Training Day - Happy Trails - Part2

And back outside…

“Someone, explain, please?” Happy said, once they’d all converged in the front of the building.

“We’re saving the world, Happy. Great name, by the way. It rhymes with magical. Did you get born with it or give it to yourself? Because - what Niko?! It’s a perfectly suitable question for me to ask someone. Or does that make me crazy too?”
Niko snarled and unceremoniously put his cousin down. “Why don’t you explain, Happy Fucking Hogan, what you are doing here?” Theo clambered to her feet and dusted off her butt.

“I’m here from Stark Industries; as this is a Stark facility, I was sent to investigate the activity in the area. So can someone tell me why this place looks like a war zone?”

“Oh that! The robotos did nearly all of that damage when they were firing at us. We dodged most of their blaster bolts and phantasm jiggers so we weren’t seriously injured. Mr. Dreamboat over there,” she said, sending a pink heart floating through the air towards Erik Foster like a smoke ring as he walked slowly across the field. “He took some punches to the face from the Verruca Nutbuster … no that doesn’t sound right. Maybe I’m confusing it with the part where I saved his life then passed out on his lap. But those robotos are really dangerous; you should put warning labels up or something. Not you personally, you’re much too delightful to be hammering in signs. But the organization you work for. Say hi to Pepper for us. Don’t worry - we aren’t going to lawyer up if that’s what’s upsetting you. We even cleaned up the mess your murderbots made … well they cleaned up. Did you want to come inside? I know how to make finger sandwiches with cucumber.”

Sam came running out from the facility, taking his helmet off. He didn’t recognize Happy but he knew all too well who was standing near the cousins. “What on earth is going on?”

“That’s what I’d like to know,” Happy replied. “When we received reports of an alarm being triggered, we thought it must have been a glitch in the system. But a second ping today from Veronica told us that wasn’t the case. Mrs. Stark asked me to come personally have a look around, just in case…” He waved his hand around. “You all happened.”

“We happened and you’re Happy so no harm done. I told the world we were happening, don’t you watch the news? Come on, Wanda’s inside and she can clear all this up. The situation, I mean. We aren’t much for the actual cleaning.” Theo reached down and removed one of the furry red heelless bedroom slippers. “You can wear one of my slippers if you want; just until we get something in your size.”

“Wanda’s not real,” Niko insisted.

Theo slapped a hand to her mouth and went wide-eyed. “I can’t believe you would say that! You’ve seen her with your own two eyes. She corporal punished you for insolence and I know you felt it.” Theo’s voice got softer, “She brushed your hair when you were a little boy.”

But Niko was not here to argue the point and plowed on. “So if you want to talk to someone real, that’s Sam Rogers, and this is Foster Thorson, or that’s Ghost Spider Girl. Do not call her the Coolest Avenger, she has ego issues.

Theo saw Sam moving in for the introduction so was quick to jump in first. “And I’m Theo Maximoff. I’m also real. This is my teammate and shieldbearer,” she pointed to Sam, proud of herself for a smooth recovery.

Sam walked forward and extended his hand for a handshake to formally introduce himself, while glaring at Theo, “Sam Rogers. You said Mrs. Potts asked you to come?”

Happy nodded his head impatiently, shaking Sam’s hand quickly and looking at him expectantly. Sam turned to the rest of the group, “Listen, why don’t you all head inside and assist HELEN and...Wanda in the clean up. I’d like a moment to speak with Mr. Hogan.”

“Yes, inside please. As the second in command I need to be involved in this exchange.” Theo stepped back into her slipper and pulled in close; as if they were gossiping about the others and didn’t want to be overheard. She wasn’t letting Sam Rogers take alone time with Happy, not when the team was still so prone to telling secrets.

The three walked along the sidewalk toward the rear of the facility. Sam was the first to speak. “Firstly, I’d like to apologize for the stress we’ve obviously caused you. It wasn’t our intention to upset any more apple carts than necessary. I believed that the land was still under SHIELD jurisdiction and, had I known that it was still SI property, I would have communicated through the proper channels before allowing the team to come here.”

Theo moved around in front of the pair, walking backwards like a cartoon chihuahua so they wouldn’t step on her. “Actually, Happy, it was not Sam Rogers’ call to make. He can decide whether he wants to participate, but he doesn’t make decisions for the team. That’s a leader’s job. I learned that a few minutes ago when Wanda taught me confidence.”

“Does she always do that?” Happy asked, clearly distracted as he watched Theo, but refusing to speak directly to her.

