A/N: OKAY SO SORRY AGAIN MID-YEARS ARE A BITCH AND ALSO HSC ISN'T IT FUCKING FUN AND EVERY TIME I SAT DOWN TO WRITE SOMETHING FOR THIS MY MIND WAS LIKE 'MOTIVATION? WHAT MOTIVATION?' SO IT TOOK ME FOREVER JUST TO WRITE THESE TWO FUDGING SCENES AND I'M SORRY
But on the upside, I had ideas for like a million other things that I wanted to write and will hopefully get around to such as, oh, you know, a sequel for this if I ever BLOODY FINISH IT! x_x
A thousand apologies sirs and madams. Please accept this humble chapter.
Chapter 12: I Got Three Problems and All of Them Are Loki Laufeyson
Before Peter agreed to meet with the Avengers, he hadn't really been a big fan of government shadow agencies, especially ones that seemed to play god (or with gods) about the survival of New York. Now he was at the hands of them and he was finding he liked them even less. Peter wouldn't call himself incompetent but faced with the brutal efficiency of the SHIELD agents handling him, his chances of escape were growing slimmer and slimmer.
The cuffs they'd slapped on him were made of some kind of metal he'd never seen before, the weak chain links of police standard replaced with thick bands, nearly three inches wide and welded together. They were more like shackles than anything else. Two men walked on either side of him, the inner pair with hands wrapped tightly around his forearms, the outer with Tasers and traq guns pointed his way. The man with the eye patch walked in front of their little parade (Fury, Peter thinks that was what Stark called him) with long confident strides that made him think he was probably in charge. Peter was never one for maturity in the face of stress; he glared mercilessly at Fury's back and was just waiting for him to turn around so that he could stick his tongue out.
The Goon Squad had dragged him from the room and down to the garage before shoving him into the back of a highly suspicious nondescript black van. At that point, Peter was pretty sure the only reason there wasn't some kind of sack on his head was because the windows had been blacked out.
The ride didn't take very long or maybe Peter hadn't noticed; he'd been too busy cursing the Avengers. They'd promised him that he wouldn't have to commit to anything, that they'd leave him alone if he helped them with this whole Ragnarok thing. But here he was, prisoner of the government, less rights than a cabbage, and all because his aunt had taught him to give people a chance. He should never have trusted them. They were the Big Six; they got what they wanted and damn the rest.
He was so stupid! What the hell had he been thinking? When he got out of here (If, his traitorous brain supplied, if he got out of here) he was going to find Gwen and they were going to get in a car and leave New York, get away from the heroes and the agencies, just be teenagers for a while, travel, see the country. They could just be together and forget.
But what about Aunt May? What about Mrs Stacy? What would they think? Times like these, Peter cursed his ability to think ahead, cursed Uncle Ben for teaching him that lesson, cursed everything. He couldn't just leave them alone; Aunt May wouldn't cope without Peter, not after what happened to Uncle Ben, and Mrs Stacy would be crushed if Gwen left.
And then there were the people, the ones the Avengers didn't care about, the ones he saved. He couldn't abandon them either. He'd have to stay in New York.
Peter gave a resigned sigh as they'd hauled him from the back of the van. He hadn't recognised the building but they hadn't driven long enough to have left the city so that was a plus. They pulled him around to a small shack and wrenched the door open. Great, he thought. Torture in the back alley before eternal imprisonment. It must be my lucky day… Peter stumbled in when they shoved him, moving back into the far corner and away from them. Agent One flipped a switch and the room lit up and oh, hey, secret elevator. Peter wasn't sure if that was better or worse than the torture.
When they hit the bottom, another two agents were waiting, one taking up a position by Fury and the other behind Peter as they marched him through the corridors. Agents ducked to the side in the path of their precession, snapping to attention at the sight of the tall, commanding man. Peter would have laughed but he really wasn't in the mood by then.
He took the time to try and memorise the layout of the monotonous, repetitively grey cement corridors that seemed to be stock-standard 'hiding-from-the-cops/villains/superheroes-who-meddle-too-much' fare. Trying to plot by sight obviously wasn't going to help; there weren't even numbers on the doors. Hey. Numbers. Peter was a smart guy, he could do numbers.
214 feet straight. Turn right.
38 feet. Turn left.
352 feet aaaand…. Menacing steel door. Fantastic.
"This my new room, dad?" Peter snarked. He really needed a new defence mechanism. Antagonising the Dread Pirate is a really bad idea…
"Not quite, son," Fury smirked. Well… He said smirked; it was really more of sneer, lips pulling back over teeth and only the slightest upward curl at the corners. Fury punched in a code at the keypad. Old fashioned, Peter noticed, but he didn't doubt it was made to look that way. Lights flickered on in the darkness beyond the door, illuminating a sharp decent into more inky black below. Peter had to fight down the shiver he could feel sitting at the base of his spine.
