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Is That Cupid’s Arrow in Your Pocket or…; [Tom-Tom]
Topic Started: Oct 21 2017, 07:40 PM (123 Views)
Kate Bishop
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Quite the Shot
Evening, Wednesday October 18th, 2017
Location: Community Centre, Mutant Town NYC

[sneaky JP-ing of Kate with a bit of Stacy]

Kate looked around at the bows and kneeling mats scattered across the floor. A small triumphant smile crossed her face. Who said a Kyudo archery workshop had to end in major property damage and an ambulance showing up? Overall, it went pretty smoothly, and the mutant kids seemed to really enjoy it. Most even seemed to get on board with the ideas of discipline and restraint as part of the practice. With any luck it would translate over to times when they felt like being blasé about their powers…

“Wait, you didn’t pack up your samurai shit yet?”

Kate was expecting to see Marlin, the fish-scaled caretaker. Instead there was a snake-tailed woman looking around the hall like she owned it. Maybe she did? Kate had never actually met the owners.

“Um…” She resisted pointing out that the woman was probably thinking of Kendo, an entirely different Budō branch. Save it for the people who actually come to the workshops, she reminded herself. “We ran over a little, but this shouldn’t take more than a minute to square away.”

“Eh. S’not like I paid for the space. Need a hand?”

“Oh, yeah. If you don’t mind. Could you grab the Yumi?”

“The what now?”

“Oh, sorry! Haha! The bows.”

“Oh, okay. Sure…”

Judging by the look of her high heels and talons, Kate was probably better picking the mats up herself. By the time she’d wrangled them all into a pile, the snakewoman had actually managed to gather every bow into her arms and was hugging them to her chest.

There was a slightly awkward transfer moment as Kate went to take them, feeling warm scales brush against her hands and flinching slightly. But doing that felt less cheeky than pointing to exactly where she wanted the bows depositing in the store cupboard. By the time she’d emerged from said cupboard, the other woman was already setting out stacker chairs in rows.

“What else needs to go out?” She asked, feeling that helping her out would only be fair turnaround at that point.

“I just gotta get some tables out an’…” She seemed to pause, yellow eyes narrowing on Kate in a way that made the Archer feel weirdly self-conscious. “If you’re free the rest’ve tonight there’s fifty dollars in it for you.”

“Er, I’m fine for money at the moment,” Kate laughed nervously, “But for curiosity’s sake, what did you have in mind?”

The woman held up a finger, dived into a big carry-all she’d brought in and pulled out a pair of little white feathery wings, complete with ribbons for tying onto a wearer’s back. One downy feather broke free and drifted in a lazy back and forth sway past Kate’s shin and onto the floor. “White’s never really been my colour. And you’d probably be handier with the Nerf bow I planned usin’…”

“Nerf?!” Kate laughed, hesitantly reaching for the wings…


How the Hell had she gotten herself into this?! Mutant speed dating? Ugh! Didn’t matter if they were mutants or super models, Kate was still not happy about it.

To be fair, the pseudo-cherub outfit wasn’t that bad. It had eased her into a sense that the evening would be harmless and more entertaining than going home and unloading the dishwasher. She was still wearing her own black vest and hakama, just with the addition of a long white linen scarf. It wound round her waist, across her torso and hung down between the wings tied to her back. Honestly it didn’t feel that different to the white cloth she kept at her neck in vigilante guise.

The nerf bow and arrows were kinda fun too. The snakewoman, Stacy as she turned out to be called, encouraged her to take pot shots at people’s backs now and again, keeping the mood light as more and more filtered into the hall looking uneasy. Her job was supposed to just involve handing out ‘Hello My Name Is’ labels, biros and jotterpads while Stacy handed out coffee and juice.

Oh, but then they’d done a headcount and one too many no-shows had left them an uneven number to start. Stacy was oddly persuasive and before she knew it Kate was sitting at a table opposite a guy who looked like a melted candle. She tried really hard not to stare at his skin, focusing on his eyes as he stammered out an introduction. All the while wondering when would be a good time to mention that she wasn’t even a mutant…

Trying to be as subtle as possible she tapped out a hurried text to Jubilee, begging for help down at the Community Centre. Maybe she’d be able to come take her place and Kate could just owe her a massive favour… But trying to be polite didn’t leave much time for checking the recipient. The text sent. Just not to Jubes.
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The Flatiron was hardly hotbed of social activity for the young speedster; it was something of a cross between living at home with his parents and being at school. It wasn't a case that Tommy disliked living there, it saved him hell of a lot of money when you considered how much rental and property prices were in New York and there were some pretty cool people here too: Bucky for one, he was caustic as hell but when it came to playing zombie mode on Call of Duty there was nobody else you would want to be your player 2. There were times though when Tommy wished that he could get away his work - he lived in a SHIELD facility and sometimes he kind of had the feeling that SHIELD liked being able to keep an eye on the mutants they had living there, particularly the ones that were related to Magneto.

