Author Topic: New Kids On The Block  (Read 525 times)

Fliss

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New Kids On The Block
« on: May 27, 2018, 08:54:01 AM »
There are few things in the multiverse more intimidating than talking your own parents into allowing you to take a significant risk. What made it worse for Fliss was that she was also having to talk both her uncles and their teammates into allowing it as well. The news had come that morning that the information was found and being analysed and tested. She, Zach, Lucas, and Matt had three days of training under their belts, able to do more than they had expected to by now already. Liv had talked Johnny into taking the young team to Earth to make their pitch, trusting that none of the experienced heroes would allow anything awful to happen. So Rufus Bennett had come with them, too, but he was standing at the back of the room, leaving the four of them just a little exposed in front of the Avengers and then some. Not just the original Avengers team, but Reed and Sue Richards, and Alyona Evchenko and Nikolai Petrov, too. They had a lot of people to convince, and not much time to do it in.

Johnny had reluctantly brought Fliss and her friends to Earth, mostly because of Liv. He knew Fliss wanted to hurt Hydra as much as he did, and he knew she was capable of doing it, but he wasn't sure he was ready to risk her life or that of her friends' lives for what amounted to revenge. Or was it justice? If there was anyone who needed convincing, it was Steve and Johnny.

"What exactly are you hoping to achieve here?" Steve asked the group, standing as he was with his arms against his chest and not looking like he was going to budge.

"The same thing you were when you volunteered for the war," Matt blurted, having read all of Johnny's comic books and then some.

Fliss just about managed not to wince at Matt's interjection, aware that she was the unofficial spokesperson for their little group. She met Steve's flat gaze head on. "We have abilities and powers," she reminded her uncle. "And that means we have a responsibility to use them for good, right? You need all the help you can get, and we've been training. We can link our powers. And don't say we're too young. Matt's the same age Dad was when he started this."

"Same age I was when I made my first mark," Natasha offered, perhaps unhelpfully, from where she was seated.

Tony glowered at her - it didn't look as though any of the three men related to Fliss were happy about this.

Johnny didn't look too happy about this latest development and yet, he couldn't blame the kids for wanting to help and he was secretly proud of them for feeling so strongly about it. He met Fliss' gaze head on, ignoring the others for now. She was his daughter, hence, this was ultimately between the two of them.

"Why, I was a mere stripling when I wielded my first hammer," Thor pointed out, perhaps as unhelpfully as Natasha.

"Okay, everybody who doesn't have a family connection and didn't go behind our backs to train them has to leave now," Tony announced, pointing to the door. "You, too, Point Break. The man with the hammer might have a dog named after him, but this is family. Out."

Meanwhile Fliss was holding Johnny's gaze as calmly as she could. She wasn't a child anymore, however much he might want her to be; she had as much right to be here as he did. More, given that she'd actually accepted help and training before throwing herself at the enemy for the first time.

"I do not understand that reference," Thor complained, blond brows furrowed in confusion.

"Never mind," Steve said, in complete agreement with Tony, though he wasn't too sure about the pop culture reference either. Was Tony comparing the God of Thunder to Patrick Swayze? Either way, he agreed - anyone who wasn't family shouldn't really have any say in the matter.

"Just wait outside," he said, waiting as Thor and the others filed toward the door. "You stay," he added, pointing toward Nat. You didn't name your children after people you didn't consider to be family.

To his credit, Tony didn't argue with Nat being directed to stay put. He knew when not to push his luck, especially when other people were already dancing on the button for at least two of his teammates. Fliss swallowed as the room dramatically emptied of everyone who hadn't been an influence on her teens. Somehow, that was more intimidating.

Sue slid into a seat at the table with a low sigh. "I think everyone needs to calm down a little so we can discuss this," she suggested.

"I'm calm," Johnny said, the only proof of that the fact that he hadn't burst into flames ... yet. It had been a long few days for all of them, but especially for Johnny and Fliss. What he really wanted was to talk to Fliss alone, but this wasn't just about her. There were three other young people to think about, and all of their families, too. "Does your Mom know about this?" he asked, simply.

"Not all of it," Fliss admitted quietly. "I didn't see the point in scaring her if you veto the whole idea." She glanced at the rest of her team. "Look, we can do this," she said suddenly, leaning forward with as much earnest certainty as she could muster. "We can prove it! Okay, we're probably not frontline right now, but you need all the help you can get, and we can be that help!"

