The Babysitters Club

March 14, 2018:

In an effort to shore up some weak spots in the Avengers' roster, Tony Stark recruits some teenagers with attitude. Shockingly, he is sober. Well, sober-ish.

Stark Industries, NYC

It's Tony Stark's super cool tower, largely recovered from being blown up and/or evil.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: The Flash, Impulse, Spider-Man, Doctor Doom, Captain America, The Brotherhood of Evil

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Things have been quite for the Avengers lately, at least for the most part. Which is both good and bad. The good? Well it means that the various members of the Avengers are able to pursue their own interests!

…the bad is that various members of the Avengers are able to pursue their own interests.

Which in the case of Tony Stark meant several international incidents. A few press releases and appearances and the mann being declared a hero of Genosha?

…its been a strange month.

So what Tony needed was a distraction. And possibily a babysitter. The distraction came in the form of a pair of new heroes on the street. Which Tony has decided to track down and meet. Why did the Avengers send Tony? Well he has been dealing with a lot of Speedsters lately, whats one more.

Why did Kate get sent?

…I don't know maybe someone was upset with her making fun of the other Hawkeye.

Also in this case of 'tracking them down' it was less that and more a message left for the pair of them to come by Stark Tower itself for a chat.

Because Tony is lazy like that.

"So," This is Kate as he sits in the lobby of his own building, legs crossed. Slumped in a chair with a smirk on his face. "Whats the over under on the two of them acutally showing up?"

At his shoulder a little drone hovers, stubby circular wings attached to a round body with a single glowing optic in the front of it. Ace looks battered, but he bears his scars with pride.

He helped Daredevil kill a posessed robot suit once! IT WAS AWESOME!

It isn't her fault that Clint Barton tends to open himself up to it. In spite of the friendly rivalry and all of the crap-slinging however…

She had just returned from a clandestine excursion from Sweden - nothing too major, just a small task assisting one of the other more senior Avengers in looking into something that her father's black book of international connections made easy to breach. She had actually just faceplanted in her opulent Manhattan apartment when Tony had asked her to stop by Stark Tower. Having dragged her aching, tired, jet-lagged body from the comforts of a decadently soft bed and its thousand-threadcount sheets, she arrives ready to work, looking as if she hadn't struggled to get out of bed at all.

Katherine Bishop is the picture of professionalism, nevermind the fact that she is incredibly young, dressed in a dark purple cashmere sweater with a wide boat neck, a pair of black leggings and high-heeled boots that lace up to the knees. Her long black hair is held in place by a headband that leaves her sideswept bangs pull in an angle over her forehead. On her hand isn't just a smartphone, but a genius phone, courtesy of Stark Industries, which can shift modes from normal to super at will - everything a budding young superhero could ever need.

…alright maybe not completely the picture of professionalism. She isn't alone.

"Whuff!"

Lucky the Pizza Dog is sprawled across both of her feet, his leash carefully tucked away in her back pocket. He has been trying to chew Tony's shoe since he arrived.

"You know, you haven't told me what I'm doing here yet," the socialite tells the inventor, looking up from the latest bits in the Avengers feed.

She hasn't received the babysitting memo yet.

He got invited to Stark Tower.

He got invited. To Stark. Tower.

He. Got invited. To Stark. Freaking Tower.

And Billy Kaplan's first thought is this:

"Is this a fever dream? I seriously think this might be a fever dream."

He might have slapped himself just to be sure, but that's not important right now.

What's important is that, right now, Billy Kaplan is standing in Stark Tower, under personal invitation from Tony Stark. The Iron Man. One of the original Avengers. One of the richest white men of all the richest white men in existence (he's not really sure that's a point worth bragging about, but there it is). He has at least two fansites dedicated to the man. He should probably not tell Tony Stark that. That would be weird.

Also, don't tell Tony Stark he's 50% unsure whether or not he used his power to make this happen or not. That might get him thrown in super jail. But oh man, he'd love to visit the Raft one day —

… Probably just not that way.

These are the thoughts going through young Billy Kaplan's head as he steps inside the prestigious lobby of Stark Industries. Just the way the spacious nature of the room makes his footsteps echo sends a thrill to the aspiring young superhero, and does nothing to deter the big, dumb smile that paints his lips as he steps inside. Dressed in a bright red, long-sleeved button-up shirt left undone and a half-black, half-white t-shirt and dark jeans beneath, Billy just turns that big dumb smile Tommy's way as they make their way inside, and points, adamantly, at his feet.

'Can you hear that echo??' he mouths, in a way too obvious not to be embarassing.

Maybe it helps weather the blow a bit when his eyes finally fall on Tony Stark. Waiting there for him in the lobby. With… Kate Bishop? The other Hawkeye?

"Oh my god, Tommy, look — it's Iron Man. He's right -there-." He even points a bit, for emphasis, as if Tommy couldn't see the man very clearly -right there in front of his eyes-. See? Much more embarassing.

"And the other Hawkeye, too!"

Much. Which makes his approach seem all the more timid by comparison:

"Um. Hello, Mister Stark. You — wanted to see us?"

