Somewhere Only We Know

I walked across an empty land...

I knew the pathway like the back of my hand...

I felt the earth beneath my feet...

Sat by the river and it made me complete...

She walked around the mansion gingerly, her eyes scanning all the workers and party decorators in action. The entire household was being decorated from head to toe, showing off lights, fancy linens and tables that surrounded the dinning room, as well as chefs already preparing the food. The place was buzzing with frantic designers, matching the proper colors together. She caught sight of the five party coordinators, screaming into their headpieces to get the mansion all prepared for the evening. The workers set up the many tables in Baron's biggest room, a dancing hall that was covered with marbled floors and pillars, underneath a ceiling that was made of pure glass. The night was going to be one that no one should ever forget.

It was, after all, a black tie event.

The busy people glanced at her when Janet sauntered by, doing their best not to make eye contact. She figured they thought she would report them if their work wasn't approved by her. Still, she continued to gawk at the priceless golden forks, knives, and spoons. She gently touched the wine and champagne glasses made out of crystal. She grazed the silk tablecloths that shimmered under the sunlight from the glass above. Everything, in her opinion, was perfect.

Even Tony's parties were never as glamorous as this. Sure he knew how to throw a party, but he usually got a DJ, half naked women, and lights that flew around the room vibrantly. But this…this was something completely different. It was a freaking ball, a type of party that wasn't exactly cool in the current year. People- respectable people- were going to come through the front doors in their limos and luxurious cars, and enjoy a ball. She preferred to call it a pretentious party, but she would never say it out loud.

Natasha was already preparing herself for the party; it didn't take Janet as long as her to get ready. She figured she'd check out the scene before hand, taking in the people that were diligently working. Baron, of course, was probably watching. Although, she hadn't seen him at all throughout the entire day, she knew he was probably observing somewhere. She supposed he was busy himself, but she thought she'd see him by now, checking the decorations and cleanliness of his rich home.

She walked further into the dining hall, the vast room with windows for a ceiling. Standing in the middle of the dance floor, she already pictured the band playing in the corner, as well as famous and rich people dancing around her. No doubt Baron would get a lovely band to play for the evening, no matter what the cost.

In the midst of her dreams, a florist ran into her, the tall flowers blocking her view. Janet stumbled slightly and looked up at the woman's horrific face. "M-my apologies, ma'am. Please believe I did not see you there."

"Um, it's all right. It was just an accident," she replied, eyeing her strange look of dread.

"Thank you," she hurried off. Janet's hands went to her hips, a motion she always did when she thought something was strange. The whole staff was acting weird, only because Janet was looking around.

Did she really strike that much fear into people? Just because she was now part of Baron Strucker's gang, doesn't mean she would inflict the same punishment he would. They didn't exactly know her anymore; she was no longer an Avenger. Once she took Baron's side, her Avenger title was gone.

She exhaled a deep breath, glancing around the room once more. Something suddenly caught her eye. A strange man in a white lab coat was quickly striding. She recognized him as the German scientist that was in front of Baron's ship the day of her reveal so many weeks ago. Her instincts screamed to follow him. She instantly stepped forward, briskly catching up to him. He didn't go far; he went down the hall and into the next room. Baron's billiard room. The only time she went into the game room was when Baron was trying to impress some investors, as she sat looking pretty.

She looked through the crack of the door and observed him stepping in front of an old grandfather clock. She pressed a latch on the side, as a keyboard flipped opened. He pressed a few numbers, the pin light green, and the clock shifting positions. It turned, revealing a secret elevator. The scientist leisurely stepped inside and slowly went down. As soon as he was out of sight, the clock shifted back, looking like a normal grandfather clock.

She took her chance, gaining the courage to finally figure out what was happening. Janet carefully walked to the clock and studied it. She assumed there were probably more of these around the mansion. Still, she pressed the latch, as the key pad flipped opened. She memorized the key from the scientist, punching in the numbers. The clock instantly shifted, twisting into an elevator. She gulped nervously, stepping into it and going down.

It took very little time to reach the destination. When the door slid open, her eyes immediately scanned. The simple halls were made out of plain concrete, dimly lit with flickering lights. Clearly the billiard room wasn't the most popular secret entrance, otherwise the halls would be littered with guards. She cautiously stepped out, looking down both ends of the halls. It was pretty silent, all but a few muffled yells and some screeching. She lightly jogged to the noise, cursing the heels that were clanking on the ground. However, there was a lot of noise coming from the end room, so she doubted the type of shoes she was wearing was heard.

