THE AGE OF IMMORTALS IS OVER
"What do you mean you can't turn it back on?" Steve stared dumbfounded at Seth with his mouth hung open. He didn't even know whether to take her seriously on not since she said it so casually. Not to mention, she didn't look worried in the slightest, just slightly annoyed by the urgent tone in his voice.
"I didn't freaking say that. Relax, will you?" Seth turned up a brow and pointed back towards Tony. They saw him working diligently on a computer and was trying to get a picture up on the screen. He had the box open and was rearranging the wires. Some of them had to be replaced though with what he had on hand. "I said that once it's turned on, it will stay on for only a fraction of a second before shutting down. The components inside are too damaged to sustain a full picture," she explained once again, saying it a bit too plainly for Steve's liking.
"Then how are you going to find the cube?" He clenched his jaw and tried not to lose his composure.
Seth stared bewildered at him. She lifted her arms and slapped them back down at her side. "Did you not hear a word I said? Truth be told, you wouldn't have a snow ball's chance in hell if you didn't have me with you. All I need is a fraction of a second to check out the location." She patted him on the shoulder and shoved him towards the door. "Quit standing there like that. You're freaking me out. Go get Romanoff or whoever the hell you want. Suit up. We're leaving in a couple of minutes."
Steve raised his hands and didn't complain about her pushy behavior, now understanding that he really had to start taking her words and trusting them. She hadn't let him down before so why should she now? "Fine. We'll meet up in the hanger. Just make sure you get the location."
She flashed him a cheeky grin and winked. "Yes, dear." Seth shoved him out of the room and closed the door behind him. She turned her head around and strolled over to Tony to see how he was doing. There was a mass horde of burned up wires on the floor and the inside of the box wasn't any better looking either. "You got everything ready?"
"Yeah, but make sure you're staring right at the screen," Tony reminded her and stood up from behind the table. "This is our only chance. It won't come on again after this." He grabbed two exposed wires in his hands and held them close together but not yet touching. Once they do, Seth will only have a fraction of a second to check out the location and figure out where the cube is. "Ready when you are."
Seth stood in front of the screen and glued her eyes to it, waiting patiently. "Go," she ordered.
Tony stuck the two ends together and they immediately sparked. The screen hummed and flashed a bright picture that seemed to resemble a map. The picture lasted for exactly a fraction of a second though before cutting off and turning black. He did it a few more times but nothing happened after that. The wires didn't spark and the screen remained dead. That was it. That was their only chance.
Seth was unfazed while she blinked a couple of times, completely soundless but appeared to be thinking. Curiosity crossed over the azure hue in her eyes before she turned around and reached for Abel's phone in her pocket. "Manhattan," she spoke while turning it on and flipping through the contacts.
She looked over at him. "Loki and the cube are in Manhattan. The map's unfamiliar to me though," she grumbled with a deep frown. "Are there any places that are relatively new to the area. Ones with high altitudes?"
Tony stared at her briefly when one place occurred to him. One that he knew very well. His jaw slacked and his shoulders immediately slouched over. "Son of a bitch." he mumbled under his breath and rushed towards the door.
"Wow, hold on! Mind telling me what's going on?" Seth called back to him and looked confused.
"I'll tell you later. I gotta get my things. Go on ahead. I'll meet you there," he said and disappeared down the hallway.
Cain sat silently on a large boulder that laid in the middle of a field right beside the ocean. The sound of the waves crashed against her ears and settled her anxious heart as she waited calmly for her sister to call her back, clutching her phone in her hand and counting the seconds as they rolled by. It's already been an hour so she figured it won't be long until it buzzed.
During the time, Thor had wandered back over to his hammer that had been undisturbed the whole time. Unmoving and soundless. He looked as if he was going to reach for it but hesitated each time. Almost as if he was afraid he wasn't going to be able to lift it.
Cain noticed that he seemed to develop quite an interesting habit of self-doubting himself. It was almost to the point of him looking more human in her eyes than that of a god. "Hm. So even gods have those kinds of emotions," she mumbled to herself, though a bit too loudly since it looked like Thor heard her and turned around.
"What do you mean?" he asked and strolled up to her.
She looked taken back for a time before frowning. "You're a god...yet you doubt yourself so much." She looked up at his eyes that were focused solely on her, listening intently and generally curious about what she had to say.
"I'm not sure I understand..." Thor shook his head, becoming confused.
"That habit of yours is very human-like. I find it odd, really." Cain tilted her head and kept her eyes pinned on him. "I don't know why I thought this way but it's probably because I've only been around humans." She then spoke up but her tone sounded anxious, which caught Thor off guard. "I would say you're the first god I ever met...but you're really not."
