When Birdy Met Emily

OOC: JP with Esimed & MCtheYouTuber

Bob Dylan Wong peeled the yellow rubber gloves from his hands and tossed them into a bucket before plopping down on one of the leather sofas in the TV room. He’d been cleaning off and on throughout the day, with plenty of compulsory breaks for bonbons and scans of the social media scene. He didn’t worry about checking the news as the strange TV in the corner did a good job of that. So far there’d been no televised mention of the Maximoffs or their heroic crew, but Theo’s newly established InstaFaceChat account was already an avalanche of activity. That promised not to end well. He zoomed in on one of the photos Theo had posted and nodded his approval. “Your eyeliner still looks spectacular. Good girl, Theo.”

Save the girl.

Birdy looked over to the TV, thinking he’d heard a clip from some broadcast, but it was silent at the moment with a hazy screen. Perhaps the TV was sleeping, Birdy thought to himself.

“Save the girl,” he heard the voice again, louder this time. But it was muffled. Birdy was no stranger to stranger things; his time in the Sanctum has opened up his mind to many experiences, eerie and enchanted alike. But an ominous warning like that was to be taken seriously. He got to his feet and headed to the hallway and as he rounded the corner - nearly bumped into Theo. Birdy jumped back and consoled himself.

A dark haired woman dressed all in red stood there, one hand holding a bucket of fried chicken, the other wiping her mouth. “Sorry, Bob Dylan, my mouth was full. Let’s try that again.” She swallowed and cleared her throat. “Save the girl.”

That voice wasn’t quite right; Birdy took a closer look at the woman and his eyes went wide. “You’re not Theo!”

“Her name is Theodosia - I know because I’m the one who named her. Chicken?” Wanda tipped the bucket towards him in offering.

“Oooh! Are there any wings?” Birdy asked, not missing a beat.

“Ah I see it now - clever. Birdy likes wings. The universe is quick-witted and sprightly with these things.” Wanda relinquished the bucket of chicken and stepped around Birdy to stand in the doorway to the TV room. She placed her hands on her hips and from the back looked so much like Theo it was uncanny. They even had the same mess of wild hair, giving it a naturally teased look, though Theo’s was not as dark as this woman’s. “I always loved this place. It felt different back then; everything had Stephen’s touch on it back then. But it’s nice. I like what you’ve done to the place, Birdy. I can call you that, right?”

“Um...yes ma’am. And what am I to call you?” Birdy offered her back the bucket, but she shook her head in decline.

“Call me Wanda.” She looked back over her shoulder and gave the man a playful wink.


Birdy Wong knew better than to be in Central Park at night; he didn’t even like being in this part of town after dark. But he’d been dispatched by the Sanctum or some trick of Theodosia’s or maybe it was the famed Scarlet Witch herself. She was supposed to be dead, but he was keen on taking quite a bit on faith where these things were concerned so here he was. He was still of the firm opinion that anyone walking the park at this hour would surely be up to no good and no mandate from the magical house would convince him that this was a good idea. But here he was; lurking in the bushes like some sort of creep or criminal. And so he was in place where he needed to be in order to witness Emily Lang’s heroics, though of course he didn’t know her name or who she was. The park was no place for a child at night and Emily Lang was clearly a child - well, not yet an adult. She was a mouse of a girl and couldn’t have been more than five feet tall. She had a mean right hook, though that was not what grabbed Birdy’s attention or why, he suspected, he’d been sent to collect her. It was too dark and he was too far away to actually see all the ants, but the mask Emily wore very much resembled the one Ant-Man had worn. Birdy, like most citizens of the world and surely the United States and definitely New York, knew who the Avengers were. Or rather, who they’d been. He’d seen their faces often enough on the news and merchandising and out on the streets with his own eyes. That all came to an end fifteen years ago, but in his new role as keeper of house and secret at the Sanctum Sanctorum, he had access to footage, files and shoeboxes of newspaper clippings. So he recognized the Ant-man mask for what it was. Not that it would have been difficult to put the indications together. The thug had called Emily the Ant Queen and she’d embraced the name. Or gods forbid, the title. Shit, Theo wasn’t going to like another Queen in the mix with aspirations to female sovereignty - no matter how young she may be. Well they’d deal with that as it came up - and Birdy was certain that it would.

By this point Emily was jogging away; headed to the nearest exit of Central Park and while she was sure Central Park still had criminals somewhere inside, she decided that the next best place to look was a dark alleyway; maybe she could catch someone unawares. As she crossed the street, she got a weird feeling; as if someone was following her, but she figured she was just being paranoid. She soon made it to the first of several alleys she was planning on checking. After looking around to make sure nobody snuck up on her, she entered into the alley. 'All the cop shows have the thugs hiding in an alley like this one. Maybe I'll get lucky and I can stop another crime in progress' she mused to herself.

