Luna Has Fun/Doom Comes To Collect
Amora raged as soon as they returned to her apartment. She let out a screech and grabbed hold of every breakable surface and destroyed it. She tore mirrors from the walls and slammed them to the ground, threw vases to the wall, kicked and upended furniture. Raven watched in startlement as the Asgardian fumed and the apartment was half destroyed in moments.
"Amora!" Raven called. She approached the woman tentatively, grabbing hold of one of her arms with both hands. "Amora!" She said again.
The goddess crumbled to the ground, sobbing heavily. She slammed her fist against the floor, resting her head against her closed fist, curling in on herself.
Raven kneeled beside her and Amora quickly wrapped her arms around the mutant's middle, crying into Raven's lap. "I hate all of this!" Amora cried. "I hate this! I hate it!"
"I don't know what's going," Raven spoke softly. "That was... that was Loki's brother, wasn't it? Why..."
"I need him," Amora said softly, barely a whisper. Raven leaned closer to hear the soft words, hesitantly wrapping her arms around the weeping woman. It was odd to her to be giving comfort to a god. Even during the battle, Amora had seemed invincible to Raven. No hit could keep her down, no trap had been able to hold her, her fury fueled her strength. And yet, a few words from another god had reduced her to this. Raven couldn't fathom it, but at the same time, it truly cemented the idea that they were gods, unable to be hurt but by one another.
"I need him," Amora whispered again. "He is the only one. I can have no one else. I want no one else. And he sees me as nothing! Worse than nothing. He sees me as a villain."
"I'm sorry," Raven whispered in return. She didn't know what to say to the weeping goddess in her arms. She rather wished, once more, that Loki was here. He was the only one whose words seemed to get through to Amora. Everything else, everyone else, just rolled off of her like water.
"I thought that once," Raven found herself whispering, surprising herself with the confession, but continuing on anyway. "About Magneto. I thought that no one else could... could want me."
Amora unfolded herself from around Raven's waist, looking up at her with a tear stained face and watery eyes. "It is not that," Amora said. "Everyone wants me. But it can only be him! No one else is enough! I need him!" She shook her head sullenly as she continued. "You cannot understand. You are only a mortal. You do not feel as we feel. It's like starving, Mystique. Everyone else, anyone else, I am left always wanting. And he... no one else looks at me like he once did. Once, he treated me like I had worth more than beauty. We were friends. And it was so close to what I needed..." Amora shook her head again, turning her pleading gaze away. "Why does this Magneto want you? And why did you once need him."
"Peope think I'm hideous," Raven answered. "He didn't."
"There are more hideous things among the realms than you," Amora told her.
"He thought me beautiful."
Amora looked at Mystique, still in her true skin. Her eyes traced the patterns along the blue skin critically. It was a look she was used to. Charles once looked at her that way wondering what he could make her, Erik had begun to look at her that way and wonder how he could use her, Doom looked at her and wondered what he could do to her. Amora's glance was without any obvious motive other than pure observation. Though the woman was not looking down on her, the eyes did not seem to judge her unworthy, but Raven could not read what might be in that gaze.
Without meeting Raven's eyes, Amora asked, "Why did you want him?"
"He thought me beautiful," Raven repeated.
"Is that what you want?" Amora's gaze met hers finally. There were still trails of tears, but the green eyes were clear. "You want to be thought beautiful. To feel beautiful?" For once, Raven felt as if Amora were actually looking at her. Usually she thought the woman's gaze, to some extent, passed right over and through them all. Even occasionally Loki. But right now she felt that she had Amora's full attention.
Raven felt suddenly nervous, heat suddenly flushing through her entire body. "I did," She answered hoarsely.
Amora reached out and placed her hands on Raven's face, cupping her cheeks. The green eyes that gazed at her looked almost intoxicated. "If you want it, pray for it," Amora whispered. "I'll hear you."
Raven closed her eyes, but she didn't pray. She didn't need to pray for anything as long as she felt those eyes on her. There was silence a few minutes before Raven felt those hands draw away from her. When Raven opened her eyes, the intensity seemed to have fled Amora. The sadness returned to her and she looked once more as if she were looking around and through, rather than at anything. Even though the Asgardian's gaze was looking away from her, Raven could easily see the difference.
