A/N: This here be a companion piece to Learning Curve, and it's sequel Graded Curve. The story takes place between the two stories. Kaia is almost 9, and Gabby is 17 and a freshman in college. Have fun! :D
As per usual, I own nothing but my imagination, that so far isn't making me much money.
"There's still people in the building," they heard Tony's voice over the comm line. "My scanners are picking up six coming out of the building now, but two got trapped in the last rubble that fell.
"The building is looking more and more unstable," Captain America spoke up.
"Thor and I have got the threat contained, you shouldn't have any distractions," Loki told them.
"Cap I'm coming at ya," Iron Man took off flying for Captain. Captain America jumped to the top of an overturned truck and Iron Man grabbed his hand as he flew past. "They're on the 4th floor," he told him. "I'll throw you in there and you can try to break the obstruction while I stop any other debris from falling until we get them out."
"Are you sure?" Captain looked up at him as they approached the building. "I could hold up-"
"I know you could hold more than me, but I need you to move the concrete," Tony bit the inside of his mouth for the admission he was about to make. "You can move more than my suit can." He told himself that Rogers was Not smirking.
Tony looked at the screen in his helmet again to double check the body temperature readings to double check the position and flew to the closest window. He tossed Captain America in, who naturally landed on his feet, and followed suit, turning off the repulsors. "They should be around the corner." Captain nodded and ran ahead while Tony inspected the stability.
"JARVIS, I need a full scan of the upper floors, give a timetable to get these people out of here," Tony looked up for JARVIS to scan.
"Immediately sir," he heard the voice in his helmet.
"Tony, I found them," Captain's voice came out a few moment later as scans of the building started popping up on the screen. "One of them looks to be unconscious."
"Alright, can you get to them?" Tony looked over, thinking he saw some more rubble separating Captain from the two people.
"I'm gonna have to move some stuff, I don't know what that's gonna do to the ceiling in here. It already looks like it's buckling."
"I'm on my way," Tony said nodding to himself. He found the Captain and saw what the super soldier had been talking about. "Alright, if you can move some of the bigger pieces I can act as a counter balance until you can get them out." They both nodded and Iron Man helped move some of the bigger pieces. When the sensors int he suit started to notice a shift in the rubble Tony stepped up and acted as a pillar, holding up some pieces that wanted to come loose.
"This should be big enough," Rogers said when Tony stepped forward. He slipped through and hurried over to the two people on the ground, covered in dust and smaller pieces of the building. "Are you two- Tony!"
Tony's head whipped over and frowned a little. "Is the ceiling caving?" He started double checking readings until he heard another voice over the Captain's comm.
"Daddy?" Tony's eyes widened when he heard Kaia's voice. There was a softer groan and Tony could see through the dust that the person on the floor had started to move. He now knew that person to be Gabby.
"JARVIS, if I move how long until this gives way?" Tony had to get to them.
"There is already some subtle shifting in the building as is now, sir," JARVIS informed him. "If you did not move you would only to be able to keep a 10 foot section of the ceiling form collapsing for approximately ten minutes."
"Cap! Can you get them out?" And Steve detected a hint of worry and hysteria in his voice he wasn't going to say anything.
"I can get Kaia out now, but I have to go slow with Gabby. It looks like she took a hit to the head and her ankle looks a little swollen." Captain had taken off Gabby's hoodie and was pressing some of the clean parts of it to her head to clean up the blood. She winced a little and groaned.
"Move Kaia first, I can start to make my way myself," she groaned out a little. Rogers looked at her for a second then nodded against his better judgement. He picked up Kaia and ran back for the hole they had created.
He climbed out with her and set her on her feet by Tony. She instantly wrapped her arms around Tony's waist, as far as she could reach in his suit, and his face mask flipped up. "Hey there, pooh bear," Tony said softly as Steve climbed back through. "Stick close to me, alright? We're gonna get Gabby and then skedaddle on back home, alright?" Kaia sniffed a little and nodded.
"Hey guys," they heard Clint speak up the time. "You've got a stray headed straight for you."
"Get him away from the building," Tony said quickly as his comm opened back to the team. "We aren't out yet and and this thing is about one light breeze away from failure."
"I'm already on it, but i don't know if I'll get there in time." He could hear Clint jumping roof tops.
