“I am telling you that that organization is doing some shady things with children…” Happy complained to Pepper as they made their way to her office.
Pepper rolled her eyes “Happy, honestly… do you really think Agent Coulson would molest children…”
“That’s because you didn’t see it…” Happy argued “That kid is my protégé so I can tell he is in love with Coulson… SHIELD is stealing the camel…”
“You mean ‘stealing the cradle’…” Pepper corrected as she giggled at Happy’s antics.
Happy shook his head in disagreement “I mean SHIELD is stealing the camel… that kid is very strong like a camel… just do me a favor and talk to the kid… I would hate to see him hooked up with such an old guy like Coulson…”
Pepper barely managed to stifle a laugh as she spun around and nodded at Happy seriously while gesturing for him to enter a nearby door where Tony was waiting to talk to him.
Just before Happy could enter, Pepper paused him and whispered “Just don’t run your theories by Tony… he is focusing on things right now…”
“You mean the Avengers Initiative?”
“You know about that?”
“Of course…” Happy nodded tiredly “Every time he gets slightly tipsy, he starts complaining about how he doesn’t qualify… I am tired of hearing it…”
Pepper sighed, shaking her head and walking down the hall while thinking it was exactly like Tony to not give a rat’s ass about super-secret government programs.
“You called, Boss?” Happy yelled, knocking on the door as he entered the room.
There were 3Dimensional projections floating in the air that quickly disappeared with a wave of Tony’s hands.
Without even glancing at Happy, Tony pulled a bag from the table and tossed it to him “Inside is my credit cards… vacation plans and a bunch of errands I want you to take care of… you’ll be taking Pepper to Washington to break ground on two new Stark buildings…”
Happy opened the bag and immediately noticed something “This is your ‘In case something bad happens’ bag… what’s up Tony?”
Tony shrugged nonchalantly “Just in case something happens…” he replied dismissively and that was all the answers Happy needed for him to agree without hesitation.
“Oh…” Tony shouted just as Happy was about to exit the door and call the pilot for Stark’s private jet “Don’t use the bathroom on my private jet… I had to buy a new one because I couldn’t use the toilet without thinking about your ass on the same seat as me…”
“Sure thing Boss!” Happy yelled, exiting the door and heading down the hall towards Pepper as he made a silent vow to use the toilet on Stark’s new jet as well.
Mirio got off work and walked out of Stark Industries as if he was floating on clouds.
Now Mirio’s concern was finding souvenirs for Eri and everyone else to bring back from his awesome trip to another Universe.
Honestly, he didn’t really have a reason to be happy but judging by Agent Coulson’s aura, Mirio had the impression that SHIELD was truly capable of finding him a way home.
Agent Coulson looked like someone who could get shit done and that was all that Mirio required.
Trapped in another Universe with no idea how to make it home, Mirio would have accepted the help of a talking rabbit if he could find one due to desperation.
SHIELD had just shifted his desperation from random things to them so Mirio felt a load off his shoulders that made every step towards Christine’s workplace that much lighter.
With his worries mostly alleviated, though not entirely gone, Mirio finally found the time to worry about other things such as the list Christine had asked him to come up with.
After all, someone as logically inclined as Christine wanted empirical data and proofs about why they should be together, and Mirio didn’t blame her since he wasn’t exactly sure how dating worked.
Actually, some part of him felt like he had slept with a thousand women and knew how each and every one of them ticked, but he mostly felt like a virgin about to be touched for the very first time.
The conflicting feelings could, of course, be attributed to the will inside his quirk but that made him even more confused since his quirk had all but disappeared.
Sometimes during the night, Mirio would run into the walls in hopes of reactivating his quirk but nothing worked.
The only thing he could think about was instinctual activation of his quirk by being put in mortal danger but that was absurd since it was possible he would die should the hypothesis be proven incorrect.
Thankfully, Brian had conducted several tests on Mirio and had recently told Mirio that he was close to a breakthrough since he found something strange in Mirio’s DNA.
Mirio surmised that it was the Quirk Factor but mentioned nothing about it since he wasn’t naïve enough to share classified information from his Universe with Brian.
