Disclaimer: I own nothing, nada, not a thing. I just like pulling the strings while the real owners are not looking ^_^

A/N: Okay, so I cut this one short. I was going to add a little more but I changed my mind, as you can see the plan is all coming together and the ending is in sight. Well done to those that guessed the mystery person to be Loki. I hope you enjoy and I should update around the 13th.

Harriet Coulson: Avenger

Chapter 22

Natasha waited as patiently as she could in a little hut on the outskirts of Calcutta, the current location of one Dr Bruce Banner at least that was what she'd been told on the flight over. She'd managed to change clothes and now stood silently in the shadows as she waited for the child to come back with the man in question. She took a deep breath, she wished that she'd gotten Stark that way she wouldn't be as anxious but with the amount of Agents stationed around the small hut and the guns that she had hidden in different places within the hut, she thought she'd be fine.

She watched the child dart through the room, with only a glance towards her, before her focus was solely upon the man that was looking on in acceptance and resignation.

"You should've got paid up front, Banner." Showtime.

"You know, for a man who is surpassed to be avoiding stress you picked a hell of a place to settle." Natasha stepped out from behind the flimsy curtain and pulled her red shall around her a little tighter.

"Avoiding stress isn't the secret." Bruce stepped back from the structural support to face this new threat; he could feel the other guy's restlessness in the back of his head and tried to shake it off.

"Then what is it? Yoga?" Bruce had to smile at that, he'd never done yoga in his life and wasn't going to start now, instead he twisted his hands together in a nervous gesture and to relieve some of the tension the other guy was flooding his mind with.

"You brought me to the edge of the city. Smart." Bruce turned to look out of the small window at the darkened area outside, "I assume the whole place is surrounded."

"Just you and me." Natasha spoke calmly as she moved forward and discarded the shawl, she was apprehensive but training dictated she does not show it.

"And your actress buddy? Is she a spy, too? They start that young?"

"Some of us did."

"Who are you?"

"Natasha Romanoff." She was there in a professional capacity, plus she had a feeling he'd be able to tell when she was going to lie.

"Are you here to kill me, Ms. Romanoff?" Bruce asked after a pause in which he weighed his options, none of them looked too good at the moment, "Because that's not going to work out for everyone."

"No, no, of course not." I'm here on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D."

"S.H.I.E.L.D. How'd they find me?"

"We never lost you, Doctor. We've kept our distance; even helped keep some other interested parties off your scent."

"Why?" Bruce was a little sceptical as he looked away.

"Nick Fury seems to trust you, but now we need you to come in." Bruce mentally sighed, and therein laid all the problems.

~~^v^~~

"Who are you?" Harriet paused as she heard the cultured voice reach her; she took a breath and watched it come out in a burst of mist that disappeared quickly.

"Harriet Lily Potter Coulson, you?" The child regarded her with red eyes.

"I am Loki, son of Odin?"

"Are you telling me? Or are you asking me?" Harriet sat on the cold ground, ignoring the temperature as she filled in the blanks, when Loki had hit her with his magic some of it must have transferred to her core. Which was probably why her magic hadn't dissipated Loki's magic yet.

"Telling you?" He looked confused and Harriet continued to watch as he seemed to come to a decision and stood.

"I am Loki, true son of Laufey, adopted son of Odin." He smiled as he looked to her and she smiled back, she had read that Loki had been adopted as a spoil of war after Laufey had abandoned him to the cold desolate lands of Jotunheim.

"Hello Loki," she held out her hand and was a little startled that when Loki took it his skin morphed from blue to the same pinky tone as her own. She looked up to see his face change to a younger version of what she knew and the surprise that sparked within green eyes.

"What magick is this?"

"I don't know Loki, I don't know." She looked back at their hands; this was nothing like her abilities.

~~^v^~~

Fury stood before four large screens, each one depicting someone who was on the council; the people who technically ran S.H.I.E.L.D.

"This is out of line, Director. You're dealing with forces you cannot control."

"Have you ever been in a war, Councilman? Or in a fire fight? Did you feel an overabundance of control?"

"You're saying that this Asgard is declaring war on our planet?"

"Not Asgard. Loki."

"He cannot be working alone." Fury turned his eye towards the female Councilman on screen, "What about the other one? His brother."

"Our intelligence says Thor is not a hostile but he's worlds away. We can't depend on him to help either. It's up to us."

"This is why you should be focusing on Phase 2. It was designed for exactly this…"

"Phase 2 isn't ready. Our enemy is." Fury looked back to the councilman that had spoken in the beginning, "We need a response team."

"The Avengers initiative was shut down." A third member spoke and Fury had to reign in his temper.

"This isn't about the Avengers."

"We've seen the list. You're running the world's greatest covert security network and you're going to leave the fate of the human race to a handful of freaks."

"Three of those freaks are some of our best Agents." Fury took a breath, "I'm not leaving anything to anyone. We need a response team. These people may be isolated, unbalanced even but I believe with the right push they can be exactly what we need."

"You believe." The female spoke.

"War isn't won by sentiment, Director."

"No, it's won by soldiers." And with that statement Fury cut the connection and ordered a quinjet to take him to New York.

~~^v^~~

Things had become interesting for one Mr. Tony Stark of Stark Industries, for one thing he'd managed to stop a robot war with his friend, he'd recently plucked up the courage to ask Pepper to be his girlfriend and he still wanted his gopher back. So as he finished the last piece on the integration of the arc-tech that was to sustain his new building in New York he reflected that, yes, a lot of interesting things had happened to him. Tony burst out of the water near the isle of Manhattan and flew through the buildings on his way back to the tower.

"Good to go on this end. The rest is up to you."

"You disconnected the transmission lines?" Pepper's voice came through Iron Mans helmet, "Are we off the grid?"

