"It takes more than pissing me off in a tense situation to make me an enemy, kid," she assured him warmly, pausing as the ramp of the jet lowered ahead of them. "If it didn't, I'd have way more enemies than any hope of friends."
"I could use a few friends," Zach said, with a smile, visibly relaxing at her reassurance. He knew he'd have to face the music once they got back to A.E.G.I.S. HQ, but he'd worry about that later.
"Hey! Agent Romanoff!" Matt called as he sprinted to catch up with Natasha and Zach. "You wanna go with us to Wonderplex to celebrate? Fliss says it's pretty awesome!"
Nat laughed, shaking her head at his boundless energy. His brother and very nearly sister-in-law were visibly wilting, but Matt seemed, if anything, more energetic now than he had been before the mission. "Guess that depends on when you go," she told him. "I have a date."
"Oh, a date!" Matt smirked, nudging Nat's arm a little too familiarly. "Who's the lucky guy?" he asked, with a teasing gleam in his eyes. He might have risked flirting with her, if it wasn't for the fact that he had a "date" back home, too.
"Oh, he's lucky all right," Nat countered, ushering him up the ramp. She wasn't going to tell a sixteen year old about her love life, no matter how hard he pushed, turning to look back toward Fliss and Lucas. "C'mon, you two, it's freezing out here!"
"Come on, you can tell us. We won't tell, and we're gonna find out sooner or later anyway!" Matt urged for no other reason than that he was nosy and a little too hyperactive, as he backed his way up the ramp. When he finally crashed, he was going to crash hard.
"Kiddo, I haven't even told my best friend about this yet, so don't hold your breath," Nat suggested with easy aplomb, falling into step behind Lucas and Fliss to get up into the jet. "Set the seats to bed-mode," she told them as the ramp closed up behind her. "You're gonna need the sleep."
"You mean, I'm not your best friend?" Matt quipped. "I'm hurt," he said, with a hand to his heart, as if he was in pain, though that smirk was still on his face.
"How is it he still has so much energy when I feel like I could sleep for a month?" Luc asked, as he and Fliss stumbled into the jet.
"He's your brother," Fliss pointed out with a weary smile. "Hey Nat, is there some way I can talk to my Dad?"
Natasha looked up from where she was shooing Matt toward a seat. "Sure," she told the girl, tossing her a comm link. "Contact your Dad, tell him to change his comm to channel nine, and turn the dial until you're on channel nine as well. As private as I can give you there."
"Thanks for reminding me," Lucas said with a smirk, as he took his brother by the shoulders and physically led him toward a seat away from Fliss and Nat, despite his brother's protests. Zach followed, turning quiet again now that the others had joined them.
Catching the comm link, Fliss threw Nat a grateful smile, letting Lucas leave her side to take control of his brother. She nudged Zach gently. "We'll be back home soon," she reminded her friend. "Dani'll be pleased to see you."
Zach smiled at the mention of Dani. "I'll be glad to see her, too," he said, his expression warming at the thought of seeing her again. Though it wasn't really official, the pair had become almost inseparable these days.
"And the Boy Wonder gets to drive Cas up the wall instead of us," Fliss added in amusement. "Hey ... how did you know Lucas could do that ... whatever he did to stop my headache?"
Zach chuckled a little at her comment regarding Matt, before shrugging at her question, as if it was nothing. "Just a feeling," he replied, though it had clearly been more than that. His gaze darted momentarily to Lucas, who was busy trying to handle his hyperactive younger brother. "He doesn't really like using his abilities this way. He'd rather be helping people. Healing them."
"You really think he'll be able to make more of it than a headache cure?" she asked hopefully. She knew Lucas wasn't comfortable giving out destruction, any more than she was. "Is it something he can do without you in his head?"
"It depends," he replied, honestly enough. "He has some innate ability. With training and practice, anything is possible." He paused a moment, as if he was unsure just how much to tell her. He had a way of keeping a lot of things to himself, and for good reason, but there were some things they deserved to know. "You know, he has Rhy'Din blood," he reminded her with another shrug. "It's kind of a wild card." Of course, the same could be said for Fliss.
Fliss couldn't help smiling at that thought. "I think you should tell him about it," she suggested to Zach. "It's something he'd want to have. He doesn't talk about it much, but I don't think he's ever going to be happy about the wings. Having something else besides them, something he can use to help people, would mean the world to him."
"There are plenty of ways for him to help people. He just has to figure out how," Zach replied. It wasn't his place to decide Lucas' fate, but he could give him a small nudge in the right direction. "Same goes for you," he said, smiling.
She chuckled lightly. "I know how I'm gonna help people," she assured him, then sighed. "It just means I'm gonna be in school for another couple of years, that's all."
"What about this? Don't want to be a 'Junior Avenger'?" he asked, using air quotes the way he'd seen others use them.
"I'd rather be a "part-time" Avenger," she told him, air quotes and all. "I don't like hurting people, and as much as this was a good thing, I don't want it to be my whole life. I know what I want to do with my life, and it involves helping people who have survived these sorts of things."
"Sounds like a worthy endeavor," he said with an encouraging smile. "But right now, you should call your father. It will make you both feel better," he told her, daring to touch her arm, reassuringly.
"And then sleep," she agreed with a smile. "Thanks, Zach." She squeezed his hand on her arm for a moment, moving to claim one of the now laid out beds and activate her comm link.
"Anytime," Zach replied, moving past her to take a seat himself, leaving her to make her call in relative privacy, considering the small space. She may not have known, but he envied her that connection with her father, as well as the rest of her family.