Natasha frowned as she thought about what Sage had said and quickly turned and put a hand on the youth's shoulder as she went to leave, catching her before she even managed to make it a few steps away from the edge of the balcony. "Are you saying that you'd rather not have emotions? Ever?" If that was the case then color the Black Widow concerned; she knew what it was like to not feel anything, but she also knew emotions and thought it was sad that Sage couldn't feel anything.
Sage turned back to the red head and leaned back against the balcony, putting her hands on the rail casually and making a smile towards the Widow. She could understand her point of view. "No, I am not saying that, Natasha; but you have to understand that the situation earlier was weighted heavily against me. I did not know how to handle emotions, and then I was suddenly confronted with quick, heavy emotions; I was angry at the situation, mourning for my father, and stressed out. Everything from the way Loki walked to the fact that I was unable to calm down enough to think bothered me; as you had probably seen when the god and I got to be in the same room. I could not stop yelling at him Natasha. Certainly you can understand my willingness to get back to body; to a form I can control and manage easily."
The female assassin capitulated with a nod of her head. "When you put it like that, I can see how you got to be overwhelmed," she watched as the girl sat on the rail, swinging her legs gently back and forth. "Are you sure you should be up there?"
"I appreciate your concern, I really do Natasha, but I have great balance; unless someone pushes me suddenly, I won't be falling. And for some reason I don't believe that you're going to be pushing me Natasha," Sage smiled softly, leaning back a little and looking up at the cloudy sky.
Smiling, Natasha sat next to her and chuckled a little. "You're sure that you're going to trust me not to push you? I am a heartless killer, you know."
"Killer perhaps, but not heartless; not since I've known you Natasha, which I do realize is a short time."
"Only a week now I believe." Sage nodded confirmation and went silent, thinking for a moment.
"You are very kind to me, Miss Romanoff, which I appreciate highly; though I have to wonder why, because it is in my nature to question such things."
Going silent, the Black Widow thought about how to answer, sighing deeply. "I guess I just sympathize with your situation; you can't feel anything, and I know what that's like. It's not a good way to live and I guess I'm just sorry that you don't even have a choice in it."
Smiling, Sage nodded understanding and pushed down from the railing. "Thank you Natasha. I should really be getting to sleep now; have a good night and pleasant dreams Miss Romanoff," she bid before going to her room and lying on the bed. One of her psychology books was lying out and she put it away, figuring that Loki must have left it out earlier.
Thinking a little about the mischievous God of Lies she turned her attention to the faint presence she felt in the back of her head; it was hurt and bitter, arrogant and needy. Loki, she guessed; a part of him must have stuck to her body when she switched back, and for a moment she entertained the idea that a piece of her had stuck into his body. Perhaps it would help him to think; his emotions were hard to control and impossible to block out, in the experience she had, and it was impossible to think clearly while under their influence.
Still thinking, Sage drifted off easily into a dreamless sleep; hoping that the next week or so would be uneventful.
Loki walked through the small town; it was completely dark and no one was around. It wasn't cold but he was hungry and bitter; clinging to the small island of numb thought. It reminded him of the girl's body, and he sighed; that body was so uncomplicated and easy compared to his.
His stomach growled again and he thought about trying to steal something to eat when it occurred to him that there was probably money in his pocket; and sure enough when he reached into his pants pockets he found a few bills and the cell phone. Counting the money he discovered that it was more than he expected; ninety-six dollars and some change.
Finding a place that sold food late at night he managed to buy something cheap, figuring he should conserve the money, and walked out eating a hamburger. Part of him, the new, logical part, thought that it was wrong to be using the girl's money and he considered calling her briefly to figure out if he should return it or if she'd let him keep it with a blessing, but he dismissed the idea quickly. He didn't know where he stood with her; and she might tell the others that he was still on earth.
After finding a suitable place to spend the night Loki allowed himself to lie on the uncomfortable ground on the grass and fall asleep.
Sage crossed her arms and frowned; she'd just gotten back from Master Kao's dojo and was looking for a chance to relax and read a few new books she had found in Tony's home; but Tony was leaving and since there was no one else in the house at the moment he was convinced to bring her with him on his errand. "I do not see why you feel you must bring me along; I would be completely fine alone in the house. Jarvis could watch me and call if something happened."
Tony was gathering the rest of his stuff for his visit with Rhodey, and turned to Sage; he was already ready with his next sarcastic quip. "Because, sweetheart, you have a penchant for standing on the railings of rooftop balconies and I can just hear what your dad would tell me if you fell off of this one-hundred story building while I was gone."
"I would not fall off of the building Mr. Stark,"
"Accidents happen, so you're coming with me to visit my friend at the nice, single level Air Force base; no more but's so grab your jacket so we can get going." Sighing at her ruined plan, Sage grabbed her coat up again and wordlessly followed Tony down the elevator to his garage, taking the shotgun seat in his 2008 Audi R8 and buckling up. Tony frowned and opened her door. "What do you think you're doing?"
