Well...we're finally at the end, guys. It's been such a good ride, and I love you all. But hey, don't think the Doctor or the Avengers are done with each other yet. The Crossover's still coming, and it's going to be brilliant. More info about The Crossover in the bottom AN, and also on my profile. :)
The Doctor, freshly showered and sporting a brand new outfit he'd taken from the TARDIS, stood before the mirror and made some final adjustments to his look as he contemplated the situation.
The Cybermen on Earth had eventually been defeated, leaving the Avengers and their alien prisoner to clean up. The police force had pulled out once they'd found that the situation was under control, and the street was empty. Tony's cars had, luckily, been mostly unharmed, so they took those back to Stark Tower.
The Doctor had fought the urge to collapse as they'd charged back to base, but had found a little more strength as he contacted the Cyberships with Tony's computers. Hope of possibly finding his worst enemy (and wasn't that a strange thing to hope for?) had fueled him. But he gained nothing from the brief interrogation he'd held with the Cybermen. The energy had drained out of him, and he'd sunk to the floor just as the ships scattered, as far out of his reach as they could get.
The world had spinned, his stomach had felt like it was trying to eat itself, and his head had pounded ferociously. Just as he had thought he'd pass out, cheese was forced into his mouth, and survival instinct had woken him up enough to allow him to scarf the food down. He'd been handed several sandwiches after that, and had continued to eat even as he was settled into a new room. Not his cell, to his surprise. A clean guest bedroom, with generic paint on the walls and a bed with light green sheets.
However, he hadn't been allowed to sleep right away. The Avengers had gathered around his bed, all wearing looks of determination and slight anxiety, and asked him about Gallifrey.
He'd thought he wouldn't be able to answer. He'd thought his throat would close up and his eyes would burn and when he closed them for just a second he'd be sucked into the safety of sleep. But instead, he'd just started talking. There was hardly any emotion in his voice as he spoke, but the others seemed to understand that it was simply lack of a better option rather than the idea that he simply didn't care. The words had come from his mouth relatively easily, and he'd recounted the story of the Time War, and the sacrifices he - and the entirety of Gallifrey as well - had had to make.
By the time he'd finished his tale, things were becoming too blurry to make out anything properly anymore. But he had been layed down, a strong hand - it couldn't be Thor's, could it? - lingering for an extra moment on his shoulder in a sympathetic fashion. And then the door had closed, putting him in almost total darkness, and he'd fallen asleep, realizing only when he'd woken up that the cuff had been removed from his wrist, and had not been replaced with handcuffs.
The feeling that had welled up in his chest was pure relief.
Now, standing before the mirror in the bathroom attatched to the guest room, he couldn't help but smile faintly. He was leaving today - he was sure everyone had realized that already. He couldn't stay here any longer. He had things to do, people to see. Before he died.
He wondered, his smile dropping instantly from his face, if he would end up dealing with the Master before his end. He had to, didn't he? If the Master was loose on the universe again, he had to stop him. Stop him for real. He couldn't look after the other Time Lord dead, after all.
His good mood now severely ruined, he ran a hand through his hair one last time with a frown and walked outside of his room.
The rest of the tower was seemingly silent. He had almost expected the Avengers to be somewhere nearby to keep an eye on him, but they were suspiciously absent. Uncertainly, the Doctor wandered over to the nearest elevator and pressed the down button. He didn't have to wait anymore than a few moments until the doors slid open and he was allowed inside. He pressed the button for the floor of the TARDIS and waited. The elevator music, to his amusement, was AC/DC. Tony's pick, of course, considering this was his tower.
And there was the TARDIS when the doors opened again on the new floor. Shiny, beautiful, humming faintly in his head with pleasure. He approached it and ran a hand down the side of the ship with a smile. She sighed contentedly.
Footsteps sounded, and the Doctor whirled around to face none other than the Avengers themselves, all wearing their suits. Except for Bruce, of course, who was looking quite human and even happy, with an easy smile on his face.
"What-" the Doctor began, but Bruce interrupted him.
"We have to go to a meeting with the mayor of the city," he explained. "Everyone's supposed to be in uniform."
"Ah. Well, good luck then."
"You too," Bruce said, and his expression turned serious. "You could stay another day, if you wanted. Get that other thing you haven't told us off your chest."
The Doctor's smile faltered somewhat. They were smarter than he'd given them credit for. They'd known Gallifrey wasn't his only secret. "No thanks. But thank you for the offer."
"Time Lord," Thor rumbled, and the Doctor stiffened slightly as the Asgardian approached. And then, to his surprise, put a hand on his shoulder. "You are most noble. I am deeply sorry for my accusations. I have caused you much pain. The story you told us last night was nothing but truth. I believe every word."
