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The Aural Avengers

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November 18, 2012.

“Okay, guys, we’ve got a lot to get through this morning,” Bruce says, walking into the choir room. “But, before anything else, Valkyrie and Carol have approached me and asked if they can have the floor.”

Valkyrie and Carol pick up their seats and place them down in front of their fellow Glee Clubbers.

“Carol and I would like to take a quick minute to sing a song to our girl, Sharon,” Valkyrie shares.

“And you guys can all join in if you want,” Carol says.

“Just don’t steal our thunder,” Valkyrie sneers.

You're not alone
Together we stand
I'll be by your side
You know I'll take your hand

When it gets cold
And it feels like the end
There's no place to go
You know I won't give in

[Valkyrie & Carol:]
No, I won't give in

[Valkyrie, Carol, & Aural Avengers:]
Keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through
We'll make it through

Just stay strong
'Cause you know I'm here for you
I'm here for you

There's nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth
So keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through
We'll make it through

So far away
I wish you were here
Before it's too late
This could all disappear

Before the doors close
And it comes to an end
With you by my side, I will fight and defend
I'll fight and defend
Yeah, yeah

[Valkyrie, Carol, & Aural Avengers:]
Keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through
We'll make it through

Just stay strong
'Cause you know I'm here for you
I'm here for you

There's nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth

So keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through
We'll make it through

[Peter, Gamora, & Nakia:]
Hear me when I say, when I say I believe
Nothing's gonna change
Nothing's gonna change destiny
Whatever's meant to be will work out perfectly
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

[Bruce & Aural Avengers:]
Keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through
We'll make it through

Just stay strong
'Cause you know I'm here for you
I'm here for you

There's nothing you could say
Nothing you could do
There's no other way when it comes to the truth

So keep holding on
'Cause you know we'll make it through
We'll make it through

Sharon is an absolute blubbering mess by the song’s end. “Wow, sorry, what the fuck, I don’t know why I’m crying,” she says, laughing, and rubbing at her eyes. “Val, Carol, everybody, thank you.”

Carol and Valkyrie run to hug their best friend.

“That was beautiful, girls. Sharon sure is lucky to have such great friends like you,” Bruce says. “Okay, now, I received a letter this morning with our competition for Sectionals.” The kids all gasp, each just as eager as the last to find out.

Bruce throws on his reading glasses and opens and reads the letter. “Okay, so it looks like it’s just you and two other groups, so that’s good.”

“But who are the other teams, Mr. B? Come on!” Thor exclaims.

Bruce laughs. “The Illuminati School for the Deaf in Dayton, and someplace called the A-Force Academy.”

Nakia snickers. “A-Force? That’s a halfway house for girls just getting out of juvie.”

“This is great!” Peter says. “I mean, not to undermine the disabilities or the issues the other teams are living with, but this is good news for us. It’s going to be a cakewalk.” Peter offers up his hand to Carol for a high five. She high fives Valkyrie instead.

“Hey, you guys are still going to have to give it your all. I’ve encountered many a stealthy Glee Club back in my day. Everybody would count them out, and then the day of competition, they would deliver the most jaw dropping vocals and setlist,” Bruce shares.

“Don’t worry, Mr. Banner. We’ll be ready,” Bucky says, smiling.

Bruce smiles back. “Okay, now onto other business,” he says, moving for the whiteboard. He takes a marker and writes “Mash-ups”.

“Mash-ups,” Bruce says to the kids. He doesn’t say anything else, so the kids all stare at him confused.

“What’s a mash-up, Mr. B?” Sam asks nonchalantly.

“Glad you asked, Sam,” Bruce jokes. “A mash-up is when you take two songs and mash them together to make an even richer explosion of musical expression. Plus, there's an important lesson to be learned with mash-ups. Sometimes things are so different, they don't feel like they go together. But the big difference between them is what makes them great.”

“Like chocolate and bacon?” Gamora asks.

“Or Glee Club and football,” Thor jokes.

“Exactly, Thor,” Bruce says. “We only briefly dabbled with mash-ups during my time in Glee Club, but it’s 2012, and music has definitely changed since then. I was actually thinking you guys could tackle a mash-up at Sectionals, it might give us that creative edge. So, your assignment for the week is simple. Find two songs, mash ‘em together, and impress us all.”

The kids are absolutely intrigued at the idea. They all talk amongst themselves, throwing ideas around until the bell rings.

“Have a nice day, guys!” Bruce says. “Hey, Sharon, can you hang back a second?”

“Sure,” Sharon replies. She’s still wearing her Cheerios uniform, and her high pony, despite the fact that Coach Hill made it very clear that she was no longer a Cheerio last week.

“How’re you holding up? Everything that happened last week, I’m sure it was extremely hard.”

Sharon shrugs. “I’m alright, all things considered. For a minute, I actually thought you were the one who might’ve told Coach Hill. I know Steve told you everything a couple of weeks ago.”

Bruce’s expression changes instantly. “Sharon, I can assure you, it definitely wasn’t me. Steve admitted everything to me in secrecy. I wasn’t going to blab at all.”

Sharon nods. “No, I know. Once I remembered that your jaw dropped the moment Coach Hill revealed everything, I realized it wouldn’t have made sense if you had been the one. Steve just told me the other day that quite a few people already knew, so, you know, who knows. Now it’s just a matter of finding out who it was and beating the shit out of them.”

