Phil's talk with Tony Stark to get him briefed on the others went well and now he was escorting Steve Rogers, a.k.a Captain America, to the Helicarrier. Under normal circumstances, he would have been thrilled but his mind kept drifting to Ellie and the small black crushed velvet box in his pocket. Had the Tesseract not awoken, Phil had planned to take her to their favorite brunch spot and ask her a question. Ellie, will you ma- No. Can't just blurt it out. You have to build up to it. Ellie-
"So," Steve said, drawing Phil out of his thoughts. "This Dr. Banner was trying to replicate the serum they used on me?"
"A lot of people were." Phil said with a shrug. "You were the world's first superhero. Banner thought gamma radiation might be the key."
"Didn't really work out for him." Steve replied.
"When he's not that thing though, the guy's like a Stephen Hawking." Phil said. At Steve's confused look, he elaborated. "He's like a smart person."
Steve put down the tablet and Phil opened his mouth to speak again. "I've got to say, it's an honor to meet you. Officially." This is going good. Don't be creepy. "I've sort of met you. I mean I watched you while you were sleeping." Good job not being creepy. "I—I mean I was present while you were unconscious from the ice. It's just a huge honor to have you on board."
"I hope I'm the man for the job." Steve walked several short steps to look out of the cockpit window. Phil joined him, mimicking the other man's stance.
"You are. Absolutely." Phil said quickly. "We've made some modifications to the uniform. I had a little design input."
"The uniform?" Steve asked. "Aren't the stars and stripes a little old fashioned?"
"With everything that's happening, the things that are about to come to light, people could use a little old fashioned." Phil said. Steve didn't say much more for a while, allowing Phil to rewrite and rehearse his speech about a million more times. Ellie...
Whatever Loki was working on, he didn't want Ellie to see it. While the others were working, she was kept in a separate room, her arms tied behind her and her black fingerless gloves securely on. She assumed the reason he took her was for the Tesseract like abilities she was capable of. It had taken her the better part of the last two days to finally cut through the ropes with her long fingernails and she took a moment to massage her wrists while assessing her escape. Flexing her fingers, Ellie crossed to the door and placed her hands on the spot where the lock should be. Closing her eyes to concentrate, she made a tiny energy field inside the lock, shrinking it and growing it in necessary spots until she heard the tumblers click in place and the lock disengage. She listened to the hall before opening the door and once she was satisfied no one was there, Ellie opened the door.
She shoved her gloves in her pocket and made her way down the hall, listening carefully. Her glowing blue eyes made her appearance similar to Clint and Selvig's so that would buy her a moment if she got caught. But she couldn't leave here without those two either. Natasha would kill her if she left Clint and to be honest, Ellie was more scared of Natasha than Loki. Peeking around a corner, she saw dozens of SHIELD's enemies crowding around a large glass box. Inside the box was Erik Selvig and the Tesseract. Loki was sitting away from the commotion, seemingly in some sort of trance. Ellie straightened her shoulders and cleared her throat as she approached Clint.
"I need your help." Ellie told him.
"What is it?" Clint asked. He was looking for iridium, according to the tablet like device he held in his hand.
"Boss says there's something outside. We need to take care of it." Ellie lied.
"I have said no such thing." Loki's voice came from behind her.
Damn. Ellie cursed inwardly but turned to face him. Loki smiled at her and it made her nerves jump uneasily.
"The Tesseract has shown me so much." Selvig told Loki fondly. "It's more than knowledge. It's truth."
Loki smiled once more and turned to Clint. "What has it shown you, Agent Barton?"
"My next target." Clint said, walking over to the case that held his bow. He pulled out the weapon and, with a gesture, made it full size.
"What do you need?" Loki asked.
"A distraction. And an eyeball." Clint replied.
Loki nodded and grabbed Ellie's arm, taking her back to her holding room. Inside hung a green dress, one that matched very similarly to the green of his clothes. "Get dressed."
Ellie eyed the fabric and noted the corset like backing to the bodice of the dress. Her best bet to get Clint and Selvig out was to play along with whatever Loki had planned. "I can't."
Loki gritted his teeth and stared her down. She met his gaze and the gesture was either brave or stupid. "It wasn't a request."
"I can't tighten the corset strings by myself." Ellie clarified. "I'm going to need help."
The Asgardian gestured to the dress once more but made no movement to leave. It took Ellie a long few seconds but she realized his meaning. "I'm not changing with you here."
"If it would make you happier, I could turn my back." Loki was almost gentlemanly.
"Please." Ellie said, wondering what his end game was.
Loki did as he said he would and turned so she could dress. Ellie let out a breath but unzipped her sweatshirt and folded it, placing it neatly on the ground. Her boots followed and then her shirt and pants were next. She made a point to fold them all to irritate Loki but he made no motion to let her know if he was annoyed. The dress was beautiful and the fabric soft as she stepped into it, pulling it up. The skirt was long and flowed around her knees and ankles. The top was strapless but she was not going to remove her bra. Loki would just have to deal with it. She held the top up with one arm and cleared her throat. Loki turned and crossed the small space between them.
