1964-02-08 - The Contingency Plan
Summary: Family, friends, and… competent strangers, meet to make a plan. A plan for a plan.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
hope billy lorna tommy ava 

So, the call had gone out a while earlier from twin to twin; a request to drop by the new place, a heads up that, oh hey, there /is/ a new place, and the request that Billy stop by the Sanctum to bring Lorna along too, because she's almost certainly dying to get out of the place for a little while… and where safer than with family?

Back at the apartment, Tommy's getting a few things set out for the impending guests. Plates and silverware are set out… well, on the floor at the moment, given that they still haven't gotten around to getting a proper table. Or chairs. They've been busy!

At least there /are/ cushions so the setup somewhat resembles Japanese-style dining — and the floor itself has been freshly cleaned. "How's the food coming, Spicecake?" calls Tommy towards the kitchen, glancing over his shoulder. "If I know Billy, the others will be by any minute…"


Fancy cutlery? Check. One even has a handle made of red coral and no telling where Spicecake came up with that. She stands over the skillets and looks into the pile of food, then back to Tommy. "I do not know how you people eat anything." Her judgment is damning. Maybe if someone introduces her to the Julia Child cookbook, she can make food, but Betty Crocker combined with her knowledge taken from a shapeshifting assassin means it's Italian for everyone. Noodles and more noodles, finely seasoned tomato sauce from a can, and a salad the size of a field. Spinach is easy enough to get, though she still flips the breaded chicken, juggling the details of the sauce and the parmigiana chicken oh so slowly. That's the problem with being a twinned speedster; he's used to the world being slow, but the messiah? Not so much.

"Get out the drinks at least? Not that bottle in the back, that's mine." Her fingertips tapping, Hope sighs and watches the molten mixture of sauce bubble and hiss. She hisses back at it. A popping slurp would be far more awesome if it were an interdimensional gateway for a small danger, but not so much. "I should've asked if anyone had issues with what they eat but if that's the case, they can eat like… soup. Or a hamburger. Right?"


Stopping by the Sanctum to pick up Lorna, Billy is only barely getting used to the overly friendly 'wards' that seem to think they're puppies and he is not especially a dog person, let alone a dog spell person. Still, they let him through and he's offering a wave to Lorna when he finds her, "Heey…. so there's apparently a place though the context of that word is not wholly clear to me so its a bit of a mystery-surprise thing going on, but the real question is, do you want to get there via car, via flight, or via wooshery? I've been practicing wooshery for this particular trick and its not all that hard, mostly because its only a little bit different then what I usually do when I flick around."


Lorna looked as bored as expected, in the living room studying a textbook from school. She sighed, looking forlorn at another stretch of endlessly boring time. Then Billy was there, and she smiled, shutting her book as she rose to greet him. The news of "the place" that Tommy had mentioned to her previously had her grinning and she tossed her hair back from her face.

"Lets go by wooshery. I'm interested in see more magic. 'Sides the Doctor and Illyana, I haven't seen much. But it's totally groovy. Plus it'll save time."


"I'll get the cups out at least," Tommy replies, hopping back towards the cabinets in order to collect the aforementioned cups and set them out with the rest of the preparations so far. "Figure I'll ask what they want when they get here and be ready to play fetch." Just like he did when the Doctor was there the other day. Superspeed helps in times like these, even if one of the pair can actually process time in the same manner as the other half.

Once those are set out, he's back over to give her a quick hug and take a big whiff of the food being made. "Mmm. Your cooking gets better by the day, you know that?" offers the speedster, "…I'm pretty sure they'll be happy with what you've made."


"I hope so. The food is better than what I grew up with, but really, most anything is better than what I ate then." Spoon used to briskly stir up the sauce, Hope leaves the saucepan to continue sucking up abundant heat from the electric element while she turns to dump the noodles into a plastic strainer, running some water over them to break down any starches. This much she has mastered, minus a bit of hot water splattered against the metal basin. "Anyways, we have enough for all of us and barring that, peanut butter sandwiches for everyone. Sure, not very romantic or impressive, but the fact we have this?" A ladle wave indicates the apartment. "Impressive. Hell, even Dad would agree with this. If he knew."


