26 May 2016 @ 12:33 am
[fic] MCU/Ant-Man/CA:CW - This wonderful plan, without danger or loss; PG-13  
Title: This wonderful plan, without danger or loss
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Hope van Dyne, Hank Pym, Thaddeus Ross, Luis, Kurt, Dave
Pairings: hint of Scott Lang/Hope van Dyne
Words: 5,815
Summary: When she sees men in dark suits hovering by the front door, she immediately knows that at some point in the past few days, Scott Lang made a very poor life decision.
A/N: Spoilers for CA: Civil War | Not beta-read. Apologies for the mistakes, etc. :)

AO3





There are two black sedans parked outside Hank’s home, with engines still running as though they’re ready to leave anytime.

Hope parks her car behind her usual spot. When she sees men in dark suits hovering by the front door, she immediately knows that at some point in the past few days, Scott Lang made a very poor life decision.

There was a knock on her window. Hope glances to her side and sees another man in a dark suit standing beside her door. A small American flag was pinned on the lapel of his suit.

“May I ask what your business here is, ma’am?” he asks as she lowers down the window.

The question, in Hope’s opinion, is a little bit absurd coming from him. She grew up in this neighborhood; majority of the people who live here still call her Hope Pym.

“I grew up in that house,” she motions to the Victorian home a few meters away from them, “Where my father still lives. Maybe I should be the one asking you what your business here is.” She says, possibly a little bit too pointedly.

“Hank Pym’s your father?”

She gives him a tight smile, “Unfortunately.”

The man turns her back to her and after a few minutes, looks back at her and asks for identification. Hope gives him her Pym Tech ID—the one that says ‘CEO’. He looks at it for merely a second before handing it back to her.

“Ms. Van Dyne.” The man greets her and gives her a slight nod of the head before leaving.

Hope takes a moment to gather her composure and her belongings before stepping out of her car. Whatever Scott did (or Hank, but considering that Hank prefers to be in his lab most of the times… it’s definitely Scott), it’s serious enough that it warrants a visit from someone who’s guarded by the Secret Service.

When she entered the house, an agent tells her that Hank is receiving Secretary Ross in their garden.

The Secretary of State. Of course.

“Hope.” Hank greets her – loudly – when she steps out to the garden. Her father and the Secretary of State are seated in one of the chairs in the middle of the garden, drinking coffee and bourbon. Hank stands up and gives her a quick embrace.

“Secretary Ross, this is my daughter. Hope, this is General Thaddeus Ross who’s also currently the State Secretary.” Hank says and keeps an arm around her shoulders.

Hank’s gesture is protective; she wonders what could have transpired between the two men for Hank to adopt the stance almost immediately.

Hope reaches out to shake the Ross’ hand, “It’s an honor to meet you, Mr. Secretary.” She smiles, her tone— even. They do not betray the fact that the Secretary’s vise-like grip is not only hurting her but also makes her want to punch him in the face.

“What brings you to San Francisco?” she asks when she finally frees her hand of him. She silently refuses Hank’s offer of coffee as he motions her to sit on the chair besides his, putting himself in between Ross and her.

Ross’ gives her a charmless smile, “As I was saying to your father, his name came up when we were investigating a certain Scott Lang.” His voice was gruff and authoritative; like someone who’s determined to get what he wants.

She looks at Hank and notices that he’s wearing his ant comm device. He also has the speak-louder-I’m-deaf expression on his face.

“I’m sorry, who?” she asks, feigning confusion as she looks at Ross again.

“Scott Lang. He has an extensive criminal record but if you sum it all up, he’s a robber, plain and simple.”

Scott would take offense with the description. He’s very particular with the distinction between a robbery and a theft; a robber from a burglar (or a thief). One is done with violence; the other done with stealth, and, to quote Scott, “involves science and science things”. (He isn’t very specific with the legal nuances, which she’s sure actually has more bearing).

Ross takes a sip of his bourbon, “We believe he’s currently aiding and abetting terrorists.”

Hope blinks. That was… unexpected. If she had accepted Hank’s offer of a drink, she would have probably choked on it after hearing the news.

