Summary: Bella is being hunted in a seemingly impossible way. When her aunt uses her connections to help her, what’s Bella to do when she meets the Merc with a Mouth who claims to want her for his baby daddy? It’s Avengers, Cable and Deadpool to the rescue – chimichangas all around!
Let Your Dreams Flood In
“Are you sure about this, Pepper?” Bella asked for the umpteenth time, her trembling fingers pulling at a loose thread at the end of her right sleeve.
Pepper Potts looked to her niece, frowning at her sunken, burnt-out eyes and her trembling fingers. They weren’t related by blood but Pepper had been best friends with Renee throughout nearly their whole lives. Sister from another mister, they’d always joked.
So the day her best friend had died, followed by her ex-husband shortly after, Pepper had taken her role as Bella’s guardian with the same seriousness and tenacity she did babysitting Tony. Bella was over eighteen and self-sufficient, but that didn’t mean Pepper left her to her own devices. She flew out to Seattle often to visit her niece, chatting about her studies at university and always leaving feeling mildly concerned for Bella’s emotional health.
Ever since her jerk boyfriend had up and left her in the woods, the poor girl had developed abandonment issues. Then her parents – the only family the girl had – both died within months of each other. Renee and Phil claimed in a tragic car accident and Charlie in a robbery at the Forks diner that had gone wrong. Ironically enough, he’d been off duty. Poor girl had suffered so much loss and carried it all with her, a constant shroud over her shoulders.
But Bella and Pepper had always been close, the young girl much more like Pepper’s temperament than her own mother’s. Renee had always joked that Bella was really hers, and while she had no plans to ever have kids – Tony was more than a handful on his own, thank you very much, Pepper had always thought she’d have been proud to have had a daughter like Bella.
That was why she’d made the judgment call she had during her recent visit. Bella and Pepper were the only family the other had left. Pepper’s parents had peacefully passed on a few years ago, and Bella had no aunts, uncles, cousins or the likes. Sure, Pepper had Tony, but she hardly considered her man-child boyfriend to be family in the strictest definition of the term; otherwise, their nighttime activities would be considered quite illegal, she smirked to herself.
But she and Bella were as good as blood. When she’d seen the harried, jumpy air around the girl, Pepper had to finally put her foot down.
“Are you on drugs, Isabella?” she asked bluntly, setting down her cup of tea as they sat at a corner cafe they’d chosen for lunch.
“What? No!” Bella had jumped and sputtered, her own drink spilling over the lip of her glass and down her lap.
Cursing under her breath, she grabbed a handful of napkins to mop up the mess.
“Then why are you twitching like a junky at Woodstock waiting for their next hit?”
Bella sighed and Pepper grew even more concerned when her eyes watered. It wasn’t like Bella to cry or become emotional unless she was angry and there was nothing angry about her at the moment. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you…” she mumbled, trying to stealthily swipe at her tears.
Pepper reached out and grabbed the girl’s still trembling hand. “Sweetheart, I’m dating Tony Stark, the Iron Man. You could tell me Lord Voldemort was tap-dancing behind me while wearing a tutu and I’d believe you. Hell, it wouldn’t even be the weirdest thing I’ve seen this week.”
Scoring a quiet laugh as was her goal, Pepper said softer and more seriously, “Now please, Bella. Something is clearly wrong and you know I’m here for you. I always have been and always will be. You don’t always have to go it alone.”
“Do you,” Bella started timidly. She cleared her throat and her hauntingly dull eyes caught Pepper’s as she finished, “Do you believe in ghosts?”
Then Bella proceeded to spin a tale that Pepper wanted to believe, truly she did, but found it impossible to. Vampires, ghosts… being haunted by a dead vampire? Even with all she’d seen throughout the past few years, Pepper couldn’t buy Bella’s story.
“Are you sure you haven’t been watching too many re-runs of Nightmare on Elm Street?” she asked, trying to find a balance between levity and seriousness. She didn’t want to alienate her niece further, but she was truly concerned for her mental health. “I mean, you fall asleep and have these terrible nightmares in which this vampire – James, you said? – hunts you down and hurts you. And you say this has been happening for a few weeks now?”
“I know,” Bella gave a stuttering groan, a few tears slipping. “I know it sounds crazy and I don’t blame you for being skeptical, but Pepper…” she broke off, her shaky hands moving to her long sleeves and rolling them up. Pepper gasped. Several scars overlapped each other, silvery white with just a hint of a sparkle gleam like half-moon, jagged little kisses. They looked eerily similar to bite marks.
“I never go to sleep but I keep waking up,” Bella breathed, the statement haunting as her shaking fingers traced over the scars. There was a pause as Pepper stared, utterly horrified at the scars covering her niece, criss-crossing and overlapping over each other. Bella cleared her throat and continued, whispering, “Whatever he does to me in the dream follows me into consciousness. Nightmare on Elm Street, you said…” she chuckled humorlessly. “You’ve no idea.”
“Jesus Christ,” Pepper breathed, her mind racing at the implications.
While she still wasn’t certain she believed the whole ‘dream haunting vampire’ story, there was no denying that her niece needed help. If the tale wasn’t true, then that still meant Bella was having some sort of psychological breakdown and was likely inflicting the wounds herself without even knowing it.
And if it was true… Well, either way, Pepper wasn’t in a position to offer Bella the type of help she clearly needed. Unwilling to leave her niece to tread the dark waters of her issues alone, Pepper had looked up from the scars, her heart cracking as she caught Bella’s desperate, pleading gaze.
