Quinn Quire is a former terrorist (self-proclaimed), a current punk both self and others-proclaimed (ask Captain America about her attitude -- actually don't, he'd say she's nice just to spite her), a future vessel of the Phoenix (she will never make the fashion mistakes Jean Grey did), and a billionaire heiress who just turned eighteen (Tony Stark showed up to her birthday costume party dressed as Charles Xavier, which was in such poor taste that she actually likes the guy now).
She has no idea what she wants to do with her life or what she should do with her life and she broke up with Idie and being Quinn Quire 24/7 is kind of eating her alive.
So she's not expecting anyone the morning that the butler she hired (just for shits, but it turns out holy crap butlers are so fucking useful) shows up in her bedroom as she's finishing breakfast and says, "A Ms. van Dyne and a Ms. Bishop are here to see you, Mistress Quire."
She told him to say Mistress, because she thinks it sounds edgy and dangerous, but lately it has also felt kind of stupid.
"Van Dyne and Bishop?" she asks, brow knitting.
"Janet van Dyne, Mistress Quire, of the Avengers, and Katherine Bishop, whom I believe you may know better as Hawkeye."
Holy fuck, the Wasp and Hawkeye are here. Probably to fight her or something.
"Um, okay," she says. "I'll uh. Um."
"Shall I tell them you'll be down directly you've finished dressing?"
"That," she says, and finger-combs the long brush of hair in the middle of her head, digging around for a shirt that's not too dirty (MUTANT DYKE ROCKER BILLIONAIRE) and slipping into her biggest baddest boots because if it's a fight they want she is going to bring the taco-kicking.
When she clatters down the stairs, Janet van Dyne cries "Baby!" and throws her arms around Quinn's neck and does not strangle her.
Over van Dyne's shoulder, she sees Kate Bishop, looking like a Junior League reject, shrug and mouth, Nice to meet you.
"Hello," Quinn says, baffled, and the older woman lets her go.
"My god, you're like a bird. Do you eat? At all?" van Dyne asks.
"Can I help you?" Quinn retorts.
"Sorry," Bishop says, tugging gently on van Dyne's arm. "I'm Kate, this is Jan. Cute shirt."
"Are you here to judge me?" Quinn asks, thoroughly bewildered now.
"No!" Jan says, looking like she is literally going to burst from glee. "We're here to take you shopping."
"Welcome to the poor little rich hero girl club," Kate adds. "Membership isn't voluntary, I'm afraid."
"It's my job as a woman of stature in the hero community to provide mentorship to young girls," Jan says, reaching up to rearrange Quinn's hair. Quinn ducks away, snarling, but Jan just rolls her eyes. "Fine, leave the house looking like a wilted orchid, that's all right, you're young. Come on, grab your wallet, chop chop."
Quinn means to object, she really does, but somehow she finds herself ushered out of the house and into the back of a fancy limo sedan driven by a man in stylish livery. Jan pours her a mimosa from the bar. Kate takes one too.
"Now, I talked to Steve and he said you're not into, you know, super feminine things," Jan is saying as they head into Manhattan. Quinn is going to kill Steve Rogers. It can't be hard, he's old as fuck now. "But I am so into the punk aesthetic lately, Dazzler -- do you know her? Sweet woman, very talented -- she's bringing it back, and the last few years there have been all kinds of gorgeous military jackets and such. So I think if we go in with the mindset of, you know, rich badass tank girl, we will find a lot of wonderful opportunities for you."
"Is this normal?" Quinn asks Kate.
"Do you like purses?" Kate asks by way of reply.
Quinn has spent most of her life deliberately dumpster-diving for clothing or stealing it from other people and from cheap department stores. She wasn't even aware that shopping for clothes could be like this: you walk into a store and people immediately begin kissing your ass for the privilege of bringing you clothing -- beautiful clothing, clothing that fits or deliberately, fashionably doesn't fit, clothing that doesn't smell like a thrift store or the plastic packaging it came in, clothing where the only holes are intentionally put there. She doesn't even care about shoes but the shoes she buys are awesome, and there are punky belts and boys' hats and a nose piercing at one point, and everyone brings them food -- glasses of wine or little crunchy snacks or soft-serve ice cream when Kate asks for it like it's just expected.
They get $70 hamburgers for lunch at a place that is SO fancy they don't even sniff at Quinn's MUTANT DYKE shirt, like they're actually too fancy to be upset about it.
And then Kate buys purses and Jan goes on a rampage in a store that sells nothing but soap and lotion and $30 chapstick, and all day long, all they do is tell Quinn how cute or badass or nice she looks, or they talk about investing like that's something Quinn has ever even considered, or Jan tells them stories about her adventures running a fashion house, or Kate tells them stories about that time she was a detective in Los Angeles.
