Author's Note: Dooooooo woppppp! Yeah, I just felt like it. No real news today; still trying to make it big as an author lol… So, after watching the Avengers, I discovered Jeremy Renner and his attractiveness. Yes, I thought he was hot, but the more I watch it – and the fact that he was in Pink's "Trouble" video as a sexy sheriff and that he can sing and play the piano – I find myself incredibly attracted to him haha. Just thought you'd all like to know. I may have him and Maeve be very flirty later on in the fic; idk...

Disclaimer: I don't own the Avengers. I do, however, own Maeve and a Captain America shirt I got from J.C. Penney's men's clearance department. Yesss

Chapter Seven: The Chase

Steve merely glared at us all – I pressed an innocent hand to my chest – and muttered, "Just find the cube."

Then he was gone.

"So, um, wonder where he's wandered off to," I mused in the ensuing silence, clicking my tongue and kicking my legs up onto the desk. Lying back against the cool, smooth surface, I allowed my eyes to drift shut and rested a forearm over my face.

Loki was driving me nuts. He was driving everyone on the ship nuts. If we couldn't handle him and his deranged mischievousness, we were screwed. He'd have us over a barrel and that'd be that.

Hey, Loki, want the Earth wrapped up in a nice, bright bow and handed to you on a silver platter? Well, just keep it up with the awkward tensions and macho pissing contests; it's yours, plus six Avengers for the price of one!

"Good riddance," Tony noted gruffly, returning to his previous work and mumbling, "that's the guy my dad never shut up about? I'm wondering if they should've left him on ice…"

"Not nice," I chided, curling up on my side, toward the window, away from the others. All I needed was a good nap; that trip to Germany wiped me out. Maybe, if they didn't make too much noise, I'd be able to fall asleep; I didn't feel like crawling to my temporary housing and I was certain that their scientific nonsense would lull me into a nice, heavy sleep. "It's not easy bein' a capsicle…"

"You okay, Maeve?" Bruce called suddenly, his tone soft, cautious. What? Did he think I was going to bite his head off again about Loki? Nah, I was over it, so long as he was… "You should probably go to your room…"

"Don't want me here, Brucey?" I peered over my shoulder, casting him a rather exhausted smile, "rude. I thought we were friends."

"No sleeping on the job," Tony announced, his tone growing louder as I resumed my fetal position once again. I could feel him hovering over me, probably with that stupid pokey thing in hand, "If you're sleeping, you're subject to any experiments we can come up with, no matter how lewd… I think you'll enjoy yourself, though; I know I will…"

Humming, I pursed my lips, noting tiredly, "Go away, Tony."

"If you snore, I swear to God, I'll never let you live it down." I could almost hear the smirk in his tone, his bright, pearly teeth gleaming as he loomed over me, probably readying the stick to electrocute me.

Before he could – he had the instrument poised over me, his eyes comically wide as I caught him – I rolled upward, onto my feet, and scooted away from him. Thor had been in the process of taking a step forward, it seemed, to stop the billionaire from whatever he had planned for me, one hand raised uselessly before him.

"Alright, alright, I'll leave ya here," I grumbled, stalking toward the door, "don't get yer panties in a bunch, Stark; there's been enough o' that on this ship since I got here…"

"I'm not wearing any panties," he smirked, hooking a finger through one of his belt loops, bouncing up on the balls of his feet.

"I'm gone."

Iron Man's laughter followed me out of the lab, though, with my hearing, even as I trailed down the hallway, I could hear Bruce scold him for scaring me off. It probably wouldn't have been a big deal if I took a nap while they worked; he wouldn't have let anything happen to me, if Tony had been serious. But when Stark wanted to work, he wanted to work, it seemed.

Just another side of him they didn't show on the news.

Trudging down the hallway, I didn't bother to wait for Thor to catch up for me. A few powerful strides brought him to my side in seconds, his sapphire gaze ducking to catch my own, "Lady Maeve, would you like me to escort you to your chambers?"

