I want to be out there. That's all you can think about as you sit in the van, stuck on the sidelines because of a malfunction with your suit. Which is the whole reason for this mission. Your father needs Scott to break into this lab to steal a piece of tech that he'll then duplicate so the original can be returned. Scott rides into the building on Ant-drew Jackson, Hank talking him through the schematics of the building. You're pretty much along for the ride, feeling very useless without your suit, wishing you could have teamed up with Scott on your first official mission. You zone out as your father tells him which piece to shrink for transport.

"Oh shit." That brings your attention back immediately. You've never heard Scott curse. Ever. Hank sounds worried. Your heart starts to race. When the gun goes off, you're sure your heart actually skips a beat. You've always thought that was something people say but don't mean. But right here, right now? You know something happened that was not normal (when things calm down, you google it - heart palpitations).

You jump up from your chair, one hand on the door already, but your father is pulling you back down. There is a look of pure terror in his eyes, and you know that he wants you to stay in the van to ensure that you won't get hurt, like you're some fragile thing he's supposed to protect. News flash, Dad. You're 30 years too late. You wrench your arm out of his grip and leave the van anyway. You're at the front door of the lab, alarms blaring and sirens in the distance when you hear Scott over the headset, yelling at you to get back to the van. Your heart skips another beat when you hear his voice. God, you're a cliche. You don't see him, so you know he must be on Ant-drew. Rationally, you think that he must not be in too bad of shape if he was able to shrink back down and ride the ant out of the lab, but irrationally, all you can focus on is that fact that a gun went off and you thought he was gone.

You slam the van door behind you and the van flies out of its parking spot, heading straight for Scott's apartment, since it's the closest. Scott is now back at normal size, groaning in pain. You rake your eyes across his body, searching for any sign of blood, until you find the offending wound, a small hole through his left thigh. You don't know much about the medical field, but you know that you have to put pressure on it to try to staunch the blood flow, and you know it's going to hurt like hell. You take off your shirt, leaving you in just your camisole, and catch his eye. "Scott, I'm sorry, but I have to do this. It's gonna hurt." He nods and you see his body tense in preparation. You wad up the fabric and kneel by his side, pressing the cloth to his wound. He howls in pain and you can't stop the tears that prick your eyes.

Soon, but not soon enough, you're at Scott's apartment. You open the van doors, smearing blood everywhere with a single touch, and help Scott exit the van. Between the three of you, you're able to get Scott up the stairs and into the bathroom. Laying him on the floor, you grab some towels to replace your bloodied shirt and apply pressure again, this time with tears escaping. Your father is on the phone with someone, clearly requesting help from an old acquaintance without involving the authorities. You stay on the floor with Scott, whispering apologies and applying pressure, until some man you don't recognize arrives and takes over.

You go to the kitchen to wash your hands of his blood and hear your father come in. You turn to face him, enraged. "He's not expendable, Dad! I know you think he is, but he's not. He has a daughter! He means the world to her. And I know that you put him in the suit to keep me out of it, out of some ridiculous notion that you have to protect me. I'm a grown woman, Dad, and I can protect myself. So stop putting his life on the line, because at some point, he's not going to be as lucky as he was today. And I can't handle another loss. So don't think he's expendable for one more second, because he's not. Not to Cassie, and not to me." Hank says nothing as you leave the room.

A few hours later, Scott's wound is stitched, cleaned, and bandaged and he's resting in bed, high on painkillers. Drugged Scott is even more entertaining than regular Scott, and despite the circumstances, you're smiling at his insane ideas. "I think the ants deserve a house. Like one of those ant farms you used to have as a kid? But I want to decorate it. They work hard, so they deserve a nice house. We could paint the insides of the tunnels and make each tunnel a different theme. And the queen, she should have a nice room to herself. With a pillow and everything. It's hard work being a queen. I think I'm going to call her Marie Ant-oinette. Did you see what I did there?" His face lights up in a goofy grin and you can feel yours mirror his. He turns to you, face serious. You're worried that he's in pain and go for the pain pills the pseudo-doctor left.


"Yes, Scott?" Your back is still to him, expecting another ridiculous theory.

"Thanks for telling your dad I'm not expendable." You drop the cup you were about to fill with water and it clatters loudly against the floor. You didn't think he'd hear that conversation. You're not sure you would've divulged as much if you knew he would. As you turn around, his eyes are wide and innocent. "You didn't think I'd hear you, but I have really good hearing. Like the ants. Plus you were kind of yelling and my apartment's small." You chuckle at his matter-of-fact tone.

"I said it because I meant it, Scott. You aren't expendable. Cassie needs you." You hope that is enough to shut him up, but he sits there expectantly, like he's waiting for more. When you don't say it, he does.

"And so do you. You think I don't notice it, but I do. And you don't want to admit it to yourself, but I see it. I see you, Hope van Dyne. I think you were hiding when I first met you, but I found you. The real you. Not the you who kicked your dad out of his own company, but the you who cared enough to ask him for help. The you who cared enough to train me even though I know I was a pain in your ass. And broke into your house." You know that you wouldn't be having such a profound conversation with a sober Scott Lang, and you're not entirely certain how much of this conversation he will remember in the morning, but you decide that maybe it's time to let him in on some of your secrets. Plus, he's looking at you with those insane puppy-dog eyes and you're melting just a little bit.

"You did find me. Even though I thought I was hidden where nobody would find me. And I do need you, Scott. It's hard for me to admit, but you've worked your way into my life and I'm not sure I want you to go anywhere. I like having you here. So don't get shot again." You kiss him on the forehead and grab the abandoned cup from the floor.

"I'm okay with that. I thought it would be cool to have a scar, like to show off. But this sucks. A lot." You laugh and bring him his pills. He looks at you again, this time with a puzzled look on his face. "Can ants have cake? Because the real Marie Antoinette said 'Let them eat cake' and I think the ant-version would say that too." As he babbles on about which kind of cake he's going to make for the ants, you lay down on the bed next to him. Definitely not expendable.