*Cringe* er...sorry? Really sorry? Okay, here's the deal. I am not happy with this chapter. As it turns out I find Fury very hard to write. there could have been so much more of this chapter if he had just co-operated. On the bright side...have a slightly disapointing final chapter...Sorry. Good news at the bottom though so, yeah.
"With all due respect Sir-"
"This isn't up for negotiation."
"They helped us! They fought on our side, you can't just-"
"I can and I have Captain." Fury glared at Steve who stared back stubbornly. "The world has only narrowly escaped an alien threat. We cannot afford loose ends."
Steve narrowed his eyes, jaw clenched, "They have given us no reason not to trust them."
"And, given the fact that we know nothing about them, we can't afford to trust them either."
Fury's glare deepened but Steve didn't respond other than to lift his chin a fraction higher and stare back defiantly, "You put me in charge of this team, Sir."
"Yeah, in charge of the team" Fury stressed, "Not in charge of any random unknown who wanders in off the street!"
"Yeah…" both heads snapped round at the interruption of a third party, while they had been arguing Tony had wandered over to the monitor which was streaming live feed from the Helicarrier's secure lockup. The screen was divided into four, each quarter showing an identical cell, each with its own black-clad mask-wearing prisoner. "Not that I want to interrupt you ruffling Fury's feathers, Spangles but," Here Tony gestured towards the screen, "Didn't there used to be six of them?"
Fury blinked once (a clear sign of shock) before hissing dangerously "What did you say?"
Under the full force of Fury's glare Tony Stark, genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, creator of the iron man suit "eeped" in a particularly un-masculine way before diving to hide behind Bruce."
Bruce hung back slightly when the four were brought in, noticing Thor do the same, Natasha, Clint and Fury were all looming on one side of a table, the four seated on the other. Steve was hovering by Natasha's shoulder alternating between shooting the four apologetic looks and frowning disapprovingly at Fury. Tony (his curiosity overcoming his desire to cower) was standing slightly to the side, holing a pad in his hands that was undoubtedly attached to JARVIS and leaning forward slightly like he was about to see a show.
He took the time to observe their unexpected helpers; they were dressed identically, in head to toe black, they wore what appeared to be normal jeans, though given the fact that they had been untouched by the fighting he was inclined to think otherwise and all of them wore coats and boots made of leather. The only way to tell them apart was by the white marks on their masks and their hair…well nearly the only way.
The girl that he had met, Luna, was still wearing that same impractical yellow sundress, something which only looked more ridiculous with her black coat and mask thrown over the top. Her mask was very obviously facing in his direction and Bruce could almost feel her eyes on him even through the mask. He shifted slightly further backwards, and was relieved when she turned her attention onto Clint instead.
Harry leaned back in his chair and grinned slightly behind his mask, "I've got to say this is a lot more comfortable than the cells."
Next to him Hermione, arms folded tightly across her chest sniffed disapprovingly and looked to the side, "I mean really, talk about ingratitude."
Harry's grin widened, "I know, not really the thank you I was expecting."
Ron laughed, "When do things ever end up how you expected them too?"
Hermione tilted her head in agreement, "He's got a point."
"Excuse me?" Harry feigned indignant, "I'll have you know-"
He was cut off by a loud bang as Fury slammed his hand down onto the table "Cut the crap!"
Harry tilted his head to the side in an imitation of innocence, pretending not to notice the subtle way the other three tensed beside him, their fight or flight instincts kicking in. subtle as it may have seemed to them they were facing down three super spies and they noticed.
Clint let out one short bark of laughter, tilting his chair back onto its two legs. "No offence Sir, but there's a reason you usually have Phil do this bit…Hey speaking of Phil, where is he anyway? I figured he'd be over the second he realised we" He tilted his head towards Natasha, "were back on the ship."
His chair hit the floor with an audible thump as he took in the sudden silence of the room, he blinked and something dark and cold started to build in his chest. "What?"
The question was addressed to the room but it was Tasha whose gaze he held and it was Tasha who answered.
"I'm sorry," now that he was looking, truly looking at her, without the sceptre or adrenaline clouding his mind he could see the way she held herself just the slightest bit too tightly, could trace the lines of grief in the corners of her eyes. He didn't need her next words to tell him, it was written across her face, even if he were the only one to see it. "He's dead, the medics called it on arrival. There was nothing anyone could have done."
Clint froze, and jerked his head in a parody of a shake, a wordless denial of what he'd just heard. There was a ringing in his ears making it hard for him to focus enough to ask the most important question. "Was it-" He broke off, unable to continue.
"No. Loki, he took him by surprise."
Tasha's had was soft against his arm, her eyes sympathetic. Clint shrugged it off and was about to jump to his feet-to do what, not even he knew- when someone spoke.
"He's not dead."
And every eye in the room snapped round to stare at the blonde.
Ginny shivered theatrically, glancing around the cold room, "Creepy!"
Next to her Neville snorted, "It's a morgue. It's meant to be."