"This is the car you normally use, is it not?"
"Mmhm, it is; but what are you doing riding shotgun? Do you know how fast this car is?"
"One hundred eighty-seven miles per hour as a top speed but it can reach sixty-two miles per hour in four point six seconds; this is a fine piece of German engineering Anthony, and I'm sure you're a fine enough driver for me to be perfectly safe. Of course, we can find a nice minivan for you to haul me around in if you don't want me to sit in the front seat,"
"Shut up and make sure you're buckled in." Tony growled, slamming the door at her sly grin. He knew that she was just poking fun at him, aiming straight for his sore spots purposefully. And since the kid didn't feel anything he couldn't get her back for it; this made him slightly grumpy for the rest of the ride.
James Rhodes met them outside of the Air Force base, grinning and introducing himself to Sage before getting deep into conversation with Tony, walking through the base with the girl trailing slowly behind.
Sage was bored and couldn't find any interest in whatever Tony and James were discussing; so she started looking around, slowing her gait while the two adults stayed steady. Soon, they turned a corner and she was left alone to wander. Boredom slightly relieved, she went off on her own in search of something to do.
She found her way into a large, open room with a lot of connecting doors and hallways that was suspiciously empty with a big, complicated machine on one end with a lot of monitors. Instantly interested, she walked straight over to examine it and find its purpose; it seemed to be a fancy flight simulator, that actually moved to simulate the motions of flight.
Glancing around, Sage didn't see anyone and silently caved in to the part of her mind that told her trying it out wouldn't hurt anyone or anything, and slipped into the pho-cockpit and shut the top. Plunged into complete blackness, she felt for the buckles and clicked them shut as the light came on and the top of the machine, the monitors looking exactly like she was on a runway.
Strapped in with the helmet and mask on everything felt incredibly real in here; so her adrenaline began pumping as she stared through the fake top of the jet and examined the many buttons, switches, dials, indicators and various other things. Then there was a voice in her ear.
"Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to fly out to the Navajo Desert to locate and observe an enemy encampment. Do you accept your mission?"
"Yes." Sage stated, quickly and clearly into the mouthpiece; winging everything and flipping a few switches, pulling back on the joystick as the craft seemed to accelerate and rise slightly. Scanning around, she saw the altimeter rise slightly and made note of the position.
After a few minutes in the air, she ended up crashing; the simulator exaggerating several turns, flips and loops before righting itself and starting the program over.
It was an hour before Tony paused long enough in his conversation with James to notice that Sage wasn't with them. "Did you notice when Sage left us?" he asked, glancing around.
James shrugged and looked around. "She couldn't be just anywhere; a lot of these places require top notch security key-codes and scans to get into. Maybe she's in the bathroom?"
Tony shrugged and called over the nearest girl. "Hey, hey; you! Could you check in the bathroom for a girl named Sage for me; she's this tall, fifteen years old, can you see if she's in there for me?" she nodded and went to check, returning after a few minutes.
"The bathroom's empty sir,"
"Huh, well thanks," Tony waved her off and looked to Rhodey. "Where do you think she got to?"
He shrugged and they started walking again aimlessly, seeing a large crowed up ahead. "Don't know where she went but I'm wondering what that's all about," as he got to the edge of the group he saw a cap being handed around, filled with money and heard people murmuring. "What's all this?"
"Someone's in the simulator and whoever they are they're really killing it," one of them stated, looking back and pointing up at the screens that were showing pilot's view of what was going on as the simulator did a barrel roll; currently engaged in a dogfight against a computer. "Some of us are placing bets as to who's controlling it."
"Ah," Tony nodded, watching everything that was happening like everyone else, suddenly turning to the guy. "Hey by any chance have you seen a fifteen year old girl running around anywhere here on base; she walked off on Rhodey and I sometime earlier."
"Can't say I have, oh," he frowned as the simulator suddenly turned nose down and crashed. Inside the cockpit Sage was sweating and breathing hard, exhilarated from all of the adrenaline of 'flying a plane'; but her watch was going off and she intentionally crashed so that she could abort the program and take her medicine.
"Do you accept your mission?" the voice said.
"Then exit the jet." She unbuckled and opened the simulator roof, blinking at the crowed of people and the sudden low light while getting out, already reaching for the binder with her medicine. Everyone was mumbling and murmuring and looking at one another, wondering what they were going to do about the betting pool.
"Sage! What were you doing in there?!"
"I got bored and it was just sitting there so I got in and it was fun," she grinned, walking past him and towards the bathroom. "I didn't break anything and I have to take my medicine now."
The machine was set up to assign a number score to the simulated campaign; and Sage's was currently in the top ten for the first campaign setting, her later performance well making up for her early learning period. "And that's the first time she's piloted?" Rhodey was aghast at the score, which settled out at number seven on the list as everyone in the crowed started trying to sort out all of the betting money.
"Yeah; she's a fast learner," Tony told him, sighing. "We should probably have kept a better eye on her; but at least she found the giant video game instead of breaking an actual jet."