Everyone in the jet was dead silent, and for good reason. There was nothing to say. Everyone had a grim determination about them, making them focus for the task at hand as well as a little anxious about what the following battle could entail.
Harry looked at himself and how far he had come. To be honest, it had been a while since he had some time to himself to think like it. It seemed he was a penchant for trouble, if not attracting it, finding it whether he wanted to or not. He's hero complex just seemed to stick to him like glue, and the opportunities that kept on coming did not help at all. Looking around at the odd group assembled to save the world, Harry sighed.
He thought back to his past and wondered exactly what life would have been life had he not disappeared. What if Harry had defeated Voldemort and stayed around? Would he have become an auror or perhaps the DADA professor?
'Would I have settled down with a family?' Harry wondered idly.
The thought of settling down with nothing to do seemed foreign to him. Sure, growing had its own set of adventures, but Harry honestly wondered what life would be like without some life-threatening situation thrown at him. To be honest, it seemed impossible considering how often his life was in danger. Sure, he had those years before joining the Avengers where he got to pursue what he wanted, but deep down, he knew it would not satisfy him forever. He would have probably gone out to find something crazy to do, knowing his restlessness, even if someone like Hermione had told him to take a break.
'And… there I go again,' Harry grumbled internally.
Over the years, Harry's determination to find his friends deteriorated more and more with each unsuccessful attempt to find any trace of his friends. It was disheartening, and the more he tried, the harder it hurt. At first, every little thing would remind him about something or someone, whether it was the books and Hermione's love for them, or a chessboard in the park, with Harry imagining Ron crushing his opponents with unbelievable strategies. He tried to train his mind to stop the flashbacks from coming, and over the years it had worked, to some degree. But with Nick Fury and the whole Project MAGIC debacle, everything came flooding back. He knew they existed, that they were around, even if Harry hadn't the slightest clue as to how to find them.
"Ugh!" Harry groaned out loudly.
Immediately, his fellow teammates, or so he supposed he could call them, looked at him with confused and somewhat surprised looks at the unexpected disturbance.
"Sorry guys," Harry said, shaking his head, "I think I'm going to go outside for a bit."
Clint looked at him oddly from the pilot's seat, being the member who knew him the least.
Clint asked, "And how do you plan to do that? In case you haven't noticed, we're pretty high up in the sky here."
Harry just smirked. Natasha shook her head in amusement next to Clint.
"Oh, I think he has his ways," Natasha said.
The doors whirred in the jet as it opened slightly so Harry could jump out. With a loud yell, Harry grinned and took out something from his pocket. During the years, Harry rediscovered how to make brooms fly. After some experimenting, and multiple trips to nearby dollar stores where the clerks always asked him why he did not just buy a vacuum, he perfected it and worked on making his own broom. He made sure it was the best he ever had, with the best charms for speed, safety, and so on. Even though it looked plain, the charms on it were simply amazing. Ever since then, he kept his broom in his pocket at all times with a shrinking charm.
With a loud whoop, Harry enlarged his broom wandlessly and jetted forward until he flew parallel to the jet. Harry sighed to himself. Flying never ceased to free his mind. The freedom it brought him was timeless. Knocking on the glass of the jet, he smirked as he saw Clint's widened eyes.
"Is he seriously riding a broom?" Clint asked.
"Huh," Captain America said, "That's a new one."
Harry pointed ahead, indicating he would fly ahead to see if Tony needed help and, with a burst of speed, disappeared into the distance.
Seeing that, Clint pouted, "Seriously? He has a broom that's faster than this? Not fair."
Tony Stark flew to the roof of his tower to see a complex machine housing the Tesseract. He could see the inner machinations spinning as it harnessed the cube's energy and worked on converting it to fit Loki's plans in creating the portal for the Chitauri.
"JARVIS," Tony commanded, "Cut off the tower's connection to the arc reactor."
"Sir," JARVIS rang out, "My scans indicate the device is already self-sustained. Turning off Stark Tower's arc reactor would be pointless."
Groaning, Tony looked towards Selvig and said, "Shut it down, Doctor, and no one has to get hurt."
Dr. Selvig, however, had a vacant look in his eyes and responded, "It can't be stopped. Can't you see? He wants to show us something! A new universe! Filled with knowledge and greatness."
'Man,' Tony thought to himself, 'The Doctor's totally high off of Loki's powers still.'
