Yep, another one, and this chapter focuses a lot on Angel and the pure energy story line and also on Kaydence and Peter with some Andy too. I know I promised a lot of Sharon/Clint, but they don't have much to do at the moment, so much more of them soon, and some of them in this.
WARNINGS: Language, Sex, Innuendo, Violence, Blood, Angst
Kaydence was trying really hard to hold her own with Peter Parker, but he made her feel flushed and flustered and she didn't actually know how to act around him. She wasn't entirely a doctor or an agent right now, she was being field tested and then she would be allowed to learn from Reed Richards and then she'd be doing what it was she came here to do: help people. She could have helped people anywhere, but she was fresh out of high school and the only people who would take her on right now was S.H.I.E.L.D. and that was a really good place to start. They weren't entirely invisible to the government after all.
Starting out with S.H.I.E.L.D. was actually a really big honor and so she couldn't screw this up with his fluffy hair and the way he stammered about awkwardly…giant turn on. She hadn't even thought she was attracted at first—just caught off guard—but the more Peter stammered through things, the more she found that she unintentionally smiled at him. Her smiling at him then set off a chain reaction and he would smile at her and then she would find her stomach erupting into butterflies even though he was supposed to just be a mission to her.
"So why are you here exactly?" Peter asked as he started to put some mail on a cart—this was the only job he had that made him money to help out his Aunt May.
Kaydence took a deep breath. "Looking into work…"
"College student?" Peter asked her slowly.
"Newly, yes," Kaydence admitted, though she had yet to officially be one.
Originally her plan had always been to go straight to college, but instead S.H.I.E.L.D. had picked her up and the 18 year old was more than equipped to handle herself. Having been with Xavier all these years and also doing her own thing at public school and being Andy's cousin had all made things kind of settle in her lap. Kaydence wasn't one for turning her nose up at an opportunity either, so she had snatched the chance to work with such an organization right up and contacted Angel about it.
Close as she was to Andy, Kaydence also had a kinship with Angel that no one could really match and it made her smile a bit because Angel had always understood her. They were more open to the same ideas and took relationships far more seriously than Andy and Sharon—though Andy took them more seriously than Sharon did. It broke Kaydence's heart to see Sharon let herself get dragged through the mud so often, but Clint seemed different. He genuinely seemed to love her.
"You're not very talkative are you?" Peter asked and then his smile was replaced with a worried look. "Am I annoying you? Am I bothering you? I'm really sorry, Kaydence."
Kaydence shook her head quickly. "No, no…I just don't have much to say."
Actually, there were a billion different words and sentences running through her mind right now, but she just couldn't seem to make one of them form the way that she wanted it to. Fury wanted to have Peter join the Avengers because of what had happened to him and it made her smile even though she wondered how the young man would really hold his own. In fact Logan had just basically been inducted, so what in the world was Peter going to do?
Still, nothing quite said 'hero' like getting bitten by a radioactive spider and then making your own costume to fight crime. He was much more than met the eye and so was Kaydence, so maybe it was only logical for Fury to send her here to talk to him—after all, she could relate to him better than any of the others could and maybe she could explain it all to him in a way that the others just couldn't. For that to happen, however, she was going to have to tell him why she was really there and it wasn't for a mail room job…it was to secure this job she'd been given, no doubt with strings pulled by Angel.
"Are you free tomorrow night?" Peter asked Kaydence suddenly, his window with her open again since he knew he wasn't bothering her.
Kaydence was caught off guard this time. "Um…yeah, why?"
"I don't know, I was thinking that we could…well…you know…hang out, I guess. Or maybe dinner? Whatever you're comfortable with…" Peter managed to say.
"Yeah, I think that would work," Kaydence admitted and then she handed Peter a package he missed. "Don't want to forget this."
"Thanks," Peter said as he started to head for the door, Kaydence moving to make it look like she was going to talk to the manager down here. "I'll see you tomorrow—oh! You need my number!"
Quickly, Peter and Kaydence exchanged cell phone numbers and then with a grin and a shake of his brown hair, he was out the door and Kaydence was letting out a breath she didn't know she was even holding in.
