Keeping Up With the Maximoffs

July 21, 2018:

Billy Kaplan, Tommy Shepherd and Kate Bishop touch base over their recent encounter with the Maximoffs, and discuss a few additional items regarding the anti-mutant agenda going around.

Stark Tower

Current home of the Avengers


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Bolivar Trask, Simon Trask, Tony Stark, Kitty Pryde, Lockheed, Brotherhood, X-Men

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Billy Kaplan has too many uncertainties in his life.

It's a fact that he's always known, really. Or at least, something that's always weighed down on him in some small way or another. For someone who has had so much uncontrolled in the way his life has gone, Billy has had an acute sense for when there are more unknowns in his life than knowns. It eats away at him, little by little. Those things he -can- control, that he -does- know, he clings to like life rafts in a sea of uncertainty. Those he doesn't?

'Feverish' might be the best way to describe the way he goes about fixing that.

And that is exactly what is happening now. Ever since that day in Hell's Kitchen, Billy has been quiet and reserved — moreso than usual, even. Hardly going out, hardly speaking to anyone — just training, studying, and work. He never really calls attention to it, nor talks about it, but whatever he saw that day… well, it's shaken him.

So. He fixates. Fixates on his work. 'Work,' in this case, being a thorough investigation on the Brotherhood of Mutants and its leaders. Billy can be quite dedicated (not obsessed) to researching something when he puts his mind to it, and this? This has merited the full brunt of that dedicated (not obsessed) attention.

And it's exactly that which brings Billy Kaplan to Stark Tower, resting / brutal training ground for the young (not Young) Avenger. Within one of the lounge area, Wiccan sits — though calling it 'sitting' might be a bit of a misnomer. Cross-legged, the young would-be spellcaster is floating in mid-air, suspended on nothing more than the cool comforts of open air like it was a solid surface as he stares at a flowing screen of information about the Brotherhood. It's just one of many — countless little orange holograms encircle Billy right now like they were some kind of shell protecting him from the real world, like a science fiction version of a conspiracy theorist's wall web, some linking to pages about the Maximoffs, some about the Brotherhood — some, about the bombings in Hell Kitchen, and especially articles implicating the Brotherhood as responsible. And all this, he pours over with scrunched brows and the mildest frowns before he pinches his nose and exhales a soft sigh.

"What am I even doing…?"

He wants to just let it go. But…

… that's just not him.


What am I even doing…?

"Yeah, Billy. What are you doing?"

The second Hawkeye has always been the perceptive sort; an ability that must come with being able to see so far ahead as she does. It isn't just the mindset but the personality, and should the magic user turn, he'd find Kate by the doorframe, her shoulder against it and her arms crossed. It is a casual lean and easy, but those dark blue eyes are intent not at the state he is in, or even him in particular, but at the floating screens circling around him like an iridescent perimeter, translucent enough to be able to gauge the words present within each screen.

The Maximoffs.

She could laud his efforts in pursuing whatever they've managed to collect in Hell's Kitchen so aggressively - opportune and fortunate, really, that they've managed to collect it before those ten blocks went to hell in what looks like a terrorist attack. She had been tasked in coordinating between different agencies about it, but considering how many groups are involved in that mess, it probably isn't surprising that most of the load had been shuffled to the veterans, leaving the younger ones such as herself with the grunt work.

But there's something off about the young man's interest.

"This got something to do with what they were talking about back in the bar?" she wonders, finally easing away from her position by the door. Long strides takes her towards where the other young Avenger is floating, taking a glance at the data he has managed to collect so far.



"Yo, Billiam, that new Avengers vs. Justice League fighting game came out," Tommy Shepherd offers as a distraction, to no avail. "I heard in this version everyone has robot suits, with like molded faces on them, you wanna…?"


"Seriously, dude, there's all this footage of some crazy guy with weird headgear buck-ass nekkid in the Hudson River," the speedster tries, waving his phone around, trying to pull Billy's attention away from boring nerd stuff. "Kind of a hairy back though. He oughta wax."


He pilots a little Iron Man action figure with 'Real Repulsor Action(tm)' around the distracted mage, then accidentally crashes it into the wall, breaking it.


"All right if you're gonna be like that I'm eating your Five Guys too," the white-haired youth chides, although to be fair he'd already eaten all the fries.


