Multiple footsteps, some heavy and light, are heard walking through the vacant halls of SHIELD headquarters. The working agents rush out of the way of the oncoming Avengers and Pepper, the expressions on their faces stating they don't want to be bothered; especially the redheaded assassin holding the still sleeping toddler. The hallways are cleared minutes before the Avengers come barreling into it.
Minutes after their arrival, the footsteps are a few feet away from the debriefing room, but still loud enough to alert the director of SHIELD of their presences. Fury raises his head high and waits patiently for the chaos that's about to come. Pressing a button to the console in front of him, Fury waits until a familiar voice speaks through the speaker.
"They're here." Director Fury informs.
"I'll be there in a minute."
The phone disconnects just as the doors open and 6 bodies fill into the large room completely silent. Fury half expected Natasha to be the first to speak after minutes of silence, but wasn't completely surprised when Tony did first.
"What the hell is going on, Fury?" He demands.
"Sit." Fury nods at the six chairs surround the table and watches as everyone makes themselves comfortable. Fury doesn't get time to answer Tony's repeated question when the door opens again and Maria Hill and Phil Coulson walk into the room. Fury makes eye contact with Natasha briefly before nodding his head towards Maria, "Hand Steve over."
Raising an eyebrow incredulously, Maria straightens and tries to keep her voice even, "Sir?"
"Coulson will work as the handler on this mission; you're on babysitting duty." He replies curtly without looking away from the documents in front of him. Natasha eyes Hill warily before standing and walking over. Carefully she transfers Steve into the agent's stiff arms and adjust his body closer to hers. "Hill, you're dismissed."
Worriedly glancing down at the child in her hands, she swiftly leaves the room with a glare in Coulson's direction.
"Fury, what's going on?" Clint demands, irritation color his voice.
Eyeing the six people in the room, Fury pulls out a 6 files and begins inputting a code into the computer in front of him. A large screen raises behind him taking up an entire wall. "A week ago, SHIELD got a threat alert from an unknown source. It's nothing SHIELD's never dealt with before so we took standard protocol. Fortunately, we got more than what we bargained for when scoping the place out."
The screen broadcasts a copy of Steve's file .
"This is Steve's file," Tony asked impatiently, "Why are we looking at it?"
"Because Stark, this isn't our copy. Also we were able to obtain this," Another picture comes up, a blue print to be exact, showed the instructions, directions and equations of a simulator. The same simulator Steve was placed in during Project Rebirth. Before he became Captain America and the first ever Super Soldier.
Coulson steps forward towards the group and gestures behind him, "This machine, from what our researchers gather so far, will be able to to extract one's blood and duplicate into many others. As if the people who created this would be able to create-"
"An army." Clint finishes, his eyes quickly roaming the information in front of him.
Pepper's head snaps towards Coulson and she bites her lip nervously, "Steve's blood is the most prestigious one out there; everyone wants it. Is that what you meant when you said he's in danger?"
"They're planning on capturing Rogers and draining him of his blood to create an army of super soldiers to take down SHIELD and overpower the government." Clint finishes, his eyes coming up to meet Fury's. "Since no one is getting near the formula Dr. Erskine used to create the serum; they're using a short cut."
Bruce drums his fingers against the table, leaning back against his chair, "They figured if they couldn't remake it, they could just take it from the original possessor."
"But how are they going to if Steve's a baby now?" Pepper asks, anxiety clouding her face. "I don't think he carries the serum anymore."
"Of course he does." Fury injects. "Rogers was an extremely sick child and nearly grew up in or around a hospital. His childhood problems would've began the minute Stark changed him into a baby. That happy toddler running around your tower, playing arts and crafts with you, is a child Rogers would have been if he wasn't sick." Standing up, he leans against the table and looks around at everyone in front of him. "They're after him and since he's in a very vulnerable position, it'll make it easier for anyone to get to him."
"Sir," Clint clears his throat and leans back in his chair. "going back to your previous statement, it's completely impossible for anyone to have gotten Steve's file. Those files are under heavy guard and security. The only ones who have access to them are everyone in this room and Hill."
"There's been a breach in our system," Fury explains, "Rest assured, we're doing everything in our power to find out who did this."