"Then let's try this," he said out loud, pointing his palms repulsors at the device.
Whirring noises filled the air around him as the bright arc reactor light powered up and launched from the boosters, hitting the device. A loud crack resounded upon impact, and Dr. Selvig was blown backwards by the sheer force of the blast. Yet, when the smoke clear, Tony's jaw fell wide open.
The device was still standing there as if mocking Iron Man's attempts to destroy it as it continued doing its job.
"The barrier is pure energy. It's unreachable," JARVIS chimed.
"Gee thanks for telling me that now," Tony said, "Would the Mark VII be able to dent that thing JARVIS?"
JARVIS answered in its artificial voice, "I believe not sir, and the Mark VII is not ready for deployment yet."
"Well we have to do something," Tony said, "Skip the rims and polishing JARVIS. We've got a job to do."
Tony landed on a circular platform on the roof. Looking into his penthouse, Tony saw Loki standing with a wide smirk on his face. Casually, Tony strode towards him by following a lighted path from the platform. With each step he took, mechanical arms would take apart his armor piece by piece, but all Tony did was walk and meet Loki's smirk with a challenging one of his own.
Once he entered the penthouse, Tony ignored the demigod standing in his room and walked towards his personal bar. Truly, nothing was like a cold drink while saving the world, and he hadn't had a legitimate drink in days. Such was the difficult life of Tony Stark.
"Please don't try to appeal to my humanity," Loki said, amused, "It's so old."
"Umm…" Tony replied, "Actually… I was planning on threatening you."
"Hmm… Tony Stark in civilian clothing trying to threaten me," Loki said, "Pardon me if I'm not scared. Maybe you should've worn the suit."
"Yeeeah…" Stark replied, "It's seen a bit of battle damage. Wouldn't look too pretty next to your blue stick of death or whatever you want to call it. Want a drink?"
"Foolish humans with your pleasantries. Stalling won't change a thing."
"Pleasantries?" Tony scoffed, "What part of threatening don't you understand? No drink for you then? Fine, more for me. This stuff is pretty expensive you know."
"Still not very threatening," Loki said in a sing-song voice, "The Chitauri are coming, and you have nothing. What is there to fear?"
"The Avengers," Tony said simply as he poured the drinks into a hand drink mixer.
Loki looked at Tony as if he had grown another head. Honestly, Loki thought to himself, what kind of group would name themselves the Avengers? It was like they were already giving up on the war.
"It's what we like to call ourselves," Tony explained as if he was talking to a classroom of little kids, "You know, our team. With teamwork and star players. Earth's mightiest heroes and all that."
"Ah yes," Loki said with a sneer, "I've met them."
Tony simply continued smiling as if he did not have a care in the world while he mixed his drink, "True, it takes us a while to find that glue to hold us together."
The billionaire playboy philanthropist poured the alcohol into a clear, crystal cup and took a long swig from it.
"Let's see… we have your brother, the demigod, complete with his gigantic thunder-y hammer; a super soldier with wars and battles to back his name; a gigantic green man with a brilliant mind and even bigger anger issues; two highly-trained master assassins; oh yeah, not to mention an all-powerful wizard who can control death itself and make sparks that could freeze your heart in a second, and you, my friend have managed to piss all of them off."
"That was the plan," Loki responded.
"Not a great plan," Tony said, "When they come, and they will, they'll come for you."
As Tony said this, he put his hands underneath the bar table and slipped on some bracelets, with a small red light pulsing at the center.
"I have an army," Loki said imperiously.
"We have a Hulk," Tony responded.
"I have creatures and technologies beyond your comprehension," Loki retorted.
"One, you're talking to the genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist who creates technologies beyond your comprehension for a living," Tony said, sipping his drink, "And two, we've got a wizard who can kick your butt and the butts of all your alien friends out of this world and the next."
"Ah yes, the enigmatic wizard," Loki said with a smile, "Are you sure it's wise to trust someone like him? I mean, none of you know his true capabilities, and you're supposed to be his teammates. I believe he's an Old Folk, is he not? Don't you know they're known to be cunning, wily, and untrustworthy?"
"You mean like you?" Tony asked with a raised eyebrow.
Loki replied, saying, "Oh even worse than me. They let power get to their heads and can manipulate humans with a single wave of a hand. You wouldn't even know what hit you."
Yet, inexplicably, Tony's grin only grew wider.
