In a single, typical day, thousands of search queries filter through JARVIS’s security system, half of which, the AI is certain, is due to a certain Mister Barton who carries a compulsion to Google nearly anything and everything. It is rare that JARVIS dwells on any of them, unless they have been specifically flagged before. There are almost always more pressing issues to attend to.
It is on a Thursday afternoon that JARVIS catches one in particular: how to ask someone on a date. JARVIS immediately drops his current queue of actions (because Mister Barton certainly knows how to microwave popcorn after approximately two million loaded search results) and follows the query to…
Mister Rogers’s tablet? JARVIS detects him sitting the lounge. Ah.
JARVIS has this search query flagged after Sir, once very drunk with a contact list of very single Hollywood stars, performed the search and decided that the best way to ask a question was loudly and boldly, for all to see. (In other words, attempting to replace the letters STARK with HEY ANGELINA SEVEN PM TOMORROW? It was, by all of JARVIS’s classifications, a horrid idea, not only because the tower did not have the circumference to fit so many letters, but also because Sir nearly succumbed to the eighty-nine-point-three percent chance of plummeting to his death.)
Luckily, he finds Mister Rogers not inebriated. He detects a thirty-point-one percent increase in the man’s heart rate and one of his nervous tics, tapping his foot against the floor, but Mister Rogers otherwise appears to be in a clear state of mind. In fact, he is staring very intently at the screen.
I just like the universe where Steve and Chris exist together
You hadn’t been much for social media until you started
working with the Avengers as their publicity manager, finding that it was a
necessity to be able to do your job as well as to monitor what talk about the
team had been happening in the world around them. Steve had taken to it fairly quickly once
Sam pushed him into getting a few accounts, none the more troublesome for you
than his Twitter account. Freedom of
speech is one thing; but when Steve got on a hot topic that he was passionate
about, it wasn’t uncommon for you to have to step in and shut him down.
SLAMS TABLET DOWN I AM DONE ONE ORDER OF NOYAHINA COMIN RIGHT UP
MERRY CHRISTMAS @parasite-ghost U HUGE MEME i think this took me… at most 10+ hours to do… from start to finish holy sh ti but bruh it was worth every hour and minute and second >w0/ i hope you like it!!
Chapter 68: We’ve All Been Through Terrible Things
NYC BANK IN RUINS. DAMAGES POINT TO QUAKE.
Chaos ensues at one of the Upper East Side’s most prestigious banks late last night. A witness claims to have seen the inhuman vigilante identified as “Quake” literally flying from the scene.
“Wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see it with my own eyes,” Dexter Vorheese, 43 years old, said. “She blasted off from the ground like a…”
Fitz slammed his tablet down in disgust. He knew Coulson and Mack were probably there, close to finding her. But if these past few weeks were any indicator, she was sure to evade them yet again.
He felt a hand and then fingers gently prying his off the tablet. “This won’t help them find her any faster,” Jemma said.
She leaned into him a bit more. “I miss her too.”
Fitz shook his head. “I just don’t understand why she’s doing this. Causing this much hurt, and for what? To make a little easy money?”
“You don’t really believe that.”
“Yeah, and I didn’t believe she’d just take off and leave us either.”
“Okay, I know she’s grieving, and Lincoln was her whole world, but I…”
He didn’t finish his thought.
But he supposed that she knew him well enough to understand anyway.
“I think…” Jemma broke the silence minutes later. “I think it’s more than that.”
Fitz nodded, lifting himself up fully from where he was leaning on the counter, and crossed his arms, opting to put a small amount of distance between them by leaning against the sink instead.
“You’re taking her side then,” he muttered.
Jemma whipped around to face him. “How can you even– Fitz, I’m as hurt and furious by this as you are.”
“Then why are you trying to make excuses for her?”
“But you just–”
“Can you let me talk? Can you do that before you go around, making wild accusations that I–”
“Yeah,” Fitz said sheepishly. “Sorry.”
He stepped back over to her and reached for her hand.
Jemma still seemed annoyed, but she didn’t take her hand away.
Fitz counted that as a good sign.
“As I was saying… I think it’s more than just losing Lincoln for her. It’s self-inflicted penance.”
Fitz raised his eyebrows. “Through robbing banks?”
“How many good deeds pop up after she strikes? She robbed one bank, and the hospital the next town over received a very generous anonymous donation. She pursued a drug cartel, and an inner-city school was granted enough of a stipend to create a STEM program.“
“I just don’t get why she’d go it alone. Leave with no warning. And then terminate off all modes of communication.”
“She’s atoning for Lincoln’s sacrifice. Atonement is a very lonely thing to go through.”
Pairing: Spider-man x reader, Peter Parker x reader
Summary: You are one of the Avengers hiding in Wakanda. Being the youngest and the only one with a secret identity, you are sent to New York to be undercover in Queens. You’re supposed to be focused on the mission- but then a distraction pops into your life. Well- more like swings.
Natasha ran into the briefing room, face set in an urgent line.
She slammed down a tablet and hooked it up to the projector.
“Where’s the fire Nat? You seem pretty focused.”
“Well Sam, it’s urgent.” Natasha moved to the back of the room, facing the table filled with the other Avengers.
“(F/n) needs help picking a dress.” Nat said with the utmost seriousness on her face. All of the others looked at each other.
“Romanoff, I thought you said this was urgent.”
