One Call To Hope Changed It All
The tie was tight around his throat. The suit unnatural and itchy, it made him feel stiff. The end result of this was a massive weight lifted off his shoulders. That was worth more to him than anything. It had to be done. The story had to be told, it had to be. People could not be left in the dark with everything that had happened. Still, he wanted out of this monkey suit as soon as he was able. He, however, wasn’t able to do anything just yet.
Getting through the sea of reporters outside the UN building in New York was once something a little part of him had wanted. He wanted to be a superhero. Not for this but thinking it would be a wonderful part of it. Reporters shouting questions at him in hopes of gaining his attention for a few seconds. How they hung on every little movement he made. Debating on whether or not he would answer their shouted questions. The center of attention, the one that everyone wanted.
Now…he learned it was a bother. Didn’t these people have something better to do with their time? Seriously. There was nothing more to add to what he already said. Thanking whatever god was listening there was a security team helping him through the sea of people. They weren’t hostile towards him like they may have been otherwise and some had even thanked him for coming forward with the information he had. Many others would think security guards wouldn’t have much of an opinion but they did. He just told them it was the right thing to do…he had done enough without thinking in his lifetime… The guards completely understood.
Getting the man to the vehicle waiting for him felt like it took forever. Luckily, the guards were used to this sort of thing and made quick work of getting him to his car. Never having been on that side of things definitely made the walk feel longer. The door was open and waiting for its future occupant to pass through its corridor and into the safety of the motorized vehicle. Once the door was shut, the man’s walls came down. They weren’t very good walls--he wasn’t as experienced as some--but they were good enough to hide the nervous wreck that he was.
Scott leaned against the door of the car as soon as he was able. The tinted glass keeping the noisy cameras at bay. The man loosened the tie around his neck. It felt so much tighter than what it really was. The gravity of the situation settled on his shoulders. Actually, there was a lifted feeling. Like what he had been harboring was lifted from his shoulders. He knew this but part of him died…some of his beliefs were shattered at what he had witnessed.
A hand on his shoulders causing him to glance over at his companion. He knew she would be there and the look on her face solidified that he had in fact done the right thing. Hope van Dyne was smiling at him. Yeah, he might have been a little conflicted and definitely not ready for the role he was thrust into… Seeing her smile was worth it.
“You did good, Scott,” Hope said as she patted his thigh, “What you did was brave. Cassie is proud of you.”
The man smiled. Yeah, Cassie would be proud. He turned a mistake into something better. He was going home a hero instead of being hunted like a villain. There was still a lot he didn’t know but he knew better than to listen to just one person about someone else. He also seemed to figure out how fragile trust really was. As well as allies.
“Can we go see him?” Scott asked. Hope’s smile turned a little bit mischievous but still sincere. It made Scott pretty sure she was going to be a little imp about this. Shaking her head a little with the smile still strong she finally replied.
“Yeah, yeah we can…I think he would like it even if he doesn’t say it.”
What they were talking about had to deal with one of the remaining Avengers.
Scott couldn’t keep it to himself. Captain America asked him for help. That was amazing. Once he was able the find time he called Hope. If there was anyone he wanted to prove himself to it was her so calling her made the most logical sense. What he wasn’t expecting was that he would be verbally ripped to shreds. Maybe calling Hope was a bad idea…he was going to hang up on her too if only to save his hearing till she threatened to shut down the Ant-man Suit if he did. Was Hope secretly psychic?
He begged her not to, telling her as much as he could. Scott needed it because Captain America had needed help. He told them they were outside the law on this mission. Also that it wasn’t even Steve Rogers who brought him in but Sam Wilson, a.k.a. Falcon who called him up for his help. Still…neither man had mentioned exactly what was going on.
Hope had been silent for a moment and told him something didn’t add up. Either the good ‘Captain’ was not telling him the whole story or even Rogers didn’t know what was going on. She didn’t like the fact that they had called on Ant-man for this task. They could be up to something good…or something that could backlash on them. After all, their stunt with the SHIELD leak had caused hundreds of agents to have targets on their backs overnight. Hope had lost a few good friends because of it.
