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They were ready to fight the bilgesnipe, they really were, but Thor beat them to it.

"I thought he was offworld?" Alexis says.

"I mean, does it matter?" David says. He remembers four years ago, the strange lurch as they vanished from existence and returned to a weirdly changed home, the magic circle immediately appearing in the air, Doctor Strange pulling them through and telling them to ready themselves for the greatest battle of every age, which apparently took place in the past? Or in an alternate universe? Nobody had cleared that up for them, even after they won; anyway, he and Alexis had been asked (not TOLD, definitely ASKED) to smash flying monsters out of the air while the Avengers beat up a big purple guy trying to destroy the entire world, so they had.

It had been great. Literally, literally everyone had been there. His A-1 top tier celebrity crush Captain Marvel had been there. It had been an amazing day, before they went home to Toronto and found out what else had happened.

So with time travel and all, Thor traveling from outer space to Earth in order to fight a giant monster doesn't really rate. "The monster had to come from somewhere," David says. "He probably just, like, followed it. Through the...space roads."

"Space roads," Alexis repeats.

"I don't know! I'm not an astrophysicist!"

"I'm saying, if there were roads in space I think we in particular would know. Since we've been to space."

"Eat your own tongue," David says, firmly turning his back and watching Thor.

“Okay, the new beard is doing it for me,” Alexis says after a minute of quiet contemplation. "I think that's a seven-strand braid and I like the shaping."

“Mm,” David says. He likes the new...solidness that Thor has since the blip. He was always perfection, but now there's more of him.

“The beef is working for you,” Alexis says.

"Ew! Don't say beef! Wait, I think that thing is escaping."

“Got it!” Alexis says, and they work together to catch the bilgesnipe and throw it back at Thor before it can get away.

“Thank you, local heroes!” Thor calls out before smacking the bilgesnipe with his battle-axe again.

Alexis elbows David and he slaps at her. “We’re local heroes,” Alexis says.

“Yes. We are heroes and this is where we live. And I’m not looking at Thor’s arms, I’m very happy with Patrick.”

“Looking is the appropriate response when an actual space god is punching a space dragon in front of you.”

“You think it’s a dragon? I thought more of a space walrus.”

“No, walruses are cute!”

“Dragons are cute too! Here it comes again.”

They catch it and send it back to Thor.

“Hey,” Patrick says, pulling up on his four-wheeler beside David. “Wow.”

“Welcome to the big leagues,” David says to him. He slips his hand into Patrick's pocket. Patrick's costume includes a replica World War One greatcoat, a patriotic tribute to the heroes of Passchendaele, but David's favorite part of the outfit are the pockets. Patrick keeps snacks for him there.

David's costume matches Alexis's, a skin tight leotard in black for him and gold for her, and he cannot carry snacks. He can't even carry a wallet. It's actually a problem, because he burns thousands of calories when he flies, but...their mother picked their look. He's thirty-four and still doesn't want to pick that particular fight.

“The leagues are very big," Patrick agrees, watching Thor jump on the bilgesnipe's head and axe it in the skull. "Yikes! Wow, it's still kicking?"

"Mm-hm," David says, eating the glazed almonds he found in Patrick's pocket.

“Check out his arms,” Alexis stage whispers to Patrick.

Patrick clears his throat. "I am."

“Oh hey, did you think of a name yet? He noticed us so he’s probably going to say hi afterwards,” Alexis says, leaning on David's shoulder to talk over him. David crunches almonds in her ear and Alexis steals the bag from his hands and eats the rest

“Not yet. I thought I would go by grandma rules. You know how the oldest kid in the family chooses what Grandma is called, if it’s Nana or Big Ma or Grammy? So the first child I save, I’m going to ask them what my name should be,” Patrick says.

David looks at him.

Patrick looks back.

David looks at him, lowering his eyebrows. Patrick holds his gaze, mouth twisting inward with telltale mirth. “You think you’re very funny,” David says.

“I do,” Patrick confirms.