“Wow.” She says, not really knowing what else to say.

Just… wow.

“That’s quite a jump from robbery.” Hank says, a little bit loudly, “And how did my name come up in this? Surely, you don’t think—”

“Of course, not, Dr. Pym. When we were running background checks on him, we learned that he had robbed, or attempted to rob your house last year?” Ross motions to an unseen agent who later hands him a folder, which he gives to Hank, “The charges were dropped by the police but your name stood out.”

Hank checks the file and gives it to her, “Well, my memory isn’t as good as it used to be, but I do remember my house crawling with police last year. I don’t remember anything being stolen… which is probably why I never thought much of it.”

Hope doesn’t say anything. As far as the world knows, her step towards reconciliation with her father only happened after the Pym Tech building disappeared out of thin air. And only three people know who called the cops on Scott that night, two of them being in this garden and the other one being… well, being accused of aiding and abetting terrorists.

She can feel Ross scrutinizing her so she pretends to read the very flimsy file, trying to think of what Ross could possibly want. If they ran a background check on Scott, it means they already know about Cassie and Maggie, maybe Paxton. They would already know about Luis, maybe even Kurt and Dave.

Come to think of it, they could be the terrorist in this situation, if they think they were behind the Pym Tech…incident. However, Darren’s descent into madness – something that was so obvious if his interviews from the months prior to the event were watched in one continuous sitting – and his escape before the implosion made him the perfect scapegoat.

“From what I understand, you were affiliated with SHIELD in the 70s?” Ross inquires.

Hank nods his head slowly, “Consultant. Quit after my wife died.”

“In a plane crash.” Ross adds.

“Yes.”

Hope presses her lips together. Disgust is her automatic reaction when she hears that her mother died in a plane crash. It sounded like such a bald-faced lie when she was younger and hearing it being said over and over again – especially by Hank – made her feel like it was an intentional disrespect of her mother’s memory.

“Well, it would seem that Lang has been using old SHIELD tech.” Ross says.

Hank picks up his cup of coffee from the table and takes a sip. Ants were already starting to troop towards the small bowl of sugar cubes. There were also several ants on the Secretary’s back but it isn’t because he’s sweet.

“I thought you didn’t think I was involved.” He replies, finally.

“We don’t. We believe he stole the tech from you.”

Hank furrows his brows, “Only thing I still have from SHIELD after I quit is my intense hatred for the Starks.” he shrugs, “And even if I did take anything, it’s obsolete. The leaps we made in technological advancement since the 80s were… impressive.”

“So you think it’s a coincidence that a year after Lang robbed from your house, he turns up a year later in another part of the world, assisting Captain America commit illegal acts and destroying an airport in the process?”

Ross tries to keep his voice smooth, but his words angrily tumble out of his lips.

And since when did they start calling Captain America a terrorist?

“Captain America’s a terrorist now?” Her father asks, expressing her thoughts.

Ross’ eyes narrow, “He became one when he helped the Winter Soldier escape from custody.”

Scott Lang is in so much trouble.

“I see.” Hank turns towards the house, a thoughtful look appearing on his face, “I don’t think I can help you with what you want, Mr. Secretary. This… Mr. Lang using SHIELD tech doesn’t mean he got it from someone who had connections to SHIELD, especially since there is no more SHIELD.”

A grim smile appears on Ross’ face. He takes a sip of bourbon before putting it down on the glass table. He notices the ants near the sugar cubes, marching in a straight line. He flicks one off the table and looks at Hank, “Ants. Tricky little bastards.”

Hank shrugs, “That’s nature for you.” He stands, slowly, as Ross stands up.

“It seems we have nothing more to discuss.” He holds out his hand, “It’s an honor to finally meet you, Dr. Pym.” Ross says and shakes Hank’s hand.

“Likewise, Mr. Secretary.”

Ross glances at her, “Ms. Van Dyne.” He says and glances back at her father, “We’ll see ourselves out. Have a good day, Dr. Pym.”

