Missed writing for this fandom. But I'll eventually get back to it. Especially AFTER Secret Wars. THAT should be an interesting outcome...
She hasn't been with the Avengers- the "real" ones- in a long time- not after she had returned from "the death". There's still too much bad blood between herself and them: Christine isn't an idiot. She knows that, on a certain level, she had agree to their plan, and yet, she can't help but resent her so-called friends- her own family even- for having faked her death, for having wiped her mind clear.
Mostly, though, she hates admitting she is mad with herself; when healed at the Siege of Asgard, she had been given access to a near immense power, only to lose it because of a man she wrongly trusted, and because of her mistake, Escatado was the one to remake the world as he saw fit, giving each of the bares of the artifacts, her bloodline included, new, false lives so that they wouldn't bother trying to get the old world back. To darken her soul, to try to make her connection to the Darkness Force – and his hold upon her- stronger, he had even made sure she crossed paths and destiny with the Son of Satan himself. It wasn't that she didn't love him- it's just that, it was a carefully constructed lie. Just like…
She shakes her head, her arms crossed, her back against the cold, white wall of the Mighty Avengers office; the others are already sitting in the meeting room listening to his words, but Chris has decided that if Rogers has something to tell her, it will be face-to-face: it's a form of respect for the "real" team, as she has kept herself out of troubles lately, and the only reason she is with them it's because they need a sponsor of sort.
(A bit like when she was with X-Force).
"Did you hear?" He asks her, stern; Steve is a far cry from the man who had given her just an year and half ago her costume, offering membership to the Avengers, and it's not because now he looks his age; it's his smile, that charming, mischievous grin he gave her when he pointed out it was a black version of Emma's costume- it's all gone. And she hates to admit it, but it's for a good reason.
"The door was open. Hard not to." She keeps her cool. She doesn't tell him she used her powers, because it would be a lie. She hasn't used them… in months. She doesn't trust her judgement, her abilities any longer. Besides, if she doesn't read people's minds, she'll never see what secrets they hide from her. she'll never be heartbroken again. (Maybe. Just maybe.)
For what seems a long time, they both remain in silence, until Chris- in her style- breaks it; deep down, she knows it's what Steve wants- even what he is expecting of her. After all, didn't Tony asked her to join him after the war just because he needed someone who would speak their own mind?
"I like the fact that you told Luke that you were with the Illuminati during the first incursion- but you forgot to mention that you didn't simply accepted an invite- you demanded entrance. You reformed them. And don't give any of that don't you dare crap you tried to sell Cage- if you had really wanted for them to not turn into monsters you would have said what was happening to all of us. Right from the start. Before they could erase your memory, too."
He doesn't say a word. He doesn't need to- after all, he knows that deep down she is right (and it was the reason he had asked her to be an Avenger, once upon a time).
"Christine, I'm going to take them down. All of them. I need you to decide which side are you on."
Her arms fall at her sides like dead weight, her smile tight, more like a grimace. She shakes her head, remembering that despite being old, the man in front of her is still Steve Rogers, Captain America, head of SHIELD- the man who has just asked her to hunt down her friends, her own family. Tenderness can't be part of the picture right now.
"I'm on the side I've always been as a Stark, Steve- my own. And if we… as we just have a few months left to live… I'm not going to spend them hunting down my beloved, no matter what they did."
"Not even Tony?" He asks her.
"What happened to Tony wasn't his fault- he has always been a futurist, a clever mind, and our father thought him that the end justifies the means, whatever the costs. And what he has become lately… can you really blame him? Or shouldn't you blame yourselves, you and your team? You knew that Wanda couldn't be trusted, that her powers had always been too strong to be controlled. And yet you keep allow her a spot on your team. And not because you want to keep an eye on her, but because you actually trust her with your lives."
He doesn't answer. He can't- because he would start arguing, and Steve Rogers want to believe he is right.
"Steve…" She says, her eyes on the ground, her right hand on his heart, her wrist adorned with a copy of her mother's bracelet. "I'm not going to join the Illuminati, nor you, because I can't help but believing that had we known, we could have joined forces, even maybe found a solution to keep postponing the end. You all kept this from us, took it in your hands to save the world, and for that, I can't forgive you. And if this is the end… there are better things to do with a few months left to live than fighting." She kisses him on the cheek like he was family, a lone tear marking the pale, delicate skin of her face. "Goodbye, Steve. Whatever happens, it's been good knowing you. I'll always be honored you, of all, asked me to be an avenger. I'll not forget it in the end."
Steve leaves and all she can do is looking at his retreating form, hugging herself, wondering if she is doing the right choices; she is still looking at the now empty entrance when Luke and Monica find her.
"When the time comes, when they'll ask you which side are you on… there's something you should tell them: you should remember them that they didn't try everything, something that it can't be tried any longer because it's too late: they didn't talk to the rest of us. Together we could have saved the world, but now, because of broken faith, we will never know." She pauses, and can't help but laughs, like she was a maniac. "And you know what's funny? You can tell them this… you can repeat this as many times as you like, but they'll never listen to you. They'll never fall from their thrones to walk our same path."
She looks at Monica, her eyes sad, and yet bright and somehow hopeful. "I'm not an idiot. I know you think I'm too close to them to be really a part of this team. So I'll make things easier for you all and leave on my own accord. And remember this: I trust you. Probably more than I ever trusted them all." Luke, strangely, hugs her, remembering the good times, remembering when he didn't trust her because of her own blood, her own name, and remembering every time she had showed him wrong by being there for his family and his friends. "Guys, I know there's a lot to do here, but if the world is really ending, there's something I should have done a long time ago that needs doing."
