Author's Note: It's been so long! Too long, in my opinion! I'm sorry, guys! Every time I've worked on this chapter and it's come close to being finished, more had to be written! A never ending cycle! Anyway, because this chapter is so long and there's not really any room at the bottom of it for quiet time and conversations between the characters, next chapter will be an interlude chapter.
I really didn't want to make the chapter too long to the point it gets tedious to read and I wanted to write a nice, calm chapter so the interlude serves two purposes. It might be a little shorted than regular chapters but at least it'll be easier to get up, am I right? Anyway, sorry for the painstakingly long wait but here you go... don't hate me. There was literally so much going on in this chapter that I had no choice in setting aside the character relations until next chapter, I hope everyone's okay with that.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Amazing Spider-Man or the Avengers or the Fantastic Four in any way, the character Spider-Man and all related content is owned by Marvel and Disney with Sony owning the movie rights. The Avengers and all related content is owned by Marvel and Disney and the Fantastic Four and the X-Men and all related content is owned by Marvel with 20th Century Fox owning the movie rights. I make no profit from this, absolutely none.
Fantastic Part II
New York City—Manhattan—Avengers Tower
"Bruce, get Dr Richards and his team to safety! Everyone else, on me, let's show this crackpot why we're Earth's Mightiest Heroes!" The red, white and blue form of Captain America bellowed, ordering his team about with unchallenged authority.
Leaping, flying and web-slinging into the fray, the new line-up of the Avengers met Doom's small robotic army with unmatched force. Ms Marvel hoisted Steve up, dodging green bolts of energy fusion and headed for the main man himself. Agent Drew retaliated with some fire power of her own, firing venom blast after venom blast with expert precision.
Dr Pym leaped from the Medical Ward's floor and grew in size mid-jump, destroying any robot his massive form came into contact with. Janet followed suit, insect like wings spreading from her back as she shrunk in size to deal damage in a miniscule fashion.
Spider-Man flipped, twirled and bounced between robots, dismantling each of them with his superior strength. "Man, I need my own catchphrase! Something catchy, quick-witted, not too much of a mouthful. How about… someone order a web-salad!" He yammered, pulling a robot towards himself with a strong line of steel webbing.
His spider-sense blared and he span over the robot as it intended to bury its metallic fist deep in his head. "Okay, all right! It sucked, point taken! You don't have to go all T-100 on me!" Peter called out, tearing the construct's arm off and impaling it in its torso.
It dropped to the street below like dead-weight as Spidey landed on an abnormally large arm. "Mind if I catch a ride?!" He shouted up to the colossal giant that was Hank Pym.
The blonde scientist paid the vigilante no mind as he crushed robots between his enormous hands. "Be my guest," he spoke, yet boomed due to his size.
Peter turned and strained his eyes behind his lenses to see Bruce doing his job, ushering out his cousin as well as Dr Richards and his team. His brown orbs then widened a fraction, a tiny buzz droning in his ears. A quick three hundred and sixty degree spin and Peter had registered everything in the vicinity, which was complete chaos.
Deadly silver and dark green robots swarmed the tower, outnumbering the Avengers immensely. Though, whether he was counting Dr Pym and his wife as one person was unknown… he hadn't even considered Ms Marvel.
Arching an eyebrow with his head tilted skyward, Peter could safely make out the woman throwing Captain America towards the nefarious figure known only as Doom. The teenager was surprised they had made it so close to him; he was surrounded by an entire armada after all.
But then again, that was the Captain and he was with the Avengers. He was fighting with the Avengers… the thought hadn't even sunk in yet, probably due to the adrenal surge of battle. It was easily enough to make him feel a little light-headed, though that could also have been the less than subtle movements of the gigantic arm he was hitching a ride on.
Giant Man, away!
And he was just stood there, trying to take it in as his teammates fought ferociously. "Maybe I should start punching stuff…" Spidey muttered to himself.
Before he span a quick web-line in an absent minded manner, snagging the metallic foot of a flyby robot. "YAA-WHOOO-WEEEE!" The web-slinger sang, being pulled through the air similar to several car chases in the past.
Ms Marvel darted straight for the armoured aircraft, carrying a shield wielding American hero with her. "What's the plan?" She asked, her brow creased as lasers and energy blasts whizzed by her.
Steve answered, without missing a beat. "I'm going to see if I can find out who he is and why he's here, then try and wear him down while everyone else takes care of his army. When I say so, you converge on my position; he'll be outnumbered and out of options." The soldier summarized, years of service in the war showing in few sentences.
"Gotcha… all yours, Cap!" Carol shouted as she barrelled the red, white and blue hero towards the deck of the large green tinted aircraft.
Steve tucked and rolled, holding his trademark shield defensively as he crashed into two robots. They hit the floor with audible crunches but were soon trying to get back up, their metallic arms dismantling themselves to form energy cannons of some kind. Cap threw his shield, strafing to the right as a neon green swirl of energy grazed past him.
The weapon hit its target, directly in the midriff of the firing robot. It crashed to the floor with a whir and Steve sprinted towards the second threat, using his enhanced strength to tackle the machine to the ground and flip back up to his feet. He held out his hand expectantly, a clang heard behind him as his shield ricocheted right back over to him.
The Avenger caught it and with a grim line on his lips, he slammed the shield down, slicing the grounded robots head clean off. Steve turned, his blue eyes scanning the area, only to land on the menacing figure of Doom.
He stood there with his arms folded, his upright posture signifying a very regal and upper class attitude. At least it seemed that way to Steve, he could tell a lot by simply reading a person's mannerisms. It was actually a big clue in what lead him to guess that Spider-Man was a teenager, but then again, it wasn't really that hard.
"You've got some nerve showing up on our doorstep," the Captain spoke, brandishing his deadly shield by his side.
No sooner had he even slightly moved, two more robots had landed with dull, metallic clangs. Standing on either side of the shadowy Doom character, they both raised their arms, steel hands transforming into cannons of some kind.
Doom raised a hand, rather slowly, confident in their complete devotion to him. "Stand down, Doom will see to this one in person." He ordered, his voice dark and low in pitch.
Cap nodded but retained his tense composure. "I'm flattered," he spoke, watching as the robots did as they were told.
The green garbed man paid him no mind. "Divide and conquer, bring me Richards as Doom… discusses matters with his guest." Not a moment later, the robots rocketed up and away from the aircraft.
A slight tilt of the head and Steve could tell that the man in front of him was sizing him up. "The infamous Captain America… Doom must admit, he was very sceptical when he first learnt of your salvage." And while the sound of his voice suggested that he was no idiot, the persistent fault was too hard to notice.
Steve raised an eyebrow behind his blue mask. "Does Doom always refer to himself in the third person?" The soldier asked, dry wit lacing his voice.
The metal masked man paused for a moment, almost as if he was contemplating Cap's question. "Doom knows nothing of this," he answered.
Cap furrowed his brow in slight confusion. "Okay, well try this on for size. You've engaged an official S.H.I.E.L.D sanctioned team in American airspace, right outside of our base. Let me be the first to tell you that you are unequivocally under arrest, stand down before this gets any more out of hand." He warned, readying his shield just in case.
Doom however, merely scoffed. "Very bold, just as described. But this quarrel has nothing to do with you and your thrown together band of misguided heroes, give me Richards and this goes no further. Doom's word is law; this is something you will learn." He replied, his tone darkening somewhat.
But despite the cryptic message, it didn't faze Steve in the slightest. "Funny, I didn't see your name on the Declaration of Independence." The Brooklyn born superhuman hit back, not even the slightest hint of a humour adorning his voice.
A smirk found its way onto Doom's lips, right behind the cold metal visage he was sporting. "Spoken like a true patriot, how unfortunate. Doom had hoped that you would see reason, it would seem your chauvinistic thought pattern has clouded what little sense you may have possessed." The caped invader mocked, his tone one of the European variety.
"That's a very educated way of saying I'm an American idiot, something I don't take too kindly. We may be outnumbered but we managed to fight off a full scale alien invasion, your robots shouldn't be a problem. This is your last chance, give up or I make you give up." Steve threatened, laying down the bottom line.
The man in front of him cracked his neck, something that Steve wasn't expecting. "Doom would like to see you try," he uttered.
Captain America frowned, having hoped a fight could have been avoided. But, who was he kidding? The second the man had insulted him, Steve had wanted to do nothing but hit him. And that moment seemed as good a time as any, so he took it.