She cautiously peered a blue eye around the corner, never holding in her gasp. A large machine was intricately built and fully working. She instantly recognized the detailed parts her and Natasha picked up from China so many times. It wasn't as large as the thought, but something about made a shiver run down her spine. It was pointed, like a satellite tower, the top radiating in all different directions. In the middle of the machine was the green stone they stole of Modok's possession a while ago. The gem glowed brightly when the energy tapped into it, causing her to nervously grip the edge of the wall. The scientist seemed pleased with their work, clearly happy the tech was working fully. So the dark question entered her mind immediately.

What did it do?

What was the point of all of it? One would think Baron would be satisfied in this sort of position. But no, he always wanted more. He was power hungry and starved for strength and authority. He was never going to stop. As she thought this, Baron came into full view, smiling at his new piece of technology. He gently touched the HYDRA symbol located on the front, frenzied with newfound power and glory. HYDRA clearly was not dead. Janet glared, feeling a shred of disappointment in Baron's actions. Did a part of her truly feel he had changed? She had seen his compassion for the greater good, but as he stood caressing his new toy, she knew for sure he was still the same driven man.

"Tonight we begin," Baron announced. The scientists and a few agents stood straight, saluting.

"Hail, HYDRA!" they called in unison, obeying their master and leader. Janet knew she could no longer stay; Baron would probably leave soon and check the preparations. She quickly hurried back to the elevator, taking her leave in it. It zipped upward, her heart pounding furiously inside her chest. She practically stumbled out of it, hearing the clock switch back. She rushed out of the billiard room, already seeking out Natasha. She strutted briskly, hoping the decorators around her wouldn't sense her fear. She was already making her way upstairs, wanting to be in her room by now.

"There you are, ma'am!" a woman called. Janet instinctively turned around, witnessing her makeup artist and hairdresser following her up the steps. "We've been waiting for you for an hour now, Ms. Wasp." Janet could tell she was frustrated.

"Oh, I guess I got sidetracked. If you don't mind, I'll meet you in my room soon."

"Now," the woman insisted, scooting her up the long flight of stairs.

"I must speak with the Black Widow immediately. It's important," Janet argued.

"By Baron's orders, no work at all for the day. Whatever your problems are, can wait," the woman replied rudely. "Besides, Ms. Black Widow is indisposed and won't be ready to be seen by anyone till the evening's festivities." She was suddenly disgusted, touching Janet's hair. "You haven't even showered, have you?" Janet could tell there was no getting passed the determined woman, especially if it was under 'Baron's orders'. She felt another jab in her back, pressing her forward. She reluctantly entered her room, where the woman commanded her to strip from her uniform and take a fast shower.

"It doesn't take me that long to get ready," Janet muttered.

"It will when I'm tending to you," she replied, ushering her assistants into the room for nails and jewelry. One of them took out the formal gown, checking for any wrinkles or unwanted pieces of lint. Janet quickly took a shower, using the shampoos and other washes the woman gave her. Janet could tell this woman was passionate about her line of work.

A couple more hours went by and Janet saw the sun setting in her window. Soon, many respected ambassadors and government officials would be arriving in limos. The valet was already set up in front, and she could smell the chefs cooking the courses. The woman was doing the finishing touches on her, putting on the delicate jewelry Baron gave to her. She was already shifting uncomfortably in her gown, fidgeting with the cloth around her hips.

"You may look now," the woman allowed. Janet turned, never hiding her sudden intake of breath; that seemed to please the woman.

Janet previously knew the gown was beautiful, but on her it was gorgeous. It was pure black, elongating all the way down to her feet. The strapless dress showed a lot of her skin, as the back curved and didn't stop till her lower back; her entire back was exposed skin. Her breasts were pushed upward, showing off the busting cleavage in a way she had never seen before. It hugged her curves ever so tight, teasing the mind to instantly crave for more. Her hair was pulled back into an elegant bun, exposing more of her face. Long strings of diamonds hung from her ears, as a bracelet clasped her small wrist. Her makeup completed everything, her lips fuller with gloss, eyeliner that made her eyes bigger, and blush the crept ever gently on her upper cheeks. Never before had she seen herself so beautiful and stunning. She was dripping with elegance and poise, really looking like a respectable woman who could work for Baron Strucker.