Ava has arrived.


"We have to go outside, 'cuz like, … I'm not sure what the heck would happen if I wooshered in Strange's house, the puppy-wards might freak out and come turn me into a newt or something like that. Also I'd be grounded." So Billy leads them outside, and glances around, pointing over at the nearest alley and heading down along that way, "As for magic, well. Stephen says what I do isn't really magic: it certainly isn't really anything related to the type of magic he does, that's for sure. Still, though!" He finds a wall, and lays a hand up on it, and narrows his eyes, *concentrating*. "Tunnel to the twin." This is the one kind of spell he's been able to get to work reliably, since its just a variant of what he could do personally. Other things are hit and miss to say the least. He glances over at Lorna and flashes a mischivous grin, lifting his finger up to his lips to make a shush gesture without doing anything. "Tunneltothetwin." Reality begins bending around him, space and time twisting and two sides reaching to touch eachother. It doesn't exactly look like magic, but to the sight it's like there's a liquid… rippling around Billy's hand and the wall, "Tunneltothetwin!" His concentration is most intense there, and reality *snaps*, and where there was just a wall, now there's a kind of vaguely defined hole in space. On one side is us, and on the other is Tommy's back. He reaches through the hole to tap Tommy on the shoulder even as he steps through with a grin. He waves Lorna through.


Ava is just not very good at 'friends.' Contacts, sure. Coworkers. There are the people at Alias. Agents at SHIELD. But for the most part, everyone in Ava's circle of acquaintances is involved in some sort of investigation or undercover work. It suits her, since she's not much for sharing. But somehow she's managed to fall into another circle. One full of relatively normal people who at least don't belong to any shady, undercover agencies.

So in the interest of trying to be normal, Ava's at least found herself something clean and relatively normal. Granted, the calf-length black skirt and green button-down shirt don't quite fit with her raggedly oversized jacket, but there was an effort. When she reaches the house, she takes a deep breath before knocking.


"When he knows. I'm sure he'll be proud of the way you've managed to take care of yourself so far even without him around to do it for you, you know?" is offered to Hope, along with a smile. Where did that concept come from for the son of a dysfunctional family? Old sitcoms, of course. They teach life lessons that parents don't. Sometimes to hilarious effects.

Fortunately for Tommy, he was rather expecting some kind of wooshery from Billy — much like he rarely goes somewhere in slow motion, Billy tends to arrive in a flash of teleportation. So there's not too much shock or surprise when there's that tapping on his shoulder. "'sup, bro?" is offered before he even turns around, though that happens as well as he spins on his heel. Mouth starts to open… at least until there's that knock on the door, so instead he holds up a finger, flashes his way over to the door, and pulls it open. Once he realizes that it's who he thought it was — this happens in a fraction of a second — the door stays open and Ava's waved inside. "Hey! Glad you could make it; you're all right on time — food should be out any minute now." Pause. "Can I get you guys," Despite that only one of the guests is an actual guy. "Anything to drink?"


A flash of transportation will see Hope possibly climbing onto the countertop and pulling down a gun she keeps behind the box of Corn Flakes, properly rigged up and ready to go in the event some madcap mutant leaps through the wall threatening to kill her. Forget spaghetti and meatballs and chicken, though her presence of mind allows her to turn down the heat. Two stalking footsteps through the kitchen puts her facing Billy, expression mildly perturbed. Just mildly. "Okay, so one of these days I'm going to have to ask you come without some sort of blue signature to avoid me putting a few rounds into you, please. Also, hi." The pained look on the redhead's face blurs the lines of a bad joke with deep unease running in a wound so deep it will probably never completely heal. Her shoulders, stiff and tight, don't loosen very much despite Tommy's usual good humour. Though for everyone's sake, she tries.

"Evening," goes to Ava. "Find a cushion anywhere, and make yourself comfortable." The posters on the wall are particularly interesting; they might be instantly recognizable to anyone who recognizes the figures behind the pop art. She then scurries right back into the kitchen — okay, she retreats strategically — to go find some way to put everything together into a serve yourself bar on the counter.


