Coulson winced as Doom kicked Leah, it wasn´t right; she shouldn´t be fighting him. He was about to flee to her aid when Hulk appeared, he sighed relieved; he should be able to protect her. As events proved him wrong he bit his lower lip anxiously before approaching Fury again. “Sir, he´s going to kill her or take her to Latveria, either way we´ll lose her.”
Fury had a worried frown over his face, he knew it even before Coulson spoke that they had to go something “Help her” he answered dryly.
Coulson bolted out of the room as soon as he heard Fury´s orders, he only stopped at the armory while he called a team to standby in the hangar.
As they were closing the aircraft door Fury called him. “Coulson, stop!”
“What? Why Sir? We´re ready to go … she won´t last long without help.” Coulson replied upset.
“Help arrived.” Fury told him.
“Sir?” Coulson asked confused.
“Loki brought almost all the team to the rooftop, seems they already made their mind about his allegiances, he doesn´t have the shackles on him anymore” Fury informed him.
Coulson smiled, Doom would get his just deserves and he definitely wanted to see that. “I´m on my way up Sir.”
“I though you would” Fury smirked, he didn´t envied Doom at all.
“Ouch! That got to hurt!” Coulson commented as Thor smashed Doom again with his hammer.
“You´re enjoying it a little too much Phil” Fury eyed him disapprovingly.
“Sorry Sir” Coulson apologized without meaning a single word.
It seemed that the fight was almost over when Doom fired a ray into the penthouse, Loki disappeared immediately and Thor continued his furious attack against Doom.
“What happened?” Fury questioned himself mentally when it suddenly hit him. “Give me a thermal scan of the penthouse, quick!”
“Right away Sir” An agent answered. “We have four … no three heat signatures.”
“Dammit Doom!” He swore out loud “He killed her”
“That´s not possible… they … wouldn´t let her die.” Coulson answered shocked by Doom´s spiteful act.
“We´ll just have to wait and see.” Fury acknowledged.
“You´re still planning on taking her away Sir? “Coulson asked in disbelief.
“If she survives, yes. Tell your team to s5tandby to make an extraction.” Fury ordered.
“With all your respect Sir, I refuse to take a part of this.” Coulson informed him.
“If that´s your decision agent, I´ll take her into our custody with or without you.” Fury grimly added.
“Why Sir? I don´t understand. If Loki already sided with the Avengers why is it so important to have her?” Coulson asked bemused.
“I have to mind the big picture agent Coulson, the major good will always outweigh the welfare of a few; even if those few are the Avengers” Fury responded.
“She´s not an agent Sir. I don´t think she´ll ever become one. She had the opportunity to end it all by killing Doom and she didn´t do it.” Coulson tried to reason with him.
“Don´t fool yourself, she would´ve ended him without blinking if she had had the right motivation. I know her kind, what she would be capable of to ensure peace, not just to avenge wrongs.” Fury chided at him.
“You still think the Avengers initiative was a mistake?” Coulson asked disappointed.
“It served its purpose but they won´t do what´s needed. And I need someone who is willing to do it.” Fury replied.
“More like forced …” Coulson answered angrily between clenched teeth. “Why not recruit someone who wants the job?”
“If you knew what you know now would´ve taken this job?” Fury asked him.
“Yes, I would” Coulson answered without a second thought.
“Well, you are the exception” Fury replied. “We are on disadvantage, we need people with abilities, and we need to train them. If Leah had been properly trained none of this would´ve happened. We can´t expect them to volunteer, we´ll have to draft them. You can hate me if you want but time will prove me right.”
“So you mean to bring justice without freedom?” Coulson asked defiantly.
“If that saves us, yes” Fury acknowledged.
“Save us from what Sir?” Coulson asked worried.
“From what lurks in the shadows” Fury answered enigmatically. “Superheroes bring forth supervillains, at the end we can´t depend on vigilantes, we´ll need soldiers.”
“Sir, we are picking up an additional heat signature” An agent informed Fury.
Fury looked up almost cheerfully “She made it” Was his first thought. “Tell the team I´m going down”
Loki kept holding Leah tightly against his chest as if he ever let go she might fade away. Leah felt confused, she couldn´t remember what happened. She remembered they were fighting with Doom but not why would Loki would be holding her with such need. She only knew something serious must had happened.
She was in pain, all of her body hurt especially her chest, she could almost swear something was broken by the way it hurt; she could also feel her right ear throbbing, sound were muffled on that side. If only she could fade into unconsciousness, but something felt wrong … what could it be? She swallowed laboriously, her mouth felt dry with some effort she raised her voice enough for Loki to hear her “What …” She had to swallow again. “…happened?”