The woman was pleased with her work. "I believe you are satisfied."

"Immensely," she replied, shocked that her own voice came out of the woman who was standing in the mirror. The woman tapped her arm.

"Next time, don't make me wait," she chided, while handing her a card. "In case you have any further requests, for personal events." The woman and her assistant squabbled out, leaving Janet alone with her elegant self.

"If I live that long," she mumbled, looking out the window once more. Something bad was definitely going to happen, and she didn't know what. The drumming in her head was like poisonous venom creeping through every part of her body.

She was scared.

No, she was terrified. The feeling of death washed over her once more. The nightmare she had so long ago was back in her mind. Death seemed so close, she could barely breathe. So many innocent people were coming forth to the party, and yet she still had to pretend and act as if nothing was wrong. The Avengers were her last hope. She prayed they would speak to her, even after all the immoral stunts she pulled with them. But even if she did have that chance, it was going to be hard to get away from Strucker.

She pursed her lips, doing her best to keep her tears from spilling down her newly rosy cheeks. Instead, she gripped the windowsill, forcing all of her might onto the wall so drive away her fear. Fear was the strongest force in her body at the moment, as her courage dwindled into nothing. But that courage was still there, beating with her heart and soul. Her determination sought passed the fear and reached for something farther: hope. She would probably die tonight, but she hoped her team could stop Strucker from taking over the world that did not belong to him. She knew they would stop him.

After taking a few more breaths, she controlled her tears, keeping them at bay. She glanced down and finally cars beginning to park in front of the valet; the guests were arriving. Strucker would've wanted her by his side soon. With one more glimpse into the mirror, making sure she still looked fresh, she picked up her dress and carefully sauntered toward Strucker's room.

She groaned when she didn't see Natasha, as she waited at his door. With a huff, she stared at her manicured nails, waiting with anticipation. Strucker's door opened slowly, as she glanced at his smiling face. His hungry smile immediately let her know he was imagining her without the dress. She ignored his secret impulse and smiled back.

"Black Widow is not here yet."

"Yes, I know. I told her to come later. Please come in," he said softly, gesturing for her to follow. She gulped hastily, keeping her composure; she had never been in his room before. All her encounters with him had been throughout the house, but never here. The room was huge, to say the least, showing off his luxury and wealth fluently. She nervously glanced at the bed, diverting her eyes away the moment she saw it. "You look absolutely beautiful."

She grinned, "You don't look so bad yourself, my Baron. Very handsome." His tuxedo was sleek and showed off his broad shoulders. His wrinkles looked even fuller, seeming even younger than before. She straightened herself, "Your guests are already arriving."

"Ah, this won't take long, me dear," he assured, gently pulling something out of a case. She stiffened, readying herself in case of a weapon. However, she looked over his shoulder and saw a jewelry case. She eased slightly, but still very unsure of what exactly he was doing. "Face the mirror."

She did what he asked, facing the long mirror that reflected her fully. He wrapped a diamond necklace around her neck, fixing it perfectly around the slim figure. Her mouth hung open, watching the expensive pieces of jewels wrapped around her. It choked tightly around her neck, making her appearance even more elegant.

"Perfect," he mumbled. She tensed as he brought his cold lips onto her bare back. They lingered for what seemed like forever, as his hand gripped her slender waist. She hadn't been touched like this since her college days, and even that was mediocre compared to Strucker's affection. His other hand slid slowly just below her breast, feeling the roundness. She whipped around, every instinct in her body telling her to punch his smug face. She held her ground, as he gripped her waist firmly.

"Not now," she whispered, hoping he would discontinue. To her relief, a knock came at the door. He exhaled a frustrating breath, turning toward the door.

"Come in."

Natasha opened the door, looking gorgeous as usual. She was also wearing black, but Strucker made sure Janet got the better dress. Tonight, Janet was more elegant than the Black Widow. Natasha stood emotionless, many questions occurring into her mind when she saw Janet so close to Baron.

"My Baron, it is time," she said.

"Very well," Strucker nodded, briskly walking out his door and gesturing to them to follow. Janet gave Natasha a nervous look, knowing they couldn't talk right now. Both could see the fear in each other's eyes.

I came across a fallen tree

I felt the branches of it looking at me

Is this the place we used to love?

Is this the place I've been dreaming of?