“Pack a bag,” she decided, her tone leaving no room for refusal. “You’re coming to New York with me.”
And Bella had sagged at the declaration, her relief all but radiating off of her.
Pepper looked at her ward again. Something about her looked rather small as she huddled into herself as they waited for Tony to come home. Taking in her still fidgeting fingers tugging at her long-sleeved shirt before reaching to pull back a strand of her hair, Pepper smiled gently and answered her initial question. “Yes, Bella. I’m absolutely sure about this.”
There had scarcely been a pause between Pepper declaring Bella was coming home with her before she’d pulled out her trusty phone and started making the arrangements, determination burning within her. No more, she decided. Bella wasn’t going to deal with the issue – whatever it ended up being – by herself anymore. Pepper was there for her and by extension, that meant Tony was there for her too.
On their flight back to New York, Pepper had shot Tony a text saying Bella was going to be staying with them for a while, leaving out an explanation for something she’d share in person. Tony had met Bella a handful of times and Pepper knew him to have a soft spot for the sweet, quiet spoken girl. As she knew he’d tell her, Tony had replied that it wasn’t a problem and that he was looking forward to the slumber party.
As though summoned by the mere thought of him, Tony strolled into the room. His keen eyes sweeping over Pepper before scanning Bella who dropped her gaze nervously to the floor when he looked at her. While many thought Tony frivolous and flighty, Pepper knew him to be unusually observant. She had no doubt that he was cataloguing everything about Bella’s appearance. Her limp hair, the dark circles underscoring her eyes, the bones sticking out at her sides – Tony’s eyes swept over it all, his brilliant mind listing each offense as he started going through possible diagnoses.
“Please tell me you didn’t start without me,” he greeted.
Pepper suppressed a knowing smile as she watched Tony smirk at Bella. The girl frowned and finally looked up from the floor. “Started?” she asked. “Started what without you?”
“The girl bonding time – the chick flicks, the cookie dough, the mani/pedis. I for one, think a very manly peony pink would suit me well.”
Bella’s eyes widened and Pepper could see as the mental picture Tony planted drifted through her mind. An eye twitched, followed by her lips thinning, an attempt to trap in a giggle that ultimately failed when Tony wiggled his brows at her playfully.
A stream of giggles burst from Bella’s pressed lips, tears forming as she tried to catch her breath. The sight soothed the tight knot of concern in Pepper’s gut even as she wondered when the last time her niece had laughed so freely. Rational composure was more Bella’s forte, much like Pepper herself, and seeing her giggling like a silly school girl sent a flood of appreciation for Tony warming her heart.
Looking at the man in question, Pepper wasn’t terribly surprised to see the self-satisfied smile slightly pulling at his mouth. Tony was not an idiot though he often acted like one. She hadn’t told him the sordid details behind Bella’s sudden stay, but it didn’t take a genius to know that it wasn’t a pleasure visit.
“Now,” Tony clapped his hands in front of him and rocked back on his heels once. “Pepper will go get the cookie dough and hair ribbons while you fill me in on the deets, Bells.”
Like a switch, Bella’s laughter ceased and she pulled her arms around her chest, eyes falling to the floor.
“Why bother?” she mumbled softly. “So you can start planning what shrinks to send me to like Pepper already is?”
Guilt formed a lump in her throat as Pepper tried to reassure her, “Oh Bells, honey, I would never…”
“No,” Bella said firmly, cutting off Pepper’s pity apology. “I know you don’t mean it rudely, Pep, but you’re a planner. It’s how you are. I know the instant I told you what was happening you mentally prepared a list of no less than three places with doctors you thought would be suitable to help me. And I appreciate the sentiment, but there’s nothing they can do about this. Nothing you can do.”
“Bella,” Pepper started, but Tony cut her off.
“Um, hello?” he deadpanned, raising a hand up in the air. “Someone want to fill in the rest of the class?”
“There’s no need,” Bella muttered grimly. “It’s been over forty-eight hours since I’d last slept and I can’t hold out much longer. You’ll just see for yourself – seeing is believing, right?”
Tony frowned as Bella planted herself onto a nearby couch. Her body melted into the cushions as though it’d never known such comfort. Still, the tightness, the utter fear that she never seemed to be without, remained. As her lids sagged in a heavy blink, Pepper thought Bella looked half-drunk and the vague thought that they should be so lucky crossed. A girl with a drinking problem would be far easier to deal with than one with delusions and issues with self-harm.
“Just promise not to leave,” Bella slurred, eyes closing in another heavy blink. “And to wake me up as soon as you can when it happens. It won’t be long – he’s always so eager. Too impatient to wait.”
Each word was quieter than the last until she fell silent, slowly slipping into Morpheus’s embrace.
Staring at her, Pepper felt her chest tighten and tears prick her eyes. She looked so small, defeated. It should never have gotten so bad and she blamed herself for her niece’s deterioration.
A hand brushed her shoulder and Pepper jumped slightly. She blinked up at Tony and two tears crawled down her cheeks.
“Tony,” she said lowly, a slight warble to his name.
“Easy there, Pep,” Tony said, bringing his arms around her. Pepper shuddered and rubbed her cheek along Tony’s chest, finding comfort in the soft glow of the arc reactor and the metal kissing her skin. There was a time she’d been afraid of it – of what it meant and of inadvertently hurting Tony should she touch it accidentally. Now there was a loving relief whenever she saw it. A comfort in knowing that no matter what, Tony would not bow to weakness and would always overcome the odds. It was a symbol of his strength; a visual reminder that he would always fight to come home to her.
