Theo Goes West

Theodosia shielded her eyes from the midday sun and looked up and down the railroad tracks, but there were no signs of the young Banner. There was a beautiful landscape of trees and gently rolling slopes, but not a single rail line hobo in sight. It may have seemed she was searching at random for the teen, but she was actually following magical pointers. It was similar to when she and Niko had searched for and located Sam Rogers back in NYC, but they’d been much closer to the quarry then and Niko was with her to make sure she didn’t wander into traffic or walk into the side of a building, letting her zone out and into the trace completely. Now though, she was out in the world, by herself - and she was loving it! Honestly she was surprised Niko had let her go, hell he hadn’t even put up a fight.

She swept her hands through an intricate loop and opened up another portal. “He must really be accepting me as the Team Leader. They all are. The Prince practically begged me to take charge.” Theodosia wasn’t talking to herself so much as talking without anyone else there to listen. Sure, she’d sling slang slung ring rang rung herself through to the next state and now she was in a busy shopping mall, receiving quite a few stares from startled shoppers, but she didn’t know any of these people and wasn’t really supposed to talk to strangers. Niko’s rules.

A young kid had his phone out and was taking a picture of her. Or perhaps it was video. She looked left and right, no sign of Banner near the food court. Why had the magic taken her here? She looked back at the youngster, probably 15 or so, Gwen’s age. Theodosia knelt down and held her hand out, making clicking sounds with her tongue as if she were calling a pack of squirrels or ducks. The kid looked at her like she’d lost her mind, but she had just created a portal through space and arrived in the mall food court of some city in Ohio, so he pointed at himself with raised eyebrows.

“Yeah you, kid. What’s the matter, you’ve never seen a superhero before? Wanna touch my cape? Yeah I’m serious. Come on.” As soon as the kid was close enough she pulled him in and gave him a friendly hug. She felt a hand on her ass and smiled. “That’s some soft leather, yeah? The rest of the team won’t wear their uniform. Think they’re too cool for school, I guess. Alright, stop touching my ass, it’s getting weird.” She spun the kid around and laid a hand around his shoulder. She wiggled her fingers and her phone floated up on red tendrils of magic. “Smile kid, you’re gonna be famous. Cheese!”

The camera snapped the picture, Theodosia brushed the handsy kid’s wandering hand away - again - and she grabbed the phone out of the air. “I’ll make sure it lands on all the websites. Gotta get back to work now. There’s a broken nuclear bomb somewhere between New York City and … Jackie’s Hole in Wyoming or something like that.” She looked up and saw that the crowd around had gathered a larger crowd. She roughly pushed the kid away and stood up proud, puffing out her chest. A breeze picked up - inside - and her red cape started fluttering. “I’m Theodosia Maximoff. Leader of the new Avengers. Well, um… Don’t start forest fires, stay in school and always obey your parents unless they’re fans of Bailey Bishop.” Theodosia gave the crowd the peace sign then slung a portal open and jumped through to Knoxville, Illinois.

***Fast Forward 2 Hours***

Theodosia was standing along U.S. Highway 20 in front of a road sign that read:

Welcome to
O'Neill, Nebraska
Pop 3,935

“I'm learning so much national geometry! They really don’t teach you this stuff in school.” She snapped another selfie with the sign behind her and sent it to Gwen. Because Gwen, Niko and T’Chantem were the only three people she had programmed into her phone. Thorson had carefully avoided giving her his number or indeed allowing himself to be alone with her, which just baffled Theodosia. How much harder would she have to throw herself at Erik before he took the initiative? Well, no matter how hard Erik made it, she would keep working on him till he finally got soft. She was not the sort to give up or be invalidated.

She tucked her phone back into the hero pouch on her belt and started walking west - the general direction each of these massive portal hops had been taking her. Logically it made sense to meet David Banner on his approach towards NYC. But Theodosia wasn’t particularly weighed down by logic and it required an assumption that Banner sought an audience or audition with the new Avengers. Well, that he was coming to NYC at any rate. So really the witch would have happily zigzagged across the country, only following where the magic would lead.

She was not walking for long when a car approached from the east. She turned to watch the car, imagining she must have looked magnificent to the driver. She struck a heroic pose in a pristine white leather uniform, tall boots, auburn hair and red cape flowing in the wind. But the driver was actually thinking she looked lost, dressed strangely and may be in need of assistance. He slowed and pulled over. Theodosia walked across the front of the car and to the driver’s side. She leaned in and rested her crossed arms on the windowsill. She smiled as her hair whipped the man in the face. “I have a phone and I’m in Nebraska.”

“Uh… same here,” the man answered. “Are you broke down?”

“Oh no, Sir. I’m feeling much better this week; fed all my negative energy to the demon in my basement and now I’m completely safe to be around.”

The man reached for the button on the door, but she misunderstood and held her hand out to shake his. “Sure, I don’t mind giving handshakes to townspersons.” She pumped his hand three times then let it go and pulled her hair over to her left shoulder as she peered into the back seat. “You traveling alone?” she asked. “That’s not very safe these days.”

“Yeah and I was going to ask you the same thing. Are you walking the highway? I didn’t see any cars on the shoulder back there.”