He is. He really is funny. Something twists inside him anyway. “I created you an entire inspiration board—“

“No, sweetheart, I love it. I was just kidding,” Patrick says, taking David’s face in both hands. David feels the roil of hurt settle back down inside his chest. “I love the inspiration board. I’ve been using it to figure out something that isn’t a pun on how I got my powers because that is literally all I can come up with on my own.”

David can’t help a tiny laugh at that. Patrick’s powers manifested the first time he and David made out. Not uncommon for adolescent mutants, but embarrassing for a thirty year old man.

“Rose Prick would be totally inappropriate,” Patrick says.

“Ew! Stop it, Thor is coming over, and I'm going to shoot my shot," Alexis says.

"Oh my god. I'm disowning you. Patrick, do you want a sister?"

Patrick widens his eyes. "I do! Do I get the matching suit, too?" He starts to slip off his coat, and David gives him a death glare, but then Alexis hisses at them both and they straighten up and look noble because Thor is coming.

"Welcome to Canada!" Alexis chirps at Thor. "That was amazing! I'm so glad we could help! I'm Rose Gold and this is my brother Rose Light."

"Well met," Thor says, bowing and kissing her hand.

For a moment, Schitt's Wood is wreathed in rainbows as Alexis joyfully bends the sunlight through the water vapor in the trees. "We were really worried! It was plowing through the trees and coming straight for the town, but then you showed up," Alexis says, as pink and gold light dances around her.

"It is my error that brought the bilgesnipe to this realm. It is only right that I return it." Thor looks at David and Patrick and oh, God, he's beautiful. "Rose Light? And you, sir?"

"Twilight," Patrick says, extending his hand to shake. "I'm new to this, so it was a real education to watch you, sir."

"A new and valiant warrior!" Thor shakes his hand and pulls him into an embrace, and then--eek--embraces David as well. His arms. They're so hard, yet soft. They make him feel like a big fluffy teddy bear. "I have heard tales of a Rose Queen, I think?"

"Our mother," Alexis says.

"It is my privilege to be known to your house. Now, I will take this foul beast back where it belongs. Heimdall!" Thor calls, stalking back to the bilgesnipe.

A very, very bright light descends from the stratosphere and takes the bilgesnipe and Thor away, leaving only a decorative pattern behind. David takes out his phone to get some shots. He's sure he saw this pattern in the hem of a Guo Pei gown.

"No! ! I didn't get his number," Alexis says.

"You could send him a raven," Patrick tells her.

"Where am I going to get a trained raven with a spaceship? I might as well send him a letter. On paper."

"That would probably be your best bet."

"Do you like me? Do you want me to be your space princess? Please send intergalactic portal to the Rosebud Motel, room seven, toward the back. Ugh! But it was worth a try."

"I mean, I don't think you blew it," Patrick tells her. "You made rainbows."

David looks up in time to catch a genuine smile on Alexis's face. She and David have the same power as their mother does: they control gravity in small areas, which means they can bend light, move matter, fly. They can do a bunch of things if they put their minds to it. They sink into the ground when embarrassed and bend light into rainbows when happy.

David has been making a lot of rainbows with Patrick. He crosses back to Patrick, who is watching him.

"So. Twilight," David says.

"I told you I was using the inspiration board." Patrick's power is to generate light in the deep blue, ultraviolet and X-ray range (which is NOT useless, Roland Schitt, because there are all kinds of interesting things you can do when you combine electromagnetic fields and gravity, such as focus light into lasers and give the people on the town sign unibrows). The inspiration board includes a lot of indigo and gray.

"I believe you. And I like the name." He kisses Patrick softly. Patrick wraps his coat around them both.

He doesn't look up as he hears someone else approach, too busy having a moment. Patrick named himself Twilight. That's a thing.

"Guys? Hi."

Oh god. This is going to be messy. "Ted, hi, I didn't hear you," David says. He fixes his face before he looks up.

"I left my bike on the road."

"Hi," Alexis says weakly.

"Alexis," Ted sighs. "Um, David, Alexis. I really need help from one of you."

