Hi everybody! *Looks around nervously* Sooooooo I'm not dead, and I'm here with (another) good reason why I haven't been able to update! My grandmother has recovered from her chemotherapy, but she can't be left alone anymore, so she's moving in with my family permanently! We lived in a tiny baby house at the time, so we had to sell our house and buy a new one. Let's just say that there were issues. Everything's ok now though, and hopefully I'll be able to start writing again. But in other news, here it is folks, the last part of A Heaven from Hell's Despair! This mostly focuses on how Bella coming to live with Tony has changed The Avenger's lives, and tying up any loose ends that I see. Enjoy!
Jarvis knew Sir better than anyone else in his life. More so than Ms. Potts, and more so than Col. Rhodes. Jarvis had been with his creator every day since his very creation, a feat that even Ms. Potts could not contend.
"Clint, would you please, maybe, you know, PUT ME DOWN?!" Princess yelled at Agent Barton, banging on his back in a futile effort to free herself. Barton had waited for Princess to return from lunch with Ms. Cassidy and Ms. Webber, promptly covering her mouth with his hand and hoisting her up over his shoulder without much ado. The archer just laughed, and zipped across the roof before Princess could see anything, and promptly dumped her in the pool. She immediately rose up, sputtering and attempting to blink the water out of her eyes.
Jarvis had been in the home of Anthony Stark for many, many years, and never before had he seen such life and joy within the walls of his home.
"What the hell Clint?" Ellie snapped, opening her eyes.
"SUPRISE!" Came the collective shout of the assembled Avengers. Ellie looked around in surprise, her eyes narrowing in confusion as she took in the decorative banner. 'Congratulations Iron Girl, Avengers agent 007!'
"What the hell?" She asked again, looking at him. Tony grinned.
"Congratulations Ellie, you're officially in." He said with a smile. Spangles went to pull her out of the pool, giving Hawkass a small glare. Ellie laughed and patted her buff blonde boyfriend on the shoulder, telling him that it was ok. She turned to face everyone.
"So I'm officially an Avenger?" She asked, looking up at the banner. "Why am I James Bond?" Everyone immediately looked up at the banner, and laughed.
"It's your rank number." Clint laughed. "You're the seventh Avenger. We didn't even notice!"
"I did." Tony cut in, sliding in front of his goddaughter with a glass in his hand. He handed it to her. "Vodka martini, shaken, not stirred." Ellie threw back her head and laughed. He grinned, pulling her in for a hug, not caring if he got wet. The Arc Reactor was waterproof after all. "Charlie would be proud of you Ellie, never doubt that." He whispered in her ear, fighting back the pain he felt thinking about his brother in everything but blood. "Isabella Swan has grown into the most amazing person. He did good." She looked up at him, eyes wet. She blinked heavily for a minute, before wiping her eyes and grinning at him.
"The name is Stark, Bella Stark."
Natasha knew better than anyone the perks of a solitary life. No one you endanger, no one you had to shield, no one to hold you back. She had been on her own for so long, for so many years. She had almost forgotten what it was like to simply be herself. Then one came along that saw right through all her pretense, one that had been sent to kill her. He made another call, and Natasha was suddenly not alone. She didn't know how to act around him at first, his strange nature puzzling and oddly hypnotic to her.
It wasn't until Budapest that she had felt the stirrings of something...strange. Something that she had never felt before. The very same feeling she felt in the presence of yet another brunette, this time a young teenage girl, a little too weak and meek for her liking, even now. Protectiveness, she knew it to be. Love, if she wasn't lying to herself. She loved the idiot birdbrain that had given her a new life, and she loved the bright young woman that had never treated her any differently.
They were different kinds of love, like they were different kinds of people. It didn't matter to Natasha though, she loved them both, and that was tragedy enough. Through them both she learned to care, led her to a team...a family. Maybe, she mused as she watched the two people she loved best get into a water battle. Maybe, just maybe, family was just as good as solitude.
Clint was as close to an open book as a superspy could get. He had secrets, and they weren't small, but he said what was on his mind, and didn't let what people thought get to him. Natasha liked him, he knew, even through her icy exterior. He could always see right through her. That was his gift. He was Hawkeye, he saw everything.
When Bella Swan first entered the tower, his gift kicked in again. There was a girl, and she was barely hanging on by a thread. She put on a brave face, and proved to be a grade A badass during the fight with The Cullens, but she was slowly but surely unraveling. No one deserved to go through what she did, and Clint had taken great pleasure in sticking an arrow up the ass of the bastard that had dared do this to an innocent person. Then he did what Hawkeye does best: He worked from a distance, and took out the bad guy. Except this time the bad guy was Bella's crippling pain, and his arrows were his own foolish behavior, and one Captain Rogers.
