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Marvel Universe Online

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“You ready?” Bucky called over to Steve. They’d been preparing for this raid for weeks, making sure they had everything they needed to ensure they would succeed.

“Been ready for days,” was Steve’s instant reply. He’d been the one to propose trying for it in the first place, despite the fact that their odds weren’t great. But then again, that was Steve, and it was the reason the Avengers were the best. They’d try for things no one else did and succeeded somehow.

As one, they entered their usernames and passwords and waited for their computers to load into Marvel Universe.

     T3hC4pt41n: hey everyone

     W1nt3rS0ld13r: hi y’all

     H4wk3y3: finally!

     H4wk3y3: was starting to wonder if you’d show

     T3hC4pt41n: of course we’d show

     T3hC4pt41n: i organized this

     T3hC4pt41n: you’re just impatient

     Bl4ckW1d0w: isn’t he always?

Grinning, Bucky started typing.

     W1nt3rS0ld13r: i think we’re all impatient

     H4wk3y3: hulk isn’t

     Hulxx0r: we’re still five minutes early

     Hulxx0r: i’ll get impatient when it’s actually time

     H4wk3y3: *rolls eyes*

     Ir0nM4n: good afternoon everyone

Throwing a quick glance to make sure Steve wasn’t looking his way to see it, Bucky brightened up. Ir0nM4n was the only one of the group they didn’t actually know personally - or, well, Bruce probably did, since he’d been the one to introduce Iron. Apparently, they’d met during one of Bruce’s science outings, before he’d moved in with Nat and Clint and their adoptive parents. It wasn’t hard to believe, considering the guy behind the character was brilliant.

     W1nt3rS0ld13r: hey metal man!

     Ir0nM4n: hi winter wonderland

     Ir0nM4n: everyone here?

     T3hC4pt41n: still waiting for our gods of thunder and mischief

     Ir0nM4n: drat

     W1nt3rS0ld13r: you in a hurry?

Although they didn’t know a lot about him, it wasn’t a secret that Iron’s father was pretty strict when he was home, which fortunately wasn’t often. And while he shouldn’t have been there this weekend, Bucky worried that the man’s schedule might have changed.

     Ir0nM4n: nah

     Ir0nM4n: just got a surprise for you

     H4wk3y3: GOODIES

     W1nt3rS0ld13r: lol greedy

Still, he understood. Marvel had a great crafting system overall, except that it was just about impossible to get excellent results. Anyone could get normal gear, and with a bit of effort they could get fine gear. Good gear required actual practice, and people who were skilled at crafting usually managed great gear, but Iron was actually known for being the only one in the game who could reliably get excellent results.

And he wasn’t hesitant about sharing with his friends, either, which meant the other Avengers usually benefited from his skill as well.

     H4wk3y3: oh like you’re not excited

     F4lc0n: no fighting, kids

     W1nt3rS0ld13r: i’ll fight if i want to

     H4wk3y3: you’re not my real mom

     T3hC4pt41n: hi falcon

     Th1rt33n: isn’t fighting what we’re here for in the first place?

A quick glance at Steve confirmed what Bucky had already known - his best friend was blushing. As much as Bucky found himself interested in Iron, he had a running bet with Natasha, Clint and Sam over when Steve and Sharon would start dating.

None of them were optimistic in their estimates.

     L1ghtn1ng: GREETINGS, FRIENDS

     Ir0nM4n: hi zapdos

     Tr1xt3r: do you have to do the caps *every time*?

It was still amusing to him how much Loki bickered with Thor, especially because they all knew how close the two were. They hadn’t been, before, but playing Marvel together had brought the two together.

Honestly, it had brought all of them together.

     W1nt3rS0ld13r: think it’s more ‘wanting’ than ‘have to’

     Tr1xt3r: *eyeroll*

     L1ghtn1ng: IT IS PART OF MY CHARM :D

     H4wk3y3: lol

     H4wk3y3: so

     H4wk3y3: goodies???

     Ir0nM4n: yes, birdbrain

     Ir0nM4n: goodies

     Ir0nM4n: i managed to do some crafting

     Ir0nM4n: weapons, cause i already did the armor pieces last week

     H4wk3y3: new bow!? :D :D :D

     T3hC4pt41n: that sounds amazing iron

     T3hC4pt41n: thanks so much

     W1nt3rS0ld13r: if we make this raid, we owe it to you

     Ir0nM4n: nah

     Ir0nM4n: it’s mostly your own skill

     Ir0nM4n: i just make it a bit easier

Watching as Iron handed out his new goodies, Bucky couldn’t keep the soft smile off his face. Despite being the only one they didn’t know in real life, Iron really felt like an integral part of the group, and he made them all so much better.

Not just with the gear, though that was a definite advantage, but with how incredibly kind and supportive and generous he was. Despite the fact that he clearly didn’t have the easiest life himself, he was always willing to help them all out whenever they needed it, with in-game issues and real life ones as well.

