theo tate &. gigi stanich
july 7 2021
holly (foresight) &
friendship moment
Gigi would never claim to be good at science-y things herself. She hadn't had anything to do with science or science adjacent things since high school, unless one were to count the time she spent in hospitals, but she didn't. That was science adjacent-ish but she hadn't had anything to do with it. She'd simply been there with the medical science stuff happening around and to her. The doctors knew what they were doing, she trusted them to do their thing, that was it.

This, on the other hand, the going to a lab Theo had access to so they could poke around at her and see if they could figure anything out regarding her symbiote, this was different. She trusted Theo of course, but did either of them really know what they were doing? The jury was out on that. Better to see what they could figure out on their own before trying to loop in anyone else and have to explain it all to them. Stepping into the lab, Gigi was glad it was just the two of them, no outside awkwardness of a stranger. Small comforts.

"What do you need me to do?"

Using a private lab came with multiple benefits — that he didn't have to let the C.S.A. too much into his private life and the things he chose to do in it, and while he trusted them as his employer it was always best to have a healthy dose of self-preservation — and it meant that he could slip in whenever he could, without worrying about being dragged away for work. Peter had left the coordinates and information about this particular lab, located in some kind of Tower that took a little bit of getting to but wasn't all that difficult in the end when he had the right access codes and found that his bioscan had been given guest access privileges already.

Nobody had been there the times that he'd come by already, bringing with him the red and blue suit that he was trying to fix and finish in between times that he and Peter shared his body. It was nearly done, almost complete, and Theo couldn't wait to see what it would look like on — then he'd feel like a real hero, he thought, someone that Peter would be proud of. And this, what he was there to do that day, was very important — helping Gigi come to grips and understanding of what was happening to her, what had become a part of her, and whatever else he could do to get her back to her normal self.

He patted at the lab's shiny research table, where he'd cleared all of his gear off already and made room for Gigi to sit. "Hop up here." He said with a smile, reassuring as much as he could possibly be — he knew getting poked and prodded couldn't be the most pleasant of experiences, but Theo was gentle. "I'll just try to take a few samples, run a few diagnostic tests, it'll be easy and painless, I promise. How're you feeling today?"

It was a pretty impressive lab, definitely a different feel than all the other places she'd been to get poked and prodded. Gigi knew it helped that it was just her and Theo, no strangers or people she didn't know staring at her or anything like that. Especially when she had such little grasp on what was happening. Even trying to talk with the symbiote inside her, she got what technically were answers but she didn't understand most of it.

She hopped up onto the table, feet dangling as she folded her hands in her lap and tried not to be nervous. "I'm feeling... okay, which is good for me. Nervous? But I figured you meant like, physically..."

Theo smiled warmly at her, and even that look softened a little. "I mean physically and mentally. It all matters." He waved his hand a little, and made his way around the lab room, carefully switching on equipment and shifting over a portable scanner. It was much fancier than anything he'd ever seen or used before, but this was a very expensive looking laboratory. It reminded him of the C.S.A., but even better, in its own way.

"This is just gonna do some readings, so... relax. You can move, it won't matter too much. Everything here is nice and sensitive." He wasn't that kind of doctor, despite having his PHD and technically being able to use the title, but Theo hoped that he had good enough bedside manner that Gigi would relax. He reached out, touched her hand carefully and gently, and smiled.

"So can you... - can you make it show up?"

Her gaze followed her cousin as he moved around the lab, watching everything he did — not that she understood any of it, but at least she could feel like she was paying attention and making note of the different equipment and things he was using. She stopped swinging her feet back and forth when he came back with the scanner, sitting still even though he'd said she could move. It felt like one of those things it was important to sit still for. Relaxing was a bit more difficult, but she tried. Theo's smile helped, and so did that little touch to her hand.

"You want — you want me to now?" Gigi could feel the chill shifting inside her, creeping up as it blessedly waited for confirmation that yes, now, or if Theo was just asking to make sure for later.