Loki was surprised by her question, as he broke his embrace to look into her eyes he saw the answer in her face even before he ended his question “Don´t you remember? No she didn´t.” Her gaze was full of confusion, pain and fear.
Suddenly he noticed a stream of blood running down her neck coming from her right ear, it had rupture as a result from being hit by the lightning’s, but Loki didn´t knew that and called for Steve alarmed. “Steve, look!”
Steve quickly kneel next to them as he took a quick glance at Leah he also noticed some burns following a flower pattern, a result from shocking her he assumed. “Can you heal her as you did before” He asked Loki.
“Not right now” Loki confessed. “I used most of my magic las time. What´s wrong with her?”
“I´m not a doctor Loki, but I think it must be a side effect of reanimating her, we need Bruce.” He dryly added.
“I´m afraid that might be a problem.” Tony volunteered. “Hulk isn´t done with Doom yet.”
“Then we´ll just have to interrupt him” Steve volunteered as he grabbed his shield.
Leah looked at them attentively while she tried to piece the conversation in her head, suddenly she noticed the blood covering Loki´s armor unexpectedly she had a flashback of Doom throwing Bruce off the Tower, she gasped alarmed. “Bruce! Doom threw him off! Why weren´t they doing something? “
Loki looked at Tony and Steve confused, he had no idea what she was talking about, if that happened it must had been when he was away.
Tony approached her “Leah that happened a while ago. Bruce is all right I assure you, Hulk is dealing with Doom now. You have nothing to worry about.”
Steve hadn´t lost anytime while Tony and Loki talked to Leah he was already in the rooftop, Natasha had followed him; she might be able to help to calm Hulk down.
Hulk was roaring furiously at Doom, it seemed he´d finally blacked out “You hurt her” Hulk spat enrage while pacing up and down.
“Yes, he did Hulk” Steve approached him carefully.
Hulk look at him undecided.
“Leah needs your help Hulk” Natasha added.
“Hulk helped” The green creature spat as he threw Doom´s unconscious body against the ground again.
“Yes you did and you did a great job. We can take care of him, but we need Bruce now” Steve told the colossus.
“Leah needs Bruce” Hulk asked Natasha worried.
“Yes Hulk, she needs him to heal her.” Natasha asserted.
The huge creature sat down, Doom wasn´t a menace for the moment, he sighed as he closed his eyes and she shrinking process began.
As soon as Bruce emerged Steve explained as quickly as he could their current situation while they walked back to the penthouse. Natasha stayed behind for a moment as she handcuffed Doom to a rail; taking him inside wouldn´t be such a good idea considering Leah´s state of mind. On her way back she retrieved Leah´s weapons, she´d feel better knowing Doom wouldn´t be able to reach them.
When they arrived they were grossly unprepared for the scene unfolding in front of their eyes, Leah was yelling, she had broken apart from their care, she could barely stand but she refused to let them near “You´re lying to me! Where´s my child! Dom did something to her … and you´re not telling me!” Violent flashes kept invading her mind, Doom´s cold touch over her skin set her on edge “Don´t touch me! Get away from me!” Her mind was a mixture of scrambled memories that refused to get in order.
“Distract her” Bruce whispered to them. He circled her while everyone else tried to get her to calm down, they were afraid she might hurt herself if they grabbed her by force.
“Leah!” Bruce yelled loud enough to get her attention.
“Bruce, you are all right!” Leah said with relief as she raised her trembling hand to touch him, it seemed she was afraid that he was a ghost. “I thought …”
“ I know” Bruce interrupted her as she touched his face, she looked relieved he was real. “Leah, you know I wouldn´t lie to you, right” Bruce asked her.
“Yes” she said as she nodded her head, she was shaking visibly “Do you know where Eerika is?” she asked him in a pleading tone.
“She is safe, Clint is with her.” He answered her question.
“Thank God! “Leah replied with relief, she stumbled, she was feeling lightheaded. “What´s wrong with me?”
Both Loki and Bruce hurried to her side she looked as if she was about to pass out. Bruce was nearer so he got to her first, he helped her to the couch with Loki´s aid. As soon as she was sitting he checked on her pulse, eyes, ears, chest and burn marks. Leah just let him manipulate her without complaining except for a soft whimper when he touched the ribs next to her stearnum, her mind seemed a long way from her.