That stopped Scott cold. He never thought of that. Taking a breath the man asked his girlfriend what he should do. Scott was already in too deep. Turning around now would be a bad idea and would throw up too many red flags for those he had sided with. Hope was quick with an idea. If this was such a problem they could work out something with a friend of hers to give him some cover and figure out what is indeed going on.
After that conversation, Scott guessed that Hope went to not only the police and but an agent from the government. It was the single thing that made sense. Telling them they were using Scott’s services to check out something that could be a threat to National Security. As he had gotten a text message saying he was in the clear and would not be in violation of his parole. As well as his role in this investigation.
The agent was an old friend of Hope’s and made up the story to tell the government and the police department. That man was a genius. He spun a story that since Scott was trying to change his life around, he was one of the best to send on this sort of mission. Yet, it was his background that kept people from looking too deep. Telling the right people Scott was turning out to be a fledgling superhero, it would be a sort of test run. If he failed or got killed it wasn’t going to their problem… That part made him feel warm and fuzzy inside didn’t it, not. It worked though.
After that, Scott played his part. His part was gathering information from both sides. When the fight at the airport happened…it was time for Scott to disappear. He got all the information he could from his initial side. Now, to figure out the story on the other side and then they would have the whole story right? Needless to say, it didn’t go as he had expected.
The airport fight was just a disaster. Luckily, he was able to hide away inside Iron Man’s armor. He acted like it was a plan he had to help but secretly snuck inside and just lingered there. Scott wanted to look around inside but that would have been too dangerous. Watching from the safety of the armor he saw the battle unfold. He also saw Colonel Rhodes fall. He then heard the most heart-stopping cry come from Tony Stark. That is when he had started noticing that the man Hank hated was not who he was seeing right now. When War Machine fell…Iron Man was doing his best to save him. If Stark was truly the man that Hank said he was, the billionaire would not have tried so hard to save the Colonel.
At the hospital, there were more surprises. Hope had sent him a restock of particles. He was running low on them because having to stay small for so long but Scott was getting a lot of information he was sending back to Hope. After the refuel, he made it back to Stark. The man was just as he left him staring forlornly at his best friend and brother in that hospital bed. It broke Scott's heart a little bit. He hadn’t ever thought that Tony Stark could look so lost and broken.
Then came the interaction with Black Widow. If there wasn’t a chance of the female spy killing him with a look and the fact he had to stay tiny for his mission, he would have intervened. Really? Was the jab at Tony’s ego really needed? That because of it this mess had happened? He was beginning to wonder just who the Avengers had been if they felt they could lump everything that went wrong onto one man’s shoulders.
There was everything going on in the Raft too. Scott carefully hiding in another Iron Man suit. Oh, that was a nasty place. Seeing his former allies in lock-up like that. It struck a nerve but he knew it wasn’t Tony Stark himself that put them there. Yeah, he brought them in but it was Ross that had thrown them here. Not that they saw it that way. No…the archer guy just had to threaten the man that was trying to help once he had gotten more pieces of the puzzle.
Siberia though…that was something Scott would never forget. Captain America almost killed not only Tony Stark but himself too. He should have gotten out of the Iron Man suit to help. Scott should have interrupted what happened. Tried to stop it but he was in too much shock seeing Howard and Maria Stark get murdered and Steve Rogers never bothered telling Tony Stark about it. He never thought that someone could be so callous. Sure, Stark wasn’t the best guy but he was far from the worst.
After the two soldiers made it out of the bunker was when Scott stumbled out of the suit frantically calling Hope to bring the chopper in. Tony Stark was not in a good way, as he fainted not very long after the other two had left. Scott tried to look him over to see if he could help him out somehow. Yet, he was no doctor. The most he found himself doing was cleaning up the blood on the man’s face and trying to get him to respond.
