“- -THE OMEGA SANCTION- -”
“- -THE DEATH THAT THIS TIME- -”
“- -IS TRULY LIFE!"
Chaos Shard stabbed into a still figure of a boy. Red light engulfing the child. Cracking the surface, reviling skin. A mere few spots again when a robotic voice rang out: “Second energy anomaly detected.”
A slight shift in the Boom Tube right next to where the cave’s residents gets into battle positions. The shift making the portal expand into reaching distance from the red light. Orange and red meeting, merging, pulling.
Batman stretches out an arm in a protective move for the three youngsters behind him. “Get back!”
The merging glows seemingly creating a vacuum, sucking in with a great force. “We have to get away or it’ll suck us in.” Red Robin says as he grabs batgirl’s arm signaling to get further away from the unstable reaction.
Red Hood takes a hold of Batman’s scruff “You too old gloom.” and hauls the weakened man back with him.
“No, we have to get Damian!” Batman shouts as he tries to shake off Hood. Stretching an arm out, trying to reach the casket his glowing son slumbers in. Only to be dragged further back by the man in better health.
“No worries Bats, I got him” Batgirl pulled out a grapplehook as she said. Firing it off at the coffin. Trying to haul it in to no avail. Gun in one hand she pulled at the rope with the other as soon as she noticed the gun not being powerful enough to even budge the casket. “Ghu! Okay, maybe I could get use of a helping hand.” The girl now slightly sliding on the floor as the coffin gets pulled into the merging of the two forces. The others quickly scramble to her, helping to pull at the rope. Even Alfred is now trying to use all his power. All of them together merely managing to halt it.
“No luck. My system is still not restored. I don’t have access to the mother box. Can’t do anything to the Boom Tube at the moment.” Cyborg says as he lays paralyzed. Only able to blink, breath and talk.
“Well, we’re not really abELHG!” Red Robin tries to voice as the forceful pull snaps the hook on the casket sending the family fumbling back at the sudden lack of resistance. Only Red Hood managing to keep himself from falling on his butt, kneeling in a stance ready to take on an attack at any moment’s notice. However, an attack is not what he wishes to stop now.
Without anything holing the casket back, it flies into the merge, “NOOO!”, just as it disappears into nothingness. Leaving behind a shaken family.
“… and then in 1590 some people came and found out something about the colony.”
“And what is that “something” they found out?”
“Uh.. That the colony held a party without inviting them?”
“Are you even trying?”
“To fail the test? No, that is just my natural talent.”
Ava pinches the bridge of her nose. Originally, she thought students in the academy studying history together would be a great idea. They could all learn from each other, and she could prove that she doesn’t only know enough to ace the test, but also to teach the ones who doesn’t enough for them to pass as well. But lo and behold, her teammates do not all share her ideals.
“Why do we even need American history? Aren’t we supposed to save the future? Not the stone age.”
“First of all, we’re trying to be a part of and understand the world we protect. This is basic history for normal high schoolers. Second, those who do not know the past are doomed to repeat it. Third, do you really believe I can’t see that you all pulled out your phones?”
They all looked up from their devices at that. Peter being the one to take the word. “Eh. Yes?”
“Listen Ava. This study session would have been a great idea if we all were on the same academic level. But, we’re not. I already got through this before S.H.I.E.L.D. academy while Miles is still 13 and didn’t start on this. We have the seventh smartest guy in here and Sam doesn’t know this because… I don’t actually know considering we had a written exam about it and he passed. Did you lose all memory that didn’t have to do with gaming?”
“Course not Web-head! Not everyone bothers remembering this when we have battle-strategy and galactic terrorists to worry about.”
Most of the others turned their focus back to their phones, used to the bickering between the two teens. Ava seeing her friends disinterest sits down in resignment and turns on her screen to start studying on her own next to Danny that had started meditating.
Their quarters fell into a peaceful silence despite the arguing between two that grew steadily livider. As they finally had settled on competing in the training room to decide a winner, Danny abruptly stood up with vide eyes.
“I sense a disturbance close by.” Danny calmly said as he started looking at the empty space to his left.
All eyes were on him, some turning following his line of sight. “What are you- Spidey sense is tingling.”. All spiders tensing their muscles, standing ready. And just as grey stones came flying out of thin air, they all leapt out of the way. Luke raising his arm to block those coming towards himself and the two behind him, Cloak and Dagger. Squirrel-girl leaps away much like the spiders. The rest standing ready as the debris either didn’t reach them or did not fly their way.
The last of the stones crumbled to the ground as the young heroes stood tense. Glancing around and at each other. “So that just happened.” Miles was the first to speak up, breaking the silence. “Think it was an enemy attack?”.
“Likely. But this look like no signature move of any of our usual enemies.” Amadeus answered, piking at the debris littering the floor with one of his iron legs.
“Hey, is that-?” Ava voiced as she took half a step forward. “A kid?” Peter finished. All eyes now on the figure buried under the debris.
Peter shifted his grip a little as he hung from the ceiling. Nick Fury was commanding and receiving reports on their security and intel systems. Agents ran in and out, monitors playing footage from the appearance of the kid just minutes ago.
“Isn’t it a little much?” Peter whispered to Ava standing next to him as the only of his friends in the room. Danny was with the still unconscious boy in the med-bay. The rest had been instructed to do some training exercises, not happily as they previously had the day off only planning to join in on Ava’s study-session.
“Someone infiltrated our quarters without tripping a single alarm. This is not something we can turn a blind eye to.”
Peter flipped down, landing easily on his feet. “I get that, and I’m not saying we should ignore it. But, it’s just a kid. Not someone attacking us. For all we know he might be a victim that came to us to seek help while he got hurt on the way, maybe attacked.”
“If that’s the case the kid better wake up quickly and tell us. We have currently no idea where he’s from or how he got here, not to mention the circumstances around him.” Nick Fury’s voice rang clearly, telling the whispering friends that he could clearly hear them without looking up from a tablet he was reading off.
“But, there are all these agents running around for something that might not even be a threat, and we’re already treating a child that has done nothing like a villain.” Peter argued as he tried to get full attention from the stoic man.
Ava took a step forward as she said: “I agree that we are treating him a little though. We did strap him down to the bed. That’s a little much for an unconscious kid that might just be running from danger somewhere in the city.”
“He is not from this city, nor this world.” The calm voice grabs their attention as a female enters the room. Madame Web strides forwards soundlessly, standing still before Fury that greets her.
“Fine. That’s fair. She you will look at while talking while I’m just another bug fo-Did you say this world?!” Peter ceased his rambling complaints and raised his voice once Madame Web’s words hit him.
“You saw him traveling between worlds and know where he is from then?” Fury stated, tuning out the voice of the teenager next to him. Already theorizing ways to set up protective barriers against dimensional travelling into S.H.I.E.L.D.-buildings and how to send travelers like their young John Doe.
“No”. Madame Web’s voice broke Fury’s train of thoughts.
Both Fury and Peter had arched an eyebrow each. “Yeah Miss Websy, what do you mean ‘No’?”
“I do not know where he’s from, neither did I see how he got here. All I could see was his appearance here.”
“Woah, woah, woah! You did not see him coming? Isn’t that your whole thing? To see everything through that web-tingy of yours? Wait, he didn’t just come into existence right before us? I’m pretty sure that that’s not how kids are born.”
“That is why I’m here. The boy is from somewhere beyond my sight. Either where he’s from is somehow being blocked from my powers or it is beyond the realities in my sight. A dimension beyond spiders, shield or anything I’ve seen the Siege Perilous reach.”
“Okey. So, both beyond your sight, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s surveillance and the magic stone that opens circular lights that send people between all kind of dimensions? This just seems simpler and simpler. What now?”
“Think you can get any more info if you meet the kid?” Fury addressed the lady in red.
“I do not believe so, but there might be a small chance I get something.”
“Seems like it’s worth a shot to me.” Peter chipped in, being the first to move to the door “Let’s go. Ava, you coming?” he turned to his teammate that had been silent for a while.
“You go. I have a hunch I need to test out.”
“Okey. Looks like it’s just us three. Ready to babysit our little traveler, Fury?”
“Hmm. Just you two.” Fury shifted his attention back to the tablet and the monitors.
When Peter and Madame Web arrived at the med bay they were met with Danny and Stephen Strange. The two were calmly discussing something near the only occupied bed in the room.
“Hey, Dr. Strange! What’s up?” Peter sprinted up to them and held up his palm for a high five. The sorcerer only raised an eyebrow in response, face neutral. “Come on, don’t leave me hanging.” Peter pretty much whined at this point.
Madame Web walked up to the bed’s side, assessing the boy. A black-haired boy in unusual white robes laid on his back, eyes closed and breathing steadily. He could almost be mistaken as just a sleeping child if not for the restrains on his wrists, ankles, legs and torso.
“I assume you are here for the child, Sorcerer Supreme?”. Strange faced the female, much to Peter’s annoyance as he felt ignored again.
“Yes, I sensed much like Iron Fist, the disturbance that occurred under this child’s arrival. It is of mystic forces, at least partly.”
“Wait. By “mystic forces” you mean magic, right? Like your Siege Perilous stone? The one sending me to meet other spider-men in other dimensions?”
“I do not know the source of magic, but it is not the Siege Perilous. The power I felt for a slight moment was of a more chaotic nature. If someone used a Siege Perilous from another dimension, then the force they used to power it is not of a good nature.” Strange took a pause before ending with: “And might be quite dangerous.”
“Okey. So, just to be clear: we still don’t know anything about who the boy is, but he was likely sent here by some powerful evil villain that can cast kids through dimensions?”
“Haah. Yes, to sum it up that would be what we know and think at the moment.” Strange said whilst looking slightly worn out.
“As the knowledge we seek might be hard to attain by ourselves, awaiting it’s bearer might be the wise path.”
“And I think by that Danny means: “Let’s wait for the kid to wake up”, right?” Peter slightly elbowed Danny as he finished.
“No need to wait. We can start now by you informing me about my whereabouts and your identities.”
“No need to wait. We can start now by you informing me about my whereabouts and your identities.”
Turning to the voice, the heroes faced the child they had brought to the room. He was standing by the side of the bed opposite of Madame Web. He scowled at the other four in the room with his arms crossed.
“Oh, good you’re awak-… How did you get out of the restraints?” Peter looked puzzled at the young boy. The way he behaved made it seem like he had been waiting for them for a long time and had lost his patience.
“Where am I. Who are you.” The kid demanded more than asked.
“yeah, it must be strange waking up in a totally unknown place. Welcome to S.H.I.E.L.D. academy. The best place for young heroes and agents in training. The chill dude is Iron fist.”
“Namaste” Danny said with a friendly smile.
“The floating guy in cape is Dr. Strange and the lady in red is Madame Web.” The two simply nodded when they were presented.
“And I am your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man” Peter made an overenthusiastic gesture with one arm in the air and bowing. “Nice to meet you, kiddo. And what might your name be?”
Peter looked at the kid with a smile hid behind his mask, anticipating a sweet answer from a kid that were face to face with a great hero as himself. And the other three as well, he supposed. However, he was only met with the silent scowl of someone with little to no patience.
The kid stood like that for a while and Peter did not believe how awkward a little boy that had just been unconscious could make him feel. He felt like no answer would come so he opened his mouth to fill the silence when the boy spoke: “Damian”.
“Huh? Oh. Damian is it? Nice to meet you Damian. I hope we can become good friends.” Peter used the most child friendly tone he had heard entertainers on children’s’ shows on TV use. All smiles and sunshine, even while wearing masks.
“-Tt-. Do not patronize me, Spider-man. I would rather know what and where this academy is and the whereabouts of the closest exit. Preferably how I came to wake up here as well” The kid had only frowned at the attempt to be friendly. Although he was just standing there with his arms crossed somehow the child’s words seemed threatening. Something about the way he spoke made Peter slightly shudder, feeling venomous promise behind the statements of a kid simply seeking to know where he was.
He felt a hand resting on his shoulder and turned his focus to his friend. “It is expected to be on guard in a situation like yours.” Danny looked reassuringly at Peter while addressing the scowling boy, before lowering his eyes to the kid and continuing: “And as we do wish to answer you, we would also like answers for ourselves.”
The boy kept his scowl while raising an eyebrow. “What exactly is it that you wish to be answered?”
“The same question that you seem to have: how did you get here?”
“And I suppose this question is pressing to you since this is a high security facility only for a select few to enter with clearance?” Damian asked in a flat voice.
“Yes, that is why-” Peter started but cut himself off when he noticed that the kid’s attention wasn’t on him. “Where did you get that?”
Damian’s eyes where focused on the blue glowing light of a tablet. His finger’s moving fast as he seemed to scroll down and open new files. Reading through everything he found at a fast pace.
“Hey, that’s S.H.I.E.L.D. tech. Those files are top-secret.” Peter shot out web, getting a hold of the tablet and snatching it from Damian’s hand. “-Tt-”
“Okay, I get you want answers kiddo, but stealing them is just rude. And illegal.”
“Considering you still haven’t answered the questions I asked, I’d say it would take hours if not days if I waited for you to give me the information I seek.”
“That does not justify theft. We will answer the questions, but we want ours answered first. Tell us, how did you get here? Who sent you?” dr. Strange stated, floating slightly higher and towards the boy.
“-tt-. And why should I answer your questions?” Damian stared daggers at the man, whilst the sorcerer seemed to return the look.
“Okay, let’s not start anything bad here.” Peter got between the two, holding up his hands. “Let’s just all get along and help each other out. What do you say?”
The two continued to stare at each other for a few more seconds before simultaneously backing off. Both crossing their arms plastering a neutral scowl on their face. “I see the angry look is contagious.” Peter tried to joke in an attempt to lighten the mood, to little avail.
“It would be more pleasant to unite about this dilemma as friends.” Danny said, clearly trying to help his struggling friend.
“-Tt-. This is pointless. I am more than capable to figure this out for myself.” Damian stated before turning on his heel. Stomping towards the door. However, as the automated door opened before him, the ground suddenly escaped from under his feet. The boy was lifted up in a purple glow.
“You are not going anywhere, young man.” Strange said as he levitated the boy back to the bed.
“Put me down this instant!” Damian growled. He was wriggling around in the air, trying to escape to no avail.
“As you wish”. With that the purple glow faded and Damian fell down. Landing on his back on the bed. “-tt-”
“Now, sit there and start talking. Who sent you?” Stephen Strange crossed his arms once again which he had moved in order to lift the boy that got on his nerves.
“You are four people, talk to each other.” The kid nearly snarled as he threw a pillow over half the size of his own body at the group. Somehow managing to rip open as it hit Strange in the face, causing feathers to fill the air around the four of them.
“Hey! Listen here you bra-!” Peter shouted while Strange cleard the feathers and levitated what's left of the pillow to an unused bed. The spider faced where the kid sat, only to be met with an empty bed.
“Where did he go?”
“Why are we running through all of New York again?”
“First of all, you are flying, buckethead. Second, Madame Web said she saw the team, Ka-zar and Zabu on a rooftop in the city today. We were talking to the kid in her vision. If we’re gonna find the brat, this is our best chance. If who she said is out where she saw, the possible future has a bigger chance of coming true.” Peter said as he swung himself from one building to another.
“Couldn’t she be a little more specific? There isn’t exactly just one rooftop here and the kid could have gotten far the two days he has been gone.” Sam said gaining more altitude when they neared one especially tall building.
“Apparently, him being from outside her sight still makes him hard to see or something. All she could do was see us interacting with someone that’s supposedly the kid. No specific where or when.” Peter said as he flung himself atop of a building. “So, we do this the old way.”
“The old way we could have some other leads than a clairvoyant that can only see our target when he interacts with people she can see, but not when he’s alone. The wizard with all kinds of spells abandoned us to search for the “annoying child”, while Zabu lost his track as soon as he found it. Even S.H.I.E.L.D can’t pick him up with all their surveillance. Really, this kid is just trouble. He disappeared just as quickly as he appeared.” Sam floated beside his friend. Looking around before spotting a girl in a white costume, Ava, running up to them from a nearby rooftop.
“Keyword being: kid.” Peter said just as Ava jumped over the edge of the building to land on the roof her friends occupied.
“I’m guessing you haven’t seen him either?”
“No trace of him east”
At that Peter decided to check how the rest was doing, using his watch to call. Powerman answered rather quickly.
“Hey, Spidey. Any luck?”
“No. what about your end?”
“Nothing. I just met up with Ka-Zar and Zabu and we’re just waiting for Iron fist.”
Peter pauses for a second, slightly tired of working on something that seemed to bear no fruit. “I’m sure we’ll find him soon”
“Sure hope so. We’ve been out here for over three hours. It’s late and Zabu has started chasing pigeons instead of the kid’s scent.”
“I know, but that means we’ve been most places. We’re pretty much doomed to spot him soon.” Ava said, leaning over Peter’s shoulder to talk to her thick-skinned friend.
“Ye-“ Luke were to answer before his friends saw him quickly turning on Peter’s small screen. Something behind him clearly grabbing his attention. And if his friends read his expression right, that something had him worried for a second.
“Powerman?” Ava were the first to ask. No answer.
“Buddy?” Peter tried.
“Luke?” Sam was now hovering over Peter’s other shoulder to see his silent friend.
Finally, Luke turns back to his screen. A small smile plastered on his face. “Guys, no need to search anymore. He found us.”
Another short chapter where little happens and it's of 80% dialog and ends on a cliff.
It was clear that they were searching for him. Just earlier he had had to duck into a store to hide from the flying teenager called “Nova”. The smell and aisles of dildos, lube and DVDs featuring people in the nude did not ease his mood as he had to come up with some excuse in his mind to the staring shoppers end employee for a kid walking in there. Not that he would actually bother to explain anything to them as he just turned and walked out. If his cheeks were slightly warm it was certainly for lack of sleep or the cheap Chinese food he consumed even thought he found it’s taste strange, not this incident. Something like this wouldn’t bother him. It was just that going into places like that attracted attention, and therefore he was annoyed that their door was the only he could reach without suspiciously raising his pace.
More and more seemed to be out of his hands lately. Things had not been clear when he had woken up. As soon as he woke up with a muddy mind, he had heard voices and felt restrains covering his body. Once he had gotten his thoughts straightened out and fully awakened, he attempted to listen without giving any indication of his sleepy state having changed while also planning an escape if needed.
Damian concluded that they were preoccupied and did not even notice when he carefully opened one eye to take a peek at his situation. “And might be quite dangerous.” the older man donning a red cape spoke to the others. As he freed himself from the bindings he tried to get as much information as he could. Something about a powerful evil and kids getting thrown through dimensions? He was pretty sure from what he got that the one they were waiting for to wake up was him.
As it didn’t seem like they were completely unconcerned with him and might notice him leaving through the only door he could see, he decided to speak up: “No need to wait. We can start now by you informing me about my whereabouts and your identities.”
Yes, that was what he first needed to know. Were they far from Gotham or a place he could escape to? Were they allies or foes? They certainly dress like superheroes, but that alone can’t be trusted. He would also like to add an “Why am I here?”, where ever here was.
Unluckily for him, the answers he got helped little. Shield Academy? What and where was that supposed to be? And the way the one called Spider-man presented himself and his friends made it seem like it was a joke. Like they were famous and he should know them. No, he knew about every superhero and villain worth mentioning. Even the vigilantes hiding in shadows like his own family.
Then when he was asked his name he immediately wanted to answer: I’m Robin of course, the boy wonder. He didn’t however because something immediately struck him. He was not wearing his mask. He was sure that he had it on before whatever brought him here, but there was no time for thinking about that now. He was not Robin at the moment. He was Damian Wayne. With no mask on his face, anyone could tell his identity with a quick search through Gotham Gazette thanks to being the son of Bruce Wayne. There was no point in hiding it. He was a normal rich boy that could not fight like a ninja. A kid that could not fight at all, let alone three costumed adults (or teens as some were in this case).
He could not fight them, but he could escape. Without the other noticing he quickly took out the tablet he had found next to his bed. Someone monitoring him must have left it there, which he was almost thankful for. He looked through the files on the institution, surveillance and anything that might assist him in his escape. He kicked himself for not having anything to copy the blueprints onto and take with him in his strange white robe.
It had been minutes since he had awoken, and the four strangers did not answer him adequately even when he bothered with asking them. He found out something about their wary of him as well within few seconds of scrolling. Based on what he heard earlier and what he now read. This “S.H.I.E.L.D” was a secret organization with high security, and he had breached it. They had no idea how he got here. They did not know what he needed to know the most.
His frustration only grew when the Spider-man took the tablet from him. They wouldn’t answer his question. Didn’t know the answer for at least one of them. They were an organization that pretended to have no idea who the son of Bruce Wayne was and made him tell them his name. They worked with intelligence, one he had never heard of. Neither from his legal Wayne side nor his dubious al Ghul side. They were unknown, and he had no reason to trust them.
It was time to get out.
“-Tt-. This is pointless. I am more than capable to figure this out for myself.” Damian stated before turning on his heel. Stomping towards the door. As the automated door opened before him, the ground suddenly escaped from under his feet. The boy was lifted up in a purple glow.
It was the elder floating with a red cape that seemed to lift him back to the bed. “Now, sit there and start talking. Who sent you?”
Damian was pissed now. The man seemed to have levitating powers or magic that extended outside of himself, and he used it to treat Damian like a ragdoll. The youngster quickly grabbed the pillow he had slept on, making a big cut in it without the others noticing.
“You are four people, talk to each other.” He snarled as he threw the pillow at them. Jumping out of bed and the room as soon as the feathers covered the strangers’ vision.
He was out of the building without anyone spotting him. Hiding from the surveillance he had noted where would be strong and weak, he found complicated ways through what he found to be a New York he found different from what he remembered. He only hoped that what he had gotten from that tablet was enough.
His first mission was to escape. To get back home. To get back to his family that he last saw… He stopped and sat himself on a fire escape in a dark alley. He clutched his fist over his heart. Was he really…? Was he? In his chest, shouldn’t there be a gaping hole?
There was still no time for this. He couldn’t be sure he wasn’t followed by the strangers that had held him captive in some medical bay. Besides, he needed answer, and the best ones to give him what he needed was his family. If they were all right.
That was his thought at that time. Before he found out how out of hand everything was. Immediately after his break he had found some fitting clothes and “borrowed” a phone from a girl that looked like her parents could buy her five more without blinking an eye.
He was donning a hoodie and sunglasses in great Robin tradition while using a neighbor’s internet and crashing in an unoccupied apartment. The new information he had found, gnawing on his mind.
Firstly, this was not his world. This had taken longer to figure out than he should. He had even heard the four strangers mention kids travelling dimensions. Of course, they had talked about him and him traveling dimensions. Unfortunately, he did not even consider this as a possibility before he tried getting home, only to find a huge problem. There were no Gotham here. A few cities were in fact missing. There was no Metropolis, no Starling city, no Coast city.
Searching further, he found there neither were a Justice league. No Superman, Wonder woman, no Shazam. There were no one he knew here. No family. No father, brothers or companions… Not that he needed them. He was trained to take care of himself. It was just…
Finishing his slightly in-dept search of Spider-man and the various heroes of this world, he put the phone down. The internet had been of assistance, but it was filled with hypothesis and foolish theories made by baboons in clothes. All his other sources of information were not in this world, and it seems his best bet was S.H.I.E.L.D. or their allies. He really wanted to cut somebody.
Two days later he had moved to a new apartment, for the third time. He had built several tools from scraps to use in the big city. A little radio to cut in on others’ lines in case he needed to listen to a police radio or a phone call between mobsters, so he knew where chaos would be. Some small weapons of various kinds. And his own grappling hook, even though he found little use of it.
There were not only differences between his world and this. It seemed like he himself had changed. Not just slightly either. He had noticed a few differences. He was stronger. Much stronger. When disarming the second apartment’s alarm, he had crushed the box in trying to carefully pry it open. The thing had gone off immediately and Damian noticed another change. Speed. He was fast. Within one second of the alarm going off, he was one block away.
It was slightly after that that he found a third ability. This one he figured out by no accident. Working all the time without sleep, he found time for a small activity. After the first two, he started experimenting. He tried moving his molecules so that he could walk through walls like the speedsters, to no avail. He attempted to lift a flowerpot with his mind. No luck there either. However, he then attempted to levitate himself. With little to no effort, soon he was floating above the ground. His body feeling light as he flew back and forward behind closed curtains in his new apartment.
As delightful as it felt, he could not dawdle on this for to long. There were too many whys and hows. It had been almost two days since he left the intelligence organization and the young heroes. He really didn’t want to go back to them, but it seemed harder and harder to figure out everything on his own. The internet was not trustworthy about dimension travels. The library had too little and anyone could see him there.
He finally decided on one path: he would get into a school, use a student’s computer to get into S.H.I.E.L.D.’s database and escape if he ever were to be found sneaking into their files. It was not the best or friendliest plan, but it could work. Unfortunately, their defenses were not completely useless and getting in from his apartment would be too risky. Henceforth: the school. He could get what he needed without ever having to meet the people that strapped him down to a bed. Leaving as soon as he had everything he needed. He didn't take any breaks. For a bat sleep was a choice, not something essential.
It was on his way to the school filled with people his age to hide between, that he hid from the superhero. With warm cheeks he took a new path towards the school. Instead of going to the left, the same way Nova had flown, he took a slightly longer way through some shady alleys for what he saw as a bright city. Hiding deep in his hood every time he got out in a street where the sun reached.
Finally, at the school, he had found an unoccupied room and the laptop of some teacher that annoyed him. She had pestered him for not having a hall pass so now she might be pestered for not having her laptop for work. It might not have been the most mature way of handling it, but it sure made him smirk.
Opening the laptop before him, he glanced out the window while waiting for the slow machine to start up. While glancing at a nearby building, he saw movement on the roof. Looking up he saw, to his astonishment, a big cat. Like a big lion hunting, it wagged its tail while laying still before a pair of pigeons. The sight mused him a little before he recognized the animal. It was one of the heroes. Zabu, if what he read was correct.
This raised some of the paranoid boy’s flags. Why was he here? Were the others here? Had they found him? Had they known all along? Was it all just a play of-
His thoughts were immediately cut off. Before him, the tiger had leap with great force towards the birds. Nothing stopping him, as the pair flapped to safety, he went over the edge of the building. Without thinking, he used his newfound speed to land on the roof of the school. He shot out one of his tools, a net, to two lampposts and tied the third end to the pipe next to him. All this within one second.
The tiger landed softly in the net before jumping down to the street looking up at his helper. However, the boy looked at the two still on the roof. No expression showing on his face, worried inside. Did they see him fly? The speed? No. But they did and do see the net. Passing as a normal civilian is out of the picture now. Avoiding them as well.
He really wanted to cut someone. Maybe just a small stab.
Having a muscular, bearded man with an eyepatch pacing back and forth in anger telling you what you did wrong can terrify any teen or kid. When that man is Nick Fury even other muscular, bearded men cower in fear.
“Two days you did not come to class nor keep up with the training regime.”
“But I thought finding the boy who suddenly appeared within S.H.I.E.L.D. would be important, right?” the web clad teen in red and blue asked
“For SHIELD, yes. For heroes supposed to protect people and stop crime, not so much. Squirrel-girl had to take on a bank robbery alone yesterday. You took on others’ job and abandoned your own. Not even reporting to anyone that you wouldn’t be available to assist. You are heroes, clearly not gods of multitasking. And why were you even out two days when you already knew that you were supposed to find him on one of them?”
“Ava was here till yesterday morning.” Peter countered with, only to get a one-eyed glare.
“Training. Now. All of you.”
“Yes sir!” The team straightened up before turning to leave.
“Kid, I want a few words with you before my men send you to your cell.”
“-tt-. My name is Damian, not ‘kid’”
“Wait! You’re locking him up?”. The team had stopped when they registered Fury’s words. Ava being the first to speak.
“You find that to be wrong?”
“He’s a kid!” Peter stated as he felt that he was one of the few thinking about him as one. One innocent kid in a strange world. A “-tt-” was ignored as the team and Fury was facing each other.
“That got both in and out without anyone seeing him or tripping our alarms.” Fury countered with folded arms and a blank look on his face.
“well, yeah buuut…” Luke tried to stretch out his words as best he could, trying to buy some time for one of them to somehow out-logic Fury. The one at the top of S.H.I.E.L.D.. the man who seemed to know a little about every agent, hero and operation. … chances were looking slim.
“We’ll watch over him!” Sam chipped out with a grin on his face.
“You?” Fury, clearly not convinced, asked.
“Yeah! It only makes sense. He appeared before US. WE found him again. Pluss it will be like extra training.”
Still with a grin plastered on his face he continued: “He has already proven to be difficult to handle” “-tt-” “We will have to go about training and studying without putting him in harms way and concealing our identities. It will be like preparing to be out in the field, where we always have to be aware of the civilians.”
The others in the team nodded their heads in agreement. Peter was almost impressed with the “bucket head’s” argument.
“And you want me to leave the escapist in Your hands’?” Fury seemed to challenge them. Clearly putting some pressure on as some of them leaned slightly backwards.
“Yes? He already said that he saw no reason to run away again when we asked”
“Fine. Let’s see where this goes.” Fury said as he tried to ignore the badly concealed celebration the team had. “but I still have some questions for him.”
“That’s ok. We’ll just wait.” Luke smiled.
“You’re not getting out of training that easily. You’ve already wasted time. I’ll have someone escort him to you when we’re done.”
The strict tone did not dampen the teens’ mood as they gave a cheerily salute before leaving. Even before the doors had closed, the bearded man started his questioning: “Your first name is Damian? Any surname?”
Unexpectedly to the man, the boy seemed to ponder at the question for a few seconds before answering with: “Wayne. Damian Wayne.”
“Difficult to answer the question?”
“Just some family matters. I had it changed.”
Fury raised a brow. He could tell it was something that bothered the kid even with the flat voice and lack of expression. He also picked up that he was not telling the full story, but could not hear the insecure “Would father even want me back?” that swan through the boy’s mind after days left with his doubting thoughts.
Continuing with the questions that seemed more pestering, he filed the newly arisen ones to the back of his mind: “And what exactly have you been doing in this new world? I heard you used a net that you made yourself.”
“I found some interesting things laying around. I made some gadgets and learnt about this world of yours.”
“And stole some clothes?” Fury shot in.
“It’s part of the learning” Damian shrugged.
“Hm. I expect some more detailed descriptions later. How old are you?”
“Does it matter?”
“Are you unwilling to cooperate?”
“-tt-. I’ll be 12 soon.”
“How soon is soon?”
“That is soon. Must have been planning a party. Why come here? To a different dimension.”
“Thought I’d find some good cake for the festivities.”
The two entered a staring contest at the sarcastic answer. Both of strong will meant that they easily could spend hours in dead silence. However, neither wanting to lose time and knowing that the other felt the same kept them from it. Damian was the one to start up the dialog.
“I do not know why I am here or how I got here. I simply woke up here” crossing his arms and putting on an angry expression to show his dislike of the questioning.
“Hm? And what is the last thing that happened before that?”
“I was out. I met up with my brothers and father to something my mother organized for us.”
Again Fury felt that vital information was left out. But as he saw no sign of the boy lying, he continued on: “And what differences have you found between our worlds?”
“The tricarrier for starters.”
Peter flipped over one of the three Kravens, distracting it while Luke charged for it. Sending it flying to the wall, destroying its ability to take the form of others at impact.
“Nice one. White Tiger, go low. Iron Fist, high.” The spider cheerily ordered, taking on the leading role with his team.
“No worries. I got thiiiiieh!” Sam shrieked as one iron tentacle grabbed him from behind. Barely letting himself get taken aback for a second before he blasted the tentacle with his power. Flying back in the fight to assist his friends. Holding up his fist, ready to punch another Kraven when the system was shut down.
“Here’s your little angel. Take good care of him and make sure he’s in bed by eleven.” one of the agents, one that had hung out with the team one time too many to be unaffected by their behavior, joked followed by an “-tt-”. Him and another agent guiding Damian into the room as the team got close.