Chances of escape have just dropped below 10%.
The agents shoved him forward down the staircase. Peter stumbled down the steep decline, not having his hands to balance. He might have been playing it up a bit (the Bite had given him pretty sweet coordination) but the less they knew about his powers the better; he was perfectly happy to let them think he was just a kid with some nifty gadgets.
Eventually they levelled out into a small room with another, much more complicated looking door. Fury stepped forward and swiped his card, punched in his code and leaned forward for a retinal scan. Seriously? Talk about paranoid. Not that it mattered much; Peter could easily bypassed the card reader and he already had the code memorised (747283, his code spells 'pirate', oh my god). The retinal scanner would be a more of a challenge but he could probably make it work if he accessed the base's databanks and opened their personnel files to create a loop of the original scan into the-
Agent Two shoved him through the door and Peter staggered on his way, his train of thought rather successfully derailed. These corridors were the same as the ones upstairs. Someone really need to introduce these guys to an interior designer. Peter puffed his cheeks in annoyance and started counting again.
The percentage in Peter's head just kept going down, the more corners they turned, the further they walked, the more energy field bared cells they passed. Peter started paying attention to the cells, noticing the faces of occupants that he recognized. Faces he'd seen on the news wanted for robbery, kidnapping, murder.
His day just kept getting better and better.
"Hey, no, why am I here with these guys? I haven't done anything wrong!" Peter yelled. He started struggling against his captors, only using a fraction of his strength to pull at the arms holding him.
Make them think you're scared. You're just a kid, after all, they might go easy on you that way.
"You are here," Fury menacing, his one eye narrowed over his shoulder at the panicking teen, "because you are dangerous and you will stay here until SHIELD decides what to do with you."
They stopped in front of a cell. Peter turned to look at it (ordinary bars, thank Christ) and pretended to struggle harder letting a little of the fear he felt creep into his expression. The corner of Fury's lip turned up and Peter wasn't sure whether it was smug or knowing but either way the Director gestured to his cronies who started patting Peter down. They took his phone, his wallet, his iPod, his wrist blasters (predictable) but skimmed over the pen in his pocket, the Stark Tower visitors badge clipped to the front of his jacket, the pack of gum and they didn't even look in the hood of his jacket even though he was sure they'd seen him drop Kit in there when they charged into the medical wing.
What the hell? Were these guys the most incompetent jail wardens ever or was there something else going on here?
Fury stepped forward, swiped his card and punched in his code again (Seriously, pirate. Someone must have lost their job over that). Agent One undid the shackles and shoved. Peter stumbled in, ever the bumbling teen, and tripped over his own feet onto the floor. The door slammed shut behind him and the electronic lock engaged with a click.
"Please don't cause any trouble, kid," Agent Three requested and she sounded almost kind despite her viciously neat blonde ponytail and sharp blue eyes. Peter's gaze flickered over her, noting the white '13' stitched onto the sleeve of her uniform just below the SHIELD badge.
"But I didn't do anything!" he tried (he was nothing if not stubborn). She raised sceptical eyebrows at him but the corner of her mouth turned up in amusement.
"Then keep doing nothing," she said simply, turning and following the rest of Peter's escorts back down the hallway. It was worth a shot, at least, he thought glumly.
Peter reached behind him and pulled Kit from his hood. The kitten was still unconscious but his breathing was steady. He clutched him to his chest and swallowed the lump in his throat. The feline had grown on him and he hated the thought that he might not wake up. And how had this happened, anyway? What had Kit done to wake up the Captain?
'Turns out my cat is magic', huh?
Peter shook his head. First things first, he had to get them out of this SHIELD compound. He resituated Kit and stood up, pulling the visitors card and the pen from his pocket. Peter used the pen to prise open the back of the card reader and set about using the pin from the visitors card to strip down the cable and rewire it to read the magnetic strip from the Stark Tower card. It took him almost half an hour of tedious work to connect all the cables and by then Peter was bouncing on the balls of his feet, anxiety keeping him from being still.
"Here goes nothing," Peter mumbled. He swiped and prayed for a miracle.
The medical bay had erupted into utter pandemonium the second Fury was out of sight. Tony was screaming profanities at Clint, Bruce was trying to hold him back, Clint was yelling that he could explain, Natasha was loudly implying that if the explanation wasn't good enough she would quite readily break his bow hand and Thor was declaring that 'THE PUNY MORTAL HATH BROKEN THE TRUST OF THE SPIDER CHILD BUT THERE IS SOMETHING OF MUCH GREATER IMPORT THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED'. Steve was just watching on, confused and bewildered by what had gotten into his team and who their recent guest had been, still sitting on the edge of the hospital bed, blankets wrapped tight around his shoulders.
