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And We Were Never Supposed To Make It This Far

Chapter Text

Silhouette stepped out of the shadows into the New Warriors safe house, one of the older ones, in the early hours of the morning. The house was still and dark but it was easy to see that people were living there; dishes in the sink, clothes left lying around, the fire with embers still glowing, and Rich dozing in an easy chair in front of the television.

Moving silently through the house, she found most of her old friends. Vance and Angel, asleep in each others arms. Robbie thrashing about in a nightmare. She waited with him until he settled back into a deeper sleep; as she slipped back into a pool of darkness, a small cat emerged from it's hiding place and jumped up next to Robbie, watching her with a sphinxes eyes. Elvin snored on, oblivious in the other bed. Turning to leave, she saw a shadow duck away from the doorway, but she was the mistress of shadows. Sliding through the darkness, she caught the other shadow easily, hooking his legs out from under him.

A familiar face looked up at her from the floor where he crouched. "Sil?" His voice was just as deep and rich as she remembered, even when he spoke quietly so as not to wake their friends. "Is that you?"

She realised she was still half in the shadow force and solidified. Reaching down, she touched his cheek lightly, to convince herself he was alive. "Dwayne," she whispered shakily, tears forming. "How?"

He stood and wiped her face with the edge of his shirt. "Donyell."

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The team watched as the Fantastic Four were quickly surrounded by reporters, Mr Fantastic taking an impromptu press conference.

"And again with the sweeping in and saving the day, taking all the credit for our hard work," said Speedball, bouncing to a stop next to Nova. "I can't believe you called them."

Night Thrasher grunted unhappily and glared at Nova.

Firestar bit her lip. "Well, we were getting our butts handed to us by Terrax. Vance is hurt."

"No, we were doing okay, Red," growled Nita, crossing her arms. "We would've caught our second wind, oh, I don't know, anytime just before they arrived."

Marvel Boy pointed to the now empty sky and winced as his cracked ribs caught. "Silver-- Surfer," he said, gasping for breath, eyes still wide and vaguely fanboyish.

"Put your arm down, Supertights. And stop drooling, you're embarrassing us," muttered Nova.

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The door buzzed. Robbie closed his eyes and expected the worst again. If he could've, he would've told them where the fuck to get off, but the drugs made him slur his words and he hated it. Hated that they made him sound slow and stupid. The heavy metal door swung back, hitting the wall. He waited for the insults to start. The orderlies always started with the insults-- fucking apes. It usually went downhill from there.

"Well, doesn't someone look like complete crap. Give him the shot and we can get the hell out of here."

Weirdly, the voice sounded familiar but Robbie couldn't immediately place it with his brain working at the pace of a decrepit snail. He opened his eyes. The nurse had her back to him. She had a nice ass working the tight uniform, they didn't usually give him this kind of show. Must have something real bad in store for him today.

"This'll juice him up?" she asked the orderly hidden from his view.

"He'll be like the energiser bunny on acid. Dwayne's words. Not mine." So familiar. He wished he could remember who--

The nurse turned around. "Hi, Robbie." Angel leaned down to kiss his cheek. "Security can't see anything on the monitors. Thrash has them looped."

"Still hurry though." Vance tried to sound casual, "You're keeping the nurse's uniform, right?"

Angel laughed. "Vance has discovered a taste for dressing up during sex games--" she confided to a barely functioning Robbie. "Who would've believed it. Yes, honey, I'm keeping it."

She released Robbie from the straitjacket and helped him out of it. Pulling a syringe from her pocket, she uncapped it and with a quick squirt to get rid of any air bubbles, injected him before he could disagree. The effects were almost immediate, pain slamming through his body in a rush. Blue light filled the room as he powered up subconsciously. "G-G-God," he mumbled. "I could k-kiss you, Ang."

"You could but you smell bad, so no--" she said apologetically, putting a strong arm beneath his to help him stand.

"Yeah, and you can quit that right now, Rob," said Vance, with a grin, from his position as look out. "No getting fresh with my girl or we're leaving your sorry ass behind."

"Your girl?" said Angel, eyebrow teasingly raised.

"Shush, you're giving him ideas."

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Rich held onto the porcelain base of the toilet for dear life as his stomach heaved and turned angrily. He was vaguely aware of someone standing behind him, holding a cool moist cloth on his neck as he puked.

Over his moaning, he heard them murmuring. "I don't see how you can be still doing this, you must have nothing left inside to bring up."

