It was the annual Stark Industries gala, famous celebs and news reporters from all over came to hear what Tony Stark had to say, but this gala was different, this one was for all of the Avengers, not just SI. It was in memory of Tony Stark and how his snap had brought them all back.
Early September wind combed it's way through her hair, her thick black curls falling steadily out of her bun that she had spent hours trying to tame. Emmie looked around, not many reporters were aloud inside and even then, it was the big bosses that twisted words to work in their favour.
She looked down at her dress, a simple mint green, a classy colour that complemented her dark skin, she had thick black glasses framing her face and a classic yellow pencil sticking out from behind her hair. Her feet ached, the soles killing from the heels and her coat wasn’t protecting her from the wind, at least not her whole body.
Her notepad was filled with basic questions and she constantly tapped her pen against the white lined sheets. The camera around her neck was bumping against her stomach, the digital bulky memory capture moving with the wind. She subconsciously rubbed at it, looking down fondly at the bump her baby was giving her.
She was five months along, too soon for her waters to break, so she took the opportunity to be the reporter of her own story, the story of the new Avengers generation. Seventeen and pregnant didn't sound good on any resume, maybe that was why she never got a job during the snap nor during the snap back as she called it, so she became self employed, having her own vlogs, her own podcast. She was proud that she had crawled her way to the top.
She waited another five minutes and saw the first of the avengers turning up, the newest ones. Ant-Man, The Wasp, Captain Marvel and Spider-Man, informally known as Scott and Hope Lang, Carol Danvers and Peter Parker-Stark.
She waited as close as she could to the entrance doors, less shoving where she was; safe for the baby and herself. She saw Hope and Scott approach and took her opportunity.
“Excuse me, Mrs and Mr Lang. Hi, My name’s Emmie Bird, can I have a moment of your time, I promise to be quick.” At their nod, she ushered them over and gently smiled, hiding her baby bump incase they got the ‘young mom, irresponsible child’ vibe.
Hope was in a beautiful golden dress, black ribbon across her chest and off the shoulder sleeves. Her hair was twisted back into a braided bun and her makeup was soft yellows and thick mascara.
Scott was in a nice suit, a white bowtie and red laced shoes to match his red suit. His hair was just as messy as it was in the photos and he had a cheeky smile as he wrapped his arms tightly around his wife’s shoulder.
“Hi, like I said my name is Emmie, and I’m here to represent my own podcast, The Birds Nest. I was wondering if I could ask some simple questions, which you can skip, of course,” they nodded again, kind smiles directed towards the younger woman who took it as her cue to start. “So, you were there at the final battle, can you just tell me something that went through your head when you saw each other? You don’t need to go into detail and you can fully skip.” She pulled out a recorder and raised it in question, already knowing that they would say yes. “I’m going to record this, is that okay?”
“Yes, uh. When I first saw my Hope, it had been roughly ten hours, even less. I didn't know what to say, what to think. But I can remember running up to her, holding her tightly and telling her that I really wanted Thai food.” Scott laughed and Hope nodded with a fond smile. “Why Hope ignored me and just kissed me, I will never know. But all I did know was, she was the most amazing woman in my life and I want to spend my life with her and my Peanut.”
“That’s amazing Scott, honestly, it was very moving. Mrs Lang, do you have anything to add?” I turned to the woman in question who just shook her head as if what Scott said was everything Emmie needed to know. “Okay, can I ask what you thought about Tony Stark, the man who saved us? I want to know what you all think that he has done, what his death has caused us to have.”
Hope frowned in thinking and replied, “Tony Stark was a man that my family never liked, history and all, but what he did was a great self sacrifice that saved our snapped men, women and children. I never agreed with Stark, I don’t think I ever will, but he has my respect.”
“Stark did the right thing and I think he deserves to rest now.” Scott added. “Can I ask you something?” He quickly added.
“Why have you come out here today, to Stark’s gala?”
“Because he brought my family back. I’m not here to just honour him though, I’m here to respect all of the hero's that had helped bring back the others. I don’t like Stark, I can’t move on from what I feel, but I know that if he was alive right now, I would hug him and thank him for bringing back the people who mattered to me. I’m here for all of you, not just him.” She replied and pulled her coat tighter around herself, the breeze picking up again. “I won’t keep you any more since it’s getting cold, please enjoy your evening and thank you for stopping by.”
She waved them off and saw Carol walk up towards where she was, smiling and waving in a lovely blue pantsuit, a red tie and black heeled boots. Carol seemed to not be in the mood to answer questions so Emmie waited until Peter turned up near her, she called him over and smiled warmly at the over excited teen in the black tux.
