Lunar Mist- I can't thank you enough for the wonderful reviews (especially your really long one!) They really mean the world to me. Thank you so much.
i-love-tea-and-coffee- I know, right?
TheAssassinWhoWaited- Maybe I should get a cape and be a super villain.
Lexicon04- I'm so glad you like Nae! :D Thanks but she's MINE. jkjk If you ever want to use her with anything, feel free to ask. Just as long as the credit is in the right place ;3
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weareserialkillers- THANK YOU SO MUCH ASDFGHJKL.
transmogrified- Thanks! Captain America Fans for the win!
ohvafltn- Thank you for all of your support :D I might cry.
miller330- Here you are with plenty of coddling!
Tir-Na-nOg-Niamh- Brain Twin you are just so smart. I love you. 2 Hearts Forever!
m9ower- He's just a great big teddy bear.
You've all killed me. How dare you. I am sobbing on the floor right now. Just dead. ad;lkgfjha;lkgljfkfdg
Sort of a brief chapter. More of a "let me play with your feels" update. Full of fluff.
And then the good stuff starts next.
Shock. Overwhelming shock. Surprise that made Steve Rogers stagger slightly and his jaw nearly dislocate from dropping so far and quickly. The super solider gazed around at the dimly lit and destroyed room before inching forward in appall. A desk and chair were overturned, papers strewn across the floor. Shimmering shards of glass were scattered from a shattered vase and sheets were shredded, ripped, and some were spotted with blood. A pillow had exploded, coating the room in feathers and the other Ashlyn was currently resting on had plumage peeking out from the broken seams. The real unnerving sight was little Ashlyn nestled up on her bare mattress with a healing and bruising scab on her forehead. Her figure was broken, weak, and looked much littler than usual curled up on her big bed.
"She's had some sort of vision. She's in a lot of pain. I'm not sure exactly what happened."
Steve glanced over at the scientist. "Does she need to go to the medical wing again?"
"No. That will only make it worse," Dr. Banner insisted, shaking his head.
"What's happened, though? What is so terrible?" Steve asked, afraid from Bruce's worry.
Bruce only sighed.
"Oh, Ashlyn," Steve whispered in horror and sorrow. He rubbed his forehead with a free hand, pulling himself out of the memory of him walking to Ashlyn's room with Bruce.
Before he knew it Ashlyn's face scrunched up in pain and she let out a blood-curdling scream.
The Captain nearly leaped out of his skin as Ashlyn began to flail and continued to shriek as if she was in unbearable pain.
"Ma'am! Ashlyn! Ashlyn?!" Steve cried, grabbing her by her shoulders and shaking her. Ashlyn whimpered and moaned, screaming again. Steve rattled her again, yelling her name and begged for her to be okay.
Then the brunette's eyes opened. She jerked with a gasp, unable to free herself from Rogers' strong clasp. He could tell she was fighting to focus on his probably blurry form with her nearsighted eyes. Steve knew that without her glasses she was pretty much blind. He probably looked like some hulking figure who was about to beat her in the dark of the room.
"Ma'am, it's me! Are you okay? Are you hurt? What happened?"
Ashlyn visibly relaxed before tensing up again, her eyes sweeping around her ruined room aboard the helicarrier. Her face grew a dark red and she shuttered in embarrassment, gnawing on her lip. She then looked back to Steve and tried to find his eyes.
"N-Nightmare," she choked out, her chest heaving as she fought to catch her breath. "I-I-I think."
Steve released Ashlyn and shifted his weight from one foot to the other, squeezing the blanket Banner had forced into the Captain's arms. At first he didn't understand what it was for but as he stared at the scared seer he understood. He flipped the blanket out so it spread wide, wrapping it around Ashlyn. The woman rubbed her eyes and drew in a rattling breath. She then grabbed Steve, pulling him up onto her bed next to her.
It went against everything he knew to be in a bed with a woman but he figured because not only was Ashlyn his girlfriend and they weren't doing anything (he was only trying to comfort her) it would be okay. He swallowed hard and tried to shove his uncomfortableness away and before he knew it Ashlyn curled up in his lap, her trembling form clinging to his spangled uniform.
Whatever had caused her to scream as Ashlyn had (nightmare or whatever it might have been) it had obviously scared Ashlyn (and the Captain) silly. Her whole body shook with frightened tremors and Steve wrapped his arms around her blanketed body, trying to soothe her shaking and horror. He shushed her, rocking back and forth slightly as he ran a hand through her hair. He rested his head upon to top of hers, eyes drooping slightly. Ashlyn's ear was pressed to his chest, listening to the strong beat of his heart.
Steve felt a sudden urge to protect the dame in his arms as his fingers continued to trail through her long brown locks. It felt so right to hold her, to run his hand through her hair, to comfort her as he did.