Breaking from his stance, the patriot shot forward like a bullet. He flung his shield at his target, aiming for the metal man's left shoulder but didn't expect an energy blast to knock it off its course. Doom held his hand steady; a bright green light centred in his palm much, like Iron Man's own repulsor technology, only… a little more destructive.
Steve watched as his signature defensive weapon was flung some distance, spinning like a discus, right off of the deck of the aircraft. He had no problem going hands free but up against someone he had no previous knowledge of was risky, extremely risky. But then again, they didn't call him bold for nothing.
Doom fired shot after shot of the burning energy, aiming for the super soldier making his way towards him. Cap strafed and dodged like a pro, trying to find cover in the sparse environment. But there wasn't any, the only thing available being two recently decommissioned robots… in fact…
"It'll have to do," Steve muttered, side rolling over to the model without its head.
Using his peak human strength, Cap managed to lift the metallic shell of wires and launch it Doom's way. But the so called 'terrorist' saw it coming, charging a swirling orb of green energy within his gauntlet.
A small, contained explosion ensued, showering shrapnel and smoke in its wake. Everything Cap needed to attack, barrelling out of the explosion like a man on a mission. The American hero knocked Doom's gauntlet away, sending a stray fire of emerald energy off course. He then delivered a powerful strike to the trespasser's mid-section but was unable to feel the metal beneath the green robe give.
Doom attempted to knock Steve away with a wide arcing back-fist but missed as he leaned away, using the opening to land a solid left hook, striking the jaw of the metal mask. But as the fair haired Avenger had guessed, the metal still didn't give.
"What are you made of?" Cap uttered, slightly agitated that his strength wasn't going to cut it.
Doom recovered as Steve threw another punch, this time a right. "Nothing you can break, soldier." He replied.
The heavily armoured invader moved his head, faster than Cap had anticipated and managed to avoid the blow. Catching Cap off guard, Doom grabbed the soldier's arm, using his superior strength to throw him over his shoulder and straight off the deck of the aircraft.
The green garbed mystery man watched as his opponent flailed through the air, silently surprised by such a display of strength. "It would seem Doom has underestimated the capabilities of this armour," he muttered, having secretly made the armour not even a week ago.
He composed himself, placing his hands behind his back in a regal fashion and watched as the battle around his aircraft blazed on. Even going so far as to approach the guard rails of the deck, analysing several of the super human's engaged in combat with his creations, the so called 'Avengers'. What he didn't expect was a swift boot to the plated face, causing him to stumble back marginally.
Captain America hopped back over the guard rail, raising his fists with a determined glare. "It's not going to be that easy," he stated, his resolve unwilling to break.
Doom chuckled lowly. "Doom expected no less… from a living legend," he mocked, preparing as Cap ran at him once more.
"Everybody, this way! I've evacuated the building, we should have a straight run to the roof, the Quinjet is still docked there." A panicked but focused Bruce Banner pointed out, guiding his cousin to safety as the rest of his company followed.
Dr Richards and his team were dressed securely; all four of them decked out in synthetic radiation suits, clinging tightly to their bodies. Despite the chaos, it had been a necessary precaution. With radiation, even the cosmic kind, one could never be too careful.
The large, rocky form of Benjamin Grimm wasn't particularly comfortable though and he wasn't sure whether it was the suit he was wearing or his pride poking at him. Everyone that knew him would have agreed that Ben was a very prideful person, standing tall with his chin held high. He was proud of his accomplishments and he'd have liked to think that his parents were too, God rest their souls.
He was proud of where he came from, his roots in the world. Maybe not what he did their, when he was a gullible kid who always threw his fists around, but he was proud to say that he had been born on Yancy Street. But looking down at his hands, his ridiculously oversized hands… he wasn't proud at all.
Ben was ashamed.
Ashamed of what others might've thought, what the world might've thought but most importantly… he was ashamed of what Alicia might've thought. A part of him was sure, adamant that his girlfriend wasn't that shallow but another part of him wasn't willing to take the risk. Ben was a big guy, a tough guy, a guy you wouldn't want to mess with. But even the toughest guys got a little scared every now and then…
"I'm freakin' terrified," Ben grumbled to himself, halting his steps as the others ran ahead of him.
The first to notice Ben's sudden stop was his long-time friend, Reed Richards. The scientist backtracked, ignoring a confused look from his girlfriend in the meantime. Reed joined Ben at his side, his eyebrows screwed up in concern as Ben gazed at his jagged hands in repulsion.
Reed spoke, breaking Ben's concentration from his hands. "Ben, we have to go." The physicist told him, his voice surprisingly calm despite the ensuing chaos outside.
Ben shook his head slowly, refusing the words of his friend. "Ben, I promise you, I will do everything in my power to change you back. You know I would move heaven and Earth for you, but I can't do that if you die here today." Reed informed the lumbering brute, placing a soft hand on the rough surface that was his arm.
Ben stared at it for a moment; human contact had never felt so alien. "I'm not dyin' here today, Reed… but someone else is." The orange pilot muttered, his voice gravelly and determined.
And to Reed's horror, he knew exactly who he meant. "Ben, you don't have to do this. There are other ways, there always is." Reed pleaded, almost begged as Ben turned with a shrug.
Reed watched as Ben marched back the way they had come, silent and deadly despite his towering size. He wanted to stop him, yell out his name but he stopped himself just short of a frightened gasp. Because the look on Ben's face had been genuine, the way he carried himself was like a man on a mission.
And friend or no friend, Reed was scared.
A forceful hand on his shoulder made him gasp, as Reed span around to meet the manic face of Johnny. "What the hell are you doing?! This place is a death trap and you're just standing here, we have to go!" Johnny shouted, pulling Reed along without a hint of protest.
"Johnny, it's Ben… he's going—" Reed was cut off as Johnny spoke, apparently more concerned with everyone else's safety.
The teenager glanced back at his sister's boyfriend, a frown evident on his lips. "Ben is made of solid rock; the guy can take care of himself! You and my sister, on the other hand, cannot." The youngest Storm told him.
Reed was slightly surprised, seeing a side of the teenage slacker he had never even dreamt of. "Johnny—" Once again, the man was interrupted as an explosion threw him and Johnny off of their feet.
Not a moment later, a tall and powerful metallic figure was stalking towards them. Reed was draped across Johnny's back, dazed and confused. The blonde teen however, was well aware of the danger approaching. He pushed Reed off of him with an annoyed grunt, before helping the man to his feet.
Primary target detected: Subject: Dr Reed Richards.
Traces of radiation detected: Origin: Cosmic.
Subject will submit to the might and glory of all that is Doom.
Reed's eyes lit up with fear as it stalked towards them, stamping out flames and strewn rubble with no apprehension. "Johnny, it's one of those things, one of Doom's prototype models." Reed warned, stepping back as the robot continued on its path.
"Yeah, I'm not worried. It has a crush on you, not me." Johnny muttered, trying to find some sort of opening as the robot was backing them into a corner.
Secondary target detected: Subject: Jonathan Lowell Spencer Storm.
Traces of radiation detected: Origin: Cosmic.
Johnny gave a confused glance at Reed. "It knows my full name and it's not going to kill me, I don't know whether to be relieved or embarrassed. That's what expendable means, right? I'm free to go?" He asked, shrugging as the robot halted.
The machine raised one of its armoured arms; a metal hand disassembled itself, only to reassemble itself into a small cannon of some kind. Johnny spied an iron pipe nearby, laying on the floor somewhere in-between him and the robot.
Johnny pointed behind the evil creation with a manic expression. "Look, it's Tony Stark!" He shouted, watching with surprised giddiness as the robot span around with its weapon brandished.
Secondary target: Undetected.
Before the robot could turn around once more, an iron pipe struck its head with enough force to make it stumble. "Reed, run! Get my sister out of here!" Johnny ordered, moving quick enough to avoid the robot's arm as it span around and fired a shot of energy.
Reed leaped out of the way, as far as he could, landing a few feet away as a gigantic hole was blown through the wall that had just been behind him. The sudden chilly rush of wind entered the building, drastically altering the temperature and actually extinguishing a few rogue fires.
"Johnny, I can't leave you!" Reed screamed back, stumbling as he raced around the robot.
Johnny ducked as the robot swung its free arm around, in an attempt to strike him. "It's fine, I've got this Star Wars reject!" The teen yelled back, feeling brave enough to attack once more.
Johnny saw Reed run out of the room, disappearing from his point of view as he raised his fist. Bringing it across, he aimed for the taller machination's jaw but shock and wonder lit up his face as his fist suddenly caught fire.
