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30 January 2008 @ 06:50 pm
Fic: Classic-verse 1.2 (Hank/Jan, PG)  
Title: Classic-verse 1.2
Authors: seanchai and elspethdixon
Disclaimer: The characters and situations depicted herein belong to Stan Lee and Marvel comics. No profit is being made off of this derivative work. We're paid in love, people.
Comic: Avengers (volume 1)
Pairings: Hank/Jan.
Rated: PG
Warnings: ... Fluff?
Author's Note: AU conceived as a modern retelling of early Avengers. Of course, there are about six seasons planned, so it won't end up mirroring canon completely.
Summary: Sequel to Classic-verse 1.1. Hank and Jan's attempt at a date is less than successful.



Late August in New York was breathlessly hot; it hadn't rained in a week, despite the air's humidity, and there wasn't the hint of a breeze to be found. It was hot enough that Jan was beginning to wish she hadn't worn her Wasp costume under her sundress, or that she'd insisted she and Hank sit in the café's air-conditioned interior, and never mind the fact that the street-side table was more romantic. At least her straw sunhat gave her a tiny bit of shade.

The romantic potential seemed to be completely lost on Hank, anyway. Not only had he not dressed up, he hadn't even noticed Jan's sundress, unless commenting that it was very pink counted. Nor had he noticed that she'd gotten a new haircut. He'd noticed the new earrings, but that was only because they were shaped like ladybugs.

The two of them were currently sitting at one of the café's small, round tables, a pair of menus open between them, talking about "work."

"I've been thinking," Hank was saying, staring absently at the menu, "our uniforms are impregnated with Pym particles and shrink or grow with us, right?"

"Right," Jan agreed. "And thank god. It would be much harder to get people to take us seriously if we were naked." She smiled teasingly, inviting Hank to smile back.

"Yes!" Hank nodded, and waved one hand at her. "Your costume shrinks down because it's touching you when you activate the Pym particles. But I've been thinking; if I can find a way to extend the effect of the mass-transfer to a wider area, make it require less bodily contact, then anything that you're touching that's been treated with the particles ought to be able to shrink."

Jan nodded at him, gesturing with one hand for him to go on.

"If I can figure out how to do that, we can take things with us when we shrink! All you'd have to do it grab the object, shrink down while holding it, and then return it to normal size when you grew again." He mimed grabbing something, then raised and lowered one hand to indicate the size changing process. "I might even be able to get an object to remain miniaturized after I've changed back."

That honestly would be pretty useful. One persistent problem with the Wasp form was that, even though she could fly, she was too small to carry much of anything with her. "Or get something to grow and leave it giant-sized?" she suggested, starting to get into the discussion despite the fact that it wasn't what she'd intended to spend their lunch date talking about.

Hank shook his head. "That would be more complicated. Not impossible, but I haven't been able get growing to work as smoothly as shrinking yet."

"I don't know about that," Jan said, giving him a flirtatious smile. "I think you looked pretty good facing off against those gunmen the other day."

"Not as good as Captain America." Hank shook his head once more, this time with what looked like bemusement. "I've never seen anyone move like that. I've studied the super-soldier serum; it enhances your reflexes and endurance, but it doesn't give you any actual super powers beyond a minor healing factor. I never realized how good he was. He's going be a valuable addition to the team."

"Those old black and white news reels and propaganda posters just don't prepare you for the real deal," Jan agreed. "But then, I've always had a thing for tall, blond men," she went on, arching her eyebrows and hoping that Hank would finally get the hint.

"I can be tall," he said, sounding slightly wounded.

Arg! Why was it so hard to hit on this man? "Yes," she said. "And you're even blond." She was about to add, "and not bad-looking, either," when the waiter appeared.

"And what will the young lady be having?" he asked her, pencil poised over his order pad.

"Summer salad," she told him, "with the vinaigrette dressing. And a diet coke." As the waiter turned to Hank, she belatedly remembered that the café's dessert menu included Italian gelato, which would be nice on such a stiflingly hot day. She'd mention it when Hank was done.

Hank ordered himself a sandwich, then added, "and we'd like the blackberry gelato for desert."

"Does that meet with the lady's approval?"

Ice cream wasn't one of Hank's favorite desserts; he had to have asked for it in the hopes that she would like it. Jan beamed at the waiter. "It sounds lovely."

As soon as the man was out of earshot, Hank picked up the conversation again. "He's settling in pretty well, too. I'd thought he'd by overwhelmed be all the modern technology."

