Disclaimer: Anything you recognize isn't mine, as always.
Sorry for the long wait, again. I am not too good at writing action-filled scenes, so bear with me. I hope you enjoy reading! BTW - Thank you guys so much for your continued support! I really appreciate every single review, follow/favorite and PM.
The newly engaged couple eventually rejoined their guests after thoroughly kissing the respective other to celebrate their new social status appropriately. Justin Hammer and Christine Everheart sadly had found a seat at their table, gossiping away. Neither Tony nor Amy paid much attention to them though. They were too wrapped up in their own little world for anything except absentminded quips delivered by sharp tongues. (Thus Tony actually allowed Hammer the chance to showcase something at his company's expo, despite it being a main rival of Stark Industries.)
Of course Pepper noticed, but refrained from commenting. She saw the small reassuring touches and secretive smiles and the genuine happiness practically oozing off of the two, so (in)correctly concluded that her friends weren't in some kind of major trouble right this moment.
Tony had acquired the best seats available for money, hoping Amy would find this event as interesting as he did. After all, an engineer's heart had to beat faster around so much wonderful machinery. (Even if said heart was powered by Palladium and an arc reactor, under an AI's 24/7 supervision.)
No matter how much his whole body hurt, Tony was determined to enjoy the beautiful weather, the race and his time with his newly-attained fiancée.
Amy sat beside her groom-to-be, boxed in by her bodyguards who had insisted on accompanying her to the race. The Healer thought that that might have to deal more with the good seats and less the actual job, but what did she know? (She could have been wrong in that assumption; considering the increasing Neo-Death Eater activities.)
Happy had practically forced his boss to take a special suitcase along, for some mysterious reason, when he heard they would be joining the crowd at the track 'for the extra thrill'. Then the chauffeur earnestly promised both of them to protect Pepper should she need it.
Amy would have loved to drive one of these cars herself, purely due to the incredible speed they achieved although she would have preferred a straighter track. However, the pregnant witch could have done without any of the smell of petrol, burnt rubber-tires and loud screeching. Instead she focused on snuggling into Tony, enjoying the feel of his wonderful muscles and his warmth around herself, while loyally cheering for Stark Industries' pilots whenever they were mentioned by the commentator or shown on the huge screen for the audience.
Maybe it was because of the impromptu proposal or the lingering pregnancy-fatigue, but Amy never expected one of the orange overall wearing security guards to lash out with crackling electric whips at the incoming racing cars - powered by his very own arc reactor, no less!
Instantly, her bodyguards stood, grabbing their concealed muggle weaponry and shielding the pregnant Healer from view while Tony quickly opened the aforementioned suitcase.
It literally contained one of his more advanced Iron Man suits. (Sometimes she really questioned his humor...)
"Better safe than sorry," seemed to be the motivation behind this contingency. For once.
Before Amy knew what happened, the huge screens displayed both Tony's and her face, including two of her bodyguards. She almost growled aloud at the incompetency of whomever directed the live-transmission of the race. He or she just painted a nice large target on their back.
Thank you so much, idiots!
Tony gave her a quick peck on the lips, before his golden face-plate closed and he took off, trying to contain the latest madman to cross their way.
Unfortunately, the magicals up in the bleachers couldn't escape by their preferred means, mainly due to the uncountable number of cameras currently directed at them and the panicking crowd surrounding them on all sides. So her bodyguards encircled her, Amy's small frame vanishing behind Alex's broad chest, all four of them sporting grim expressions whilst keeping their eyes on the situation on the asphalt.
Meanwhile the petite witch was going insane with worry. She could only sparsely see what was going on, but what she saw gave her enough material for a thousand nightmares.
Tony, now clad in his specialized traveling suit, faced off with Whips. The guy looked like an escaped Azkaban-convict - only better fed than Sirius in Amy's Third Year. His arc-reactor-apparatus-thing had literally burned through the orange overall's top, bits melting off or lazily hanging from his hips. Crazy Guy was tattooed even more than her godfather had been after over a decade in the most miserable place on earth. What exactly those inked images signified - to the maniac or in general - Amy couldn't decipher even if she had had the cool head to consider it.
