Yooooooo everyone! Hope you guys are all doing well! Sorry it took longer than I expected to get this chapter up...I knew exactly what was happening in this chapter but I couldn't write it for the life of me and it took until last night to finish.
So...this past Sunday, December 15th, I turned 17! I was hoping to update then but then school reminded me oh so kindly that I had tons of homework. So yeah I was gonna do the cheesy thing of asking for reviews for birthday presents, and heck I'll probably do it at the bottom A/N.
P.S. The title of this chapter is Latin for "In the middle of things." I thought it was appropriate for the nature of the chapter ;)
Review Replies from Chapter 14:
Oh gosh you guys don't know how happy I was to get more than 3 reviews this time around it made every day that much more awesome! So I'm giving a huge thanks to Concrete63, iluv2read5898, TimeLadyHolmes, koryandrs, dralexbanner, Novalunni, Liberty Bell, and ThePhantomismyLove~! You guys are amazing people!
TimeLadyHolmes asks Natasha: WHAT HAPPENED IN BUDAPEST?
Natasha: I am not authorized to fully answer that question, however, I can say that Clint and I were on a mission in Budapest that involved Russian terrorists and the Red Room. Any more details you'll have to find on your own.
Novalunni asked me: Are we nearing the climax of this story?
Liberty Bell asked Agent Maria Hill: As Fury's "right-hand man" at SHIELD, do you have any suspicions that Fury might be hiding things from you, his supposed loyal assistant and, I daresay, good friend? I would assume you have the highest clearance level, so after that stunt when Fury kept the Phase Two details from the team, do you seriously think nothing like that will ever happen again? Or can another pile of lies fall from his mouth like butter without anyone realizing it?
Agent Hill: Honestly speaking, I do believe that Fury is and always will hide things from people, including me, because that's just who he is and what he has to do. I've just come to understand that in his position he can't afford to be openly truthful to get things done (even if it incites Coulson's fury on him); however, I hope that an issue with the Avengers does not happen often (and you know that it'll happen at least a couple other times) because we need them to be on our side. (you are completely right about the lies falling like butter, but you best not say that around him.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything involved with the MCU! I only own Tori Matthews and this awesome plunny!
Caveat!- This chapter has A LOT of jumping around back and forth with nothing but a line to transition, so keep vigilant and don't get lost!
I took a seat on the couch in the upstairs penthouse next to Dr. Banner and Clint, all of us rather quiet after Tony, Steve, and Thor left to go apprehend Loki. Natasha was manning a computer, anxiously glancing every so often at it; this computer displayed the GPS-like map that tracked the three's whereabouts. Pepper had left the room in order to take a business call, and I had begun to play with my fingers absentmindedly.
"I hate waiting," Clint whispered in a harsh tone. We all glanced over to him slowly. "I want to be with them, shooting an arrow through Loki's head."
"We're better here," Bruce replied softly, taking off his glasses and rubbing his eyes. "If Loki had sent some of his allies to attack the Tower we'd be here to stop them." Clint frowned and crossed his arms heatedly.
"JARVIS!" I called out suddenly, surprising both men. "Where are Tony, Steve, and Thor?" Of course I could have asked Natasha, but I figured that JARVIS could talk to Tony directly.
"Currently they are flying over the Atlantic, Miss Matthews," JARVIS replied crisply. "And Mr. Stark wishes me to inform you that they will return before dinner, and that he wishes to treat everyone to shawarma."
"What's that?" Bruce asked with a chuckle.
"It is an Arab style of gyro, I believe. Mr. Stark wishes me to report that he's never tried it before but he wants to after this ordeal is over." I laughed light-heartedly.
"Alright, sounds like fun," I responded, smiling.
Loki strode broodingly throughout the corridors of the underground lair, contemplating his procedure. He turned the corner to find once more his team of agents, and working in the tent was the astrophysicist. Loki grinned.
"What a marvelous distraction…" the god purred.
"So, how about we get out of here and lighten up the mood?" Clint suggested, almost awkwardly.
Natasha warily glanced at the monitor. "What if something happens? We should stay here."
"Nat, as long as Stark's AI is around, we can be anywhere in this place," he replied, which caused her to pout. "I'd rather do anything than sit here and do nothing."
I stood up and brushed off my shirt. "I was thinking about going down to the music room again," I offered. "You guys wanna come with me?"
The three nodded and we all proceeded down the elevator to the music room. I breathed a sigh of relief as I walked into the somewhat calming area. With gentle hands, I opened the lid of the piano and began to play.
The God of Mischief grinned maliciously at his attackers, dressed in his belligerent garbs, opening his arms in mock welcome.
"What a pleasant and unexpected surprise!" he greeted, causing the trio to glower at him. "You finally found my hideout, I congratulate you."
"Shut it, Antlers, we're through with your games!" Tony growled, holding up his repulsors threateningly. "And if you think you're getting out of this, you've got another thing coming!"
This only made Loki's grin grow wider. "It's not me you should worry about escaping," he taunted with a laugh. The trio's eyes all widened as they were then suddenly surrounded by various agents and assassins.