“Sharon…” Bruce says, shaking his head.

“That was just a joke. Don’t worry,” Sharon reassures.

“Well, if you need anything, anything at all, don’t hesitate to ask me. I’ll be happy to help.”

“Thanks, Mr. Banner,” Sharon says. “You’re a really good guy.”

Sharon goes to exit the choir room, but then turns back around to look at her teacher. “Actually, there is one thing Steve and I might need your help with.”

Tony, Nakia, Gamora, and Peter are all huddled up at Tony’s locker.

“Did you guys catch the X-Factor last night?” Nakia asks them all.

“For real, Britney is such a whack judge. She always acts so uninterested,” Peter says, snorting.

“I really liked Fifth Harmony’s performance,” Gamora says.

“Agreed, they’re definitely my top pick to win the season,” Nakia answers.

Steve walks up to them all, slushy in hand.

All four of them stare at him in disbelief.

“My first task to prove my allegiance to the football team is to slushy one of you,” he spits out, suddenly seeming very small to all of them.

“Are you serious?” Nakia questions.

Steve averts his gaze, not wanting to make eye contact out of shame and guilt. This is not the regular, intimidating Steve Rogers standing before them. It’s a completely different person. “They said if I didn’t go through with it, then they were going to slushy every single one of you.”

Tony closes his locker, then turns to Steve. “Do it then.”

“I really don't want to, honestly,” Steve admits. “I know how sensitive your skin is, after that day we both got slushied.”

“But if you don’t do it, then they’re just going to keep pressuring you until you do,” Tony notes.

“Steve, you are not going to slushy on our man Tony,” Nakia replies furiously.

Before he can reply, Bucky walks up behind Nakia from out of the abyss of students. “Why wouldn’t he? He’s made his choice. He doesn’t care about us losers anymore.”

Steve frowns, finally snapping his gaze back to them all. “No, that’s not true, not at all. I just… Don’t want the guys to kick my ass, or, or keep making this all a big fucking deal.”

“Well, we can’t have that, can we?” Tony asks, grabbing the slush out of Steve’s hand.

“What are you doing?” Steve asks, bewildered.

“It’s called taking one for the team,” Tony replies, tossing the slush into his own face. Steve, Bucky, Nakia, Peter, and Gamora all stare at him, shocked.

“Now get out of here, Steve. And take some time to think whether or not any of your friends on the football team would have done that for you,” Tony says, walking off. Nakia, Peter, and Gamora glare at Steve, before rushing after Tony to help clean him up.

Then, it’s just Steve and Bucky.

“Can we talk?” Steve asks.

“There’s nothing to say, Steve. I hope you’re happy with the choices you’ve made,” Bucky says, following his friends.

Steve watches as he walks away.

Matt Murdock’s on a bit of a shitty luck streak. Sure, the football team won their third game of the season, which means they’re not completely out of the running yet, which is a good thing, but he seems to be losing players left and right.

It all started last June, when most of his star players graduated, thus leaving him with a team full of mostly rookies. Rookies with serious potential, yes, but still, rookies. Then, most of his best players left to join Banner at the Freak Show. And, most recently, Danny Rand broke his leg doing a keg stand at Brock Rumlow’s party. Though he wouldn’t actually admit it, Matt was glad they were nearing the end of the season, if only so that he could maintain some sanity.

Football’s not the only bad thing going on in Matt’s life at the moment. He had previously suspected that Bruce had a thing for Natasha, but he never actually worried about it, because he’d known his relationship with Natasha was strong enough to endure just about anything. But now, Matt’s worried.

He sees everything so much more clearly. Natasha absolutely flirts with Bruce, she’s always going the extra mile to help him out however she can, and she’s just always with him. Every single time Matt spots her in the halls, she’s with him. Natasha doesn’t even go out of her way to ask Matt to meet her in the staff room to eat lunch with her anymore, but she can invite Bruce into her office to eat lunch? It’s infuriating.

Matt has no idea what to do. He doesn’t want to come off as extremely jealous, even though he is, and yet, he doesn’t want to make a big spectacle in front of other teachers in the lounge like Maria suggested either. He doesn’t want his fellow educators thinking any less of him.

Still, it’s either lose his dignity, or lose Natasha for good.

Matt exits the locker room and makes his way for room 229, Maria Hill’s office.

He swings the door open aggressively, causing Maria to spill her protein shake all over the floor. “One thing’s for dead certain, Murdock,” she says, walking up to him and getting in his face, “and that’s that I am not going to be cleaning this up.”

“I apologize,” Matt says sincerely. “But I had a favor to ask.”

“Oh, I don’t do favors,” Maria replies.

“Fine, then I have a question to ask.”

“You have five seconds, Matthew.”

“Do you still think I should confront Bruce?”

Maria smiles wickedly at him.

“I’m freaking out,” Sharon says to Steve, as she lays on the bed in the ultrasound room of Dr. Xavier’s practice. Dr. Charles Xavier is the best Obstetrician/Gynecologist in the city. Also, pretty fucking ironically, he’s friends with Steve’s father.

“Everything’s going to be fine,” Steve assures her, kissing her knuckles. He’s just as nervous as her, if not more.