Billy scowls at Tommy, even though he doesn't feel it at all, "You could at least *pretend* to jump out of your skin. Its hard enough to surprise you when you see me coming, I could like at least be able to wooshery some startlement out of you. But nooo…" This trails his eyes land on Hope and the gun. He blinks. "Um. Hi." Blink. "Wait what is a blue signature? Because like, you know, shooting me would be bad." He pauses, "Then again Tommy can run faster then bullets so its not like… you know… stuff. But still, yeah this sounds like a serious talk we need to have this blue signature thing because I'm totally and completely in the Don't Shoot Billy party, in fact I'm Chairman of the Select Committee on Survival, and I'm also Vice-Chairman simultaneously so I can totally second my motion to not have a 'blue signature' and I'm almost positive I would win the vote to —" His voice trails off as he turns to see if Lorna's coming through, then he eyes the slightly wavey hole in reality, musing.

Billy reaches up to scratch the back of his head, "I haven't actually figured out how to make it *stop* being a wormhole. I mean it stops on its own, sometimes like… quickly… sometimes not. One time it was one-way which so I *thought* it stopped being a wormhole and then this guy *the next day* stumbled through and that was really awkward." He pauses, eyeing them all a moment, "Umm, look, this is really important, consider it a conition of being friends, no one tells Doctor Strange I'm making wormholes and not sewing them back up okay? I'll figure this out and when I do then I'll show him both opening and closing and you know stuff."


Ava, at least, finds nothing odd about being ready to shoot people who teleport into your home. Very reasonable. "Water would be fine, thank you," she answers Tommy. "Or a coca-cola if you have one." She watches Hope disappear into the kitchen, then takes a look around the apartment, ending on Billy's clandestine wormhole. Wormhole. Billy. Wormhole. Billy.


Walking past the wormhole, she peeks into the kitchen where Hope is. "Do you need help with anything?" she offers.


"I was ready," Tommy notes with a look over towards Hope. He knew Billy would probably do this, and the two of them have been preparing for the potential arrival of Hope Hunters From the Future so the thought that Hope might draw and fire wasn't lost on him. If she had? He would've plucked the bullets out of the air. She moves as fast (and faster) than him, but he'll be damned if he's going to let lead show him up!

"Pffft. If I /pretend/ to jump out of my skin, you'd lose the satisfaction of /actually/ catching me off-guard one of these days. Plus, you know, I /knew/ you were coming." He did invite the dark-haired twin, afterall. "…and the secret's safe with me, at the price of a favor to be named later. You know the drill." Tommy grins. He grins the kind of grin that suggests another Manhattan may be in Billy's (not so?) distant future.

"You kiddin' me, Ava? Of course we've got cokes." Of course, in the safety of their apartment, Tommy's a blur of motion more often than he isn't. Zipping from the door into the kitchen so that he can hold up a can towards Ava as she approaches the kitchen. Astute eyes would note that one of the cups has had ice cubes added into it since the drink request was originally made. Yay for fast!


An offer for help only briefly throws Hope off her game, but only for a moment. She smiles at Ava, then gestures to the stove. "I figure I move those dishes over here. Still getting settled so I don't have any pretty casserole dishes or anything, it's more spear the chicken and put it on your plate. Except for the salad." That's already prepared with a pair of wooden spoons, at least, and in a colourful teal plastic bowl. Plates can accommodate the pasta noodles, sauce in a saucepan, and the pyramid of sacrificial meatballs. "Maybe we can put the chicken stuff on a plate of its own." The uncertainty speaks volumes, but this is a girl who rarely goes to restaurants except when dragged there for breakfast. She can address hiding the firearms after she puts back said objects, and then looks for the jar of garlic because every good Italian meal requires oodles of that delicious seasoning.

The redhead's lips go white and crooked for a moment as she searches for a suitable reply. "If you show up surrounded in a fancy blue light show. Blue globbies of light, bubbles of it, or your body all shining. That's what I mean. Obviously I'm not trying to shoot you, just the other people who show up in a blue glowy hole."