"Tell me about Magneto," Amora said.
All the heat that had risen only minutes before was gone as if it had never risen. She felt like a haze had abruptly left her mind. "What... what was that?"
Amora glanced at her from the corner of her eye, but looked away again quickly. "That was... prayers are heady things. I thought..." Amora shook her head and asked instead. "What do you think it means to have the attention of a god?" Amora waited, but Raven wasn't certain if she should attempt an answer.
Eventually, Amora went on without one.
"Loki is made of chaos and change. Have you seen what happens when he is engaged in conversation with Doom?"
"They're usually working right?" Raven answered with uncertainly. "Ideas and explosions?" Raven shrugged.
"Mischief and chaos and change, yes?"
Realization hit Raven and she asked, "What are you god of?"
Amora's lips quirked in a bitter smile. "Passion, devotion, lust. Beauty, in a sense. Fleshly passions and fleshly pursuits. Desire." She met Raven's gaze out the corner of her eye. "It bleeds from me like air, it stirs by my call even if I don't consciously make it." Amora ran a hand down Raven's cheek. "Loki bid me be careful with his mortals. Often I bed and break them, in one manner or another. When Loki is not here to remind me, I forget to be careful. It is taxing to hold it in."
"You've been holding back?"
"Oh, yes. We have to on a mortal plane such as this. With such weak magic in the air, there is nothing to distract from our influence, it would easily overwhelm if we did not actively contain it."
"Tell me about Magneto." Amora repeated.
Raven laid back on the floor, being careful to avoid any broken glass. "I'd rather not. Tell me about Thor."
"I'd rather not," Amora replied in turn.
It was barely a hour before they both talked anyway.
"What the hell was that out there?" Fury yelled.
They were once again at Shied's base for a debriefing. Thor sat with a deep frown on his face, while Steve looked at him with concern, and Hawkeye looked at him with question. Black Widow had her head inclined curiously in his direction as well, but no emotion showed on her face. Tony was still out in Malibu, having not been needed for the non-battle, and Bruce was with him.
"Seemed like a mutant, fight?" Hawkeye shrugged. "Magneto and Mystique having it out?"
"We were able to capture Sabertooth," Widow offered.
"It didn't look like only mutants out there," Fury said with a harsh glare at Thor.
"Aye, it was not," Thor said with a heavy gaze. "Amora, The Enchantress, as she often goes by. Tis as sure a sign as any that Loki lingers nearby. They are friends of some time, but I admit, I know not what she was up to."
"It... didn't seem like she was up to anything," Steve admitted. "It looked like she was protecting Mystique."
"Why would she do that?" Widow directed the question to Thor.
"I'm afraid I am much in the dark, my friends. Amora has said much that I must think on," Thor rose.
"We aren't done here." Fury said.
"I've no mind for this now," Thor told him. "If I've more to say, I shall find you and do so." With that, Thor strode purposely out of the room.
It was quiet a minute before Steve spoke up. "Hate to say it, but we don't really know anything about what's going on there. There isn't much to debrief about is there?"
Fury's glare tried to burn through skin before he growled out, "Fine. Dismissed." He stomped out of the room.
Steve was left staring after the man in surprise. Widow placed a hand on his shoulder in comfort. "He just doesn't like being in the dark," She told him. "There's a lot that we don't know right now."
"Yeah... I guess there is."
Tony decided to get drunk before attempting to sober up. He had already shown Luna to her room and was now alone again in his living room, staring at the glasses on the table. He finished up the shots that were still waiting on the table. Before he could initiate his plan to sober up (or continue his plan get drunk), Bruce showed up. The man took one look at Tony and sighed heavily. "What are you doing, Tony?"
After a moment of consideration, Tony decided to show mercy to his friend and not answer in the most literal and sarcastic manner possible. Though honesty, Bruce should really know better and Tony wouldn't let him off so easy if he made the same mistake again.
"Bruce, buddy!" Tony exclaimed. "I'm glad you're here! Would you like to join me?"
