Disclaimer: Don't own, don't care, don't sue.
(Hells Kitchen, New York City, Heroes For Hire Office, September 14th 2016, 2:15am)
"Stop glaring at me." Zane said, never taking his eyes off the email Naomi had sent him. "You're not gonna change my mind."
Anastasia glared harder. Zane sighed and met her gaze head on, lifting a questioning eyebrow. They held the staring contest for a minute before Anastasia finally snapped after hearing her phone go off for the umpteenth time that morning.
"He won't stop texting me!" the blonde exploded, throwing her phone across the room onto a nearby couch. "He's sent me thirteen texts this morning alone!"
"What did you expect?" Zane replied, going back to his email.
Anastasia tugged on her hair harshly. "For him to take the hint maybe? I get that he's excited about working together but he's getting on my nerves!"
Zane sighed again. "Look, Hatter, he's a newbie and a teenage boy. Of course he's going to annoy you, it's what he's designed to do."
"That's all well and good but the words 'personal space' don't seem to be in his vocabulary." she collapsed into her chair next to him as she flicked her wrist. A portal opened beneath her phone, dropping it into her awaiting palm.
"Sorry, kid," Zane patted her shoulder. "but you're pretty much his handler now. That makes him your responsibility, despite Tony appointing Happy of all people." Zane rolled his eyes at Tony's idiotic decision.
Anastasia huffed but agreed. She rested her head on the back of the couch for a second before climbing to her feet. She grabbed her backpack and put it on her shoulder, muttering a goodbye to her leader as she walked out the door.
Peter Parker was the single most oblivious person she had ever met. After Anastasia told him her identity, and schooled him on how much of an idiot he was, he started yammering on about team-ups and training. It got even worse after he fully realized that she was part of a team, meaning she could introduce him to the other members. At one point he had started begging her to set up a meeting between him and the other members of her team. It weirded her out.
After all, who wanted to meet them? Their work consisted of finding kidnapped people, protecting the odd politician or celebrity, and occasionally helping out the Avengers. Most people didn't even know about them, everyone being too busy focusing on the bigger and flashier Avengers team to notice them.
The last time her team and the Avengers had 'joined forces' had been Ultron. Anastasia had managed to save Pietro Maximoff and Clint Barton from the evil robot shooting at them. The speedster had then gone on to woo their doctor friend, Amy. The two of them had been together for almost three years now and were secretly meeting at the Heroes various safehouses around the world. They were sometimes accompanied by Pietro's twin sister, Wanda, and her boyfriend, Vision.
The only time the two teams had met after that was for the Avengers civil war. The Heroes had been firm in the fact that they would not pick sides not matter what. Not to mention the only reason they had even been at the airport was because they had wanted to try to play the mediators. It didn't turn out well.
Rhodey fell out of the sky and would've been killed if Anastasia hadn't thrown a well timed portal at him, dumping him into Zane's awaiting arms. Isaac's arm had been broken by King T'Challa while Faith had gotten a concussion from Scott Lang, accidently of course. The thief had been horrified when he had later been told that Faith had gotten injured. He had offered Faith a free shot to get back at him.
Zane liked him. Faith thought he was annoying.
Then there was the Heroes part-time member, Hunter Silva otherwise known as Outlaw. He was the only one out of the entire team that had killed someone for a contract. He had only done it once and the person he killed hadn't exactly been a saint. But Zane had regardless told him that if he killed again for a contract the older boy had no problem turning him into the police, or worse S.H.I.E.L.D.
Outlaw hadn't killed again.
All in all, the Heroes For Hire team weren't exactly people that you wanted to meet.
Anastasia stepped out of the portal she had made, ending up two blocks from school. She started walking down the street only to give a shriek as she was grabbed around the waist and pulled into the air.
She quickly noted the red-and-blue suit as she wrapped her arms around her kidnappers neck. Her annoyance turned into anger as the web slinger dropped them onto a nearby roof. She dropped her arms form around his neck as he released his hold on her waist. He pulled off his mask, happy-go-lucky grin already in place.
She slapped him upside the head. Hard.
The teenage boy yelped loudly and grabbed the back of his head, staring at her with shock and betrayal. She crossed her arms and glared at him, seething silently. Peter cowered instantly, shuffling a couple steps backward.
"What. The. Hell." she snarled. "You don't just grab me off the street two blocks from school! Actually, you just don't do it period!"
Peter winced as she yelled at him. "I-I'm sorry. I wa-was just excited."