David starts to step forward, but Alexis says: "No, we can both come. Everything was cleared up here and I know it must be important."

"Thank you so much," Ted says. His eyes are huge and wet like decorative ponds. He's really unfairly handsome, David thinks.

Ted leads them all to a spot not far away. It's part of the bilgesnipe's trail; clearly the horrible creature stepped on a muddy slope and its foot skidded down the hill. Ted bends down and fishes something slimy out of the wet footprint. "She's scared for her babies."

Ted--also known as Doctor Fur-iffic--speaks to animals. He was the only local hero before the Roses came to town. He'd been grateful, then annoyed, then grateful, and then he started dating Alexis, and then she broke up with him and got back together twice, so he's basically part of their family now.

"Who's scared? Oh no, look at her!" Alexis says. "Poor little thing!"

"She's a Jefferson salamander. They're endangered. She just laid her eggs and now she can't find them and she's scared the big monster crushed them. What was that critter, anyway? I tried to talk to it but, well, it wasn't listening."

"Apparently a bilgesnipe, though I thought it looked more like a mutant rabbit," Patrick says.

"I thought walrus," David says.

"Like a lop eared rabbit," Patrick says, gesturing from his ears to his shoulders.

"Oh, I could see that," David says.

"Okay. So salamander eggs are like jelly, right?" Alexis asks. "Like little gooey guys, no shells."

"Right. They attach their eggs to underwater grass and moss. You see how muddy the water is? It should be clear. The silt will choke the eggs," Ted says.

The salamander in his hand is big and brown and slimy and David cannot even cope with looking at it. But he's been biting a lot of bullets over the last few years, so he looks at Alexis and starts a plan. "We can sort the particles out of the water," he says.

"Mm-hm, remember when you didn't invite me to your Oscar party and I snuck in anyway? And I unmixed the punch so the vodka was on the bottom and the fruit was on top and everyone kept drinking and not getting drunk? I held that for like two hours at the same time that I was getting Johnny Storm’s phone number.”

"I do remember that, and I had nearly forgiven you," David says. He takes her hand when she holds it out anyway.

It's not really sorting, but they've called it sorting their entire lives because that's how it looks in the end. It's not about picking out the particles, more about...balance.

They don't have to discuss how to do this. They just feel it, the same way they feel the presence of people around them and the pull of the water and trees and the deep swallowing well of the earth below them. He can feel the tiny static of the floating silt and it's not hard at all to make it a little heavier, to help it overcome the cling of the water and do what it wants to do anyway. At the same time, Alexis is lifting the plants and eggs, making them a little bit lighter, helping them float.

When David opens his eyes, the salamander is slipping back into the clear water and the forest is tinged in peaceful blue-green. He's not sure who's bending the light, him or Alexis; maybe both.

Ted is grinning down at some fern or grass or moss or something. He's covered in mud. It's all very rural and cute. "The eggs are okay," Ted says. "They won't all grow up, that's the circle of life, but they have a chance now. Thank you."

Alexis is sparkling an indecisive purple. David looks at her quizzically as she says to Ted: "I'm still in love with you."

Ted's eyes go perfectly round. David draws shadow over himself and Patrick and tries to back out, but there are all these trees and things. "Out out out," he breathes to Patrick.

Patrick leads him away from the pond. David lets go of the shadow and shakes off the awkwardness. "Wow," Patrick says.

"Oh my god," David says.

"That was brave of her."

"Ew. Too many emotions for this early in the day."

Patrick slides his arms around David, locking them behind his back. "Have I mentioned that I like the costume?"

"You can mention it as often as you like. I thought you might actually get to see me in, like, a butch warrior situation today, but then Thor showed up."

"I'm sure you'll wear bruises well," Patrick says. He kisses David sweetly. "But not as well as Ted wears mud."

"I mean, who could, it's his look." David kisses Patrick in return.

"David?" Alexis emerges from the trees red-eyed. David slips out of Patrick's arms and holds out his hand to her.

"We'll fly home. Can you hold on if I carry you?" he asks Patrick.

