You Still Matter to Me
Vision found me in my room, curled up into a ball on my bed, shaking violently as I tried to muffle my sobbing by covering my mouth with my hands. He came to me, sitting next to me and gently pulling me onto his lap. He was quiet for a bit, letting me have a moment where I let my emotions get the better of me, knowing that these were rare moments for me.
Once he sensed that I was recovering, he said, "I don't want to lose you. I'll make sure that the chip is protected."
"I'm scared to die," I whispered, my voice hoarse and painful. "I don't want to die. Not now, not yet."
Vision stroked my head, the gesture soothing me more than I thought it would. "No one does," he stated. "Especially when they are loved and cared for by so many, when people look up to them for leadership and as role models, and when they have made a huge impact, whether locally or worldwide."
I wiped my tears away from my eyes, sitting up slowly, feeling no energy in me now.
"Are you hungry?" Vision asked. "It would be best to get something to eat."
I nodded, getting to my feet, but my legs gave way and I collapsed into Vision's arms.
He scooped me up, holding me close. "I suspect that's a definite yes," he commented as he walked out of the room.
I smiled slightly and buried my face into his shoulder, my arms wrapped around his neck. I let out a content sigh, feeling safe despite how my death could start at any time.
He walked into the deserted kitchen and set me down in a chair. "I'll find us something to eat," he said. "Just stay here, ok?"
"Alright," I said softly, my voice still hurting to speak.
"Just keep quiet," Vision added. "I'll put something together to help you with that."
I nodded and watched him as he walked away. My smile grew slightly and I put my head down on the table.
But then I felt a presence in the room.
I turned and quickly got to my feet as I saw a robot standing there. My eyes narrowed and raised a hand, ready to cast a spell.
"This is only the beginning," the robot said in the always-smooth voice that had once been in my mind.
"Ultron!" I gasped.
"Like my new appearance?" Ultron asked as he walked to me. "It's nothing compared to how I was, but I'll make improvements."
I casted a spell but I was startled when the metal absorbed it. It appeared to make it stronger, even.
"As you can tell, your magic is no use for me," Ultron said.
I tried to call out to Vision or even to Tony, but my voice was too bad and instead, I kicked Ultron, causing the robot to fall back slightly.
Before Ultron could approach again, I froze time long enough for me to back away and start to where Vision had gone to.
Time started again and before I could reach the door, Ultron shot at me, hitting me in the leg and causing me to collapse.
"Vision!" I cried raspily, hoping that he could hear me. I put a hand over the wound and used the spell I had used on Pietro to heal it.
"He won't be able to save you," Ultron said as he reached me and grabbed me, pulling me to my feet. "No one will."
I grabbed Ultron's hand after he got me to my feet and twisted it to the point where, if it was a regular human, I would've broken it. I kicked him away and slide back, inching closer to the door to see if I could determine how far away Vision way.
Before Ultron could come at me again, I froze time long enough to allow me to dart into the doorway.
"Rose, what's wrong?" Vision asked, confused, as he walked to me.
"Ultron has a body," I said. "He can fight."
"Get Tony," Vision said. "He can't get a hold of that chip. I'll distract Ultron."
I nodded and slipped out a side door, running to Tony's lab.
I froze when I saw that Ultron had gotten to it first. "Tony," I whispered, darting forward and into the wreckage.
"Rose," Tony gasped, slowly moving some rubble off of him, me going to help him. "The chip. Ultron has it. I tried to keep it from him, but it was impossible."
"Did you come up with a solution?" I said, trying to make my voice sound as soon as possible.
Tony shook his head. "I have a plan that I think could work, but that requires going to the base," he said. "Where's Vision?"
"Fighting Ultron," I replied.
"He needs to fall back," Tony said as he began to summon his suit of armor. "We need to get out of here. Time's against us now."
"What are you going to do?" I said.
"Put a shield around your heart," Tony said. "It'll keep it from swelling. And I'll create a serum that'll disable the robots to give us time. Get your stuff and stay in your room until myself or Vision get you. Then all three of us will go to the base."
I nodded, having some misgivings on his procedure but know that now was not the time to argue. I darted to my room as he flew past me. I grabbed my weapons, putting them on, not knowing if I would have to fight or not. I sat down on my bed, knowing that this may be the final time I am ever in this room.
I looked up at myself in the mirror. I wasn't the beauty that Natasha could make me be, or the homeless girl that was first brought in after being ambushed at my old home. The girl that looked back at me had piercing green eyes that challenged whoever faced her, whether she was willing to fight or not, red hair that could easily be the color of her enemy's blood, a sign that she wouldn't fail at any challenge, and a hard-set and determined face, that she wouldn't give up, even if it meant her life.
There was a knock on my door and I got to my feet, eyes narrowing slightly.
The door suddenly blew off it's hinges and I jumped back, an arrow on my bowstring, ready to shoot.
"Come on, we haven't got a moment to lose," Tony said as he came into the room. "And sorry about the door. We're in a rush."
I nodded, putting my arrow away and running after Tony. "The chip," I said.
"When I told him Ultron had it, Vision located it," Tony replied as he flew down the hall. "He's waiting for us at the top of the tower. He has it, safe and sound."
"One less thing to worry about," I commented.
"Take my hand," Tony said, grabbing it and then flying up the staircase to the top, where Vision stood, looking over the city. "Report on Ultron." He set me down carefully on the ground and we walked to the android.
"Once I got the chip, he fled," Vision reported. "That only concerns me." He placed the chip in Tony's hand when he held it out. "I suggest we move out now."