“Steve, since we are all her legal guardians; I’m pretty sure it’s our duty to help her pick out a dress for her first date.”
“A date?” Bucky exclaimed, almost choking on the granola bar he was eating. Natasha made a face, hitting the side of her head.
“Ah- yeah sorry. I forgot to tell you guys that part. (F/n) got a date, and they’re going to a dance together.” Bucky’s eyes were wide and confused as he looked at Steve.
“She’s three years old.” Bucky whispered, looking like he had seen death. Sam coughed across the table, trying to hold back laughter.
Bucky glared at him, daring Sam to saying anything.
“Anyways…” Natasha said and pressed a button on the her portable screen, turning on the projector.
A larger than life picture of Scott appeared on the projector, making everyone in the room momentarily flinch at the view up his nose.
“Oh. Hey guys.”
“Scott- the camera.” Clint said, squinting as he averted his eyes.
“Yup- I got it.” Scott said and turned the computer. He was sitting in a lounge chair in a small waiting room. Cassie popped up from where she had been sitting and ran over to the camera.
“Oooo! Are those your friends?” She asked, toothless smile displayed on the projector.
“Yeah sweetheart. Do you wanna wave at the camera and then sit down? I think I hear (F/n) coming.” Cassie nodded up at her Dad and then waved, small hand having a seizure.
“Thanks for helping my Daddy out of jail!” She yelled. Scott quickly covered her mouth, and laughed awkwardly.
Thankfully you had just walked into the room, holding a stack of dresses. You looked down at the camera and waved- and then slowly lowered your hand as your eyebrows furrowed.
“There is a lot more people on the screen then there was a second ago.” You said and looked awkwardly to the side, shifting the dresses in your grip.
“Well, I decided that everyone should help pick out your dress. Every opinion counts.”
You nodded slowly, still eyeing the camera and all the expectant watchers on the other side.
“Okay well- I think I need something that matches my uniform.” You murmured.
“Try the green one.” Bucky said. You looked down and shrugged, deciding to take up the request. Once inside the changing room, you heard muffled voices from outside,
“Buck, that dress looked terrible.”
“The- why did you tell her to put it on?” Steve asked, confused.
“Then she won’t appear as attractive to that kid she’s going with.” Bucky explained, seeming surprised no one had understood. Natasha rolled her eyes.
“Listen- I don’t know if you remember your first date, but this is pretty important.” Nat reasoned. Everyone nodded, finding since they had nothing else to do, that this logic worked.
Bucky folded his arms and pouted.
You stood in the changing room, listening quietly.
You missed them.
But you didn’t want to leave either.
You rubbed your bare arm and eyed the green dress hanging in front of you, grimacing.
It really did look pretty bad.
You scowled and dragged your hand down the material, eyebrows furrowed. You made up your mind and kicked away the shorts that were hanging around your heels. The green dress was pushed aside instead of worn. You looked at another dress- longer and pale pink. You shrugged and slipped it on, the silky inside rubbing against your bare skin. You reached back and pulled on the zipper, silently listening to the quiet sound of the zipper track. You untucked your hair, strands falling across your right shoulder.
Looking up- you didn’t feel right.
You looked great- the dress was flattering. This easily could’ve been the dress for you.
But seeing yourself standing in the mirror- something was off. You shifted your hips, and the dress followed, fabric rippling.
You looked out of place.
The typical way you dressed and acted didn’t match this dress. Your arms and shoulders seemed sharp and muscled- they were covered with light colored scars.
Your face was absent of makeup, the scar curling across your cheekbone highlighting your uncomfortable feelings.
Taking a deep breath, you bottled up your wandering thoughts and turned to the door.
You shuffled out, long dress constricting your strides.
A small gasp came from the floor, Cassie leapt up and stared at you with wide eyes.
“You look like a princess!” She squealed, running over to you and clutching the front of your dress. You smiled down at her, chest constricting.
Scout nodded, seeming surprised and impressed.
“Where’s the green dress?” Bucky asked.
You rolled your eyes, and placed a hand on your hip.
“Listen Bucky, I get your concern, but I will not wear that dress if everyone thinks it ugly.” You stated, holding back a laugh as Bucky’s eyes widened.
“You heard that?”
“Oh yeah. You guys are crazy loud.” Scott said and nodded, still holding the computer on his lap. Bucky groaned and put his head in hand, which was leaning on the table. This only made you smile wider, the tightness in your chest slightly abiding.
Bucky seemed tough on the outside and he could kill you if he wanted- but in reality he was just a big softy.
“Anyway, I saw this dress next. What do you guys think?”
“It looks like you’re made of cotton candy.” Wanda said, unapologetically. You looked down, seeing what she said. You tilted your head, and shrugged your shoulders.
“Yeah… I don’t feel very comfortable.” You admitted. Sam scoffed and patted the table.
“I’m relieved that you think that- your sleeves look like they’ve been thrown up by the eighties.”
“Really? I liked the sleeves.” Steve said.
Natasha rolled her eyes.
“Maybe you want to try another dress?” She asked. You nodded, seeing that no one could agree.
“Really- what’s wrong with the sleeves?”
Next dress: Red and short, with no sleeves and a dipping neckline..
They all told you it was too revealing for your age. (Steve and Bucky felt this especially- their faces had said everything)
Dress 3: Pale yellow.
Way too short. If you bent over you could have revealed your underwear- and that wasn’t something you were ready to fight in.