"Ah, if you had told me that about a few days ago, I would've believed you. Maybe. Okay, probably not, but at least you'd have a better chance," Tony said, "What you're describing, Loki, is yourself and only yourself. I may not know what Harry Potter can do, and neither does anyone else, but he's proven he's a friend to all of us."
"And you do you know it's not all a ruse?" Loki said.
"Can you be more of an idiot?" Tony asked, "Harry's just another one of us. And for your information, he's better than you. You know that guy you tried to kill? The one you thought you were victorious over? Coulson? Guess what? He's still alive."
Loki's eyes widened.
Tony continued saying, "Don't you see? You're missing the point. There's no version where you come out on top. You can have an army, an arsenal, an Armageddon, but it's still all on you. Even if it's too much for us, you can be damn sure we'll be the ones to avenge the earth if we can't protect it."
Loki walked up to Tony, with his hands behind his back. Tony just grinned at this as he knew what Loki was planning to do as the scepter lay poised in Loki's hands.
"How will your friends have time for me when they're too busy fighting you?" Loki said, jabbing Tony's chest with the scepter, only to be met with resistance.
Tapping it again and again, Loki's scepter only met the ping of the weapon tapping against Tony's power source.
"Having performance issues are we?" Tony asked with a smirk.
Loki snarled and grabbed Tony by the neck, throwing him out of the window as the sound of glass breaking echoed throughout the room.
"JARVIS, I'd appreciate the help," Tony said.
"Sorry sir, but it seems it's going to take a few more seconds longer," JARVIS replied without emotion from his bracelet.
"What?" Tony yelled out, "Holy f-"
Suddenly, Tony felt someone grabbing him out of the air and back into the sky. Turning his head, Tony saw himself rescued by none other than Harry himself, and the method of transportation was nothing more than a broom.
"Really?" Tony asked, trying to mask his relief, "A broom? How stereotypical can you get?"
"Hey," Harry replied, "That's all they had in the jet that I could use to fly. Be grateful I decided to fly ahead in case you needed help."
Before Tony could retort, Tony heard JARVIS speak from his bracelet, "Suit is ready sir, prepare for deployment."
"Oh goody," Tony said sarcastically before turning back to Harry, "You can just drop me here."
"Drop you here?" Harry asked, "What do you me-"
Harry did not finish his sentence as Tony pushed off of the broom and fell down into the sky once again. About to use his quidditch skills to good use, Harry paused when he saw a crimson pod fly into the sky and transform into an Iron Man suit, attaching to Tony. Once he was completely suited up, Iron Man flew back up to the penthouse level.
Loki looked from Harry to Tony and snarled, but Tony had his palm repulsors out in front of him, saying, "Before I forget. Here's a message from Coulson."
As soon as he finished saying that, energy blasts fired from his palms and struck Loki, sending flying back to the other side of the room on his back.
The Tesseract hummed louder and louder, and as Dr. Selvig watched with a smile, the Tesseract's energy gathered together and fired a gigantic, long beam of pure white into the sky. As it blasted up, clouds blew away and after a certain point, completely ripped the fabric of space and time through a vortex. This swirling mass grew larger until it reached a size big enough to cover a quarter of the city. Within the vortex emerged a portal leading to the dark depths of space, and creatures began pouring out of it.
"Chitauri," Harry breathed out.
"Right," Tony said, "Army."
On the ground, New Yorkers looked up at the darkened sky to the see the invading army rushing in from above. The inhuman creatures flew out of the open vortex in the sky. They were on flying chariots, each carrying energy rifles with a bayonet at the end of them. Screeching loudly, they rushed into the civilian people staring up at them.
Screams echoed throughout the city as the Chitauri began firing down upon the humans. Cars blew up into pieces and scattered throughout the city. Buildings began breaking apart under the heavy fire, and debris would fly in the sky and fall onto the ground, creating small craters wherever they landed. God forbid anyone who got caught under them. Storefronts were lit aflame, and, to Harry and Tony's horror, the Brooklyn Bridge was hit by multiple blasts, falling apart from the center and outwards in a chain reaction.
Tony fired rockets after rockets from his shoulders, killing over a dozen of the creatures in the sky as explosions rocked them, but it was fruitless. Similarly, Harry fired Reducto curses haphazardly from his fingertips, but no matter what they did, it was not nearly enough to prevent the torrent of creatures from coming down.