“Better?” he asked, his hands skimming over her back as her silent sobs faded into deep sighs. She nodded against him. “Good,” he chirped, pulling back and fixing her with an expectant look. “Now since you didn’t see fit to tweet the deets earlier, go ahead and fill me in on why your girl looks like death warmed over.”
Taking a fortifying breath, Pepper spilled the proverbial beans quickly and efficiently, her eyes straying over to the girl in question every now and again. She was pleased to see Bella resting so deeply, nary a twitch or mumble marring her slumber.
“So your Bells has a vampire Freddy Krueger after her?” Tony frowned, tilting his head as he studied Bella still sound asleep on his couch.
“So she thinks,” Pepper corrected. “She’s so scared, Tony. And her scars – there’s so many of them on her arms and God knows where else. I’m terrified that she’s self-harming and has cooked up this story in order to mentally cope with it all.”
“Maybe,” Tony allowed, sounding thoughtful. “Or maybe not.”
“Well stranger things have happened, right? And Bells isn’t prone to flights of fancy. Kid takes after you, Pepper – head firmly out of the clouds. Boring.”
“Excuse me?” Pepper glared up at him.
“Did I say boring?” Tony asked. “Because I meant sexy. Dependable. Like an erotic car.”
“Dependable,” she deadpanned. “Like a car.”
“An erotic car,” he corrected, sounding defensive.
Despite the stress of the last twenty-four hours, Pepper felt herself smiling up at Tony as she teased him. A wicked quip to cut him down to size was poised on her lips but she forgot all about the rejoinder when Bella moved. Just a twitch at first, a silent flinch that had her frowning at whatever it was she was dreaming about.
Worriedly biting her lip, Pepper moved a little closer to the couch and was aware of Tony following her.
There was a long few moments of silence. Bella was still once more.
Right when Pepper was about to suggest they turn in themselves, Bella flinched again. This time, the movement was more violent, her head flinging back as if desperate to get away from whatever was haunting her.
“Stop,” she moaned and something about the way she said it – the thick tears marring her voice, the begging plea to it even as a note of resignation sat heavy at the heart – had Pepper moving to wake Bella before her dream could continue.
“No wait,” Tony said, his hand stilling her.
“Tony,” she said in askance, fighting a grimace as more pleas and muffled cries were pulled from Bella.
“We have to see for ourselves,” he said, firm and resigned. His grip was tighter than usual, his voice hard and uncompromising. She knew he was enjoying the scene about as much as she was, but the scientist in him demanded they see the experiment through.
Frowning, Pepper nodded but before she could say anything else, a bloodcurdling scream was wrenched from Bella and Pepper’s heart fairly stopped. Both she and Tony rushed to her side.
“Burns,” Bella was crying. “Make it stop – please make it stop.”
Before their eyes, gaping wounds started to bloom onto her neck and wrists.
“Fucking hell,” Pepper said, sounding shell-shocked as more appeared, one after another. It was like watching someone use watercolor paints on a thin, white piece of paper. The marks bled out and spread, devouring the once unmarred flesh.
Bella screamed again. “Stop, stop, stop,” she said over and over, begging uselessly and hysterically.
Tony sprung to action as Pepper remained frozen in terror.
“Wake up, Bells,” he demanded firmly, leaning over her and trying to find an uninjured place to grab and shake her.
Bella cried and screamed again. Two, jagged half-moon marks appeared on the apple of one of Bella’s cheeks, blood seeping out of the wound. A bite mark, Pepper noted mentally, starting to feel faint.
“Dammit,” Tony muttered before resolutely pulling back his hand and slapping her across the unmarked cheek. “WAKE UP, KID!” he shouted. “WAKE THE HELL UP!”
Bella drew in a deep, chest wracking breath, her eyes flying open as she sat up so fast Tony fell back on his ass.
They all remained frozen in a tableau that looked like it was pulled straight out of a Wes Craven horror flick, Bella’s still open wounds oozing blood and staining Tony’s white couch.
The only sound in the room was Bella’s racing breathing until she turned to their ashen faces and rasped, “See?”
Wide eyes and racing hearts were all they could answer her with.
Biting her lip and keeping her eyes firmly fixed on the water bottle in her hands, Bella half-listened to the group around her. Occasionally, their voices raised – Thor was especially loud without meaning to be – and Bella had to fight a flinch even as she struggled to hold back an annoyed barb. They were talking about her as if she wasn’t even there, though in their defense, Bella hadn’t really put forth an effort to make herself known to the intimidating group of heroes.
When Tony, finally recovering for the horrific sight Bella was sure she made last night, promised to call in the reinforcements to help her, she hadn’t really been expecting to bring in the entire Avengers team.
Currently, they were sitting around Tony’s living room – the couch stained with her blood thankfully missing – Pepper trying to sooth an annoyed Tony as he argued with Steve Rogers about the validity of her situation.
Even as he’d brought up his concerns, Steve had looked at her apologetically. She’d been quick to glance away, using her hair as a shield to block his – and any other – curious eyes.
It wasn’t that she blamed him for his doubts. Even she had questioned her sanity when James had first started haunting her dreams. She ran down the gambit of explanations – stress, depression, a projection of her self-guilt – but then the wounds showed up in waking hours. Once healed, they retained the slight glittering cold of a vampire bite and it was hard to rationalize physical evidence like that away.