It seemed both he and the robot were surprised, as the robot paused its attack and the fire wasn't even burning Johnny's skin. "Can't say that's ever happened before," Johnny uttered, shaking his hand a little.
Sudden power manifestation: Irrelevant.
He glanced up too late, receiving the hardest back hand in his life, much harder than any girl that had ever slapped him. He went soaring, a choked scream escaping his mouth as he flew right out of the newly made hole, falling like a vertical bullet.
Carol had torn through her fair share of robots, ripping them apart like tin foil and flinging them into one another. The former S.H.I.E.L.D Agent was actually thrilled to be fighting something that wasn't made of flesh and bone, giving her a very necessary chance to just cut loose. To test the limits of her newfound abilities and not have to be cautious of her actions, suffice to say, she could rip apart reinforced steel with little to no effort at all.
And although at first, the sheer number of the robots had made her doubtful, between her and her other teammates; the Avengers were kicking all kinds of butt. The blonde former pilot had flown around the area, finding enough spare time between robots to check on her fellow heroes. Carol had spied Captain America a few times, holding his own against the self-proclaimed Doom.
She had watched Jessica bounce through Doom's robots like child's play, years of S.H.I.E.L.D training aiding her. Ant-Man or Giant Man, she wasn't really too sure, had been snagging robots out of the sky and crushing them like paper aeroplanes. His wife, Janet, had been short circuiting a great deal of them with her small, almost invisible size. Suffice to say, it was looking to be a one sided battle.
A smile spread its way onto her ruby red lips as she soared, reachable success within her grasp on her first official Avengers incident. Nothing was going to stop her, distract her or…
"Is that… Cap's shield?" Carol breathed to herself, watching as a perfectly circular object span out and careened away from the invading aircraft.
It wasn't thrown with the precise power and accuracy that was naturally associated with Steve, but instead flung like a careless rookie. But it was still one of the most important weapons on the face of the Earth, one that could've done serious damage in the hands of the less than savoury.
So, shooting off like a bullet, almost engaging a sonic boom while she was at it, Ms Marvel raced after the shield. After around less than a second, it was within grasp, ricocheting off of a building's billboard.
"I got it!" A voice shouted, a noticeably youthful voice, one that was alien to Carol.
No sooner had it been said, the shield had been snagged out of her line of sight, gone in a blur of motion. Carol slammed on the breaks, halting in mid-air and glancing around the immediate area. She could have been wrong but despite the feminine tone, Carol could have sworn it had sounded like Spider-Man.
"OHMYGOD! You're Ms Marvel! And this… this is Captain America's shield!" The voice called out once more, louder the second time around.
Carol turned, still aloft above a low-rise apartment building. Her domino mask covered eyes met the rather small sight of a… some kind of spider person, another one apparently. Large and wide golden goggles stared at her, a torn red rag of some sort acted as half a face mask, hiding the girl's features.
And she was sticking to a wall, rather nonchalantly too. "There are more of you?" Carol breathed out, lowering herself to the building's surface in the meantime.
The 'Spider-Girl' cocked her head, flipping down to join Carol. "Not sure what you mean by that, but I'm a huge fan. Like, I cannot even describe how much of a fan I am. Definitely this much, probably." The young woman grinned, stretching her arms out to either side of her body whilst staring up at Carol.
Ms Marvel dwarfed her by a several inches, almost a full foot as she struggled to handle the situation. "Umm… right, so… are you Spider-Man related or…?" The former pilot questioned, folding her arms over her chest.
The stranger gazed blankly at the floor for a moment, seemingly unsure herself. "No, well… maybe. I… I don't really know yet, I was actually hoping Spider-Man could help me find out. Uhh… what's going on here, by the way?" The brunette girl cocked a thumb behind her, gesturing to the siege on Avengers Tower.
Carol almost slapped herself, actually forgetting about what she was doing for a moment. "Do you know how to fight?" The blonde woman asked, pacing towards the edge of the building.
"I uhh… yeah, kinda, I guess. Oh! You want me to—" The girl began to speak but was cut off by Ms Marvel.
The superhero nodded, confirming the girl's thoughts. "I want to be sure that you'll hold your own, these things pack a punch. Stay close to me and we'll figure everything else out afterwards," Carol advised, looping an arm around the smaller figure.
'Spider-Girl' gasped as Carol lifted her into the air, circular shield and all. "Okay… I'm Anya by the way, Anya Corazon." The newly revealed Anya said, almost giddily.
Carol furrowed her brow. "Yeah, you probably shouldn't say that right off the bat." The more experienced hero suggested, floating back towards her teammates with passenger in hand.
Anya shrugged it off. "It's okay, I trust you." She smiled back, holding on tighter as the blonde bombshell sped up.
Spider-Man launched through the air, spiralling in-between two robots on a collision course. Though it looked like they were aiming for each other, in actuality, they were aiming for the tiny human shaped wasp between themselves. Luckily, Peter had spotted her, using his enhanced senses to guide him towards her.
Janet sighted the speeding robots, slicing through the air at the very last second, in a mad effort to get to her. Right before she was covered by two, large red gloved hands. The miniscule woman tumbled around in Spider-Man's grasp as he avoided the explosion, flipping onto the back of yet another robot. The vigilante's added weight knocked it off its balance, sending it spiralling towards a robot that happened to be pursuing a gliding Jessica Drew.
Spider-Man side-flipped off, not bothering to watch as the robots collided with one another, rendering them completely useless and giving Jessica room to breathe. He landed on the side of Avengers Tower, sticking to its semi-reflective surface like a pro.
Peaking in-between the small opening in his hands, Peter's wide white lenses were met with a grinning Wasp. "Whoa! Nice moves, Spidey!" She complimented, hovering out of his grasp.
Spider-Man nodded as he prepared to swing back into the thick of things. "You should see my dancing, grooviest moves this side of Manhattan." He joked, leaping back into the swarm of heroes and robots.
Janet followed, an eyebrow raised in amusement. "Groovy? You sound like a sixties cliché," the brunette heroine commented as she flew close to his shoulder.
Peter shrugged. "I was going more for a mystery solving teenage sleuth cliché, which now that I think about it, is totally a sixties cliché." He remarked, planting both of his feet firmly into a robots face.
The machine was crushed beneath the pressure exerted, dropping from the sky like spiralling debris. "I thought people in the sixties were against violence?" The Wasp mocked, raising her hand as she fired off her bio-electrical blasts.
"Hey, it flew straight into my feet." Spidey hit back, flipping in mid-air as he rolled over an oncoming robot.
The grin the woman was sporting made Spidey dread her reply. "How could it not? Have you seen the size of those things?" Janet teased, flying off with a laugh.
Spider-Man could not keep his eyes off of her as his spider-sense erupted. "Okay, now that hurt." The teenager muttered, redirecting his gaze as a green energy beam roared into his chest.
The arachnid vigilante went sprawling backwards, momentarily winded in mid-air. "Nope… fe—feet thing… still h—urt more." He breathed out, suddenly feeling very dazed.
He leaned back, letting the momentum of the blast take him for a full loop, allowing him to face his attacker with two quick lines of webbing. Luckily, he managed to nail the robot directly in its chest piece, catching it off guard somewhat. But the machine continued to attack, firing plasma blast after plasma blast.
But Peter was smart; he didn't want to use his webbing as an attack, which was rarely the case. Instead, Spider-Man tugged on the lines slightly, pulling him closer to the robot, all the while allowing him to avoid incoming attacks. The acrobat approached the robot from below, manoeuvring between its arms to lash his leg upwards, striking the bottom of its chin.
The head flew off, severing wires and spewing green energy but the robot still seemed to be operational. Peter guessed that the power source wasn't in the head but in the body, not unlike Tony's armour. Which was fairly suspicious, leading to the web-slinger to want to investigate something.
Spider-Man crawled around the robot like his namesake, reaching its back, where he guessed should have been some sort of… "Well, what do you know?" Spidey commented to himself, firing globs of steel webbing, encasing the robot's hands in an attempt to buy a few precious seconds.
Must be some sort of generator, powering the robot. What kind of energy, that's anyone's guess. But the plasma bolts, they almost resembled some kind of fusion pattern. Maybe… ionic? Only one way to find out…
Raising his fist, Peter slammed it into the discovered access panel and smiled as the metal gave way, revealing—
Self-destruct sequence: Initiated
His spider-sense went off, jiving inside his head. "That didn't sou—!" Spider-Man called out, cut off mid-sentence as he was blown away by a small scale explosion.
And boy, did it hurt.