By the time the shopping trip is over, night is falling and Quinn is elated and exhausted and understands now, on a really heavy, meaningful level, how rockers must feel when they wreck their instruments. Like wow, conspicuous consumerism, she has engaged in it.
But she's also tired, and she's spent so much time today with other people who seem to inexplicably like her, and the idea of leaving Jan's bubbling laughter and Kate's cynical world-weariness and going back to her big empty house hits her like a hammer to the face.
"...but she says he's just not that good in -- Quinn?" Kate asks, breaking off in the middle of a salacious discussion of the Avengers' finest man flesh. Quinn sniffles and presses the heel of her hand to her right eye, which is leaking against her will. "Quinn, is something wrong?"
"Oh, sweetheart," Jan adds, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. "Did we wear you out? I forget not everyone is used to the marathon shopping experience."
"No but like, maybe we should talk about cute girls?" Kate ventures. "Are we being, um, heterocentric?"
"No," Quinn manages, but her voice wavers. "S'not that."
Jan pulls her head over onto her shoulder and shades her eyes with a hand on her forehead, so Quinn can pretend she isn't really crying.
"Do you guys wanna -- come over for dinner?" Quinn manages, hiccupping.
"I know, sweetheart," Jan murmurs, ignoring her. "It's lonely. I know."
Quinn doesn't know how Jan can possibly know, since she's got the Avengers and everyone likes her and most of the Avengers men are apparently super into her, and Quinn's just a mean weirdo who was awful to her girlfriend and hateful to everyone at school --
Kate leans into her other side, and Quinn, horrified, realizes she's been saying some of that out loud.
"Sometime, I'll tell you about my daddy issues," Kate whispers, and Quinn can't help but laugh.
"Oooh, not before I tell you both about how I dated Tony before we knew he was Iron Man," Jan says, but she doesn't let go of Quinn, who is probably crying off the super-expensive sparkly face cream Jan made her try.
"Tell you what," Jan says, after a while, "I have a penthouse in the neighborhood. Hey, Buzz, you remember where it is, right?"
"Yes, ma'am," the driver says.
"We'll have a sleepover," Jan says. "I'll call some people and we'll put on a fashion show."
Quinn sniffles and tries not to be an asshole for at least the rest of the drive, and mostly succeeds, even though she thinks maybe Kate likes it when she's an asshole.
"Some People" turn out to be the other Hawkeye, Captain Marvel, and a ludicrously slick jerk who claims he's Loki.
"We don't invite him," the other Hawkeye says. "Sometimes he just shows up."
"I like that!" Loki replies. He has cool black fingernail polish and Quinn kinda wants to go nightclubbing with him basically immediately. "You're meant to be nice to me. I'm a good guy now!"
"Better be," Captain Marvel says.
"Don't you have some skies to punch?" Loki asks. "I was told there would be a fashion show, and also cocktails."
The other Hawkeye is a super dork, which Kate did not tell Quinn, but he brought his cute dog along, so she guesses he can stay. Loki looks better in some of the clothes she bought than she does, so she lets him keep the shiny pants, and Captain Marvel sits by with the serenity of some kind of enlightened monk, smiling indulgently and offering the most sensible advice ever and punching Clint in the arm when he says stupid things.
By the time the adults are asleep, Kate and Quinn and Loki have begun plotting world domination, using the most complicated plan they can come up with. They're in the huge king bed in one of Jan's guest rooms, and once Loki falls asleep, Kate and Quinn curl up under the covers, turning out the light, still talking but half-asleep.
"I wish Idie could have come," Quinn mumbles tiredly. "She'd have hated most of it but. I wish she could have."
"Well, next time we'll go pick her up first," Kate said. "It's not that far up to Westchester. I'm pretty sure Jan could source a flying car, even."
"I don't think she wants to see me."
"Trust me, there's not a lesbian in the world who doesn't want to see you in that plaid skirt you bought," Kate points out.
"Jan will convince her. Jan can convince anyone to go shopping."
"Why did you bother?" Quinn asks, propping her head on her hand. "I mean, neither of you know me."
Kate shrugs into the blanket. "So? There's about nine girls in the entire superhero community. We have to stick together. God knows, Clint is like, five bros all on his own. I need girl time sometimes."
"But why me?"
"Why not you?" Kate asks, and it's probably a sign of how messed up Quinn is that she never thought about asking that. "Go to sleep. Tomorrow we'll start on your social calendar."
"Ugh, social calendars, really?"
"I know, your life is so hard," Kate teases, and Quinn hits her with a pillow, but she does go to sleep after that, and for once she doesn't dream of being trapped in a giant, empty house, trying to find even a single other person to talk to.