"Yes," I replied instantly, ducking my head to hopefully hide the blush that splattered across my face. Way to sound like you're gonna grab him by his front and drag him into your bed, Maeve-y girl…, I taunted myself, sound like a bloody rapist; Lord, I needed to sleep. How these people could go without a few good hours of sleep – or food, it seemed – was beyond me. Give me a steak and a bed and I was set. Maybe throw an attractive superhero in there with me and I'd be a happy camper.

"The metal man is not wrong," he announced suddenly, a hand to his chin, his jaw set in thought, in concern, "I do not like the idea of the director keeping secrets from us. It will do more harm, in the end, than good."

"I know," I agreed, nodding slowly – it was all I was capable of at the moment, "Fury's been known ta withhold information from people, myself included, but I think, in this instance, we have a right ta know what he's plannin'. I hate bein' used…"

"Do not worry, Maeve," the blond god of thunder stated, the corners of his mouth curving upward in a soft, warm smile, "you have many friends on this craft. You will not be ill-used if we can help it."

Swallowing thickly, I paused before my door, opting to keep quiet before I blurted something awkward, something embarrassing, aloud. Inhaling deeply, slowly, I instead offered him a grateful grin, "I'll see you in a bit, Thor. Thanks for keeping me comp'ny; I appreciate it."

Turning fully to me, he straightened, outstretching a massive hand in the most regal manner I'd ever seen. Of course, he was royalty, it was the way he was raised; it was just too damned sexy to keep me from grinning.

Placing my tiny hand in his, he delicately raised it to his mouth, pressing a soft kiss to my knuckles, his deep, smoldering gaze never leaving mine, "Sleep well, milady."

Fighting the urge to lick my now dry lips – and sink to the floor in a useless heaping pile of goo – I merely blushed and nodded, disappearing quickly into my room. Once I was alone, I shook my head, blinking rapidly to fight the growing desire to yank the door open and plant a wet one right on his mouth.

Would he care?

I wouldn't.


Literally singing 'tra-la-la' over and over again, I moved languidly, swiftly, through the winding corridors on the helicarrier. Feeling far more rested than I had since the whole fiasco started, I made a pit stop at the cafeteria for something to fill the cavernous void in my stomach.

"Maeve, I need your help."

Spinning, brows high on my forehead, I made a show of wild surprise at Steve's sudden appearance, "Well look who it is! Captain America; what're you doin' here?!"

He looked tired, his blue eyes somewhat dulled, bags forming beneath them, but the determination he felt was evident on his handsome face. His mouth set in a thin line, he peered around quickly, as though he didn't want anyone to know who he was or that he was there. No one seemed to care, going about their business and filling their own stomachs; he was in the clear.

"I'm serious," he replied, jaw clenching slightly as I snatched a massive blueberry muffin from the mountainous pile before me, "I need you to cause a distraction for me."

"Well," I blinked, the request startling but simple, "I don't see why I couldn't… Are ya gonna tell me what for?"

He shifted from foot to foot and – were he any less masculine – he probably would have been wringing his hands, anxious as he seemed, "It's… complicated."

"I've time for a complicated man, Captain," I winked, my tone low, sensual; he squirmed and I giggled, "why didn't ya ask Tony? I'm sure he's good at creatin' distractions; he likes when people pay attention ta him."

"I don't know about Stark," the captain replied darkly, catching my elbow gently and guiding me out of earshot of any passing agents, "he's an… I just don't like him."

Well that just goes without sayin', I mentally teased; I didn't want to prod him, though, so early in the morning. He looked like he hadn't gotten any sleep and he was adamant about completing some kind of mission that required a distraction.

"Lay it on me, Cap," I announced cheerily, shoving a good portion of the muffin into my mouth – it earned me a flinching grimace from the Star-Spangled Man With A Plan, but I was hungry, "what can I do for ya that Tony Stark can't?"

Okay, I couldn't resist the dig. I just felt like I hadn't messed with him in a while; he needed to be teased.