The only reason he was entertaining tests in the first place was due to the fact that he needed his quirk reactivated. He had the nagging feeling that he would need his quirk in this world.
A couple of minutes later, Mirio strode into Metro – General Hospital just as the sun was setting behind the skyscrapers in the distance.
Of course, it was not as beautiful as the sunset he would see in Japan but America had its own advantages as well.
At first, when he used to visit Christine at work, Mirio would be forced to wait at the entrance but after a week of waiting without missing a single day, everyone recognized him as Christine’s nephew more or less.
Mirio arriving at the hospital to pick up Christine had become routine and sometimes he would even bring Jessica along since the mischievous girl didn’t like to wait around at home.
It was also a bit disappointing that Jessica and her parents would be leaving in a couple of days, and that was also the reason Christine didn’t want him to stick around the house much longer.
Jessica’s parents acted as a kind of buffer for Christine and Mirio who were obviously attracted to each other, and Christine wasn’t sure what would transpire between them with all hindrances gone.
Mirio swerved through the corridors checking door after door for Christine’s location.
He had an idea of where she was likely to be, but things were always hectic in a hospital so he didn’t find it unreasonable to check all the doors on the way.
Turning another corridor to the locker room, Mirio paused when he saw Christine’s hand clasped between Dr. Strange’s hands in an obscure part of the locker room.
She was twirling her hair and showing that unique, giddy smile she did whenever they had their late-night drinking sessions.
Mirio felt a slight sting in his heart since, as inexperienced as he was, even he could tell that she was somewhat flirting with Dr. Strange.
‘I guess I lost before it even began huh?’ Mirio mocked sullenly inside his mind, his spirit taking another deep dive into depression.
The entire time he thought that Christine was holding back because of their age difference but from what he could see, Christine already had enough of a reason to say ‘no’ to him.
Mirio coughed twice to notify Christine and Dr. Strange of his presence, but while Christine gazed at him in shock and tried to retrieve her hand from Dr. Strange, the latter simply glanced at Mirio dismissively, not relenting.
“Kid… can you come back later? I and your aunt are talking business…” Dr. Strange stated, refusing to release Christine’s hand from his own.
Christine’s heart jumped when she saw Mirio look at her hand clasped in Dr. Strange’s and though they were not dating, she felt like she was somehow betraying Mirio by entertaining Dr. Strange even a little.
Usually, she wouldn’t have been so tolerant to Dr. Strange but ever since the morning, Mirio calling her an ‘experienced’ woman had been replaying in her mind and it made her angrier and angrier throughout the day.
Actually, now that she thought about it, Christine kind of knew on some unconscious level that Mirio was coming around this time and she specifically allowed Dr. Strange to take a hold of her hand just a minute before Mirio would usually arrive.
‘What am I doing?’ She questioned herself but couldn’t acknowledge the answer.
She was angry and hurt from something Mirio said without knowing better, he was a kid after all and didn’t understand how the minds of women worked.
Still, she wasn’t such a vindictive person that she should want to hurt Mirio the same way she felt hurt, but for some reason or another, Christine found herself doing just that.
Being around Mirio, having late-night drinks together, and especially after that kiss they shared the previous night, Christine felt like she was a teenager again and all her emotions were on steroids.
It was like losing her virginity all over again – she thought that Mirio kissing her meant he had to be with her…
If she was hurt, she wanted to hurt him… if he kissed her, she would kiss him much more intensely… if she caught him looking at Jessica, she would kick him out of the house…
That was how much her emotional maturity had reverted after knowing Mirio for only a week. There was a certain heroic brightness to him that Christine knew would attract many women, and that made her a bit angry.
Mirio gritted his teeth at the arrogance oozing off Dr. Strange “I think we should go ‘aunt’…”
Christine frowned when Mirio called her ‘aunt’ because it was in such a way that he was implying that she was old “Fine…” she huffed, pulling her hand from Dr. Strange’s and brushing past Mirio, not forgetting to bump into his shoulder out of anger.
“I’ll call you later…” Dr. Strange yelled as Christine exited the locker room.
“Don’t bother!!” Christine and Mirio yelled back simultaneously as they exited the locker room one after the other.