Wow, almost ten months without updating. Man… I never thought this year college would be so intense. To all you who haven't given up on this fic, I cannot thank you enough.
I hope you like it.
Warning: Possible Spoilers for Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier.
Working for SHIELD, even if off the record, had its advantages. One of those was having a private jet which was faster than any other in the market. Jane and Darcy had checked out of the hotel hours before the theft, a few adjustments on the security cameras and the police would see them leave Paris an hour before the crime was committed.
Jane grabbed her coat and followed Darcy inside the JFK airport to meet with Natasha and wait to refuel their jet. She wasn't eager for their conversation. How were they going to tell the Black Widow that they had completely screwed up by letting a kid film and blackmail them? And how were they going to explain that they had dragged said kid into their jet?
Speaking of whom…
"Darcy?" Jane asked. "Where's Serrure?"
The younger woman blinked and stared behind her boss, but she could only see unknown people walking hurriedly around the airport. "What the…? He was right behind you a minute ago."
Jane searched the young orphan in the crowd, but she couldn't see him anywhere. "I don't see him."
"Maybe he ran away," Darcy pulled her raincoat closer to her body. "He said he just wanted a ride and then he'd be out of our hair. One less problem to worry about!"
Jane did feel relieved at the prospect of not having to explain Serrure's presence but, almost immediately, she remembered that he still had the video and could use it to blackmail them.
On the other hand, they had just lost a little kid into the dangerous streets of New York. No matter how obnoxious and street wise he was, Serrure was still just a child. He could be kidnapped, injured, raped or even murdered… All because two selfish scientists were too worried about themselves to look after him.
"We have to find him," Jane said.
Jane's eyes glared at her friend. "He's just a kid, Darcy. How can we live with ourselves if something happens to him? I know I can't."
Darcy sighed heavily. "Fine, enough with the guilt trip. I get it! Let's find the squirt."
"Who are you calling 'squirt'?"
Both women almost jumped before staring at the raven boy who was suddenly behind them, smiling at their faces.
"Damnit, kid!" Darcy cried out. "What's the matter with you?"
Serrure's smile widened. "Me? You're the one who called me squirt."
Darcy hissed in frustration while the kid laughed.
"Where were you, Serrure?" Jane asked, her brown eyes serious and worried. They had some sort of effect on the kid, because his snicker died instantly.
"I went to the currency exchange machine," the boy explained, adjusting his old backpack on his thin shoulders. "My Euros wouldn't be very useful here, would they?"
Jane crossed her arms around her chest. "You know how to work with those machines?"
"I figured it out. I'm quite resourceful!"
Jane stretched her hand and grabbed the boy's shoulder, pushing him towards her. "Just… don't leave like that again, alright? We were worried."
The boy frowned and squirmed uncomfortably under her grasp. He obviously wasn't used to people touching him.
"Why would you be worried, Dr. Jane Foster? I was under the impression that you and your associate would be glad to see me leave."
Jane couldn't help but stare at Serrure. What kind of child spoke like that? Sure, she was not expert on children's behavior, but even she knew that an abandoned orphan who had to live on the streets wouldn't be this civil and well-spoken. Then there was his accent. He sounded very close to British, even though his name was French.
"Believe it or not, we're not the kind of people who would just leave a kid by himself," Jane answered.
Still grabbing Serrure's shoulder, Jane led them outside the airport into a cab under the pouring rain. After telling the driver the address, the older scientist ran her hands through her wet hair and glanced at her soaked shoes and jeans.
"Great! Traffic!" Darcy moaned, taking off her coat and mentally cursing the damn weather and damp heat inside the old cab.
While Jane texted Natasha their whereabouts and informed the spy that they were most likely be late, Serrure, who was squeezed between the two scientists, swung forward so he could watch the city from the front window.
The cab driver glanced at the small boy and smiled. His son had been around his age when they moved from Oporto and had the same look of interest in his face.
"It's a big city, isn't it?" the driver asked. There were customers who preferred to be left alone, but he was chatty by nature and talking always made the trip easier with this kind of weather. "Too bad about the rain, though."
Serrure shrugged. "Chove em todo o lado. A chuva não muda as cidades." It rains everywhere. Rain doesn't change cities.
The driver's eyes widened as he heard the boy talk his mother tongue before laughing at loud. "Aí está uma grande verdade! De onde vieram, filho? E não me digas 'do aeroporto'. Essa piada é velha." There's a big truth right there! Where did you come from, son? And don't say 'from the airport'. That joke is really getting old.