“There hasn’t been enough evidence to say for certain it’s a habit, but from what I’ve seen so far; yes,” Sam replied as they continued to walk together. “Secondly and more importantly, I want to assure you that, despite how it may appear at first viewing, we really are just trying to train to prepare ourselves. And this is simply the best place...well, I won’t say ‘available’ since now it appears that’s up for debate, but it’s the best place for us. There has to be something we can work out, Mr. Hogan.” Sam looked to him, concerned.

“Happy,” he snapped. “And no one said it wasn’t available or was up for debate. But at the same time, you can’t go deploying Hulkbuster armor like they were your personal rock ‘em sock ‘em robots. They’re expensive, and they aren’t meant for training purposes, that’s not why Ms. Stark keeps Veronica active. And who crashed the Quinjet? These aren’t toys. So here’s my proposal. You can stay, you can train or form a cheer squad, whatever you want to do as long as it stops costing a fortune. I’ll have a team come in and repair all the shit you broke, but I warn you, anyone so much as knocks over a lamp and I’ll shut this down.”

“Happy,” Sam said, correcting himself. “You’re right, I’m sorry. I take full responsibility for all of the damages and I promise we will take much better care of the compound. How can we better train with what’s available to us? Is Mrs. Stark upset with us?”

“No, she actually thinks this facility, the upstate is good, safer and less visible than New York City. No one is protesting up here as of yet that we know of. Talk to HELEN; she likely has footage of the real Avengers when they were training here - if you need ideas, that would probably help. Just let my crew come and do what they need to do. You think you can all confine yourselves to an area where you won’t break anything for a few days? Keep out of the way of the construction crews?”

Theo was running her fingers over the sling ring still tucked into her pocket. “I can trap them all inside the Mirror dimension, Happy, until repairs are finished. And maybe a bit longer if one Speedster needs more time to get his attitude back in line.”

“Theo and I will speak to the rest of the team, maybe we can have everyone just head home for a few days and get out of your crew’s hair. If not, I’m sure we can keep ourselves entertained in the sleeping quarters for a few days.” Sam thought a moment. “Happy, I don’t suppose you’ve heard from SHIELD about this at all, have you? I’m honestly kind of surprised she..uh, they haven’t said anything.”

“Your mother and Ms. Stark have come to certain agreements, and it’s not that I’m not at liberty to discuss them, right now I just don’t want to discuss them. But SHIELD is aware of your activity here as well.”

“Hmm. Fair enough. Would you like to speak to the others or should we just start getting out of your hair now?”

"The latter," Happy said dryly, giving Theo another cursory glance. "Can you all just go assemble somewhere quietly, and I'll come find you when I have this shit sorted? The gameroom or something."

“Nope, not the gameroom,” Theo interjected. “That’s going to need some serious work. Wanda did a real number when she came back from the dead.”

Happy shot another look towards Sam and raised his eyebrows. “Wanda Maximoff? Wanda Maximoff is back?”

“That’s the one, Happy! I’m like Pet Cemetery in here - bringing them all back. I just need time to get my thoughts straight and then Uncle Pietro is next. Maybe he can talk some sense into his son. Until then, you should come inside and talk with Wanda and eat cucumber finger sandwiches."

Sam glanced over at Theo and pondered a moment. “It’s not that I’m not at liberty to discuss that, but right now it’s best we don’t.”

“Touché,” Happy replied with a chuckle, as he cued up a number on his phone. “Greg? It’s Happy. I’m going to need a crew. A big crew and fast; it’s a ‘special’ job for Pepper.”

Whatever path the three of them had taken wound it’s way straight back to the front of the building. As Happy walked away on his call, Sam stepped closer to Theo. “So. What do you think? Should we head back to the Sanctum for a few days? I wouldn’t mind checking in on my apartment. I’m sure half the fruits in my fridge are bad by now, come to think.”

Theo pretended to think it over. “Wanda and I should really be here to oversee the repairs. Oversee… have you ever noticed that oversee and overlook mean the exact opposite? But they sound like they should mean the exact same. Hmm...I wonder if that’s why I overlooked the spell in my Almanac. Ah well. So yes, Sam Rogers, you should go clean out your refrigerator if you think that’s important. Maybe take Nikolai with you and lose him somewhere. Does Gwen have permission to stay with us or have we violated her parental probation or something?”

“I’m still fixing the Iron Spider and he won’t fit in my room back home,” Gwen pointed out. “And are there any more alarms we should be worried about?” She asked looking between the gathered b-string avengers. “Also has ANYONE seen the spray paint?”