Captain America rolled out of the way, right underneath a powerful metal arm as it tried to drive its way into his skull. The highly trained soldier couldn't even remember the last person to give him so much trouble in a fight, his memories of back then, before the cold embrace of the ice, were sketchy at best.
At a guess, he'd have to have said, the Red Skull. But the man he currently fighting, locked in deadly combat, had considerable knowledge in hand-to-hand. He knew far beyond the basics, moved faster than one should have been able to in heavy armour.
And Steve was at an incredible disadvantage without his shield, throwing it had been a rookie mistake on his part. The patriot forced his boot into the man's armoured shin plating, not even a dent was made but it caused Doom to stumble, lose some of his confidence in the fight.
Predictably, Doom had opted to use his energy beams once more. Which meant that Steve had been correct, he was losing his confidence. The one man weapon felt the blazing green plasma pass him by, almost singe the skin of his chin as he barely dodged it.
Doom's other hand was cocked and ready to fire, something Cap had been anticipating. One swift motion, summoning all of his peak human strength, Steve diverted Doom's hand. Before the maniac even knew what he was doing, he had fired.
Right into his own chest plate, throwing himself across the deck of the aircraft. Steve would have pressed the advantage immediately, gave chase with renewed vigour. Had he not spotted one of his teammates flailing in mid-air, dropping fast with no signs of recovery.
He was onto his earpiece instantaneously, his eyes fraught with concern. "Avengers, whichever one of you is closest to Spider-Man, save him. He's falling fast; I'd rather we didn't have to look for a replacement this early on." Steve ordered, tearing his eyes away from the disappearing form of the wall-crawler.
A voice filtered through, right into his ear. "On it, Cap." The voice in question was female, and it gave the indication that she had spotted him.
A moment later, Agent Drew shot past, diving like fighter jet. Steve didn't need to answer, he was just happy someone had heard him. The brief pause in the fight had given him some time to survey his team's status, and each one of them had their hands pretty full.
Several bolts of energy rattled his way, shaking Steve out of his stupor. Doom was up again, but curiously, seemed to be moving away from him.
Cap readied his arm, fully prepared to let his shield do the rest of the work. "Oh… right, must be getting forgetful in my old age." He commented, pulling his eyes away from his empty hand.
Instead, he gave chase, sprinting as fast as he could to catch Doom. He had to strafe, weave and duck as Doom turned, letting off surprisingly wide shots. From what Steve could tell, he was injured. The cloaked madman was hunched over, shielding his chest away from Steve as he tried to escape.
And for a moment, Steve was afraid he was going to. Until, that is, a giant figure exploded onto the scene… literally. The shadow smashed into the deck of the ship, causing a sizable explosion, even making the aircraft shake slightly. Smoke and fire billowed out of the newly made hole, Doom and Cap being thrown back a few feet.
Doom's armour was much heavier than Steve, making his journey rather short. The Captain, on the other hand, was just barely finding his feet. He was too busy to notice the Hulk-like shape, emerging from the smoggy cloud of smoke, seemingly steaming off of the newcomer.
Doom glanced up; surprisingly weary from his battle with the soldier. But he paused, apparently frozen with fear. Because right in front of him, bearing down on him like a behemoth nightmare made real, was Benjamin Grimm.
Ben gave the metal monstrosity a grim smirk, leaning down slightly in an attempt to match his height. "You an' me, we gotta lot to talk about." The orange and rocky man spoke, his voice littered with ill intent.
Reed rushed away from the robot, ducking under several bright green blasts of energy. Which, at a guess, he would have pinned as some kind of fusion beam. The scientist was breathing heavily, barely escaping the robot, who had actually adapted to his pace, running without tiring. Glancing back, he actually saw that he had lost the machination for whatever reason. Perhaps it had been blocked off by a collapsing floor or large, spreading fire.
The physicist breathed a sigh of relief as he remembered the route to the roof's access, through Tony Stark's own penthouse office suite. Reed moved with speed he didn't even know he possessed, finding Sue, Bruce and Jennifer waiting by the only way up to the office, the elevator. But when he got close enough, he could see the look on Sue's face.
Overwhelming relief, swiftly followed by slight confusion. "Reed! Where the hell have you been?!" Sue called out, jogging a little to meet him half way.
The two embraced, though the warm contact did not last. "I—I was—hold on—catch—trying to catch—my breath. Uhh… okay, I noticed Ben had disappeared, so I went back to try and find him. He's… he's gone, Sue. I don't know where but… I have a bad feeling, like he's going to do something dangerous." Reed shared, steadying the rapid rise and fall of his chest.
Sue was shocked, gasping momentarily. Ben was such a gentle man, even despite his size and strength. She could not have pictured it, that in her wildest dreams would he hurt someone. But then another thought entered her mind, blocking out Ben to her dismay.
"Reed, where's Johnny?" Susan asked, her tone bordering on a demand.
Reed held up a hand, preparing for the worst. "Sue, I—" The man tried to explain as he interrupted by his partner.
Sue frowned, her eyes hardening. "I sent him to look for you, where is he?" The tone had definitely changed to one of demand.
Reed looked defeated, bowing his head in shame. "There was… one of those robots attacked us, said he wanted me. Johnny and I—we… there was nowhere to go," he explained, watching as Sue covered her mouth in horror.
Tears threatened to spill, her blue eyes shining in despair. "And you left him?!" Sue almost screamed, feeling the sudden urge to lash out at something.
Reed held up his hands, preparing for any physical grief she wanted to take out on him. "Sue, it's not as simple as that." He tried to reason, as Sue backed away in shock.
"Oh my God, you left him… you left him there to die." She breathed, staring off into space as tears ran down her cheeks.
Reed frowned, daring to take a hold of her arms and look her in the eyes. "Susan, your brother was brave in a way I have not seen before. The only reason I even considered leaving him was because he told me to, he told me to protect you no matter what. And I… there was no way on this Earth that I was going to stand there and tell him no," Reed stated, his eyes dangerously close to leaking.
Susan whimpered, leaning her head against the chest of her other half as she cried deeply. She had lost him, the only family she had left. She had lost them all, first her father and then her mother… and didn't even get a chance to say goodbye.
Bruce and Jennifer watched with sorrow as Reed slammed his eyes shut, holding Sue close. It was hard to lose someone, even harder when that someone meant so much. But they were running out of time, they had to evacuate the tower just like everybody else had. There was clear and imminent danger all around them and Bruce really didn't want… unleash that other side of himself, it was much too destructive.
Bruce eased his way over to the couple, letting Jennifer leave his company for just a swift second. "With all due respect, we have to leave, Sue. This tower, it's not a safe place to be." He carefully explained, trying to be as delicate as possible.
Sue pulled out of Reed's chest, profusely drying her eyes as she nodded. "Right, right… of course." She answered, feeling Reed's soft hand rest on her shoulder.
The three turned, not even a whisper shared between them. Bruce was the first to react, gasping in horror as his face contorted into an expression of extreme terror. Reed went pale, desperately trying to hold Bruce back as the scientist struggled against his grip. Sue covered her mouth, her stomach almost lurching as the sight of Jennifer being held at gunpoint mortified her.
The robot was quiet, calculating its next move as it held Jennifer close. "Oh God, please, just—just let her go! She's not—she's done nothing, please!" Bruce begged, almost kicking and screaming.
Primary targets detected: Subjects: Dr Reed Richards and Dr Susan Storm.
Subjects will submit to the might and glory of all that is Doom.
Reed held up his hand, attempting to reason with the creation. "All right, okay! We'll submit, we—we'll come with you. Just please, please let her go." The genius pleaded, feeling a surge of anger erupt through Bruce.
Bruce breathed steadily as he watched the robot consider the offer, holding the monster inside at bay. Just one more nerve, one more sweet spot hit and he wouldn't have been able to control it. And an out of control Hulk was an incredibly dangerous thing, arguably even more so than the threat they were currently facing.
Tertiary target apprehended: Subject: Jennifer Susan Walters
The robot said nothing else as its artificial eyes shined a continuous bright green, displaying no emotion and giving no evidence that it was going to move. Jennifer, on the other hand, was terrified. Tears streamed down her cheeks and her heart rate sped up considerably, something Bruce noticed immediately. She was hyperventilating but showed no signs of slowing or calming down, as her body had begun to twitch and shake uncontrollably.
The robot redirected its gaze to its charge, pausing for a moment as if computing something. It hadn't harmed her in any way, so it assumed that she was suffering some sort of stress related anxiety attack. The metallic construct dropped her a moment later, paying no head to the human that ran to her aid.
