A/N: Oooh, look at this. Update time! I've had a busy few weeks. Sadly, no real job for moi just yet, but I did finish a short story and work out the brainstorming for two others - so, hurrah! I also had my boyfriend's family visit and, of course, HAD to go see Half-Blood Prince twice. Don't ask me why. I feel like a pedophile perving over Tom Felton. Never mind that we're the same age, and my own boyfriend is actually younger than him, I believe. I still feel like a total creeper grinning my "Poor, little rich boy" grin during the sectumsempra scene.
Entry 4: Cloudy With a Chance of Horrifying Spiders
Bob was woken by Wade shifting beneath him. He knew immediately that it was an intentional move on his boss’s part. When Wade said, “Oh, are you awake?” it had that fake, practiced quality – like, say, when you “accidentally” punch the mattress while that brother-in-law you’ve been forced to room with over Thanksgiving won’t stop snoring. “How did you sleep?”
“Great,” Bob said, honestly; because, considering where he was and what was going on, he had indeed just had a great night’s sleep.
“I’m so happy for you,” was Wade’s sarcastic reply. His boss shifted again, hinting to Bob that he was still uncomfortable. Bob got the hint but didn’t connect it to actually moving. “You slept like the dead. I wished I was dead. Fun times were had by all that one time I thought you were dead… but that just turned out to be a very sort, very pleasant dream – relax, I’m kidding. – I’m sure it was only a pleasant dream, because it was the first and only time I managed to fall asleep for, oh, the entire fucking night. You talk in your sleep, you know? I know because you woke me up with a very loud ‘Hail Hydra!’ But, good morning to you, Bob! I’m so thrilled you slept ‘great’!”
Bob paused, his fever-clouded mind struggling to make sense of Wade’s rambling. “Thank you.”
“What? No, Bob. That wasn’t a- You’re welcome. Now, ged’off.”
Bob moved. He even sat in relative silence while Wade inspected, cleaned, and re-bandaged his shoulder – and it was very difficult to remain in even relative silence over all Wade’s cussing. “Damn it, that’s disgusting! Don’t whine, Bob. It’s not that bad. Fucking… Hank McCoy… in garters… with stars on them...”
Wade had some interesting curse words – but, then Bob had always found Wade pretty interesting. “Where are we going?” he asked when Wade had finished dressing the wound and started packing everything up – a task which consisted mostly of putting a few things in the pouches on his belt and kicking most everything else deeper into the cave.
“The front gate,” Wade said, sounding just a little too proud of such a suicidal plan. “Don’t give me that look. Weaz gave me that look. It’s going to work!”
People said there were worse things than dying. Bob couldn’t think of any. Well, maybe the Lifetime Movie Network. Maybe vegan submarine sandwiches. Maybe, dying alone. You could only be scared of something so much and for so long. Bob had been left in the cave long enough and physically alone enough, that even Wade’s company was a massive improvement. He gathered up the parts of the Hydra costume that had been removed and folded them into his belt. “So, you’re going to carry me, right?”
“Mr. Wilson, I’m tired,” Bob moaned, staggering along behind Wade. He was thankful he’d had the foresight not to put the top of the Hydra costume or the mask or even the gloves back on. It was too damn hot. “How much further?”
“The GPS says five inches,” Wade informed him, removing the handheld from his belt and squinting down at it. “We’ve moved… the length of the You Are Here dot.”
“How many inches is a You Are Here dot?”
“None, it’s a dot.” Wade replaced the handheld and glanced back. Bob wondered how he could stand being under that mask when the weather was so hot – though, it occurred to him that maybe it wasn’t actually all that warm out. “You know, Weaz said Allison left a comment on your blog asking about you.”
“I know. She texted me.”
“What’d she say?”
“Are you dead?”
“What’d you say?”
“No.” Bob ducked under a low-hanging tree limb. “I don’t think that has anything to do with me getting shot, though. She’s been checking in on me a lot; ever since my health insurance went up.” Bob stopped, regarding Wade suspiciously. “She didn’t hire you to ‘accidentally’ shoot me, did she?”
“You think I’d take a hit your wife put out on you?”
“Well, there was that time when I – you know… Norman Osborn. Remember? You shot me in the hand...”