“I don’t normally walk the highways; my cousin doesn’t think it’s safe - too many kidnappers and prostitutes.” She gave the man a suspicious look, but he shook his head and raised his hands in mock defense. “No, I trust you, sir. I’m out here looking for someone - David Banner?” She wiggled her fingers and an image of David Banner floated on the dash. The driver jerked back in his seat then slowly leaned forward to peer at the image which for some reason, depicted the teen Banner riding a bomb like a bucking bronco.

“He’s a broken arrow,” Theodosia added, smiling at the man’s reaction. “And he might need my help. I followed him here from New York City. Well that’s where I’m coming from. He’s coming out of Jackie’s hole, in Wyoming. I know, it sounds weird, but that’s just the way it is.”

He ran his fingers through the image, but felt nothing tangible and it quickly faded. “New York…” he muttered.

“Neat trick, right?”

“You’re that woman from the news. With the magic powers.”

“That’s me! Theodosia Maximoff.” She shook his hand again. “I’m the leader.”

“So you’re on official Avengers business?”

“We haven’t decided on a name yet - I was thinking The Theodosians.” She looked at the man who was shaking his head like it was a bad idea. “No? Well we haven’t discussed it yet.” She leaned in further, awkwardly further. The driver had to shift sideways to make room. “I’m looking for the boy, it’s important. And I feel like this is the place to be. I think he’s here. Not in your car, but in O'Neill. Would you mind giving me a ride? It’s hard work slinging across the country and my blood sugar is probably low.”

And so Theodosia found herself hitchhiking into town with a complete stranger. It was difficult to determine which of them looked more nervous, but our money was on the driver. He dropped the uniformed superhero off in front of a small diner and drove away as soon as the car door closed. She never even caught his name, but she did manage to take a picture of his license plate. He’d be getting a thank you card once she misappropriated SHIELD resources to track down his address. Fine, once Gwen misappropriated SHIELD resources to track down his address.

It was roughly mid-afternoon and Theodosia turned to look at the diner. There were several sets of eyes looking back at her through the windows and as she took in her reflection she couldn’t help but wish she’d been a bit taller - maybe a bit larger, but by now she was getting used to people admiring her white leather uniform with its red cape so she could easily convince herself that was what drew their gawking treatment. She smiled and caught a whiff of fried sugar dough which put her in mind of churros which made her think of how hungry a penniless David Banner would be having walked all the way from Wyoming. As much as she wanted to go inside and order some food, she had to admit that she too was penniless. She had some money to her name, but she didn’t carry cash with her and Niko never entrusted her with a debit card. A credit card was like the Holy Grail and honestly she was never the sort who wanted a lot of things. She and Niko grew up as two lonely children practically prisoners of their own home and they found plenty of ways to entertain themselves. She thought back to the scared girl she’d been, then the rambunctious girl and teen she’d grown into, followed by the scared adult and now? What was she now? She was thinking of herself as Theodosia specifically. Her mother insisted on calling her Theodosia and it felt like the kind of thing Theo...dosia should honor. This was her first real mission. This was her first time out unchaperoned. This was her first time leading the team, though to be fair the team wasn’t technically here with her yet. But whether it was her underlying reality distorting magic or the mental fractures that prevented her from embracing the same reality as others, Theodosia could sincerely identify as being markedly more responsible and level headed when she used the name Theodosia - as if the name determined the behaviour. She was convinced the others would recognize it as well. Except perhaps for Sam, but there was a reason she hadn’t added him to her phone. She was pouting. Sam didn’t consider her his leader; he didn’t even respect her. He flat out told her as much and what she needed to do in order to earn his respect and that was very useful information. She probably wouldn’t do any of those things, but it was good to know. And she would find a suitable response to deliver at a suitable time. Right now she needed to focus on finding the Banner boy.

She looked up - without realizing it she’d walked around to the back of the diner. There was a huge dumpster along the outside wall and it sounded as if a human sized racoon was trapped inside trying to fuck a football. Theodosia checked her cape - it was awesome and flowing. She stepped up to the dumpster and knocked her knuckles against the metal. “Excuse me, Mr. Racoon?” She peered over the rim and down into the eyes of David Banner. “Holy bird shit! I found you. I was hoping you’d be hungry and rummaging through this dumpster. Well that sounded bad. Of course I’m not glad that you’re hungry. I’d like to buy you something to eat, but I don’t have any money in my superhero uniform. Why don’t you come on out and I’ll find you some food.”

She stepped back and quickly opened up a portal back to the Compound; back to Niko specifically because he was the easiest one to magically lock onto. She didn’t want to say anything to Niko, in case she spooked David Banner, but she wasn’t really sure what the plan had been at this point. Was she supposed to bring Banner back to the Compound? It seemed like a real shame to destroy the Compound again - meanwhile O’Neill, Nebraska was looking to be quite a shithole so if any place was going to get destroyed, maybe it was best to happen here.

“It’s okay, David Banner,” she spoke up, though she could no longer see into the dumpster. “I know who you are and I’m here to help. My name is Theodosia Maximoff and I have a phone. You know, in case you wanted to call anyone or take a selfie with me? Sorry, I’m new to all this. Wanna see a magic trick?”

OOC: I figure the searching took roughly 4 hours, so that’s plenty of time for all the activities and antics to have occurred back at the Compound. We’d like everyone to show up for this part of the mission so we’ll steer your character along (just to make them physically present) if you aren’t able. Real Life always takes priority, so we understand.

< Prev : The Clean Up & The Low Down Next > : The Iron Avenger Pt.1