Suzie had known even as she yelled at Calvin for forgetting her birthday that she would regret it. And here she was, a year later, regretting it. Or, if she had to be honest with herself, it was a great present. If nothing else it showed her that Calvin, or Hobbes, listened to her and remembered things she said as a child. It was amazing, and slightly horrifying what Calvin could do when he put his mind to it. Now she just must decide who she's going to call, Calvin or Stark. But first she's going to immortalize this for the future.
Tony Stark, billionaire, philanthropist and superhero looked at his employee and friend. He tried to suppress the need but finally broke.
"Why are you wearing a tuxedo?"
Calvin looked up from where he was going through his backpack.
"It's Suzie's birthday."
"Yeah. So I'm going with you to that big secret invisible flying thing."
Tony looked at Calvin and quickly realized that he wouldn't get another explanation. He glanced over at Hobbes and suppressed a snicker when he realized that the stuffed tiger was wearing a bowtie.
"Is that my bowtie?"
"Hobbes says that sharing is caring and that it's his now since you left it in our secret lab."
"Huh, well, ok." Not that he cared about the bowtie. Well, at least the backpack was in red and gold, and he was certain that Fury would be furious if he allowed Calvin to accommodate him to the so called big secret flying thing. Tony smirked. "Sure, you can come, but you have to be sneaky about it."
"No problem mi comrade," Calvin said in a fake accent and put on a cape.
Tony was feeling more and more gleeful. This was why he loved Calvin, the kid was completely crazy. He breaks out in a wide grin when Hobbes is put in Loki's helmet. Oh, this was going to be glorious, absolutely glorious. And he was going to be in the front seat with Jarvis filming the whole thing.
Much to Tony's disappointment Fury isn't at the landing site. But Coulson’s expression was well worth it. He can see that the agent is getting an instant headache the moment he sets eyes on Tony's companion.
"Sitwell, please make sure that Tony's friend doesn't wander," he orders. "Calvin, and Hobbes, I wasn't expecting you here."
"No one expects the Spanish Inquisition, compadre," Calvin exclaims and strikes a pose.
To Tony's delight he can see a muscle under Coulson’s left eye twitch. Coulson sends a look, or what would have been a glare on every other human, at Sitwell before he herds Tony towards the conference room.
"That was not a Spanish accent," Tony hears Sitwell say.
"Of course not, I'm trying to lure you into a false sense of security," Calvin answers and it's the last thing Tony manages to hear.
Tony goes quietly, content in the knowledge that Jarvis will get everything on file for him.
Tony can't help wondering if he's early for this meeting, since it seems that the good Captain America is missing. And Steve is never late, he even gives the rest of the team disapproving looks when they're late for a meeting. Something starts nagging in the back of his mind, but is quickly forgotten when Fury makes one of his dramatic entrance. Tony is almost one hundred percent certain that Fury only wears leather coats so he can make those dramatic entrances.
"We have a problem," Fury states as he sits down.
"Are you sure you should start the meeting?" Tony asks. "Our patriotic leader isn't here yet."
"And that would be our problem. As of fifteen hundred yesterday Steve Rogers has disappeared. Now normally this wouldn't be a problem, he's a grown man and all that shit. But sightings of the Winter Soldier were reported earlier this week and we're worried that he's been taken."
Now Tony is certain that there's something he's forgotten, but once again it slips through his grasp as Sitwell suddenly bursts through the door.
"I'm terribly sorry sir, but I've lost him," he puts Loki's helmet on the table. Hobbes is still sitting in it like a throne. "He managed to lure me into a false sense of security, and then he was just gone."
"Stark!" Fury growls and glares at the unimpressed stuffed tiger. "Care to explain what your crazy friend is doing on my fucking ship?"
"I have no idea, something about a birthday."
Fury shifts his gaze to Tony and glares at him instead.
"For your sake I hope you have some fucking way to get in contact with him."