“Crap,” Birdy muttered to himself, looking up and down the street. He could continue following the girl; he was doing a good job of it so far, but how much longer could that continue? If anyone saw his 46 year old ass creeping down alleys after a young girl they’d probably call the cops or worse. And he really didn’t want to go down any dark alleys. Everyone knew bad shit happened down dark alleys. Everyone except for Emily Lang, apparently. Birdy made up his mind, cleared his throat and called out. “Excuse me, Little Miss? I was sent to help you and can explain if you’d stop skulking down alleys for one moment.”

Emily paused then turned around; she didn’t see where the voice had come from. She stepped away from the ally, looking for the person who had called for her. 'Maybe they saw my costume and need me to do something heroic!' was the thought that went through her head as she looked for the mystery shouter.

Oh thank god; she wasn’t going to make him go in after her. At least not yet. Birdy moved closer and waved his arms above his head to grab her attention. “I’m here, Little Miss. My name is Bob Dylan Wong, you can call me Birdy if you’d like.”

Emily smiled, although it was hidden by the mask. “Hello Birdy. And you don’t need to call me Little Miss; my name is Ant Queen!” Emily declared proudly. She looked around. “Gee, you don’t seem to be in any particular trouble. Did you need me to help you with anything heroic?” Emily seemed to be quite enthusiastic.

He crossed the street and stopped a safe distance from the girl. At this range he was even more certain of her youth. “Oh no, I’m not in any danger. At least, not right now. But you could be if you continue wandering down alleys. That’s why I’m here; to help keep you safe until the others return from...well it’s not important where they are now.”

“Others?” Emily sounded intrigued. “What do you mean? Like other heroes?” She started to get a little more excited, bouncing on the balls of her feet.

“Yes, like other heroes. And we can discuss that, but is this really the place?” Birdy gestured to the street and thought fondly of his bonbons back at the Sanctum.

“Oh - well, where else could we go?” Emily held a hand up to her mask as if to stifle a yawn, but because of her mask being in the way she was unable to and as such she yawned. A bit louder than she would have liked to; it was getting a bit further into the night than Emily was expecting. Quite frankly, she was tired.

“This is the part of the conversation that could get - weird. You don’t know me, I get it. I’m just Birdy, nobody special. But if you are who I think you are, you’re very special. And if you are who I think you are, you may feel the need to follow in your father’s footsteps. But that’s dangerous out here without proper training. I have a house, well it’s Theo’s house really, but I’m the guardian and housekeeper, believe it or not. You’ll be safe there. You’d be safe back at your own home as well, but I was specifically told to get you over to Bleecker Street.”

“Hang on, I have several questions,” Emily began. Now this Birdy guy was starting to creep her out. She took a half step back. “First Question, what’s on Bleecker Street and who’s Theo?”

“Theodosia Maximoff? The Maximoff cousins? They’ve been all over the news, but you probably don’t watch that. Um... I’m not really supposed to go around telling people her business, but she doesn’t exactly keep it a secret. Oh I know!” Birdy dug into his pocket and pulled out his phone. He punched up the InstaFaceChat app and turned the screen around to point at Emily. “Do you recognize her?”

Emily stared at the screen for a few minutes. “Hmm….” she appeared to be deep in thought, scrutinizing over the image. “Oh! Her!” she exclaimed after a minute, then immediately followed up with, “No clue, she has nice eyeliner though, maybe we have the same brand. But I'm personally not a fan of that particular color.”

Birdy slapped a hand to his mouth in shock. “I defy you to not feel regal while swiping on rich black Guerlain Liquid Liner, but I can’t see your face Little Miss so… Okay you don’t know who they are. Do you remember a band a merry men and women; disappeared around 15 years ago? They ran around putting out world fires? What am I saying, you probably weren’t even born 15 years ago. Theo and her cousin are trying to help fill in the gap left behind when all those heroes disappeared.”

“Hey! I’m 16 years old thank you very much!” Emily sounded slightly peeved at Birdy’s assumption, but then she continued. “Anyways, my second question now; who exactly do you think I am?”

“Ant Queen? The suit and mask? The mugger’s reactions to you in the park? I’d peg you for Scott Lang’s young one.”

Emily reacted quickly and not as anyone would expect. She swiftly grabbed Birdy by the collar and shoved him against a wall. “What do you know about my dad!?”

