(In which Johnny and Peter wake up in an alternate universe where they’re married! hopefully I can get this done by spideytorch week)
“Can I play a game on your phone?” Peter asks, and Johnny starts, suddenly self-conscious. He presses his phone against his chest.
“No,” he says, “You’re like a toddler.”
“You married this toddler,” Peter says. Immediately, he scrunches up his nose. “That came out wrong.”
“It sure did, buddy,”Johnny says. He looks back down at his phone. On the screen is a picture of Johnny with his head in Peter’s lap. Johnny’s looking at someone off-camera, laughing. But Peter is looking down at Johnny in a way that Peter never does. His face is open. Gentle.
This Peter of this world must really love Johnny. It’s so obvious.
“Would you look at that?” Peter says. His chin is poking into Johnny’s shoulder. “We really are married.”
“What did you think we were, webhead? Good pals?”
He reaches up and pushes Peter’s head away. It pops right back onto his shoulder, like a nightmarish whack-a-mole.
“I don’t know,” Peter says, thoughtful. He reaches for Johnny’s phone, and against his better judgement, Johnny relinquishes it. He’s been looking at it too long anyway. “Maybe we were both married to other people, but there was only one bed?”
For a genius, Peter’s got some stupid theories. At least Johnny’s weird affair theory only took one or two giant logical leaps.
“What do you think the deal is anyway?” Peter asks. He’s finally pulled away from Johnny, and is looking down at the phone. “My money’s on dreamscape.”
“Twenty bucks says it’s an alternate universe.”
“Nuh-uh, pal. It’s a dream for sure. Or a nightmare.”
It’s the kind of joke they’d make any other day, but on this particular day, Johnny doesn’t want to hear it. He lies back against the table and throws a arm over his eyes.
“Whatever,” he says, “Wake me when Reed’s done.”
Peter hums in agreement, and the only noise Johnny hears afterward are the gentle taps of his fingers on the phone screen.
In The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics, comics scholar Ramzi Fawaz traces Johnny’s history as a queer figure all the way back to his initial appearance Fantastic Four #1, so Johnny is not only currently queer,he has always implicitly been written that way.
Sometimes the hints were subtle, like in his Fantastic Four #309 trip to Fire Island, which was, at the time it was published, a notorious gay vacation spot.