A/N: I was kinda insane and tired while I wrote this, but I haven't updated recently so I made posted it anyway. This is pretty crack-fic-ish so I apologize in advance. Off we go!
The smiling woman launched her dagger (where had it come from?!) at Schmidt, sending it to fly just over his shoulder, right between the eyes of one Dr. Zola. "I had been wondering, it took so long to heal after your… kind, hospitality." Her eyes were hard as she stared at the HYDRA in front of her. "Don't think you are getting off scot-free either, Avengers." Hope hissed at the gathered 'heroes.' "After all, I am nothing but a ticking timebomb, no? Mister Stark." Tony felt as if Hope had given him a swirly in ice cold water as she glared daggers at him.
A swirl of shadows surrounded her dancing around before engulfing her, creating a column of shadows as Hope's cold laughter rang through the clearing. "As if I could be contained, you foolish mortals! I am as eternal as life! No one may escape Death!" She screamed before the shadows abruptly dispersed, and she had changed. Her hair, claret red before, was now black with locks of green and blue mixed in. Her eyes, before a gorgeous green, were now a gradient of gold and green as they bore holes through the skulls of those who dared defy her.
"Oh… Kay then." Tony awkwardly broke the silence that had followed her declaration, and that seemed to knock everyone else back into the moment. Hope simply smiled too sweetly to be honest, before shadows reared up once again, creating vaguely human shapes that surrounded the clearing, filling it so that there was no chance of escape. Daggers of silver ice found themselves embedded in all the aircrafts that had been used to arrive, both HYDRA and heroes trying to wade their way out of the clearing, and trying to take out Hope to get rid of the shadows, and to get ahead of the other. After all, she had just created an army in less than a minute, that kind of firepower… well, who wouldn't want that behind them?
Shadow creatures were attacking everyone equally, trying to tear all of them apart. Many of the HYDRA goons had already fallen bound and gagged and waiting for one of their allies to free them, or for the battle to end and find what lies in their fate. Captain America, Bucky, Black Widow, Red Skull, and surprisingly Tony were left as the only ones still standing, Hope staring at them with at least 40 of her shadow creatures surrounding her, Zola's dead body lying at her feet.
"Ha! This is what you get for trying to breed me you fool!" She screamed, her madness suddenly making more sense with that statement. If he had tried to 'breed her,' as she so eloquently put it, it gave her motive to kill him (more than just him being part of HYDRA, otherwise why wouldn't she shoot Schmidt?) and, Stark's constant flirting would likely make her more aggravated, if not because it got annoying after a while, what he wanted to result from all of it would make her want to tear him apart. Her shadows rushed at them once more, but stopped just as they were about to contact them. Her eyes were flashing between the emerald that was Fiendfyre, and the golden-green gradient that was Hope.
"We should kill them all, but I allowed you to keep most of them alive! Why must you fight me on this, my Lady?" Hope screamed, holding her head. Light shimmered around Hope before there were two women now, one shrouded in light, wearing a blue dress and silver cloak that should have left her feeling terribly cold, though she seemed to feel perfectly fine in the cold temperatures. She looked similar to Fiendfyre, other than the lack of scars on her body, and the flower shaped purple stone embedded in her chest. Her eyes were Fiend's, but they seemed less haunted, lighter than they had ever seen them, and she seemed to shine brighter than they had ever seen her, as if she were some kind of star. Her pale skin contrasted greatly with the dark colours she wore and the lights surrounding her made her look like one of those fairy queens old fairy tales spoke of.
The other woman looked more like Hope, an older air surrounded her now that they were comparing the two, and she had her golden-green eyes and harder set face. She had the same skin tone as the one with the blue dress, though because of the light colours she wore, she seemed to be of a much darker shade than her. She wore a golden dress with shadows curling around her feet, tattoos covering her arms in designs reminiscent of Norse runes, and had a black crown on her head that seemed to suck in light. A glowing yellow stone was embedded in her forehead, bearing the shape of a pentagram, carrying what looked like a golden bo staff. She had the air of a timeless warrior, strong and independent like the general of an army, just as they are getting to the climax of the war. Again, she should have been cold, but she had just created a shadow army that defeated most of the Avengers and HYDRA in a few seconds sooooo…. They weren't going to question it.
"We can't kill them, I let you kill Zola since he was a terrible example of a human, but these ones are redeemable," she gestured towards the surrounded mortals. "They are all trying to do what they think is right for the world, we cannot condemn them for that! Yes, Stark is annoying, and Beloved may not love us, but we can't be so selfish to take this world when Thanos is coming for us!" The woman in the blue dress argued, her face pleading with the other woman.