“Hello there Peter. My name is Emmie Bird, from The Birds Nest podcast,” the teen nodded and his grin widened.
“I listened to your conspiracy theories with my friends, you are very weird, Miss bird.” They both chuckled and Peter blushes are dark red, looking like a sun dried tomato.
“Thankyou for that, nice to know I’m not actually invisible to the world. Do you mind if I ask two questions, just two small ones and you can skip or walk away if you want to, is that okay with you?” He nodded and she took a quick picture of him in his Spider-Man pose. “Is it okay if I record this too?”
“Sure, go for it, Miss Bird.”
“In your last interview with The Talk, you said that you double barrelled your last name so you didn't lose that past connection with yourself, and when you got asked about it, you declined to answer so I want to know something that has been bugging me for months since your return. Who inspired you the most in your life?”
Peter took a deep breath before smiling softly, looking as if he was recalling a memory. “I would have to say that my aunt and uncle were the biggest inspirations in my life. Please don't get me wrong, Mr Stark was my hero, but my aunt was the one who looked after men when I moved in with them, my uncle was the one who took me to get ice cream everyday after school. They were the everyday superheroes that shaped me to be the man I am today.” He chuckled softly and looked off into the far distant. “Without them, I wouldn't be here today.”
Emmie nodded in understanding and took another photo of his distracted smile fondly looking at the sixteen year old who looked like he was fresh out of the womb. “Okay, one more question. Everyone knows how and why you outed yourself, but I want to know what you would've continued to do if you hadn't outed yourself after the school bombing?”
“I would have continued to do what I did before, I will admit that I feel better now that the world knows, but I like the fact that if I hadn't outed myself, I would have done what I always did, look out for the little guy. I still will, I won’t go on missions until I think I’m ready, I’m going to go at my own pace.”
Emmie smiled. “That sounds great, Peter. You need to do what you feel is right for you, you can go now, I shouldn't keep you too long out here in the cold.”
As Peter walked away, the baby reacted with a harsh kick, a sharp one that had her bending over at her stomach. “Please behave for Mommy, you’re hurting me.” She whispered with no harshness to her tone, her motherly instincts taking over with her responses. The baby had been kicking a lot recently, moving and disrupting her from everyday activities that we easy to complete, at least they would be if the baby wasn't kicking her every five seconds.
More heroes came and went and soon it was down to the last of the Avengers. The first Avengers. Steve Rogers walked out, walking stick in hand and Bruce Banner following in tow. The now eighty year old looking super soldier was smiling warmly at everyone and the crowd was going wild for Professor Brulk. Clint stepped out, one of Natasha’s widow bites around his wrist.
All three men were in suits, black for Steve, blue for Brulk and red for Clint. Steve quickly went inside, not stopping for many questions and Bruce just smiled and stopped for everyone, but it was Clint that came to her.
She didn't usher him over, didn't even breath his name. He just walked over and smiled whilst Emmie took a few photos.
“Aren't you a little bit too young to be a news reporter?” He asked her, a smirk on his sorrow face.
“Yes, aren't you a little too old for a mohawk?” She replied in kind.
“Touché, so, what can I do for you, little miss?”
“Right. Sorry. My name’s Emmie Bird and I’ve got two questions to ask you, most of the questions have already been asked but I don’t think these will have been asked. Like I said to the others, leave anytime you want, ignore me and skip the questions. I want to record this, if that is okay?”
“Go for it, sunshine.”
“I know that Natasha never got the send off you wanted her too, but what I do know is that without her, the stones wouldn't have gotten back her and Stark wouldn't have snapped us all back to life. What I want to know, is what would Natasha do if she had lived?”
Clint looked uneased, guilt shadowed his face and Emmie felt bad for putting this on him. “I know what she would do. She had a ten year plan built up, she wanted to officially take down the Red Room and build an orphanage. She wanted to settle down and stop. I can remember her telling me that she was tired and that she would want to move in with me, living quietly in the middle of nowhere. She would build and orphanage and settle down and give children the life she never had, that’s what she would do.”
Emmie nodded, biting her tongue as a sharp kick was delivered. Clint looked at her with a calculated stare, watching as she almost doubled over from the repeated kicks.
“You okay?” He asked, concern now on his face as he took her elbow in his palm, slowly edging her down to sit on one of the stairs. “Do you want me to get someone?”
“No!” She exclaimed, maybe a little too harshly in her panicked state. “No, thank you.”
He nodded and she quickly asked her second question. “What would you say to Romanova if she was here, seeing as this is a tribute to Stark and she isn't getting any recognised like what Stark is getting?”