It didn't care, had nothing to do with the problem. But instead, it marched onwards, towards Reed and Sue. They backed away, contemplating running but what good would that have done, a very dear friend had already been hurt. So they stood their ground, hands raised in surrender whilst they stayed close to each other.
Bruce glanced their way every now and then, his attention divided between Jennifer and the couple. There was nothing he could have done, even if he had acted, he was at the most risk. His brown eyes winced as the robot knocked Reed and Sue out, one by one, quite quickly too. It didn't stick around or linger any more than it had to, so it hoisted its targets up like ragdolls and jetted off.
The gamma expert was trying to get through to Jennifer, try to keep her awake if anything. "Jen, listen to me. You have to calm down, you have—just focus on my voice an—and breathe. Open your eyes, Jennifer. Please… please open your eyes," Bruce pleaded, a person he hadn't seen in so long dying in his arms.
His cousin was unresponsive for a moment or two, her heart still beating furiously. Bruce could see that that her eyes had rolled into the back of her head, her eyelids continuously flickering.
"Jen, please, just—just open your eyes." He choked quietly, threatening to tear up as he pulled her closer to his shoulder.
Jennifer's eyes shot open, something Bruce had missed, dangerously wide and sporting an unusual bright green colour. Her entire body tensed and prepared, she lost her breath, feeling every muscle and bone begin to expand and reinforce themselves. And if she could have described it, actually expressed what she was feeling, gave it a name.
It would have to have been anger, pure and unrelenting rage, driven in waves and coursing through her veins… and the volcano was about to erupt.
Peter was falling, falling fast and the spider emblem on his costume had been burnt to a crisp. He fell not even knowing where he was falling, straight past all of the unusual air-traffic in the immediate area, save for a few robots.
He struck them on the way down, causing him to spin out as his body crushed their metallic outer shell somewhat. "AUGH! Can't—can't they see I… I'm falling here," Peter tiredly threw out.
Even as his spider-sense continued to buzz, warning him of the impending danger that was growing with every second he fell. "Girls are so distracting, what's with all the buzzing? Is someone at the door? Where am I again?" Wind howled against his masked ears as he dropped further and further, plus the infernal racket in his head.
Seriously, it was like some kind of awesome guitar riff, his own personal one just for him. Not like Mr Sandman though, more along the lines of Johnny B Goode. But there was only so much he could take, like an alarm clock that could not be shut off.
"What?! What do you want, spider-sense?! What could possibly be—wait… I'm falling, aren't I?" Spider-Man questioned himself, with no-one else around to hear him thankfully.
The red and blue vigilante maneuvered himself in mid-air, spinning around to come face to face with the approaching asphalt. "Oh… thank you, spider-sense, daddy loves you." Peter drawled out, acting on instinct as he stretched his arm out and fired off a web-line.
But his spider-sense would not shut up, he wasn't even in danger, he was about to save himself.
"ARGHH!" Spider-Man screamed as the web-line connected with a nearby building, going taut due to the extreme strain.
His arm, his whole right arm had been pulled straight out of the socket. But the sheer electrifying pain, running up and down his arm, had to be forced to the back of his mind. As Peter watched his reflection get closer and closer to him, or was that the other way around?
Well, I'm no rocket scientist but I'm smart enough to know that this… is gonna hurt!
The injured vigilante went crashing through one of the many windows dotted about the building, letting go of his web-line, Peter tumbled and rolled without so much of a trace of spider-like grace. He came to a stop in a rather unceremonious fashion, landing face up and staring at the ceiling in pain.
Yep, totally called it.
The recent high school graduate winced in agony, holding his shoulder tightly against his body. "Well, that's new… never—never actually fell like that since the Lizard, should—should've been focusing." Peter summarized, taking a moment to just lie there on the floor and soak up the silence, ringing in his ears.
Secondary target detected: Subject: Spider-Man
Proceed with operation.
Huh, must be… must be my imagination. Could have sworn I heard something…
The arachnid vigilante felt dull stomping pass him by, he wasn't really in any position to angle his head, even a little. And the ringing would not cease, lowering in pitch but never stopping. Peter was left alone, with the numbing aches and pains of his fall to remind him that he was indeed alive. He struggled to his feet, almost buckling under gravity as he ushered what little strength he had left.
The teenage superhero glanced around and predictively, found himself alone. "Guess everyone was evacuated… good, that's good. Means no-one will have to hear me cry like a little girl, because this is gonna… oh man, this is gonna hurt." Spider-Man spoke lowly, preparing himself physically and mentally for the pain that was to come.
Peter positioned himself in front of one of the many foundational beams, found dotted around every floor in the building. The boy took a deep breath, gritting his teeth as he pulled his shoulder back.
His spider-sense rang like crazy. "Yeah, I know this is dangerous… thanks for the heads up." Peter muttered, before he slammed his shoulder against the metal beam with as much force as he could muster.
He took the blow silently, tears threatening to spill out and soak his mask. The pain, it was almost too much, even for him. Peter dropped to his knees, unable to stand as he leaned against the beam, waiting for the torture to subside.
A hand came to rest on his shoulder and he lazily turned his head to find that one of his teammates had found him, a woman by the name of Jessica Drew. "Yeah, this is Spider-Woman. I found him, he's okay." The newly appointed Avenger spoke into a barely visible earpiece as she knelt down and lightly grasped the teen's chin.
"Spider-Man, are you okay? Peter?" Jessica questioned, raising her voice with each word.
The boy stared at her for a while, nodding profusely without uttering a single word. "Spider-Woman?" Until he let that out.
Jessica sighed, pulling the younger arachnid to his feet and looping one of his arms around her shoulders. "Cap said I needed a codename, so I took that one. It's not trademarked or anything, is it?" She jested, helping the hobbling vigilante to the broken window he had entered through.
"No, it—it's fine… keep it… kinda suits you." Peter complimented, gazing out of the makeshift entrance, tiredly watching the continuous battle wage on.
Jessica shifted, not having a problem holding he weight but having to compensate for Peter falling asleep. "You're bleeding," she pointed out, trying to get him to converse if anything.
Spider-Man nodded. "Yeah… smashing face fir—first into glass w—will do that to a guy, I think… it makes me look a little distinguished." He jested, his speech clearing itself up somewhat.
And surprisingly, the sharp pain shooting up and down his body had receded. Instead shrinking into what seemed like a dull ache, as if his injuries had occurred some hours ago. Peter was confused; he had never healed so fast, even with his enhanced healing factor. In fact, he didn't even need Jessica to be able to stand anymore.
The aptly named 'Spider-Woman' gave a questioning look as Peter left her embrace, preferring to stand by himself. "You're still hurt; those things really pack a punch. Just rest up a bit and let your teammates handle this," the mutant suggested, the underlying hint of an order woven within her words.
Spider-Man scoffed, throwing a hand out to brush her words off. "And let people get hurt? This is my first thing as an Avenger; I'm not letting anybody down. Now come on, I'm just getting my second wind." The wall-crawler boasted, standing by the broken window he had entered through.
Jessica joined him, still staring at him, her gaze hardening somewhat. "I thought I saw one of those things follow you in here, did you see anything?" She posed, noticing Peter turn his head and pause for a moment.
He was pondering, almost unsure of himself. "No… no, I don't think I did. I mean, I was pretty out of it." The brunette teen answered, returning his wide blank to the fight outside, ready to re-join the fray.
Until a flaming figure blazed by, dropping past him and Jessica with no signs of slowing down. And it was screaming, very… very girlishly. Peter glanced over at Jessica, an eyebrow arched beneath his vibrant red mask.
"I've got it, I can glide." Jessica remarked, before Peter raised a hand.
Staring at her blankly, he gestured to his wrists. "Yeah? I have webs and stuff," he lazily shot back.
Spider-Woman frowned, rolling her eyes as Peter approached the edge of the floor they were on. "Fine, just don't get yourself killed." She ordered, as though it were possible to command such a thing.
Spider-Man dropped, diving off with a bend of his legs. "Okay, mom." He muttered, forcing his arms against his body for extra speed.
The Doombot soared through the heat of the battle, hundreds more like it on all sides, fighting to serve their master. But it had another mission altogether, the safe delivery of Dr Reed Richards and Dr Susan Storm. Something it had carried out with little to no resistance, meaning a much faster response time—
The robot was suddenly speared in mid-air, causing the machination to lose its grip on its hostages. Reed and Sue fell, still quite lifeless and oblivious to the firefights surrounding them. The extreme shift in weight had thrown it for a loop, snapping its head down to find a large green woman, clinging to its torso for dear life… with a small man on her back.