"Move faster!" This time is was the Captain who spoke. He had climbed through the hole again and was helping Gabby slowly crawl out, trying not to use her back foot.
Tony suddenly jerked as the rubble he was holding up started to move. The joints in the suit started to creak and complain against the weight and he locked eyes with Steve. Steve pulled Gabby over towards Tony and against a wall of rubble. "There's no time left."
"Kaia bear," Tony looked down at the girl. "I need you to go over to Gabby and Uncle Steve, alright? I'm not going anywhere, but I don't want you get hurt." Steve reached over and took Kaia's hand as she nodded faintly. "Rogers, I swear if anything makes it past the shield of yours, I'm burning every flag in the Tower."
"No worries, Stark," Steve replied. Gabby had grabbed onto Kaia as Steve got on his knees behind them, holding his shield at an angle to cover them the best he could.
Tony felt the building shake and his knees and elbows started to bend under the pressure. "Building stability is down to 15%, sir," JARVIS informed him. "The suit won't be able to withstand the weight-"
"I can do the math, JARVIS," Tony grunted as he opened the comm line again. "The buildings about to go, you guys better come find us." His face plate closed again as more dust and debris started to fall. He wasn't able to hear the replies as the joints in the suit failed and he went crashing down with the ceiling.
Clint was the first one to arrive as he took out the enemy and jumped to the ground, with Black Widow right behind him. "They were up there," Clint pointed to the same window that Tony and Steve had gone in before.
"We could use a little brute force here," Natasha called out as they made their way up. They could hear Thor in his way and the distant rumble of the Hulk coming. "Tony, Steve, can you hear us?"
Steve coughed a little ont he dust and could feel the weight bearing down on the shield and his arm. Looking down he could see that Gabby and Kaia were still awake. He coughed from the dust and knew that they would have to get out of there fast. "Yeah, I can hear you." He coughed against and looked around, seeing a faint glow from above them. He lifted his head a little and noticed that there was a little pocket of air, and saw the reason for it.
Tony had thrown himself over Steve's shield, taking more weight of the building. "Tony, can you hear me? Tony!" Steve couldn't move to get to Tony but saw the glow of the arc reactor from the suit and figured that he was still alright. "I think Tony might be out."
"What about the civilians?" Thor asked as he and Loki showed up and they started moving the bigger pieces to get into the window.
"Uh, about that," Steve bit his lip a little. "They're fine, for the most part. One has a sprained ankle and minor head injury."
"We can get that taken care of in no time," Clint said.
"It's Gabby and Kaia." There was silence over the comm lines. After a few seconds Steve thought that the line had gone dead, until he heard the familiar shout of the Hulk and felt slight tremors through the building.
"Give us about ten seconds," Natasha told him. "Bruce just got here." Steve smirked a little and ducked his head back under the shield and saw the two girls looking up at him.
"Leave it to Uncle Bruce," Gabby said quietly, choking back a cough.
A few minutes later Steve saw light appear past the shield and the three blinked a little. The weight was removed from his shield and Steve's arm suddenly felt like lead. Pulling his arm back they saw Clint and Natasha in front of them. "How about we get out of here?" Natasha offered.
Natasha picked up Kaia as Steve and Clint helped Gabby up. Steve noticed a flicker of green and noticed that some of Loki's magic was keeping the rest of the building from falling on them. Banner was no where to be seen and Steve didn't see Tony either.
Thor was waiting at the window for them and helped them out without getting more injured. Loki had been standing next to him, concentrating on his spell, if the bit of perspiration on his brow said anything. When Steve reached the ground with the others he saw Banner, back to normal, checking on Tony who had somehow made it outside before them.
There was a sudden shudder and crash as the rest of the building caved a little, shooting dust and smaller bit out under the force, and Loki was quickly jumping to the ground. Steve saw a slight limp int he younger god as he hurried over. Kaia had quickly attached herself to Loki and hid a little under his jacket. Loki kept a hand on her back as he carefully knelt down between Gabby and Tony.
Banner had managed to get Tony's helmet off and they could see his face contorted in pain. "His suit is crushed," Gabby coughed out. They looked and could see that one of the arms, the upper part of one of the legs and the side of the suit were in fact crushed in, further than could be comfortable. "There are unlocking overrides at the joints," she told the others as Loki was checking on her own injuries. She waved his hands away after a wince when he checked her head.