"Biiiiilly~" calls a spooky(?) voice as Tommy's white-haired head phases up through the floor. "It's the ghost of not doing boring shit past, oooo~oo! I'm here to haunt you until you remember—augh!!" he exclaims, cut off thanks to being just vibrationally solid enough to get stepped on by Kate, possibly on purpose, disappearing through the floor. There is, distantly, the sound of a crash, a clatter of things falling down on the level below. Then, about five seconds later, Tommy is standing in the doorway, rubbing the small of his back. "That's not really how I imagined her stepping on me going," the speedster complains quietly.



It says something about the normally keen Billy that he doesn't seem to register the presence of Kate Bishop — not even after she speaks. It takes him a couple seconds before that brown gaze turns her way, a stare normally sharp if not unsure now looking almost the opposite — wreathed with a certain determination, and yet undeniable distant. He blinks, once. And then, finally, reality catches up to him, like the snap of a rubber band.

"Oh! Uh," he begins eloquently (lamely); his first impulse is to tell her it's nothing, dismiss it outright and wipe away all those holographic screens. He's exactly self-aware enough to know what this all looks like. She'll probably call him crazy or something. But he also knows if she's here and he didn't notice then she's probably already seen everything and already thinks he's crazy.

And so, he just sighs again, defeated. He prepares to finally just give and answer —

It's the ghost of not doing boring shit past, oooo~oo! I'm here to haunt you until you remember — augh!!

And instead is just left staring blankly as Tommy creep (creeps) his way up through the floor only to get goomba stomped back down. Billy continues to look at Kate, lips slowly pursing together as he hears crashing. And then falling. So, so many falling things. Like he fell into a floor full of dominoes, if dominoes sounded like expensive StarkTech.


If his expression were any flatter, Billy Kaplan would be dead.

In the five seconds it takes Tommy to super casually rush back to the floor he and Hawkeye the Second are on, Billy is already pushing a hand through thick black bangs until his palm rests securely on his forehead. "Don't be weird, Tommy," is his first almost knee-jerk response, as if the phrase came as naturally as breathing. "I'm pretty sure that's the best you're going to get, anyway." A second passes.

"And I'm not telling Mr. Stark about all the stuff you just broke, either. You still owe me for wrecking that action figure. That was a collectible!"

Harsh Nerd Realities, by Billiam (??) Kaplan.

"And it's not boring shit, okay? It's actually," something that's been personally driving me crazy, "something really important that we… we ought to be doing more about."

Kate, however, asks after what happened at the bar. And Billy's dark brows furrow as he glances aside, rubbing at the back of his neck.

"… Yeah," he manages, after a moment. There's a number of articles and pieces of information there, mainly about Brotherhood activities — here and abroad, and especially in Genosha. But what else is there are a number of articles and, most terrible of all, Wikipedia entries about the various members of the Trask family, too.

"They were there looking for information about Trask. That guy we saved — he's… a war criminal or something, right? All of this has to be connected. I've been trying to figure out their next move and…" Billy's eyes slide, towards a repeating recording of smoke belching from Hell's Kitchen. His eyes squeeze shut.

"… We were there, you know? We were at Hell's Kitchen. And they were there. And now there's all these people saying they're responsible," and he doesn't want to believe they're capable of something like that and that confuses him more than anything —

"… and I've just been thinking, if we stopped them there, could we have stopped this?"

He sounds concerned, at least. Looks it. But there's that little subtle edge of uncertainty. It's not the only reason he's been so dogged. It just helps him feel less guilty, thinking that way.

"We need to do more."


The white-haired speedster puffs up with offense at Billy's words, especially because the're being uttered in front of Kate Bishop herself. Whatever happened to make the young Mr. Kaplan such a negative nelly?!

"Man, I said I'd fix it!" Tommy insists, and well his attempts to do so were less than entirely successful, if we're being honest. At least he didn't make the situation any worse, because that had become frankly impossible. At least he can search eBay much faster than most people can. And he won't have to pay for shipping.

He tactfully leaves the possibility that he just broke some expensive stuff by accident alone, though. Probably a guy like Tony Stark loves fixing his stuff when it breaks anyway, right? That's why they let them tear up all those old Iron Man suits before while Kate was observing and probably playing Candy Crush on her phone.

"Oy," Tommy complains when Billy gets to what he's actually been looking at - maybe he's been spending too much time at the Kaplans', extremely nice people that they are - and the suggestion that if they'd been able to catch the ringleaders of the Brotherhood of Mutants they could've stopped Hell's Kitchen from burning.

