"Are you even trying, Ellie?" Steve taunted, his gloved fists up defensively. "If you don't start trying, I'll get Natasha down here to spar with you."
"Don't you dare." She swung for him but he ducked the blow. "She terrifies me."
"She should." Steve chuckled.
"I'm just not into this today." Ellie climbed out of the ring. "I'm too anxious about what Tony's gonna say."
"I doubt there's a way to reverse the serum." Steve pulled off his boxing gloves. "Even if there was, it could be too extreme for your body to handle. You could die, El."
"I could also not die." She countered, unwinding the tape from her hands. "I have to do this, Steve. I want to have a normal life, away from SHIELD. Maybe I can convince Phil to do the same."
Steve sighed but knew he wouldn't be able to convince her otherwise. She had to catch a flight to New York in a few hours and she hadn't even started packing. They headed back to their apartment and he helped her pack what she could quickly, not leaving her time to shower. The plane ride made her nervous, they always did, but she did her best to keep from getting panicky. Pepper was waiting for her in New York and as soon as she got to Stark Tower, Ellie ran upstairs.
"Did you figure it out?" Ellie asked Tony as soon as she saw him.
"Hello to you too." Tony quipped with a smirk.
"Did you figure it out?"
"It was a long and tedious process but yes, we did." Tony sat at his worktable.
"Well, we can't actually reverse the whole process." Bruce interjected. "We don't even know if we can reverse any of it. This is all a theory."
"He's just being a buzzkill." Tony waved away Bruce's comment. "It's almost certain that we can do it."
"No, it's not." Bruce shot back.
"What did you find out?" Ellie was willing to take a chance.
"Well, it's all very long and scientific," Tony said quickly. "The point is, it'll be worth it in the end. If this is what you really want."
"It is." She nodded.
"Let's do this." Tony grinned like a child on Christmas. A few hours later, they had Ellie put into a high pressure chamber, which would basically squeeze the serum and the Tesseract energy out of her system, dispelling it into an attached vial. To say it was painful was an understatement and it was a good thing the workshop had been recently soundproofed so her howls of pain weren't heard except by Stark and Banner. When she was finally released and a vial of glowing blue energy and a vial of yellowish liquid were filled, Ellie had to work to catch her breath. She stumbled on the way out of the chamber and Tony steadied her, helping her to a chair. "How do you feel?"
"Um, different?" Ellie offered weakly. "I don't feel the energy from the Tesseract, that's for sure."
"Get your bearings." Bruce said, glaring at Tony. "Don't push yourself."
"Let her push herself." Tony countered. "It's good for the soul."
"You two are like a married couple." Ellie said. She felt strong enough to stand and did so. Tony held up an open palm, gesturing for her to punch it. When she did, it was with the strength of a woman who was in shape, but nothing special.
"Welcome to the normal world." Tony slapped her on the shoulder.
"Phil, please just call me back." Ellie practically squealed into the phone. "I have good news. Great news, actually. Call me back soon. It's important."
Ellie hung up the phone when it beeped, alerting her to a text message. It was from Steve. SHIELD compromised. Trust no one. Get rid of your number and get someonewhere safe.
What's going on? Ellie sent back. Normally Steve messaged quickly but after ten minutes passed and she didn't get a return text, she worried. Not wanting to blow his cover, Ellie didn't call.
"Electra, we got a mission." Tony said with a serious tone.
"Yeah. Top priority." Tony replied.
"Must be serious, then." Ellie said. "What's the mission?"
"We gotta kill Nick Fury."
"I'm sorry, what?" Ellie asked in disbelief.
"Not really kill him but we have to make it look real." Tony said. "You're going to be the one to deliver the dose to him. It'll be easy. He's damn near dead anyway."
"Where is he?" Bruce wanted to know.
"Washington. Which means we gotta take this lab to go." Tony was packing up several pieces of equipment then clapped his hands once. "Alright kids. To the Starkmobile!"
Ellie tied her hair back, securing it in a ponytail before putting on the scrub cap and the face mask. The bland blue scrubs helped her blend into the hospital and she slipped into the operating room easily. Injecting the serum that Tony and Bruce had brought up was trickier but she managed to do so without anyone noticing. The task became trickier when she noticed Natasha, Steve, and Agent Hill standing outside of the observation window. It helped that they were all focused on Fury and not her. She checked her phone once more for messages from Phil but found none. Tony and Bruce were gone when she got outside so she got a cab and went to the airport but the 'Starkmobile' was gone as well. She knew who to call now. The phone rang several times then a feminine voice answered.
"Hey, Skye. I need a favor."
"I'm not really a fan of yours right now." Skye snapped.
Ellie sighed. Phil must have told her what he thought happened. "I don't really care. Phil is more important to me than your stupid prejudices so can you just do me a favor and tell him that Tony staged the whole thing? I would never do that to him. Ever. I have a feeling that something big is happening and I don't know if I'll make it out alive. Just make sure he knows I love him. Please."
Skye huffed and Ellie could hear her roll her eyes. "Fine. But I don't like it."
The line clicked and Ellie smiled as she put her phone away. Phil was going to find out what really happened and they'd get back on track whether he liked it or not. Right now, she had a feeling she needed to get back to D.C.
She and Steve had a secret place to leave messages just in case something happened to one of them. Their 'super secret hiding place' was her box of tampons that rested under the bathroom sink. She found a note under it explaining that someone called the Winter Soldier was supposedly after Steve and Natasha and they had to go undercover. He'd contact her when it was safe.
A/N: This chapter is long overdue and I apologize. Ellie's fully human and un-serumed (is that a word?) so we'll see how that plays out. Leave a review and let me know what you think. :)