Both Hank and Hope watch as the Secretary of State walk out of the garden, followed by the Secret Service Agent posted by the door. They waited until they couldn’t hear the droning of the car engines ready to go at a moment’s notice. They waited until all they could hear are the birds chirping and the neighborhood kids running about.

Hank reaches under the chair where Ross sat and pulled out a tiny listening device from underneath. He showed it to her first before throwing it on the ground and smashing it to bits with the heel of his shoe.

“You think he knows?”

“If he did, we’ll both be in jail.”

Hank takes a deep breath and exhales slowly. A mix of wistfulness and annoyance appears on his face. “Lang is an idiot.”

Hope watches as an army of fire ants take all the smashed pieces away. She then looks at her father.

“Let’s go save the idiot then.”

~*~*~


The first order of business after Secretary Ross and his entourage left was to sweep the house for any listening or recording device. They started with the kitchen and worked their way towards the inside of the house.

“How’s the new building coming along?” Hank asks as he and his troop of crazy ants inspect the corridor for bugs of the technological (and governmental) kind.

“I think it could go a little faster but we’re on schedule. We can have the inauguration by January of next year.” She answers as she does her own sweep in the living room. She has her own group of crazy ants, marching to corners she can’t reach and frying the listening devices before retrieving it for her.

“Heard you closed the Igarashi deal.”

Hope doesn’t ask how he knows about that because for all she knows, he has his ants crawling around Pym Tech’s office in New York.

She takes a glance at him, “Some details are still being finalized but it’s in the bag,” she says and then adds, not wanting to jinx it, “I think.”

Hank nods his head and looks at her, “Good job.”

There’s a slight second where she swears she felt time stop when she heard her father’s words. She rarely heard any words of approval from Hank Pym and hearing it when she least expects it (hearing it at all after all these years) forms a lump on her throat.

“Thanks.” She replies, after what seemed like forever. Times like this, she wishes Scott was here. The man had a gift for ruining moments, but he always knew how to diffuse an awkward silence with a joke or two.

They continued their sweep in silence. Hope goes up to check if the Ross’ men planted anything in the second floor while Hank checks the basement.

She found a total of six listening devices in the second floor and attic (she admires their thoroughness, truly) and when she goes down the kitchen, she sees that Hank had already ordered some takeout for dinner. And from the smell of it, it’s from her favorite Thai restaurant. There’s also a strange-looking device on the counter.

“Put those things in the fire.” Hank says, stepping inside from the garden.

Hope tosses the bugs in the makeshift bonfire in the garden as her troop of ants walk out of the kitchen. The fire crackles as the small (and definitely expensive) pieces of equipment start melting.

“How many did you find?”

“Including the one in the living room, 10. How about you?” she asks and makes her way to the counter to prepare their dinner. A glance at the clock tells her that they’ve been doing the sweep for almost three hours.

“Eight. They tried going in the basement, I guess that failed because they installed a camera.”

“They’re well-funded. Those aren’t the type made available to the public.” Hope comments as she takes out the plates, “What’s this?” she asks, motioning to the device on the edge of the kitchen counter.

“Bug killer. In case we missed anything.” Hank replies as helps her set the table, “Right now, it covers only the kitchen. Interferes with both audio and video. SHIELD-issued.”

“From the 80s?” Hope asks in a slightly incredulous tone.

“The technology of today was built on the technology of yesterday. It’s a basic build.” Hank shrugs, “It also works against phones.”

Hope checks her phone and sees that she has lost network coverage.

“That’s… impressive.”

“It’s only for tonight. The ants can make a final sweep tomorrow morning.” Hank says and takes the food from its plastic containers, “Speaking of bugs, we have our own on Ross. Hopefully, we get a lead on where the suit is.”

“And Scott.” She adds.

Hank nods his head, but his reluctance is obvious, “And Scott.” He repeats after her.

The tech is dangerous—she knows that. What it did to the Pym Tech building should be an indicator of its potential for destruction. But she’s not going to let Hank get away with acting like his technology is more important than human life.