"I'm not? I would never have thought." This truly surprised him but the way Cain said it made him slightly nervous. "Who was it?" He was uneasy just as much as she was by the question.
Cain pulled her head up and looked away, appearing to ponder hard on something. Something old, dusty, and painful. "The one who looked at me...and saw disappointment." Her voice was deep with the last words she spoke, feeling like a sharp weapon in Thor's gut. "It was the person who made me the way I am now. Made my family the way they are." Her eyes narrowed and turned up at the sky that was sparse with clouds. "It was a god who rises above all."
Thor furrowed his brows. "And you've met this person before?"
"Technically, no. My mother and father...they had to have come from somewhere though, right? We all had to have come from some being higher than the rest of us. That person, as my religion refers to them as...is God." In her memories, it was only her and her sisters alone in the world for quite some time. Her parents were there too but that was very brief. Abel hardly remembers them anymore and Seth was only a baby when they finally passed. "I never met him personally, face to face, but I know someone like that exists."
Thor never thought about it that way, but for some reason, the idea infuriated him quite a bit. "If what you say is true...then why is he just letting all of this happen? Death, destruction, war. Why is he silent?"
If someone like that does exist, why would he put such a heartbreaking curse on Cain in her family? He understands the sin that she committed and the guilt that comes from it, but immortality felt too harsh of a punishment.
"God is not on our side, Thor." She closed her eyes briefly and groaned. "Well, that's what I believe at least. I think I understand his silence. After all, the ones who always start something were us. Death. The destruction. The decades upon decades of war. The shot in the dark... We're the ones living in this galaxy. Why would he fix something that he didn't even start? And if that isn't the case than...maybe he's just waiting for certain things to happen."
"What do you mean?" Thor blinked.
"Have you ever heard of the butterfly effect?"
He shook his head. "No. Can't say I have."
"Hm. It's a curious thing that really makes you pause and think. Let me explain it like this: With the flap of their frail wings, history was made. This term is typically used to describe that even our seemingly insignificant changes can cause major events to happen in the near or distant future. We don't know if it's for the best or not. Be it fate or just unfortunate really only depends on the person who caused it. And that is what we called the butterfly effect. Maybe we're simply just butterflies waiting to make our seemingly insignificant change that will gradually grow bigger as time moves on. Everything happens for a reason, Thor. Maybe this is it."
A while back, Abel once told her a story about Tony. She said that he decided he didn't want to ride with Rhodey when they were in Afghanistan and took a different car. He was then ambushed and kidnapped, which let up to him meeting Abel in a cave.
Thor's mouth gaped open and he became completely ashen. "I...I don't like that. So you're saying I only have to-"
"Don't slip on a leaf because who knows what will happen," Cain looked down and saw Thor treading carefully on the ground, trying not to accidentally step on a leaf. "Hey," she chuckled a bit and called out to him, reaching down and kissing him on the side of the head.
Thor felt his pulse spike as his hands began to tremble. It was childish that he would always react the same way every time but he couldn't help it. He cherished everything about this woman. Her smile was intoxicating and her vanilla scent was addictive. "Cain...I," he muttered before stopping when he heard her phone go off.
Cain picked her phone up and answered it. "Seth?" She waited silently as her sister spoke to her in hushed tones. Thor watched as her face slowly contorted and become dangerous once she pulled her phone down. "Found the cube. It's time to go," she said in a steely voice.
Thor took in a deep breath and bowed his head. He turned back to his hammer and walked over to it. He felt his throat lock up with nervousness as his hand reached out to the handle, wrapping his fingers around it. The air became humid as blue sparks of electricity rippled through the skies and flowed through his veins. The clouds darkened and thunder roared in the distance when he picked his hammer up gently. In an instant, lightning spilled out from the sky and struck down, immersing him in bright blue lights.
Steve hurried down the long white halls and took a turn into one of the medical rooms that Natasha was inside, waiting on the bed and gazing off towards the bathroom. "Time to go," he said.
She cocked a brow and stared at him. "Go where?"
"I'll tell you on the way. We need to meet Seth at the hanger. She knows where the cube is. Can you fly one of those jets?"
Just then, the bathroom door opened up and Clint Barton walked out. "I can." His face was slightly withered with exhausted from the mind control, but he looked willing. "Seth's go the location?"
Steve nodded. "Yeah." He glanced off to Natasha to get confirmation that he was going to be alright, in which she confirmed with a slight nod. "You got a suit?" he asked.
