When Kate Woke Up
Here's a note that's useful to have: everything in this story has been pushed forward to take place in the modern day. Because… yes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
ended in 2003. Young Avengers
wasn't too far behind it. This story is set roughly two years after 'Chosen', making it a year beyond the end of Angel: the Series
. But the question is… does it really matter if this story takes place in 2005 or 2011? Really? I mean, it's not like it's a period piece. So yeah, expect modern technology, pop culture, and events. Also, for the sake of the story, all of the Young Avengers are 18 or older for moral and legal reasons. Cassie being barely so, as we're about to find out.
Kate Bishop groaned as she drifted just far enough into wakefulness to be aware of her pounding headache and far too dry mouth. Letting out another groan, she turned her head just enough to bury her face in her pillow, keeping her eyes closed tight. After all, she knew from past experience that the light would only make things worse for her. Hindsight was a bitch, she mused: it was easy to realize you'd drunk too much when you were suffering from a killer hangover. Not that hangovers were anything new to her, but Kate hadn't woken up feeling quite this bad in a long while. Not since she'd gotten into the chocolate rum her father brought home from one of his 'business trips'-slash-cruises to St. Thomas, if she recalled correctly. Although in her own defense, that one totally hadn't been her fault. It should be illegal to make liquor that tasted like hot chocolate and went down just as smoothly, leading her to drink an entire bottle in one sitting. Definitely not her fault, and that was her story and she was sticking to it.
Looking back at the events that had led to her being in this position, Kate tried to figure out when everything had gone to hell. Things had started simply enough: she'd sat down to plan out a nice long weekend in Las Vegas for the team so they could burn off some excess stress. After the whole mess with the Kree and Skrull fighting over Teddy, Tommy managing to blow up most of the United Nations building, and the emergence of a group that seemed to be the Young Masters of Evil to their Young Avengers - and who'd managed to create an unholy amount of chaos despite their almost total lack of brains or brawn - one villain had followed another until it was nearly two years after Iron Lad had assembled his initial group to help him fight his adult self.
Now, between spandex and the real world, most of them were skating perilously close to the point of burnout and so when Cassie's eighteenth birthday had begun creeping closer on the calendar, Kate had jumped on it as the perfect excuse to get out of town and off her feet for a bit. Tommy and Eli had immediately begged off citing a prior commitment - something about tickets to a UFC bout and since when did they even hang out together? - and Vision had opted to remain behind to monitor the city in their absence. The other girls had been enthusiastic, though, and a rather unexpected bit of magic had allowed her to keep Air Billy as her airline of choice even after declaring it to be a 'girls' weekend'. So, meeting early on Thursday morning at the former Bishop Publishing warehouse, the four girls had joined Billy and Teddy in teleporting off to the Entertainment Capital of the World to see what they could see.
The sextet had spent most of Thursday and Friday prowling Las Vegas as a group, the majority of their time wasted wandering around the town sightseeing and doing typically touristy things. Friday had ended with Cassie's eighteenth birthday party, including a cake topped with the prototype for the Stature action figure that would be part of the upcoming series of Young Avengers toys - and boy was Eli going to feel stupid for arguing against that idea when they got their first royalty check. As Saturday dawned, they indulged in a bit more sightseeing as a group before Billy and Teddy had taken off to parts unknown for some 'them time'. Since none of them had been too keen on trying to tag along for that, it had left the four girls of the Young Avengers to try and find their own entertainment for the rest of the day.
The 'four girls' bit had been a secondary reason behind Kate's push to get the group away from the Big Apple for the weekend. While originally it'd just been her and Cassie representing the fairer sex on the team, the Young Avengers had recently picked up two new members roughly a month apart as the Avengers exercised a clause in the Young Avengers' operating agreement that allowed them to place other up and coming superhumans on the team. And so despite the team's objections about not needing any additional members, let alone one that didn't even know, Laura Kinney - who occasionally responded to 'Talon' in the field when she was willing to listen at all - had arrived at the warehouse two months ago with a small duffle bag full of clothes and a large chip on her shoulder. Barely four weeks later, Kate had accompanied Billy and Teddy on a trip to the top of the Daily Bugle building, where they'd been met by Spider-Man along with not one, but two Spider-Women. While Kate had absolutely no idea how either of the Spider-Women usually behaved, Spider-Man had seemed uncharacteristically brisk and serious as they handed over the Young Avengers' new ninth member: Rebekah Drew, also known as Spider-Girl.