“Try to relax,” Nurse Raven Darkhölme says to the kids. “At your age, there’s very little chance of anything being wrong.”

“Awesome!” Steve exclaims happily. Sharon rolls her eyes at him.

“Okay, this is going to be a little cool to the touch,” Nurse Raven says as she places the lubed-up ultrasound wand onto Sharon’s stomach.

“Can you just… Be careful with my uniform? Please?” Sharon asks.

“Alright,” Raven replies. “So, speaking of your ages, have you two given any thought to what you’re going to do after the baby’s born?”

Steve keeps a fake smile intact. “Whatever Sharon wants is fine.”

“Okay. Well, if it makes a difference, it’s a girl.”

Steve and Sharon stare at the screen, both in tears.

Steve exits the room, meeting back up with Bruce in the lobby of the practice.

“Hey,” Steve says.

“Hi,” Bruce replies, putting down the magazine that’d kept him occupied.

“So, the baby’s fine. No mutations or anything. Not even any cool ones,” Steve shares. Bruce laughs at the joke.

“Thank you for taking us today, by the way. We were both way too nervous to drive.”

“No problem, Steve. Like I told Sharon, I’m happy to help,” Bruce says, playfully punching Steve’s arm. Steve smiles, but it fades instantly. Bruce realizes something is definitely eating at his student. “Are you doing okay?”

“Um, no, actually,” Steve responds. “How am I supposed to take care of a real person? I can just barely take care of myself.”

Bruce stares at him inquisitively. “I thought Sharon wanted to give the baby up for adoption?”

“For now, but we both know that’s not my call,” Steve says. “I’ve got to be honest, this sucks. I get all of the stress, all the worry, but none of the control.”

Sharon and Raven exit the room. Steve stands up. “It’s cool, Mr. B. You wouldn’t understand.”

“She’s all good to go,” Raven says to Steve and Bruce. “And good to see you again, Steven!”

“You too, Ms. Darkhölme,” Steve answers politely.

Bruce, Sharon, and Steve all make to leave the office, but Steve turns around and walks up to Raven at the desk. “Ms. Darkhölme, could you like… Not tell Dr. Xavier you saw me here today?”

“Of course,” Raven replies. “Your secret is safe with me.”

“So, ‘Rumor Has It’, and ‘Someone Like You’?” Nakia asks into the phone. She’s on her bed, in her pajamas, speaking to Bucky.

He called her about a potential mash-up idea he had, and to ask if she’d do it as a duet with him.

“Yeah. If you check out the chord progressions to everything, they’re very similar. And, you know, they go pretty well together, lyrically,” Bucky says.

“Okay, Barnes. I’ve got to admit, you keep surprising me. I used to think you were just some guy who could sing, but you’ve got creativity in that skinny little body of yours.”

“Um, thanks? I guess” Bucky says, laughing.

“So, Bucky, can I ask you something? Just for shits and giggles?”


“If you had a crush on a guy that… Was kind of similar to you, but was also worlds apart from you, what would you do?” Nakia asks.

Bucky’s puzzled. “Well, depends. Why do you ask?”

“Just… Curiosity,” Nakia answers.

“Well, hilariously enough, I’ve kind of been dealing with… Stuff similar to what you’re asking,” Bucky says before thinking. He immediately regrets opening his mouth. Nakia has a big mouth, as does, he’s learned, Gamora. Yes, Gamora, the one that barely talks. Nakia is probably going to spill whatever Bucky tells her.

“Oh, yeah? With who?” Nakia asks, intrigued.

“You know what, never mind, ignore it,” Bucky says.

Nakia gaps loudly into the phone. “Oh my god, you’re in love with Steve.”

Bucky just about tosses his phone out of the window to his bedroom. “What? That’s crazy, why would you think that?”

“Barnes, I just heard your voice tremble during that entire sentence, so don’t you dare even try to front,” Nakia says, laughing. “Look, if it’s something you’d rather keep… hidden, that’s fine, I won’t tell anyone.”

Bucky’s face drops. “Not even Gamora?”

Nakia crosses her index and middle finger. “Yeah, not even to Gamora.”

Bucky takes a second to think about it. “Okay. Then fine. I kind of have a thing for Steve. But, not so much lately. I’m still pretty pissed at him.”

“Understandable, we all are,” Nakia says. “So, spill. When did it start? What is it about him that you love?”

“Like, Nakia, I didn’t even say the word ‘love’,” Bucky says. He then yawns. “You know, it’s getting late, and I’m pretty tired.”

“Well, then brew yourself a cup of coffee, because you’re not going anywhere,” Nakia laughs.

November 19, 2012.

Bruce, Natasha, and Stephen are in the staff room, picking at their lunches as they make conversation. Bruce has a turkey sub, Natasha has hummus and vegetables, and Stephen has a tuna melt. Okay, so Bruce and Stephen are friends with Wong, the owner of the Subway four blocks away, and they may or may not get Subway delivered to them on occasion… So, what?

“I’m just beyond embarrassed… I wouldn’t even know what to say to him,” Natasha says to her friends. She’s speaking about the situation that she’d mishandled days prior, where she’d spilled the beans about Sharon’s pregnancy to Bucky.