The jet landed gently on the ground, instantly powering down. The door swept open, as Tony walked out, looking fresh and handsome in his tuxedo. He checked the watch on his arm, knowing they were fashionably late. Steve and Hank stepped out next, fixing the sleeves and ties of their suits anxiously. Then the rest followed out, Clint, T'Challa, Thor, and even the Hulk walked down the ramp, each looking extremely handsome in their tuxedos.

"I hate this," Clint instantly blurted, witnessing Baron's huge mansion and shifting awkwardly in his suit. He smoothed back his gelled hair, twitching uncomfortably.

"You get used to it," Tony replied, looking for Fury.

"I'm not you, Stark. I don't like to wear a suit every chance I get," Clint grumbled.

"Fury's most likely already inside," Steve said.

"I know…I just don't like to leave my suit inside the jet," Tony admitted.

"Don't worry, if anything happens, we'll just throw the Green Giant in front of us as a shield," Clint joked, as the Hulk growled.

"I'd rather throw your face into ground," he leaned in closer Clint.

"We best present ourselves. It will be astonishing to the people the Avengers have come," Thor said, ignoring the Hulk and Clint's bickering.

"Now or never," Tony exhaled a breath. Hank's palms were sweating, as he stuffed them in his pockets and tried to dry them with the cloth. Every member of the team was nervous and on edge, wondering where this night was going to lead. As they walked to the front of the house, they could already hear the classical music and smell the food. Agents surrounded the mansion, keeping guard of everything in sight.

"Welcome, Avengers," a man at the front door greeted, opening it for them to enter. As soon as they entered, they instantly witnessed the opulent and magnificent sight inside of Baron's home. Tony couldn't help but roll his eyes, figuring Strucker would have a pretentious home. Two lavish staircases swerved down ahead of them, which lead to the upstairs bedrooms. Off to the side was the ballroom, as each of them saw the many tables and servers gathering around. Many people stopped and stared at the team, hesitantly avoiding them. The front room was quite full of guests, as Hank looked out for Janet; she was nowhere to be seen. Instead, he found someone else.

"Fury," Hank muttered, seeing him off to the side holding a glass of champagne with another woman. The team went straight ahead, as Tony's eyes met Fury's. Fury chugged the rest of his drink, forcefully putting the empty glass on the tray a server was carrying.

Clint gasped after closer inspection of the woman. She turned around and he noticed it was Bobbi. She looked completely different, as her long sapphire dress hugged her curves and breasts, as her earrings hung from her ears. A single strap hung on her left shoulder and her hair was curled into golden ringlets. She gently took a sip of her drink, turning back to Fury to mutter something.

"You're late," he grunted, as soon as the team came up.

"Call it fashionably late," Tony retorted. He glanced at Bobbi, enjoying the sight of a beautiful woman. "No Hill?"

"Hell no," Fury responded. "We've been here exactly twenty minutes, and no sign of unusual activity."

"When is dinner?"

"Not for another 30," Fury replied. "Strucker's been walking around, but he hasn't come up to us…yet. No sign of Wasp or Black Widow."

Tony sighed, "Seems like a normal party to me." He gestured one of the waiters to come forward, snagging a glass of champagne for himself. Clint eagerly took one as well, gulping down a large amount while stealing looks from Bobbi.

"Yeah right," Fury grumbled once more, sharply turning to Bobbi. "Do some surveillance. Report back in 20." She nodded, sauntering away from the group. Clint narrowed his eyes, thinking she swayed her hips more than necessary. A few men glanced in her direction, gazing hungrily. Clint crossed his arms with a sneer.

"Now is not the time to be distracted," T'Challa muttered in a low tone.

Clint shook his head, "I just have a bad feeling in general."

"Split up…but keep an eye on each other," Fury ordered, casually walking away to talk with a senator.

"I'd rather not be too far away from each other," Steve admitted.

"I'm hungry," Hulk abruptly said, stomping toward a waiter with food.

"He really sticks to a plan, doesn't he?" Clint said.

"I wouldn't worry about him," Hank sighed, turning around to look among the crowd. "We need to find Janet…"

Steve turned with Hank, scanning the crowd as well. "I'm sure we'll spot her during dinner."

Clint's mouth suddenly dropped and hung open. He slapped Tony's shoulder, causing him to gaze in his direction. Tony followed Clint, his mouth hanging open slightly. Clint then slapped Hank's arm roughly, "Dude…I think I found her."