"Jennifer! Forget about the robot, go and save them!" Bruce shouted, his usually quiet voice finding no place in the situation.
Jennifer let go of the robot with a nod, her brunette hair now a long flowing black. "I'm just getting used to this! I bet you didn't have to save your friends, the first time you hulked out!" The emerald skinned lawyer shot back, free-falling from the tower in an effort to reach Reed and Sue.
Bruce wanted to shut his eyes, but ultimately couldn't. "You're taking this surprisingly well!" He called out once more.
Jennifer dived after her dear friends, the life or death situation not fully occurring to her. "Kinda have to, Bruce! Wouldn't do me any good to start freaking out like, three hundred feet up!" She reminded him, stretching out her powerful arms for the task ahead.
Several stray energy bolts careened past them, almost singing Jennifer's shoulders. "Jen, we've got company!" Bruce told his cousin, a noticeably calmer and female version of him.
Hulk-Woman? Lady Hulk? She-Hulk?
Names didn't seem to matter as Jennifer barrel rolled, stopping half way to face upwards. Indeed, the Doombot was in hot pursuit, diving after her with its arm cocked and ready to unload. Jennifer stretched all four of her limbs out, slowing her descent to meet the faster falling robot. As soon as the sinister creation was in reach, Jennifer wrapped it into a colossal bear hug, absolutely crushing the artificial life out of it.
"You were saying?!" Jen yelled, righting herself once more to chase down Reed and Sue.
Bruce pointed at his falling friends, rampant concern in his eyes. "Brag later, save them now!" He ordered, prompting Jen to set her eyes on the task at hand.
"Back, monster! You are not fit to stand in the presence of Doom, let alone address him!" Doom warned off, throwing off blasts of energy in defence.
Nothing seemed to do much damage, merely ricocheting off of Ben's rock hard skin. "See, now you've gone an' made me mad. Botchin' the shuttle launch, endangerin' the lives of me an' my friends, not to mention completely destroyin' whatever semblance of a normal life I had left… that I can take. But when you go an' use a word like monster, especially given my condition, that really ticks me off." Ben intimated, approaching the metal man with no signs of backing down.
"Special delivery!" A voice sounded out of nowhere, followed by a distinct whizzing noise, slicing through the air.
Doom turned, not ready to face the super powered brute but unexpectedly, received a shield to his armoured face. The blow floored him, putting him at the mercy of all those present. Captain America recovered his shield, glancing to the descending Ms Marvel… who seemed to have company.
"Look what I found," Carol commented, gesturing to the chipper teenage girl by her side.
Anya grinned, clasping her hands behind her back in an effort to stop them from fidgeting. "O Captain, my Captain!" She exclaimed, throwing up a mock salute.
Steve nodded, sighting that the girl had quite an arm on her. "At ease, soldier." He remarked, prompting the girl to lower her hand.
Ms Marvel folded her arms, undeniably finding herself smirking. "Says she's looking for the web-head," the blonde stated.
Cap nodded, but turned his attention back to the downed menacing figure. "That can wait until later, right now; I have a few questions in need of answering." The veteran voiced, pacing towards him.
Ben hoisted the man off of his feet, forcing him to face the Avenger. "Thank you, Ben. Though I'd have preferred it if you hadn't gotten yourself caught up in this, the Avengers had the situation well in hand." Steve said, making his concerns known.
A meek nod was given by Ben, the only thing he could even think to do. "As for you, I want to know why is it you want Dr Richards and who exactly is under that mask." The first Avenger demanded, his sky blue eyes expression dead seriousness.
Doom didn't struggle, didn't even try to break free of Ben's solid grip. "Do you expect me to give so easily? You have no idea what you've done, soldier. The arrogance you have displayed is nothing short of astonishing, wrestling your way into matters that do not concern you." The metal plated terrorist replied, not even a hint of worry present in his voice.
Cap cocked an eyebrow, grim bewilderment lighting up his face. "Doesn't concern me? Oh, I think this does. You openly attacked us, right outside of our own home. You implicated yourself in the tampering of Dr Richard's shuttle launch, that's attempted murder. Give me one good reason why you think this doesn't concern me?" He grilled, getting right up into the man's face.
Doom stared right back at him, holding no expression or even desire to move. "For one reason, diplomatic immunity. For two, this vessel and all on-board are expendable at best. Doom would give you a third reason but he thinks he's justified enough," the criminal rattled off.
Steve was about to reply, argue back that he was a monster but stopped himself. Because a sudden bad feeling became apparent to him, things seemed to be a lot quieter and a lot smoother. But… they were still on-board the aircraft…
"Did he just—?" Steve began but was cut off soon after.
Carol glanced about in sheer shock. "Cut the engines? Apparently so," she finished, to the horror of everyone present.
The agile vigilante dived like a spitfire, picking up speed with every floor of the building he passed. Peter was getting closer, close enough to recognize the figure as his friend, Johnny. The sudden realization only made him all the more determined, firing off a quick web-line. The stronger than steel cable missed, due to Johnny flailing around, terror stricken across his features.
"Go limp, Johnny!" Spidey screamed, his breath hot against his mask.
The younger Storm failed to hear him, continuing his descent with rapid speed. "Johnny, I said go limp!" Spider-Man shouted, rolling across the glass panes of the building and into a powerful vault.
Come on, come on, catch him! Catch him, Parker!
Once more, Peter stretched his arms out, this time firing off two strands of webbing. They both connected, one dead centre on his chest and one wrapping itself around an arm. But instead of stopping, shooting off a web-line to halt their descent, Peter pulled himself closer to the falling teenager.
"I've got you!" Peter yelled, colliding with Johnny in a fierce embrace.
Oh God, that was close!
Spider-Man wrapped his arms around the boy, pulling him tightly against his chest. Without wasting any time, he reached out a hand to spin a safety line, rather than going splat on the rapidly approaching asphalt.
Only to find that he had ran out of web-fluid…
"This could be a problem!" Spidey called out, staring down at the empty streets with wide, panicked eyes.
Johnny was terrified, holding onto Spider-Man for dear life. "Oh, for the love of God! Pull up, pull up, pull up!" He manically squealed, his heart almost leaping into his throat.
But despite his plea being issued to the vigilante, subconsciously, he wanted to live. Miraculously, his body began to pull up, lifting him to a horizontal position as his entire body was engulfed in searing hot flames. And he was still holding onto Spider-Man, to his passenger's great misfortune.
"Holy—! Drop me, man!" Peter issued, squirming as his costume had begun to burn.
And with that, Johnny dropped him, quite abruptly too. Luckily for the web-head, they were close enough to the ground that impact wouldn't be fatal. Didn't mean it didn't hurt though, as evident by Peter's grunts as he skidded along the blacktop, crashing into the side of a yellow New York cab.
Spider-Man struggled to gain his bearings, shaking his head as he stared down at the floor on all fours. "I cannot catch a break," he muttered to himself, his pained expression somewhat visible through the countless tears in his mask.
Twice… that's twice I've almost fallen to my death today; I really need to lie down.
He grit his teeth as he stood, giving himself a once over for any odd flames that might have stuck around. "I mean, seriously. Am I like a magnet for crazy? Because I feel like the crazy is just all over me… man, I am in a lot of pain right now." Peter complained, glancing around at the street he had landed on.
The entire area had been deserted, thankfully. If he narrowed his eyes, Peter could actually the yellow police barricades, blocking off the area to civilians. This made things so much simpler, it meant people didn't have to unnecessarily get hurt.
Guess they saw what was going on and responded immediately, whether it's because of the Chitauri invasion or not, response time has definitely gotten better.
Peter thought before switching his line of sight skyward, intending to take a look at the battle still waging on above him. His exposed brown eye widened slightly, struggling to take in the figure floating above him. Johnny Storm, completely amassed from head to toe in a bright yellow-orange display of fire. And it looked like he was suffering from no discomfort whatsoever; some people had all the luck.
"You're on fire," Spider-Man simply stated, pulling up the torso half of his costume to reach his utility belt.
Johnny smirked, gazing at his flame covered hands with intrigue. "Duh," he shot back, suddenly feeling a heck of a lot better about himself.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man was double checking his web-shooters, refilling them should the need arise. "Oh, so this is a common occurrence for you? I can't seem to remember the last time I spontaneously combusted," he mocked, feeling a little more confident with his webbing back.