"I want to look into what Stark was talking about," he replied, scratching the back of his neck, the only evidence that he was somewhat nervous about his plan. His stride and tone betrayed nothing, powerful and confident as ever. "About Fury lying to us. If he is… I just want to know. This isn't what I signed up for, fighting for someone who won't tell me the whole truth."

"Love, th' military doesn't always tell ya everything either," I patted his arm gently, almost consolingly; he wasn't naïve by any means, but he seemed to be loyal to a fault, "but aye, I can do that for ya. Just let me know when an' where…"

A small smile crossed his mouth – he did have a pretty mouth, didn't he? – and he dipped his head in thanks, "Anywhere. It doesn't matter. Just keep most of the attention on you, if you can. For as long as you can."

Tapping a finer to my forehead in mock salute, I darted off down the hall, concocting a viable plan that would keep even Fury's all-seeing eye on me, "Good luck, Captain!"

Humming, I twisted and turned through the halls, wondering what my best bet would be. Well, whatever it was, I certainly needed to get my new suit on; a distraction as a tiger would be ten times better than a distraction as a meek little human.

So, in only ten minutes' time this time, I changed into the navy cat suit, zipping it up the front and raking a hand through my hair. I had considered chasing my tail – it was always a funny, diverting show and as a massive tiger, it would be even funnier – but I doubted that would distract Fury for long.

Havoc it was, then.

Slipping back into the hallway, I made certain to pass by agents as innocently as possible. Some greeted me briefly; others simply ignored me and carried on with their duties. Bobbing my head to a song fluttering through my crazy-ass brain, I wandered into the command center, offering Phil a broad grin and a wave as he shifted his attention to me.

Good; he'd seen me.

Now it was time to play.

Without a word, I calmed myself down, allowing the creeping tingling to move through my body. Within seconds, I allowed my dark eyes to drift open once more, now on all fours. Some of the agents noticed my change in form, glancing warily between themselves, wondering what I was up to.

Well, if they didn't trust me, I would give 'em a reason not to. Letting out a powerful roar, I crouched low to the ground, ears flattened to the top of my head. Teeth bared, I let out a dangerous hiss, sending the closest agents toppling back over their chairs to put a good distance between us.

Fury stood tall, his hand at his hip, resting on his gun. His tone loud, terse, he snapped angrily, "Miss Brady! Care to explain what you're doing?"

Not really, I mused, muscles coiling as I dropped myself into a launching position. I only hoped that Fury would find me valuable enough to keep from having his crew shoot at me.

Instead, I let out a low, warning growl, stalking slowly across the metal catwalk, pinning everyone with a vicious glower. Yeah, I was badass; I think the guy playing Gallaga pissed himself a little bit…

"Maeve Brady, stand down!"

My left ear twitched toward the PA system, where I could hear someone, probably Hill, calling for backup. All agents on deck. Thor, Black Widow, Iron Man, and Captain America were to report, as well; they had a hostile.

Their target was a massive, black and white cat, codename Stripes, apparently.

Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. Probably should've told at least my fellow Avengers that it wasn't anything they needed to concern themselves with…

With a terrifying snarl, I leapt over the nearest set of monitors, sending another round of agents scattering; still, Fury kept them from shooting their weapons, even if they were drawn. Before anyone could decide to go rogue, I darted out of the command center, through the hallways and away from where I hoped Steve was.

Every now and again, I would turn, casting a quick glance over my shoulder, to make sure that the agents were on my tail.

Please don't let Tony or Natasha come after me, I begged, paws pounding against the slick, steel floor, or Thor. Good God, don't let Thor come after me… I did not relish the idea of that hammer being used against me.

"Maeve! What're you doing?!"

Bruce was before me, hands held out in front of him, his eyes flitting nervously to and fro, "Is it Loki? Is he controlling you?"

"He has to be," Tony announced, fully decked out in his red and gold suit, taking a defensive stance; I don't think he wanted to hurt me, but he wouldn't be against it if I attacked him.