Ginny pulled a face at him from the safety of behind her mask before turning all her attention to the want in her hand.
It spun twice before stopping and Ginny strode over to one of the many covered bodies in the room. She pulled of the sheet revealing a body that lay there completely motionless, the only thing setting it apart from the others the slight heat that it gave off. She tapped the figure on the chest twice, vanishing his shirt and blazer before leaning over him and examining the hole in his chest. She muttered something to herself, a diagnostic charm, and her wand released a thick blue stream of mist that she directed into the wound itself. It returned, a shade of dark red, and hovered just above the patient.
While this was happening Neville had commandeered a table. Onto it he placed a folded square of white cloth, which, upon him tapping the knot with his wand, unravelled, spreading out across the table. It was larger than it first appeared, covered in pockets that were filled with glass jars filled with potions and pastes, few of which looked particularly appetising.
He started slightly when he felt the hand on his arm, turning to look at Ginny quizzically.
"Can you turn him onto his front."
He nodded, even though it was more an instruction than a question, moving over to do so and giving Ginny access to her kit.
She took only two things, a large tub of powdered mandrake leaves and a small wooden box. She moved back to the body dipping her finger into the powder and brushing it across the edges of the wound, staining the skin a dark green colour and numbing the pain. From the box she pulled out a long thin needle, threaded it and neatly stitched the edges together.
She stepped back again, returning to her kit and waving Neville forward to turn the body back onto his back. Her hand hovered for a moment over a glass jar filled with a thick sludge coloured paste before coming to a decision and pulling a thumb sized crystal vial out of a much smaller pocket. It was only half full and despite the liquid itself being clear, the slight haze that hovered above it was just recognisable as gold.
Neville blanched when he caught sight of it, "Essence of Panachrest?" he hissed incredulously, "Isn't that a bit…" He trailed off, wobbling his hand slightly to show what he meant.
Ginny grimaced, "the sceptre stabbed strait through his chest, it near enough severed his heart's main artery and niched his lung. If I use anything else there's too much risk of the internal injuries reopening and him bleeding to death before we can stop it."
"Ouch!" Neville winced.
"Exactly." Point made Ginny leaned forward, uncorking the vial, and carefully dripping three drops into the hole in his chest, she did nothing else, watching for a moment as the flesh and muscle hissed slightly before slowly beginning to knit itself back together. That done Ginny dusted the exit wound with the powder and quickly and efficiently closed the wound.
Finally she pulled a single shimmering strand of unicorn hair out of her wooden sewing box and neatly stitched the rune Uruz-of health, healing and vitality-directly over his heart. She looked up, checking the mist that still hovered over Coulson's still form. The red had faded back into blue, the only thing marring it several strands of puss yellow that weaved throughout. Ginny grinned in relief, banishing it with a flick of her wand.
"Get a couple of blood replenishing potions in him and he should be fine." She told the hovering Neville, leaning forward to cancel the rune on Coulson's arm: Isa, rune of ice and stasis.
Coulson took one ragged deep breath, load and painful sounding in the otherwise silent room and his eyes snapped open.
And then everything went to hell in a hand basket.
"He's not dead."
Every eye in the room snapped round to stare at the blonde even, Fury absently registered, the masked faces of her team.
"He's not?" the one in the centre asked in genuine surprise.
"Nope, he's the one that you and Ginny-"
"Ah." The black haired seemed to consider this for a moment, "His name's Coulson?"
"How did you know tha-"
The noise of Clint's bow snapping open was loud enough to be heard even over their discussion.
"Where is he?" He demanded, arrow notched and aimed with unerring precision at the centre of Luna's forehead. She blinked up at him vacantly before ignoring him completely and turning to stare dreamily at the closed door.
Harry and Hermione's hands slid to their wands, preparing to provide cover as Ron leapt to his feet with an outraged "HEY!" lunging at Barton, only to be stopped for the second time that day by Natasha aiming a gun at his face.
"Am I interrupting something?"
Clint froze for a second before whipping his head round so fast he felt something in his neck click. In the doorway stood Coulson, corpse-pale and unsteady on his feet, supported on both sides by two more masked figures, but undoubtedly Coulson and undoubtedly, undeniably alive.
He and Tony crowed at the same time.
"Yes, Yes, Yes!" The girl snapped, wrenching her mask off to reveal brown eyes, flashing with irritation. "He's alive. Wonderful. You're welcome." She stormed over, grabbed the chair that the masked man Tasha was threatening had recently vacated and dragged it back to where Coulson was wavering on his feet. "Sit." She ordered, glaring at her accomplice until he lowered Coulson into the waiting seat. "There. We're still on your flying boat thing, you haven't been compromised or kidnapped or whatever now may I do my job?"
Ron snickered slightly, ducking his head and holding up his hands in surrender when his sister's attention snapped to him. She pulled a glass bottle of something that was roughly the colour of mud but that was a disturbing shade of red of her pocket thrusting it in Coulson's direction with the order to "Drink."