"I have to take the four-wheeler back."

"Okay. Okay, I'll see you later," David says, and he takes off with Alexis.

*

They stop for ice cream on the way home.

*

After ice cream and eye treatments, Alexis looks better. The Wizard of Oz is playing on the TV.

"The mohawk ringlets are a look," David says. "I don't fully agree with his choices but they're very bold."

"The thing is? I'm still glad we blipped," Alexis said.

The entire family had vanished in the blip. They returned from oblivion after five years to find an echoing house and empty accounts. After sorting through everything, they had Mom's costumes and David's wardrobe, safely locked in the vault; they had $50,000 in matured CDs; and they had the deed to Schitt's Creek which David found while shaking out old bags and wallets (along with a $100 bill which had seemed more welcome at the time). They didn't even have the mansion itself, because that was owned by Rose Corporation, and Rose Corporation was in bankruptcy after the post-vanish stock market crash had wiped out its holdings.

They tried to join the Avengers, since after all they were down like half their members, but that fell through after Hawkeye shot an arrow at David and David shrieked and crumpled a wall. Pepper Potts said she would call them if they needed an assist.

They'd contacted Westchester, because David and Alexis had both gone to school there, but Professor X said he had quite enough on his hands. He'd sounded stressed.

So that left Schitt's Creek and the monthly interest from $50,100 and the two motel rooms that the town council paid for in return for a promise to fight any aliens that happened through. It wasn't much. It was virtually nothing.

The bilgesnipe was the first alien that had happened through. David had rescued a lot of hateful, spitting cats from trees.

"I'm glad too," David says softly. Because he had rescued Ray's hateful, spitting cat from a tree and returned him to the soft blue arms of his new tenant Patrick Brewer, who was so grateful that the demon cat was safe that he insisted on taking David to Elmdale for Sichuan.

"I'm having all these awful feelings," Alexis says. "But it's still..."

"Better," David says.

Alexis stands up and he hugs her for a long, long time.

There's a knock at the door. "No, we're having a moment," Alexis says.

"I'm going to get it," David says, because he's pretty sure he knows who's there. He can feel Patrick's aura in his bones. He knows the specific gravity of his body.

Sure enough, he opens the door to Patrick and Ted. David doesn't even speak, just steps outside and lets Ted go in.

"You're a very good man," David says softly.

"We had a beer and talked about loving Roses," Patrick says.

David closes his eyes. He takes a moment. Patrick is holding both his hands. "I am...so in love with you," he says, finally. "I love you so much that I'm glad we blipped." He opens his eyes.

Patrick is smiling up at him. "I'm also glad you blipped. Because I didn't blip, so I would be way too young for you now."

David gasps. "I'm barely older!"

"The Older Man," Patrick whispers at him aggressively.

"You are problematic."

"I love you," Patrick says. "And your gray hairs."

"I have no gray hairs," David says.

"I love your lonely disowned gray hairs."

"Changed my mind. You are my nemesis," David says. He doesn't let go of Patrick's hands.

"So, I don't know what Alexis and Ted are doing--"

"Right now they're talking so we should leave while it's safe. Um, I actually want to do a pass along the bilgesnipe's trail to see if anything else got stepped on, so--do you think you can hold on?" David gestures to his back vaguely.

"I don't think you'll drop me," Patrick says, and he climbs onto David's shoulders, knees clinging to his waist, and they fly.

*

David wakes up with his face against Patrick's back and an awful banging in his ears. "What," he groans.

"Someone at the door," Patrick says. He's disgustingly awake, curled up on his side and reading on his phone.

"No."

"I've got it."

"No!" He hangs on to Patrick.

"Got to make those difficult choices, sweetheart."

"Nooooo." But he lets Patrick slip out of bed.

"Pat! David! Or should I say: Rose Light!" Jesus, it's way too early for Roland Schitt. David pulls the covers over his head. "Up and at 'em, champ!" And oh God, oh Jesus, Roland is grabbing his ankle and shaking him through the covers.

"What? What do you want?"

