Summary: This wasn't how she imagined her next mission would be. Protecting a demigod. Not just any demigod though, but the God of Mischief himself; mortal and vulnerable, cast out into Earth as punishment for his crimes. No, she definitely wasn't trained for this.
A/N I have officially gone Avenger loco at the moment. It was just sooooo good, I couldn't resist the smell of a new fandom emerging. I was a superhero fan before this (though my exposure has strictly been limited to movies). My fave scene was obviously the Loki and Natasha Interrogation scene, or as I dub it "The Mewling Quim scene". So, enough of that. Here's the Prologue:
Shield HQ was a dreary chunk of metal, or so Natasha thought. Over 3 million tons of metal floating above the ocean, disguised by reflectors, and carrying possibly some of the most dangerous pieces of machinery in the world, the new headquarters definitely wasn't the safest place on Earth. And several days before, it was proven to be not the most stable either. Passing by a familiar hallway, Natasha recalled the fearful chase and the green giant that nearly killed her. Hastily walking past, she pushed back the memories before they could fully take over. Now wasn't the time for that.
It was a week after that day. The day when the Earth was nearly overtaken by extraterrestrials, when a band of lost souls put aside their petty differences for the sake of a common cause: stopping that insane green, horned egomaniac before he destroys the planet. It was the day when Natasha, for the first time in her life, actually felt like a hero.
But that moment quickly passed. Now, it was back to business.
Fury's blurry figure was visible through the sliding glass door, and it was no surprise that he seemed to be talking on the phone. After the incident, the Shield Head was bombarded with questions from all spectrums of society. The government, press, foreign countries, you name it; all vying for the truth behind the chaos at New York. Unfortunately, Shield wasn't free to disclose that particular information. The Council had decided that the world wasn't ready to accept the idea that they weren't alone in the universe. Mass panic would result, so instead they provided a very "convincing" back-story: a deadly weapon prototype that accidentally fell to the wrong hands. Gee, that seemed familiar. Loki was then dubbed as "The Insane Man Who Thought He Was a God" and the Avengers still held their title as "Earth's Mightiest Heroes". Of course, secret identities were a strict hush-hush (not in Tony Stark's case though).
However, that didn't settle the questions. In fact it added even more. Why is the government creating weapons of that caliber? Why Manhattan? Why was that man able to generate lightning? Why is Captain America still alive after all these years? Why is Tony Stark included as a "hero"? And what in the world was that buffed green monster?
Thankfully, they didn't notice Natasha's and Clint's presence through the disaster. Externally, they were quite unimpressive compared to their super-powered, genetically modified, teched-up teammates. It was both a relief and an insult- at least in Clint's perspective- but to Natasha, it was just the way she liked it. Uncompromised and hidden, it was essential for her job to remain that way.
-And speaking of her job.
"…No, that information is highly classified. I'm serious, Stark, this is no laughing matter. Now, you listen here-" A pause. "Fine, tell them. Just don't include- no, just that. Keep the rest to yourself. You hear me, Stark. Stark?"
His scowled deepened as he clenched his hold on the phone. "Damn that kid. Remind me again why I asked him to talk to the press?"
"He was the only one willing to step into the podium for you, sir."
That didn't elevate the situation and Fury seemed to be even more annoyed. The presence of the former Russian reminded him of another problem in his list. He turned to Natasha, who patiently stood by the doorway, and motioned her to come closer.
"The public is the least of my worries." He massaged the bridge of his nose. This was going to be difficult. "Agent Romanoff, as I recall your and Agent Barton's role in the New York incident remains confidential."
"You're correct, sir."
"How is Barton doing by the way?"
She looked at him curiously. Since when was Fury concerned about his agent's welfare? "He's doing fine." She replied tersely.
Fury gave her a pointed look; clearly he already knew the answer to his own question. He just needed Natasha to confirm it. Natasha cursed internally; Fury was one of the few people able to catch her lies. She mentally apologized to Clint for what she was about to reveal.
Sighing, she relented to his stare. "He's copping, but the nightmares are still frequent. He keeps blaming himself for all the deaths- especially Coulson's. No matter how many times I tell him it's Loki's fault, he doesn't stop."
