Oh, hello there. So I thought I would start with the notes first, just so the ending isn't blighted by my ramblings.
So first things first, this is the last chapter of Teen Spirit. Yes, I know, please don't cry for me Argentina. And if it weren't for all you fabulous followers and favouriters and reviewers, I don't think it would have lasted this long. Look at that guys, over 60,000 freaking words.
What is life?
So I wanted to thank you thank you thank you, to everyone who liked this story, and stuck with it till the end. To the fabulous people who left comments, both short and essay-esque, you know who you are, and so many virtual hugs are being sent to you.
I know there have been delays, what with college and work (just cutting in here because I recently got a new job after I uploaded the last chapter as a photographer in a wax museum. An iron man replica stands behind me as I'm working. If that isn't cool I don't know what is. Okay, end interval) and overall 2012 has been super busy as my first dive into fan fiction came to completion. If it wasn't for the constant support you guys gave me. So thank you. All of you.
Secondly, on the last chapter I asked a question and people were very adamant in the porn, but after much deliberation I'm taking the softer approach seeing as I do have young readers.
But worry not gentle merry men who wish for the ways of sexual healing (sexual heaaalliinnnn'), for in the future I have plans for a much smuttier, one shot sequel to Teen Spirit, just to get the sexy times out.
So yes, I haven't completely laid the story to rest, but this is the end of this particular segment.
Anyway guys, it's been fun, you were all superawesome.
I hope you like this epilogue as much as I liked writing it.
Stay golden! - Fox
EPILOGUE: Forever Young
Three Months Later
"Honestly I did not expect someone so charming."
Natasha smirked coyly at the compliment following the man into the apartment, wine glass still in hand from the ball that still raged in the hotel's lobby. The sleek black dress she wore was moulded perfectly against her body, her hair styled over her shoulder, waves of autumn falling to her breast held up by a black and gold pin.
"Then you won't be surprised to hear I get that a lot," she answered the man, walking ahead of him and leaving him to shift awkwardly in the doorway. Her smile dropped once she knew he could not see her facial expression anymore, wandering over to the floor to ceiling window which led to the beautiful view of Prague.
Only after a short time of recuperation, demanded by Fury after the whole Masters ordeal, he needed to know if there were any side effects before sending any of them out on classified missions into the world. So for over two months she was subject to sitting around the manor, only going out on patrols and regular defence.
Thor changed back to his Godly glory only a week after herself, running off to New Mexico almost instantly through SHIELD's clutches. Tony changed 5 days later and disappeared into his penthouse suite refusing to resurface for two weeks. Only Pepper and Bruce were allowed to enter into his lair.
Bruce explained quite bluntly that Tony was making up for lost time.
If he said "he was drinking his way through his stores" it would have sufficed.
She got the occasional email from Monica, and the girl had kept true to her word, sending her many a cat with a misspelled caption, or otherwise complaining about assessments and exams that were on the horizon.
She told her about a new girl named Cory Sutter who had started to attend classes with her, and how cool and hip she was, or something of the like.
Natasha didn't question Fury on her friend's new accomplice, but she'd be lying if she didn't say she recalled the cover name from one of SHIELD's younger files, so she had her suspicions.
Other than the emails, patrols and overall avoidance of the media, Natasha kept to her room in the manor and pondered. It was dull to say the very least, and her bones and mind were itching for something more intricate then a simple brawl.
She needed to flex her skills as spy and assassin, though if her instincts were correct, there would be no deaths thisnight.
She skulled the rest of her wine before spinning around to face her charge again with a diminutive smile, holding the glass aloft, "Refill?"
The man nodded quickly pointing to the bar as he fidgeted with his tie, his face a blotched red in his excitement.
Boris Plaksin, aged forty, married with three children, all daughters. Currently in possession of stolen missile plans, in negotiations of release to an infamous Russian syndicate. Aim of mission? Get the files and return them to SHIELD HQ.
Natasha walked to the bar as the man managed to rip off the tie and throw it to the ground.
"Such a nice room," she commented vacantly, grabbing two scotch glasses and the bottle of amber liquid. She poured delicately, feeling around in her mouth for the small capsule sitting in the pocket of her gums.
"I like the best," The man answered in a rich Russian accent. "I can afford it."
"So modest," Natasha laughed taking the capsule from her tongue and breaking it open above one of the glasses, white powder falling into the liquid. She looked over her shoulder, "Ice?"
Another sweet smile as she dropped a number of cubes from the ice box into the glasses, allowing the powder to dissolve even quicker with the impact. She spun around with both glasses in hand walking to the large chaise lounge and settling upon it in the manner where her dress would ride up ever so slightly to reveal more thigh.
The man was already caught in her web, all she had to do was reel him in.
He took the glass she offered him, sitting on the edge of the lounge and leaning forward, rough and ugly hand on her calf.
"Cheers." She announced quietly, tapping their glasses together and relishing in the way Plaksin downed it in one gulp with a smacking of lips. It took approximately 10 seconds for the powder to take effect, and soon enough she was pushing his unconscious form to the ground, Plaksin only just managing to soil her mouth with a clumsy kiss.
