Central Park, New York:
In front of a huge doorway to Mother’s dimension stand the possessed Kaplans, Billy’s parents who politely ask their son and his teammate Kate Bishop if they are well. Acting as a go-between, Captain America (who as an adult also cannot perceive Mother’s machinations) suggests Jeff and Rebecca should start talking.
Jeff Kaplan announces the Mother parasite has had enough. She has Billy’s boyfriend, so she can act freely in this dimension. She will come take him, Rebecca adds. And she will quench her thirst with his warm, wet, messiah blood. But that is no longer enough. She will punish his reality, even as she extinguishes him. The lesser dimensions the Young Avengers led to her realm will be unleashed here. It will become their home. Their adults will not see, let alone understand. They will merely think this is all the children ever were. Even their dreams will be nightmares. They have no future.
See, that isn’t so bad, is it? Captain America states encouragingly. Can’t Billy try and see their point of view? They can, Billy replies flatly. They’re sorry for wasting his time.
As they step away, Kate wonders why he thought this might work. He was hoping the threat of all these evil dimensions merging with theirs would be enough of a reality check on the adults. Hope, he snorts. Don’t knock hope, Kate replies. Hope is all they have left. (Even though she couldn’t make it.)
Cap approaches them, telling them this is a parental tiff. It’ll blow over. They do understand. They know it’s difficult. They’ve all been young once. But they have to realize no matter what it seems like now this is hardly the end of the world. Kate smiles at him pityingly.
Once he leaves, Kate turns to the young heroes they have assembled, from the Jean Grey School, the Future Foundation, the Avengers Academy and more. Right guys, it’s the end of the world. Avengers Assemble, she guesses.
In Mother’s dimension, Mother sits in front of the doorway atop her Hulkling throne. Ultimate Nullifier is posing and Leah and Patri-Not play cards with a Tarot deck.
They’re coming, he announces. Leah agrees. Mother’s punishment strike was a wonderful lure to accomplish that. Plus, he’s been saying that all day. He is a strange little thing, is he not? He’s not like the rest of them. What’s his story? Tic-tock, tic-tock, he replies. What you can’t outrun. He lays down three cards: The Magus, the Tower and Death.
Meree and Annie look disgusted at Oubliette’s sharp nails which she is coating. Fake nails for a fake girl, she shrugs, but real poison. One way or another, the boy ends today. Annie accuses her of being worse than any of them. Why did he ever go for her? Do they know what their problem is? Oubliette asks mildly. They can’t make up their mind whether they want revenge or Noh-varr. They don’t have to choose. They could have both.
Oubliette takes a selfie and sends it to Noh-varr, who is watching it while he sits atop his parked ship. He ready? Kate asks. He was born ready, he replies. Plopping down next to him, Kate points out that’s a very old line. It’s fact, he retorts. He emerged from his gene womb prepared for conflict. And in that state he remains. It’s also a very old line, she insists. Classic, he corrects her and shares his head phones with her. She asks if he is nervous. More than he can explain. That’s bad, Kate muses. It’s worryingly sane.
Inside the ship, Billy sits in a pentagram circle. Loki is giving a pep talk while America and Prodigy watch. Loki tells Billy he must be their wannabe Buddha wrapped up tight in spandex. He must be Odin on the world tree. He must be Scott Pilgrim at the end of the movie. The book was better, Billy points out. Isn’t it always? Loki agrees.
David doubts this is going to work. Is there nothing the rest of them can do? Loki explains they can only protect Billy. It’s a complicated spell and it’s in Billy’s hands. And it’s not about skill or knowledge. It’s about him. It’s about being the hero for as long as it takes. It’s about believing. Loki takes Billy’s hand and tells him he can hold off Mother or even if it goes really well breach the spell. If not, they rescue Teddy, escape with Billy and Mother loses access to Earth again. And then they hook up with the rest of the heroes and defeat the plague of possible dimensions.
And what could go wrong? Billy asks. It doesn’t work, Loki rattles off, Billy dies, they all die, the universe dies. All hope dies. Alternatively it works too well and Billy loses control, in which case… Billy continues, he dies, they all die, the universe dies, all hope dies. He gets it.
Billy turns to America. Tears brimming in her eyes, she tells him not to &(%* this up.
Billy and David head out. She wishes they could stop lying to him, America tells Loki. All that was true, he defends himself. She wasn’t talking about that. She meant earlier. It was for a good cause. He pulls the trigger… And Mother goes away. America points out. He can’t die, Loki replies. The story has a happier ending than this. Billy’s story, America warns him. And if he does anything to mess with that, she will kill his— Whatever, Loki shrugs-
Bored Mother sits on the chair made of the silently screaming Hulkling. Let us begin, she announces. The Kaplans draw a doorway on the colored wall and all the bad idea dimensional knock-offs of the Young Avengers come rushing forth… to be expected by the young heroes who attack.
At the boundary the Young Avengers stand in a circle around a starshaped doorway Miss America has created. She kicks it open.
“And then the Young Avengers attacked,” Leah predicts with a smile.
Wiccan rises into the air surrounded by a pentagram. Demiurge, he chants and his eyes turn into black starfields. He is growing up, Mother observes. Growing up tasty! She rises up to meet him, her energies battling his.
Prodigy tells the others to go save Teddy. Save him from the mess he got himself into, Kate scoffs.
Tic-toc, fake Patriot repeats as he keeps dodging Prodigy’s blows. Enough! Prodigy shouts, whatever he thinks is happening isn’t happening. Denial, is the reply.
Facing Noh-varr’s three exes alongside him, Kate snipes if he couldn’t have kept it in his pants for five seconds. Meree hits her a moment later.
Oubliette offers a solution to their being outnumbered. One word and they are doomed lovers at the end of the world, she tells Noh-varr.
A cursing Ultimate Nullifier keeps firing at and (missing) America. She kisses him and then nothing! he shouts. Time to kiss goodbye to her powers! he threatens. She’s not on his team, dumb-ass, America snarls, however he defines that. She kicks him.
Leah blasts Lokis with a spell and smiles that she has longed to do that for eons.
Prodigy realizes they can’t just get Teddy and looking at Wiccan and Mother he sees she is gaining the upper hand. Who has a plan? he shouts.
Following Loki, Leah smiles a certain someone has one. All of this is his plan, she believes. What was it he told Teddy? “Whims and daydreams are all it takes for a reality shaper’s power to go astray. Without realizing one could summon their secret darkest desires.”
His missing powers, he realizes. He really is his worst enemy, his conscience in the form of Kid Loki tells him. And a guilty conscience…
… is a terrible thing, Leah finishes.