Earlier that Day...

OOC: Joint Post With Esimed & Blitzen

The Maximoff cousins were met with less than an enthusiastic reception at NBC News. Apparently, “We have a story you’ll be interested in,” didn’t quite garner the reaction Theo was looking for. As the elevator doors opened on the floor marked “Broadcast Studios,” they were greeted by a somewhat dour looking receptionist hard at work on the play she was writing, the one that would have producers beating down her door. She wasn’t pleased with the interruption, nor was she impressed with the red and black clad cousins that stepped off the elevator.

“You and every other crackpot in the city.” She said of Theo’s statement, her voice dripping with a harsh accent and ice. The floor was alive with people; people in a cubicle laden bullpen talking on phones, fact checking and fast typing copy. Beyond that large room were a series of hallways with glass windowed offices where yet more people spoke on phones and typed on computers. It was busy and noisy and full of excitement.

“You don’t understand,” Theo explained sweetly, placing her freshly painted nails on the desk of the receptionist.

“I understand fine, but our reporters are all very busy. They don’t have time for whatever nonsense you think is news.”

Theo insisted on NBC news. She said it was because they broadcast the parade she watched every Thanksgiving, but Niko had a sneaking suspicion it was for their 4:00 news anchor with the perfect hair. Niko couldn’t tell one station from the other; all reporters did was sit and talk so he had little patience for any of them. Theo’s beloved parade was always full of boring, slow moving floats; boring slow moving marching bands and the Rockettes, which as he became older became less boring. But come 10 am every Thanksgiving, Theo sat glued to the screen asking a thousand questions. How do they fill the balloons, Niko? Who decides what cartoons get a balloon? What if one pops? Who’s Santa. When he was 9 he had to explain to Theo who the Santa Claus at the end of the parade was. Agatha let them watch Miracle on 34th Street and a 6-year-old Theo in pigtails bought into the story: hook, line and sinker. She would have been devastated to find out the jolly fat man in the red suit who had speed second only to Quicksilver himself was a myth, so Niko would spend the December months over the next few years dressed up as Santa making sure that didn’t happen. That was why he hated wearing red these days. All that aside, Theo picked this station and right then and there it looked as though it wasn’t going to go as planned.

Theo looked at her cousin in confusion. All she was asking for was a bit of time in front of someone with the authority to put them in front of the camera. In this day and age every kid with hands big enough to hold a phone had an HD camera at their fingertips. Should they have gone the YouTube route? No, the big news stations still had more sway over local opinion. “We just want a few minutes of your boss’ time, honey. We aren’t really interested in taking up yours.” Theo’s tone wasn’t quite as friendly as it had been.

“Do you have an appointment?” The receptionist asked, not even giving a courtesy glance to who she was speaking with as she took another sheet of her manuscript and placed it atop the others on her desk; standard 8.5” x 11” white copier paper, black ink, Top Margin: 3.5 inches, Left Margin 4 inches, Courier 12 point. No exceptions. After having the play rejected out of hand multiple times she eventually discovered that standard play formatting was stubbornly rooted in the days of the typewriter. The receptionist was an equally rigid institution. “Log into our portal and tell us about your big story. If it’s remotely newsworthy, someone will contact you. Otherwise? Not interested.”

“A magic portal?” Theo was genuinely interested. Portals were not her specialty, but she’d pulled a few books about them from the Sanctum’s library for a bit of late night reading. Niko listened to music to fall asleep, Theo read books to stay awake.

“Our Web portal.” The receptionist was not interested.

“But we’re not with the Web slinging ghost girl and we’re not here to talk about her. I think she’s just a kid.” Theo was craning her neck to look down the hallway trying to find a face she recognized from the news broadcast. What was the cute guy’s name from the 4 o’clock? The one with the perfect hair and an ass that made her bite her lip every time….If she could just talk with him she knew he’d put them right on the air.

“What about Mindingo Montoya?” That was the name! Mindingo was so dreamy; naturally Niko couldn’t stand him. “We’d like to talk to him, please.”

“I hate that guy,” Niko whispered under his breath.