Jan shrugged, adjusting her sunhat slightly. "It probably helps that he's got Iron Man to explain how everything works to him. I never knew Iron Man was so well-versed in the way Stark Enterprise's technology operates."

"He should be," Hank said, lips twitching for a moment. "I mean, he designed it." He frowned then, adding, "Well, his boss did, and he probably heard all about it during the design phases, being Tony's bodyguard, and-"

"So you think he's Tony, too," Jan interrupted. She'd had suspicions for a while, ever since Iron Man first appeared on the scene, and they had only gotten stronger after they'd ended up working together. She had never known Tony very well, before he'd begun funding the Avengers, but what she had known had suggested that the chances of him designing something as gratuitously cool as the Iron Man armor and not trying it out himself were minimal. A man who'd built and tested his own race cars wasn't likely to pass up the chance to play around with rocketboots.

She'd had suspicions for a while, but she wasn't the first one who'd voiced them. "And ha," she added, "you broke the no trying to find out each others' identities rule first."

"Some rule," Hank snorted. "Iron Man's the only one of us who has a secret identity. Unless Thor takes off his helmet and poses as a mild-mannered reporter or something, which I doubt."

"Good point. All right, spill. Why do you think he's Tony?"

"You first," Hank returned.

"The two of us spent a significant portion of our childhood being dragged to the same dull society events, where I had to act cute while doddering old businessmen pinched my cheeks. Tony spent the entire year he was nine -- or maybe ten -- hiding in the cloakroom with a bunch of homemade robots. There's no way he'd give up his chance to play real life robot to some hired employee."

Hank nodded. "Makes sense, I guess."

"So how did you guess?"

Hank grinned, and spread his hands out. "Have you ever heard anyone else call me 'Highpockets?'"

"Actually, no." Now that he'd pointed it out, she'd never heard anyone other than Tony refer to Hank that way until Iron Man had called him that during the fight outside Fury's barber shop. "What does that name even mean?"

"You've got me." Hank shrugged. "He came up with it the first time we met, at one of those big scientific conferences. I was demonstrating the results of some of the early Pym particle experiments, and he was showing off some of SE's new miniaturized circuitry patents. I didn't bother to ask why; I was too busy being grateful that I wasn't the youngest or most disliked person there anymore."

"The scientific community doesn't like you because half of them are still jealous over being shown up by a graduate student." They'd been convinced that Hank's mass-transfer theory was unworkable in practice, enough so that two different universities had denied him research grants. They'd changed their tune dramatically after the first time they saw Jan shrink and fly around the room. "What's their problem with him?"

"Five minutes before one of the senior engineers from NASA was going to present, Tony took his scale display model apart and put it back together backwards. And it worked better."

"I bet the two of you were young, naïve, and adorable. You always did look cute in a lab coat."

"Really?" Hank asked, and Jan wasn't sure, but she thought he might be blushing a little. .

"Really," she told him. "Especially all hunched over a chromatograph."

Hank smiled, a sudden breath of wind ruffling his hair. He was blushing, she decided. It was adorable.

And thank god there was finally a breeze.

The wind rustled the fronds of the potted palm by the café door, blew Jan's napkin off the table, and then a sudden, harder gust swept her sunhat off her head, sending it tumbling into the street.

"Hey!" Jan yelped, jumping to her feet and making an unsuccessful grab for the hat. "That was brand new!"

Then she froze. A miniature tornado was racing towards them down the exact center of the street, cars rattling in its path. As Jan watched, an orange moped flipped over and went skidding across the sidewalk, straight into a lamppost.

"That's not natural," Hank said. He was standing too, now, frowning at the mini-twister. "New York city doesn't have the right weather patterns for-"

And then the tornado darted across to their side of the street, coming up onto the sidewalk and bearing down on them, blowing the tablecloth off the empty table in front of them before sending the entire table crashing onto its side.

The tornado halted mere feet away, and its spinning came to a halt to reveal a man in an ugly green costume, wearing a helmet with a pair of upswept fins protruding from either side. "Prepare to meet your match, Avengers," the man proclaimed, "at the hands of…" he paused dramatically, "the Human Top!"

"The Human Top?" Jan repeated. She ought to be fighting already, not standing there gaping at him, but honestly, the Human Top?

"Wouldn't something like The Twister or Tornado have been more dignified?" Hank asked.

The waiter ran out of the café, looking alarmed. "What was that crash? Is anybody-" he took one look at the "Human Top," and broke off mid-sentence. "Nevermind," he said. "I'm calling the cops, mister. Those tables are restaurant property." He turned around and darted back inside.