Definitely not- Clint wouldn’t stop laughing.
Bright green dress?
You groaned, seeing that you were out of dresses to try on. You walked back into the sitting room, large baggy t-shirt covering everything.
“I’m out of dresses.” You said defeatedly. The tight feeling in your chest was beginning to creep back in, suffocating you.
“Well, you should probably get some more- none of the ones you’ve tried on so far are good enough for you.” Natasha said shortly, leaning on the table with her elbows. You nodded slowly, trying to ignore the feeling in your chest.
You walked away, bare feet padding softly across the cheap carpet. You strode out into the isles of dresses, not noticing the stares people gave you. If you had been paying attention, you would have noticed how you were dressed and slipped pants on. But at the moment your mind wasn’t in it.
You walked, hand dragging across multiple dresses. None of them felt like you.
Who were you anyway?
This thought stopped you in your tracks, hand snagging onto a dark black dress and squeezing.
You were F/n.
You had been grown in a tube- by Hydra.
You were a science experiment with no real memories or family.
You weren’t a real person.
You sucked in a shallow breath and clenched your eyes shut.
A long line of text ran under your eyelids, telling you that your heart rate was at insane pace. You ignored the notification and blinked it away, department store lighting now taking it’s turn to cloud your line of sight. You stumbled, hand immediately going to the metal rack.
You tripped, feeling yourself going down.
Someone caught you.
You grunted, head hitting a fabric covered shoulder.
“Hey come on kid- get up.” You blinked hazily, hands fumbling to find something to hang onto.
“Tony?” You asked, head swimming as you looked up.
Your vision swam with text as you tried to look up at the person who had kept you from falling.
“Yeah- it’s me. Here, lets sit you down…” Tony strained as he shifted your body of muscle and metal, sitting you down against on of the racks. Your back sunk into the fabric of a dress, the folds curling around your body.
“You okay?” He asked, voice barely above a whisper.
You made a face, feeling guilty and ashamed that your wandering thoughts had drove you to an overload.
“I had a small meltdown.” You muttered, words feeling warped coming off your heavy tongue. You felt Tony pat your shoulder after a moment.
“Do want me to fix it?” He asked, voice warbling in and out of your audio receptors. You nodded shakily, just wanted this to be over.
You bent your head, exposing your neck. You heard the panel on the back of your neck popping open. Tony made a disapproving noise with his mouth.
“Did you get some water in here?”
“Yeah.” You replied. Tony made a face and pulled out a small instrument from his pocket, poking around at the wiring.
“Have you talked to anyone about what caused you to overload?” You grimaced, dreading having to answer his question.
Your meltdowns happened when you overloaded. You brain worked too hard, and your tech side couldn’t keep up with all the emotion. It was like having a panic attack. One side of your brain would shut down, and then the rest of you was left alone, with no idea how to function.
“No. I haven’t talked to anyone.” You muttered.
Tony made a frustrated noise, and tugged a little too hard on one of the wires in your head. You muffled a yelp, and tensed slightly.
“Sorry (F/n). But you can’t- you know you need to talk about this stuff.”
“And you do?” You snapped, feeling less groggy.
“(F/n). You know are situations are different. You could go into a coma again.”
“It was a short coma.” You muttered.
“It was still a coma!” Tony hissed. You pouted- knowing that Tony was right.
“It’s just complicated.”
“Well try to make it a little less complicated. We don’t have much time.” You furrowed your eyebrows, wondering what Tony meant.
But telling him was easier than you made it out to be.
It always had been.
Tony kinda knew what you were going through- and you had an idea of what he felt sometimes.
It wasn’t perfect, but it was enough that both of you could get things off each others chest’s without the other prying too much.
Choosing a different side during the accords- it had been hard.
You took a deep breath, deciding not to dwell on those things.
“Tony, I’m in Queen’s for a mission. After that I’m leaving. It’s too big of a danger.”
“Okay… go on kid.”
“I shouldn’t have gotten attached. I’m not supposed to. I’ve known this the entire time. But… um- Peter and I-”
“You guys kissed?”
“Yes.” You whispered, feeling guilty saying it out loud.
“Huh. I guess I should have seen it coming. He talked about you a lot… You know when we were talking about his grant and all.” Tony caught himself, realizing it would have been weird that he saw Peter often.
“Tony- I know he’s Spider-man.”
“Oh. Okay, I guess that makes things easier… Wait- does he know…”
“No. That’s the problem. I really like him and-”
“He doesn’t know that you’re leaving.” You nodded, feeling the panel shut tight. You sat up, popping your neck. Tony sat on your right, sitting next to you in an unassuming red sweatshirt and jeans. He stared out in front of himself, neither of you speaking.
“You could just stay.” He offered, throwing up his hands. You blinked, turning to look at him.
It seemed so easy- so simple. Thoughts flashed across your eyes, so many emotions packed into a brief moment.
“Yeah. I guess I could… Crap. No. I can’t. They know Scott’s identity- even now we’re being very careful. Staying longer with him posing as my Dad…” You trailed off, hating that this spur of the moment idea had to be squashed.
“What about staying with me? I did tell the Parker’s I was your uncle.” You looked up at him, smiling- and then back to frowning.
“You would have to convince Steve. And all the others.” You grumbled, feeling trapped.
“Well, that’s something to figure out later… Maybe you could just take Peter with you? To wherever you guys are hiding. Put him in a bag and run away.”