Theo shook his head carefully. "Not just yet, but — soon." He flashed her another reassuring smile and waited patiently for the scan to complete. It wrapped itself up with a gentle bip, bip noise and flashed a notice on the screen. Theo moved again, then, setting it to the side as its information loaded into the nearest computer. In the corner of the room, a clear glass cabinet housed something else — a tupperware container filled with something still and black, as if Theo was keeping a little tub of molasses in the lab. It gave a little tug of movement inside the container, but Theo didn't notice.

"Alright, so — if you want to, if you feel like you can, let's have a look at it." Theo reached to grab a pair of gloves and snapped them on, digging around a little for a little vial and tweezers, very prepared to take a small sample of whatever it was that Gigi was stuck with so he could do some more thorough tests.

Not yet she repeated to herself, to the symbiote she could almost hear grumble as it sunk into the background again, still waiting but not right there on the edge. She sat still, watching Theo as he moved around the room, looking so much like he knew what he was doing. And he did! As much as someone could know what they were doing when it came to unknown things, she supposed. Gigi found it reassuring, which helped. Her heart rate still quickened when he snapped on those gloves, waiting for her to let the symbiote come out, but that also had to do with her concern that she might not be able to rein it back in. That she didn't know how it would be, being around someone else. But it was a little late for that.

She could never quite tell where it started, the black gummy goo that crawled out over her skin — and it did crawl, like hundreds or thousands of little spiders scurrying to envelop her. It didn't hurt, didn't even tickle, it just was. She couldn't at first, but then made herself look at Theo to try and gauge his reaction.

Theo kept his expression passive, at least as best he could. He certainly didn't react with horror — which, at the end of the day, just wouldn't have been helpful to anyone. But Gigi's thing wasn't hurting anybody, except maybe her incidentally, and the reason they were there was to solve that, not for Theo to play shocked over a bunch of thick little spiders scurrying up her arms and legs. Besides, he liked spiders. Instead, his brow furrowed and he watched like he was analyzing it, like he was searching for a clue in the movement of it all. Once it was finished, and Gigi looked at him, he shot her another reassuring smile and closed the distance between them.

"What does it feel like when it's... active?" Theo asked carefully, inspecting her from head to toe while another scanner beeped in the background. He flipped the tweezers around and wiggled them in front of Gigi. "Will it mind — can I take a tiny sample? It'll just make it easier to run tests to really figure it out, but if it'll freak out, or if it doesn't want to, then that's fine."

A little late, but at least she remembered, Gigi managed to get her phone out of her pocket and pop an earbud in — just one, so she could still hear Theo and everything, but music. It helped, and she'd take all the help she could get to keep things under control. It also helped, she hoped, that she wasn't feeling any kind of strong emotions at the moment. Nerves, anxiety, but nothing like the times before when she'd felt mad, or hurt, upset, and lost control. She took deep breaths, exhaling slowly, grateful her face was left uncovered even though she could see movement out of the corners of her eyes, the little spiders waiting in case they were wanted to cover her completely.

"I don't know, it doesn't feel like... anything," she answered honestly after a moment. In a way it felt like a shield, protection between her and everything else. Physically, she knew it had to feel like something but it was her, part of her. She eyed the tweezers he was holding, hesitating, but she didn't feel any resistance from the symbiote in response to his question — no more resistance than she'd been feeling already about the whole laboratory situation in general. "I think," she started slowly, giving ample time for dissent to be made known, "that would be okay."

Theo nodded carefully, watching as Gigi focused, as she considered it all. It was a marvel, to him — he wanted to know more, obviously, as much as he could, since Theo had to dug underneath the surface of everything to find every possible answer, every little mystery. For now, though, he didn't want to barrage Gigi and the symbiote with questions.

Instead, as she gave her permission, he smiled and leaned a little closer, stretching out with his tweezers so could very gently and carefully pluck a little gummy spider from her shoulder. He paused there, making sure again that the thing didn't react with abrupt negativity to this invasion of its privacy, and without any sign of it doing so he carefully carried the sample away and placed it in a plastic cup with a lid.

"Thank you," he said to Gigi, and then held the vial up. "Thank you," he repeated to the spider. "Promise I'll take good care of you and then return you to the rest."