"Bah! Look at what they have done to the world because of what they think was right!" The other woman, Hope, yelled as she gestured towards the general direction of civilization. "They've nearly succeeded in killing their planet, who are we to stop it? Thanos will come for us soon enough to sacrifice this world to his lady love, why not do it for him?!" She yelled in return, she was such an optimist. (This is called sarcasm, to those who haven't heard Tony Stark say or think anything before.)
"But what would Ron and Hermione say if they were here?" The one in the blue dress argued, and that seemed to be a strong point, since Hope visibly flinched. "They wouldn't let us give up, they would have wanted us to protect this planet, if not for the innocent lives, then for us." Blue dress continued, she really was on a roll. "We can protect this planet, that's why Death sent us here. She doesn't want this universe to be destroyed, even if she does hate her family. We have power, we can finally destroy the Mad Titan. Ron and Hermione are still alive, they have counterparts in this universe, I found them. We can't let them die, they and Molly, Arthur, George, Fred, Bill, Charlie, Ginny and hell, even Percy. They are all alive here, we can't just abandon them!" Blue dress finished.
"But what about them," Hope pointed at the Avengers and HYDRA. "They have all betrayed our trust too many times, especially that one!" She pointed at Beloved (This is Bucky, just in case I didn't mention this before.) It was Blue dress's turn to flinch as Hope hit a sore spot. "We tried so hard for him, and our only reward was more fighting." Hope sighed and suddenly her posture spoke of a being who has seen and fought too much, especially with her too-young appearance. "I am so tired of always having to fight for others, why does it always have to be us?"
Blue dress walked up to Gold dress and pulled her into a one-armed hug. "I am too, but we must continue on. We were chosen for a reason, and we must see this through to the end." Crystal tears fell from Blue dress's eyes, literally, and Gold dress collected them into a vial she pulled out of no where. "No matter how hard life gets though," she looked Gold dress in the eyes.
"Life will always come hand in hand with Death." Gold dress finished before both turned back towards their audience. They glanced at each other before nodding and in sync, clapped their hands. The shadows dispersed, and everyone was bound and immobilized, just close enough so that they could hear each other, but far enough away so that they couldn't kill each other. Another clap, and suddenly they were all floating behind the two women as they strolled onto the now-fixed quinjet, which was suddenly much bigger on the inside than on the outside.
The two women looked at each other again, before the Gold dress went into the cockpit and Blue dress sat down watching them, their… what? Prisoners? Unwilling passengers? Whatever they were doing, Barnes just hoped he would get to speak to his girl once things were all settled.
"Hello, everyone." Blue dress spoke about ten minutes into their flight. The HYDRA personnel were all biting at their clothes, why? According to Bucky, it was because they were trying to kill themselves and preserve the secrets they held, but it seemed that their captors had already thought of that if the little pile of pills in the corner was anything to say. Not only that, but no one near it could touch it no matter what they tried. One guy even tried to jump onto top of it to swallow one, but he just bounced off of it. (The Avengers were laughing in the background while they were watching, and the Red Skull looked like he wanted to hold his head in shame at the sheer idiocy of his organization.
"My name is Hera." She smiled kindly at the group, as if they were guests and not captives being held against their will. "I believe that a story is in order. There were once three brothers-"
"A story?! Wow, I am so excited. What are we, children?" Tony yelled at her, his Stark Snark™ coming out, full force. "I mean, look at you! I'm probably older than the two of you combined!" Before any of the Avengers could hit him, the air went cold and a chilling laugh reverberated around the jet.
"You're older than a hundred years? A thousand? Centuries, we have been alive, we have seen much. Sent through worlds and universes, we have so much experiences under our belts, individually or together it doesn't make much of a difference." Hope called from the cockpit. Frost began to coat the walls, and shadows danced in their places as if answering her unspoken feelings. "There isn't much you can do that we haven't seen, and what you can has already been done by many before you. Societies who have done so much more than you can think of have risen and fell because of their pride and their belief that they were so great. What makes you different? After all, you are just one mortal." Hope was spitting her words with such venom that Tony Stark himself flinched.
"Now, now, Hope. I was just about to tell the story." Hera was still smiling and the frosty air diminished, but didn't dissipate. It was apparent that she hadn't been pleased with his interruption either. "As I was saying, there were once three brothers. In one universe, they had to cross a river at twilight, midnight if you will, one where they'd been destined to die in like so many before them. In this universe, they used the gifts they had been given, an energy they had called 'magic,' to cross the river. Death personified appeared then to reap their souls, but had decided that it would rather play with them instead of merely taking their souls. Acting as though they had bested it, Death promised to give each of them any gift the wanted for beating it." Hera waved her arms and pictures depicting her story appeared in front of them in black and yellow. They saw a giant cloaked figure wearing a black cloak and wielding a massive scythe dwarfing the three masculine figures standing in front of it. Behind the cloaked figure was a tree, and all were standing on a bridge fashioned on the raging river.