So, here's the spooky part: The other guy looks, at least in the face, almost exactly like Billy Kaplan.

There are differences, of course, here and there. Tendencies of expression, the fact that his eyes are green instead of dark, and that his hair is just… White. Like, not even in any normal sort of way, where he was born without hair pigment or something tragic like that. It's just… White. Like somebody made an anime character come to life.

"I don't think it's a fever dream," Tommy Shepherd replies, for what feels like the eight hundredth time today. It might be. It might not be, and it just feels that way out of the low-grade background irritation that often comes with being 'dialed down' to normal people speed. "But if it was, I guess I'd be telling you that anyway, right?"

Is that how it works? He doesn't know. For various reasons, he doesn't really get fevers.

With a green jacket on over a grey sweater, jeans and (of course) running shoes, the speedster also seems pretty much like a completely normal teenager who's wandered into Stark Industries, except also he's loudly slurping a milkshake, and his other hand has a half-eaten but extremely overstuffed burger in it, because man he was hungry and there was this burger place down the street and Billy was just taking so long staring up at the logo on the front of the building and muttering about his instagram.

He rolls his eyes, when Billy is just so desperately uncool about the whole thing, just watching Tony and his tiny robot with a certain calculation as he takes another (enormous) bite out of his burger, and…

Abruptly, there is nobody standing beside Billy.

Instead, Tommy is now over by Kate. His burger is gone. He takes a loud, so very loud pull from his milkshake, like, man, that thing is done, just throw it out.

"Hey," he offers at the genius-socialite-archer. "Wassup?"

There's mustard on the corner of his mouth.

"Official version?" Stark replies as he smirks towards the girl and her dog. "You're here because I need a pair of fresh hip young eyes to catch what I might miss about a pair of potentional recurits. They're your age you'll love em." The inventor almost lazily motions towards Ace and the drone drops a lofer into his hand before he lobs the shoe towards Lucky. Teaching him that chewing on people's shoes will get him /more shoes to chew/ and therefor somehow spreading the terrible further.

"Unofficiaolly you're here to make sure I don't trip and cause another mutant uprising or something. I'm pretty sure Fury was pissed at me." Not that its slowed him down. At all.

But then Billy walks in. And stares. And /starrrrrrrrrres/. And oogles.

And Stark just can't help but shake his head slightly as a bemused smile comes to his face. He is never going to be ok with being seen as a hero. Its just strange. The look lasts for nary a heartbeat though before he stands, smirking as glances towards Billy first. "Call me Tony, and yeah. I kinda did. Glad you showed up. Come on, we can take the elevator up. And no you aren't in trouble." He says before Billy can start to assume.

…of course then Tommy zips right over towards Kate and the inventor quirks an eyebrow. "Well. You're not in trouble. He might be." He drawls as he watches the Speedster well…do what he does best.

"So Kate, this would be…what?" A glance at the pair of you. "Do you two even have codenames or whatever it is that other people who are worried about that sort of thing have?" He asks as he gestures towards the spacious elevator that slides open in a pannel of the wall nearby.

…it didn't look like an elevator until just now. But that is the magic of Stark Tower.

They're your age, you'll love them.

"I think I'm well past the age where I'm expected to attend play dates, Tony," the younger Avenger points out, her expression both exasperated and indescribable. "Is this the part where I throw down my bag and scream 'You're not my dad!'?"

The shoe is lobbed away by the drone. Lucky watches it fly. He turns back to trying to get the shoe that Tony is already wearing, because it's no fun unless there's a foot in it.

But the unofficial explanation only makes her skeptical expression become even more emphatic. "You want me to prevent you from causing an incident?" she wonders out loud.

The golden retrieve also seems perturbed by this. He cocks one head sideways, one ear up as he sits on his haunches and looks between Kate and Tony.

"…well. We're screwed."

The two that join them are curiosities of their own.

Not because of what's already been collected and saved in their dossiers, but their appearance - as if their faces had been copy-pasted on identifical bodies, with their color palettes swapped out. They look alike enough to be identifical twins in spite of them and while she's come across a few sets in her life, she's never come across a pair that was simultaneously identical and not. Their last names are different too.

Separated from birth? Something else?

These thoughts roll through that prodigious mind quickly after a brief pass of those dark blue eyes. That is both the blessing and curse of being able to remember everything you see, and copy every movement precisely - she doesn't need to look twice to make sure.

Kate lowers her attention briefly on Lucky, whose ears she scritches absently with her fingers.

But when she looks up, Tommy is right on her shadow, slurping his milkshake.

Hey, whassup?

"Good question," she tells him wryly before standing up herself, following Tony's lead in greeting the newcomers. She tucks the phone back into her pocket.

The dog is staring directly at Tommy's empty milkshake container.

With the way revealed, she takes up the rear of the group, lifting a hand in greeting towards Billy once the group clusters in.

But if it was, I guess I'd be telling you that anyway, right?

"Wow. Thanks. That makes me feel so much more confident."

Tommy Shepherd rolls his eyes. And Billy Kaplan's response is to purse his lips in a perfectly practiced look of disapproval.

