This story references events that happened in Iron Man 3, and Thor 2, as well as events that are probably gonna happen in Captain America 2, at least when in pertains to the Winter Soldier himself. Happy reading.
A thin slit of light cut itself into the fabric of the night sky.
With a flourishing rotation, the slit became a shimmering oval that outshone the lights of the city just a few scant miles away. People who'd happened to be looking upwards at the time would later recall an enormous shooting standing still, or a distant supernova blinking its last parsecs away.
Neither of these things were the truth of course. Astronomers were baffled, tearing through their star charts and calculations trying to discern what it was that they'd missed.
What they'd missed was what everyone had missed.
The fact that the bright glowing oval had spat two humanoid figures out before flickering out into nothing.
Said figures were sent spiraling downwards, and hit the grassy hills of the surrounding countryside at meteoric speeds. Long grooves were carved into the ground, sending bits of rock and loose dirt flying in their wake, before settling into two middling sized craters that came within inches of intersecting. That was something that would confuse locals for the next several weeks.
A dented metal hand slowly reached out of a crater, clawing at the edges.
"Ugghh," the hand's owner grunted, letting the power of his armor's hydraulics do most of the work pulling him out. "Goddamn, that was trippy."
The inside of his helmet was alight with strange energy readings. Blips and beeps sounded indicating a number of system failures in both his wrist and ankle thrusters, that resulted in a cacophony of sound that made his ears numb. He wouldn't be taking flight for at least a couple of hours. And ever then it would be a tepid, weak spirited flight at best.
Flashes of electrical discharge sparked at the armored joints just beneath the gear insignia etched into the green-black metal of his shoulder.
Turns out dimension tearing portals that bent the very fabric of space, time, and possibility gave off just a little power surge. It was a miracle his suit hadn't been fried completely.
He glanced at the crater five feet from his.
"You alright in there, Emily?"
The reply came in the form of a grunt, and a pale skinned hand reaching out of the hole.
After the hand came the rest of her, a girl who looked no older than twelve, with a torso covered in silvery metallic plates that formed a breastplate. Dirt streaked her pale, porcelain skin, and smeared the golden locks that fell behind her in an elegant curtain held back by a silver headband, wings at the temples. Well, a not so elegant curtain now. Cuts and bruises marred her bare forearms. Each cut was a feat in an of itself. Not much was capable of piercing her skin. Nothing ordinary anyway.
"Did you slip into the realm of the mole-people on the way here?" asked the man in the iron-suit. "It was just a straight shot for me."
"Shut up, Harley," the girl groaned.
She rolled over on the ground, undoing the leather straps that held an enormous sword across the length of her back. Moonlight made the metal shimmer, catching hammer shaped smith's mark where the blade met the crossguard. Harley wondered for not the first time how someone so tiny handled such a large weapon. Apart from inhuman strength that is.
With a clink he removed his helmet and sank to the ground next to her. Sweat stained his dirty blonde hair.
Exhaustion was something both of them felt down to their bones. The past sixteen hours were a blurry haze of events, interspersed with cosmic battles raging across outer space, the destruction of entire planets at the hands of mad titans and Nazi's who'd been thought long dead. Armies of heroes scattering in all directions to contain the chaos.
Dying gods breathing their last.
Those hours hand ended with the pair of them being shoved through an experimental portal by their respective guardians, with just the haziest ideas of goals or possible repercussions their presence could have on the turning of the universe. Deep shit. Stuff neither of them pondered much if they could help it.
"Do you think he followed us?" Emily asked, pulling unruly hair out of her eyes. Her eyes were tried and half-lidded.
"Probably not himself," Harley answered. He opened a panel on his forearm, listings of energy outputs that matched that of their portal. "And if he did, it'll probably come out somewhere else. The procress should limit his exit site to earth, but where on earth, not so simple…..well shit." What followed was a series of furious taps at the screen before slamming the panel shut.
"Nothing?" she hadn't expected much. It hadn't been a day for good news.
"Nope. Scanners and thrusters are fried. If another portal does open, I can't find it or fly to it. Gonna need some time to fix em'. You good to be my generator?" It was an earnest, sympathetic question, one that irritated Emily to no end. People always treated her younger than she really was. Stupid interspecies genes.
"Yeah," she flexed her right hand, and lightning arced between fingertips. The runes on the back of her knuckles glowed with the influx of power.
"We need to get moving," Harley continued. "If the old man taught me anything, it's that Shield has an annoying as hell response time. They'll be on our asses in an hour or less."
