Title: Geeks In Love
Series: Young Avengers
Character/Pairing: Teddy/Billy, Xavin/Karolina, sort of hinted Eli/Kate
Summary: Au. Teddy liked hanging out online, playing games like Young Avengers when not hitting the comic book store.
Author's Note: Yuletide, a REALLY LONG~ Teddy/Billy request that mentioned a sort of City-
Of-Heroes + .Hack au. I had to fight to not turn Billy and Teddy to chicks just to reference .Hack.

.

Billy logged in, his hands quick over his keyboard, which was a bit broken, the h tended to stick and the y was known to accidentally trigger the t at times. He needed to get a new one, and it wasn't like he was in dire straits of computer destitution, more that he'd gotten used to the sticking so much that it felt weird when he logged in at the Cyber Café and tried to type with a keyboard that didn't stick and didn't need to be wiggled free or plied to do his bidding.

In real life, he was just Billy Kaplan. Good student, Reform Jew, not-quite-out-but-getting there gay teenage boy.

But online, he was Asgardian The long lost son of Scarlet Witch, protector of the weak, the small, the geeky, the wedgied and all that stuff. When he wasn't being ScarletsSon on Maple Story, (a mage, of course).

Billy sipped at a Caramel Mochiato that Xavin on the other server swore by it. She didn't play Young Avengers so much, as her girlfriend preferred the action/survival aspect of Runawsay to the more classic heroes of YA. Still, they'd fought together a few times and afterwards Xavin had friended him on facebook, so they saw each other from time to time. They'd even gone and fought the horde on World of Warcraft before, with Billy as a Nightelf Druid and Xavin as a Draenei Warrior.

She talked about her computer in terms almost as lovingly as her girlfriend, which came up in almost every conversation. It'd begin innocently enough ('The server is robust!') then taper off into yet another near monologue on how beautiful Karolina was.

Some of the other players were annoyed by Xavin, who tended to ruffle feathers in general, but Billy thought it was...cute. A lot of it was that English wasn't her first language, and well, the fact that her country apparently had very different ways of expressing things. From what Xavin said, he almost got the idea that a roundhouse kick was pretty much a standard greeting. If it had been Tommy, he'd know it for the bullshit it was, because Tommy spoke bullshit as a second – no first language. Xavin didn't seem the type to joke around so much, so he thought she might be for real.

Billy logged on the server. No one else was on yet, so maybe they had massive homework projects. While he waited, Billy fiddled with his character screen. He switched colors about and then canceled. He liked the red outfit best.

He thought about adding to his backstory a little, maybe an alternate universe – though to be fair, he already did have an evil twin, even if he was a fraternal one.

Tommy hadn't even really done a backstory. He'd loved Pietro, so when Billy posted his backstory about being the Scarlet Witch's long lost son via magic, he'd gone and said Me too. Hey, twin brother! and that was that. Hawkeye, aka Kate, looked like the lovechild of Mockingbird and Hawkeye, though she didn't have the humor. Not that she was humorless stoic, more that she had a drier sense of humor. Cassie and Nathaniel were practically attached at the hip. Cassie had a size-changing power, something to do with Pym particles. Nathaniel...well, his side was complicated.

Their fearless leader of the team was Patriot, who had taken a Captain America-esque skin, modified it to be more ethnically sensitive. He even wrote up a whole backstory for his character about being the descendant of the first black Captain America.

Well, sort of leader. He wasn't a blowhard I AM YOUR LEADER, BOW BEFORE ME kind of guy. It just happened, as apparently the rest of them sucked at leading. Tommy would lead them into a mess just for the lulz, because he was that kind of guy, Billy had to admit that he did have a steadfast personality about him. Or maybe that was just the Captain America likeness. He certainly wasn't going to lead. He was a mage – everyone knows mages don't lead. They're in the back, planning the revolution and stuff. Besides, it's hard to stand proud and lead the troops when you've got the lowest hit points of the bunch – to say nothing of that defense. He'd have been toast with that last boss if Teddy hadn't come in and saved him.

He and Teddy had been hanging out a bit on there. It just fit, like Medic and Heavy, Cleric and Knight. Healing wasn't his speciality, but he could wish for it, and had a few times. Hulking was a half-Skrull, half-Kree shapeshifter, who half the time chose to look like a regular human. One who happened to be gorgeous, and based off of his own looks.

And Billy had to admit, he had a bit of crush on him. It seemed silly, even if it was cute when Xavin and Karolina did it, their romance budded off of a MMORPG when they were bonding over their shared tyrant dictator/evil parents. All Billy had was a few times when Teddy had saved him online and the dream world that came with it.

He checked Teddy's facebook page and stared hard at the place where sexuality would be, as if to make it suddenly change to incredibly gay for Billy Kaplan. He almost started I-want-Teddy-to-be-gay-(or-at-least-bi)-and-like-me-too-I-want– when he remembered that it didn't work here. Stupid real life and its lack of reality warping.