Really, with all that she had already seen and everything starting to come to light in the rest of the world what with news of the Avengers spreading like wildfire, Bella supposed stranger things could happen. Hell, stranger things are happening, she thought as she peeked out from behind her locks at the curious group assembled.
Even if she had not been connected to Tony through Pepper, Bella would still have had to be living in a cabin completely cut off from the world to not have heard of the impressive people she was now surrounded by. Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow, the Hulk (thankfully in his mild, human form), and of course, Tony… There was also some people she thought were S.H.I.E.L.D. agents though she couldn’t be sure. They were an impressive lot. Intimidating.
“Don’t let them get to you,” a voice said calmly to her right. From her peripherals, Bella was aware of a large man sinking into the chair next to her. “They always get this way,” the man muttered dryly as the Avengers continued to bicker.
Bella’s lips twitched, grudgingly amused. Turning her head slightly, she took in the profile of the large man. His hair was white and there was some sort of patch or marking over one of his eyes. He looked, well, massive. Broad shouldered and thickly muscled, he was clearly no stranger to battle and though she didn’t recognize him, Bella knew that if he was there then he must be impressive enough in his own right.
It made her nervous and she unthinkingly hunched some in her chair, her still open wounds stinging at the movement. A sharp reminder, as if she could forget, that dissipated whatever humor there was to be found in the adults arguing like toddlers around her.
“Easy there, kid. My name’s Nathan – Nathan Summers – but most folks around here call me Cable.”
Not wanting to be rude, Bella gave a jerky nod in his direction, being sure to keep her hair covering her face. “I’m Bella – well, yeah. You probably got that.”
While she wasn’t looking at him, she could hear his slight smile as he replied, “Yep. I pretty much got that.”
There was an awkward moment of silence.
“You gonna hide behind that hair of yours all day?” he asked, not unkindly.
Again, she stiffened, but only sensing kind amusement from the imposing man, Bella built up her courage and shrugged. “Seems the safest option.”
He snorted. “Well, since they’re too busy bickering, perhaps you can tell me a little more about this situation you’ve found yourself in.”
This time, she snorted. “Why? So you can not believe me too?”
“You got Tony to believe you, didn’t you?”
Bella’s eyes flickered to Tony who was rolling his eyes at Steve. Bruce had a calming hand on his shoulder, but even he looked a bit doubtful about her story. Thor – her mind still boggled that she was in the company of the Norse god – was surprisingly supportive of their cause. She guessed someone like him would attribute what was happening to her to magic and be more open minded about it.
“Only by demonstration,” she murmured as visions of James sadistically taunting her, sinking his teeth into her over and over again ran through her mind… The particularly sharp, humiliating sting as he’d bitten into her cheek.
“Let’s see you hide this one, princess… Now everyone will know your dirty little secret,” he’d purred darkly before biting down.
Tears pricked her eyes and Bella took a deep, shuddering breath. What use was there in crying? What was the use of any of this – this mad dash to fight a ghost? She was tired, metaphorically and spiritually. Sometimes she wished James would get tired too. Tired of toying with her and finish it once and for all. That maybe one night she could go to sleep and never wake up…
“You know,” Nathan began. “I’m not entirely like your friends there.”
Bella started out of her dark thoughts. “Come again?” she asked, not following.
“Have you heard of mutants before?” he asked calmly.
Bella’s mind immediately recalled several news broadcasts regarding the mutant race… as well as Tony mumbling to himself after she’d spilled the proverbial beans on the Cullens and her history. Including Edward being unable to read her…
“Possible latent mutant abilities,” he’d mumbled, looking at her curiously. “Call Cable…”
At the time, she’d only been half listening, her mind still plagued with horrifying images from her nightmare and the very real pain of having vampire venom injected and meticulously sucked back out. She’d thought he was talking about the calling the cable company for such and such reason, but now…
“Did Tony call you? Because he thinks I’m a – a mutant?” Bella frowned, finally catching the man’s eyes, her hair falling back as she stared at him, taken in by his unique gaze.
There was a deep scar over his right eye in the vague shape of an ‘X’ but it was his left eye that drew her attention. It was alight with a yellow, golden glow almost like a campfire flickering at night. But while the light of his eye was no less brilliant than a dancing flame, there was no heat. Still, she felt burned – as if his gaze was reaching inside her and staring into her soul.
His eyes went to her cheek and with a heated blush, she realized he was looking at the newest scar to adorn her already covered body. Open and raw as it was, there was still a slight sparkle around it – the tell-tale sign of a vampire bite.
Shame and disgust flushed through her. Who would ever want someone like her now – broken and littered with scars – mutilated and hideous?
The doorbell rang.
The Avengers didn’t seem to notice but Bella was grateful for the distraction. Before Cable could say anything, she popped up out of the chair and rushed to the door. Without glancing through the peephole, she opened it and was immediately forced back by a man in a red and black suit.
“WHO ORDERED THE PIZZA!?” he boomed.
All talking in the room instantly stopped.
“Who the hell invited him?” Tony groaned.
“I know, I know – I would’ve been here sooner but this bitch author was taking her sweet ass time to start the party! I’ve half a mind to call Harley and get her to finish this up right… Oh,” he stopped mid-rant, his head tilted towards Bella. “Hellllloooo,” he drew out, rubbing his hands over his mask covered head as if smoothing down his hair.