People always underestimated Clint. He put on a show, pulling pranks and acting silly, but they never thought about the fact that he was SHIELD trained in the art of espionage, second only to Tasha, who had seemingly been born with that gift. No one, not even Bella herself realized how much Clint had done for Bella in all those months. Or how attached to her he had become over that time. Long days he had spent, watching over her from the vents. Nights he would have done too, if that hadn't brought to mind the pathetic sparklepire she used to date. He had however hidden a baby monitor just above her bed, and was in her room in under a minute at the slightest sign of a nightmare. A few sleepless nights so she could rest, a timely arrival and joke to distract her from her grief, even a well placed hint to Steve that led him to initially seek Bella out, and keep spending time with her.
He knew Thor and Bruce equated her as a Sister and Daughter/Protegee, but he never wasted time truly labeling their relationship. She was a pest, he thought as she jumped on him and forced him into the water, but she was his pest. She was his charge, and he would protect her from the shadows, like he had been doing since day 1.
And if he lets it slip to Bella and Steve that he was responsible for their whole blooming relationship, years down the road when they're celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary, well, it'll certainly be one hell of a story to tell their kids.
Thor loved his family. His father, mother and brother. He loved them all passionately and would die for any without thinking. Yet for all his long, long life, his soul craved for more, calling out for somethings unknown. He thought he had found that in his beloved Lady Jane, with Erik Selvig and Darcy, but even when he was reunited with her, and with his true brother Loki, he still felt that a spark was missing.
He thought hard that night, wondering where he had felt a spark like that before. He remembered that battle against his brother, hating the fact that he had to fight against a loved one, but thrilling at the idea that he was fighting to protect people, engaging in a battle that truly had such a deep effect on these people. Midgard truly was a remarkable place. So he returned to the newer version of York, fixed from the Chitauri invasion. There he found peace, and later something more.
Frigga had lost the ability to have children over the millennia, something that had saddened Thor and Odin greatly. Thor had always longed for a younger sister. Someone soft and sweet to care for and keep strong. Loki had never appreciated being cared for in such a tender manner, and Sif was neither soft nor sweet.
Then one day, the man of Iron declared that someone was going to live with them, and that he was going to go and get her. The anticipation was thick between all of the Avengers. They had never seen the man so truly animated about something, even his machinery. When she arrived, everyone had been deeply surprised.
Subconsciously, they must have expected someone similar to Tony Stark, but had received quite the shock when they saw the fragile and broken -almost shattered really- Young woman that trailed behind the large presence of Stark.
From that very first day, seeing that shy young woman with the strength to face the Vampyres that had previously broken her, he knew that he had found the right one at last. The one to care for and protect, the one to keep strong. The one who currently was smiling mischievously as she crept up on Barton and jumped on his back, forcing him briefly under the water and cheering in victory.
His sister Bella.
When Bruce had been a young teenage boy, he had mistakenly impregnated his girlfriend. Mistake or not, he had loved his child, and the woman who carried his seed. The woman however, his Betty, had died giving birth to their little girl, and for many years, he had thought his little Angel had died along with her.
Then he became the Hulk, and Betty's father was chosen to hunt him down. That day still haunted his memories, even more so than that ill fated experiment that left him turning green. The day he found out that his Angel wasn't dead. Ross had put her up for adoption. He had killed Betty, Ross's beloved daughter, so Ross had taken away his in return.
He had looked for his daughter, he really did. He couldn't manage to truly find her though, and frankly, that was for the best. He didn't want to ruin his Angel's life, suddenly barging in, with the US Government after him, and the unfortunate ability to become a mean, green, smashing machine. Yes, best he stayed away. That didn't mean it didn't hurt though. Not at all.
When Bella had come into his life, her chocolatey hair and eyes had him flashing back to the brief second he had been able to hold his precious little girl. But this young girl's skin was lighter, her eyes less hazel. Still, it had him initially furious at the idea of what happened to her, thinking how easily that could have been his daughter, and he wouldn't even have been there to protect his Angel. The thought had him simultaneously wanting to Hulk out and destroy everything in sight, and to reach forward, to this girl who had just lost a father like he lost a daughter, and protect her from the world.
Bella Stark was not his daughter, and Bruce Banner was not her father, but they were what the other needed. For her a stable mentor, for him someone to care for, for both a tender and sympathetic ear.