"Hey, this is important." Read: it's cool, shut up, jerk. "This is Stark Tower! The Avengers are here sometimes!" And that's a Big Deal. And he will never let Tommy not know that, no matter how many times he has to drill it into the white-haired young man's head (NOTE: it's been a lot of times).

But then he tracks the direction that Tommy is looking. And that Disapproving Stare intensifies by an order of magnitudes.

"Ugh. Come on, this is Stark Tower," he repeats, just to be clear. "I know that isn't a big deal to you," even though his tone implies that it -absolutely should be-, "but please, please, just this once, don't-"

And Tommy is gone before Billy even finishes his thought, hitting on Kate in truly record-breaking time for all speedsters across the world.

"-embarrass me."

Billy stares at the open air. He looks slowly, towards where he knows Tommy is now. He rubs his temples with a slow, world-weary sigh.

And now it's his turn to roll his eyes.

And so it is that Billy Kaplan's expression is both mortified and deeply apologetic when the black-haired young man actually makes his way to Tony and Kate, rubbing the back of his neck with a most awkward smile. "Sorry," he says, just… in general. For everything. Everything that's happened and everything that will happen. He needs to cover his bases. "I'm really honored to be here, Mister — Tony." Did he just call him Mister Tony? Oh my god, get your shit together, Billy!

"I hope we're not-"

And no you aren't in trouble.

"Right! Of course not." To his credit, Billy does a remarkable job underselling the relief he feels when Tony cuts him off at the pass.

Instead, as greetings go around, his smile is a more modest thing, brown eyes turning Kate's way as Tony pauses in his introductions. "Huh? — Oh. Um. Yeah. I'm Billy — I go by Wiccan. Someone, uh — someone else came up with it for me. I used to be the Asgardian but that was — nothing. It's nothing. Anyway!" He jerks his thumb Tommy's way. "And that's Speed." A second passes. "I didn't come up with his name, either. That's all him." He'd try to absolve himself of -all- Tommy's crimes, but — he's trying to make a good impression here.

And so, Billy just drops into a crouch in front of Lucky. His smile is one of genuine warmth as he reaches out, tentatively, to scratch the dog just behind one ear.

Aaaand of course all that comes to an abrupt end as soon as he sees that elevator seemingly bloom out of the ether.

"Oh. Oh, wow."

This is just — like — all of his dreams coming true at once. He very rightfully feels like he ought to be concerned for half-a-second.

And then he just stifles it to make his way towards the elevator. "He's not bad," he tries to insist, of Tommy. "He…" And so, he just defaults onto his main defense of Tommy: "He means well." And he says it with a conviction he mostly feels, too!

Which doesn't stop him from wryly pointing out, as he passes the eerily similar young man by:

"You've got mustard on your mouth, Casanova."

And off he goes, all wondrous smiles.

It would get even weirder if somebody did a DNA test because they are not related at all.

Clearly it's just a weird coincidence, there's nothing else to be learned, nope!

Tommy of course has no idea why Billy is apologising, or what he's worried about on the 'being embarrassed' front, unless he's deeply concerned that the speedster was going to forget that Tony Stark was a super rich Iron Dude and one of the Avengers and the Avengers were so cool with Captain America and… Other people…?

Okay honestly he wasn't really paying attention the last time he had their current roster repeated to him. Didn't they have a guy who did ants? And Doctor… Voodoo…?

At the moment, though, Tommy is only interested in making a good impression to the young woman in purple and black, having apparently decided - with the sort of speed and certainty that can only be managed by an eighteen year old boy - that she is his Type.

But she's moving… Away…? Oh, they're supposed to follow Stark, or something.

"What else are you gonna call somebody who's fast?" he wonders, aggrieved at the comments about his codename. "It's direct, it's to the point. Plus there's, what, like, eight guys named the Flash?" He's pretty sure that number's not right, but it's bound to get Billy Kaplan, Super Nerd wound up, so that's a plus! Noticing Lucky's attention, though, he offers the cup to the dog, because he's nothing if not a consistent bad influence on pretty much everyone. It's fine, though. It's a strawberry milkshake.

Billy's comment gets a frowning look from the speedster, who waits for everybody else's back to be to him before he wets his thumb and starts rubbing the corner of his mouth to clean off the clinging condiment.

"So what's the deal, then," he asks, moving from where he was trying to hit on Kate to walking along with Tony into the heretofore secret elevator without bothering with the intervening space, as far as anyone else was concerned. "You finally replacing all those old, busted Avengers with new hotness?"

"Not quite, kid." Stark smirks slightly towards Tommy at the inquiry as the elevator kicks into gear. The ride is smooth as silk and accompinied by some kind of electric humm. "Half right, but not entirely." He adds as he glances towards the pair of them. A smirk again towards Billy though. "I'm sure he does." He drawls. "I tell myself the same thing."

"I'm glad you're not Asgardian anymore, since I know three of them at least. Two people and a horse. Sometimes I think the horse is the smartest one."

A glance back towards Tommy then. "Speed." A shake of his head. "At long as you don't wear yellow I think I'm fine with it. I'm getting tired of anything to do with the Speed Force anyway."

White hair. Green eyes. Speed powers. This is all nagging at him. The sameness of the two boys. It bothers him on some elemental level.