"Next time," Tony said confidently. "Anyway, you should meet Luna." Tony stood up, too quickly it turned out, the room sharply tilting and taking a moment before straightening out. Maybe he'd done a better job of getting drunk than he'd intended. He swayed the slightest bit. "You're good at getting people to talk. Maybe you can get her to--"
"You've got a girl here, Tony?" Bruce asked with another heavy sigh.
"No, no. Well, yeah, but not like that." Tony waved him off. "Luna's great. You'd like her. She's just as sarcastic as you pretend not to be."
"Wait, did you say Luna?" Bruce asked. "As in the mutant that healed Widow? Tony, what is she doing here?"
"We were," Tony gestured to the table and empty shot glasses, found that that did not actually provide an explanation of what had happened, then shrugged helplessly. "Talking," He concluded underwhelmingly.
Bruce raised an eyebrow. "Talking?" He looked pointedly at the alcohol on the table.
"I mean, not only talking, but we weren't..." Tony made another gesture, quit halfway through, then leveled a stare at Bruce. "You know, you have a dirty mind underneath all that composure. Always the quite ones, they say."
"Tony! This is serious!" Bruce exclaimed. "We know nothing about her! How did she even know you were here?"
"Oh, well... I invited her."
Bruce removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. "You invited an unknown mutant to your house. Without telling anyone."
"I'm telling you!"
"Tony, why did you think this was a good idea?"
Tony shrugged. "She's interesting. You should talk to her. She's upstairs--"
"She's still here!" Bruce exclaimed, nervously replacing his glasses.
"I kinda offered for her to stay here..." Tony lowered his voice as he added, "For the week."
Tony didn't think Bruce's expression could display anymore disapproval or shock. "You didn't think --" Bruce stopped, took a breath, then approached from another angle. "Does Pepper know?"
"I'll tell her when she gets here."
"Hey, Jarvis! Tell Luna to come down here, will you?" Tony said, raising his voice to talk over Bruce. At this point, he really didn't now why the man was still trying to reason with him. Tony was rarely talked out of his ideas after all.
"How drunk are you, Tony?" Bruce frowned at him sternly.
"I wasn't drunk when I invited her here. Not even when we were drinking. I just kept drinking after--"
"You didn't get enough of me earlier." Luna's voice projected as she came down the stairs and she stopped when she spotted Bruce. "Oh. Have I just given a terrible impression of myself?" She asked as she came down the stairs more slowly and cautiously. Her voice didn't have a hint of regret at her first words, but there was a slight wariness to her expression, as if she expected attack any moment.
"No, he already had that impression," Tony assured her.
"Ah. I'm to be known as your harlot." Her lips twisted into a small smirk. She held a hand out to Bruce. "Hello, nice to meet you." She smiled wider as he took the her hand. "I'm this houses concubine, how may I service you?"
Bruce stuttered at that, removing his hand quickly and looking wildly between Tony and Luna. Tony immediately burst into laughter as Luna smiled even wider. "What? More discretion?" Luna questioned.
"See? I told you she was great!" Tony insisted.
"Yeah, great," Bruce muttered lowly.
Tony turned to face Luna, gesturing to Bruce. "This is Bruce. Bruce, Luna. This guys is the best person you will ever meet. Aside from me, of course."
"Indeed, the best person is aside you," Luna responded.
Tony frowned at her, almost a pout, which only increased her grin. "I can't talk to this woman, you talk to her, Bruce," Tony gestured wildly as he reached down to pour himself another shot. "Make her stop being mean to me."
"Delegating your task to others, Stark?" Luna shook her head. She reached out and took the drink from his hand, downing it and handing it back. "Penalty for laziness."
Bruce looked between them critically. "How long have you two been..." He trailed off.
"How long have we what?" Tony asked. "Been dating?"
"We are not," Luna answered.
"Been sleeping together?" Tony suggested.
"We are not," Luna repeated.
"Been talking to one another?" Tony asked.
"This is mostly the second time," Luna explained.
"Yes. Those things," Bruce said. He sighed and sat down heavily on the couch.
The smile faded from Luna's face as she turned to Tony. "Is it alright that I'm here? Should I go?" She asked softly.
