Chapter 10

Danielle moved quickly, pulling Kiara underneath a desk.

"Stay here." Danielle said, pulling the probes from her neck. Something shook the building, and she heard shouting.

She ran to the hallway, looking desperately for the source of the noise.

Something burst through a door at the end of the hall. It stood nearly 8 feet tall, and had a slightly curved back. It was vaguely person shaped, but it's face was so mutated there was not a trace of humanness left in it. It's mouth was wide, and it had rows of long, thin, pointy teeth. It's eyes were deep red, and oval shaped, sunk back into the bald skull. On it's hands were impressive claws, and it's arms and legs were the size of tree trunks. It looked directly at Danielle, and let out a hideous reptilian scream.

She turned, running down the hall in the opposite direction. She nearly slammed right into Steve, who came rushing out of one of the doors with his shield at the ready.

"What are you doing?" he asked, not stopping. "Get somewhere safe!" he ordered as he ran towards the creature. Natasha followed him, her guns at the ready.

Danielle pushed through the door he'd just come out of, and just glimpsed a streak of red and gold as Tony flew past her.

"We need to get them to the Atrium." Nick said into his headset, pushing past her. Them? she thought.

She stopped a moment, considering hiding like Steve asked her to. And then she headed straight for the fight.

Stark had pushed the first creature back out into the atrium, the huge open air center of the sky scraper. Various SHIELD employees ran in every direction. There were three different things, looking vaguely similar to one another, but the other two were flying.

They let out hideous screeching noises as they dove and dodged the bullets flying towards them. They were strong, repeated laser blasts from the Iron Man suit seemed not to even phase them.

Great. So these assholes are breeding not only dogs, but human mutants as well she thought as she looked at them.

She saw Steve on the floor of the atrium; he was trying to both evacuate any employees, and fight the unwinged beast. He seemed to be handling himself well.

Natasha had somehow climbed up to the rafters, and Clint had appeared from somewhere to shoot repeated arrows at the monsters. With each arrow that sunk into their muscle, an explosive went off.

Tony had cornered one, and was using some sort of heat beam to carve into the thing's skin. It screamed so shrilly, Danielle covered her ears. Tony's targeted beast's wings stopped beating, and it dropped to the floor below with a thud.

"I need bigger guns!" Natasha shouted down to Clint, and he laughed. Danielle watched in stupor as the two were able to joke so easily while so much was happening.

Suddenly, a loud crack echoed through the atrium. She looked down to watch the beast drop Steve's limp body to the floor, and begin scaling the sides of the balcony to get to Clint.

"No-" Danielle whispered. She pulled herself over the balcony edge and let herself drop 4 stories. She felt her ankle bones shatter, and she screamed, falling, waiting for them to reset. When they did, she pulled herself up, running across the room to Steve. His arm sat at a perverted angle, and every vertebrae in his spine was pulverized. 6 of his ribs were crushed. She pressed one hand against his chest, and the other on his arm, shutting her eyes. He cried out as she heard his arm bones snapping back together.

"I know, I'm sorry." she said, holding back tears. "Hang tight, the spine's going to be worse."

He groaned, clenching his teeth as she gently pressed into his side, sensing each individual bone running up his spine. There were a lot. "I'm so sorry." she repeated as she felt herself piecing together the broken bones. They were taking longer than she was expecting. Supersoldier bone she thought.

She finally finished the spine, and he went to take a breath, and groaned again. She took his hand, squeezing it tightly, hovering her other hand over his broken ribs. "Almost there." she assured him, and the next moment he was all back together again.

He gasped for air, laying flat on his back, his eyes closed. She glanced over her shoulder, glad to see Tony had taken down the unwinged one. She hoped it had suffered. The last was cornered by Natasha and Clint, on the balcony.

"You alright?" she asked, and he nodded, still breathing heavily.

"Never better." he managed, and smiled slightly. She pushed his hair back gently, wiping off the sweat with the sleeve of her shirt.

Suddenly, his eyes widened. With one fluid movement, he picked Danielle up and slid her across the floor. She slammed into a wall. He rolled out of the way just as the third creature came tumbling down.

"Really?" he shouted up at Tony, who she could hear laughing.

"Glad you're not dead!" Tony shouted. Steve threw his shield towards Stark as hard as he could, and Tony laughed again, dodging it easily.

He turned to help Danielle up, but she was already on her feet.

"You're okay? I got everything?" she asked, scanning him up and down. He looked down, so overwhelmed with gratefulness it was everything he could do to not kiss her.

"You jumped from up there?" he asked, looking at the balcony above them. She nodded. He took another deep breath, trying to remain composed. They walked up the stairs together.

Natasha swung down from the rafters, tumbling as she landed so she wouldn't hurt herself. She stood gracefully. Tony landed beside them.

"Well." Natasha said. "Either that's the best they've got, or we have a hell of a storm coming."

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