“I’m kidding. Anyway, I’ll give you this so you can get back to Ant-guy and the munchkin.” You looked at him, eyebrows furrowed.
“What do you mean?..” You trailed off, seeing Tony pull something out from his sweatshirt.
“Well as I have said, Peter will not shut up about you. So, of course he told me about going to that dance. But I figured there was another motive behind it…” Tony tossed you what he had brought.
A beautiful, deep blue dress.
Your eyes lit up and you unrolled it. The dress was floor length, and slightly darker than royal blue. The solid blue fabric cut off at the top, a heart shaped neckline giving way to lace. The lace was silver and traced it’s way from the neck to the end of the long sleeves. The undertone of the sleeves was a simmering, sheer blue. This pattern emerged again in the skirt, poking out from under the deep blue top layer. You stared, hands ghosting over the fabric.
“I didn’t get you shoes, but you can figure that out. But check out the ends of the sleeves.”
You picked up one of the silver-laced sleeves, realizing something.
“They have slits for my weapons?” You asked.
“Sure. You don’t want to tear up that dress/ uniform do you?” Tony asked as he stood up. You looked up at him, a questioning look on your face.
“Wait Tony-” you stood up, looking him in the eyes. You felt all of the old anger you were harboring melt away. Tony made mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes.
You leapt forward and hugged him, arms wrapping around your friend. Tony stiffened, arms shifting under your embrace.
“I understand your decisions Tony. I’m sorry we can’t all agree.. I kinda miss you.” You whispered. You felt Tony slacken, and then the light feeling of someone patting your back.
“I miss you too kiddo.”
You watched Tony leave, relieved he had bought the old reason for your overload.
Because what had just happened- it wasn’t so easily helped.
Despite Cassie’s protests, you didn’t let her do your makeup.
Not knowing how to actually apply the makeup, you got on youtube and looked up a tutorial. It ended up being easier than you thought. You applied mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, blush, and lip gloss. Beyond that you weren’t sure what else to do.
Hair was easier.
You braided your hair, and then wrapped it into a bun. You left some strands out to frame your face- you felt like it made you seem more like yourself. You slipped on the silver flats you had bought and then headed for your bedroom door.
You almost forgot- you had to bring your mask. You scowled and turned back to your bed, grabbing the large purse that held much more than gum and money.
Once out the door, you let out a sigh of relief.
This would be fun- you were going to enjoy yourself.
Maybe Kraven would decide not to show up?
Your thoughts were interrupted with a loud click and flashing lights. You blinked rapidly and stumbled back, hands up.
“Oops- sorry (F/n). I had the flash on.” Instead of Scott, May Parker stood near one of the couches and had snapped a few pictures when you had walked from out of the hallway. You blinked, white spots fading.
“It’s okay… Wait. If you’re here-”
“Peter should be here too. Yeah. Actually, he forgot to buy a corsage. He’ll be here in a couple minutes.” Aunt May told you, smiling apologetically. You nodded, honestly relieved that Peter hadn’t seen you get blindsided by a camera.
About ten minutes later, Peter bursts through the door, hair a mess. His cheeks were flushed red, making him look like he had just ran a marathon.
You cocked an eyebrow at him when he saw you. Peter stopped, eyes wide as he looked at back at you. You smiled, looking at him over Aunt May’s shoulder.
“Peter! Finally- what took you so long?” May exclaimed, gesturing at you. “(F/n) has been ready for twenty minutes now!” Peter managed to drag his eyes away from you and focus on his Aunt.
“I’m sorry May- there was a long line.”
“So long of a line that you’re this late?” She asked, skeptical. Peter’s eyes darted to you and he nodded.
“Yeah. So we gotta go. Wouldn’t want to be late right?” Peter asked as he grabbed your wrist and pulled you away.
“Make sure to call me when you’re heading home Peter! You two have fun!”
You were both out the door before you could reply. You looked at Peter, your face now as flushed as his was.
“Late because of a corsage?” You asked, eyebrows cocked, as you reached up and smoothed down his hair.
“I guess you caught me then. There were some guys holding up a drugstore.” Peter told you, worried how you would reply. You looked at him and smiled.
“That is a much better excuse then forgetting your corsage.”
You don’t know what you expected.
But it definitely wasn’t this.
Once you stepped into the gym, your heart plummeted.
It was dark, the only light coming from phones and the strobe lights flashing from above. The overall atmosphere of the room was magenta, with balloons littering the floor. Your eyes drifted to the dancing- and then you immediately reached down and grabbed Peter’s hand.
“That is not what I thought dancing looked like.” You said as you both moved out of the way of the door. Peter followed your eyes, seeing what you were looking at.
“Oh. Yeah… That’s one of the reasons I’ve never come to these.”
You wrinkled your nose and gripped Peter’s hand tighter.
“I mean- do they need to dance like that? I would be uncomfortable.” Peter looked at you and shrugged.
“That’s just how some couples dance during the faster songs.”
“And during the slower ones?” You asked, almost scared to know. Peter immediately smiled.
“The slower ones are much better. Believe me.” He reassured you, squeezing your hand. You smiled up at him, eyes sparkling in the low lighting.
“If it’s nothing like that then- could you show me?” You asked, feeling slightly better. Peter blushed, thankful for the low lighting.
“Of course. Um- do you want to learn now or when a slow song comes on?”