"Oh, don't get your braid in a twist," he quickly runs down his contact list until he comes to Calvin's number and presses call.
From the helmet on the table comes robot sounding noise and everyone stares at the tiger.
"Huh, he must have switched phones with Hobbes."
The others are quiet until Clint can't help to ask. "Why does Hobbes have a phone? It's not like he can call anyone on it."
"Yes, well of course not," Tony agrees before he smugly continues. "He usually just texts when he wants something." Tony goes through his contacts again before pressing dial. "The line appears to be busy."
Suzie finally called Calvin, deciding that she couldn't put if off any longer. When her first try agent to voicemail she quickly dialed Hobbes number instead. One of the phones where always on.
"Suzie! Happy birthday!" Calvin's voice sounds strangely static, as if he was somewhere with a bad connection.
"Thank you," she finally settles on. "I don't even have words expressing what I think about your present."
"Present? It's supposed to be two, it's a pair. It hasn't arrived yet?"
"No it..." someone knocks on the door and she quickly opens it, taking in the large crate and slightly terrified looking person who holds out a clipboard for her to sign. ”Never mind, it's here."
"Good, call me when you've opened it," Calvin hangs up and Suzie silently promises herself that she will never yell at Calvin for forgetting her birthday again.
Even though she has a nagging suspicious about what's in the crater, she still hopes that she's wrong. But just to be on the safe side she quickly locks the door before prying it open. No, she had been right, Calvin was absolutely crazy. Why would he otherwise send her Captain America and the so called Winter Soldier as a birthday present? A text interrupts her musing of what her best option was.
Well, at least now she knew why the reception had been so bad, she thinks as she sees the bright violet letters in the sky, spelling out Happy b-day Suzie. Hopefully Calvin had not sneaked onboard the helicarrier but she didn't count on it. But it was best she made a call before Calvin ended up arrested or whatever SHIELD did to people.
Tony looked at his phone in surprise when that call came. Suddenly it clicked and he knew, he just knew what Calvin been up to.
"Ah," he says with a smile because it brilliant, absolutely crazy but still brilliant. "Happy birthday miss Jenkins, I don't suppose that you've got a birthday present from Calvin by any chance?"
He ignores the sound that Bruce makes when he also figures it out and instead waits for the answer.
"Two actually, it comes in pairs," the voice from the other end says, sounding resigned and amused.
"He didn't." Suddenly the situation is more dangerous than amusing.
"Oh, don't worry. Calvin wouldn't send me something dangerous, well he wouldn't send me anything that's more dangerous than I can handle."
Well aware of the eyes on him Tony hesitates, wondering how to put the question.
"And how has he contained the presents? Wouldn't they make a mess if they come to close to each other?"
"You know, you're really bad at talking cryptic."
"Oh, please. If whoever you're with hasn't already figured out what you’re talking to it's just because they think you're a moron."
"Hey, genius here!" He takes a breath. "Anyway, are they gonna make a mess or not?"
"Well, so far they've been unconscious, but I think they're waking up soon. And the only thing containing them is purple ribbons, not that that means anything when it comes to Calvin. Just, just get here. Oh, and you better decide if you want to tell the angry person yourself that Calvin has used his ship to write a birthday greeting. Or, if you want to be as far away as possible when finds out that Calvin has painted a message on it."
"You know, I've just decided that Calvin is my favorite person. He gives the best presents ever. If he didn't already work for me I would be forced to use bribes or something to get him to come." He unaware that he's tapping his fingers on the table. "Jarvis, please notify Pepper that I'm going to convince Calvin," he glances at the tiger, "and Hobbes, to move in in the tower."
"Of course, sir."
"Excellent. Now then, Miss Derkins we're going to be there in a little while, just hang tight." He ends the conversation and stands up. "Bruce? And I suppose the two crazy kids can come to it they want. Chop, chop, time awaisting and all that."