"Listen, dude, that Crazy-But-Hot wizard lady had your number. I could've totally taken the other guy," debatable, "I mean he's like, what, sixty years old looking like that? Probably brittle bones. But she was gonna Avada Kedavra all our asses if we'd stayed much longer."

He pauses, consideringly. Green eyes scrunch up for just a moment, as he turns over some thought in his head, but…

"Also what's a 'Trask'?"


Now all of these people are saying they're responsible.

"Do you really believe that?" Kate wonders, a hand planting on her hip as she casts a sideways look at Billy. "They're handy scapegoats, aren't they? Notorious terrorists, 'mutants first' and whatnot? If this was well in line with their mission, they would have taken credit already, but they haven't."

She stops in front of one of the holographic screens, her hand coming up to rub her chin. "You're going to drive yourself crazy thinking about the what-ifs, Billy. None of us can see the future, there was no way anyone would've been able to predict this. The Avengers, the Justice League, SHIELD? Nobody saw this coming. People might demand us to be perfect, but that's unreasonable and impossible, we're just going to have to do the very best we can."

Man I said I'd fix it!

Blue eyes find Speed on the other side of the room. "Oh, hey, Tommy. When did you get here?" she wonders; she probably hadn't even noticed she stepped on him on her way to Billy's little set up.

"Anyway, Trask as in Bolivar Trask. Of Trask Industries. He was formerly an anthropologist, but after mutants started coming out of the woodwork, he decided they were a threat to humanity, so many of his innovations are directed towards putting them down from mild to extreme prejudice. Hence why the Brotherhood's so interested in him, when he's basically marketing himself out as public enemy number one for all mutantkind."


Eighteen years of being Billy Kaplan did the deed.

Not that he'd say he was negative.

… He'd say he's realistic.

Beyond the debatable truth of that particular notion, though, Billy is just perpetual frowns as Tommy adamantly insists that he'll fix that terribly tragic situation he's wrought upon Wiccan's precious collectibles (action figures). It's an expression that just sort of bleeds 'sure, okay' without actually saying it. Because he knows it's never going to happen Because he believes that much in Tommy's earnestness.

But it's a silence that endures when Tommy begins with his own complaints. The 'oy' earns a little arch of his brow in a perfect 'really?' look — but even so, Billy can't help but smile, just a little. Maybe his family's rubbing off on Tommy.

It's a small bit of amusement that doesn't particularly last, not when Tommy gets to the meat of his stance. Instead, Billy just squints at the other young meta, lips pursing faintly.

"He was mopping the floor with you while he was dealing with Kate, Tommy. You were getting outplayed hard." But maybe that just proves his point too. Billy glances aside, rubbing the back of his neck as Kate points out those rather salient points, a sigh slipping past his lips.

"I don't know if they were responsible or not. I know it's convenient propaganda, but… you didn't see what I saw, Kate. I…" Kate says it was impossible to predict. And he knows that. He knows. Still… "… still, I feel like we could've done something. You know? If we stuck around a little longer…" I could have seen just what about those two was bothering me so much. "… I don't know."

A second passes. His brows furrow incredulously.

"Also, seriously? You know you've got white hair too, right? If he looks sixty, then you look, like, forty. At least."

But he lapses once more into thought, as if about to turn his attentions back toward his work and once more go back to shutting himself off from the world around him. Trouble tinges at the fringes of his expression… Also, what's a 'Trask'?

… and then Tommy conveniently distracts him.

He looks surprised, at first, blinking lamely as he just stares at Tommy. "I — really?" And then when he realizes yes, really, that expression flattens with a perfection that can only be produced with constant practice. "Really. Tommy — honestly." Sigh goes — here. "There's a serious problem going on with mutants right now, you know that? They're going through some really uncertain times. The least you could do is read about it. We need to know about these things, we're heroes now."

The Billy Lecture could go on forever, really — he certainly looks prepared to. But instead — lesson time! Shaking his head, Billy catches one of those smaller screens, tossing it forward between himself and the other two. It enlarges, to show a picture and little readout on one man —

"Yeah. What Kate said. Trask was one of the first to see the 'rise of mutants' as a threat." There's a picture that he slides upward, an artistic rendition of 'THE MUTANT OVERLORD ENVISIONED BY BOLIVAR TRASK' who looks suitably satanic, wielding a whip and a… horizontally striped polo shirt. It's kind of weird.