“I would tell her that she has done what she wanted to do back in Budapest. She has redeemed herself and she can live in peace knowing that her past is now behind her. She has redeemed herself fro-” he cut himself off again as Emmie doubled over in pain. It was a sharp kick that had her crying out. “Right, I’m calling someone. Anyone.” He turned to security at the doors and asked for Banner to come outside, which he did, she could tell from his large echoing footsteps.
“What’s up, Clint?”
“This reported here is in pain and is being too stubborn to sort it out, what’s your verdict, Doc?” Clint bluntly said, sharp eyes boring into her skull.
“I’m not that kind of Doctor, Clint.” Bruce stressed as he crouched down, all cameras and eyes now turned to them. “Maybe we should take this inside?” Bruce muttered to the both of them.
“Fine by me,” she whispered, praying that her bump won't shock the news reporters, she couldn't afford to be on the front page, too much attention, she had just gotten away.
Bruce easily picked her up and Clint followed the pair inside. Bruce seeked out another hero and she ended up with Hope coming her way. Bruce looked down and Emmie and finally took in her appearance.
Pale skin, an ill looking complexion. Her eyes were wide yet sunken, surrounded by black and blue bruising beneath. She had a small cut, noticeable unless looking, on her left cheek and when he glanced down at her arms, tiny marks were embedded into her skin.
“You okay there, ma'am?” Bruce asked again, willing for Hope to hurry up.
“Yeah, I’m good.” Emmie clenched her teeth as another kick was delivered and grasped her side and front in a vice grip, heavily breathing through the nose. “Just want this to stop, it will, it always does.”
“Do you know what it is, Emmie?” Clint asked, suspicion in his eyes, confusion on his face.
“A baby.” She revealed her bump just as Hope came over, showing a not too large bump on a seventeen year olds body. “This just hasn't happened for weeks now.” Another sharp pain had her biting down on her hand, leaving a mark behind and a tiny trace of blood. “I appreciate your concern but I need to go, I’m going to be ruining your gala.”
Emmie knew that she wouldn't get kicked out, she knows the heroes wouldn't do that to a young girl, but she couldn't be here. She knew she shouldn't have come, having had gotten away from him, she was already slimming her chance of escape. How could she had been so stupid? So, so, stupid!
Emmies attempts to get up were falling flat as Hope put her shoulder on Emmie’s shoulder and urged her to sit down again. “Emmie, right? We spoke outside. Now I have a question for you.” Hope looked into her eyes, brown pupils that begged that what she thought wasn't the truth.
“How old are you?”
Emmie sucked up her pride and muttered under her breath, “I’m seventeen.”
Hope, Clint and Bruce sucked in a sharp breath and look at each other worryingly. She was too young to be a mother and by the looks of things, she was keeping some more from them. The girl let out another painful gasp and Hope took initiative, “Bruce, go find Pepper. Clint find me somewhere not so crowded.” Both men stared at her before shuffling into action.
Hope turned her attention to be solely on the girl. “I need to know how far along you are and how long these pains have been going on for.” She spoke in her no-nonsense tone and it obviously woke something up within the girl as she gritted what Hope wanted to know out. “And do you know who the dad is?”
That was the question that seemed to scare the girl the most, a far away glassy look covered her eyes, her chest was rising in an unrecognizable pattern. The girl was on the brink of a panic attack and Hope couldn't let that happen. The Wasp grabbed Emmies hand, squeezing enough to leave behind a faint mark that faded as soon as she dropped Emmies wrist. “You back with us?”
Emmie nodded not trusting her words and saw Pepper Stark walking towards her, must be time for her to leave.
“Hope, what’s going on?” Pepper asked, casting another confused glance at Emmie.
“She needs help, some doctors. I think she might be going into labour. It’s too early to tell, but she needs help, pain meds. Anything, really.” Hope looked back at Emmie before looking into Peppers worried eyes.
“Get her back to Avengers Tower and get med-bay set up. Someone will go with you, that is if you are going with the girl.” Pepper turned to Emmie and crouched down to eye level. “Hope and another avenger will go with you to med-bay and we’ll find out what’s going on. Anyone we can call?”
“No, can someone just help me up?” Hope and Clint grabbed her arms, gently easing her up off the ground. The trio began walking just as Emmies waters broke, unnoticed by both Avengers.
“Uh, guys?” They turned to see the large puddle under her. “I think I’m going into an early labour.” And with a gasp of pain, she knelt down, head bowed to her stomach as she howled in pain, attracting eyes of many reporters.
“We need to get her out of here, now.” Clint demanded, harshly in his panic.