For the moment things were quiet in the living room of the quarters that the Defenders and a few select members of SHIELD's M-Div called home, that was except for the sound of a fast-paced action game which Tommy was having no problem clearing. In fact, it was so easy that it was practically boring.

That was when the text alert distracted Tommy from his game and sent his spacecraft crashing into the railings which resulted in it erupting in an impressive explosion that filled the large flatscreen tv. Tommy ignored that though and looked at the text on the screen. It was from one of the few people that could convince Tommy to drop everything and run at a moments notice. Kate had been a semi-constant in his life for a few years now, and by constant he meant someone that was around, they weren't the greatest of mates, Kate was better friends with Billy and Teddy but Tommy had feelings for her that he hadn't felt for anyone in a long time. Because of that, it made Tommy more than a little awkward around her and his usual incredibly forward self-had taken a back seat to a slightly more reserved version of Tommy.

Kate was in need of help down at the community centre, and by the sound of it, she was in need of some help. When Tommy saw just what Kate needed help with a wide smirk spread across his face. In a blur of activity, Tommy had run out of the living room into his room and changed into a relatively smart outfit - one that Tommy would go for when going out on a night on the town. A short-sleeved white cotton shirt, decent blue jeans and a pair of pumps.

Without a word of warning to anyone else, Tommy zipped out of the building and crossed the town in a blur of speed towards mutant town and the community centre. It was only when he reached the doors of the community centre that he finally slowed down and by the time he entered he was moving at a speed that was considered normal for a human.

Tapping the melty face guy on the shoulder, Tommy gestured sideways with his thumb. "Time to move on dude." Tommy didn't say with any ill intent, but with a tone that suggested he was wasting his time here. Once he moved on Tommy took his seat opposite Kate. "Nice wings." A grin crossed Tommy's face, "So you're in desperate need of help huh? You know if you wanted to go on a date with me, you only had to ask."
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Kate Bishop
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Quite the Shot
[size0]JPing Kate and Stacy

Kate stared, open mouthed and goggle-eyed, when Tommy burst in out of nowhere. Having no idea she’d texted him, her first impression was that he was late to an event he’d knowingly meant to show up for. Which was a bizarre thought and she couldn’t fathom why it made her slightly uncomfortable.

“Uh, rude!” She frowned as he ordered Robert (if his name tag was to be believed) out of his seat. “No, don’t worry Rob, you don’t have to-”

“Oh, no, i-it’s okay.” The poor man said, holding a hand up in defeat as he got up. Kate instantly felt terrible for him, turning back to glare at her friend.

“Nice wings.” A grin crossed Tommy's face.

“Yeah, I got them on loan.” Kate shot back, her expression his polar opposite.

“So you're in desperate need of help huh? You know if you wanted to go on a date with me, you only had to ask.”

“Whiiiich would be why I didn’t ask you?” Kate looked around confusedly, like the whole thing was some elaborate practical joke. “That lady over there,” she pointed to Stacy, “came in just after my archery class finished and asked if I’d help out with… this” She wafted her hands around in a vague gesture. “I asked Jubes if she’d…”

Kate trailed off as the detective portion of her brain moved on from a state of “What – Wait – What?!”, starting to put two and two together. She pulled out her phone and unlocked it to discover she’d managed to text Tommy instead of Jubilee. Her free hand immediately slapped her forehead.

“Oh, jeez! Okay. Sorry, I meant to text that to her! I wasn’t really looking at the screen because I didn’t want to seem rude, even though I really wanted an out.” Her eyebrow arched as she added, “Something you evidently don’t have an issue with.”

Typical SHIELD, an internal voice muttered bitterly in the back of her head. She still wasn’t completely over the fact that they’d blown up her first apartment. Or that they’d once sent Tommy to chase after the Archer even though, in her opinion, they had a million greater concerns his time could have been better spent on…

“Welp… Since you still ID’d as straight and male the last time I knew about anything, I guess I don’t have the replacement I planned on. Hm.” She leant forward, resting her elbows on the table (in exactly the way her mother always used to tell her not to) then rested her chin in one hand as she pondered. Her gaze trailed around the hall, wondering how else she was supposed to conjure up an excuse.

Stacy had noticed Robert retreat to the coffee table and was having some kind of exchange with him. The woman glanced over at the table and did a double-take when she saw the white-haired boy.