Nat tapped a finger to get her attention, shaking her head to warn against pushing too hard too soon.

Johnny scowled, looking from one teen to the other before his gaze landed on Rufus. "You trained them. What do you think? Are they ready?" he asked, knowing one didn't train for a mission like this in three days.

He could at least count on Rufus to give them an honest estimation of the group's abilities and readiness. The man had no reason to lie.

Rufus was standing quietly at the back of the room, his arms crossed over his chest. He met Johnny's eye calmly. "With firm guidance and clear directives, I see no reason why they couldn't handle themselves," he said carefully. "Do they need more training? Yes. But everyone needs more training. I would recommend allowing them to demonstrate their abilities before you make your final decision."

"Okay, so ... demonstrate," Johnny said, with a wave of his hand. It wasn't a challenge exactly, but he needed to know just what they could do. He knew what Fliss was capable of and knew she could probably handle herself, but as far as he knew, Lucas was only capable of flying, Matt of swimming, and Zach of telepathy. Steve instinctively moved back to give them room, waving the others back to do the same.

"Ah ..." Rufus straightened up. "I would recommend the demonstration be outside," he suggested. "I highly doubt you want the earth to move or rain to fall in here."

Despite her concerns, Fliss could feel herself smirking a little. She knew they'd impressed Rufus over the last few days, but she hadn't realized quite how much.

"I beg your pardon?" Steve asked, brows arching upwards. "Move the Earth?" he echoed, unsure if that should be taken literally or not. Did he mean like an earthquake or something else?

"Outside then," Johnny said, quick to agree. "Sue, can you create a bubble around us so no one can interfere?"

Sue considered the group before them for a moment. "I don't think I need to," she said thoughtfully. "But I can set a field up just in case, if you really want it."

Tony threw up his hands. "Seriously? We're seriously considering letting kids do this?"

"We're seriously seeing what they're capable of," Steve pointed out.

"Fliss is right. I wasn't much older than Matt when I became the Torch. And there was no one to train me or tell me what to do. I was young and cocky and people got hurt because of that. I don't want the same thing to happen to them," Johnny was quick to add.
[color=darkred:0db6ceb058][size=9:0db6ceb058][i:0db6ceb058][b:0db6ceb058]A spark neglected makes a mighty fire.[/b:0db6ceb058][/i:0db6ceb058][/size:0db6ceb058][/color:0db6ceb058]

Fliss

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Re: New Kids On The Block
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2018, 08:54:25 AM »
"So ... outside." Nat stood up, gesturing to the door. "You're gonna have an audience of more than just us," she warned the teens. "No one knows what to expect here."

Rufus came to stand behind the teens, quietly encouraging them to stand and file out after Sue and Natasha.

Steve waited until everyone else filed out before taking up the rear, next to Tony. "Any way we can prevent drawing an audience?" he asked. If anyone was capable of that, Tony was, with the help of Jarvis.

Johnny stepped in to walk beside his daughter, whispering quietly to her, "I hope you know what you're doing." It wasn't that he didn't trust her; it was only that he didn't want to see her or her friends get hurt if they weren't ready. He knew this would be coming someday; he just didn't think it would happen so soon.

"We wouldn't have asked if we didn't think we could do it, Dad," Fliss assured Johnny quietly. "Look, we're not expecting to be right in the thick of it, not this time. It got personal, and it's more than just Mom getting hurt - Hydra upped the stakes, and if they're not taken care of, Uncle Steve is never going to be home for more than two or three days at a time, and the kids don't deserve that. But it's also ... We - I - have the ability to stop bad people from carrying on. If I just stand to one side, then the bad wins. It's like you said - with power comes responsibility, and I'm feeling that responsibility right now."

Johnny quietly listened to everything she had to say before gently taking her arm and pulling her aside, away from the group. "Give us a minute," he said, as the others glanced curiously at the pair.

Nat nodded, drawing the rest of the group along the corridor toward the nearest outside exit, with Sue engaging the nearest of the younger group in conversation just to fill the time.

Fliss moved with Johnny's encouragement, biting her lip as she came to a halt. "I really did think about this," she promised, hoping to get that in there before he spoke again. "We all did."