“No,” Pepper barked, marching across the room. “No, no, no. You leave her alone, Deadpool.”
“What did you just call me?” she snapped, planting herself in front of Bella in a vaguely protective stance, her hands going to her waist as she stared up at him.
“Uh – I got pepperoni!” the man – Deadpool, Bella figured his code name or whatever was – hemmed, holding out a bent up pizza box in offering. It looked like he must have dropped it about twenty times on his way over.
“You need to leave,” Pepper said firmly, surprising Bella at her absolute lack of tack. Usually, her aunt was the overly polite type who used thinly veiled insults if she was upset. A bit passive aggressive, Bella admitted, but Pepper was rarely ever pushed that far.
“But I just got here!” Deadpool whined. “I’m here to save the damsel – hello damsel!” he looked over at Bella again and though his face was completely covered she had a mental picture of him wiggling his eyebrows suggestively at her.
The thought made her bite her cheeks as she fought a smile, blushing as she looked down at the floor again.
“See? Come on! She likes me! She wants my pepperoni inside her!”
There was no stopping Bella’s laugh that time. At Pepper’s admonishing look, Bella reeled it in, saying, “What? He’s kind of funny.”
“What did you just call me?!” Deadpool half-yelled, sounding affronted.
Bella laughed again and made her way back to her chair, slowly shaking her head as a sense of amazement filled her. It was strange, but smiling felt a bit odd to her now. It had been so long since she’d smiled, not to mention laughed, that she felt like someone getting back into a workout routine, muscles protesting the once familiar movement.
Carefully dropping back down into her chair to avoid re-opening any of her wounds, Bella glanced at Cable again to find him still staring at her, looking vaguely appraising.
“Listen Deadpool,” Steve Rogers began carefully.
“O Captain, my Captain!” Deadpool cut him off with a jaunty salute.
Bella suppressed another laugh, snorting as she looked down at the table to avoid people’s curious eyes.
“Deadpool,” Steve began again, his irritation simmering under the name.
“That’s my name, don’t wear it out!”
Bella giggled again.
Before she realized what was happening, two hands were circling her waist, strong and firm but also surprisingly careful as they lifted her up into the air and then brought her back down onto a lap.
Once again using the veil of her hair as a curtain, Bella peeked up at Deadpool.
“Um, hi,” she breathed, cheeks bright red in embarrassment.
“Um, I don’t speak Spanish,” Bella said slowly, her cheeks hurting from holding back another smile.
“Neither do I,” he said.
“But, um, I’m pretty sure that was just Spanish you were speaking.”
“I’m pretty sure it wasn’t,” he shot back.
Biting her lip, Bella said, “It was.”
Grinning mischievously, she snapped, “Wasn’t.”
“Wasn’t,” she grinned wider.
“I TELL YOU IT WAS!” he shouted and Bella lost it in a fit of giggles.
“Alright,” she smiled. “You win. It was Spanish.”
“I always win,” he returned but then asked, “Soooo… what’d I win?”
Suddenly uncomfortably aware that she was sitting on the lap of a stranger – one who seemed to have a tenuous grip on reality at best – Bella looked down and started fiddling with the edge of her sleeve. “Um, I didn’t plan that far ahead,” she confessed.
“Well that’s lame,” he fell back into the chair, crossing his arms into a pout.
“Yeah, I know, sorry,” she sympathized.
“You should be,” he pouted some more.
Not knowing why she was so compelled to console the man-child, Bella did so anyway. “There, there,” she awkwardly pat his arm.
“That’s not where it hurts,” he simpered.
“Um, where does it hurt?” she asked. From the corner of her eye she saw Tony rolling his eyes as he mumbled to no one in particular, “She just had to ask, didn’t she?”
“Here,” Deadpool announced with glee, grabbing one of her hands and with no hesitation placing it right on his…
“Holy shit,” Bella gasped, jerking her hand away from his dick.
“I know,” he said, sounding proud. “Impressive right?”
Bella bit her lip, another blush hitting. She wondered if her face would be permanently stained red for the rest of her life. Certainly felt like it.
“Okay,” Pepper exhaled, pinching the bridge of her nose as she tried to remain calm and grapple the group back under control. “Can we please get back to the issue at hand. Bella is in serious danger.”
“No she’s not,” Deadpool scoffed, a hand coming up to play with Bella’s hair. As awkward as it was with everyone staring them down, the feel of his hand lightly toying with her hair was oddly soothing.
“This is a very serious situation, Deadpool,” Pepper frowned at them, eying Bella when she gave in to the urge to lean slightly back into the merc’s hold.
“Blah, blah, blah,” Deadpool droned. “Less talky, more snuggly.” He leaned forward and whispered into Bella’s ear, “Come on back here and we’ll talk about what pops up, sugar tits.”
Another blush and an almost school girl-like giggle bubbled out of her.
“Seriously Bells?” Tony asked, though his annoyance had eased some and he looked slightly entertained himself.
“Not to be rude,” Steve broke in, sounding like a school teacher trying to reel in an unruly class.
“Which means he will be,” Deadpool supplied, his voice low in Bella’s ear again.
Bella glanced at Steve with another suppressed grin but was still mainly focused on the feel of Deadpool’s fingers sifting through her hair. With the twist of his hands, she could tell he was braiding a section of it and doing a surprisingly good job. He started humming and focusing, she cracked another grin when she recognized the song Call Me Maybe.