…it'll come to him eventually.

"I'm glad you're assessmennt of our chances is so realistic." He tells Kate with a flash of a grin. "And god no you're not my kid. Heaven forbid that ever happens. I'd be the worst dad."

The elevator trip digs to a stop though and the doors open into a massive modern living area. Glorious view of the city, slanted glassed in sides. Its a beautiful lounge and entertainment area, and in the back of the room behind thick glass is a trio of Iron Man suits.

Because Stark likes to show off.

"So." He waves them towards the chairs. "Billy Kaplan and Tommy Shepherd. The twins that aren't quite twins. Go on, have a seat. Like I said, you two aren't in trouble exactly. This is more…job interview."

He's more relaxed here, up in his tower, his home, where he is firmly in control of most things.

Not all things.

"Ah," There is the proper english of JARVIS. Crisp and clean as the voice is piped in. "Mister Stark, you have guests. Would anyone like any refreshments." A pause. "…I see one is a speedster. I'll call the kitchen."

I'd be the worst dad.

"I dunno about that, Tony," Kate replies, somewhat distantly.

But instead of dwelling on those thoughts, she turns to their present visitors. "Why do the two of you look alike? Twins separated at birth?" she wonders once Billy turns his eyes her way, as always the first to home in on the matter at hand and never one to hold back when a question needs answering (or when something needs doing). With devices tucked away and that eagler-eye attention focused on the present goings-on, there's another scrutinizing glance tossed both boys' way once their codenames have been revealed. Wiccan, formerly the Asgardian - magic? Alien? The other one, Speed….another speedster? Stark Tower has been full of those as of late - it might just be Impulse, but given his reputation, he's almost too much to contain in one block anyway.

Meanwhile, Lucky, like every good dog, abandons the quest for food in favor of love, and he leans right into the young man's scratching fingers.

"That's Lucky," she introduces after a pause. And as if on cue, the golden retriever snags the empty cup of milkshake that Tommy holds out to him.

With the group piling into the elevators and their meeting shifting to one of Tony's private lounges in the Stark Tower. She passes by the Iron Man suits in display, though she slows down when she does, taking them in - it doesn't get old, really, to see them up close. Love him or hate him, Tony Stark was the futurist - within his brain are the keys to change the world.

….unfortunately, he also has the personality to change said world in his own image, so she supposes one has to take in the good with the bad all the time.

Once inside the room, she takes a seat. Lucky lies down by the couch, and proceeds to gnaw on the cardboard milkshake cup.

"I'm Kate Bishop," she finally says. "I'm here to babysit Tony."

Why do the two of you look alike? Twins separated at birth?

"No, we're not related," says Billy, honestly and without reservation. It seems he doesn't mind being candid, either; his brows scrunch, a thoughtful frown forming at his lips. "I… don't honestly know why we look so similar." It's one of the reasons that he's stuck with the other hero-in-training, despite all their differences. There's just something… familiar about him.

Which is probably what makes it so easy to make his sarcastic jabs. Just like a sibling might.

"'Something better than Speed.'"

This is Billy Kaplan's sage advise for his definitely-not-brother, settling into the comforts of the elevator and trying his -very best- to play this as cool as possible. If he kind of immitates the way Tony is standing in the elevator, that's probably just coincidence and not because his subconscious idea of 'playing it as cool as possible' is just 'standing like how Tony Stark stands.'

Thank god there are better role models in the Avengers.

… Probably.

And he's doing so well, too, until —

Plus there's, what, like, eight guys named the Flash?

"There's not -eight-. I already told you that, remember? And besides, it really depends on what you're qualifying as an actual, legitimate Flash. There's the original, of course, and it's an open question if Professor Zoom counts despite being a supervillain-"

*ding* goes the elevator doors, shuttering them all in to a very prolonged explanation about the various nuances of the Flash naming scheme and the various permutations of Flashes on Earth.

"-and there's Impulse, too, though I'm not really sure what his situation is with regards to the Flash. And besides, Speed doesn't fit if you're not the fastest, and I bet even Quicksilver is faste-"

*ding*

"… Oh. We're here. Um. Haha."

And just like that Billy Kaplan has his breath taken away. It's not just the sights of the city, it's not just the technological marvels, it's —

it's everything.

"Wow."

A second passes.

"-Wait. You know more Asgardians than just Thor??"

Just like that, Billy is off, brown eyes wide with curiosity and just -awe- as he makes his way through. His journey eventually, inevitably, takes him towards those suits though, just as it does Kate. He reaches, hesitates, and then presses a hand to the glass, leaning in. "What model is this? Is this the Mark IV? It's the Mark IV, isn't it??" Billy… probably knows too much about this. Probably.

"And they're not old and busted, Tommy," he says, extremely belatedly. "They could probably wipe the floor with both of us while enjoying a nice midday snack or something." Forgive him. He'll probably settle down soon.

This is just… a Super Fan's wildest dream.

Which is probably why he doesn't immediately register what Tony is saying, busy as he is taking a selfie of himself next to the armors, as if he couldn't even begin to fathom them asking him or Tommy to join the Avengers. He listens, but doesn't really quite process, a small, amused smile touching his lips as Kate speaks. Because she's joking about babysitting Tony. … She must be joking. … Right??

