Who: Kate Bishop and Tony Stark What: Arrivals and confusions When: Saturday Where: West Coast Avengers Eyesore Tower Warnings: None Status: Completed via Gdoc
Last night Kate had gone to sleep in her own apartment. Her phone was buzzing all night with the sounds of text messages: America. Clint. Billy. Teddy. Her friends and loved ones checking in. Kate was one of those girls who pretty much lived on social media, on text messages, her phone plastered to her ear or video chatting with a friend. But last night was an anniversary of a night she wanted to forget. A night that changed her life forever. A night that had happened a decade ago, but was still imprinted on her mind. So she'd gone to bed in her most comfortable pajamas, put her headphones in, and listened to whalesong until she'd fallen asleep.
And when she woke up?
Well, at first she thought she might still be dreaming. And then she wondered how much she'd had to drink. (Like that time she went home with Noh-Varr and woke up in space.) But this was different. This was real, and she was sober. Not hungover in the slightest. And out her window, she... she thought she saw the Golden Gate bridge. This creepy hotel was... in California?
Kate was still in her pajamas, but didn't see her phone or her headphones. None of her things were here. There were some random clothes in the drawers, but nothing specific, nothing to tell her where she was.
Kate let herself out of the room into a hallway, and then gave a quick, "hello?" She decided to go exploring to figure out what the fuck was going on. And god damnit, she wished she had a bra on. Or her bow and quiver over her shoulder. Anything else to make her feel more secure.
Someone else who was no stranger to the whole Hotel California vibe was Tony. He was in the residential common area by the sink. Rubbing his hands over his face.
"The sign says no coffee grounds down the garbage disposal," he grumbled. "Right there. By the sink. There's the eco disposal right next to it."
He had other projects but he needed a break and a walk. A backed up sink wasn't what he expected to find.
"Bed and breakfast for a biker gang," he was mumbling as he heard someone approach, turning around to see a girl in her pajamas. "Oh. Hi? This is still a thing. Wild guess, but you went to sleep somewhere else and woke up here."
Man, the dude grumbling about the garbage disposal looked familiar. Kate frowned a little as she wandered into the kitchen-thingy-area, trying to figure out how she knew him. She must’ve known him, right? Or… something. Damn. Not only was she bra-less but she was totally out of her element here.
“Uh… yeah. Good guess. How do I… um… am I in San Francisco?” Kate asked, motioning with her hand vaguely toward the window. The bridge was peeking up over the fog in the distance, clearly visible from their floor.
"Yup. And if you look to your left, there's the Bay Bridge, even closer but...fog bank. Anyway? You're definitely in San Francisco," Tony said, tilting his head a little and giving her a look. "Where were you before? Because this sorta thing happens here. It's happened to all of us."
They'd need to update Dr. Strange's brochures once Mobius was able to give them some firmer answers about what was really going on. When they weren't just guessing about it.
He should also introduce himself. That was where Pepper would have given him a nudge. Names. Names were good. "I'm Tony. Your new landlord."
“Kate,” Kate said, staring wide-eyed at Tony. “And you’re… Tony Stark?” She asked, finally putting the pieces together. Man, if he wasn’t Tony Stark? She was gonna feel so foolish. But he had to be. Right? He didn’t *really* look like Tony Stark. But c’mon. He was. Right?
“I was in New York. At my apartment. My phone was buzzing, I was getting all these texts from America and Billy and Teddy and… and Clint. And then I slept, and woke up…” She motioned down the hall.
“I thought maybe this was a particularly nasty hangover, but I definitely wasn’t drinking last night.”
"Hi! Yeah, not dead," Tony said, with a half wince, half smile and a very sharp shrug. "Not dead here, at least. You've kind of...veered off into another universe. The you that you veered off from is still in New York with your phone blowing up. Want some coffee...or whatever else is here? We just moved in."
He pointed around, like he was trying to orient himself too.
"I hope Clint's doing ok. I haven't seen him for a while."
Kate blinked at him at the words not dead. She cocked her head to the side and raised both eyebrows. “Why would you be dead?” This… this was weird. Dead but not dead? Maybe she fell out of the bed and hit her head or something. Wow, what a vivid concussion dream, or whatever.
Kate moved further into the kitchen and found a chair to perch on. She was still trying to figure out what the heck was going on. Pulled from another universe? ...the actual fuck?
“Yeah, he’s fine. We were supposed to take Lucky to the dog park this morning, and I’m not there. I’d kill for a coffee.”
