“Come on, Taylor!”
“But dad, it’s the Eifel Tower!”
“Yes, I can see that, and-“
“-And we’ll get plenty of time to see it,” Steve interjects from the driver’s seat of our S.H.I.E.L.D. issued van, “when we aren’t too busy, you know, saving the world.”
I push my bottom lip out. No, I don’t care how childish it is at the moment.
“Don’t give me that lip.” my dad says sternly with a look in his eyes he rarely uses on me – his ‘don’t push me right now’ look.
I resign myself to gazing out the window in silence, my brain either computing mission details or complaining about the fact that I’m in freaking Paris and I could be seeing so many monuments right now and there isn’t an alien in sight.
I might have spoken too soon.
Our left front tire explodes, and Steve fights for some amount of control of the van as Natasha, in the passenger seat, braces against the dashboard and loads her gun, ready to make a quick exit and unload some lead on whoever just caused this calamity.
Directly next to me, my dad shoves my pack at me before somewhat curling himself around me, his foot primed to deploy the Mark V.
Behind me, I can feel my seat shift as Clint curls into what I can only assume is brace position, and I can see glimpses of Bruce and Thor – who had met us at the airport – doing the same behind my dad.
Someone calls out a last hold on! And then –
SMASH ! BANG! CRASH!
My head slams against the window where I had previously pouted, and my vision lightens with stars and darkens at the same time. I swear if feels like my dad’s elbow – or knee, maybe, I can’t tell – is about to crush some of my ribs, but luckily the rest of me gets shoved into my pack, cushioning the rest of my bones and other important organs.
Once the van stills, I shake my vision clear of the stars and black spots and my dad starts to slowly untangle himself from me.
The first thing I reach for is my pack. “Jarvis,” I cough out as I try and regain the wind that was knocked out of me, “deploy!”
I shift my arms and legs – I don’t think anything is broken – into a position my suit can fold around.
I try and stay as still as possible as it encompasses me, but the second my face plate is secure, I’m moving, fighting my way out of the wreckage.
As soon as I’m free, I take stock of my surroundings.
The fact that my dad is standing, scratched (nothing a paint job can’t fix) but unharmed, a few feet away send relief crashing over me in waves, relief I know he shares as he spots me safe.
Steve is a little roughed up but unharmed, Jarvis informs me, and about three feet behind me with Natasha, who is also okay.
Thor is probably the best off out of all of us, one of the farthest from the explosion, armed with a magical hammer that probably cut through the side of the van like hot butter.
Bruce is unharmed, a little roughed up and he looks a little green, but he’s alright.
Clint is directly to my left a few feet, carefully threading a leg through a path out of a hunk of what might have been a seat. The fact that he’s okay sends more relief crashing over me, for reasons I still don’t know.
I must have a concussion. Yeah, that’s it.
I shake my head again to clear my head.
The street we crashed on is a main-street type, shop windows lining the street reflecting the streetlamps currently illuminating the cobblestone walkway.
It would have been quaint, if not for the smoldering van wreckage, six superheroes on high alert, and semi-sized scaled wolves coming out of the shadows.
“Zygones?” Steve enquires over the comms.
“Don’t know.” Natasha speaks up, “but I do know two things: 1) they aren’t from around here, and 2) they’re headed straight towards us!”
She barely finishes her sentence as one leaps towards me, tusk-like teeth bared, and is met with a repulsor beam to the face.
“Iron Man, Iron Beta, you need to runs scans so we know what these are.” Steve – Captain – barks, going to full ‘leader’ mode.
“We’ll try, Cap,” Dad grunts as he kicks one in the nose, “but we might not be able to stay in one place long enough without becoming doggy chow.”
“Just try. Till then, we need aerial support, now!”
I shoot upwards with a dull roar, blasting a dog-snake-monster in the face as bonus on my way up.
“We’re in position.”
“Good. Watch the perimeter too, will you?”
“Roger that, Cap.”
“Widow, behind you!”
“Don’t mention it. Hawkeye, where are you?” We’re about half an hour into battle and I still haven’t found him.
“On your six o’clock, Beta. You’ve got some on your tail!”
“I’m quite aware! Running them past you…now!”
Whizz…thwack! Thwack! Thwack! Arrows now protrude out of three more beasts.
“Thanks, Hawkeye!” I give him a thumbs up as I double back towards Thor, who single-handedly takes about twenty at once.
“Jarvis, what’s the body count?”
“Fifty and counting, ma’am.”
And still more come…
The rest of the battle consists of fire and smoke and lightning, growls and yelps and hisses and grunts.
About two hours later, the last beast is struck down, courtesy of a bullet from Natasha’s direction.
No one is seriously hurt. Steve and Thor just sore but still ready to fight.
Us normal humans?
I feel like putty; I need another warm shower and a soft bed. My dad’s suit shrieks when he moves; something needs repair. Bruce is passed out in the sweat pants Steve had to put on him. Even Natasha and Clint are panting.
But we’re all alive and standing, and that counts for something.
“Dad, are you able to be airborne?”
“I think. I have limited movement of my legs, one of the mutts head butted my hip.”
“Steve, I think it would be in everybody’s best interest if I book us the closest hotel. We all need showers and sleep.”
Steve nods in agreement, and Jarvis finds a hotel with a weird French name about ten minutes east.
My dad takes flight – rickety, shaking flight, but I’m below him to catch him if he falls – Steve picks up Bruce, and we begin to trudge east.
About an hour later, I’m washed, dressed in sleepwear, and pulling my blankets over my chin.
Goodnights are whispered by my dad occupying the next bed over, the rest of the team spread throughout four or five rooms.
My last thought before sleep overtakes me is:
And to think, this