All the Best People are Crazy

OOC: Joint Post between Esimed & Turk

As Theo dropped down into the elevator, Erik felt a wave of relief come over him; the adrenaline of the moment faded away. He still gripped tightly to the wire as he replayed the moment in his head. He couldn't tell whether he should be angry or relieved or laughing at the joke, but for better or worse Theo had made him act rather than think.

It took a second for him to fully release his grip on the cord but he finally managed and dropped down to the elevator. His thoughts stormed about his head, how should he feel about this? He didn't respond immediately to Theo; he didn't like feeling as if he’d been used, and being lied to didn't feel great either, and briefly he thought he should be mad about endangering her life because he could have accidentally grabbed her too hard if something else had gone wrong.

He tried to put the words into some kind of English as he picked up the mace again, “I…I'm glad you're okay.” And just like that, any tension he may have felt about their situation faded away as he walked through the door. The lights were low at the moment, but a few floor lights near the elevator kept the pair from complete darkness. Erik looked to either immediate side of the elevator and only found buttons for calling the elevator.

“Remember where we parked,” Theo chuckled at her own joke, finding it entirely too humorous. She looked at Erik and he was not laughing. “Oh come on, that was marginally funny.” They found a touch panel glowing in the wall and when she pressed her hand against it there was a brief beam of red as the scanner read her prints or biometric signature. A pleasant voice, reminiscent of the spicy Gwyneth Paltrow, sounded softly through latent speakers as the lights came on, illuminating the dark hall. “Welcome to the hangar level, Theodosia Maximoff.”

Theo and Erik shared a puzzled look. “Little Gwen’s computer magic?” Theo mouthed silently? She cleared her throat and addressed the blank wall directly. “Greetings and Salutations to you most magical of walls. How are you enjoying this weather? Over.” Theo stepped back and snapped her fingers at Erik, whispering, “Look for a face or mouth so we know where to….”

“The weather outside is indeed pleasant, Theodosia; 78 degrees with 56% humidity and winds out of the west at 5 mph.

“How does it know?!” Theo was looking around at the empty walls as if she were in a zoo. Or a magical emporium.

“Mr. Stark preferred the name H.E.L.E.N. but you are free to continue referring to me as Most Magical of Walls. It does have a nice ring to it.”

Erik leaned toward Theo and spoke in a quieter voice, “I'm pretty sure it's an AI - think of it as a computer that can understand and answer questions. Mr. Stark probably set this up to help make sure the facility was all good.” He looked up toward the wall quickly, “It's uhh probably best if we leave it alone right now; Gwen should probably handle that or something.” He motioned with his head toward the first row of cases.

Theo rapped her knuckles against the stainless steel walls from time to time as the pair walked along slowly looking at the collection of weapons and gear revealed in glass display cases lining the walls. “These look more like replicas than actual weapons or trophies. Look at this one,” Theo pointed out a spear with a blue glowing gem near it’s tip. “The Avengers wouldn’t keep your uncle’s spear out on display like this; it was too powerful. The case isn’t even locked. Come on, there must be a proper armory.”

Erik looked over the spear with a passing glance and then back down the hallway, “I don’t know...that looks exactly like the kind of vainglorious shit that Thor would pull. Leaving a powerful item just sitting out in the open because it looks pretty. But didn’t that hold...nevermind.” He scanned over a few passing cases, it certainly seemed to be some kind of trophy room rather than an armory.

Behind the glass of one of the displays they came across a stack of neatly folded shirts. There was various other swag nearby; the kind of plunder passed out at entertainment venues - pins, whistles, lanyards, etc. Theo opened the case and retrieved a shirt, shaking it out for viewing. It was red and sleeveless with a large white A screen printed on the front. She held it up against Erik’s torso to judge the size and nodded. It would be snug, but Niko had assured her that’s how men liked to wear their shirts. “Try this on, Erik. It should fit.”

Erik looked down at the shirt hesitantly, keenly aware of the similarity he would bear to a certain animated rodent upon wearing it. However he sensed that it would be a choice between looking like the leader of the chipmunks after a session at the gym and being near fully exposed around Theo and her wandering eyes, and he began sliding into the shirt. Poking his head out of the top, he slid his hand back along his neck to pull the last bits of his hair out of the neckhole. Adjusting the bottom of the shirt he could hear the fabric stretch as it was clearly designed for someone a size or five smaller than him. He cracked a half smile up to Theo’s eager face “It’s uhh...it’s a bit...thanks.” He rolled his shoulders to try and adjust the shirt, but stopped at the sound of more stretching fibers.

“It’s perfect, right?” Theo slipped a red whistle into the folds of her leathers and led them further down the hall.

Erik turned the corner around what appeared to be a collection of children's masks of the Avengers and looked around for anything that wasn’t some kind of relic of Avengers past or product placement. “So uhh...what exactly are we looking for down here? I’m sure you had more of a plan than just finding me a shirt.” He glanced over past a few more rows of glass displays where larger shelves stacked with more practical looking storage crates, then turned back to Theo to try and gauge her reaction.

“For the record, finding a shirt was your idea; I was happy the way you were.” Theo nodded enthusiastically at the crates. “Well, we didn’t fight all those robotos for a bundle of swag or flimsy look-alike weapons. The real armory should be down here on the hangar level; within easy access and proximity to the flying jet. That’s right Thorson, I said a flying jet. Not all of our folks could fly so it would be their mode of deployment. And even if we can’t figure out how to fly it ourselves, I thought we might get lucky and find one of Captain America’s shields or surplus weapons.” She pointed at the mace in Erik’s hands and continued. “I don’t expect they’ll be imbued with magic like yours, but we need to know what’s been left to us after S.H.I.E.L.D. got their hands on the place. Did you take a chance to look over the files from Sam Rogers?”

