A DAY WITHOUT GRIEF
Cain was fast to take action and took an instant step towards Loki to narrow the distances between them. She didn't even give him a second to think of a countermeasure when she stuck him hard against the side of his face using the back of her hand. The force was so strong that he plummeted off the side of the chariot and sailed through the sky. He crashed through the window of Stark Tower and struck the ground so hard that his body actually bounced and tumbled across the floor. He was only able to stop when his back slammed against the sturdy bar table.
After dispatching the chariot rider, Cain leaped down into the tower and headed inside. She saw Loki still on the ground, disoriented from the blow that probably left his brain a little shaken up. She stuck him against the chin so this would happen. She didn't want him to think of something that would make a fool out of her again. Cain has had enough and didn't want to deal with his illusions or his tricks anymore.
Loki scraped his hands across the ground and slowly began to push himself up. "En...enou...gh," he muttered while getting to his knees.
Cain stopped walking when she stood in front of him. "Enough?" she said with a dull and uninterested look on her face. She crossed her arms and moved her chin up. "Have you finally decided to stop throwing a temper tantrum?"
Loki raised his head and stared at Cain with eyes that were blazing with anger. "I said...enough!" he belted and miraculously stood to his shaking legs. "You are...all of you are beneath me! I am a god...while you are an abomination! I will not be bullied-" His words were choked out of him when Cain grabbed him by the throat and lifted him off the ground with ease, and not once did her expression change. Frighteningly...she looked bored.
Cain didn't leave him suspended for long and released him to fall to the floor. She backed up a couple of feet until there was a good distance between them. After that, she looked over her shoulder and out the window. "Hulk! Smash!" she belted out.
Loki looked with a face a deer would make when facing down headlights and spoke in a single meek whisper. "What?"
Chaos let out a glass-shattering roar and leaped up from the balcony to into the tower. He ran past Cain and grabbed Loki by his legs and started to whack him against the floor like a rag doll, again and again until he finally stopped and left him there in his own outline. Loki didn't move a single inch and let out the smallest whimper of pain as Cain and the Hulk walked away from him.
"Puny god," Hulk said in a low rumbling voice.
They walked out onto the balcony and the Hulk leaped off to do more damage to his heart's content. Cain was about to head out too when she noticed something and stopped. Loki's scepter was on the floor where he dropped it last. Even now, the glowing blue gem gave her the creep for whatever reason. She didn't like it. Not one bit.
"Troublesome thing," Cain muttered and picked the scepter up.
"Cain!" a voice called out from above.
Cain immediately recognized the voice and looked up towards the roof of the tower. She saw Erik standing up there, clearly free from the mind control the scepter has placed him under. "Erik?"
"Sorry to bother you, but could you bring that thing up here?!" he gestured to the scepter in his hand.
Natasha then suddenly poked her head over the ledge too and shouted down at her. "We can close the portal!"
Tony flew up beside one of the many Leviathan creatures that had infested the city and cutting up the buildings with his long fins. He fired a red hot laser at it but the armor shell wrapped around the creature was far too thick to pierce.
"Sir, we will lose power before you cut through that shell," Jarvis informed.
Tony frowned at the news and changed his course. He made a sharp turn around and aimed himself straight down the path of the charging Leviathan. "Jarvis. Have you heard of the tale of Jonah?"
"I won't consider him a role model."
As the Leviathan got closer, Tony braced himself and readied every arsenal he had left within his suit. The creature opened his mouth wide and Tony flew right into its gaping jaws and razor teeth. He sent out all the missiles at once and detonated them from within its belly, ripping it apart and sending Tony flying out. He didn't have an easy landing and crashed hard back into the streets that were still infested with Chitauri. They swarmed him like rabid pack animals and started to beat at the shell of his iron suit.
As he was being pelted with rifles and energy blasts, he suddenly heard Fury call into his communicator. "Stark, you hear me? You have a missile heading straight for the city."
"How long?" he answered back while trying to defend himself from the harsh blows.
"Three minutes, max. The payload will wipe out midtown."
Tony groaned loudly and reluctantly pulled himself back up for one last job. "Jarvis put everything we got into the thrusters."
"I just did."
Tony was just barely able to shake off the Chitauri and escape into the sky to search for the rogue missile.
Erik pulled his laptop from off the ground and pointed down at the glowing blue device. "Right at the crow!" he called over the loud humming.
Cain gestured for Natash to take a step back while she got the scepter into position. She jabbed it against the blue dome encasing the crown and actually managed to pierce it. Hot spark lashed out and singed her skin but Cain pushed on until the tip of the scepter was hovering right above the crown. She could close it right there and then.
"We can close it!" Natasha called into the communications to see if anyone would answer her. "Can anybody hear me! We can shut the portal down!"
"Do it!" Steve immediately answered back.
"No, wait." Tony suddenly cut in.
"Stark, these things are still coming!"
"I got a nuke coming in, it's gonna blow in less than a minute. And I know just where to put it."
Tony chased after the missile as it glided across the surface of the water, heading straight for Manhattan with less than a minute on the timer. He managed to reach out and push himself under just as they reached the city's edge. Abel lifted her head at the sound of his thrusters and saw him flying overhead, slowly gaining altitude and heading right for the portal above them. A moment later he slipped through the hole, immediately losing communication with everyone on the ground. Not even the immortals could hear him anymore.
Seth shifted around to see if her eyes could pierce the blackness of the portal, but it was no use. "He's passed my field of vision. I can't see him anymore." She walked up beside her silent sister. "Sister?"