Leaning his forehead to the seat, he muttered, "Tell that to the... B-Badoon and their damn stomach flu, Nita. Worldmind... didn't tell me it'd stay... in my system this long."

She laughed softly, not to be cruel but in sympathy. "Try dying, then you'll have something to complain about."

"Remind me to tell you... about Annihilus... sometime," he managed to splutter out before he bent back over the bowl and threw up again.

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She leaned into him, resting her head against his shoulder. He tensed for a moment then relaxed slowly, breathing out in a long sigh.

"This is a beautiful spot," she said, looking out over the safe house nestled against the hill. "If she could see it, I think she'd like it here. I can't believe it's been a year since..." Angel glanced back at the memorial. "Thank you... for bringing me here to say goodbye. God I miss her so much." She felt the tears burn and blinked them away.

He nodded and his hair fell forward into his eyes. She brushed it out of the way, cupping his cheek and turning his face towards her.

"You surprised me the other night, I didn't know that you still thought about us. You know what Nita said when I told her we broke up?" she said.

Vance shook his head.

"She told me I would regret it. Said some other stuff too but the crux of it was, I would regret pushing you away."

He made a noise. "To be fair, I walked away as much as you pushed. She called me a jackass and smacked me in the head. Twice."

"What? Where?" she laughed.

Vance pointed to his cheek.

She kissed the spot gently, lingering over it. "Anywhere else?"

He pointed to his temple and she kissed that too.

"Must've been quite a whack. Was that all?"

Looking at her, face deathly serious, he pointed again.

"Liar," she whispered with a grin, kissing his mouth, licking across his lower lip slowly. He actually held his breath until she finished.

"I was a jackass," he said softly.

Her smile faded. "So was I."

"What're we going to do about it?" he asked, lying back on the ground, watching the clouds move across the sky.

She lay down beside him, pressing her face into his neck, breathing in the smell of his skin warmed by the sun. She could feel his heartbeat jumping through the pulse point there. "Right here, right now, I want to feel like I used to feel when we were together..."

He put his arm around her, kissing the top of her head. "So do I, but it might not ever be like that again."

Her fingers tangled in his shirt. "It might be better."

Chapter Text

‘May they never change,’ she thought as she pushed into the bar and saw Robbie and Vance waiting. Last time, in the same bar, Rich had been with them. Then he was dead. Robbie noticed her first, swivelling on his seat and waving, Vance turned, still smiling at something Robbie had been saying. She realised in that moment that she'd missed his smile. When their relationship had tanked, smiles had been the first things to go. She waved back, giving Robbie a hug before he moved a seat down so she could sit between them. Shots were lined up on the bar ready to go with lime and salt.

“You boys don’t mess around, do you?” She grumbled, salting her hand. Rob grinned as they all picked up a glass, raising them. “What should we drink to?” she asked uncertainly. 

“Do we need a reason?” Vance's phone buzzed on the bar and he replied to something quickly, sliding the phone into his pocket. "We're all friends."

"Yes, let's drink to old friends!" said Robbie brightly, looking between them, worry wrinkling the skin at the corners of his eyes as the two picked at each other.

Angel raised an eyebrow at her ex, ignoring Rob. “In fairness, Vance, I didn't think we were still friends.”

He sighed and dropped his head. "For the love of... I needed time. It's what you asked for too remember?"

Robbie groaned. “C’mon, you guys! Vance, this is supposed to be the fun pitch get Angel to come back and kick ass for our team, you promised to behave. We need her. Angel, of course Vance is your friend, he just needed a time out and it lasted a few years.”

"I said time not time out."

"And that's what I said."

"It really wasn't."

She tilted her head a little and looked between Robbie and Vance, still bickering around her, it was cute. Almost too cute. But Vance had a new scar over his left eye, red and recently healed. “What happened?” Her hand twitched but she held back from pushing his hair aside to get a better look at it.

“Got our asses kicked,” said Vance succinctly, licking the salt off his hand and drinking his shot, chasing it with the lime and signalling a second round.

“So yeah, we had-- sorry, we have a spider-guy... again. We lost him for a bit,” said Robbie, morosely. “Scarlet Spider. He's been with us since we reformed the team, an absolute delight.” The way he said it....

She started. The guy in the hoodie... she'd felt something, a spark with him, she'd thought he felt it too. Might be nice to revisit it.

Vance side-eyed her, maybe guessing why she'd reacted to the name. “Not the same guy, Ang. Not even close.”