“Aaaw! Our little baby.” Sam was quick to respond. Clearly enjoying the reddened cheeks in the boy. Anger and irritation being the only strong emotions he managed to get from the kid.
Damian stamped his foot: “Quit your annoying talk, glowstick!”
“You hear that guys? I think he might be hungry.” Luke quipped in.
The friendly guard that had escorted Damian pulled Peter aside, away from the other agent that had to hold the boy back as he grew violent at the still teasing teens.
“Hey, just thought you might like to know: he said that his birthday is in 3 days.”
The agent didn’t wait for a response. He took his colleague with him out of the room as they left Damian, that had just decided that he should give the teens a few more minutes before trying to stab them.
Peter saw the momentarily peace to start a conversation: “So. You are quite the young kid going around, hopping between worlds”
“-tt-. I’m not some incompetent child.”
“Of course not. That was not what I was getting at.”
Both the team and Damian were looking at him with uncertainty of what he was trying to get at.
“A little bird told me that you have a big reason to celebrate in three days.”
Damian now turning his facial expression back into a scowl as he understood his meaning. His team on the other hand was none the wiser.
Peter decided to help his friends out: “A birthday, was it? Something about turning twelve?”
“Gasp!” “You’re turning 12?!” “Your birthday!” “I though you were a short-grown teen?”
The quick excitement disappeared as quickly as it came by Danny’s words: “Then you will likely turn twelve in the absence of everyone you know.”
The realization dawned on the team as the room fell silent.
The teens looked at the kid. Interpreting different things from his one-word question.
“You won’t get to celebrate with your friends and family.” Peter tried to explain.
“-tt- I have no time for such trivia.” Damian scoffed.
“Do you celebrate birthdays back in your dimensions?” Ava questioned as the possibility of the differences in his world could also be about their rites.
“Of course we do. I just have no need for it as I am much too old.”
“They stop celebrating before you turn twelve?” Sam was the one to ask this time.
“-tt-. No, but I do.”
“Why-” “training program will now proceed”
“Wait. We still-” BOOM
“Man, I’m beat”. Luke walked with slumped shoulders as the door to the training room closed behind them.
“Tell me about it. I think Fury really has it in for us with the two hours extra training.” Sam stretched his sore arm as he moved along with the others. “It didn’t really make it easier to get this thing out of the way for the lasers and robo arms.” He stated as he pointed a thumb to the short individual following them quietly.
“That “thing” has a name.” Peter turned his head to face the friend walking slightly behind him. “And it was you who suggested training with him, so we could get used to fighting while watching out for frightened civilians.”
“Yeah, but it’s still bothersome. Besides, he doesn’t really work as a “frightened civilian” when he’s only looking down at that screen all the time.” Sam let his arms hang loose at his side, automatically shuffling his feet forward as he turned back again to the kid. “What even are you looking at? The way to Narnia? If so, I recommend trying stepping into a wardrobe”. Even as tired as he was, smiling and joking was a part of who he was and came as naturally as breathing.
“Who knows? I am currently just finding clues as to how I may return to my own world. If this Narnia place has the answer, then it might be worth taking a look.”. Damian sported an emotionless mask as the light from his holographic computer lit up his face, sunglasses reflecting the text and pictures. The machine om his wrist was bulkier than what he was used to, but it was what he could do.
Sam turned around to face the boy wholly. “Oh. Sorry dude. I didn’t mean to. It was just-” “A joke.” Damian finished. “And no reason to apologize. Don’t say sorry like it has no meaning, glowstick. You might fry that thing you call a brain when you eventually do something incomprehensible idiotic, as you are doomed to do.”
“I-” Sam turned to his friends, slightly annoyed: “I can’t tell if he’s angry or his natural state is just pure meaness.”
“He might not be the friendliest we have met, and his behavior in the training room does raise some questions.” The group’s focus switched to Danny as he continued talking: “That along with what we know you are able to make.”
Peter raised an eyebrow, asking what the others also wondered: “What do you mean? We do get that his stuff is unusual, both to have and make, but what’s bad with the training? He didn’t even run or scream.”
“No, but he did move to avoid danger more than once. Even while reading he kept an eye on his surroundings. He has a situational awareness it took me years to learn. His moves as well were precise, clearly trained and disciplined. Every time one of us grabbed or pushed him out of the way he positioned himself to make it easier for us.”
At that some turned to the kid, all recalling the little things they had noticed. Rushing to grab him, seeing that they would miss the kid, but somehow still holding the boy the next second as they avoided a metal claw. Or while being busy seeing a laser charging, pointed at the youngest, only to slightly miss the kid. Noticing how many contraptions he had made from scratch in two days. There were a few things they had thanked or blamed luck for that they were now second guessing.
“I know Fury questioned you, but I still wish some answers for myself. They might not be the exact same, but the moves you have used are familiar to me. They are that of a warrior, or an assassin.”
Damian, who had had his eyes locked on the holographic text this entire time, finally raised his gaze to meet Danny’s. His computer switching of as he lowered his arms. Silence filled the hall the group had stopped in. A smirk halfway formed on the kid’s face. “And you wish to know what I have been trained as. If I am a threat.”
Peter stepped up, raising his hands in front of him: “No. we don’t see you as an enemy or-”. “Yes.” Danny cut in. not taking his eyes of the kid.
“Am I the only one trying to be friendly here?” Peter slumped over. His arms dangled as he used the little energy he bothered to continue walking. Letting the others argue, or whatever he was too tired for, as he took another step toward his beloved mattress.
“This might may not be the nicest method for knowing, but it will make little room for lies.” Peter heard Danny said before a “Dun” came. He turned around to see his friend having his fist in the wall at a low angel, clearly having just punched it.
The otherwise calm and peaceful teenager swiftly turned and kicked out. Aiming for the kid that merely took half a step to the side and slightly bent his upper body to the right as Danny’s foot swished over him.
Still sporting a neutral mask, Damian feels quite prideful. He is able to fluently avoid the attacks at a speed normal for human, even with his newly found abilities. He can not let himself be hit as the teenager that noticed his masked reactions in training surely will notice that even a bullet can not hurt him. Neither can he attack as it might reveal too much as well. This was the best way, Damian found, to get access to the information he needed from this S.H.I.E.L.D. and who they may be working with. Besides, in the teen’s tired state he was of no threat.
Before Danny could get in his next punch Sam quipped in: “Whoa. Okay, I get that he is annoying and really tempting to beat up a little, but maybe we should take it easy?”. The shorter of the teens was now standing between the two that had just engaged in battle.
As Peter joined the group again Ava spoke up, laying a hand on Danny’s shoulder: “Nova’s right. If you want answer you can ask him. We all need to spare some energy left for whatever Fury’s planned tomorrow. Judging by what we went through today it can’t be easy.”
Danny straightened up and gave a nod: “There is no reason to continue this anyway.”
He turned his head back to Damian and continued: “It seems I was wrong to think that you couldn’t lie much if I we fought. You were clearly holding back the entire time. What exactly are you hiding?”
“-tt-. I merely have no good reason to waste my energy on you.”
“That-”. This time it was Peter that quipped in: “Okay. We’re all tired and need some sleep. Let’s not say anything we’ll regret and go rest up for our unfair punishment tomorrow.”
The group had no arguments against peacefully getting some rest. And thus, they started shuffling on towards their room. As they walked, Luke spoke up, more for filling the silence than anything: “I get that the training was hard but calling it unfair is a little off. We did take two days off without notice.”
“We did, but Av- I mean White Tiger stayed over a day longer than us.”. Peter turned his head slightly toward Ava that walked behind Luke before continuing: “Didn’t you stay behind longer than any of us with school, training and that “theory” you “put to the test”? Wouldn’t it be normal for Fury to go easy on you? Or at least not train as much as us? I mean, even Ka-zar and Zabu got off with a warning and some homework.”
“Clearly, you still don’t know Fury. Those brothers aren’t really accustomed to the world and need to learn about it rather than more training. Besides we’re a team; we rise together and fall together.” Ava explained as they arrived at their destination.
As the doors opened before them Damian asked: “They are brothers?”
Luke was the one to answer: “That’s right, little dude. They are brothers that grew up together and lived in the Savage land. Despite being of different species they have always gotten along and looked out for each other.”
At the information Damian tilted his head: “There is a nation called the Savage land?”
“It’s not really a nation…” Luke found it hard to explain as he sat down on his mattress. “We can explain later, right now we’ll need to find out where you’ll sleep.”
Peter looked around as he had forgotten to think about the kid needing a bed. The expanding academy had now two sleeping quarters as this, the first one, had been filled up. As he wondered who he should ask for looking after the kid in the other room when Damian spoke up: “Did you not have an empty cell for me to use?”
“Yes, except we’re not putting an eleven year old kid in a cell. Even if you end up being the assassin Iron Fist believes you to be.” Sam said as he himself laid down in his bed, eying the green clad friend that had been silently watching the young boy since the fight. A smirk on his face as he continued in a voice Damian found taunting: “Why don’t you sleep with big sister Ava? I am sure you can snuggle up-” “Nova!”
Sam looked to Peter that had interrupted him: “What is it, Web-head?”
Sam widened his eyes as he realized that he used Ava’s real name in front of the kid. “Oh.”
“-tt- I know your names Parker and I will not be sleeping with anyone. I would much prefer a cell.”
“You know who I am?!” Peter raised his voice with his eyebrows.
“Yes. An annoyance” Damian retorted in a flat voice. Once more staring at his computer.
“What? First, rude. Second, you know my name?”
“What? It’s supposed to be secret?” the kid asked, his voice void of emotion but still taunting.
“Duh! You see the mask?” Peter said as he pointed to his face.
“And still he knew your name within two days in a strange world.” Sam quipped in. “Guess that bodysuit showing your shape and height is not that good of a cover.”
Ignoring his friend Peter still looked at the boy when a possibility struck him. A possibility he hoped was true: “Wait. Do you know a me from your dimension? Is that why you know my name?”
“No. I am quite sure that you do not exist in my dimension”
“Well, that does explain why you weren’t awestruck as soon as you saw me. Any ten year old would love meeting me.”
Damian looked up at that. Clearly annoyed besides hiding behind sunglasses. “Not. Ten. Years. Old”
“But still, you know who we are.” Ava came up to his side, hand on hips.
“Yes, annoyances. Now if you will excuse me, I can find the way to the cells myself.” Damian turned to leave as he faced the two newly arrived standing in the doorway.
“There you are! I heard you got an earful from director Fury.” Doreen, in her costume as Squirrel-girl, cheerfully said. She and Amadeus walked into the room, clearly enjoying the others’ tiredness.
“Ugh. Don’t even talk about it.” Luke grunted as he turned around in bed, facing away from the rest.
“You sure took your time on your vacation.” Amadeus said as he tossed a bag on his bed.
“We weren’t on vacation. We worked hard.” Peter complained as he as well found his bed and slumped down.
Doreen, still amused, teased: “Yes, sooo hard to find a kid that doesn’t know anything about the world. I bet you sat on rooftops eating shawarma, only glancing down once in a while.”
“Hey, we needed to eat something. It was harder than you think, right Iron Fist?”
“Yes. He was as hard to find as a shadow in the night.”
“-tt-, as a bat in the night.” Damian mumbled in a low voice. Either too low for anyone to hear, or they just didn’t bother with it, ignoring him.
“Sooo hard. No wonder you look so exhausted. Why don’t I take him off your hands while you rest up.” She said as she laid a hand on Damian’s shoulder, only for the kid to shake it off.
“-tt-. I can find my way.” Damian flatly said as he strode out the door.
Doreen quickly went after him: “Hmph. You’re not getting away that easily.”.
After the door closed the room fell silent. The teens shuffled to their beds, not minding the quietness. The silence dint last too long however as Amadeus walked up to Ava
“Hey, I finished the puzzle while you were out. Didn’t take me long at all.”
“Really?” Ava sat up from the bed she had just laid down in. “And?”
“What puzzle?” Peter raised his head as he had gotten curious. “Is this about the theory you were working on?”
“It is. I left him with doing the finishing touch.” Ava said before turning back to Amadeus. “Was I right?”
“Yes, but it might have told us a little different story than we hoped for.”
“Okay, really, what are you talking about?”
Ava and Amadeus shared a look before Amadeus answered: “It might be easier if you come see for yourself.”
Understanding that the “you” meant all of them, not just Peter, Sam turned in his bed much like Luke had and grunted: “I am not getting up for some puzzle.”
“How did you get me to come here for some puzzle?”
The team had half-heartedly arrived at what was now Amadeus’ personal laboratory, which he was gifted as he used it so often. The three desks in there were all covered in different kinds of projects. Cables ensnared around robotic arms and tubes. Screwdrivers and other tools laid between plates and hardware.
Contrary to the littered desks, the floor was nearly spotless. It was squeaky clean except for one spot behind a desk that seemed to divide the room. There laid a gray object on some clear plastic. Following Amadeus, the team surrounded the odd thing in the elseway modern and clean room.
“Because you might want to see this” Amadeus said as he lifted his hand in a gest to the gray thing. Getting the team all to look down at it.
“A big stone box?” Sam questioned. Not impressed by being dragged out of bed to look at a shaped stone. Some of the others however stopped thinking about bed as they saw the shape as something more peculiar.
“Or a small coffin.” Danny said in a low, but steady voice.
Amadeus answered as neither he nor anyone else turned their eyes away from it: “Yes. One too small for the average adult.”
At that Sam snapped his head to his friend in metal armor: “Wait! You mean Damian?”
“Yes. I found some cells and hair in there belonging to him. I matched the DNA with what we took of him before he woke up in the med-bay.”
“So he travelled here in an unusual way. It doesn’t necessarily mean he was sent to die. Does it? I mean, he is alive and kicking now. The trip only left him unconscious.” Sam tried to argue, more to himself as he started imagining scenarios he really didn’t want to when he was supposed to sleep.
“Unfortunately, it might be worse than that.” Amadeus stated as he pulled up some holographic screen for them to see: “I found what’s called ‘post-mortem bonding’ on the hair. The cells as well states that they come from a corps, someone who has been dead for months.”
“Months? So it’s not exactly like his hearth stopped for a second while crossing worlds.” Ava stated with a hand to her chin, considering the possibilities for this.
Peter, being the newest of them to be acquainted to the world of myths, magic and monsters, found that the reason for the boy’s death and somehow now being alive might be answered with one question. And with overexaggerated movements and a dramatic voice: “Is he a vampire? Travelling dimensions in search of his eternal bride or new victims to form a clan of the strongest. Hunting his prey in the middle of the night.”
The others did not deny any of his accusations, they just stared at him in silence. “What? It would explain the angry holier-than-thou attitude, the fighting and his disappearance act.”
“Maybe so web-head, but we still found him under the sun. you know, the ting Dracula and his fans don’t like too much.” Sam explained with gestures equally exaggerated to Peter’s.
“Duh, that’s why he started wearing sunglasses as soon as he got outside.”
“You know that’s not how vampires work, Spiderman. Besides, the DNA belongs to a human. Both the one we got while he was unconscious and the one from the coffin.” Amadeus said as he magnified a holographic picture of a strand DNA.
Luke raised his shoulders and hands in an unsure gesture as he asked: “So, what? He died, and someone sent him here?”
“Maybe he died while travelling and got stuck in between dimensions. Then the same thing that sent him here started his heart again?”
“Not likely.” Amadeus said as he pulled up a new picture, this one showing different molecules. “I did some analyses on the dirt on it. Their construct and contents show that the two origins differ too much for them to come from the same soil or close by. As it is from a different place than the stone, I assume that it has been buried in the ground”
“Okay. This is getting creepy and all, but can someone explain where this coffin came from. We didn’t exactly find him in it.” Sam said in a nearly complaining tone.
“The stones that came with him.” The steady voice of Danny sounded as he turned his head to Ava. “Did you know?”
Crossing her arms, she answered: “I noticed some of the debris looked processed. Some of them had polished sides. I thought it might have been a sculpture or maybe a tool that he used to appear in, but...”
Once more silence filled the room for a short while. None in it found the news pleasing. Worry and uncertainty spread among the teens in thought. But as a team that had been living together for a while, it did not take too long for them to verbally discuss their next course of action.
Sam was the one to break the silence with his question: “So, are we gonna ask him?”
“Let us wait till tomorrow. No matter what the conversation turns to, it is better to be well rested. At the moment, we are not in our optimal form.” Danny calmly retorted
Tired as they all were, no one protested on getting sleep, but Peter felt it necessary to mention the last part of his friend’s statement: “Easy, mister optimist. You make it sound like we’re going to fight.”
“It is better to be prepared for the worst than not at all.”
Finding noting necessary to say to him, Peter turned to Amadeus: “As you found out about all of this, do you mind coming with us to ask him?”
“Not at all, but aren’t we a little many to ask one kid about how he is alive?”
“No worries, Powerman and White Tiger will get to sit this one out. We need you for what you have found here, Iron Fist has the best knowledge if there is anything mystical reasons and Bucket-head knows a thing or two about extraterrestrial stuff if that’s needed.”
“Okay, but why do we need you, web-head?” Sam asked as he still felt a twinge of annoyance every time he heard Peters nickname for him.
“Easy. Because he loves me.”
Ava snorted a small laugh at that: “Yeah right. If I remember correctly, last time he looked at you he had an expression that said; ‘I would stab you if I could’ clear on his face.”
“Firstly; no, he loves me. Second; unless we find a way to send him back in two days, I’m offering Nova as his personal target if he feels like stabbing someone. You know, as the best birthday present.”
“In your dreams web-head. As I fly up high, the only one the midget is gonna stab is you.” He said as he kicked of the ground. Flying to his bed to get some much-desired sleep.
For having been so tired before bed, the teens were up way too early the morning after. They were dragging their feet after their quick breakfast. Some more than others as Amadeus hang limp while letting his iron spider legs walk for him, holding a steaming mug in his hands. Sam not even touching the floor as he slowly flew in the corridor with the others.
“Ok. So how about we open with some joke about piecing things together, you know like the casket?” Peter continued to ramble on as he had done for a while. The others clearly did not enjoy the noise early in the morning.
“Lame. Even for you web-head.” Sam mumbled just loud enough to be heard. Arms dangling in front of him.
Danny laid a hand on Peter’s shoulder as they walked side by side. “Just relax, friend. When it comes to talking, you have proven yourself to be quite the expert. When the time comes you will prevail.”
Peter appreciated the attempt to comfort, but he really wished he had some more time before asking someone if they had died. They walked through their final door before standing in front of the cell their guest resided in. Although it hadn’t bothered him too much the night before, by the time he had got some pancakes, worry had gotten to him. Can you just ask someone if they got resurrected as a vampire? Despite the evidence vampire seemed to fit the kid. Is it worse if it’s true or false? Is it rude to ask? Can it be damaging? Does he remember dying? Does he remember being dead? Does it bring PTSD?
As they opened the door Peter really wished they had gotten some counseling courses. Wasn’t that necessary for a job that usually involved scared victims? He tried to stop his thoughts from running off trail as he took in the sitting figure with shades reflecting the screen in front. Did he not do anything else?
“Good morning! I see you’re already up and at it” Peter’s cheery tone was not exactly contagious. The other teens mostly found it annoying while Damian just continued scrolling before giving his snarly reply: “And I can hear that you are up as well. Loud and clear.”
The friendly answer only got him down for half a second. This might not be the best of mornings, but he did not need to put some joke to start a fight. They might not have been at each other’s throats yet, but with the kid’s constant scowl and anger it’s never far from. He might not have thought this far though, nor used the almost non-existent filter for his mouth, if it wasn’t for the three rodents using Damian as their three.
Clearly Squirrel-Girl did not leave him alone after escorting him here the earlier night. On his left shoulder, two squirrels were cuddled up to each other, while the last one laid flat on his thigh like a puddle of fluff. Honestly, it almost made the demon look cute. Hey, demon! Now that’s a thought. Nah, vampire still fits the dark and broody kiddo.
Danny chose to speak up after seeing his web-slinging friend lost in his thoughts: “You haven’t taken your eyes of that device for more than two seconds including yesterday. What are you looking at?” Hearing that Sam chose to quip in: “Cartoons without sound?”
“There are many ways of teleportation in this world, but few that pass between worlds. I am trying to find the known ways that has a possibility to send me home.”
Peter shook the thought of baby demons in fiery diapers and joined in on the conversation: “Yeah. The only one I know about is that crystal thingy to doc Strange, but Madam Web who’s supposed to see everywhere the stone can reach didn’t see your place so we can’t be a hundred percent certain on that one.”
There was something else that interested Amadeus however: “I am more curious about the machine on your wrist. It is clearly more complex than anything in the store, but way too bulky and poorly designed compared to anything S.H.I.E.L.D. would make.”
“-tt- Just something decent enough to work I put together from some garbage I found.”
“I guess it’s not too bad, but really? This clunky thing? I can do way better.”
“I do not care for your opinion. Neither do I wish to waste time when it’s working for it’s only purpose; to find the most feasible way to my own earth. Was this why four of you came here looking this tired? To brag about mechanical abilities?”
“You think I’d set aside my beauty-sleep for this? You don’t get to look this good by working day and night.” Sam said, pointing at himself.
“We came to talk after we found out something new about you coming here.”
At that Damian shut down his holographic screen and gave the teens his full attention. Raising an eyebrow over the frame of his glasses, signaling them to continue.
“I mean there was something strange going on, right?”
“There is little I don’t find strange about the situation, yes.”
“Right. So White Tiger and Iron-Spider checked out the debris. And what they found didn’t quite line up with the story you told Fury about happily spending your day with your family before waking up here.”
“-tt- I never said we spent the day happily. But, what debris?”
Amadeus took a step forward, pulling up his own holographic screen showcasing some security footage. “When you arrived, the first thing we saw wasn’t you, but these raining stones coming from nowhere.”. The video was from when Damian came to the world. Showing the teens ducking away from the oncoming pieces as a figure appeared in the middle of it all.
“White Tiger mentioned to me that she found the debris strange, so we poked at it a little and… well, I am a genius after all. We moved the pieces to my lab and I finished the puzzle. Revealing the whole picture.” Amadeus pulled up a picture over the video. Two pictures in fact, showing two sides of the box of stone. Damian leaned in closer, furrowing his eyebrows. His expression did not show as much confusion as it hinted to something of understanding. Or acceptance.
The room filled with silence for a while. An awkward silence that did not lead them anywhere. Danny finally broke it, questioning what had bothered him since the kid had stated it: “You never said you spent the day happily?” Damian met his gaze. Not saying a word.
Sam, tired as he was, snapped at the kid just a little angrier than he had meant: “What did happen before you ended up here?” Damian’s glare turned colder as it turned to the flying teen.
Peter felt that he needed to be the mediator once again. Jeeze, the responsibilities of a leader never give way for brakes. “Please tell us. To find out how to get you home, we might need to understand how you got here. It’s not like we can just put you on a bus.”
Damian pondered for a moment, making Sam feel like he was tasting his patience. The brat finally leaned back like if he had given up: “Like I told the director; I was out with my brothers and father for something my mother had arranged.”
“So, your mom arranged a party and you died?” Sam questioned with a sceptic expression.
“-tt- what she arranged was more like a genocide.”
At that the group quipped up from their drowsiness. Damian took a breath before continuing.
“Many died. Many suffered. My father and brothers were the ones out there trying to stop her. I was supposed to stay at home. Father believed that it was not safe for me as my mother clearly wanted me dead. I have never been one to sit peacefully in a chair with some book while other are out dying. Well, I have, but that changed. Anyway, as you might have noticed, sneaking out is not really something I’m incapable of. I soon joined the fight, even saved my brother’s ass. Unluckily I also proved my father right. Shortly after, one of my mother’s other projects had put a blade through my chest. That is the last thing I remember happening before coming to this world.”
The room was once again silent. The teens were stunned, while Damian sported a blank expression. Maybe for the first time since waking up in the med bay, he did not seem angry. Peter feeling the conversation having died out, still wanted it to continue. Needed it to. To get answers.
“So, you didn’t lie, you only did not mention that your family is… odd.”
And as if the blank expression wasn’t unusual enough, the boy’s lips quirked up to a smirk. “-tt-Understatement of the year.”
“Would you look at that. It seems like your vampire can smile after all, Web-head.”
“You just noticed? Slow as ever, glowstick.”
“Hey! Why do-”
“Do you have any idea what could have happened after that?” Danny interrupted Sam and Peter’s quarreling, addressing Damian. The boy took a short pause before answering: “I’m not sure if it’s anything, but maybe…”
At the younger boy’s unwillingness to answer, Amadeus tried a friendly way to press for it: “Everything can help. Like Spider-Man said; we may need to understand how you got here.”
Damian, raised his chin, looking up at Amadeus: “The coffin looks like something from my mother’s side of the family. The side that is not above human experiment and have an interest for immortality. If my… corps… was taken by them, then they might have done something. But, they have never shown such towards dimensional travel. They can easily reanimate a body, but not with the mind intact. The fact that I am not murdering everyone in my line of sight and am on another earth means that it either was someone else, or I missed out on something big.”
“Oh. Your family just sounds more pleasant the more I hear.” Amadeus tried to joke.
The unusual smirk crawled back up on the youngest’s face: “-tt- then you would love to hear about how mother celebrated my birthdays.”
“Why do I feel like I would in fact not love that?”
“Because you’re not an idiot?”
“No. In fact, I am quite the genius.”
“-tt- So you’ve said. More than once.”
Seeing that they were trailing off once more, Sam worked as the mediator this time: “Okay youngsters. Great that you’re getting along, but there might other things to address. Such as your family’s interest in immortality? Anything in favor of them being the cause of this other than the casket? Or anything else that can come to mind?”
“I am afraid that even my own death is a little cloudy. There might be something more, but I can’t really remember what. And…”
“And what?” Peter asked.
“That’s not too important right now. Just a few things that changed, like my emotional control and my nerve system seems to have trouble registering pain. But those are not the symptoms of my family’s way of “healing”. I do get some glimpses sometimes though. And according to what I can understand of them they are from when I should not have had any brain activity.”
Fascinated by this, Amadeus asked: “You have memories from when you were dead?”
“Even my memory from my last seconds of being alive is still a little clouded so I am not too sure.”
Peter found it being time to come to a conclusion: “At least we have more information now. Let’s start searching for what can fit. Nova, any alien technology that can cause two or more of these things? Either about teleportation or resurrection?”
“Not that I can think of. Why don’t we write down a list and I’ll try to get the guardians of the galaxy out looking as well? They do have more experience.”
“Good idea. Iron Spider, I guess we can exclude most of modern medicine and transportation?”
“Yes, but I can also hear with some of more experience or something. I’ll start with Stark and mister Fantastic. They know a lot of other brains as well.”
“Ok, great. We already know that the dimensional travel’s at least partially connected to a mystic force. Iron Fist?”
“Is it safe to send him home?”
The others had turned to face their silent friend, and when he had spoken, Sam was the first to wonder: “Isn’t sending the kid home the point?”
“We just learned that his mother is trying to kill him and that his family experiments on humans. He just said that his mind is clouded and that he’s gone through changes. Would sending him back there now be the right thing?”
“-tt- like you don’t have dangers in this world.”
“The difference is that our villains are not targeting you.”
Damian raised his voice, making the squirrels run off him and under the bed: “The difference is that my father and brothers, everyone that at least have pretended to care for me are worlds away. Everyone that can give me answers on what happened.”
“What are you hinting at, Parker?”
“You said that you get glimpses of when you were dead?”
“Hey, Iron fist? Can’t you and Strange both get us in to somebody’s mind?”
Taking only a few seconds, Danny had an understanding of what his friend wanted to do: “I can dream-walk, yes, but it would be best to pay Sorcerer Supreme a visit for this. And as he already has shown an interest and know about the dimension travel it would be preferable.”
Not being slow on the take, Damian found their plan ill to his liking: “Why would I let you into my mind?”
“Easy kid. You’ll come too. And we’ll only see what you want to show us.” Peter then turned to Danny, losing some of his certainty. “That is how this can work, right?”
Danny answered with a curt nod, however Damian did not seem too convinced.
Peter held out a hand to the young boy, offering to help him stand: “Let’s just go and ask him at least. What could go wrong?”
I am sorry. both for the long brake and the chapter.
Chapter 10: pit stop
“You had to say: “what could go wrong”, Web-head. You just had to.”
Peter shot out his web at a building as he was falling and swung himself onto another one. Crouching at the side of it, defying gravity as he shouted back at his flying comrade. “You can’t blame this on me.”
Amadeus stood on the building behind, shooting lasers at their hindrance. “You jinxed it. We’re not even at the doctor’s house yet and something already happened.”
Their break to visit Sorcerer Supreme’s place would take a little longer than they first planned as Whirlwind had decided to tango with Juggernaut. Apparently they had a little fallout after teaming up for a bank-robbery. Now they were tearing down the street regardless of it being packed when they started.
Damian watched as the fight continued on. They had left him on a rooftop with Peter’s decently equipped motorbike, two blocks away to be “out of harm’s way” as Sam had quickly shot out before joining his friends against the out of control fight. Damian found he did not mind too much as he could analyze the fight of these heroes and villains. Because that they were. No matter how irritating and inefficient, they were heroes. Risking getting hit to save the few civilians that had not managed to get evacuated.
He also took the time to think. Wondering why he had told the truth. It really had bothered him. He hit the wall of the rooftop entrance, seeing it crack, but feeling nothing. Becoming numb, not just physically, but also emotionally. The anger he before used faded so quickly. In his entire life he had only felt sorrow, fear, sadness only for a few seconds at most before turning it into anger. Turning what he didn’t need into adrenalin filled rage. Becoming a better weapon.
When he had found himself in the hospital-bed, everything was almost scarily normal. He had his anger. He had felt his body’s full condition in a mere second, every muscle contortion and the flow of blood. Now that had faded. He barely even wanted to rip someone’s arms of. Only feeling the need for beheading only when someone got particularly annoying . In honesty, he mostly felt like retorting to murder more out of habit than bloodlust. He truly felt that he had died and not fully come back. It bothered him, yes. His natural instinct seemed to be failing him. But that was not what he found most curious from this morning.
As he saw Amadeus using his spider legs to stop an ice-cream cart from being hurdled at pedestrians, he held the fist he used to punch with in his other hand. Taking a step forward as he wondered if he trusted these hardly decent teens.
He had told them so much. More than necessary. He knew he was never the quiet and polite one in the family, but he was still a bat. To hide in the shadows and keep secrets was in his nature. Despite that he had told them about his mother. He had “opened up”, as Grayson had told him to do more often, to these strangers. Yes, he had hacked into their social networks accounts and their files in both SHIELD’s database and their earlier schools. He had checked what he could about any hidden sides to them. They seemed fine, but a bat could never be too careful until completely certain.
As the son of the Batman, he should not let such information slip so easily. As the grandson of the demon, he should know that heroes would not be manipulated if they knew what they did could bring someone danger.
Still he had babbled like some incompetent hyper toddler. It must have been the lack of sleep. Maybe he should check deeper into them now that they know so much. He doesn’t really have a reputation for respecting others' boundaries anyway. These heroes could hide something. This entire world could be something he doesn’t see yet. But then again, they truly were heroes. Questioning his safety when learning that his life had some… complications. Either they were really good actors, or trustworthy. For now he could only hope they would help. Whether for keeping up the act or truly caring for justice.
He watched as Peter shot out web to steal Whirlwind’s helmet and Danny knocking him out when he got distracted by the spider. They clearly had been at this for a while. Their cooperation wasn’t the worst he had seen, and they knew at least something about their enemies. After webbing the green-clad villain, all four teens were on the last criminal standing. When one had the muscle-head’s attention, the others attacked from a different angle.
Damian kept observing their moves as the building in front of him got hit by a car thrown by the Juggernaut. He was just about to turn back to the fight and ignore the vehicle when he spotted something on the street, right under it. A teenager crouching, leaning on the building as he held up a camera clearly trying to hide from the fight as he was filming it. As the car had been thrown over his head he had taken a defensive position, looking down with his empty hand covering over his head.