"You know the Sentinels, right?" He has to. They're giant fighting robots, that has to be something Tommy knows. Please let it be something Tommy knows. "Bolivar Trask made those. Now his brother, Simon Trask, has started taking up his torch — he might even hate mutants more than his brother did. And it's not just Sentinels they're building now, either. Trask is at the forefront of that registration thing, and even worse things still."

He pauses. Frowns. Like something is nagging him, despite his attempt to give an extremely detailed history lesson Tommy no doubt wants to hear all about. Something —

"… hey," he says, after a moment. "Those two — the Maximoffs, you know, the ones at Hell's Kitchen? Did anything seem… strange about them to you, Tommy?"


The fact that Kate only just now noticed Tommy's presence, that she didn't even realise she'd stepped on his head and pushed him back through the floor, is truly an ego-shattering moment for the white-haired speedster. This is possibly exactly why she did it: Hawkette is quite capable of being nefarious, he's noticed.

It's okay though, he recovers quickly.

"Whatever, man!" Tommy retorts, once again all puffed up over Billy's cruel (accurate) assessment of how he was faring against Quicksilver. But moreso over the aspersions cast on his apparent age. "I look like one of the dudes in those anime shows you watch." He pronounces it 'aneem'. Possibly on purpose? He's said it right before. "The contrast between my white hair and youthful features gives me an unconventional charm! That guy looked all old and scowly. Like somebody's jerk uncle. Like a skinny Uncle Vernon."

Maybe he keeps referring to Harry Potter because he figures, as a young mage, it gives Billy useful context?

But then the lecture about Trask starts up, and Tommy's green eyes get a bit of a glazed look at Billy's lengthy explanation - he pays much closer attention to Kate's more brief one, for various reasons - but at least he start nodding when the Sentinels are brought up.

"Uh, yeah, giant robots are dope," he scoffs at the question. "I bet we could totally take those things. They look explodey." He had to fight a lot of murder robots back during his days as a putative living weapon, though admittedly they weren't specifically mutant murder robots. More just generic murder robots. But both the topic of murder robots and the extremely boring explanation of the context and history of mutant oppression are thankfully abandoned so that Billy can instead bring up an other bugbear entirely.

Did anything seem… strange about them to you, Tommy?

"Well for one thing, for being named Maximoff they didn't seem Russian at all," Tommy notes. "I guess it was sort of weird that the dude was fast like me. And his sister was like, coocoo for cocoa puffs, that was weird. Also did like… Did anybody else get an incest-y vibe?" he wonders, a bit plaintively as he looks between Billy and Kate, hoping they'll tell him he's super off base there.


Nefarious? She could be.

But it also could be that she's tired; she doesn't look it, considering she endeavours to look cool and professional at all times - at least around the two young Avengers she's supposed to be looking out for anyway - but long hours have been spent cleaning up after the Hell's Kitchen disaster as well as the other cases lying around that aren't related to it. That, and Tony has no qualms putting her to work whenever he feels like it.

There's a nod from her black-haired head at Billy's more in-depth explanation - with displays and exhibits and everything - though there's a furrowing of her brows at the mutant overlord caricatures, because it is weird. Still, she moves far enough just so she could drop herself on one of the comfortable couches on the lounge, stretching out her legs. She slouches, perhaps the only indicator of her fatigue, sinking into the comfortable cushions until she's almost one with them, fingers linking against her abdomen.

The Maximoff twins thought there was something strange about Tommy and Billy also - at the very least Billy's suspicions, however mysterious, are mutual. There seems to be some connection, though from what she knows about their respective backgrounds, there shouldn't be. It was strange, to say the least, but the twins and Billy seemed to sense it, and if three people feel the same way about a thing that ought to be coincidence…

Kate says nothing for a long moment, turning the encounter over and over in her mind.

She says little else about her own thoughts, but those dark blue eyes lift towards Tommy and Billy when they start speculating about the Maximoffs. "Well, you're not the only one about the Lannisters-from-Game-of-Thrones vibe," she contributes. "Other than that, Pietro Maximoff does look a lot like you, Tommy. It's not so noticeable with Billy because of his coloring, but you and him might as well be…I dunno. Older bro and little bro."

She knows. She has a photographic memory, among other things.