Bruce sighed as he fished his examination, he would have to run a few more tests just to make sure but it seemed she was going to be all right. “Leah?” He called her attention, as she raised her eyes to meet he realized that she probably wouldn´t understand what he was telling her but at least his diagnosis would put everyone´s mind at ease. “The reason you can´t remember and you´re feeling so confused is a side effect of their efforts to reanimate you”
Leah frowned “Reanimate?”
Bruce continued “Doom attacked you, he shot a ray against you. Loki healed your wounds but your heart had stopped, Steve gave you CPR and Thor stoke you with his lightning’s to get it going again.” They had been very lucky … he would explain it to them later; but Leah must have had a pulse even if it was weak and erratic or they wouldn´t been able to reanimate her. A flat line heart isn’t going to react to the electricity no matter how many movies and TV shows alleged it did.
Everyone kept quiet as they listened to him. “The electricity thast got your heart beating normally again affected your memories, fortunately your super soldier healing factor is already working on the damaged neuronal paths. You´ll feel fine in a day or two; your ruptured eardrum, broken ribs and lighting burns will take a bit longer but I think within a week you´ll be as good as new.”
“That’s good to hear” Nick Fury step in suddenly. “She´ll recuperate under our custody”
“We already discussed this Nick!” Tony replied as he confronted him “What makes you think we´ll change our answer?”
“Because this time I´m not asking” Fury dryly told them “I´m here to arrest Leah Summer for attacking a foreign diplomat in U.S. soil.”
“You got to be kidding me!” He yelled enraged at Fury. “He tried to kidnap her and her baby, anything she did was on self-defense”
“That´s up to a court to decide” Fury responded without flinching.
Everyone had stood up to argue with Fury except for Leah, who remained in the couch. She might seemed absentminded to their discussion but like a trapped animal she was weighting her options. Her mind was still obscured which left her in hands of her survival instincts alone.
As the argument grew in tone no one noticed Leah reaching for her bow that was left only a few meters from her along with her quilt that still had some arrows left. The fear Fury provoked on her pushed her to put aside the pain and fogginess she felt.
“Leave us alone” She yelled in a decided tone as she pointed an arrow against him, in response Fury draw his gun at her as the rest of the agents did. She was trembling, barely standing up, sweat ran through her face as she focused all her energy on one thing, to keep pointing at her target.
“Leah, what are you doing” Tony questioned her surprised.
“Leah, you don´t need to do this. I promise I won’t let them take you.” Loki tried to reassure her, but she wasn´t hearing them.
“You shouldn´t make promises you can´t keep” Fury slyly told Loki.
“Shut up!” Loki snapped at him, he was about to take a swing at him when Steve and Tony walked between them to keep them apart. As Tony tried to reason with Fury to drop down his weapon Steve whispered to Loki “Take her away.” Loki looked up surprised, did he really meant they should run away? They hadn’t done anything wrong although that didn´t seemed to matter to SHIELD. “Run!” Steve added in a hushed tone, Loki swiftly ran back to Leah, as he tackled her they disappeared.
An arrow flew to the ceiling embedding itself on the ceiling of a hallway, Loki had forced his last energies to travel through the paths of Yggdrasil, Leah fainted in his arms a second later, he also felt unconsciousness upon him, as he laid her in the floor with his last strength he called for Clint before he passed out.
Loki awoke in the main bedroom, Leah was sound asleep by his side, he still felt drained but Asgardians recuperate much faster than humans, even super humans.
“I wondered how long it would take you to wake up.” A familiar voice told him “You are heavier than you look.”
Loki turned to see Clint sitting on a chair in front of the bed, he was holding a baby monitor between his hands.
“How long have I been out?” He asked.
“Two hours probably” Clint responded.
“Has she …” Loki started to ask.
“Woken up? No. I hope you don´t mind but I changed her out of what was left of her uniform. What the hell happened?” Clint asked a concern look on his face, he had seem the blood on both Loki´s and Leah´s clothes and as far as he could see both were unharmed.
As Loki finished explained Clint everything that had happened a baby´s cry interrupted them “Duty calls” Clint simply stated as he rose from the chair “Rest, you´ve earned it. I´ll be right back.
Loki thanked him, he wanted to go to fetch another couple of gems and heal Leah, but he knew that overdoing it wasn´t a good idea. Bruce had said that all she needed was time, maybe he should give it to her at least for the moment. He leaned in to look at her face, she looked peaceful. He wondered what could´ve happened in the penthouse after they left.