"I don't know w-what happened," Ashlyn breathed. "It's never happened before...I-I've never had a trance while asleep..."
"It's okay. It was only a bad dream."
"It was really s-scary, Steve!"
"Shhhhh. Everything's going to be alright. Everything is going to be fine," he muttered.
"What if I'm turning bad?" Ashlyn whimpered. "What if I'm changing? What if I hurt someone?"
"That won't happen."
"But what if it does?" Ashlyn winced, her grip tightening on his uniform. "I don't feel myself, I don't feel right-"
"I'll protect you." Steve lightly kissing the top of her head, squeezing her tighter. "I'll always be here for you no matter what."
And as the silence rolled in, the couple remained snuggled up under the blanket. Ashlyn descended into sleep much quicker than Steve who fought to stay awake for his conflicted morals and incase Ashlyn woke again. But the solider's body was exhausted from fight and worry and soon his falling eyelids did not open again.
Seconds, minutes, maybe hours later the door swished open with a faint click, a shaft of glimmering light illuminating a small portion of the room the rays landed upon. Natasha peeked in and saw the sleeping couple, Steve upright and slumped against the wall and Ashlyn curled up in his lap.
"Don't tell Stark, he'll never let Steve or Ashlyn live this down," the red-headed Russian uttered to her companion with anger management issues.
"I wouldn't dream of it," Bruce assured, taking a turn to peek through the open door slot. "They've both been teased enough to last a life time."
For the next few nights they were informed by Ashlyn's screams that the nightmares continued-and only got worse.
December 31st and January 1st
As Fury promised, the last day of December rolled around and the Avengers were excused early from their duties to celebrate. Even though they had tracked the gamma radiation to Denmark, as long as they were visiting, Stark thought that they should make the best of it. Tony made all of the guys and girls get up and dressed, proclaiming that it was going to be a party that they would remember forever (or barely remember if they all got smashed).
And so they were all shoved in their new matching sweaters and jeans and sent out into Copenhagen. The capital of Denmark was beautiful and right on the harbor with tall, many windowed buildings and friendly residents. Bikes were aplenty and everywhere with separate highways and paths for biking apart from the main road and walkways for pedestrians on foot.
The Avengers were quite a spectacle. Fans swamped the scene wishing for autographs and just to be able to shake an Avengers' hand. Ashlyn clung to Steve, their hands intertwined throughout the progression. Soon they all hopped on bikes and began the tour the Capital, the usually sassy and hotheaded Blaze babbling happily with her brethren strangers in their native tongue. Nae occasionally piped in but mostly chatted with Oz in Norwegian. Nikolai kept his shoulder blades back and gleefully talked back and forth with Blaze in German, translating for him when he desired to talk with someone in Danish.
The four foreigners to the American Avengers (excluding Natasha because not only was she Russian but could easily communicate with the Danes in their language) seemed odd but were finally at home. It was only scary when Blaze (joined in by several other biking townsfolk) started shouting at and cussing out group of Icelandic tourists who thought that the bicycle path was the sidewalk. The sudden outburst nearly caused Ashlyn to fall off of her bike.
Thor, who had never rode a bicycle in his life, had much trouble in the beginning. He toppled over several times and cursed Midgardian transportation, almost breaking his bike. With Ashlyn's and Natasha's help (Blaze refused, she thought the angry Asgardian was much too funny) he soon got the hang of it and was off in a flash, taking up the Dane's habits to yell at confused tourists on the bike path (though his advanced, accented Asgardian insults didn't have much effect except for making the brain want to explode from such wording).
Other than the passing insults and shouting outbursts, Ashlyn was having a lot of fun biking with Steve. He was more than happy to remain at her pace (the super solider had super legs, after all) and just talk and laugh about anything and everything that wasn't work related.
"Smile!" Thor suddenly exclaimed, holding up his camera and pointing it at Ashlyn and Steve. The two put a foot down to steady their bikes, grinning for the shot.
"Funny one now," Thor instructed. Steve struck and pose and a face that made Ashlyn laugh so hard that her sides ached afterwards.
Thor nodded and smiled, thanking them and snapped a few other photos of the group before he politely asked a man to take a group photo for them.
The first one was just the Avengers. Thor threw his arms around Tony and Bruce, pulling them in tight and almost causing their bikes to fall over. Natasha and Clint smiled and remained on their bikes next to Bruce and Ashlyn and Steve pulled in on the other side of Tony, Ashlyn once again squished between the two men. Then, to Thor's great amusement, Blaze, Nae, Oz, and Nikolai all crammed in for a funny photo.
"Tak!" Blaze thanked, handing the camera back to Thor and hopping off of his back. "Undskyld. Ja. Jeg leder efter skøjtebane?"