Abel's lips trembled as they moved but no words fell from them for a second. "I...I can't see him either," she said and held her breath. She clenched her hands so tightly that every part of her body was shaking with hopelessness dread. "I…I just…can't."
They watched eagerly for another couple of seconds when the darkness suddenly ignited in a flash of light when the missile made contact with the mother ship. The Chitauri on the ground instantly slumped down like puppets being cut from their strings. Abel wasn't even paying attention to what was going on around her and kept her eyes firmly on the hole, waiting with her quivering heart for Tony to come back. She never was one to pray until this very moment. She clasped her hands together and began to pray to every god there was in the world, hoping someone would hear and take pity on her. None of that happened though despite how hard she was praying.
The gods were quiet and still as they always were.
Steve hesitated but decided to make the call. "Close it," he ordered in a disheartened voice.
Abel fell to her knees at that moment and hunched over, clenching her chest that felt like it was being set on fire by the quiet gods of the world. Her trembling eyes were wide open with tears staining her face. She took in a couple of shallow breaths in an attempt to hold back her sobbing. Seth tried to comfort her the best she could and got down to her level. She wrapped one hand around her shoulder and used her other one to rub her back.
The portal in the sky slowly began to shrink in size, but before it could really close, something small slipped through it at the last moment and started to tumble in the air. Seth picked her head back up and quickly narrowed her eyes on the strange object that looked like a suit of beaten up armor. Too shocked to even use her words, Seth began to slap, hit, tap, do whatever it took to get Abel's attention to the sky. Abel waved her sister off and looked up to see what everyone was looking at.
Steve huffed. "Son of a gun."
"Son of a bitch," Seth followed up, slack-jawed
Abel rubbed the tears away from her eyes, but her heart continued to drop the longer Tony went without catching himself. "He's not stopping."
Thor began to rapidly spin his hammer. "He's not slowing down either."
Before Thor could help, a small figure collided against Tony and grabbed a hold of him. They tumbled furiously in the air before slamming down into the ground with a devastatingly loud crash. Abel was over there faster than anyone else and waved the dust away to see what happened, only to freeze at the most unlikely scene unfolding before her eyes. The dust settled and Cain stood firmly in the ground with Tony over her shoulders. She met her sister's crying red eyes before setting Tony on the ground. The man appeared to be unconscious since he wasn't moving, but that was the best-case scenario.
Abel would've been in denial if she hadn't seen the whole thing herself. She stared at her sister and was completely speechless. "Sister? You… Why?" Those words were all she was able to get out as she kneeled beside Tony.
"I wonder that myself…" Cain said. It came to no one's surprise that she wasn't a fan of Tony because of the image he had created around himself, but she also couldn't bring herself to totally hate him either. That fact though that he made Abel happy was all it took.
Thor ripped Tony's mask off, but the man was unresponsive. Dread soon began to pull in and wash over everyone. Abel didn't breathe the whole time and watched with blurry eyes as her elder sister looked Tony over. She couldn't even tell what she was thinking because her face was expressionless and she was also quiet, completely focused on handling the situation. It was faint but Cain was able to hear his heart beating through his iron suit, but that was it. He wasn't waking up and the rhythm of his heartbeat was off. Cain paused for a moment to think of what to do when the Hulk suddenly yelled out in a fit of fury. The shock must've kicked-started Tony's heart and he sprung awake instantly.
"What the hell?" he exclaimed and looked up at everyone's relieved faces. He saw Abel first and her puffy red eyes, then Cain's sharp glare. She clicked her tongue and stood up. "What just happened? Please tell me nobody kissed me. No one is allowed to do that but Abel."
Abel had never taken in a gasp of air so deeply before that it actually burned her lungs. Overwhelmed with glee and stress, she covered her face with her hands and fell back against the ground. Cain sighed and sat down beside her. She patted Abel's head and gently smoothed out her golden hair.
Steve slumped down onto the floor and used the last of his strength to give an exhausted smile. "We won." He looked over to his right and saw Seth sit down beside him. She too had the same exhausted grin on her lips that was still teaming with carefree eagerness.
Tony breathed, reveling in those words for a moment before giving a half-hearted cheer. "Alright. Hurray. Good job, guys," he groaned as the pain started to kick in. "Let's just not come in tomorrow. Let's just take a day. Have you ever tried shawarma? Abel found a shawarma joint about a week ago that two blocks down. Don't know what it is, but I wanna try it."
Thor tightened his jaw and looked over to Cain. They shared a look with each other for a moment before she gestured her head up towards Stark Tower, where she knew Loki still was. "We're not finished yet," he spoke up.
Everyone turned their heads up at the same time and looked more than ready to put this day behind them.
Tony groaned and turned his head over to Abel while Cain helped her off the floor. "We're getting shawarma after this, right?"
Abel blinked and just stared at him before her signature smile broke to her face, stretched far and wide. "Of course."
After a long while, Loki was finally able to move his body and crawl out of the hole he was left in, all the while groaning in pain and completely exhausted. He heard a noise behind him though and looked over his shoulder, meeting face to face with Barton's arrowhead and Seth's sharp blue eyes. Behind them were the rest of the Avengers, all of which were staring down at him with displeased looks. Seth would've pounced on him too if both Cain and Abel didn't keep a firm on their little sister.
Loki groaned and sat back down in his hole. "If it's all the same to you. I'll have that drink now."
I wanna apologize in advance if this chapter doesn't feel edited properly. Internets down at my house right now I'm literally in a freaking Panera Bread parking lot right now just so I could post this chapter.
Aside from that though, we officially have two chapters left before the end!