Familiarity - part two
By Forbidden Donut
Summary: Two New Warriors find their friendship take on a new form as they ponder love and loss.
Author Note: Set during the events of Civil War, this is an old story and I've given it a bit of a rewrite.
Disclaimer: Characters not owned by me nor do I profit from their use.
"...I thought Spidey was so far up his butt you couldn't see his feet anymore?" Vance shook his head in disbelief as they walked away from the medical suite.
Suzie grinned. "What? I was just saying what everyone in the room was thinking."
"Really? I was thinking how lucky it was for you that Spider-Man was pretty much unconscious. He's been known to web people's lips together."
"That's a superhero urban legend if I ever heard one.. She pursed her lips into a kissy mouth. "You would've picked the webbing off though right? Right? These deserve some lip service right?" she asked, pouting lustily up at him.
"Yes. No. Maybe. Oh I don't know..." He said distractedly, her lips did look pretty good... He caught himself leaning towards her, then jerked back. "I still don't think it was that funny."
She stopped pouting and pulled a face.
"It's not really a joking matter, Suzie."
She grabbed his arm, stopping him in the middle of the corridor. "Wait, Vance. Wait! Look, it's just I thought the Warriors gig would be good experience that could go on my super hero resume. I didn't expect my identity to be compromised by a guilt stricken team-mate. Spider-Man is... was one of Iron Man's chief supporters... Why does he deserve any sympathy from us?"
"I don't know about Peter Parker, but Spider-Man has more than earned our respect and trust. And yes, our compassion. Tony can be very persuasive when he sets his mind to it, I don't doubt he had a major role in convincing Spidey to back the registration act. You know, the New Warriors stand unique here amongst these guys. We've had our identities exposed twice now, both times with terrible repercussions. If we can't extend our support to someone who truly needs it, who's going through the same thing..." He shrugged.
"Spider-Man chose to unmask, whatever his reasons. I didn't."
"Aren't you listening to a word I'm saying?" He looked almost disappointed. "It eats me up inside that Carlton exposed so many New Warriors before we could stop him. That we had to chase him down like criminals because we couldn't shut him down legally."
"I know." She let go of his arm and stepped back. "Rage thinks..."
He sighed softly. "Rage is still grieving. Everything he thinks and says is tainted by his loss."
Suzie gave him a wry smile. "Oh yeah? I noticed he's not the only one."
Vance swallowed it down - the pain, the loss, and backed away from her. He didn't want to talk about his grief, not with Suzie, not with anyone. "I-I have to be somewhere. Try to stay out of trouble." He turned to walk away but hesitated when she spoke again.
"You're going to have to trust someone, Vance, or all that grief and unhappiness is going to come out in the wrong place, at the wrong time. We're all that's left of the New Warriors, we've got to stick together. Isn't that what you said after Hindsight outed us? Start by trusting me."
He hunched his shoulders a little. "I do trust you, Suzie, it's just - I'm not ready to talk yet. Please stop pushing me on this. I'll see you later." He left her standing alone in the corridor.
"I love you, Vance Astrovik," she whispered to his retreating back.
Elvin threw his hands up in despair. "And you walked away? Suzie practically throws herself at you, showing some kissy kissy face, tries to comfort you and you reject her? Where is your head? I mean seriously?"
"Elvin..." Vance warned, scowling. He leaned against the wall in the empty meeting room that doubled as the Secret Avenger's war room, arms crossed.
The younger hero chuckled. "Sorry man, but you're over-thinking this. It's not like she said she loved you or anything. Just talk to her."
"Maybe my ass. You go back and you beg her to comfort you. If she'd offered to comfort me, I would've..."
Vance flashed his friend a look of annoyance.
"What is the problem, Vance? She's hot, she's single, would it be such a problem if she wants to get in your..."
The younger man put his hands up defensively and smiled sheepishly.
Vance sighed explosively. "I'm not blind! I know she's had a crush on me for a long time. I ignored it when I was with Angel, you know how she was about other girls. And the truth is, I care about Suzie, I really do, but... I want to know that this isn't still an infatuation."
Elvin leaned against the wall next to Vance, crossing his arms as well. "Fair enough I guess, but it seems to me, all she wants is to be there for you. To be a friend. Man, if you hadn't been there to support me, at the funeral and then afterwards, to talk to.... I don't know what would've happened." He looked down at his feet.
The door opened and other heroes began to file in, giving the two New Warriors odd looks. Vance muttered sideways. "Guess they forgot to invite us to this meeting. About the other thing, I'm your friend and your team mate, I'll always have your back, Elvin."
"Okay, do me a favour then. Talk to Suzie." Elvin patted Vance on the shoulder and left him to his thoughts.
Cap looked up from the table. "Justice, a word."
Debrii looked up as Elvin and Suzie came in. "What's going on? Why'd Justice ask us to meet here?" They shrugged.
"No idea," said Suzie.
"Don't look at me," muttered Elvin.
The door slammed open with a shove that was bare inches from ripping it off it's hinges and transforming it into a pile of splinters. It shut with enough force to alert every superhero in the building that the resident telekinetic was extremely unhappy.
"Whoa, Vance, buddy, get a lid on it." Elvin joked, though his voice was edged with nervous tension.
Vance paced for a few minutes, trying to get his anger back under control. His hands kept clenching and unclenching.
Suzie watched him with concern. "What's wrong, Vance?" she asked eventually.
He stopped and looked at her and she flinched away from the ferocity in his eyes. "Cap is planning the final assault on the Baxter Building."
"Why's this the first we've heard of it?" said Elvin sharply.
Vance finally released his pent up emotion and seemed to collapse in on himself. "He ordered us to go to another Secret Avengers safe house and await further instructions from him and him alone. That's it, we're out of it."
"Why?" Elvin slammed his fist into the wall, smashing through the plaster and brick. He rubbed his fist angrily. "Does he think we give the side a bad rep or something?"
"Because he doesn't want any of the former New Warrior's involved in the fighting. Luke Cage told me that, he thought we had a right to know."
"What a crock," Debrii growled.
"So are we going to follow his orders?" asked Suzie.
Vance looked up and nodded. He looked tired and defeated. "For now."