He heard the creaking sound of the car tipping down, loosening from the hole it had made in the building. Eying the civilian that didn’t even look up at it. Damian quickly looked up at the ones fighting. They were too preoccupied and the civilian had really hidden himself right out of their sight. It was clear that they were not going to save the guy and neither was he going to get himself out of there in time. Then a thought come to mind.
Why should he be saved? He could stand there, watch the guy. Let him die. Feel something. To see somebody innocent die would surely shake something in him. Make him feel alive again, like before when he was his mother’s killing-machine. Stand witness to some poor soul leaving this world.
“-tt-”. Like he could ever do something like that again. Not after he promised his father. Without a second thought he leapt off the building.
---Peter’s point of view---
Peter ducked out of the way as a cart of ice-cream came his way. Amadeus, standing right behind him, caught it with two of his metal legs. Carefully dropping it down as he said: “Thanks but we’re chill. You’re the ones that need to cool down.”
Peter clutched at his hearth. ‘sniff’ He was so proud of his little web-warrior, throwing out puns like second nature.
He shot out at a building, swinging himself up kicking Whirlwind in the chest on the way. As the green villain was turning, readying to fire tornadoes at the still swinging spider, Danny ran up and hit him in the back. Peter had landed on the side of a close building, stretching out his arm he shot at the villain. In one sweep, he had the loosened helmet off and cast to the ground. One angered, helmetless villain was soon on the ground next to it thanks to one zen and strong Danny Rand.
Peter webbed him up for some extra measure before he and Danny helped out with the unstoppable muscle-head. Dancing around, watching out for bystanders, throwing in kicks and punches. The Juggernaut got ahold of a gray car. Grabbing it like it was nothing more than a toy and aimed for the flying Sam. Seeing as the buildings near had been cleared Sam simply flew a little to the left, letting the car lodge itself in a row of windows. Sam was quick to throw some bolts back at their villain, not breaking away from their dance.
With some planning, the teens had made a hole in the ground. Aiming for getting the big guy to fall in. Peter set up a tripwire with his web as he from up high caught a shadow in the corner of his eye. He heard the creaking of the car as he turned his head. The vehicle tipped and was fast falling. And just as he saw that he noticed a hand holding a camera from right behind said building.
“Watch it!” Peter shouted as he jumped from the wall. But before he got close, the car crashed into the pavement front first. Peter swung down to the ground, observing the big cracks now decorating it. He tuned out any noise as he looked down for anything. A hand, a camera, red liquid. The vehicle creaked once more as it fell from its standing position with the rear in the air, and back on it’s wheels.
Standing on its wheel, the car revealed a figure. Right behind the car stood a guy with a camera, not older than himself, completely still. Staring at the car, petrified. Just as the photographer’s legs gave way, Peter let out a breath he didn’t notice he had been holding.
“Whew. You really gave me a scare there.” He let out a laugh as he held out a hand to the other teen. A glance over his shoulder to see that his friends were good.
“Uh- I- I did- didn’t…” the teen stammered out as he took the offered hand.
“Hey. It’s ok.” Peter smiled behind the mask: “You’re lucky you have good reflexes. You sure got out of the way fast.”
“bu- but. I didn’t. it was the kid.” The teen seemed to get better as the stammering wore of. He still hadn’t as much as glanced away from the car though, reasonably shaken.
“Huh? Kid?” Peter tilted his head in confusion as Danny came up beside him. Letting the other two friends help the police get the villains secured.
The other teen finally looked up at Peter and said: “Yeah. For a second a kid in a hoodie grabbed around my waist, and suddenly I was a few feet back away from the car. I think- I think he was really fast. Running me to safety before running off in that direction” he pointed to a building behind him, with no alleyway, opened doors or anywhere else to go or hide. “he was so fast. Is he one of you? Could you thank him for me?”
Peter was just about to tell the guy that he had no idea when Danny beat him to the punch: “Was he wearing sunglasses and about this high” he said as he held his hand to slightly below his chest.
The photographer’s expression changed as he turned to Danny with more energy: “Yeah, yeah. That’s the one! So he is with you. Will you tell him?”
“Not to worry, he will be notified of your gratitude.”
Danny turned on his heel with a stern expression. Peter following after as he gave a wave to the guy. As soon as they were out of earshot, he just above whispered: “Wait, you think the demonic vampire saved him?”
Not slowing down or looking anywhere but straight ahead, Danny said in a calm voice: “I have been trained to study others body movement even as we fight. Damian has been constantly watching his every move as if restraining himself. Holding back his strength and speed.”
Finally stopping right before getting close to the police and others, he continued; “Friend, I know you see a scared child that you need to help, but Damian is deceiving. We know little about him, and what we do know is concerning. His disdain for us is not bettering anything.”
Peter took a pause before shooting web at a tall building; “Maybe, but we can’t just abandon him. Whether he is honest or not, he needs help.” He finished his sentence as he swung up to the rooftop he had parked his bike and the little vampire.
Landing on the roof he saw Damian leaning onto his bike. He had a pebble in his hand that he was throwing in the air before catching it again, over and over. Damian didn’t turn as he clearly looked at the teen from the corner of his eye.
Putting up a smile that really couldn’t been seen behind the mask, Peter greeted: “Hey. We’re done with this little game now. Totally crushed them.”
Damian grabbed the pebble and put his hands with it in the pocket of his hoodie. Finally turning around to face the teen that rested a hand on his bike. “-tt- Can we continue then, instead of wasting time?”
Peter got on the bike and started it. As he was looking back at the boy, he noticed a big crack in the cement wall beside him. He hadn’t noticed the entrance to the rooftop being damaged when he left the kid there. Pointing at it, he asked: “Did anything come this way?”
Damian sat on behind him as he had done on the way there. It had not been easy to get him to sit behind. The vampire wanted to drive on his own and he absolutely refused to be carried by a flying Nova or Iron Spider. Talk about wasting time. They might have spent half an hour just to get him on the bike. They honestly didn’t have much time for this trip as Fury’s training waited for them once they returned.
“-tt- does it matter? I do believe no one got hurt.”
Weird. Peter thought, but did not say anything else as he turned the bike and set of.
Skidding to a halt, they stopped in a rather spacious street in New York with few people present.
Damian followed the others’ line of sight to a rundown building. He jumped of the bike, followed by Peter as he parked at the roadside.
Feeling skeptical to say the least, Damian asked: “This is supposed to be the mansion that you call the Sanctum Sanctorum?”
Trying to mask the smugness of knowing that the kid is falling for the camouflage, Sam said with a smirk as they walked closer: “ What? Not royal enough for your demonicness? Or is it that you simply have poor eyesight?”
Damian snapped to face the flying teen; “You dare imply that I am inadequate? That this is beyond m-” he snarled as he pointed at the structure. Facing it for the last sentence. In the middle of it he stopped, mouth open. Sam looked at the boy with glee.
Without Damian noticing, as they had walked closer the structure had changed. The rundown walls and tattered steps were now greater and cleaner. Statues guarded the entrance and a giant circular window decorated the roof.
“Welcome to the world of magic.” Danny said as he passed the younger boy. Trying not to show of the smile painted on his face much like two of the others.
Sam on the other hand had no problem rubbing it in: “What? Don’t tell me you really need stronger prescription in those glasses? Such a shame.”. Smirking as he flew to the door that opened before them.
Damian, with an even deeper than normal frown, had to jog to catch up with the teens that entered without question. Going through the door they entered a brown, classy hallway. Pictures and sockets with different objects adorning the place. The doors silently shut behind them, Damian turning just as they shut.
“I see you’ve arrived.”
Turning back, Damian saw the floating figure of Doctor Strange. The cape waving around him like a flag in the breeze. The boy keeping his scowl at seeing the man that had annoyed him the most when waking up in the med-bay.
“And you brought… Demon, was his name?” Strange raising an eyebrow, clearly trying to taunt. At least clear to the teens.
“It’s Damian!-tt- How can you not even remember a name?” he said as he crossed his arms over his chest. Head held high with his everlasting scowl.
Mused, the sorcerer turned to the teens: “I assume we’re all here to get rid off him.” He paused and glanced at Damian. “Sorry, I meant send him home.”
“I know what you meant by-!” Damian snarled just as the ground left him. “GHUAGH!”
The teens in the room watched as one boy floated and squirmed around. With no control over where he went the kid was levitated by the magician in the middle of the hallway.
Strange floated himself and the flailing kid up the stairs: “Forgive me, but you do seem quite violent. I will not risk you breaking anything.”. The teens following both of them. Some enjoying the development more than they would admit to the boy.
“And there is no need to hide in here. Even the ceiling has eyes” Strange said as he snapped his fingers and Damian’s sunglasses disappeared.
Peter shuddered as he remembered his first visit to the mansion where he had clung to the ceiling only for numerous eyes to open and steer at him. “Hey! Give them back you daft moron!”
Sam however looked at the source of the last insult. “When was the last time you slept?”
At the question Damian quickly pulled his hood up in an attempt to cover his eyes to not let any see. Not that it helped as the others had already taken in Damian’s bloodshot eyes and heavy bags. Even if he was mentally used to staying awake and alert for days, it didn’t mean that his body never protested.
“-tt- I can sleep when I return to my own bed. Right now we can focus on putting me down and finding how I got here.”
“Fine, but we will come back to this later.” Peter said, feeling like he picked up some parenting skills from either uncle Ben or aunt May. Reluctantly no more questions was asked on the subject. The comment on letting Damian down was ignored as they started discussing why they were there.
While moving Strange got updated on the information. Mostly by Danny that knew the most about the mystical variables, but the others were not fond of keeping quiet and made comments along the way.
“So doc Strange, are we hopping into the Dream Dimension again?” Peter leaned forward to meet the sorcerer’s line of sight as they stopped in front of a door Peter guessed were big enough to easily let through three Rhinos stacked up on each other.
“No. What we can see in the Dream Dimension is selective and difficult to control when it comes to the subconscious.” The sorcerer turned to the sideways floating boy that now had his arms crossed over his chest, legs crossed and an angry look on his face. He forced down the corners of his lips that were threatening to rise as he continued: “We will have to go directly into your mind. I will open the doors and assist while you will guide us to the memories you wish to find. The others will come to aid and protect. The subconscious is unpredictable and dangerous, even for it’s own master to venture into.” Taking a small pause as he remembered Danny speaking of Damian’s reluctant to let others in, he ended with: “This is of course only if you’re willing.”
Damian was turned the right side up as he thought. The hard scowl becoming slightly softer. “Is there no better way? Some hypnosis maybe?”
“Yes, but that will take time and is less effective. If you wish for clear answers fast, then we will have to go directly to the source. Besides, this way you can control what we will see or at least know about it as you would not if we had pit your conscious mind to sleep, only asking the unconscious part for answers.”
Another minute went by as they waited for the boy’s answer. Damian’s face went through slight changes as he thought. Quirking his lip in annoyance. Raising an eyebrow questioningly. Looking up to the side trying to remember something. Sam and Amadeus had just started playing thumb-war as Damian sighed in defeat. “Very well. Let’s get this over with.”
The sorcerer nodded and opened the big door they had stopped in front of with a wave of his hand. The huge doors creaking as they revealed an open room dyed in soft browns and yellows. In a circle in the middle of the room were ten circular cushions. Between them, on the floor, were lines and symbols reminding of a magic circle.
Strange sat Damian down on a cushion on the far end from the door while signaling for the others to take a seat as well. They sat down with one seat between each other. Except for Danny, they did not seem to sure of what was going on, thus Sam was the one to speak up: “So now what? We just meditate here?”
The sorcerer placed himself in the middle of the circle, crossing his legs so he sat while floating. Just as the symbols under them started glowing, he answered: “Yes. You will quite simply meditate as I will connect us and enter us all into Demon’s mind.”
“Damian” the kid grumbled, but still closing his eyes like the others. Breathing in as he tried to relax. Feeling something touch his mind, he saw a purple light floating under his eyelids before he found himself standing in the dark.
The room reminded him of the Wayne manor. It was a big ballroom that looked overly expensive for the average American, but just enough to impress the socialites and wealthy that the Waynes had to interact with. It was all dyed in dark purple and blue, from windows to floor and ceiling, making it look like a peaceful night in Gotham. He was standing by the stairs, a hand on the railing, looking down on the big open floor beneath. Out of the walls were huge patterned cylinders, reminding him of the pillars he was so used to in the league of assassins. Still standing taking in the room, the purple waves of light flew past him and moved around in five circles on the ballroom floor. Shapes appeared in the center of each of them, the shapes turned to distinctive figures and in a second Peter, Sam, Danny, Amadeus and Strange were all standing uncertain in the wide room.
“Uh guys, am I the only one getting the creeps from this place?” Peter said as he looked around the room. Hugging himself as if a cold wind had passed by. Despite finding friends in the Howling commanders, he still was no fan of monsters or horror.
Danny took in the pillars that went from the floor to the ceiling. “This place is indeed dark, friend. However I can still feel the warmth similar to that of a new home. Weak, but safe.”
Sam tried to look out the tall windows that showed nothing past the glass. Flying up and down to see if he could spot a moving shadow or dark figure. “I have to agree with Web-head. This is totally like the haunted vampire mansion from movie night last month. It’s only missing the hands that come out of the walls and the piano music.”
Damian frowned at their comments. For someone that had only grown up in palaces and mansions, he found their first impressions a tad insulting. Realizing that he was hidden in the shadows, he took a soundless step down the stairs. Only when he put some sound into his next step did he get the attention from the five others. He got a little warm feeling in his chest knowing that he was naturally hiding in the shadows without a thought, following his parent’s legacy and teaching as a good son.
The sorcerer, more used to the mystic than most any other mortal, knew that the kid wanted to hurry and Strange himself wanted to get the show on knowing that staying too long in anyone’s mind bore lasting consequences; “Shall we continue?”. Raising a hand he signaled to the grand balcony door
Steadily and elegantly Damian strode down the stairs, the very picture of the owner of such an pretentious room. Giving Peter an even stronger impression of him being a vampire. The bloodshot eyes had not followed into his mind, and neither had his clothes. The kid was wearing some black formal attire under plates of an black armor and a swaying crimson cape.
Quickly Peter looked down at himself, hands out in front of his face. Had he lost his suit as well? Slightly panicked he turned his glowed hand over, only to find that his whole body was covered. As he rubbed his hands over his head he felt no hair sticking out and that he was still masked. Letting out a sigh of relief he looked back at the others, only to find them looking back at him.
“Uh, everything ok?” Amadeus ask, uncertainty in his tone.
“Yeah, just checking that I’m still the handsome old me.” Peter joked back with a merry tone as he held his hand under his chin in a pose.
“No need to worry Web-head, you’re winning no pageants with me here.” Sam said, pointing his thumb at his chest.
The team looked back at the sorcerer and kid that had been talking. They both faced the door, and a scenery appeared behind it. A grass field and dark sky was shown behind the glass, two gravestones and a big three a bit away.
“Good, now focus on the hints of memories you wish to find.” Strange said taking half a step back.
The peaceful scenery faded out and engulfing flames took its place. Flaming pillars crumbling down and through the glass windows crackling and screams sounded harshly yet like it was from miles away. Damian quickly looked away and it faded back to nothingness.
“Try again” Strange calmly said, laying a hand gently on the kid’s shoulder. Without even attempting to shake it off, Damian turned his gaze back to the door and the scenery behind it changed once more. This time it showed a graveyard in the day. Grey skies created a foul mood and in the distance figures could be seen moving.
Danny stepped up beside Strange, looking out the glass asking: “Is this the one?”
The corners of Damian’s mouth threatened to rise, eyes dull with little emotion, as he answered: “Yes. I suppose not everyone can say they remember their own funeral.”
Not satisfied by this development, Sam spoke up: “Wait! We are not seriously ignoring the burning hell that we just saw?” Peter lifted his arms in a motion to show that he agreed and Amadeus held his distance in case the flames returned.
Danny only turned to his friends and calmly explained: “We will have to trust that Damian doesn’t send us there. This is however a risk we take by going into someone’s mind. Although it might be a little darker and more violent to what I’m used to, dangers are easy to meet us. That is also why we are here, for what Damian cannot control.”
Although not feeling too brave, Peter took a step closer. Followed by the two others he straightened his back and took a deep breath.
“Then we will continue from here.” Strange said as he opened the balcony doors. A rough breeze meeting the six as they stepped through.
Sam took one wary step forward after the other. His voice seemed to be stuck in his throat as he looked from left to right. Taking a glance in the shadows. Right to left, then a quick look behind. He could feel the eyes on him. Cold and calculating. There were shadows hiding in between other shadows. Silently hunting them as they walked. The sound of creaking wood intruded into his ears along with the bones snapping under his feet. Even as he tried to avoid them they seemed to always appear right under him. For him to see, smell, hear. The fresh flesh of arms and legs barely covered the bloody bones that were spread on the ground where their owners had been slain. It had him on edge. Honestly, if Danny wasn’t there to guide them he would be freaking out instead of searching for a door. Let alone walk on that horrific excuse for a ground.
He really didn’t like this place. And he really wish he wasn’t sent here, alone with two of his friends. Once they found that freaking door he would give nightmare a peace of his mind. For now, he only hoped he wouldn’t get a close look on the flames that they had seen through the balcony door earlier.
Once they all stepped through the balcony door, all that seemed to change was the chilly air and grass under their feet. It was lighter out there than in the dark ballroom and easier to see. It had set the teens’ minds at ease after the inferno they had just witnessed. Even if they were now in a cemetery.
They walked up to the four figures they had seen, still keeping a distance as anything that moved could be or turn into a threat. The figures were dressed in black and carrying something. Upon closer inspection the figures were four men, a teen, a young man, a middle-aged man and an old man with grey hair. They were dressed in black suits, carrying a small casket between them.
“Is that your funeral?” Peter asked. Looking at the scene. The three men with black hair were all bruised or injured. Peter, used to the hero life, recognized the signs of a though fight. Even with half of his face swollen, the pure sorrow in the middle-aged man was clear. The same could be said for the others, eyes downcast as they walked.
Damian nodded, taking in the sight of his beaten family. Letting his sight linger on every wound he knew they hadn’t gotten before his death. Finding nothing threatening their lives, he looked at the casket. It was not what had been brought with him through the dimensions. This one was a wooden coffin, polished and blank.
“Not a lot of people turned up, huh?” Sam said hovering to Peters side. Except for them and the four men, the graveyard was empty. Not even a bird in the sky.
“I was surprised anyone came at all.” Damian mumbled to himself before he turned toward Strange that had walked up to an open grave. Unlike the others, Strange didn’t find any interest in the figures and had instead started searching the grounds. Damian believed it was one of the doors that lead between memories that he had told him about. The doors that would lead them through broken shards of his murky mind until they get their answers.
He stopped behind the sorcerer and took a step to the side, looking down the hole. It was the only hole open and clearly where the small coffin was going. All thought looking normal from afar, standing over it he could not see the bottom. The grave went on and on until swallowed by darkness.
Doctor Strange turned to Damian. “What we seek must be still later in time. Think you can find it?”
“I might have an idea.” Damian said as he tried to grasp on the hint of a memory. He had given up on tying to rationalize everything. Not only was the magic, that he had never understood to begin with, working on completely different premises in the two worlds, beyond him. At home he heard magi commanding objects and natural laws by saying a few words backwards, here it was more like those fantasy movies he was forced to sit through with his brothers; a few words in a dead language with belief put in them and truths became lies, and lies turned into reality. Similar yet so different.
He had also given up on understanding memory. He always used to believe that the memory was too faultable to ever give complete accurate recalling of reality. Yet here he was, seeing the outcome of a battle he died in. He saw the swelling and cuts on his father’s face as clear as day. Heard the steps they took. Smelled the antibiotics and medicine they were practically drowned in just so they could stand, let alone hold a funeral in their poor state. How he could even have the slightest hints of memories from when he was dead in a casket was beyond him.
Instead he concentrated on the next memory, guiding it to boarder this one. Setting them side by side so a door could be easily opened between them.
With all six gathered around the grave and the memories lined up Strange lifted his hand again and a stone floor lit by a green light appeared about six feet down.
“Youngsters first.” Strange said, gesturing for either Sam or Amadeus that stood on his left to jump in.
After a little hesitation Sam was the first in, floating himself down and looking around before disappearing from the hole’s opening and to the open space that was there. Amadeus followed shortly with an : “Being buried alive really hasn’t been a dream of mine.” Letting himself fall the six feet before clearing way for the next one to come down.
All down on the stone floor, they looked around at the new place. It was almost like a big cave. Stone walls, floor and ceiling. Only abrupted by steel, tech and the glowing green water.
Peter squatted down by the illuminant liquid, hand hovering over it surface. “What is this?” he asked with wonder in his voice.
Damian stepped up beside him, hands joined behind his back, he let no emotion show in his face or his voice; “It’s called a Lazarus-pit. Used right it can heal all wounds or resurrect a body… of course at the cost of your mind and soul.”
Peter retracted his hand and looked up at the younger boy. “Then is this what brought you back?”
A hint of some harsh emotion slipped into Damian’s voice as he answered: “Not likely. I am quite familiar with is effect as I wasn’t found useful limping around with my intestines missing after a failed mission, and this is not it. This is what I was referring to when I mentioned one side of my family having certain… ways.”
Before any of the three teens near him could ask for more details he looked up at the doctor floating to a steel platform hanging by chains in it’s four corners. “Something caught your interest, Strange?”
Without looking away from the platform Strange answered: “Yes, I can feel the same energy as when you arrived in this world from this casket.”
The sorcerer had all their attentions. Sam flying up beside him to see, “What cas- Hey guys, it’s the casket Demon came in!”
The rest looked through the holes in the platform that made it look like a net. On it they could see two dark-grey shapes. Two stone caskets laying side by side.
The sorcerer flew to the smaller one with interest, holding out a hand to it. “I believe we can find some answers here.”
As Strange was waving his hand, Damian felt the ground leave him once more. He was about to curse the sorcerer for levitating him again when he was suddenly flung to the wall, crashing hard into it. Forcing his eyes shut. Feeling air being pushed out of his chest. Leaving cracks in the stone, he knew his silhouette was carved in the wall as he opened his eyes to glare in despise. He was about to ask the man what in tarnation he was daring to do when he saw the shocked expression the doctor sported.
He soon noticed the others eyes leaving him and focusing on the wall behind him. Following their gazes he turned his head. There, next to him, was a shadow moving. It had covered his arms and torso, holding him up against the wall.
“Nightmare! How are you here?” he heard Steven’s growling voice echo in the cave. The shadow beside him forming a grinning face.
“My, with the mind so close to the Dream dimension I couldn’t possibly ignore all of this fun going on.” The shadow said. It’s lips were moving, but the vibrations of the grated voice didn’t come from it’s mouth. It came from the wall, the ground, the ceiling. Damian could guess that this was no normal human intruding. No pleasant one either.
“That might be, but this still isn’t your domain. Here you are weak. And here you will stay no longer!” Strange roared as magic circles formed on his hands. Stretching out an arm light was shot towards Damian and the shadows recoiled. Damian slipped from the wall, quickly caught by two of Amadeus’ iron legs.
Strange flew between the two boys and shadow. Still sending his light forward, he glanced behind to check up on the youngest. “You doing ok there?” to which Damian scoffed out an ‘yes’, feeling annoyed that it seemed he was in need of help. Relived, a smile threatened to creep up on the sorcerer’s face. However, before it even came close a shadow came from the side. Knocking the man down on the ground.
Barely getting to start supporting himself to rise, as he laid on the ground, the shadow rapped around him and the two boys close to him. In the dark they could see nothing, but they heard the worried shouts from their companions, although muffled.
Strange was about to cast a new spell, but Damian’s pride had enough of being saved. This was his memory in his mind. And no one, absolutely no one were to get their way with him in his own mind. Using the little Strange had thought him about controlling his mind while wandering in it, he imagined an immense pressure being thrown from around him and his two companions.
The shadows didn’t merely recoil now. They were crushed. Annihilated. Again they found themselves standing in the cave lit by green water. They all looked around for even a glimpse of a moving shadow. Strange closed his eyes and started searching with his mind. It didn’t take long for him to let out a sigh of relief. Turning to the boys who still stood back to back in defensive positions, he said: “He’s gone. Good job, Demon. You managed to throw him out completely.”
Proudly Damian puffed out his chest, head held high he had trouble getting his scowl back on his face. “-tt- It’s Damian, sorcerer.”
“uhm.. not to ruin the victory or anything” Amadeus started, looking more nervous than weary of any shadow. “but where are the others?”
At his question the two other looked around. No one to be seen on the platform. No one behind them, beside them or in front of them. No one else were in the cave. The three were alone.
Again Strange closed his eyes and started searching through what he could of Damian’s mind. Luckily, it didn’t take long to find their presence. Unluckily, they were not in the next-door memory.
“Boys, this trip might take longer than any of us wished for.”
Opening his eyes, Sam sat himself up. They had tried to somehow get the shadow away from their companions when they suddenly were flung away. Looking around, they had been sent away longer than into the cave wall. They seemed to be in a courtyard of some eastern Asian building, under the clouded night sky. Danny was standing on the wooden porch that nearly surrounded them, only cut off by a wall without windows at one of the four sides.
“Get off, Buckethead.” Sam heard before he was pushed and softly hit the ground, but still face first. Peter kicked away the legs that laid over his own before standing up. “Geeze. I know I’m amazing, but I prefer some personal space.” He looked at his wristwatch only to find it lighting up, showing nothing.
“Trust me Web-head, I would like to get out of here before you start hugging and admiring me as well. Nice way of softening the ground for me, tho.” Sam tried to joke as he got up. Just as he turned to Peter he froze. Behind his friend stood a tall figure, arms raised with spear in hand. “Watch it Web-!” he shouted, and combined with the ringing of the Spider-sense Peter wasted no time on jumping forward without even taking a glance at the assaulter.
Swiftly turning after finding his footing, Peter wanted to find out what was after him. Only to be faced with a spear standing in the ground where he had just stood. Nothing else than the dark weapon could be seen. “What was that?”
“One of Nightmares creations?” Sam guessed.
“No, it seems to be coming from this memory we reside in.” Danny said as he came up to them.
With nervous sarcasm, still looking for the attacker, Peter stated: “Welcomed in a creepy haunted room to witness a hellfire, a funeral, some fountain of youth and now getting attacked by spears. This sure is one happy-go-lucky mind. Only missing the ghost and monsters.”
“Don’t jinx us, Web-head.” Sam said as he covered himself in his blue light and lifted from the ground. He flew up so he could have a look at where they were. The building stretched out longer than the little part they had first seen. Two more courtyards just like that one, halls still surrounding them, following the odd terrain they stood on. “It looks like it’s on some mountain. It’s foggy down so I can’t really see the botto-“
He was cut off as arrows started raining down on him. “Woa-“ he narrowly managed to escape them, flying out of their way. “What is it with this place and pointy attacks?” He managed to question before a second wave came.
“Get down here, Buckethead!” he heard Peter shout at him as he was weaving through the rain. Finding that it stilled momentarily he followed his friends advise and were soon at his side. Hovering a feet above the ground.
The arrows followed him, and he was now cursing himself for leading them towards his friends. He made sure he was between them and his friends to let his powers block them. Holding his hands out he took on the arrows coming directly at him. This was unfortunately the moment he learned that either his powers were working differently in someone’s mind or that these were not normal wooden arrows with some iron-heads.
Although the first were like eggs hitting a brick-wall. Suddenly one of them went through his cosmic protection, tearing away at his sleeve when it snipped his arm. Drawing blood as it also shred at his skin. Loosing his focus, he fell to the ground when his light faded.
Danny quickly stepped in front of them with his glowing fist, Peter giving his injured friend a onceover. The arrows now seemed to be aimed more precisely as they all went for Danny’s upper body. He knocked them out of the air, one after the other, with a fast pace. Carefully so that even if they got past his power, they would not do harm.
Sam were quick to stand up and ready to get back in action when Peter grabbed his shoulder to hold him back. Staring confused back at his friend, he was told “Don’t use your power. I have a theory.” Even if Sam was doubtful, he still listened and turned back to look at Danny that were blocking the arrows at an astonishing pace.
“Hey, Iron-Fist. Try to turn of the glowsticks when you see an opening. I think they might be attracted to light.” Danny nodded, but were forced to continue on as the attack would not let up. As soon as he saw an opening his fists lost their glow and he jumped back from the arrows that were still in the air.
Only two arrows flew past him before the silence returned.
Sam gave Peter a thumbs up after they had waited in silence for a few seconds. Danny turned back to his friends, facing them while still on the outlook for another attack. A silent conversation went between the three of them before Sam spoke: “Ok. Even if it makes no sense, at least there is some kind of rules we can follow.”
Danny nodded and said: “Yes, but these rules make it challenging to defend ourselves if we come upon another threat.”
“Any chance Damian and Strange are in this building?” Peter asked Danny, pointing at the structure surrounding them.
Danny closed his eyes and opened his mind. Letting it take in a feel of the memory they were in. He searched around, but could not find any other wandering in it. He was just about to give up when he felt something reach out to him.
After seeing their friend frozen still for a while, they almost were a little relived when he finally opened his eyes. “So?” Sam said, trying not to sound impatient.
“They are not in this memory.” Danny started. “but I manage to get in contact with Strange. He has spotted us and know where we are. Together with Damian, he will try to connect memories in a path to them. We will meet in the next memory, but we, or rather I, will have to open the door to it.”
Sounding happy and positive, Peter said: “We know you can do it. It’s just a walk in the memory-park for you.” Giving him thumbs up.
Danny, not as confident, simply nodded before continuing: “We first need to locate the door that can take us to them.”
“Lucky for us, there seems to be a lot of doors here. This place did not exactly seemed small when I flew over.” Sam quipped in.
“Yes… lucky us.” Danny almost murmured.
It took quite a few minutes before Danny could sense the connection Strange set up for them. As soon as he did, all three headed for it. Following Danny that felt what direction it was in. They wen into the building, through creaking, dark hallways. Shadows flickering on the walls. The air felt stiff and Sam could swear there were eyes on them in the dark, twice as many any time they passed a window. He felt trapped and hunted, but it was nothing in comparison to when they eventually left the halls.
What met them outside was worse than any movie he had seen. Under the almost dark-green sky laid the aftermath of a slaughtering. Mangled bodies laid sprawled out on the ground. The smell of blood and flesh filled the air. Danny taking the lead, made a cracking sound as stepped down on the ground. Raising his foot they saw a now shattered bone covered in blood. The bone was sticking out of some man’s arm, halfway covered in flesh but completely bear of it at the end that had been under Danny’s foot. The guy was laying on his back, face white, mouth open in a silent scream and eyes missing. Dried blood splattered all over him.
Danny nearly stumbles backwards, bumping into his two friends that try to support him. Sam nervously asks: “We are not supposed to go this way, are we?”. Neither answer him, which unluckily for him, is an answer in itself.
“You can’t be serious. No way I’m going there! Not when I can’t even fly.”
“If this is his memories, then I am thankful that we did not enter his dream.” Danny said walking in front.
“How is this a memory?” Sam asked as he took a peak over his shoulder. He was not too comfortable being in the back when he had no idea what could be stalking them.
“It’s scrambled and out of order, reacting to what doesn’t belong, but it is far from fantasy. I believe even the bones seemingly appearing under our feet is Damian originally stepping on them, remembering it, and us being here is made to see and hear what he did to correct the memory. Without Damian here to erase our presence from the memory’s detection, we will be made to fit in.”
Sam took one wary step forward after the other. His voice seemed to be stuck in his throat as he looked from left to right. Taking a glance in the shadows. Right to left, then another quick look behind. He could feel the eyes on him. Cold and calculating. There were shadows hiding in between other shadows. Silently hunting them as they walked. The sound of creaking wood intruded into his ears along with the bones snapping under his feet. Even as he tried to avoid them they seemed to always appear right under him. For him to see, smell, hear. The fresh flesh of arms and legs barely covered the bloody bones that were spread on the ground where their owners had been slain. It had him on edge. Honestly, if Danny wasn’t there to guide them he would be freaking out instead of searching for a door. Let alone walk on that horrific excuse for a ground.