"What is it?"
Ginny sighed in exasperation as she looked up only to find that Natasha had turned the gun in her direction, staring at her with grim determination as she waited for her question to be answered.
"You know," she pointed out to the room in general "poisoning him now would rather defeat the point of healing him." Natasha raised one eyebrow, a silent command, Ginny rolled her eyes. "It's a blood replenishing potion, okay?"
"er…sorry…potion?" Bruce asked shifting awkwardly when he realised his question had brought him to the attention of the room.
"Yeah." A voiced drawled, the middle figure at the table had removed his mask, revealing pale skin, black hair and bright green eyes. "About that…I'm Harry Potter."
Fury raised his one eyebrow sceptically, looking him up and down, "The Harry Potter?"
Harry shrugged slightly, brushing his fringe out of the way to reveal his thin lightning bolt scar.
"Hey! Hey! Hey!" Tony scowled, flailing one arm, "What do you mean The?"
"Harry Potter is a well-known figure among the magical population. He is famed among the wizarding community for heading a resistance against a genocidal faction known as the Death Eaters, who had taken control of their government. He was considered for the Avengers Initiative, however the idea was discarded due to his young age and his disassociation with the Muggle world."
"Wait, What?" Tony spluttered a bit before, "Magic is real?"
"Of course it is friend Antony." Thor beamed at the six witches and wizards in the room. "My people have long been aware of their existence, they are often mighty warriors in battle, manipulating Seidr with worthy cunning with which to destroy their foes."
"Magic exists? How come I didn't know that?" Clint rounded on Coulson "How come you didn't tell me that?"
"I'm afraid that's level seven"
"What's level seven?"
Clint stared at Coulson for a moment before huffing in defeat and turning away.
The rest of the masked figures seemed to take that as their cue to introduce themselves, taking their masks off as they did so.
Steve, always the polite one, reached out to shake their hands, "I'm Steve Rodgers."
"We know." The redhead pointed out, "We've been hanging out for a while. I'm Ginny Weasley, group healer so, if we're all done introducing each other may I get back to examining my patient?" she asked acidically, returning to her efforts to force the potion onto Coulson.
"Don't worry about it." Ron muttered to Steve. "She gets like that when something gets between her and her patients." He shuddered slightly, "Medics are scary."
"You're telling me." Harry murmured, joining the conversation, "Madame Pomfrey threatened to give me my own bed I was in the infirmary so often."
Neville grimaced, "It's worse than usual because he sort of freaked when he woke up surrounded by people in masks…in hindsight it wasn't our best plan. But he tried to fight us off and nearly ripped himself open, wouldn't calm down until we agreed to bring him up to find Fury."
Ron winced, "Yeah, that'd probably do it."
Fury looked round the room. Harry, Neville and Ron had dragged Steve into a discussion about the evilness of medics. Ginny was arguing with Clint and Natasha neither of whom were overly enthused with the idea of Coulson drinking an unknown substance, Thor appeared to be regaling Hermione with stories of his "Most Beloved Lady Jane Foster." While Tony was having a furtive conversation with a nervous looking Bruce, He couldn't hear what exactly was being said but the constant glances towards the magical humans in the room and Tony's exalted whispers of "For SCIENCE!" Did not bode well. Clearly he was too old to deal with this shit.
"You know what? No, just no. I am not dealing with this on top of having to clean up the god-damn alien invasion and the Council. I'll debrief you individually tomorrow. Until then get the hell off my Helicarrier."
Thor frowned, "My brother-"
"Will remain in SHIELD custody until arrangements can be made to return the both of you back to Asguard." He paused slightly, fixing his eye one Coulson, "It's good to have you back with us."
That said he turned and left, leather coat swishing dramatically as he did so.
There was a pause as everyone took in what had just happened until it was broken by Ron.
"I don't know about anyone else, but I was promised Shwarma."
Tony grinned and bounded forward, ushering the group, including Coulson who looked a lot steadier on his feet now that Ginny had succeeded in forcing him to drink her potion (although judging from the slight grimace n his face it had tasted as bad as it looked) out the door, shouting about the Shwarma joint he had seen during the invasion that had only looked slightly destroyed.
Several floors below, in a SHIELD holding cell, gag over his mouth and magic suppressing handcuffs sat Loki. For a brief moment, just a second, green eyes flashed blue.
Yeah, I know, it's not really what you were hoping for as a final chapter. So, the plan is for me to write a sequel after the next avengers movie, though I might put the first chapter up earlier. I do however have some ideas that I don't think will fit into either story. Do you want me to do a collection of oneshots? Because if so I would be thrilled to get any suggestions or ideas that you might want me to include.
also I am toying with the idea of making it Coulson/Barton because I've been seeing that pairing everywhere lately and I kind of like it. If I did it would be an established relationship and probably wouldn't be that essential to the plot as I find it somewhat hard to write relationships having never been in one. Tell me what you think, Yay or Nay on the couple.