After their ride (and with directions), they ended up at an ice rink. Ashlyn, who was slightly dreading getting on the ice, strapped on skates along with everyone else and scrambled onto the rink inside of the building.
It didn't go too bad at first. Thor laughed about Midgardian hobbies, skating in circles. Clint and Natasha, who were both always extremely skilled in everything they did, started showing off, jumping and skating backwards. Ashlyn gulped and stepped onto the rink, gripping the railing before releasing. She slid a few feet before nearly falling on her face.
If it wasn't for Steve, Ashlyn would have ate ice. He was suddenly in front of the brunette, hands propped under her armpits and keeping her from landing on the ground while her legs splayed out.
"You're not good at this, are you?" Tony observed, skating around them and following Blaze when she whipped past, accidentally causing a small puddle in her wake from using too much energy for her speed.
"You don't say?" Ashlyn shot back as Steve helped her stand up, both of them laughing when she almost fell over again.
"Here. I got you." Steve smiled, naturally graceful and on balance due to the serum coursing through his veins.
They skated side-by-side, Steve keeping a slugs pace and helping Ashlyn. Soon they both gained speed as the seer got more comfortable on the ice.
"Watch out!" Nae yelled, hand outstretched as she snatched the back of Oz's coat in order to keep him on his feet. Ashlyn glanced down to see that one of the blades on Ozymandias ice skates was warped and bent out at a strange angle.
"Sorry, that was completely my fault," Nae explained, apologizing for both almost running into Steve and Ashlyn and for almost hurting Oz. She twisted her hand, the metal straightening back out. "I didn't mean for that to happen."
They ate at a popular Danish restaurant and traveled the streets again back to where they would be picked up by a quinjet. Oddly, Natasha and Clint left just before dinner and didn't come back till their transportation was about to take off. But in their absence the group toured the streets as the sun was setting, Ashlyn getting butterflies when Steve offered his arm or his hand.
Once back on the helicarrier, they reined in the New Year with a party in the debriefing room. Tony blasted music and danced on the tables with Clint. Natasha and Clint didn't want to say anything at first, but when Ashlyn spotted the ring on the red-head's hand, she couldn't help but gasp and ask.
"You and Clint are engaged?"
Natasha bit her lip and shook her head. "We...um...kind of...got married."
"Y-You eloped?!" Ashlyn felt her eyes grow wide.
All eyes were on Clint and Natasha. Clint was the first to speak, gazing down at the band on his hand.
"No offense to any of you. We just wanted to keep it small and get it over with. Nothing big. Just signed some papers. Natasha and I have been planning it for awhile, even before you found out we were together."
"Congratulations!" Thor beamed, hugging them both. "I am so happy for the both of you!"
"Yes, congrats, you traitor," Tony punched Clint in the shoulder. "Thanks a lot, Legolas. I at least wanted to attend that and get smashed. This calls for more drinks."
There were more drinks all around and the partying continued on. But that wasn't the only highlight of the night.
Tony left the room when his phone rang and returned a few minutes later, pale as a ghost. He slumped down in a chair, eyes wide and running his hand through his hair. All of his usual Stark cheek and attitude were gone, replaced by shock.
"What? What is it?" Bruce demanded, assuming the role of doctor as he checked Tony over. "What's happened?"
Tony tried to form words but he couldn't manage to speak. Even Steve was concerned.
"What's wrong with you, Stark?" Steve asked, tone filled with worry.
He finally mumbled something only Bruce could hear. Bruce stared at him for a moment before grinning and shaking his head.
"Nuh-uh. No way. Really?"
Tony nodded, still pale as ever. Bruce stepped to the side, motioning for Tony to say something. Tony tried again, but failed miserably. He cleared his throat and attempted to speak one last time.
The room burst into laughter and congratulations. Thor embraced Tony, hugging his pale form before forcing a beer into his hand. Tony looked down at the drink, only half-heartedly taking a swig.
"Why so shocked? It was bound to happen?" Clint crossed his arms over his chest.
"It's just...I don't know...it's just...I'm going to be a father...a dad..." Tony stammered, stumbling over his words. He took a drink of his beverage, rubbing his forehead and falling into thoughts and memories.
They left him alone for the rest of the night while he drank himself into oblivion. But even with the great news of the newly wedded Natasha and Clint, and Tony who was going to be a father, that was not the best part of Ashlyn's night.
It was when the clock struck twelve and the Avengers cried "Happy New Year!" Steve turned to Ashlyn a planted his lips right on hers. And afterwards they stood, noses touching, and grinning at one another.
What a way to bring in the new year right.
Blaze: Thanks! Excuse me. Yes. I'm looking for the ice rink?