Some men were true imbeciles.
It didn't take long for her to find the vault, hidden behind a copy of Monet's Water Lilies. She took out her SHIELD communicator, quickly snapping a couple of pictures of the vault and waiting for the next move to continue. A list of steps lit up in blue on her screen, and she quickly went to work, finding and breaching all safe holds and alarms before finally unlocking the code, the vault door springing forward with a hiss.
She grabbed the lone USB, small and silver, tucking it between her cleavage and then leaving post haste out the door, only checking herself in the mirror on her way out to make sure she was still presentable.
Her movements were graceful as she walked down the flight of stairs littered with party goers in extravagant dresses and smart suits. She avoided all who looked as though they may make conversation with her, entering into the crowd of chattering and oblivious people, the orchestra infiltrating her ears and blurring them out.
She was halfway across the room with its high ceilings and golden architecture before she halted in her tracks.
The feeling of eyes was upon her.
Her heart race only picked up a fraction; surely she could not have been discovered already?
The music played on as she looked around carefully for the eyes that watched her, and they did with quiet intensity, and yet, familiarity.
A flash of green.
She startled, her direction changing as she walked back into the crowd, looking over heads.
She stumbled into people, murmuring apologies as she made to follow, her mind racing as everything became background music as her heart pounded in her ears.
Natasha strode through the hall, gaze narrowed, spotting the tall figure, lithe and graceful exiting out onto the extravagant balcony overlooking the citadel and gardens.
She followed, wary of whom she was to find, and aware of the sudden anticipation to see him again.
He was a dark silhouette against the moonlight, but she could map out his features even as he turned slowly. All sharp angles and glittering green irises, neat and suave in a suit of charcoal, his hair long and tied back into a dark tail.
Everything was silent as she waited on bated breath for the soft words that would certainly leave thin lips with a trademark smirk.
"Loki." She breathed out, with a seeming air of calm as her heart rate slowly started to decrease. She looked him up and down, tall and intimidating, handsome and sleek. She supressed the urge to wave her hand, "I see you're back to…"
"All my glory?" Loki finished for her, falling into easy conversation that both infuriated and dizzied her. "Why yes, preferences?"
"I care neither way," She answered easily, regaining her composure, her face becoming expressionless. Loki hummed a low vibration in the back of his throat.
"I have trouble believing that." She scowled at the easy brush off, but covered it once again with a wry smile. A waiter entered onto the balcony, a silver platter topped with wine glasses in hand. Loki nodded as the man approached their supposed solace, taking a glass delicately and looking over at her with a smile, "Wine Natasha?"
"Please." She answered easily moving forward to take her own glass of scarlet liquid. She waited for the waiter to leave before continuing, hating the way Loki seemed so comfortable in her presence.
"So," she started, sipping her wine "I haven't seen you around. Not plaguing the cities, releasing creatures of unknown origin into our sewers, blowing up ice cream trucks…"
"There's a perfectly liable reason for the last one." Loki reprimanded, his voice full of excuses.
"You hate Greensleaves?"
"I despise Greensleaves."
She laughed at the admission, watching a softer smile line the Trickster's lips as he lifted the glass back to his lips, watching the pale column of throat work as he drank. She cleared her throat lightly.
"So why the lack of destroying dairy confectionaries?"
Loki paused at the question, hesitating before shrugging "I've been busy."
"Busy?" Natasha repeated suspiciously, moving closer though not breaching her comfort zone. "With what?"
Loki cocked an eyebrow and shook his head with a tight lipped smirk, "And what of you? The unconscious man upstairs, were you successful in your exploits."
She was aware of the sudden change of topic, but played along, even as the knowledge of her mission was made known.
"Of course I was." She replied with confidence, her own gaze narrowing, "That's not why you're here right? Because I got to the treasure before you? Take note Loki, I'm not just going to hand it over."
"As wonderful as those plans would be to future endeavours, I'm going to have to deny my part in this play. I have no intentions of taking them off you, unless you were to willingly give them to me."
Loki shrugged, "Hmm, I thought as much."
Natasha looked away from him, at her glass feeling much like the awkward new girl. Weeks and weeks she would train herself not think about him, would smash her face against her pillow and scream when she was startled from her sleep by a vision of emerald eyes and alabaster skin.
Would curse his name each time the Avengers assembled to face some new threat, her hopes dropping each time when it wasn't him. The photo Thor had slid underneath the floor, Loki tying an orchid corsage onto her wrist, both of them looking like they walked off the cover of a prom guide, tucked into her underwear draw for no one to see.
The orchids never wilted.
Loki cleared his throat, placing his hand forward and canting his head back to the dance that raged inside. She stared at the slender hand cautiously, her eyes flickering up to meet his as he told her quite simply, "We never did finish our dance."
Her breath hitched for the first time in months, her mind wandering back to the night of the Spring Fling. A part of her was screaming even as she nodded, taking the hand offered and letting him lead her back into the ball and out onto the ball room. They followed the waltz easily, their hands placed upon waist and shoulder, other hands grasped lightly to the side.