“Just a simple apology would work fine, Nat. It was an accident, and Steve knows that now. He’s a good guy. Now, Sharon, she’s a whole different story, but regardless, Steve isn’t angry anymore,” Bruce says.

Natasha attempts to smile, but it doesn’t fully come through. She takes her job as the school’s Guidance Counselor very seriously, and she’d never screwed up this bad before.

“Okay. I’ll go talk to him during football practice today,” Natasha says.

“Speaking of football, I have a confession to make,” Stephen says, sipping on his diet Coke. Natasha and Bruce stare at him, waiting. “I am a high school football junkie.”

“Yeah, we know, Stephen,” Bruce deadpans.

“Yeah, you were at every game this season, even though you had no reason to be,” Natasha says, laughing. “You should be dating Matt instead of me, I hate having to attend games.”

“As long as he makes his famous honey dill-flavored steak for me every night, sold,” Stephen jokes. Natasha laughs again. Matt’s honey dill-flavored steak is quite delicious. He makes it for any occasion that the staff gets together.

Matt and Maria enter the room from the opposite direction. Matt’s insanely nervous, he’s sweating right through his polo. Thank god he decided to switch it up today, opting to wear a black polo with white pants instead of his regular colored polo and black shorts.

“Are you sure about this?” Matt asks.

“I’ve never been more sure about anything, ever. Go over there, and fight for your woman, unless you’re absolutely ready to lose her to the likes of Bruce Banner.”

“No. I’m not,” Matt replies. He turns, heading right toward Bruce, Natasha, and Stephen’s table.

“Hi, honey,” Natasha says upon seeing her boyfriend.

Matt gestures for her to stop talking and looks directly at Bruce.

Bruce looks up. “Hi, Matt.”

“Shut up, Banner,” Matt responds. This causes all the other teachers to avert their gaze over for a spoonful of drama. “You’re pathetic.”

“Excuse me?” Bruce asks.

“Yeah, I said it. You’re pathetic. Who do you think you are, going after a taken woman? Do you not know the meaning of the word ‘loyalty’? Because I’m starting to think you don’t. Natasha is my girlfriend, and I love her more than anybody on the planet, and you trying to sway her into breaking up with me is real fucking shady.”

Bruce’s mouth is agape.

“Matt, I…” Natasha begins, but Matt stops her, again.

“Care to comment, Banner?”

Bruce is speechless. He doesn’t know what so say. He doesn’t even know what’s going on at the moment. He excuses himself from the table, and heads toward the exit.

“Yeah, leave, like a coward. At least now everybody knows the kind of man you really are,” Matt says.

Bruce halts. He turns to take one last look, and then leaves.

Matt directs his attention to Natasha. “Baby, I’m so sorry if I’ve not been the best boyfriend as of late. But I love you so much, it hurts, and I don’t ever want you to think otherwise.”

Natasha doesn’t reply.

“Okay, I’m going to go now,” Matt says, leaving the room.

“What just happened?” Stephen asks, as the dust in the room attempts to settle.

Maria stands at the back of the room, radiating satisfaction from every pore in her body.

Baby, I'm so into you
You got that somethin, what can I do
Baby, you spin me around
The earth is movin, but I can't feel the ground

Oh, that kinda lovin'
Turns a girl to a slave
Oh, that kinda lovin'
Sends a girl right to her grave

You know I'm crazy
crazy, crazy for you baby
crazy, crazy, crazy for you baby

Tell me, you're so into me
That I’m the only one you will see
Tell me, I'm not in the blue
That I’m not wastin, my feelings on you

Every time I look at you
My heart is jumpin, what can I do?
You drive me crazy
I just can’t sleep
Crazy, I'm in too deep

You know I'm crazy
But it feels alright
Baby, thinkin of you keeps me up all night
You know I'm crazy, crazy, crazy for you baby
crazy, crazy, crazy for you baby

The Glee Club applaud, albeit hesitant. Most of them noticed the way Sharon kept looking at Sam during her number, especially Valkyrie, who’s now glaring Sharon’s way.

“Well done, Sharon,” Bruce says.

“That was for Steve,” Sharon says upon noticing people’s faces. “Hopefully, he comes back to Glee Club soon enough that I can sing it to him.”

The bell rings, and they all head out of the choir room. Sharon can hear the way Valkyrie says, “Can you believe that bitch?” to Carol.

Sam, halted in the door frame, turns to wink at Sharon.

Bucky’s on his way home when he stops at the football field and decides to watch the players finish up practice. Bucky missed the bus, so he had to walk home.

He takes a seat on the bleachers. A couple of players on the field shoot daggers in Bucky’s direction, but he just brushes them off.

“Hey,” Bucky hears a voice call out from behind him. It’s Steve.

“Hi,” Bucky replies.

“What’re you doing here?”

“Sorry, I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to sit and watch,” Bucky says dramatically.

“Geez, Bucky, you know I didn’t mean it like that,” Steve responds.

“I don’t know,” Bucky says. “Why I’m here. Just… Felt the urge.”

“Bucky, it’s okay to admit that you’re here because you miss me,” Steve jokes.

Bucky glares at him.

“Too soon, okay, I get it.”

Bucky stands. “Can I ask you something? Why did you choose football over Glee? I thought you said Ms. Romanoff told you you’d have a better chance at a scholarship if you stuck with Glee?”