“Right now. I’d rather look at you then anything else.” You admitted. Realizing what you said, you clamped a hand over your mouth.
“I’m sorry- that was probably too much. Sorry.”
“Hey- it’s fine. We’re all good. It kinda just makes you even cuter when you’re flustered.”
“Shut up.” You said, even though you had begun to giggle.
“Okay, okay… Here. I’ll teach you how to dance.” Peter told you. You smiled and nodded, keeping in the laughter bubbling in your chest.
Thanks to Peter- you had forgotten all about the awkward dancing that was all around you.
“So you’re going to put your hands here… And mine go here.” Peter told you, hands resting your hips. You flushed, hoping that the dark of the gym disguised how red your face was.
“Okay- then we hop up and down?” You ventured, feeling stupid as soon as the words left your mouth. Peter gaped at you.
“You really were homeschooled, weren’t you?” He asked, laughter vibrating his chest. You groaned and sunk your face into his shoulder, hiding.
“Hey- (F/n), I’m kidding. It’s fine.”
“It’s embarrassing.” You insisted, murmuring from against his jacket.
“Everyone gets embarrassed. Now look up- listen- it’s a slow song.” You removed your head, cocking it to the side. It was defiantly slower paced than the last one. The lighting changed slowly to a light blue, bathing you and Peter in sea-like light. You sighed and looked up, not being able to dismiss what Peter said.
“Here- i’ll lead. Just follow my feet.” Peter told you as he swayed to his right. You followed, blue fabric billowing after. Peter’s feet brushed against yours, silver shoes struggling momentarily to keep up with the dark brown shoes opposite of them. You scowled and tried to memorize the pattern.
Despite your concentration, you kept stepping on Peter.
“Oh! Peter- I’m sorry…” You apologized, still looking down at your feet like they were your mission- not Kraven.
“It’s fine! I mean- well- it did really hurt…” Your face switched from embarrassment to worry, your arms slackening around Peter’s neck.
“But that’s okay! You don’t need to stop dancing… Here- just look at me. Ignore how bad you are at this.” Peter told you. You laughed, despite how bitter you were.
So taking his advice you looked up, right at Peter.
“Don’t look at your feet.” He told you, narrowing his eyes when your’s darted to the floor. You pouted.
Peter scoffed, finding you to be frustrating but also incredibly alluring at the same time.
And this was when you were complaining.
“What?” You asked, realizing that Peter was just staring at you as you swayed around the other dancers. Peter blinked- he hadn’t known what he was doing.
Looking at you- it was just natural.
This thought came to Peter slowly, and then he couldn’t stop smiling.
You began to smile back, eyebrows still furrowed in confusion.
“Really, what is it?” You asked. Peter just shrugged, shifting you closer as you spun.
“I don’t know. But being here with you- it’s kinda just feels right.” Peter told you, bearing a smile that could have lit up a dark room. You smiled back- and then broke the moment, resting your head on Peter’s shoulder so he couldn’t see your face.
You couldn’t leave- could you?
Thinking about leaving…
You could stay with Tony- take up his offer.
…You weren’t going to leave.
You sighed into Peter’s jacket, arms tightening around his neck.
Neither of you talked, you just swayed to the steady beat of the song. This was how you wanted to stay- not having to worry about anything but the boy you were currently dancing with.
You smiled against the dark fabric of Peter’s jacket, eyes fluttering shut.
“I think I need to tell you something. Something important.”
“Go ahead.” Peter’s voice was quiet, almost unheard over the music. You smiled and pulled away from his comfy shoulder, locking your (e/c) eyes with Peter’s brown ones.
“I’m really an-”
Suddenly all the lights shut off.
The music fuzzed out, loud crashing echoing throughout the gym. Terrified screams were thrown out, along with the abrupt buzzing of hundreds of conversations. All of them were talking about one thing: what had happened?
You were the only who knew.
You knew without a doubt what this was- it was something you had been dreading the whole night.
You pulled away from Peter, eyes scanning the blackness of the chaotic gym. Cell phones had begun to speckle the darkness- but it was nowhere close to where you could see anything. So you had to rely on things that were less than human.
You squeezed your eyes shut and then opened them, a thin blue targeting system appearing in your vision. The system scanned the gym, looking for anything that posed a threat.
By the door.
A man with a large gun tucked into his jacket.
You scowled, slipping off your silver flats. Peter grabbed your arm, pulling you towards him.
“(F/n), we need to get out of here.”
“I know but-” You were cut off again, the stage at the end of the room blaring with bright light. The yells in the room began to die down, students becoming complacent. They all thought it was probably just a blackout.
You knew better.
The loud slamming of boots on wood echoed throughout the gym. Kraven walked onto the stage, dressed in what he always wore. You grimaced, thoughts going back to the long cut adorning your face. This time it would be different- this time you could show what you were really packing.
“Hello children! Is this thing on?” Kraven asked, picking up the microphone that was strewn across the upturned DJ table. This time, the screams in the audience were real- filled with terror.
“I guess it is.” Kraven decided, smiling under the thick mustache. You scowled, beginning to move towards one of the doors. Peter’s hand clamped down hard on your arm. You looked at him, trying not to look frustrated.
“Now- I’m sure you would all like to know what my friends and I are going to do here. Well- first I must tell you that none of you can leave. This is a hostage situation and we will shoot whoever tries to leave. So try to keep that in mind.” Kraven said, as he put a foot on the DJ table, in an attempt to seem imposing.