The delay would give Zach a little time to explain what they could do and how it all worked, but he couldn't stall forever. Johnny waited until they were alone before speaking. What he wanted to say - had to say - couldn't be said in front of a crowd. It wasn't a lecture, but a father's heartfelt words to his beloved daughter.

"Fliss, I know how much you want to help. I understand how important it is to you. And I know what you're capable of, but ..." This was where he paused, unsure if he should go on. Was it fair to tell her how he felt? He didn't want to make her feel guilty, but he needed her to understand the risks. "I almost lost Liv. I don't want to lose you." It wasn't that he didn't trust her or think her capable; it was simply a father's fear of losing those he loved.

Fliss held his gaze for a long moment. "Don't you think that's how I feel about you doing this?" she pointed out. It was a reasonable point - Johnny had always been the one taking the risk to fight the bad guys. She didn't think he had ever been the one waiting at home for news. "I'm not going to be on my own," she promised him. "Lucas, Matt, Zach ... we're a team, Dad. And some of the stuff we can do scares me, sure it does. But if we can make the world safer, then I want to do that. I won't take stupid risks, but I feel like I need to do this."

"Fliss, I hurt someone once because I didn't understand the full extent of my powers. It's something I can never forgive myself for and something that can never be changed. It's not just about what you can do, together or otherwise. It's about control," he pointed out. It was something he'd been stressing ever since they'd found her at the orphanage, and though he was sure she had gained control of her own abilities, could she say the same about the rest of her teammates? "Are you sure Luc and Matt and Zach are in this for the right reasons? Are you sure they aren't gonna go rogue?"

She couldn't help her reaction, feeling defensive and angry on her teammates' behalf. "Yeah, Dad, I trust them," she told him fiercely. "What, you don't think I should trust the guy I love, or his brother, or our friend who was going to join up with you guys whether we joined in with him? Okay, so maybe Matt's a little wild, but he's not stupid, Dad. Mr Bennett made damn sure we know what we're walking into here. He's even talking about teaching us hand to hand so if our powers go down, we're not helpless!"

"It's not about being stupid, Fliss!" Johnny shot back, trying to keep his cool, but they were both pretty hot-headed. He drew a long sigh, not wanting to get angry with her or make her angry. "What do you want me to say? I'm not Luc or Matt's father. I can't tell them what to do. But right now, they're my responsibility. You're my responsibility. And please, don't give me the 'I'm not a kid speech', because I already know that. I also know that if you really want to do this, I can't stop you. But I'm still your father, Fliss, and I'm not gonna stop worrying or caring about you. I know I can't keep you safe in a bubble forever, and I'm damned proud of you for wanting to do this. All I'm asking is that you be careful because I can't lose you. That's all. I just can't," he said, his voice breaking a little toward the end, though he didn't want it to.

She bit her lip, tears threatening to douse the familiar flames in her eyes. It hurt to think he didn't trust that she would make certain before volunteering herself for this. "Dad ... I wouldn't be here, asking for this, if Mr. Bennett didn't think we could handle it," she told him, wondering if he would take the Watcher's opinion on them over her own. "He made us promise that we wouldn't force it if he didn't think we were up to it. We're not going to take stupid risks, I promise. But wouldn't you rather have us working with you, than going it alone?"

"That's why I'm going to say yes," he told her, having already made up his mind about it the minute they'd volunteered. He wasn't so old that he didn't remember what it was like to be that age and to want to do the right thing. "I trust you, Fliss, but you have to promise me something."

"This isn't going to be my life, Dad, I just need to -" She blinked as her brain caught up with her ears. "Wait, what?"

"I said I trust you, but I need you to promise me something," he repeated, not realizing she was stuck on the first part of what he'd just said.

"I can't make any promises for the guys," she warned him, still a little amazed that he had already decided to let them come. "But I can make promises for me."

Now that they'd reached this point, he wasn't even sure what it was exactly that he'd wanted her to promise. He reached for her, hands upon her shoulders to make sure she met his gaze. "You're not gonna be on the front lines, and you're not going alone. It's not that I don't trust you, but you're inexperienced, and if Hydra were to get their hands on you ..." He didn't bother to fill in the blanks there; she'd seen enough with her youngers siblings to know what Hydra was capable of.

"I know," she assured him. "Seriously, Dad, we all know we're not ready for the frontlines. And we know the consequences if Hydra get hold of us. We'll be careful, I promise."