“Well uhh… we kinda were in a rush to get here. I mean I literally had just gotten in the night before so not really.” He rubbed the back of his neck with his free hand and looked down briefly at the mace before looking around the room again. “I think you're right though, this is kinda just the trophy room segment. Any proper armory is probably farther in. I was thinking the stacks back there maybe? I don't know though it could just be more junk.”

“Let’s take a look so we can say we left no stone untwisted. Probably just dumb stuff like bows and arrows. Fuckin’ Hawkeye, am I right?” Theo snapped the latch up on a crate and lifted the lid.

“Theodosia, would now be a good time to discuss the high levels of antipsychotic medications detected in your latest blood sample?” That magical wall chimed in again.

“Whoa whoa! Not cool artificial wall HELEN. There are governmental decrees with legislatures called HIPPO rules that prevent you from holding my head under water with cinder blocks or discussing my medicine cabinet around him.” Theo hooked her thumb at Erik and whispered at the wall in a loud hiss, “Blood sample? I didn’t authorize any blood samples. I prefer to do all my own needlework. Did you take one from the god boy here, too?” Theo genuinely looked like she was arguing with the wall as she examined her fingertips for signs of pin pricks. “I knew that red beam of light was trouble. Gwen’s computer sorcery is Blood magic! Take your shirt off, Thorson; we should check for strange marks on your chest and chiseled abs.”

“Security drone #462 collected a sample while you were unconscious. This is standard procedure when control of the compound is turned over to the next team. I was unable to procure blood from your companion; his skin proved resilient.” One of the walls lit up with a video capture of the front lawn - Theo face down on Erik’s crotch at the end of the fight. It could have been a still image if not for the wind blowing her hair or the robot that came into frame twenty seconds in and jabbing a syringe into her left butt cheek.

Theo covered her mouth in embarrassment while shaking her head at Erik. “It wasn’t like that Thorson. I would never intentionally pass out on your groin without your permission even if I want to.” She rubbed her sore jaw and eyed the man’s waistline.

Erik might have taken some notice of her gaze had he not been solely focused on the image presented to them on the wall. He felt his face tighten as his jaw slacked open and his face turned a beet red. “I...uhhh.. I'm….. I'm…….I don't…..”

“Haloperidol, Fluphenazine and Risperidone are routinely administered in treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability caused by autism.” Apparently the computer had no understanding of HIPPA laws. This was all Tony Stark’s doing.

The screen switched off of the image but Erik still fixated at the wall, eyes blinking quickly as he rejoined the living world. His face still looked more like a tomato than a person, but at least he could look at Theo, well maybe not in the eye.

Theo was still arguing with the wall. “I know what they’re for, HELEN. Thorson, don’t listen to that wall. You know what, don’t look at that wall’s image either, I bet it’s a fake. Wouldn’t be the first time someone showed me a fake photo of me passed out in their crotch. That’s why Niko won’t let me go to parties anymore. But don’t worry about those medications. It’s only trace amounts left in my system. I have been clean and free of those drugs for almost three weeks now.”

As Theo continued, Erik's face frowned as he thought everything over. He eventually worked enough confidence to look her in the eyes again.

Theo flashed Erik a huge smile. “This is all me! The real me. When people whisper behind your corners your whole life that you're crazy and need this pill and that pill and injections every month I sometimes start to believe they might be right. But they're not right. All those quack doctors are wrong. I'm not crazy. I just needed to get my head clear. I'm not crazy, Erik! I can't be crazy; there's too much work to do before… You believe me, right?"

“Theo….” Erik's voice was soft but held a newfound sturdiness to it. The conversation was going to be hard, but it was one he had had in some capacity before. “Theo those drugs...if you haven't been using them...is that why you were acting the way you were this morning?” He paused again briefly, he never liked this. “I mean obviously you have powers and that could...impact things but if you're not taking antipsychotics... that's not good, Theo.”

“Are you taking antipsychotics? Is Niko taking antipsychotics? He sees things that aren't there, too. So why should I be the only one who's medicated? Those drugs mess with my head and I need my head. I’m trying to give you all the best head I can. Wait a minute; what did you mean about this morning? Did I say something inappropriate? Shit, I'm sorry if I offended anyone. The giraffes weren't real if it’s any consolation.”

“What? No...look Theo you were...you were talking like you were your Mom I think? I don't know it was...I was worried..I mean we all were worried.”

“Hmm...Niko says that can sometimes happen. I’ve never been there when it does so I can’t say, but Niko doesn’t normally lie about….well anything. He’s good about making sure my Mom doesn’t hurt anyone when she comes to visit. And he’s good about making sure she refrains from engaging in ‘fornication acts’ while she’s here. Or ever actually. I’m still a virgin, unless male tampons count. So yeah, I’m sure it’s fine, Erik; just the last of those fuzzy drugs leaving my system or I’d have seen her, too. But each of my therapists have said that all my feelings are valid, so I’m sure yours are too. If you were scared or worried by what you saw we could talk about it; there’s no need for you to feel disconcerted. Want to blow on my whistle?”

TBC

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