Peter was the first one that managed to strangle out some sounds in the eerie quiet; “So not to ignore the part where the kid has walked on dead people, but does that mean we will at least survive? I mean, if he survived it and the memory is trying to correct itself then there should be nothing for us to fear if he got out fine.”
Not wanting to ruin the optimism or make to much noise Sam tried to whisper: “Yeah, the kid that we only know for having been killed.” Unfortunately he still got heard.
The silence continued before the ever optimist turned around to Sam. “Not true, we also know that he was with his family at the time. And I don’t see any living brothers or mothers fighting here.”
Danny nodded at that and added: “We also know that this is an old memory. Our position from the new memories is quite far, suggesting a distance in time as well. Also, look at your footprints.”
Both other teens looked down at their feet. Peter first lifted one foot to see the print. “It’s small.” Setting his foot side by side to the print, it wasn’t even half the size.
Again Danny nodded. “Even smaller than Damian’s is now. He must have been years younger here.”
“Alone in the dark in this place. It’s way worse than the horror movi-” Peter started as he looked from Danny to Sam, but abruptly stopped when he faced the cosmic hero. He took half a step back just as Danny got into a defensive position. Both looking at their friend. At least that was what Sam thought before he heard something behind him.
Soft breathing and thuds making Sam both freeze where he stood and want to see what made the sounds. Still, being a hero made the choice easier. Slowly he turned to the source. Eyes immediately drawn to the roof of the building. Up on it he saw movements. A figure moving.
“Web-head, you were the one saying this place was missing monsters.”
On the roof was a red set of eyes encircled by brown fur. Big ears standing up. Arms cowered in fur and growing out skin and texture. It was crouching on the roof. Creeping closer by moving an ‘arm’ forward. Even by just that little distance, Sam could see it clearer. It was a giant metamorphosized bat. It was moving and acting like some unintelligent beast, but the human part was clear as well. Especially emphasized by wearing pants.
Peter faced the thing while whispering: “Iron fist? Fight or flight?”
The creature was now at the edge of the roof. Claws under the tales.
“We are close by the door. Let’s not waste time.”
Peter shot out spiderweb and managed to trap its hands at the roof edge. “Go” Peter stated and all of them turned and ran. “This is so not heroic. We can easily take it down.”
“Pic your fights friend. Staying even seconds longer in an uncontrolled mind can be worse than some claw marks from a bat.” Danny said as he led them to the side of the mountain. In front of them was a big crack. It was covered in something that looked like clear, flowing plastic. Behind the thin barrier was a cave, however much bigger than what the entrance suggested. It was not to hard to figure that the cave was not in the mountain, but another memory.
“This the place?” Sam said looking behind. Searching for the bat, or really anything that might be in the shadows. Danny nodded and held out an arm. The barrier seemed to melt away and the light from the cave shone through.
“Let’s go before we are forced to stay longer.” Peter said and gestured for Sam to go first. Not minding, he was quick to oblige. He was quickly followed by his companions and the barrier was up again behind them. The scenery behind it vanished, leaving only the stone wall of the cave.
From below on the height they were on, they saw Amadeus waving at him with both arms. Relived to see their friend, they were quick to get down.
“Guys, I am sooo glad to see you again. I was so worried. You have no idea what I’ve seen” Amadeus were energic as he hugged Peter that were the first to approach.
Sam crossed his arms as he floated down, glad to use his powers. “We’ve seen some stuff ourselves. Way worse than anything you can imagen.”
Amadeus turned to him, sticking his nose challenging in the air. “Really? Cause the probability of what I have seen on the way here causing nightmares to the strongest of minds is quite high.”
Sam leant forward, glad to be challenged. Petty and small as it was, it was better than the chill of the mountain. A relief in itself that got rid of the rest of his nerves. He guessed the same went for Amadeus. “Really. Our sightseeing can beat that any day.”
“Please, we saw some terrifying things. And Damian were not a big help for a long time there.” He started confident and challenging but went on to a more nervous pace as ha continued: “We saw hell. We were in literal hell! Fiery pits and everything. There were monsters and fighting and this giant planet-destroying canon. And Damian lost his temper at something that also made him lose control of the memory and they started attacking and Strange sat down and talked with him inside a barrier while everything around us was… was… IT WAS HELL!”
“-tt- it’s called Apokolips.” They turned to the two who stood in front of what looked like an enormous computer.
Peter swiftly looked passed the two and was enamored by the machine that looked like could take on the task of operating several satellites and more. “From hell and straight to heaven.”
Amadeus turned to him and quickly copied his mood. “Right? Even in the memory it’s running all kinds of complicated programs. Apparently it’s called the bat-computer. And this place is called the bat-cave.”
Shuddering Peter said: “brrr. I have no need for bat-themed stuff right now. We just met some bat-man at a nightmare mountain-forth.”
“You met father?”
The two teens turned, more than a little unnerved, to Damian: “That furry monster with red eyes is your father?”
Damian opened his eyes in realization of something. It seemed that he was about to share what he figured out, but Sam interrupted when he shouted from the other side of the cave: “It’s a GIANT DINOSAUR!”
And indeed, Sam was sitting on the head of a T-rex. Right next to an equally giant penny. Peter sighed, he had actually thought the weird part were over now. This, however, was a weirdness he didn’t mind. Especially with the dopy grin on Sam’s face.
“Gentlemen, we have incoming guests.”
Joining the sorcerer, they looked at an orange glowing portal and the people that had exited it. Sam recognized two of them from the funeral; the elderly man and the black-haired man that had shown much sorrow through a numb face. He also saw that what they were standing around the coffin that Damian had brought with him through worlds.
“- -THE DEATH THAT THIS TIME- -”
“- -IS TRULY LIFE!"
A sharp stone was stabbed into the casket.
“This isn’t dramatic at all.” Peter tried to joke, but honestly, he was nearly transfixed with what was happening. Red light engulfing the casket. Cracking the surface, reviling skin. “I guess this ‘death that is truly life’ is what brought you back?” Sam asked.
Strange floated closer. “Yes. This stone seems to have the same energy that I felt from the rupture in space. It is the mystic source.” His gaze floated from the illuminating casket to the portal. “And I’m guessing this is the other compartment making the shift possible. A shortcut through space. A portal, but not one for traveling between dimensions.”
A mere few spots again on the casket when a robotic voice rang out: “Second energy anomaly detected.” The portal shifted and Strange both saw and felt the mystic force and portal reaching out for each other. Merging.
The people in the cave turned frantic as the casket was drawn in with the merging. Stephen watched as Damian came closer, passed the group that tried to save themselves and the casket, and to the combined forces. With interest he raised an eyebrow he watched the boy reach out for the shining colors. Slightly surprised at him being able to move them when holding his hand up to touch them.
The casket crumbled into the portal. The group in the cave seemed heartbroken when it closed. Leaving them alone, the sorcerer floated back to the teens. He wanted to tell them that they finally had their answer when Peter practically shouted: “It was an ACCIDENT?!” Arms thrown in the air he started rambling: “We thought we were finding his way home for it to all be an accident. Do you know how complicated accidents are? I got my powers from an accident. It’s not something you can just recreate. He got into SHIELD by accident. We went here, saw all of these awful things because of an accident. How are we getting him back? We got nothing from this trip.” Peter was gripping at his head in frustration. Danny laying a hand on his shoulder to comfort him.
“Maybe not completely nothing.” They turned to see Damian. Or more specifically, Damian’s hand. On it was a glowing smoke, dancing around his fingers. Danny sensed what it was just as easily as Strange. The combination of forces that brought him here. “I believe I might have picked up more than just rubble from my coffin when I was sent to your world.”
“Well, I guess that’s something.” Sam began. “We’re not having a ‘you had the power inside of you all along’ lecture now?”
“No. we are leaving. There is no use to risk staying in somebody’s any longer than necessary.” Strange said as he called forth the purple circle on the floor that had brought them there. And with some flowing lights all of their visons went black.
Danny was the first to open his eyes. He was back in the yellow and brown warm room. The circle under them still glowing. The other teens opened their eyes and looked around. Strange floated to the ground as the circle stopped glowing.
“So do we start the questioning of what we saw now or do we start with finding out how to travel dimensions?” Amadeus started. “Cause we will not have a lot of time with Fury giving you extra hours of training.”
“What do you think Demon?” Sam asked turning to the boy.
He was however not responding. In fact, he was not doing much. He was still sitting with his legs crossed, eyes closed and face down.
Peter walked over and squatted down in front of him. “Damian?” he said as he poked his cheek. The eyes of the boy remained close, but his body fell to the side, away from Peter.
Seeing him lay still half on the floor like that Danny reached out to his mind to be safe, to find “He is only asleep. I guess his tiredness caught up with him.”
With a smirk, Sam said: “And he said he weren’t going to sleep until he got home.”
Unbeknownst to the others in the room, Damian had fallen asleep to a thought he found more precious than finding a way back home: “…they wanted me back.”
ok, here is mostly rambling to finish up on Damian's mysterious travel and get on with the story.
Damian woke uncomfortably with his front being too hot and finding it hard to breathe. Something was right in front of him, giving of heath and blocking out free flow of fresh air. He tried to shuffle out but found himself trapped. Something was holding his head from behind and around his arms, giving of heat just like what he was pressed against. He felt his legs being free and could kick out to whatever was holding him there. The hold around him wasn’t really tight either, so he would have no problem springing up in a defensive position in under a second.
However, he did not remember going to sleep. He did not know what was holding him down. He needed to check for threats before lashing out at whoever dared to try trap him. Carefully he opened his eyes, trying not to give away him being awake to whomever might be close by. What immediately met his gaze was red. Red with black lines. He recognized the sound of soft breathing just as he recognized the fabric he was pressed against.
He wanted to hit himself for not immediately understanding that he was against a living body. But mostly he wanted to kick said body with a “Parker, get your snaking arms away from me!”.
So he did. Feeling slightly satisfied at Peter flailing before he fell from the bed. He quickly stood up, staring back at Damian. “Dude, we had a moment. I was cradling you in my arms.”
“Strange. I do not remember giving my consent to such an useless action.” Damian said, sitting up. Scootching to the edge of the bed. Slinging his feet over so they dangled down. He glanced at the room, recognizing it as the teens sleeping quarters. He was sitting on the upper bed in the minimalistic bunkers that were practically pockets in the walls. The other beds were also occupied. Some still sleeping, others stirring or otherwise showing that the commotion had woken them up.
Ava being a light sleeper were one of them. She came up to them as Peter stood slumped over mid yawn and Damian let himself fall and landed soundless on the floor.
“It’s only half an hour till we’re supposed to be up anyway. Why don’t we get some early breakfast?” Ava said, clearly still a little tired. She was stretching her arms behind her to fully wake up.
Peter counted every minute asleep a blessing and crawled back to bed. Ava and Damian went on ahead, followed by others that didn’t see any point in falling back asleep for such a short amount of time.
“Your dad is a bat-like monster?” Ava asked, mask pulled up to her nose, after taking a sip of water. Her salad was halfway finished at this point as they had eaten in silence. Damian had snuck some bits of chicken from his own to her salad when she had turned her head away. Still, someone with both brains and instincts as Ava noticed as soon as she turned back. She never said anything about it and ate on. Secretly happy that maybe Damian did it because he cared about her. It however did not dull her mood when she saw that she had received all of his chicken and thought that he just didn’t like it.
Damian had taken a moment to consider why she would ask such, masking the time used by chewing on some garlic bread. As he swallowed, he was remembering Peter mentioning ‘bat-man’ whilst in the bat-cave of his mind and him asking if he had met his father. It was clear that the teens had talked before he had awoken.
“No. I assume you were informed about our visit to the sorcerer?” He said nudging a tomato with his fork. Slightly unsure of how much information he should reveal, but he could not let anyone think of his great father as a simple beast as they now do.
Ava nodded as she took another bite of chicken and salad.
“It was simply the phrase ‘bat-man’ that caused the misunderstanding. My father is called by that name in his profession as a detective. What they came across on the other hand was a mutated beast my mother was interested in mass-producing.” He finished before stabbing the tomato with the fork.
Ava put down her fork, just looking at her food. “Family and heritage are complicated.”
Damian nodded, staring at the juice gushing out of the red fruit. It was running down on the salad, making a small puddle.
“It will always be a part of you, no mater what.” She continued, taking the fork back into a soft but steady grip.
Damian turned to her. Watching as she stabbed a leaf and took it to her unmasked mouth. He was pondering, not wanting to show his own weakness, but still curious about so much.
“Do you miss your family?” the question hung in the air as Ava put the fork with the leaf back down on her platter.
“You know about my dad?” somehow, she already knew he did. He had already proven that he knew their names. Why not their past? It would likely be easy to find out who those around them were as soon as one knew their names.
“He seems like he was a capable man.” He simply said with a shrug.
Ava turned her gaze back to her dish. “He was.”
“And you want to live up to the image you have of him.” It wasn’t really a question, but Ava still confirmed it with a nod.
“I am the White Tiger, just as him. I need to be just as strong, physically and mentally. His instincts and perseverance.” She started, spinning her fork lazily around. “But I also know I can never be him.”
Damian raised a brow, both to question her and tell her to continue.
“As cliché as it sounds, I can only be me and no one else. Whether it is better or worse. Certainly, at the moment, I am not the best. I might get the same abilities from the tiger amulet, but even so I use them slightly differently. Our lives differ so much, I don’t think he was ever at such a place as SHIELD academy, and here I am training and laughing amongst friends. I am learning cooperation in a way he never had the opportunity to. Making me a better fit to the title in another way. We both have carried the title of White Tiger, but that does not make us the same White Tiger.”
With clear confusion Damian asked: “You find that this friendship-system makes you stronger? Don’t you wish to be independently strong? To stand on your own like your father?”
Ava lifted the fork again. “I do stand on my own. With or without friends I will never be just a burden but pulling my own. The challenges we meet are more varied. We learn together and from each other. Together we grow stronger.”
Damian said nothing as he turned back to his salad. He picked up the tomato and plopped it in his mouth.
With most of the students having to take a dreaded test in American history, Damian thought he might get some hours for himself. He was not happy to learn that two of them got to take the test later in order to ‘babysit’ him.
The two in question were Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen, also known as Cloak and Dagger. Damian had read what he could about them, but they had managed to hide some details even from SHIELD. They had powers of dark and light respectively and had worked for a villain names Taskmaster. He did not like not having the leverage of information on them but managing to stay somewhat mysterious even while living at this agentry’s establishment made Damian think that they might not be too bad. That however might also mean that they are challenging to deal with, and Damian would not slip in front of them.
He met the two after they had finished their breakfast. They lead him to the training room while informing him of what they would do.
Because of Tyrone’s abilities to teleport, he would help Damian with his newly discovered power. Even thought Tyrone was supposed to be the one to help, Tandy was the one who did all the talking. The only comments he had were either adding to Tandy’s or the one question he had as they entered the room: “How could you not notice suddenly gaining this power?”
At that Damian stuck his nose up, feeling that the question was an attempt to belittle him. “-tt- There were other distracting factors. One such as being alive.”
Tyrone showed little change in emotion. Tandy, however, was noticeable uncomfortable by this development. Even thought she had a stone face, both Damian as the ninja detective and Tyrone as her partner could tell. “Should we get started guys?”
Miles and Flash ran to be the first out the door. When Flash got the lead, Miles sprinted on the wall and shot out a string of web over the outer door. Swinging over his friend’s head he shouted: “FIRST!” as he kicked the door open.
“No fair! Slinging has no part in a race” Flash shouted from behind as Miles was still running, heading for their own little beach. They had decided before going in their classroom that they would all get some time on the beach once the last person put down their pen for the history test.
“You snooze, you lose. No need to make up some rules after the race.” Doreen said passing by him, two squirrels holding on to the hair on her head as she ran.
Amadeus got dragged along a little unwillingly. Tinkering with something cube-shaped as he was carried on Luke’s shoulders. Sam flew over their heads, bringing a ball and net. And Peter had made himself and Ben responsible for food while Ava and Mary Jane got some drinks.
Sam, with the help of Luke, had just gotten the net up when the two girls presented crates with various drinks, such as soda and lemonade. Ben and Peter not far behind. “Hope you’re hungry, cause we got some extra from the cafeteria!” Peter shouted as he walked through the doors. The others gathered around, picking what they liked. Peter turned to the beach and asked: “Hey, Sandy! Want some?”
A part of the beach rose up and a figure was formed out of sand. A man in a green t-shirt stood there. “No thank you, I have no need for food nor beverage.”
Peter held out a can. “You might not need it, but do you want? You can just open it and spill it all on buckethead.”
Flint gave him a shy smile and took the offered can with a “thanks”.
Both Peter and Flint, being the closest to the beach, turned to the sound. “Anyone already in swimming?” Miles asked, walking up to them with a soda in hand.
“Didn’t see anyone jump in. Aren’t we all still here?” Luke spoke as they saw movement again from where the circles had first appeared with the splash.
Emerging from the water was the top of a head. Eyes barley breaking the surface, nose and mouth still under. Even if the black hair and green eyes did not give him away, then his everlasting scowl did. Brows furrowed under the dripping wet hair, eyes staring at nothing in irritation.
“Hey Damian!” Peter shouted at the younger. “I see the teleportation is going well.”
Damian got closer, seemingly without moving himself. Head was not lowered or raised, nose and mouth still under, as he steadily neared the beach. Ava picked up an extra can and got on the beach before Damian started finding ground under his feet and rising from the water.
The students could hear him grumble “I hate everything and everyone.” When he finally stepped on dry land. Ava held out the unopened can for him as he approached. When he saw it he stopped and held out his hand to receive it.
“-tt- I suppose not everything is loathsome.”
Tyrone and Tandy appeared shortly after in Tyrone’s cloak. They joined in on the festivities and got something to drink. For a few hours, all of them enjoyed games and chatter and nothing bothersome before it was time for training.
Peter took the last crate and walked together with Damian that had stayed behind. They walked together to the storage where the crate of unused food were put.
“So, Damian, what are you gonna do? Join our training? Back to our room or your cell?”
Damian looked at him with a wary look: “Why would I join your training? Just because I can teleport a few times?”
Tyrone and Tandy had told the others about Damian’s power and what they found out. His way was a shortcut between spaces, not like Tyrone’s who travels through another dimension to get from space to space. They had also figured out that he was on some sort of inner battery. He could only use his abilities for five times before he started running low, depending on his distance. Danny had checked for them and apparently he was slowly charging, being able to go for five more in a few hours.
Peter looked as if he was in deep thought: “Not only that, but also because of your speed and fighting ability. And; we like to work together with friends.”
Damian hoped his worry did not show. He was sure he had been careful about hiding his newfound powers. He had tried to seem harmless and nothing they should find leverage on (he never knew when he needed to escape from someone who underestimated him), but after the trip through his memories, he was sure that would not happen. Still, speed and ability? Were this SHIELD’s findings on him?
He raised an eyebrow at the teen: “Only because I know some self-defense?”
Peter almost felt like laughing fore some reason. He smiled behind his mask as he said: “Really? Iron Fist said you were a well-trained fighter of some sort. He was pretty sure it was something like assassination-skills you showed. Aaand a teen we did not manage to rescue when fighting Juggernaut and Whirlwind told us that some kid in a hood got him out of harm’s way with superhuman speed. Sounds familiar?”
Damian clicked his tongue and turned to stare straight ahead. Peter must have also remembered their mind-trip as his next words were: “I know there can’t have been much peaceful and happy reasons for you to learn to fight, but we have only known you for using it to saving that one guy. As my uncle said: ‘With great powers, come great responsibility’.”
He now slowed down, hoping to capture Damian’s gaze. “Listen, I may not have been going through anything like you, but I did not start out the best either. For a long time, I blamed myself for uncle Ben’s death. I had the power and opportunity to stop the guy who killed him but didn’t. However now I do exactly that, I stop the ones trying to kill or harm others. An I know you want to do that to. To use your abilities to help people.”
Damian stuck his nose up. “-tt- We do certainly not have the same past. I remember taking quite pleasure in carving a knife into my cousin’s eye.”
That remark did make Peter shudder a little. A knife in someone’s eye was not something he would like to picture.
“…but I would not mind helping. Could I maybe observe you for today’s training?”
Peter felt the smile creeping back up on his face. “Of course you can.” Just as they stopped in front of the training room’s doors. Peter told him were to go and went up to his friends as the training started.
Watching the teens, Damian let his mind wander more than take note of their moves and strategies. Some of Peters words going through his mind. ‘And; we like to work together with friends.’
I'm just wondering: is it best to have Damian's eyes blue as the comic I'm mainly basing him off? Or make them green as the movies or brown as they sometimes are pictured as in other comics?
What was supposed to be a few sentences before cake, turned into a few pages... enjoy
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Peter climbed up and fell limp to the mattress. It seemed that Fury had somehow let them off easy today, especially compared to the night before.
After getting back from the nightmare that was Damian’s memories, the teens were ordered to immediately go train. He was already late and knew that their beds were way better than the ones in the cells. So Peter, being the one carrying the sleeping boy, lent him his bed as they went on.
The training had gone on for hours with only minute long brakes. According to Coulson it was to test and get up their endurance. According to Sam and Peter, it was some unreasonable punishment. After training, and sending some of the less tired ones to bake, he had barley given the lump in his bed a though as he laid down and drifted off. That was until the following morning and the lump kicked him out of bed.
This night, the lump was back in his cell. Ava had offered to take him. No matter if they started to see Damian as a friend, Fury still wouldn’t let him go unsupervised. He was under SHIELD’s surveillance, which Peter guessed was a reason for them to get time to know him, so it might not be too bad.
‘Whatever’ Peter thought as he turned in bed. He had first planned to make sure Ava got back, but his eyelids felt too heavy. His whole body was heavy and light at the same time. Feeling like he was sinking into the mattress and floating on it like a cloud both at once. He decided to just blink a few times, for a few seconds. Maybe a few minutes. He closed his eyes slowly, felt his mind go dark and drifted off to sleep.
“Up and at it, cadets.”
The steady voice and blinding lights shook Peter from his peaceful dreams of soft clouds and happy vials of talking chemicals. Reluctantly he sat up, managing to rub his eyes through his mask. At this point in life, his mask and suit were pretty much his second skin.
“Morning, Cap. What are we doing?” at this point Peter were used to the surprise lessons from one of the Avengers. There was no need to question the star-spangled soldier marching into their room and waking them up. And of course, no one was against a lesson with captain America himself. The ‘cadets’ were all soon out of bed and making their way out.
Two hours later the avenger gave them a break. Peter sat down against the wall, bottle of water in hand, and started talking to Luke that sat next to him. Some had left for the kitchen, while Sam flew out to check up on their guest in their cells. The other Web warriors had somehow started a debate on who had the best spider-sense, starting out after Amadeus mentioned doing an upgrade to his artificial spider-sense. Peter wanted to quip in for good sports. After all, the original is always the best.
Before he got to make his argument, a light came from the other side of the room. The occupants of the room were quick on their feet. A shared look between them told them that neither of them had a hand in the lightshow.
The golden light faded into a figure. Tall and thin with what seemed like two big horns. Even before the light was completely gone, Peter recognized the man. Or rather, the god.
The trickster stood tall, spear in his left hand, smirk plastered on his face. Clearly amused at the reactions he got. Green eyes mused, shifting from the teen to the next that talked to him. Steve Rogers stepped in front of his students. Shield up, eyes on the liesmith.
“Why are you here, Loki? Do not believe you can create chaos in this establishment filled with heroes and soldiers. We will take you down before you can play your tricks.” The captains voice boomed in the bare training room, echoing off the walls.
“tsk tsk tsk” Loki waved his scepter, shifting most of his weight to his left foot. Looking like nothing in the world faced him. “Why would you assume that I only come to fight? You hurt me Captain. I am merely here to give back your lost pet.”
Rogers had no idea what the trickster was talking about. Was he going to unleash some beast upon them? Had he kidnapped someone the teens knew? Did he have a hostage? The way the god always played with words, Rogers could never know what part of what he said was misleading and what was the truth he weaved in to lead them on. He had to be on his toes. So when Loki lifted his right arm to them, he lowered his center of gravity. Ready to throw his shield at any time. Mainly focusing on protecting the young heroes. This was not someone to underestimate, and even as strong as they were, the teens were still teens and his responsibility.
In his outstretched hand was a kitten. Black, soft fur with green piercing eyes searching for something to get a hold of. Kicking wildly hand hissing. Claws trying to draw blood. It was flailing as the god hold it by its neck.
The room fell silent for a while. Only the small creature’s hissing could be heard.
Peter was the one to break the silence: “White Tiger, did you become a mom or something?”
Ava, partly stupefied, turned to her friend. Eyes in disbelief and voice monotone; “How in the world did you even come to that conclusion?”
“Do you not recognize the foul creature? Maybe this can help.” Loki said as he waved his scepter, looking at the kitten. Soon the hissing turned into harsh words in a high-pitched voice.
“Let go of me this instant you overgrown goat! I told you to put me down! You inadequate piece of-!”
The Captain was even more confused about the talking cat, but the teens did not take long to recognize their now four-legged friend.
The creature stilled his pointless scratching of air when he heard his name. Looking over at the heroes with an irritated look. Loki on the other hand widened his smirk as the development progressed as he planned.
“When did you get a talking cat as pet?” Rogers asked, not taking his eyes of Loki.
Before they got to answer, Damian yelled: “Do I look like some ingrate of a feline that would let myself become nothing more than a pet?!” Starting to wriggle in the god’s grasp again.
Peter felt like letting out a nervous laugh as he tried to explain. Clearly Damian had no intention of helping to make it easy for them. He was jus glad agent Coulson wasn’t there to see a kitten yelling at his favorite hero. “Don’t mind him. He’s actually just a human kid from another dimension that was resurrected from the dead after a conflict in the family and… Ok, starting with ‘just a human kid’ might have been wrong. Anyway, as you probably noticed he has a bit of a temperament, and was human last time I saw him.”
The captain, being used to the strange by now, summarized it and guessed: “So your friend has somehow been taken by Loki and turned into a kitten?”
“You make it sound like I sought him out.” Loki started, putting a bored expression on. “He was in fact the one to disturb me. Although I must admit he was enjoyable to converse with at first, he did make it clear that he found my ‘work’ less than agreeable.”
“Considering what I have seen of your work, trickster, it only means that he is sound of mind. Now, turn him back.” Rogers shouted, taking a step closer, back straight and shoulders wide. Stretching out his free arm to receive the cat.
“Now, now, captain. Where are your manners? If you want something you must ask politely.” Loki taunted, smirk back and wide as ever.
Rogers did not want to play into any games, but the kitten did seem to be a friend of the young heroes. Not letting his eyes of the foe, he furrowed his brows. He really hoped that humoring the annoying god would not lead to any games. And if it is one thing a hero, an avenger, needs; it’s hope. “Would you please let the boy go and turn him back to his normal self before peacefully taking your leave?”
The smirk turned to a full-grown grin. “See, was that so hard?” Rogers kept silent, shield still at the ready. “Well, since you asked so nicely.”
“Wait, you’re really just turning him back and giving up?” Peter spoke, getting up to the captain. He would be happy if it would just end with that, but it was weird. Considering how hard and time-consuming his last transformations were, he would have guessed they had to fight some interdimensional monster for a cure.
“I told you I came here to give it back. But I will not need to change his form as that is your job.”
He knew it! There was no way the trickster would just give up. Did they really have to fight some big monster for a cure? No matter what it was, it couldn’t be anything good. Most importantly; would they get to eat the cakes his friends went to get? …ok, not most importantly. Or.. for them all to eat cake this must all be over and everyone must be fine and in a good enough mood, which is the most important. Ok! The goal is to eat cake with everyone!
Loki, seeing Peter having some sort of inner monolog, decided to continue: “Not to worry. The spell I used only craves for a species the same as the cursed being to touch it for its form, and abilities, to return. In other words; all you need is to pet this kitten for him to return to a human boy. It should be simple enough for even you mortals to do.”
Without warning, the god tossed the kitten forward with a simple flick of his wrist. Trying to turn in the air, Damian widened his emerald eyes as he saw his destination. Holding out his arms, Peter was standing at the ready. -tt- damn that pesky god, withholding information.
“Wait! Don’t catch me!” he hissed. Much to Peters confusion.
Rogers, hearing the warning in the kitten’s voice, stepped up. And before Damian got in Peters reach, the captain picked him out of the air with his free hand.
“You ok there, kid-” Rogers started as the small cat immediately grew surrounded by a weak light. In seconds a black-haired kid, drowning in an oversized SHIELD-sweater, sat on the ground. Hand rubbing the side of his head.
“Huh. Guess it really worked just to hold him. Nice work cap-” Luke said looking down at Damian before he looked to Rogers. Except, he could not see him. The Avenger that had just held the kid in one hand was out of sight. It was not like he was short or hard to see with his bright and colored costume.
“Captain?” Peter also started to look around the room. Finding only gray walls and his friends before he eyed Loki with suspicion. If there was one responsible, it had to be him.
“Down here, Spiderman.”
Peter looked back and down. He saw Damian and a cat but no big sold-… a cat? He was pretty sure there was no cat there before. But now, next to the kid stood a blonde cat with clear blue eyes looking back at him.
“Don’t tell me…” Amadeus nearly sighed.
“Yes, it does indeed seem that Loki is not as cooperative as he would have us believe.” The clear voice came from the cat that looked accusingly at the god.
“I came to deliver your friend and even told you how to turn him back. I would say I am overly helpful. Now, I am afraid I have to take my leave.” The trickster said as the golden glow returned around him. “Oh, and please teach the child not to wander around the nine realms and bother me. It can be quite dangerous.” And with that he disappeared. Peter tried to shoot some web to get him, but it only shot the grey wall.
Amadeus was the first to kneel down and study their teacher in feline form. Reaching out his hand as Rogers stopped him by raising a paw. “Don’t. We can not risk playing with this. Touch may only spread this curse for all we know.”
“We need to seriously get some security against magic-stuff and dimensional trips.” Flash stated in a bored tone. They had already mentioned this after not only Damian, but others finding their way in too easily for Fury not to twitch his eye at. They all agreed with the jock clad in black symbiote, but they had no answer. Maybe they could get whatever doctor Strange had to keep magicians out of his mansion.
“It won’t spread, only transfer.” They heard Damian say as he stood up. “The curse affects one at a time, but the annoying goat said it was a simple one. I believe the doctor called himself Sorcerer Supreme?” he questioned.
“Yes. I see where your going with this. I will ask for his help.” Danny said before he turned to the door.
The rest looked back at Rogers. He was sitting with his tail slowly flicking its tip, not giving any hint to have ever been human had it not been for intelligent eyes and somehow squaring his shoulders. Admittedly, he was cute. And by looking ay Damian, it was clear that he was the most interested in petting the four-legged avenger, even when he was trying to keep his scowl.
In the silent room Rogers decided to pick up his shield at least. He might not have thumbs, but a super strengthened soldier would not be useless as long as he could walk. He nudged as his shield, finding it to be heavier than he thought. He tried again, but not only did he find himself unable to turn it, he could only push it slightly along the ground. Giving up he looked up at the young heroes to ask for their move when he found them all staring at him. His ears fell back when he figured why: He looked like a curious cat playing with some big toy didn’t he?
Luckily, before anyone could say it, Amadeus set an analytical tone to the subject: “Loki mentioned abilities returning along with the form. I believe this cat form, more than being for humiliation or a prank, is to seal the cursed one’s powers.”
Peter turned to his young friend. “So his strength is that of a normal housecat now?” Damian nodded, having experienced the same situation just a moment ago.
“Let’s hope he’s not needed before Strange arrives.” Luke stated right before
The gray room turned red under the sudden blinking lights. The ringing alarm loudly yelling. The teens quickly crowded around a screen that Amadeus pulled up. A security footage he found showed Loki on a giant beast, leading a fanged and furry army to the Avenger’s tower.