She didn't mention how horrible he looked. Eyes baggy and bloodshot from the lack of sleep, the sickly pale hue and a permanent grim expression etched into his face. Every time they met, which was often since they only lived a couple buildings from each other, it seemed to be getting worse.
It was peculiar. Hired assassins were supposed to be desensitized by death; it was what their career revolved around, after all. But then again, Clint was too soft-hearted for his own good; that's what she always berated him with. Even though, she still owed him a lot because of his little weakness. Without it, she might not even be here today.
"Professor Selvig is also experiencing the same symptoms. How bad do you think Loki affected him?" Fury asked thoughtfully,
"Very bad, sir."
"I see." Again, with that thoughtful expression, Fury continued to stare at her. "What do you think of Loki?"
He was gauging for a reaction, she knew it. The most Natasha allowed to revealed was a slight narrow of her eyes. What did she think of the God of Mischief? Her opinion of him had not changed the slightest. He was, and still would be, a monster in her eyes.
"I believe he is the lowest form of scum there is." Natasha said stoically, but the slight bitterness in her voice revealed a trace of her scorn.
"Do you hate him?" Fury pressed on,
Hate was such a strong word, and using it meant divulging too much emotion. Besides, she couldn't truly hate someone; it was exhausting and often gave her headaches. The same went for love. The closest she could feel was fondness, particularly for Clint. But for Loki, the man who brainwashed her friend, almost killed her teammates, destroyed half of Manhattan, and the sole person who nearly broke through her defenses; the closest emotion she could offer was-
"I pity him. I don't know him enough to properly judge him, but his actions clearly define him someone unstable. I can't hate a man who's not even in his right mind." She said, and meant it. She disliked the man so very much, but the pity she felt for him was stronger; the sight of a beaten "god", muzzled and tied, was slightly pathetic.
Fury silently assessed her answer. Then, as if finally making a decision, he opened a drawer and pulled out a folder from it. Natasha curiously eyed it; on the front, bright red were the words "TOP SECRET" and it seemed to carry a thin set of documents.
"I called you here for a mission. It's not your usual, and it's not something I find easy to disclose." Fury handed her the documents. "You weren't my first choice, but out of the rest, I think you're the best for this one. You and Barton are the only ones I trust to keep this a secret. I would have chosen Barton but as you know, he's currently indisposed. And I don't think being on this mission would help in his recovery. You can keep up with him, and I don't have to worry about you killing him or leaving him to die."
Still reluctant to open the folder, she waited for Fury to finish explaining. The older man's intense gaze clearly implied the seriousness of the situation and the tight frown on his face displayed his clear annoyance; at whom, she did not know.
"Yesterday, we had an unexpected visit from our little Asgardian friend, Thor. He came to deliver me news. Bad news."
"The trial has ended. Loki's punishment has been chosen."
"He came to tell me about the trial and what was deemed the appropriate punishment for Loki's crimes."
"Forgive me, I had no choice on the matter; the mighty Odin had determined the fitting penalty himself."
"It was supposed to be execution. But, his old man knew that it wouldn't solve anything. If you ask me, his dad felt a little guilty for causing this and granted a bit of mercy on the crazy kid."
"Father thought it was a better decision. Loki would still be living, though substantially incapacitated, but nevertheless, I'm glad my brother does not have to enter the realm of Niffleheim."
"So you see, thanks to that, I've got an even bigger problem in my hands-"
"I apologize for the inconvenience but it was the only way. I truly believe there is still some good in him; the brother I loved is trapped inside and this is might be a way to release him. So, Nick Fury, Leader of Shield and Mentor of Heroes, I, Son of Odin, ask you a favor."
Natasha opened the folder, and nearly dropped it after seeing what was inside: A birth certificate, passports, proof of residence, a social security number, a visa and a photo.
"-what to do with an exiled demigod turned mortal?"
"Please protect my brother during his exile."
A photo of a scowling green-eyed man, who was looking every bit as aggravated as she last saw him, "Bozhe moi."
Changed: Niffleheim- realm of the dishonored dead (I accidentally put Hel, the realm of the ordinary dead, before)
Ah, this story has been haunting my mind since I watched the movie. It severely handicapped me during my AP exams. At last I'm rid of the prologue. I'll update soon, in the meantime don't hesitate to leave a review
Kneel and review, you foolish mortals -(ahem ignore this)