Harry looked around at the devastation around them. Surrounding them was insurmountable damage, from destroyed buildings and cars, to civilians running around every which way. This was not the New York that he had seen before, and Tony could similarly only wince at the damage everywhere as he tried to take town as many creatures as he could.
"Tony!" Harry yelled.
"What?" Tony replied firing another round of missiles, "Can't you see I'm a little bit busy here?"
"Oh, really?" Harry grunted out firing multiple Sectumsempra spells at unlucky Chitauri, "We need a plan."
"Easier said than done buddy," Tony said, "In case you haven't noticed, there's a lot more of them than there are us."
"We need to get to the others and regroup."
"No need," a loudspeaker echoed behind them, "We're already here."
"Natasha?" Harry asked.
"Yep," Black Widow replied, "Stark, Harry, we're heading north east."
"What, did you stop for some to-go Chinese?" Tony asked sarcastically, "And why does Harry get first name treatment and not me."
"Because I'm not a millionaire playboy philanthropist," Harry said, emphasizing the word playboy.
"Ouch, low blow."
"Boys, can you stop bickering already?" Natasha asked, albeit she was smirking, "We're going to head up Park, and you guys can be the bait."
"Seriously, bait?" Tony said.
"You heard the agent," Harry said as he sped off before suddenly stopping.
Tony asked, "What's the deal?"
Harry pointed at the top of Stark Tower, and Tony followed it with his eyes and saw Thor and Loki at the top.
"Loki!" Thor yelled, "Turn off the Tesseract or I'll destroy it!"
Loki saw his brother and just smirked, "You can't. There is no stopping it. There is only the war!"
Thor frowned. He hoped it would not come to this, but it seemed like violence would be the only answer to getting his brother to see some sense. Readying Mjolnir, Thor sighed as he saw Loki pull out his scepter as well. Loki had this issue, this reservoir of rage and jealousy that could overfill at any second, and this was one of those seconds.
"So be it."
Thor and Loki rushed at each other with their weapons, their weapons colliding together with a large, resounding boom. Loki remained on the offense, launching attack after attack, while Thor opted to defend himself.
"You may be misguided," Thor grunted out under the brunt of the attacks, "But you are still my brother."
Raising his hand to attack, Thor readied Mjolnir. However, Loki had other plans as he fired an energy blast from his scepter, blasting Thor across the floor.
"Nothing's like some good old sibling rivalry, right?" Tony said lightheartedly as he continued forward.
Unfortunately, Harry couldn't see anything lighthearted about this situation as he sped ahead. Tony shook his head in exasperation.
"It takes a refined man to get my humor," Tony sighed before pausing.
"Ah, what the hell, it's just me."
JARVIS suddenly spoke out, "Sorry to bother you mid-monologue sir. But we have more incoming."
"What? That was not a monol- whatever," Tony said, "Let's keep them occupied."
As Tony rushed to follow Harry, the trio of Steve, Natasha, and Clint stopped at Stark Tower. Loki stood triumphantly as Thor was struggling to get up after the brutal attack.
"Got you in my sights," Clint murmured as he began to aim the minigun of the Quinjet.
Loki noticed them, however, and before they could fire a shot, he primed his scepter at the Quinjet and fired a blast of energy.
"No!" Thor shouted as he got to his feet, tackling Loki as soon as the blast was fired.
The Quinjet still sustained damage, with one wing beginning to burn up in a blaze. Clint, calm as ever, took control and maneuvered the other wing and allowed the jet to spin slowly. With unnatural skill, he swerved the jet around the skyscrapers until he found a long stretch of street, in which he promptly landed in a resounding crash.
Running out of the jet, Steve came out first with his shield in hand, ready for action. Clint and Natasha followed immediately behind, the former with his bow strung and arrows in hand, and the latter with her guns loaded. As they reached the street however, they heard a monstrous roar as a shadow passed above them.
"Stark, Potter, are you guys seeing this?" Captain America asked, gasping.
Harry looked at Tony to see him already staring in disbelieving silence. Following Iron Man's gaze, Harry looked up at the vortex to see a gigantic creature pop out. Actually, gigantic creature would probably not be the best way to describe it. Harry could only compare it to a titanic whale on steroids. It had multiple legs that rippled like waves and a grotesque face at the front. It looked to be the size of a large building, if not bigger, and seemed to carry hundreds of more Chitauri if the creatures flying from the leviathan were any indication.