She still wasn't sure what to make of the girl. Either girl, for that matter. For the team, Laura was pretty much the personification of being stuck between a rock and a hard place. While on one hand she was about as socially adept as the chess club president at ESU and seemed to loathe anything even remotely related to authority, she was also a highly-trained former assassin with a healing factor that made her nigh indestructible and adamantium claws that could only be stopped by materials their rogue's gallery didn't have access to. So while she got on with the rest of the Young Avengers like oil and water, they needed her even if they didn't want her.
Rebekah, on the other hand, not only played well with others but was an amazing asset in the field. Her powers seemed to be a mix of the two Spider-Women who'd been there when the girl was foisted off on them, or at least they were according to Rebekah herself: superhuman speed, strength, durability, agility, and reflexes common to both women, along with the first Spider-Woman's 'venom blasts' and the second Spider-Woman's 'psionic webbing', both of which came manifested as blue energy rather than the yellowish-green and pinkish-purple of the respective Spider-Women's abilities. To top it off, she could crawl walls like every other spider hero and wriggle her way into all sorts of odd little places to go where none of the others could. On paper, she and Laura were just what the Young Avengers needed to shore up the team when heavy-hitters came knocking.
When the masks came off at the end of the day, though? Rebekah… well, the others liked her well enough, so Kate couldn't put her into the same category as Laura. And if Kate was honest with herself, the the biggest reason behind her dislike of the redhead was vanity. To be exceedingly shallow, Rebekah was too pretty to be a superhuman in Kate's opinion, especially a teenage one. While Emma Frost and Sue Richards were both gorgeous women, and a handful of others like Wanda Maximoff and Janet van Dyne made it possible for Maxim
to print yearly 'hottest heroines' rankings, they were the exception rather than the rule. Kate knew that, while pretty, she definitely wasn't in the same league as them… but at the same time she'd been the closest thing the Young Avengers had to a sex symbol, especially with Cassie being underaged up until Friday. She'd initially worried about Laura challenging her for that spot before finding out that not only was the girl younger than she looked but that the mutant cared little about her own appearance in day to day life.
But now? Now, it wasn't even a competition. Rebekah had shown up and blown her right out of the water. Rich red hair and green eyes complimented her pale, creamy skin far better than Kate's black hair and blue eyes looked with a fake tan, and when it came to their figures… Kate was curvy, but Rebekah left her so far in the dust it was ridiculous. She stole all the attention that Kate herself was used to receiving - both within the group and from outsiders - and that just didn't sit right with her. Grr.
It just wasn't fair that someone would be blessed with both the looks of a younger Mary Jane Watson and phenomenal superhuman powers, while Kate had neither. Not to mention that how Rebekah had ended up looking like a teenage version of a Victoria's Secret Angel was just one of the questions that Spider-Man and the Spider-Women had refused to answer about their new teammate. She was a mystery, and Kate didn't like mysteries. Mysteries tended to blow up in your face and betray the group and try to end the world. Cough cough, Wanda Maximoff, cough cough.
In Las Vegas, Kate had discovered a new facet of the greater Rebekah mystery that she also lacked an answer for. Even in a town full of showgirls, escorts, strippers, high rollers, trophy wives, and celebrities, where Kate had thought guys might eventually begin to develop an immunity to being manipulated by a woman's physical charms, Rebekah cut through men's willpower like butter. Without the redhead, even Kate received little in the way of special treatment despite her father's wealth and her open status as a member of the Young Avengers. As soon as Rebekah made an appearance, though, better tables suddenly became available, sold-out shows developed VIP seats for the quartet if they wanted them, and men tripped over themselves in their haste to cater to Rebekah's whims…
Last night, it had gotten them into a packed club with a line outside that stretched clear down the block. Kate vaguely remembered sulking with a beer as she brooded over how she wouldn't have been able to make the bouncer swoon over her like Rebekah had. Then she'd had another beer, followed by a third, and then danced with Cassie, some guy with brown hair… then there was a fourth beer, and things after that were too blurry to remember. She was awful achy, though, and not in a 'been in a fight' way. A very familiar set of aches. What had she gotten into last night? Or rather, what had gotten into her?