"How do we know we're not leading Ultron to the base?" I said. "For all we know, he could've fled onto to follow us."
"That's where you come in," Tony said. "Invisibility. All three of us."
"I've never tried with three people," I said. "Only myself. But I guess I could try. How long?"
"Just until we're in the countryside," Tony said.
I nodded and closed my eyes, focusing on making my magic spread to the other two along with myself. I opened my eyes and cast the spell before looking into a window, not seeing us there. "We're good to go," I said. "We can see each other, but no one else can see us."
"Following your lead, Tony," Vision said as he picked me up, all of us knowing that we'd have to be quick and that I couldn't fly fast enough to keep up with the other two.
Tony nodded and took off, Vision flying next to him.
I suddenly started to feel a pain in my chest, clutching it with a hand.
"Tony!" Vision cried, seeing my discomfort.
Tony stopped and looked at me and then looked at the chip. "He switched it out! Gave us a fake one!" he exclaimed.
"Go ahead and take her," Vision said. "You can be much faster than me. I will follow your trail and be there shortly after you, but you've got to get her taken care of."
Tony nodded and Vision passed me off to him. "Be careful," he said before speeding off. "Rose, cut the spell. It'll give you more time."
I ended the invisibility spell, the pain slowly getting worse. "What are the odds of me surviving?" I whispered.
"You're going to survive some way or another," Tony replied. "I'm not going to lose you! You're still needed here!"
"That might not be a choice we have to make," I said. "Please, tell me, what are the odds?"
Tony was silent for a moment then said, "Slim."
I only nodded, accepting that.
Tony sent a call ahead to the base, reporting in on my condition and to not be disturbed until he finishes. No one, not even Vision or Clint, were allowed to even watch through the window until he was done.
I was dimly aware to what he was saying, fighting a losing battle to keep alive. "I'm putting myself into hibernation so that you have more time," I said. "It'll slow my breathing and pulse to almost nothing, but I'll still be alive."
"Do what needs to be done," Tony said. "I'll make sure you get through this."
I cast a spell on myself that made myself sleep. Before I was completely asleep, I said, "To wake me, say 'Winter's over, hibernation's through. Time for spring and new stuff to attend to.'"
If Tony responded, I didn't know: I was knocked out.
Both Avengers teams were waiting for Tony's progress on me. Everyone was sitting down but Clint and Vision: Clint was pacing, a look of distress on his face, while Vision stood in front of the window, staring outside, face emotionless.
"Tell us what happened," Steve said after a long time of silence. "Tony didn't say: he immediately took Rose into surgery."
"Rose and I went to get breakfast," Vision said. "She was sitting at a table and I was getting the food. She came in, panicked, said that Ultron was back. I proceeded to fight him and then Tony came, said that Ultron had the chip that was in Rose's body. I got it from him, but somehow, he switched it out and gave us a fake one."
Natasha looked up at the clock. "It's been over twelve hours," she said. "What is Tony doing? This is almost too long to bear."
"Whatever he's doing, I just want my sister," Clint said.
"It is painful to almost lose a sibling," Wanda said. "I wish you not to feel the pain I felt with Pietro."
Fury walked into the room, looking at everyone, expecting good news, but seeing everyone's still worried expressions knew that they still didn't know the verdict.
Tony finally walked into the room, face revealing no emotions as everyone stood and turned to the inventor.
"Well?" Vision asked, not moving from his spot by the window.
"Good news and bad news," Tony said. "Which first?"
"Good news," Clint said. "It needs to be something that we can live with."
"Oh, you will," Tony said. "Good news: she's alive."
There was a simultaneous-relieved sigh in the room.
"And the bad?" Pietro said slowly, almost like not wanting to ask but knowing that someone had to put the dreaded question out there.
"She's never going to be the same," Tony said. "The communicators not only went to her heart, but also to her limbs and other important parts of her body, blocking blood flow and causing the tissues to die. I tried to revive the tissues but no use. I have able to save the most important thing though: her brain. But I had to substitute for all the dead tissue so I-"
"What are you saying, Tony?" Fury interrupted.
Tony sighed. "She's now mostly an android," he said.
"Mostly?" Rhodey said. "How can you be mostly an android?"
"She still has her brain, not a computer," Tony said. "She has the looks of one, though not really noticeable since I made the metal the same color as her skin and made sure it was blended well. Plus, she'll have an upgrade of strength and a little bit in speed."
"Can we just see her?" Thor asked. "I'm sure that'll make everyone feel better."
Tony nodded and turned into the room. "Winter's over, hibernation's through. Time for spring and new stuff to do," he said.
I awoke from the hibernation I had placed myself in and got to my feet. I looked at my hands, amazed that I was still alive. I walked out to the others and immediately, Clint almost knocked me over with a hug.
"Rose, you scared me," Clint whispered in my ear.
I returned his hug. "I'm alright, Brother," I murmured. I saw that the others were thankful that I was back.
"How do you feel?" Tony said when Clint stepped away after a few moments, wiping tears of happiness and relief from his eyes.
"Regenerized," I said. "I feel like I could go days without sleep."
"Well, you could, actually," Tony said slowly as the others passed glances to one another.
"What do you mean?" I said.
"I had to recreate you," Tony said. By my confused look, he explained what he told the others.
"S-so I'm an android now," I said, unsure about how to respond.
Everyone watched as Vision came to me, looking me up and down as if he were performing a scan. He locked eyes with me and a smile crossed his face as he hugged me, kissing my forehead. "I don't care if you're a complete human or not, you still matter to me," he whispered in my ear.