Bruce hurries after the scientist. But stops long enough to pick up the helmet, he doesn't want to come back for the stuffed tiger. He has a feeling that Calvin will become persona non grata in very short order. Clint and Natasha hesitate until could on gives them a small nod, and then quickly exits to room. That just leaves Coulson, Sitwell and Fury.
"Make sure you figure out what the walking disaster has done to my ship and how to undo it," he orders before going in search of some painkillers, he had a feeling he was going to need them.
"Care to explain how Calvin managed to lure you a false sense of security? Especially since he told you that he was doing just that?"
"Well, I didn't think he was serious. I mean who does that!?
Colson gives the other agent a look that sends him scurrying out the room.
Tony didn't know where Calvin had disappeared to but hoped that the younger man had sense to go back to the plane they've arrived in. Otherwise he had to try and convince the two spies to go look for him and convince him to come back to the plane. Suddenly Tony wasn't sure which alternative he hoped for.
"No, whatever he's done it's better to hope he's back at the plane than hiding somewhere."
Bruce, Tony decided was awesome.
"Bruce, you're awesome. Never change. But it's a little worrying that you seem to be able to read my mind."
"Oh, it wasn't that hard to figure out what you were thinking," Bruce says with a small smile. "You like the chaos Calvin creates."
"Of course I do. Did you know that last week he colored a bunny fluorescent and made a whole science team believe that they somehow made a glow in the dark pet? Hilarious, absolutely hilarious."
"No, I've missed that one. The last I heard was about the rat race."
"Oh yeah, he made me one that was red and gold."
"I got a green one."
"Ok, I know that I probably will regret asking, but I just need to know," Clint says.
"Last month Calvin made electronic rats in different colors and held races. Well, I say made but I'm not sure if he made, bought them or had someone else make them for him. The thing is that after a couple of days he got bored with them and installed basic AI in them. And two days later they escaped. So for the last month we've had a pack of multicolored electronic rats running around the labs." Tony snickers at the memory.
"I'm not sure how basic the coding is since the green one seemed very insistent to hang around my lab."
"Who knows. The red and gold one usually comes by every other day to pester dummy."
"It's still active? I thought that the battery had died."
"Ah, well, yes. Fine, I might have made it possible for it to recharge," Tony refuses to meet their eyes.
"Oh," Bruce hesitates for a moment. "Do you think you can do that to the green one to?"
Tony just sends him a big happy grin in response. He then spots the person they're looking for.
"Calvin! You're moving in!"
Calvin doesn't look very impressed by the declaration.
”I’ve already taken over one of your floor."
"What? When? Why?"
"I wasn't allowed to keep the dead alien in my apartment."
"Please tell me you at least have a bed."
"I have a mattress, less space for the monster to hide in."
"Do you sometimes have the feeling that they have two different conversations at the same time?" Clint asks Natasha.
"Yes, either that or they're talking in code."
Bruce can't help to chuckle as Tony argues the need for a bed and tries to convince Calvin to let him buy one for the younger man. Calvin on the other hand is content with his mattress and would rather that Tony bought him a flying shark. Tony, of course, proclaimed that he could build a shark and the conversation turned into how they would build a shark and other sea creatures. It continues all the way to the plane, where a sheepish Bruce offers Calvin the helmet where Hobbes is sitting.
Suzie doesn't think herself as an impatient person, but right now really wishes that Tony Stark would hurry up and get his ass over to her office. The faster the better, especially since her birthday presents are starting to wake up. She's just lucky that there weren’t any meetings scheduled for today so she can stay in her office and get ahead in her paperwork. Or, she would if she could concentrate on it. Next year she's telling Calvin what to get her, and making sure that she actually gets it. Movement breaks of her attempt to read a contract and Suzie looks up.
"I'm sorry, but I can't do anything until Mr. Stark is here. Hopefully he'll bring Calvin who knows how to release you."
A muffled sound is the only response she gets. Luckily for her it's just under ten minutes that the intercom sounds. Suzie knows it's just under ten minute since she has given up trying to read and instead has been counting the seconds. When she answers she can here Calvin in the background and she can't suppress her smile. She quickly wipes it when there's a knock on her door.