“But,” Steve continued, giving her a pointed glare when he noticed her attention slipping. Bella looked down again like a student caught passing notes in class. “Perhaps if you could show us these scars…”
Bella stiffened, all traces of levity gone.
An awkward silence settled across the room, the only sound coming from Deadpool who was still humming unconcernedly.
“I’m sorry,” Steve said sincerely. “I know that makes you uncomfortable, but Tony says they’ve taken on a rather odd nature once healed and perhaps if we see them we could then begin to – ”
“He just wants to see you nekkid,” Deadpool cut him off. “Because you have bewbs. I like bewbs – will you show me your bewbs, sugar tits?”
“Pardon,” Steve reeled back, sounding horrified at the suggestion. “I want nothing of the sort.”
Deadpool dropped the braid he was working on and leaned forward. “You saying you’re too good to see my baby daddy’s bewbs?” he threw out, sounding like he was about to fight for her honor.
“What?” Bella guffawed, all tension leaving her as she stared at Deadpool incredulously. “Your baby daddy?”
“I want to have your babies,” he admitted. “I love you long time.”
“Listen – we just need to know what we’re dealing with,” Steve cut in reasonably. “If she could show us…”
“I’ll show you mine if you show me yours!” Deadpool said, sounding oddly defensive. His hand went to his mask, and to Bella’s surprise, many in the room flinched back. It was like they were scared of what they knew laid underneath the red and black spandex.
She saw it as if in slow motion. Fingers curled under the base of his mask and he slowly started to lift. An inch of skin was revealed but it was enough. Enough for Bella to know why Deadpool wore his suit – enough to know why, in his own peculiar way, he seemed to be coming to her defense as Steve kept putting her on the spot about her scars. If just the glimpse revealed was to be believed, Bella suspected there was not an inch of his skin that was unmarked. Tortured, it looked like he’d gone to hell and back and had been burned alive in the process. Extra crispy.
The mask – the suit – it was his armor. A shield to protect him from the looks of horror people must gaze upon him with.
Bella’s hand reached out, curling around his own and using it to help him lower the mask back down. There was no pity; there’d be no use for it. But there was understanding and with that, gratefulness. He’d been about to put himself on display to distract them from her.
Letting go of his hand once his mask was secure, Bella bit her lip. Decidedly, she brought the same hand up to her hair and tucked the locks behind her ear. James’s still open mark glimmered at them all. She pushed up her sleeves and the healed bites and wounds were revealed. The wounds were slightly raised, bite after bite overlapping and sparkling like a beacon to everyone’s eyes.
Refusing to look at the others – to see the looks of fascinated horror as they stared at her – Bella kept her eyes trained on Deadpool. With the mask on, she of course couldn’t read his expression. He was uncharacteristically silent for a minute until he said, “Just like Twilight Sparkle! No wonder I wanted you to ride me like My Little Pony!”
And of all the things to fly from her lips – “Little?” she quirked a brow and looked at his crotch suggestively.
“There ain’t nuthin’ little about my disco stick! Come and take a ride, sugar tits!”
“What the hell is going on – am I insane? I feel like I’ve gone insane,” Bruce Banner said to Tony.
“He has that effect, doesn’t he?” Tony said, wide-eyed and unable to look away from the scene before him.
“Please,” Pepper broke in again, sounding on the verge of a mental breakdown. “Please – can we focus! None of this is helping, Bella.”
“It’s cool – I got this,” Deadpool announced, rearranging himself in the seat and pulling Bella back into him.
“Excuse me?” Pepper scoffed. “You just barged in here – uninvited, I might add – you literally have no idea what’s going on.”
“Yes, I do,” he said snottily. “I’ll have you know I read the story’s summary before signing on to appear in it!”
“The what?” Bella asked. Deciding that everything about her life was currently crazy anyway, she went ahead and gave in to the urge to snuggle deeper into Deadpool’s embrace.
“Ah yes,” he hummed. “A little to the right,” he moaned and obligingly, she shifted and wiggled some more with a giggle that turned into a snort of laughter as he groaned out, “Awe yeah.”
“What did you read?” she prompted him again, feeling curious.
“The story summary, sugar tits – ya know, the one this wanna-be author wrote? Cable is gonna stretch his mutant muscle and link our minds so I can follow you into your dreams and kill the big bad vampire playing with his food.”
“That might actually work,” Cable muttered. “I’ve never done it before but given the main issue we’re dealing with – the premise that if if it happens in the dream, it happens in reality – then it would make sense to link her with Deadpool given his healing factor.”
“You can heal?” she asked him with a light poke to his chest.
“I can also do this thing with my tongue in your ass…”
“Anyway!” Pepper briskly cut in. “So despite his… mental handicaps… I know Deadpool is good at…” she hesitated, searching for the right word.
“Killing people! I kill the shit outta people – BOOM BABY!”
“But he’s a vampire – you can’t kill him. And sure, you may be able to heal but he can still kill you,” Bella frowned. She’d been uncomfortable at best with Tony’s plan to call in his friends but the idea of anyone – Deadpool especially given his bizarrely sweet attention to her – being put at risk because of her past mistakes… Well, she wouldn’t have it.
“Awe,” Deadpool cooed and patted her head. “Aren’t you just the sweetest thing! No wonder I call you sugar tits.”
Blushing at the nickname – though secretly she found it thrilling, like she was being naughty for liking the way he called her it even at the most inappropriate times – Bella shot him a glare. “I’m being serious.”