“I know what you’re thinking, Hope—”

She cuts him off, “Yes, that your primary concern will always be the suit and the tech. I understand that perfectly. But just because you loathe yourself doesn’t mean that everyone who wears the suit is expendable.”

Hank clenches his jaw and Hope takes a deep breath, anticipating a lash of the famous Pym temper. But instead, her father starts eating the food on his plate and doesn’t say anything.

She rubs her right thumb over her left palm, where her nails had dug in to keep her own temper in check.

It’s ridiculous how fast their disposition with each other can go from warm and fuzzy to arctic cold in a split second.

The tension is palpable as they eat their dinner. It’s a throwback of sorts to when she was a teenager, during those rare times when she’d be home from boarding school and he’d actually come home early to have dinner with her. They would always end up arguing – about mom, about school, about the fact that he never seemed to care about her at all – but they were also be too pigheaded to leave the table because doing so would mean that the other had successfully gotten under their skin.

It’s actually the same situation right now, the difference being that they’ve started to actually understand each other. Working together on her mother’s suit seemed to have done wonders to their relationship, but it doesn’t mean they can’t take a tentative step backwards.

Hope takes occasional glances at Hank throughout dinner. She doesn’t think that they will get a hint of Scott’s location (or the suit, for that matter), if they just listened to Ross’ phone. This rescue operation will need more than just two people to have a fighting chance of being successful. An army of ants can only do so much.

Hank might not have realized this yet, but they’re going to need help.

And she thinks there are at least three people who are willing to do so.

~*~*~


There’s a conspicuous van parked in the street across the house. It wasn’t white, but its mere presence in the neighborhood makes it stick out like a sore thumb. It’s so obvious it’s a surveillance van that nobody will bat an eyelash if the people inside throw their doors open and invite everybody for a tour.

“How long has it been there?” she asks Hank as she suits up in the small room inside the lab. She’s putting on the old Ant-Man suit—they had to rehaul hers when she and Scott had an unfortunate run-in with the neighbor’s cat but it’s still undergoing more improvements due to Hank and Scott’s theory.

“Two hours. At least.” Hank answers and hands her one of the upgraded ant communicator as she walks out to the lab.

Hope ties her hair into a tight braid, and rolled it in a tidy bun, making sure that her bangs, which she was growing out, won’t cover her eyes inside the helmet. She looks at the screens in front of her. The ones on the upper left show the van in different angles.

They plan to plant their own surveillance device in the van and leave a signal disruptor to temporarily prevent their devices from listening in on them, in case they missed any bugs. Hank can do that from the lab while she’s off to Luis’ apartment in the other side of the city, where she expects to do the same (sweep the neighborhood for the vans, sweep the boys’ apartment, be the voice of reason, etc, etc.)

“Don’t get caught with those three stooges,” was her father’s version of good luck when she puts on the Ant-Man helmet.

“I won’t.”

The helmet snaps in place and she pushes the button by her thumb. Her heart lurches and her stomach turn inside out as everything around her expands at a dizzying speed.

It takes her a few seconds to adjust to her surroundings. She admits that it took her a while to adapt to being tiny when she first wore her suit, which had given her a different appreciation of Scott. He was still adjusting to being a free man, struggling with getting his life together so that he can be deemed worthy enough to see his daughter and at the same time being beaten up to shape by her, learning to be Ant-Man while making sure that the heist worked… and to be able to pull off the last two and not dying in the process is actually pretty impressive.

Although if anyone asks her, she’d still say that if they had put her in the suit, the heist would have gone more smoothly.

When the stars disappeared from her eyes and her stomach has settled in, she calls for Marie Antoinette and the rest of her winged cavalry (she has voiced out her misgivings about naming the ant – or anyone in particular – after a historical figure that got their head lopped off during a revolution, but the name just stuck)

She pats Marie Antoinette on the head before climbing onto the saddle on the ant’s back.

“Let’s go.” She says and the ants lift off from the floor, flying out of the lab, and to the ant passageway that leads directly to the garden.

