A story idea that came to me. Now, I will freely admit, I don't know a lot about Black Panther, so I will be unable to accept requests with him, but I might write more with him, depending on my muse.
Avengers (the cartoon) belongs to Marvel and Disney. I only own Luna.
Under A Panther's Watch
"Where is she?!"
"Don't loose her!"
"She's gone! She just disappeared!"
"Chief's not going to like this."
The policemen searched the alleyways, but found no trace of the person they were pursuing. "How can a child escape us that fast?" One asked. "We were right on her tail."
"Maybe she's got instincts like a cat," one officer said, slightly joking.
What that officer didn't know was that his joke was actually quite true. A lanky figure was watching from the shadows of the roof, smiling as the police looked around before giving up. "Well, just keep an eye out for her," the lead officer said. "She'll turn up sooner or later."
One officer paused. "You know, call me crazy, but I don't think that child stole from her foster family as they claimed," he said. "I'm not just saying this because I'm a father myself, but something about the bedroom scene just seemed...staged."
"I got that feeling myself," said a policewoman. "And I think I saw some of the jewelry the woman claimed was stolen sticking out from under the bed."
"From what we know, Luna didn't steal from her other foster homes," said another policewoman. "She just ran away from them."
"Quite a record too," said another policeman. "Fifteen homes in the span of two years."
"Sixteen, if you count this one," said the lead officer before sighing. "That kid's been through a lot."
Nodding sympathetically, all the officers headed away and the lanky figure breathed a sigh of relief, coming out of the shadows and looking around. She spotted a light down further in the alleyway and underneath it was a barrel full of water. Going over to it, the figure looked at her reflection in the water. What she saw made her sigh.
There were bruises on her face and neck from where she had been slapped and the foster father had tried to strangle her, but she had fought back like a cat, getting free and escaping the abusive home. Ever since her parents had died four years ago and then her grandmother two years ago, she had been in abusive foster homes and had run away from every one of them.
She gazed at her reflection again. Her eyes were golden brown and glowed in the moonlight, hence the reason her parents had named her Luna. At twelve years old, she was tall for her age and had dark red, almost brown hair that reached her shoulders, but she often kept it pulled back into a French braid. Gazing again at her bruised face and neck, she sighed again.
"I'm never going back," she said aloud. "I didn't steal anything and I won't go back to that awful place."
Feeling better, she smiled and checked to be sure her black backpack was on her back and that she had her climbing claws safely inside. The climbing claws were the reason she fooled the police because she could climb very fast, a trait she picked up from her parents who had loved climbing as a hobby. She learned the best and fastest ways to climb without making a sound or leaving very little evidence of where she had been.
Her stomach suddenly growled and she reached into her bag, pulling out a granola bar. "Well, better than nothing," she said softly as she began eating it, unaware that she had caught someone's eye.
Black Panther was patrolling and had already sent word back to Tony that all was clear when he spotted the girl as she hid from the police. Curious, he moved quietly closer and listened as she spoke. He waited until she was done eating her granola bar and had stood up.
"Well, best find a place to sleep," she said to herself. "Hopefully a spot where the police won't find me."
The black-suited hero felt it was best to speak up right then. "Hello," he said.
Luna jumped at hearing the voice and barely held back a scream, whirling around, but not seeing anything until her eyes adjusted and she saw a shadow move. She immediately got in a defensive stance, but was ready to bolt at a moment's notice. She noticed white eyes looking at her. "Do you need a place to sleep, young one?" The voice asked again and she deduced it was coming from the person in front of her. "I can take you someplace warm."
The twelve-year-old girl scoffed. "Let me guess, the police station," she said. "No way. I'm not going there."
He would have said more, but right then, he saw the bruises and marks on her and he stood straighter. "So that's why you ran away," he said.
She looked confused until she realized he was staring at her bruises and marks on her neck. She quickly pulled up her shirt collar to hide the marks, getting more than just a little scared now. "Who are you?" She asked, backing away a bit.
The figure started to move closer. "Don't be afraid," he said as he stepped out into the light.
Luna's eyes nearly popped out of her head when she saw who was standing in front of her and she turned heel and ran as fast as she could, jumping off the roof of the building and using the wall to help her control her fall. Landing on her feet, she took off like a shot.
Black Panther was impressed. "She is skilled," he said to himself before taking off after the girl, keeping her in his sights with ease. He noted she kept away from the streets and tried to lose him in the alleyways, but he kept right on her tail.
The girl paused in an alleyway and leaned against a wall to catch her breath. "Black Panther," she said softly and in horror. She knew of the black-suited hero that worked with the Avengers. He had taken down many enemies and was known for his claws. Trembling now, she looked around for a hiding spot.
"Young one?" She heard him call out and she jumped, looking around but not seeing him. "I know you're there. Come on out."
Panicking, Luna pulled out her climbing claws and quickly scaled the building next to her, but when she reached the top, she gasped as she saw the very hero she had been running from standing right there and as he reached for her, she jumped, pushing herself away from the wall and landing on the opposite wall, which was only a couple yards away, and scaling it before running as fast as she could along the long roof.
Amused, Black Panther kept on the girl's trail, sensing she was getting tired and he soon saw her fall down and scramble to get back up, but her legs gave out on her and she began dragging herself across the rest of the roof to the edge of it and stopping, looking exhausted. The black-suited hero began cautiously approaching and he noted how she looked more frightened now and tried to phase through the wall behind her, her eyes wide with fear and she was trembling, curling up in a ball and whimpering. He continued approaching until he was just a few steps from her and he sat down, intent on calming the child down first. "Shh, calm down, young one," he said. "Why are you so afraid? I'm not going to hurt you."