Clint had started to working at Tony's arm piece with Banner and watched Loki out of the side of his eye. He was almost cryptically quiet but kept Kaia under his jacket and his arm around her as he worked at the leg joint. Natasha Steve were working at trying to get the chest piece off until Thor had walked over. They all backed away as he ripped the crushed pieces off. Loki shook his head a little and Kaia peeked her head out at the sound.
"He's not going to be happy about that," she commented quietly. Tony's face seemed to relax a little and he started to cough. He wheezed a little and opened his eyes slowly. Gabby watched and leaned back a little, blinking when her head fell on a shoulder. She looked up and saw Steve and they both smiled at each other before looking back over at Tony.
"You are a fool, sometimes," Loki mumbled as he ran a glowing hand up and down Tony's body, checking his injuries. Kaia crawled out from under Loki's jacket and kissed Tony's cheek.
"He wouldn't be Daddy if he wasn't," Kaia said, smiling a little.
"Unfortunately, you are right," Loki smiled softly at Kaia. "Do you think you can stand?" He addressed Tony this time.
"I should be able to if I keep the weight on my good leg," Tony nodded a little. His voice even sounded a little pained to him, but it was nothing that he hadn't been through before. "Wait? What happened to my suit?" Thor helped Tony up, looking a little sheepish.
"It's nothing you couldn't rebuild anyway," Clint told him. Loki pushed himself up and slipped off his jacket, wrapping it around Kaia. As the others stood up Thor stopped his brother and whispered something in his ear. He nodded and sighed a little, wrapping his arm around Kaia. He responded in another language and Kaia looked up at them.
Steve was helping Gabby stay off her leg as Banner was helping Tony walked lopsided with only part of the Iron Man suit on. "I think that a trip to the medical bay will be in order," the patriot suggested, getting mumbles of agreeance.
There was a bright flash, and what appeared to be lighting crash in front of the group, and everyone but Thor and Loki winced and looked away from the light. Kaia had hid herself inside Loki's jacket and pressed herself against the back of Loki's legs.
"Father," Thor boomed out, surprised.
"Father?" Natasha blurted quietly.
"As in Odin?" Tony blinked a little, the arm that wasn't around Banner's shoulder holding his side.
Odin walked over to his two sons and Kaia moved the side of the jacket a little to peer out at what was happening. Odin started talking a language that no one but Thor and Loki could understand.
"So does that mean this is a private conversation?" Clint blinked a little.
"I think it's an old Norse language," Gabby said. "Like one from myths. I"m not a language major but I can hear some similarities to my Norwegian classes."
Odin had put a hand on Loki's shoulder and they looked at each other in silence for a moment. Loki's knee suddenly gave out and he pitched forward a little, Odin catching him quickly. "Loki!" Tony had shrugged Bruce's arm off and tried to make his way over to Loki quickly. Thor had moved up but was beat by Kaia.
"Dad!" She dropped his jacket and ran over, wedging herself between Loki and Odin and taking Loki's hand. Odin blinked and looked at the little girl between them. Loki opened his eyes and smiled at her gently, squeezing her hand. "You're supposed to tell us when you're hurt." The three god blinked when she spoke in the language that Asgardians used.
"And you're supposed to tell me when you start learning a new language." Loki realized that she have been listening and learning from him and Thor when they talked.
"I can help him little one," Kaia looked up at Odin when he spoke, in English this time.
Kaia nodded. "He's tired because he used a lot of magic to save our family."
"She is very observant brother," Thor smirked. He blinked when Tony grabbed onto Thor's shoulder, using him for balance. "Brother Stark, you should not have moved so fast with your leg injured." Thor had wrapped an arm around Tony's upper back to keep him up.
"Hey, can't let Loki and Pooh Bear here get all the attention," Tony breathed out, catching his breath. It seemed the others were content to stay back, away from the god of all gods. The Norse ones at least.
"And who is this?" Odin asked, looking at Kaia as he placed a hand on Loki's injured side.
"That is my Daddy," Kaia announced happily. She watched Odin's hand glow slightly as he healed Loki. "Dad says that sometimes I act too much like him. He says it like it's a bad thing, but I see the smile when he thinks I'm not looking." She grinned at Loki groaned from embarrassment this time. "Oh, wait!" She let go of Loki's hand ran over to grab Loki's dropped jacket. "Sorry, I left this on the ground." Loki took it from her and wrapped it around her shoulders again.