He ruffles her hair, and smiling, she leaves, asking Luke to tell the rest of the Might Avengers she is sorry, and to say hello from her to his beautiful family; she is sad, and yet hopeful, when she walks past the door.
Everything dies, after all: what matters is what you do with your time, and whom you spend it with. And if –since - the world is ending, there's only one place for her.
She better get ready to ask for forgiveness and to give some explanations.
A few days later.
She still has the key- which is not what is surprising. What is surprising is the fact that she is pretty sure that, were she to use it, it would open the damn door of the damn flat. Which is stupid and completely reckless on his side (or maybe terribly sweet- she hasn't decided yet).
And anyway, it's not like it matters: she isn't going to use the key. She'll knock on the door. If and when she'll find in her the strength (and courage) to; right now, she is walking back and forth in front of the door, consuming the floor, talking between herself trying to find the right words- and in any other circumstance she would have smiled, because she thinks it's such a Tony thing to do, and it's almost comical how much she resembles him despite not being his sister by blood and in name (and heart) only.
"Are you done yet? Because I'm starting to think that I should call the police- as only a stalker would behave like that." She stares at him when he opens the door, clad in his usual work clothes, one lifted eyebrow as to study her, and Pete Wisdom would smile, had things ended differently between them, because Chris looks like an idiot right now. "I've got cameras. You remember what they are, right?"
"Right." She whispers. Her expression doesn't change. She is so not ready for this. She should have thought better . She should have prepared a strategy. She is supposed to be a strategist after all; what the hell was she thinking, just because the world is ending?
"Breakfast?" He asks. Chris doesn't answer; she simply enter in his flat, following the only man she had probably been in love with in her whole life; she sits at the kitchen aisle, looking at him getting breakfast ready, still thinking about why she is here, and how she could explain herself; he probably has half an idea- he is Pete Wisdom, after all, director of MI:13 and British spy mastermind, as Steve used to call him.
(Besides, the world now knows that everything is dying and that they have only a few weeks left.)
"Listen, if this the "apology before you die tour", you don't have to, all right? We both messed things up pretty badly end it ended. It's ok, it happens. It was bloody awful and I hated, but it's no big deal any longer."
"I'm not here to apology. Sort of." She sighs, hating that she can't find the words and the questioning look he sends her; she misses their psychic bond, not having to tell- to explain- him anything. But, even if rusty, she is still a telepath- a damn powerful one, on top of that- so she takes his hand in her own, and shows him what had happened.
The curator finding her in the hospital, while she was dying, after the Siege of Asgard. Becoming an Avenger. Meeting the Curator once again, by chance, and the revelations about the nature of her new-found powers, her legacy of sort, and trusting him. And then… then, the artifacts, gathered together, and failing to save reality, and Escatado re-shaping the world as he saw fit, putting her on a crossing path with her former ally, Hellstorm, hoping that, in case she still had her "mystic" powers, he would darken her soul enough to bring her on the Darkness' side once and for all.
When she is finished, Pete smiles ta her- of a sad smile. "You think I didn't know? I knew Chris. We've always known. But I was waiting for you to make the first move."
"But…" she says as he cups her face.
"Even if Escatado had re-shaped reality, what he had made was real for all of us. You did love him. You were carrying his children. I couldn't come to you after such a loss. It had to be your decision. You had to take the first step." Again, he would add, but he doesn't; in their relationship, it has always been her to set the time-table.
She doesn't say a word. She simply allows herself to fall in his embrace once again.
The best – safest- place in the world.
The only one where she wants to be at the end of the world.
The final incursion. Less than an hour to live.
…Today is my honor to speak not just for our nation, but for our world. On this day we face a danger greater than any we had faced before. The situation is grim. Many would call it hopeless. And yet, I believe there's hope. I believe in the heroes who have saved the planet so often in the past. And I believe they can, and they will, do so again. I do not know what tomorrow may bring. But I know that tomorrow will come, and we will face it together. Thank you, and may God bless you all.
The U.S. President has just talked right before the whole world; previously, all leaders have talked to their own nation, the Queen and the Prime Minister included; everyone knows what's going on, but nobody is saying things for what they are: the end of the world.
Right now, on American soil, alternate-reality helicarriers are fighting their way in so that their own world would be the only survivor; the Networks are still broadcasting the images of the fight, and as she watches them from her bed, Chris wonders if it's worth it. People think they'll win, but she knows that, according to the data she hacked, there's no turning back; this isn't about stopping an incursion: even if they did- even if they become the monsters they didn't want to- the Universe will cease to exist no matter what, the Beyonders will make sure of it.
"You want to be there? A word and Excalibur will get you to the battlefield." She doesn't answer Pete's words; she simply allow herself to fall furthermore in his embrace, her head in the crock of his neck as she was a little baby looking for comfort. This isn't her fight, she isn't like Tony, she may saw that then end justifies the means as much as she wants, but she wants… she could never destroy an entire universe. It's not something she could live with.
"If this is it, I…"
"I know." He says, kissing her hair, hugging her with such a strength it hurts her, his fingertips burning, marking her skin as the rage and the feeling, the lack of hope activate his powers even if he doesn't fully want to.
"If we don't come to see tomorrow, I just want to tell you that…"
He silences her, the hot skin of his chest against her full, tender lips. "I know. But… if we do come to see tomorrow…. What about happily ever after? I don't care if I'm here and you are there. Just…."
She doesn't say a word. She simply kisses him as Pete slips a ring on her finger, and then sky outside their window turns orange and then…
Then, all is lost.
And only Battleword is left.