Johnny gave a sarcastic laugh. "That's not what I meant, genius. I meant this is what must have happened to me, with the radiation or whatever it was, just like Ben… only much cooler." The teenager bragged, descending to the floor and extinguishing himself.
"That would explain it, because I've got nothing else. Well, unless you're inner hot-headedness has decided to surface, that would also explain it." Peter jested, trying to push past the fact that his friend could light himself on fire.
Johnny scoffed, watching as Spider-Man ignored him. "Hey, back when we were falling, I really thought I was a goner. But uhh… couldn't help but notice something, you shouted my name. Like, not my name but… you shouted Johnny. Only my close friends call me that, and I don't know you." The blonde pointed out, folding his arms.
He gave the web-slinger a sceptical look, narrowing his eyes as the man continued to ignore him. "So… do you know me or what?" Johnny questioned, tapping his foot with growing impatience.
Spider-Man was staring up, straight up with his body tensed. "Hey, not to alarm you or anything but I think we should move… like, right now." He spoke nonchalantly, despite the pleas of his spider-sense.
Johnny narrowed his eyebrows in confusion, before glancing up to see what the wall-crawler had been looking at. No words came, none at all, as his mouth fell open. The two teens felt like wetting their pants, truly terrified for what was headed their way. Careening downwards, like a man-made meteor, was the Flying Fortress of Doom.
And Spidey had to truly thank God that the streets were empty, because they were sure as heck going to be destroyed. Without a word, Peter hoisted Johnny up, so fast the kid hadn't even been able to react and leaped as far as he could.
The solid and heavy, metallic fist of Doom erupted out of a pile of debris and steel. Throwing aside small scraps of his ship's armoured hull, the looming figure stood, complete with dents littered about his once pristine armour. Wiring came loose, the technical wizardry beneath the plating showed through, but he had managed to survive the crash. More than could be said for his enemies, crushed underneath his steel boot.
Doom surveyed the area, ground zero of the crash. His Flying Fortress had converted the area into some kind of makeshift junkyard; a few relatively large and unbroken pieces had been embedded into the bases of the surrounding buildings. Quite an unceremonious graveyard for Earth's Mightiest Heroes, but he was not complaining.
A noticeable object stood out in the smoggy sea of dust, a red, white and blue object. Captain America's shield lay still, half buried beneath a mound of dirt and debris. Doom's logic dictated that wherever the shield popped up, the owner wasn't too far behind. The cloaked figure moved closer to the World War Two relic, having the chance to admire the detail gone into making such a weapon, despite its patriotic colour scheme.
As predicted, Doom found himself stumble upon the man himself. The Captain lay prone and unmoving, despite the rise and fall of his chest. He was unconscious, Doom was thoroughly surprised that he had even survived the crash… peak human or not. But it did seem as good a time as any, he was incredibly irritating.
"Doom's apologies, Captain. There is no honour in this death, but you have proven to be a pain in my side this day. Doom will make sure that this is a slumber you will not awaken from," he spoke, his voice grave and quiet.
He raised his arm, being mindful of his torn and tattered green cloak. With his palm open, Doom was prepared to fire off a round of his bright green energy, but turned his attention elsewhere when the sound of shifting rock and metal reached him.
Without warning, a sizable piece of machinery was thrown his way, prompting him to turn and fire at the projectile. Doom shielding himself away from the explosion, using his cloak to cover his metal face.
"Can't let ya do that," the vaguely familiar voice of Ben Grimm sounded out.
Doom stood prepared for the lumbering man as his jagged, orange form approached him. Ben shook off some of his wariness, apparently a little tired from such a massive fall. Doom almost found it impressive, Ben having sustained no discernable injuries.
He backed away from Steve's sleeping form, his hands raised in defence. "Benjamin Grimm… I see Richards is still taking joy in the act of destroying lives," Doom accused, hoping to stall the brute.
Ben grumbled, still approaching Doom with an expression of fierce hate. "Ain't his fault, tin-head. The way I see it, you're the one who's ruined lives. An' you might've just killed a lot o' good people, as far as I'm concerned, you don't deserve to walk outta here with your head still attached to your shoulders." He threatened, balling his rocky fists in pure spite.
Doom didn't back down from his hostile words though. "Why? Does it anger you, monster? Or does it scare you? Has Doom really ruined your life or has he simply… brought out what truly lied beneath the surface? An ugly ogre, not fit for the love or companionship of others." He openly mocked, watching Ben grit his teeth.
"Cut the therapy act, creep. I don't need another reason to scrap ya for spare parts," Ben menaced, finally taking action and lunging at his tormentor.
Despite the direct energy blast to the fast, Ben landed a clean swipe of his mountainous fist, feeling armour crumple beneath his massive strength. Doom was forced away some distance, just barely recovering when a rock-like foot collided with his mid-section.
Another few yards away, Doom was struggling to his knees. "Yes, let it consume you. Show me what kind of person you truly are," he muttered, glancing up to see Ben seething over him.
With both of his colossal fists held high, Ben intended to slam Doom into pure nothingness. He had every right to; nobody could tell him any differently.
Two solid strands of steel webbing hit his arms, holding them still and preventing them from moving any further. Ben glanced behind him; even Doom was intrigued to see who his saviour had been. Standing there, with both of his legs planted firmly on the ground, his arms and entire upper torso absolutely fraught with strain, was Spider-Man.
"Kid, this ain't any o' your business!" Ben shouted, anger apparent as he struggled against the vigilante's counterforce.
Spidey held the lines securely, not even sure he could hold Ben for more than a minute. "Ben, listen to me. You don't have to do this; you don't have to do anything. I can't hold you for long, I'm not strong enough and when I do let go, I'm confident you're not going to kill him." The teenager told him, confidence lacing his voice.
Ben tugged against the lines, could feel them give slightly and even saw the pavement crack just underneath Spidey's boots. "Yeah? An' why's that?" He hit back, his voice growing darker and darker.
The web-slinger replied, determination visible in his exposed brown eye. "Because… you're our friend, Ben. We know you, we really do. You're too much of a good person to let this destroy you, you're too brave and you're too proud. Remember, Ben… remember what I said before. This is it, this is that one mistake." Spidey argued, really not feeling up to the challenge of fighting him.
He just hoped his words could reach him, because this part of Ben that he was seeing, it was terrifying. It seemed so alien to watch such a loveable and gentle person, someone so kind-hearted, become twisted and warped.
"Your life is yours, Ben. But if you do this, if you give him what he wants then that's it. You'll be throwing it all away, all the people who love you, and the people who respect you." Peter declared, breathing deeply as it became harder and harder to stand.
Oh man, so tired… can barely keep hold.
Ben wasn't hearing any of it. "This ain't any kind o' life, kid." He shot back, prepared to do the unthinkable.
And so was Peter. "What about Alicia? What do you think she'd say if she were here, right now?" The brunette bluntly stated, even with the knowledge that Ben wouldn't take it well.
It seemed Peter was accurate, as Ben lowered his arms, spinning on the spot to glare at right at him. Peter had let go of his web-lines at this point, his arms almost shaking with exhaustion. He really was in no mood or condition to fight, but Ben… Ben looked like he could've still gone ten rounds.
"Where do you get off on sayin' that? Lecturin' me like some kinda know-it-all, an' then bringin' up 'Licia?" Ben demanded, towering over Spider-Man in an almost comical fashion.
Peter sighed, rolling his shoulders to ease a slight kink in his neck. "I'm tired, Ben. Like, really tired man. I could really go for another cup of coffee with you and Alicia, maybe grab a bagel too. I haven't seen her in a while… you haven't either though, bet she misses you like crazy." With a few seconds thought, he thought it'd be best to clue the man in.
Come on, Ben… trust me on this one.
That or end up smashed into the street. "I… wait—ya mean? Kid, after all this time? You didn't even think ta tell us?" Ben relented, his tone of voice suddenly altering to one of concern.
"I was scared, I had no idea how you guys would react. I still don't, you're the only one I've told. But… Ben, don't do this. Just take my hand, come with me and we can fix this. Alicia's waiting for you, Ben. You've been gone for a while, and honestly… it's either jail or her. Come on, be the bigger person." Peter spoke softly, approaching the giant with an outstretched hand.
Ben furrowed his brow, his big blue eyes still somewhat downcast. "I guess ya know what you're talkin' about, what with ya uncle and all. I… I'm sorry, kid. If you can get through that, on your own, then… then I can get through this. I'm so sorry, for everythin'." The behemoth apologized, feeling incredibly ashamed for his break in spirit.