"That's all I ask," he said, reaching for her to pull her into his embrace. "I love you, Fliss. And I'm proud of you," he whispered, for her ears alone, even though there was no one there to overhear them.

Hugging him, Fliss could feel the worst of her tension relaxing as Johnny gave her his blessing to pursue this as far as they were allowed. "I love you, Daddy," she whispered back to him. "Thank you."

"Don't be a hero, Fliss. Remember, you're not in this alone. You're part of a team," he told her - something it had taken him a while to learn. "Okay?" he asked, pulling back from her to meet her gaze once again.

"I promise you, none of us is going to try and be a hero," she said confidently. "You'll see why in a second. Alone, we're all different, but together it's something else."

"Okay, let's go see what you've got," he said, offering a smile, though inside his heart was aching. He knew he had to let her go sometime, but he hoped he wasn't doing the wrong thing. "By the way, the guy you love?" he asked, a hint of teasing in his expression.
[color=darkred:0db6ceb058][size=9:0db6ceb058][i:0db6ceb058][b:0db6ceb058]A spark neglected makes a mighty fire.[/b:0db6ceb058][/i:0db6ceb058][/size:0db6ceb058][/color:0db6ceb058]

Fliss

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Re: New Kids On The Block
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2018, 08:54:54 AM »
"Oh, c'mon, like that's news," she pointed out with a faint scoff of a laugh, turning to walk with him toward the outside where the others were waiting. "Don't act all surprised, you're the one who keeps making jokes about having a fiery grandchild with wings."

"It would be kinda cool though, wouldn't it?" he chuckled, slinging an arm around her shoulders and tugging her close as they made their way outside. He dropped a kiss against her brow, before they reached the others, so he wouldn't embarrass her in front of her friends.

She laughed, hugging into his side. "I don't think Mom would be too pleased about a grandbaby she couldn't cuddle into infinity because it was on fire constantly," she answered cheerfully as they stepped outside. Her eyes found Lucas, sharing her smile with him in reassurance.

"Oh, great," Tony declared, rolling his eyes. "Nothing I say now is going to be listened to, is it? Poppa Bear folded under big eyes."

Johnny laughed with Fliss again. "Well, she wouldn't be too happy if he set the drapes on fire," he teased back, not realizing that he'd used the masculine pronoun to describe his future grandchild. "Let's just see what they can do before we jump to conclusions, Tony," he told his brother-in-law, understanding and sharing his concerns.

What they could do turned out to be a singular blending of the elements that even made Tony stagger at one point. As the tremors died away, the flames died, the wind and rain subsided, Ironman was pouting.

"Fine, they can come," he said petulantly. "Just not in charge of anything."

Sue shook her head behind his back. "That's a decision we need to come to together, and soon," she pointed out. "We have a lot of prep and travel before we make the hit at dawn."

Though Steve was often consider the team leader, the team had always been a democracy. Everyone had a say in everything that affected the team, but when the time came to give orders in battle, Steve often stepped up as leader. It was no different today, though with Johnny already giving his blessing, he didn't think anyone else - with the possible exception of Tony - would challenge that. "So, we put it to a vote," he suggested, glancing momentarily at  Alyona. If anyone knew the teens' true intentions, it was her, but he didn't want to make a point of asking.

The Sokovian telepath nodded imperceptibly. While, yes, they were young, and the youngest of them was a little too excited about being a superhero, she didn't think they would be a liability in the field. They knew the risks and the consequences of failure.

That was all Steve needed to know. He, too, remembered being that age and wanting desperately to be able to stand up and fight for his country and for what was right. That was long before he'd ever heard of Hydra, but it was the same thing. "Everyone in favor, raise a hand," he said.

Alyona's hand was the first to rise, followed swiftly by Natasha and Sue, and surprisingly, Bruce Banner shortly afterward. Tony's hand stayed resolutely by his side, but they knew he'd abide by whatever decision was made; Reed Richards was frowning at his wife, his own hands tucked into his pockets as they waited for the full count to be decided.

Johnny's hand went up, followed by Steve's. Nicholai mirrored Alyona, trusting her judgement. Barton was the one of the few among them who was also a father, and from the look on his face, he had debated back and forth. "If it's okay with Johnny, it's okay with me," he voiced his opinion, as he, too, raised his hand, which only left Thor, who also raised his hand, impressed by what he'd seen them do. Like Tony, Sam was on the fence, but in the end, he almost always sided with Steve, and today was no different.