So instead, the battle-hardened witch continued to memorize every little detail of the stranger who decided to seemingly randomly attack racing cars at full speed, valiantly blocking out the loud screams of hysterical people in the audience. He was tan, his bland hair streaked with whitish-gray and rather filthy-tangled.
However, Crazy Guy was either incredibly self-assured or suicidal to feel so at ease, so inexplicably calm, when decimating those expensive fast cars. He didn't seem to care that he could die or at the very least end up horribly maimed!
Tony struggled with the lunatic's sizzling whips who damaged his suit, destroying what Amy didn't doubt to be weeks worth of work. Her breath caught in her throat when she spotted one of the Maniac's whips wrapped around her new fiancé's neck, squeezing the life out of him.
'Oh, sweet Merlin, sweet, sweet Merlin, please don't let this be the death of him! Please, I'm begging you! My baby can't lose her Daddy, not like this!' ran through her shocked mind, overshadowing her brief flashback to Fred's death.
Something happened and Alex moved back in her line of sight, blocking it, so the international celebrity didn't know what happened next. She dimly heard screams of the weak-hearted, heard screeching brakes of more and more racing cars desperately skittering to a halt, heard the unmistakeable sound of something attacking metal.
It was killing Amy from the inside out not to be able to see.
To be sure of what was going on.
Desperately, the raven-haired witch tried to contain her anxious magic, not wishing to repeat her performance from last year with Stane. Losing control like that in front of countless people (especially cameras) would definitely be Not Good.
All of a sudden, the madman stared straight at her, their gazes locking. His eyes were a strange color, a hard, frosty dark brown, almost black, reminding her of Snape. Unlike those of her former professor, the stranger's gaze told of madness, of blind determination and blood-lust though.
A cold shiver ran down Amy's spine; despite her desensitizing training, despite almost a decade of staring in similar eyes of red color, despite everything that happened since the bloody Final Battle. And she read his intention in his maniacal eyes long before her brain processed the whole information she gleaned from just that short stare-off.
Tony used the split attention to free himself from the tightly squeezing grip around his throat, slowly gaining the upper hand again.
Simultaneously, Alex threw up a metal-and-plastic chair from the stands just in time to keep them from getting hit by the free whip. The piece of metal furniture was destroyed instantly after impact with the high voltage weapon, pieces flying everywhere.
Amy was nicked on the cheek by some of the sharp debris, nothing dramatic (she had had worse, after all) but still - it managed to get her blood boiling like only adrenaline and preparation for a good fight could.
Around them more and more people succumbed to their hysteria and panic, only worsening an already bad situation. Cars still screeched to a halt, this time of the police-variety.
Luckily, the ex-Seeker ducked in time to avoid getting hit by the second attack, but Alex's arm began to bleed fairly freely, having protected Marlee and Amy's open sides. His enchanted Kevlar vest and dragonhide-armor protected his skin enough to save it from being cut like warm butter.
Now the ravenette was really angry and frustrated, unable to fight back effectively thanks to the massive media coverage.
More debris flew through the air, into the insufficiently-protected audience, while Iron Man and Maniac tried to battle it out. The crackling electricity, the blasts from the Iron Man-suit repulsors - it was quickly becoming too much, combined with the heat and the relentless sun.
Suddenly Tony had Crazy Guy pinned to the ground, ripping out the other arc reactor. Amy didn't know how it happened or when exactly, neither did she particularly care.
The fight was over.
Thanking Merlin, the raven-haired witch heavily sat back down in her previously abandoned chair, feeling strangely lightheaded, hands clammy. Then her world faded into blackness.
Low voices murmured in the background when Amy slowly came to. She pretended be unconscious for as long as it took her to ascertain who was in the same room with her. Pepper, Tony, Lorene. French-speaking people, one of them sounding like Gabrielle Delacour whom she had greeted back at the hotel.
Lorene and Gabrielle jointly seemed to take on some sort of doctor, judging by the urgent note underlying their forcefully calm, polite tones. Tony had been fixed up already, apparently, because he sat next to her on the bed, gently holding her hand and generally ignoring the mayhem around them. Pepper tried to help the first two women, co-organizing the flight back.
"Welcome back in the land of the living and conscious," Tony whispered lowly, unwilling to attract attention to them just yet.