“Uh-oh…” Kate sighed as the approaching sound of high heels clacked like a death knell on the polished flooring. “Whatever happens next, I think I might need to apologise in advance.” She winced.

“Soooo… Okay Snowflake, who’re you and why’re you sittin’ in Robbie’s seat?” Stacy demanded, coming to a stop next to Speed’s annexed chair with hands on tilted hips. Her tail was lashing back and forth in a manner that made Kate a little anxious. Yellow eyes narrowed. “I feel like I should know you but… I mean you’re not from the forum everyone joined to get in on this.”

“Technically neither am I…” Kate held up a hand, looking between Tommy and Stacy.

“Okay, but I kinda vetted you already.” Stacy retorted, although her attitude seem to soften out if her posture was anything to go by. At least that rattlesnake tail of hers had calmed down.

“Yeah, I asked him to come over.” Kate admitted sheepishly. “He uhhh… I asked him to bring some medication over.”

Stacy actually laughed at that. Which… admittedly that was not the response Kate anticipated, even if she somehow discerned that it was a white lie. It only belatedly occurred to her that a feral probably could smell a lie with the right kind of mutational tweaks. Maybe there was even a telepathic element to it, who knew? Duh! Rookie mistake! You’re in M-Town, remember? She winced again.

Stacy glanced between the two of them and made a slightly odd shape with her lips for a second, like she was sucking a quick burst of air in over her fangs. “Right, right. ‘Cept you’re healthy as a horse.”

Her focus levelled on Tommy again. “Seriously kid, where do I know you from? I mean, you wanna steal your girl away before she cheats on you, that’s fair; not your fault she was too polite to say she wasn’t exactly single.” Stacy shrugged.

“I am single!” Kate objected, despite the feeling that she was being ignored. I’m just not…” Oh what was the point. Stacy was letting her go now wasn’t she?

“The familiar face thing though, it’s buggin’ me now. An’ I usually never forget a scent.”
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Tommy's treatment of the butt ugly mutant may have been a little rude, mean even, but Tommy did have a reputation for being like that at times, especially when it was with people that he didn't know. It wasn't the fact that Tommy wanted to be a dick, it was simply the matter of him being too fast to give that much thought to the feelings of people he didn't know, or care about. Of course, Tommy hadn't counted on the fact that very behaviour might get him in hot water with Kate which was quite possibly the last thing that he wanted right now. So naturally, things took a dive into the Antarctic for a while, until Kate came out with the zing about Tommy's gender and sexuality.

The whole speed dating thing was most definitely not speed dating for Tommy; it was practically getting married and being together for half a century for him, still, he guessed he could understand why people did it. Though, what he couldn't understand was why Kate was here, or teaching archery in Mutant Town. That was when the sound of high heels clicking against hard floor started, and Kate offered Tommy something of an apology in advance for what was about to happen.

"I'm Tommy," Tommy added when Stacy gave him a moment to talk, even with someone like Stacy, Tommy kept the overly confident head that most would expect of a SHIELD agent. "I don't think we've met, no." Tommy shrugged, "I've been about a long while and lots of my family about." Tommy wasn't about to start dropping names as frankly, there were times when he didn't want to be associated with some members of his family every time he was in mutant town.

Still, as Stacy continued to speak a memory - whether it was something repressed, or just a dream flashed before Tommy's eyes.

Tommy returned the nod, that Thebe gave him. Tommy wasn't known for playing well in a team, he had always been loose cannon, brash, brazen, and argumentative. He was an expert on losing friends and alienating people, but in this situation what he had to do was clear; running would get him nowhere. There was a risk that he was going to catch one or all of the heroes in the explosion, at least here it would take out their enemies.

The energy that had been building up reached critical mass, and in that moment, Tommy's mortal form broke apart as the energy burst through cracks in his skin, the shockwave was faster than any mortal eyes could comprehend, hotter than any sun anything the explosion touched was vaporised as atomic bonds were shattered; every weirdo it touched was vaporised, and the entire church was turned into a large crater.

In that last moment, what did the speedster think of? There was too much family to focus on any one moment, he loved them all, he always would, but there was one, one who he cared for in ways that his family never could. It was in that last moment that Tommy realised how much of a putz he had been, he had been mocking and teasing Kate for as long as he had known her, but how he had wished he had one more moment with her to express exactly how he felt to her.

And then it was gone, for the first time in his life, Tommy's mind was still.