Teddy was blond, with a lot of thick silver piercings in his ears. He was tall, too, and built like a jock. Billy always liked tall guys, someone who he had stand on tiptoe to kiss. There was no big, huge taken sign slapped over him, or sign of an adoring girlfriend in the picture.

To borrow a word from Cassie, he was well, dreamy. Of course, when she said dreamy, she was talking about Iron Lad, but that was another thing entirely.

Teddy had recently added the Young Avengers app, and had even Liked it. I like Teddy, Billy thought. Now there's an ap to add to facebook. Secret online crushes of the reform Jew nerds. Next on Fox!

He practically knew Teddy. They'd fought crime together! Even if it was only the digital, fictional kind, it still counted. Sorta. It was certainly enough for a crush to form.

An IM window came up. Billy smiled at the familiar screen name.

It's Hulking. How are you?

Hi, he typed back.

They'd chatted a bit over the server while playing, but that was mostly "Good show, chum!" or things like that.

We should Skype sometime, Teddy typed. Tommy and Kate and Eli said they skyped. They said it was a blast. Or at least, Tommy said it was.

Billy felt a surge of warmth. So, he wanted to talk to him! Ok, it was only because everyone else was doing it but still.

I'd love to! Billy typed.

Way too sixteen-year-old-girly-crush.

I mean. That'd be cool, Billy amended.

Sure. Wanna play a bit of Young Avengers first? They updated with the Skrull invasion to make it more canon compliant.

Would he ever!

I'm on. Just let me get a drink for a sec.

And by 'get a drink' he meant of course spin around the kitchen while his mom looked on, entirely confused and muttering maybe we should put you on a no sugar diet, dear.

.

It was funny how these things happened. Beyond the group chats (affectionately referred to as "group sex", or "one true orgy" by Tommy) Teddy messaged him regularly now, up until Billy was right there waiting after school for him to come on. According to facebook, he wasn't too far away. An hour and a half, not too much. In fact, the whole group was within an hour of him.

Far be it from awkward, Skypeing with Teddy had been fun. Lots of laughs, not to mention in-jokes that would last for months. Teddy had a nice voice. A bit deep, but not too much so. He could listen to it all day. He wanted to make it his ringtone and the sounds that greeted his computer when he started up and shut off. Which was kind of creepy in retrospect, but on the other hand it worked on that one vampire novel that was so popular and no one thought that it was creepy then..

So far, everything had been going up, save for the constant mockery and getting locked in his locker. Reality warping powers would have been great then.

But his crush on Teddy was being constantly fed with little things. Texts sent throughout the day, Skypeing and long talks deep into the night. His sleep schedule was lacking, his grades were...absolutely fine, though his mother was giving him meaningful if the internet gets in the way of your perfect GPA I will take it away save for homework, young man! talks that all seemed to spiral into discussion of the Ivy League colleges he was bound for.

Billy had never felt so unfettered, so buoyant. Sure, it was just a stupid crush and nothing would probably come of it, but for now, Billy was walking in the sky with clouds fronds between his bare feet.

.

The news was all out. Karolina and Xavin had finally met. Billy smiled at the I have met the most beautiful girl on Earth – no, the universe, and my life is complete facebook status, right after If I do not get a java this instant I will be forced to destroy civilization as we know it and only Karolina will be spared.

The chatroom was pretty quiet tonight. Kate had left, citing some family thing while Cassie had homework. Tommy was mocking Eli with something, but Billy was only half paying attention because Teddy was on. They had a private IM going, as always.

Do you ever think of meeting everyone? he typed.

Sure, Teddy typed back.

It's not creepy or anything? I guess mom just watched too much Oprah so I always have that 'people online are serial killers!' mentality beat into me.

I can't vouch for the others, especially Tommy, but I can promise that I'm not a serial anything, Teddy typed back.

That's good to know. What would I say then? 'I fought crime online with Hannibal Lecter.'?

A couple of lols later, Billy stared at the IM that had come.

We should meet

Billy felt something warm blossom up inside him. He felt like laughing, he felt elated. It was that moment that he was glad that there was a computer screen and plenty of miles between them, because giggling like a dork was not the way he wanted to come off the first time he met Teddy. Really, just no.

I'd like that, he typed. ...maybe this weekend?

Where? Teddy typed back.

Billy burst into a big smile.

.

It was between his favorite comic book store and his favorite Starbucks (for proximity to his favorite comic book store) that Billy waited. He was nervous. Really nervous. He hoped his palms were sweaty. He wiped them on his jeans for good measure and looked up for the second time.

Teddy wasn't really late; Billy had gotten there early just in case. And because he needed to do something with all this nervousness and anticipation and walking there seemed like a good idea. He hoped his palms weren't sweating. He wiped them on his jeans just in case.

