"What the hell, Hank?!"
"I'm sorry, honey. I honestly didn't anticipate that the particles would have this sort of an effect."
Janet Pym, nee Van Dyne, crossed her arms over her chest and gave her husband a stern, disbelieving look. They'd been together for over two years now and married for six months, but sometimes the man could be a bit more scatterbrained than she'd thought was possible for a renowned biochemist. Even the other researchers he'd worked with were more down to earth than her man was at times, even that Selvig guy from the astrophysics division!
Hank offered a sheepish smile and the slightest of shrugs. "Really, Jan, I didn't intend for this to happen," he said seriously. "I've done all the preliminary tests and nothing in the data even indicated that something like... well, this was even possible!"
"And that data of course includes animal testing before you moved onto human test subjects, right?" When Hank ignored the question in favor of looking at the room around them, Janet's eyes narrowed. "Right, honey?"
"I swear to God, sweetheart, I didn't intend for you to be here and get mixed up in the testing."
"Henry Jonathan Pym!" Janet punctuation her exasperated cry with a punch to her idiotic genius husband's arm, because even in this fucked-up situation he was still taller than her. "Why in the world would you skip animal testing and skip right to human trials? For that matter, why the hell were you testing it on yourself?"
Hank at least had the sense to look sheepish. "I actually did do trials with rats," he admitted. "But all the rats that didn't disappear only showed improved immune system activity, so I thought it would be safe to try on myself."
Janet only just barely kept from smacking herself in the face at the explanation. "Did you think the rats unlocked their own cages and wandered off or something, honey?" she asked with a heavy sigh.
"I didn't even really think about it too much," he admitted, running a hand through his hair. "I just kind of thought they'd died or something and one of the interns disposed of them. It was only three or four out of a dozen."
"Well, obviously you should have gotten on your hands and knees with a magnifying glass!" the petite brunette snapped. "Because right now, we are currently two inches tall and I have wings on my back! I look like some kind of demented pixie!"
"It's not that bad, honey," Hank said soothingly, taking a step back as his wife shot him a death glare. "I mean, we could be even smaller, or we could have slipped down the drain in the decontamination shower, or got caught up in the air vent, or-"
"Hank," Janet interrupted sweetly, "you are really, really not selling your argument right now."
Hank shrank in on himself a bit, offering a slight shrug before turning his attention back to the work station that was now towering above the pair of them. He was most definitely in the dog house, and he knew it well, but he also thought it they could get back up to the work station he might be able to reverse the effects of the experimental particles he'd been working with for almost a year. And while a part of him knew that he might be able to salvage this particular tiff with his wife, he wasn't sure he was ready to tell her just why he'd opted to test them on himself.
"I need to look over the equations again," he said instead, opting to go with the 'absent-minded professor' approach. "I'm sure I can reverse this effect and cause us to return to normal."
Janet, however, knew her husband quite well and thus knew when he was changing the subject. She decided to let it go for the immediate future, but she would get an answer out of him sooner rather than later.
"Let's see if these wings are for more than just decoration," she sighed, holding out both hands to her scientist. Hank hesitated for a moment before taking them, and Janet closed her eyes to concentrate. Somehow, she knew just how to make her newest appendages work, just like she knew how to swing one foot in front of the other to walk; it was a bit surprising that she was actually able to lift her husband from the floor to the top of the workstation table.
Hank gave his wife a swift kiss the moment they landed, smiling brightly. "Even if this was completely unexpected, Jan, it looks like one of my theories on the particles was correct. You certainly weren't born with wings or the ability to fly, but when you gained them you also had the instinctive knowledge of how to use them. I should be writing this down," he added at the end, a bit distracted.
Even if she was still frustrated with her idiotic genius, Janet couldn't help but smile at his enthusiasm. "Slow down there, Nobel. First figure out how we can get back to normal then geek out about your whatever you plan to call 'em particles."
