Disclaimer: Avengers and all its related-ness does not, in the slightest, belong to me. If it did, you could all expect to see Shanta in the next movie. Just sayin'.

The Littlest Avenger

Chapter One

New York City was huge, Shanta decided. Huge and looming, but it reminded her of home. Well, not home- New York City was home now.

There were people everywhere, like her old city, though they were dressed differently- in "suits"- and all the buildings crowded together, right on top of each other. The biggest difference between the cities was how clean New York was. The roads were all paved, with gray sidewalks, and no dust in sight.

There was also a complete lack of trees and grass and flowers.

Shanta didn't like it.

But, it would be fine. She could deal with no trees, no grass, no flowers, no dust on the streets. She could handle all the changes, because she wasn't alone anymore.

It had been a long time since she hadn't been alone, the little girl thought, slipping her hand into a much larger, much rougher one.

Dr. Bruce Banner. This was the name of her new "father", her new guardian.

Shanta knew he had been alone, like she had been. She knew he had been alone for far longer than her.

So, they had agreed to be alone together. Much better than being alone with no one, Shanta decided. Even in a city crowded and brimming with people.

Trailing along behind Bruce, Shanta was amazed at how many cars filled the streets. Far more than she had ever seen in her life, and all of them shiny and new.

Bruce flagged down a taxi, his shoulders tenser than they had been in days. New York City always put him- and the Other Guy- on edge. Too many people, too many buildings, much, much too close, and everything much, much too breakable.

Once, he had broken Harlem. Another time, he had broken Manhattan (It was being attacked by alien invaders at the time, but that was besides the point). Bruce Banner and his other half, the Hulk, were not heroes. They had broken so much, in so little time. If Bruce had his way, after Loki's defeat, he would have gone somewhere far, far anywhere from civilization. Like Alaska. Or maybe Canada.

Greenland didn't have a huge population either, right?

But, he didn't have that option anymore. He felt the heavy weight of a hand in his; He had made his choice. He could protect, instead of destroy- the Avengers Initiative had showed him that. He could do more than survive- the little girl by his side had showed him that.

Bruce wanted to protect Shanta more than anything. He wanted to protect her even better than he had ever protected Betty. And he knew a certain group of people who could help.

A/N: Annnd, here's the first chapter of what, hopefully, will be a multi-chapter fic about little Shanta, an OFC who has many different headcannons over on Avengersheadcannons on tumblr. A really cool site, and I really recommend it!