Riding an ant to travel is very different from just flying on her own. For one thing, while she may order an ant to go to places and even direct its speed, she can’t order it how to fly. They just… do it. But the view from where she is is the same. It could do a lot of things to a person’s ego— seeing the world from this perspective could make someone feel even more insignificant. Like a minute fleck of a minute fleck in the very vast cosmos.

They fly towards Luis’ apartment at a dizzying speed. She clings to Marie Antoinette’s saddle as the bright, colorful lights from the cars and the buildings dance around the edges of her eyes before becoming a blur.

Hope has no idea how to get to her destination in her size, but the ants seem to know the way when she told them their destination, so she guesses that’s an advantage over flying (it’s not like Hank has made a Google map for ants for her to use… well, at least not yet).

She doesn’t know how long they fly but after a while, Marie Antoinette lands on the windowsill on the third floor of a rundown apartment complex in the downtown part of San Francisco.

When she peers inside, she finds the men in their usual positions (even during those rare times when she’s there): Luis is in the kitchen, Kurt is in front of his laptop and Dave is seated on the couch, playing on his cellphone.

Hope orders the ants to make a sweep of the street. The other carpenter ants have a tiny camera perched on their backs to enable Hank to see what they’re seeing. While she waits for Hank’s assessment, she climbs down from the saddle and starts stretching her legs.

“Any of you seen Scott anywhere?” she hears Kurt ask.

“Nah, man. But he did mention Captain America asked for his help, but I dunno if it’s legit or he’s dreaming.” She hears Dave answer.

“There’s a van parked on the curb downstairs. Your six o’clock.” Hank’s voice is crystal clear in the comms after a few seconds.

She climbed on Marie Antoinette’s back again and they fly underneath the van. Hope mentally calls for one of the carpenter ants carrying the signal disruptor as they landed on the pavement. She works quickly, first converting the device to its original size, applying adhesive on it before installing it in the middle of the van’s underbody.

She then presses the button on the side, “Disruptor’s in place.”

“Copy that.”

She hops back on to Marie Antoinette and the ant brings her to the door of the van. She orders the ants to clear out from the path before slipping through the small crack under the door. She can’t risk using the ants— a bunch of them outside might not raise any eyebrows but it’s not another story if it’s inside a cramp space like a van.

There were two men inside, both of whom are lazily watching the monitors. Luis is blathering about in the speakers but the men aren’t listening.

“The old man found all the bugs inside the house.”

“All of them?”

“Yeah.”

“He’s ex-SHIELD. What do you expect?”

Hope climbs up to the corner of the van, using the equipment stacked against the wall as a ladder. She had little practice with using the ants to climb on walls since she had her focus on flying with her suit.

“Yeah, but I thought he was a scientist for them or something.”

“Nah, I heard he’s the guy they send in for assassinations.”

She first discovered that Hank and her mother worked for SHIELD at fourteen when she found pictures in the Attic. She didn’t know they were SHIELD at first, but then she saw a few pictures of her parents with Peggy Carter.

(Or Aunt Peggy as she called her. Her Aunt Peggy who told her that talent and intelligence can get one far, but it’s hard work that gets one farther in life. Her Aunt Peggy, who encouraged her to take up martial arts, who took her to art galleries during summers, and who visited her in her boarding school when Hank couldn’t be bothered. Her Aunt Peggy… who passed away a few days ago)

Later on, the knowledge that Hank could make himself as tiny as ant might have made her think that her father was capable of cold-blooded murder. Except Hank’s anger runs hot and while that doesn’t mean he can’t perform that degree of brutality, it just means that (for her, anyway) he’s not the type to easily partake in assassinations.

She reaches the corner of the van and takes the listening bug from her pocket. She installs the bug first before transforming it back to its original size.

“Bug is in place.”

“Copy that.” Hank says through the comms, “And for the record, I did not do any assassination ops for SHIELD.”

Hope starts her descent, jumping from one pile of equipment to another.

“The disruptor’s going online in three minutes.” Hank says, which is plenty of time to get back to the apartment.

