He knew he was fucked when he signed the Amazon package 'Scott Pym'.
Yeah, he had missed Hope, had kind of missed Hank, had been introduced really weirdly to Janet in the last few weeks, but-
He stares down at the signature he's put on the Amazon tablet thing that has a 'P' and a squiggle.
The Amazon guy looks up at Scott. Scott stares at the tablet. The Amazon guy looks kind of concerned.
"...Uh, have a good da-"
"Yeah! Yeah, you too man," Scott says, smiles way too fast, snatches the package from him and slams the door.
He looks down at the package. He doesn't even remember what he ordered.
He sits heavily down at his kitchen table, tears into the package tape and feels the string that Amazon weave into it snap against his fingers. Throws the paper padding across the room. It's a lamp, something Luis suggested that'd simulate the sun rising in the morning and get him up easy.
He looks around his kitchen.
It's nothing to write home about, but in San Fran the fact that it's not actively crying blood from the walls puts it in the 'pleasant' category. His company's started to put some actual money in the bank, but he couldn't have afforded this apartment alone. His comfortable living is funded, discreetly and without apparent reason, by the Avengers. He thinks, anyway. He was handed the keys by Luis, who got them from a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend who works for an offshore bank in the Cayman Islands who said to say that it was 'a token of appreciation'. He really, really wasn't sure what that meant, especially given that last he checked, the Avengers were currently run by the side that he'd been trying (and failing) to fight.
He stares back down at the lamp.
Scott Pym. What the hell had he been on?
He pushes it down to the very last thing on his mental to-do list and goes to check his emails.
It doesn't take long before he gets a call from Hope, and as he answers it the incident washes over him, bunches up on his tongue as he makes small talk and Hope asks if he can do them a favour with some income stuff, fugitives as the Pym family still are. All very routine stuff. He offers to help them in person tonight, they agree a time, hang up.
Scott stares down at the phone.
The sentence 'I signed an Amazon package with your dad's surname' sounds pretty dumb, now he thinks about it, but it doesn't mean he doesn't want to say it.
They greet in the usual fashion, in a parking lot in a building hidden inside of a dilapidated van. Pym Enterprises might be gone but the office has turned out to be quite useful for three people on the run, although living space took some modifications. Hope, Hank and Janet live in the former executive offices, have rigged up beds and other mod cons where there were once desks, but nobody really knows how to cook so they still all use the break room microwave. They've spread papers across desks where Scott finds them, Hank and Janet in the break room and Hope standing right by the elevator as he arrives.
"Sorry I'm late," Scott says.
Hope smiles. "No problem."
Sometimes she'll say something acerbic, but usually she's nice about his continual inability to turn up anywhere on time. The only thing he's ever gotten to punctually is Cassie's soccer matches. Scott can't help but smile a little in return, and the they quietly share a quick kiss. They're still kind of half-and-half about having a public relationship: Scott wants to post photos on Instagram, Hope would prefer not to be tracked and jailed. They've been compromising.
Hank tips his head back to look at Scott as he comes in. "You ever gonna buy a watch, Scott?"
"And it's wonderful to see you too."
Janet's across the room, but she makes a point of coming all the way across to kiss him on the cheek and say hello. Scott sometimes gets a bit woozy when he's face to face with Janet van Dyne. He still remembers looking in the mirror and seeing her face, and vision or dream or what, it's still embedded in his subconscious a little. Not to mention the whole 'possession' thing, which Scott tries actively not to remember. No matter who's driving the body, it's weird to remember holding Hank Pym's face lovingly.
He's remembering it. He's not doing a very good job at trying not to remember it. He smiles at Janet and avoids eye contact with Hank.
"How are you?"
"On the run from the FBI, Scott, but otherwise fantastic," Janet replies. Scott shifts to take a pen off the desk so he can start to go through the papers with them. Janet, who has the worst sense of humor in the world, matches the movement for half a second. Nobody ever notices but him whenever she did that, and it infuriates Scott because nobody else believes him that she's doing it on purpose.
"Hope!" he insists, wheeling round to point at Janet. "She's doing it again."
"I'm not doing anything!" Janet insists in turn.
Hope and Hank exchange looks, and then both stare at Scott. Hope has a slight, reluctant smile on her face. Hank forgot what smiling was in the eighties.
"How many times do we need to tell you it's cognitive bleed from the quantum entanglement before you remember?" Hank asks, taking the files Scott hands over.
"When you get a medical degree, Hank. Or working eyes. She's just doing it, it's nothing psychological."
"Scott," Janet says placatingly, "It's okay, I get it too. You just have to learn to ignore it." Her smile is just the wrong side of innocent. Scott glares and decides, for the sake of his own sanity, not to rise to the bait and look even crazier.
"Okay, so! Finances-"
Hope and Hank, who have both spent their fair share of time running multinational companies, spend the next few hours yelling about various means of money laundering Hank's personal funds from his account to their use without getting flagged. When Scott suggests the friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend who works for the Avengers' offshore bank in the Cayman Islands, Hank nearly loses his mind, and Janet has to step in and suggest that he take a lap around the office. He refuses, so Scott takes the lap around the office instead, and Hope catches up with him. They walk together in silence until they're out of earshot before she starts to speak.