"I know, you're Hawkeye," he says, with a warm bit of a grin. That hesitates. Just a bit. "Err. The other Hawkeye. … It's still great to get the chance to meet you, though. Honestly."

He will not ask if having two Hawkeyes gets confusing, he will not ask if having two Hawkeyes gets confusing, he will not —

And just as he's about to, that distinctive voice pipes up. "Wow. Is that JARVIS?" Definitely probably knows too much. "Um. … Water, I guess? Do you have — obviously you have water. Sorry. What's this interview for? I don't remember applying for anything in Stark Industries, I'm pretty sure Tommy didn't, either."

Don't worry. He's not slow. Just in nerd heaven.

It'll come to him.

"We don't look alike, I'm way handsomer," the white-haired speedster insists, though this has less of the sound of something he believes and more of that, well, sibling-like giving each other a hard time sort of thing. Which really complicates their claims that they aren't secretly related somehow… But that would be weird, right? He was born in New Jersey, and Billy was presumably born somewhere in New York. Sure, they might have the same birthday and everything, but…

…Speed dosn't fit if you're not the fastest…

Tommy makes the sharp, open-mouthed inhalation that can only come from having something so shocking and hurtful said right in front of one's face. The rest of what the reality-bending superhero fanboy says doesn't even really register, buried as it is under the weight of so much how very dare you.

Fortunately, the elevator dings and opens before it ends up, say, the victim of an accidental explosion.

Even Tommy Shepherd, with his armoring affectation of cynicism, is impressed by the full effect of, well, Tony Stark actively trying to impress people. It's enough that he forgets to be offended by Billy's crass and hurtful assertion that he's not the fastest, his various complaints papered over by the fact that yeah, all right, this is pretty dope.

"The hell is a 'Speed Force' anyway?" he wonders, after taking a moment to ruin Billy's initial selfie attempt with a super speed appearance/disappearance. "If they're gonna call something that, I should get like… Royalties or something, right? 'cause I'm Speed. Also hey, if there's refreshments, what's the drinks situation like?" wonders Tommy, who is clearly underaged, suddenly by the window looking out. "'cause you know I wouldn't say no to a little something. Billy might even loosen up a little bit if you give him a vodka instead of that water."

And then he's… Sitting by Kate, looking remarkably unruffled despite the speeds at which he's been zipping around the room, though none of Tony's surely extremely advanced sensors would be picking up anything like they would when Impulse or Owen Mercer stop by. There's definitely no stray bits of lightning launching around. That's more Billy's jam.

"Nice dog," he says to the heiress. "Is he your dog? Is he like… A super dog or something? Does he have a little bow and arrow?" They keep saying she's Hawkeye, and that's the bow one, isn't it? Or was that Arsenal…?

"Of course, Mister Kaplan. Ace will bring you something right away. And yes, I am JARVIS. Thankfully back in working order once again. It /is/ good to be home." The AI admits as he goes about the job of getting the little drones of the tower to bring some refreshment for Billy. Ace himself buzzes over to a cabinet as sections cycle open to allow a tall glass of cool water to slide up into view.

The drone burbles happily as it grabs it in a single little arm and burbles its way back over towards Billy, /nearly/ doing his traditional barrel roll in greeting. At the last second he restrains himself, therefor NOT flinging water all over…everything.

Wiccan is the lucky one.

There is a smirk angled though towards Kate this time. "Oh not just me, Hawkette." He calls out before he glances at the pair of the young supers that he invited up.

This assignment might be looking worse and worse for her.

Of course then Tommy goes zipping around and there is a quirk of Tony's eyebrow before he raises a hand. A holoscreen blooms to life before him in the blink of an eye as his eyes flicker between the screen and Speed himself before he takes a deep breath.

"Defintly not using the Speed Force, and yes. Its a /stupid/ name and I hate it. But is what all the Flashes use so…" He shrugs. "…of course they also claim they can time travel using stairsteppers or something so that is totally suspect in my book." A glance then towards Wiccan. "Well…yeah. I mean Thor's time displaced grandaughter from the future occasionally camps out on the roof."

This is what happens when you're Tony Stark.

Don't freak out Billy.

"But those are replicas are the Mark VI. Good eye. The real ones got blown up when bad things happened. So I had to make more. Working on one now that'll let me put all the Marks in one suit. It'll be super rad."

Did we mention Stark was humble.

A smirk again at Tommy. "Diet coke it is for you."

Then a pause again as Billy looks…confused. A sigh for a moment. "Kid, this isn't an interview for my company…"

A glance towards Kate.

"…how does Steve say it? 'I'm putting together a team?'"

A pause again as he glances between Kate and the Tommy that just plopped himself next to her. "You do know she can kill you about sixteen different ways right now." A beatpause. "With your milkshake straw."

Billy's responses to the rest, from what he says about the Flashes to his identification of the model number of one of the suits on display has dark elegant eyebrows lifting upwards, Kate giving the other youth a long and assessing look. Well, once Tony gets to his pitch, she is assured that at the very least, one of their two visitors knows what he's getting into.