Whenever his father wasn’t at home, he was online at the most ridiculous times, which meant that if something was wrong with one of them, they could log on and Iron would likely be there.

It worried Bucky sometimes, considering he wasn’t sure if Iron ever slept, but when he’d expressed his hesitant concern, Iron had shrugged it off and promised him that he slept enough. What that meant, Bucky wasn’t sure, but he made an effort to trust Iron when he actually made a promise.

     H4wk3y3: omg this is *epic*

     H4wk3y3: i am gonna shoot *all* the bad guys

     W1nt3rS0ld13r: not if i get to them first

     L1ghtn1ng: YOUR WEAPONS WILL NOT BE FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF LIGHT

     Th1rt33n: you can get in line behind me

     Th1rt33n: ladies first ;)

     Bl4ckW1d0w: there’s gonna be plenty for everyone

     Tr1xt3r: how about everyone just makes sure they don’t die

     Tr1xt3r: don’t want to waste my time ressing you all

     Tr1xt3r: risk missing out on loot

     F4lc0n: risk going down collectively

     F4lc0n: we all gotta stay alive

     T3hC4pt41n: and we will

     T3hC4pt41n: we discussed the plan

     T3hC4pt41n: we know what to do

     T3hC4pt41n: not to mention our teamwork is the *best*

     T3hC4pt41n: we can do this

     W1nt3rS0ld13r: or die trying :P

     Hulxx0r: XD

     Ir0nM4n: inspiring speech

     Ir0nM4n: nice pessimistic ending

     Ir0nM4n: time to have some fun :P

     H4wk3y3: ready to rumble!

     L1ghtn1ng: YEAHHHHHHH

     W1nt3rS0ld13r: let’s kick some ass

     F4lc0n: and take some loot

     Hulxx0r: ready

     Th1rt33n: new weapons are equipped

     Tr1xt3r: ready to stop talking and get going

     Bl4ckW1d0w: ready for some murder

     T3hC4pt41n: AVENGERS ASSEMBLE

And then they were off, trying to focus on the tactics and making sure everyone had all the support they needed. Bucky tended to remain on the back line, along with Clint and Loki, so they could relieve pressure whenever the others needed. Iron, Thor and Sam did double-duty, switching between long-distance and close-up fighting depending on the situation. Finally Steve and Bruce did most of the tanking, leaving Natasha and Sharon free to move around so they could do the most damage.

Most of them could switch from ranged to melee, but they all had their favorite roles to play. Not to mention those were easily the roles they were best suited to, to different extents, so they mostly stuck to their usual division and switched things up only when necessary for certain mechanics.

Breathing slowly, Bucky sniped one of the enemies that had been descending on Steve. “Thanks,” came a distracted mutter from the other side of the room, accentuated by a frantic tapping of keys as Steve tried to keep up.

     F4lc0n: shit

     F4lc0n: they hit me

     T3hC4pt41n: need a ress?

     F4lc0n: nah

     F4lc0n: just cover

     F4lc0n: wings need to repair

     H4wk3y3: got your back

     F4lc0n: thanks

     F4lc0n: bird pals 4 life

     H4wk3y3: yassss

     W1nt3rS0ld13r: birdbrains 4 life

     T3hC4pt41n: focus pls

     W1nt3rS0ld13r: multitasking ftw

Even as he typed it, he used his mouse to shoot another enemy, grinning when he heard Steve’s sigh behind him. His friend would probably have rolled his eyes, too, if it hadn’t been for the fact that Steve was always unerringly focused when fighting.

     F4lc0n: omg

     F4lc0n: omg

     Th1rt33n: ?

     F4lc0n: iron

     F4lc0n: these wings

     F4lc0n: the regen

     F4lc0n: omg

     Bl4ckW1d0w: already?

     F4lc0n: YES

     H4wk3y3: damn

     Th1rt33n: wow

     Th1rt33n: nice

     Ir0nM4n: only the best

     W1nt3rS0ld13r: mad respect

He wanted to say more, wanted to compliment Iron on his amazing work and tell him that he was, in fact, the reason they were succeeding at this raid, but he knew Iron would only try to deflect. And as good as he was at multitasking, Bucky didn’t want to make Iron’s job even harder, so he kept quiet for now.

     L1ghtn1ng: LOST SOME OF THEM

     L1ghtn1ng: NORTH

     F4lc0n: not seeing them

     Ir0nM4n: moved east

     Ir0nM4n: at 13

     T3hC4pt41n: be right there

     Th1rt33n: i can take them

     Th1rt33n: nope

     Th1rt33n: damn

     T3hC4pt41n: got him

     Th1rt33n: thanks

     T3hC4pt41n: no problem :)

     T3hC4pt41n: owed you ;)

Considering it was usually the other way around, with Sharon coming to Steve’s help, no doubt his friend was absolutely elated that he could repay the favor. Bucky had to actively contain his snickering though - the emojis were a bit much in the middle of a battle.

