A.N.: Sorry! I got out of town for a couple of days, had no internet connection for the duration, and when I got back I deleted most of the notes for this chapter and rewrote everything because it didn't work anymore. Honestly, this story mutated so much from my first idea of it…
As usual, a big THANK YOU! to all of you who left a thought on the last chapter, even if it was to tell me I'm EVIL for doing that to Teddy. :)
Pairing: Harry/Loki – It's complicated
Beta: Un-betaed. See a glaring mistake? Let me know in the comment section. :D
Warning: action, violence, swearing and shit hitting the fan (it was about time, right?). Also I'm no good at writing action scenes… :(
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters are property of their respective owners. Everything else is the product of my imagination. Enjoy!
"Sir, Director Fury's signal is right beneath us," Jarvis signaled as Tony reduced the speed of his flight.
"I don't see him," Tony hovered on air checking his visuals, "wait, there he is," and with a thunk he landed right where Nick Fury was doing his best impersonation of a sitting statue. Approaching carefully, Tony raised his mask and crouched in front of the man, "Nick?" Tony waved a hand in front of him and when that got him no reaction, he reached out a grasped on shoulder while instructing his AI, "Jarvis, check for…" just as Nick Fury suddenly took a deep breath and reached for his gun.
"Whoa, Nick!" Tony was immediately on guard, mask slipping on automatically, "I'm not the enemy!"
"Iron Man, stand on guard!" Nick Fury said, rising up a bit wobbly and immediately taking cover behind a big boulder.
"Against what?" Tony gestured to the big expanse of rock and ice surrounding them that seemed completely devoid of life, when suddenly there was a crackling sound as loud as thunder, while flashes of electricity started to run up an invisible wall, and the side of a mountain was no longer empty but housing a big grey fortress adorned with an impressive and incredibly ugly Hydra sign.
"Guys?" Tony called on the comm, his voice going a bit strained, "you'd better hurry up, cause I think I've just found out Hydra's HQ," he said and then he took cover just as several hidden doors opened up on the sides of the building and cannon fire started to rain on his location.
"Son of a bitch!" Tony swore with feeling, while dodging the air strikes and frantically searching for Director Fury, only to note with surprise that there was a perfect circle around the Director where no missiles were falling, while the ground inside shone with runes that were slowly fizzling out just as more and more bullets went that way. Judging that the spy was secure for another minute, and wasn't that interesting? Tony started to return fire, flying around the fortress and aiming at the cannons. He only managed to blow up two of them, and was actively firing at the third one when four large doors opened at ground level and several armored vehicles poured out, while behind them countless foot soldiers came in combat formation and began to fire at him.
Several lights blinked worrisomely in his HUD as bullets scratched his armor despite his speed, and he was already thinking of drastic plans, when a large thunderbolt exploded the lead armored Hydra car scattering the others following it.
"You called for help?" Thor asked, descending from the clouds and throwing himself into battle with relish.
"Yeah, what took you so long?" Tony asked, exploding another vehicle and the somersaulting away from the returned fire.
"Traffic," dead-panned Natasha from behind the controls of the Stark Jet, just as she started a salvo on the nearest group of Hydra soldiers.
As the others Avengers jumped off and started to fight, Tony felt the usual excitement as he began to weave his own special brand of destruction.
The sound of distant explosions permeated the thick walls of the experimental and research area, causing the scientists inside to exchange nervous glances while they worked on their computers. Several of them were standing at the edge of their seat, seemly ready to bolt, but too afraid to act as Dr. Zola was right in the middle of the room, manipulating several strings of data on the floating screens surrounding him.
A blinking dot caught his attention, and when he enlarged it, the head of security wasted no time to announce with a strained voice, "Sir, the Avengers are pushing our troops back!"
"How much longer before they breach security?" Dr. Zola asked frowning, already tapping commands on his data screens. The technology stolen from Stark Tech was moving impeccably, giving him the answers as soon as he inputted the questions.
"Five minutes," The commander said with a grim voice just as a large explosion rocked the fortress.
"More than enough," Dr. Zola replied calmly while entering the final data and closing his work windows, "Start the Invincible Protocol, raise the beacon and have the Enchantress guard it."
"They will never know what hit them," The head of security said looking relieved, just as Zola terminated the transmission.