Though she is definitely serious about babysitting the Stark genius.

It's going to be apparent any minute now.

I know, you're Hawkeye. Err. The other Hawkeye.

"The better Hawkeye," Kate tells Billy, complete with the sudden flash of an airy grin, a brief display of good-humor - and no small measure of confidence. There are days when that's objectively true. "Don't worry about the name. Clint and I fight over it all the time."

She glances at the dog. "Over Lucky, too, sometimes."

But the fact that they aren't related is especially curious. For a moment, the skepticism that statement brings is painfully visible on her features - in the end, however, she takes the dark-haired youth's words for it. He seems like the genuine sort.

The hell is a Speed Force anyway?

"Another good question," she replies to Tommy, her expression going from skeptical to resigned at the drop of a hat.

She doesn't remark upon the proposition of underaged drinking and neither does she demonstrate any degree of disapproval there. But when the silver-haired young man suddenly appears sitting next to her, there's another blink, and a look shot Billy's way: Is he always like this?

"He's technically Clint's, but I guess we share him now. He likes me better, and no, he's not super, unless you count his love for pizza."

Oh not just me, Hawkette, Tony says with that grin. She looks up from where she is seated to look at him.

"Not Hawkette," she replies, but she manages to put two and two together and she makes such a face.

"You can't be serious."

But before Tony can assure her that he isn't, because he's joking, right??, the holoscreens become active and he says he's putting together a team.

She says nothing about Tony's own remarks about killing someone in sixteen different ways with a milkshake straw, but she's giving him the look, while still wearing that face. It's the kind of expression that ought to remind him about what he just said about her deadly prowess with milkshake straws, and it isn't Tommy who's within the center of those eagle-eyed sights either.

Tommy Shepherd looks aghast.

Billy Kaplan looks comfortably smug.

It's a wonder how the same face can look so very different in that moment.

And it's just as swiftly that annoyance replaces any sort of satisfaction that Billy might be experiencing as the white-haired speedster just casually ruins Billy's intended picture at superspeed. "Wh — come on, Tommy, that's seriously not cool!" grouses the reality-bending superhero (kind of), frown settling imperiously on his lips as he glares at Speed, speeding about.

"The Speed Force is an extra-dimensional source of energy that some speedsters claim gives them their powers," he explains, tone deeply unamused as he lifts his phone to take one last picture — enthusiasm just a little bit dampened. "It's like a fundamental force that subverts the laws of physics as we know them. Also, it produces electricity or something. And-" …also claim they can time travel using stairsteppers or something… "Oh, wow. Really??" -That- is something he couldn't find on his superhero wikis.

After this, he pockets his phone, casually, and mentions off-handedly, "And that's not how trademarks work."

"And you don't have the word Speed trademarked anyway."

He'll consider that revenge for ruining his selfie.

It is hard -not- to see them as related, though, especially when Billy just makes such a face in response to Tommy's insitence on liquor helping him to loosen up. "I am loose — I mean — not — that kind. I'm relaxed. This is me. Relaxed." Really. Honestly. But he just turns his attention towards that drone as it approaches, head tilt. That is just… the coolest thing. He wants a server drone. And an AI butler. And a… whatever that thing over there is. Some kind of lightbulb but from the future maybe?? He doesn't know. All this stuff is too cool. He doesn't even notice how the robot -very nearly- barrel rolls a bunch of water all over him.

"Thanks, JARVIS," oh my god he just said thank you to a robot like he's part of the team, just play it cool. And so, Wiccan just calmly sips his water. Wow. How's even the water here taste better? "Oh, yeah, the… incident." He really doesn't have a better way to phrase what happened to New York at the hands of a… he doesn't even know. Monster thing? "Is everything recovering okay…?"

And so, as he very calmly tries to process the reality of Thor's time-displaced granddaughter chilling out on Tony's roof -without- shouting "DID SHE USE THE FLASH'S TIME TREADMILL?!" Billy finds a convenient centering point. In Tommy. Mackin' on Kate. She gives him a look. Is he always like this?

Billy's return look, roughly translated by the keen eye, can mean only one thing:

I am so, so sorry.

So, yes.

Yes, he is always like this.

Please Look Forward To It

"Wait, you co-own a dog with the other Hawkeye?" The idea of that is too cute for him to even properly process in words. "Doesn't it get, I don't know, awkward?" Maybe that's why with the arguing. But then Tony is talking about putting together a team. A team. Like —

"Are you serious?"

Like an Avengers team??

And Billy stares for a solid five seconds at Tony, barely keeping himself from dropping that glass. And his first question, of course, is:

"Why?"

No, that came out wrong.

"Why us?"

… Not much better.

"I mean — this is amazing, and — amazing, this is amazing. But — why us? There's got to be like, three dozen other superheroes out there more qualified than us for-" Oh my god he can't even say it. "… that team." Literally, three dozen. Maybe best not to question him about it. He could probably also literally name all of them.

Getting a diet soft drink is a grave offense that Tommy Shepherd will never forget, Tony Stark!!