"We went over the Avengers thing," she says. Hesitant but chiding. "And we agreed against it."
"Yeah, but that was when it was about the quantum realm, and that's different," Scott replied, "This is just a little bit of money laundering."
Hope hms and falls silent again. Walks along a little further with him.
"How are you?" She asks.
"Ah, doing alright. Parent-teacher day is coming up, though. Not looking forward to yet another rendition of 'sorry, which one's the father?'"
"Uh, next Tuesday. Why?"
Hope smiles. "I could turn up. Confuse them even more."
Scott laughs. "We're the mom and mom and dad and dad, hi, hello, tell us about Cassie."
Hope hesitates for much longer than usual before joining in. "We could try saying it in unison."
Scott deepens his voice. "We must know about Math. Inform us about Math."
"Hope it goes well."
"You'll be fine, though." Hope hesitates again. "You're a great dad."
There are very few compliments that can make Scott smile wider. "Oh- thanks!"
Hope doesn't return the smile as wide, and Scott realises something a bit deeper might be about to follow. She jerks a thumb backwards. "Not sure I'd make a great, uh, mom, though. Even if I didn't have a warrant out."
Oh. There are so many layers to this statement that Scott has no idea how to tackle it. He uncomfortably drops the ball on the conversation for a few moments while he comes up with any kind of response that doesn't push her to explain herself.
"You'd do fine," he says hesitantly. "Besides, it's not one of those things you know 'til you do it. I thought I'd be awful, I never really… got along with my parents, and I thought it'd be the same."
Hope blinks over at him. "You never mentioned."
Scott shrugs. "Yeah, well, my Dad wasn't Ant-Man, so less dramatic, I guess."
This time, Hope drops the ball on the conversation. They keep it silent all the way back to the meeting.
It doesn't occur to him 'til he goes to bed that night that Hope might have been waiting on him to tell her more.
The assumption about an ex-con who doesn't talk about his parents is that his parents were terrible people. Scott, quietly, disagrees. The inmates with familial issues had talked about them, often and loudly, and Scott reckons that something that deep can't help but show itself. Watch any TV interview with Tony Stark.
Scott's parents were Debra and Edward Lang, but nobody had ever called them that. They were Deb and Ed, Ed and Deb, always referred to in the plural. Deb was brash, warm, skipped between careers at a whim, always turning her hand to a new entry-level position and dropping it the second promotion came up. Always scared of going further. Ed was a careful and quiet man who worked as an accountant for forty years and never once tired of it. For him the job was a way he paid for his holidays, which he took whenever he'd put enough cash together for one. Scott remembered a hundred holidays and none. Always a new location, they never once returned even if they wanted to.
Scott wasn't the perfect kid nor the worst, but he was their only one. Small quiet family, no cousins, one uncle they never really saw for reasons they never really discussed. Scott was the object of all interest, and every small mistake he made when he was younger felt like the world. His mom and dad loved him deeply, and he them, but he had always been too opinionated, too impulsive, and too willing to do something illegal to right a perceived wrong. They didn't fit together, they argued a lot, and it took until his second year of college for Scott to get his head screwed on his shoulders and try to avoid the arguments rather than rush into them headfirst every time.
In his third year of college, his parents decided to drive all the way up to Banff for a week's getaway. He's never been quite sure what happened next, the guy who told him over the phone wavered in and out of signal, but it was something about skidding on ice.
The next few years were silence. He took a Master's. He did well without trying. He slept twelve hours a day and spent Christmases alone.
When he met Maggie, he felt- understood. Maggie's parents were as good as dead to her. She knew what it was like to lie to your friends about how you were spending Thanksgiving. Scott and she found kinship, were married faster than any of their friends, walked each other down the aisle. Cassie felt like a miracle. That first night, Maggie slept, and Scott held Cassie, staring down at her, trying to wipe away his tears before they fell on her face. He wasn't perfect, and he still found himself bending the law in search of- something- too often for Maggie's liking, but he'd learnt to hide parts of himself and that made them both happy.
Vistacorp, jail, prison, Ant-Man. It was all together in his mind, like a series of stepping stones leading to a part of his life he had never anticipated.
Somewhere along the line, he had found a way to live a life he was suited best for, and he had gained-
He blinks awake. Looks over at the alarm clock until his bleary eyes make out the numbers. 3 in the morning. Fuck. He stares at the ceiling. His neck hurts, and his head feels overstuffed. He was dreaming of his parents. Been a while since that sort of dream.
He goes back to sleep, eventually. This time he doesn't dream, and the sunlight clock gets him up. The light does nothing for waking him up, but it makes a high-pitched buzzing noise like a CRT TV. It sets his teeth on edge until he turns it off.
The memory of a half-remembered mess of parent dreams mash together in his head with the stupid alarm clock he'd signed for with the name 'Pym', and he realises he's going to be weird about it until he tells her.
He doesn't tell her.