She looked at him with her golden brown eyes filled with tears. "But...you're Black Panther," she said.
"Yes, I am," he said. "What's your name?"
She looked away and he waited patiently before she looked back at him. "Luna," she said.
"A lovely name," he said. "But Luna, I'm curious...why aren't you home? You're too young to be out here on your own."
She looked away again. "None of your business," she said.
"Well, it is, since I'm going to take you home," he said. "I'll just need to call the police."
Luna's head snapped up and she suddenly grabbed his arm. "NO! Don't do that!" She said urgently, realizing too late that it had been a ruse as he caught her and held her as she struggled to get free. "Let go!"
"First off, no. Second of all, where do you live?" He asked.
She glared at him, but he was unaffected by it. "I can call the police," he said. Her eyes widened in fear and he decided to try another tactic. "If you tell me why you won't go home, I won't call the police."
She didn't look like she trusted him and she shook her head, struggling again. "Let go!" She said.
Seeing he had no choice, Black Panther reached one hand towards Luna's neck. "I'm sorry, young one," he said as he pinched a nerve in her neck. She gasped before she passed out, her body going limp. Without another word, the hero gently picked up the girl, moving silently and quickly to the Avengers Mansion.
The next day...
Luna woke up and she shook her head, looking around and wondering where she was. It didn't look like her foster home and it didn't look like the police station. The door suddenly opened to the bedroom and she jumped, quickly laying down and pretending to be asleep. She didn't hear anything for a moment until she heard something being set down on what sounded like a table. "I know you're awake," came a voice that was robotic, but yet smooth.
The girl opened her eyes to see the Vision standing in front of her and she hunkered down under the blankets in fear. His gaze softened. "It's alright. Don't be afraid," he said, sitting beside her. "You're safe here."
She didn't look reassured, but then her stomach growled and Vision brought over a plate that had food on it. "Black Panther thought you might be hungry when you woke up," he said. "He brought you here last night."
Luna cocked her head to the side. "Where am I?" She asked him.
"The Avengers Mansion," the robotic hero told her. "You'll be safe here."
She looked away, but when he offered the plate again, she took it. "Thank you," she said softly before eating, feeling her appetite kick in as she ate the eggs, sausage, and hasbrowns.
Vision smiled. "It's good to see you have a healthy appetite," he said. "And the bruises are healing well."
Luna stopped eating at that and looked away, pulling up the collar of her shirt to hide the marks and bruises. A gentle hand touched her hand and gently pulled it away. "Don't be afraid," he said gently.
She looked at him. "Why did Black Panther bring me here?" She asked.
"He noticed you had a fearful reaction when he mentioned the police," Vision said.
"And she had good reason too," said another voice as Tony walked in. "Kid's been on the run since she was ten years old. Lost her parents and grandmother a few years ago."
Luna looked away again but noticed Tony came closer. "Kid, this might be a hard question for you to answer, but...were the foster homes not nice to you?" He asked.
She shook her head before looking at him curiously. "Why would you ask me that if you're not going to believe me?" She asked. "The police didn't."
"Kid, if you haven't noticed, I like to hear both sides of the story," he said. "J.A.R.V.I.S. ran a scan on you last night and he found evidence of a lot of abuse, so I can see why you're skeptical of believing anyone right now."
Just then, Thor walked in and Luna swallowed hard, looking a bit afraid of the titan. "Ah, she's awoken," the thunder-weilding hero said with a smile. "I'm glad to see you are doing better, young one."
His voice helped to calm some of her fear before she saw Tony turn to his friend. "What did you find?" He asked him.
"It seems the police found out that the child didn't steal from that couple as they claimed and the police are looking into charges of child abuse," Thor said. "Our friend Black Panther spoke with them and it seems they are willing to let the child stay here until a new foster home can be found for her."
Vision noticed the change in the young girl immediately and she looked like she had lost her appetite. "I don't believe a new foster home would be best," he said. "She's terrified."
Tony gave it some thought. "Hmm, well, what if this mansion became her foster home?" He said, making the other two heroes and the girl look at him. "She'll be safe here and the Mansion's got the best security system."
"I was hoping you'd agree to that, Iron Man," came Black Panther's voice as he came in. "A judge has graciously granted us temporary custody of Luna until she is adopted or other family is found."
Luna looked at him and looked away before sighing. A hand rested on her shoulder and she looked to see it was Vision and he smiled gently. "As Iron Man said, you'll be safe here," he said.
"Aye, any fool who dares to hurt you will answer to us," Thor promised, gripping his hammer.
Tony looked thoughtful. "Guys, how about we give Luna time to think about it?" He said. "She's been through a lot and to suddenly have this thrust on her is no doubt a bit of a shock."
She looked at him curiously and he gently smiled. "How about you think about it for a day or two?" He suggested. "During that time, you can move about the Mansion. Just don't go outside without one of us or the other Avengers with you, okay?"
She sighed. "So I'm stuck here," she said, not looking happy about it.
"It's for your protection," Black Panther said, his voice gentle.
She looked up at him. "And you're the reason I'm stuck here," she said, giving him a look.
Tony chuckled. "Yep, just like a ticked-off cat," he said. "It's going to be an eventful few days."
Luna sighed again before resuming eating, unsure about what she was going to do now. She was stuck at the Mansion with the Avengers and now would be put into yet another foster home, something she was tired of.
Why can't they leave me alone? She thought to herself.
Black Panther watched Luna and noted she didn't look happy, but perhaps after she had settled down, that would change.
At least, he was hoping so.
So the Avengers are now looking after a kid. :)
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