Daughter or no, Bruce had gotten the family he had always craved. It might not be a wife, with a white picket fence and 2.5 children, but it was his, and for the first time Since Elizabeth "Betty" Ross died, he was content. And he had Isabella Stark to thank for that. Which he really should do sometime.
Maybe after she dried off.
As first dates go, his and Bella's first official date was nothing fancy. They went to a simple mom and pop restaurant that they both loved, and had went to go see the new Star Trek movie. Tony would probably tease them about going with such a stereotypical date theme, but this wasn't about flashy fireworks or wine that cost a hundred dollars a glass. This was about him and Bella, and frankly, that wasn't their style. Bella smiled at him as they walked back towards the tower His hair had been cropped into a different style, to get rid of the singed parts from the battle. He felt awkward, walking around in anything but his usual coif, but Bella had just smiled, and informed him that she liked it.
Bella. Within days of her arrival, she had become the highlight of life after the ice. They laughed freely together, and had no problems with silence. She was companionable, passionate, and utterly beautiful. He remembered fondly how she looked when she arrived. Overly skinny, small for her age, but full of courage and determination. She couldn't even make it across the smooth carpeting without stumbling and tripping, and from the beginning he was hit hard by the similarities they shared. Yes, there was an age difference, but it wasn't too severe, and she was an old soul.
She didn't even know the effect she had had, both on him and the team as a whole. Before Bella, the Avengers were slowly self destructing, fighting constantly and only really coming together on the battlefield. Bella had changed all that. Grudge matches between two heroes somehow became midnight pillowfights, harsh words replaced with familiar comfort and amusement. Out of chaos grew love. Bella could be a mutant disenchanted supershield, or Iron Girl, or a SHIELD agent. But to Steve, Bella's greatest superpower was, and always would be her heart.
And that made her the greatest hero of them all.
If you had told Loki Laufeyson a year ago that he would be living on Midgard, his relationship with his brother seemingly closer than ever, with the Stark family as close friends, and allied with the Avengers to protect a mortal girl that he had grown to admire and befriend, he would have laughed and congratulated you for such a wonderful joke, before blasting you to pieces. Yet that had happened, and more.
Here he stood, before the very same tower that he tried to conquer the world with, surrounded by the very people he had tried to destroy. He didn't have an army to back him this time, or a Mad Titan to please. Only a young little Vampyress, with a chip on her shoulder to match his own. Isabella and her Captain walked up to them, returning just in time from their evening together to see them off. Isabella hugged him, and Loki awkwardly hugged back, still adjusting to anyone other than his brother and mother doing that.
"You take care of yourself Loki." She told him. "And Elisabeth too. She needs someone." Loki nodded stoically.
"No harm shall come to her whilst she is under my protection, Isabella." He declared. Bella grinned and winked.
"I'm sure it won't."
She and Bella had know one another for over a year now, and Elisabeth still marveled at her friend's compassion. She turned and hugged her dear friend, almost her sister. Their hair tangled together again, almost the same shade. They had talked not long ago, finding some odd similarities between them. They both had the exact same hair color. They both were Disenchanted. Bella's middle name was Maria, Elisabeth's was Mary. According to Thor and Loki, their gifts were passed down genetically. It was very likely that they were related, albeit distantly.
"Blood calls to one another." Loki had told them. "It forms everyday life without one so much as realizing it. I was called to Edward because of our blood, and found Elisabeth through him. It's possible you were drawn to Forks because your blood was there."
"Everybody's related to everybody." Bella had sighed. "Next you'll be telling me that Clint's my long lost brother!"
"You take care of yourself Bella." Elisabeth had whispered. "You deserve a break, but you can't forget that there are still people out there that want to hurt you." She remembered a vision that she had, back when she was still Alice.
"He's back." Bella sobbed. "I can't believe it, this is just my luck. I never wanted to see him again, and he's back. It's official, the worst things in my life happen at parties."
Elisabeth didn't know what the future would bring, though she had a better idea than most. She knew that Bella and her new family could handle anything thrown at them. Her sister was in good hands. She thought happily as Steve welcomed Bella back into his arms with a feather light kiss.
And if her family couldn't protect Bella, which was doubtful, she was damn well sure they'd avenge her.
Wow, it's finally done! It's been such a crazy ride, and I want to thank every one of you for sticking by me through it all. This story has been my baby for well, years, and I'm almost sad to see it end. Not to worry though, There WILL be a sequel, which I will start working on as soon as I finish A Flash of Lightning. I'll be sure to post an AN here as soon as I have it up. Thanks again for reading my story!