Steve wasn't entirely sure of what to make of Bucky being back, but he had hugged him rather tightly, Bucky hugging him too when they had found themselves alone. Bucky still hadn't been entirely sure of what was going on, but Steve started to explain slowly, showing him some newspaper articles and explaining the incident on the train with him and yet…Bucky wasn't sure. Yes, this was Steve and he was Steve down to a 'T', but it could also be some giant fabrication. No. No, the nose bleed and what he'd been witnessing told him this was all true and he owed Angel his life.
Not only that, but Bucky could tell just how hurt Steve was not being able to go and see Angel, everyone kicked out of the room—including Tony. Reed and Bruce had a lot on their hands and they needed the peace and quiet to get her to come out of this and all of that blood…Bucky wasn't sure if he was even going to be able to thank Angel at this point and Steve was pre-occupied. As much as he loved having Bucky here and as much as he wanted to share with him, Angel was in pretty bad shape and Steve Rogers was in love. Bucky could tell and it made him happy and yet he didn't know anything about this woman and felt a little bit replaced and didn't know why he was so jealous, but he was—he was also indebted to her because she was keeping Steve safe when he couldn't.
"So almost two years, huh?" Bucky asked as Steve paused and looked at his hands.
Steve looked at him and nodded. "Yeah—I lost you on that train and then I took on Hydra, crashed the plane—"
"—and ended up 70 years about in the future after being thawed out from the ice caps they found you in." Bucky finished for him to prove he'd been listening to it all. "It seems crazy, but I mean I've seen crazy ass things. Like you and that Super Soldier Serum for example."
Both men smiled at each other and Bucky had to think back to what had happened with Angel, knowing that she couldn't have gotten there without knowing about what had happened. Steve had to have confided in her because it all seemed to make sense and the things that Steve was showing him? Bucky was the one that was feeling lost right now and he rested his hand on Steve's shoulder, giving it a reassuring squeeze. That brought a smile out across Steve's face because he'd missed his best friend and Angel had brought Bucky back to him.
"So, while I understand how I am back, I suppose—never thought the mutant rumor was true—you want to tell me about how you're in love with her?" Bucky asked Steve slowly.
Steve smiled a little bit and looked at the floor before making eye contact with Bucky. "She has been there for me since I woke up in this new time. Angel has helped me to understand everything, to adjust to this world, and to move forward and think about my future. She is my future and now you're in it too and I just…I can't lose her, Buck. There is nothing that I can do right now, but she's the one thing that's really mine and apparently she's been there for me since before all of this happened."
"I'm not going to even pretend that I know a thing about time travel," Bucky said laughing because he knew what Steve meant. "I hear you though, because it's obvious that you love her and she just saved my life. Tell me there's something else that I can do, Steve."
"I wish I knew what we could do," Steve admitted with a shrug. "I have to stay out of Reed's and Bruce's way because her life is in the balance and they need to stay focused. We're just distractions."
"She needs more blood," Bruce said as he came into the room with them.
Steve looked over to him when Bruce addressed him about Angel's situation and he felt his throat tighten in a painful way, his stomach queasy. He couldn't imagine his life without Angel…without marrying her and getting to spend the rest of his life with her. One day, Steve wanted to be a father and if Angel wasn't there for him to have children with, then what was the point? He'd already lost Peggy and his first shot at love, but he couldn't lose Angel too—he couldn't lose the love of his life. He especially couldn't lose her without a fight.
"What's her blood type?" Bucky asked as he gave Steve's shoulder another squeeze.
Bruce took a deep breath. "O+…it's the most common blood type though, so—"
"—I can donate." Bucky said quickly, Steve looking at him. "That's my blood type too and if she needs blood than the least I can do is save her."
"We'd have to run a couple of tests first," Bruce told him slowly. "She brought you from your time to this time and you need a proper physical before we can let you give her blood."
Bucky nodded at that, expecting it. "Anything for Angel, Doc."
"I'm just the scientist—Richards is the doctor," Bruce said with a smile.
Steve felt almost like he might cry, hugging Bucky fiercely and then watching as Bucky went with Bruce to go and get the proper tests done. He needed to have her stable and back and Bruce was only keeping him informed while Reed worked his magic on Angel to keep her alive and steady. This whole pure energy matter needed to be handled and quickly because Angel was Steve's everything and he wanted to start moving forward with their life together. He couldn't do that if she left him too soon.
"Hang in there, baby," Steve whispered gently.