The speedster zoned out the rest of Stacy's and Kate's conversation, only responding with a "huh?" After the memory flashed before his eyes, momentarily the speedster felt unnerved, Tommy's heart was racing. He wasn't even sure what he was supposed to think of that? He knew he had feelings for Kate, but... well this memory showed that he had more than a simple crush on the police officer.

"Sorry I zoned out for a minute."

Tommy couldn't take his eyes off of Kate, he was trying to not make it weird, but in this instant, he didn't want to be anywhere else than with Kate, even if it meant that he had to endure the mutantised version of the undatables for a few minutes longer. "You mind if I steal Kate away from here then? Balance your numbers back out again."

It was quite obvious to anyone that knew Tommy, that something was bothering him, and that it was taking everything that he had to not just zip off into the sunset at several hundred miles per hour.
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Stacy X
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Neurochemical Control/ Reptillian Traits
The archery girl protested she was single, earning a pointedly raised eyebrow from Stacy. She could usually smell a lie even when that lie was told solely to fool the teller themselves. It was odd. Normally she liked to be nosy but she was too distracted to pick it apart, still feeling unsettled about the pale guy in a way she rarely allowed herself to get – something poking her deep in the gut…

“I'm Tommy. I don't think we've met, no.”

“Mmm…” The scaly markings on her face distorted as she frowned. “Yeah, I don’t either, that’s what’s buggin’ me…”

“This is Stacy?” Kate offered, looking like she was unsure whether to even bother with introductions.

Tommy… ‘Zippy’. Why did she have the urge to call him Zippy?

Tommy shrugged, “I've been about a long while and lots of my family about.”

“Oh, hey, you’re not Robert Frank’s kid are ya?” She snapped her fingers, grasping for a connection.

“Robert Frank?” Kate looked between them, clearly appalled at the thought. “God no! There was APB out on that guy last year for flashing! At super speed!”

“Oh you know him then!” Stacy grinned. “Yeah he’s only an odd fish some’ve the time, like when his meds don’t quite catch up t’his metabolism.”

She got distracted talking about ‘The Whizzer’ with the reluctant little Cupid Kate, something familiar and funny that might counteract that odd feeling in the pit of her stomach. But then she noticed Tommy staring at the two of them, a look on his face like he was being strapped into a gas chamber and asked for his final words. Even his scent changed. Something in his body chemistry was taking a nosedive and… Why did that make her afraid?!

She looked over to Zippy. In between wild bouts of his form shuddering and flicking, he had that eerie glazed look of someone who knew they were on a ticking clock with a very short countdown. The day they met he’d said he might explode… “The old man was supposed t’fix you up…” She said, voice suddenly miserable and incredibly small. She looked at Thebe. How were they supposed to outrun a kinetic bomb? Thebe smirked before looking up calmly and making eye contact with everyone, starting with Tommy whom he nodded to as reassuringly as he could. What did he know that she didn’t?

“I got this.” He grabbed everyone, clutching them tightly before tucking his head in and forming a sphere around them.

“Oh God…” Stacy whispered as she realized too late what Thebe’s last great plan entailed. She squirmed in protest, tail rattling uncontrollably, talons scrabbling against the living barrier like a rat trapped in a cage. “NoThebeNoThebeNoThebeNo!” tumbled from her lips and tears rolled down her scaly face in rivers.

Tommy’s fuse finally burned out and then the taste of agony was everywhere, so acute it choked Stacy’s senses…

“…Zippy?” She asked, reliving a moment she didn’t even remember. Her voice came out smaller than it should have. She could sense his heart pounding and it felt vaguely like hearing like the trigger click on a landmine. Kate glanced between them in confusion.

“Huh? …Tommy, what’s up with you?” Kate joined in. Despite not sharing Stacy’s feral senses she seemed to have her own intuition on something being amiss. It only added to Stacy’s worry.

“Sorry I zoned out for a minute… You mind if I steal Kate away from here then? Balance your numbers back out again.”

“Er… yeah.” Stacy had been perfectly prepared to jam a spanner in the works if the perceived interloper pissed her off sufficiently. But he hadn’t been too rude and quite frankly she’d rather he get out so she could get over the weird feeling chewing her up. “Technically you’re leaving ‘em unbalanced, but hey. I’ll bench Roman Candle Robbie an’ buy him a pizza, make it up to him.” She shrugged. He was a work regular anyway, so it was no skin scales off her nose.

“C’mere a sec first.” She beckoned, before earnestly repeating “C’mere!” again when met only with hesitation.

“You; maybe slow your roll or you’re gonna have an embolism.” She lifted her left hand to give the side of Tommy’s face a quick farewell pat. It was all the contact she needed just to nudge someone running a little too hot. Nothing like how badly she’d meddled with him the day they met Zachariah Taylor, but an echo of it in her instincts lead her.