Just then, the wormholey thingamajigger vanishes, and Billy nods in satisfaction, completely prepared to take credit for the happenstance, "Oh that worked just as I envisioned, I needn't have worried, I'm the expert, right?" He hesitates, "But still let's not talk to Stephen about it just yet." He eyes Tommy, and offers a long suffering sigh, "Fine, fine. I shall owe you one Unspecified Favor. I think that's like what, three now?" He blinks at Hope a moment, "It's blue? Huh. I see like… This clear bendyness assuming I don't see some like crackiness that is like… with *un-ness* between the edges of the cracks. Then again I see things weird. But! Hey, wait, someone is showing up in blue glowy holes and need shooting?" He's suddenly alert, looking around, "Can that happen anytime? Is this like your safehouse? Maybe I can figure out how to make some magic puppy wards that will attack people who aren't us." He sounds dubious about it, "Only I'll make them mean guard dog wards instead of the puppy ones like Stephen has." To Ava he flashes a smile, "Hi, so, welcome to apparently the safehouse."


Table manners aren't really Ava's forte either, but she can at least move pots and pans where directed. And she knows all too well the feeling of being hunted, and the habits that develop from it. Oddly enough, she's more comfortable with someone else being paranoid around her.

She's definitely listening to Billy's explanation in the background, though. She may not have much in the way of a formal education, but both of her parents were genius scientists, and she's grown up surrounded by various super-science programs - all of which were studying her. She's picked up a few things. "You use magic," she points out to Billy. "The mechanics will be different from science."


"Not yet but probably eventually. Yes. Kinda, yeah, and Steve already did." come the responses to Billy's rapid fire questions, answered before… "…and yes, that makes three now. Don't worry, I won't ask for anything that makes you like, blow up the world or anything crazy like that." Besides, given enough /time/… well, there's a lot of inorganic material that could be blown up, if he were inclined.

"You can call it a safehouse. Steve called it a love nest. I just call it our place." Tommy replies, with a soft laugh, "Granted, we've still gotta get some more furniture in here… but the neighbourhood's decent, the rent isn't /horrible,/" Just don't ask how they're paying. "and we're pretty centralized to the things we might want." …and other than that? They're speedsters. Well. He is and she cheats. They can get what they need in a flash. Like how the hand that was empty is now holding a bottle of beer — and how the fridge made a bit of noise without much other evidence that it was actually opened /for/ said beer.


Really, don't ask how they're paying; some things need not be answered, especially with the out-of-work Messiah figuring out a new way to warrant getting some cash in her hands. At least the Friends of Humanity are much poorer where targeted. The redhead helps Ava carry over the food, then makes a grandiose gesture. "Bon appetit or whatever they say. I don't know. Stuff your faces, soldiers." An emphatic nod follows, urging them to go fill their bellies and sleep happily. She steps back to let the others go first with her limited knowledge of etiquette and such things; her parent was not a stickler for such things, and the other one she can barely remember, so it hardly counts. The layout of the apartment is such that the kitchen flows into a communal dining-living room that's essentially a big rectangle, allowing for maximum space and comfort.

"I don't really know," she admits to Billy. "Magic doesn't exist where I'm from. Blue is the colour of temporal signatures, though, so they kind of leave me shooting first and not asking any questions." A thumb gestures to Tommy. "He can explain it better. If I start getting technical then it gets annoying."


"Stephen says I don't." Billy explains to Ava with a shrug, "And since he's like Sorcerer Supreme which as I understand it entitles him to the pointest and tallest wizard hat of all the pointy and tall wizard hats, he probably knows best. He says I manipulate reality. Wanda says I force the world to be what I want it to be. I'm not entirely sure I understand the difference, but it seems to be something about saying things like 'abracadabra' and 'oompa loompa' and making jazz fingers." He makes his attempt at a 'mystical mudra' gesture, which looks fairly ridiculous. "I just concentrate really hard and say something a few times. I don't think Stephen is very impressed with the fact that my spells aren't in latin or Atlantean or enochian or whatever."

Billy nods his head over to Tommy, grinning, "Yes, I wouldn't ever think YOU would come up with something crazy." Gesturing around, he pauses, then asks, "Frank doesn't have the address right? You absolutely did not give Frank the address? Or phone number?" He turns a curious look to Hope, brow furrowing, "Where *are* you from? That's not so clear to me. Between the two of us I'm the smart one, so I'd probably understand the technical if you need to explain something like that."