Peter sighed and slumped his shoulders. “Cap, looks like you are needed.”
Before Rogers got to respond, Damian reach out and pet his head. In just two seconds, the star-spangled soldier was back. Sitting on the ground next to a black, little kitten. He shot the little creature a questioning look.
“-tt- I am the only one in this room without some super suit. You are needed. All of you, by the looks of it. Now, hurry up. And tell the magician to hurry as well if you meet him.” Damian practically demanded.
Just as he finished, Sam flew in. “Hey guys! Can’t you hear the alarm?” He shouted over said ringing before he landed next to Luke. “I was looking everywhere but I could never find the demon, then the academy went red. The others already left the cakes and went on before us.”
Peter, wondering if Damian partly used this as an excuse to pet the cap cat, nodded to the kitten. Putting on a grin behind the mask, he said: “Not to worry, we’ll be back before you know it.”
Damian found his way to the control panel of the training room. The keyboard was low enough that even the shortest of the teens could reach it whilst crouching. For a kitten however, it was mount Everest without anything to climb on. The room was bare and the panel was mounted to the wall. Way too far up for Damian. He knew, because he did try. He took a test jump, only to find that he barley lifted of the ground. He tried using the wall, only to find no grip or help at all.
“-tt-” He should never have approached the arrogant god when he first teleported close by. Should especially not have started talking to him. Must have been these heroes’ stupid influence.
He turned to the door, finding he had to run so he wouldn’t use minutes only to reach it. Luckily, the sensory seemed to work on his size. The door opened and he was soon out.
The alarm had stopped a little after the heroes left and he was now skipping along the corridor in silence. Silence until he heard some hurried steps. He hugged the wall in the bare hallway as two agents came from behind him. Male and female. He recognized the man as the one that had escorted him when he first came here.
… it was not like he needed help. He was in fact very capable on his own. It was just about time management. The paws of a kitten had proven themselves to be insufficient. Simply walking would take him too long.
Damian took a step out into the open as the two agents approached, making the female at least notice him. “Huh? Kitten?” She slowed down and stopped in front of him. Making the guy also notice. She squatted down and reached out a hand for the little one. “What are you doing here all alone?”
Damian ignored the hand and looked her in the eye, addressing her directly. “Would you give me a lift to a computer or something I could find some use for?”
The female agent’s eyes widened at the talking kitten. The other agent took a step back, eyes nearly round. Moving swiftly, the female got back on her feet and pulled out a stun-gun. Pointing it at the kitten. “Are you one of Loki’s creations? An enemy?”
Foolish woman. How dare she imply that he is nothing but a lackey of that overgrown goat. “-tt- Of course not. My name is Damian and I am supposed to be under SHIELD’s surveillance, as at least your companion should know. I merely got a little affected by a spell that turned me to another form.”
The female held the gun in place, not looking convinced. The man however finally seemed to find his brain and got another look at the kitten’s emerald eyes. “Damian Wayne? The kid from another world?” He sure is slow for being one of these supposedly renowned agents, but he seems to be getting them somewhere at least.
Standing on the male agent’s shoulders, Damian entered a room filled with agents sitting at their respective desks with their computers and pads. A group of agents were watching screens showcasing the fight between Loki’s monsters and the heroes. They were taking note of civilians in the area, damaged buildings, and of course the fight itself.
Looking at a big screen, Damian could see the heroes he had gotten to know fighting alongside the ones calling themselves ‘the Avengers’. Apparently, the earth’s mightiest heroes, where that ‘Captain America’ he just met was with. At least mightiest according to some of the files he read. He ignored the looks he got from nearby agents and focused on the battles.
The two teams were working adequately together. The fight was however spread out too much for Damian’s liking. Could they not contain it better? The beasts did indeed seem strong, but he had also seen the strength of the young heroes of this world. Damian’s claws were itching for some action. He felt his tail hitting the agent’s neck with every flick. He was a hero himself, although in hiding. No, he would trust they could handle it. Even if they clearly had many areas they could improve upon.
For now, he would stay here. Not on this agent’s shoulder of course. That would only be demeaning… On this human’s shoulder. The human he was touching. Touching in his cursed form. The form that would transfer when in contact with a human.
Damian raised a paw and touched the agent’s jaw. Holding it there. The man slightly turned his head to face the kitten. “Is there something you need?”
Emerald eyes lifted to meet his. “You are human, right?” he asked, tilting his head.
“Yes?” the man answer was more like a question. Clearly not following. Other agents had also pasted a confused expression on their faces when they heard him talk, but Damian simply ignored them all.
“Status!” a booming voice shook the room. Damian and the two agents he came with turned to it. He noticed the rest of the agent quickly occupied themselves with their work, out of the corner of his eye. Not truly taking his sight from the director. Nick Fury, as he was called, stood with his hands resting on his back. Shoulders square and eyes searching.
The female agent was the one to answer. Voice clear as she first reported on the civilians. Damian turned back to the monitors. -tt-. In the short moment he had looked away, the tide had completely turned to the heroes’ side. Most of the monsters were thrown unconscious into a portal. He supposed it would be expected that they at least could do this. It might even be slightly above expectations. Slightly. He could have helped.
He is capable of helping others. He was not useless. Just hiding. Just because he is not out there helping doesn’t mean anything. And it would be annoying as a kitten anyway. -tt- Where was that magician?
Thanks to Batmango fot the idea with Loki: "Loki could feed him a cursed slice of tofu that turns him into aof mushroom". I really tamed it compared to how fun it would have been with a mushroom tho
Peter threw a wolf-like monster into the portal that would send them back to their realm. He still had no idea how Loki got them and the one who seems to know, Thor, is busy three blocks ahead. Doctor Strange and Danny had joined them just minutes ago, helping them turn the tide and getting rid of the beasts.
There was still no sign of Loki. He had disappeared soon after the first claw mark was made on the Avenger’s tower. Leaving behind his furry friends while he went off to whatever he might have planned.
They seemed to have it under control, so he swung over to where Danny and Strange stood near the portal. He wanted to tell the sorcerer to leave it to them and go ahead to the kitten he knew must have been impatient by now. He started when Sam and Amadeus came up to them. When Amadeus heard Peter’s suggestion, he protested.
“if we turn him back, he will teleport again and… Should we really send him home? You saw his world. The places, the beings, the nightmares. We talked about it before thinking he only suffered abuse from his mother. Now? Now we know that there is so much worse there!”
“We can’t take the choice away from him.” Danny said. He did see the point of his comrade, and would not completely disagree, but as one who had been introduced to the minds influence in both person and sometimes mystic, he knew forcing a will can be ill advised.
“He’s a kid!” Sam shot in. “Kids are stupid and can’t make choices on their own. That’s why they need adult supervision and guidance. Something he clearly ain’t getting back there.”
“We’re also called kids. He’s barley younger than Kid Arachne and Iron Spider.” Peter pointed out. “Besides, we’re not his parents. We don’t have custody of him, let alone the say of what world he should be in.”
“No, but we’re heroes. We keep kids safe. Sending him to that nightmare is not what I consider safe.” Amadeus argued.
Peter knew all of this. He knew Damian had been hurt and finally killed in that world. He knew it was troublesome. But he also knew that the boy loved his family. The ones he called his brothers, his father. He could see that they had done something right to the kid, the way his eyes slightly lit with respect, love and longing when he talked about them. He had also seen the conflict and sorrow the subject also brought, but with the situation of their parting, that was nothing weird. Not to mention the grieving family he saw in Damian’s memories. The debate between the four went on with a certain magician turning impatient at being blatantly ignored.
Dr. Strange fake-coughed in his hand to get the attention of the four. “If I may, why don’t I at least get him his form back first? Then you can talk to him about this later. He should get a say in this, should he not?” The four finally agreed with a nod, and off he went.
After seeing him off, they helped taking care of the few beasts left. Amadeus got some tech-duty and separated for the group as well.
Peter had to admit, the two teams working together was badass. Some of these guys were on scale with a school bus and they had taken them down almost easily after they had figured how to send them home. He would not unnecessarily boast, but a victory dance after this was tempting.
“Thor has confirmed Loki’s whereabouts. We need a team to pursuit.” Peter heard Clint Barton, aka. Hawkeye, report over the comms. He looked at the teammates closest to him. Ava, Luke and Doreen had joined the three. They all gave him a nod.
“Spiderman here with five ready to go.”
“Roger that. Meet up back at Avengers tower. It looks like he went after something inside.”
Peter turned again to his friends. “You heard the old guy. Let’s go.” And they all took off to the tower that rose up above the buildings surrounding it.
In front of said building were three of its inhabitants. Thor, that stood halfway through a hole in the wall. Tony Stark, aka. Iron Man, that seemed to be yelling at the god. Natasha Romanoff, aka. Black Widow, holding on to Tony’s arm, looking at a holographic map that appeared from his glove.
Swinging from a streetlight, Peter landed right behind them. “Hey guys! What’s going on?”
Tony sighed as he turned to the young heroes that stood in a group. His mask was up, showing tired eyes. “We don’t have control over the tower for the moment. Either Loki has taken over, or, as Black Widow suggests, someone he’s got to work for him. The outer defense was keeping us out, but Thor seems to have gotten the brilliant idea of just hammering through the wall instead of waiting for me to get some control back and simply open the doors.”
Thor simply raised his chin with a still serious expression. “Aie. That I did. And my brother shall run free no longer. If you wish to help, come now, but I will not be waiting and let Loki finish his scheme.” With that he turned around, cape fluttering majestically. ‘yeah, definitively a royal god’ Peter thought watching the retreating figure.
Feeling like they had little choice, the other heroes followed him in through the big hole. The light inside was much dimmer than Peter remembered. Walking up to the elevator, they found it unsurprisingly not working. Not that it mattered for experienced heroes such as themselves. Whether it was taking the stairs or smashing through ceiling after ceiling flying straight up, they quickly neared their destination.
Only weeks earlier, they had gotten their hands on some unknown stone that could turn liquid into solid form and vise versa. They had taken it in to study it (mostly Tony), and according to Thor, Loki was after said stone. He had apparently talked to some other Asgardians to find it out. Honestly, Peter needed to update himself on Norse mythology. Was there really an aesir named Amora? Or Fon-Fandrol? Fandral? No matter. The god had used his hammer as a ram and flew upward, away from the rest of the group.
“Fast little bugs, aren’t you?” They heard a gleeful voice coming from the tower’s stereo as they just came through a doorway. There was no denying who that voice belonged to.
“Electro? When did you become Loki’s lapdog?” Peter tried to taunt. And knowing this villain in particular, it would not be a hard job. In no time at all he would be talking about his plans like a villain from some old movie.
“Who are you calling a lapdog?! I am not below anyone!” Bingo. Hook, line and sinker. “I am merely giving a hand to a common artist of crime. A common interest, common enemy and common goal. Of course, the best part of our deal is getting rid of you!” Peter really liked his villains sometimes. So much better to deal with talkers like this than the silent planners. What he really didn’t like was the ‘getting rid of you’-part. It never really leads to a friendly agreement of laying down weapons and start chasing butterflies and picking flowers together.
No sooner than he had started wondering what they might be planning, the room seemed to shut itself off from the world. Walls appeared closer. Metal sheets covered them, the ground and ceiling, cutting of the little light they had gotten.
Except for the natural glow-stick Sam, the rest used different kinds of lights either in their suits or on their person. Nothing seemed to have changed at first glance. That was until they noticed fog? ‘No, the gas’ Peter figured.
“Don’t breathe it in!” he could hear Black Widow yell, but why did she sound so far away? As a matter of fact, everything sounded far away and dragged out. Kind of like how things became blurry. Heh, he could see two of Luke. Wonder who’s stronger between Luke and Luke? They were moving. Were they on a boat? He heh, his legs felt weird. Were they even there? He looked down. Yup, still there. ‘thud’ Huh, weird. He suddenly sat down. Why did he do that? Is the light failing him too? Everything seems darker. ‘Oh yeah. The gas-…’ he thought as he closed his eyes. Laying halfway on top of Luke he drifted off.
A low buzzing and voices shook Peter from his happy dreamland. His suit was not just for show, but he could still feel the cold of his surroundings. He wanted to rub at his temple to lift the fog from his mind but found he couldn’t move his arm. Looking, he found strangely familiar arms restricting him. Holding him up above ground. What was the sound Damian made again? Oh yeah! “-tt-”
“Finally awake, Spiderman?” Peter turned to the deep, yet slimy, voice. He couldn’t say he was surprised after already seeing the robotic arms that held him by his limbs and neck.
“Doc Oc! Long time no see. You never call.” Peter kept an eye on the villain as he took in his surroundings. Were they still in the tower? There were no windows, but the walls and ceiling were like the ones he had just ran along. Beside him were the others that he came with. Sam seemed to be suspended in some forcefield. He could move his head and mouthed ‘sleepyhead’ to Peter.
Ava, Doreen and Danny were restrained much like himself. Ava on his left, the two others on his right. He could see the Iron-Man suit in front of him. Small sparks gave away that Electro had entered it. Wonder if Mr. Stark was still in it? That might be dangerous with all those bolts.
Luke was much like Sam, in a forcefield, suspended in air and frozen from neck down. They seemed to have put on some electric grid inside of his field, unlike Sam’s.
He could not see Black Widow anywhere thought. Did she get away? Did they double down on her security knowing that she was basically an escape-artist? And maybe most importantly; who had teamed up against them?
He continued the pointless conversation to by time: “We were worried about you doc. You could at least send a text with one of your arms.”
Not only had Loki gotten Electro and dr. Octavius, he could also see dr. Connors in his lizard-form in a dark corner and Kraven standing proudly with his arms crossed eying Ava. Had the creep still not given up on the amulet?
Four from the sinister six? Clad in material that looked suspiciously like the Asgardian metal Loki had lent to Octavius to ensure cooperation before. He could imagine two more running around being, well, sinister. An escape plan and info on what the creepers wanted, that would be top priority.
“How amusing.” The octopus said in a monotone voice. Clearly not amused. ‘guess robotic octopuses have a different kind of humor’ Peter kept to himself. “We, however, have some more entertaining in mind.” A smile slowly crept across his face. Not a good sign.
“Is that why you so kindly invited us here? For some fun and bonding?” Peter said as he tested the hold on his wrists. No good, huh?
“Oh, it will be fun. For us at least.” The grin only seemed to grow as the amusement entered his voice as well. “Not so much bonding, however. I had more ‘tearing’ games in mind.” Yeah, that is so not a good sign.
“You youth are so amazed by your screens these days. So I thought I would indulge you in some live action.” As the creepy doctor said so, three big screens lit up behind him. One showing all the heroes from the front. One showing them from the right. And the last one showing only Peter. There was no doubt who these villains wanted to play ‘tearing games’ with the most. And this did not seem like it was a good time to be the favorite toy.
“You’re going to make me a movie star? Gee, talk about giving big. And to think that I didn’t brig anything.” Yeah, joking was absolutely the best coping mechanism. Come on Pete. Think. You’ve fought these guys before. You were just with both your buds from the academy and the Avengers. You should get the upper hand.
“No need to worry, Spider-Man. Your presence is a present in itself. And needed for the show.” The maniac turned to the screens and started typing on a keyboard as big as a dining table with at least two hundred keys. “The rest of your friends should have gotten our signal by now. As soon as they try to respond” Octavius said menacingly as he looked over his shoulder at the teen. “it’s showtime.”
‘Yeah, no thanks.’ Peter looked around once more. He was not in a haste to get his Oscar for this. Over on his right, Kraven had thankfully found something else to do than creep on his friend. -Shiiing-. He was sharpening some kind of huge kitchen knife. Please don’t let that be related to him having just eyed Ava.
The rest of his teammates was still as stuck as him. He could see Sam wriggling his head, trying to get the rest of his body to move with him. The others were also struggling. Ava trying to reach her cuffs with her claws. Doreen listening for any rodents nearby.
And doctor Connors was… gone? He glanced to the corner where the reptile stood just moments ago only to find it empty. He quickly scanned the room. Connors was nowhere to be seen. Ugh, he so hoped he wasn’t creeping up from behind. He looks enough like a horror movie monster. No need for him to act like it as well.
“Beatle, where are you? You’re late.” Doctor Octavius said into a com in his ear. He sounded impatient. “Beatle? Beatle come in!”
‘Trouble in paradise?’ Peter was about say, but Kraven had picked up some laser-spear and shouted to the shadows behind them: “Who’s there?!”
Please be an Avenger or teammate. If Connors really were creeping behind them then Peter hoped he would not paint his pants brown. As much as he loved and respected the scientist, he really disliked monsters.
Kraven lifted his eyes higher, to the ceiling equally hidden in the dark. “Got you” he said as he raised his spear and fired off a red shot from the spear tip. He clearly hit something as it fell hard to the ground. Wrapped in some thick rope, the visible end of it smoked from where the laser had hit.
“Doc Conners?” Peter questioned. For there, on the floor in front of him, laid his friend and fellow scientist limp. In human form no less. Didn’t doc Oc usually have some control over him so he couldn’t just turn back from his lizard skin? And why would they fire on their teammate?
Looking closer, Peter could see something reflecting light from the man’s neck. A syringe? It looked like one of the containers with the antivenom SHIELD had stored.
‘Oh.’ Looking at the hunter, spear still in hand, he glances left and right into the shadows. Something was still there. Someone with SHIELD tech. Electro formed his face over the shoulder of the Iron-Man armor to see what’s going on. ‘Oh yes.’ Even doc Oc seemed uncertain of what was going on. This was a big point of working together with fellow heroes. To always have each other’s backs. Weather it was a hero or agent of SHIELD, the possibility of getting a helping hand was way up.
-Shuuuh- Swiftly swinging his spear, the hunter knocked out something that came flying towards him. A dart? “Guh!” Kraven gave of a small grunt before he fell heavy to the floor. Two darts had been shot, and one was shortly in his shoulder before he flicked t away. It seems the heroes got help from somebody who had done their homework on the hunter. Not underestimating him and actually having a second shot in the shadow of the first.
Unluckily it didn’t seem to knock him out as he tried to push himself up again, only to find it staggering to even crouch.
Unbeknownst to Peter, Kraven recognized the darts as his own, covered in his special venom and were not too happy about it being used on himself. However, it was something he had made himself resistant to even if it could normally take down a small elephant.
“Show yourself, intruder!” Octavius barked out. One of his legs pressed a key and white lights eliminated all shadows in the room. And there, on Sam’s ‘cage’, stood a small figure. Clad in dark, black pants and drowning in an oversized SHIELD sweater, the boy somehow managed to look menacing in the lit room. Piercing green eyes scanning with the everlasting scowl on his face.
Sam struggled to turn his head, trying to see who was standing over him.
Octavius finally seeing what tried to get in his way, took in the man. No, the child. The very small child. “A friend of yours I presume? My, you heroes just keep getting younger and younger.” Confidence came back after taking in the small figure. “Is SHIELD even hiring toddlers now?”
“-tt- They are indeed my friends.” The kid said as he stepped forward. Pausing when he came to the edge of the forcefield. Suddenly the emerald in his eyes got covered up as red flames burned from them. “And I let No One touch what’s mine!”
Electro slipped out of the metal armor and zoomed towards Damian. Making a fist, he got ready to punch the air out of the kid.
Taking a sidestep, Damian avoided the villain and went straight for Octavius at inhuman speed. It was not that he couldn’t handle electricity personified, it was just that he was more used to kicking butts of solid matter. Besides, the control panel was right behind the octopus and there was no need to stall for time when he didn’t have the upper hand.
Planting a little something he ‘borrowed’ from Amadeus’ lab on one of the robotic legs, it soon spasmed. Making Octavius falter for a moment. And that moment was enough. He almost felt grateful for Drake making sure all Robins could find their way through even the most complicated computers in seconds. Almost. And even if he was, he would not let Drake get wind of it.
A few fast taps and the robotic arms holding Ava, Peter, Danny and Doreen loosened and retracted. Doreen and Peter gave him a ‘thanks’, Danny a nod and Ava just wanted to release some of her pent up rage at the ones responsible for pissing her off.
Picking up the sound of something thrown, he had to jump out of the way as Kraven had gotten ahold of a knife and sent it flying towards his head. The knife embedded in the big screen over the keyboard and Ava pounced on the hunter. Danny went after Electro while Peter and Doreen pushed Octavius back.
Back to the keyboard, Damian set to erase the forcefields. The two other teens soon joined their friends, and without Electro to bother him Tony got his suit up and going and was back in action.
And of course, finishing with the first part of his goal after sending a signal to Black Widow (that had gotten him there), he was glad to see the villains was still not down.
A small grin planted itself on his face as he knocked the feet from under Kraven so he fell right into Luke’s waiting fist.
“Dudes! The demon can fight!” Sam said with glee. Getting some cables to Peter so they could capture Electro as well.
Back at the academy, the teens made their way to the cafeteria. On the way Peter got informed that Loki had gotten the stone and ran away. For now, at least.
He got to learn something new about the god thought. Apparently being the god of lies meant that he could even lie to machines. Go figure. The entire avenger tower being controlled by a computer for security sake was a blind spot he got Electro’s help to get to.
They filed into the cafeteria, but right as Damian got close Peter held out an arm and blocked his way. Making them the only two left in the hall.
“There’s just a few things I would like to say.” Peter said with a smile behind the mask. Damian only raised an eyebrow as he looked suspiciously at the teen.
“First of all; thank you. For helping us out and for making it clear that you see us as friends.”
“-tt-” Damian glanced to the side, avoiding looking at Peter.
“Secondly: you are not to practice teleporting without guidance again. If you want, call Cloak. Got it?”
Damian’s glare was on him now. Opening his mouth, clearly to protest. But Peter held out his hand to stop him.
Standing in front of the kid, he looked down at his watch. Not to use one of it’s many fancy features SHIELD provided, but simply to tell the time. 11.02 pm. They still had time.
“Thirdly” He started looking back up at the annoyed kid. “Remember what day it is?”
“The day for villains to bother civilians, police, SHIELD agents and heroes alike?” Damian said as he crossed his arms. Not sure where this was going.
Peter simply took a step to the side and slightly turned. Gesturing with his arm for Damian to go first into the cafeteria.
Damian’s numbed hearth beats for three different occasions.
Damian had made sure to stay in Dr. Strange’s shadow when they approached the Avengers. Even from far away they had heard Thor’s thundering voice. He had picked up certain words such as “Loki was-” and “- let him go” which didn’t sound promising. Not that it was too surprising with what the trickster had done to him. To Damian himself.
The measly god had ‘forgotten’ to mention that the curse of looking like a normal housecat could only transfer to humans with abilities. Of course, he had made sure that all the heroes couldn’t go free by transferring it to someone useless. And of course, he had to be told this by a clearly amused sorcerer that had come to lift said curse.
‘-tt-’ no wonder he could sit on the agent’s shoulder without them switching.
The irritating news did not stop there. After Strange had taken his time to get back Damian’s form, the curse still lingered. Loki had made sure that not only would he be humiliated by his looks, something he seldom cared for, but the part that sealed abilities had been made stronger. Even with five tries, the curse was only partly lifted. Damian had his thumbs, standing on two legs, scowl plastered on his face. He could even fly with Strange and use a little of the other powers he got with his resurrection. However, the power he needed the most and had practiced was still locked. Teleportation was off, at least until the mage found time to fix it.
Strange was called to the Avengers and Damian was not gonna be left behind. It wasn’t like he could practice on how to get home anyway. ‘As soon as this wizard is free, I’ll make him brake this curse’ he thought as he flew behind him. Besides, he could not get ‘them’ out without being noticed at this point. If he did not get ‘them’ out soon, they would be found.
Landing near the Avengers, Damian wanted to cover his ears from the booming voice of Thor. The god was arguing with some of the other members that were trying to calm him down. From what Damian gathered; Loki got ahold of something with some ability (a stone?), Thor was going after his escaping brother but was stopped by his friends who found it dangerous and then Loki escaped out of sight. Even if it was unnecessarily loud, the arguing was a decent source of information, Damian supposed.
Strange approached Captain America for briefing and Damian followed in his shadow. The arguing stopped. Or rather paused, Damian thought, if the look on the men were anything to go by. They quieted down and gathered as the Captain spoke.
It didn’t seem that everyone was there yet. Particularly not the ones Damian knew the best. Some of the teens were here. Amadeus tapping away near some wires, Flash Thompson and Miles Morales had stood awkwardly in the back during the fight, coming closer as discussions began. Other than them, the captain and sorcerer, the others were people he had never met.
And it was little he knew of them. Thor was only a myth in his world. No actual living man. And no hero protecting earth.
They had gamma radiation at home of course, but nothing like the Hulk. Falcon and Hawkeye had bird themes he could get behind, and skills as well he supposed. Not to mention that Hawkeye had managed to spot him from the second he got there, even with him trying to hide.
Hawkeye reported about the changes in Avengers tower and the disappearance of the group that went in minus Thor.
Group? Damian snapped his head up at the mentioned names. “Spider-man went in-”, “White tiger and Powerman was-”, “- together with Squirrelgirl, Nova, Iron Fist-”
They were missing? Since when? He just saw them kicking ass from the monitors two hours ago.
Fangs bit down on his hearth. The hard muscle in his chest felt like it was chewed on. Gnawed on by some invisible beast.
Raising his hand slowly, he touched his chest with fingertips. Damian felt a spark inside. …Feelings. His dulled feelings sparked. What was this? Was he angry? Yes, a bit. But he often was, and that was not the entire feeling. Was this… was this worry? For others?
‘-tt- Mother would have had me if she knew this was my first strong feeling after coming back to life.’ He fought back a smile, before returning his full attention back to the others. Trying to figure what more they knew. They were still discussing but didn’t seem to get anywhere. Making Damian grow impatient.
As the discussion went on he could see a woman in black out of the corner of his eye. Her steps were silent, and her pace and form practically screamed that she was trained to come and go unnoticed. A quick look around told him that no one else had noticed her either.
That was until she spoke up: “I know where they are.” All eyes turned to her. “But not the way in.” Back straight, she looked both relaxed and ready to start a fight.
“Still in the Avengers tower?” Hawkeye guessed and she gave a curt nod.
“But isn’t it blocked off? We’ve already tried to get through, but the new shield that was set up after they went in is not letting any of us get in.” Steve argued. And they really had tried. Even after Thor was out, he could not get back in. no matter how much lightning he charged or hard he hit.
“Yes, it is blocked out for us.” Widow started “But when I ‘accidently’ pushed a civilian he went right through.” At this more than one eyebrow were raised in the present group.
“So there are some that can get in?”
“Yes, I believe our own database is being used to keep out anyone we know.”
Steve raised his hand to his chin, thinking. “I’m guessing putting on a wig won’t help.” He tried to joke before turning serious “and I hope you’re not suggesting that we throw in some civilian to get our comrades out?”
Unfaced, she responded: “Not exactly. I know of someone that are not in the files, but not really a civilian either.” She turned to Stephen before she continued “I hope you can give us a hand… Damian, was it?”
Strange stepped to the side, letting all present see the younger one standing in his shadow.
“A human child?” Thor asked first.
Hawkeye turned back to Widow as he gestured to Damian. “You want us to send in a kid in an oversized sweater to villains and automated weapons?” not really believing that she meant him, but maybe someone he didn’t see? Was his parent invisible maybe and standing beside him?
Ignoring all comments, Damian turned to the woman. Flat voice and unreadable face. “Exactly where in the tower are they located?”
The second feeling he got was with the weightlessness.
The beast that chewed on his hearth stopped pressing once he saw the teens safe. And once they were free and fighting, the fangs disappeared completely. There was no pain, no pressure. And then joy started pumping through his veins.
The little assassin was finally back in a fight. Throwing his fists out in controlled motion, together with the heroes he had learned the style of.
It felt like freely dancing after silently hiding under a rock for weeks. The fact that he could actually fly now might have helped in getting the feeling of floating, but the adrenalin was as real as any.
The grin on his face would not go away. And for a few minutes, Damian could not put a scowl back on.
The third strong feeling he got later that day, is one he will not willingly admit.
Now they were all walking to the cafeteria like nothing unusual had happened. Sam floated in the air whilst joking with Luke and attempting to get a smile on Tyrone. Failing miserably on that last one.
Just as they filed into the cafeteria, Peter stopped Damian outside. He lowered himself so their eyelevel would meet. He started speaking and Damian found it first to just be nagging. But he then felt that something was familiar. Bending down, staring into his eyes to hold his gaze, speaking in a clear but stern voice. Just like Grayson did.
Grayson had taught him that there was little use of going against someone doing this without some good points to back you up. So, when he was asked to not teleport on his own, he didn’t make too much of an effort to refuse. It was not like he was known for listening to others anyway. What did they say again? Better to ask for forgiveness than permission? He could just say that he never promised anything if he got caught teleporting alone again.
Peter seemed content with his one-way conversation and stood straight. Raising his arm, gesturing for Damian to enter the door to the cafeteria. Taking the invitation, he went on ahead and let the door open.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAMIAN!”
The shouting voices made him take a step back and slightly crouch down. If he took a defensive position it certainly wasn’t because he got scared.
Ridiculously many balloons were decorating the walls and tables. Cakes and drinks littered the tables in the center of the room. …and, did they say, or rather shout, ‘happy birthday’?
-tt- fantastic. Grayson had told him about this. Americans and their irrational obsession with celebrating the day of one’s birth.
However silly it might seem; the atmosphere wasn’t too bad. Soft music was playing over the speakers. Everyone was chattering and joking around. The second cake he tasted was also rather to his liking. It was almost... enjoyable.
Peter hung upside down from the ceiling, mask halfway up so he could cram in another piece of cake. Even some of the Avengers were there. Kind Captain America had even given him a birthday gift in the form of a lecture. Sure, he was only supposed to get in the tower and find a way in for the Avengers to save the teens, but as an overachiever he simply had to help the young heroes himself. Who could blame him?
“How’s the birthday boy doing?”
Damian turned to see Amadeus and Strange walking up to him. A glass floating next to Strange and a metal box visible in Amadeus grip.
“I am doing well. Are you heading back to the lab with that?” Damian asked, pointing with his small fork to the box.
Amadeus raised his hands to present the box. “Actually; it’s for you. A birthday gift. We just finished it. That is Doctor Strange and I. We got some idea and think this might work.”
Sure, like a metal box isn’t suspicious enough by itself, it also has to be an unknown project from a scientist and a sorcerer.
Damian really hoped this wasn’t some test. He wished that ‘birthday tests’ were left in the past. Buried with the bloodshed and pain. He could still remember climbing a snowy mountain when he turned four. Not only was it cold, hard and tiering, but he also broke his wrist on the way, resulting in it becoming even harder. Not to mention that it hurt the entire time and days after.
He carefully examined what he could se from the box. A round button in the middle of the lid, three lines going from it and down the sides. It was roughly the size of a mango and dark grey in color. He could not see any lines indicating trapped compartments, but he could never be too sure.
“Damian?” Amadeus cocked his head. In his examination, Damian had simply stood still whilst Amadeus tried to offer the gift.
Pushing down the weary thought that he should have a sword at the ready, he took the box in his hands. Turning it around to look closer at it. Inspecting the lines that seemed to be the gaps from where the box would open.
“Uhm, it is supposed to be opened.” Strange noted. Damian looking at the box as if the very concept of it was foreign did gather attention from the people in the room. “The gift is inside…” Strange said even more unsure.
Damian looked up and glanced around, finding all eyes on him. Quickly he gathered himself, turned the box back the right way and pushed the button. He really didn’t like the way he got more suspicious of everything just because he got reminded it was his birthday. Sure he was used to them filled with bloodshed, but it should just be like any other day. Especially in a dimension without his mother to give him another life-threatening challenge.
The box opened and inside laid an oval object with glowing orange lines. In the middle was a glowing circle which all of the eight lines pointed to. It sort of looked like a symbol of a spider.
Before touching it, Damian raised his head to face Amadeus and Strange again. “What is it?”