     F4lc0n: cap behind!!

     W1nt3rS0ld13r: not on my watch

     Ir0nM4n: nice shot

     W1nt3rS0ld13r: :D

Slowly, the waves of enemies seemed to lessen a bit. Considering they still had five minutes of surviving left until they could face the boss, it made Bucky suspicious.

     H4wk3y3: shit

     H4wk3y3: spotted

     H4wk3y3: help

     L1ghtn1ng: INCOMING

     Tr1xt3r: watch your back

     Tr1xt3r: idiot

     L1ghtn1ng: THANK YOU

     Tr1xt3r: ...

     Ir0nM4n: hulk inc

Glancing at the numbers that were slowly counting down, Bucky did everything he could to make sure he and his friends would make it through this alive and well enough to be able to defeat the boss. It wasn’t easy, especially since the last few waves were stronger than the ones before, but Bucky was proud to say he’d picked the best vantage spot - both Loki and Clint had been attacked a few times, but he’d managed to remain safe and able to help the others where necessary.

     T3hC4pt41n: boss time

     T3hC4pt41n: anyone need extra regen time?

     Hulxx0r: i’m all good

     Hulxx0r: this stuff is awesome iron

     Bl4ckW1d0w: agreed

     Th1rt33n: same

     F4lc0n: we might actually make this

     T3hC4pt41n: of course we will make this

Which was when the boss showed up, looking very big and very ugly and very strong.

     W1nt3rS0ld13r: you sure?

     F4lc0n: holy shit

     H4wk3y3: that is a *lot* of steroids

     Ir0nM4n: that is in need of plastic surgery

     Th1rt33n: lol

     Th1rt33n: true

     Th1rt33n: that face is hideous

     T3hC4pt41n: alright

     T3hC4pt41n: focus

     T3hC4pt41n: stick to the plan

     Ir0nM4n: group up and hit it till it dies

     W1nt3rS0ld13r: lol

     H4wk3y3: lol

     F4lc0n: lol

     Bl4ckW1d0w: nice summary

     T3hC4pt41n: *sigh*

     T3hC4pt41n: let’s do this

     L1ghtn1ng: AYE

As much as Iron himself denied it, Bucky was absolutely certain they wouldn’t have made it without the equipment he’d crafted for them. Not only had he used some of the best materials in the game, but the excellent quality also meant the regen times for repair were lowered. It also heightened all of their stats, making them stronger and quicker, which turned out to be very necessary.

For the rest of the weekend, all of them had been riding the high of that victory, and when Bucky had suggested that they could do something nice for Iron in return, considering how much he did for all of them, everyone had eagerly agreed. They still weren’t sure what to do, considering how much he already had in-game and the fact that they didn’t know him in real life, but they’d been brainstorming on it together.

It made it that much more of a crash when they had to return to school again on Monday. SHIELD High wasn’t a bad school, especially since placement was reserved for teens with special achievements, but it was still school.

“Whassup, Brooklyn Boys,” Sam greeted them. Bruce, Natasha and Clint were already there as well, quickly going over some last-minute homework assignment that Clint had no doubt ignored the entire weekend. Phil and Audrey, their guardians, usually didn’t care too much about whether they’d finished their homework - as long as they kept up their grades and didn’t cheat to do it, they were allowed to be in charge of their own planning.

“Clint didn’t do his homework again?” Steve asked, like Monday morning wasn’t the same every week.

And, like every week, Natasha sighed. “Better things to do.”

“Greetings, friends!” Beside Thor, Bucky could see Loki rolling their eyes, and they quickly veered off to meet up with their own friends. It wasn’t quite quick enough to hide the faintly amused curl of their lips, though - as much as they pretended to be above it all, it was obvious they loved Thor and were actually amused by his antics. It was probably why Thor kept up with it, too.

Before Sharon could show up, they all watched as a dark Rolls Royce drove up, stopping in front of the school. Much like he did every day he’d been going to the school, Tony Stark got out of the car with a few hushed words thrown back at his driver. Then, he slung his backpack over his shoulder and headed into the school, not even taking notice of them except for a quick glance thrown their way as he walked past.

Honestly,” Sam sighed. “It’s not like we don’t know he’s rich. Does he have to throw it around like that, too?”

“Too fancy for public transport,” Steve joked. “What if his clothes got dirty?”

“Guys…” Bruce was clearly uneasy. It was a clear sign that he was getting better, since he probably wouldn’t have said anything before Phil and Audrey had taken him in after his father’s arrest.

“Sorry, Bruce.” Now it was Steve sighing, an apologetic smile on his face. “Just not his biggest fan.”

None of them really were, mostly due to the fact that he was Tony Stark. Still, considering it made Bruce uncomfortable, Bucky was more than willing to change the subject. “So, who else had trouble with that assignment for English?”

It wasn’t like Stark was important, after all.