“And you, you’re welcome.” She smiled at Kate, because a slow-poke getting involved with a restless speedster could be tough if they weren’t slowed down, to put it delicately. Her right hand patted the girl’s jawline to pass on a second parting gift, just a little tap to dissolve the metaphorical stick lodged up her ass. Not exactly a truth serum level dose but something that might help her be honest with herself. “Thanks for helpin’ out as long as you did.”
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Kate Bishop
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Quite the Shot
Maybe ‘weird’ was normal for Stacy but she knew Tommy and he was not being normal. The way they looked at each other reminded her of witnesses seeing each other again in court, like some shared sense of trauma flickered between them.

“You’re, uh… welcome too?” She offered hesitantly as the snakewoman patted her face. Her instinct was to flinch away. Kate wasn’t really a tactile person and was often wary of those who were. Especially when they ended up invading her personal space. But she didn’t want to look like the scaly skin was freaking her out, so she reigned in her usual reaction.

She immediately felt something like a flush creep up to her face, but assumed that was fairly normal when being petted by a literal humanoid rattlesnake in a wonderbra and heels. Once Stacy had gone back to break the news to Robbie, she turned back to Tommy.

“Okay then…” She smiled, shrugging. “I guess that actually worked out better than making Jubes sit here for another two hours! So… Yay for accidental Plan C!” She held up a thumb in approval before fiddling with the little white wings Stacy had tied onto her. The tip of her tongue poked out to one side as she tried to get the ribbons undone.

“Ah crud. There’s no way I’m walking home like this, can you gimmie a hand?” She asked, looking briefly like a dog that was chasing its own tail as she chased the knot ends.

Once she’d been freed from the wings it allowed her to yank off the length of white linen round her torso. She padded over to where her clothes were still sitting abandoned in the corner. Normally she actually felt better in her martial arts gear, but for once she was glad to get her street garb back on. Normally she would have darted off to a toilet or office to get her jeans on… But unbeknownst to Kate, Stacy’s meddling had made her a bit less guarded. She didn’t hesitate to simply yank the hakama off and jump back into her jeans, swiftly followed by boots and jacket. She packed everything left into her small gym bag, keeping it casually slung over one shoulder as she marched back over to Tommy.

“Are you hungry? What am I saying, you’re always hungry! Come get some pizza with me.” She beckoned with a tilt of her head. “You can tell me what just weirded you out while we’re waiting for the order, maybe.”
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Whatever it was that happened when Stacy touched him, it quickly took effect and the fear, and anxiety that came with those lost memories resurfacing quickly faded, leaving behind the feeling that Stacy was most definitely an oddbod. Harmless, but she was most definitely odd, especially given that she was spending so much time running the real-life version of the undatables for the ugly mutant masses of mutant town.

"Woo plan C." Tommy by now had returned to his usual self, albeit a little slower, which to him wasn't noticeable yet, there may come a point in the evening where he noticed that his speed had been limited but around Kate, Tommy always tried at least to slow down. Even if he wasn't always able to, the intention was always there, but now Tommy had no choice but to be chill. "Come on, let me do it," Tommy grinned as he quickly made short work of the fastenings that kept Kate in the wings, "You should keep hold of them, could be the beginnings of a superhero identity the caped cupid." The speedster laughed, not really knowing that Kate did, in fact, have an alter ego already and that he'd spent some time interacting with.

Tommy let out a cough and quickly averted his eyes as Kate set about getting changed, he was an ass, but he knew how to be a gentleman too when the time came for it. "All set?" He asked when she came back across to him, "Want me to carry anything?" He'd at least offer, even if she didn't want him to carry anything the thought was at least there. "I can definitely go for pizza." Though Tommy wasn't too sure whether he should tell Kate about the memory flashes or not. "Sure." Tommy held open the door for Kate as they made their way out.

"So how's tricks with you?" Tommy held off jumping straight into the conversation of 'hey I remembered dying back there but it totally didn't happen because I'm standing here with you too'. Thanks to Stacy's influence Tommy had no issue walking alongside Kate like a normal human for once, there wasn't any thought at the back of his mind telling him that he needed to go a little faster, to beat her to wherever it was that they were going. It felt good, though Tommy always felt good when he was around Kate. "How was the lesson?"
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Kate Bishop
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It felt weirdly normal to have Tommy get the damn wings off her. The word ‘domestic’ sprang to mind as she twisted to look under her own armpit. It felt like something along the lines of how Teddy and Bills were around each other. Usually there was a little urge in the back of Kate’s psyche that unfailingly flinched away from being cavalier with her personal space around anyone she hadn’t vetted as ‘okay’, either by virtue of being a relative or having a sexuality with zero interest in women. And every time she’d tried to brute force her way past the flinch before, it still never quite felt right – to the point where she’d eventually given up trying to be normal by any internal standard.