“I know and it suuuucks,” he whined.
Before she could retort, Cable leaned forward and caught her eyes. “Trust me – it’s nothing he can’t handle,” he said reassuringly, but in a firm tone the brooked no refusal.
Figuring it’d be pointless to argue it further, Bella chalked up the mysterious statement to meaning it was a ‘mutant thing.’ Deadpool was obviously a mutant if he could heal rapidly – perhaps he had some other talent or gift to make him even more formidable?
“So nap time for the lovebirds?” Tony interjected, looking around as if he’d just asked who wanted lunch.
Without a better plan forthcoming, they were all in agreement.
“Oh goody – look! A scene change! I hope it’s a lemon!” Deadpool said, bouncing Bella on his knee.
Bella’s eyes snapped open.
Darkness. Dank, musky darkness blinded her.
She reached out for a wall or maybe a light switch, but stumbled, a fine dirt clinging to the palms of her hands as she braced herself.
Fear slithered through her like a current of electricity and her heart started hammering within her chest, her breathing coming in rapid pants.
“Come out, come out wherever you are…” he sing-songed, the thuds of his footsteps sounding closer.
Tears pricked her eyes. She knew – knew it was a dream, just a terrible nightmare – but there was no relief in that truth. There was only more fear, a clawing sense of survival that spurred her to her feet once more as she scrambled around in the dark.
“There’s no use in hiding, little Bella. No use in running. It will only make me angry – and you know what happens when I’m angry.”
The implied threat settled like a lump in her throat. Casting her mind about, she tried to remember the events leading up to her falling asleep.
Tony had brought in his friends – Deadpool had crashed the party and she’d smiled, laughed for the first time in months. Cable was going to push his abilities to the limit, somehow link her and Deadpool together so the latter could literally fight her demons for her.
“I can’t sleep without my Captain America doll,” Deadpool had insisted as they pushed couches together for a makeshift bed.
Everyone ignored him.
“It’ll be easier if you two are touching,” Cable mumbled to Bella. “Then I will have to touch you. The contact will help solidify the connection. I think.”
“Yay! A snuggle buddy!” Deadpool cheered, hopping onto the couch and holding his arms open for her. “Don’t be shy – press those sugar tits up against me!”
Smiling, she crawled next to him and after a slight hesitation of embarrassment, she moved into his embrace. Deadpool promptly hauled her in closer, no room for air to come between them. As she’d felt from sitting on his lap, he was solid. Strong, she thought distantly. Hopefully strong enough.
But he was also warm and exerting restraint as he situated her against him to his liking, aware of her still healing wounds. He was a delicious contradiction and despite the very real fear for what was waiting for her when she fell asleep, Bella couldn’t help but to melt against him. Afraid as she might be, she also felt safe.
Had it not worked, though? Where was he? She looked around, eyes desperately searching for the red and black suit wearing man-child. Had the whole thing been a dream – a desperate dream borne of her own crazy desolation?
“Isabella,” James taunted. “I just want a taste – don’t be shy.”
Though she knew it would be useless, she ran. It was the same every night. Survival instincts kicked in and even if it was futile, she tried to escape and save herself from the horror she knew was waiting.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk. You’d think you’d have learned by now,” he sneered and the sound of him giving chase sent her fear and heart rate skyrocketing.
It didn’t take long for her to get lost in the stale darkness and eventually trip, her ankle twisting painfully. Unable to help herself, she cried out in pain.
“Music to my ears,” James purred.
Bella jerked. He sounded right behind her.
Suddenly, there was a flash of light. Shielding her eyes, Bella took in her surroundings and realized she was the burnt remains of the ballet studio James had originally hunted her in. The clinging dirt was in fact ashes and Bella shuddered knowing it was not wood that had burned that night.
“Kind of poetic, don’t you think?” James said, coming around from behind her and kneeling in front of her. “You’ve been a bad little girl, haven’t you, Isabella?”
Her lip trembled even as her eyes hardened.
“Oh,” he drew out, amused by the small show of defiance. “Am I supposed to be intimidated?”
It was fucking typical, she thought as he circled in closer, his eyes drawn to her neck as he licked his lips. Just her luck that even if Pepper, Tony and Deadpool hadn’t been a wishful dream, that they had honestly tried to help her, that whatever Cable was supposed to do didn’t work.
His teeth shined a poisonous gleam as they inched closer and Bella felt the all too familiar puff of his unnecessary breath against her skin before –
“Whoa there – ease up off my kool-aid! Why you all up in my kool-aid when you don’t even know the flavah?! I so called dibs!”
James was gone, flung across the room into a blackened mirror. Before her was Deadpool standing tall as he cracked his neck once before tilting his head to look down at her.
“Sugar tits! Fancy meeting you here!”
“Took you long enough,” she chided. Her voice was still tentative and thick with fear, but her relief at just his presence alone was staggering.
“Yeah, yeah – don’t be such a nag.”
James sprang to his feet, landing in a defensive crouch while hissing in their direction.
“Bad kitty, no! We don’t bite our owners – well, unless she’s in to that sort of thing. But then it’s me doing the nibbling, got that?”
James’s answer was to launch himself forward. A sharp scream of warning was caught in Bella’s throat, not that Deadpool needed it. He spun in a weirdly graceful movement, pulling out one of the katana swords strapped to his back and slicing.
Whack! Then another solid thud.
James’s severed head landed at Bella’s feet.