“We are here to set up a special machine. In fact, it is already set up- would you like to see?”
No one spoke.
“I will take that as a yes.” Kraven made a large gesture with his hand off to the left, “This is a very important machine. I am not an expert in technology, but I know the general idea of what this thing will do when it goes off. Which will be in about… thirty minutes.” A loud cry of dismay filled your ears. You tried to edge away from Peter, but his hold on your arms was like a steel trap. He was confused why you kept trying to sneak away- he didn’t want you getting shot. What were you- crazy?
You might just be.
“This machine is a very special one. Once the time is up, a chemical mixture will be shot into the air. This will turn everyone within a ten mile radius into animals. Perfect for a hunt wouldn’t you say?” Kraven asked, the very idea of what he said seeming to tickle him pink. You growled and shot a look at Peter, who seemed to have his gaze trained on Kraven.
You hated to do it- but you needed to get away from him.
Flicking your gaze down to Peter’s hand, you grabbed his wrist and jerked up. Peter yelped, clutching his hand.
“(F/n)! What are you-” Peter looked up and saw that you were gone. He cursed and ran off in the direction you had been trying to sneak off in.
Meanwhile, you sprinted through the crowd of people, yells of surprise springing up around you as pushed past. Your eyes focused on the man with the gun from earlier. He was set up right in front of a door, gun pointed at a student. You grimaced and came flying in, kicking the gun to the side. The gun fired into the floor and clattered against the wall. You turned and saw that the man had on nightvision goggles. You dodged his heavy handed punch and then drove your knee into his temple, the man’s body sagging to the floor. You pushed through the heavy metal door, dashing into the hallway right before a bright spotlight fell on the body of the man. Loud yelling faded out as you ran down the hallway, looking for somewhere to change quickly.
You held back a screech when Peter dropped to the floor in front of you, white shirt half open and showing his costume. You scrambled to a stop, bare feet squeaking on the linoleum.
“What are you doing?! You could have been killed!” Peter exclaimed, his usually pleasant face set in angry exclamation. You sighed, wondering if this undercover thing was really worth all the hassle.
“Listen Peter, I really couldn’t have.” You tried to explain, hoping you didn’t look exasperated.
“Yes! Yes, you could have! You are not me! You do not have any powers!” Peter said as he moved forward, grabbing your arms and shaking you.
That pissed you off. You didn’t have time to argue with Peter- you only had thirty minutes. And it was probably less now.
You exhaled angrily and the hefted your skirt, the high tech velcro straining.
“You are honestly very cute when you care Peter- but this is something I need to do.” You said. Peter’s face flushed with confusion and then you were jumping, wrapping the skirt you detached from your dress around his face.
Peter squawked, tugging at the blue fabric. You landed softly behind him and dashed off, turning the corner.
Once Peter ripped the skirt off his head he looked down at it, face brilliantly red. He turned in circles, looking for where you had run off.
“(F/n)! (F/n) come back!…” Peter trailed off, clutching the skirt in his hands.
What kind of girl where you?
Peter began to walk forward and then stopped, hearing the loud clomping of boots coming down the hallway. He shot a web directly upward and swung up, hiding in the rafters. The group of men ran by, away from Peter. They were still looking for you.
And at this moment- you were done changing.
You pressed the white mask to your face, immediately feeling at home.
You hated to admit it- but this was just something you were good at.
And it was never going away.
You slipped silently from the classroom you had been hiding in, fully clothed in your costume.
Well- a stripped down version.
Your feet were bare, simply wrapped in black, smart-fabric. The fabric wrapped it’s way up your shins and stopped at your knees. Your upper legs and hips were also covered in black fabric, which you had been wearing under the dress. Metal plates were strapped around the outside of your thighs, giving you some armor.
The top of you dress was still there, plus another metal plate that covered the front of your torso and chest. The only other thing you where wearing was your cloak, which covered you like a dark black shroud, stopping at the small of your back. You hood covered your hair, and cast your mask in darkness. The only shine came from the silver accents of your costume, glinting from the moonlight of the windows.
This was the kind of outfit you were used to.
You ran, deciding to not go back the way you had come. Instead, you found the back entrance to the stage. You kicked open the door, seeing a small set of stairs leading up to the stage.
And a guard.
The guard turned and saw you, eyes widening.
The next thing he knows he’s being thrown up onto the stage, crashing straight into Kraven.
“What in the-” You came speeding up the stairs, leaping off the top one and launching yourself onto the stage.
You landed quietly, rising from your couch to stare at Kraven.
“An Avenger? Funny- I thought you were all retired. Wait… no- criminals- I forgot.” Kraven said, surprise turning quickly into a haughty stance. You glared from under your mask, wishing you had laser vision.
But you didn’t- you did have a laser gun though.
The robotic part of your brain reacted to your thoughts, right hand generating a hole in your palm that glowed white. Kraven’s eyes flickered to your hand, momentarily taking you in.
“Arsenal isn’t it? I wonder- how are you here right now? Aren’t you supposed to be in hiding?” Kraven asked, trying to hit a nerve.
“I’m a bit better at hiding in plain sight then anything.” You said coldly, glancing at the machine that hummed next to Kraven, green light spilling from the top. Kraven laughed, finding your retort to be amusing.
