"So it was Loki the entire time. In Asgard." Bruce commented when she finished recounting my story.

"A distorted and manipulated version, but yes. Would you mind?" She lifted her hands to indicate the chains.

"Why don't you just zap yourself out of them?" He asked as he pulled a key out of his back pocket and undid the lock.

"Sign of good faith. So Director Fury feels he has some semblance of control over me."

"And in reality?"

"You guys are about as likely to stop me as you are Thor."

"So basically, the Other Guy is the only one who could make a dent," Bruce concluded. She looked at him sympathetically.

"Pretty much. But like I said, sign of good faith. I'm not here as your enemy. I'm here to help Loki." Bruce stopped in his unwinding of the chains to look her over.

"Why us? You know for a fact we aren't exactly his biggest fans."

"I'm aware. Painfully so, actually. But undoubtedly he'll come to the same conclusion I did: that this is the safest place in the Nine realms for him." She stood and rubbed her arms as Bruce threw the chains onto the conference table. He jumped as they slid and crashed to the ground. She smiled a little at him as he sheepishly shrugged.

"They won't do anything to you, will they? For helping me?" she asked him. He smirked.

"I'd love to see them try. I should tell you, the Other Guy doesn't just show up on a whim."

"I'm aware. I sense a veiled threat in that, though."

Bruce's smirk faded. "Don't try to fight us. If that's what you're thinking, I can guarantee it's a horrible idea. I don't want to fight you. But they will if you betray what little trust they've put in you."

"I don't intend to betray anyone. As much like Loki as I may be, I am NOT a liar."

"I hope you're right." Bruce walked around the table to lean against the far wall.

"So who is this 'Thanos'?"

"A monster," Thor answered, striding into the room. Banner shrank back slightly, folding his arms tighter against his body as Tony, Steve, Clint, Natasha and Fury entered, sparing glances and glares at Jessica. The Avengers took their seats around the table, Thor staying standing to pace the length of the room. "An ancient and dark being capable of horrible acts and with limitless power. However the source of his power was destroyed long ago and the pieces scattered throughout the Universe." Fury glanced quickly at the chains now resting on the floor and turned to glare at Jessica. She shrugged, smiling. He glanced over at Banner, shook his head and stood on the other side of the room from him.

"I take it you watched Tony's recording of my conversation with Thor." Tony opened his mouth to ask a question as to how she knew but closed it with a look from Steve.

"Yes," he replied. "and your conversations with Banner and Stark. And we've been talking about your... situation."


"Say we believe you-"

"Which we don't," Clint supplied.

"Even though the DNA says so," Bruce interjected.

"How can you expect us to just let Loki walk into the Tower as if nothing happened?"

"I don't," Jessica stated, leaning against the table. "I don't expect you to act as if nothing happened. In fact, if you do, Loki is even less likely to trust you. You know what happened, both on your world and outside of it. I'm not asking you to trust him. Hell, I'm not even asking you to believe him. But when Loki gets here, people will follow him. Half the universe wants his head. Thanos... he wants everything. He wants Loki to be his puppet, his slave. He will be hunted. This isn't trust I'm asking for. It's protection." Steve and Fury's eyes widened.

"You want us..." Clint continued, "to protect... Loki. The very guy who tried to kill us and turned me into his little dancing monkey."

"I know you're aware it wasn't entirely him."

"Gods are complicated," Natasha commented.

"Yeah, no kidding," Tony remarked.

"So how do we kill him?" Fury asked. Jessica and Thor both chuckled darkly.

"With his source of power?" Thor replied, "You do not. No one does. The All-father himself would be hard-pressed to."

"Except, lucky for us," she countered, "he hasn't had it for several centuries. At least, not all of it. He's only had one piece, but it's one piece more than anyone would like." She looked over at the general confusion on most of the Avengers' faces.

"It's called the Infinity Gauntlet. In it sit six gems, that control various aspects of the Universe. They're Time, Space, Reality, Mind, Soul, and Power. With the Gauntlet itself and the six gems, Thanos is unstoppable. He would control everything. We wouldn't stand a chance. He could rip the Hulk to his base atoms and not even lift a finger." She nodded to Bruce, who had paled considerably. "Luckily, he has only had contact to one. And it's not currently in his possession."

"Where is it?" Steve asked.

"Loki's staff."

"So he's powerless," Fury said.

"Far from it," she answered. "He is still one of the most skilled magic users in existence and the strongest. He's called the 'Mad Titan' for a reason."

"And you want us to fight him? That's suicide!" Bruce leveled.

"Thanos himself will not join the fight. He thinks himself far above a battle for something as small as Loki and Midgard," Thor answered, now fixating on a point on the floor.

"But he will have an army." The Avengers grew serious.

"We've fought alien armies before," Steve countered.

"The Chitauri? They'll be nothing compared to this." Everyone in the room's eyes widened. Jessica shook her head, righting herself. "Don't you get it?" she stressed. "Loki and the Chitauri, they were nothing. They were the pilot-fish. The scouts. Figure out Earth's defenses, see where they're up against."

"The scouts have passed through," Natasha reminded.

"So now..." Clint continued. Tony shakes his head, skin paling and sweat beginning to form on his forehead.

"Here comes the shark."