Spider-Man took the man's hand willingly, offering a visible smile through his torn mask. "Ben, man, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Just come on, let's go help our friends." The teen offered, leading the man away from a huge mistake.
Doom shook his head, luckily finding the entire conversation as means to rest up. "How utterly predictable, it is no surprise that you would succumb to such a weak-minded simpleton, Grimm. But rest assured, that is the only chance you had because it will not happen again." The European maniac mocked, finally reaching his feet.
Ben and Peter turned, the latter suddenly finding a sour taste in his mouth. "Exsqueeze me? Did you just insult me? Mr egomaniacal-talks-about-himself-in-the-third-person, just insulted me? Why don't you keep your trap shut, precious? The grown-ups are talking," The high-school graduate hit back, thoroughly annoyed by the metal man.
"Mind if I clobber this yutz into pulp?" Ben asked, though wasn't really going to take a reply into account.
Spidey cocked his head, hoping Ben wouldn't do anything too rash. "Remember what we just talked about?" He questioned the larger man.
Ben charged ahead, reeling his titanic fist back for a devastating blow. "Yeah, nothin' fatal." He muttered.
The duo were sent sprawling back, Ben being tossed into a pile of debris and machinery while Peter went rag dolling through air. Doom crackled with pure energy, lashes of neon green light banding around his body. He clenched his fists in anger, pure fury as he looked out over his beaten foes.
"The arrogance! To think that any of you could challenge the might of Doom, the absolute power he possesses!" Doom roared, his temper flaring to heights previously unseen.
Spider-Man flipped, righting himself in mid-air and managed to land on a large metallic construct. It was still fairly untouched by the crash, as Peter quickly assumed that it used to be one of the aircraft's impossibly large engines. He hadn't seen something so big since his short jaunt aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier, actually… come to think of it… where was S.H.I.E.L.D?
Spider-Man gazed blankly at the powerful Iron Man rip-off. "Wow, I really thought I was going crazy with that third person thing but there it is again, huh? You, pal, are a special kind of crazy. Luckily, I tend to dabble in any type of crazy." The acrobat commented, firing off a couple of web-shots to distract him.
Doom burned the synthetic material to a crisp but had divided his attention, prompting a swift red boot to nail him in the face. Spidey landed, crouched and ready to go. But… go and do what? Peter really hadn't thought any of it through, he had no real clue who the guy was or what he was capable of.
"You, arachnid, are trying Doom's patience. Victory has already been achieved and you still stand here, to what? To defend your fallen comrades? Doom will save you the trouble, as they are already dead, little spider." The invader taunted, raising his metallic gauntlet to take aim at the wall-crawler.
Before a bombardment of energy and fire struck him from all sides, forcing him to shield himself. Doom recoiled, managing to spot the emergence of two of the so-called Avengers and Johnathan Storm. Ms Marvel and Jessica Drew landed either side of Spider-Man, taking note of the vigilante's battered and bruised form.
A fourth, previously unknown individual stayed close to Carol. Anya hung back, not fully sure how she was supposed to process the situation while Johnny kept his arms trained on Doom. The armoured villain backed away slightly, taking the options available into account. Escape or no escape, as far as Doom was concerned, he had already won.
But his retreat was blocked as a gigantic foot stomped down in front of him, joined by an irritating blast of energy. Hank Pym and his partner, Janet, had cut the man off. The pair's presence forced him back into the middle of both parties, completely surrounded at all angles.
Doom span around, only to find that Captain America and Benjamin Grimm were up on their feet and looking extremely ticked off. "It's over, Doom. You're hopelessly outnumbered, and laughably outgunned. You can't win, so just give up or I ask my friends here to apprehend you." Steve declared, clearly tired out from the crash.
Doom observed the group of heroes, raising his arm to tap a button on one of his gauntlets. "Keep your distance, Captain. Doom has accounted for all possible outcomes, even the slim ones such as defeat. But… a question does spring to mind, where is Richards and his lovely companion?" He hinted, watching as realization and horror dawned on the faces of his enemies.
As if on cue, a single Doombot… was flung out of the surrounding smoke, landing in a heap of crushed metal at Doom's boots. "What is the meaning of this?!" The quite possibly insane terrorist shouted, enraged that his backup plan had been foiled so easily.
And to the surprise of everyone, everyone, a tall shadow loomed out of the dust. A feminine shape, hindered by a rather loose hospital gown, travelled into view. With an unconscious Reed Richards and Susan Storm in either arm, and a noticeably shaken Bruce Banner walking alongside her, Jennifer Walters had never looked so… green?
Spider-Man scratched his masked head. "I… have I missed anything? Is everyone just gonna get superpowers now? And uh… while I'm asking, who the heck is this? She's not my kid, is she? Are you my kid? I feel… man; I am so confused right now." He pointed out, cocking a thumb back to a shy Anya.
Doom however, did not look so pleased. "This means nothing, merely a testament to the failure that is the idea of the Avengers. You rely on coincidences and sheer strokes of luck to win your battles for you, Doom has seen quite enough. Though he failed in acquiring Richards, he has walked away with so much more." He voiced, kind of a speech of sorts as he eyes each Avenger.
Johnny and Ben moved away from the confrontation to see to Sue and Reed, courtesy of a sheepish Jennifer. Cap and the Avengers stood firm, staring down Doom with the intent to attack should it have been necessary.
"So celebrate, embrace your loved ones, your comrades. Safe with the knowledge that you have won, that the battle is over. Because rest assured, the war is only just beginning." Doom spoke ominously.
Captain America was about to reply before something nobody had predicted happened, Doom fell apart. Literally fell apart, in a brilliant display of uncontained energy and disintegrated armour. There was nothing left, merely dust in the place where he had been standing, broken and defeated.
Well, you uhh… you don't see that every day, I'll give him that.
Peter stared with wide eyes, unsure of just what the action implicated. The Avengers didn't know what to make of it, but Doom's words had hit home, especially with the knowledge that they hadn't even been fighting him. They had fought a decoy, wasted so much effort and manpower on a machine.
Was it all for nothing? No, people were safe, friends had been reunited. But at what cost? What had Doom meant? Why had he even attacked the Avengers in such a bold display of terrorism? Nobody knew, but maybe in time… maybe they would find out before it was too late. But while the Avengers were tending to their wounded and cleaning up all that had been destroyed in the heat of the battle, none of them noticed a lone robot leave Avengers Tower.
The construct jetted off, as inconspicuously as possible, the same robot that had spared Spider-Man and disappeared. But what had it been doing and more to the point… just where on Earth was it going?
Author's Note: So, it got a little rushy at the end but blame that on me. I've kinda been having back problems and I've been working on this the majority of today, I didn't want to spend too much time sat in the same place so that is my fault. Anyway, the interlude will shed some light on Peter's personal life, his relationship with the Avengers (unmasking!) and other little bits and pieces around the Marvel Universe. Including a certain explanation as to just who Doom is, drama!
So in short, this chapter was reserved for action and the next will be totally devoted to relationships and a little character development.
More Jennifer, more FF, more Avengers, more Anya, some Gwen and Aunt May, a whole bunch of other stuff next chapter and of course, Spider-Man!
Plus, expect some never before seen characters, setting some stuff up for the future! Yay, plot!
Midnight Bloom: Doctor Doom! I know, right? I actually refrained from calling him Doctor Doom in order to update him a little more, and there really is a reason he speaks about himself in the third person, you'll see that next chapter. Sorry to say that Iron Man wasn't in this one but he will be in the next, getting back from his trip to California (Iron Man 3 related events). Thanks for the review though and for being so patient :)
birdy: It's been too long, hasn't it? I can't... I can't even look at myself!
Sparxthehdgehog: That is incredibly original, I may have to just use that idea, giving you full credit of course! But in all seriousness, that's a really great suggestion, never heard one like that before. It would definitely make the threat a lot more personal to Peter, plus, maybe even a little more obsessed with him? Thanks for the awesome review!
Anonymous Rex: I'm glad you're enjoying yourself, welcome aboard! I hope this chapter was up to the task, and thanks for the review man :)
NicoISkickbutt: It's whatever you want it to be, sarcastic or just completely lazy... the first one sounds better though, right?
Manuel01: Well, hopefully next chapter you'll see just why Doom acts the way he does and what has drove him to that point. Plus, Spidey and Anya will get some time together but I'm a little sad I didn't get to include that this chapter. There was just too much going on so I had to set it aside for the next chapter, I hope everyone's okay with that. Thanks for another review, man!