"How could you have known we were coming, brother?" Thor demanded in a threatening voice, but no response was given, only a dimming grin and a smirk in its place. Cap looked at Tony with a steady gaze, and the billionaire picked up. The Tower.
"JARVIS," he whispered beneath his breath. "Tell me all's good at the Tower."
"I'm sorry sir, but I cannot reach the Tower's mainframe. We've been cut off," the AI responded grimly, to Tony's horror.
"What. Did. You. Do?" Tony inquired with an eerie loudness, like the calm before a volcano eruption, as he positioned missiles off of his suit at their enemy.
"I'm sure I don't understand what you mean," Loki replied in a murmur, relishing Iron Man's frustration.
The signature fire-up of the Repulsor beams sounded and Tony edged just the tiniest bit closer to the trickster.
"WHAT DID YOU DO?!" he shouted, firing at Loki, who then disappeared as the shots passed through his torso. Immediately, the horde of people surrounding the three attacked. Iron Man, Thor, and Cap all fought the agents around them, all the while trying to grasp the façade of Loki, flitting about around the crowd.
All at once while I was playing I saw a vision leap before my eyes.
Tony, Steve, and Thor, all beaten up and bloodied, were gasping for breath, beneath a horde of black-garbed men, struggling to keep fighting. Mjolnir was knocked out of Thor's hand, and before he could summon it once again, he was kneed in the gut and kicked in the face when he fell. Tony's Iron Man suit was losing power and JARVIS was offline. Steve was barely able to stand, and couldn't after another goon knocked him from the back of the knees. And then, a blue glow rose up over the three and they looked up at it with little fear showing in their faces, when it unleashed a huge bolt of energy at them, making them scream in pain-
I slammed my hands down on the keys, causing a horrendous discord of sound to belch out of the piano, startling the others. Dear God, that vision…and those screams! I brought my hands and clenched the sides of my head. I could still hear their screams! Those awful, terrible, blood-curdling-
"Tori, hey, are you okay?"
Bruce's concerned voice brought me somewhat back into reality, but I shook my head, frowning.
"What's wrong?" Natasha asked, as all of their concerns grew on their faces. I looked into the super-spy's deep green eyes and grimaced.
"It's Tony, Steve, and Thor, they're in trouble," I began quickly. "They're…in pain!" I didn't know how else to put it, and I didn't want to bring up the terrified screams, in fear they might return.
"How do you know?" Clint inquired lowly, approaching the piano bench. I took a shaky breath and looked at him fearfully.
"I have a really bad feeling," I said a little slower than before. "I can…I see them getting hurt badly." I can hear their screams.
"It's probably nothing, we're all worried about them going to face Loki," Natasha dismissed, a growing frown on her expressions. "But they're all powerful and I'm sure they can handle themselves."
This didn't satisfy my anxiety any less.
"It's not about what I did," the silvertongue whispered loud enough only for the three of them to hear as a low sound. "What did you do?"
"Loki! Enough with this trickery!" Thor bellowed in between swings of his hammer. "Why are you doing this?"
"I'm only stalling you really," the trickster confessed. "To let nature run its course from what you set in motion. Really, leaving your little friend to worry about your safety, with people who mistrust her power and things will not turn out so well."
This time, it was Steve's turn to flare his anger. "What the hell are you saying?" he demanded with a growl, slamming his tricolored shield into an assassin's chest. But Thor understood his adopted brother's intentions. In a burst of lightning, he flew out of the mob of attackers and right towards Loki, grabbing his neck, Mjolnir threateningly positioned at his head.
"What have you done with Tori?" Thor boomed deeply. Loki grinned and held up his hands.
"I've done nothing but fan the flames that were already kindled," he replied silkily. "And I am preparing for the aftermath of the inferno."
"We should check with JARVIS just to make sure," I said quickly, standing up from the piano seat.
More quickly than I probably should have, I exited the room and headed towards the elevator, the others following warily behind. We went up to the top floor and I rushed over to the flat-screened computer. My eyes widened as the screen was blank with a static glitched image.
"JARVIS?" I called out when Bruce and Natasha rushed over to the frozen computer. "JARVIS, are you there?"
There was no response from the British-voiced AI. Dammit.
"Something's wrong, we're being jammed, but I can't find the source," Bruce muttered frustrated. I could feel my blood pounding in my ears. This was not good…not good at all!
"We need to do something!" I shouted anxiously. "They could be in trouble!"
"Quit speaking in riddles!" Steve growled, throwing his shield at a ricochet that hit three guys in a domino effect. Loki's grin only widened and Thor's grip did not ease.
"Fine, you want blunt?" the trickster teased. "I'm keeping you from realizing and stopping what's happening back at your precious Tower!"
Thor dropped Loki and Tony finished off the last of the goons.
"We have to go, now," the genius billionaire said urgently. Before they could turn to leave, however, the three Avengers heard a cry for help. Loki stood up, rubbing his throat.
