The docking bay doors on the SHIELD helicarrier opened automatically for the figure in black and bright red that hovered in front of them. Once touched down on the cool metal of the hanger and the doors closed behind him, Wiccan ignored everyone waiting inside; he knew where he was going, and they did too. Friends that he might have stopped and spoken to under other circumstances saw his expression and dodged out of his way, while strangers tasted the lightning that hung in the air around him and gave a wide berth. The sound of his boots in the emptying halls -- click click click -- echoed in his ears behind rushing sound of his heartbeat.
Two uniformed guards stood on either side of the door at the end of a short hallway. Wiccan stopped in front of them, wordlessly, and stood there until they moved. After stepping up to the door, he opened his eye wide to allow the laser scanner access to his retinas. It scanned over twice and took his fingerprints before the SHIELD database beeped an affirmative. The door slid open with a hiss, probably more for effect than from the mechanics. Tony Stark had designed it, after all.
Stale, climate-controlled air puffed into Wiccan's face, and he wrapped his cape tighter around his shoulders before he continued. He waited for the guards on the inside of the door to step out, and then entered the little interrogation room. With its severe little table, three gray walls, and giant view screen on the wall he entered through, it looked much the same as it had last time. The bound figure seated at the table didn't look much different, either, except for the traces of white stubble and too-long white hair that mean Speed hasn't seen a mirror in a while.
"Why do you do this?" The words, spoken at normal volume, were too loud in the tiny room and too harsh but Wiccan couldn't bite them back now that they had escaped. Wiccan asked the question every time he found himself here, though this time it wasn't directed at Speed. It had been -- six or seven times, in all, since Hawkeye disappeared. Every time someone would pick Speed up out of a puddle of human and ferry him up here for Wiccan to deal with.
"I don't know why you don't," Speed sneered. A twinkle of madness rested in the corners of his eyes, daring him to answer. It had always been there, Wiccan thought, but before it was just the harmless edge that separated the speedster from the rest of the team. Now it was miles wide and he feared he wouldn't ever be able to pull his brother back to him.
"Oh, I don't know, maybe because I don't like hurting people?" The sarcasm flowed more bitterly than Wiccan meant past reserves worn thin with exhaustion.
"Nobody was hurt except those terrorist shitheads," came the harsh reply. "And they fucking deserved it."
Speed jumped when Wiccan's fist slammed into the sturdy table and sent reverberations up both their arms, interrupting the tired give-and-take routine that marked all their recent meetings. "Damn it, Tommy. You don't get to decide that, okay? Avengers don't kill."
"Then it's a good thing I haven't been an Avenger in a long time, isn't it? 'Cause you're too chickenshit to find the guys that -- took -- Kate!"
"We're looking," Billy whispered. "Everyone is looking. They're not going to get away with it, but this isn't we do things. She didn't want that." They were back on safe, familiar territory now, instead of the tightrope of emotion that neither cared to walk. Billy fell back into the smooth rut of conversation with pathetic gratitude.
"Yeah? You think the human authorities are going to give her justice when she was kidnapped tryin' to protect a bunch of mutants?" Tommy bared his teeth in a smile that reminded Billy of their uncle. Everything about Tommy reminded Billy of Quicksilver now.
"I think they'd do better than what you're doing right now."
The same old impasse, and they stood on the same opposite sides of it, repeating the same lines. This time, Tommy broke down first.
"Whatever, man. Let's go."
On their way out, someone handed Tommy the things he had on him when he was collected: clothing, shoes, wallet, keys, a photograph, half a bottle of Mountain Dew long gone flat. While his brother dressed Billy wondered why Tommy allowed himself to be captured at all. Maybe it was the fact that they couldn't keep him, because he didn't exist on anybody's records. Maybe it was because he just liked to make his brother feel guilty.
Tommy waved to the guards as they walked back the way Billy had come; they didn't wave back, but they didn't scowl, either. They saw him too often for any real animosity.
"They tried to recruit me again," Tommy volunteered as they waited for the huge doors to open again. "SHIELD did. Said they'd rather have a loose cannon pointed at the other guy."
"I know." SHIELD tried every time they arrested Tommy; apparently blowing up terrorists put one high on SHIELD's list of potential candidates these days. Billy found that depressing, though he supposed it made sense. Tommy had been trained for the government's nastier work, once upon a time. "You turned them down. Again."
"Yeah." Tommy went silent, and Billy didn't try to draw him out again as he floated the two of them Earthward. The thought of slowing down to talk tempts Billy, since he knew that Tommy will disappear again as soon as their feet touch pavement. A sideways look at his brother told him it was a bad idea, though, and so Billy kept them steady even with Tommy's midair fidgeting. "They couldn't put me on payroll anyway. They'd have to hide it in toilet paper requisitions or something."
"Yeah," Billy echoed, and looked back up to the helicarrier to avoid meeting Tommy's eyes. He cleared his throat. "So. You coming home yet?"
"As soon as I nail the bastards," Tommy said. "Coming with me?"
Billy shook his head. While they still hovered a few feet off the ground, Wiccan said, "I'll be waiting for you when you're ready."
Speed jumped, but rather than hit the ground running, he turned to offer a salute. "I know. Me too."