"Looks like the ayes have it," Tony conceded graciously, turning to eye the four newest members of the Avengers sternly. "No taking risks, no being a hero. Obey orders even when you don't like them. Got it?"

Fliss rolled her eyes, glancing to the others. She knew Tony was just worried about them, but she wasn't sure the other three got that just yet.

"Got it!" Matt exclaimed, the first to agree. Yes, he was excited to be part of this, but he hadn't forgotten everything Rufus had taught them, and the fact that this wasn't about him.

Lucas merely nodded, his hand reaching for that of Fliss.

"Don't worry. I'll make sure nothing goes wrong," Zach assured them. After all, this wasn't his first rodeo, so to speak.

"We've got it, Uncle Tony," Fliss agreed, smiling in the hope that it might make him cool off a little.

Nat glanced between the group in amusement. "Okay, well, we've got a couple of hours before the debriefing gets started and the plan is laid out," the redhead declared. "You four, come with me. Time enough to learn how to take a punch and get out of a chokehold."

Zach didn't really need much training, but his place was with his teammates, so he made no argument.

"Are we gonna wrestle?" Matt asked with a grin at the redhead. Yes, he had a girlfriend, but he couldn't help but flirt a little.

"Down boy," Johnny told him, stopping him momentarily with a hand against his chest. "She's old enough to be your mother."

"Thanks, Flame Boy." Nat laughed, gesturing for the small group to come with her. "To answer the question ... we are not going to wrestle. I am going to beat you up until you work out how to make it stop long enough to run away."

Falling into step behind them, Rufus snorted with laughter. At least the Black Widow was honest.

"Anytime, Red," Johnny replied with a grin. He was half-tempted to go watch, but figured things would go better if he wasn't there. Matt could still be heard mildly complaining as Nat led the small group away.

"So, who's going with them?" Johnny asked, looking expectantly toward Steve and Tony.

Tony frowned, wanting to volunteer himself but knowing that he couldn't be trusted to keep from interfering in anything they did. He glanced at Steve thoughtfully. "We still have to divvy up who is going where," he pointed out. "Without them, it's twelve of us to split between nine locations."

"And we will, but I think we need to bring Croft in on this before we make any final decisions," Steve pointed out.

"They will need clearance," Alyona agreed quietly.

Sue glanced around at the adult team, and decided they needed a Mom voice. "So Steve, Tony, Johnny, go and see Croft, get the kids what they need," she said. "We should get a meal sorted so everyone's fed and rested for the journey tonight."

"Sounds like a plan," Thor agreed. "I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm going to go watch Natasha kick ass," he said, coining a phrase he'd obviously picked up on Earth.

"Hate to say it, but I'm with Sue. Let's go rustle up some food, girlfriend. You can come, too, if you want," Clint offered with a nod to Reed. "But try not to get in the way."
[color=darkred:0db6ceb058][size=9:0db6ceb058][i:0db6ceb058][b:0db6ceb058]A spark neglected makes a mighty fire.[/b:0db6ceb058][/i:0db6ceb058][/size:0db6ceb058][/color:0db6ceb058]

Fliss

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Re: New Kids On The Block
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2018, 08:55:17 AM »
"Debriefing in two, three hours," Tony reminded everyone. He might not have been in charge, but he liked pretending he might be on occasion. Even after all these years, he was still integrating into being part of a team.

"Reed, come to the lab," Bruce suggested. "We should get the kids kitted out with the adapted tech."

Reed perked up a little at that. "That's a good idea," he agreed.

"They're gonna need suits," Steve agreed, though he wasn't sure there was enough time for that now. "All of them should be fire resistant, like Johnny's," he pointed out further.

"I'm willing to bet they've got suits," Sue pointed out with a shrug. "We've been sending material back to Earth for Fliss for a while now - pretty sure Bennett's wife has run up a few pieces for this new team of theirs."

"I'm going to watch Nat, too. Who knows? She might need a pair of wings," Sam said, giving Johnny's shoulder a squeeze. "Don't worry. No one's gonna let them get hurt."