"Oh yes, there's also Erik Selvig," he added, nonchalantly leaning on the wall. "He's locked in a magic-guarded cell that can only be opened if the three of you are present. I've freed him from the Tesseract and he's also with the portal generator."
The three heroes exchanged wary, unsure glances with each other.
"Go on, take your time. You're only wasting your precious moments," Loki mocked, slinking into the shadows. "Very precious moments that could save either one of those mortals."
A glance, from one hero to another, decides the fate of events, and the trickster's smile can be seen in the dark as they run down the hallway towards the trapped physicist.
"Can't we call Fury or SHIELD or something?!" I suggested exasperatedly.
"The entire network is down, I don't think we can contact anyone," Bruce replied tersely, clenching his fists. The pounding in my ears was growing louder.
"Then we have to go after them!" I protested heatedly, frustration bubbling inside my veins. Clint nodded fervently.
"I agree, we've waited far too long here," he added, throwing his bow on his back. This time, Natasha spoke out.
"No! We have to stay here in case Loki sends a stealth group to attack us while we're divided," she retorted hotly, sending a short glare at Barton and me.
"But what if they need us?" I argued back at her.
"They can contact SHIELD if they are in serious danger, even if we can't, and Thor, Cap, and Tony, can handle themselves! We need to stay here to follow the plan!"
Bruce and Clint blinked owlishly at both me and Natasha, staring with fiery ferocity at each other.
You are a liability to them; if you were not here, they would be off saving their friends already, the voice I had grown accustomed to hearing whispered in my mind. She does not trust your presence. None of them do.
In an almost nauseating wave of energy, I felt a pulsating desperation grow in me, and I balled my fists.
"Fine!" I hissed, turning my back and walking towards the elevator. "I'll just go find Pepper and ask her how to contact Tony or SHIELD outside of the Tower!"
Loki grinned in the darkness of the tunnel.
"It's just about time now," he murmured, complacently watching the trio of Avengers as well as the scene in the Tower in his mind's eye.
Natasha put a firm hand on my shoulder, gripping tightly. I closed my eyes shut and held my fists firmly.
"Leave me alone!" I cried, shoving my right arm at her chest to push her away.
But it ended up being more powerful than that, surprising both of us. As soon as I pushed her, the super-spy went flying towards the two men. She landed on her feet, unharmed, of course, but her emerald eyes glared sharply.
I looked down at my hand and my eyes widened. The circular object bio-synchronized to my palm was glowing a bright blinding blue and similarly glowing marks akin to a high-tech crossword puzzle began snaking their way up my right arm.
"What the hell is that?" Clint rasped after a few seconds of silence. I gave a curt shrug and turned around to the elevator doors once more. Honestly, I just wanted to get out to Pepper-
"You can't go, you're being rash and dangerous with something you don't even know how to control! If Loki was standing outside right now do you honestly think you'd be of any assistance alone?"
Dammit Natasha. You really know how to hit where stuff hurts.
I told you, mortal.
Tears threatened to glimmer in my eyes as I looked to my feet. "Shut up," I whispered angrily. "I'm going and you can't stop me from helping Tony, Steve, and Thor."
I looked up and Natasha was standing in front of me. "Don't underestimate me," she muttered lowly. I glared at her, and in a slow motion move, she simultaneously gasped, and knocked me in the back of the head.
In the moments before everything went back, I fell to the floor, and in the reflection of the elevator, I was greeted by a pair of manic electric blue eyes that were not my own, that slowly faded to nothingness.
Iron Man was flying alongside a stolen SHIELD jet from Loki's base that carried Captain America, Thor, and Selvig with the portal generator. The group of men was flying as fast as possible back to New York.
"JARVIS, what's the status back at home base?" Tony inquired.
"Still offline, sir, but the security cameras are online now," the AI replied dutifully. Tony's brown eyes lit up.
"What's going on?"
"A SHIELD jet has landed on the deck and Agent Romanoff, Agent Barton, and Dr. Banner are going on it, with Miss Matthews in tow. It appears she is unconscious, sir."
"No," the metal-clad hero breathed, and he shot ahead supersonic.
In the blackness of my subconscious, I saw a green and gold wisp floating towards my awareness.
"What happened?" I heard my voice ask detachedly. "Where am I?" The wisp blinked.
"Why don't you open your eyes and find out?" it replied sweetly.
Drowsily, I attempted to lift the heavy weights that were my eyelids, and in doing so, a white light peeped through. This sudden change caused my eyes to open fully and I gaped in horror. I was strapped to a chair in a white sealed room, and I was alone. Abandoned.
They betrayed you.
And everything in my vision exploded.
AND SO IT BEGINS!
I dunno about you but I always thought that Loki's underground sewer base thing was in Europe like in France or something iddkkk and they just sent a jet over to Stark Tower. I actually tried to look it up but found nothing *shrug*
So, all of you lovely people, be kind and leave belated birthday presents of reviews! And if I don't post anything else between now and the 25th, I wish you all a Merry Christmas!
~DMRA, signing out!