Post-kiss in the dimension of the Mother parasite:
Prodigy and Hukling stare at each other. David apologizes. They should get moving again before they die… Of embarrassment, he mutters. He runs.
An awkward silence several dimensions distant:
The Young Avengers stare at the young girl that has Loki so upset. They should go, he urges. Yes, they should, she calmly agrees. Billy asks who she is. And why is Loki crapping himself? America adds.
She is she who was left in a place when time still had green shoots and all stories where none, the girl replies. She is she who was betrayed and abandoned. She is Leah of Hel. She will be avenged!
Speaking as an Avenger, she is kind of scary, Billy admits. Leah scoffs. He is no Avenger, for what does he have to avenge? She tells them to go. She has eternity to be getting along with. America and Kate offer they can save her. No they can’t, Leah replies.
The kids walk away. Kate asks Loki who she was. It’s hard to explain. The ex, he supposes. She was the handmaiden of Hela, ruler of the afterlife of his people. He arranged for her to be sent back in time, to keep her safe. Keep her safe from what? Billy asks. From him, Loki sighs. He would have been terribly bad for her. Now let’s hurry along, he adds brightly. Don’t they have people to save? One of them is on the tip of his tongue. Green strapping fellow with a silly name? Sulkling maybe.
The truth is always the best lie, isn’t it? his conscience in the form of Kid Loki remarks. Shut up! he replies angrily.
Meanwhile in Mother’s dimension, Teddy asks what that was about, referring to the kiss. It’s simple and complicated, David replies. Basically, if they are actually going to die here he had to know what it was like kissing him. He kinda hopes they do die now.
Teddy asks since when he is gay. His wiki page needs an update. He’s bi, David clarifies. Never said that out loud. Does Teddy know how his powers worked? Picking up everything except powers from people? Well, he got everything. And when his mutation went crazy and he got everything he’d ever absorbed… he got everything.
Wasn’t that strange? Teddy marvels. No, that’s the strange thing. It was like an awakening. Like realizing something that was always true and he couldn’t see it before. It was like all the rooms in his head opening. Didn’t matter though. In the last few years, he’s always been about the work. Never real time to be with anyone. And now? Facing death… Teddy is so good with Billy. Who wouldn’t want a slice of that, even for a second? Everyone says they’re perfect together. He doesn’t think they realize it’s only perfect because of Teddy!
“Ha, you know nothing, David Alleyne,” Teddy laughs sadly. They are a mess. A happy mess, but a mess. Mostly he’s scared to death. Billy is a reality warper. He suspects Billy could be making Teddy love him. Not deliberately but…
David understands. If they get out of here, Teddy should get some space to see if it clears his head.
Meanwhile, in another dimension, Loki announces he knows the way to Mother’s dominion. How? Miss America asks. From when he rescued Billy the first time, he replies. How did he find it then? America insists. He was prepared to track any parasite after Billy’s mistake, he retorts. Why is she so fascinated by Billy Kaplan? Billy shouts at them to table this until after they save his boyfriend. And David, Kate adds.
He has a bad idea, Loki announces. That’s a surprise, America remarks. A good idea involving bad ideas, he adds. And if it’s not a surprise, they are in trouble.
In Mother’s dimension, Mother finds the two boys. A moment later, the other Young Avengers come crashing in. They grab their friends and run. Loki adds they brought friends. They are followed by a group of nightmarish versions of themselves they have seen in the dimensions. Not strictly friends, Loki corrects himself. More acquaintances. They fear they may be the bad influences they have heard so much about.
Dirty little children! Mother snarls and entangles the newcomers while the Young Avengers free their teammates. One more dimension, Loki tells America, unless her toes are all hurt and she wants to have a nice little sit-down. She’s good for at least two more kicks, she replies and kicks the ground. One to get them home. And one to take off his head. Charmingly, he informs her he is making her angry to give her sufficient time.
Kate and Noh-Varr defend their backs. He tells her to go. He could do without losing another girlfriend. Kate scoffs at the implied sexism.
Without looking around, Mother asks Kate when her birthday is. She smirks. A very special girl. All grown up. “My side soon.”
Noh-varr drags Kate through the doorway.
They land on Earth, where they started, where the Fake Patriot is waiting. At last he announces. tic-tock-tic-tic.Then he vanishes.
America wants to follow, but Prodigy points out he’s been playing with them. He could have killed them by leading them to a deadly dimension. The others look pensive. Smartest guy in the room is smartest guy in the room, Teddy admits. Hey! Loki protests. It was all for nothing, Billy states beaten. Kate points out they know more than they did. The others agree. Teddy remarks she really is the grown up one.
Later at dinner, Loki wonders if Mother and the Patriot are working together. Prodigy muses that Patriot led them to Mother, then left. It strikes him as more of an alliance than a partnership. Loki agrees. This whole situation brings together the strangest bedfellows.
Kate wonders if the bad-dimension creatures could kill Mother. They are not that lucky, Loki replies.
Billy asks what’s going on with that Demiurge stuff. Nonchalantly, Loki tells him he is a singular, multi-dimensional messiah. He is going to rewrite the rules of magic and all the implications of that at decision are going to echo forward and backward across all realities. It’s no biggie. Why does he think Mother is so interested in him? It’s not because of that adorable floppy fringe.
Miss America tells Billy not to read too much into it. He could be the most important person in reality. So could lots of people. So what is it to her? Billy demands. He needs to know. America remains silent and glares. Billy backs off. Loki warns him he doesn’t want her angry with him. Living in fear of having a new secret identity as the “the boy with the head orbiting the planet” is no fun whatsoever.
A bowl of noodles later:
Teddy and Billy leave. What’s the plan? Teddy asks. Billy explains Loki carries on teaching him so that they can go head on with Mother and they work on a way to get to Tommy that doesn’t involve chasing a Lovecraft cosplay version of their old teammate across all realities.
Maybe that’ll be easier. There’s no spell stopping adults from seeing the problem with Tommy missing. If they can get Dr. Strange away from New York, they can ask him for advice… He admits to actually being optimistic for once. He can handle this!
Good, Teddy agrees. That means Billy won’t need him. Though it hurts him to do so, Teddy comes clear about his doubts, which Billy understands and they agree to Teddy leaving.
Later in Austin, Texas, Teddy is at a café, talking to his therapist. He explains he left Billy. Not really left, he is just away from him. It’s the only way to know. He isn’t sure about the whole group. He can’t believe there is one for people like him.
He’d be surprised, the therapist answers. This lifestyle leaves casualties and causes harm. He is almost lucky. He’s just concerned. Not bitter. Some people harbor the most terrible grudges, a young twentyish Leah tells him. He’s not so unusual. It’ll all turn out for the best. Does she really believe that? Teddy asks. She does. They all get to write their own happy ending, Leah promises.