“I said, not interested,” the receptionist repeated sternly, rudely in Niko’s opinion.

Theo, in her new outfit fresh from Heather’s Leather, Pleather and Feather shop looked momentarily crestfallen. Niko seethed like a tea kettle the split second before boiling. He shot Theo a sideways glance and she nodded her silent assent. Before the receptionist could blink, Niko was racing the rude woman in her rolling office chair through the bullpen. Papers, including her manuscript blew with the intensity of a cyclone off their respective desks in their wake as Niko ran at breakneck speed. Theo raised both hands which were enveloped in a reddish aura and visibly concentrated, causing doors down the nearby corridor to shake, some flying open, some falling off their hinges, loudly clanging to the floor. The once noisy floor was now pin-drop silent except for the ringing of a few phones. Impressive looking men and women in suits poked their heads from their offices up and down the hallway. Young looking interns sat startled and the receptionist, when returned to her desk completely disheveled, promptly threw up while the plastic wheels of her chair finally melted. All eyes were on Theo, red tendrils still sparking at her fingertips.

“As I was saying,” she said to her now captivated audience as Niko rejoined her side, “We have a news story you’ll be interested in.”

Make-up people bustled as Niko and Theo sat in something called the Green Room, which disappointingly was not actually painted green. Niko’s hair was combed and conditioned, his eyes dotted with concealer.

“How do you feel about eyeliner?” A man in a ponytail asked.

“He loves it, Bob.” Theo replied, patting Niko’s arm. When all was said and done, he checked himself in the mirror and made a mental note to stop at the cosmetics store for some hair gel; the make up man noted that it made his silver hair ‘shine like the top of the Chrysler building’, which shockingly he remembered from the slow bus tour.

Theo herself looked absolutely stunning, having received something called a Brazilian keratin treatment, her hair lying flat like silk against her back, wearing more eyeshadow than he’d seen before and he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. But her face radiated joy as she squeezed his hand, walking down the hall to the studio.

Niko wasn’t sure what he pictured a newsroom would look like in person. He thought there should be an anchor desk, a big map on the wall with pictures of clouds and temperatures that a pretty girl could point to, and he wasn’t sure what else. This was a small studio with two cameras, three folding chairs, and a huge fake window with a screen behind it meant to look like the city. His bedroom back home was probably larger.

The newscaster was a pretty blonde woman in probably her mid life years, wearing a purple pencil skirt and blazer over a black button up shirt. Niko immediately thought the combination made her look like a giant bruise and decided in an instant that he didn’t like the person wearing it. He also knew Theo would likely do most of the talking which he silently agreed was a better idea.

“Bailey Bishop.” She said to them both by way of introduction before taking a sip of water and indicating the camera should roll.

“Hey Bob,” Theo waved to the makeup guy who was off camera, “could I get one of those waters as well? I worked up a thirst when I had to readjust the receptionist’s disposition.” Theo turned back to Bailey Bishop and pointed at her eyes. “Does Bob do your makeup too?”

“Uh...yes he does. Would you like to get started now or….”

“Oh, I thought you already started early this morning when there was all the talk of Quicksilver’s return. This is my cousin,” Theo rubbed Nikos arm and picked a spot of lint from his sleeve. “He’s not Quicksilver, though we wish it was true and he had returned. We wish so many of them had returned. And not just the Avengers, though we are partial to them. There were good guys fighting the good fight all over the planet.”

“Backtracking for a second,” Bailey interjected. “He’s not Quicksilver. So who are you? Who are you both?”

“We’re the Mighty Maximoffs!” Theo took a sip of her water and covered her mouth from the camera. “Shit, you’re right, Niko, that does sound terrible out loud. Can we cut that part, Bailey?” Theo cleared her throat and started again. “This is Nikolai Maximoff, son of Quicksilver. I’m Theodosia Maximoff, daughter of Wanda Maximoff and Stephen Strange. You might have heard of them. So that makes Niko my cousin. And my best friend. He talked me out of wearing a corset today because he thought it would make me look like a…..” Niko kicked her off camera and she refocused. “I’m sorry, that’s not the important part. I thought I was ready to say all these things, but now I’m sort of nervous. Do you still get nervous, Bailey?”