"Well, it's cooler than I thought," Tony announced, tilting his head to one side, his deeper voice sounding mildly impressed, "what's new pussy cat?"

Finding I wasn't going to stop, both men dove out of the way, hoping not to be plowed into by a big-ass cat; I couldn't stop myself, though. Skidding across the smooth surface, I scrambled to regain my footing, darting down a different corridor with at least two dozen SHIELD agents at my back.

The chase went on for another five minutes before I caught up with Bruce again. He was chewing on his thumbnail, his eyes twitching every now and then, as though he didn't know whether or not he should get involved.

Stumbling to a halt, I peered quickly behind me. No one was around, not even Tony, who had gotten into the chase, unable to help himself it seemed. Once clear, I shifted back into my human form, grateful for the cat suit molded to my body. Breathless, I caught his arm, silencing him before he could even question my motives, "Steve asked me ta cause a distraction. Thought this was th' best way. I think he's lookin' fer somethin' on Fury. So, just… tell Tony not ta worry; an' Thor an' Natasha. I don't need them kickin' my ass…"

"Why didn't you just say something, Maeve?" Bruce inquired, his tone a harsh whisper, a wry smile crossing his face, "what if they shoot you?"

"They haven't yet," I shrugged, dropping myself to the ground once more, back in my furry, other form. He took a tentative step back, still anxious, it seemed, before I swerved around him, the sound of harsh, quick footsteps approaching.

Hopefully, he would stop the others from their pursuit; I hadn't seen Nat or Thor yet, but they were probably staking out the perfect spot to take me down from. Clint would've had me on the ground, a tranquilizer dart in my side, within seconds.

For the first time, I was grateful that he wasn't around.

While I was far more agile in this form than I was in my human form, it was still tiring, escaping the clutches of my pursuers. There were no more signs of Tony, so I could only assume that Bruce had gotten to him, told him what I was doing. Someone, unfortunately, didn't tell Thor that.

He darted suddenly before me; I crashed into his legs, unable to stop myself at the suddenness of it all. We tumbled to the ground in a heap; in my haste to escape and my fear that he might attack me – he had the hammer in hand, so sue me – I shifted back into my human form in mid roll. He ended up above me, staring down at me, astonishment flashing through his bright eyes.

Still, he must not have trusted me just yet – I did start a wild goose chase, the agents under the assumption that I'd flipped my lid and would start destroying things. One hand on my shoulder, he hovered above me, his cape practically draped over the pair of us.

Chest heaving, I dropped my head to the floor, eyes screwed shut as I tried to regain my breath, "Christ, Thor; you're like a brick."

"What happened, Maeve?" he inquired, his tone low, his hammer on the ground beside us; obviously he wouldn't use it unless he absolutely had to. Hope bubbled inside me, along with a startling warmth at the intensity of his gaze. "Why do you run?"

"I…," my words died in my throat as his soft, blond hair tickled my face, struck dumb momentarily by his beauty, "em… I needed to distract Fury's men; personal request and everythin'…"

"From my brother?" he queried, his brow pinching upward, pain and betrayal flashing through his sapphire gaze, "Maeve, I had thought…"

"From Steve," I announced suddenly, nostrils flaring as I tried in vain to regulate my breathing. He wasn't making it easy, not with his warm, intoxicating scent and his penetrating gaze. Confusion overtook him, lips twitching downward in a pursed frown.

Must. Focus.

"Trust me; it's not Loki," I assured him, licking my lips and relaxing limply against the floor; I was done running. If Steve got caught now, screw him; I'd given him enough time to search for what he wanted to find. "Just Steve."

Thor's handsome features smoothed out, offering me a short nod, though he made no move to stand. As though realizing our position for the first time – trust me, buddy, I've noticed yer body… - he gazed curiously down at me, intrigue pooling in those lovely eyes of his.

"Your other form is impressive," he noted suddenly, his tone dropping low. Heart clenching, I found myself recalling my earlier thoughts; no, he could lower his voice, keep it intimate, quiet, when he wanted.

