Chapter One:

*Warning: AVENGERS spoilers ahead!*

Cambria Vale: Project Psychologist: This position's responsibilites orbit around managing the Avengers Initiative's inner social aspects. A close watch of the group's activities is required at all times, purely to facilitate any personal conflicts.

Cambria stared critically at the job description held in her hands.

The first day. The first day. It was the first day and she was squeezing into the idiotic, goth/emo ballerina-suit that she had had the measurements taken for a month prior. Due to a sharp memory, she recalled the incident with startling clarity.

The lumpy woman, dark hair greased and pulled back into an impeccable, face-tautening bun, had immediately a scrutinizing sheen in her sharp eyes. "You're going to work for S.H.I.E.L.D.?" Voice grinding, like broken glass being churned to powder, she sounded doubtful.

Cambria had a half-cocked grin. "Yep. Why, my ass too big for the leather suit?"

The size-taker locked her in a withering, dead stare. "No. Turn around; I need your waist measurement now."

Cambria glared, surly, right back. The woman roughly spun her the opposite direction, flaccid arms snaking around her waist and clinching the measuring tape shut.

"Damn, girl!" Cambria jumped as the woman emitted a joyous voice. "You got a tiny waist!"

"Yes," the twenty-six-year-old breathed, "I work out. Frequently. And I can tell you do, too." The sarcasm poured from her voice like thick honey.

And with that the measurer said flatly, "Whatever, moron," and the two were back to hating each other.

It was now thirty-one days later, the second of June, and she was in her peeling crap-car, speeding to her starter day at a top-sectret government thing. Or something. She'd heard about it through a friend there telling her about the open psychology position.

And she was speeding- not that she knew, of course. Her foot just got a little heavier each second as she glanced around the interior of the bomber, to anywhere except the sinister red hand dancing over the 95 mark. The whole car shook and wailed, terrible, dying, guttural screams coming from the general direction of the engine, but she studiously ignored them.

Her mother had stickered neon Post-it notes all over her dashboard, as only the mother of a constantly jobless PhD would do; Don't be weird. Don't be loud. Don't be funny. Don't fart. Don't scream. Don't jump off anything tall. Try not to cuss. Don't be accidentally racist. Don't be stupid. Be serious and professional. YOU CAN'T LIVE IN MY BASEMENT ANYMORE, SO DON'T SCREW THIS UP.

Cambria had gone to a little-known local college, having not enough "well-roundedness" for Yale or Stanford or any of those places, but not like she cared. Her mom had been pushing for a scholarship to both those school, but since most of her schooltime was spent socializing... well, baby Cambria got her doctorate at Faith College.

Cambria had been told many times in her youth she was strange. She'd also been told that during college, too. Every single job she'd ever had immediately exploded in her face, but they were all for her extended family had disowned her when she sort of accidentally killed their cat by making him drown in his waterbowl.

It's not like she tried to forget about the glue in the bottom.

The speckle-faced girl sinced as the evil siren siced through the air, the staleness perforating immediately. She peered into the rearview mirror, swearing as the cop pulled into her view.

She bashed her head against the steering wheel.

Then she quickly straightened to see if possibly she could outrace the policeman, which was a notion immediately struck down by the proximity of the car.

Crap.

OoOoOo

After the cop was done giving her the usual lecture, she thanked him, revved her engines, and was halfway to the beach when she was pulled over once again, and given an additional ticket for flipping off and cussing out the offending cop.

But she got there in time, as she was a seasoned speeder.

Snatching her briefcase, she bolted down the decaying dock, flying over the missing patches of soggy, bloated wood. The wind whistled along the sand behind her, seedy grass swaying in the breeze. At the end of the port was a black-suited man with sleek black sunglasses, face weathered and hands stoically clasped in front.

"Miss Vale," the man nodded, a noncommital greeting. "I'm Agent Coulson."

"Just Cambria's good, Coulson. Hey, you have a first name?"" she nodded back, the grin radiant among smilk-smooth skin, fiery freckles sprayed across the ski-jump nose.

The man, Coulson, turned and stepped onto the gleaming yacht, Cambria following gamely. "Yes, but I'd prefer to be called 'Agent' or 'Coulson' or a combination thereof."

"Really. Your name's not 'Agent'?"

He turned to her. "Despite what a lot of people seem to think, I do not find that funny." He paused, colelcting himself. "I'd like to review the Avengers team members with you down below, if you'd follow me."

She did, and trotted down the steps. The boat was large and impossibly well-kept, with the captain's room perched atop the large, glass-walled space they were entering below.

The room was large, with a solitary round table in the middle, a thick stack of files by the chair opposite the other.

"Please, sit down." Coulson gestured toward the other chair as he bent to rest in the chair.

"Thank you, Mr. Agent. I will."

He picked up the first manilla folder, fat with innnumerable papers, and stared at it lovingly before eyes flicking up to Cambria's. "This is Steve Rogers' file- you are a psychologist?"

"Yep. Have my own practice. Got a PhD. Why?"

He emitted a mirthless, braying chuckle. "The team will be quite a case study. I'll give you each of the six files, but I'll just start with a general overview.

"Steve Rogers," Coulson sighed and Cambria watched, concerned, a rather stalkerish gleam enter his eye, "is the famous Captain America. His plane crashed into ice in the fourties and he woke up very recently. Rather a man out of his time, but still the greatest hero of them all."

"Opinion," Cambria interjected.

Coulson slowly looked up to her. "Well, it's widely considered that's he is the best superhero, as he's the first one to be just that."

"Well, maybe I think Iron Man is cooler."