They were silent as the music filled up their ambience, until Natasha could no longer control her erratic thoughts.
"What are you up to Loki?" She asked, wishing that pitiful whine in her voice was just an obvious exaggeration. Loki frowned gently as she continued, "Why now do you seek me out over all these months, do you think you can play me because of a simple school girl crush? Those days are over."
"I've been busy" he replied again the earlier sentiment.
"So you've said, but with what?"
She snorted, "I doubt you ever stop thinking, and plotting and…"
"Yes, yes, evil plans, evil plans." Loki waved away easily, shaking his head and smiling uneasily. "You would think I do nothing else. That, however, is not what I've been pondering these last few months, I swear it." He paused with a weary exhale, "During my time returned as a youth I had an epiphany, of sorts…"
"An epiphany?" Natasha repeated incredulously and not without suspicion.
"And what did this epiphany entail?"
And oh, she loved that hesitation. Loki truly looked young in that moment, like a lost little boy who only wished to please.
"…That perhaps it was time to…hang up the helmet."
Natasha blinked, a bark of sarcastic laughter leaving her lips, "You must be joking if you think I would fall for something so…"
"I'm not lying." Loki cut in with a scowl, brow furrowed as he sort out her gaze, "I'm being perfectly sincere."
"You'll forgive me for not being cynical." Natasha answered with a roll of her eyes, but Loki looked as though an upset cat left out in the rain at her reaction. She blinked again with a frown, "Why?"
"Why not?" he replied softly, as they spun, "I've seen the light, for better words. I wish redemption, and puppies and rainbows; whatever you heroes get off on."
"Seen the light?" she repeated with a cocked eyebrow.
"It took quite a magnificent form." He smiled, looking down at her. And damn it, who wouldn't blush after a statement like that. She looked away but her chin was caught in a long fingered hand, like pale spider legs cupping her face. Green eyes stared into hers imploringly, honest.
"I want to change Natasha." He told her, their slow movements stopping altogether as he leant down, their faces inches from one another's. "It will take time, a lot of time, and I may very well never be accepted, but I'd like to try. Your ledger is gushing with violent red, look at mine and it is drenched. I wish to heal. Please."
Natasha searched the depths of those phantom eyes, trying to pick apart any ill plans if she actually chose to agree to help. It was true; both their ledgers were dripping, if she had a second chance, then why couldn't he?
Again her thoughts turned to those times in battle, when she would spy Loki looking around as though disbelieving as to what he has done. Chaos and discord will always be a part of his nature, but if they were to twist it, to morph it back into the boy Thor spoke of in childhood, perhaps Loki would become a great asset to the team, no, they would be invincible.
"Fury will take some work." She told him finally, smirking at the way his lips broke into a bright smile, so open and carefree.
She imagined Asgard from the stories. Imagined a young boy with hair like midnight riding open plains, the stars and moons shining through day and night, smiling and wild, magic chasing him through the air that she imagined smelled so clear and sweet. And there would have been laughter.
"The whole nation will." Loki told her, smile still lingering.
"Not your fan sites…"
"Nothing." She replied quickly shaking her head, quickly catching a small collaboration of men in similar suits banding together on the staircase, their heads searching the crowds of people below. "I think it's time to go."
"Hmm" Loki hummed in mock disappointment, "And we still haven't finished our dance."
So it was totally impulse on Natasha's part when she looked back at him and grabbed his face between his hands, even as the men spotted her and started shouting she crushed their lips together. And, okay, it was clumsy, and Loki may or may not have yelped (he did, despite the story he retold) and it was brief and altogether not great, but there was time for that later.
She would make time for that later, because screw Fury, Loki was, not to quote Monica, one piece of hot ass.
"Better?" She asked breaking off the kiss, and relishing in the dear in the headlights look Loki had upon his face, even as he nodded slowly. She was eager to start this whole redemption process, and kind of itching not to be caught by the men who were currently pushing the way through crowds. She grabbed his hand and forced him to move, "Time to go."
They rushed through the crowd, Natasha biting her lip to keep the goofy smile rising on her face, and confused about the way Loki could actually make the school girl in her come out most annoyingly.
She looked around; their hands still gripped together as they dashed through a fire exit and down the stairs. They burst through the last door into the basement car park, their feet slapping on the cement and barely supressing the giggles that burst from their lips.
"Really?" She asked incredulously when she spied the all too familiar motorcycle form their jaunt as teenagers, Loki smiling smug beside her as she gave him the side eye. "You don't expect me to get on that do you?"
"Live a little, my spider." He purred into her ear, steering her to the vehicle even as she rolled her eyes. She was beginning to think the act would become the norm with Loki around.
"After all, we're still young."
Gun shots went off and loud voices echoed against the wall as she hopped on behind the dark haired Trickster, twisting her arms around his waist as he started the engine and blasted away the ticket pole with a flick of his hand.
They both smiled as they drove away from the madness they left behind.
Endings are hard.