“Sometimes.” Bailey said, encouragingly. “Don’t worry, we’ll cut that part out. Just think of me, like you’re talking to an old friend. Bailey to Theodosia. It helps if you ignore the cameras.” She waved to them as if they weren’t there.

“Don’t ignore the cameras, Miskja Brat or you’ll say something stupid.” Niko made his glorious entry to the world of broadcast television.

“Miskja - is that Sokovian?” Bailey surmised.

“Sokovian term of endearment.” Niko said, feeling the tips of his ears flush pink. He intended to come on camera and look cool, strong and silent.

“Let’s start with something easier, something on my mind, something that I think is on everyone’s mind. Why here and now?”

“Oh that is an easy one, Bailey. I’m a big fan of the Thanksgiving Day parade you guys throw each year so I knew it had to be NBC.” Theo danced her fingers through the empty air and a scarlet NBC peacock logo formed briefly before floating away into nothing. Bailey smiled and looked impressed, but was quick to regain her composure.

“No, dear, I mean why are you back in New York. The two of you. Our City hasn’t seen any of you…” she chose her next word carefully, “anyone with powers like you in fifteen years.”

Theo looked at Niko with the unspoken question and he shook his head. She raised her eyebrows to bully him and he shook his head more emphatically. She looked directly into the camera and said, “My cousin doesn’t want me to tell you this because you will always look for someone to blame when things go south or get messy. And as soon as I say this you will look on us to blame. But that’s life, it always gets messy. Fifteen years ago my mother and the Avengers saved all of your lives at the expense of their own. They prevented an apocalyptic decimation of the universe, but left this world unprotected from the next threat. You’ve had fifteen years without mutants, superheroes or the villains. But your criminal elements have not wasted this opportunity to build up their own base of power. And now the children of those done and gone heroes are grown up, or growing up. We’re here to stake a flag of peace and set a banner for those progeny.

“It’s been fifteen years since this world has seen an alien attack or has seen a villain like Ultron. There are some who speculate that simply having you here sends a message, an invitation if you will, to challenge your power. What would you say to them? You say you want to stake a flag of peace for the progeny, but at what cost to the rest of the world?”

“Well first I’d ask if you’re one of those who speculate against us, Bailey Bishop. You’re sitting right here with me. Do I strike you as the sort who wants to invite trouble? I like watching parades and buying new tops and practicing my magic in peace...”

Niko sighed and shook his head.

Theo kept going. “...but when you have the power to stop something you have a responsibility to do something about it. I know that sounds corny and lame, but…”

“IF there is a threat, which we haven’t established yet, but IF there is a threat and it’s drawn to your kind like moths to a flame, is coming to New York in anyone’s best interest except your own?” Bailey Bishop was using some of her hardball journalist interview tactics and the Maximoff cousins weren’t big fans of her anymore.

Niko balled his hands into fists.

“When you were a little girl, a little Bailey Bishop and your parents told you to do something that you didn’t understand, did you trust them and do what was best for you? Or did you stick your hand in the fire repeatedly, never learning your lesson? How many times must the civilian ranks allow themselves to be quelled into illusions of peace while the big baddies are out there making silent war? If I wait to start putting together my team until the threat is knocking on your door it will be too late. Or would you rather look back in hindsight and wish that you had done the right thing? Only then you will have the death of millions on your conscience because you did not adequately inform them so preparations could begin. We are fortunate that there is time now to spend on these things.”

“So now there’s a team of you to contend with? How exactly do you know the threat is coming? If you have some sort of clairvoyance to see this, Miss Maximoff, why are you leading it here? Why not give the authorities, the people of New York the warning of what you know? Or are you just speculating that someday there may be a danger, and won’t it be convenient of you to be here to stop it? This City can’t afford more collateral damage, or hasn’t Sokovia taught us anything?”