The Human Top snorted. "As if the cops could catch me."

"They won't need to," Hank said. He took a step toward the man, visibly increasing in height as he did so. "The two of us will take care of that part."

The Human Top laughed, and began spinning, so fast he became a green blur. "You're the one I'm here for, anyway, blondie." Hank, now at twelve feet, threw a punch with one large fist, and the green tornado-shape moved effortlessly out of the way.

Jan shrank down, out of the sundress and shoes, and launched herself into the air. He might be able to spin out of the way of a blow, but he'd find it harder to dodge her sting.

The energy blast caught the spinning blur dead center, and the Human Top came to a staggering halt, facing Jan. "I'll make you pay for that," he yelled, one hand pressed to a small burn on his shoulder. He started spinning again, directly towards her, and the wind generated by his motion blew her back into the café's blue-and-white-striped awning.

Jan grabbed hold of the fabric, bracing herself against the blast of nearly gale-force wind. All right. Flying was clearly out.

She let herself slide down the awning until she was gripping the metal bar that held up the fabric, then let herself grow back to normal size, dropping to the ground.

"Da-amn." The cat call came from inside the tornado-blur. "This job just got a lot more fun. Anything else you want to take off, baby?"

"It's like fighting the Tasmanian Devil," Jan announced, "right down to the incomprehensible grunting and snarling noises."

The Human Top darted toward Hank again, and he swung out of the way just in time, throwing another unsuccessful punch at him. "I'm expecting the drooling to start any time now," he said.

"Joke all ya want," the Human Top snapped. "You haven't even touched me yet."

"We need to slow him down somehow," Hank called to Jan, as the Human Top came at him again, this time too quickly for him to dodge. Hank went tumbling backwards over the flipped-over table, and fell to the ground with a crash, the edges of the tablecloth fluttering around him.

Tablecloth. Jan turned and snatched the cloth off the table she and Hank had been sitting at, edging closer to the Human Top as he loomed over Hank, still spinning..

"You're gonna make me a lot of money, big guy," the Human Top said, and then Jan threw the tablecloth over his head.

The fabric was immediately caught in the Human Top's vortex, whipping around him and tangling his limbs. He slowed his spin until he was clearly visible again, tugging the tablecloth free, and Hank came to his feet and tackled him into the pavement.

"Is this enough touching for you?" he asked, and then slammed the Top's face into the sidewalk, eliciting a dazed grunt from the man.

Jan could hear police sirens in the distance now; the waiter had made good on his threat to call the cops. "The cavalry's on it's way, gorgeous," she said. "Let's see if we can hold him down until they get here."

Hank grew another five or six feet, and shifted his weight until he was sitting on the Top's back. Jan retrieved the tablecloth from the ground and twisted it into a makeshift rope, using it to tie his ankles together.

By the time the police got there, the waiter had brought them both their drinks. On the house.

The date hadn't been a complete failure, Jan decided, as she watched Hank sip ice water from what was now a ridiculously small glass. At least they'd gotten to do something together.

* * *



Posting Daniel Cannon's bail cost Hammer more than the man's services were actually worth, and cost even more when the expense inherent in working through intermediaries was added in. However, he couldn't afford to leave Cannon in jail; the longer the city's law enforcement personnel had to question him, and the higher the chances that Cannon would let slip who had hired him.

Cannon was now standing in front of Hammer's desk, his idiot helmet in his hands, attempting to look contrite. "It was an honest mistake, boss. You said the guy was blond. You never said the Avengers had two blond guys. And anyway, this was the one whose picture was in the paper last month."

"The Avengers have three blond men," Hammer snapped. "I had assumed you would be capable of telling which one was Captain America, given that he wears the bloody American flag on his chest."

"He was in street clothes. I tailed him from the Mansion, was going to strike when the others weren't around. I didn't know the girl had powers, too. I thought she was just his date."

"Apparently, his date didn't need powers to defeat you. All she required was a tablecloth. You're fired, Cannon. I want you out of the country by tomorrow, and if I hear a whisper that you've spoken my name to anyone, I will be very, very displeased."

Cannon wasn't as stupid as he looked. He left without a word, replacing his helmet as he went.

El Presidente Zemo would be most displeased by this turn of events. El Presidente Zemo would just have to deal with disappointment. Hammer had other things on his plate than capturing Captain America.