"Stark Tower is about to become a beacon of self-sustaining clean energy."

"Well, assuming the arc reactor takes over and it actually works."

"I assume." Tony turned a corner and saw his tower ahead of him, "Light her up."

"How does it look?"

"Like Christmas, but with more me." He smiled, watching the bright glow of 'Stark' plastered in the penthouses balcony. He was rather proud of the design, what with it being the only thing that wasn't meant for war or for him to shout at.

"We've got to go wider of the public awareness campaign. You need to do some press." Tony readied himself to fly up the side of the Tower and to his landing pad. "I'm in D.C. tomorrow; I'm working on the zoning for the next three buildings."

"Pepper, you're killing me. The moment, remember?" he landed, "Enjoy the moment."

"Well get in here and I will."

"Sir, Agent Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D. is on the line."

"Oh, gopher. Well patch her though then, J.A.R.V.I.S. what are you waiting for?"

"It's not Miss. Harriet, sir. It's Agent Coulson."

"I'm not in." Tony frowned, "actually I'm out." As he walked along the platform robotic arms lifted from the floor and circled him, taking the Iron Man suit apart piece by piece in a controlled and seamless fashion.

"Sir, I'm afraid he's insisting."

"Grow a spine J.A.R.V.I.S. I got a date." Tony now walked into Stark Tower properly.

"Levels are holding steady, I think."

"Of course they are. I was directly involved." Tony made his way over to Pepper and looked over the holographs for a moment, "Which brings me to my next question. How does it feel to be a genius?" He took out his ear piece as Pepper turned to face him.

"Well, I really wouldn't know, now would I?"

"What do you mean? All this came from you." Tony pointed at her while simultaneously turning off the holographs so he wouldn't be distracted.

"No, all of this came from that." Pepper pointed at the glowing electro-magnet in his chest that continued to glow.

"Give yourself some credit. Please. Stark Tower is your baby." Tony thought for a moment, "Give yourself 12% of the credit."

"12%?"

"An argument could be made for 15."

"12%? My baby?" Pepper moved over to the small table that held two champagne glasses and a cooling bottle of the finest.

"Well, I did do all the heavy lifting. Literally, I lifted the heavy things." Tony followed her, "and, sorry, but the security snafu? That was on you."

"Oh!"

"My private elevator…"

"You mean our elevator?" Pepper poured them some champagne.

"It was teeming with sweaty workmen." He sat down beside her with a slight grimace, "I'm going to pay for that comment about percentages in some subtle way later, aren't I?"

"I'm not going to be that subtle." Pepper placed a glass in front of him.

"I'll tell you what. The next building is gonna say "Potts" on the tower."

"On the lease" Pepper went to clink glasses when Tony pulled his away slightly.

"Call your mum, can you bunk over?"

"Sir, the telephone. I'm afraid my protocols are being overridden."

"Mr. Stark, we need to talk." Tony picked up his latest Stark phone.

"You have reached the life model decoy of Tony Stark. Please leave a message."

"This is urgent."

"Then leave it urgently." The lifts open to show Agent Coulson, "Security breach. It's on you."

"Mr. Stark."

"Phil! Come in." Pepper got up to great the man, followed by Tony.

"'Phil'? His first name is Agent, also where is my gopher? Dummy is useless at making Coffee."

"Come on in. We're celebrating." She paused, "Is Harriet okay?"

"That's one of the things I wanted to talk to you about, but first we need you to look this over as soon as possible." Phil tried to hand Tony the computer he'd been carrying.

"I don't like being handed things."

"That's fine, because I love to be handed things. So, let's trade." Pepper passed her glass to Phil, and then passed the computer to Tony while taking his glass and a sip of the champagne. "Thank you."

"Official consulting hours are between 8 and 5 every other Thursday; I did hope that Fury would pass that down the ranks."

"This isn't a consultation."

"Is this about the Avengers?" Phil looked at Pepper, "which I know nothing about."

"The Avengers Initiative was scrapped, I thought." Tony put the device together as he moved over to where the holographs had been only moments before, "And I didn't even qualify"

"I didn't know that either."

"Yeah, apparently I'm volatile, self-obsessed, don't play well with others."

"That I did know."

"This isn't about personality profiles anymore." Phil had to stop the comedy act before he was reminded of Harriet again.

"Whatever, Ms. Potts, got a second?" Pepper smiled softly before moving to stand where Tony was playing. 2You know, I thought we were having a moment."

"I was having 12% of a moment." Tony just looked at her, "This seems serious. Phil's pretty shaken and he dodged the question on Harriet."

"How would you know if it's…? Why is he 'Phil'?" Tony looked at her again before looking over at Coulson, "Hey, you didn't say where my gopher was?" he called and watched as Coulson fidgeted a little.

"She's indisposed at the moment."

"What do you mean?" Pepper asked as she turned away from trying to study the information packet.

"She suffered a few injuries during her last mission and is on sick leave." Tony narrowed his eyes, but let it pass for now.

"So what is all this." Pepper asked quietly, knowing they weren't going to get anything else out of the stoic man; Tony looked back at the computer.

"This… Well, it's this." He flicked his hands outwards and footage of the different factors that would make up the Avenger's burst around him, along with information on a cosmic cube, known as the Tesseract.

"I'm going to take the jet to D.C. tonight."

"Tomorrow." Tony was a little shocked, his mind trying to process everything.

"You have homework. You have a lot of homework."

Phil watched from the doorway as Virginia Potts and Tony Stark spoke in hushed voices, he looked away quickly at the faces Tony was making when Ms. Potts spoke in his ear.

"So any change you're driving by LaGuardia?"

"I can drop you."

"Fantastic."

Tony turned back to the screens and blew out a breath, before grabbing a cubed shape from one of the screens with a frown on his face.