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the drop phone

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Luis comes home to Dave making dinner and a small brown package on the counter with the apartment's address on it as well as his name.

“This come in the mail, or...?” He asks no one in particular, since Kurt's eyes are glued to his computer screen over at the dinner table and Dave is busy stir-frying something. So he tears off the butcher paper wrapper, opens the cardboard box, and reveals a drop phone.

Kurt glances away from his screen for an instant and looks over to Luis. “Red Riding Hood left that at five. Said it was from Scott,” he explains, taking off his earphones in case Luis answered back.

“Red Riding Hood?” Luis turns on the phone and stares at Kurt expectantly.

“Teenager in a red hoodie,” calls out Dave from the kitchen. “She also said Scott was going to call around seven.”

“Scott? Why didn't you tell me?” Luis checks his watch and gives both his roommates a glare. “That's in ten minutes, I could have missed him!”

These days it's hard to tell who's been more anxious since the news of the Leipzig airport fight: Hope or Luis. She came over to their apartment sometimes, expecting Scott back somehow, then staying to watch the news for any updates just in case. And she stopped herself from biting her nails every time the words “prison”, “custody” and “criminal” are thrown in the newscast. But it was Luis who, when he wasn't home, would try asking everyone he knew for a rumor of a rumor of where the rogue Avengers were now. It got better when it was official that Scott had landed himself in prison again, since now he knew where Scott was, but Luis still kept an open ear for news from his own sources that Scott might come home. Didn’t hurt to have a little optimism. Since then, however, Kurt and Dave haven't heard stories as intricate as Luis usually makes them. “Met up with some guy”, “I’ll be late tonight, we have some surveillance for the job to do,” but no more “wrong” details in his explanations.

At exactly seven o'clock a call from “Shorty” comes in, and Luis’ face lights up.

“Hello? Luis?”

“Scotty! Man, it's so good to hear from you again!” Both Scott and Luis laugh on both sides of the call. “All we heard is that you were in custody or something! You're out?”

Scott’s laugh turns nervous at the end. “That was Cap - uh, Steve Rogers.”

Kurt and Dave both crane their necks from where they are, trying to anything they can hear from the call. So Luis asks the question they all want to ask. “You coming back to San Fran?”

There’s silence from the other end, and Luis’ smile begins to fall. “...I'm not sure. Not yet. Luis…”

“Scott?”

“C - Steve didn't bail us out. He - ”

“Busted you out.” Luis ducks his head and closes his eyes, doing his best to avoid a sigh. “I didn't think Captain America was the type.”

“Yeah, neither did I.”

Neither know what to say for a few seconds, but Luis knows exactly what Scott wants to hear.

“Hank asked for you.”

Scott chuckles on the other side. “Angry much?”

"Mm. This time he didn't exactly let you steal that suit. Hey, at least he didn't want to press charges. For old time's sake.”

Scott sighs. “Look, Luis, I'm sorry.” Lifting that suit had not been a solo op. Even Hank Pym knew that - as soon as it had gone missing he had immediately tracked down Scott's pals and confronted them over the betrayal.

“Naw, it's fine. Kurt, Dave - we were happy to help.” Luis’ tone is hard to keep upbeat. “Had to save the world, join the Avengers - ”

“Become a fugitive.”

Both say nothing but share the same resigned disappointment over that silence. No job is ever as convenient as it looked. Not even if you are working with the Avengers. So now all that's left to do is fill in Scott on the team he left behind.

“Listen...Hope’s not going to forgive you, man.”

Scott pauses on the other side before admitting softly, “...I know.”

Scott had told Luis about Hope. Hope, who so rarely trusted, who thought she had come across a good man with honest intentions for once in her life. Scott knows she’ll never trust him again.

“It was good while it lasted.”

And the Pyms weren’t the ones taking this hardest.

“Maggie and Paxton asked for you, too.”

This is the longest silence yet, as Scott does his best to piece together any decent apology to be passed on second-hand to the people he had let down the most. “Look...tell them I really am sorry. You know I didn’t...didn’t think it was going to end like this.”

“Yeah, I mean, with Captain America and all on your side.” But rubbing it in does nothing to reassure Scott. “I’ll - I’ll tell them.”

They would tell Cassie, who would never hear from her dad again. But it was better than no goodbye.

“Thank you,” said Scott. “Again...I’m sorry, man.”

Luis’ smile returns. “No, don’t be. We’ll meet again.” His own contacts fall short from fixing this mess, but not Scott’s. “You know Hank can pull strings - ”

“Not sure he can get me out of this one, buddy.”

“Well, I hope so.” Optimist Luis is back in business. He knows Scott is coming back, someday, somehow. “Can't leave me paying the rent with these two morons.”

“I resent that,” grumbles Kurt from the other side of the room, while Dave just rolls his eyes.

“Got it.”

“See you, Scott.”

“Bye.”