"Then suit up."
Seth waited by the door leading into the hanger room and tapped her foot impatiently against the ground. She was counting down the minutes until she wouldn't be able to stand it anymore. She would go with Tony alone if she had too, but luckily though, it didn't come to that. She turned her head up to footsteps to her right and saw Steve, Natasha, and Clint heading over to her. All in which were suited up and ready to leave.
"Sure took your freaking time," Seth smirked and headed into the hanger with Steve walking beside her. "Did it really take you that long to get ready?"
"Yeah, and what about you? You're not getting dressed," he said sarcastically and felt Seth jab her elbow in his side.
"Please. I could go in a nightgown and it still won't make a difference. I'm still gonna kick that stupid god's teeth in the first chance I get." she said dryly and it didn't look like she was joking either. Seth turned her head up and saw Steve smiling slightly like he was trying not to laugh.
"Remind me. I would actually like to see that."
She smiled and winked at him. "Honey, I can get you front row seats if you ask me nicely."
They walked over to one of the jets but were briefly stopped by a young pilot standing in their way when he noticed them. "Hey, you guys aren't authorized to be here," he said.
Seth cocked a brow and stared dumbfounded at this youngling. "When had immortals ever gave a crap about that?" She set a hand on his shoulder and moved him gently to the side. "Authorization doesn't apply to my family." Seth walked into the jet with the rest of the team while giving the young pilot a pat on the shoulder.
The clouds parted and the jet flew steadily into Manhattan's airspace. It was an island made entirely of concrete with buildings so tall they could scrape across heaven. It was Seth's first time being back and the sight of the place totally overruled her old memories of it. It didn't even look the same anymore. Instead of it being a city, it looked more like an inescapable maze. She could see beyond that though was one building in particular that looked very odd to her. Stark Tower.
"Man...that is one ugly building," she muttered disappointingly. "I'm afraid to ask who designed it."
She turned her head out the window and saw Tony flying by in his beaten up Iron Man suit. The thrusters in his legs were starting to give out and he could barely sustain flight while heading towards his tower. He spotted the Tesseract on the rooftop encased within the CMS device that Erik Selvig was tending too.
"Sir, I took off the arc reactor. The device is already self-sustained," Jarvis said.
Tony flew up to Erik and hovered there. He saw the man's eyes and noticed that the mind control was still active. There was an odd shimmer of unfamiliar blue within them. "Shut it down, Dr. Selvig."
Erik turned around. "It's too late! It can't stop now. He wants to show us something! A new universe." he said with an unnatural smile on his face.
"Okay." Tony saw the crazy as clear as day and lifted his hands. He blasted at the device but the energy abruptly bounced off it like a force field and fired back, knocking Erik backwards.
Jarvis studied it. "The barrier is pure energy. It's unbreachable."
"Yeah, I got that." He glanced down and spots Loki standing on the balcony with his scepter in hand. "Plan B." He slowly began to lower himself to the ground.
"Sir, the Mark 7 is not ready for deployment," Jarvis warned him.
"Then skip the spinning rims. We're on the clock." He lands on the gauntlet and starts to walk inside as his device stripped him of his suit, leaving him totally defenseless in front of the god, much to Loki's enjoyment.
Loki wandered back inside and laughed a bit under his breath. "Please tell me you're going to appeal to my humanity." A wicked grin stretched to his face like a mischievous cat getting into trouble.
"Nah, that would be Abel's thing." Tony shrugged and strolled over to the open bar. "Uh, actually, I'm planning to threaten you."
"You should've kept your armor on for that, or bring your immortal friends with you." Loki gestured with his scepter.
"Yeah, it'll probably be better if I brought Seth, but knowing her...I decided against it." He searched through the cabinets and pulled out a glass and a bottle with some liquor in it. "Would you like a drink? It's one from Abel's collections. She got it in Italy back in 1997."
"Stalling me won't change anything."
"No, no. Threatening. No drink? You sure? I'm having one."
Loki's face scrunched up and he looked puzzled at what Tony was trying to do. He would expect this sort of arrogant behavior from the immortal family, but not this man who was drinking right in front of him. "The Chitauri are coming. Nothing will change that. What have I to fear?" he spoke confidently.
Tony popped open the bottle. "The Avengers." He looked up and saw Loki growing confused. "It's what we call ourselves, sort of like a team. 'Earth's Mightiest Heroes' type of thing."
"Yes, I've met them."