The super soldier could wait a little while, until Hammer found a better class of hired super-power to send after him. For the time being, he would turn his attention to the thorn in his own side. Stark Enterprises.
 
 
 
Troasaurus Rex: IM - I'm SUPER AWESOMEmegalotro on January 31st, 2008 12:28 am (UTC)
Woo! Exciting moar fic!

I love Jan in this so much :) And Hank. But Jan's just too perfect! I have faith in her ability to overcome even Hank's awkwardness :)

Of course their discussion about Tony just made me squee :)

And the Human Top *snork* I love incompetent badguys and the eyerolling superheroes must do when confronted with them.

AWESOME :)

-Tro
Elspethelspethdixon on January 31st, 2008 10:29 pm (UTC)
Yay! Early Hank & Jan are exra nice to write, because all of the horrible things haven't happened yet, so they're just fluffy and cute.

And the Human Top *snork* I love incompetent badguys and the eyerolling superheroes must do when confronted with them.

The Human Top was what Whirlwind started out calling himself, when he first showed up in Tales to Astonish. It was too gloriously stupid-sounding not to use (and nicely convenient that Whirlwind started out as one of Hank & Jan's villains, and then later appeared in Iron Man working for Hammer).
runenklinge: beetlerunenklinge on January 31st, 2008 12:41 am (UTC)
A man who'd built and tested his own race cars wasn't likely to pass up the chance to play around with rocketboots.


awesome line^^
it´s great that you continue the classic verse^^

and oblivious!Hank was adorable^^
Elspeth: Hank&Janelspethdixon on February 2nd, 2008 05:41 pm (UTC)
Hank is always adorable! (well, almost always. There were some distinctly non-adorable moments around Avengers #212-213-ish).

it´s great that you continue the classic verse^^

We've got a boatload of outlines for it, so we're probably going to be continuing it for some time to come, though it's kind of taking a backseat to the Tiberius Stone fic at the moment.
schmevil: wasp (giant)schmevil on January 31st, 2008 06:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks for giving me an excuse to use this new icon. *g*

Arg! Why was it so hard to hit on this man?

Jan has her work cut out for her because Hank is almost as clueless as Reed Richards. She and Sue should compare brilliant-scientist-snaring strategies.
Elspeth: Hank&Janelspethdixon on January 31st, 2008 10:24 pm (UTC)
Your icon is awesome (I love Jan's black&gold costume; I think it's my favorite of all her many costume designs). Is it from that section of vol3 where they go to England?

Hank is almost as clueless as Reed Richards. She and Sue should compare brilliant-scientist-snaring strategies.

They should. I swear Sue helped her pick out the dress for her wedding (not that that worked out very well, since... yeah).
schmevil: wasp (giant)schmevil on February 2nd, 2008 01:58 am (UTC)
Yes it is. Coipel's art really redeems that era of Avengers. Captain Britain was also fairly awesome.

I swear Sue helped her pick out the dress for her wedding

*nod* And Jan actually designed Sue's 'invisible' costume.
CrimsonQuills: SteveTonyShreddingSuitcrimsonquills on February 2nd, 2008 04:49 am (UTC)
Oh, incompetent classic-era villains! They're so much fun. *grins* And the fight scene was great. I'm glad I've read some older Avengers with Hank and Jan now--it makes me appreciate it so much more when they're well done. :-)

Predictably, my favorite part was probably their discussion of Tony's not-so-secret identity. But the end of the fight scene, this part...

Hank grew another five or six feet, and shifted his weight until he was sitting on the Top's back. Jan retrieved the tablecloth from the ground and twisted it into a makeshift rope, using it to tie his ankles together.

By the time the police got there, the waiter had brought them both their drinks. On the house.


...runs an extremely close second. :-) :-)
Elspeth: AdventuresHankJanelspethdixon on February 10th, 2008 05:39 am (UTC)
Oh, incompetent classic-era villains! They're so much fun. *grins* And the fight scene was great. I'm glad I've read some older Avengers with Hank and Jan now--it makes me appreciate it so much more when they're well done. :-)

*grins* seanchai and I seem to be stealth converting people into Hank & Jan fans as well as Steve/Tony fans. I'm really glad the fight scene came out well--it was the hardest part of the fic, trying to come up with a way from them to effectively go hand-to-hand with a guy who moves that quickly.

And Tony's not-so-secret-identity is always good for some snark.
crimsonquills on February 23rd, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC)
*grins* seanchai and I seem to be stealth converting people into Hank & Jan fans as well as Steve/Tony fans.