"The eldest brother asked for a wand that would beat everyone, an unbeatable wand." The tallest of the male figures stepped forward, and the cloaked figure broke a branch off the tree behind him and gave it to the man. The man then stepped away, to the other side of the bridge.
"The second brother, wanting to humiliate Death, asked for something that would bring back the dead." Steve looked hopeful here, the thought of bringing back his loved ones strong. A few others did as well, causing Hera to feel slightly worried, though she didn't show it. The image showed the second tallest of the three stepping forward, and the cloaked figure picked up a stone from the river and handed it to the man. The man then walked away from Death and stood at the other side of the bridge.
"The third brother, the humblest of the three, asked for something that would hide him from even Death." The shortest of the three men stepped forward. "Reluctantly, Death handed the third brother his very own cloak of invisibility." And the last of the three men crossed the bridge.
"That night, the first brother killed another magic user he'd disliked. He went to a tavern and bragged about his invincibility to anyone who would hear. After he went to sleep, another wizard killed the eldest brother and stole the wand from him." The picture showed the eldest killing the first wizard, then being killed by the second. "And so, Death claimed the eldest brother."
"The second brother twisted the stone three times in his hand before he called the name of the woman he had been engaged to before her premature death." The picture showed the second brother in a house alone, before a woman in a wedding dress appeared, and the two danced together for a while. "However, eventually his joy faded as she began to feel cold, as she wasn't meant to be in the land of the living. In his madness, he killed himself to be with her." The image showed the man hanging himself, alone in his house, the ghost of his would-be wife standing beside him. "And so, Death claimed the second brother."
"For years, Death searched for the youngest brother to no avail. It wasn't until the youngest brother was at an old age did Death find him." The picture showed Death searching, before it came to an old man and his son. "The youngest brother gave his son his cloak, then greeted Death like an old friend. Going with him willingly." The man handed the silvery cloth to the young boy standing there before allowing Death to carry him off. "And Death took the last of the three brothers." Hera told them, a sad smile on her face. Then, she pulled out a stick, and drew in the air a triangle, a circle and a line. "The cloak, the stone and the wand. The Deathly Hallows, once gathered are said to create the Master of Death."
And then Hera walked into the cockpit and replaced Hope as the pilot.
"In another universe, the three brothers walked into farm and killed the livestock there not for necessity, but for fun." Hope said. The image she created was in black and blue, showing the same three masculine figures walking into a barn and slaughtering the animals. "Crossed, Life appeared before them, but decided that their punishment would be much better if it was drawn out. It promised three gifts for the three brothers for defeating the creatures it'd had to protect the barn." The picture showed a tall and somewhat feminine looking silhouette appear before the three brothers this time, which bowed at the three men. "The youngest was the first to make their request, asking for a fruit that would never end. Life plucked the most succulent fruit from one of its trees and gave it to the man." Again, the otherworldly being reached towards the tree behind it, and handed the fruit to the man. He took it and walked out of the barn
"The second brother, wanting to shame Life, asked for it to give him a bride more beautiful than anything else in the world. Life gave him a gem and told him to hand it to the woman who agreed to marry him." The second brother stepped forward accepted the gem from Life before stepping away from Life and leaving the barn.
"The eldest brother, the most worldly and knowledgeable when it comes to the feminine species, simply asked to lead a life without strife, somewhere he'd live without the horrors of humanity. Life, unwillingly softened in its anger and handed the eldest brother a dagger, one that had fought with man and was tired of only taking lives." The picture showed Life plucking a bone from one of the dead beasts, transforming it into a dagger, and handing it to the eldest brother.
"Years passed, and the youngest continuously ate the fruit. But he made no friends, and had no companions as he became paranoid of other stealing the fruit for themselves." Hope waved her arms and the youngest brother was shown hiding himself in a shed with only the fruit. "He eventually went insane in his paranoia and his solitary existence, and died as he had lived. Alone, in fear of what might be. And so, Life had punished the first of the brothers."
"The second brother found his lady love, a woman he loved with all his heart. A while after his marriage, he gave her the gem that Life had handed him." The image showed the second man dancing with a woman in a wedding dress again. It then showed the man getting on one knee and handing the woman ring with a yellow stone. "The woman changed before his eyes, but not what the man expected. To him, she had turned into the most beautiful creature he had ever seen- a bird, so graceful and beautiful." The picture reflected her words, and she continued. "To everyone else, she appeared normal, the beautiful woman she always was. To her husband though, it was as if she were a creature he couldn't bare to touch. Years passed, and eventually, the second brother went insane. Everyone saw his wife as a beautiful woman, but he saw her an otherworldly animal. He died loveless and alone, as he ranted and raved on how he couldn't make love to his wife since she was a bird, not a woman. And so Life punished the second of the brothers."