Actually he might forget about it in the next few seconds.

It's honestly a tossup.

Settled on the couch and forming a deep, personal connection with Kate, Tommy is initially kind of unaware of the gravity of what Tony is saying, talking about 'putting together a team'. Doesn't that guy already have a team, they're called the Avengers, they have like a mansion or something…?

Instead, as the Man of Iron tells him that Kate could kill him sixteen different ways with the straw from his milkshake, which by now god only knows what kind of a mess Lucky has chewed it into, the white-haired speedster just nods.

"That's badass, Kate Bishop, is that your whole thing then? You're like… Badass weapons chick? I dig it, so we've got badass weapons chick, and me with my awesome superspeed, and Billy who's kind of a dork but he does magic, we could make a cool team. Hey maybe he's like, Merlin reincarnated? That happens, right? HEY BILLY, ARE YOU—"

…Wait hold up, what did Tony Stark say?

I'm putting together a team.

Yeah, that was it.

"Dude, Billy, shut up!" the speedster says, abandoning his pursuit of Kate's affections to appear beside the potential future rewriter of existence's most foundational laws and attributes, trying to clamp a hand over his mouth and keep him from ruining all of this by pointing out to Tony the very factual reality that there are probably better choices for the Avengers than them. "You're the one always talking about this stuff!" He turns to Tony. "Yes, we should definitely be Avengers. Wait, is she an Avenger?" he wonders, pointing at Kate with his free hand. "Because yes, then we should definitely be Avengers. What bad guy do you want to go beat up, is it Doctor Doom? Oh! Oh man, is it the Brotherhood of Evil? They've got that weird gorilla dude and the brain in a jar, that'd be awesome. Billy have you got a spell for brain jars?"

There is a grin for Kate. And on the outside its the grin of a little kid springing a present that he knows no one is going to like. Impish and smirky, highly amused as he looks back towards the woman that could kill him with basically any ranged weapon known to man and some that aren't.

However if Kate's known Tony Stark for any length of time at all, she would know he would never do something like this without a reason. A good reason. Even if right /now/ that reason appears to be more his own amusement than anything else.

"Yes though," He says with a snap point towards Billy. "That is the Speed Force. Its a pain in the ass but the fact that its draws power from a different dimention makes it easier to counter at least. So I don't mind it. Not like Quicksilver or someone like that. The only way I've figured to counter him is paste giant holo-images of Mangeto all over the building to keep him out." He's kidding. He's prolly kiddinng.

He would say more, but then Billy starts babbling and Tommy moves /very quickly/ to stop the babbling. Stark just quirks an eyebrow. "Well. I'll give ya points for enthuiasm." He says. "Steve is gonna love you two. But yeah, something like that. As to why? Well…you two kinda fill in a few spots we happen to be weak in. Namely fast," A nod towards Tommy. "And magicky." This towards Billy. "But I don't want you two ta punch anyone right now. Espicially not Doom. That guy is just a pain in the ass who…" And he tilts his head up towards the ceiling. "…DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO USE A GODDAMN DOOR!"

Stark assumes that Doom is always watching once his name is innvoked.

This is not a baseless assumption.

A pause as he glances back towards the pair of you. "I'm gonna guess you two accept." A smirk at that. "And if you do, we'll have some missions for ya. Interm stuff ta see what you can do. Kate…" A glance towards the woman that is likely now contemplating his slow and painful demise. "…is going to keep an eye on you. Or kill Tommy. One of the two." A pause. "And yeah, I'm totally fine with punching the Brotherhood of Evil. They are kinda idiots."

Wait, you co-own a dog with the other Hawkeye?

"I know, right?" Kate replies, her tone as dry as the Sahara. "It's like a joint custody agreement without the break-up or the divorce. It kind of feels like cheating."

Lucky looks up from his mess of cardboard chips on Tony's expensive carpet. He's heard his name mentioned a few times now, but no commands and definitely no affection. His face looks absolutely betrayed.

She is thankfully not demonstrating just how deadly she is with a milkshake straw at the moment because Tommy is peppering her with questions. Brows furrowed, there's a hint of a smile at least at being called badass weapons chick. "Something like that," she replies. It isn't the most forthcoming response in the world, but it's true at the very least. But his following words do confirm what she has been suspecting all along, if not just for their choice of codenames.

And she has been in enough runs with the Avengers not to blink at the idea of super-speed or magic anymore.

She isn't surprised at all when Tommy almost literally leaps at the opportunity to be an Avenger, if not just because he seems to be the type to make up his mind right away before someone tries to convince him otherwise. Those stirrings of resignation on her features become all the more emphatic when Tony makes it very clear that he is absolutely serious about recruiting Billy and Tommy. If nothing else, that smirk gives it away.

Especially when he reveals that he isn't even going to take any responsibility for this when he just casually mentions that he's going to throw them at Captain America's way immediately.

She wasn't even seriously contemplating on murdering Tony Stark in his own tower up until he mentions that it's her job, now, to mentor the new Avengers. Her reaction? She flashes Tony a very sweet, simpering smile, her teeth visible from behind parted lips.

"Tommy's not the one I'm thinking of killing right now, Tony."

