Forward Momentum

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. It's TommyKate week over on Tumblr so I thought I would do something. R/R.

The first thing that Tommy Shepherd notices about Los Angeles is that it has way more sun than New York. Things are prettier out in California, certainly prettier than the industrial hellhole of New Jersey that he loathes to call his home state. The last time that Tommy got to appreciate California, he had met the Runaways. He thinks of maybe looking them up but he's here for a different purpose now. Oddly enough, this time also involves a runaway.

Being dead, or whatever the hell Tommy was, gives people some interesting clarity. In Tommy's case, it forced him to examine a lot of things in his life. It made him slow down and think about things. Mostly, he thought about his brother and his friends. Maybe he had given up on being a hero too prematurely. Maybe he's tired of running away from everything good in his life. His job sucks and he's got nothing left to live for in New York. So maybe being out here on the other coast could be good for him. Maybe starting over isn't so bad if you have the right person to start over with. Tommy's had too much time to think about too many things. Maybe it's time to do what he does best and act instead of think.

It took him forever to find her. Tommy wonders what the hell Kate Bishop is doing squatting in some crappy trailer park or whatever passes for it out in California. He always knew she was never crazy about her family's wealth but he didn't know she would go so far as to completely disown it. Maybe it was her money that always kept Tommy from telling her things he should have told her a long time ago. Tommy Shepherd is blue-collar through and through. With his juvie record, there's no way he's getting any cushy kind of job, especially not out in Jersey or New York. No, it will always be factory work for him, always jobs that pay minimum wage and maybe barely above that. Kate Bishop was always out of his league and nothing will change that. That was what Tommy always believed but it seems now that things have changed.

He nervously approaches the trailer and wonders what he should lead with. He hasn't seen her since the New Year's Eve party. She looked more like herself then and they had danced and flirted as if nothing had changed. Things had changed though and are still changing even now. Life is always moving forward and Tommy knows he has to move with it. He knocks on the trailer's door and waits for an answer.

"Hey you."

He looks upward and sees Kate's face peeking out over the edge of the roof. There's some commotion from inside the trailer and it's a few minutes before she opens the door to properly greet him.

"Never figured you for a pet person," admits Tommy as he's greet by not only Kate but a dog as well.

"The cat's not mine," she explains. "It belongs to the people I'm trailer-sitting for. It's a really picky eater and only likes really expensive food and is a pain in my ass. This is Lucky and he's kinda mine."

"So basically the cat is like you?" jokes Tommy as he pats Lucky on the head.

"Yeah," agrees Kate with a grin. "Wanna come in and hang out?" She lets him in after he nods and then wipes down her face with the towel that was around her neck before hanging it on a rack.

Tommy looks around and realizes very quickly that something must have happened. There is no way that the Kate he knows would be comfortable living like this. If anyone between the two of them had this kind of living arrangement, Tommy full expects it to be him. He knows that Kate isn't used to anything like this.

"What happened?" He's never been one for tact and now is no different.

"I'm broke," explains Kate. "I came out here to get away from everything. I was going to book a room at a nice hotel by the beach and just hang out for the whole summer. My credit cards went bad. Guess I either pissed off my dad or pissed off the wrong super-villain."

"Pissing off the bad guys was more my thing," reminds Tommy. "Kate . . . I think I need to say some stuff. It was really great seeing you at that party."

"I thought you were dead," she admits as she hugs him. "Seriously, I thought you were dead and then I saw you at the party and I just . . . I just felt so relieved and happy that you were there and still alive."

"Come back to New York with me. You don't belong out here, Kate. You . . . you belong with me."

Tommy Shepherd always knew he never had a chance with Kate Bishop. He's always been blue-collar Jersey trash, the kind of person destined to work his life away in some factory while people like Kate spoil themselves in luxury. She's always been out of his league and that was fun for him at first. It was fun to be the bad boy and flirt with the rich girl. Tommy's done flirting though. He's done pretending that he doesn't feel something more for her when he knows he does.

"I can't go back there yet," says Kate. "The truth, Tommy? Lately I don't even know who I am anymore. That's why I'm out here doing this. I want to find myself."

"I know who you are." He's known all along who she is and he's been in love with every single part of her.

"But I don't feel like I do."

He touches her cheek and can see in her eyes that she means it. It's a terrible thing to not know yourself. It's a terrible thing to look in the mirror and see a stranger. Tommy feels like he's spent too much of his life doing that.

"I could move out here then," he tells her. "You and me laying on the beach all day and beating up bad guys all night. You could be the hero and I could be your snarky sidekick."

"You already are," she tells him as she kisses him. She wishes she could explain to him everything that's been going on with her life. She wishes she could make him understand but Tommy is always the stubborn one, which is the reason why Kate loves him in the first place.

"I love you," he whispers to her when their mouths separate.

"Wait for me, okay?" she asks him. "I promise I'll come back but I just need to figure some things out. Wait for me."

"Always," promises Tommy. "I wanna take you out to dinner tonight. C'mon, my treat."

"You're going to regret that. I haven't eaten real food in forever."

"I never regret anything about you, Kate."

"Charmer." She playfully tussles his hair and then hugs him again. "I'm really glad you're not dead. My life really sucks right now and it would be even more terrible without you."

Tommy Shepherd thought about many things when he wasn't alive. Kate was the thing he thought the most about. She still is the thing he thinks the most about. He's done running away from life, from his friends, and most of all from her. It's time to run towards something for a change and he knows that whatever future he's running towards, it's a future that has something more in it than boring factory work. Whatever future he's running towards, it's a future Tommy hopes Kate will be a part of with him.