“Well, if it’s only you then…” Kraven trailed off and then swung his large kusarigama at you. You dropped backwards, blade and chain narrowly missing you, so close that you could feel the air breezing through your hair.
You rolled backwards as the chained blade swung back to Kraven. You leapt up and ran at the wall, speeding across the plaster. Kraven jerked to the side, keeping up with your quick movements. You propelled off the wall, blade slicing under you and cracking into the wall. You landed in front of Kraven and kicked at his legs. The man recovered quickly and jumped over your swipe at him. You spun on your hands, using the momentum of your kick to help you up.
Your fists were raised as you stared at Kraven. He looked at you in a new light, impressed.
“I’m surprised. There are not many who know how to defend against that weapon.”
“Well when the wielder is pretty stupid- it’s not as hard.” You quipped, bouncing on your heels. Kraven’s expression snapped from amused to insulted in less then a second. He growled and rushed at you, arms wide. You stepped back, bracing yourself. Once he was close, you ducked and pivoted, slipping under Kraven’s right arm. You drove your fist into the socket of his shoulder, hearing a loud crack when you did so.
Kraven yelled and stumbled forward, away from you.
You smiled under the mask, wishing for once he could see your smirk look.
“It looks like I have underestimated you,” Kraven said, popping his arm back into place with a loud snap. He grimaced and then gestured with his good arm.
“Priyekhat’!” He yelled in russian, calling for his men to come assist him.
No one came.
Kraven looked around, confused.
Actually- you were kinda confused too.
But before either of you could question anything, one the guards came flying out of nowhere and landed in between the both of you. You dropped your hands, momentarily confused.
“Someone call for their friends?” Spider-man asked, landing beside you and looking at Kraven. You couldn’t even see his face but you knew- oh you knew- that under his mask he was wearing the biggest grin right now.
“Spider-man… I should have known you would show up. You always do.” Kraven spat, spit landing close to Spider-man’s red feet. Peter backed up, slightly offended.
“Aw, Kravy you seem mad. Do we need to talk it out?” Spider-man asked, edging him on even more. Suddenly your view was diverted, seeing a large group of men rush through one of the hallway doors.
“Get down!” You yelled and dived at Spider-man, narrowly missing the bullets that were arcing through the air. You rolled over him, looking up to see a Sniper set up on one of the window sills.
“Crap.” You muttered, realizing that there was a lot you hadn’t accounted for.
“Watch it!” Spider-man hissed, grabbing your head and pressing it to his chest. A bullet streaked through where your head had been and imbedded itself in the wood. Spider-man shot a web into the rafters and you both swung upward, flying away from the bullets.
The students below were screaming, huddling in corners- trying to get as far away from the danger as they could. Spider-man settled on a large rafter, breathing heavily as he looked down at the carnage below.
“We need to stop that machine.” You stated, edging away from Peter so you could get a better look at the scene below. You leaned backwards as a round of bullets thundered upwards, far away from where you both actually were.
“I know- but what are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be in jail?” Spider-man asked, ripping his white eyes away from the gym. You stared at him, wondering how this poor guy had survived this long.
“You don’t know who I am-do you Peter?” You asked, voice full of exasperation. His eyes widened, looking up at you.
“How do you know my name-”
You sighed, shaking your head.
“You’ll figure it out. Hopefully.” You grumbled grabbing onto two of the rafters and preparing to jump down into the fray.
“Hey wait- what’s that plan?” Spider-man asked, reaching for you.
“I’ll go for Kraven- you try to go for the machine. The guards are flanking it now, but it seems like you had no trouble with them before.” You told him and then swung off the rafter. A long, metal chain flew from your forearm, connecting with one of the light fixtures of the stage.
You swung from the lighting, coming in low to the stage. The chain released itself, reeling into your forearm. You rolled, bullets narrowly missing you. You leapt up, a large naginata almost narrowly slicing through your neck. You swayed backwards, dodging the swipe and rushing forward, hand sliding up the wood pole. Once near the man you sent a solid punch into his chin and ripped the naginata from his hands. You spun, the blade on the pole shredding across the three other men who had been running to intercept you. You spun the naginata, bringing it in front of you as another big guard brought a large machete down on you, connecting with the thick blade of the pole. The naginata shattered, wood splintering into the man’s eyes. He yelped and gave you the advantage you needed, leaping forward and jamming the splintered sticks into his sides, right under the ribs. The man screamed, clutching his sides and stumbling to the floor.
You edged around him, seeing Kraven staring at you from the other side of the stage. You rolled your shoulders, daring him to come at you. Kraven accepted your challenge and unsheathed two swords from his back, blades dancing in the disco light. He cracked his neck slowly and then kicked something near his foot. The light above you shown directly in your eyes, blinding you momentarily. You grunted and heard the rapid slamming of Kraven running at you. You stepped back a couple paces, hearing the air moving as Kraven swung at you. You grabbed his first hand, stopping one of the blades from slicing through your head.
But the next one was different story.
The blade came arcing up from your left side, quick enough that you couldn’t completely avoid it. You rolled backwards, biting your lip to keep the exclamation of pain from escaping your lips. You looked down at your torso, seeing a long line of red racing up your left rib. You scowled, anger overpowering any pain you were feeling. Your left hand jutted up, laser cannon opening on your palm.
You shot three blinding pulses of white, but only one hit Kraven in the shoulder. You rushed forward, forgetting all the defense you had been using just a few moments before. Both forearms generated long, arc-like blades as you spun, coming down to connect with Kraven’s two swords.