Hope gives Tommy an even more pointed look at that question.


"I am not convinced that 'willing the universe' to be what you want it to be is less like science than magic," Ava smirks over at Billy, though the question of just where Hope is from and how the science works gets more of her attention. Not enough to keep her from loading her plate, though.

"My parents designed a quantum entanglement system designed to transfer skills and information from one brain to another," she says, as though it were everyday information. "I would like to hear the science behind it."


Well, Hope said to explain, so Tommy's more than willing to fill in the necessary blanks. Of course, there's the need to consume some calories first, so food and drink are taken back to the spot of the floor reserved for eating, fork is plunged in, returns with food, and…

"Tastes as good as it smells. You have my vote for cook of the year, Hope." Plus, admittedly, Tommy's more than a bit biased in that regard.

First bite taken, he starts doing what might surprise those who aren't used to seeing it — Ava being the most likely. He's shovelling food into his mouth, and barely interrupting his speech — Billy creates portals, Tommy's mouth is a wormhole teleporting food to stomach! (Actually, he just chews/swallows at /his/ pace when he needs or wants to talk. It's a handy trick.)

"So, Hope's like us, from the future. You probably guessed that Billy, being the /smart one./" Granted, Ava might not have… but she's here because she's being welcomed into that circle of trust. Plus, she already knew some of Billy and Tommy's secrets. "Like, further-future than us. That's where she's from. Where cybernetic bears roam the streets and shoot the bad guys." A sage nod to this, as if it's meant to explain /everything./

"But there's bad guys, too. Bad guys who try to kill cute girls because they're some kind of… crazy religious zealots and stuff. At least," A look over to Hope, "…one of them is after her. Has been as long as she can remember. That's part of why we're here — uh, Hope and I in this apartment, not you and me in the past to protect her. Although that /would/ be cool. Imagine, we got sucked back into time for the sole purpose of protecting my future-current girlfriend. Like Bill and Ted. Except Bill and Tom. And we didn't grab Genghis Khan yet, although I think I know where his cousin who dresses better hangs out…" Oh lord, he's tangenting. "…speaking of Bill and Ted, did you and that Teddy guy ever knock boots? I mean, I ditched you guys for a /reason./ Nothing says mushy nerd love like sci-fi movies."

By this point, Hope has likely set him back on track. "Ahem. But yeah, she's done running, and if this dude shows up again, we're gonna bust him down to Pawn."

"Buuuut. That time may never come. He might not find her again." There's always the possibility that her dad already found the jerk and took him out; there's also the possibility that her dad as she knew him may never find her again. Which is why he cut off. No need to bring that part up again.

"…and no, Frank doesn't have any clue where I am. I still show up there every once in a while, move things around. He probably still thinks I live in Jersey." Or just doesn't care — Tommy doesn't either, really, but he's such an /easy/ mark. "…but yeah, anyways, part of the reason I invited you all over… well, /other/ than to show off Hope's cooking skills… is 'cause we've been talking about getting the band back together. Well. Some of us have. I mean, me, Hope and Lorna were talking about it the other day. Save the world while the adults are busy being babies, look awesome doing it? That kinda thing." A look over towards Ava, now. "Surprise? I mean, you seem cool. You /do things./" See the electricity he's seen. "And you strike me as one of the good guys, so that seemed enough of a reason to ask. Plus, five is better than four." That's right, Billy. He's totally assuming /your/ answer.


Billy grins at Ava and half-shrugs, "I didn't so much say that it was less like science then magic, only that its not magic. Its arguably supposed to be a third thing. Not science, not magic, something else. Reality warping. Wanda— my mom— can do both, magic and reality warping. But yeah the distinction is a bit fuzzy… Heck, it might be some sorta I don't now, mind over matter psychokinetic … thingamajig." Then he blinks a moment, "Really? Do you have access to it? That would be super useful!" Still, Billy heads over to plop down and get some food. As an aside to Tommy he notes mournfully, "I haven't been able to repeat the doritos spell yet." he notes.