"Yeah, takes us a while to get any traction, I'll give you that one. But, let's do a headcount here. Your brother, the demi-god." Loki scoffed and looked away, giving Tony the moment to slip metal bands around his wrists. "A super-soldier, a living legend who kind of lives up to the legend. A man with breath-taking anger management issues. An immortal family who happens to be the scariest people in the world to mess with. A couple of master assassins, and you, big fella, you've managed to piss off every single one of them."
Loki shrugged and didn't even break a sweat. "That was the plan."
"Not a great plan." Tony picked up his glass and walked out from around the bar. "When they come, and they will, they'll come for you."
"I have an army."
"We got Cain," Tony shot back instantly. "And a Hulk as a bonus."
"I thought the creatures have wandered off."
"You're missing the point. There is no throne, there is no version of this where you come out on top. Maybe your army comes and maybe it's too much for us, but it's all on you." He walked down the stairs and met him face to face, setting his glass down on the table beside him. "Because if we can't protect the earth, you can be damned well sure we'll avenge it."
Loki's eyes narrowed and he began to walk towards him, menace boiling up in his eyes. "How will your friends have time for me? When they're so busy fighting you?" Loki raised his scepter and tapped the end against Tony's chest.
This caused him to become perplexed. Loki didn't know what that odd sound was and why the mind control wasn't working, so he tapped his scepter against his chest one more time to make sure he wasn't seeing things. He heard that noise again but nothing happened. "This usually works."
Tony shrugged. "Well, performance issues, it's not uncommon. One out of five-" he was cut off when Loki flung him against the ground. "Jarvis. Anytime now," he struggled out and tried to get up.
Loki picked him up by his neck and hissed sharply in his ear. "The age of immortals is over. They will all fall before me. As will you!"
"Deploy," he gasped. "Deploy!"
Loki held him up in the air and hurled him through the window and out of the tower. He later began to hear the sound of something powering up and turned around just in time to see a red pod shoot out from the wall. It nearly missed Loki and flew down in pursuit after Tony. Lazers popped out and scanned around until they found the metal bands on his arms. The suit started to unlatched and wrap around his body, and before he could hit the ground, the thrusters fired up and managed to stop his descent. Tony turned around swiftly and flew back towards the tower.
The new suit worked like a charm, courtesy from Abel since she designed and worked on this one herself.
He flew up towards the window and hovered there, the coils of red and gold wrapping around his body and shimmering under the sun with complete perfection. "And there's another thing." Loki raised his scepter but Tony was faster and blasted him, throwing the god back. "That's for attacking my girlfriend."
A stream of blue light shot out from the active CMS device and fired up into the sky, ripping open a large hole in space. The Chitauri, unforeseen creatures slipped through the portal like poison through an open wound, traveling on strange chariots, and armed with bayonets and energy rifles. Their numbers were by the thousands and far exceeded the Avengers.
Tony stared up at the sky with wide eyes and couldn't believe what he was looking at. "Right. Army." The screen inside his helmet changed instantly over to battle mode.
The sky was lit up with vivid shades of blue as the hole in space stretched wide with creatures from another world dropping through. Abel could now hear the scream as clear as day. Women, children, men. She stood outside of the warehouse with her mouth gaped open, stunned, and unsure of what to do.
"Dear God in heaven. What is this?" she gasped and covered her mouth with her hands when she spotted a familiar red suit flying around underneath the crack. There were flashes of bright lights with chariot riders falling out of the sky. Tony was already there. Already fighting.
Banner came out of the warehouse shortly after getting dressed and saw the chaos happening within the sky. "What...? What is all this?" He looked just as stunned as Abel did.
"A rip in space. The portal. We're too late," she muttered. Abel was clenching her hands so tightly that her skin turned white while her fingernails cut into her palms. The blood was warm and steamy. "Tony's already there, so Seth and them shouldn't be far behind either."
Banner looked between the portal and back to Abel. He knew that she needed to go. She needed to try and stop whatever war that just begun. "Do you need to leave? Because if you do...don't worry about me." He saw her eyes grow wide and could easily make out the design of her brown irises.
"Dr. Banner, a hole had just opened up in the sky. Are you sure you want me to leave you?"
"We're all heading in the same direction anyway." Banner frowned and shrugged his shoulders. "It'll probably be best if you leave first and help them. I'll head there...eventually," he grumbled.
Abel hesitated and shifted her body in two different directions like she was being pulled by an invisible force. She knew that Banner was right though. She needed to get down there and make sure that Tony was alright and the people of Manhattan wouldn't get in the way. "Alright..." She took in a deep breath and gripped his shoulders tightly. "Take care of yourself and I'll see you soon."