You growled as Kraven threw you off of him.
A bead of sweat rolled down his temple as he sized you up, taking in your steely appearance and never-ending energy. You stretched your hands, waiting for Kraven’s next move.
Kraven made his mind and threw an oddly shaped shuriken in your direction. You dodged, spinning and rushing in at Kraven. Kraven was caught off guard by your sudden rush and was on the defense. One of his swords went spinning when your blades collided with his, and the other was left to defend Kraven from your anger.
The man paced backwards, glancing every strike of your blades away from himself.
You were much better at fighting than he thought.
He had underestimated you.
And then it happened.
The blade on your right forearm connected low, hitting the butt of the sword. Kraven’s sword flew from his hand to the gym floor. Kraven stumbled, off balance. You leapt forward, driving your knee into Kraven’s sternum. The man grunted and fell, with you following after.
Kraven slammed into the hard stage and you were on top of him, right knee pressing into his neck.
You breathed heavily, adrenaline still rushing through your veins.
Your grip loosened on his arms, confused.
You had beaten him- what was he laughing at?
“What?!” You exclaimed, anger evident in your voice. Kraven looked up at you, green eyes narrowing.
“You consider this a large accomplishment. If only you knew what was really happening.” Kraven struggled to speak, your knee pressing into his windpipe.
“What are you talking about?! We’re going to stop you- you’re plan has-” You stopped, voice fading away.
You looked down, seeing the handle of a knife sticking out from under your torso plate. You gasped, the pain registering in your brain.
You had let your guard down- and he had taken the opportunity. You coughed, a small splatter of blood flying into the inside of your mask. Kraven chuckled and threw you from on top of him. You rolled to your side, struggling to get up.
How had you been so stupid?
“Come here girl.” Kraven bent down and grabbed you around the neck, lifting you from the floor. You choked, blood trailing from under your white mask.
“Let’s see who this little Avenger is then- who she really is under this mask.” Kraven addressed the the students in the gym, or anyone who was around. Student’s lifted their phones, no doubt they had been recording this. Kraven ripped the mask from your face, white material shattering.
And then everyone knew.
The girl who never talked to anyone- only that one skinny kid. The new girl…
She was an Avenger.
Now every knew that (F/n) was an Avenger.
Kraven laughed, showing you off to the crowd like a trophy.
“Look! This is what happens to your hero’s! They get beaten by people who are better and stronger.” Kraven yelled and tossed you aside, sliding across the stage. You left a streak of red across the brown surface, hood hiding your face.
“No!” Spider-man swung in from taking care of some of the guards. The rest of the men pointed there guns at Peter, ready to shoot. Kraven held up his left hand, calling them off.
“Isn’t it funny Spider? The little girl who kept bothering us- an Avenger? It makes sense now that we know- but it’s funny she hadn’t perished sooner. Are you angry-”
Your attention panned away from Kraven and Spider-man, focusing on the machine.
“Spider-man! The countdown!” You screamed hoarsely, blood flying from your mouth. Peter looked down at you, chest rising up and down rapidly. He turned abruptly, seeming to have completely forgotten about machine.
“Oh sh-” Spider-man ran for the machine, but as ran for it Kraven clamped onto his ankle and threw him against the wall, wood and cement shattering. Peter’s head sagged, vision swimming.
Everything seemed muffled.
You stared at the countdown, vision hazy.
You didn’t want to fail.
You- you had failed.
Fist’s clenched, you laid your head down as the clock ticked to zero.
You shifted your head as well as you could, looking up at Kraven.
“What?..” Peter asked, freeing himself from the wall as Kraven watched him.
“You really thought I had a machine that would turn everyone into animals?” Kraven laughed, booming voice echoing through the gym without a mic.
Spider-man stumbled away from Kraven, trying to put himself together.
“You really are just a stupid arachnid aren’t you? The ‘machine’ was a diversion Spider-man. Right now, most of the NYPD are outside of this school, waiting to bring me in. And while your police force has been out there wasting time- there has been a carefully planned jail break. The timer was telling me when everyone we needed was out of the jail.” Kraven explained, ripping the kurisama from earlier out of the wall.
Spider-man looked up at Kraven, confused.
“Sadly for you, I am not. Goodbye Spider.” Kraven said was he hefted the blade, ready to cut Spider-man in half.
Suddenly, a blast of white light hit him from behind, sending Kraven stumbling forward.
You let an unsteady breath free from your lips, head propped up on the arm that had just shot Kraven in the back.
Kraven turned, fury evident on his face.
“Why you little- this time I’ll make sure your dead!” Kraven yelled and rushed towards you, completely forgetting about Peter.
Spider-man took the opportunity, and leapt up on Kraven’s shoulders, shooting web all over his face. Kraven screamed, struggling to get Peter off of him.
You smiled, knowing that you had given Spider-man what he needed to beat Kraven.
He think it’s been about three days when he starts to lose it a little
It’s not the first time he’s been tortured, not even the second. He milks that irony for a while in his mind, wondering what a therapist might have to say to a man who can rank his instances of torture based on brutality, blood spilled, style points.
This time around is worse in some ways. Because of her, and because of him. Regular guys get awkward rounds of golf with the father of the woman they love. Oliver Queen, of course, gets bound and caged, electrocuted, waterboarded.