Sad to say, Birdy was accustomed to being manhandled against the wall by females smaller than himself. He had worked with the Channel 4 NBC Action News Team’s Bailey Bishop, afterall, and she was a notorious bitch, both in and out of the journalism industry. But that didn’t mean he enjoyed being roughed up. Well maybe a little bit, but only behind closed doors and not by little girls. Birdy did the only thing he could think of under duress. He opened his mouth and let out a high pitched scream.

At that moment, Emily realized how unheroic she looked. She was lucky that the street was mostly deserted. She let go of Birdy. “I… sorry… I just… My parents disappeared when I was a baby… I only have a short VHS tape of them and… that’s it…. So when I hear you saying you know who my dad is…. I’m sorry Birdy…” Emily stepped away from him. She half turned away as if to leave. She sounded super depressed now as opposed to how chipper she had sounded when they had first met.

He straightened the collar on his shirt and pressed a hand to his chest to still his rapid heartbeat. “You’re forgiven. You know, they were all pretty young when their folks disappeared. Some of them lost both parents in the blink of an eye just like yourself. Do you know who I’m talking about now, Little Miss? I’m talking about the Avengers - their children specifically. Have you really not seen any of this talk on the news?”

“I don’t watch the recent news, but I know who the Avengers are. Almost everyone knows the Avengers.” Emily’s voice levelled out, she sounded mostly neutral now. “I guess a lot more people were affected than I originally assumed.” Emily turned back to Birdy. “But what does this have to do with you? Are you like some New Avengers Butler? Going to seek out the children of the Avengers so they can follow in their parents footsteps and save the world from a threat larger than themselves?” Now Emily sounded snarky again. “That’s kind of ridiculous, don’t you think?”

“Birdy the Butler? You’re right, that is kind of ridiculous. I would never answer to something like that. But rounding up a team? That’s exactly what the Maximoffs are doing. You joke, but the world does need saving and someone must do it. I don’t normally handle any of the - recruiting. But forces outside of my control compelled me to intervene. If I had any experience with this I’d be much better at it. It wasn’t exactly my idea to follow Little Miss around in the dark, but that’s what I was told to do.”

“Okay… When you say it like that you sound like a creep. But you said something about Bleecker Street? What’s so special about there? Is that your house or something?” Emily sounded skeptical. And who could blame her, with everything Birdy had told her.

Birdy gave the girl a suspicious look. “You don’t know about Bleecker Street either? Okay. 177A Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village; it’s the address to The Sanctum Sanctorum and you probably don’t know what that is either. Okay. It’s the home of Doctor Strange - was the home of Doctor Strange. Reckon you’ve heard of him? Now it’s claimed Theodosia Maximoff as it’s Mistress, but it’s me that handles everything there. No disparagement intended to Theo; she’s busy with the new team and all. The Sanctum is meant to serve as a bulwark against magical threats that most people probably don’t even know exist. That’s not important to this conversation. What’s important is that you’d be safe there while you waited for Theo to return. She’ll want to meet you now that you’re out here trying to do the superhero thing.”

“Wait… I can’t just.. GO to this Sanctum… I gotta be home before dawn or my step mom’ll flip her lid when she finds out I’m not in bed.” Emily suddenly remembered her step parents.

“A wise anticipation of the dangers laid out before you. But you are worried about your step mom’s retribution while the real danger is out here in these streets. Both are excellent reasons to rush home without any stops for heroics along the way. I will just have to accept that I’ve failed to get you to the Sanctum tonight and for propriety’s sake that’s probably for the best. Let me give you my card and when you wake up in the morning, or afternoon as some teenagers prefer, call and we’ll make more suitable arrangements. You needn’t keep it a secret from your parents, but I would ask that you not share this with anyone else. If your half sister were to find out, however, that would not be the end of the world.” Birdy handed her a business card on thick stock. It was predictably red and bore Theo’s name, the address of the Sanctum, and an old seven digit phone number with no area code. “Sorry, I don’t have my own cards; never thought I’d need them.”

Emily took the card and slipped it into a pocket on the left sleeve of her super suit. She looked around and then back at Birdy. “Thank you, I'll be sure to get in touch.”

“Little Miss,” Birdy called out. “Please forgive me for following you. That was not my idea. But please know that the world is in terrible danger and Theo needs you. This is not a game or a joke. When the two of you meet, all will be made clear. Well - clearish.”

“I understand Birdy, and I told you, call me Ant Queen.” It seemed she would stick to that moniker no matter what. And she began to make her way back towards her step parents’ home.

Birdy watched her go for a moment before making his way toward the busier section of the streets and hailing a cab. The entire way back to the Sanctum, all Birdy could think was how poorly Theo would suffer the Queen of anything. He resolved not to mention that particular alias to Theo - ever.

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