Hank's eyes flew up to the top of the stairs to witness something beautiful. His eyes widened at the vision of beauty that was talking leisurely to another senator and his wife. Her small hand gripped a glass of champagne, as she brought it up to her full lips. Never had he seen her so extravagant and stunning. His eyes lingered on her bare back and the fullness of her breasts. They then skimmed down her legs and back up to her face. Her face. Her face was the thing he truly missed and desired to touch once more. The last time he looked into her eyes they were full of hatred and deceit…but tonight they were full of love and compassion. All he wanted to do was take her away and never bring her back to Baron Strucker.

"Holy shit," Clint blurted, quickly snatching a glass of champagne and chugging it. "That should be her new uniform."

"Not now, Clint," Steve snapped, as Hank glared at him. Janet's eyes drifted and finally landed on the team. With a surge of anticipation, she politely excused herself from the couple and slowly descended down the stairs. Hank instantly saw the compassion was replaced by something else: worry. She looked scared and lonely.

"Finally you guys show up," she exclaimed. She mentally took note of how handsome Hank looked in a tux.

Tony's eye twitched, "And hello to you too." He crossed his arms. "Really Jan? You treat us like dirt and you expect us to act like nothing happened?"

"Now is not the time, Tony," she hissed. "I've got important information…"

"From Baron Strucker himself?"

"No, you arrogant asshole, from me," she sneered. "Look, I'm sorry I had to ditch you guys for a while, but I had to. It was the only option…"

Hank was deeply concerned, "What do you mean?"


Her body tensed, hearing that familiar voice she knew so well. Strucker smiled at the team, snaking his arm around Janet's waist. Hank automatically glared in disgust, keeping his hands in his pockets from grabbing her away from him.

"I see you've greeted your old friends," he said. Something in his tone made her freeze with fear. She kept the same smile on her face, trying not to look into any of their eyes. "I would like to have a nice discussion with you gentleman later, but first we dine. Come my dear…" Just like that, he reeled her away, as she waved.

"Something's not right," Hank narrowed his eyes.

"I agree," Steve nodded. Unfortunately, at this point they could do nothing. Janet was, as usual, playing her role perfectly and acting like nothing was wrong. Everyone sat down at their tables, as the many waiters brought out the different dishes. As dinner lasted, classical music played gently in the background. Hank, every so often, would glance at Janet at the head table; she chatted with a smile and grace. Still, the ominous feeling in the pit of his stomach was telling him otherwise. Something was wrong.

Soon, dinner finished, as the music continued to grow and become louder. Several got up and conversed with different people once more, as others danced on the floor. Strucker kept Janet close to his side, flaunting her like some prized trophy. Of course she was something worthy enough to brag about, but he was dragging her around more like a dog than a lover. Hank grumbled in a low tone, as Steve patted his shoulder reassuringly.

Steve wiped his mouth with his napkin and stood up, looking for his chance to steal her away and talk to her. He lingered off to the side, mentally taking note of how beautiful Natasha looked while she talked to a governor, and the focused his energy back to Janet. He finally saw his chance, seeing the very few seconds while Strucker was slightly distracted talking to another couple. In a few long strides, he gently touched her arm and gestured her to the dance floor. Relief instantly washed over her, as she was led by Steve to the dance floor and took his hand and shoulder. They swayed to the music, as the people around them stared curiously.

"I don't think I have much time," she mumbled.

"Janet, please…tell me what is happening," Steve begged, his blue eyes pleading.

She sighed, glancing around her. "I never actually left you guys. I've been reporting to Fury ever since I 'quit' the team."

Steve finally released some of his built up stress. "That's what I hoped. It also explains why Fury was so calm through all of this…"

"Did you guys really think I ditched you? That I would just get up and walk away so easily?" Janet suddenly wanted to cry.

"I won't deny that there was a part of us that felt betrayed…but I had always faith in you. Tony was pissed, of course."

Janet rolled her eyes, "Tony thinks too logically."

"It certainly hasn't been the same. Hank's been a wreck…"

"Hank," Janet echoed, forming a small smile. "I'm going to miss him so much."

"You talk like you're not going to see him again…" Steve figured, as Janet bit her lip.