It didn't feel weird when he took the spider. She thought maybe it would feel like ... well, something. Like a scratch, or poke, or some physical indication it'd been taken away, but nothing. Gigi knew they could leave her, could wander, she'd watched them scurry around her room when she was testing out her ability to bring the symbiote out on command, for lack of a better phrase. Some spiders would trail off, explore, and always come back, which hadn't ever felt like anything either but she'd thought maybe since Theo had taken one, rather than them going off on their own — it didn't matter. She was glad it hadn't been an issue, that everything still felt fine and under control.

"They're kind of cool, right?" She bit her lip, grinning softly when Theo thanked the little spider he'd collected. It was sweet, and also nice. It was a living thing, more complex than it appeared, and it was good to see it treated with some amount of respect. Another reason she was glad it was the two (three?) of them there and not some stranger who might not treat the black sappy goo covering her like anything but simply that. "Like, weird but cool."

Theo peered into the vial at the little gummy spider. It tapped at the edge of it back at him, almost as if to say no worries, buddy. He wrinkled his nose affectionately at it. For as much stress as this had been causing Gigi, at least it seemed — docile. For now, anyway. He wasn't so blind to the fact that whatever it was was clearly powerful, and it wouldn't be an easy thing to deal with if it decided to go all out and start wrecking everything. But it seemed like Gigi had some level of control over it, and Theo had to trust her.

"They're really cool." He agreed, and set the vial down in a machine that could begin running some more accurate tests on it. The bit of tupperware container in the far corner shifted again, bubbled inside. The little gummy spider seemed to notice, but Theo didn't, and he returned to Gigi's side. "Look, I think that's — kind of it. I'll run some more tests on the little guy and then we can stick him back on you. But until then — can you... talk to it?"

Gigi watched as Theo set the vial down, a few more spiders crawling away from her toward where it was, as if to investigate and make sure the one in the vial was alright. It was nice to have at least somewhat of a positive lens to look at all this through, that the little spiders were cute and cool, considering how unsettling the rest of it was. Docile for the moment, but she knew what could happen when it (she?) wasn't. And there was no telling if any of that had been the extent of what it could do, or if it could get worse.

"Can I talk to... the spider you have?" she asked, brow furrowing a bit, unsure if he was talking about that specific spider or the symbiote in general. "I don't know if I can, like, communicate with it when it's not on me." She shifted from where she was sitting, going over to gather up the spiders that had wandered off, almost instantly feeling a little prickling at the back of her neck as her attention was drawn over to the tupperware. "What's that?"

"Of course you can," Theo said with another flash of a smile, leaning back against his desk and watching as the little gummy spiders crowded their companion — and as Gigi moved closer. He blinked when she redirected her attention to the goo in the tupperware, and he frowned towards it. As soon as Theo set his sights on the plastic box, the goop inside of it stilled, settled, and went back to 'normal'. "Oh, it's... nothing..." He wrinkled his nose a little, winced at the immediate lie — and turned back to Gigi with a gentle shrug.

"It's — something attacked me. A little while ago, now. Big, black, gooey..." He bit his bottom lip and glanced at her. "Looked a little bit like your friend. Not exactly, but — close." Theo tilted his head towards the tupperware. "And that's a part of it that was left on me. Kit punched the whole thing through a portal, but — yeah. I kept a specimen. I was gonna compare the results of the two."

It's... nothing. The lie made Gigi give her cousin a look, because it was definitely something and at this point, not being honest with each other was just dumb. Pointless. She didn't interrupt, let him correct his answer, watching the spiders crawl into her hand and up her arm, frowning at his explanation. Theo being attacked, she didn't like that she hadn't known, even if it'd been taken care of which it sounded like it had. Not that he had to tell her everything that happened all the time, but being attacked seemed like a big thing. It was too late for that, no reason to linger.

"Big, black, gooey," she repeated with a nod, looking down at the big, black goo shifting idly on her body. If it was the same, she wasn't sure what that meant. At least they had something to compare it to — as close to a silver lining as they could get. "Well, hopefully this helps get some answers? And the next time you get attacked by something big, black and gooey, could you let me know? I want to make sure it's not me sleepwalking and causing a mess."