“Oh.” She’d liked him, the old Scarlet Spider. "Shame. Are you sure?" 

Robbie nodded and licked at his hand. “Some bad guys came looking, wanted to take him off our hands for us and they didn’t much care that we got in the way. Which we did. We're good like that. Didn't matter though. They still took him.” Rob drank his shot quickly, grimaced around the lime. “Spider’s back now but he’s not the same. They fucked with his head, well, pretty much all of him. Didn't think it was possible to fuck him up more.”

Vance snorted. “Oh no, he was very fuckable.”

“Vance!” Rob whined unhappily, his face suddenly sulky.

"Is this how we fucking talk now?" she said, trying it on for size and hating it, making a face at them. There was definitely a new dynamic between the two, was it a holdover from their time in the Academy?

“Settle down, I mean, he's easy to fuck with if you know how.” Vance’s smirk said otherwise.

“That's no better! You never said what happened in Dallas?” growled Robbie.

Drawing a finger over his lips, Vance remained schtum.

Angel stared down at her shot, swirling the liquid in the glass. The team had taken a major hit and they were still reeling from it. “So I'm the first of the old crew you’ve approached?”

“Dwayne approached us-- he's alive by the way, we barely managed to swap out Elvin with a stolen life model decoy before he was executed but he's not in a good head space. Really not good. We found Namorita after a whole quest thing, so exhausting, I'm still tired.” Robbie finished his second shot, peeling the lime out of his mouth and toying with it. “Rich is trying to find his brother but in other news, space is big and it’s taking a really long fucking time.”

"God, I had no idea they were back." Dwayne, Elvin, Namorita, and Richie all alive again? No one had let her know but then she'd made herself hard to reach out in Westchester. “So who else is on your team?”

“Vance is boss, Dwayne and Sil share deputy duties between 'em. Then there's me, Elvin, Nita, Nita's clone Water Snake--" he paused when she made a confused noise then said, "Don't ask, it's a whole clone of a clone thing. Then there's Haechi, he’s an inhuman and a sweetheart. Sun Girl, she’s human and a smart arse….”

“Emphasis on smart though,” added Vance, pointing at Robbie with a frown. "And gutsy, running into the fire not away kind of person. Reminds me of someone else I know."

“Hummingbird, she’s a demi-god, crazy like a bag of cats and too young for this but you can't tell her anything. The Spider, also crazy but with a extra side of aaaaangry. Lil’ Nova, he’s a baby too but you get used to it, and Jake Waffles is the team mascot.”

“He asked you not to call him that," Vance reminded him casually, mellow now. It hadn't even been an hour yet and they had yet to convince her of anything with the pitch except that they hadn't changed a bit.

“Yeah, I know, but he is. We had a cat too but Mister Whiskers died. And that's about all of us.” Rob shrugged and laughed to himself darkly.

"Don't look like that," said Vance, watching her as her eyes widened over the cat's death. "The cat was five foot something and had a bad attitude to everything and everyone around him. He'll be back to shit in our beds before we know it."

She nodded, a little overwhelmed. The team was so big already, where would she fit and why did she care if she didn't.... "Uh huh. Okay. You sure you need me? Sounds like you have your hands full with what you've got."

He rolled his eyes, humming agreement. "Yes but we need you. You were always smart about this stuff, maybe you can keep us from doing stupid shit. Correction, everyone else doing stupid shit when I'm not there to police it. I have to sleep sometime."

"Thanks, I think." She laughed and finished her shot.

“You can meet them if you want.” Vance looked at her thoughtfully. “Dwayne, Sil, and Nita want to catch up and now’s as good a time as any.”

She’d tried to avoid it for so long, getting sucked back into the New Warriors and their endless drama. Damned if she didn't miss it though.

Chapter Text

She put the cat down and Niels ran under the bed, hiding. Robbie wasn't surprised. He probably smelt bad, of old blood and sickness.

"It's good to see you, Robert." Her voice was low, unsure. He flicked a glance towards her then away again. Damn. Still beautiful.

"The others told me you had changed--" She sounded disbelieving, the unasked question, wanting him to confirm it, or do something crazy.

He rolled his eyes towards her, standing tall and exotic and everything he wanted but didn't deserve, in the doorway. He sighed. "Tell me something, Rina. Did you see any of this coming?"

She shut the door and sat down on the bed next to him. "Would you believe me if I said no?"