"Cap, I took Strucker's job for a reason…to go undercover and find out what he's really up to. We were right from the very beginning; Strucker's completely full of shit. He's planning something big and I think it's going to happen tonight with all these people," she explained. "I found a machine that's in operation and seriously looks like it could wipe out an entire city. I don't know what it is, but he needs to be stopped."

"Jan…" Steve stopped, shaking his head. He knew where she was going with this.

"I don't think I'm going to make it. I needed to tell one of you before tonight ended. Once Strucker gains all this power, I know I'm finished. The Avengers need to stop him."

"I won't let him hurt you. None of us will."

She smiled sheepishly, "I don't even think you'll get the chance to protect me. I just need you to protect this city and world."

"Damn it, Jan," he shook his head. "Don't go back…"

"I have to," she stated firmly. She caught the sight of red, as her eyes flickered to her friend. "One more thing…Natasha is good. She's also been working for Fury since her 'betrayal' with SHIELD. It's all an act." Steve's eyes widened at the confession. "You can trust her." Both danced in silence, mentally saying goodbye to one another.

"We're going to get through this, just like we always have."

"It's different this time," she whispered solemnly.

"Jan?" a familiar voice inquired, as Janet looking up and stared into the eyes of Hank. Both instantly stopped dancing.

"I'll go tell the others," Steve nodded, as he grasped her hand before letting go and walking away. Janet awkwardly looked at Hank, standing in the middle of the dance floor.

Oh simple thing, where have you gone?

Hank cleared his throat, "May I have this dance?" She smiled meekly, as his hands took her waist and hand. They began to sway gently, as Janet suddenly narrowed her eyes playfully.

"The last time we danced you tripped over my feet and did a face plant. Is it a miracle or did you take some lessons?"

Hank returned her smile, "Tony taught me a few things…"

She stifled a laugh. "I would've paid to see that."

"Don't worry, Clint managed to record the entire thing. I still can't find the camera anywhere," Hank assured, as Janet genuinely laughed. She hadn't laughed like that in a long time; it felt good to release such happiness. After a while, Hank's smile faded, becoming serious. Janet instantly knew what he was about to start.


"Before you accuse me of anything, I didn't willingly leave, Hank; I never wanted to. I was still reporting to Fury the entire time," Janet explained, feeling like an echo for repeating herself.

Hank blinked, "I know."

"You know?"

"You forget that I practically know everything about you. I knew you didn't willingly go to Strucker; you would never intentionally betray us like that. Plus, Fury was acting weird…it all didn't make sense is what I'm trying to say."

"Clever Hank strikes again," she smirked.

"But…that doesn't mean I didn't miss you," he restated, grabbing her attention. "I knew you had to do it, and it's all because of him. Please tell me you actually found something on him."

"He did a pretty good job at covering himself up, but I did find something: a weapon under the mansion. It's fancy tech, a lot like Tony's. Steve's informing the others now."

"We can go investigate now…"

"No, I have to stay here and keep my cover. You should take Fury and leave. That's the best advice I can give you."

"We're not leaving until this whole thing is settled. Don't even try arguing."

She opened her mouth to speak, but shut it quickly. There was no point in arguing. She knew the team would stay no matter what. She huffed, "Fine." He smiled amusingly, sensing her frustration.

"You look beautiful, by the way."

"I'm wearing a dress that causes me not to breathe…oh yeah, I'm just gorgeous," she rolled her eyes, as Hank's face remained the same. She sighed, "Thanks, and you look pretty handsome too." He smiled affectionately.

"Glad to know you approve," he began, sucking in a deep breath. "I've really missed you Jan. I knew it would be hard not to see you, but I didn't think it would be torturous."

She smiled weakly, "I've missed you too, Hank."

I'm getting old and I need something to rely on…

"I…I need to tell you something," Hank mumbled, as her body shivered. She stared deep into his eyes, suddenly seeing love and compassion. She gulped anxiously, only seeing this look when she was hurt or an alien invasion was threatening the world and her life. In that instant, it was like they were the only two people in the world. It was just the two of them, swaying in each other's arms as they continued to gaze. She tensed as she saw Hank bring his head down lower, a sure sign that he was going to kiss her. She slowly closed her eyes, desperately wanting him in that moment. She could feel the heat from his lips coming closer to hers, hungrily wishing to capture his mouth with hers. They were mere centimeters away…

"Janet," a stern voice stated. She sucked in a large gulp of air, reeling her head back as quickly as she could. She couldn't hide her fear, as her eyes zipped to see Baron Strucker staring at them. His face was emotionless, but his eyes were full of hatred and disgust. She dropped her hands off of Hank and did a small bow.