After a moment of holding that beauteous and disconcerting expression, she sighs. "It's not an easy gig," she tells them both simply. "Even for people with superpowers. Just keep that in mind before you say yes to Satan over here, okay?"

He can't help it; Billy just snorts a brief laugh at Kate's words, his smile a wry one as he shakes his head. "You got to skip past right to the good part, I guess."

It's not like Wiccan isn't flattered. He is so flattered he just wants to explode into a million tweets about how TONY FREAKING STARK just invited HIM to the Avengers and probably end up giving his poor parents about ten thousand heart attacks. So it isn't that.

But life has lended him towards a realistic outlook. And he's so much more prone to questioning everything around him than Tommy is. Case in point:

"Enthusiasm isn't exactly a good substitute for training thomgmmphhg!!" This is the sound of Billy's very well-reasoned arguments being snuffed out by a hand slapped directly over his mouth, struggling in vain against the speedster's grip as Speed takes the talking point and graciously accepts their position on the team for -both of them because he definitely speaks for Billy-. Watch Billy. Watch Billy get mad. Watch Billy get madder and madder until —

— oh my god are they going to fight Doctor Doom??

Brown eyes go wide for a moment at the possibility, and how amazing and also HORRIBLY DANGEROUS AND A TERRIBLE IDEA THAT IS, TOMMY. It's as he's contemplating this that his gaze turns, briefly, towards Kate. He knows that look. He makes it all the time when he's dealing with Tommy.

She's being put into a situation she doesn't want to be in.

That in itself is a sobering thought for Billy Kaplan, whose thoughts instantly turn inward. Self-doubt never quite make it to his features — but it still gives him the push he needs to yank that hand off his mouth the second Tommy asks his very important question. "That's not how my powers work, and you know that, too," he insists, his frown severe as he just sort of… stares the Disappointed Stare at Tommy for a long moment.

"So no. I don't have a brain jar spell. The brain jar would beat the crap out of you and then probably get a bunch of kids to kick you while you're down." Yeah. He knows what that guy's deal is. BILLY READS THE NEWS.

But gradually, that brown gaze casts in Tony's direction, and Kate's. She doesn't want to be playing babysitter for them. And frankly, Billy doesn't want to be babysat, either. His dark brows furrow, lost in thought. The reasoning, at least, is sound. He can't poke holes in the logic that might make all this more likely to be a product of his wishful thinking.

It's not an easy gig. Even for people with superpowers. Just keep that in mind before you say yes to Satan over here, okay?

His thoughts roll, for a long, quiet moment.

"Yes," he says, without hesitation inspired by Kate's words (warnings (attempts to get out of a babysitting gig)). His voice is firm. His decision unilateral.

"We accept."

Because he's speaking for Tommy now, too. Billy is in Determined mode.

This can only end well.

Fortunately, Tommy's parents don't care enough about him to have heart attacks. He actually hasn't spoken to either his mother or his deadbeat dad since the tiny misunderstanding that resulted in his being turned into a test subject and prospective living weapon by a shady government project. Where does he live now, you might ask?

Well, fortunately, the Kaplans are very nice people.

"Don't they?" he wonders of Billy, when he claims that's not how his powers work, brow furrowing. "I thought it was all just 'yer a wizard, Billy!' and then you do…" he wiggles his fingers in what he assumes is a magical fashion. He doesn't know from magic, he's not the one who started calling himself Wiccan. "Anyway, it'll be fine. I'm not scared of a bunch of kids." DO NOT let Tommy Shepherd fight a bunch of small children, he does not play nicely the way Spider-Man does, DO NOT DO NOT—

The speedster shrugs a little bit at Kate's warning, flashing her a brilliant and let's be honest here kind of smug smile.

"We don't do easy, Kate Bishop. I mean really, most bad guys, me's all you need. Whatever comes up, we can handle it. So—"

We accept.

—That takes the wind right out of Tommy's sails in his attempt to look all cool and dramatic. He's only put off for a moment before his head bobs in a quick nod.

"Yeah, yeah what… What he said," Tommy agrees.

Stark is typing, all while Kate is staring and Billy is accepting and Tommy is chattering away about wizards. The mans hands are moving fast across a keyboard that really isn't there, flicking pictures across the hazy screen in the air as he goes. He's already nodding even as Billy accepts, smirking slightly towards them.

A flick of his fingers sends information across the screen.

"There. Provisional access to Avengers HQ. I'll get Pepper to write up something to get both of you in here in case you need to talk to me personally." Another flicks of his wrist and infromation is sent to Kate's phone.

Pictures. Tactics. Abilities. What she needs to know about the pair of them to keep them alive.

And a little extra.

"Alright. I'll have something concrete for the three of you in a few days. Something that doesn't end with me entangled in an international lawyer fight with a nationn of Mutants. Maybe…"

And JARVIS pops up with a newsfeed that seems to be words about one Jessica Jones getting flung around like a paperdoll.

…a sigh.

"Right. Maybe something sooner than later. I'll get all your access set up from here. And…" A smirk at all three of them. "…welcome to the Avengers."

A pause.

"I am /so/ not Satan!"

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