"But Sir," one of the doctors intervened, ignoring the warning looks given to him by his colleague, "even with the serum injected in the soldiers, the rate of success for abilities transfer is only 69%. And four test subjects died during the last grand scale experiment," by now his voice was wavering as he realized that all the scientists were actively avoiding to look at him.
"Security, remove him from the perimeter," Dr. Zola called and two soldiers immediately grabbed the hapless man and dragged him outside.
"Any other objections?" Dr. Zola addressed to the room, and when no one responded, he continued, "Good, now initiate the Invincible Protocol."
They were slowly making their way through the Hydra soldiers, as more of them fell down and didn't get back, when with a loud ramble, panels started to shift on the central tower of the fortress until a huge orange glowing crystal became visible. Energy lines came alive at its base and the structure began to pulse with light.
"What do you think is that?" Captain America asked while he frisbeed three Hydra soldiers with his shield and delivered a punch to a forth one.
"I don't know, but we need to destroy it," quipped Hawkeye while aiming and releasing an exploding arrow that took down two Hydra soldiers. Only that unlike before, they didn't stay down as something orange started to glow on their collar as well, and suddenly they were up and running as if they didn't have any injury. "Guys? I think we have a problem!" he managed to say just as he released another exploding arrow that only managed to slow them down a little, when it should have taken them out of the fight.
"Hulk, SMASH!" roared the green giant jumping in the air and aiming his clenched fists on the structure, only to be stopped mid-air by a invisible shield that trapped him and scorched his skin. "I'm afraid I can't have you interfere," the Enchantress appeared from thin air in front of them, standing guard for the structure behind her. On her neck a giant orange stone pulsed with light as well.
Harry sighed with relief when the shield that she'd drawn around Nick Fury fulfilled its purpose, and seeing that both him and Iron Man seemed to manage at the moment, she apparated near the entrance of one of the great doors from where soldiers were coming out. Spying a break in their numbers, she ran inside with the invisibility cloak protecting her from enemy eyes until she found a relatively quiet corner where she took out her wand and whispered, "Point me, Teddy."
For a second the wand seemed undecided, switching between two very different directions, but then it settled on a corridor to her left. With a growing feeling of urgency, she went down on it, stupefying any soldiers she'd come across. She stopped periodically to check her wand, when suddenly an alarm started to sound and all around her steel doors started to seal up the corridors. Completely worried now, she started to run, squeezing between a few doors but stopping just as another one closed right in front of her. Punching the password she'd received from the dead agent took her behind several more doors, until she was in front of a big steel one guarded by several soldiers.
Something told her she was as close as possible to her destination, so Harry didn't hesitate. With a few well placed stunners and a slicer spell, she had them all unconscious on the floor. The door didn't respond to her attempts on opening it, so she gathered her magic and blasted it open. With guarded moves, she passed the torn remains and entered a big room filled with capsules connected to a grid of cables glowing with pulsing orange light. All the cables came together on the ceiling of the room feeding what looked like the base of a giant orange crystal that went much further than the room's ceiling.
She looked on for a moment without understanding what she was seeing, just as the urgency she had been feeling transformed into dread. With a shaking hand she called out once more for the pointing spell, and for once the wand firmly pointed to the back of the room.
"Teddy! No!" Harry cried as she spied his limp body inside one of the pods and for one panicked moment she forgot all about magic as he tried to pry the lid off the capsule. When the lid didn't even move an inch, she banged her fists on it, frustration overwhelming her for a second. The pain from her hand, as the wand she was still handling dug into the fleshy part of her palm, woke her up and made her realize how stupid she was being and with a furious "Evanesco" she vanished the lid.
One more swish, and the IV's feeding Teddy drugs were gone as well, and shaking from all the pent-up emotions she was carrying, Harry lifted him up from the pod and gathered him close while whispering frantically. "Teddy, wake up, baby! Please wake up!"
In her arms, Teddy stirred a little, and what Harry couldn't see as she clutched him tight to her chest was the lupine glow of his eyes, just as fingernails started to turn into claws.
A.N.: Hopefully, I will manage one more update this week, before going on longer holiday trip starting on Friday. If not, next Tuesday looks like a the date for it. Wish me luck and inspiration! :D