"This will not do for where we are going." Loki said. His fingers were cold as he unhooked her bra strap and waited for her to remove it, which she did reluctantly. "We could have a beautiful partnership if you would cooperate."
"I don't help men who have killed innocent people." Ellie replied. Loki's fingers worked the strings of the corset, tightening them and pulling the wind out of her words.
"Just think of what we could accomplish, you and I." Loki pulled another section of strings tight. His breath was cold on her neck as he spoke. "Both of us could rule this world. I, as King and you as the Queen."
"I don't want to be a queen." Ellie said.
"Every woman dreams of being a queen, Midgardian or no." Loki said. He was finally finished with the corset and tied it off. He had noticed Ellie's braid in her hair and pulled out the hair tie, brushing through the soft red locks with his fingers. He turned her to face him and used his magic to apply makeup to her face, but only enough to bring out the beauty in her features. "Especially one as beautiful as yourself."
"What do you want from me?" Ellie asked, not daunted by his words. The door opened before Loki answered and Clint stood there with a black shoe box. He handed the box to Ellie and left without a word. Loki had done too thorough a job with the corset and it would be difficult to put the shoes on. He seemed to realize the problem because he took the box from her grip and knelt in front of her, buckling the delicate strap around her ankle.
"There is power within you." Loki said as he stood. With her new pumps, she stood eye to eye with him. "One that could be used to both of our advantages."
"How?" Ellie had to admit she was curious. "By hurting people?"
Loki smirked and motioned to the door. "After you."
She wasn't sure exactly how it happened but when Ellie walked out of the door of the building, she was standing in Germany with Loki by her side, his scepter in his hand. They walked toward a beautiful museum and Loki had changed into a suit more fitting for Earth. He used the scepter as a walking stick and extended his other arm to Ellie. When she didn't take it, he paused in his steps and tucked her arm through his, giving her a pointed look when she attempted to pull away. They resumed their walk into the building, beautiful stringed instruments playing as they entered and walked down a marble staircase. The closer they got to the guard at the bottom of the stairs, the quicker Loki made his pace and dropped Ellie's arm. He flipped the scepter in his hand and struck the guard in the head with it without breaking his new stride. The crowd gasped and backed away from Loki as he grabbed the curator and shoved him roughly backwards, flipping him over a piece of art and landing him on his back. Loki pulled a device from his coat and Ellie ran forward, yanking at his arm as he lowered it, the blades whirring.
"You can't do this, Loki!" Ellie grunted. Loki silenced her with a backhanded slap that knocked her back a few steps. Even with the Soldier Serum in her cells, the slap made her head spin and made her unable to save the curator. She screamed at the spectators watching in horror. "Get out! Run!"
The crowd followed her orders and cleared the building quickly but this seemed to please Loki. He grabbed her by her arm, yanking her to her feet and made her come with him as he left the museum. Loki's clothes changed to his Asgardian armor which included, in Ellie's opinion, a ridiculous looking helmet. His steps were slow and determined and he wrapped Ellie's arm around his own once again. A siren wailed as a police car approached and Loki fired his scepter at it, causing it to turn on end. Ellie used a controlled energy blast to put the back end on the ground enough to let the driver use the brakes.
There were hundreds of people in the parking lot and in the area in front of the museum, all of them screaming and panicked. Loki conjured several more Lokis to fence in the group. "Kneel before me."
"I said," Loki said, striking his scepter against the ground. The light shone from all five of the Lokis surrounding them. "KNEEL!"
The group fell to their knees and Ellie prayed they wouldn't provoke him. Loki dropped her arm as he opened his arms, accepting their kneeling and smiling, walking through the crowd. "Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It's the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation. The bright light of freedom diminishes your life's joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel."
Ellie was silently praising the silence of the humans as she stood where Loki had left her. Then a movement caught her eye. An older man was standing up. She muttered under her breath. "No. Please don't."
"Not to men like you." His German accent was strong.
"There are no men like me." Loki said, proudly.
"There are always men like you." The man replied simply.
Loki chuckled softly and raised his scepter. "Look to your elder people. Let him be an example."
Ellie formed a force field around the old man as a flash of red, white, and blue fell in front of him, deflecting the bolt of energy away from him and back at Loki, knocking the Asgardian to the ground. Ellie saw who had come to the rescue: none other than Captain America. Loki stood angrily as the Captain spoke.
"You know, the last time I was in Germany and saw a man standing above everybody else, we ended up disagreeing."
"The soldier." Loki was amused. "The man out of time."
"I'm not the one who's out of time." Steve said. A SHIELD jet arrived, lowering the gun in the jet, and Ellie knew that Natasha would be flying it.