As Alyona and Nikolai slipped away to perform their own prep, the group split up, leaving Johnny and Steve with Tony, who looked the Torch square in the eye. "Level with me, Pyro," Stark said bluntly. "Why are you behind her doing this?"

"Do you remember what it was like to be a teenager, Tony?" Johnny countered. It couldn't have been that long ago, could it? It wasn't for him. "What do you think she's gonna do if I tell her no?"

"Sulk and play with her dolls?" Tony suggested, frowning once again. "I don't like it. She's your kid, why are you letting her put herself in danger like this?"

"Because unless I lock her up and throw away the key, she's gonna do it anyway," Johnny told him, unable to hide his annoyance. And if he did lock her up, she'd only end up hating him. "You saw the demonstration, Tony. They're scary powerful. Don't you think it's better we do what we can to lead them than let them go off on their own?"

"She's a kid, Johnny!" Tony protested. "And she's not even the youngest, she's just the shortest - that water boy is even more of a kid than she is!" But the truth was that the decision had been made, and Tony hadn't argued with it. He just didn't understand why Johnny had agreed so easily to what he thought was an unnecessary risk.

"You're not getting it, Tony!" Johnny said, resisting the urge to poke the other man in the chest. "That kid's mother was almost killed. She hates Hydra as much as we do, and if I refuse to let her come along, she's gonna hate me for the rest of her life."

"And if it was just her holding your hand, I'd be cooler with it than unleashing four completely untried kids into a war zone," Tony countered. "What are you gonna ask them to do, destroy one of the main bases? Or send them to evacuate one of the research bases, would that be better for them? Those kids are going to be killers by tomorrow night, no matter where we send them!"

"Not necessarily," another voice broke in, perhaps the voice of reason. It seemed both Tony and Johnny had forgotten that Steve was still standing there, waiting for them to accompany him to see Croft. "You saw what they're capable of, Tony. We're not gonna put them on the front lines, but we sure could use their help."

Tony's jaw twitched as he scowled, but he'd said his piece. "I still don't like it," he said again, shaking his head. "C'mon, let's get Croft in on the act and find out who gets to babysit."

Steve was half-tempted to tell Tony to do it, but he was too worried the man would go off half-cocked and not play fair. As much as Tony had changed, he still didn't seem to understand that there was no I in Team. It was something at least Johnny had come to understand. He had to clench his jaw against arguing further. He knew Tony meant well, but what choice did they have?

"Don't have to be sixteen to need a babysitter," Johnny muttered, turning to go along.

"Pyro, if you are about to tell me she's pregnant too, I am going to kill you," Tony informed him, uncharacteristically blunt for once. He might not consider himself a good uncle, but the mere fact that he was so worried about this suggested he had more invested in his sisters' families than he was willing to admit.

Johnny cringed, gritting his teeth, his temperature rising even higher than it already was.

"Knock it off! Both of you," Steve lectured. "We're supposed to be on the same side here, so act like it!"

"Gosh darn it, if you don't behave yourselves, G.I Capsicle is going to turn this base around," Tony countered, but his voice was definitely lighter than before, a hint of laughter at the fact that he had somehow managed to piss off both his brothers-in-law by stating his case.

"If you think for one second that I'm happy about this or that I'm taking it lightly, you're wrong," Johnny said, swinging around to get in Tony's face, just barely stopping himself from giving his brother-in-law a shove. "What the hell do you know about it, anyway? She's my daughter, not yours, so back off."

Tony's expression darkened as Johnny glared at him. "No, you're right," he agreed. "What would I know? It's not like I have children, or a family I care about. You want me to back off? Sure, fine, I can do that. Your kids won't miss me."

Steve got in between the two of them again. "I said cool off! Both of you!" he scolded, feeling like he was a mediator at the playground trying to talk a couple of schoolkids down from a fist fight. "Johnny, take a walk. Tony and I need to have a few words."

Tony muttered something under his breath - thankfully too low for either of them to hear clearly - and stalked away a few steps, shaking his head.

Johnny didn't look much happier, glaring after Tony and huffing a breath before turning on a heel to leave, but instead of walking away, he turned to flame and shot upwards into the air.

Steve sighed, suddenly feeling old, as he made his way toward Tony. He didn't want to scold either of them, but someone had to. "Are you done?" he asked the other man.