Tony was feeling lost without Angel there to talk him through anything, and it certainly hurt him more than he would admit that he was in this position again. Once again his sister's life hung in the balance and he wasn't able to do a damn thing to help her—but at least Bucky had stepped up for her. In a way Tony blamed Bucky for all of this even though he knew deep down that it wasn't Bucky's fault at all that Angel had decided to go back in time and save him. She was just that kind of person and she had wanted Steve to be happy just like she wanted everyone around her to be happy all the time no matter what toll that took on her.
Either way, Angel was currently stable even though she needed blood, and while Reed and Bruce were running the necessary tests on Bucky to make that happen, Tony was with her in her room holding her hand. All the tubes and the beeping monitor made it hard for him to stay composed, his cheeks tear stained and his eyes red from crying. Angel and Tony were all that each other had and if he lost her, he knew that he was going to snap. He was doing bad enough after the whole Loki incident and almost dying and losing his sister? It would be icing on the cake that he just couldn't take.
"I really need you to pull through this, V," Tony whispered as he ran his thumb along her hand. "God, I just need you to open your eyes and tell me that you're alright. I'm barely holding it together as it is, but Iceman's wingman is working to get you the blood that you need, so…"
Tony trailed off, half expecting Angel to just wake up and smile at him and his use of nicknames, but no such thing happened and he chewed on his lip. Then he ran his fingers through his hair and looked at her again, eyes darting to the infernal monitor that kept beeping to tell him her heart was still beating and happy as he was about that, it was annoying. Still, he forced a smile onto his face just in case she could tell in his voice that he was smiling or in case she opened her eyes to see him, and he continued because this was his sister and he needed her more than he'd admit to anyone.
"I need you to wake up…" Tony told Angel quietly. "You make me a better person."
It was true, and while Joanna certainly did her fair share of that as well, Angel had always made Tony want to be better as he'd yelled at Steve earlier. She was his sister and the only flesh and blood that he had left and it made him worry about Andy a little bit because he had just barely heard Sharon mention that new development in all the hustle and bustle with Angel. He made a mental note to go and see her and try to be there for her because her brother seemed a little like him in the respect that he needed to be there for her more, but right now…right now it was all about Angel.
"Tony, you have to calm down," Steve told him even though he wasn't very calm with Bucky being back and Angel being in so much trouble either.
Tony whirled around on him. "DON'T YOU DARE TELL ME TO CALM DOWN! SHE IS ALL THAT I HAVE LEFT!"
"I'm worried about her too!" Steve shot back even though he knew that Tony had this worse.
"You want to know who took care of me when I got back from being a POW? Angel! Pepper did her fair share, but it was Angel .She dropped everything regardless of me being the worst brother in the history of brothers and she helped me through it! She kicked my ass into gear and she loved me and she acted like we were as close as siblings could be!" Tony admitted shaking his head. "IF I LOSE HER THAN I HAVE NOTHING LEFT!"
Steve paused a moment and then swallowed. "We're not going to lose her…"
Tony felt bad for yelling at Steve, but he had been so distraught and overcome with emotions that he hadn't known entirely how to handle it. Now though, the door to the room opened and Tony felt relieved when it was Joanna, coming in to kiss his temple and rub his shoulders because she loved him. She wanted him to be alright and she'd been helping him with his PTSD from the battle and his drinking problem, and Tony honestly needed her with him right then.
"She'll be alright," Joanna whispered as she wrapped her arms around him and kissed his neck before letting her face bury there, Tony closing his eyes at the much wanted and needed contact. "I have faith that everything will work out alright in the end."
Andy was more surprised than anyone else to see Thor, but he had been practicing with Mjolnir and the moment he saw what was going on he was to her in a heartbeat. He pulled her to him and kissed her lovingly, Andy returning it and yet not being able to move it past there even though part of her had wanted to. Thor had come to give her comfort and he had given her just that, and then listened to her telling him all about her brother and about Angel and about needing to have some answers.
"What I don't understand," Andy explained as they walked along, "is why the memories were taken away, and why Angel thought that she need to go back in time and bring Bucky back when she hadn't completely taken care of herself yet. Then there's Logan, who came here to see Connor without me and it should have been me that came to talk to him first…"
Thor nodded as he listened, reaching out and stroking Andy's hair. He wanted so desperately to just magically make her feel better, but he knew that he couldn't do that, no matter how hard it was that he tried. She had a brother that she had been made to forget and while Loki did some pretty terrible things, he knew that he would never want to forget Loki and he had grown up with him. Blood related or not, he and Loki were brothers and Andy deserved to get to be with and interact with hers.