"I'm thinking Pym particles," he responded distractedly, moving to the monitor of his now seemingly gigantic computer and reviewing the equations. A frown crossed his lips as he checked the figures a second then a third time, not quite able to figure out exactly how to reverse the process.
That is, he couldn't figure it out until he turned around to look at his wife again and recalled how easily she'd used her new wings.
"Honey," he said carefully, "concentrate on being your normal size again."
Janet gave him a look that clearly stated that she thought her husband had finally managed to lose his mind. "Excuse me? Are you suggesting that I use the power of positive thinking? Seriously?!"
"No, I just..." Hank started before sighing and shaking his head. "Just... remember how you flew us up here? Never flown under your own power in your entire life, but still managed to figure it out in no more time than it takes to walk across a room? I think that returning to normal might work the same way."
"So just think myself normal, huh?" she asked, doubt clear in her tone. "That really sounds like something Norman Peale would suggest, but okay. Here goes nothing."
Janet closed her eyes and thought about being, well, her normal self again. For a moment, she didn't really feel anything; then there was a slight tingling in her arms and legs similar to that pins-and-needles feeling one gets when a limb falls asleep. She opened her eyes to find that the world thankfully didn't look gigantic to her any more. Still seated on the workstation, she turned to her left to see the very weird sight of her husband swiftly growing from small to (damn it) tall once again.
When Hank offered another small, embarrassed smile, Janet couldn't resist kissing it away.
Once they'd pulled apart again, both a little bit breathless, she frowned slightly at her husband. "Hank, I know you're a smart man," she began. "You're the smartest person I know. So what the hell made you think testing the Pym particles on yourself was a good idea?"
For a minute, she didn't think he was going to answer her.
"You remember when I had to go to the hospital a couple months before we got married?" he finally said. At Janet's slow nod, he continued. "I told you it wasn't anything too serious, and said you shouldn't worry about it. Well, I wasn't exactly honest with you. The doctors did a few tests and came back with less than stellar results."
He paused again, reaching for a syringe and toying with it for a moment. "They said it was acute leukemia, and that with treatment I could probably live for another year."
"Oh, Hank," Janet whispered, all her annoyance and anger vanishing under a cloud of dread and worry. She felt like the worst girlfriend-turned-wife ever. Her other half had been sick for months and she hadn't even noticed that anything was wrong! Usually Hank was terrible at keeping secrets, but this time he'd thrown her for a loop.
"I figured that if I only had a little time left, I was going to do something good with it," he continued. "I'd just discovered the Pym particles at that point, so I focused every minute of research onto finding out what they were capable of. When the initial animal tests on the rats that apparently didn't shrink down showed a marked improvement in their immune systems, I decided that it was worth the risk to try it on myself. At worse it would kill me, at best it might fight back the disease long enough for us to have a few good years together."
Janet found herself moving to hug her husband, and she held on until he finally returned the embrace. Sometimes her Hank could be the stupidest smart guy in the world, and then there were times he did something so incredibly sweet that it made her heart almost melt. In this case, he'd managed to do both at the same damned time.
"How long will it be until you know if it worked that way?" she asked softly.
Hank gave a small shrug. "I'll take a blood sample and compare it to one I took before I exposed myself - well, us," he corrected when Janet pinched his side lightly, "to the particles. I know what the healthy-to-unhealthy blood cell level was before exposure; if the unhealthy blood cells have decreased, I'll know it worked for at least the short term."
Janet pulled back and fixed her husband with a serious look. "Do it."
Three months later, an agent named Nicolas Fury from some government organization calling itself SHIELD arrived at the lab. After a few hours of 'conversation,' the Pym particles project was shut down and the Pyms both vanished into obscurity.
What no one would know for at least twenty-six years was that Fury and SHIELD knew exactly what Hank and Janet Pym were capable of after their brief exposure to the particles at full-power.
What only Hank and Janet knew was that the government now had a cure for at least one form of cancer.