“She did. She said I’d have a better chance with Glee than I would with football. But, at the end of the day, I decided to pick the one that wouldn’t ruin my reputation and take a chance on the fact that I’m a great football player.”

“Jesus, Steve, so you really just walked away from something that made you happy because you actually give a fuck what people think about you?” Bucky asks aggressively.

“You wouldn’t understand, Bucky. You’re not me,” Steve replies.

“You’re right, Steve. I’m not you. If I was you, I would’ve walked away from this the first second I joined the Glee Club, and finally admitted that I was only on the football team for the social perks.”

“You know what, Bucky…”

“Steve, I’m not going to stand here and fight with you. You’ve made your choices, and that’s fine. I’m just mad that I actually let myself believe I actually had a shot… At a friendship with you,” Bucky says shakily.


“It’s fine. And I meant what I said. I really do hope everything works out for you. Because even though you’re a jerk, you do deserve the best.”

Bucky walks off to head home as Steve watches. Why is he feeling the urge to run after Bucky and kiss him again? “What the fuck,” Steve whispers to himself, forcing himself to block the idea out, considering it’d be very gay of him, and Steve isn’t gay.

November 20, 2012.

Steve is in the middle of a science test in Mr. Banner’s science room. Sharon and Carol are at the table directly behind him.

Steve’s having trouble remembering the answer to how many protons and neutrons are in this question’s specific balance, and whatever. He distracts himself by coming up with baby names.

He’s always liked the name Sarah for a girl, after his mom. But he decides to think more outside the box, because he’s always admired the way celebrities come up with the most ridiculous names for their kids. He comes up with a list of fairly unique names:


Out of the entire bunch he comes up with, he likes Drizzle the most. He rips off a piece of his test, writes down the names, and pretends to yawn, so that he’s able to slap the paper onto Sharon’s table behind him.

“What is this?” Sharon whispers sneakily.

“Check it out. I came up with a name that I think would be good for the baby,” Steve replies.

Bruce notices the two exchanging words. “Eyes on your own test, Steve,” Bruce says. Steve straightens in his seat and looks at his paper.

He then looks up and notices that Jane Foster has approached Mr. Banner for help with a question, so he turns back around.

“Anyways, I read that Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter Apple, and I think that’s so cool, because you know how much I love apples, right? So, I figured we should name our kid something more original, more outside the box. I just came up with the best baby name of all time.”

Sharon stares at him, unimpressed. She opens the paper and reads the name. “Drizzle?” She asks.

“Yeah, Drizzle! Like, you know how awesome it is when it’s just drizzling outside, but it’s not really raining, so it smells like rain, but you don’t need an umbrella to go outside?”

“Are you a moron?” Sharon asks, now glaring at Steve.

“What?” Steve asks, frowning.

“We’re not naming our baby Drizzle; We’re not naming our baby anything! Finish your test, Steve.”

Steve turns around, sad. From behind him, he hears Carol take Sharon’s test from her.

“Would you give me my test back?” Sharon asks, roughly snatching it out of Carol’s grip.

“I just don’t understand anything,” Carol says.

“That’s not my problem,” Sharon replies.

“You are so insensitive! Bringing up baby names to me when you know I don’t want to keep it. I can’t keep it,” Sharon all but screams, as she walks to her next class. Steve is following behind.

“I know, but I don’t get what you expect me to do about it!”

“Not have an opinion?” Sharon says.

“Hey, this is happening to me, too!” Steve shouts.

“No, it’s not!” Sharon screams back. “Steve, I already told you, my parents will murder me if they find out. Like full on chop me up like Ted Bundy.”

Steve doesn’t reply. “Oh, also, just by the way, here’s how much a sonogram costs,” she says, handing Steve a paper from her backpack.

“Six-hundred and eighty-five dollars?!” Steve asks in bewilderment.

“And this is just the beginning. There’s going to be more doctor’s visits, vitamins, new clothes for when I explode.”

“What are we going to do?” Steve asks.

“You mean what are you going to do?”

“I started looking for a job. I mean, no one’s hiring. I almost got in at Olive Garden. But they said I was too tall to be a busboy.”

Sharon scoffs. “Somewhere in that pea brain of yours is a man. Access him and tell him to prove to me that I chose the right guy to have a baby with.”

Steve shakes his head. “You know what? Sometimes I wish you were more like Bucky.”

Sharon stops walking. She turns around slowly. “Oh, really?”

“Yeah, really. Bucky actually cares about my feelings; he sticks up for me, instead of tearing me down.”

Sharon scoffs. “Okay, then, you know what, Steve? Go be with Bucky! You have my permission!”

“So, why’re we here?” Valkyrie asks Maria. Valkyrie and Carol are seated in front of Maria, who has yet to say anything.

“Well, Valkyrie, you and Carol are here because I’ve decided to make you both co-captains of the Cheerios!”

Valkyrie’s jaw drops. “Wait, are you serious?!”

“Of course. I only want the best for my stars, especially when my stars feed me information to help destroy the Glee Club,” Maria says, holding her protein shake up in a cheers motion toward Carol.

Valkyrie looks over to Carol suspiciously. “What information did you share with Coach Hill?”