"Tecnicamente não seria uma piada porque viemos mesmo do aeroporto. Acabamos de chegar de Paris." Technically it wouldn't be a joke because we really came from the airport. We just arrived from Paris.
"Bela cidade! Gostava de lá ir um dia com a minha mulher para a uma segunda lua-de-mel. Talvez quando ganhar a lotaria," Beautiful city! I would like to go there someday with wife for our second honey moon the old man glanced at the sleepy Darcy and Jane who was talking on the phone. "Então… Vieram passar férias à Grande Maçã em família? As tuas irmãs parecem cansadas…" So… Did you come to spend your family vacation in the Big Apple? Your sisters look tired…
Serrure decided that would be easier to let driver think they were family, so he simply nodded and they continued chatting.
Jane put down her phone and stared at Serrure. She had been too distracted with her phone call to notice that the cab driver was talking to the boy in Portuguese though Serrure was answering him in English.
Strange, she thought.
When they finally reached they destination, a small, inconspicuous coffee house, the driver turned to her and said something in Portuguese which left her staring awkwardly at him. Not knowing what else to do, Jane took thirty bucks from her wallet and gave it to the surprised man, who then gave her the change.
"Goodbye," Jane said, leaving the cab.
"Bye," the driver answered, confused.
Soon the cab disappeared into the streets and they entered the coffee house. After a waitress took their order, Serrure glanced at Jane with a frown. "What was that about?"
"What?" Jane asked.
"Well… the cab driver wished us a good stay in New York and you abruptly gave him money," the boy explained. "I know you're in a hurry but the man was just being polite."
Jane blushed and suddenly wished she could call the cab back and apologize. But then again, how was she supposed to know what the cab driver was saying?
"Why would he think I spoke Portuguese?" Jane said.
Serrure blinked in confusion. "What do you mean?"
"Did you tell him that I spoke Portuguese?"
"No, and I don't understand your confusion, Jane. You heard us talking. You know what we said."
"I know what you said, but I couldn't understand the cab driver. He was talking to you in Portuguese and you were talking in English."
The boy gaped and looked down, water dropping from his hair into the old table. Suddenly, he looked confused and lost and every bit the young child that he was.
"I… I don't understand. Are you saying that he wasn't talking in English too?"
Jane's brown eyes widened and she exchanged a look with an equally perplexed Darcy before calling the boy again. "Serrure, you didn't notice that he was talking in another language."
The boy shook his head. "I noticed that his tone changed a bit… but I didn't notice anything different from when I talk to you or anybody else in Paris."
"Wait a second… Are you saying that every language sounds the same to you?" Darcy asked, straightening in her chair.
Serrure remembered than he never had any trouble talking to the tourists while he did his card trick. Honestly, he never noticed that they could be talking different languages and he never tried to change his own. He just talked and everybody understood what he said. Reynard had once mentioned that he didn't understand how he was so lucky with the tourists; could it be because he spoke all their languages? That didn't make any sense.
"How is that possible?" Serrure asked defiantly.
Darcy took out her phone and logged into her YouTube account. After scrolling down some videos, she finally found what she was looking for: Japanese news footage.
"Tell us what they're saying?" Darcy handed Serrure the phone and waited.
"Hmm… it's an Asian reporter talking to people. She's asking them what happened after the Tsunami… this old lady is telling her that she lost her house and her husband is missing. Now she's interviewing a man… ah… he said his family lost everything. Now they're showing footage of ruined buildings and… they're saying that the nuclear plant is in danger of exploding."
Darcy took the phone back and showed the video to Jane with the subtitles activated this time. Serrure had translated everything correctly.
"Did you ever learn Japanese?" Jane asked, obviously impressed.
"I don't reme… I mean, no. I haven't," Serrure seemed upset by his strange ability. To him it was just another thing that made him weird. "Look! The food is here!"
Though they were eating, Darcy couldn't help but show Serrure three more videos for him to translate: one in Greek, Turkish and Swahili. Like with the first video, the kid had managed to translate correctly all three.
"Wow!" Darcy exclaimed. "That's… that's pretty amazing! You're like a super polyglot."
Serrure pouted and swallowed his chocolate pancakes. "Great. I'm a super translator, that would make me rich. I just have to compete with Google."
Jane smiled. "It's a very useful gift and I think you beat Google Translator by many, many points."
The boy shrugged again and started playing with Darcy's phone.
"Hey! Hand's off my phone!"
"It's my reward for my job as a translator."
