Nick Fury's secret SHIELD safe house is cool and everything, but there are a few serious drawbacks to it. The most important of which, at the moment, is that it's not really set up for a few dozen superheroes to live in long-term.
There are a couple of bunk-rooms, but according to Falcon, people have mostly just spread out and found places to sleep wherever they can. And Billy still can't quite get over how cool that is, that he just had a conversation with the Falcon, who actually gave him a tip on where to find a storage room that hadn't been claimed by anyone else yet. He and Teddy picked up some blankets from the hero on supply room duty (some guy in a green and yellow costume -- Billy didn't recognize him) and wandered around until they found the storage room, down a corridor with pipes in the ceiling and big, creepy patches of darkness in between the flickering fluorescent lights.
The storage room itself is about the size of his mom's walk-in closet. There's a bare lightbulb in the ceiling and a pile of boxes shoved to the back of the room. Billy checks them out, hoping for something exciting, but they're just full of metal brackets and what he guesses are pieces of unassembled shelving.
So far, the life of a fugitive is not nearly as glamorous as the movies make it look.
Teddy spreads the blankets out on the cement floor and looks up with a hopeful smile. "Okay, so it's not much, but it's better than sleeping on the floor. Even though it... basically is sleeping on the floor."
Billy holds out his hands and concentrates on the image of a big, fluffy feather bed, murmuring, "I want a feather bed, I want a-- owww. Crap, that hurts."
"What's wrong?" Teddy asks, looking anxious.
"Pushed myself a little too hard tonight," Billy says, rubbing at his temples. After the stunt he pulled earlier, teleporting the entire prison van to the safe house, he isn't surprised that he's feeling a little sore, magically speaking. Actually, he's pretty sure that he's lucky his brains aren't dribbling out his ears. Isn't that a cheerful thought, and not one he'll be sharing with Teddy any time soon. "Anyway, as attempts at conjuring a feather bed go... yeah, not so much."
Teddy pokes dubiously at the shapeless white lump that Billy's magic conjured up. "It's more like a mutant feather pillow. Well, hey, it's better than no pillows at all." He grins at Billy, that ridiculously sunny and optimistic smile that Billy fell for like a ton of bricks the first time they met.
It suddenly feels like the world is spinning sideways, or maybe Billy is just rotating the wrong way. Teddy leaps to grab him by the waist before he can fall over. "Holy crap! You okay?"
His head feels like it's about to explode into a million billion pieces. Billy moans, holding onto his head with both hands. "Not really, no. I need to sit down before I fall down."
"Okay, okay." Teddy eases him down onto the pathetic pile of blankets before dropping next to him. Billy immediately curls into Teddy's warmth, wrapping his arms around Teddy's chest and pushing his face into the curve of his neck.
"Hey, hey there," Teddy whispers, running his hands up and down Billy's back. He sounds pretty freaked out. "Should I get a doctor or something?"
Billy shakes his head, mumbling into Teddy's chest, "Nah. Just need to not be moving anymore."
"We can do that." Teddy stretches an arm out and grabs the blanket he'd set aside earlier, careful not to jostle Billy as he spreads it out over them. The blankets feel like what his mom would call "stadium blankets": thick, scratchy wool with that inevitable, vague smell of sheep. "Better?"
"Mmmmyeah," Billy mumbles. He rubs his cheek against Teddy's chest, making a contented noise as Teddy slowly runs his hand up and down Billy's back. After a few minutes of that, his imminent-brain-explosion headache slowly downgrades to a dull, pulsing ache behind his temples. "Good boyfriend. Warm."
He's not kidding -- Teddy puts out heat like a radiator. Must have something to do with his Kree heritage, because Billy can't imagine Skrulls as being anything other than cold-blooded. Though Mrs. Altman had been pretty nice, for a Skrull.
And that starts the hamster wheel going in his head again. What are his parents going to think when they hear that he's a fugitive from the cops? They're going to freak out, and he can't even get them a message because Captain America says they can't risk compromising the base's location. Which sounds like something from an old war movie, which would almost be funny except that they are at war right now, against the U.S. government and SHIELD and fucking Iron Man. He doesn't even know what the hell he and Teddy and the others are doing here. They're not heroes. They're just a bunch of dumb kids who put on costumes and decided to fight crime. They're in over their heads. Way over.
Billy stares at the concrete wall, feeling his heart racing and his throat starting to constrict. It feels like how his best friend in fifth grade used to describe an asthma attack. Or maybe it's a panic attack. Does knowing that it's a panic attack make you less likely to panic? His mom would know.
And thinking about his mom leads his brain right back onto the hamster wheel. Clearly, Teddy is having no such problems, because Billy can already feel Teddy's breathing even out as he begins to fall asleep.
"Teddy. Hey, Teddy. You asleep?" Billy whispers.
Teddy blinks at him, slowly, looking a little muzzy. "Well, yeah, I kinda was..."
"Sorry." He's not, really. He desperately doesn't want to be stuck here alone with his thoughts for even half a minute more.
"Nah, it's okay." Teddy nuzzles at Billy's hair, holding him even closer for a second. "What's up?
"I can't fall asleep. My brain's still going too fast."