“Carol’s the one that told me about Sharon’s pregnancy,” Maria responds.

Valkyrie’s eyes bulge out of her head, slightly. “It was you?”

“I really didn’t mean to, but she asked, and I’m a terrible liar,” Carol says, frowning.

“Awe. Don’t feel bad, Carol. It was going to come out eventually,” Maria says.

“Coach Hill, I’m confused, why do you think revealing Sharon’s pregnancy to the whole school will affect the Glee Club?”

Maria stares at Valkyrie blankly. “I mean I’m sure it caused fights between you all, didn’t it?”

“No, we all already knew,” Valkyrie says.

“Well, Bucky didn’t know, but apparently Ms. Romanoff is the one that told him, so,” Carol shares.

“Well, whether it helped destroy the Glee Club or not, I’m not going to lie, it was still satisfying to do,” Maria says. “I’m still shaken by this news, ladies. Sharon was my all-star. She was ahead of all of you, talent-wise, and she reminded me of a young version of myself.”

“Don’t worry about Sharon anymore, Coach Hill. Carol and I are going to do such a good job at being co-captains, that in three weeks’ time, you won’t even be able to remember her last name,” Valkyrie says sassily.

“Outstanding,” Maria answers.

November 21, 2012.

[Gamora & Carol:]
Start me up
Start me up

Tommy used to work on the docks
Union's been on strike, he's down on his luck.
It's tough, oh so tough

[Gamora & Carol:]
We gotta hold on ready or not
You live the for the fight when that's all that you've got

[Tony, Peter, Gamora, & Carol:]
Start me up
We're half way there
Oh, livin' on a prayer
Start me up
We'll make it i swear
Oh, livin' on a prayer

[Tony with Carol & Gamora:]
If you start me up (uh)
Kick on the starter give it all you got, you got, you got
I can't compete with riders in the other heat, yeah yeah
I'll make a grown man cry,
I'll make a grown man give it a shot

[Tony, Peter, Gamora, & Carol:]
Start me up
We're half way there
Oh, livin' on a prayer
Start me up
We'll make it i swear
Oh, livin' on a prayer
Livin' on a prayer
[Gamora & Carol:]
Oh, we gotta hold on, ready or not
You live for the fight when that's all that you've got

[Tony, Peter, Gamora, & Carol:]
Start me up
We're half way there
Oh, livin' on a prayer
Take my hand, we'll make it i swear,
Oh livin' on a prayer
Start me up
If you start me up i'll never stop (i'll never stop)
Livin' on a prayer
Take my hand and we'll make it i swear
Oh, livin on a prayer
Oh, we're half way there
Oh, livin' on a prayer
Take my hand and we'll make it i swear,
Oh livin' on a prayer (we're almost there)
Livin' on a prayer
You gotta start me up

“Oh my god, you guys! That was killer!” Bruce exclaims. “You all did so great, and that arrangement was insane! What inspired that?”

“Well, I love the Rolling Stones,” Tony says.

“And I love Bon Jovi,” Peter adds.

“And we wanted to turn it into a quartet when Peter suggested we recruit Gamora and Carol to help sing, and dance.”

“Yes, those were some amazing moves, ladies! Well, well done all of you!”

Bruce ushers the kids back to their seats. He hears a knock at the door. Natasha.

“Guys, talk amongst yourselves for a little, I’ll be right back,” Bruce says, exiting the choir room.

This is the first time he’s seen, or heard from, Natasha since that debacle with Matt in the staff room a while ago.

“Hi,” Natasha says.

“Hey,” Bruce answers.

The hallway is completely empty. Bruce is thankful.

“Are you okay?”

Bruce shrugs. “You mean since your boyfriend attacked me in the teachers’ lounge? I guess I could be a lot worse,” he says.

Natasha frowns. “Bruce, I want you to know I had no idea he was going to do that, and I’m so, so sorry.”

Bruce half-smiles. “It’s okay, Nat. It wasn’t your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

“Can I ask you something?” She asks.

“Anything. You know that,” Bruce says.

“Was there any… Truth to what Matt accused you of?”

Bruce is frazzled. Is he really ready to admit to Natasha that he’s had a thing for her for years? That he loves the way her burgundy-colored hair bounces when she’s walking with purpose. That he loves how kind, and sincere she is. That he loves how she can never eat less, or more than twelve grapes or carrots at a time, otherwise she’ll feel incomplete. That he loves her laugh. That he loves how she acts with the students at Shield High.

This could all very well be a carefully orchestrated trap set by Matt.

“Maybe. A little,” Bruce finally replies after leaving her waiting for several minutes. “But, Natasha, it was never my intention to try and steal you, or anything like that. I knew you had a boyfriend, and I always respected that.”

Natasha smiles. “And I thank you for that, Bruce. Truly,” she says. “And I hope you don’t hate me for doing this, but I think we’re going to have spend some time apart. At least until Matt calms down, okay?”

Bruce stares at her distraught. “Nat…”

He sees the tears fill her eyes. “I’m so sorry, Bruce.”

Within sixty seconds, he’s left alone.

“Thanks for meeting me,” Sharon says to Sam, who’s just walked into the girl’s locker room.

“What was so important that we needed to meet after school, and in here of all places?” Sam asks.