Billy stares at Tommy for a long moment, aghast at this knocking boots comment, "We. did. not. knock. boots." He flushes, "He kissed me." And Billy seems angry about it! "So I would be able to woosh to him when he got himself kidnapped y aliens. If that isn't the worst reason ever to kiss someone I don't know what is. Also he didn't use tongue."

Hmph. "Right, so, extra-future and cyberbears hunting her. I'm with you." He seems to accept Hope's predicament without so much as blinking, really. Weird? Sure. Weirdest thing he's seen this month? No there was flying sharks the other day and soul sucking whores…

"Yeah, so Ava you should join us." He nods his head. Tommy is totally assuming his answer, and Billy is totally assuming that assumption was assumed. Duh, Billy is the *glue* that holds the team together. And-or its magic taxi service, whatever.


Hope helps herself last to the food, doling out a healthy amount of carbs, a lot of salad, and the smallest piece of the chicken parmigiana. Given that was her experimental one, only fair she eats the accident if it happens to be one. Her plate she carries over to the table and joins the others, sitting cross-legged and tucking in while Tommy speaks at a mile a minute. No, her manners do not quite extend that far as to plow through the food fast as she can. Mechanical motions and eating at a solid pace apply, however.

A twirl of her fork, a slide of her knife, and she replies, "Between the sixteenth and thirtieth centuries. Bulk of it spanned the twenty-fourth to twenty-sixth, for the most part." She speaks this fact without so much as batting an eyelash, either making her a stunning actress or singularly terrible at telling anything but the truth. "Stuck there to keep a cult of zealots from killing me and resetting the future. I mean, your dad knows. Might as well tell you guys, same principle as /don't/ tell parent types please, thanks. So you know I'm good for it, and please no don't ask me what happens because the timelines are seriously knotted up and my memories are weird."

Divert away: she smiles wanly to Ava, and then gives Billy a sotto voce, "I'm sorry. He's always like this? He's always like this." Confirmation in a nod. "The science of all that is complicated, or really complicated, based on how much of a super genius you are. I'm not in that category. I couldn't make any of the chronometrical materials they came up with but this Native guy helped out my dad, and he always fiddled with tech and here I am. Because yeah."


"I blew it up," Ava asides to Billy on the topic of the quantum entanglement experiment, taking a bite of chicken. Again, like that's entirely normal. The talk of time travel actually gets a more intent look, head tilting.

"There was an…incident a few months ago. A scientist I know believed that his drone had flow into some sort of vessel. But his theory was that it was an alternate universe, rather than direct time travel. Honestly, if you subscribe to the theory of multiple universes, it seems incredibly more likely that you'd end up in an alternate timeline than at any point in your own." Another bite of chicken. Totally normal.

Belatedly, Ava pours her coke into the glass, looking among the others. "How are you planning on saving the world?"


Billy admitting to that kiss? It makes Tommy /grin./ It's a grin that the twin, at least, knows means horrible things will be coming soon. "Consider yourself owing me four, then, since I managed to pick out the one guy who digs guys back in the stone age." Cough. Glance towards Ava. "No offense to the awesome natives of said stone age, mind."

"And since you can't repeat the doritos yet…" Tommy trails off, tapping his chin. "Guess I'll have to get /creative/ about the favors you do. I KNOW." Pause for effect - likely dread for the twin. "Next time you see him, you have to kiss /him./" Pause. "With tongue. 'cause yes, it was a stupid reason to kiss someone, but seriously. Getting kidnapped by aliens? That's probably as romantic as you nerds get." All of this, mind you, said fondly. "Tell him you had to do it in order save the universe from imploding or something."

"…and the cyberbears are on /our/ side, for the record." he points out. Hope fills in the details in a more cohesive manner … and a more extensive one, for that manner, despite his rambling.

Yes, he's always like this.

"On purpose?" is the first question directed towards Ava; for someone who blows things up a'plenty, it's a perfectly valid question.

Then the rest of the story is listened to. Observed. Noted somewhere in the back of his head, because in the front of his head? It's more just like, time travel is /weird/ and he's going to leave it up to the others for the most part. Now, saving the world? That's a ltitle bit easier. Taking a swig of his beer, "Depends on what it needs saving from. Aliens show up and start attacking people? We punch them in the faces and/or get people to safety. Someone runs around kidnapping mutants? We get them un-kidnapped." Pause. "Billy's usually more of the 'how' guy. I just run really fast and make the hows that much cooler." Truth — he's not the planner type. At. All.