The Doctor blinked. "Really?"
Thor nodded. "I will tell my people of your bravery and innocence when I return to Asgard." Then, he broke into a large smile and clapped the Doctor painfully on the back. "You are welcome any time in the land of the gods!"
The Doctor couldn't help but smile back. "Thank you, Thor."
"Bruce is right, you could stay," Tony put in. The front of his helmet was back, revealing his face. "You could help us in the lab. Lots of fun experiments."
"Tempting," the Doctor said, and there was no small amount of truth in the word. "But no, sorry. I have...erm, an appointment."
Tony held out an armor-clad hand. At the Doctor's hesitation, he smirked, "I won't crush you, promise." With a little grin, the Time Lord accepted the offer and they shook. He repeated the ritual with Bruce, and tried to with Thor, but instead was wrapped into a hug.
Steve was smiling, and he shook hands with the Doctor next. "I'm sorry we trapped you here," he said.
"It all worked out fine," the Doctor dismissed, and then tapped the Captain America shield. "Do you have another one of those? Memorabilia and all that. I can say I've met you all now!"
"No," Steve said, "sorry. But actually..." he motioned for Clint to step forward, and the Doctor grinned wider when he saw the piece of fabric in the archer's hands. The Time Lord accepted the bowtie, untied but still clearly neckwear, and looked it over.
"Signed!" he exclaimed, and actually laughed out loud when Natasha passed him another untied bowtie, this one with little Avenger's symbols all over it. Apparently he'd reached them after they'd come up with their logo. "Wow! Wonderful! Fantastic! Brilliant!" He tucked them carefully into the same pocket as his sonic and quickly hugged Agent Romanoff, before she could pull away. She acted disgruntled when he released her, but her lips twitched and he could tell she didn't really mind all that much. He then heartily shook hands with Barton, complimenting him on his work with the portal, and then stepped back to find Nick Fury with a hand extended as well, which the Doctor also shook.
"Thank you for your help," Fury said, and actually smiled slightly. "If my team trusts you, then I guess I have to as well."
The Doctor mock bowed, grinning. "No problem! My pleasure."
"Will you come back to visit?" Bruce asked. "Really, Tony and I would love to have you in the lab."
A swell of gratitude overtook the last of the Time Lords for a moment. "Maybe," he replied, and found himself actually considering it. After he visited those seven galaxies in perfect unison, maybe. It was possible. "But probably not," he added, just in case. "But maybe."
"You'll be welcome," Dr. Banner assured him.
"Sure," Tony put in.
"Thank you," the Doctor said again, and took another step backwards, until the back of his head was brushing against the TARDIS' doors. "I think you'll like this part," he told them all with a wide grin, and snapped his fingers. The doors swung open, sending a more golden light flooding into the room. Everyone's eyes widened a little as they tried to get a good glimpse inside the TARDIS, and the Doctor took a little longer than usual to get inside to give them a show. Then he closed the door and ran up to the console.
He set the coordinates and pulled the big lever to send him off, and couldn't help but laugh as the TARDIS dematerialized.
The Doctor was free again.
The Avengers watched as the Doctor's ship faded into nothing, exchanging looks of disbelief and grinning.
"Now that's high-tech," Tony appreciated with a whistle.
"That's alien," Steve reminded him. "We don't even have that kind of technology."
"That doesn't mean I can't dream, Cap," Iron Man huffed, and mocked stomping off.
Thor chuckled. "You two are most amusing," he said.
"Everyone quit it," Fury said, motioning for them to cut it out. "We have that meeting soon."
"Yeah, I'm so looking forward to sitting around with a bunch of stuffy losers to talk about the destructon we caused," Tony scoffed. "We all know that's what's going to happen."
Clint nodded, already looking bored. "Yeah."
"We should get something to eat before we leave," Captain America suggested, already heading in the direction of the kitchen.
"I wouldn't say no to a burger," Tony agreed.
"When you're done with that, hurry up and get to city hall," Director Fury told them, taking an extra moment to glare at Tony.
"You'd all better show up," Fury said, and then headed off.
Clint smirked a little in Tony's direction, and they all started following Steve to the kitchen.
It was as they were just coming into the room that Bruce noticed the abnormal brightness of it. Everything looked sort of...white-washed. All except the others, who were also all looking a little confused, and appeared unaffected by the light. It was like they were standing under the normal kitchen lighting, but the kitchen itself was...
"Does anybody else see this?" Bruce asked, and to his alarm it sounded like he was talking underwater. His words were garbled, hardly understandable. And when he moved his hand to touch a countertop in disbelief, it felt like he was moving through syrup.
