12:01 am, January 1st :
Kate Bishop and the newly reappeared Tommy Shepherd aka Speed are dancing up a storm. Marvel Boy watches quietly and dejected.
He returns to the DJ booth, where Broo is busy choosing CDs and records. This was meant to be fun, Noh-varr sighs. Since he’s been on Earth, he’s just tried to live up to the legacy. Conquer the Earth. Save the Earth. It’s all the same. And where did it leave him? Hated. So forget it. Just do what he does. Low stakes emotionally, high stakes action. Saving the world, and enjoying it in the best of company. Kate was exactly what he needed. She was so great. But Oubliette… was the last time his life made any sense. He barely remembers any of it except for the feeling. He wanted that feeling back. The classic error: time-travel is impossible because the time traveler has changed. That’s basic multi-dimensional theory. He tells himself to move forward. There is no other choice. Does Broo know what he means?
Broo looks up. He wasn’t really listening, as he was working on an automatic DJ that reads pheromone data from the crowd and cross-references it to social media music tastes to prescribe the correct music. The DJ is rendered obsolete. Then you can just dance. He would prefer to dance, correct?
Noh-varr points to Broo’s flame Idie Okonkwo and tells him she needs a partner to dance. Broo is unsure but Noh-varr tells him she runs hot and cold. She wants to dance. He’ll do the DJing.
He takes the record Broo was preparing: Be my baby by the Ronettes. He looks to Kate again, remembering. Enough, Marvel Boy, he tells himself with a smile. Something else. Something she’ll like. He puts on Get Lucky by Daft Punk for the crowd and puts on Be My Baby for himself. The drums, he sighs. Listen to them! He begins to dance.
11:53 PM, December 31st
Prodigy follows his hunch outside where he finds Loki. What is he doing here? David demands. Getting in a little extra creep stalker time before the end of the year? Yes, Loki agrees, but mainly making sure the caterers get their cash. Working New Year’s can’t be much fun. People doing the dirty work never get enough credit.
David realizes Loki’s the money behind this. Loki finally pays, Loki agrees mockingly as he walks up a hill. David tells him to knock it off. He isn’t exactly popular either. They’ll be fine with David, Loki replies. He just let the part that lurks in the pants undue prominence in the parliament of Prodigy. And really? If Loki stayed, they’d probably even forgive him. They are nice like that. Which is why he’s not going to give them the chance. He sits down.
What now? David asks. It’s an old story, Loki replies. An old story who happens to be him. He is in a different role now. He has to play the part he wrote himself into. He killed an innocent boy who was himself. He’s done worse, though less existentially traumatic. Armies have died for him in his old life. Whole worlds burned… And he always had someone else to blame. He can’t avoid being Loki. Even if he killed himself, he’d just come back or be brought back. And chances are, if he does, he’ll be something even worse. He’ll play this part for as long as he can. He’s a story. He just has to be the best story he can be. Whatever that means. He looks down.
David looks away then reminds him he saved the world. From himself, Loki points out. Of all the things he learned with them, David continues. Saving the world from yourself is the first most necessary step.
Loki smiles and thanks him. It’s a new year. He believes there is a way humans like to celebrate…
Is he serious? David asks taken aback. He could be, Loki shrugs. His culture doesn’t really share their concept of sexual identity. There are sexual acts, that’s it. He’s actually the patron god of certain popular ones, believe it or not.
He doesn’t think so, David decides. Loki’s not his type. Then he’s lucky he wasn’t serious, Loki announces as he gets up. That said, what is his type? Good guys, David grins. Loki begins to disappear. David always was smart, are his parting words and David is left alone on the hillside.
If he’s so smart, why can’t he figure him out, Prodigy asks the fake Patriot, who has manifested next to him. Tic-Toc tic-toc, is the reply. David announces his theory: As part of whatever Billy’s going to do in the future. the fake Patriot was created. He echoes backwards to ensure it comes to pass. He’s a hook to drag them over the event horizon. He’s the rabbit and they are all Alice. He’s their guardian angel. Tic-toc tic-toc, is the reply.
And it’d say a lot about them that their guardian angel is that messed up. More. He is not just a thing. One of them becomes him. They sacrifice their existence to ensure this happens. What must be must be, the fake Patriot replies. What must the future be? Tell him, David orders. More future, he replies. There must always be more future.
David muses and realizes the one who sacrifices himself is him. He’ll find out the fake Patriot replies and begins to fade. David grabs his arm and the fading stops. Where’s Tommy? he demands. Fake Patriot puckers up under his mask and David withdraws. Denial, he is told. He’s not scared of him anymore, David decides and kisses him.
The fake Patriot is replaced by Tommy Speed, who breaks the kiss horrified. They are noodles and coffee friends, but he is moving too… He realizes they are not in the warehouse anymore. When he realizes there is a party going on, he doesn’t care and joins the dancing.
January 1st 2:05 am:
The party’s over and everybody’s leaving. Tommy is heading out with the Young Avengers. Billy asks David how he got Tommy back. He made out with a cosmic horror thing is the reply. It’s a night for kissing, he guesses. He thinks Loki may have made a pass. Billy guesses that explains the flirty.
All this boy kissing, America groans and rolls her eyes. Kate asks if she didn’t make out with that Ultimate Nullifier creep. Only once. Didn’t stick. It’s always a shame when you end up as a damn stereotype “Yeah, I went with a boy on my first team, but I was just experimenting.”
Noh-varr opines it’s part of a cycle for the Kree. They consider these things carefully. He was aboard an exploratory vessel, after all. Exploratory does have multiple meanings. The Kree are efficient like that.
Is she the only person on this team who’s straight? Kate asks. With a grin, America tells her she has seen the way Kate looked at her. She kicks open another dimension portal. She’s not that straight.
David asks her if it’s safe her drinking and kicking dimensional holes. She hasn’t been drinking, she stresses. Right, he deadpans. There was no booze at the party. Just fruit juice.
It’s the New Year for the Young Avengers, Billy announces. Do they know what’s next? Whatever they want! Teddy and Kate shove him away. Breakfast, Kate decides as they enter the teleportation gate.
Before they fade out someone takes a picture. Loki looks after them with a wistful half smile. He raffles through the pictures on his cell phone. His smile turns warmer and he presses ‘send.’ He has uploaded and liked a snapshot of the team, himself included smiling.