“It’s a dimensional tracker. We put together what we found from when you came here, readings of radiation, vibration frequencies and whatever mumbo jumbo Strange found-” the sorcerer looked sternly down at his young comrade at that “- to make this that will tell you when you’re getting closer to home. It will work like some simple GPS.”
“There are many dimensions existing. And considering that all of the ones I’ve travelled are so far from yours, you might need to do more than one jump to get back.” Strange added.
Damian touched the tracker and lifted it up, holding it in the hand that seemed to be the same size as it. “This is quite useful. I do appreciate it.”
“and what do we say then?” Peter cheerfully sung as he swayed upside-down from the web-sling in the ceiling.
Damian put the tracker back in the box and looked up at the cheerful teen. Face blank, just staring as if to say “what?”
Peter stopped swaying and looked back at the kid. Not really understanding if they were holding some sort of nonverbal communication or if he was supposed to say something.
In the silence, Sam stepped up beside them and said: “Common, have you never gotten a birthday present before? You’re supposed to say ‘thank you’ when you get one.”
That certainly did not sound like something he would say after getting his mother’s birthday gifts of assassins and victims to slaughter. Was this what normal kids in his world did as well? Maybe he should have listened to Grayson’s ranting about birthdays after all.
He turned back to the two givers, and in a voice slightly more monotone than he had intended, he said: “Thank you.”
Awkward and kind smiles told him that even this was seen as abnormal behavior. His discretion had clearly been noted.
-tt- he would probably need to come up with some excuses for whatever questions they decided to pester him with later. Despite knowing more about his past than he was comfortable with he could not simply answer: “all my previous birthdays consisted of tests for my survival or skills to murder.”
But for now, he only needed to avoid anyone dunking his head in a cake. Luckily, Sam had let the plan of that slip earlier and he had managed to hold a distance until said cake was cut and served.
The Avengers left early, and the party went on as dark fell. It had long turned into the teens just fooling around, holding ‘cake-juggling’ competitions and telling tales one more ridiculous than the other.
Naturally, Fury was the one to remind everyone that they still had training in the morning. And thus, the teens were set to a quick cleanup.
Damian found his way to the roof after a visit to his room with some food. Tracker hung as a pendant from a string around his neck. Each of the heroes had signed their name in small writing on the back of it with a sharpie. They were almost unreadable as they overlapped each other on the small surface, one name diagonal over two others and so on.
Despite the sky being clear, he could only see three stars. The lights from the city shining brighter than any of them.
Unlike Gotham, this city was bright. Just hours ago it was attacked by monsters and villains. Now cars were honking, and signs lit up the street more than the lamps that were there for that purpose. There was no fog over the people’s hearth. No clouds raining down to a grieving city that saw darkness on every corner. The city that never sleeps, even with its villains pushing it hard.
The constant rising back from whatever terror it faced was like home, but it was light. Children could still be sent out safely, demolished offices got cleaned up and workers usually kept their jobs after villainous attacks seemingly crushed it. The sun shined in the day, the stars at night. If they didn’t, the city itself provided light.
The door opened behind him and he glanced at the approaching figure over his shoulder. Danny held a plate with cake in each hand, closing the door behind him with his foot before he walked up to Damian.
“Is it not time for bed?” he asked in a calm voice.
“Were you planning on eating both of those by yourself?” Damian asked back, gesturing to the cakes.
With a soft smile, Danny handed over one of the plates. He sat down at the ledge, and Damian followed in silence. Sounds of the city filling the air.
Danny ate one small piece before he spoke: “You do not seem fond of sleep.”
The statement was left hanging in the air. Placed between the rumbling of a railway and honking from a cab.
Danny decided to press on: “Why is that?”
Damian wished he could spend longer on the mouthful of cake to bide time, but it just wasn’t requesting a lot of chewing or effort, so he swallowed it down and answered: “Because I am not.”
This dismissive answer must be something he got from his father. And if Danny found it to sound moody, he did not let it end the conversation: “Why?” A simple answer made for a simple follow-up question.
Damian poked around with his fork. Listening to the sounds of the city rather than giving an answer.
Danny put down his plate and turned to face the younger boy. Words of wisdom finding their way in his mind.
“You wish to master your new powers, but you hide yourself?” Damian glanced to his companion but kept quiet.
“Your body and mind are connected as one. You can not deny one without effecting the other. It is fine if you wish to hide from enemies, but you are also hiding from friends and yourself.”
Ok, now he was lost. What in the world was this teen talking about? If there was anybody that knew their own body, it was him. He had known meditation since he could walk. He could sense which exact nerve endings were damaged if he got a cut.
“You seem troubled. Talking might help.”
Oh, it was this ridicules psychology-thing that his family said they all needed. …and anyone who knew them said the family all needed.
“If it’s about the lack of teleportation, doctor Strange will be back tomorrow to help?”
Damian kept quiet.
“You don’t sleep much. Are you homesick? Is the bed wrong?”
Damian knew Danny was perceptive and he was purposely keeping to these tame questions. He guessed that Danny was wanting him to take the initiative. Considering he knew that Damian’s past was littered with corpses, Danny must want to step carefully, not wishing to open any wounds of trauma.
-tt- Damian hated to be treated like he couldn’t take a hit. He was the son of bat and grandson of the demon. He was Robin. There was no need for these roundabout questions.
Fine he would humor him.
“If I talk, will this silly questioning stop?”
Without promising much, Danny gave a curt nod. Damian put down his plate as well and started with a sigh.
“I do not sleep much to begin with. I work at night and train in the day. …”
Danny kept quiet till Damian found how to continue. Even if it took him a minute.
“…but I might have encountered some problems concerning dreaming.”
“Nightmares?” Danny guessed. Damian gave a nod and let the city once more fill the silence.
As a disciple of martial arts and the mystic, Danny had encountered lasting nightmares from tings much milder than facing one’s own death. And as the son of the bat, Damian felt that this had gotten way too close to emotional. Standing up he got his plate. “I will be returning to my room anyway, even if it’s not to sleep.”
Taking his own, Danny followed him down to the cafeteria to return their plates. Most of the teens had left and the room was empty of balloons and drinks. Without the decorations and laughter, the room felt like it didn’t even belong to the same building in the quiet emptiness.
Fury was giving a last order to an agent as he approached the two boys that got rid of the plates.
“Iron-Fist. The program tomorrow has been altered. You’ll be starting in the lecture hall.” The director then turned to the smaller boy. “And Damian, get rid of your guests. This is not a zoo.”
-tt- of course he had found them. Damian was now really missing those teleportation abilities to sneak out in and out again without anyone noticing when or what he brought.
Having gotten rid of his plate and feeling Danny about to ask what Fury meant by ‘guests’ and ‘zoo’, Damian tried all but to run out of the cafeteria.
Walking into their room, Danny found his bed whilst he greeted some of his roommates.
“Did you ged to tawk to im?” Peter mumbled as he refused to raise his head from his pillow.
“No, just as I thought he would open up, he shut down and wanted to leave. But I think he will at least know that he will be listened to if he ever does decide to get his worries of his chest.”
“Hmm” Peter turned so he would stare at the ceiling. Letting the dark room fill with soft breathing from a few beds.
For the unlucky ones in the room that wasn’t already asleep, the gears started turning. The little guy that had only been in their world for a few days managed to bring them a lot of worry. For someone that seemed so arrogant and managed to put in a rude remark in every other sentence, he sure had managed to gain their friendship fast. And seeing a kid, let alone a friend not overjoyed at their own party…
Deciding to let it be till the morning, Peter shut his eyes ones more. listening to the rustling of Danny getting in bed and meek snoring.
“oh, apparently he has smuggled some guests into his room that Fury don’t like.” Danny softly mentioned as he was seconds away from sleep.
Peter opened his eyes once more. “He what?”
The morning after Peter had asked a friendly agent to get Damian once they got a break. He of course included that he would like Damian’s guests to come as well as he was even more curious after Ka-Zar had told him that he and Zabu had met with them already.
Their training comes to a halt and they get an extended break. And in comes chaos.
As soon as the doors to the training room opened spider senses were tingling. Peter, Miles, Amadeus and Flash were on their toes at once. Zabu was just as quick, but not interested in avoiding the oncoming parade.
Within seconds Zabu was wrestling with another four-pawed giant. Sharp talons passed over heads and barking chased away anything that could be considered peaceful silence.
“What the-” Peter jumped away, so he was squatting up on the wall, out of the way of any paws. Under him ran two lively dogs, big in size and volume. One with long soft fur in an ashen color and the other like a German shepherd. The latter seemed to have a toy held in it’s bite that the other was barking to get.
The beast Zabu roared at was raven black in color with a long tail snapping back and forth. A black panther, playfighting with their sabretooth friend.
Flying near the ceiling was an unusual bird. The feathers on its legs made it seem like it had four wings, and with the assistance of the feathered tail it elegantly soared within the four walls.
Agent Coulson that had been in charge of the training program had found the room rowdy before with all the energic teens running around and yelling. Now it was turned into a wild circus. The only reason he did not immediately walk out to sit down with a relaxing warm cup, was to get an explanation for this chaos.
“Khan! Give that back to the agent this instant!”
Late to the party, Damian came storming in and went straight for the dogs. The German shepherd quickly ran to the far-off corner and hid its face and whatever he was chewing… and that was when Peter recognized the ‘toy’ as a SHIELD firearm. Damian went into a tug of war with the dog, disarmed agent coming up awkwardly behind.
Doctor Strange stayed in the doorway, keeping away from the action like the other heroes. He had likely been helping with the boy’s curse before he got called here. Coulson went up to him, hoping to get some answers.
Entertaining as it was, Peter would not just stay a spectator. Knowing that they had asked for Damian and his guests to come, he could guess who brought the circus to town.
“I actually imagined you had snuck in some other kids for a slumber party when I heard you had guests over. Thought it was kind of bad to smuggle in human children here…” The webbed warrior said, landing on the floor. Taking in the sight of the two giant felines now resting peacefully on top of each other. “I’m not sure animals are better.”
“Right now, I believe it’s worse.” Luke said as he tried to push away the ashen dog gnawing at his leg. Not getting hurt but being covered in slobber.
Damian finally got the firearm, almost falling on his bum as the dog released it. Answering the teens as he handed the weapon to the agent that quickly took his leave: “Your idiocy keeps exceeding my expectations.” Ok, not really an answer. “Why in tarnation would I smuggle some useless brats into my already cramped room?”
“Well, why did you smuggle a panther, dogs and whatever bird that is in?” Ava said, pointing at the creature still circling the room in the air.
“That is a microraptor and her name is Boudica.” The boy said as he gestured for the ashen dog to come to him and to get away from Luke’s leg.
“So it’s a dinosaur? From the Savage lands?” Sam questioned as he floated up, trying to get a closer look.
“-tt- Where else?” Damian asked back in a condescending tone.
“Oh, I don’t know, maybe from another godly villain that you pissed off?” Sam quipped back and looked down at the boy.
“You can’t keep that-her- them here. It’s a dino- I mean- Ka-Zar! Did you know?” Peter struggled to find the right words and wanted some help from their expert on the wild dinosaurs.
Ka-Zar turned to him, the winged raptor now resting on his shoulder. “Yes, these are not uncommon back home. Although not my favorite, they do taste good.”
Damian quit his staring-match with Sam to glare at the boy from the land of the ancient wild. Ka-Zar caught his gaze and quickly added: “Not that I or Zabu will eat her.”
Peter spoke up again, trying to get the conversation back on track: “Don’t you think something’s off about that? I mean, a kid wanting his own dinosaur is common, but actually having one is not something that every kid has. For more than one reason.”
“Why? They seem to be getting along.” Ka-Zar said, tilting his head a little.
Peter sighed and turned to the youngest. “Damian, why are you making a Zoo? Did you even get permission from Fury?”
“I haven’t really asked him yet, but who could deny this?” Damian said as he held the German shepherd’s head in a gentle grip so he would face the teen. A long scar decorated its face, from ear to nose. He showed a row of sharp yellowed teeth as it snarled at the young heroes.
The growling dog made a few take half a step back. Ava raised her hand and answered: “I could.”
Damian frowned and went on to pet the angry dog. Calming it down.
Danny stepped forward and with an ever so gentle tone asked: “Shall we not leave the discussion for now? There are only seconds left of our break and not much we can do.”
“Ah, yes.” Peter snapped back to attention. “What we really called you here for was to ask if you wanted to train together today?”
Damian’s eyed widened with sparkles for a short second before putting a scowl back on. Not fast enough to not be discovered though.
“-tt- I suppose it would not be a complete waste of my time.”
“Good, for here comes Coulson for our next session.” Luke said, making the youngsters turn to the incoming agent.
Thanx to AliceShotacon4Ever's suggestion there are now 2 chapters this week. (Time for another Robin to steel the show for a minute.)
He gasped for air as he scratched at the walls. He couldn’t even stretch out his arms in the confined space. Sobbing and gasping he scratched his fingers bloody.
He got a piece of metal off himself, maybe a belt buckle, but he did not bother to find out. It dug into the wood and soil above him. Dirt raining down on his face, into his mouth. He spit it out in between desperate breaths.
Some final lumps fell down, and a small light came seeping through the tiny hole he made. Using his hands and arms he pushed at the dirt, enlarging the hole. Making an escape. A way out. Just out. To freedom. Home. Anywhere but here.
The light started to shine bright. An orange hue covered what was safe freedom. Instead of guiding the way, it was cutting it off. Becoming a barrier of light. He reached out his hand to break through. To get out. To get home.
His hand reached out of the hole, touched by the light he felt warmth for the first time. Gentle and beckoning. He reached out further, and the heath scorched. He tried to pull back, but he could not move it an inch. The hand was stuck above the earth, so close to freedom, and started burning. Burning then crumbling. The fingertips, down to the base of the thumb. Soon the entire hand was gone.
The hand was gone but the crumbling continued. Cracks ran down his arm. He tried to somehow push it away with the other hand only for the breaking to start on that as well. His fingers smoldered before his eyes as he tried to shake it off.
The light broke through the earth and engulfed him. He did not even notice he was screaming with empty lungs. He was breaking. His body was crushed into little pieces. He looked on as the blue sky behind the orange light escaped him, before even sight crumbled away. And all turned into dark nothingness.
Jason opened his eyes in the dark room. Unclutching a pillow, he turned to lay on his back. There had only been days since they tried to get the batbrat back. And the memory of the disintegrating casket was still fresh.
The young crime lord rose from bed and headed for the closet. He knew he wasn’t getting anymore sleep tonight and trying was just a waste. Instead he threw on some rags, ate half a toast, and headed out for some fresh Gotham air.
Throwing himself on the bike, he had no idea where he was going. His feet had taken him to the bike, and he guessed he would find himself somewhere if he just let go on the bike as well. Just let the body decide and don’t think.
The city passed by in a blur. Buildings were there, then gone the next second. Suddenly there were no more buildings and the city were gone. Stopping in front of a tall iron fence, he knew exactly where he was.
Off the bike, he made his way over the green yard. Walking up to were he knew the headrest stood.
Nearing it, he halted as he saw a crouching figure. A person smaller than himself was in front of the grave. Jason moved again and walked up to his brother. Standing beside him they were both looking down the open hole.
Not a word was uttered. They did not look at the other or got too close. The wind rustled their clothes and blew some leaves past them. Otherwise leaving them alone to their silence.
Two rectangular graves were opened and painting a void into the ground next to each other. The two brothers only looked down the smaller one, paying the other no mind.
Their brother was taken from here. Stolen from them in his casket. And they went through hell and back to retrieve him. They had finally gotten him back, only to lose him again. To that portal. The Boom Tube took the kiddo, shredded him and sucked the debris in before disappearing.
There was no body. Not even a strand of hair was left. There was nothing. No brat to fight with over the silliest things. No brother up training before breakfast was even considered.
No one to occupy the hole before them. No Damian. And no hope for him to return either.
A dark figure turned from where he had seen the two brothers and the grave. He did not make a sound as the wind howled. It almost seemed to sympathize with the man. Mourning his son with him.
Danny dodged a fist and landed a kick to Damian’s chest. Making the younger boy fall back, but he was quick to find his balance and dodged the next incoming hit.
The day after Damian first joined the teen heroes in their practices, they had a session in one-on-one fighting. The two ninjas had gotten teamed up for the similarities in their fighting styles. At first Damian had surprised with not only strength, but also techniques far above the average kid’s. Danny knew the kid was no novice to fighting, but still found he had underestimated him at the beginning as he got kicked down more than once.
Minutes later they found themselves lost in their dance of hits hand kicks. There was no need for glowing fists or laser eyes. This dance was of pure technique, reflexes and wit.
Damian tried to kick out his feet from under him, only for Danny to flip over the younger boy. The time in the air gave Damian enough to get back in position and ready his next attack. Hitting Danny just as he landed, only for Danny to get a hold of his arm after taking the hit. Soon, Damian was the one airborne. Being flung over the taller boy before crashing to the floor on his back, air pressed out of his lungs. The short moment was enough for Danny to change position and getting the smaller one into a lock.
A small smile graced Danny’s lips. It had taken more than he anticipated before finally getting a win over the kid. At some point he had even started thinking that he never would, so excuse him if he was a tad more satisfied than after his normal spares.
A short alarm went off, telling the young heroes that the day’s session was over. Danny stood up from where he was halfway laying on top of Damian before reaching out his hand to help the smaller boy up. With his frown still on, he begrudgedly accepted the help and took the offered hand.
<“Aaw. Does that mean the kiddoes got a new friend?”> Having broken into the building, on the way to the youngsters was- <“Shh! No spoilers. … Wait! You didn’t even add my name in the tags! Ruuuude!”>
Soon to be added in the tags was the mercenary- <“No, no. No need. The deed is done. I am fine! Not hurt at all. Just leave me be. All alone by myself. Get on with the story! Go on and forget about me.”>
Finished training, the young heroes had their meal in the cafeteria. Peter was trying to eat comfortably next to the big panther whilst Damian offered it’s his steak. The webbed-warrior soon ended up switching seats, instead sitting next to Sam at the other end of the table.
Before they finished an agent came up to Damian with a list of dog shelters and wildlife sanctuaries. The boy scoffed when he saw what it was and refused the papers, proceeding to scratch behind the feline’s ear. In his stead, Ava took the list with a ‘thank you’. The agent left and the small group of Ava, Peter, Sam, Damian, Luke and Danny were left in the large room.
Peter, the ever responsible, spoke up: “Damian, you need to find a place for them.”
“-tt-” the boy didn’t even look away from the big cat as he just moved to scratch under it’s chin. The black predator melting into the touch with the sound of an overactive lawnmower coming from it. “Why?”
“Because neither SHIELD or Fury want them here.” Sam started.
“Because nature’s beasts belong in the free wild.” Danny continued.
“Cause no-one else here can take care of ‘em.” Luke followed up.
“Because you are planning to leave this entire dimension behind. Including everyone in it” Ava finished.
Damian felt especially struck by the last statement. Of course he was leaving. He had a home to go back to after all. Where his family was, both humans and pawed ones. He had no change of plans, or had never forgotten that he was to leave.
But when he saw the scrawny panther put in a twenty foot metal cage with a dirty bowl of water, he just couldn’t help himself. He had to tipp a reporter, got the case posted in three papers before the story blew up on the internet. The owner of the panther and other exotic animals was soon taken in for animal cruelty and most of the furry victims were taken care of. Most of them, but not the panther. They deemed it a lost cause, but in the short while they had left it to retrieve the gun, Damian had made his move leaving an empty cage.
Scrawny, aggressive and sickly Damian knew the cat only had weeks left. The most human thing would be to put it down. Still, Damian saw how it turned into a kitten whilst playing with Zabu and was glad for giving it an extra day. He saw how it didn’t touch any human when it was being fed, knew it had been violently trained to not move, and was sad he hadn’t come earlier.
The two dogs that had been conditioned to fight had learned to play with each other. But, only each other. He knew that if they were taken to a shelter, they would lash out and be the first ones to be put down. They would feel no more pain, but also no more joy.
Damian had promised to never kill, to never let anyone get killed again. He knew his father never meant for that to include animals as well, but animals were a constant in his life. As an assassin, he could only trust himself and the occasional animal. The only companion he was allowed to have and trusted was his pet-dragon Goliath. After becoming a bat his world turned upside down. Killing, that used to be a mandatory task, was suddenly punishable and despised. Torture was something to stop at all cost. Getting along with others was more valued than managing everything on your own. But animals were still there, like always. They do not care that you are a murderer. Human morals are far from their minds. If he should save people he hated, then he should also save the forgiving and dependable creatures that roamed in nature and houses alike.
He saved them. Ha saw them happy. And he so wish that that was all that mattered. But again, the heroes were right. He could not stay with them. He was leaving this world, these heroes and these animals.
He couldn’t take them with him even if he tried. The one calling himself Cloak, Tyrone, had tested him. Small inanimate object came with him, but even if it was just an ant it would die in the transfer. He had to leave everyone behind, and somehow, that just didn’t feel right.
Damian had thought about how his brothers would just love this team. How they could all get along on good days. How they- <“Why is this so melodramatic?!”>
How he would be all alone unti- <“No. Please. You’re sucking the happiness out of my very soul here! Just get on with the cafeteria-scene- and then: the star of this show will arrive!”>
Peter picked up his tray. “They can’t stay here and we can’t just release them in the streets of New York. If you don’t want to find a place, then SHIELD will just put them somewhere.”
Sam smirked at the thought: “Although a panther on Broadway would bring viewers.”
“I am totally up for that!” The teens turned at the energic voice coming from the entrance. “*ghasp* It can star in a musical about Black Panther. Think about it: sexy women in traditional African clothing, singing about their great hero. And in comes an actual panther, attacking the audience. Haha It would so make a good meme fucking with the real Black Panther’s rep.”
““Deadpool?”” Peter, Ava and Sam managed to say in unison.
Peter had no respect for him after their last team-up. Being tricked to help this insane <“Hey! … hehe yeah I am.”> insane man on a dirty mission was no small deal. The man’s only ideals were money. Killing or stealing was something he did for the highest bidder.
Setting down his tray again, Peter crossed his arms over his chest: “What are you doing here? And when did you even start swearing? I thought you were all about family friendly ‘un-aliving’ people.”
“Ha, no. That’s only for your Disney show. On this site I can fucking swear as a shitting sailor.” The mad merch said with a triumphant pose in front of the more than a little confused, and taken aback teens. “As for why I am here; well, I assume you’ve heard about this guy in green from a place called Asgard?”
Ava raised a brow behind her mask: “You mean Loki?”
“That’s the one!” he said, pointing at her way to excitedly. “So the thing is; he is being a little shit. No, a big shit. He- Oh, I know: Pictures!” He shouted as he strew polaroids over the table.
Peter did not really want to take his eyes on him, but laid his eyes on a picture as his friends had done. Damian following more like him, not trusting this new and loud stranger, and let his eyes only fall down once one of the others looked back up at the man in red and black. Danny being the one to face the man firs: “He seems to practice magic with some new staff.”
And indeed, it did. On the pictures closest to Peter he could see Loki sapping a mountain and a lake behind some threes.
He took up the two pictures, finding them strange. Something was weird about them. The foreground was the same, but the scenery behind was different. The trees in front were the exact same. Oh. Peter snapped his head up: “Wait. This is… Are you telling us that Loki changed a mountain into a lake?”
“Right in front of my very eyes!” Deadpool exclaimed, gesturing to the white lenses in his mask. “And then he turned to me. Zippety-sapped me!” He said as he feigned fainting. “Changed me forever!” He shouted as he laid on the floor.
All members looked at he dramatic man. Up and down his body questiongly, before Sam spoke: “I don’t really see what changed. You look normal to me”
A few others nodded at that. Two arms and legs, torso and head with a babbling mouth. Nothing seemed off about the man to them. At least not more than normal.
“Not my body. My head!” He shouted, standing up and pointing at his skull. “He changed me. My ego my.. my…” He almost sobbed at this point, hunching over before finishing: “I can’t kill anyone anymore.”
The room filled with silence. The young heroes looked between each other. Sending puzzling looks and shaking their heads.
Luke was the one to turn to the sobbing mess first: “And what's bad with that?”
Sam added: “You do realize that, as heroes, people not killing is exactly what we want?”
Deadpool straightened up again: “Yes, and that is exactly why you will help me get my will to murder back and take down that sucker.”
Confused, Ava asked: “Because we don’t want you to kill, we will help you kill again?”
The madman waved his finger. “tsk tsk. Things are never so simple. I was not even there alone. I was actually just taking a new friend with me to look at the nature, when we were both abracadabraed. After the zipp-zapp, Loki was off and I could not kill my target- uh friend. However, he was more than willing to loop my head of. Lucky for me, I heal fast.”
“Wait.” Peter intervened. “You were going to execute him, weren’t able and want our help to get your bloodlust back? Really?”
“You still don’t get it little grasshopper.” Deadpool went into some off-brand teacher-mode. “We switched. He got my murderness. The man is an alcoholic that beat the family he lives with. A wife and three kids, the oldest being around the age of the sappy grump over there.” He gestured to Damian that had a photo in hand, and an unimpressed look on his face. “Now tell me little ones; what will happen when a man like that, that hurt toddlers, doesn’t mind killing anymore?”
The question was left unanswered. Not left hanging in the air, but it sank in. A child abuser turned killer. Knowing this, they could not ignore it.
“Why should we believe your word? Did the liemith also make you unable to tell tales?” Damian broke the silence. Never the one to just trust a stranger, less someone that seemed to belong in Arkham.
“Photos, files on the targ- my friend, research?” the man said, not looking bothered at not being believed.
Damian could look into that later, for now he pet the panther with his free hand and turned the picture between his fingers of the other so the teens could see. “Well, at least we know where he got the core for his new scepter.”
They all looked closer at the picture, closer at the staff. Danny then widened his eyes in realization before taking another photo from the table and looking close at it. “The stone he stole from the Avengers.” He nearly whispered, but they all heard.
Peter looked back at the two photos in his hands, Ava and Luke also picking up random pictures.
The spider looked at the group. “Guess we’re already involved in this anyway.” He sounded almost resigned to an inevitable fate. “We’ll contact the Avengers first, then see where we’ll go from there. Deadpool, tell us where your ‘friend’ is and we’ll send someone to check up on a possibly dangerous individual.”
Peter was sceptic to this ‘friend’s’ existence. Last time they met, he made up a secret agent called McGuffin to get his help. What was to say this ‘friend’ was not just another made-up guy so they would all help him and do his dirty work? <“I’m not! Scout’s honor.”>
The man shook his head before he nodded energic: “Yeah! Then we can hold him until I’m back to slit his throat, chop his arm off and stuff it down his neck.”
The teens leaned away from the man. “Nope.” Sam said, and Luke finished with: “Not happening.”
Ava snuck up behind him ad gripped his wrists, leading them to behind his back. Letting a SHIELD agent come in and cuff him.
Peter crossed his arms over his chest again. “We will come for you if we have any more questions.” He said in a stern voice before the agent took him away.
<“Wait! It’s ending here? Are you shitting me? I'm in cuffs and haven't done a glorious deed yet! This sucks. Worse than failsafe booby traps. hehe. I said 'traps'”>
Finally here. Hope nobody was waiting, cause I take my sweet time.
Landing on wobbly legs, Damian soon fell down to a sitting position on the hard floor. The shadow looming over him descended and held out a hand.
“You managed to get back to the room this time.” Tyrone stated in a monotone voice, as he looked down on the younger boy.
“-tt-” Damian grabbed the offered hand that came out of the shadow in the cloak, and stood up unsteadily. It had been two days since Deadpool had introduced himself and little had happened.
SHIELD had found the unlucky guy that got Deadpool’s will to murder.
He had greeted the agents that knocked on the door and showed them inside. He had seemed normal, nice even, and they had let their guards down. It was only when they saw the body that they got on their toes. The man had sat casually on the dried blood, offering something to drink, as if the woman next to him was meant to be there in that position. As if the twisted limbs were an everyday occurrence. The conversation and tone quickly changed with the revelation of the mangled corpse. The man tried to get a gun out once the agents started question him about the female, but the agents got him on the floor and in cuffs.
The teen heroes told the tale as some horror story. Some shuddering as they pictured it, saying it was ‘the depts of humanity’.
Damian kept silent during those times. Trying to melt into the shadows, to not get noticed. He didn’t want anyone seeing his blank expression, his rolling eyes at the dramatic telling of the tale. The bloody tale of something he considered so normal. They said only insanity could make anyone do something like what the man did.
Damian shut his mouth tightly when he wanted to object, to say that every assassin that raised him would do such without batting an eye. He didn’t want them to know that he, in a sane state of mind, had done much worse. He didn’t know why he cared whether they knew or not, but somewhere it had just started to matter to him.
He had slightly distanced himself from the situation and the teens. He saw them running in circles, communicating with the avengers, looking for Loki, and also Deadpool that had escaped before he even saw his cell two days ago. He wanted to think that it all would be much smoother with his help, but in this still unfamiliar world there was little he could do to find something out of place when everything was out of place to him.
Instead he had thrown himself into training. The training room was mostly unused as the teens were running around in the real world now. He had used it for hours the night before, but when he was found, he was told to stop.
Fury himself had spotted him, and when Peter along with a few friends were up early in the morning the director had simply told them: “This is your problem.” Leaving them confused before finding out that the kid they had made themselves responsible for had been up all night to fight training-bots meant for experienced heroes.
They pretty much had to force him to stop, shutting down the program and telling him to rest. The stubborn kid refused to sleep, but after a discussion, he let himself at least eat breakfast with them as it was in the early morning for the teens.
Other than his personal training, whenever he could, he trained with Tyrone. They were currently working on precising his teleportation-abilities. The teen had told him that he could get stuck or die if he teleported himself into a wall or mountain. Thinking about it, it should have been an obvious risk, and Damian counted himself lucky for not having done anything like it for his first tries. Or rather, he counted himself as a naturally brilliant teleporter that made no mistakes from day one. And landing in the water the other day was just an experiment to see how it would be. The same with the time he appeared in the girl's bathroom or found himself on the roof of an elevator.
Damian wanted to continue with this training, but with barely enough strength left to stand Tyrone told him off. If it was one thing the teens had agreed on, it was that the kid was not to be overworked. To them, he didn’t seem to take much care of himself and even argued against the need of sleep every night.
(Unbeknownst to Damian, this refusal to go to sleep was seen as what a stubborn toddler would do at bedtime.)
Tyrone logged them out of the training-rooms system, having it ready for its next user. The two boys were about to exit the training room, along with Damian’s two dogs that had watched from the sidelines, when the call for a mission briefing came through. The older boy brought Damian and his furred followers, and they met up with some of the other teens in their classroom.
Finally, they had gotten a track on Loki. The Avengers were already on his trail, but that trail seemed to be inspired by Wonderland.
Wherever the god had been things had been turned upside down. The leaves on threes had turned into holographic feathers. Fish swam in the sky. Children’s bodies had aged by 60 years and elderly where given the limbs and minds of children. Flowers started singing and flowerbeds were now choirs.
Heroes all over the world were running around to help anyone they could in the chaos. Kittens were picked out of floating threes, elderly had to be stopped from running into danger in the name of “fun”, and one hero had to get workers out of a factory that had come to life and wanted to eat anything that moved.
The changes in themselves seemed harmless, but a man with a car, license and no concept of why driving people over might be bad (as his mind was turned to that of a kid) was not something to take lightly. Police were all over just trying to get the elderly turned children in row. And these were just by effects of Loki’s newfound power, not the target. Making the heroes worried for what he had in store for his actual goal if these were just accidents.
The briefing in the classroom were mostly about this and what the teenage heroes would do. Parted into groups some were to follow the Avengers, and some would deal with keeping the world together for the civilians.
The groups left one after another after they were given their location and mission until only one group was left. Peter, Ava, Danny, Luke and Sam were to go after the avengers. The group discussed that they would be taking an aircraft to where the older heroes were in Canada.
Damian was also left in the room, with his four pawed friends, as he wasn’t really accounted for by SHIELD who gave out the missions. Moving to the hangar, he tried to get on the plane with the teen group but got stopped by Luke putting his arm in the way.