And yet here she was, somehow being normal and completely un-neurotic, laughing openly as Tommy suggested a ‘Caped Cupid’ persona, beaming with genuine pleasure when he said yes to pizza. “I’m fine with my bag but you can carry the order if you like,” she smiled, since she wouldn’t be at all surprised if Tommy ended up getting several boxes’ worth.

“So how's tricks with you?” he asked as they finally made it out onto the street. Ah, sweet freedom! She gave a little snort of amusement because the phrasing of the question was maybe a bit on the nose for someone who specialised in archery trickshots.

“Not bad.” She shrugged, “I’ll leave pulling rabbits out of hats to your brother, but keeping a lid on things at work after ‘You-Know-Who’ came back feels like a good enough trick on its own merits…” She didn’t like mentioning Magneto around Ted or the twins. The baseball massacre had been bad enough, but then there was that weird incident where he’d literally shown up at the Brownstone to mess with Little Simon and Little Katey by all accounts. He never seemed to hurt his own family, at least not intentionally, but that didn’t stop Kate wanting to put an arrow between his eyes that would prove all that vitriol about ‘primitive’ humans right.

“I’m actually thinking about putting in my application for a promotional exam soon.” She admitted. It was only Stacy’s meddling that had her coughing up that particular nugget. She literally hadn’t mentioned it to anyone, not even her partner Charlie at work! “Four or five years experience first is normal but… I wasted some time fretting that people wouldn’t respect a detective my age, badge or no badge. The last guy from our division who made it substituted a college degree for a year on the beat; but then he had two military tours in Iraq under his belt before he joined us, so…”

She shrugged again. “I guess I’ve just been waiting for the precinct ecosystem to feel ‘right’ but maybe there is no right time… Just weirdness now or weirdness later. I’ll have to hope the M-Town Ambassador stuff like this counts for something.” He jabbed her thumb over her shoulder, back towards the community centre.

“How was the lesson?”

“Good!” She beamed. “I think everyone else figured Kyudo archery mixed with mutation could only end in disaster and EMT runs. But it’s been pretty chill so far! Everyone who turns up seems to be getting something out of it. Like, for some of them it’s maybe the only semblance of discipline they’re getting, then for others it seems like their only source of, uh, ‘pressure-free’ social time. No one’s hitting bullseyes yet but that’s not really the point of it. If the detective thing doesn’t work out maybe I’ll think about teaching!”

Kate grinned because, really, she was far too stubborn to ever entirely give up her current career path. She’d need to literally be fired and blacklisted first, and even that might not necessarily be the point where she gave up. Her police work was as much a part of her identity as her Archer activities.

“What about you?” she segued to, “Now you’re more veteran and less Xaviers newbie at work? I mean, thanks to Teddy I feel like I know more about SHIELD paternity leave and M-Div flexitime than anything else now.”

She knew there were restrictions on how much she was supposed to know about Tommy’s work. The SHIELD stuff she definitely wasn’t cleared for had only come out when she helped Hulkling’s undercover sting on the old Thieves Guild, or when the Archer had gotten tangled into Dark X-Men attacks and Illuminati nonsense alongside SHIELD or the X-Men. And, of course, she’d learned a thing or two about Tommy’s work from being an actual operation target for Agent Speed… Thinking about it now, she hated that she was keeping that part of herself back from him and Bills. It wasn’t fair on Ted, if anything. And the longer she left it, the greater the risk that they’d confuse her work with the violence people like Overkill or the Punisher committed. But for all her 20/20 vision, she couldn't see a good way out of that conundrum…
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Tommy found himself relaxing as Kate smiled, he liked her smile, and truth be told, he wasn't all that sure if he had ever seen Kate smile before. Oh, he was sure she must have done at one point or another, but it wasn't like this, there was a genuine warmth to her smile. Tommy was acutely aware that he needed to not screw up, that he needed to not be an idiot and keep check of his mouth, which normally was easier said than done, but thanks to Stacy's interfering there was more of a link between Tommy's brain and mouth which would hopefully mean that he avoided doing anything that would wind up with him making an idiot of himself.