“Well that was boring – let’s have sex now!”
“Um,” Bella’s mind stalled, her mouth gaping and barely able to comprehend what had just happened.
“Hey, is that an open invitation?” he asked, gesturing to her open mouth.
“W-What?” she finally stuttered. “What just happened?”
“I cut off this dude’s head – look!” he explained, bending down and picking up said head. Bobbing it up and down like a ventriloquist master, he said in a high-pitched voice, “That Deadpool guy totally killed the hell outta me and saved your life. You should let him have your babies as a reward. Show him yer bewbs!”
“But he’s not dead – we have to burn the pieces,” was all she managed to say.
A part of her refused to acknowledge that the idea of sex with Deadpool had her… curious at the very least.
Turned on as hell, at most.
Surprisingly, it was the latter she leaned towards.
“Yay! S’mores!” he cheered, quickly going to work on starting a fire.
“Sucks there’s no blood,” he started mumbling to himself, breaking away pieces of wood before pulling out a zippo. “How fucking boring is that?”
He sparked the fire to life and set to work dismembering James with frightening ease.
“Hey look!” he cried gleefully, juggling an arm, a foot and James’s head. “And Wolvie said a clown college would reject me – I got skills, bitch!”
One by one, he tossed them into the fire and James was no more.
“So,” Deadpool moved in closer to her. “This is romantic, right?”
“Romantic?” she asked, frowning up at him.
“Come on,” he scoffed, plopping down next to her. “You’re hot for me. You want to daaaate me. You want to huuuug me. You want to kiiiiiss me.”
She giggled as he sang each word, moving closer to her as he tugged on her still braided hair.
“You’re insane, you know that right?”
“Say whaaaat?” he drew out.
She shrugged, allowing herself to relax as he pulled her against him. “I call a spade a spade.”
“Well, you can call this spade a Wade,” he said, hands skimming across her sides before landing, predictably, on her breasts. “Honk,” he said under his breath as he squeezed them.
“Wade?” she asked, her own hands developing a mind of their own as the circled around his neck and pulled him down closer.
“That’s my name, don’t wear it out!” he said, grunting lightly as he removed his hands from her chest and fixed them to her hips, pulling her effortlessly up until she straddled him.
The memory of him saying that to Steve, unashamedly annoying him, had her smiling at his mask covered face fondly. Unable to help herself, she brought her hands up to his mask, smiling reassuringly when he stilled against her.
Raising it up just enough to uncover his lips, she smiled again, her eyes sweeping over the scars, seeing them, but also seeing beyond them as well. Leaning forward, she pressed her lips against his softly once, then she pulled back slightly only to return, kissing him with more insistence.
His hands threaded through her hair, returning the kiss eagerly before asking hopefully, “Is this the part where we have sex now?”
She smiled. Dream or not, Bella was free of James oppressive shadow now. Feeling bold and wild, she said, “Sure, why the hell not?”
Deadpool did a fist bump. “She’s hurtin’ for a squirtin’!” he shouted and laughing, she shut him up with her lips.
Who knows what would happen when she woke up, but for once, Bella really couldn’t care less.
Deadpool: What the hell is that shit?
Author: shrugs innocently I have no idea what you’re talking about…
Deadpool: Where the hell is my lemon? Why are you cock blocking me – it’s not fair!
Author: Oh, I’m sorry… Are you asking why this ‘bitch wanna-be author’ is cutting your lemon scene? Gee, I have noooo idea why.
Deadpool: Awe, c’mon – I was only foolin’! I deserve a handy-j at least!
Author: Well, maybe you’ll learn how to play nice with me now.
Deadpool: You’re no fun! I’m telling Harley on you – she won’t let you get away with this!
Author: You do know that Harley is my friend, right? If I ask her to, she’ll have Bella forcing you to sleep on the couch for a month…
Deadpool: long pause Why you gotta be that way?
Author: Because I’m the boss and I said so – that’s why.
Deadpool: stands in a huff FINE! Be that way! I’m going back to Harley – I hear she’s writing a sequel anyway. She’ll get me laid for sure! Hops onto a Segway and drives off, red and black streamers flowing from the handles
Author: Um, you do know that in her sequel Bella gets amnesia and totally forgets you’re her husband and you have to try and win her back, right? Seems like the only love you’ll be getting is from Rosie Palm and her five sisters.
Deadpool: Yay! An orgy!
Author: to readers Wait for it…
Deadpool: loud crash as he drives his segway into a wall WAIT A MINUTE! That’s not fair! I want my pumpkin butt! STELLA!!!!!!!
Author: smiles as she finishes her cup of tea
(A/N): A super huge thanks to Harley, my Sweets, not only for humoring me by reading my snippets, but also for allowing me to tease her sequel to Stealing Twilight’s Swan. In case you’re wondering, that is legit the sequel synopsis and I, for one, can’t wait to read it!
Also super huge thanks to Mommy4Thomas – thanks sistah for the encouragement and letting me be silly with you as I wrote this crazy guy!
Hope you all enjoyed it!
And for those of you who may not know who Cable is in the Marvel Universe, feel free to click here to read up on him. I did mess with his mutant ability a bit, but hey, writer’s prerogative! He is such an awesome character and I suspect he may cameo in the Deadpool movie coming out next year 😀
“Hola, señorita. Me llamo es la picina de la muerte, pero puede llamarme papá de azúcar.”
“Hello, young lady. My name is Deadpool but you can call me sugar daddy.”