Sharon laughs under her breath. “It’s the only place I knew would be absolutely empty. Today’s the only day of the week with no girls’ sports practices.”

Sam takes a seat beside her on the bench. He places a hand on her thigh. “How’s my girl?”

Sharon rolls her eyes. “Damn it, Wilson, keep it in your pants,” she says. “This is important.”

“Okay, what?!” He asks.

Sharon hands him a physical copy of the sonogram.

Sam stares at it, completely unresponsive.

He finally opens his mouth minutes later. “Is this…”


“That’s our girl?” Sam asks, grabbing hold of Sharon’s hand.


“She looks perfect.”

“She does.”

Sam leans over and kisses Sharon, hard and passionately.

She pulls away after a couple of seconds. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, you told me not to, I just…”

“It’s okay,” Sharon replies. “I understand. It felt… Right. And, I liked it.”

They kiss some more, completely unaware that on the other side of the room, Carol, who’d returned to the locker room to retrieve her gym shoes to take with her to dance class, is crouched down by her locker, mouth completely agape.

“Hello?” Valkyrie speaks into her phone, sounding extremely annoyed. Moments prior, she’d had a screaming match with her parents over the entire glee club ordeal. They were usually always on Valkyrie’s side, but, in a surprising turn of events, they genuinely felt bad that their daughter was helping to destruct a harmless club, that she was a part of.

“Hi. It’s me. Are you free right now?” Carol asks.

“Yeah, definitely,” Valkyrie replies enthusiastically. “What’d you have in mind?”

“Well, I’m outside your house right now. I need to tell you something… Now.”

“Okay, I’m coming.”

Valkyrie hangs up and is walking to the vehicle within seconds.

She hops in, greeting her best friend with a hug.

“Okay, what’s up?”

“Do you remember when Nakia told us she heard Sharon talking to Sam about the baby?” Carol asks hesitantly. Honestly, she’s really scared of how Valkyrie is going to react.

“Yeah, and we were all like what the fuck, because what would Sharon be doing telling Sam about any of it in the first place?”

“Well, she had a reason to be telling him.”

“And what would that reason be?”

“He’s the father,” Carol spits out.

Valkyrie’s entire demeanor changes. “What do you mean he’s the father?”

“I overheard them today in the girl’s locker room… She showed him the sonogram, and they called it ‘their child’.”

Valkyrie’s fuming, exhaling extremely roughly out of her nose.

Carol looks like she’s about to burst into tears at a moment’s notice, for her best friend. “Val?”

“I can’t fucking believe this shit,” Valkyrie says. “She has everything. Captain of the Cheerios, the most popular girl in the school, fantastic grades, her family is loaded, she has Steve, she has us, and you’re telling me that’s not enough? She also had to have the guy I’m dating? The guy I’ve been crushing on since seventh grade? This is fucking ridiculous!”

“Valkyrie, I’m so sorry,” Carol says, placing a hand over hers.

“Carol, trust and believe me when I say that this bitch is getting her shit rocked tomorrow in Glee Club.”

November 23, 2012.

She, she ain't real,
She ain't gon be able to love you like I will
She is a stranger,
You and I have history,
Or don't you remember?

Sure, she's got it all,
But, baby, is that really what you want?
Bless your soul, you've got your head in the clouds
You made a fool out of you
And, boy, she's bringing you down
She made your heart melt
But you're cold to the core,
Now rumour has it she ain't got your love anymore

[Bucky & Nakia:]
Rumour has it, rumour has it, rumour has it, rumour has it
(Rumour has it, rumour has it, rumour has it, rumour has it)
Don't forget me, I beg I remember you said

I heard that you're settled down
That you found a girl and you're married now.
I heard that your dreams came true.
Guess she gave you things I didn't give to you.

[Bucky & Nakia:]
Rumour has it, rumour has it, rumour has it, rumour has it
(Rumour has it, rumour has it, rumour has it, rumour has it)
Don't forget me, I beg I remember you said

Bless your soul, you've got your head in the clouds,
You made a fool out of me,
And, boy, you're bringing me down,
You made my heart melt, yet I'm cold to the core,
But rumour has it I'm the one you're leaving her for

[Bucky & Nakia:]
Rumour has it, rumour has it, rumour has it, rumour has it
(Rumour has it, rumour has it, rumour has it, rumour has it)
Don't forget me, I beg I remember you said
Hey hey, rumour has it
Don't forget me, I beg I remember you said
Never mind I'll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you
To, don't forget me I beg
I remember you said
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead

Bruce, Peter, Gamora, Tony, Sharon, Carol, Sam, Thor, and T’Challa all stand up to give their two fellow Glee Clubbers’ their much-deserved applause.

“I have absolutely no words. Bucky, Gamora, that was simply amazing! You all took to this whole mash-up assignment way too well, and I for one am so damn impressed!” Bruce says.

“I’ll say,” Valkyrie says, walking into auditorium. She’s in full on bitch mode, and Carol notices.

“Valkyrie, rehearsal started twenty minutes ago, where have you been?”

“In Coach Hill’s office. Oh, and by the way, Mr. Banner, there’s a call for you at the secretary’s desk.”

Bruce is taken aback. “Why wouldn’t they just call my cell?” He asks, but heads for the secretary, nonetheless.