Puddle o' goo.

"Well, I try," I laughed weakly, drawing my lower lip into my mouth and giving it a light bite. Calm yer ragin' hormones, cat… Don't wanna jump him, 'specially with all those agents after ya…

"Shall we see what the captain has found?" Thor questioned softly, his arms braced on either side of my head, the lower half of his body still pinning me to the floor. It wasn't a painful position, but it wasn't altogether comfortable either. I mean, it certainly would have been, in a more intimate setting and all, but out, on the floor, where Fury could wander up…

Still, I didn't want to move. It took a good amount of willpower to answer – even if the reluctance showed itself in my tone – and I had to shift my gaze to the ceiling behind him, "I s'pose. Would ya help me up, then?"

Thor gave a short nod – I only saw it out of the corner of my eye, unwilling to weaken my resolve further – and shifted slightly. Instead of rising, though, he dipped his head, his warm, soft lips molding to the corner of my jaw.

Inhaling sharply, I met his gaze, bewilderment evident in my gaze; he simply regarded me silently before smiling a tiny, breathtaking smile, and helped me to my feet. Well, if he let go of my arm, I would've dropped right back to the floor; even so innocent of a touch had my nerves alight with excitement, with trepidation.

Can we go back ta th' floor please? I wondered, mildly desperately, despite the fact that I straightened and made to wander back to the lab. It would've been… well, it would've been something else, I can tell you that.

On the off-chance that we came across any agents, Thor shielded me from sight, his solid, steady form at my back. My body hummed at his close proximity, but I fought the falling haze of lust that seemed to be descending on me. Didn't need to try and haul him off around the corner and have my way with him.

Again, the thought of Fury approaching…

Shuddering, I nearly skipped into the lab, my mind and body humming, glancing between Tony and Bruce, the former having gotten rid of his suit. He peered up at me, a strange glance crossing his face as he peered between Thor and I – I probably was red as a tomato, earning the curious frown…

"What was Steve looking for, Maeve?" Bruce questioned, rounding the counter and approaching me, a hand resting on my shoulder, "they didn't catch up with you, did they?"

"No," I replied, my tone rather squeaky thanks to the god behind me – he only chuckled, fueling my embarrassment, "no. I ran inta Thor – literally – an' we didn't come across anyone else. Dunno what Steve wanted exactly; don't think he did, either."

"Prob'ly had to do with this," Tony revealed what he'd discovered, thanks to JARVIS; blueprints for weaponry.

What the hell?

Fury was creating weapons… using the Tesseract? Well, I could honestly say it didn't really surprise me. This was SHIELD we were talking about; they were all about protecting Earth, even if it meant creating weapons of mass destruction…

"What are you doing, Mr. Stark?"

Oh, well, lookie there; it was Fury. And he looked more than furious; he was pissed. Whether it was because I'd dragged him through the helicarrier or that Tony had finally broken into the director's secret files, I couldn't be sure.

"You," he jabbed a threatening finger at me, his lip curling in disgust, "I'll deal with you later. I want to know what you're up to, Stark…"

"Uh, kind of been wondering the same thing about you," he replied easily, strolling forward, draping an arm around my shoulder and pecking my cheek, "she was just giving us all a hand. Clever, don't'cha think? Took you on a, uh, wild cat chase…"

"You're supposed to be locating the Tesseract," Fury snarled, arms folded tightly across his chest, just waiting for the opportunity to kick our asses to hell and back.

"We are, the model's locked and we're sweeping for the signature now," Bruce gestured toward the screen where a similar system to the one we'd used to find Loki searched the globe for the missing cube, "when we get a hit, we'll have the location within half a mile."

"And you'll get your cube back, no muss, no fuss," Tony announced, flipping his phone toward the director and inquiring innocently, "what is Phase Two?"

Steve strode into the room, his hostile glare pinned on Fury, as he slammed a massive gun on the steel table with a resounding clang. Fists clenched, his nostrils flared as he growled, "Phase Two is SHIELD using the cube to make weapons… Sorry, the computer was running a little slow for me."