She slips out of the door and jumps out of the van, with Marie Antoinette catching her midway down. The ant brings her back to the third floor of the rundown apartment complex and enters the flat through the bathroom. The door to the living area was open so Hope and Marie Antoinette zoomed out to the where the boys are.

“I mean, if Captain America asks for your help, you give it, right?” she hears Luis ask, “I would. My cousins would. My abuela would.

“Why would Captain America ask help from your abuela?”

“Because she’s a badass, you know.”

“Disruptor’s going online in 45 seconds.”

Hope orders Scott’s ant to fly towards the windows so that she can close the curtains. As they speed towards the wall, she reaches out and takes hold of the cloth, the curtains sliding to a close with a flick of her wrist. She proceeds to the next window and does the same.

The three men go quiet and she can feel the fear starting to rise. She directs Marie Antoinette to the TV so that she can switch it on.

“What kind of horror movie shit is this?!” Dave shouts when the TV comes to life. A man screaming about the end of the world because of superheroes appears on the screen.

“Disruptor’s online.” Hank reports, which is her signal to go big.

Hope presses the button by her thumb and watches as everything around her shrink.

Half a second later, Luis, Kurt, and Dave’s horrified screams fill the room.

~*~*~


The three calmed relatively quickly and had initially assumed that she was Scott, until Luis noticed that the suit didn’t fit her frame well.

And when they found out it was her, they immediately knew that their friend was in trouble and asked what they could do to help.

(“Screw Captain America, if Scott’s girl asks for our help, we give it.” Dave says.

“I’m not Scott’s girlfriend.”

“Well, Scottie also goes, ‘Guys, Hope’s not my girlfriend’.”
Luis offers and then looks at the others with a slightly goofy look on his face, “Remember when he talked about getting a nice dress shirt for a dinner with Hope and he was like, this isn’t a date but I also want to look nice even though it’s not a date, you know? And I went, so, it’s like a non-date? And he went, ‘yeah, like that, a non-date.’ So we bought this really nice wine-colored shirt that looked great with one of his old slacks and then I told him about that time Ignacio went on a non-date and…”)

And that was how Luis and Dave ended up volunteering to sweep their apartment for listening devices installed by still-anonymous government agencies.

“There’s chatter about superhero faceoff in Berlin airport.” Kurt says.

“How reliable is it?” Hope asks as she sips from an excellent mug of tea given to her by Luis. She took off her helmet, which is sitting in the middle of the table. Marie Antoinette and the other ants are on the table, feasting on sugar.

“Well, the chatter is in German, but they have small video.” Kurt answers and then shifts the position of the laptop screen so that it’ll face her, “A crappy video. From what I can understand, they question why media has not shown anything. But they also understand why because it looks like Bigfoot is ten stories high.”

Luis and Dave go to where she’s sitting to watch the video with her.

The video was grainy but it shows what seems like a really, really large humanoid in a black, red and silver suit swatting away flying objects and breaking a plane wing in half. The video ends abruptly when it gets hit with debris.

It looks like a scene from King Kong, if King Kong’s iconic Empire State Building scene was set in a non-descript airport and flying men in iron suits were trying to bring him down.

Hope stares at the screen dumbfounded.

Scott’s joke (“If the Pym Particles can make me tiny, can’t you reverse the process and make me a giant?”) turned into Scott and Hank’s hypothesis (“Can we call it the Lang Particle?” “No. It’s made from the same formula, which means it’s still the Pym Particle.”), which had led to an overall suit rehaul (“Can’t we use this on Hope’s suit too?”). The hypothesis was tested almost a month ago and for eight long seconds, it was a theory (“Holy shit, guys. Holy. Shit.”)

Of course, every scientific discovery requires small disasters once in a while. In this case, they have a rather large hole in the ceiling of their off-site lab, and the giant transformation knocked Scott out for three hours (the first thought when she saw him unconscious was that they might just have killed Cassie’s dad). It also depleted all the reserve Pym Particles in his suit, which would explain why he got caught.

(But he’s an idiot for doing it again so soon. A fucking idiot.)

“That was a slightly terrifying.” Dave remarks after what a while.