“Who was on the phone for him?” Peter asks none the wiser.

“There wasn’t a phone call for him. I just needed him to leave so that I could do what I needed to do,” Valkyrie says, turning her attention to Sam. “Whatever was going on between you and me? It’s fucking over.”

She then walks directly up to Sharon. “And you? You’re fucking dead to me.”

“I’m sorry, what did I do?” Sharon asks.

“More like what haven’t you done, you dumb slut!” Valkyrie shouts. “Sam is the father of your baby! Don’t you dare try to weasel your way out of this one, tubbers.”

Everybody’s mouths drop to the floor. Sam and Sharon freeze. “Yeah, that’s what I thought. So, now that it’s out there, you are now both dead to me, and you can stop pretending that you’re the little victim in all of this, like you always fucking do.”

Everybody is so focused on the fight ensuing that not a single person notices Steve making his way down the aisles of the auditorium.

“Is that true?” Steve asks, face drained completely of color.

“Steve…” Sharon says, standing up.

Steve instantly dives for Sam. Everybody else is unresponsive. Steve punches him square in the face. The two go at it for minutes, punching, kicking, scratching, and spitting at one another until Bruce finally returns.

“Hey! Hey, what the hell is going on in here?” Bruce asks, running to break the boys up. It proves to be too much of a struggle, so Thor and T’Challa hold Sam back, as Bruce holds Steve.

“Tell the truth!” Steve screams aggressively, holding back tears.

“We don’t know what Valkyrie’s talking about!” Sam replies.

“Don’t play dumb, you’re too fucking dumb to play dumb!” Steve shouts back.

“Steve!” Bruce yells.

“No, I need to hear them both say it, I need them to admit that they’re fucking lying to me!”

Sharon’s crying. Steve finds whatever will he has inside of him to calm down enough to turn to Sharon and ask, “Is it true? Just tell me. It’s just a lie, right?”

Sharon doesn’t reply. She can’t, because her eyes are heavy with tears.

“Yes. Sam is the father,” she finally admits to the room.

Steve’s reaction looks like somebody’s just gone and stabbed him in the chest.

“So, all that stuff about that night?”

“You were stupid enough to buy it,” Sam says.

Steve is instantly filled with rage once again, and goes to charge at Sam, but is unsuccessful, as Bruce is still holding him back.

“I am so sorry,” Sharon lets out.

“No. No, screw this. I can’t believe I was actually going to come back. That’s the funny thing, I was only in here because I was actually going to return to Glee Club. Because I missed it. And I missed all of you. But, fuck this,” Steve says. “I’m done with you!” He screams to Sharon. “I’m done with all of you!”

Steve kicks over a couple of instruments and leaves.

Everybody is left with an uneasy feeling in the pit of their stomachs.

Sharon’s in the hallway, packing up her bag with homework, eyes still insanely heavy from having been crying for the last twenty minutes. Maria Hill approaches her.

“I don’t know if it wasn’t obvious the first time, but I dismissed you from the Cheerios. I can’t have a pregnant girl on my squad. You’re a disgrace. So, uniform on my desk, by tomorrow morning. It’ll give you the opportunity to stop pretending you actually still fit in it,” Maria says, walking off.

Sharon doesn’t have time to dwell on Maria’s words, as Jane Foster and Jessica Jones bathe her in two grape-flavored slushies seconds later.

Everybody in the hallway erupts into laughter.

“Ladies, it’s come to me,” Maria says to Carol and Valkyrie. “My grand act of Glee Club sabotage.”

“Took you long enough,” Valkyrie mutters under her breath.

“What is it?” Carol asks.

“I’ve got connections over at the A-Force Academy, and the Illuminati School for the Deaf. And my connections have confided in me that their Glee Club advisors have admitted that winning Sectionals would mean so much to their communities. Which will absolutely take away any semblance of guilt I might feel when I give both of said advisors the Aural Avengers’ setlist for the competition,” Maria explains. “It’s perfect.”

Valkyrie looks to the floor, actually feeling shame.

“I don’t get it,” Carol says, looking confused.

“We’re going to give Coach Hill our song selections, and she’s going to give them to our competition.”

“And I will pull some strings to make sure that you perform last, so that it will look like you stole the songs from them, thus ensuring the Aural Avengers lose Sectionals.”

“It’s perfect, Coach Hill. We’ll get you our setlist as soon as we can,” Valkyrie says.

“That’s my girls!” Maria exclaims positively.

Sharon finally returns home after an apocalypse of a day at school. She’s ready to fall into her mother and father’s arms and let them soothe her back to comfort, like they always do.

Harrison and Amanda are standing in the doorway when Sharon walks in.

After the day she’s had, Sharon bursts into tears upon seeing her parents. She can’t help. She just wants them to make it all okay again.

“Mommy, Daddy!” She says, walking up to hug them.

“Sharon,” Amanda whispers. Sharon notices tears in her eyes.

Harrison holds up a letter. Judging by the logo on the top, and the hefty total at the bottom, it looks like a doctor’s bill… For one of Sharon’s most recent appointments.

The four other times she knew she’d get a bill, Sharon had beat her parents to the mail box and always collected them herself.

Clearly, she was a little too late today.

“What the fuck is this?” Harrison asks his little girl.