"Rogers, we gathered everything related to the Tesseract," Fury announced, his tone shifting surprisingly toward in a more placating direction, "that doesn't mean we're…"

"I'm sorry, Nick," Tony turned one of the large, hanging screens toward the director; the blueprints for the very weapon before us clearly evidence of SHIELD's handiwork in its creation, "what were you lying?"

"Christ, Fury, what were ya thinkin'?" I inquired, tentatively stepping toward the weapon and poking it. It was massive, looking quite like a gun, but with more buttons. The way Fury twitched when I touched it told me that he probably didn't even know what set it off.

Stepping away, I fell into spot beside Steve, arms folded across my chest. Glancing up at him, I caught his gaze; he offered me a slight smile, appreciation gleaming in his light eyes. With a nod, I slapped his ass, announcing loudly, "Nice job, Captain. Way ta go."

Tony laughed loudly at the sheer terror on Steve's handsome – albeit ashen – face, clapping his hands together, and pointed both forefingers at the SHIELD agent, "Give us something, or the suit goes back to New York."

"Aye, I'm not willin' ta fight for ya if ya can't be at least a little bit honest with us, Fury," I folded my arms across my chest, squinting one eye and giving him a fierce stink-eye.

Thor startled me from my intimidating stance, though, his large hand mimicking my earlier action. Jumping, I squeaked, staring, eyes wild, up at him; he simply offered me an innocent smile, "I like your method of gratitude, Maeve."

Bruce and tony shared a knowing, smug smirk, before Natasha disrupted whatever gaping response I could give. She strode into the room, ignoring both Steve's and my mortification, as well as the weapon on the table. Pinning Bruce with a vicious, unyielding stare, she queried heatedly, "You wanna think about removing yourself from this environment, Doctor?"

My ass still stinging from Thor's approving gesture, I peered around the room, the hectic tension rising quickly. What the hell was going on?


Hehe, so what'd you think?! I like this chapter, personally. Please review, I'd love to hear from you. If you like my writing, check out my other stories and even my e-books! I'd appreciate hearing from my lovely readers! :D

Ryle Culler: Thank ya! I hope you enjoyed this one too!

Fantasy-Mania31: Hehe I hope you liked her in this one. Much tiger-ness and far more to come!

Queen of the sharks: Sweet! I love it!

Watergoddesskasey: Aw thanks! I appreciate it :D

Techflow96: I missed me too! Hehe!

Luneara Eclipse: thanks! I mean, I certainly wouldn't be opposed to it. The idea of him all hot and sweaty and… *drool*. I haven't quite decided yet, but input would be awesome! Which would you prefer?

Guest: Thanks! I was hoping she wasn't a Mary Sue; I would hate that…

Loki's Girl: I'll try! :D I write my own stuff too, so idk how often I'll get chapters up. This and my Walking Dead story are taking precedence out of all the stories I have on here. Yeah, I like Loki; he's so fun to write too! He is adorable, especially in Thor. Yeah, I like that idea… I think I want her to be with Thor when they all split up. We'll see next chapter haha!

Sephira Vanya Estelwen: Here ya go!

Crazy Cocoa: hehe I love snails! And ketchup. Together… lol. Thank you!

xxxRena: Thanks so much! Yeah, I love Tony, he's great. Did ya like the Thor/Maeve goodness here?

Guest: Thanks :D

Dalonega Noquisi: Aaw thanks! I'm proud of Maeve; she's a great character, at least I like to think so.

Ali: Thanks! She loves you too

Whitefyrefoxxy: thank you. I'm glad you're liking it!

Casey21791: Thanks! I'm so glad you think so; some people are hard to write but I like to think I can capture them when I write them.

Hefi: Haha right? Poor guy; he thought he could get her to do it. DON'T MAKE ME SWOON! The thought of Thor all… naked… I may faint… haha glad you like it though!