“Where do you think you’re going little man?”
Damian looked him in the eye, expression schooled. He knew he was never asked to come along, but why would anyone deny his exceptional helping hand?
“-tt-, Naturally I will accompany you on your mission as to ensure completion.”
Sam then came floating over his head and through the entrance to board. “Yeah, right. You look like a zombie. Besides, Cloak already told us you’re out of juice after your training.”
Ava continued: “Yeah, you’re sitting this one out. Any questions?”
‘Any questions?’. That was a free invitation to get things his way if he’d ever heard one.
Damian thought about it for a second. Because he did have many questions, new world and all that. He wanted to know what the people in this world found to be common. Why an organization as SHIELD could be considered to be so secret after showing themselves so often to the public. They even had a hellicarrier go down right outside New York. How come none of the Avengers have secret identities? How in the world does the “spider sense” decide what’s considered dangerous? But asking those would not serve his purpose now.
Turning around, pretending to leave he stopped and put on a slightly confused and innocent expression as he looked back to Ava: “Yes, what is the purpose of shouting “yeet” whilst throwing an object? And why should I say Big Daddy instead of Father in public?”
Ava’s eyes widened for a second before throwing an accusing glare at the other teens that quickly shook their heads or raised their palms. She looked accusingly from one to another.
Simple, but effective. He might not like being called a child, but he knew how to use it to play 'the innocent' that would only learn by others telling him. Thus giving the blame to anyone who looked older and could have told him.
With a wave of his hand he commended the two dogs to leave the hangar and head for his room/cell as he silently took a step back to hide. The two obeyed, letting the automated doors open for them, got spotted halfway out by at least 3 of the teens as Damian saw, before the door shut behind them.
Taking the chance, Damian snuck past both Luke and Sam and got on the plane unseen. Past the one in red already hiding there < “Don’t give me away here!”>, only giving him a side-glance before finding his own hiding spot in the big aircraft. Then only waiting for the teens to remember that they are on limited time and rush out without checking the plane properly.
Within an hour, the teens were out on the ground in what used to be a pine forest. The green gelatin ground <” Why green? Red is waaay better. I can barely eat this.”>
…Please stop eating the ground. < “How boud I mind my duff and you mind youd and contindue the dory.”> At least swallow before you talk. < “Ha! That’s what she said!”>
… the green gelatin bounced under their feet and the Threes looked more like giant mushrooms where two to five of them had merged together to a big head over them that stretched out like an umbrella.
On what might have been a mountain right in front of them, now a giant statue of the god of lies, the teens saw some of the Avengers in the middle of a fight. A fight with… glass bears with antlers and golden hares with claws longer than their ears. <”Oooh. Do they poop gold? *ghasp* a living goldmine!”>
Peter took the lead, bouncing on the ground and shooting out a string of web to swing onto the mountain.
“Need some help with the new pets? I know some great sitters.” he quirked as he landed a kick to an overgrown metal hare.
Captain America pat his shoulder and answered: “Appreciated, Spider-man. Defeating these wild animals without hurting them has proven to be quite the task. Especially the bears of glass. If we land a hard hit, the originally innocent creature may shatter. And this mountain is not really making things easier.”
“Because it’s shaped this ugly? Totally understand, makes me cringe too.” Sam quipped in as he blasted a hare off said rock.
“Fraid it has more with it’s mobility that the ugly mug.” Tony answered as he shot one himself.
“Mobility?-“ Peter just managed to ask before the ground under him started shaking. “Ye-eah. We didn-n’t even start-t the figh-t in Can-nada. We too-ok our flig-ght all the wa-way to Thai-land oNly to e-end up this c-close to homme and o-our pla-plane and team-mates, with the the trick-ster, on a who-whole oth-ther conti-nent.” The captain managed to stutter, voice still clear, as he wrestled back a bear on the violently shaking ground.
“Wait. What do you mean by-“ Sam started before the soldier started fading in front of his very eyes.
“Cap? Tiger? Iron Fis?” Sam called out as he flew about. Not only were his team gone, but the entire statue that they all fought on had vanished.
Sam landed on the bouncy ground, looking around. Seeing no one. Also hearing no one until his com sparked to life.
He tapped the com in his helmet as he set to fly back to their aircraft. “Where’s ‘here’?”
“Well, there are penguins here so I’m guessing down south.”
“Great. Just a normal day where I have to chase down a giant statue of an old Norse god that kidnapped my friends to the south-pole.” The sarcasm in his voice rang over the communicator as he landed in front of the plane. Right before entering it he stopped in his track to look at it. A second later he tapped his com again.
“Hey, anyone remembering if we left the plane open?”
He could here Ava grunting before answering: “Of course not, it automatically shuts once we’re all off. Back off you metal Happy feet wannabe. Like it always does.”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought.”
“What was that Nova? Wait, Deadpool? When did he get here?” Sam shut down the link then and glanced shortly over his shoulder.
He took another look at the open entrance before walking in.
The lights inside were on, noticeable even with the daylight that shone through the windows. Sam walked slowly past the rows of empty seats, making his way to the blinking panels in front as he glanced left and right. There was a quiet humming from the aircraft, but even the wind blowing past the giant mushrooms outside could be heard over it. It was silent and empty as he turned off the power on the control panel.
“Ok. I know you’re there, so come out.”
“-tt- The statue will transport them somewhere else before you even manage to get this plane airborne.”
“Damian? What are you doing here? Didn’t we send you to your room?” Sam said as he faced the boy that had appeared out of nowhere. Sam guessed he had gotten enough rest for teleporting from nearby, he had heard him from wherever he was hiding after all. ‘Still looks like a zombie tho’ he thought to himself, watching Damian try to hide his tiredness by holding his chin unnaturally high and back straight.
“I am not some little kid. I don’t get ‘sent to my room’. Now get this thing off the ground.”
They had a staring competition for a while before Sam sighed and lost the stern look he tried to pull off. “I’m not going to get anywhere with this, am I?”
“Fiiine. Strap in, I’m not taking you anywhere if you don’t get your seatbelt on.”
And with that they both sat down. Sam taking control of the plane with Damian right beside him. The ride was mostly silent before Sam’s com, that he had rerouted to the speakers and mic in the plane, sparked back to life.
“What’s with all the stuttering Web-head? Goat got your tongue?”
“Fu-funny. The s-statue ish sha-shaking again.”
Sam’s attention was then turned to Damian that pointed at the satnav. The signal they had been following south had disappeared, only to reaper in no other place than the state of New York.
“New- The statue took you to New York?”
“Whew. Looks like it. Luckily in the sea just outside of it. I swear if it shakes again, I’m jumping off instead of letting it take me on another ride. One more time, and I'll throw up in my mask.”
“Really, why do we even leave the city? It seems that all the bad just comes there sooner or later anyway.”
“I know what you mean, Buckethead. When will you join the party?”
“We just got to Texas’ airspace, turning around now, so about 5 minutes.”
“Don’t take any detours, or there won’t be any fun left for you… ok, Deadpool pulled out a bazooka from who-knows-where. I’m guessing mister ugly-faced-statue will be rubbles when you get here.”
“Can’t say I’ll miss the thing. Just try not to stay on it when it blows.”
“Would be easier with a plane. I just washed this suit, no way I want it drenched in saltwater.”
“Hold on, fearless leader. We’ll be there shortly for your greatness so your holy garments will not be slightly salted.”
“I can hear your sarcasm loud and clear. And why do you keep saying ‘we’?”
“About that… How’s SHIELD’s search for security against teleporters going? Specifically against one.”
“Hey, Spidy? A hand?”
“Sure thing, Powerman. Or, how about a foot?” With a kick to its side, another steel-clad penguin fell to the waters.
“Why won’t this piece of rock just brake?!” Ava growled as she clawed at the now one-armed statue-Loki’s horn. Shallow marks were left, but it did little for the giant mountain.
“Move it, bleached kitten! Daddy’s got a big load to fuck up this hard guy with.”
“Language, Deadpool!” Rogers shouted over his shoulder, only to be ignored by the man aiming his suspiciously large bazooka from a container on a passing by ship, cursing that the ‘damn boat can’t stay still’.
Seeing the mutated animals lessen in number, Peter took the time to swing to the nearby harbor where some of them walked up. Assisting Danny in keeping them separated from the civilians working there.
“Are there any good news from our wayward friend?”
“Yeah, not only is Nova bringing our ride, but he also got company for the party.”
Danny raised a brow, facing his opponents while continuing the conversation: “I thought he was the only one that got separated?”
“Seems our little demon didn’t like being left alone.”
“That truly does…” Danny went silent as he focused on something up high behind Peter.
“That truly what?” the spider asked before following his friend’s line of sight. “Holy diddelydo, when did that get there?!” Peter shortly stopped his staring to turn back to the other teen and in a lower voice “Do not ever tell anyone that ‘diddelydo’ was my first reaction.”
Danny only gave him a smirk before taking in the newly arrived… figure.
“I found one of them to be more than enough. Two is just going overboard.”
Behind tall buildings and skyscrapers rose shoulders of granite, supporting a head with horns. Its shadow reached the city, carving its shape over alleys and roofs.
“That goat sure loves his own face.”
“Is that not him? On his- uh- on the statue’s head.”
And truly, far up there stood Loki himself, looking down on the city. Cape swaying, a halfway smirk creeping on his face.
Peter could see Falcon soaring behind one of the statue’s horns. Tony also seemed to have noticed the new entry as the Ironman-suit was firing, aiming at the staff in the god’s grasp. However, with a wave of it, a layer of shifting lights formed an oval bubble around the god. Projectiles and lasers (along with two familiar arrows) seemed to freeze in time once hitting it, hanging in the air before falling to the ground shortly after.
Over their coms, the two teenagers heard Hawkeye’s voice: “That worked well, huh? I’m guessing the plan is just continue firing and hope the bubble pops with enough power?”
“Pretty much.” Was all Tony said before firing off another round.
Peter got an idea then and quickly tapped his com: “Hey, how about taking the ground out from under him?”
The other statue was missing an arm and a big part of its side thanks to Deadpool and his mysteriously appearing bazooka. Peter wanted to thank whoever, except the god that actually caused it, that the merchant couldn’t pulverize the statue as he and his friends were still on it at the time. It seems it was not only the man’s will to kill, but his entire capability of killing that was switched out by Loki’s new power.
Other than that, he also concluded that the statues had low defenses and no self-repair procedure programmed. Programmed was probably not the best way to note it as, considering all evidence pointing to magic as a cause, but a scientific mind wants a scientific kind.
The teen spider pondered on asking if Hawkeye had some arrows loaded with dynamite when a familiar booming voice rang through the air. “Leave the crushing of the statue to me, man of spiders!”
Hammer in hand, he held it before himself as he flew at the giant boulder. A rumble ensued and the god had mowed his way through the neck of the statue. Leaving a big hole in the middle, head now only supported by thin walls that were quickly crumbling down.
“BROTHER!” came the shrieking roar from the shaking head of stone. An ugly grimace painted the god’s face, going down.
“Give up, Loki! We are more and mightier.” Thor said, on the same eyelevel, floating a distance from his younger sibling.
“Yeah, listen to brother-dearest, goat. You’re going down.” Tony quipped in.
At that, a smirk crept on the god’s lips. Rumbling and crumbling, the head finally fell. “I think not, Stark. I am only planning on rising further.”
And so he did. In his glowing barrier, the trickster rose in the air, unbothered by the pull of gravity. Once again he and Thor were on eyelevel, but Loki didn’t stop and went further up. But Thor would not let him attempt another escape.
Dark clouds gathered quickly in the sky above, twisting and swirling together till small flashes danced inside the gray gathering accompanied by low drumming. Suddenly a thick lightning bolt surged down to the thunderer’s raised hammer. It dove in and got absorbed by the weapon, only letting sparks flit and flicker around its head.
The roar burst through the air as the god throws the lighting, surging towards his sibling. The bolt is dense and fast. Loki merely manages to raise his arm a little before his is swallowed in the concentrated plasma and pushed back. It curled around and seemingly engulfed the fellow god.
The two teens simply looked on in wonder. Glad that the mutated creatures had cleared up on their end. Peter gave a low whistle. “Fried goat, anybody?”
Danny smirked at him: “Do not count your chickens before they hatch, friend.”
“I have only counted one goat, no chickens. And it’s well done.” The spider said in his best matter-of-factly voice.
The teenagers turned back to the sky, searching out the manically laughter.
Peter slumped his shoulders. “Yeah, yeah. Just say it: ‘I told you so’. I counted the chickens or whatever.”
The lightning that had struck Loki did not seem to have harmed him. Neither had it disappeared. The sparks danced around the blue barrier. And inside, the trickster seemed to thrive with his new powers. Grin wide when he finally stopped laughing.
“Oh, dear brother. You do not seem to understand what it means to have the power of change.”
Tony gained altitude as well, facing the weirdly happy maniac. “Why don’t you get rid of that barrier and let us take a closer look at your new toy then? I’m sure we can all learn from it.”
Loki’s smirking eyes shifted from his sibling to the armored billionaire. “You want me to alter this barrier?” he said as he slightly tilted his head, grin still wide. “How could I ever refuse?” And the lightning clad bubble started growing, expanding.
Back on the ground, the teens had built an enclosure of containers and wires they found laying around. Looking up, Danny mumbled: “Why do I have a poor feeling about this?”
“Cause it’s Loki.” Peter replied, sealing the ‘cage’ with some shots of web. Straightening up, he looked at the situation. “Think I’ll help kick his as. Check out the others, if any are free send them up to us to the big bad. Use the com to inform everyone of a situation.”
A short nod, and they each went their way.
“Is that Loki?”
“And he made more than one statue of himself?”
“… is the lightning spreading out?”
“-tt- Clearly you have the ability to observe for yourself. So slow down before you fly into it.”
Sam slowed the craft down as he also turned to fly around the lightning and shine that spread out, seemingly trying to cover half of New York city. Flying close, the shine had turned to an electric dome by the time they got a look at the situation.
The horns of the giant statue that they had already seen, just touched the walls of the barrier. Inside they could see the Avengers and their friends. They were spread out dealing with civilians, meta animals or in Thor’s case; building up momentum.
With great strength, he hammered at the top in the dome, right under where Loki was floating above. From what they could see, Loki was talking, taunting the other god that only looked more enraged. If that was even possible.
Sam reached to activate his com. “What’s going on?”
Tony, landing on the roof of a tall building, were the one to answer: “Loki seem ta have created a barrier that completely absorb kinetic energy. Rather impressive really, it lets most light and sound through, is so thin, but still so strong. To make something like that would-“
“We don’t need to hear your nerdgasm.” Hawkeye cut in. “The stone he stole is in the staff. The stone made the hocus-pocus. Take the staff, take the power.”
Sam unbuckled and were quick out of his seat, turning to the door. “I’m on it.” And pushed the button to open the door.
“I’m coming with.” Damian stated as he unbuckled himself.
Sam turned his head from the open entrance. “No, you’re in charge of this plane. The autopilot responds to easy verbal commands. Just keep it and you safe.” And then he was gone. Not hearing a grumbling “I already know how to operate this thing.”
A little messy, but I think i finally found out how to get the story to it's end. However I'm wondering; should I make this a series instead of just posting the whole ting chapter by chapter. As in: should I make one story for each world Damian travels to (even if this may be the longest)? ...oh Spoiler alert!
“Think Thor can hold him distracted for another minute?”
“What, kid? You believe Loki will not brag and show off to his brother for as long as possible?” Stark snarked over the com. “I’m honestly pretty sure the goat only does this for attention from his beloved family. Godly brat!”
Rolling his eyes at his friend, Hawkeye had gotten to the highest vantagepoint in the dome and was now perched on the Avenger’s tower. “It’ll be fine. Thor can hold on for hours against godly monsters, just lay low and get in close.”
“On it.” Sam nearly whispered in the com as he flew in closer. Flying low around the dome, only gaining altitude once he was facing Loki’s back.
‘Ok, Sammy. Get it together. You get ONE shot at this. Do not screw up!’
He took a short gulp of breath before holding it.
‘Do not screw up.’
Sam was getting closer by the second. With the speed to fly between solar systems in one go, he didn’t really get the room to calm his nerves or set his head straight.
‘Do not screw up. Just because the entirety of the Avengers had problems handling Loki with his new power… No. No time to think about this. Just do it and get it right.’
Loki was slightly leaning on his staff now, holding it in his left hand. Looking down at his enraged older brother. Distracted. Distracted was good.
Almost there, close enough to hear the brothers’ banter. Thor was shouting about their mother being disappointed when he stopped mid-sentence. He glanced down, eyeing the approaching Nova. ‘uh-oh’
Loki noticed and followed his brother’s gaze. Poisonous green irises grazed on the glowing blue shape speeding for the two. ‘Uh-oh’
‘It’s now or never!’
With that thought he sped up. Putting in more power to push it as he stretched out his arm. And as a comet he zoomed passed the two gods.
Taking a big swing, Sam turned to face the trickster at a safe distance. “Hey! Think you dropped something, you big doofus!” he shouted as he waved the god’s staff.
The barrier under them quickly started to come apart, holes opening and growing.
Seeing this, Thor took another swing with his hammer. With great force he smashed through the little barrier left, shattering it like thin glass, momentum not slowing as the hammer connected with the green clad man.
Seeing Loki sent flying, Sam let out an impressed whistle. There was no doubt which of the brothers was the brawn.
From below, Stark came flying up beside him. “Nice going kid. Almost had me worried there for a second.”
“It was easy. I had it all under control.” Sam said smugly as he threw the staff from one hand to another. He was not going to let anyone, least not an Avenger, know that he was almost nerve wrecked going in.
“’course you did. Make sure he doesn’t get that back” Stark pointed to the magical artifact. “It should be easier than taking it.”
“Hey, don’t jinx anything.” Sam joked with a smile plastering his face. Holding out the staff he asked: “So, where to? SHIELD? Avengers’ tower? Hiding it at the bottom of the ocean or on an uninhabited planet?”
“Tempting, but I think we’ll dissemble it and give the stone back to its protector in Asgard- Why is it fading?” As Stark was talking, the bottom of the scepter started fading to nothingness. And before Sam even looked down at it, it had disappeared all the way to where he was holding it in his grasp.
“uh- maybe it’s going back to Asgard on its own?” And with that it was gone.
“Brother, why must ye always do this?”
Back at the harbor Thor placed his hammer on Loki’s chest. Keeping him down while getting enough space between them to not talk into each other’s mouths.
“Hn. What seems to beh the matter, brother deahrest? Jealous that ih didn’t makh a statue of you?” Loki had to gasp out some of the words, clenching his teeth as he had a wide grin plastered on. Mjolnir was clearly vexing on him.
“No more of your trickery. This time you shall come with me back home, and face Asgardian justice.”
Thor made to get his weapon back. Stretching out his hand, he reached for its handle. However, right as he was to grasp it, he was stopped by something hard pricking his hand.
“Ash much as Ih would lohve to go on a family-trip with youh, Ih doh not wish toh get inh youhr pershonal bubble.”
Thor recognized the scepter that pushed on his hand, giving of a faded glow that spread over his fist and up his arm. Instinctively he tried to swat it away only for it to spread to his other hand, and soon his entire upper body.
Loki took the opportunity to point the scepter at himself. He could see other Avengers running up to him from afar and knew that time was off essence. As Thor got trapped in the same kind of bubble the trickster had put New York in previously, he shot at his own chest turning his body intangible. Even with his new power he figured there was little he could do to lift the legendary hammer. Instead he went through the earth under him, disappearing into the ground.
Falcon was the first to come to Thor’s side. Landing near the bubble the god was trying to bash open. He talked over the com as he looked around for the trickster: “I thought little Nova took the magic wand?”
“I did, but it disappeared right out of my hand. Also; I’m not little.”
Hawkeye crouched on a nearby container, and with Captain America cautiously looking around they had made a small squad. Falcon made to knock on the bubble, earning a glare from Thor.
“Did he chant anything or command the stick to his hand in some way?” Hawkeye directed his question to the god even as he looked out over the area.
“Nay.” Thor answered as he huffed out a breath and leant back on his new prison with crossed arms, giving up on straining against it for a moment. “He was under mine hammer, then from Odin knows where the staff just appeared in his grasp.”
Sam and Stark descended to where the others had gathered. Close to the ground they could hear Falcon even without the coms: “Great. So what? Does the staff automatically come back to it’s owner like your hammer?”
“I do without it having to smash through walls to get back to me, but yes. You may not be just as foolish as you look, birdbrain.”
Hawkeye had already spotted and pointed an arrow at the figure before it spoke. The rest spun to face him as soon as they heard him. Stark holding his arms forward, hovering slightly in front of Sam, blasters at the ready.
“Brother!” Thor growled out, only getting a smirk in return.
“Loki. What an unpleasant surprise. And here I thought you had read the room and left.” Stark said, trying to get the god’s full attention to make an opening in his defense for another hero to get in. Hawkeye read him and readied himself to sneak off, running around the container he was on.
“What kind of host would I be if I left you all behind only with the toys I gathered for you?” the man said gleefully. Posture and expression relaxed as he looked at the ironman’s faceplate.
“Aw, but you’re keeping the best toy for yourself and letting nobody else play with it.” Stark pouted in the helmet, arm not lowering from the god.
“You do indeed seem envious.” Loki said as he eyed his staff and spun it around leisurely. “Even retorting to stealing it right out of my hand. What bad ‘heroes’ you are.” He continues as he eyed the still flying teenager.
Tony stage-whispered to Sam over his shoulder: “We should have left it on an uninhabited planet after all. Could have kept it. Buried it like a treasure and come back like pirates for their loot.” Exaggerating the movement of the arm not ready to blast the man with the golden horns as he talked, taking all the attention he could get as Hawkeye was getting close up from behind.
“Do not let it gnaw at you, Iron-man. No matter where you hide it in this entire universe, it will always heed my call. Even on planets faraway for you simple humans.”
“Guess you won’t be calling for it then.”
With that, Hawkeye sprung to action. Arms shot forward to get the god into a chokehold. Dagger in right hand, case he was to try some trickery. But as he were to hold the god around the throat, he found he met with no resistance. “What the-” he remarked as his arm went straight through the god.
“My apologies, archer, but I am afraid I am not that much of a hugger.” Loki said as he calmly turned around. Making Hawkeye jump back to get some distance.
Stark gained some more altitude and fired his repulsor. The beam went straight trough the head, leaving a deep scorch mark in the ground. His mechanical voice came out from his helmet: “You made a hologram?”
The coms sparked to life then: “Uh- so there’s like four of the goat down with you. Excluding the statues of course.”
Peter got a lift by Damian that had manually taken control over the plane after spotting the teenager. Now, on top of the aircraft, he had a clear overview of New York and its heroes. And as he had reported, from where he stood, he could see four identical figures. All in the shape of Loki. All with a staff. And all conversing with a different group of heroes.
“Damian, take us lower. We should stay close.”
“Affirmative.” Came the neutral response. Damian’s eyes darted from the window to the dashboard and back. Losing his feelings after death meant that he could not fly a plane as easily as when he had learned it at the age of five in the league of assassins. He could not feel how much pressure he put on the controls anymore and was dependent on computers to get a smooth as possible decent.
His sleepiness did not help either. The more he used his powers, the more tired he got. It was like they were fueled by his awareness and sucked everything he had out of him. Sure, sleeping would get everything back to normal, but he did not have that option right now.
He sat as relaxed as he managed in the seat, hoping it would help a little. He figured the only thing that kept him going was the training from his league days. Fighting enemies for days on end without rest. This time the enemies were Loki and his slowed down mind. And the goal wasn’t only his own survival this time, but all his new friends. (a concept he still was slightly struggling with; him having friends. His mother would call him weak if she knew)
Damian slowed their decent only ten feet above the ground. They were above the team at the harbor, looking closer at Hawkeye poking through Loki with his bow.
Damian stifled a yawn when Peter’s voice rang over the coms again: “Make that five goats. Watch out behind Hawk-!” he cut himself off and the young pilot giving him a lift rose from his seat to see what was happening outside of the window.
Down at the harbor, the scene seemed frozen. Hawkeye stood, body twisted, clearly having stopped mid turnaround. A second, or fifth, Loki stood behind him. The scepter was held forward and pointed at the archer’s chest.
Damian barely got to take in the scene before Falcon and Captain America sprung forward. The captain reached them first, but as he was about to knock Loki off the ground with his shield, he got his feet knocked from under him. As he caught himself from the fall to not faceplant, Falcon met with a similar fate when a fist knocked his low-gliding self from the air.
“Clint?! What are you doing?”
The one knocking the Avengers down were none other than their companion and teammate, Hawkeye. The archer remained silent even when asked by his bewildered friends. No emotion showed on his face and with a flick of Loki’s staff, the two seemingly disintegrated in a golden light.
“Barton!” The captain leapt forward once more, reaching for his friend this time. He grabbed at the shorter man’s shoulder before he completely disappeared, leaving the soldier holding only his reinforced shoulder-pad.
The heroes stood alone at the harbor now. Even the fake Loki and the barrier that had trapped Thor had disappeared. The god took a few steps and stretched his arms, more to test his freedom than stiffness.
After a second of silence, the captain turned to Sam and Stark that were still airborne: “Get some altitude and report if you spot any of them. …or anything…Loki-made.”
The two nodded and flew off. Damian met the captains gaze and went after the others, bringing Spider-man along who went to hang upside-down from under the ship.
The three had just split up to search when Black Widow called over the coms: “Hey. You had a plane, Right?”
Peter let go of the web holding him with one hand to answer: “Yeah. We’re flying over the city now. Need a lift?”
“Not me. Iron-spider and Squirrel-girl are out of action and need transport. Dagger got shot by an arrow as well, but Cloak got her out as soon as he got to her side.”
“We’re on our way.” He said, noting that the plane changed direction telling that Damian had heard. “You said shot by an arrow?”
“Hm. Looks like one of Hawkeye’s.”
“Yeah… about him…-”
“I’m fine. It’s merely a fracture in the left-”
“Are you trying to go against me, Iron Spider?”
Even if the glare was not directed at him, Peter took half a step back. Feeling sorry for his friend that apparently hadn’t been warned that even if not your enemy, the Black Widow was not to be messed with and scary as can be.
Amadeus, directly faced with her look, stumbled back and fell on his bum. He hugged his foot that he had tried to lean on, clearly hurt.
“See? You can’t even stand?” she said in a serious tone, but Peter wondered if there could have been some amusement in there.
“That’s not-” the young teen tried to protest as he struggled to get up again, but another glare had him turning to the plane. He let his remaining two iron-legs push him onto the craft and left the other heroes as the autopilot had already been instructed to take them back to the academy.
Seeing that the plane had departed safely, the spy clad in black turned to the remaining spider. “So Loki turned Hawkeye to a lackey?”
Peter gave a nod.
“He has that ability now?”
“And we have decided to split up?”
A pause. Awkward silence rang between the two heroes before she continued in a voice laced with sarcasm: “I se no way this could go bad for us.”
Peter smirked behind the mask and nodded again: “Absolutely none.”
She turned to Damian that had remained close by: “You did well last time you had to rescue heroes, kid, got any lead on this one? As annoying as he can get, the archer is still better on our side.”
Peter raised an eyebrow. He had only seen the serious side of Hawkeye. And had not Tony Stark told him; he would have guessed that the bowman didn’t have any other side. Less alone that he liked playing pranks that both annoyed and humored the billionaire. Not that the man ever admitted that he had grown fond of the pranks to the teenager.
Peter tuned out the kid reporting that they had seen nothing from the air as his spider-sense tingled suddenly and harshly.
“Watch out!” he shouted as he grabbed the two, one in each arm, and jumped out of danger’s way.
The pavement where they stood had cracked, leaving a deep dent.
“Oh no” He heard the Widow gasp as he tried to turn his head and see what made the damage.
“Oh no” he gasped as he was met with a green nose. Green chin. Blue, enraged eyes shifted to meet his. And green lips that formed to a snarl that turned into a roar as Peter finally found his brain again and ushered the two others to run into a narrow alley that they had landed in front.
Peter sprang after them, feeling his sense telling him to jump as the Hulk went to grab for him.
Narrowly avoiding the giant hand, he got into the alleyway, far enough that he knew the hulk wouldn’t have long enough arms to get them.
Peter took a breath as the giant started to claw at the walls. Not thinking, just trying to get to them. To Peter, to one of his idols, to his youngest friend.
“You look a little green there, big guy. No need to be jealous at our gathering. Just calm down and we can all talk amount each other like friends.”
The Hulk clearly did not even register the quip as the walls started to give away. That, he noticed however and continued to push at them in the way that seemed to be working.
Peter turned to see Black Widow in an open door waving at him. He followed lead and rushed inside.
“I don’t see how a door is going to help when two entire buildings aren’t stopping him.” He said as he ran up to Damian that opened a window at the other side of the hallway he was now in.
“It’s not. It’s called diverting your target from your trail. Come on, get out.” She ushered them to get out through the window as the entire wall behind them started crumbling.
The two boys waited for her to get out last before she led them to the right in the alley they were now in. Passing two buildings, they decided to go for the same diversion tactic on the third one. In the backdoor, out the front.
Peter could still hear the Hulk making his way tearing down entire buildings, relived that he seemed to stop and gruff after the first one. Likely looking around for his prey.
Peter shivered at that. Being the Hulk’s prey was a nightmare he hoped would never come true. The female Avenger ushered the spider that had stopped to continue running. Saying that even in this state of mind, the Hulk was still capable of finding (and crushing) them.
“What got him twisting in his pants anyway? He usually at least listens to my jokes.” Peter pouted as they had gotten a distance away, once more in a building. He waved at the old lady walking up the stairs with a laundry-basket, glad that the one the Hulk demolished seemed empty.
“I agree he was more erratic than usual. Did you see his eyes?” the Widow asked, looking out the window Damian was unlocking.
“Yeah. Definitely angry.”
“-tt-. I believe she was referring to their color.” The youngest boy said as he let the woman creep out through the windowsill first.
“huh?” Peter cocked his head. Remembering the eyes that looked at him. “Wait. They were blue!”
The widow nodded. “I’m guessing it is Loki’s handiwork.”
“Hmm. I didn’t really get a close look at Hawkeye back then. Maybe it’s the same. We could contact the captain or Falcon who were closer is they saw his eyes?” Peter suggested.
“No need, we are here.”
Peter had gotten the feeling that they were headed for a specific place after they ran out of the second building, but he hadn’t known where the avenger had taken them before he spotted the red star on the round shield. An empty plaza held various of their friends. Avengers and students of SHIELD had gathered in the open space.
“Captain!” Peter called out to the close by soldier with his back facing the three.
“Spider-Man? Black Widow?” the captain turned to them. “Anything to report?”
Peter relaxed his body and talked in a casual tone: “Well, Iron Spider and Squirrel girl are out of commission. We sent them off in the plane. After that we had a chat. What else? Oh yeah. The hulk kind of attacked us.”
Eyebrows rose and Falcon took a step forward. “The Hulk kind of attacked you?” he repeated.
Figuring that Peter would try and make some quip of it, the Widow answered: “He attacked us. No ‘kind of’.” As much as she appreciated the teen bringing a smile to heavy days, she knew the Hulk were not likely to be taking a nap at the moment.
Captain America seemed a little worried at this: “This might seem strange; but was his eyes turned unnaturally blue? Deep and clear.”
Black Widow nodded and Peter jumped up: “Yeah! We were just talking about it. Was it the same with Hawkeye?”
Both Falcon and the captain nodded. “Loki seems to have gotten two of-” “HULK SMASH!”
“Watch it cap!” Peter’s spider-sense nudged at him as the giant figure fell from the sky.
A booming roar had his nerves doing flips even before the giant hit the ground, creating a big crater. He saw the captain falling backwards and the wave of air from the green man’s crash-landing knocked the falcon into a wall. Peter himself had to take a step back to keep from falling over from the shockwave. Black Widow and Damian behind him were not so lucky, but were both quick back on their feet. The Avenger checking over the younger boy as she got into a fighting stance.