Amy sighed inwardly. Obviously, he had seen her pretending to sleep and actually sleeping too often to be fooled anymore. Sadly. "Have I mentioned how much I hate fussing people, hospitals and fainting? It's really annoying. Damn pregnancy-hormones," she grumbled under her breath, just barely audible.
Her fiancé chuckled, pressing a chaste kiss on her temple. His lips were slightly chapped, even split on one spot. "You've been out cold for fifteen minutes, then you were just unconscious."
"Is the baby okay?" Amy asked instantly, anxiously, finally having gathered all her wits around her.
The room quieted down considerably when she spoke, noticing her return to consciousness. It seemed as if everyone present focused on the world-renowned, raven-haired Healer.
"Ames, your baby is fine, but the doctors advise you to be even more careful than you already are," Gabrielle replied in her thick French accent instead of one of the Monacan doctors. They were obviously Muggles, proven by their white lab-coats and the absence of lime-green robes. And wands.
Although Gabrielle hadn't known about the pregnancy before, the blonde quarter-Veela didn't let on how she felt about it. Except showing her relief, of course, that the little girl was fine.
Profoundly relieved at hearing those reassuring words, Amy nodded her understanding, acquiescing to this immediately. She didn't want to lose her daughter.
Especially not now when Damocles' sword hung above Tony's head already.
Gabrielle seemed to sense something of that nature, sending her a warm, reassuring look. Lorene nodded shortly to confirm the former statement of the beautiful blonde beside her, further calming the raven-haired witch. Pepper smiled at the couple on the hospital-bed over the top of her phone, stopping her frantic tapping on the touch-screen for a second or two.
"You are both doing fine, Milady. Marlee didn't let you fall to the floor and you seated yourself just in time. It's perfectly normal for pregnant women to faint, especially in very stressful situations, as you no doubt recall. Add to that the warm weather," Lorene informed everyone in hearing range, keeping her voice and posture strictly professional, "it's a wonder you didn't faint before, Lady Potter-Black."
Upon hearing her formal name, several doctors froze before staring wide-eyed at the petite woman on the rather uncomfortable bed. Obviously they had recognized the name from somewhere.
Damn, Amy inwardly cursed.
"What happened? I mean after the fight was over?" she asked curiously, impatience stealing into her voice. "I saw how Tony ripped out the other guy's arc reactor, but not much of what followed then."
Pepper cleared her throat, appearing a little uncomfortable with looking at the witch for some strange reason. "Well... Your collapse was broadcasted live by some imbecile-"
"-which means everyone and their grandmother knows of it by now," the British Healer muttered darkly.
Tony grinned at her, his shark-like grin; not a particularly happy one in any case. "Something like that. It also kick-started not only new speculations about us, but also brought Stern back up. Apparently he now has gained some substantial support behind the scenes."
Sighing almost imperceptibly, the witch processed this fresh piece of information. Then she asked: "Who is the lunatic that actually started this whole mess?"
"He claims to be Anton Vanko's son, Ivan, a Russian judging by name, and he is out for revenge against the Stark family, but why is unclear at this point," Wes reported quietly, dutifully. "Right now he resides in a Monacan prison, awaiting his trial. It's a fairly good estimate to suspect he won't get away with what he did today - and attempted to do, ma'am."
"How is Alex?" Amy asked softly, worried for the quiet, dependable man whom had decidedly guarded the (in)famous witch with his own life only a few hours ago.
Wes smiled slightly, his eyes warming a few degrees as they regarded his boss. She truly did deserve their protection and respect, in his humble opinion. "He's already complaining about missing out on the next few days, but the doc's expecting a full recovery very soon."
The way he emphasized 'very soon' implied that Lorene had managed to get some magical medicine into the good man.
How unfair, Amy thought childishly and slightly pouted, that I can't expect the same treatment thanks to the undoubtedly increased media attention.
The messy-haired doctor knew there were good reasons for hiding herself in a cave, ten years ago. Why had she allowed Hermione and Ron to talk her out of that again?
Oh, yes. She wouldn't have finished her medical exams, never proving her worth beyond that of a weapon. Also, Amy probably would have killed herself from grief, losing the remainders of her (questionable) sanity.
So maybe that's why.
Besides, she did love Tony, her crazy genius with an equally huge hero complex. The young Healer couldn't wait to tell her family the good news! Especially now...