"It's not 'aneem' it's 'ahh-knee-' — … you're just trying to annoy me, aren't you?"

Billy Kaplan's frown of disapproval is most disapproving.

But there has to be diminishing returns on those eventually, right?

"And he's more like a Lucius Malfoy."

"You're more like a Draco."

… …

"If Draco was lamer."

That was almost a compliment! (?)

Still, he settles in after that; he kind of expected Tommy's attention to wander during his explanation, but that doesn't stop him from looking disappointed nonetheless. He has a really good disappointed face, too. It's seriously master-class. It only lasts as long as it takes him for his concerns to take over once more, for him to wander, inevitably, back to their other topic of conversation in a way that he at least tries to frame like an afterthought. He's hoping for some sense of solidarity in this, that it isn't just him.

Instead what he gets is:

Well for one thing, for being named Maximoff they didn't seem Russian at all.

"Oh my god," mumbles Billy Kaplan, face entirely consumed by his palm. He'd try to explain but he can see all the ways in which Tommy might confuse what 'Transia' is and he just… he just can't.

So it's an open relief when the other Avenger's words pivot towards something actually relevant, for the briefest moments, before veering off onto other, wilder tangents. 'Fast like him,' says Tommy, and it makes Billy's brows scrunch together when combined with Kate's other affirmations.

"He does?" He didn't get a good look in all the panic and the fighting, but if anyone would remember, it would be her. "I thought maybe, but…" But they're also talking about other things. Game of Thrones-y things.

"Yeah, the worst Lannisters, maybe," he mumbles, under his breath.

Boy has opinions.

"But there was something… the Scarlet Witch's power, it was… it was exactly like mine," he manages, after a moment. "And I saw…"

I saw something dark in there. Something terrible.

And it's making me question everything.

"… No. It's… probably nothing." A second passes by. Billy shakes his head. "… Anyway. Mister Stark was talking about Trask a few weeks ago to some X-Men. Like… real, live X-Men. Colossus. And Ariel." A second passes. "Err. Wait. I think she calls herself Shadowcat now? Anyway! Real X-Men." He looks way too excited about this. "They brought up these —"

And here, schematics show up about a power-dampening collar. Very, very detailed schematics — like someone had one they could take apart and really look into.

"Collars. For mutants. That Simon Trask has apparently been making. I volunteered to help and… and I think we should look into this. All of us. It's a problem. It's the sort of thing we ought to be doing more about."

The fact that it might have them inevitably crossing paths with the Maximoffs again is, of course, entirely coincidence.


"That guy is no Lucius Malfoy," Tommy counters, taking the assertion that he was like a lamer Draco in stride. "First of all, Lucius Malfoy had that rad-ass pimp cane, and second of all he's definitely not my dad. My dad went bald at twenty five and one day he went out for cigarettes and never came home."

He's from a broken home, Billy.

And entirely willing to use that fact to score cheap points in dumb arguments.

"He so does not look like me," the speedster insists in the face of Kate's perfect recall abilities. "I mean, okay, we're both fast but our hair is different shades of white. Mine's more like a daisy white, his is clearly cotton, and you know what why does this even matter?!" What does matter is that they're all on the same page re: the inappropriate family dynamics of the Maximoff clan, and then Billy goes off making crazy talk about the Scarlet Witch's power being the same as his.

Well, Tommy doesn't know anything about magic, but…

"Isn't she a mutant, though? I mean her mutant power can't just be 'does magic', can it? Are those other magic dudes mutants too, like whatsisface, Professor Improbable? Or that chick in the Teen Titans? You know, the one with all those videos on youtube? Man, she had this one where she was doing magic tricks in a bikini, and…" he trails off, realising that he's probably the only one of the three with any interest in girls in bikinis.

Fortunately it might get missed, since Billy takes the opportunity to fanboy the X-Men, which produces a blank look from Tommy, although when the other young man mentions 'Ariel' there's a flash of confused thought across the speedster's face that definitely betrays the fact that he thinks she's a mermaid. But then, thankfully, finally, Billy gets around to something interesting.

Because there's a problem. That they should do something about.

"HELL YEAH let's find out where they make these things and burn it to the ground!" Tommy Shepherd says, which is… Not a plan, Tommy.


The X-Men. Kate Bishop's expression is inscrutable in that regard; a difficult read most days, one never really knows what goes on inside of her head when it comes to the subject of metahumans and mutants, and she isn't one to enlighten anyone in that regard, either.