Coulson stared at her savagely before shaking his head and sliding the file across the table to her. "Well, then here are Tony Stark's papers. If you know so much about him, then I don't need to tell you about him. Now, this is Thor, the Norse god of thunder- his brother Loki almost took over the world. Thor is also a fish out of water and will need assistance adjusting."

"Yeah, I think I remember when Manhattan almost got exploded. Schawarma was closed down for a while. That sucked." Cambria recalled.

"And, last of all, Bruce Banner. We initially recruited him for his extensive knowledge of gamma radiation, but his alter ego, the Hulk, is quite helpful in combat. This is a picture of the beast during the Loki-Avenger faceoff last month." The portfolio skidded across the smooth black table.

Cambria grabbed the photo, examining it. Powerful muscles flexed along the broad emerald back, and the shock of black curls was evident over the simple, brutish face. His mouth was opened in a savage roar, brows drawn down, eyes small and wild. The huge bulk of the swinging arms were pulled back, back arched, as if it were challenging the sky.

"This, children, is why we don't take steroids." She murmured under her breath.

"We'd like you to focus on analyzing and covertly counseling Dr. Banner. He now can morph into the Hulk at will, but is still susceptible to unexpected outbreaks when angered or even threatened. Get to know him well."

"Do I have do call him 'Doctor'?"

He frowned. "I guess not."

"Not 'Banner' either, right?"

"... I'm not sure what he would prefer."

"What's his first name?"

"I believe it's Bruce."

"Can I call him that?"

"I honestly don't know."

"Then I'll call him that until he tries to beat me up," she grinned lopsidedly at the straight-faced and furrow-browed man, leaning forward to punch him on the shoulder. "I'm joking," she clarified with a disbelieving smile.

He nodded. "I see. If you'll excuse me..." And he stood, smoothed his flawless suit of responsibilty, and strode into the men's bathroom.

OoOo

"Director Fury."

"Coulson. What do you need?"

"Well, sir, I woud like to know your reasoning behind hiring Vale."

The bass voice on the other line paused. "Have you met her?"

"Yes. That's why I'm doubting-"

"Are you questioning my judgement, Agent?"

"No, sir, it's just that she's-"

"What? Strange? Yes, Agent, I know that. Have you met any of our very own Avengers? Do you know what they are? Strange. A person similar to them will understand and fit in with them quicker. Can you imagine Stark with a therapist? A regular shrink off the street?"

Agent Coulson was silent for a beat, imagining the terrifying scene with a shudder. "I understand, Director."

"Take a look in Vale's file. Is that all?"

"Yes."

"And Agent?"

"Yes?"

"Don't doubt me again."

"Yessir."

The line went flat.

OoOo

As soon as that boring agent left to either piss or talk about her behind her back, Cambria stood up, inspecting the room. In the center was the large, round black table they were seated at, a vase of luscious and heavily perfumed daisies.

She leaned forward, inspecting the petals. She knew shit about flowers and cared equally as much, but her dad had long ago constructed a list of most commonly-bugged areas, and flowers were among them.

She knew she probably couldn't find one and she didn't, so she moved on to the rest of the room. The wallpaper was plain and beige, the occasional painting nailed wholly to the wall; seasoned-looking men with impressive facial hair and navy-clad chests pinned with gleaming metal.

Cambria then left the room, jauntily humming a tune from Billy Joel as she leaned over the railing. The water was an iridescent, deep cerulean, the tone only lightened by the airy blueness of the sky hanging freely overhead. There weren't many clouds to account for blocking the sun, and the burning ball gleefully targeted her clear white skin, a blush rising to the surface.

The water churned fitfully, upchucking the frothy contents of the deeps in the form of the bubbly wake. She watched the process with removed interest until she turned up to make eye contact with the captain, who hurriedly looked away. Cambria took this as a cue for her to introduce herself, sprinting across the desk and bolting up the stairs.

She knocked politely on the man's glass door, and he quickly reached back to shove it open. "D'you need anything, ma'am?"

"My name is Cambria, not 'ma'am'."

"D'you need anything? Because I really need to concentrate."

"Okay then. Yes, I do need something. I need to know what time we're going to be getting there."

"Getting where?"

"Wherever we're going, Ralph." Her round eyes snagged on his nametag.

"Where the Helicarrier is going to pick us up? About ten minutes."

"Sounds good, Ralphie. Nice meeting you." And she closed the door just as Agent Coulson began to mount the steps.

"Miss Vale. We still have to discuss the Avengers. I'd prefer if you not wander off mid-meeting."

To his infinite and eternal suprise, Cambria Vale had a face and voice she could flip on and off like a lightbulb; her face would lose it's humorous and likeable innocence. The wide eyes would narrow, playfully arched brows lowering, jaw clenching. Her voice would harden to an efficient and cold businesswoman. "I don't think, Agent Coulson, that reviewing the case is doing either of us any good in the slightest sense. I will meet these people on my own and as one being to another. Now, if you would like to continue briefing me about these people as showcased freaks and trophies you will find yourself pitched over the side of this boat because we are approximately the same height but I actually work out and could beat the living shit out of you. Sound good, Agent?"

He was taken aback, but only for a split moment- he did work with knives like Stark, after all. "I take that as a threat, Dr. Vale, and if you continue to threaten, I'm permitted to tie you to a chair in the meeting room."

"Really. Tie me to a chair."

"Really."

And with that, Agent Coulson was swiftly tackled and heaved into the water.

Yes, Agent Coulson is alive- I brought him back to life.

But, asides from that one little detail, what do you think? I know it's a little rough right now, but it'll get better. Trust me.

Yes, I planning on a romance for Cambria; you guys take a guess. Who do you think it is? Who do you want it to be?

*SPECIAL THREE-POINT QUESTION* Who is your guys' favorite Avenger and why?

Review with opinions and thoughts!

See you tomorrow/the day after!