"I'm more than ok carrying all the pizza." Tommy's smile spread into a grin, though had she wanted he would have carried her stuff. "Oh yeah, I bet Gramps has made things all sorts of interesting for you guys." Tommy nodded, things had been just as bad at SHIELD for a while, "After the Fridge, we'd spent ages crawling through wreckage and Agents were dispatched everywhere to try and find him." Then again there was the baseball stadium, it was all sorts of messed up, not to mention there had been the potential sighting at the Brownstone when it had been attacked.

"Ohh detective Bishop? You wanna stick to working around here or wanna specialise in narcs or homicide?" Tommy wasn't entirely well versed in how the American police system worked outside of what little he had picked up from Kate and the TV. He was far better versed in how the Ameican spy scene worked, though it wasn't often that he worked with anyone outside of SHIELD since they had a far wider remit than the FBI or CIA.

The archery sounded honestly interesting, it wasn't Tommy's thing, too much standing still and not enough running around, but for the people of Mutant Town? Anything that wasn't crime "or causing trouble for the likes of SHIELD or the police could only be a good thing.

"Yeah SHIELD is all good. I'm going to be going down to Mexico in the next few weeks, one of the cases I've been working on has had some leads." Even if he wanted to, Tommy really couldn't say much more than that. "Still not entirely sure where I want to fit into it all, fieldwork is where it's at and I get to use my particular gifts most doing it, but not sure if I wanna try for the more covert stuff or not." Tommy wasn't really known for being covert but his speed at least allowed him to get in and out of places before they could notice what he was up to.

"So pizza. What do you feel like?" Tommy was going to insist that he be allowed to pay for it. "I'm feeling like mozzarella sticks and some garlic bread. Not sure on the pizza itself yet. Oh and ice cream." That list was bound to grow by the time they actually reached the pizza place.
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Kate Bishop
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“Mexico?” Kate’s eyebrows raised. “Wow.” She wasn’t surprised, it was more an impressed reaction. There was a lot of heinous drug-related stuff going on south of the border as far as she knew. Things she was sure Tommy could really help with. She just wasn’t used to thinking of SHIELD deploying M-Divs for work that actually helped out regular people. Since the helicarrier blew up her first apartment she’d gotten used to thinking of them just mopping up metahuman messes. It felt good to know, even if the details had to remain unspoken. Her mouth shrugged approvingly, her respect for Tommy’s bosses going up a notch or two.

“Still not entirely sure where I want to fit into it all, fieldwork is where it's at and I get to use my particular gifts most doing it, but not sure if I wanna try for the more covert stuff or not.”

“Ah, yeah, I get that.” Kate nodded. “Plain clothes is one thing but full-time undercover seems like it can be a real head trip. I know NYPD’s usually lower stakes, just vice and narc stuff, but I still don’t think I’d manage it the way Teddy always seems to with you guys…”

Tommy seemed momentarily lost in contemplation. She reached across to move a stray tuft of white hair out of his eyes, pushing it back behind his ear. His hair was getting almost as shaggy as Billy’s, a kind of chaotic fluff that they’d both clearly inherited from Wanda despite the colouring. Kate had come to the conclusion that she quite liked it that way. Seeing Tommy too spick and span seemed at odds with his deepest nature - the same way she didn’t feel like the Archer when her hair was scraped back the way Officer Bishop’s always was. On some level she felt like Speed and the Archer would have made great teammates… in some different life where they weren’t tethered to bosses like Maria Hill or Jean DeWolff…

“You always struck me as being better suited to direct strike ops, like special weapons and tactics, riot control, hostage rescue, that kinda stuff.” She beamed, her opinion completely sincere. “I used to have my heart set on the Manhattan Special Victims Unit but now I don’t know…” She added in answer to his earlier question. “I guess I’ll have some time with a regular precinct squad to work it out. Honestly though, I figured the only reason you didn’t get a place on the Defenders already was because it’d be kinda weird working with parents and your ex full-time…” and then she trailed off because he might not be working with them but he did live with them still… and… yeah.

“So pizza.” Thank god Tommy was happy to change the subject! “What do you feel like?”

“I’m tempted to say ‘why don’t you go ahead and surprise me’, but then I might regret giving you that much freedom!” She laughed, playfully nudging him with a shoulder as they walked.

“I'm feeling like mozzarella sticks and some garlic bread. Not sure on the pizza itself yet. Oh and ice cream.” No wonder Tommy lived with his parents. He must be eating his pay cheques! Kate smiled regardless, taking mental notes.

“I’m pretty easy.” She shrugged, “Well, I think I am. Maybe.” She’d had to reconsider slightly when she started living with Cassie, who frequently called her a heathen or a weirdo when fielding take-out orders. “Don’t make an innuendo out of that!” Kate added with a chuckle, finger held up pre-emptively.