"Could it be Phil who comes?"
A hopeful, if stupid question.
"Nah. If the date I have is right, at this point he's off on various shenanigans with his Scooby-team of misfits, hackers and would-be serial killers. It'd be someone we don't know. Gotta lay low for a while. Figure out our next move."
"Not a one. We have no idea who the purple douchebag sent after us, and we're a Delorean short of getting back home. No one here…now, knows us, and if we revealed ourselves they'd probably have us scheduled for a lobotomy before the week is out. Or if they're Tony, they'll cut me out of this suit and try to figure out how the hell I replicated it."
"They won't believe us?" Emily asked incredulously. A dull ache had started to grow in her temples, and her rubbing them only resulted in residual static from her fingers sending her hair into a frizzy seizure. "Isn't this the same team that fought off interdimensional aliens in New York, Dark elves, cryogenically preserved assassins, and talking raccoons with laser guns, and time travel is what they won't buy?"
"Don't think they've met old Coon's yet. And the other stuff….well, you've got a point. But we can't just go to them with this. We gotta think it through first."
Emily pondered this for a moment. One, Harley never thought things through. Being trained by Tony flippin' Stark usually resulted in reckless character traits. Parker was the same way, and just look what ended up happening to the Stacy girl. Going to her parents was what she wanted above all else. They'd believe her, given time. Dad could help them fight, and mom would help them think, maybe even help them make another portal when the time came. If it came.
And their presence would give her something she hadn't felt in forever. Safety. Harley wouldn't go for that though. And, admittedly, it was something they'd have to approach carefully.
"Could we go to you?"
"Me? I'm eleven in this time, Em. I'd believe it, probably, but I won't be able to help anything."
A silence fell between them. Emily felt a little ashamed at this. Strategically speaking, she was usually on top of the game. Now though, circumstances as they were…..what strategy was there other than to through things like spitballs at the wall and see what struck. There was no use in launching a magical glowing A into the sky as a sign for the team to assemble.
The team they knew wasn't here. Many of the hadn't even been recruited yet. Pietro and Wanda, Strange, Pym,
And, if they didn't kid themselves, probably didn't exist anymore.
She thought of going to her uncle, the source of the runes on her hand and the teaches that drove them. Another dumb idea. He didn't know her now, and was the least trusting person in any of the Nine Realms. On top of that, at the moment, he was sitting the Asgardian throne disguised as Odin.
That would be fun to explain to the Avengers, when they did eventually call on them for help.
"Do you think I can save them?"
Harley's question was quiet, just barely audible above the light wind that had started to weave it's wave around them, pulling up grass blades as it went.
Emily knew immediately what it meant. It was a reference to events that took place just a few months before her own birth.
Somewhere beneath his quiet expression, Harley's mind was in sudden turmoil. The images of a Tenessee town wreathed in flame dancing before his eyes like demons taking part in a taunting ballet. A living inferno of a man stepping down the street, roasting those who screamed in his wake. A woman and girl laying burnt at his cackling feet. A Dora the Explorer watch melting pink on a tiny wrist.
"Maybe…" she whispered back. If this was a new timeline, then yes, maybe they could be saved. "If we can find Killian…..that's not why we're here, Harley."
His head spun round to face her, gaze piercing.
He knew she was right. There was so much they could prevent. The rise of Ultron, that would be dealt with before too long either way, the return of the Skull and the skyrocketing power of mad moguls like Norman Osbourne….the deaths of friends and family members.
But all that was an aside, much as they wished it weren't.
What they were here for was a golden glove, and the six almighty stones that fueled it.
That was their plan for now. As rough and uncalculated as it was.
"I know," he said, voice raspy. "It's a thought, though."
With a hydraulic wheeze he stood up, replacing his helmet and checking the dozen or so data reads outs it was still running through.
"We need to get out of here now. They'll be here soon. Gotta find a spot where I can get to work on this. Too tired to fly us anywhere?"
She sighed, standing up and drawing her sword. In her hand, it stretched nearly the entire length of her body.
"I got it."
Taking hold of his elbow, she launched them both into the sky. Fatigue made his armor heavier than it'd usually be. It weighed roughly three to four tons, perhaps a fifth of her upper limit.
As soon as they left the ground, they stopped being Harley Keener and Emily Foster.
They started being Gear and Torunn.
Chapters after this should be much longer. This is just the prologue. Well, if people are interested.
Please review! Happy reading.