"Think daddy over there could whip up some of the healing for a handsome mortal like me?" Tony whispered to Thor and he found he was leaning more and more on Thor.
"I think that could be arranged," Thor said with amusement in his voice. Tony jumped when he looked up and saw Odin standing in front of him.
"Near about gave me a heart attack, uh, sir," Tony finished lamely. "Sorry, how does one address the big kahuna of Asgard?"
"Not by the 'Big Kahuna'," Loki said coming up from behind with his arm around Kaia.
"Don't worry about that for now," Odin said to Tony as he put a hand on Tony's arm. Tony shivered a little when he felt something, a kind of warmth, travel through his arm and through the rest of his body. He could feel bruised rubs and torn muscles rejoining and moving back into their places, and was just left with dull aches.
Tony was able to pull away from Thor and stand on his own, albeit a little lopsided with part of his suit on. "Wow, thanks. I suddenly don't feel like like a few tons of cement had fallen on me." Odin glanced over at the building briefly as Tony started to remove the other leg of the Iron Man suit, then the remaining arm.
Kaia jumped in Tony's arms before he could stand up straight, and Tony kissed her forehead, holding her tightly in his arms. "Daddy was really brave!" Kaia said excitedly, looking at the audience of three gods around them. "He and Uncle Steve were there, and they were protecting my cousin Gabby and me." Tony could see that she liked to talk just like he did, but she really liked to tell stories. "Uncle Steve had this big shield, and nothing can break it! So he used it to shield us from all the falling stuff while Daddy was trying to holding the building up. And when it fell Daddy used his Iron suit to stop it from falling on us even more. I think he passed out-"
"I did not pass out," Tony interrupted. "I never pass out."
"Then I felt Dad's magic," Kaia continued. "He was using it so that the others could clear a path and get us all out of that building. He used a lot it because he didn't have enough to heal anyone else, even though that's the first he does after they all win a fight."
"How do you know that?" Loki glanced over at her, ignoring the way Thor and Odin looked at him.
"Aunt Natasha and Uncle Clint tell me when you guys get back." She said matter of factly. Loki glanced back at the group and noticed that Clint and Natasha were suddenly busy with helping Gabby wrap her ankle up.
"It seems that you really have changed, Loki," Loki looked back up at Odin as he spoke. "I would offer you a place back in Asgard, but," Odin looked at Tony and Kaia, "I think you have found your place here."
"We kind of like having him here," Tony said. "Just a little, right Kaia bear?" Kaia giggled a little and nodded.
"Your judgement has been served, my son," Odin announced turning fully towards Loki. "You are welcome back to Asgard as you would see fit." Loki's eyes widened slightly when there was a green glow around his hands, and he could feel that his magic had restored itself, no longer weakened from exile.
Kaia suddenly raised her hand and Odin glanced back at her. "Dad and Uncle Thor are Prince's right?" Odin nodded once. "Does that make me a princess?" Odin blinked a little then started to laugh a laugh that Tony could feel rumble throughout his body.
"Yes, little one, yes it does," Odin answered with a smile on his face. "But you are a Princess of Asgard and Midgard both." Odin clapped a hand on Tony's shoulder and he tried not to let his knees buckle from the power of it. "You are both welcome to travel to Asgard with Loki or Thor by your sides. You will be welcome as honored guests in the golden halls of Asgard. And you shall regal us with all of your stories from here on Midgard," Odin tapped Kaia's forehead and she grinned. "you very much have your Dad's smile."
"And her Daddy's attitude, I'm afraid," Loki remarked. "There might not be a way to make them stop talking if they started."
"Your words, they hurt," Tony pouted a little, then pat his heart. "Right here."
"I shall take my leave now," Odin nodded to the little group. Kaia wiggled away from Tony and then suddenly wrapped her arms around Odin's waist. All four men blinked.
"I was taught to always say goodbye, and I like to give hugs when family leaves," Kaia smiled up at him. Odin chuckled and pat her back.
"Goodbye little one." Loki took her hand and backed up before Odin disappeared with another flash.
"Well, that's one way to meet the parents," Tony said.