Thor leans forward and rests his head on his fist, "Anything else?"
"That is all," Fury states shutting down the computer behind him, "We're sending others back out in a couple of days to gather more intel. I'm assuming you all will want to be a part of this mission."
3 out of the 5 people in the room shout out a loud yes while the other two hestiate. Large grins are plastered onto Tony's, Clint's and Thor's faces while Bruce looks apprehensive. "I dont think you'll be needing the other guy on this mission so I'm going to stay here." He sighs in relief when Fury nods in agreement.
"That wont be necessary; we'll need you more in the research department Dr. Banner."
While Fury is understanding, Tony whines, "Aw, come on Brucie, Little Red, join the fun!"
Natasha also looks hesitant. Of course she wants to go help, but she cant just leave Steve unprotected. She shakes her head standing up, "Dr. Banner and I will stay behind with Steve and Pepper. You guys go ahead and when the real fight begins, call me and I'll suit up with the rest of you." Natasha turns and heads towards the exit.
"Where are you going?" Clint asks.
"Back to the tower with Steve." She replies evenly slamming the debriefing room's doors shut.
A whimper is heard amongst the blankets before two little arms snake it's way out. Steve opens one eye tentatively before yawning largely. "'Tasha." He calls sitting up in the cot he had awoken in. Rubbing the sleepiness out of his eyes, he looks around the room for the familiar red head.
Fear instantly shoots through him when he realizes he's alone. He doesn't like being alone, especially in the dark. It reminds him of the cold. He doesn't know where the coldness comes from, but it's in his dreams a lot and he can vaguely remember experiencing it. "'Tasha." Steve calls out again, his bottom lip quivering and his voice cracking. Sliding off the cot, Steve toddles to the door on the other end of the room. He reaches up to grab the doorknob and pulls it open when a voice stops him.
"Where are you going?" Steve freezes, his body starting to shake. Not Tasha. He told himself. Not Tasha. Slowly turning around, Steve searches for something in the darkness, but finds nothing.
"'Ello" A shadow comes out of the darkness and he stares up and finds an unfamiliar women staring down at him, arms crossed across her chest and an eyebrow raised.
Steve staggers a few steps back from fear and stares up at her with eyes swimming with tears. His thumb immediately goes to his mouth and his back hits the wall. A tear runs down his face making Maria's eyes bug open. "Hey Steve, it's okay." She says uncertainly. "I'm not going to hurt you."
Despite the uncertainty laced in her voice, she made sure it stayed calm and relax soothing Steve a little. He stared up at her and asked around his thumb, "You not?"
The corner of her lips tilted upwards slightly and she shakes her head, "No I'm not. I'm just watching you until Natasha comes back. She'll be down to get you soon."
Steve contemplated his next move, nodding his head along to what Maria said. Glancing at the agent, he moves away from the wall and takes two steps in her direction taking his thumb out of his mouth. "What you name?" he asks curiously.
"Maria." The agent bent down to be at eye level with him. "And you're Steve."
It was at that moment the door opened illuminating the dark room with light from the hallway. "What the..." The dark figure says, but Steve face lights up instantly when his eyes catch onto red hair.
"'Tasha!" Steve screams.
The light turns on and Natasha looks over the scene with an amused look in her eyes. Watching the deputy director crouching in front of a toddler with a tiny smile is quite a sight. Especially when Maria was reaching out to grab onto Steve's hand. "What do we have here?"
Steve scurries up to Natasha and tugs on her pant leg bringing her closer to Maria. "'Tasha dis is Maria. She care fo' me." He says happily. He raises his arms and Natasha immediately scoops him in her arms. With a blush, he leans forward and says in her ear, "She pretty."
Natasha laughs at his cute embarrassment. "Yes Steve, she's really pretty."
Maria rolls her eyes and stands up, crossing her arms again. "The meeting over?"
Natasha nods, "Fury wants to see you."
Maria nods, "See you soon Agent Romanoff." She turns and heads towards the door.
"Bye Bye Maria!" Steve waves at her as she leaves. Maria turns and gives one wave before leaving. Steve tugs on her arm, "'Tasha, we go home?"
Natasha looks down at Steve and smiles, nuzzling her nose against his cheek. "Yes Steve, we're going back home."