“Oh, I remember. You’re lucky I didn’t do something worse.”
“Like assassinate me for someone?”
“Don’t say ‘assassinate’. Assassinate implies that you’re someone important. Besides, I seriously doubt Allison could pay me enough… And if Tyler Durden is to be trusted, and he is, life insurance pays out triple for acts of God. So, shooting you would be a waste. No one’s gonna believe the guy up there who hates you sniped you.”
“Business trips,” Bob corrected, surprised he could remember something like that with his head spinning like it was. Sunbursts of black and bright, yellow-white were beginning to blur his vision. “He said it paid out triple for business trips. And it was the narrator, not Tyler Durden. The narrator never had a - Mr.
“Hell, a business trip. You’re right.” Wade kept walking. “And we’re not there yet. We’re not going to be there for a while. Suck it up and keep moving.”
Three things occurred to Bob as he stopped walking entirely:
1. He was going to vomit.
2. The lava-lamp, oil-slick shapes that obscured your vision when you were having a – Bob wasn’t sure - maybe a heatstroke… were kind of neat. Kinda like inkblot tests. Bob liked inkblot tests. He’d never failed a single one.
3. He wasn’t going to vomit. He was going to pass o-
“Hey, Bob. Come on get up. I’ll carry you the rest of the way, all right? I won’t even make any homosexual-gay jokes about it. That’s a bargain. You just gave me a ton of material, admitting to that threesome last night. I won’t say a word, but you have to wake up right now or we don’t have a deal.”
Someone up there really did hate Bob. He didn’t even get those few, fuzzy minutes of blissful disorientation to hold on to. No, as soon as Bob’s consciousness came running back like the fickle, little SOB it was, Bob knew exactly where he was and what was going on.
Maybe it was for the best. Bob wasn’t sure he could give himself that “worse things than death” talk again and actually believe it. “I’m awake,” he muttered, words thick and eyes opening cautiously against the glare of a midday sun that had Wade silhouetted against it.
“Good,” Wade sighed, straightening up and nudging Bob with the toe of his left boot. “But you’re too late for our deal to apply.”
“Of course I am.”
Wade helped him up anyway. “I can still carry you – it’s just, I’d have to make fun of you for it. It’s nothing personal.”
Bob staggered, leaning against Wade to keep himself steady while he got his bearings. “That’s okay. I don’t really trust you to carry me, anyway. It’s nothing personal.”
“Yes it is.”
“Yeah, you’re right, it kind of is.” Bob hooked an arm around Wade’s neck as his boss wrapped an awkward arm around his waist. “But it seems pretty likely that you would drop me or slam me into something or… I dunno – accidentally shoot me again.”
“Geez, Bob. Let it go, already.” Wade continued to support Bob as they resumed their, arguably, suicidal trek, though he didn’t seem particularly happy with the arrangement. He kept squirming or shifting or picking up his pace until Bob had to move double-time just to keep up.
“You know, Mr. Wilson – I think it’s easier to lose someone when you’re not – slow down please! – holding onto them.” Bob thought he heard Wade mutter a rushed apology, but it was difficult to tell, what with him looking away from Bob and all… “If what I said about… you know last night really made you that uncomfortable-”
“Why would it make me uncomfortable? I’m not gay – not that there’s anything wrong with that!” Wade said, and this time Bob heard him clearly; mostly because he was shouting.
“Who said I was gay?”
“You did. Last night. Dental hygienist. It was your Dear, Playboy, don’t you remember?”
“I remember! It’s just… it was a threesome – or it was supposed to be. I still like women. No one said I didn’t like women.”
“I didn’t say you didn’t like women.”
“Right. See? ” Bob was still sorting through that night, himself. It was a slow process; largely because his coping mechanisms involved ignoring things. His marriage was a shining example of how splendidly this method had served him thus far in life. But that was beside the point. Wade shouldn’t be giving him a hard time about this. If anything… “I thought you would get where I was coming from.”
This time Bob was the one who tried to pick up his pace and escape. He failed. He failed at a lot of things; with the marked exception of ink blot tests and “failing at a lot of things”. “What?”