"No, you're fine," Tony assured her. "Bruce has a process for dealing with new people. It includes going into temporary shock to process the strange things I put him through."
"I'm not in shock, Tony, I'm exasperated with you."
"That's the same thing, right?"
Luna turned back to Bruce with a more sincere smile. "I know that Tony is very inconsiderate, and it really is not my intention to trouble you, so if you would feel more comfortable if I left..."
"What? No!" Tony protested. "It is way too hard to track you down to let you get away now!"
Luna gave him a look of half patience and half exasperation. "Did we not have the conversation some weeks back about the consideration you should give to your teammates?"
"I remember you agreeing to talk to me in that conversation."
Luna crossed her arms over her chest as she sighed. "Should I assume the only reason you called me down here, and invited me to stay in the first place, was to be a bother on the better sense of your companion?"
"Only a little," Tony admitted. "I told you why I wanted you to stay."
Bruce looked back and forth between them during this exchange, removing his glasses to clean them once more, as was his nervous habit, before replacing them on his face. Finally, after calming himself down a bit, he spoke. "If you don't mind me asking, um, Luna... why is it that you're with Tony now? And why did you heal Black Widow?"
Luna glanced briefly to Tony before answering. "The reason that I healed her is that I need you all. Your people need you all. You are the champions of this world and if you were to fail, who would protect it? It is my desire to assure that you all are not defeated in your quest of protection."
"Then why not join us?" Bruce questioned.
Luna looked away at the question. "That would be... unwise. For myself," She answered. "I do what I do because I wish to help, but I also wish to avoid harm to myself in the process. People who hold obvious power are often controlled by forces in higher standing than themselves. I... was controlled that way once and will not be again. I ended up with far too many regrets that way."
Bruce's face turned sympathetic at that. "I understand. I've had bad run ins before. The Avengers aren't like that though."
Luna schooled her face into a blank expression. "Perhaps not, but do you only answer to yourselves? Or does someone stand yet higher still. This is a world of multiple ruling forces, I doubt there is not one that seeks to claim control of such strength as yours."
"Alright, you got us there," Tony spoke up. "But just because we do doesn't mean we have to."
"And just because you do not wish to, that does not mean that you will not," Luna told him. Tony frowned at this. Bruce gave her a more considering look. Her expression brightened at her next words. "As for your other question, why I am here. It is both because Tony is a persistent pest that I seem unable to shake off and that he has proved interesting enough during my time trying to rid myself of him. There comes a time when one must give in or waste further effort with resistance."
Bruce chuckled at that. "That is exactly how he got me."
Luna grinned. "We should share grievances."
"I didn't get you two together so that you could gang up on me!" Tony protested.
Luna shot him a coy look. "Didn't you?" She moved to the couch, facing Bruce. "You must tell me what errors he has wrought you, Dr. Banner. I must know how I am to survive him myself."
Bruce chuckled again as Luna coaxed him into the telling of some story. Tony watched her consideringly. It wasn't so strange for her to know Bruce's name, many people knew who the Hulk was, after all. But she had the air of someone who knew more than they let on. Considering Tony already knew that she followed them, at the very least during battles, he had to wonder what else she might know about them.
He considered her speech, her confession that she was not 'mortal', and couldn't help but be that much more fascinated by her. The fastest way to Tony Stark's heart was by being a puzzle he needed to solve, after all.
Dinner was being made by the time Pepper arrived. Bruce was cooking while Tony and Luna argued reasons that the other should go help when she walked in. They were sitting on the couch, Luna curled up at one end with a wine glass and Tony at the other. They all paused when she entered, before Luna placed her glass down on the coffee table and stood, smiling at the woman. She took a step closer and held out her hand. "Hello. Are you Pepper or some other poor soul that has been duped into friendship with Tony Stark?"
"Both," Pepper replied with a dubious smile. "Who would you be?"
"Call me Luna. I've been paid to seduce you for the evening."
Pepper sputtered as she pulled her hand away. "W-what?" Her wide eyes went to Tony.
"She's kidding!" Tony insisted.
"Am I?" Luna replied with a wicked grin.
"Tony!" Pepper's tone was scolding.