"I know what you mean." Billy sighs as he eyes Hope a moment, shaking his head, "The spell I did that apparently had a wild interaction with the spell our mom… who by the way is like a whole six years older then us, we like, aren't born yet here which is a bit headachey… anyways the spell she did here interacted with the spell I did then— over a dimensional hole of some sort— and when we came here the magic screwed our memories up too. I know certain facts but lack the context to make that knowledge useful." He seems annoyed about this, "And since we're here now almost by definition the future will be different. Or, rather, we made a new branch of the timeline."

He looks to Ava and nods his head slowly, "Multiple universes and branching timelines are so … like … certain. It has to be. Which is why I gave up trying to return to our future: by being here that's not the future anymore that's a whole other probability-space potential universe." He goes for the chicken, nomming, and adds absently, "By the seat of our pants. Too much planning gets in the way. Oh sure you try to predict all the crazy crap that will happen but the moment you start the whole plan goes out the window. So it depends on how the world is almost broken at any given moment. We see a disaster, I come up with a plan, Tommy ignores half of it and I wing the other half when somethhing utterly stupid and impossible to predict happens, and disaster is averted. Its quite possible we don't have a good general between us. Point is… We have powers. We're cool. We're skilled. Tommy can either masterbate faster then anyone else ever— ever— ever— or save the world. Easy choice." Beat, "Both."

Only then does he address Tommy with a swift shake of his head, "It wasn't a GOOD kiss so you get no credit, in fact I'm taking back a favor. If he had meant it he'd have pushed me against a wall, held me there—" Aaaaand now Billy blushes, eyeing the girls, and glaring at Tommy because this is his fault.

"You are not cashing in a favor for me to kiss him. You are not. Seriously, you can't. I mean that's nto even fair!" complains Billy.


"Ah." Ava takes another bite, considering Tommy's question. "Sort of on purpose. It was complicated." But it's much more interesting to watch the interactions between the brothers anyhow. "I…am interested in saving the world, so to speak. In making a difference, in helping people. But I am not always free to do so. And my resources are…sometimes limited."


When Hope passes by towards the kitchen Tommy holds up his plate — emptied — and smiles sweetly at her. Why? Because she was getting up /anyways./ He would've done the same for her, honest!

"Trying to take back a favor costs two; we're now up to five. But kissing favors /also/ cost two, so that'll bring you back down to the original three." Tommy replies; he's done this math, apparantly. "But you can't fault him for not being able to give you a /good/ kiss. I mean, for this era, that probably /was/ a good kiss. Now, if you want to see a good kiss…" There's a trailing off and a glance towards the redhead in the kitchen. Followed by a grin. Billy blushes, but Tommy's shameless.

Then turning his attention on Ava; the expression turns into a more honest smile. That's a win; at least it sounds like a win. "Nobody's /always/ free. Billy and I have… family obligations. The important part is knowing who's on your side when they can be, and making the best of the time you've got to make things better." A bit of a shrug, and another swig is taken. "Limited resources aren't bad. I come equipped with two fists and not much else. Doesn't stop me from being willing to help."


Billy eyes Tommy and tries to make sense of his favor math, fails, and ultimately just gives up and gives in to whatever his brother's math says. "I don't know that there are era-defined good or bad kisses. I know we didn't invent sex in our generation because." ANd he makes an extravant gesture of pinching the bridge of his nose, "Apparently Wanda and Stephen … do… that… sometimes." He says this with such serious horror and disgust as people talk about nuking people.

"I remember good kisses very well thank you!" But he nods to Ava, "Yeah like, everyone has limited resources. We're not talking, like, you know. Full on commitment. Patrol six days a week twelve hours a day. We have other duties, but hey, its not how limited your resources are its how you use them. And, more importantly, how you maximize utility by mixing your limited resources with our limited resources to achive Maximal Awesome. Ava. Ava. Ava. You want to be Maximal Awesome, don't you? I know you do."


