t think I was gonna have to get the lock changed on account of your being, well, DEAD, but they still issue restraining orders, pal, and…”

 

“Wade,” Nathan said, more firmly, slowly grinning in that I-know-something-you-don’t-know way.

 

“I know what you’re thinking – ‘Does being dead violate the statue of limitations?’ – well let me tell you, let me tell you…”

 

Wade,” Nate said, and his I-know-something-you-don’t-know face was gradually turning into the much more rare grinning-like-a-total-idiot face. “You’re babbling.”

 

Wade felt himself deflate. “Yeah,” he said. “Yeah.”

 

He barely even noticed when Nate took his gun out of his suddenly-numb fingers. Had he really been holding onto the barrel that tight?

 

“It’s good to see you again, Wade,” he said.

 

“Wish I could say the same,” Wade said.

 

Nathan chuckled. “Funny,” he said. “Last time I came back from the dead, you seemed really, well, you about it.”

Wade snorted. “Loses the effect the second time.”

 

“So,” Nathan said, “That means you don’t want to go see a musical?”

 

Wade stared. And stared. And…stared. “No,” he said very slowly. “I want to go for a polar bear swim. And to a football game. And, um, a strip club, and a bar, and… “

 

Nate was dangerously close to grinning like an idiot. Again. “All those manly places?” he asked. “That’s a shame. I had my heart set on ‘Wicked,’ but…”

 

Wade was starting to feel lightheaded. Which, for him, was a very unusual sensation. “Let me go get my good bodysuit,” he said. “And decide if you’re joking, because I can’t tell, at all. And I also need to remember that I really, really want to kick your head in.”

 

            “Okay,” Nate said. And he looked so…happy Wade almost wanted to hit him. Or something.

 

            “So yeah. I’m going to get dressed now.”

 

            Nate’s eye creased around the corners. “Please do that,” he said.

 

            “And Nate?”

 

            “Yeah?”

 

            “Don’t you ever do that again,” Wade said. “For me or anybody else. Or I really will shoot you. A lot.”

 

            Nathan fancy-name Summers opened his mouth to speak.

 

            “Don’t promise,” Wade said. “Just don’t do it.”

 

            Nate smiled, and touched his arm, just light-like. “Okay,” he said.

 

            And then Wade really knew he was nuts, because he believed him.

 

            “Wade?”

 

            Wade realized he’d been standing there staring at Nate for at least a few seconds. “Yeah?” he said again.

 

            Nathan grinned at him for what had to have been the hundredth time in a row. “Get dressed,” he said.

 

            “I miss my gun already,” Wade said, and under the mask, he grinned back. He started to go to his room, stopped, looked  back. “And the United Nations thing?”

 

            Nate smirked. “We’ll stop by on the way.”

 

            Wade still didn’t know if he was joking or not. And he didn’t care. “Give me five minutes,” he said. “I need to fix my hair.”

           

 

 

 

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