"I thought you said you were going to use more discretion?" Bruce commented lightly as he wandered out from the kitchen.
"You are correct. What was I thinking?" Luna berated herself jokingly. There was pure satisfaction in her mischievous smile.
"I swear, she's kidding, Pepper!" Tony pleaded.
"I was promised the opportunity to seduce her!" Luna objected. "You did say you had no problem with voyeurism."
"She did introduce herself to me as being the house concubine. Why would she think that, Tony?' Bruce questioned with a small smile.
Pepper was glaring at him with an offended look of consternation and disapproval.
"You are both the worst," Tony frowned at them. "Bruce! We're suppose to be friends! Science bros before science hoes!"
"Now I'm just offended," Luna remarked, giving Tony a flat look. "You assume I'd whore myself for science, but what if my passion lies in art! You never even asked me," She huffed in an offended manner.
"Tony, what is going on?" Pepper demanded.
"Pepper, this is Luna. She's a friend and she'll be staying here the week." Tony explained in a slightly dismissive manner.
"Am I?" Luna questioned.
Are you what?" Tony asked.
"Obviously." Tony rolled his eyes. He went to Pepper and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. "Don't worry, Pep, everything's fine. She hasn't learned how to fully appreciate my charms, yet."
"I'm not sure that I have, either," Pepper grumbled.
"The food's almost ready," Bruce told them.
"Oh, do you need any help?" Pepper asked.
"Sure." Bruce smiled at her and the two went into the kitchen.
Luna and Tony folded back into their ends of the couch.
"They are going to be talking about us now, aren't they?" Luna asked as she took another sip from her wine glass.
"Probably," Tony replied with a shrug.
"I was not... out of line, was I?" Luna questioned nervously.
"You were perfect," Tony answered her. "You have to keep them on their toes, otherwise they won't be in top form to wrangle me."
Luna only nodded, turning her head away to hide the blush that arose from the complement.
Doom was highly displeased. It had been over a week since he'd seen the members of his household and their absence was bordering on unacceptable.
It was one thing that Loki had not returned. He had not expected that the Trickster would so easily waltz back, but he had not removed the tracking bracelet and that satisfied Doom for now. He knew where the God of Mischief was and could retrieve him at anytime.
He did not know where Amora or Mystique were.
This had him mildly concerned. He checked into the last known locations that their trackers had broadcast from and found that an incident had occurred at Amora's location. It didn't take much to find footage of the incident, armature recordings that were enough to convince him the residence of his house needed to be returned. NOW.
It was an impressive sight, watching the goddess fight. It was equally intriguing to catch glimpses of Mystique in battle. They were clearly capable enough on their own, Doom would not dare think a god incapable, but they certainly were not safe. They were hunted, they were attacked, and they had not come back home.
Doom was going to bring them home.
He didn't know the location of Amora's apartment, but she'd been wearing her tracking bracelet for two weeks at least. It only took a few minutes to track the locations she'd spent the most time at and planned to attack accordingly. If they did not want to come home, he would simply bring them back by force.
Steve was talking to Sharon when Doom attacked.
He caught his neighbor on the way out of her apartment with a blond girl that he didn't recognize, introduced to him as Raven. The two didn't have a specific destination, so they decided to walk together, mostly aimlessly.
"I haven't seen you around much lately," Steve said. "Is everything alright?"
Sharon smiled at him, but the worry was still clear on her face. "It's sweet of you to worry." She placed a friendly hand on his shoulder. "I'd really rather that you didn't trouble yourself."
"We're friends, Sharon! Of course I worry. I want to help you," Steve said sincerely.
Raven gave him a considering look. "You say that you want to help, but you don't know what's wrong and you don't know what she wants."
Steve frowned at that. "I don't have to. I know that Sharon's a good person."
Sharon smiled at that. Raven only scrutinized him further. "You remind me of someone that I was once good friends with. He accepted me and we were like family, but he was always trying to change me. He always talked about what I could be, instead of what I was."
"I'm not like that," Steve insisted.
"That was what he thought, too," Raven said firmly.
Sharon placed her hand on Raven's shoulder. "Be easy on him, Raven. His heart is kind."