"Oh bloody hell," Harry breathed out.
"That's one big whale," Tony whistled out, "Yep, no missing that one Cap'n, although not sure if I believe it. Can I just blame Harry? He's been shattering my beliefs already."
Harry gave Stark an evil glare.
"Cute, Harry," Tony grinned before becoming more serious, "Has Banner come yet?"
"Banner? " Steve asked sharply.
"Damn it," Tony said, "Just keep me posted. JARVIS, time to do analysis and find me a soft spot."
As Harry began to follow Iron Man, however, Steve shouted out, "Harry, come down here. I think we'll need you more here."
"Why?" Harry asked as he lowered his broom, "Tony can't handle that gigantic thing by himself."
"No, but right now, he can run distractions as we get those people out of the way. It's dangerous around here."
Harry looked like he was about to argue, but looked up to see Loki riding on one of the Chitauri's chariots. Harry groaned, things were not looking their way at all.
He nodded silently to Steve. They, along with Natasha and Clint, ran towards a flipped taxi for cover. Chitauri were getting off of their chariots, firing at not only the team, but at the civilians around them.
Captain America pointed at the bridge filled with people, "Those people need assistance, right away."
"Don't worry," Natasha said, "We got this."
Then, Captain America looked pointedly at Hawkeye asking, "You think you can hold them off?"
Clint just smirked, pulling a trigger on his bow as the arrows in his quiver circulated around and Clint grabbed the arrow that stopped in right behind him.
"Captain," Clint said, "It would be my genuine pleasure."
Pulling his bow back without spending time to aim it, Clint quickly fired a shot at a nearby Chitauri, who promptly fell over the bridge and exploded.
Harry whistled appreciatively at Clint's skills, seeing him in action for the first time.
"Harry," Steve said, "Cover my back."
Immediately, Captain America ran to the plaza like a cheetah, dodging obstacles and jumping over cars. Harry could only gape as he tried to catch up with him before giving up. Harry took his broom out quickly and, upon mounting, burst towards Captain America. Curses and hexes flew from his wand as he blasted whatever Chitauri got in his way. He may not have had much dueling experience during the war with Voldemort, but after some physical training over the years and quidditch reflexes, Harry fired off spells quickly.
Slowing down, Steve and Harry saw a young cop and a police sergeant firing at the chariots with their guns. The bullets, however, did nothing to the chariots. If anything, it seemed to anger the Chitauri more.
"We need to get out! They gotta bring the National Guard!" the cop said.
The sergeant grunted out a reply, "National Guard? Does the army even know what's going on here?"
"Do we?" the cop replied.
Suddenly, Harry and Captain America jumped in front of him. The cops, noticing the young man floating on a broom and the outlandishly colored Captain America, yelled out in surprise.
The young cop stuttered, "F- F- F- Flying broom!"
Steve disregarded this as he began relegating orders to the sergeant, "I need men in these buildings. There are people inside that can run into the line of fire. Take them through the basement, the subway. Anything as long as they stay off the streets. Then I need a perimeter up to the 39th at least."
The sergeant boiled up in anger at the usurpation of his authority, yelling, "Why should I take orders from a weirdo like you? Look, you even got a weird kid floating around on a toy!"
An explosion shook the streets as four Chitauri soldiers came, weapons raised and poised to attack. One of the weapons had a small sizzle, showing how it was just used to cause the massive explosion. Without another warning, the Chitauri aimed and fired at the small group. Harry quickly apparated to their blind spots and cast a Protego charm. On the other side, Steve raised his shield in defense. The attacks bounced off the shields, and as soon as the blasts dispersed, Steve and Harry rushed at the Chitauri.
Captain America, true to his name, took his shield and immediately bashed one of the creatures on the head with a resounding thud, knocking it out. Ducking down to avoid the other's swing, Steve rushed back upwards with a powerful uppercut, throwing the Chitauri upwards and onto a nearby fiery taxi.
On the other hand, Harry alternated between ducking and blocking the energy blasts the two Chitauri on his side continued to send out. The Chitauri inched closer and closer to him, but Harry was prepared. Charging up one large Reducto curse, Harry waited until the two Chitauri were close to each other. As soon as the distance was right, Harry launched the red curse at one of the Chitauri and immediately put up a silent Protego. The two Chitauri promptly exploded, and the Protego prevented Harry and the others from receiving any of the backlash from the destructive spell.