Instead, she turns her attention to the schematics of Trask's collar, not that she has to look at it for long - with a snapshot stored inside of her head, she takes note of its dimensions, circuitry and weakpoints. "It's interesting how they managed to make that in the first place," she mutters thoughtfully. "Every mutant is different, unless they found a way to reach /right/ into the very foundations of what gives a mutant his power using electricity, ones and zeroes…"

Then again, Trask was considered a genius, wasn't he?

And then Tommy proposes they find out where they make these things and burn it to the ground, to which she responds with: "That's not a plan, Tommy. Besides, you destroy a plant, you only delay production, and evem then, only for that region. That's not really going to solve the problem." She rolls her head over at Billy. "Since you have the schematics, have you had Tony or one of the brainier types we've got to look into it and figure out the best way to disable it? If we can figure that out, maybe something could be developed to counter it. And once that's developed, maybe get in touch with the Brotherhood and the X-men and give them access to it, and they can distribute it through their networks."

There's a pointed look at Wiccan. "Would give us an excuse to get in touch with both groups at the very least." She isn't fooled, too sharp not to notice Billy's hedging from earlier, though at the very least, she isn't discouraging his interest. But it is her job to keep an eye on these two.


"I know that."

Look at that. Billy looks guilty. Cheap points achieved. Good job, Tommy Shepherd.

Not that it saves him from any other critiques from either of them, it seems, from Billy throwing his support behind Kate with a, "He did kind of look like you. And Kate would probably know better than you anyway," to the blank look that follows as Tommy starts to go into the wonders of magic in bikinis that confirms, yes, he's getting absolutely nothing out of this, it truly never ends. In this much, Tommy Shepherd stands alone.

Everything else that precedes it, though — that's food for thought. A troubled look is barely suppressed as Billy Kaplan rubs at his right forearm. It's been easy to just assume his powers were just magic and let everyone else ride off of that assumption, but to be honest…

"I don't know."

… he doesn't know what they are.

"All I know is it felt exactly the same as what it feels like when I cast my spells. And she… I saw in her mind. It was like we were connected for a second and it felt… I don't know. It's hard to describe. I'm sorry." He really is.

Because he wants to know what it is he felt, too.

He takes the talk of the X-Men and the collars as a welcome, if not very serious distraction. That's not a plan, Tommy. "That's not a plan, Tommy," says Billy, in perfect unison with Kate. Proof of how much they've both dealt with the speedster. Setting back down on his feet, he stretches slightly as he answers Kate, head shaking in the midst of his yawn. "I got these from Mr. Stark; he and Shadowcat were working on a way to disable them." A pause. "Oh, and they had a dragon there. … the dragon wasn't helping, it was just — I mean — it was a dragon. A tiny one!"

No one's probably going to appreciate this but him.

"… and I think it was bullying me."

His throat clears, a second later. "A-anyway. I think they're working on the counter, but it might help to start looking into Simon Trask, too. It'll be better if we can discredit him somehow, or… find some sort of incriminating evidence, or something. Otherwise they'll just think of something worse to make."


That's not a plan, Tommy.

In stereo, no less.

It takes the wind right out of the speedster's proverbial sails, a long exhalation as his appetite for destruction is rebuffed by the at least closer to level-headed members of their little trio. Kate does at least have a good reason why, though the temptation to argue that he could just get all the factories in an afternoon if they got all the locations stirs in his thoughts. Instead, he sulks a bit, folding his arms across his chest.

He's only half listening, while he sulks. Something about the X-Men, and Billy getting bullied by a dragon which just sounds like pure nonsense. Kate suggesting they could get in contact with the X-Men and the Brotherhood both, as though their previous encounter with the latter hadn't gone extremely badly. What if next time they get the Blob? What if he eats Billy???

"We could dangle that Trask guy out a window until he agrees to stop committing genocide," Tommy contributes, with less vim and vigor than his earlier suggestion of massive property damage. "Or, I dunno, why don't you magic him into a good guy? I'm not cut out for that stealthy kinda stuff," he points out, as though Kate and Billy weren't both painfully aware of the fact.


It wouldn't do much good; in the end, the Trasks will still have the schematics, and if they have them, they can always make more.