And there must be something in his voice because Teddy sounds a lot more awake when he says, "Tell me what's wrong."
Billy stalls out for a second. What isn't he worried about right now?
"It's just-- it's everything. It's all happening too fast and I don't know what the hell we're doing here. I mean, I know that we're helping Captain America defend civil liberties from Iron Man and SHIELD, but what the hell are we even doing here? Four months ago we were stopping muggings and helping little old ladies cross the street. This is just way, way out of our league, you know?" Billy stops, panting a little.
Teddy is quiet for a second, still petting absently at his head and back. "Not to be a tool or anything, but if not us, then who?"
Billy shifts enough to prop himself on Teddy's chest, asking, "Seriously? That's your answer?"
"I don't have a better one." Teddy shrugs awkwardly. "We've just got to keep moving forward, I guess."
Billy makes an incoherent noise and flops back down onto his chest. "Worst. Boyfriend. Ever." Then he immediately feels guilty, because Teddy is the best boyfriend he's ever had. Well, okay, so he's also the only boyfriend Billy's ever had, but like that matters. Teddy is basically the best thing that's ever happened to him, other than getting his powers.
Biting his lip, Billy props himself up on Teddy's chest again. "I didn't mean that."
"I know." Teddy pokes him gently in the chest with a finger. "You didn't bruise my fragile ego. Dweeb."
"Nerd." Billy feints as if he's about to bite Teddy's finger. Teddy just raises his eyebrows at him and smirks. Sometimes it's slightly annoying having a mostly-invulnerable boyfriend.
Teddy starts carding through Billy's hair with one hand. Billy's hair has gotten way longer than he prefers it, but he has to admit that it does feel good when Teddy plays with it. "So, is something else bugging you? I mean, you seemed pretty freaked," Teddy says softly.
Billy bows his head forward until his forehead thuds against Teddy's chest. "What am I going to tell my parents? When they hear that I got arrested, they're going to totally lose their shit."
Teddy's whole body winces. "Oh, crap."
Billy nods, not raising his forehead from Teddy's chest.
Teddy is quiet for a few minutes, then says tentatively, "Didn't you tell me your parents met because they were protesting against the Gulf War?"
"So they're not going to be angry that you got arrested because you're standing up against the fascists. Dork," Teddy says affectionately.
Billy does bite Teddy's poking finger this time, growling playfully and shaking his head like a puppy with a stick.
Teddy starts laughing, this helpless-sounding giggle that always makes Billy laugh at how ridiculous it sounds, coming from a guy who's that big and (sometimes) intimidating-looking. "Hey! Hey, no biting!"
Billy raises his eyebrows. "That is so not what you said the other night." He loves the fact that Teddy always blushes like crazy (no matter what color Teddy's skin happens to be at that moment) whenever Billy says stuff like that.
"Yeah, well." Teddy squirms a little underneath him, "There are different rules for private time."
"Doesn't get much more private than this," Billy says, gesturing at the blank cement walls of their little room.
Teddy bites his lip, looking up at Billy through his eyelashes. "You're kidding, right? You did notice that there's no lock on that door."
And god, Billy wishes that his head weren't still throbbing and making him feel vaguely nauseous whenever he moves too quickly, because otherwise he would be all over that. Sometimes he finds himself just staring at Teddy when he talks or laughs or, hell, even sleeps, still totally stunned by the fact that this amazing guy wants to date him, Billy Kaplan, nerdy, neurotic loser.
"You do remember that you're dating a witch, right?" Billy asks, mock-seriously. "If my brain weren't threatening to throb right out of my skull whenever I move, I'd put a magic-lock on that door so hard that Thor would have a hard time breaking it down. And then, I'd totally ravish you."
"Ravish me?" Teddy asks, his eyebrows raised.
"Like a romance novel hero in a puffy pirate shirt, baby," Billy says, kissing him on the tip of his nose.
Teddy starts giggling again, which sets Billy off too, even though laughing just makes his head hurt worse.
After they've both sobered up again, Teddy cups his hands around the back of Billy's neck and asks, "Seriously, though, are you okay? You were kind of worrying me earlier."
"What, with the nearly passing out and then the mini-panic attack? That's totally standard for big, tough heroes of the Resistance."
Teddy just looks at him, all worried, with his big, gorgeous blue eyes, and Billy folds like a cheap deck of cards. "Yeah, I know. I pushed myself too hard, and then I started dwelling on stuff, and kind of freaking out. Okay, really freaking out. But I'm okay now. Or, better, at least."
"Okay," Teddy says, a little dubiously. "But you know you can always just tell me if stuff's getting to be too much for you, right?"
"I know." Seriously, best boyfriend ever.
"Good." Teddy pulls him down for a soft kiss before rearranging them so that he can curl up around Billy. "Now get some sleep."
"Pushy," Billy says, not really minding at all.
"Yup," Teddy replies calmly. "Hulkling say sleep now."
Billy hums his agreement, shifting position slightly so that he can lace his fingers through Teddy's. Teddy nuzzles at his hair, making a soft, contented noise at the back of his throat. After a few minutes, Billy feels Teddy's body relax as his breathing slows.
Tomorrow will come soon enough. Billy closes his eyes and follows Teddy into sleep.