“I used three cans of red paint in the gameroom, but it wasn’t spray.” Theo held up her hands to show that she and her clothes were covered in dried paint which was obvious to see. “We also need new furniture in that room. The old stuff wasn’t very sturdy.”

“The clean up crew will be here in a couple of hours,” Happy said, sliding his phone back into his suit jacket’s inner pocket. “Is there somewhere else for you all to be? Somewhere you can cause less trouble, maybe?”

“Nope.” Gwen replied. “Is he like our new boss or something?” Gwen whispered to Niko. “If he is I have to call mom and let her know …”

“We can cause trouble anywhere…” Theo mumbled, peeling paint off of her elbow.

Sam quickly jumped in, “Yes, as a matter of fact we were just on our way out. Theo has decided to remain behind on a personal project, but I will be taking the others back with me as soon as we gather our things.” He shot Gwen a quick look and head shake, signalling to not engage.

“Sam Rogers, I think it’s a little more monumental than a personal project. I’m bringing back all our dead parents from ...wherever they’ve been. That affects us all. That affects the entire Universe. Don’t you see? We might not have to save the Universe after all. Not if Wanda and the rest of the Avengers can do it for us. Don’t you want to see your dad again? Sam? Gwen, don’t you want to meet Peter Parker?!”

“No,” Niko insisted for them. “They don’t. Sling Ring everyone back to the Sanctum if you want. You can visit Birdy. I’m sure Happy - who is not our new boss,” he said as an aside to Ghost Spider Gwen, “can handle the clean ups with his Stark people.”

“Someone needs her apple juice.” Gwen said with an arched eyebrow. “What about Iron Spider? I can’t leave him here. With them?” She said waving in Happy’s general direction.

“Fuck that stupid robot!” Theo shouted. “It’s just a piece of roboto metal. I’m talking about your dad, Gwen. I’m talking about all your dads. Don’t you care about them even a little?”

Gwen had to take a deep breath before looking to Niko as to what to do. Theo was … special. They all knew it and it was kinda obvious that she had episodes often enough. So for the most part Gwen had passed them off as something normal for Theo. But the wannabe Scarlet Witch was pushing some serious buttons!

Niko considered his options, gears turning until somewhere an idea hit. “We should let them make repairs, this way the place doesn’t look like how they left Sokovia. And it’d take a lot of hard work, right? It’s not something that can be done in a night. Plus… you don’t want to get stuck helping Happy, do you Miskja?”

“I think I like Happy, but I don’t want to pick up dog shit for another week either. Hey! I bet Wanda would like to see the Sanctum again! She hasn’t been back there for years.”

“Sure! Right. The Sanctum. Sam can throw out rotten fruit, Thorson and Ghost Spider Girl can visit their mothers. Happy! No one touches the Iron Spider. You do not want to get Ghost Spider Girl angry. You wouldn’t like her when she is angry. Deal? We get out of your hair, and all you have to do is not touch one robot.”

“Fine. You go with Wanda and she can show you around the Sanctum. Maybe you will find the time to apologize to her. A real apology, Nikolai.”

“You’re coming with me,” Niko told her. “There’s nothing to oversee or overlook. Look at this man,” he pointed to Happy. “He’s a professional.”

“Well, he does look like he knows how to get things done. Maybe I should stay and watch him in action. I could do with a few pointers on how to make people do what I want.”

“Theo is in rare form today.” Gwen rolled her eyes. “Maybe some familiarity will bring her back down to earth.” The spiderling shrugged.

Erik gave Gwen a soft nudge with his forearm. “Be nice,” he said softly, doing his best to not let anyone else hear.

“This IS me being nice.” Gwen mumbled.

“Alright, let’s wrap this up. Everyone grab what you can of your gear and meet back here in 10 minutes for the portal.” Sam began walking insite to retrieve his belongings as he pulled his phone out to call his mother.

“So we going to sling ring it?” Gwen asked wondering what the travel arrangements were going to be.

“Unless you take T’Chantem’s car. I don’t know if Sam’s shield will fit in the trunk, and the back seat will be pretty crowded. But I’ll race you!”

“Oh nice, now you want my magic.” Theo shuffled her way back towards the front doors of the compound, struggling to keep the furry slippers on her feet. “You know, we could just portal out from inside. There’s no reason to traipse out here to the lawn again.”

“Fine. Portal out from the inside - but you are coming with us. Trust me - you are very bossy, you don’t need pointers on it.”

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