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Parallel Lines (the OTP Challenge Squared)

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His Hand In Mine

They don't fly at quite the same pace most of the time, which makes carrying on a really lengthy conversation a bit difficult, and staying side-by-side nearly impossible. Today they're trying something new, though.

It was Teddy's idea. Teddy watches too much wrestling, which is something that Billy has trouble processing given that his boyfriend is such a freaking sensitive artist literally all the rest of the time.

Teddy's hand in his is also warm and dry and strong, because Teddy is somehow never nervous and he doesn't sweat, which may be the least fair thing on the planet. Their fingers are twisted together. Teddy glances over at him and gives his hand a squeeze. “We're doing this. It's going to be all right.”

Billy stares at the scene before them. “Why are we helping this guy again? You remember that one time where he beat us all up, right?”

“We're helping him because we're heroes, remember?” Another reassuring squeeze. “He may be a total psycho and on Earth illegally and all, but nobody deserves to get kidnapped by AIM. They'll just try to dissect him or do something to make him way worse. And since when do we listen to the Avengers when they say someone can't be a hero?”

“Also, when did AIM start building Doombots?”

“Not a clue. Maybe they stole one from Doom and reverse engineered it?”

“Wow. Supervillain team-up.”

“Nerd.” Teddy smiles at him, and Billy feels his heart lifting just a little. In all his time staring out the window somehow he'd forgotten how good it felt to be in the air, about to save someone's day. “You ready, Bee?”

He nods, flicking his hair out of his eyes. “Ready when you are, Tee.”

“Then on 3, 2, 1...”

They dive forward and clothesline the Doombot.

Billy rolls the phrase around in his mind like a beautiful, insane, wonderful marble.

They clothesline the Doombot.

It's pretty awesome.

How did he ever forget that being a hero kicks ass?

Then it explodes, taking out several nearby Doombots and knocking out an AIM beekeeper with a piece of flying shrapnel.

“Man,” Kate says from her perch nearby. “Have standards fallen or something? That was weak for a Doombot. Nice move, boys.”

“It was Teddy's idea.” The heat's back in his chest, the rush of we came, we saw, we kicked its ass. (Because even when he's talking to himself he can't help being a fanboy.) “I just helped.”

Kate nocks, raises her bow, and shoots in one smooth motion, and a nearby beekeeper falls, yelling and scrabbling at the arrow in his ankle. “Well, could you do it again? We have more robots.”

Teddy squeezes his hand again and says, “Yeah, sure.”




What Tommy Doesn't Do

When the fight is over and they're surrounded by the smoking wreckage of Doombots and a lot of sleeping beekeepers, Tommy goes over to the person they'd been saving and holds out his hand. “Get your ass up before the Avengers get here and lose their shit.”

The alien—who also has white hair, which is simultaneously cool and weird, why is everyone biting his style?—grabs his hand and pulls himself up. “Thank you.”

“Yeah, no problem. You beat us all up one time, remember?”

The alien guy has the grace to look at least vaguely embarassed. And he hasn't let go of Tommy's hand. “There were misunderstandings.”

“I should think so.” Tommy pauses. “So anyone the Avengers think is a hazard and want off-planet is a friend of mine. And I hear you're part cockroach, which is pretty cool. I'm Speed.”

“I'm Noh-Varr. It's nice to meet you, Speed.” Noh-Varr is squinting at the others, who have finally finished up with the last Doombot and are heading over.

Tommy frowns down at their clasped hands. “You, uh, you can let go of my hand now.”

“I can, yes.” He doesn't.

“By which I mean hand-holding isn't a thing I do, especially with alien cockroaches I've just met.” Pause. No progress. “By which I mean let go.

Noh-Varr lets go, finally. “I apologize. I still have occasional trouble with human idioms.”

“And personal space, apparently. So why'd you come back to Earth?”

Noh-Varr smiles beatifically. “How could I stay away?”

“Point.” Tommy shakes his hand out theatrically as the others reach them. “Hey, guys, I found this alien, and the Avengers think he's almost as dangerous as Billy. His name is Noh-Varr. Can we keep him?”

Billy doesn't really look like he approves—and he and Teddy are holding hands, because they're gross—but his mouth is at least smiling, and he says, “I don't know, Speed. Having an alien is a big responsibility.”

“Yeah, you'd know, wouldn't you?”

Teddy also looks skeptical even as he runs with the joke. “You'll have to feed him, and clean up after him, and take him for walks...”

“Good point.” Tommy looks over at Noh-Varr. “So what? Do dangerous wildcard aliens eat pizza? Because that's what we're having tonight.”

Noh-Varr shrugs. “I eat anything.”

“See? He eats anything. I don't know about taking him for walks, though, given that I don't really do walking, and speaking of walks are we heading back to the lair now? I need pizza.”

Kate rolls her eyes. “All right, then, we're adopting this alien, I can hear police sirens, Tommy's impatient, it's a regular Wednesday evening for the Young Avengers.” She glances at Billy and Teddy. “I'll order the pizzas and be there in forty.”

She hails a taxi, and Billy and Teddy take off to fly back to the lair.

Tommy looks over at Noh-Varr and shrugs. “Race you?”