Wings Of Love

"You're kidding me," Tommy said flatly.

Cassie shook her head. "Nope," she replied cheerily.

The speedster's eyes widened in comical disbelief. "Why would Teddy go shopping with Kate?" he asked.

"She's the only one who knew how to get to the store," Teddy replied, strolling in the door with Kate by his side. She was the only one carrying any bags, however, and that one was just plain brown paper.

"Where'd you go?" Tommy asked, zipping over to stand next to Teddy, just a bit too close for comfort.

Teddy wasn't offput, however; he'd long ago grown used to the speedster's quirks, and knew how best to overlook them. Ignore anything said sarcastically – which was about eighty-five percent of what Tommy said, though he was normally trying to rile someone up – and if all else failed, picture something outlandishly funny.

Though picturing Tommy naked only weirded him out. And if Teddy imagined him with dark hair, it was creeeepy.

Brandishing her bag at Tommy for a split-second, Kate answered his question with a haughty, "We went to Metalhead."

Eli's head shot up and he stared at the two shoppers. Completely ignoring his war documentary, he fumbled with the remote to mute the television, and asked, an air of dread in his voice, "Isn't that the tattoo and piercing parlor over on 42nd Street?" His voice cracked on the word 'piercing.'

"Uh-huh," Kat replied with a slow, smug grin. She canted her hips forward and tugged up her white school blouse, showing off her new bellybutton ring. It was silver, with a purple star-shaped gem dangling from it.

"Nice," Cassie said, slight envy in her voice. Her mother had only refrained from freaking out over her getting her ears pierced because she'd been going ballistic over her superhero career as Stature. Giving Kate a concerned look, Cassie asked, "Did it hurt?"

Kate shrugged. "Not really," she dismissed. "At least not much more than getting my ears done."

While the two female Young Avengers engaged in girltalk, Tommy, meanwhile, was still trying to needle his brother's lover. With a derisive snort, the white-haired boy asked, "What, decided you didn't have enough metal on your head, Ted?" He flicked one of the silver rings threaded through Hulkling's ear cartilage.

Giving a laconic shrug with his right arm, Teddy tugged on the new pewter charms hanging from his earlobes with his left. "No, just wanted a change from the usual," he replied easily. Getting angry with Tommy was never worth it; he could make your life a living hell before you even knew it. Literally.

Tommy took one look at the earrings and burst out into super-speed giggles.

Unnerved by this show of pure giddiness by the usually irritating speedster, Eli vaulted over the back of the couch and walked over to inspect Teddy's new adornments for himself. He took one look at the earrings and reeled back in shock. "Dude… You bought a pair of earrings with Captain America wings?" Patriot looked like he didn't know whether to be flattered or worried.

Teddy just looked at the other boy – a look which questioned Eli's intelligence. "Uh…no."

Cassie, overhearing Eli's question, turned away from Kate to inspect Teddy's ears. She squinted at the tiny charms; they were wings, feathered ones, and they did look familiar… "Are they Thor wings?" she asked, thinking of the Avenger that Billy had modeled his secret identity on.

Kate gave a low laugh and smirked. "Not exactly, but you're getting closer," she hinted in a singsong voice.

Finally reigning in his mirth enough to pick himself up off of the floor, Tommy zipped out of the room and returned with Wiccan's helmet. Proudly presenting it to their esteemed team leader, he said, "Duh, much?" before breaking out into riotous laughter once more.

Dark face reddening as he took in the pair of white metal wings adorning the silver circlet, Eli said, voice faint from embarrassment, "Oh." It was obvious, in retrospect, but then hindsight was always 20/20.

Empathizing with Eli's current situation – it wasn't all that long ago that she was making such blunders in front of Vision – Cassie asked the first question to come to mind: "What did you buy, Kate?"

Kate blushed, shot a too-quick-for-anyone-but-a-speedster-to-notice glance at Eli and said, "A pair of pewter arrows," before striding quickly out the door.

Tommy looked at Teddy. Teddy jerked his head towards Eli, mouthed, "Two pairs," and grinned.

Tommy's mirth once again reigned supreme in the Avengers mansion.