Hope had gotten permission from the UN to follow Stark into Siberia after Stark had gotten permission to make his way there. Her premise was that they were getting information that said this might have been a setup, using Sam Wilson’s words to ‘go alone and as a friend’. That was ominous if there ever was anything. So they gave her the green light to follow the man but only intervene if it was needed. She was too late to help him…yet, she sent word to the UN that the Soldiers had turned on Iron Man and he wasn’t okay.
As the UN was preparing for the situation, Russia sent word to a hospital to be ready for an incoming superhero. Mainly to get him stabilized for transport to a place that will have the supplies and expertise to help the man. Hope also made contact with Miss Potts. Letting her know exactly what had been going on and that both Tony Stark and Colonel Rhodes were injured. Due to this, they needed to know exactly where to have them sent. This was because of Stark’s known allergies toward hospitals. Miss Potts was both surprised and upset but complied letting them know exactly where they needed to be taken. Even though Tony and Pepper had split she still kept tabs on the man due to his abilities to get into trouble.
So much had gone wrong. Too much of it could have been easily avoidable. Yet, at that moment there was no time to think about it as Scott helped the two medics that Hope had brought with her load Tony Stark onto the helicopter. Ant-Man would secure Tony’s as there was no room for him on Hope’s, well if he shrank there would be but they had to get the other whirlybird home. Watching as the man who lost everything was airlifted away, Scott made his way to Tony’s small helicopter. There was a long way to go but at least they had a head start.
Scott told the UN everything, about the call he got from Wilson and how he told Hope and that they worked together with law enforcement to see where this would go. Scott told them about airport fight and what he witnessed when Romanoff shoved the whole thing back at Stark as if it were his fault. Told them about the Raft that Ross had everyone sent to without proper due process and the Siberia information but Stark’s hands were tied. He told them that he was still in the suit when he saw everything go down. He told them that the Steve Rogers was not the honorable man that people made him out to be. He told them that the Winter Soldier had killed Tony Stark’s parents. Also, that Captain America knew…but never told Tony Stark so he could keep using his funds to find Barnes. He told them of the attack on Iron Man and that he was left behind by the soldiers.
Everything was backed up by the recording he produced as evidence.
Because he came forward with this information and was working with Hope and the government, he was not charged with violating parole. So, he could go straight back to Cassie. To his daughter, he was seen as a hero. He did something dangerous and in the end, helped save a man’s life. Maggie was surprised but proud of his actions, even when he told them that he had made a few mistakes before he got things right.
What he didn’t tell them, or anyone, was that he saw Tony Stark for what he was, a man trying too hard to keep what he thought was his family together. Yet, it never was. He saw the man cry for who could only be called his brother. He saw him betrayed by those he trusted. He saw Tony get beaten down again and again but stand up every time. Scott was not supposed to witness that side of him but it left him in awe. This was a man he really wanted to get to know. The reason he kept it to himself was simply that no one would have believed him. Of this he was certain.
As he was left to dwell on what he had indeed seen, Scott remembered his time in prison. He had to craft his own mask whilst he was locked in the same space with people who were worse than him. With everything he had witnessed he created a guise to help keep himself safe. Thinking of the mask Tony Stark had to create, what he was known for in comparison to how he truly was. What had that man gone through to make that people believe what he portrayed was the real him? Maybe...maybe it was best to leave that mask alone then. Breaching that barrier would be a greater reward. Hopefully, it was a wall he could work through to see more of that man he really had spied upon.
Arriving at the Avengers Compound was still a little overwhelming. It was vast and huge. Pulling up to the front of the building they were met by two very distinct figures. The Vision, the Android that came about due to the Ultron incident and Colonel James Rhodes, otherwise known as War Machine. Two of the only remaining Avengers…the third one, the one he wanted to see was not there.
Scott froze a little bit. He was not prepared to meet War Machine in person. He was a little afraid he might get chewed up and spat out. Yeah, he helped in the end but he also was spying on Stark. They had good reason too with everything going on and Scott’s testimony also put more heat on Ross a lot sooner than the man expected. Ross was answering for a lot right now and was not going be targeting both Pym Tech and Stark Industries. That would be a suicide move even for him.