"Loki, drop the scepter and stand down." Natasha's voice ordered over the PA system. Loki responded by firing at the jet and the Captain threw his shield at the Asgardian, hitting him in the chest as the crowd ran.
"Go!" Ellie said, helping those who fell. "Get somewhere safe!"
She looked back to the fight and saw that the Captain's blows weren't doing much to actually hurt Loki but that Loki was able to knock the Captain down. The scepter was pressed against the Captain's helmet as Loki growled, "Kneel."
Captain was catching his breath and took a second before responding, pushing the scepter off his head and roundhouse kicking Loki in the head. "Not today."
When Loki threw the Captain for the third time, Ellie stepped in, hitting Loki with a blast of her energy that knocked him back a few yards as loud rock music started to play loudly. Loki watched Ellie carefully as the Captain and the newly arriving Iron Man took a spot on either side of her.
"Make your move, reindeer games." Iron Man said. Loki raised his hands in surrender, eyeing his scepter a few feet away from him. "Good move."
"Mr. Stark. Miss Johnson." Captain America said, acknowledging his companions.
"Captain." Ellie and Tony said together, then nodded at each other.
They put Loki on the jet and boarded it themselves, heading for the Helicarrier. Ellie was more than a little uncomfortable in the corseted dress and asked Natasha if she had extra clothes, to which the agent replied in the negative. Ellie huffed and remained standing, her hands on her hips. Loki was silent.
"I don't like it." Steve said in a hushed whisper to Ellie and Tony.
"What, Rock of Ages giving up so easily?" Tony replied in the same hushed tones.
"I don't remember it being that easy." Steve said. "This guy packs a wallop."
"Still, you are pretty spry for an older fellow." Tony said. "What's your secret? Pilates?" At Steve's confused look, he elaborated. "It's like calisthenics. You might have missed a thing or two while doing time as a Capsicle."
"Fury didn't tell me he was calling you in." Steve said after a beat.
"Yeah, there's a lot of things Fury doesn't tell you." Tony said. He turned his attention to Ellie. "Green's your color."
"Thanks." Ellie smiled sarcastically as lighting flashed and thunder rumbled. Loki looked uneasy at the new storm. Actually he looked scared and Steve asked him this.
"I'm not overly fond of what follows." Loki said, looking at the roof warily. A few seconds later a thud sounded on the roof and jolted the plane. Tony and Steve put on their helmets while Ellie opened the hatch, ready to join them when a blond man with a red cape and hammer landed on the ramp. Loki looked terrified as this man, Thor (his brother) came on the plane, smacking Iron Man with his hammer. Thor grabbed Loki from his seat and walked to the edge of the ramp, using his hammer to fly.
Tony groaned. "Now there's that guy."
"That guy's a friendly?" Steve asked, helping Ellie up from where she had fallen.
"Doesn't matter. If he kills Loki or frees him, the Tesseract's lost." Tony said, walking to the ramp.
"Wait. We need a plan of attack." Steve shouted over the storm.
"I have a plan." Tony said. "Attack."
With that he jumped off the ramp and Steve grumbled under his breath as he grabbed a parachute. Ellie grabbed one as well, fastening it around her chest. "You might want to wait here, ma'am."
"Whether I want to or not, I can't." Ellie spoke loud enough to be heard over the thunder. Her heels clicked as she walked to the ramp. "Last one down is a rotten egg."
Steve didn't know whether to groan or chuckle as she jumped and he followed her lead. They could see flashes of light and bolts of energy as Thor and Tony fought each other. Trees were being felled faster than Ellie could believe when she finally landed, her heels sinking in the dirt. She fired a warning bolt of energy at Thor and Tony, not enough to hurt them but enough to get their attention. "Can we stop with the fighting now, please? I don't know what you're doing here..."
"I've come to put an end to Loki's schemes." Thor said angrily.
"We all want the same thing." Steve chimed in. "Just put down the hammer and we can talk."
"No. Don't mess with his hammer." Tony warned quickly. "He loves his hammer."
"You want me to put the hammer down?!" Thor shouted. He raised his hammer and leapt the several yards between himself and the Captain, bringing said hammer down on his shield. A blast of energy covered the woods in a matter of seconds, knocking the men to the ground. Ellie was safe inside a force field she had made, releasing it when the men were lying on the ground and grumbling to themselves.
"Are we done now?" Ellie asked as they stood. None of them answered. "I'm going to take that silence as a yes. Then let's go."
A/N: I meant to get this chapter up a couple days ago but I got the flu then I went to Comic Con. You all forgive me, don't you? I knew you would so extra cookies for all of you. Thanks so much to the many new followers and favoriters to this story. I hope you all enjoy this chapter. Please feel free to leave a review on your way out. It's always appreciated.
OASN: Loki is not falling in love/in love with Ellie in any way, shape, or form. He merely thinks that she would be a better asset if she helped him willingly. I didn't want any confusion there. Anywho, I love all of you guys. xo