A throat cleared. Billy looked up to see Teddy, sunkissed and standing there with a smile on his face.

"Hi," he said.

Billy waved back.

He heard the beeping of a cellphone picture being snapped. Billy found himself looking into a begoggled, platinum blonde in a track suit.

"Heyyy bro," Tommy said and threw an arm over Billy's shoulder.

"First – what are you doing here? And second — Seriously? You're wearing goggles?" Billy said.

Tommy grinned. "Chicks dig my goggles."

"No, they don't," said a faintly bored, calm voice behind him.

It took him a moment to realize who she was. Dark hair, dark eyes, a sort of maturity– Kate. He'd never really seen a picture of her as after a few Mafia Wars invitations too many, she'd abandoned facebook altogether.

By her side was Eli, with camo jeans and a cobalt uni T-shirt, as well as Cassie in her pink hoodie, her blond hair in a ponytail.

"Wow. The gang's all here. I didn't expect you all."

"Nathaniel couldn't make it, unfortunately," Cassie said, though she was probably the only one who found it unfortunate, given her massive crush on him. Not that they hated him or anything, though his backstory about being the alternate timeline past version of a super villain atoning for his possible future doings did raise some eyebrows on the trust issue. Especially that time when he got 'hacked' and did certain things they don't talk about anymore. Cassie believed him and decried the state of servers today that one could get hacked so easily. The rest were a little wary.

"Though the lovebirds are near," Kate said drily.

"We aren't the only ones?"

They peeked in the window. A girl with long blond hair dyed several colors, and neo hippie clothes sipped at the foam of her Caramel Mochiato. Beside her was an amazon of a woman, with coffee colored, smooth skin and long brown hair. She wore a get up of black jeans, black shirt and combat boots. They were holding hands over the table.

"Are the rest of the Runaways crew here?"

"I didn't see them? Maybe they were off shopping and giving them some time alone. There's only so much PDA before it gets awkward," Cassie said.

"I am ashamed of your lack of an open mind. I fully support their right to PDA," Tommy said in mock solemnity. "Hot lesbians should be as affectionate as possible in public. Especially where I can photograph it."

Kate rolled her eyes. Tommy hummed as he snapped a few more cell phone pictures as Xavin stroked Karolina's hair.

A pair of generic haggling thugs came to the table.

"There's trouble, I think. We should do something–!" Billy said.

Xavin rose, and proved that roundhouse kick really was a greeting in her culture. Possibly hello and goodbye, like Hawaiian or something. It was amazing, Kung-fu movie amazing, so that the generic thugs that were hassling her and her girlfriend were kicked across the room right into the register.

Not only that, they spilled her coffee. On Karolina.

Xavin advanced on them, and punched out the biggest one with an uppercut, elbowed the second, and dropkicked the third. They were left groaning on the floor as Xavin brushed herself off and went to attend to her adoring girlfriend.

"...Or not," Billy said.

"That was amazing," Cassie said.

"I wish I was a lesbian," Tommy said wistfully.

.

Choosing another, non-ruined coffeehouse wasn't too hard. There was practically a Starbucks on every block down here, and just as many Rite-Aids as well. Tommy and Kate and Eli were talking, idly, while Cassie inputted something or other. Billy was a bit behind, matching Teddy stride for stride. .

"Also, we bought you a rename token. Because we're sure Tommy is going to turn it into an internet meme if not," Kate said.

"Turn what?" Teddy said.

"You know, the date. The relationship. You said you were finally meeting, just like Karolina and Xavin," Kate replied.

Teddy froze, while Billy flushed and scratched at his neck awkwardly. His collar was way too tight, too hot now.

"You guys are on a date, right?" Kate asked.

Billy's half-wary, nervous grin froze in place. "Er. Was this a date?" He said, looking to Teddy for a cue.

"Do you want it to be a date?" Teddy said. He didn't seem weirded out by the idea. In fact, he was smiling, gentle and gorgeous, so much that Billy wanted to lean up and run his fingers through his hair.

"...Yes. Very much so," Billy said in a small voice.

"Then it's a date."

"And we're gate crashing," Tommy informed them.

Kate rolled her eyes again.

"I'm glad it's a date," Billy said, a bit shy. He smiled up at Teddy.

"Me too," Teddy said.

He took Teddy's hand in his, a bit awkwardly.

"Say anything about badtouch or Jack and Ennis and I will elbow you," Kate informed Tommy coolly.

"My lips are sealed. Even more if you put yours on them,"

Eli cleared his throat. "I think we should be off to the movie theater now. Iron Man 2 is out."

"Ooh, dark places. I call dibs on the seat next to Kate," Tommy said, with a grin.

As they walked off, Billy thought he'd never been happier with reality before. Maybe this real life thing wasn't so bad after all.