Robbie looked away but felt her hands touch the scars on his chest and arms. One at a time, slowly. He closed his eyes and suffered it. "Lie to me then," he said softly.

She stopped and leaned her head on his shoulder. "I should leave."

"Then go."

"I could stay."

"Then stay."

"Don't you care?" Her breath was warm on his neck, she was watching him.

He reached out to caress her cheek, the skin so soft and smooth. Cupping her face, he kissed her, feeling her rise up to meet him, her fingers rasping across his stubbled scalp. Their lips lingered together, barely touching, but the gaze that passed between them--

"I'm going," she said, turning away.

Robbie didn't move. He'd fucked up again. Only this time he didn't know what he'd done. His head dropped slightly and his fingers trailed through her braid as she stood, loosening her hair.

"You're supposed to say, "Don't go, Rina," in a tragic voice," she said with an uneasy smile. "Unless you really do want me to leave."

He put his arms around her waist and laid his head against her stomach. "Don't go, Rina," he said. "Just-- don't."

Her hand rested on the back of his neck, an reassuring pressure. Niel's small furry head butted against Robbie's leg, and the cat jumped up onto the bed beside him, purring like a he'd swallowed a rattle.

"I remembered cat food," she said.

Robbie chuckled. "You're my fucking hero!"

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After a little searching, Angel found her teammate near one of the oversized windows, looking out at the Earth hanging like a brilliant jewel in the sky. She hesitated before calling his name out loud, it was still new, as new as his face.

"Marvel Boy? Vance?" she said softly, glancing at the Inhuman guards that had been assigned to follow them both around. "So this is where you've been hiding out."

He turned to her, his face lit with wonder and excitement, and a smile the like of which she'd never seen on his face before. "Can you believe it, Angel? I thought we were dead and then this. It's amazing." He gestured around at the magnificent palace and the city beyond it's walls.

Firestar smiled, it was hard not to share his enthusiasm when she was just as pleased to be alive. "The King and Queen of the Inhumans have requested our presence," she said softly. "With Star Thief, and they want an explanation. About the rocket and its contents." She turned to leave but he didn't follow.

Vance's expression had faded into something else, an emotion harder to place, as he refused to be drawn away from the window. His eyes studying home thoughtfully. "I always wanted to go into space-- I dreamed of being an astronaut," adding quietly, "and getting away from home." He shrugged. "Then a future version of me came back in time, tried to talk about what was going to happen but my mutant powers emerged, and things were so crazy for a while - somewhere in it all, my dream kind of... died."

It was the most he'd ever said about himself in the time she'd known him. "I'm sorry," she said, mistaking his mood for one of melancholy.

He looked sideways at her, then he smiled again. "I'm not. I have more interesting dreams these days."

Chapter Text

When Robbie calls her and asks if she wants back in the New Warriors, she laughs. When it's apparent he's serious, she hangs up on him. Undeterred, he calls her back immediately. She's grading papers, papers that are breaking her heart.

“It’s different this time,” he says quickly before she has time to hang up again. “Hear us out.”

“Who’s us?” she asks warily. The last person Robbie's been hanging with is her ex.

“Us. Me and Vance. We miss you. You can't tell me it's more fun hanging out with those X-guys than it was with the Warriors.”

To be fair, it's not more fun but we miss you seems a stretch. She doubts Vance misses her that much or at all. He'd been passably nice towards the end of that evening at the bar, after they'd fought Loki together, after he was infected by their younger selves enthusiasm and their formerly twoo love. "Yeah but the X-men pay better, Rob. I'm a teacher now, I have a responsibility to my student debt... and my students."

"Oh we have teenagers too, you can try teaching them if you're that much of a masochist. And a mountain, we have a mountain and it's full of stuff you can sell online... if you can be bothered listing it all, I guess."

"Don't tell her she can sell all this weird stuff, it's dangerous!" 

She recognises that voice and chuckles. It's weird how normal Robbie and Vance sound bickering like an old couple, like nothing has happened to drive them all apart, like no one has died.

“Ang?”

Life with the X-Men has proven exactly as advertised, death and disaster every other week. She can’t believe she's even seriously considering meeting them but she is. “Okay, I'll hear your pitch but you're paying for the drinks.”

"Yes!" There's the sound of something breaking in the background and another grumble from Vance. "I mean, let me know when we can seduce you back to the dark side."

She smiles for hours after the call ends, until her face hurts, despite the dismal papers she finishes grading. Yeah, a change might be good for her.