“I’ll take anything as long as it’s got pineapple, black olives and stuffed crust. Except the pepperoni from Joe’s Pizza, but that’s a special exception! My dad still thinks the only reason I moved to the fire house was to be two blocks down from that place! You’ll have to come round one day. We can get dinner there, eat in Demo Square when it’s summer! I know the park outside the Flat Iron’s beautiful and you’ve got everything around you but Greenwich is just so… man, it’s so chill! I love it there! Every time I find myself fighting to keep the peace, I just think about that little slice of the city and how great it would be if everywhere was like that… that’s the version of New York I want your niece and nephew to remember when they’re grown up.”

A mellow evening with Tommy though; Kate could already picture it in her head: The relative quiet Greenwich Village always seemed to settle into outside of Pride festival season. Golden evening sun filtered through bright green tree leaves, eating over-sized slices from ridiculously flimsy paper plates like every New York native should… They could watch the pigeons flap around the water fountain, bask in the smug glow that came from avoiding the rush hour queues for Joe’s down Carmine Street… The distant chirps and squeals of kids drifting from the Minetta Playground. Tommy probably eating so quickly he didn’t notice marinara sauce all over his face… Kate flicking crumbs into the bin with trademark accuracy… Heaven. Thinking about it made her too happy to question why Tommy would be the only other person occupying the idyllic scene with her. In that moment it just felt right.

“I keep nagging Teddy and Bills to come round so they can do the ‘gay pilgrimage’, have a drink at the Stonewall Inn. But maybe they’ve decided they’re a bit too old and domesticated for that now.” She smirked. “We’ll have to go for them.”
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"Yeah Blackwidow and Quake have got some kind of action going on down there and they are in need of someone who can cover most of a city in a blink of an eye." Tommy grinned, that was definitely an overstatement on his part, but still, they needed someone that possessed Tommy's type of speed. "It keeps me from getting under Fury's feet, and that's definitely not a good place to be at the moment." Tommy laughed a little, though really, Fury's feet were definitely no laughing matter.

"Yeah, the whole deep cover thing isn't my bag. I don't mind it for short periods of time but really, that's Teddy's business and Widows. They have the patience for that sort of thing." It also didn't help that Tommy was rather noticeable, he moved fast and had white hair, it wasn't exactly conducive to going undercover if you had physical traits that set you out from among the crowd.

Normally, Tommy's instinct would have had him move away when Kate moved the stray bits of hair that were threatening his eyesight, but not today, and what was more miraculous was the fact that he didn't come up with any quickwitted comment or innuendo to throw into the moment. It was just that, a moment between the pair that didn't need any words or humour.

Then the moment was gone.

"Yeah, I like the idea of that. I'd rather get into the action, rather than spend eight months sifting through paperwork and emails to try to get any usable information from." That part of the job was definitely the most boring, and the part that Tommy struggled with. "I definitely don't want to be on the Defenders. I left the X-Men because the team dynamic didn't really suit me, I didn't like when illogical decisions were made and got nepotism crept into the team. I prefer the whole organisation thing, not to mention the family and other things yeah." There wasn't really any issues between Jac and Tommy now, yes it was a little weird living in the same building as your ex, but Jac had moved on, she had Bucky now and their rooms were far enough apart that Tommy didn't have to see her that often and not to mention Tommy definitely didn't have eyes for the former Brotherhood speedster anymore.

Despite his best efforts, a smirk began to curl upwards at the edge of his lips when Kate suggested that she was easy, but thanks to Stacy's efforts, that was where the innuendo ended and Tommy managed to get a hold of himself before he said something that would most likely end with him winding up in hot water. "I can work with those requirements, and definitely. Joe's is the best. I have been known to run across the city just to get a slice of Joe's before running back to what I was meant to be doing."

Greenwich was definitely the complete opposite of what Tommy was used to in the Flatiron, "I would take that, the Flatiron is cool because no one knows it's really a SHIELD facility, but man, there's always so many tourists around there and don't even get me started on the lights when I'm trying to sleep." Maybe in time he'd move out and get his own place, it wasn't like it was SHIELD protocol for agents to stay permanently at their facilities. The Defenders were a unique case because most of them happened to be Ex-cons in the employ of SHIELD.

"Hah, they are too deep in dirty nappies and sleep deprivation to realise what they are missing out on." Though the eggies were definitely worth it, Tommy's niece and nephew were perfect in their own rights. "I'd be up for it, and I'm sure if you give them a year or two they'll be begging for a night out."
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Kate Bishop
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[Continued over @ Jcink.net]

Bye-bye old board! x
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