"Not with my phone, brat! Jane! Jane, he's got my phone!"
Jane rolled her eyes. Now she knew how mothers with noisy kids felt like killing them sometimes for a little peace and quiet. Despite that, Serrure's language knowledge was very unusual. Children didn't just know all known languages out of the blue. There had to be a reasonable explanation for it.
"What if I try to translate your texts?" Serrure teased, moving away from Darcy's arms. "Or your photos? Do you have good photos?"
Darcy blushed like a tomato and her efforts to regain her phone doubled. "No freaking way, you brat! Give my phone! Jane, help!"
"What am I? Your babysitter?" Jane answered.
Grinning, Serrure clicked on the photo icon and touched the first one that he saw. He was expecting some juicy material to tease Darcy with, instead his green eyes widened and he froze in his place.
It was a photo of a hammer, but very different from any hammer he had seen before. This one looked bigger and… well, fancier. There were symbols written on it, small ones. Serrure had just zoomed the photo and started reading them when Darcy snatched her phone back.
"Hey!" the boy cried out.
"Keep your dirty hands of my stuff," Darcy said in triumph. "What gives you the right to… what were you watching?" Darcy zoomed out and stared at Thor's hammer.
"I was just reading it. You didn't have to take it like that," the boy groaned.
Darcy showed the photo to Jane, who stood up and grabbed the phone. "Wait… are you saying you can read what written in here?"
"Yeah. What's the big deal? It's just a hammer."
Jane gave the phone back to Serrure, her heart pounding in her chest. "Can you read it out loud?"
"Again? You doctors sure like to use me as a guinea pig. From now on, I'm charging you!" Jane grabbed his arm and the boy shut up. Something in her face made him realize that this wasn't another translation test. "What?"
"Please…" the scientist asked, her eyes way too bright.
"Fine. Give me that," Serrure reluctantly took the phone from her hands and zoomed in again. Maybe he didn't realize when he was hearing different languages, but the written word was another thing entirely. He knew this wasn't English, but he could still read it. "It says 'Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of ... Thor'."
The last word felt weird on Serrure's mouth before he remembered that Thor was one of the Avengers and a so called Norse God. Why would a Norse God's name leave a bitter taste in his mouth?
Meanwhile, Jane had to sit down, her eyes never leaving the boy's face. If Serrure could read Mjolnir, he could also be able to translate the Norse Stone that had gotten them into this mess.
Inside her car, Natasha remembered once more all the details from the data she had collected. It had been bad enough that Foster and her colleague had been seen and filmed by a child, but their attack was what worried her more.
Those warriors had been carrying out assassinations, terrorist attacks, robbing banks and museums all over the globe but they had never managed to catch or identify them. However, they had claimed to be under Loki's command during the Louvre's incident.
Since they couldn't communicate with Thor, it was impossible to ask him if Loki could have possibly faked his death and come back to Earth to finished the job. Still, if this was Loki again, why was he being so stealthy? What was he doing this time? Who was he working with?
Parking next to the coffee house, Natasha glanced at the new file SHIELD had created about the boy Foster and Lewis had brought with them. The file was brief since there virtually no records on the kid since a year ago, though his origins were suspicious and required further investigation.
What they had been able to find was that on last year's April 1st, there had recordings of a sudden blast by the Seine where they had eventually rescued a young boy with no apparent memory of who he was or how he got into the river. The boy, self-named 'Serrure', had been sent into the foster care while all attempts to find his identity and family had been futile. There were no prints or DNA on the system and no one ever reported him as missing or claimed him. About six months ago, the kid had run away from his foster home and never seen until now.
Natasha stared at a photo the police had taken shortly after they found the kid and her gut twisted. She had seen those eyes, that face and that black hair before. She would never forget them even if she wanted. No matter how she much she looked, that kid always reminded her of Loki.
Maybe it was just a coincidence or maybe recent events with the sudden reappearance of the Winter Soldier had left her memories compromised. Her past seemed to be coming back for her and opening wounds she thought she had healed a long time ago.
At the time, the Winter Soldier had only been a nameless soldier who she worked with. Even after they got involved more personally, he was still nameless. Now he was back. Now he had a name.
Shaking her head, Natasha stored the file in her glove-compartment and left for the coffee house.
Serrure is able to speak every language because of the All-Tongue, which makes everyone hear him in their mother tongue. Thor has it too obviously.
Did I spoil the Winter Soldier's identity for anyone? If I did, sorry.
See you guys next chapter!