“Oh no,” Wade says, and he backs away. And crosses himself. And then reverse crosses himself, just in case, because he can never remember which order to go across the shoulders, and also, a double-cross never hurt anybody.
Or at least, that kind of double-cross.
Because here’s the thing: when you’re babysitting your boyfriend’s kid while he’s away at a conference and her dance studio calls to say that she and the new girl started causing trouble, that’s one thing. And when you find out that it’s all face-making and spaghetti-arm dancing and not following directions, you think, well, there’s nothing wrong about that. And you drive from the coffee shop where you were mainlining espresso because you went to bed at one after a Skype call with your boyfriend turned dirty and then got up at seven with his grinny daughter and you totally and completely assume that everything is fine and dandy—
Until Bruce Banner is scolding the other kid.
Like, disappointed-faced and hands on his hips scolding. Full-on dad mode, enough that you remember that Clint said they’d started fostering a daughter and it all skids to this weird stop in your head and—
Hope tackles Wade around the waist about the time Banner sees him, so there’s some undignified squeaking and staggering and blushing while Banner frowns. Banner’s not-kid smiles like she’s afraid she’s about to get talked to again.
“Hi,” Wade says, and not to Hope.
“Wade,” Banner says, in that voice that suggests he wants to crawl into a hole and die. He spends a second looking at Hope before his eyes flick back up to Wade. “Nathan’s away for the weekend?”
Ew, who calls Nate Nathan? That’s just gross. “Kind of, yeah,” he says. Banner frowns. “I mean, yeah, he is. He’s totally away, and I thought someone might actually listen at dance class—” He signs that part as he says it, and there is Hope’s face falling like a girl who remembered she’s done wrong, good. “—but I think maybe the ice cream for breakfast was a bad idea.”
Hope snottily informs him that it was a great idea—signs can be snotty—and Banner smiles a little. “From what I understand, she didn’t start it.”
“We were just making faces!” Banner’s not-kid complains. Banner shoots her a look, and she crosses her arms. “It wasn’t bad,” she grumbles, mostly at her bare feet.
“Faces are the gateway drug to all sorts of worse things, like cigarettes and murder,” Wade offers, but since he can’t sign that, he just says it really sternly and while looking at Hope. She can’t really read what he’s saying off his lips, because she scowls. But when he glances up at Banner, he just looks kind of amused. “Sorry,” he says limply.
“It’s okay,” Banner says, like maybe he means it.
Maybe. Wade’s not sure.
So he sends Nate a text message warning him about the possible child welfare case for failing to teach his not-daughter not to interrupt dance class with stupid faces, just in case.