"Yes, my Baron?"

"I require your assistance," he replied icily, turning around and gesturing for her to follow. He walked without her by his side. She glanced at Hank once more, who looked angry and disappointed at the same time.

"I'm sorry," she whispered, briskly picking up her dress and following Strucker. She found him outside of the ballroom and towards the foyer. He walked into his area of study, simply placing his hand on his desk. She shut the door behind her and waited patiently for him to speak. "My Baron, what is it you wish for me to do?"

He scoffed, "I was hoping it wouldn't have to come to this."

She never saw it coming. An agent quickly moved out of nowhere and slammed his large fist into her gut. The wind was knocked out of her, as she fell to her knees. More agents assembled, grabbing her arms to secure her. She looked up with a wince.

"What are you doing?"

"I think you know exactly what I'm doing…" he replied, getting close to her. She glared at him.

"I guess the jig is up."

"Oh my dear, it was up quite a long time ago," he sneered, snapping his fingers as an agent punched her stomach once more. "People usually underestimate my attentiveness. Did you really think I believed your sob story? I always knew you were working with SHIELD."

"Then why the hell did you even ask me to join you?" she exasperated. She eyes him curiously, slightly understanding. "You loved me, I know you did. You still do," she spat. "Deep down, you hoped I would truly go on your side and fight for your cause. You're pathetic." That got her another slam to her stomach.

"Shame Natasha isn't here…she will die with the others. I caught on to her little charade long ago. Why else would I not tell her my secrets?"

Janet moistened her lips nervously. He knew about Natasha this whole time? Why did he keep her alive for so long? For her?

"And now I must deal with you…" he gritted his teeth. "You had to make this hard on me."

"Are you really that pissed I was about to kiss him?" she hissed.

"No!" he roared. His fist slammed into his desk, creating a hole. "He is not just anyone! He is the man you love!" He flipped over his desk with rage. "He is the man you have always loved…my competition since the beginning."

"You disgust me. Why would I ever willingly want to be with you?"

He grabbed her jaw forcefully. "Do not pretend you didn't have feelings. I know there was some part of you deep down that thought I had really changed. You really thought I could change the world for the better."

"That's the point, Strucker, you could have. Now you're back to evil and want to cause destruction."

"I was never good, my dear. Therefore, how could I go back?" he snarled. "I was hoping you'd join me, but now I must take matters into my own hands. This world will die under my name…under HYDRA."

"Bastard, there's no point to all of this! How long have you been doing this? You're old and overrated."

This time he laughed. "Who says I will be old?" She didn't like the way that sounded, as he grazed her cheek. "I can be young for you…" She shook her head, getting his hand off her. He sighed, "We begin." She suddenly felt a sharp pain in the back of her head, as her world went black. Her body slumped to the ground, unconscious. He looked at his men with satisfaction. "Prepare the weapon."

"This isn't good," Tony said, nervously looking around. He rubbed his eyes, wanting to stop the classical music that kept continuing.

"We need to evacuate the mansion," Steve mumbled.

"Without raising too much suspicion," Hank added.

"And why do we need to evacuate?" Fury asked, as he and Bobbi walked up. Tony glared.

"You didn't think it was a good idea to inform us Janet was still reporting to you?" he growled.

"You put her undercover…without telling us," Thor narrowed his eyes.

"She told you…which means something is wrong," Fury deduced, inclining his head toward Bobbi. His eyes then flickered toward Natasha, who was still conversing with someone else; she had no idea what was happening.

"Thanks for figuring that out, Sherlock," Clint sneered.

"As much as I'd love to point fingers right now, innocent lives are at stake. We need to get these people out of here and warn the city," Tony stated boldly. Fury didn't have time to respond. The entire mansion began to shake violently, as the guests gasped with fright. The music stopped playing immediately, as everyone either grasped onto the tables or fell down. Suddenly, the ballroom floor began to split open, as the orchestra ran frantically out of the way. The people screamed in terror, as the whole floor moved like a trap door. Then, something began to rise from the floor: a weapon that glowed green and towered over everything and everyone. The HYDRA symbol was etched perfectly in the center, proclaiming its fake death. The gem glowed brightly, causing everyone to cower in fear.