"Would you like me to stay with you?" Thor asked her gently.
Andy shook her head. "I need to—"
"—and you brought the God of Thunder," Connor said pleasantly.
Connor had come out of the door just as Andy was telling Thor that she needed to do it all on her own, Andy completely surprised by just how obvious it was that he was her brother. They had similar facial structures and he was smiling, and all she could do was punch him in the arm like Angel would do to Tony all the time. It made him smile and he nodded, wishing he could scoop her up and hug her and let her know that this hadn't been how he had wanted it to all happen, but right now he needed to make sure that Andy was with her best friend.
"YOU CAN'T JUST SHOW UP!" Andy yelled at him. "YOU'RE MY BROTHER, FOR GOD'S SAKE!"
Nodding, Connor hugged her, Andy slowly but surely hugging him back. "I will explain everything on the way to Angel and Logan is headed to Xavier to see if he can't figure something else out too. For now you just have to trust me and if you can't do that, you have a God with a hammer…"
"This is true…" Andy admitted, letting Connor take the reins on this.
They got into the car and Connor began to explain how Stryker had tried to use him and Andy to his own advantage and Andy remembered that…remembered apparently an altered version of things. Turned out that Stryker wanted both of the Mett children and something went terribly wrong, rendering Connor in a coma for a little bit. Wanting to make sure that their parents would still work for him, Stryker had everyone's memories altered, leaving Connor to fend for himself when he woke up. Such work was done by an incredibly strong telepath and Andy hoped it wasn't Xavier himself.
There were other mutants that had the ability to alter memories—Hell, Angel could—but something of that magnitude took a lot of determination and power. Andy didn't think that Xavier was capable of something like that and he certainly wouldn't help Stryker, but there was always the possibility. Sometimes, it frightened Andy how easily she could believe that she could be betrayed, but it had happened so much in her life now that she felt as though maybe it was perfectly alright for her to think this way. That way, at least, she wasn't completely destroyed after it happened.
"So…you think that Xavier can erase the damage?" Andy asked Connor slowly. "You think that I'll remember you and growing up with you?"
Connor smiled sadly at her. "I hope so, because it has been killing me not to be able to be near you and protect you. Before Stryker was killed I just…I couldn't be near you because he would have hurt you—but then he did it anyway and I just couldn't stay hidden any longer."
"So you tipped off Kaydence…" Andy said nodding slowly as Thor gripped her hand.
"So I tipped off Kaydence," Connor admitted with a smile. "Now, we just need to put everything back and get to Stryker's cure before anyone else gets it."
Andy nodded and bit her lip. "Anyone else like…who? You make it sound like you have an idea as to who might possibly be behind this."
"Who wanted Stryker dead in the first place?" Connor asked her.
"Loki…" Thor said before anyone else could. "With something that could render all the opposing mutants useless in his possession, he could take over from the inside out and inspire loyalty out of fear."
"No offense," Andy told Thor slowly, "but your brother is a dick and yes, I know you don't understand that reference at all."
"When do you think they'll let you see her?" Clint asked Sharon as he kissed her temple, both of them sitting and waiting for Sharon's turn to see Angel.
Sharon was happy to have Clint by her side through all of this, reaching over and grasping his hand, giving it a squeeze as she tried to smile. Angel had been in this position twice now and Sharon wanted it to stop—there was only so much that she could handle and she could not handle losing her best friend, that much she knew. Having Clint here to hold her and to reassure her made things ten times easier, but nothing was better than having Thor and Andy get there, even if Connor was in tow and Sharon could tell who he was.
"Only Tony has been allowed to see her," Sharon explained as she and Andy hugged one another.
Andy nodded and pulled back. "I suppose that makes sense—blood relation and all that."
"Bucky got to see her too, but he's giving her blood, so…" Sharon said and looked over to Connor, holding out her hand for him to shake. "I'm Sharon and this is my boyfriend, Clint. You must be Connor…I wish I remembered you."
"Join the club," Andy told her as Sharon and Connor shook hands. "Hopefully Xavier can get us all out of this mess though and I can go back to having a big brother. Bucky's giving Angel blood?"
Sharon nodded as she took one last look at Connor before looking at Andy. "Yeah, he is—they have the same blood type, so you know that's eating away at Tony."