Tony turned his head. "I'm done," he said. "Obviously, I'm done. I'm not allowed to have an opinion on what my sister's kid is deciding to do, so sure, I'm done."

"No one said you're not allowed to voice an opinion, but in the end, it's up to Johnny and Liv," Steve pointed out, still feeling like he was talking to a child.

"It's a really stupid idea," Tony flared suddenly. "She could do anything with her life, why risk it doing this? It's not like we can't handle this without her and her friends."

"You tell me," Steve said, turning the tables on Tony. "Why are you doing it? And don't tell me it's because you're independently wealthy because that's not a reason."
[color=darkred:0db6ceb058][size=9:0db6ceb058][i:0db6ceb058][b:0db6ceb058]A spark neglected makes a mighty fire.[/b:0db6ceb058][/i:0db6ceb058][/size:0db6ceb058][/color:0db6ceb058]

Fliss

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Re: New Kids On The Block
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2018, 08:55:32 AM »
"I'm doing it because I want to, because it's the only thing I'm any good at outside designing weapons and getting innocent people killed without meaning to," was Tony's reply. "I'm doing it because someone has to."

"But you're part of a team now, Tony. And let's face it, no one can take Hydra down alone. I learned that a long time ago. So, why do you think she's doing it?" Steve asked further, hoping Tony would figure this all out on his own.

"Because she's pissed off, and that's not a good enough reason." Thus spaketh the man who had been known to take enemy action personally while in the field and become mildly uncontrollable in his quest for retribution.

"Wrong," Steve said, knowing it went a lot deeper than that. "Think harder," he urged, hoping he wasn't pissing Tony off, but he really wanted him to come to an understanding on his own.

"She's seventeen years old, Steve!" Tony protested. "She should be thinking about make up and boys, not turning herself into a killer just because she can!"

"That's what this is all about, isn't it?" Steve said, more statement than question. "You're afraid she's going to lose her innocence. Get some blood on her hands and not be able to deal with the guilt. But don't you think she'd feel worse not doing something, if she could make a difference?"

Tony sighed, shaking his head slowly. "Is it worth it?" he asked unhappily. "Is it really worth those kids getting blood on their hands so soon, just to keep them from sulking about being left out this time? Three days isn't enough prep for them, Steve. You gotta know that."

"I know. And Johnny knows, too. Do you realize how all of this is tearing him up? He's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. Sure, Fliss might forgive him someday if he says no, but she's old enough to make her own decisions now. That kid has been through the wringer. She needs to do something to feel needed, to feel relevant, to make a difference. We can give that to her, to all of them. We just have to be careful how we do it," Steve argued.

Tony sighed again, his hand lashing out to punch the wall briefly to vent that frustration. "They shouldn't be put with anyone related to them," he said, finally offering something useful. "Either we'd be too protective, or they'll feel like we don't trust them. So who do they go with?"

"When I was a kid and the world went to war, I would have given anything - anything - to join the fight. We're still at war, Tony, and those young people have a right to fight, if they want to," Steve pointed out further. He'd gone to war with kids who were still teenagers, volunteering to fight because it was the right thing to do. Because if they didn't, who would? He shrugged at Tony's question. "That's what we have to figure out. And ..." Steve smirked just a little. "You're gonna need that hand."

"For the record, I'd back Barton or Romanoff," Tony offered, apparently making the effort to move on from the nexus of frustration and ignoring the throb in his knuckles. "Sure, they have no powers, but I'm still not sure Nat wouldn't win in a hand to hand fight with you."

"She might," Steve admitted with a further smirk. "But only because she wouldn't be afraid to cheat." He reached over to give Tony's shoulder a squeeze. "Come on, let's go find Croft. Johnny can catch up."

And Johnny would join them in Croft's office, admitted to the sacred deep inner circle who made the decisions about allocation without reference to the egos of anyone else involved. The briefing would be detailed and long, and some of the team would be making longer journeys to be in position for the coordinated strike that would take place at dawn local time the next morning. But Hydra would not know what hit them, and just a few hours after that ... Hydra wouldn't be a problem for a long time to come.
[color=darkred:0db6ceb058][size=9:0db6ceb058][i:0db6ceb058][b:0db6ceb058]A spark neglected makes a mighty fire.[/b:0db6ceb058][/i:0db6ceb058][/size:0db6ceb058][/color:0db6ceb058]