Birdy and Theo discuss Sanity

The two of them sat in silence for a while longer, but this time Theo spoke first. “I sense you have questions, Birdy. Are you going to ask or do I have to guess?”

“I don’t want to offend you.”

“Well we’re not off to a good start then, Birdy.” But it was clear from her tone she was not offended.

“It has to do with your mood when you returned from upstate.”

“I was angry and confused.”

Birdy gave her a look over the top of his glasses to say he knew it was more than that.

“Fine. I was angry and confused because I was not in my right mind which tends to happen when I get angry and confused. It’s a cycle and I see that now. Okay you want more. At the Avenger compound upstate there was an artificial lady of the wall who recorded me during one of my … erm … episodes. Sometimes I can feel them coming on, but not this one. My Niko must have known, but - well I was awful to him, from what I can remember.”

“Then you’ve probably forgotten some of the awful. You two said some mean stuff.” Birdy took a cube of sugar from the bowl and tossed it towards Theo who managed to catch it in her cup with a splash.

“Yes you’re right of course. I should apologize properly and let him know he was right - well rightish.”

“You should,” Birdy said with an uppity pinky raised high.

“I will,” Theo promised. “May I continue?”

“It’s your house.” Birdy managed to avoid the pillow thrown at him.

“The VHS of my episode was shown to the team and I was already tired and - overexcited, so I lost it for a while. But it’s not insanity, Birdy. The others probably think it is and even though Niko says it isn’t, I know deep down he thinks it is too. But he loves me too much to admit it so I won’t call him on it. I know what it really is now, but Niko will just say it’s because of the magic.”

“So it’s not insanity and it’s not because of the magic? Then what is it?” Birdy was really wishing Theo had read Pepper’s letter because he was getting uncomfortable, like he’d lied and it was only a matter of time before he was caught. When the lawyers came by he’d been shown some footage from the compound and saw Theo at her worst - it was all laid out in the letter that he was to advise Happy Hogan of any additional episodes. So Birdy wanted to understand those episodes as Theo called them, because to him she just looked crazy in the video. That wasn’t a deal breaker; afterall, he’d worked for network producers and on-air anchorpersons with personalities too large for their own heads. He just wanted to know what he was dealing with which made him feel like a spy or a backstabbing friend.

“It’s hard to explain, Birdy. Crazy is a deficiency of the mind, isn’t it? An imbalance to detrimental impact. My shifts are not deficiencies; they make me stronger and are absolute necessities.”

“Necessities for - saving the world?” Birdy asked.

“Necessities for saving the world, this universe and many others - the multiverse. We’re in the big leagues now, Birdy.”

“I guess I didn’t fully believe that part before. And we’re going to save it from Bleeker Street?”

“The address isn’t important. It’s the physical location of this exact spot on the surface of the Earth that makes it special. The house is just a guardian of that spot and you’re a guardian of the house. But you must never go down to the basement. It isn’t safe.”

“Now you tell me?!” Birdy nearly spit out his tea and placed the cup and saucer on the tray as if he thought he still may.

“Relax, Birdy-boo. It was safe, but it isn’t anymore. I had to leave something down there that could hurt you - could hurt all of you. So just stay clear of the basement and everyone will be fine. Don’t worry, the Sanctum won’t accidentally send anyone down there. Or on purpose,” she reminded the house in a loud voice. Somewhere the hot water heater gurgled.

“Okay, we’ll circle back to that. You were telling me about these episodes?”

“How do I explain it without sounding crazy? When you go to the gym and workout -”

Birdy cut her off to eliminate any misunderstanding. “Birdy doesn’t go to the gym.”

“That’s going to change. Birdy is going to the gym five days a week starting tomorrow. Physical fitness is key to longevity and a healthy body. How can you protect the house if you can’t lift one hundred pounds? You want me to be safe, don’t you? Now don’t interrupt or I’ll never finish. When you go to the gym and workout, your arms and legs are sore afterwards, right? You’re temporarily less able than you were when you started. But in time, your starting point moves until eventually you can lift a horse. It’s the same with magic. These little episodes are just my mind telling me that I pushed myself hard, maybe too hard if you listen to Niko. And there’s a bit of damage that must heal before I’m back to me and more powerful than ever.”


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