Kathy shook her head in amazement at the people in front of her. These were the Avengers, Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Champions of the Human Race, and they were squabbling like three year olds in the sandbox. She couldn't believe this had become her life…
"Jarvis, if you please?" she asked the air.
"Of course, Miss. You may want to cover your ears."
Kathy nudged Steve and brought her hands up to cover her ears when he tore his eyes away from the carnage. He hesitantly copied. As soon as their ears were safe, some hellish combination of dying cats, a freight train, an air horn and a car alarm chorused through the room. Everyone's mouths snapped shut on a yelp and hands clapped over ears. Just as abruptly as it began it cut off.
"Alright!" Kathy yelled at the group of wincing, head-clutching superheroes. "Now that I have your attention, you all need to shut up and listen. Tony, Natasha, you two are yelling for an explanation, Clint's trying to give one but you won't be quiet long enough for him to get one out, Thor seems to think there's something more important but we'll come back to you, gorgeous, because right now, what I want to know is how, when a kid, a kid, that sweet comes to you and says he'll help you stop the apocalypse on the promise that you won't sell him out to SHIELD, the questionably moral government organisation that's been hunting him down, you thought it was a good idea to give Fury everything you had on him, Clint? How in the hell did you think that was the right thing to do?"
Every eye in the room turned on the archer. He was still in the doorway, shifting awkwardly and looking like he wasn't entirely sure what to do with his limbs. He was staring resolutely at the tiles, refusing to meet anyone's eyes.
"I didn't think it was the right thing to do," he mumbled, lifting his chin and shifting his gaze to the back wall. He looked for all the world like he was facing court martial. "I knew I'd get thrown out if I didn't."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Tony demanded, folding his arms across his chest and holding his scowl at Clint. He just looked at Tony, 'are you seriously this stupid?' written all over his face.
"SHIELD has something on everybody; it's one of the ways they keep control," he explained. "Do you really think SHIELD couldn't have stopped the Avengers splitting from them if they wanted to?"
"We split from SHIELD?" Steve asked quietly. Kathy shrugged. Nothing about it had made it to the news.
"What could they possibly have on you to make you turn over Peter? We all saw the way you watched the surveillance feeds," Bruce asked, no anger or judgement in his voice, just curiosity. Kathy wasn't sure which would have made her feel worse; them being entirely and justifiably angry or completely and clinically subjective.
"You guys have to understand; SHIELD is all I have left. They dragged me up from the hole I'd dug myself. Without them, where would I go? Fury can kick me out at any second and I just- I wouldn't have anything anymore…" His eyes fell back to the floor, resignation in the slump of his shoulders and the downward curve of his neck.
Nobody said anything, just stared at the archer, watched the tension slowly seep into his spine as he waited for them to pass judgement.
"What, Steve? It's true! We split from SHIELD, even if Peg-Leg No-Beard kicked you out of the Spy Games, you're still an Avenger and you fucking live here, it's not like I'm going to kick you out, this is your home, you stupid jerk."
Clint blinked at him, mouth opening and closing around words that he couldn't find. They were all watching him, fond exasperation shining through the anger from before.
"I… Home?" he asked quietly. Tony just shook his head and clapped him on the shoulder.
"I'll let you off this time because you are an affection deprived and emotionally stunted orphan," he warned. "but next time, I will break your bow in half and program Jarvis to play the Hunger Games theme every time you walk into a room, it will bring new meaning to the phrase 'cruel and unusual punishment', see if I don't!"
"As diabetes inducing as this is, we still have three problems," Kathy interrupted. "1) That apocalypse is still coming; 2) Itsy Bitsy is still up the water spout and 3) whatever the hell Thor was yelling about."
"Indeed, my friends!" the god boomed, a smile splitting his face so wide it was a wonder he had any cheeks left at all. "I believe I have located my brother!" The entire room perked at the news.
"Where? How?" Bruce asked, eyes wide and eager. The sooner they found Loki, the sooner they could stop him from trying to incite Ragnarok.
"When the Spider Child's feline companion broke the good Captain's curse, Loki's resonance filled this room." Six pairs of glazed eyes stared at the thunder god uncomprehendingly.
"No…" Tony said slowly, first to snap out of it. "You're not saying…"
"I'm afraid my brother has been transformed into a kitten."
Not even Thor's puppy dog eyes or Steve's Eyebrows of Imminent Disapproval™ could have quelled the raucous laughter.
A/N: So virtually nothing happened but, uh, Clint!whump sorta yay? I don't know. Hope you liked it anyway and please let me know what you think! It always makes me laugh when you guys try to guess the future of the story ehehehe...
See you when I see you as I can make no promises about the next upload.