"What the hell!" Tony exclaimed as the brightness grew. Bruce almost had to shield his eyes it was so blinding. Light seemed to be streaming from every surface in the room except the Avengers themselves, who were dark blotches of color against the whiteness. And then there was something like an earthquake, and Bruce felt like his stomach had been turned completely upside down. It felt like the room was spinning, and everything was fading into whiteness and then there was a startling, sickening, heart-wrenching darkness, like nightmares and monsters and middle-of-the-night screams and then-
Bruce came to lying on his back on cool, lush grass, the sun bright in his eyes. Things were no longer white, or black, but pleasantly lit by daylight. He blinked, bewildered, and reached up to cover his eyes. Even such a simple movement was sluggish and delayed, and in the process his fingers brushed against a familiar fabric...Steve's uniform.
Steve was, thankfully, still in it, lying face down with his head turned in Bruce's direction. He looked dazed and confused, staring at Bruce, who stared right back. He became aware of a pounding headache.
Bruce wanted to say something, but his voice didn't appear to be working, and he could do nothing but open his mouth and then close it again, still on the ground with his head now turned to look at Steve and a hand guarding his eyes.
A mumble that sounded like Tony's voice came from the other side of Steve, and Bruce spotted the glint of his friend's suit as he moved slightly.
"Greetings," a voice with a thick Irish accent said from somewhere beyond Bruce's feet. Slowly, he sat up, although it was certainly a struggle. Beside him, he could see Steve doing the same. "You are probably all very confused, but please be patient. You will get answers soon."
The source of the voice, Bruce found when he had achieved an upright position, was a teenaged boy with black hair and two different eye colors. One of his eyes was a piercing, icy blue, while the other was a soft hazel. The boy wore a slim, well-tailored suit, and very much had the feeling of money about him. He was spinning slowly in a circle, as if addressing more people that just the Avengers, and Bruce saw several others on the other side of the boy.
He had the impression that there were far more people than what he could see, but the only ones he could easily spot were also teens, and were dirty, sick-looking, shocked, and tearful. He could also see two young men in their twenties, for some reason with guns and salt in their hands. A group of teens and children, woozily sitting up. Bruce thought he caught a glimpse of feathers.
The teenage boy turned again, and now he was looking directly at Bruce, and the doctor could easily see the brilliance in his eyes. A young genius, he thought. But what was he doing here? What were any of them doing here?
What had happened? Where had the light come from? What was the purpose of it?
"My name is Artemis Fowl," the boy announced. "Welcome."
To be Continued
DUN DUN DUN DUNNNNN.
Guys, I am so glad you've all been here throughout this story. I've gotten such a good response to this, so thank you so much. It's been great, and this is my very first finished story, so that's just fantastic. :)
I had a question about The Crossover in the comments, so I'll just have a little explanation here in this AN. There's also one on my profile.
Essentially, The Crossover is exactly what it sounds like. A crossover story. Except with more than simply two or three different fandoms intertwined - currently, I have sixteen pretty much ready to go. Things will be added and taken away from that list of fandoms as I work through the little crossovers - such as this one - leading up to it, but I'm hoping for about twenty by the time I'm finished. Basically, it's going to be awesome. I can't give you all the premise of it yet (that would be spoiling it for you), but I can tell you that it's going to be fun, and crazy, and angsty, and dramatic, and awesome. If you would like more information, PM me and I would love to give you as much as I can without totally spoiling everything for you. :)
In related news, the next crossover leading up to The Crossover is a nice little Percy Jackson and the Olympians/Kane Chronicles thing of an estimated six or seven chapters. Of course, that number could change, but I was pretty accurate in guessing this story's length, so yeah. It is not necessary to read that crossover (untitled as of posting this) to read and enjoy The Crossover, but it is strongly recommended. It'll be useful in filling in a few possible holes in the story for you all. And if you haven't read Percy Jackson or the Kane Chronicles, I suggest you do. It will enrich your reading experience if you choose to check out that story. Plus, they're both by the same author and super good. (The first Percy Jackson book is called The Lightning Thief, and the first Kane Chronicles book is The Red Pyramid in case you needed that information.)
Anyway, I'd just like to give another huge thank you to all of you reading this. I really appreciate it, and I've been seriously happy because of all your lovely thoughts and your support. So thank you so, so, so much.
As always, I would love to hear your opinions on this final chapter. I may do some edits with it if I end up unhappy with it later, but for now it'll stay as it is. I would also really enjoy your thoughts on The Crossover and that Percy Jackson/Kane Chronicles thing I'm working on. If you have any suggestions, I will gladly take them into consideration. I love hearing from you all, and you're all just brilliant.
Thank you again, and stay tuned. :)