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Tipping Point

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Noh-Varr was concerned. He and Tommy had been on their way up to Kate’s apartment when the lift broke down. Being stuck in a lift was not his idea of a great time, but hardly a massive problem. Tommy however, was not in a good way.

When the elevator broke down and the lights switched off Tommy had immediately stopped talking which had been a relief at the time. Noh liked Tommy but he could be a little too much if you spend a long time alone with him. But a few minutes later when the disembodied voice had informed them that they were going to have to wait another half an hour for the fire brigade to free them Tommy had folded in on himself and ceased all movement.

Three minutes after that Noh was watching as Tommy was deathly silent, and not moving a single muscle. This was new. Tommy didn’t do still. He couldn’t, even when asleep he still tossed and turned and talked out loud, as everyone in the Young Avengers knew after they’d spent a night rooming with him. Tommy was a lot of things, but quiet and still was not one of them. Something was wrong.

“Are you alright?” Noh asked. Tommy didn’t answer. He didn’t even acknowledge that he’d heard Noh. “Tommy?” he tried again. Still nothing.

He crouched down to Tommy’s level and leaned in close, trying to make eye contact in the gaps between where Tommy has wrapped his arms around his head. This close Noh can hear Tommy’s breathing. It’s fast, too fast. He’s hyperventilating.

Then, like a like switch Noh remembers. Shortly after the two had met they had ended up on a roof top somewhere talking about everything and anything. Tommy had opened up about his time in the juvenile detention facility and some of the things they used to do to him there. Some were remarkably similar to Noh’s own experiences in The Cube. One of the many things that Tommy had told him was how he was often punished by being locked in a small dark closet for hours and hours at a time. There was more to the story of course, but Noh didn’t have the stomach to recollect those memories just yet.

He didn’t bother trying to soothe Tommy. They’d been here for fifteen minutes already - that was like days to Tommy. And another half an hour would be torture. Literally. He needed to get Tommy out now.

He takes a cursory look around the elevator but comes up blank. Then a thought strikes him. He doesn’t have a mobile phone on him, but Tommy is surgically attached to his. Noh gently reaches into Tommy’s pocket, trying not to disturb him any further, all the while hoping that the damn thing can get signal in here.

Luckily it can and Noh wastes no time in calling Billy.

“Tommy…?” comes Billy’s voice through the phone and Noh interrupts him before he can talk any further.

“It’s Noh. We’re stuck in the elevator in Kate’s apartment, between floors 10 and 11. You need to come get us out” he all but demands.

“Stuck? But what…?”

“Billy there’s no time. You need to get Tommy out of here, now. Before things get any worse. Floors 10 and 11, hurry” Noh said and hung up before Billy could ask any more stupid questions. He absentmindedly pockets the phone and bends back down to Tommy’s level.

“Hey it’s OK. Billy’s coming. He’s going to get you out of here” he whispers into Tommy’s hair and wonders if Tommy can even hear him anymore.

There’s a blue flash behind him, and the faint smell of ozone as Billy teleports into the elevator. He takes one look at Tommy and doesn’t bother saying anything, just chants “IwanttobeinKate’sapartment” until there’s another blue flash and suddenly they’re out of the elevator and on Kate’s vibrant purple carpet.

Tommy is still curled up in a ball and now that it’s daylight Noh can see the way Tommy’s body is tight with tension, his fists curled into balls and the line of his jaw is clenched. Billy is looking at Tommy like he’s completely lost and just trying to find the right words to make Tommy OK again. David is glaring at Noh like it’s somehow his fault and America and Kate are looking at Tommy with worry.

It’s Teddy that actually takes charge. He grabs a throw from the back of the sofa and sling it over Tommy’s shoulders. “David, can you make some tea for the shock? Kate, I think it’s best if Tommy can lie down for a bit, don’t you?” he commands, and for a moment can understand why the Kree and the Skrull both want this guy so badly. Teddy would be a great leader if he ever chose to be. It’s just pure fluke that he’s never wanted to be.

David heads to the kitchen and Kate just shrugs and says that Tommy can lie in her bed if he wants. Tommy won’t uncurl from the ball he’s set up in though, so Noh and Teddy share a brief look before Teddy shrugs and just picks Tommy up and carries him down the hall, Billy following and bouncing on his heels nervously. If he wasn’t already worried the fact that Tommy didn’t make a single comment about being manhandled would have sent alarm flaring. But Tommy didn’t make a sound.

Feeling like he should be doing something but not knowing what Noh heads to the bedroom and sees Tommy lying on his side - still curled up - while Billy strokes his hair and tries to calm him down. Teddy quietly leaves and closes the door, leaving Noh alone with the twins. He suddenly feels stupid. He shouldn’t be here, has no right. Billy is Tommy’s brother, his family. Noh isn’t anything to Tommy, why would his being here help?

He made a movement towards the door, fully intending to leave, but before he does Billy beckoned him towards the bed. “Wait, Noh. Don’t go. Come here” he said and Noh turns back towards him. Tommy’s eyes are open and he’s looking at Noh. He’s still tense as hell, but he’s calmer than he was. Noh steps towards the bed and Billy stands up, shoving Noh into his place next to Tommy. Noh is confused, but Tommy seems less tense and is still looking at him so he goes along with it.

No one says anything, but as Tommy unwinds himself and reaches out to hold Noh’s hand, Billy smiles at the two of them and quietly leaves.