Chapter Text

Robbie snored softly, a shadowy lump in the bed next to Vance; to be fair, he'd known that Robbie snored before they hit the road, before they even shared a bed, so lying awake, staring at the ceiling, waiting for his body shut down from exhaustion were not new to him and there were nights at the Academy, where he’d been drawn to the room across the hall, his fist raised to knock on the door, out of concern, because he'd seen that haunted look in Robbie's eyes as he'd said, "Goodnight." One time kicking the door in because Rob had woken almost everyone up screaming-- they’d never talked about it and he'd repaired the door, contrite but defiant, as Robbie stood watching him, arms crossed, a frown wrinkling his brow like he couldn’t understand what had brought them to this point.

Robbie had looked at him like a friend then but all the furtive glances in the truck when they'd been driving all day and there wasn't anything else to look at, or when they'd watched bad movies together until dawn on the nights that Rob didn't even try to sleep, when they shared a burger and shake at midnight at some truck-stop diner and talked about nothing important... Vance couldn’t quite put his finger on the moment that he knew that what he felt for Rob was more than friendship or being ‘bros’, Rob’s words not his, but maybe it was when he felt his heart in his mouth listening to Robbie screaming like he was dying as he kicked that door in, convinced he was going to be too late.

Chapter Text

Angel sat on the sofa, her toes wiggling to the song on the radio. As it ended and a new song began, she jumped up. "I love this one! Vance, come and dance with me."

Vance looked up from the kitchen, knife poised above the celery.

"S'okay, Supertights, I got this," said Rich, with a grin. "You can have the next dance, after you've made dinner."

Smiling, Vance shook his head and went back to his chopping, catching a glimpse of something out of the corner of his eye. Sipping his beer, he walked to the open window and looked out. Angel and Rich were laughing in the living room. Robbie was upstairs talking to his therapist long distance. Elvin had gone on a mission with Dwayne and Sil. Everyone staying in the house was accounted for. He turned the stove down and walked out onto the porch. It was warm, the air still and dry, nothing was moving outside. As he turned to go back in, he saw it again. A glimpse of something pale in the darkness, moving very fast, and the sound of birds.

Stepping off the porch, he walked a little ways from the house. "Is anyone there?" he called. There shouldn't be. The safehouse was pretty far from civilisation.

"Vance." The voice was low and female, and oddly familiar.

"Nita? My God! How--?"

A whir of wings and the hair on the back of his neck stood on end as a hand touched his shoulder. He tried to turn but the slim blue hand gripped him painfully, holding him in place. Long manicured nails bit through his shirt and into flesh.

Her lips were next to his ear. "Tell Richie I'm back, Supertights."

"But how are you back?" She released his shoulder and was gone. He put a hand up and hissed in pain, fingers coming away bloody.

Chapter Text

"They used to hate each other. I liked it better when they hated each other," grumbled Vance.

He turned to look to the back of the jet's cabin, where Angel and Suzie were sitting with their heads close together, talking in whispers. Every so often Namorita, who sat next to Angel would laugh and then smother it quickly with a guilty expression on her face.

"Is it bad that my ex and my girlfriend are talking?" he asked apprehensively.

Dwayne grunted un-enthusiastically from the pilot's seat. "It makes it easier for the team if they're talking to each other."

Rich leaned over the back of Vance's seat and murmured, "Very bad, Supertights."

Robbie made an agreeing noise.

"Do you want to know what they're saying?" asked one of the Scarlet Spiders, Vance couldn't tell if it was Mike or Pat.

"We're recording it," said the other, then smirked. Justice could see the twist of his mouth through the mask.

"Do I?" he asked.

The two Spiders shook their heads and laughed.

"Yeah, they're right, probably not," said Thrash, then he grinned. "But I'm sure it'll amuse the hell out of the rest of us when we listen to it later."

"We can hear you idiots, you know," growled Angel.

Chapter Text

Nita held the mug of coffee between her hands, not to warm them because she didn't feel the cold; she was built to survive the icy cold and pressure of the deep ocean. More because it was familiar and she loved coffee.

Vance yawned and ran a hand through his messy bed hair. "Why are we here again?" he asked, his breath coming out in a mist. "I think my fingers have frozen to my mug."

"You're such a baby, Vance. We're here because I want to see the sun come up. I missed it when I-- wasn't myself, when I was with Undertow."

He grunted sympathetically. "Let me clarify. Why am I here?"

She grinned and ruffled his hair. "Because you were handy, Roomie."