*grins* It's true! But when I think about it for a minute, it's not that surprised. There's a lot that's similar between Hank and Jan's relationship and Steve and Tony's relationship, except not unrequited. Of course, you two are also the ones who got me thinking that way, with that scene in Readjustment. *g*

I'm really glad the fight scene came out well--it was the hardest part of the fic, trying to come up with a way from them to effectively go hand-to-hand with a guy who moves that quickly.

Writing fight scenes between people with superpowers really does carry all of it's own challenges. I realized in the middle of writing one of the fight scenes for A Meeting of Minds that one of the hard parts of writing a fight for the Avengers is not having it end too quickly! I needed low power villains, but then I was able to think of a billion ways to defeat them immediately. I kept thinking, "How did these guys challenge them in the first place?!?" *grins*
helva2260: fangirlhelva2260 on February 2nd, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC)
Oooh! Lots of excited squees! I love finding new Avengers fic from the two of you!

I could pretty much quote the entire story to illustrate all the bits I liked, and why - but somehow I don't think it would fit! I did particularly love the bit where they ended up discussing why they were sure Tony Stark was Iron Man - Jan and her memories of Tony's robots and race-cars was perfect counter-balance to Tony's previous wondering if Jan suspected his identity, and Hank noticing the "Highpockets" thing (I'd noticed that myself, but hadn't read enough canon to know if it was coincidence that Tony seemed to be the only one using that nickname).

It was all totally giggle-worthy, but the throw-away line about Thor... "Iron Man's the only one of us who has a secret identity. Unless Thor takes off his helmet and poses as a mild-mannered reporter or something, which I doubt." ...was just the icing on the cake *g*.

And then, right at the end, it all turns out to have been a case of mistaken identity! Score: Avengers 2, Bungling Not-So-Super-Villains -20!

...Incidentally, this story will be going on the Tales of Suspense Archive, won't it? Since it's part of your Avengers Classic series?
Elspeth: AdventuresHankJanelspethdixon on February 10th, 2008 05:49 am (UTC)
Oooh! Lots of excited squees! I love finding new Avengers fic from the two of you!

And we love hearing that! Good reviews are one of the things that make all of the writing worthwhile.

I did particularly love the bit where they ended up discussing why they were sure Tony Stark was Iron Man - Jan and her memories of Tony's robots and race-cars was perfect counter-balance to Tony's previous wondering if Jan suspected his identity, and Hank noticing the "Highpockets" thing (I'd noticed that myself, but hadn't read enough canon to know if it was coincidence that Tony seemed to be the only one using that nickname).

In the original early volume one stuff, Jan and Tony both call Hank "Highpockets," but we decided to make it a Tony-specific nickname here (specifically so it could be the red flag that tipped Hank off to Tony and Iron Man being the same person). Tony's secret identity is really kind of obvious when people know him well (Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts, his chauffer and secretary, both figure it out on their own in early Iron Man canon, then spend several amusing issues trying not to "reveal" Tony's secret to each other).

It was all totally giggle-worthy, but the throw-away line about Thor... "Iron Man's the only one of us who has a secret identity. Unless Thor takes off his helmet and poses as a mild-mannered reporter or something, which I doubt." ...was just the icing on the cake *g*.

*grins* Yay! Bonus Clark Kent reference worked. The other Avengers are going to be floored when they finally meet Don Blake and discover that Thor actually does have a secret identity.

And then, right at the end, it all turns out to have been a case of mistaken identity! Score: Avengers 2, Bungling Not-So-Super-Villains -20!

It's so hard for supervillains to get good help these days ^_^.

...Incidentally, this story will be going on the Tales of Suspense Archive, won't it? Since it's part of your Avengers Classic series?

Yep. It's not up yet, but it will probably get posted up there in the next round of updates.
hohaiyee: a touch of lifehohaiyee on February 6th, 2011 09:35 pm (UTC)
re: Classic ii
"The Avengers have three blond men,"

They need to form a post-punk band...

Jan is awesome, and Hank is adorable. Ultimateverse can be interesting...but I think I like Classicverse the best.

Oh and earlier, I like how Tony was worried about the subway overwhelming Steve, but it didn't, cause Steve's time actually had a subway? Wow! I didn't know that! The cellphone one? Well, even now, I still find the public use of bluetooth awkward. I remember a time when strangers talked to each other on the bus, before the ipod, but now, it's awkward wondering if someone is speaking to you or their earpiece.

*joins Old Man Stewart in shaking an angry fist at that*