At Tommy's sulking, she flashes him an expression that could be even a little apologetic; if nothing else, Kate doesn't mean to be hard on the guy, but rampant property damage isn't always the answer to everything. But after that she's paying attention again to what Billy is saying, though she makes such a face when he mentions a dragon that ended up bullying him. Really, her life hasn't stopped being strange since she decided to look into her father's shady dealings as a younger teenager.

"I'm not sure how effective blackmail or the like is going to be," she murmurs, though Tommy's later addition - about magicking him into a good guy - has her pausing for a little bit. "Though what Tommy suggests isn't a bad idea. Is that something you could do, Billy? I wouldn't go so far as to 'magic' him into a good guy, but some kind of magical programming, maybe, that could prevent him from raising a hand against mutants." She doesn't go so far as to suggest some kind of metaphysical lobotomy, but she is proposing something akin to subliminal suggestion.

"Anyway, I think the idea is sound, looking into Simon Trask to start," she continues. "It keeps us at a distance while we figure out the best way to take him down." At the very least, she's supporting Billy's plan into doing something.

Checking her smartphone, she exhales as she rises from the couch, making note of the time and pocketing it in her back pocket. "Anyway, I better get back to it. Billy, why don't you start putting together a briefing packet on Trask's recent movements? See what you can scrounge up from our contacts feed and we can figure out what to poke and prod at once it's time to surveil him. I think we still have some pull with SHIELD." Thanks to Clint Barton and others. "Tommy can help you out."

She could do it herself, but she's supposed to be training these guys, so she delegates.


And this is why dragon bullies are such a problem. No one ever takes it seriously.

His Lockheed-based woes aside, Billy's expression does at least turn towards the sympathetic for all of Tommy's (Very Obvious) sulking. The young Avenger scratches the side of his head, looking like he's going through all the viable options he can think of to try to cheer the speedster up. He comes up with something, eventually. Something that makes him grimace, just a little, with the faintest twitch of his lips.

But it's the only option he has.

For now, though, he tables it. Mainly because of something Tommy brings up not moments later. We could tangle that Trask guy out a window — no, not that.

Or, I dunno, why don't you magic him into a good guy?

Billy pauses at that suggestion. Wide, brown eyes shutter in a slow blink.

He can't help it. His mind flickers towards the memories of Wanda Maximoff.

And that one spell he can never get to work on himself—

"… I'm not sure," he answers Kate after a long moment. "I've never tried."

And it's mostly true, isn't it? But things like this… they're not a question of can, are they?

They're always more a question of should.

"That sounds like a good start, though. Maybe we can see if there's anything Mr. Stark needs us for, too. And if it comes down to it…" Can he make someone better? Someone obviously evil, obviously doing something wrong? He has the power, so shouldn't he—?

His eyes shut. And after a moment, they reopen to look Tommy's way with an apologetic kind of smile that isn't even forced. Mostly.

"First, how about we get something to eat, Tommy."

And he utters the next two, damning words, knowing full well the havoc it will wreak:

"My treat."

The things he does for friends.


It would be fair to say that Tommy's moral compass isn't always the most, err, reliable one. So he is in fact suggesting a metaphysical lobotomy, because why not? If the dude's a bad dude, why not use whatever means available to make him not a bad dude? Then he can stop making Sentinels and mutant suppresson collars and make, like, toys for kids. Or electric cars.

So the moral quandary of it doesn't really occur to the white-haired young Avenger, whether in spite of or because of his own time as a guinea pig being poked and prodded against his will.

Of course he's also still up for blowing up all of Trask's stuff.

"Aw, man, research is just…" Boring. Slow. Everyone else is snails. Though there's a certain interest in seeing just what kind of information they could shake out of SHIELD. Maybe they'd have to go poking around the Triskelion, there could be all sorts of cool stuff over there.

However, Billy, as befits a young wizard, says the magic words. Not just food, but that it's his treat.

"Sounds good to me. Hey, Kate Bishop, why don't you come along? You can't be in that much of a hurry, right?" he asks, with a hopeful grin at the bow-wielding heiress. Yes, he's definitely inviting her along on Billy's money.


There's a sidelong glance at Tommy and his hopeful grin, and then at Billy and his determined expression. There's a quiet sigh after that, fingers lifting to rub the back of her neck.

"Sure, why not?"

And with that, Kate moves over to where the boys are, linking one arm each on both young men before hauling them in a comradely fashion out the door.

"Just to warn," she tells Wiccan. "I eat like a horse." This is totally Tommy's fault.

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