As if in response, the sky began to lighten. Golden rays speared the gloomy predawn grey until the sky took on a light blue radiance. She sighed and turned to Vance, who was watching her, sipping his coffee.

"You missed the show," she said.

"I hear it happens every day. Besides, the one I watched was better."

Nita laughed. "Oh please. Don't let Angel catch you saying that."

He chuckled. "When I was in The Vault, I missed Angel and the rest of you guys, my whole damn life-- not an early wake up call on a mountain top, freezing my butt off to watch the sun rise for another day running, no offence."

"None taken," she said, amused.

Chapter Text

Angelica Jones put her head down on the pillow and sighed loudly. If Nita had returned from her walk with Rich, Angel could've talked it out. But Nita was still out and Angel was forced to think things through by herself.

She sighed again.

Somewhere in the house, filled to the brim with former and current New Warriors, Vance and Suzie whatshername blonde bombshell were together. Angel wondered if she had been imagining a barely noticeable distance between the two, they didn't seem as affectionate as lovers should be.

While she and Vance were friends again, and the coldness between them had finally melted after the funerals for Dwayne and Nita, the love they'd shared was gone and so was the closeness they'd had in the beginning as the only two mutants on the team.

Sleep eluded her while she kept thinking about the past and all the regrettable moments in recent years. Getting out of bed, she went downstairs to the kitchen to make herself some warm milk or a stiff drink but someone had beaten her to it.

Vance looked back over his shoulder at her footsteps and smiled. "Want some?" he asked, reaching up to take a couple of mugs from the cupboard. "Hot chocolate?"

He made the best hot chocolate, rich and creamy with tiny little marsh mellows and... She licked her lips before she could stop herself. "Why not," she said, moving to lean against the counter next to him. "How're things with you?"

He began to frown then froze and smoothed it away quickly. "Fine. You?"

"About the same," she made a face. "Where's Suzie?"

"Asleep."

She looked at the two mugs. "Can't sleep? Me either."

Vance smiled but didn't look up from stirring the milk. "This is me. I can sleep anywhere, anytime."

"Then why are you down here making hot chocolate instead of upstairs with your impossibly hot girlfriend?" She looked away but felt his eyes on her.

He didn't answer and they stood in silence for a few minutes until he handed her the mug, his fingers lingering on hers before letting go.

"I know you too well, Vance."

"In what way do you think you know me at all anymore, Angel?" He sounded genuinely curious, not dismissive.

"You avoid hard decisions, good lord, you planned our wedding rather than face..." She stopped when he looked at her, his eyes dark with emotion. "You don't know if you love her anymore, do you? You just don't know how to tell her."

Chapter Text

He'd come to the reunion on his motorcycle, something she hadn't noticed when she flew in. Now, as they left, laughing with forgotten camaraderie, he put on his helmet and flipped the visor up. "Want a ride home?"

Scaring those security guards had been bad but at the same time, fighting beside Richie and Vance again had felt so good, so normal, it reminded her of...

"It'll be like old times," he added with a grin, passing her the spare helmet. "Can't be seen flying around these days, now can you? Tony might've overlooked it while he was in charge, but he's not in charge anymore."

She climbed up behind him, pulling the helmet on and putting her arms around his waist. "Old times then," she repeated. She pressed herself into his back and closed her eyes.

Vance started the bike and it rumbled to life between her legs.

"Remember when we got away from everything and just rode that day..." she said wistfully.

When they had gone north, found a secluded spot to have a picnic and some time out from the Avengers. It was one of her fondest memories of their time together. Lying on the blanket, the world had been so quiet, so still, looking up at the clouds rolling overhead. Making love.

Too soon, the motorcycle stopped. She opened her eyes, they were outside her apartment building. Sighing, she gave him back the helmet and climbed down. A flood of emotions rose and threatened to drown her.

He stopped the bike and got off, removing his helmet. "I wish..." he said softly, putting a finger beneath her chin and tilting her face up to his.

She closed the distance between their lips and kissed him before he could finish the sentence, feeling lost when he responded with the same passion, the same need. Then they just held each other, his chin bumping the top of her head. It was familiar and warm, something they hadn't been to each other in a while.

"What were you going to say?" she asked finally.

He smiled and kissed her again, picking up his motorcycle helmet. "Let's keep in touch this time."

She nodded and waved as he started the bike. "Maybe we will, Vance," she said, watching him ride away, reaching up to touch her lips and smiling.