The door opens and Calvin enters closely followed by the avengers.
"Happy birthday Suzie!"
"Calvin what were you thinking?" She gestures to where Steve Rogers and the Winter Soldier are sitting, tied up in purple ribbons.
"What? You said that you wanted a Captain America."
"Yes, when I was five. And I wanted one of those toys so he could have a tea party with the rest of my toys. And I never mentioned Bucky."
"They're a pair, you can't just have one of them. Steve has been moping because they're apart. I've seen him looking all moping and stuff."
Then Suzie proves why she's Calvin's oldest friend and hugs him.
"I do like the presents. Thank you so much, but next year you will buy me a present from the list I'll send you a month before my birthday. If you don't, I'll take Hobbes with me to kinder garden and let them borrow him for a week."
Clint, who's been watching the drama, suddenly sees the message written in the sky.
"Oh, my fucking god! What the hell! Calvin you're so lucky that you left before Fury heard about that," he points at the message. "Had he caught you, you would be deported to some godforsaken place and never be seen again."
"Hobbes would never allow that to happen."
Clint hesitates but finally decided that he doesn't want to know what Calvin thinks a stuffed tiger cold have done. Some things are best left unknown. He does send a text to Coulson to update him about the message in the sky and the fact that they found both Captain America and the Winter Soldier. He doesn't say how they found them, just that they've been located. When he looks up again the others are inspecting the ribbons that's wrapped around the two men. Ribbons that appears to be strong enough to withhold super soldier strength. The two scientists are examining the ribbons and even Natasha seems curious about it. Clint doesn't understand what can be so interesting about it, that is until he sees Steve flex his muscles and try to break it.
"This is impressive, Calvin I'm impressed." Tony tugs on one of the ribbons and then tries to cut it with a pair of scissors. "What's it made of? And why haven't you told me about it, think of everything it can be used for."
"It's just a ribbon."
"A ribbon Captain America can't break."
"Well, yeah of course. If he could break free of it, it wouldn't do any good would it."
"I'm more interested in what you used to sedate them with," Bruce says.
"Oh, that's easy," Calvin says and then rattles of a string of letters and numbers, some that Clint suspects can be words but since he doesn't recognize anything he's not certain.
Bruce seems to understand it and even Tony finds it more interesting than the ribbons. Meanwhile Natasha is using one of her knifes to see if she can cut the ribbon holding Steve open. She finally gives up and grabs Calvin's arm.
"Tell me how to free Steve," she orders.
"Well, only Suzie can do that. She must hold it and say the secret password."
"The password?" Suzie asks. But before Calvin has a chance to answer she sighs. "Tell me you didn't."
"I didn't," Calvin obedient says.
Suzie gives him a look that clearly states that she's not impressed, but she takes hold on the ribbon.
"Queen Bee," she says in a clear and even voice and the ribbon falls of Steve.
Before anyone can stop her she does the same for Bucky. He stands up as soon as he's free and then goes through the window.
"Wow. Do you think he knew that we're on the seventh floor?" Calvin asks.
"I don't think he cared," Clint says as he looks outside.
"Uhm, happy birthday," Steve manages to say while looking bashful. "Would you like to go out for tea sometime?"
Suzie stares at him and suddenly blushes.
"Yes, that would be nice."
As Natasha quickly ushers everyone else out of the room Tony bewildered asks.
"Wait, are they hooking up? Has Calvin played matchmaker for his best friend and capsicle? Is this one of the shade things I've heard of? You tie someone up and then they're yours?'
The door closes before Suzie can hear anything else, and she gives Steve an encouraging smile. Ok, so perhaps she'd been wrong in thinking that she would regret yelling on Calvin. Suddenly the rest of her birthday was looking up. And if growing up with Calvin had taught her one thing it was to make the best of any situation.