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After the news, they gathered at the bar to bitch about it and get drunk. Minus Kezzy, who was working at the hospital that night. Sam was halfway through her second pint when she saw the replay show up on the bar's TV.

"You've got to be shitting me," she said.

Alisha and Tamsin turned around and made identical faces of disgust. Tony fucking Stark, the very definition of Rich Bastard, mugging for the cameras and talking like this was the greatest thing.

"How can he say that with a straight face?" Tamsin complained. "He was right here. He fought in the battle."

"Fucking bullshit," Alisha muttered, throwing back the rest of her pint and signaling AJ, behind the bar, for another round.

"But it's such an opportunity," Sam mimicked, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "A super-powered alien dedicated to the protection of Earth. He just wants to help, you guys!"

"Yeah, help." Tamsin rolled her eyes. "Like a spider helps a fly."

The TV was getting to the part where someone asked about the rumors and Tony Stark confirmed he was, in fact, totally hitting that. And that somehow, everyone should be just fine with that because it meant that Loki asshole was on their side.

"Next time I feel like going on a killing spree," Sam said, "remind me that all I need to do to get away with it is bang Tony Stark a couple of times. I'm sure I could close my eyes and pretend he's a woman."

Alisha wrinkled her nose. "Ew, though. Imagine how many diseases that guy must have by now."

"Maybe that's his plan," Tamsin said helpfully. "Alien has no antibodies, Tony Stark saves us all with his toxic dick."

Sam choked on her beer and then spent half a minute laughing helplessly. "Oh my god, you can't say toxic dick."

"Toxic dick!" Alisha and Tamsin yelled together, raising their glasses. (AJ side-eyed them from behind the bar, but they could get a lot more rowdy than this before anyone would ask them to tone it down.)

Tamsin sobered a little. "Seriously, that guy should be up in front of a war crimes tribunal, not living the high life in Stark fucking Tower."

"Or 'fucking Stark' Tower, as the case may be," Sam said flippantly. The whole thing made her feel gross.

She hadn't been in the city at the time, but after she and Kezzy got together, Kezzy had told her some horror stories of some of the patients that had come through the hospital that day. Even hearing it second-hand was enough to give her nightmares.

"Ugh." Tamsin took a long drink. "Rich white dudes, swear to God. They can get away with anything."

Alisha made a noise of fervent agreement. "You just know if that Loki looked like a black guy instead of a white guy, this shit wouldn't fly. But they're both white assholes, so he gets a pass."

"He's not even hot," Sam grumbled. "I think. Tamsin, you're the token straightie, enlighten us. What the hell does Tony Stark see in that ass?"

"Don't ask me," Tamsin said, shrugging. "I don't like his nose. Or his receding hairline."

"Or his space army?"

"Maybe he's got some freaky alien sex organs that, like--"

"Shut the fuck up, shut the fuck up," Alisha moaned. "I don't want to think about it. Christ, girl."

"More beer," Sam declared, and they all paused to drink heavily. AJ was good to them; he'd keep the pints coming.

On screen, Loki was stepping up to the microphone, pulling some serious Bambi eyes. Someone across the bar booed and the rest of the patrons picked it up pretty quickly. It drowned out the sound of that fucker's voice, and Sam found herself wishing it would last longer.

"It's okay, you guys," Tamsin said, after the noise died down. "It's all okay. He feels really bad about it."

"Oh, well, in that case..." Sam rolled her eyes. "If he feels so bad, why doesn't he fuck off back to Mars or wherever the hell he came from."

It was at that point that some skinny white guy paused by their table, trying to look slick. "Hey, ladies."

"Fuck off," they chorused all together. Sam had really been hoping no one would bother them tonight, but men were generally incapable of seeing a table full of women and not trying to pick one of them up.

"Fuck off back to Mars," Alisha added, and they all laughed, clutching their pints. Sam flipped the guy the bird with her free hand.

The skinny guy huffed something about 'fucking fat bitches' at them and stormed off.

"Men," Alisha muttered. "Fucking pricks."

"Tony fucking Stark," Tamsin said with some disgust, and they glared at their drinks.

Up on the TV, Loki was talking about what a 'valuable lesson' he'd learned, and whatever crap he was going to do to 'repay his debt' to Earth.

"He must have made a killing on the rebuild," Alisha said suddenly. "Tony Stark, I mean. Think about it, Stark Industries does everything."

"Communications infrastructure," Tamsin agreed, only stumbling a little over her words. "Architecture software. Electrical systems. Energy."

"Medical," Sam chimed in, remembering what Kezzy had told her about new hospital equipment.

"Exactly." Alisha pointed at them both in turn. "No wonder he's got a hard-on for that piece of shit. Fuck, forget saving us all with his great white dick, we're lucky he didn't just tell him to invade again."

"That's fucking sick," Sam said, a little horrified. "Fucking Christ. Can we go find him and, I don't know, punch him in the face?"

Alisha snorted. "If you think you can get past the motherfucking Avengers, sure, give it a try."

"Shiiit," Tamsin said, shaking her head. Her eyes were a little bloodshot. "This is, like, conspiracy theory stuff. Do you really think he'd sell out New York just for money?"

"Rich white dude," Sam said, because that said it all right there, and Alisha nodded emphatically.

"Don't forget NASA," someone said, and they paused to look over at the next table.

The white guy who'd spoken looked a little embarrassed; his date was covering her face with her hand. "Uh. Sorry," he said; "I didn't mean to eavesdrop. But, you know, he's got those contracts with NASA now for satellites and early warning systems and all that alien detection stuff."

"Motherfucker," Alisha said.

"Well, there goes my faith in humanity," Tamsin said. She raised her glass. "Cheers, guys."

Sam clinked her own glass against Tamsin's. "Here's to being a lesbian and still getting fucked by men."

"Hear, hear," Alisha said bitterly, joining in.

On the TV, the footage of the press conference had been replaced by a couple of journos (white men, of course) discussing it in Very Serious Voices. Sam drained the last of her pint and shook her head. "This is fucking depressing. Let's go home and watch terrible movies."

"I'll get the tab," Alisha offered.

"Please nothing with aliens," Tamsin said, shrugging her coat back on. "In fact, how about for the rest of the night we just pretend that aliens still don't exist."

"I am so down with that," Sam agreed. The world had changed and she didn't like much of what it had changed into. At least for one night, it would be good to pretend it didn't exist.

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