Right now, it felt as if Scott was committing suicide by getting out of the car with Hope and walking over to the Avengers. Where they weren’t greeted like friends, they were greeted warmly. A lot warmer than Scott had expected.
“So,” Colonel Rhodes asked looking Scott over, “This is your little spy, Van Dyne?”
“I don’t think I would go that far,” Hope stated looking at Scott as if she were trying to see what Rhodes called a ‘spy’. Only getting a shake of the head and his hands flying up in front of him as if to placate a wounded animal.
“I wouldn’t either, try an ‘idiot with a little luck’ being a better description,” Scott stated simply getting an amused smile out of both Rhodes and Hope.
“Still, you helped out my brother a great deal,” Rhodes said simply, “I owe you one. I could have lost him and that would have been worse than losing my legs.”
“No…you don’t,” Ant-man stated with a shake of his head, “If you owe someone it would be Hope. She got me thinking straight when I started to fanboy a little too hard. I just did what she told me to do…cause believe me or not, she is way scarier angry than Rogers is.”
Hope leveled him with a look that made Scott cringe and the Colonel chuckle a little bit. The man knew why they were there. They wanted to check in on Tony. He was fine with that. It was because of their quick actions and foresight that there was little damage done to Tony as there might have been if had been there alone. Tony Stark could have perished in that wasteland and no one would have known but the ones that left him there. Even with the UN knowing where he was headed didn't mean they knew exactly where he would be. There had been a chance he would have never been found.
The Colonel and Vision led them to Tony’s room. The one he had been relegated to by Pepper with her on watch if he dared try to move. Good for him in the long run but he never thought Pepper would bother much because they broke up. That wasn't too smart to say on his part. It ended with him being slapped up beside the head, injured or not, and then having his CEO yelling at him. Because of course she still cared, they were just both too stunted to admit to it. Even though Pepper was more connected to her emotions than Tony. Leaving him when he was in need of people the most was not smart on her part. They needed space…but an entire country between them was a little drastic.
Opening the door and looking inside was the man they were here to see. He lying in bed but didn’t seem to have anything attached to him but a basic medical drip, which had either a painkiller or antibiotic of some kind in there. He looked alright but on the edge of stir crazy, looking at the way the blankets were. If anything Scott had heard about the man was right is that he was never still for very long. From what he had observed from spying on him, he had to say that was a correct assumption.
“Someone here to see you, Tones,” Rhodes said as he wheeled closer to the bed the man was in. Opening his eyes lazily, the man glanced at them. Tony was obviously bored, you could see it in his eyes because he looked like he was trying to will himself to fight against the urge to sneak into his shop because Pepper would kill him if he did. He was trying not to disappoint his CEO. Seems he had also just woken up too and decided to try to go back to sleep before the others entered the room.
“Hmm? So you’re my tiny guardian angel?” Tony asked groggily extending a hand to him, “Tony Stark.”
“Scott Lang,” the younger brunette replied nervously. He didn't think that Rhodes told him that he helped him out already. Maybe it was to get him to agree to see them.
“Ah…the Hacktivist. I remember that. You caught J’s attention before the whole Ultron fiasco. You did good work. I think Fri still has a file on you.”
“That I do, boss,” a feminine voice spoke from nowhere.
“Hmm, that’s my girl.”
Ant-man didn’t know those few words would make him so giddy. Someone had heard of him. Someone important. That was astounding. He felt like he was floating. There was only one thing that broke into his head getting him to focus. It was when Tony asked him what made him do what he did. Scott was able to stutter out it was a long story. The billionaire gestured to the chairs in the room and said he had all day. He was on bed rest for the rest of the week after all.
Pulling up a chair for Hope and then himself, Scott started talking. He didn’t know where this would lead…but that warm feeling he got when Tony smiled at him. Scott hoped that stayed around for a while.