Wade was still walking, but beneath the mask his eyes were clearly fixed on Bob; ready to evaluate whatever he said next, reading him. “I’m not sure – but I think you implied that I played for both te-”
“Whaaat?” Bob tried to sound shocked – and, yes, he failed. “Nooo – that’s not what I – is that a tree frog?”
Wade sighed – and, really, there were worse things Wade could have done than shake his head and sigh. “First of all, if I was going to be uncomfortable around you because of... the special feelings you have about dentistry, I would have been uncomfortable last night… Actually, that was kind of uncomfortable, but for entirely different, much more literal, reasons. And second of all – oooh… it is a tree frog!”
There really had been a tree frog – the operative word there being “had” - as in past-tense, as in a giant, horrifying spider dropped out of nowhere and ate it only moments after the tree frog was noticed.
It was at that point that Bob knew Wade really was uncomfortable. Sure, he knew a couple of brand new things; like spiders can and will, apparently, eat tree frogs and the size of an arachnid is directly related to how overwhelmingly terrifying it is. Somehow neither of those things were as morale-draining as Wade not cracking any jokes. He didn’t make a Charlotte’s Web reference. He didn’t even hum a few bars of “Circle of Life”. He was off his game. Wade was distracted, and Bob had a feeling that it was his fault. He was making him uncomfortable.
They kept walking, but in relative silence. Occasionally Wade would tell Bob to watch his step or to speed up. Bob did both to the best of his ability. The arm around him, though painfully awkward, was making the going easier… as was the sudden drop in temperature. At least until- “Is that rain?” Bob asked, stopping to inspect a few drops of something liquid on his arm. “I mean, it’s either rain or giant spider venom… I’d believe both.”
Wade looked skyward just in time for the sudden downpour. Bob heard him make some sort of vulgar exclamation, but couldn’t make it out over the pounding rain. He did, however, get the gist of what Wade wanted him to do when his boss grabbed him by the arm and ran.
The ground was slick. The rain was coming down so fast and hard that beneath the fallen leaves and brush, the earth was soft. Bob wondered where they were going but only briefly. Some of the rain-softened ground gave way between steps and he found himself being pitched, headlong, down a sharp incline.
“Damn it, Bob!” Wade’s arm was back around him before he hit the ground. It only postponed impact, lessoned it; Wade removed his arm in almost the same instant, letting Bob tumble into the brush and the leaves and a thin layer of mud.
Bob coughed and struggled to control his breathing. He hadn’t realized how fast his pulse was racing until he’d stopped moving.
“There’s a camp half a mile that way! I took out everyone at it just last night, so get up and-”
“I’m not going anywhere!” It took even Bob a moment to realize he was the one shouting now. “I’m done! I’m finished! I’m not running anymore!” Actually, he couldn’t run anymore, but he didn’t bother mentioning that to Wade. Taking a deep breath, he pushed himself onto his elbows with moderate success. Pain shooting through his shoulder was quick to halt his progress, as was the hand on the opposite shoulder.
“Fine, I’ll carry you.”
“No!” Bob surprised himself by ignoring the pain in his shoulder long enough to shove Wade’s hand away. “I mean…” Bob moved onto his knees and bowed his head against the rain as he tried to choose his words carefully. “I mean… no.”
“What? Look. Bob. Come on. We need to keep moving. I won’t make any jokes, I promise.”
“That’s the problem.”
“What?” Wade repeated. Over the roar of the rain, Bob could hear him pacing behind his back. “You want me to make fun of you?”
“Kind of… Yeah.” Bob gave a small one-shouldered shrug. “It’s like after the threesome with Allison all over again. Things weren’t all that great before, and you still find a way to make me miss them.”
“Things are bad between us?”
“Are you kidding? You threaten me, you disappear for months at a time then drag me off on random missions, and you’ve shot me – how many times now?”
“Three-no, four… maybe five.”
“Maybe five! You’re a jerk, Mr. Wilson.” Bob didn’t look back at Wade. He continued to glare at the ground instead. “You’re a jerk, and I make you uncomfortable.”
Click for part two of this chapter. LJ is clearly overwhelmed with my badassery.
"The narrator" is actually Edward Norton's character in Fight Club. It wasn't made as clear in the movie, but in the book he was never actually given a name. He's just referred to as the narrator or "The Narrator".
But I'm just nerding out on ya here.