"He has Joanna, though…she's helping a lot with him," Andy reminded Sharon before she sighed. "I wish I could have adapted to having my mind erased."
"Memories wiped, your mind is not erased," Connor said laughing, Andy elbowing him playfully and both of them smiling at each other.
Whether Andy remembered him or not, she felt comfortable around him and was already trying treating him like her big brother. They were only two years apart in age and he was glad to be here with her and her friends, just wanting to be a part of her life even though he knew that he couldn't settle for being the biggest part because he wasn't. Still, he was determined to get her back and he was glad that he was being accepted for right now because he had missed her for a very long time.
It was also nice for Sharon to see that Andy had another bright spot in her life because Andy's life had been filled with a lot of bad. Not as much as Sharon's, who wasn't at all a stranger to torture and her parents had given her up a long time ago, but she had Andy and Angel who were her family. That brought her back to Angel being in trouble and as her face fell, Andy pulled her close and Clint sat with Thor as Connor sat with them as well—the girls needed to be with each other right now.
"If she's getting blood and Tony had time to talk to her, that means that she was at least stable," Andy tried, resting her head on Sharon's shoulder.
Sharon nodded slowly. "I know, I just…I can't lose her, Andy. She's ours."
"I know she is," Andy agreed with a nod. "She is ours and if we feel this bad, imagine how Tony and Steve are feeling."
"Steve is beside himself, but she's our platonic soul mate," Sharon reminded Andy, shaking her head. "We're the ones that grew up with her…that spend almost all of our time with her."
"I agree, but they still hurt too," Andy pointed out, she and Sharon sighing and looking at each other. "All we can do right now is hope that Reed can get her to a place where he can help her body to manipulate itself into healing."
Sharon knew that Andy was right, but she was in a lot of emotional pain and she didn't know how to handle it right now. She had Andy and Clint and everyone in S.H.I.E.L.D. knew to give her a smile or a nod or something, but she was feeling pretty helpless right now and it was partially on Angel to pull through this. There was nothing that the rest of them could do right now except put all of their faith in Reed and Bruce and more importantly, in Angel.
Angel had a fight ahead of her.
Angel could tell that something was wrong and she couldn't move…she couldn't even open up her eyes, but she was aware. She had been vaguely aware of Tony's presence and now Bucky was there with her and she didn't quite know what was going on, but it was bad. Somehow, going back in time to get Bucky and then getting shot with that pure energy Hydra weapon, had caused her body to go into shock and then into a sort of shutdown. She needed to become more responsive, and yet she knew what Bucky had just done for her and it warmed her heart.
"If you don't wake up I can't thank you and you can't marry Steve like you promised," Bucky told her, taking a deep breath. "Man, that feels weird to say. I come here because you saved me and I owe you my life and that's weird enough, but you want to marry my best friend…he proposed to you. I don't know anything about you other than what I've been told and I know he's in love with you, but I didn't get to be there. Not to meet you, not to get to know you, not to give you my blessing, not to help him plan anything or pick anything out…I'm so indebted to you and I'm grateful—I'm just also bummed."
Bucky had a feeling that he wasn't supposed to be saying these kinds of things to someone who was unconscious, but he also knew that saying this to her in person would be ten times harder. He was jealous and for no reasons other than Angel had gotten to be here for Steve and he hadn't been. There was so much that Steve had had to experience by himself and while Angel had taught him, it just hadn't been the same as learning with someone else.
"I'm going to move in with him—he wants me to be close," Bucky said slowly, looking at the IV in Angel's arm and glancing at his wound from where he'd given blood. "I just want to get to know you, Angel…and maybe that incredibly attractive Agent Romanov, but the point is, I can't get to know you if you die. You gotta come back to all of us, alright? To your brother and your friends and to the cocky son of a bitch that you plucked out of the past and just dropped here. Most importantly, you need to come back to Steve…to that kid from Brooklyn that I would do anything for. His heart is breaking seeing you like this and you promised, Angel. You promised."
Note: I know, I know, Angel is still unresponsive (and I made up Bucky's blood type and could totally be wrong about it), but next chapter is pretty awesome with a lot of Connor in it and Stryker's back-up plan, some Sharon mobilizing to fight and an almost close to this pure energy issue so I can move onto the next main story line. Feedback is always appreciated!