Anastasia stared at him stonily. As she watched his expression crumble further she found her anger mysteriously vanishing. She groaned loudly in defeat, dropping her head into her hands.
"Fine." her voice came out muffled as she spoke. "Just stop looking like I stabbed your puppy."
The vigilante quirked his head in confusion, further solidifying her belief that he was a golden retriever puppy in a humans body. "Okay." he said quietly.
"Just- don't do it again, okay?" she sighed, giving up on her anger completely.
Peter nodded, shuffling his feet awkwardly. Anastasia rolled her eyes at his innocence.
"What were you excited about?" she prompted him, cocking her hip to the side.
Peter's expression lit up. Anastasia felt like she was going to get whiplash from trying to follow his ever-changing emotions. "I wanted to ask if you could introduce me to your team today after school. Can you?" he bounced on his toes, looking happy at the prospect of meeting more vigilante types.
"No." she said bluntly.
"Oh," Peter blinked, expression falling slightly. "why not?"
"Because Longshot is with her family, Blizzard is with Eagle and Agent 17 doing training, Reaper is on a mission, and Command and Guardian are both busy." the portal jumper explained, using everybody's codenames just incase.
Peter nodded intently. "What about that Outlaw guy? And will I ever get to know everyone's names?"
Anastasia shrugged. "Outlaw isn't in the country. He usually shows up if he's bored, in danger, or the-world-is-ending-oh-dear-god type of shit is going down. You'll learn everyone's names when we're sure we can trust you."
Peter stayed quiet as he processed all the information she threw at him before he frowned at her.
"What do you mean 'when we're sure we can trust you'?"
"I can't believe you think I'm untrustworthy." Peter grumbled for the twelfth time that day.
Anastasia rolled her eyes and ignored him. She had already explained why three times, the brunette just wanted something to complain about apparently. Since Peter abducted her off the street they had since walked to school and gone through their first three classes of the day, Peter constantly bringing up his current issue with her.
"I mean, I've kept my identity a secret for like six months!" Peter continued as they walked to the school library to spend their free period.
Anastasia couldn't help but scoff at him. "No, Command has kept your identity a secret for six months. You've tried your hardest to unknowingly ruin all of her work." the blonde corrected him.
Peter opened his mouth to argue but saw the look on her face and quickly closed it. He nodded at her and stayed quiet. Irritation welled up inside the portal jumper when she felt her heart twinge at his crestfallen expression. Why did she care so much about his feelings? Regardless, she sighed and looked around for a private space they could talk in. Spotting a janitors closet she grabbed him by the hand and tugged him in.
The spider-ling stumbled into the closet as she shut the door behind them. She gave a slight smirk at his red face and started talking before he could a word in edge-wise.
"Look, my team and I have enemies. Very dangerous enemies." Anastasia raked her fingers through her hair. "We don't have civilian friends, the only people who know us and what we do are other heroes or their loved ones. Bringing you into the fold when we haven't known you for a long time is terrifying."
"Why?" Peter asked in confusion.
"Because if you slip even once, it's game over." Anastasia looked at him imploringly, hoping he would understand. "If it's not the government arresting us for violating the Accords, it would be everyone we've ever taken a contract out on. All the drug kingpins, terror groups, and human traffickers would show up on our doorstep, ready to kill us or worse. Do you get it now?"
The longer she talked the wider Peter's eyes got. The boy looked horrified at all the scenarios she listed, worry taking over his being. In the end he just nodded silently, taking a moment to gather his thoughts.
"I understand." he answered her, voice low and thoughtful. "I'll be more careful."
Anastasia felt her body instantly relax as she got confirmation that he'd be more careful. "Thank you."
"No problem," he muttered, staring at her endearingly.
Anastasia swallowed as she realized how close the two of them were in the small space. Peter was leaned as far away from as he could be which wasn't a lot. She could feel his warm breath on her face, making her bangs move slightly. Suddenly her mind clicked on, making her pay attention to all the things she had ignored yesterday claiming it was nervousness on her side and awkwardness on his. She kept her expression steady despite wanting to break out into a grin.
She cleared her throat. "Peter,"
"Yeah?" he answered, still staring at her.
"Ready to go to the library now?" she asked, amusement rising up slightly as she watched him snap out of whatever trance he was in. He coughed suspiciously and opened the door, waving her to walk out first.
"Right behind you." he said, his voice sounding strained. She nodded and walked out, letting a devious smirk pass over her lips.
She could get behind this handler thing.