"The eldest of the brothers, with his wish for a peaceful life, found a wife and had children. No matter how hard Life tried, none of it's hardships could ever deter the man. It was only old age that took him away from his family, and he had already seen the beauty of Life by then." The oldest brother was seen aging before he was lying in a bed, his family surrounding him. "He apologized to Life for what he and his brothers did to her farm, before handing the wishbone to his eldest son. And then, Life sent off the eldest brother to lie in Death's arms."
Hope took a dagger out of her belt and drew two circles and a cross. "These were called Life's Blessed, the gem, the fruit and the dagger. Together, they form the Lord of Life."
"I claimed the Deathly Hallows when I was 17 years old." Hera walked back in, the jet seemed to have been put on autopilot for now. "I walked to my own death to save the lives of countless people, but only because I wanted to avenge my first love." She smiled sadly as she sat down beside Hope.
"I claimed Life's Blessed when I was 22 years old, to prevent a massacre the likes of which the world will never see, I hope." Hope said, a cold glare focused on anyone who dared look at her with pity. "I ended hundreds of people and creatures alike to protect the only man I will ever call my equal." Hope folded her arms in her lap, while Hera took off her necklace and pulled out a silvery cloth and something wrapped in cloth. She handed the cloth wrapped thing to Hope while she held onto the silvery cloth. "We are here to make sure that this world does not end, as we, or rather, Hera, has grown fond of this world and many of the people in it."
"You like some of them too," Hera admonished, blushing when most of the inhabitants of the looked at her. "Well, Beloved is still Beloved, and he is the only man I would willingly lay with, and we made some friends during our exploration of this world-" Hope interrupted Hera as she said that, jumping in front of Bucky.
"Oh yeah, I almost forgot!" Hope yelled, hitting Bucky with a condensed shadow over the head. "That's for completely ditching us for years! I mean, come on, it's not that hard to change our minds. Convince one of us, and the other is bound to follow eventually." Hope said condescendingly. She crossed her arms again, raised her chin and strutted towards where Hera was sitting, while you could practically feel the blush on Hera's face.
The rest of the way to America was short-lived, and Hope and Hera levitated their captives off of the jet and towards the Triskelion, Hope taking care of the HYDRA personnel and Hera guiding the Avengers. (The Avengers had a smoother ride- Hope really didn't care about the comfort of her prisoners.) "Oh, Director! I brought you a present!" Hera sang as she practically skipped through the halls.
"More like a few presents." Hope muttered loud enough for everyone to hear, "He better reward us. I seriously put in too much effort for this pile of dung." She followed Hera, and the prisoners were helplessly floating along behind them, unable to escape their abilities. They reached an office, which (after being enlarged by one of the magic users) now held all the combatants, and were staring at the man behind the desk. He was bald, wore an eyepatch over one eye, and a black trench coat over a black outfit (man, this guy really likes black…), with the air of someone who was used to being obeyed.
"FURY?!" The Avengers yelled, and he spit out his coffee as he looked at his guests.
"Ah, while I love your presents, girls," Fury coughed into his hand and stood up, straightening his jacket. "The Avengers weren't supposed to realize I was still alive. Also, is that the Red Skull?" He pointed at the man with a red face.
"I thought we weren't supposed to tell them that Coulson was alive?" Hera tilted her head to the left, and you could almost see the question mark above her head. Hope, standing to the left of Hera, tilted her head to the right. "And that he was actually travelling around with a team of SHEILD agents and was under the assumption that they were all aware he was alive?" Hope finished. The Avengers were glaring at Fury, who was glaring at the girls, who were honestly confused right then.
"Also! This is Johann, we actually do believe that he can be converted to our side!" Hera chirped before she ran at Schmidt and tackled him in a hug. "Also, the Winter Soldier is my ex, I think, 'cause he has a huge gay crush on his bestie the Captain America." She told him with a serious expression on her face as she looked Fury in the eye. You could see the cogs pumping in his brain before he slowly turned to look at the two super soldiers, then back at Hera hiding behind Schmidt.
"She believes in rehab, I honestly think it would be better to just take over his head and have him divulge all his secrets then off him." Hope spat out, her arms crossed and staring at Fury. Hawkeye and the HYDRA grunts slowly shifted away from Hope, as much as they could at least. Before anyone could think of leaving the office though, Hera cast a spell that got rid of the door. "Or we could just choke him on some of our truth serum. That works too."
"… I'm just going to have you ladies secure the HYDRA personnel, and we'll keep everyone else in the office." Fury finally said, grabbing the Avengers and Schmidt. The girls nodded, Hera smiling enthusiastically and Hope merely dipped her head slightly. The door closed slowly, and the last thing the girls saw was Fury smiling like a maniac and the Avengers (and Schmidt) slowly trying to back away before the door slammed shut.