She turns to Kurt, “Get everything you can in Berlin. If you can hack airport security cameras, do it. Berlin traffic cams, everything. We want to know where they went after this.” She says.

“They’re having some guys check in on the apartment.” Hank warns her.

She turns to Dave and Luis, “Are those all you found?” she asks, motioning to the black, plastic things on Luis’ hand.

“Yeah.”

“Destroy them then flush all the pieces in the toilet.” She orders. Luis nods his head and hurries to the bathroom.

“You know how to get to the meeting place?” she asks them.

At the same time, there was a hurried knock on the door, “Sir? Are you okay? Someone called in regarding a person in distress. They heard someone screaming in this apartment.”

All three of them still in the room look at each other. This is not the kind of neighborhood that concerns itself with the screaming of its residents.

“Those are the men I was talking about a while ago,” she says, her voice dropping to a whisper. She hands Kurt a flash drive, “Everything you find, you save it here.” She grabs the helmet from the table and starts to put it on as she gives them last minute reminders.

“Don’t get caught on your way to the meet-up.” She says in a low voice and clasps the helmet in place, “And don’t allow them to go inside without a warrant.”

The knocks become more persistent, “Sir, is everything okay?”

When she disappears from sight, Dave goes towards the door and unbolts all the locks.

“Yeah, man. We’re watching a horror movie.”

~*~*~


Hope wakes up the following day to the delicious scent of coffee in the room.

Instead of going back to her apartment last night, she opted to stay in Hank’s house. She downloads a copy of the Sokovia Accords from the UN website and accompanied Hank in the lab, where he was finalizing the upgrade on her wings. She read the Accords while he worked, their silence punctuated by Secretary Ross’ occasional snores, captured by the bug on his phone.

She stayed in the lab even when Hank had retired for the night, absorbed with what she was reading.

It was only when she felt the exhaustion of the entire day bearing down on her did she drag herself up the stairs and in to her old room to sleep.

Hope pulls herself up on the bed and sees that a cup of coffee is on her side table. She takes a deep breath and takes the scent in. A coffee delivery to her room means Hank found something, but it isn’t that urgent to warrant an actual wake-up call.

She opens her eyes, reaches for the coffee and takes a sip. Black coffee. One sugar. Perfection.

There’s a knock on the door a few minutes later and Hank’s head pops in the doorway.

“Good, you’re awake.” He says as he steps inside. He walks towards her and sits at the foot of the bed, where he would usually sit when it’s her mother’s turn to read her a bedtime story.

A wistful look appears on her face which Hope quickly masks, “Good morning to you too,” she replies dryly.

“Don’t you usually sleep in the guest bedroom?” he asks, clasping his hands in front of him.

She cradles the cup in her palm and shrugs, “Habit, I guess.”

Hank nods his head at her response, taking care to avoid looking at the framed picture of her mother on the table beside her bed.

She remembers why she normally sleeps in the guest room.

“Well, I have good news and bad news.” He says, not waiting for her to finish her coffee before starting.

“That’s fast.”

“Secretary Ross is a busy man who’s also very talkative.”

Hope smirks.

“Anyway, the good news is that we know where the suit is. The bad news is that Scott isn’t there. And judging from Ross’ use of plurals, he’s not the only one being detained.”

Hank sighs and she could feel a bit of dread settling in her stomach.

“That’s not all the bad news, isn’t it?”

“All of the confiscated gears are in the Pentagon.”

She waits for a beat. When she realizes that it wasn’t joke, it was her turn to sigh, “So you want to break into the Pentagon and steal everything?”

“We’re just going to steal the suit, but if you want to steal everything else they confiscated, there’s probably room for them.”

She covers her face with her hand and sighs once again.

“We’re going to jail.”

This time, Hank lets out an uneven laugh. He stands up and brushes his hands on his trousers as if sweeping away imaginary dust from his hands.

“Come on, out of bed.” He tells Hope and extends his hand to her.

Hope sets the cup on the table and takes her father’s hand. Hank pulls her out of the bed.

“Let’s steal from the Pentagon.”


1/3