Cracking her eyes open, Kate found herself staring at a very familiar face, something that could have been entirely innocent if not for the sensation of Cassie's little furnace of a body pressing against her bare skin. "Oh, not again…" Wiggling away until the blonde surrendered her grip on her body, Kate reached over and snatched a pair of vials off the nightstand, sparing a look at the clock as she went. 10:03 AM. It wasn't quite late enough that the others would be getting alarmed yet but given her notorious early riser status, it was pretty damn close. She had to wake up Cassie and go find Rebekah and Laura as soon as possible, or else she'd be stuck giving awkward explanations to… oh wait, Eli wasn't here to get on her back about anything. Still. They didn't have to shine, but it was definitely time to rise. Popping the top off one vial, she chugged the blue liquid down, blessing whoever had donated the programming that gave their Vision the ability to create such an effective hangover cure, before opening the other vial and tipping it into Cassie's mouth. "Drink up, short stuff. You're a giant-sized pain in the ass when you wake up hungover."
There was a loud cough from the end of the bed and Kate tried to focus her eyes and find the source. A man was sitting on what Kate remembered to be a rather uncomfortable desk chair, holding some papers in his hand. He was wearing only a pair of wrinkled pants and a black eye patch over his left eye. "So, is this a regular problem for you?"
Kate blinked a few times to make sure she was really seeing what she thought she was, before moving to sit with her back against the headboard. The sensation of cool wood against her bare back reminded her of her lack of clothing and she quickly yanked a pillow over her chest, Cassie providing a bit more cover when she whined softly and moved to hug one of Kate's legs, resting her head in the older girl's lap. There was a guy in their room… why was there a guy in their room? Damn. He was between her and her weapons, too… actually, he had her weapons and so if she tried to go hand-to-hand with him, she risked getting smacked with one of her own battle staves or jabbed with an arrow. Plus she'd be giving him one hell of a show in the time between when she left the bed and when she got smacked or stabbed. On the other hand, he wasn't trying to kill them yet and he didn't seem too dangerous, and so Kate decided it wasn't time to panic… yet. Oh wait. He'd had a question. She should probably answer it. "Um… me and Cass?" He looked confused, and she pointed to the girl in bed with her. "That's Cass. Cassie. My name is Kate. Cass and I… have had some incidents when she stays over and we raid the liquor cabinet. The pirate guy… that's new though." There was a creak from above, and Kate looked up just in time to see a naked body drop from the ceiling to land next to her on the side Cassie wasn't occupying. "…the hell?"
"I'm guessing that she's Rebekah, then?" He chuckled softly as the girl in question let out a snort and mimicked Cassie, wrapping her arms around Kate's free leg and snuggling in so that her face was mere inches away from Cassie's. "Well… unless we picked up a fourth girl last night and my third wife ran away… that kinda makes her Rebekah by process of elimination." He looked down and shuffled through the papers in his hands. "Rebekah Julia Drew. Holy crap, she's only nineteen?" He flipped through the papers frantically. "You're… twenty-one. That's not so bad. Oh God, she's only eighteen!" He gaped and pointed at Cassie. "She's only been legal since Friday? Oh man, I am so going to hell."
It took Kate a minute to process all that and there was no situation that her mind could come up with that would make any of this turn out well. "Third wife? What, are you one of those creepy Utah polygamists who decided to cheat on his harem? Who are you and how do you know stuff about us?"
The man stood up and approached the bed, holding out the papers in his hand. "No to the Utah guy question, I put these in order by time which makes Rebekah the third wife, and I know a little about you because it's on the marriage certificates. My name is Xander Harris… and somehow I ended up marrying all three of you last night."
Without even meaning to, Kate's eyes dropped down to stare at her left hand. And sure enough, there was a ring on her finger. That finger. A very pretty gold ring set with three diamonds, and it hadn't been there the last time she'd checked.
"What the f-"