The police officers could do nothing else but stutter incoherently at Captain America's strength and Harry's inhuman powers. Speechless, the only thing the sergeant could do was relegate the orders that the Captain had said.
"I- I- I need men in those buildings ASAP, l- l- lead the people d- d- down and away from the s- s- streets," the sergeant stuttered out, "I- I- I need a perimeter as f- f- far back as the 39th."
"Harry," Steve said, "I think you broke the man."
Chuckling a little, Harry nodded before heading back to the duo of Hawkeye and Black Widow with Steve now that they had the police's attention and support, even if they were deathly afraid of him.
"So," Tony's voice rang through the earpiece Harry and the others were wearing, "Guys, we got his attention. I think that leviathan thing is trying to eat me, so… not to bother you or anything, but what the hell is step two?"
"Hold on a second Tony," Harry said, "I think Thor's coming in for a landing too."
True to his word, just as Clint stuffed an arrow down one of the Chitauri's throats and Steve, who had run ahead, blocked the incoming attacks, Thor shot down a pillar of lightning destroying the nearby creatures.
"Well," Thor said, "That was close."
"What's the story upstairs?" Steve asked.
"The cube is impenetrable," Thor said, "Its magic is much too potent."
Tony chimed in saying, "Trust me, Thor is right. We need to deal with this right away."
"I'll handle the cube," Harry volunteered, "Its magic, and that's my element."
"No," Thor said, "I have unfinished business with Loki."
"Well, get in line," Clint growled out.
"Quiet," Captain America said, "Loki's focusing on us right now, and that's exactly what we need. Stark's flying around up top, and we need to support hi-"
Looking at Steve questioningly about his abrupt stop, everyone began to hear the slowing down of a motorcycle behind them. They turned around and saw Dr. Banner getting off, but oddly enough, something else stood proudly on his shoulder, some kind of bird.
"Fawkes!" Harry yelled out loud.
(Note: Nothing's too important in this author's note if you don't want to read personal stuff, but it's just some explanations about my absence and my writing that I just wanted out in the open if anyone was wondering. Feel free to ignore it)
A/N: Well, I certainly suck. It's been... what, a year now? Oh boy, try not to kill me you guys, or you can, your choice. Life is a terrible thing sometimes. University isn't the easiest thing when you're going under engineering in a subject that you never studied in high school. That, on top of all the organizations I'm in (different student associations, taiko drumming, etc.) left me little time to do much else besides schoolwork and being involved. My quality of writing has probably gone down the drain too, considering I haven't done creative writing in ages either, thanks to the fact that... well.. most of my classes are engineering. However, I tried my best and I am determined to continue as long as I can.
To be honest, I don't have much other excuses as to why I haven't written in a while, but again, like I said in my profile, the main purpose of me writing is for myself. I have all these random plot bunnies running around in my head that I want to write down, and so I do. As much as I appreciate the kind reviews and constructive criticism, fanfiction is first and foremost simply for me to write, to do something other than the generic engineering stuff that I do all the time (even if I do love engineering, doing it for hours every day can be a bit tiring, especially during internships and work). So, I can't say that I'm always on top of writing, but when I can, I will write.
That point aside, I just wanted to thank all of my loyal readers, and promise that I will continue writing, no matter how long and painstaking it may be, and regardless of my terrible writing and whatnot, I hope you all continue to enjoy my work. And for all of those people who do not wish to read my stories, thank you dropping by and trying it anyway. I know I can't please everyone, especially when I have some convoluted storyline that will take forever to resolve, but I am trying my best to constantly improve and work hard. So if anything, your harsh criticisms and comments only bolster my resolve (although please, if you don't have anything nice or constructive to say, please refrain from simply bashing on my story. I know I can't stop you from doing so, but I'd rather hear how I can improve rather than something like "this is trash" or "this is terrible and I'm not reading anymore"). Aside from that though, I sincerely thank everyone for your support and I will try my best to press on!
Oh and please don't hate me for this chapter too much, it was really hard for me to write, and chances are, I'll have to revise a ton. I just wanted to get something out and let everyone know that I am still alive... somewhat. And sorry for the long author's note, it's just some things have been a bit frustrating to me in life, writing, and everything else, so I thought I'd try to explain a bit.