"Thor's address! We're going to send him a commendation for saving the town," Roland says.

"What? I don't have Thor's address. I don't think Thor has an address."

"Well, everyone has an address, David. How else do you get your mail?" Behind Roland and his big dumb wide awake face, Patrick is looking dangerously amused. Shit.

"My sister and I would have saved the town if Thor hadn't. It wasn't that big a deal. Patrick and Ted were there too, they should get commendations. Ted saved an endangered salamander."

Roland made a scoffing face. "Yeah, but Thor was the one on the CBC. Come on, get your address book."

"I haven't had an address book since 2002," David says.

"No, you have that app. That Call a Hero App," Patrick says, because he's a traitor. A TRAITOR. And David's NEMESIS.

"That isn't--it doesn't--oh my god," David says, because Roland has clearly seized on that like a labrador with a squeaky toy. "It gives contact information but it doesn't guarantee that anyone will answer. Look, it just says New Asgard, Norway. Send all correspondence to the King of New Asgard and she will attempt to contact Thor. Also, make sure you specify whether you want Thor Odinson or the Mighty Thor. There are two Thors."

"Well, which one do we want?"

"The Mighty Thor is a lady. Thor Odinson is the one who showed up. Okay?" David curls back into his pillow.

"Sure, sure. And you'll deliver it, right?"

"What? Just send it in the mail!"

"I'm not going to send it in the mail when we have our own superheroes! You can just run it over!"

David looks at him. "Yes I can run it over, in, like, a month! I'm not supersonic! And there's an entire ocean between us, am I supposed to sleep on a fish?"

"Sure! Take Ted!" Roland says.

"First the commendation needs to go through council," Patrick says. "Moira has been texting me her ideas for the wording."

"Oh yeah, maybe she can run it over. Senior superhero and all that. Good idea, Pat," Roland says, clapping him on the shoulder and finally, for the love of God, leaving.

Patrick locks the door behind him and silently puts on the kettle. His face says "I thought that would be funny but then it went a little too far." He has a very expressive face.

"I'm going to run away from home. Will you come with me?" David asks.

"Always," Patrick says. He slides back into bed while the kettle heats, curling up on top of the covers and slipping his arms around David.

"We could just stay in New Asgard."

"Ted would want to go home."

"Ted can ride a whale home."

"What would we do there?"

"You would do the national budget. I would make decorative rock sculptures." David rests his cheek on Patrick's shoulder, loving the feel of him.

"The color palette would be..."

"Classic Scandinavian, pale blues and whites."

"My colors."

"Do you have a fisherman's sweater? You would be devastatingly huggable."

"Can one devastate with a hug?" The kettle whistles and Patrick gets up to make the coffee. He returns with the French press and two mugs.

David uses a whisper of power to agitate the coffee grounds. It's like what he did yesterday in reverse.

"So--could you unmake the coffee?" Patrick asks.

"Mm-hm. I can't put all the flavor compounds back inside the grounds, but I can separate water from everything that's not water. When we were little, Mom made us squeeze our own orange juice for practice." He evens out the grounds in the water. "And things like lifting talcum powder from rugs. It's good practice. I do it now at the motel, but with baking soda, to try to lift out the stains. And, I mean, I try to lift out the stains, but they're really in there, like right in with the fiber dye, so it just ends up shredding the carpet and then Stevie tells me off."

Patrick pushes down the plunger. The emulsion turns into coffee.

"So," David says, "out of curiosity, what were you planning to do to the bilgesnipe, Twilight? Because Alexis and I can change the gravitational pull of the earth and send it flying into space. Or make ourselves really heavy so we sink into the ground. Or fly to avoid its claws."

Patrick pauses. "Generate light and blind it?"

"Mm-hm."

"X-ray it until it gets cancer?"

"Mm-hm."

"I'm CPR trained and I worked summers as a lifeguard. Also I really wanted to see the space monster." Patrick's eyes are straying to his mouth, so David kisses him.

"You're very brave," David whispers.

"I know," Patrick says.

end.