It was then that the commotion began. "What now?" Steve groaned, turning toward where they heard the disturbance. He could see the green cloaked figure approaching in the distance, the doombots spreading out around him. "You girls should get out of here!" Steve called. He barely had the chance to take a step before the machines were on them, having come up behind them.
Raven cried out as one of the Doombots grabbed hold of her, arms locking in place. "Let me go!" She screamed.
Sharon remained impassive as she was taken hold of, eyes on her companion. "Raven, calm down," She said soothingly.
"I can't!" Raven said. "What if he--"
"He won't," Sharon said.
"I'll get you out of there!" Steve yelled, immediately trying to attack the bots.
"Don't worry about us, Captain," Sharon told him. Her eyes and hands began to glow green before the bot around her exploded in a blast of green energy. "You should get your shield." More bots surrounded them and she blasted several to clear a path for him. "You should hurry." Sharon dropped her illusion before she ripped Raven away from the bot and yelled out, "What is the meaning of this, Doom!"
The arms of the bots extended from their bodies, all reaching to restrain a limb, zeroing in on the goddess who handily fought them off and blasted them to pieces. Two bots grabbed for her limbs at once, then they circled her quickly, tying their limbs around her and completely restraining her as another two grabbed hold of Raven. Amora shrieked in rage.
"There is no need to yell, Doom is here." The man walked calmly before them, giving them a quick once over and nodding when he saw nothing obviously out of place about either of them.
"What do you think you are doing?" Amora demanded.
"I am bringing you home," Doom told them. "You have been too long away, your trackers are broken, and you were attacked. We return to the castle."
"You're frightening Mystique!" Amora yelled furiously. "And this will not hold me long."
"There is no reason for your ire. I am taking you home. It is pointless to fight," Doom said. "And she is right to be frightened. This place of yours is completely unfortified. You think anything that wishes you harm will be stopped so easily?"
Amora glared at him as she finally broke away from metal arms constricting her. She stomped forward and grabbed hold of Doom's cloak. "You think you can provide better protection than I, mortal? You dare to believe yourself better than a god?"
"Strength alone will not afford you protection if you are caught unawares," Doom replied as a the metal fist of a bot came down upon her head. She spun about and tore threw it with her magic.
"You fool of a man!" Amora cried, grabbing him and lifting him off his feet, then slamming him to the ground. "You think that you know better than a god? That you have the power to subdue me? The right?"
"You think it better to forsake the security of my castle?" Doom demanded. "To abandon Doom?"
"Abandon?" Amora lifted him up and slammed him to the ground, again. "You are a fool! No one has abandoned you!"
"Then why have you not returned?"
"Does it escape you that we have other concerns!" Amora yelled.
"Do you believe Doom incapable of aid? Doom in not useless!"
Amora's reply was interrupted by the clap of thunder that sounded behind her. She hadn't noticed that the sky had darkened. Her entire body went rigged and she rose stiffly. She refused to turn as Thor's voice rang out around her.
"Causing trouble again, Enchantress?"
Amora kept her eyes before her, only now taking notice of her surroundings again. She spotted the other Avengers fighting the still raging machines. Steve, out of uniform, had retrieved his weapon, Hawkeye was unleashing his arrows. Looking over, she noticed that Raven was wrapped up in the limbs of another bot, her mouth covered so that her objections could not be heard. She reached out toward Raven and Thor screamed.
"Stay your hand, Enchantress! I shall not hesitate to cut you down."
Amora paused but a moment, then she heard the sound of a struggle as the Asgardian became under attack by the remaining doombots. Doom was watching the God of Thunder closely. Amora ripped Raven free of the bot and said to them, "We shall return to the castle and then we shall talk."
Raven looked at Doom warily, but Amora stroked her hair. "He will not take any liberties with you," Amora promised. "Nothing more than he has before done."
Turning, she levitated into the air, attacking and destroying every Doombot in sight. There were fewer than he usually brought, emphasizing the point in Amora's mind that the madman wanted only to bring them home.
Once they were all sufficiently destroyed, Amora lowered herself to the ground, took hold of her mortal comrades, and teleported them back to the castle.