So tell me when you're going to let me in…

Strucker stood at the top of his weapon, smiling evilly as possible. He held Janet in his arms, completely out cold and unaware of what was happening. The top of the spire pierced the glass ceiling, shattering it instantly and letting the shards rain down on the people, cutting the skin. Hank gripped the chair, the ground still shaking from the movement. His desperation cried out of him, seeing Janet in Strucker's arms like a dead bride. HYDRA agents began pouring out, aiming their guns at the people.

"Now my reign will truly begin!" he shouted, his echo filling the room. The top of the spire pointed at the sky, as the clearness began to fade and dark clouds swirled above. An eerie green glow from the gem stained the clouds, making them smolder a green shade.

Bobbi attacked first, ripping her dress up to her thighs and taking out her staff. She hit five agents, dodging their bullets. The team followed, as Clint took out his retractable bow and pulled out a few arrows. Soon, Thor's hammer slammed into his hand, as his thunder and lightning mixed with the green sky. Hulk attacked like a raging barbarian, tumbling down men like bowling pins. Agents began to fall, but Strucker was still enjoying the heavy amount of power he was receiving.

"Everybody out now!" Fury screamed, as the people ran for their lives. The energy of the gem shot out, tagging a few people in the back. The life was drained out of them, screaming as their skin wrinkled. The gem was taking their life force, absorbing every ounce of their body. They dropped to the floor dead.

"Shit," Tony cursed. "Watch out for the rays!" Strucker touched the gem lightly with his powerful hand, absorbing everyone's life force. The wrinkles on his face began to disappear instantly. A group of agents grabbed Natasha ruthlessly, pinning her down in front of Strucker.

"You will die a painful death…" he said hungrily. She struggled, but she couldn't break free. Someone's foot slammed into one of the agent's heads, letting go of her arm. She seized the moment, thrusting her hand into the agent's throat. She saw Steve right beside her, grabbing her waist and crouching down, his shield blocking the gem's rays. For a brief second, they looked into each other's eyes, feeling the heat against their bodies.

"We need to run," he said shakily, as she nodded. His shield continued to block the attacks, as she ran forward and attacked more agents. They made a path, letting the public run out the front door. Tony was the first to enter the ship, powering it up.

"What about Janet!" Hank shouted, the wind blowing furiously outside. Pain was knotting up inside him.

"There's no way we can get to her!" Fury replied, his jaw clenching at the sky. "We need to fall back and come up with a plan." Strucker's maniacal laugh echoed throughout the sky. All of them entered the ship hurriedly, as Tony took off in a rush. When they looked back, they saw the rest of the mansion crumbling around the large weapon, as well as the horrific sky.

I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin…

Janet's eyes groggily opened, as sharp pains inflicted her body. She could feel the bruises forming, as she looked down as saw her beautiful dress was now dirtied and soiled. Her jewelry was gone and her hair was back in its usual form. She guessed she was at the HYDRA base, chained against a wall in the cells. She moaned in pain, the chains around her wrists forming marks.

"You're awake."

She winced at the familiar voice, seeing Strucker coming into the light. She gasped lightly, noticing how much younger he suddenly looked. His bald head was now covered with hair and his monocle was gone. How long had she been out? Were the Avengers okay? Did she warn them sufficiently?

"You can still stop this," she croaked, realizing how dry her throat was.

"My dear…there's no stopping the inevitable," he whispered, approaching her. He licked his lips. "I will make you love me, even if I have to force you."

He grabbed her throat with his hand, as power surged through him. Electric shocks of pain erupted her entire body, as her eyes bulged. She felt herself slipping, as she screamed in so much anguish and ache.

"Don't fight it," he further pushed, as he pressed his lips against hers. His power abducted her mind completely, as her eyes were no longer the same blue. In a matter of seconds, the old Janet was gone…and something else replaced her.

And if you have a minute why don't we go…

Talk about it somewhere only we know?

This could be the end of everything…

So why don't we go somewhere only we know…

Somewhere only we know…

Chapter 10:

Well this took a lot longer than expected. So this is the climax…and a lot has happened. Secrets were revealed and love was definitely tested. Strucker is succeeding in conquering the world…how will the Avengers stop him?

I have officially started school, so it will be harder for updates to come regularly. The story is almost over, but I will have a few chapters in mind. Please review!