Captain America had the Hulks full attention and Peter let out a sigh as he swung himself over his green friend. “Why can’t we just get a small break? Eat some pancakes and drink a milkshake maybe?” He shot a ball of web directly into the big guy’s face, covering his eyes. He knew it wouldn’t hold, and it sure as heck wouldn’t calm down the ball of rage, but it was at least something. Something that would give them half a second to breathe.
“My, are they not just splendid toys?”
On the roof of a tall building stood two figures. A silent observer with a blank expression stood tall near the edge. Arms down by his side and chin straight, the only movement being his eyes scanning all below him.
To his right, his gleeful enemy hunched over the edge. The lowering sun caught in his helmet as his two golden horns were illuminated. Hawkeye glanced over to the smirking god. He knew that he was an Avenger. He knew the god was a villain. But any thought beyond that seemed to disappear before it had formed. He didn’t know exactly why he had chosen to obey and help Loki, but he did. It didn’t feel wrong or off. It did in fact not feel… anything.
The archer let his sight float back to his friends. Noting how they fought, their moves and positions. He wasn’t certain why he was against them, but it was a mission and he was an agent. He always completed his missions. Sometimes he got new information and the mission changed midway, but he was never one to back down if he had firstly accepted it. He often questioned his missions, but not this. He didn’t know why, but something compelled him to obey.
“Do not worry, pet.” Hawkeye kept his eyes on the captain that blocked an enraged Hulk with his shield as Loki lurched closer to him, one corner of his lips lifting more than the other. “An obedient doll like you is forever my favorite.” The god continued, lifting his hands to gently hold the archer’s chin, turning his head so their eyes met. Venomous green peering into intoxicated blue. The grin reaching his eyes as they remained cold, unaffected by the humor the rest of his body displayed.
The god leant in closer till his lips were nearly touching the archer’s ear. A huff of warm breath touched his skin. “Why don’t we find your first target? Let’s make it someone fun.”
Loki retreated and turned to the sight below, one hand resting on Hawkeye’s shoulder to turn him too. He waved his staff and an arrow floated out from the archer’s quiver and in front of the two. “Let’s see… we want the head to be able to even penetrate the captain’s shield-” As he spoke the arrowhead started glowing in a golden light before it faded. “But we don’t want it to just go through someone that heals in a matter of second, so it should stay in the body. To constantly tear at the flesh that surrounds it.” The body of the arrow follow suit with the head, glowing golden before it fainted again.
“Now, who to pick?” the god spoke as the arrow followed to point where he was looking. “Should we test it on the captain, now that we have enhanced it? No, you feel bad about hurting children, don’t you?” He glanced back to his silent companion. “Well, normally you do. I’m sure you will feel great waking up to knowing that you have taken the life of a human child. Maybe you will even be so grateful you will offer me some screaming and tears.” The god’s smirk turned to a grin as he looked over the younger heroes. “What about an itsy bitsy spider? Or maybe- what do have we here? A little kitten. My, oh my. They really do put the young ones on the battlefield.”
Loki floated the arrow to Hawkeye who automatically grasped it from the air with one hand and unclasped his bow from his body with the other.
“The younger the better, right? It almost saddens me, I actually found that little brat interesting. But it is a sacrifice I’m willing to make. We don’t want you to have a dull and boring day once free from my control, now do we? I am sure the little one will lead you to a path of despair. Remember this when you wake: his death is solely on you.”
The trickster smirked down at the heroes as the bowman slipped the arrow on the string, focusing on his target before lifting the bow and taking his aim.
Down on the ground, Damian and some of the heroes that did not have physical strength as their ace were tasked in evacuating the closest building. Escorting civilians out through the backdoor. In one case making a backdoor as they were not about to lead children and elderly to escape right in front of the rampant Hulk.
Damian had been told to take it easy on multiple occasions in just the past few minutes. Not only by heroes, but also civilians that looked at him and only saw a child. If one more were to tell him to ‘take care’, ‘be careful’ or even worse: ‘where are your parents’ he would snap at them. Not that he hasn’t already told two of them to mind their own (***) business and given the rest a glare with some half-assed argument for people needing help and he could help. He stopped quickly with the last one as five other civilians started running in to the building to carry toddlers or helping someone they knew were in a wheelchair.
Honestly, just because he wasn’t in colorful spandex he got treated like he was a toddler instead of only a couple of years younger than the heroes he had stayed with all this time, the ones that civilians asked for help in carrying out their frail grandmas or pet dogs that couldn’t open doors. Damian could obviously do such simple things as well.
“-tt-” pretty much getting chased away from the evacuation-duty, he went back to the front of the building were the action was still scorching. Spider-Man, Captain America, Powerman and Thor contained the Hulk to the plaza where he had first engaged them. Even as strong as the green monster was, he seemed to become more sluggish as the fight went on. Lightning from the sky struck him down before Captain America bashed him into a wall with his shield.
“You shouldn’t be here.”
“Then where should I be?” Damian snarked back to the female spy that had managed to approach him from behind without him noticing. He still refused to look away from the fight for long as anything or anyone could be flung their way at any time.
“This kind of fight is not my strength. There is another fight for us.” She replied in a calm voice.
Damian glanced over with a raised eyebrow.
“Dr. Strange has left to retrieve the stone that can transport people and things to parallel universes. We will keep Loki from summoning the staff again long enough for the sorcerer to send the staff through the portal, to a place even he cannot reach.”
“And you are certain that this will work?”
“No. But we will try, and we will stop him.”
Damian took in her neutral tone. There was no guesswork to find out that her confidence was an act. A good act, but an act. He wasn’t sure why she felt like sounding so encouraging in front of him but guessed she simply didn’t want to look weak in front of anyone. That was how assassins worked, after all. The files claimed she was only a spy, but Damian knew the tells that separated the two. He had been raised by them after all. This was someone who could both gather information right under your nose and slit your throat before you noticed anything amiss.
He had read that she didn’t kill (any more), but also knew that she could. And that honestly calmed him. To know that he wasn’t the only ex-assassin trying to turn their life around. To know he wasn’t the only one raised to be a weapon.
“Watch it.” Black Widow grabbed for him and threw herself sideways with him in her arm.
Before they even hit the ground, Captain America came flying through the corner of the wall they had huddled behind. Stopping halfway through the wall behind he went limp for a second. Damian would almost have time to worry if he did not hear the captain groan, trying to push himself up a second later.
Seeing more than feeling that the spy was pushing at him, Damian stood up in a crouch and survied the situation. They were now in the middle of a street facing the plaza. That wouldn’t have been so bad in itself had it not been for the intoxicated blue eyes glaring right at them.
“Oh no you don’t! You’re dancing with me.” He heard Peter’s strained voice right before two strings of web stuck to the green giant’s shoulders. It didn’t do much to the big guy, but it got his attention. He turned around and with a roar he leapt at the web-slinger.
Midair, fist raised for a punch, he was however stopped as Thor smashed his hammer to his scull, sending the Hulk flying sideways into an already damaged building.
Peter swung himself over the plaza, landing in front of the two assassins, both on their feet and moved to the sidewalk. “Hey, you guys ok?”
Damian nodded and the Widow answered: “Yes, thank you,”
“You need a lift out of here?” he offered, one arm slightly raised to shoot out web.
“No. We need to search for Loki. He is unlikely to have gone far. Especially considering he actually have managed to get the Hulk under his control.” They heard the telling booming roar as said man ran himself into a wall with Falcon dodging out of the way. “Maybe not under his full control, but he has clearly managed something.” She finished.
Peter looked back at her: “Fine, but if you need a better view me or Falcon could get you up on the buildings in a jiffy.”
Black Widow nodded “That might be more efficient.”
Peter smiled behind his mask, glad to help: “Well then- Danger.”
The spy did not have to ask what he meant, knowing of what he called the ‘spider-sense’. She raised her fists to her side and bent her knees, ready for both fight and flight.
Peter heard a swooshing-sound as his senses screamed to get the boy in front of him out of the way. He quickly grabbed for Damian’s arm, moving purely on instinct while his mind was nearing a breakdown from how worried he suddenly had gotten. What was the danger? Why was he reaching for Damian before checking if anybody was attacking? Why was it going off so strongly? If anybody was targeting Damian, wouldn’t they ease up considering he was just an unmasked kid?
He barely got to pull the boy an inch to himself before a ‘chuck’ could be heard. He pulled the kid into an embrace as quick as he could and looked down at him. Damian’s eyes were slightly wide, but that could just be from suddenly being pulled at.
Glancing up at the older boy, Damian put a questioningly look on his face. He had heard some familiar sounds while being pulled, but nothing like an explosion or crunching of stone that would warrant Peter to say there was danger and pull him in. Honestly, it was at least the third time he would be saved from something by being treated like a ragdoll today.
Knowing that neither of them had a vantage point staying faced to each other like that, he decided to pull away. Peter however held him back once they had half a step between them. “Are youOH MY GOD!” he screeched as he looked down at Damian.
Damian quickly followed his gaze, looking down at himself.
There, in his chest close to his shoulder, poked out a familiar shard of metal. ‘So that’s was what that sound was. It was an arrow. Huh.’ Damian thought to himself, raising his right hand to touch near the object. He completely tuned out Peter until he went to carry him. He went to protest but felt a wave of dizziness as he opened his mouth. The spider ran to a parallel alley as he shouted something into his com that Damian did not care much for.
So... this is slightly longer than normal. And very inspired by the first Avengers movie in the mind-controll department.
Carefully sitting him down, Peter held onto the shoulder furthest from the pointed weapon.
“Damian, you ok kid?” Peter asked as he couldn’t tear his eyes from the tip of the arrowhead or the read patch from where it stuck out from.
“Hn. Never better.” Damian replied dryly. He honestly didn’t feel it all that much, even after seeing the injury, only a small throbbing that he knew should be much stronger. It wasn’t exactly his first time being shot by an arrow.
He supposed his late loss of feelings weren’t that bad. At least not at the moment.
“Oh-I’m so sorry! Of course you’re not all good. It must hurt like heck. We should get you to a doctor, but then we would need to move you. Maybe we could get you some aspirin first or- I don’t know. What do you do with arrows? Take them out like bullets? Could we get a doctor here? But they are still fighting and-“
“Parker, cease your useless rambling.” Damian cut him off and sent him a cutting glare that the spider had already gotten used to in the small amount of time they had known each other. Peter had mentioned something utterly ridicules about ‘babyfat taking the edge off it all’. Honestly, how could he be scared of that Black widow’s glare, but not his exceptional bat-glare?
He thought back to his first few days here when he used to get much other reactions from the spider and his friends before they somehow became his companions.
Immediately after waking up in this world, Damian had no trust in these heroes, and they little in him.
They had strapped him down to a bed, not trusting that he wouldn’t try to do something. Which he supposed was somewhat fair. After all; as soon as he opened his eyes he had stolen information from an organization that held international secrets and bolted out of there with it memorized.
But what else was he supposed to do? Waking up in a strange place to find out strangers with powers had tied you down, of course he felt like escaping. Even after learning that they were supposed to be heroes and ‘the good guys’ he still wouldn’t trust strangers in another world.
However, now he somewhat did. He let Peter fuss over him as he sat on the pavement in an empty alley. Let him see his wound. Let him be so close to him in a vulnerable situation. So close he was sure he hadn’t even let Grayson, his favorite brother, be. Even with his family he would at least put up a strong mask when they demanded to have his wounds treated.
Now. Now, he just sat there. Sure, he told Peter off and smacked his hand away when he wanted to support him, but he didn’t even threaten or punch him. He let Peter and the following Ava fuss over an injury that barely hurt.
Sitting there, he considered it was his mask of ‘innocent child’ he first put on that might not have fully slipped off. Or, a traitorous voice came from the back of his mind; ‘maybe it never was a mask, but who you would want to be. Who you would be without the blood on your hands’.
Damian quickly decided to ignore the voice. The mask was something he chose to easier escape at any time. A role that others would underestimate and let slip by their fingers. He used an act to bend people to his will. Just an act. He would never undermine all the training he had gone through or all his achievements just to hope to be an ordinary brat that couldn’t even hold his own against a schoolyard bully. Even if it meant he could have a loving family, maybe a home to invite friends to. Or even play around…
He was trained to rule and raise above expectation. He was a Robin. Not that Peter knew. Not that any of them knew. They wouldn’t even know what the title of ‘Robin’ meant. They probably didn’t know what much of what he had told him about himself meant. Peter had even misunderstood that the Manbat was his father as they had no concept of Batman.
Did they really know anything about him, or was it all assumptions? Did they know what it was like to have a League of Assassins? An organization that pulled strings from the shadows all over the globe, held traditions in higher value than human lives and was basically a cult with daggers. He guessed the only one that had truly learned about the other was him. Would they even care if they truly knew about him? Was their entire relationship built on assumptions?
He pushed the thoughts away. Why would he be thinking of all of this? It was like he was going dizzy from blood loss. At that thought Damian looked down. Looked at his chest, at the arrowhead, at the red stain in the clothes he had finally gotten in his size. The dark red dampened the fabric all the way to where it pooled out on the ground.
‘huh’ Maybe he really was getting lightheaded from blood loss. Maybe the two in front of him weren’t completely unreasonable for fussing either.
He should rest. That seemed to solve everything nowadays. Even ‘reset’ his powers as Sam had called it. It would be logical, not a sign of weakness, just… something… some smart reason… Resting to get ready to help later?
‘Yeah, just calmly meditate as you sit here. Shut out the world and let your body rest.’
For the spider, the situation was not as calmly received.
‘HOLY! This was bad! This was really, really bad!’ He tried to get his head cleared, but anytime he saw the red, it got worse. He needed to be the responsible here, but as much as he only wanted to think of the kid’s slack face as him simply being tired, he couldn’t.
“Wasn’t Captain America awesome out there? I really looked up to him when I was younger. Like, unhealthily much. Even wrote on his Wikipedia page regularly. Not that I don’t look up to him now, but you know-”
Peter was panicking. His hearth was going a mile an hour. Probably three miles with his enhanced strength. He tried to take deep breaths, but it was like someone was holding a tight grip on his throat and pushed on his chest.
“Who do you think can eat a burrito fastest out of all the Avengers? Well, excluding Hulk. The big guy has a big enough mouth to eat it in one bite. Or maybe even swallow it hole.”
Damian was sitting silent on the ground in front of him with a freaking arrow through his little body. An arrow right through his chest, its head painted with red spots. Red like the ground under him slowly turned. Crimson liquid slowly floating. So much of it. So much blood. How could there be so much blood? The boy in front of him didn’t even reach his shoulders. There shouldn’t be this much blood in that small body.
His voice was now barely a cracking whisper. “Hey, kid. You are going to be alright. I ca-called for a medic to come with a ship. They will give you treatment… even before you get to a hospital or med-bay or… You will be fine. Completely fine. Ri-right?”
The kid didn’t respond to anything he said, and his own thoughts only made his throat tighten even more. Turning his breaths in to wheezing. Air pushed hard through his icy throat. Small, sharp, pitched intakes that only made the world spin.
He felt a hand on his shoulder and spotted a white glove. Ava knelt beside him: “Yes, he will be fine.” A small break before she tried to meet his eyes behind their masks, her yellow holding his white: “He is still alive thanks to you. You have already done everything you can.”
Peter looked back at the kid. He had just started to care for him, just met him, but this started to feel like losing Ben all over again. The picture of his uncle flashed in his mind and his eyes started to sting.
Minutes later, Ava perched up at the sound of a quiet engine. An aircraft belonging to SHIELD navigated through the tall buildings as it descended.
Over the coms earlier, she had told the other heroes to keep the action away from them and they seem to have succeeded. The fight (or fights) were moving away from them, letting the aircraft land on the big road right outside the allay they were in.
The White Tiger moved to the opening doors, greeting the two medical workers and SHIELD-agent that hurried out. Over their heads, a small creature with wings that Ava recognized as the dinosaur Damian had picked up.
“What is the patient’s condition?”
“Uncertain, but it’s not good. He’s bleeding out even as the arrow is still in and should plug up the hole. He stopped responding to verbal communication a while ago but seems otherwise to be conscious.”
The dinosaur landed on the dimension-traveler’s head. Her talons almost cowered the boy’s scalp, but she was light and balanced as she carefully pecked at him. Nuzzling her toothed beak over his chin and temple.
Ava stopped a right behind Peter that had sat down a step back from the younger boy. They let the two, probably nurses, have a free look at Damian. As free as they could with the dinosaur refusing to leave his head.
They noted their findings and questions to each other out loud, probably as much to reassure the teenage heroes as their language was simplified so even someone without medical training could understand.
“12-year-old male. Time of injury?” one of them looked up to the teens while the other went to Damian’s wrist. Ava took a second before she answered the question, holding a grip on Peter’s shoulder that was still breathing fast. “Uh… 5 to 10 minutes ago?” she looked to Peter that nodded.
The medical worker quickly turns back to the boy. “minutes ago. Arrow in the high left mammary region.”
“Put pressure on here. We’ll use this to stop the bleeding.”
“NKDA. DH nil.” The worker glanced up from the notes he took, back at the teens before correcting: “None known allergies nor any drug history. We’ll treat him to some pain relief and a blood transfusion. Get a bag ready from the craft, blood type AB positive, metal box to the right. We’ll have an epi-pen as well, in case he reacts badly to anything we give him.”
Ava immediately started jogging back to the aircraft, following instructions. While Peter sat back, trying to understand what was going on. What they were telling him.
“Blood pressure is… slightly under 90/60”
Peter didn’t have to know medical science to know that was bad. Such a long pause meant they were trying to reassure him while still telling the truth. ‘slightly under’? How slightly? How bad?
He was again back to Ben. Back to being useless. Back to see the death of someone he should have had the power to protect. Only left to absorb the picture.
Smell of iron filling the air.
Booming and vibrating under his legs. The ground shaking brought him back to see Damian being strapped to a gurney, laying on his side, dino now at his feet. Ava jogged up to him, slightly stressed: “Common, Spidey. Loki’s getting out of hand. We need some altitude to make sure to clear the way for their liftoff.”
Peter gave a short nod before taking an arm around his friend and shooting his web high up. This he could do. Fighting off attackers and keeping New York safe. He can make sure Damian gets the help he needs, even if he can’t give it.
On the roof of the tallest building nearby he let Ava of to run first to the other side. Looking over the edge they could see the trail of destruction left from fighting the Hulk. Further ahead they heard shout, grunts and rumbling in between booming hits.
Loki was not hard to spot. They could probably see it from anywhere in the city.
He was high up in the sky. Back in his glowing bubble. Laughing at the struggling heroes fighting.
They were all over the place. Hitting, shooting, kicking… statues? Loki had apparently made even more of them, but smaller, close to human sizes. Close to humans. Wait, doesn’t Falcon’s opponent look quite like the man himself? Yeah, wings and everything. Looking closer they all seemed the same. Captain America kicking the statue of himself into a wall whilst using his shield to slightly redirect the Hulk’s fist so he didn’t get the entire brunt of the hit. Nova raced against his non-glowing copy, dancing around each other. Black Widow kicked hers off of another rooftop before returning to a bound man clad in black and purple with arrows imbedded trough the ropes and roof, keeping him in place.
Peter tapped his com: “What’s the situation?”
Black Widow answered: “Hawkeye’s taken care off. Hulk is still rampaging. The trickster’s still able to move his fingers.” Her voice going dark at the end.
Stark blasted a hole trough his copy before adding on: “Yeah, and the goat apparently didn’t like that we got weary of being turned to his obedient little puppets. Take this faker. He decided to make his own Avengers when he couldn’t get the real deal. I literally blew a hole through your chest! Why are you still flying? Oh, and he seems to be charging up to something while throwing these small fries at us. I guess we could call them ‘pebbles’. Go DOWN already!”
“He made copies of everyone?” Ava asked, looking around.
Falcon shook his statue of with a sudden turn away from the wall of a building. Getting the stone-man to crash and crumble into it. “Everyone he saw. He made them one by one as we attacked him. Three at the time when me, Ironfist and Nova tried to crowd him.”
Nova quipped in: “Everything isn’t too bad. It seems that the animals are turned back to normal. Now there are just very confused normal penguins wobbling around in the big apple.”
Peter heard the engines of the SHIELD-aircraft and turned to see it take off. “Ship’s leaving. Tell us if anything’s coming this way.”
It had just started gaining altitude over the other buildings when Black Widow tapped back in the coms. “Bad news; Loki has spotted it. Don’t know if he’s planning to do any- never mind. He started waving his staff.”
Peter turned back to see a golden light form outside the barrier. Where the light shone, rock was left and soon the shape of an aircraft could be seen.
Ava looked to Peter. “Looks like we found our part to play.”
“Yeah. Let’s rock this rock.” he replied, gaining a deadpan stare.
The sculpted ship did not wait for any of the teens to quip and was soon coming to pass over their heads. Ava slung her arms over Peter’s shoulders as he aimed his web-shooters for the flying stone.
“Hold on.” He barely got out the warning before they got tugged of the ground. Pulled by the ship, they soared over rooftops.
Ava released her grip to get it on the web, after getting used to the new situation. First one hand, then the other and she was pulling herself up on the web. They were closing in on the SHIELD craft, and Ava had to hurry.
She grabbed the edge of the sculpture and got on top of it. Claws at ready, she started tearing into it. Going at the left wing first, and after a few hard strokes Peter, that now crouched beside her, shot out a web and yanked the entire wing off.
Immediately the ground under them tipped. Ava clawed in to the stone to get a grip as she pressed herself further to it. Peter had an easier time, simply relying on his spider-powers to hold on as the rock turned, switching to a collision-course with a building under construction.
“Perfect. Common White Tiger. Time to ditch this ride.”
“Wait. Spidey, Look.”
Peter followed her gaze and looked to the other wing. He almost wanted to sigh, of course nothing was so easy as just take out a wing.
“When did rocks get rocket launchers?”
“When Nordic gods decided to give them the ability to fly as well.” Ava answered as she climbed her way to it, but she didn’t even get halfway there before it went off.
Peter glanced first back to where they were headed then back at his friend. “Ok, no time for this.” He said as he grabbed his friend and jumped off. Merely two seconds before the rock smashed into the windowless side of the building. Taking it down as it itself crumbled.
“You know tiger, we really make too many of these close calls.”
“Pete, the ship. Damian!”
At her worried tone, he snapped from the casualty to the smoking SHIELD-craft. The lenses of Peter’s suit widened.
It was smoking. And just like the rock-copy, it was tilting, just slightly but going down. Before working out any form of plan, Peter was swinging himself and Ava to catch up to the slowly descending craft. It started turning in big circles to slow it pace.
Pulled up in the momentum of the third swing, Peter aimed his web-shooter at a big sign that stood on some roof. The normal feeling of freedom and excitement it brought was run over and put in the corner as he for once felt like he was moving too slow. Up to the sign, and down past it instead of a straight line through the air or on his trusted cycle that climbed walls just as easily as it drove past racers on the highway.
Peter shot a web at another roof mid-swing steering them to the left and to the craft. Mind only on the ship they could no longer see behind tall buildings when the sky suddenly lit up.
In the middle of the day it turned red like the end of a sunset. Almost crimson in color with glowing orange flickering in between.
Peter could hear the gasps and questions from the people below. And they were right to question, for that was no sunset coloring the sky. That was fire. Wild flames had taken the place of the soft clouds. The sky itself was glowing orange as flames licked further up in the atmosphere.
He could hear the manic laughter of a certain god in the distance. And before he could get on his next swing, he could hear the people below get louder.
“Get off the ground!” “RUN!” “Get inside” some were screaming, shouting or yelling.
Finally looking down, he saw the ground clothing itself in white. A spreading sheath of ice coated the roads. It grew itself a foot up on light posts, garbage bins and whatever the moving edge of cold managed to touch. A few pedestrians tried to get their frozen legs free, with others coming to aid.
Ava activated her com as Peter continued swinging, not slowing down. “What in the world is happening?”
A male voice answered: “Sky’s burning, ground’s freezing and I got a mayor headache.”
Ava didn’t take long to recognize the voice. “Hawkeye? You back with us?”
“Yeah. I’m… hey, the kid that...”
“He’s alive. He got emergency treatment, but his transport got shot down. We’re on our way to check on him and the medics now.”
“That’s- that doesn’t sound good. Was it the inferno clouds?”
“No, one of Loki’s sculptures managed to get off a shot right before hell broke loose.”
At that Peter chipped in: “Yeah, what’s up with that? Is hell freezing over?”
Not even a second passed before Stark was on the line: “Remember when I told you the goat was charging up for something?”
“No, not at all.” Peter answered honestly as they reached the ship. It had halfway landed on an empty car and laid askew on the frozen ground.
A sigh came from the com. “Well, I did. And apparently this is the start of whatever he needed charge for.” Some rumble could be heard over the line as the two masked teens landed behind the ship.
Ava walked up to the door and found the side panel. When Peter caught up, she had already punched in a code, but the door remained shut. She tried again with no better luck.
Peter did what he found logical when met with a closed door; he knocked. “Anybody there? Anyone hurt?”
Muffled behind the thick metal door a voice responded: “Yeah. Spiderman?”
“Yeah, I have White tiger with me. Did you lock us out? Code’s not working.”
“No, we can’t get it opened either.”
Ava got next to him and pointed down at the door. “I think we found what’s keeping it closed.” Peter looked to the bottom of the door and the thick sheet of ice that grew up on the metal from the ground under their feet. “Don’t worry, Spidey and I will have you out in a minute.”
“Just don’t blow anything up this time, this is still a ship for medical purposes not a toy.”
Peter sputtered at their comment “Hey! I’ll have you know I haven’t had anything blow up in over two weeks!”
Ava looked deadpanned to him. “Way to go. That will reassure them.” She said in a flat tone.
Before the spider could retort, she dug into the ice with her claws.
“It won’t budge.”
“Leave it in. We just stopped the bleeding.”
Voices stirred through Damian’s deep sea of mind explorations and rose him to something akin to a light dreamless slumber. He felt his body again, pressing down as if laying on his side and numbness in his chest. He slowly rose from the sea, back to the world around him.
“Are they sure he’s not a vampire? He’s halfway through the second bag of blood.”
“He just lost a lot of blood, he will need it. Besides, the files said they already tested him.”
“Tested for being a vampire? How?”
“How should I know? Maybe they snuck some garlic in his food or made him go through a hall of mirrors.”
“oh my god. Imagen trapping Dracula by luring him into a hall of mirrors. He would be pissed off walking into mirror after mirror.”
The other seemed ready to berate by the sound of the sigh, but couldn't say anything before a loud boom and big jolt struck. Then everything was abruptly shaking, and he noticed himself being pulled away at the same time as he was being held in place. Straps held him down as his light body wished to stay in the air.
“What in the world is going on out there?!”
“We’re hit.” A strained voice gritted out a little further away than the others. “I have to do a controlled landing- controlled crash landing. Either way, get back in your seats.”
Damian could hear the two next to him scramble as he gave up relaxing his breathing and meditating. However, before he could push open his heavy eyelids the shaking came back worse than ever and loose boxes started sliding forth and back.
They were crashing. He could hear the bottom of their transport scraping up itself and the ground as everything was wildly jumping around inside. Rather than opening them, Damian screwed his eyes shut as small paper boxes fell on him and something that laid on his head. One of the voices where in between screaming and whimpering in the background.
Then it went still, and so it also went quiet.
Pulse clamping in his head and beating loudly, Damian listened for anything or anyone as he laid ridged on his side.
“Oh god… How’s everybody?”
“Shaken, but good. Seems like we didn’t secure the small boxes on the middle shelf good enough. How about you, agent?”
Said agent left a pause before answering in a strained voice: “Can’t move my leg.”
Damian opened his eyes to see feathers and a man quickly unbuckling himself and hurry off to where the strained voice came from. The other person following suit but only taking one step before stopping and standing behind.
“Shit. The yoke’s crushing your femur. Hey, come help here. We need to lift it off, or at least ease the pressure.”
In two quick strides, Damian was left alone. Looking up he found that the feathered lump on his head was his trusted microraptor, Boudica. Nudging her to sit by his head instead of on it, he gave himself a checkover. He had honestly forgotten all about the arrow before looking down to free himself from the straps. The cloth around it was cut and bandages was wrapped around where it was exiting his flesh. Avoiding touching it, or it touching anything, he moved sluggishly at first, but were quick to get out and sit up on the gurney. A second later he tugged the tube to the blood-bag out and was on his feet.
“Trying ‘hngh’ it’s like lifting a bus. Can’t we cut it off?”
“With ‘huff’ what?”
Damian didn’t bother to think it over. Someone that tried to help him was in trouble. With the shortest legs in the ship, he had to take more than two strides to reach the cockpit but where nonetheless hasty.
All eyes turned surprised to him when he entered. Two people in what seemed like a mixture of scrubs and fireman’s suit stood/squatted on each side of an agent of SHIELD. The agent squinted, clearly in pain, and didn’t seem to properly focus on the new figure that entered.
“What are you- you need to lie down.” The medical worker that spoke barely looked at Damian’s face before locking on to the arrowhead.
Ignoring any comment or protest, Damian stepped up to the agent’s left side and pushed the medic lightly away with a click of his tounge and a flat “Move.”
With one hand, the boy lifted the yoke and the joint consoles that had loosened and pressed on to the agent’s body. The medics, with the help of a harsh stare from the boy, quickly snapped out of their surprise and pulled the agent out of the seat and to sit against the wall.
A minute of arguing later, Damian was sitting with an iv to his left hand, Boudica balanced on his right shoulder, and the agent taking his earlier place on the gurney. They had tried to get out, but the door wouldn’t budge. The agent guessed that the crash might have fried their systems, until the two heroes that had sent them off were back and opened the door for them.
Outside, the world was changed to say the least. Damian was sure he hadn’t even been out of it for an hour. Now, flames licked the top of the tallest skyscrapers and ice covered the roads and crawled up to the big windows of street shops. Boudica took flight, but didn't soar higher than the nearby lamps.
Damian turned to Ava while Peter helped the wounded agent out. “What happened?”
Damian wondered if that was an answer that anyone from this world would understand. Too bad he was not from it. He just continued to look at her and cocked his head at her in question.
“He used his staff and did what he normally does; create chaos. The sky’s on fire, the ground is frozen and soon it will start meeting and destroy everything that the combined forces touch.”
““WHAT?!”” Everyone seemed to whip their head around at that, even Peter
“Really, Web-head? Are you even listening to the coms? Loki’s been bragging about his plan for the last five minutes.”
“Sorry, there’s just so much going on it’s even hard to get backup transport.”
Damian turned to look at the sky, at the inferno, before asking: “How is he being stopped?”
Not hearing an answer, he turned back to the two heroes. “-tt- There is a plan, right?”
“Yes.” Ava said in an unsure voice, leaving Damian waiting for a ‘but’.
“But we might not make it in time. Dr. Strange is being upheld and can’t get to the stone that opens pathways between dimensions.”
“Why do you need that?” the youngest wondered.
Ava put a hand on his right shoulder and guided him to the medics that were getting the agent into a black vehicle. “Loki’s put on some spell that make himself into some kind of homing beacon to the staff. Whenever he calls, an all-powerful staff just teleports to him in a second. You might recognize the problem with putting that in the hands of an egotistical maniac. Even if we knocked him out now and put him in prison, he would only start it all over again once he woke up.”
Damian nodded. “So, separating them in two different dimensions should be out of reach?”
Peter let out a sigh. “Yeah. If we make it. We’ll have to go and help. Get in and they’ll drive you to a hospital.” He said as he held open the rear door. Boudica landing on the roof of the car as she saw Damian nearing it.
The young boy, the young robin, contemplated before taking a step to the side. He raised his hand and grabbed the amulet that still hung from his neck. He looked at it, the pattern too alike a spider for it to have been a coincidence.
He looked up at Peter. Emerald green eyes meeting white lenses. And he felt a small smirk pulling at the corner of his lips.
“Or I could race you there.”