“Sokovia is a place, my home, but I think you’re referring to the events that took place there. The Avengers and Shield prevented a much worse destruction. But those events would have happened somewhere, if not Sokovia.” Theo felt like she was on the defense when she had only come here to clear up the misunderstanding about Quicksilver.

“Or perhaps they wouldn’t have happened at all. Wasn’t it an Avenger, Tony Stark, who created Ultron in the first place?”

“Ultron was created by the collaborative work of two brilliant scientists. The Avengers don’t have a monopoly on brilliant minds. Anyone could have crossed that line and released an artificial intelligence that got out of hand.”

“But, Miss Maximoff, in fifteen years, they haven’t.”

“Or perhaps they have been working on it all this time and learned to deploy their lawlessness away from the public eye. If only there were someone here to warn you. Oh that’s right, I am.”

“Then warn us, Miss Maximoff. What threat is out there looming on the horizon. What will New York contend with next?”

“I am here to set the record straight regarding my cousin. I am here to advise your viewers that the Avengers have NOT returned; they are gone and you are without suitable defense. You want specifics from me so you can argue against them. What are we, in debate club? You really think these ways or are you just playing games?” Theo waved a foggy red hand in Bailey’s direction and the News anchor’s cards zipped over to Theo’s hands. Bailey tried to retrieve them, but Niko moved protectively in front of his cousin. Theo flipped through them one after the other, tossing them on the floor.

“These are not questions friend Bailey would ask friend Theodosia. These are tricks and hooks to draw us backwards fifteen years. You don’t like how things happened all those years ago because you weren’t in a position to control them. I envy you and your careless view on the world. But things will always happen and its people like me and my cousin to stand between you and the consequences.”

“How old are you, Theodosia?” Bailey baited. “Ninteen? Twenty? There are many New Yorkers and citizens from all over who remember the world fifteen years ago and would disagree. You mean well, both of you. But there are those, perhaps myself included, that might say this all sounds like crazy talk from a naive teenager who really has no recollection or experience with past events.”

“I am the daughter of the most powerful wielders of magic this planet has ever witnessed and you think I don’t know what the world was like before I was born? I can do things you can’t even imagine and I know things you will never know. The threat is coming. My father traveled through space and time to warn me of the troubles to come. He warned the Avengers against Thanos (who the world at large has no knowledge of) and their inevitable defeat. I see things the rest of the world will never see. I see things right now. You think I am naive because I wish to save your life. Perhaps I should save everyone else and spare you the indignity of being shielded by a naive girl from Sokovia. Then we’ll see if you know how to ask questions without hateful cards? Bob!” Theo yelled off camera. “Do not work for this lady! She is bad people and you don’t need that in your life. You’re a beautiful soul, Bob.”

“Miskja Brat, interview is over, let’s go home.” Niko interrupted, scooping up his cousin from her chair and into his arms. He made sure to let the camera catch a long shot of his flexed biceps in the process. “Come on.”

“Protect us from what, Miss Maximoff?” Bailey called after them. “Why can’t you just tell us what it is you are saving our lives from? What big ‘Threat’ does the rest of the world not see?”

“She doesn’t understand.” Niko said softly. “We will find someone who does.”

“Fuck your parade, Bailey Bishop. I’m not crazy,” Theo told the reporter as Niko carried his cousin from the room like he was carrying a bride across the threshold of their new house. Not creepy at all.

“Beautiful soul, Bob!” Theo hollered back into the room, with the slightest hint of a manic pitch to her voice.

“That… went well.” Niko said, once he had his cousin on the very slow elevator ride down.

“I’m never watching NBC again. Except the 4 o’clock with Mindingo Montoya.” Theo was tapping her foot with her arms crossed as she played the interview back in her head. “I should have checked the cards before hand. Next time I’ll lead with the messages from the future.”

“I thought you handled it well.” Niko offered.

“I looked fabulous. I always do good work when I look fabulous. You do too, Niko. All this time I’ve told you to use more product in your hair and you refuse to listen, but you let Bob run his hands through that silver mane and fix you in makeup like a real grown up today. I’m proud of you, Niko.”

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