Tony did a double take at her not knowing he died. Then he did another one at a dog and a Clint not being at home on the farm.
"Wait. Wait a minute." He put both hands on the countertop to try to center himself. "You didn't come from the same universe where I died? You know, everyone got turned into a Kansas song, dust on the wind? We brought everyone back but I fried myself doing it?"
He blinked profusely, trying to brain this out. Loki's...new girlfriend, he guessed by the way they were holding hands like two clinging lampreys...sure busted things wide open.
He started making some coffee because they both were going to need it. When they went to Clint's safe house there was a wife and kids, but no dog barking to greet a returning owner. Unless it was a recent thing. But Clint didn't seem like the kind of guy that had time for a pet when he was busy being a rogue samurai of vengeance to deal with his family being ripped away from him.
"Clint," Tony started to say, "the Clint I knew, didn't have a dog named Lucky. He lived out in a farm in the middle of bum fuck wherever, with his wife and kids. You're not from the same universe then. You're from another one. Some other part of the Multivese."
Now Kate was absolutely convinced that she’d hit her head. “Kansas song?” She frowned. “Because I know Tony Stark, and you’re so not the Tony Stark that I know. Though, I mean, you look like him? And act like him. Kinda. You’re not yelling at me for doing something stupid, so that’s different.” Kate had done a lot of stupid shit in her day. And Tony was probably at his wit’s end for having another Hawkeye to deal with.
And then her jaw dropped. Like, literally. She closed it again, swallowed, then frowned even more deeply. “Clint Barton? He doesn’t have a farm, and he doesn’t have kids.”
"Yeah, like half of every living thing turned into dust in the wind. Which is one of the shittiest songs ever, but living in it? Even worse."
Tony was a little freaked out. Maybe they didn't need coffee to give them both the jitters, but he was making it anyway. He pushed a cup toward her and began making himself one as his mind whipped some tire burning shitties in a parking lot. He had to tell Mobius about this when he got a chance to.
"You're definitely from a different universe, Kate. Our Clint had a wife, three kids, and a farmhouse. He hasn't been around for a while, so we all assumed he's back there with them."
It wasn’t something that happened very often--or, well, ever--but Kate felt like… she had sort of lost her appetite for coffee. She accepted the cup and held it between her hands. It was hot, but she barely felt it.
“No,” she said, shaking her head. “No no no. That’s not my Clint. He’s a dumpster fire. He’s my dumpster fire. Not like my my, but like… anyway, he’s been married, but divorced. And no kids. --that I know of.” Pause. “That he knows of.”
She opened her mouth as if to ask a question, but thought better of it. She closed it again. Then she opened it one more time… but nothing came out.
So she lifted the coffee mug to sip. “Are you sure I didn’t hit my head? This could be some kind of like, concussion-induced hallucination. I wouldn’t be surprised. Maybe I fell out of bed and now I’m in a coma.”
Tony looked around before picking up a biodegradable stir stick and poking her arm with it. See? Proof. Then he went back to trying to unravel the mystery of this universe, now that things were changing so suddenly and so drastically.
"So you and your Clint aren't a thing? Besties, at least?" Tony asked, curious about this alternate version of Hawkeye. "Because no one lays claim to a dumpster fire unless things are complicated by some kind of past history."
Tony nearly fumbled making the coffee, his mind scrambling as much as his hands as he wondered who else might show up and from where. It was confusing enough for people showing up from the same universe, but more so when they showed up from a universe next door, where things were completely different.
"Your Clint sounds fun. Maybe less complainy than our Clint was, but having a guy with a bow show up to a fight with robots or aliens was always a little weird. For him, I mean."
"What? No. God, no. There's nothing romantic there." Kate may have had a crush on Clint like, years ago, now they were more partners than anything else. And as much of a dumpster fire as Clint was? Kate was, too. Just as bad. Maybe worse in some ways. She shook her head, lifting the cup of hot coffee for a quick sip. It was strong and bitter, and perfect. "He's more like a mentor figure for me. You're his best friend. Or... the other you."
She took a deep breath. "Clint was dead. I took on the name Hawkeye, and used his bow. You and Cap refused to let us join the Avengers... we were superheroing while calling ourselves the Young Avengers. And then Clint came back. We decided the world was big enough for the both of us." That was a very abbreviated version of the story. But the more she thought about it, the more it really worked.
"Uh, yeah, about that bow thing..." Kate paused for a moment. "I mean, he's got all kinds of bows. Boomerang bows. Explodey bows. USB bows. Very useful stuff." She cleared her throat and sipped again.