Ava scrubs a hand over her face, looking between the brothers as she considers just how much she should say. But then, she's reasonably certain that the boy they're talking about Billy kissing is Teddy. And Teddy already knows.

"What I mean is that I work for SHIELD," she finally sighs. "So there are times when the world needs saved that I will have to report to them, rather than wherever the world is in need of saving."


"The voice of /experience/ says otherwise." Tommy offers to Billy, sticking his tongue out briefly. Ava's revelation, though? That brings a bit of hesitation from the speedster. The Doc said getting entangled with SHIELD probably wasn't the best of ideas. There's visual mulling over of the thought.

"Make you a deal. You don't rat us out to them — you know, the whole being from the future and stuff — it doesn't bother me. Like I said, /you/ seem like a good one, and when you gotta do what you gotta do? It's what you gotta do. When you don't? We'll have your back and you'll have ours."


"So does Mom." offers Billy to ava, though his expression shows a clear distaste, "Work for SHIELD, I mean… Look, you want to work for them, that's fine, I won't try to stop you. But the government is not our friend, will not be our friend, and what you do with them is dangerous. But that's your business. I don't work for SHIELD, but … yeah sometimes you will report to them to do their thing. ANd other times, if you're one of us— " He looks to Tommy, "What are we calling us? I can't remmeber what we were then, so… We're the…extras. When all else fails we make the world safe, you know? When you can't rely on the adults adulting, we adult from the bottom." He nods firmly, looking back to Ava, "Anyways, sure. You have split priorities. So do we. Did I mention our dad is like.. Sorcerer Supreme? He's like the Minister of Magic, in charge of a whole realm of things your government types aren't equipped to deal with. Sometimes we're with them. Sometimes we're not. But we also just operate on a different *level*, you know? Sometimes the level that needs solving is magic hoodoovoodoowhodo, and Stephen leads that. Sometimes its geopolitical and SHIELD handles that. And sometimes its 'check x for other', and that's us. We're Plan B. When all else fails, or isn't suited, activate the contingency plan, and we go into action."


"I am reasonably certain that no one at SHIELD would have the slightest idea what to do with the information that you are from the future," Ava deadpans. "So I am reasonably certain that they do not need to know." She takes a few more bites, smiling faintly at Billy's words.

"My parents. They worked for a very secret organization in the Russian government. And when they did not want to work for that very secret organization, then I became a part of the program. To make sure that their experiments would be…of value. You do not need to tell me to be wary of the government." She takes a drink, shaking her head. "SHIELD helped to get me free of that place. And then they put me in observation, in a safe house, for years, until I broke out."

"So I work for SHIELD, because I want to make a difference. Because I do not want anyone else to go through what I did. And because the best way to watch an organization of spies is from the inside. You do not need to worry that I will hand you over to them. Just…" She looks up, smile wry. "If something fails, or I am not there some time, you should know why. And you should know the risk that they might be aware of where I am, or at least recognize me."


"Personally? I like 'Team Awesome', but that might be too literal." Tommy offers, flashing another grin. Billy's details on what their situation is gets enthusiastic nodding — yup, he pretty much covered it all in a nutshell. Ava's story? Gets empathetic nodding. That's something he can understand well. Afterall, /his/ team helped him get free of a pretty terrible place too, which was a part of why he joined.

"Sounds kosher to me, though… and sounds like you're in." Another grin, and he's moving to his feet. "I better go give Hope a hand before I regret it later, I'll let you big brains hash out the details. Or just tease Billy about his big kiss. Whatever floats it."


"It was NOT a big kiss! That's the problem!" objects Billy with some disgruntledness, but still, he nods to Ava, seriously engaged with her life story, "Okay, so, we all have .. different obligations. The point of this here, I think, is when those obligations aren't clear or things are too weird. Frankly, the government doesn't deal well with weird. Frankly, Team Magic doesn't deal well with aliens. When all else fails, we're the contingency plan, you know? Its not that everyone has to consider us first, instead, we're what's holding the world up when everything else is falling down or nto quite working."


"Contingency plan it is, then," Ava nods, finishing her food and setting the plate aside. "I am interested in your team." A look to Tommy. "Although maybe practice having plans."

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