"I love Clint," Tony said, unabashedly. "Because he's insane. And if other me and other Steve noped a bunch of young Avengers...and you don't look that young...it was probably for a good reason."
He finished making his cup of coffee, not drinking it as he listened to the exploits of some other team of Avengers. It was fascinating and unnerving, knowing that some other him was out there, probably being as reckless as he was. Or this other Clint was, rather.
"Uh, yeah. This Clint has an arsenal of trick arrows and bows. They're in this Tower, too. Haven't done a boomerang bow yet, not sure what the USB bow does other than maybe a portable battery? But that's giving me ideas. And now everyone can blame me for designing them. Because I'm gonna."
Kate beamed. “I do, too.” It was true: Clint was her man. Not like, her man man. But her dude. Not like, her dude dude. Anyway. “I mean, it was years ago. Like--” she paused for a second and counted. “...Six? years ago. And we proved our worth eventually. I’m totally technically kinda an Avenger now. Have been for years.” She nodded. Please believe her, this universe’s!Tony Stark.
“Oh, it’s like… a USB drive. It holds like, a couple of photos or a bunch of documents.” Kate almost rolled her eyes at that. Clint was kind of from a different generation (okay, almost literally, considering he was technically old enough to be her father) and didn’t realize that 64MB wasn’t big enough for anything seriously useful.
But then she was distracted by his next remark. She lit up like a Christmas tree. “Here? Is there… a bow I can use? Do you have a range? Can I practice?”
The look Tony gave her was a not so fast and she'd have to pass the Sam test, since things hinged on the new Captain America's take.
"That sounds like the stupidest bow I've ever heard of," Tony replied, shaking his head. "But yeah, I designed a lot of upgrades based on Clint's specs. Those and the trick arrows are in the armory, and there's a firing range on floor fifty-three."
Kate visibly relaxed at the idea that there was not only a range, but bows and trick arrows that she could play with. And upgraded by Tony Stark, no less. A lot more than what she’d been using before she showed up in this weird, alternate reality. She was itching to get to floor fifty-three and try it out.
...uh, wherever floor fifty-three was.
“So… when you say floor fifty-three, you mean… in this building. In San Francisco. Where I woke up after falling asleep in New York.” She added, holding tight to that coffee cup as if it was her lifeline.
“And I’m here indefinitely because there’s no way back home to New York, and … how does that work? I just… have a room? And my pajamas?” Kate wasn’t forming sentences good.
“I get a job? And uh... ?”
"You're stuck here, but you get room and you’re on the payroll. You've got access to a monthly expense account. Card's in your room. You just need to tell Friday to activate it. And if you had a counterpart here, congrats! You've taken her place, so you'll probably find out that her stuff is now your stuff."
Tony picked up his cup and eyed her carefully. He would need a background check on her. From the TVA, if it was possible to track down where she came from. At least he had done actual payments to the Avengers this time, where I before, everyone had their day jobs for the most part, working for SHIELD or the military.
"Not an Avenger, though. You've got to go through the whole training thing, and Sam is who you'll want to talk to about that."
Kate didn't like the idea that she was stuck here. She had things to do back home. Friends who needed her, Clint who needed her. She had a pizza dog waiting for her. She also really didn't like the idea that she was replacing someone here. Someone whose family would miss her? If she had family? Or friends? Were they the same?
Kate was going to have to Google herself. And not like that (her perverted mind). She lifted the coffee mug to sip from it again, thinking about all the things she had to do: shop, train, Google, find... something to do. Train to be an Avenger?
"Sam?" She asked, cautiously.
"Yup, Sam Wilson. He's taken over being Captain America from Steve," Tony replied, "who is now old and retired. AARP poster boy. Maybe living on the moon, we don't know."
He would find out eventually. He could tell when people were inwardly on the verge of panic attacks, since he was on the verge of a meltdown whether it was because of oversized velveteen rabbits or waking up to find himself in a tower that another Tony Stark owned.
"You're gonna be ok," Tony said, looking at her. "It's not so bad here, just a whole new set of weird things. Some faces will be familiar, some won't. And yeah, we need all hands on deck sometimes. That's when everyone is an Avenger."
He hoped that might help, knowing that. Or at least make it seem like a hurdle to jump over instead of a mountain to climb.
On the moon?? Kate blinked at that, but didn’t raise any questions. She was trying to take deep breaths, trying to wrap her head around all of this. She nodded. She could handle it. Of course she could.
“You’ve got my help whenever you need it.” She said. “And uh… thanks, Mr. Stark.”