Chapter 26

Within the hour, video of the Hulk attack had been leaked to the news. Nick Fury was outraged, shouting at everyone in the compound.

In one of the training rooms, Danielle and Steve, along with the rest of the hero teams, watched the TV blankly as politicians made statements about the desperation of harsher Hero-Restriction. Breath caught in her throat as she saw her father appear on screen. Steve didn't have to guess why she'd seemed startled, she saw her same dark eyes and a dimple in this man's cheek.

Danielle watched in horror as her own father called them freaks and sinners, blasphemers who had no respect for God's creations. She felt sick, and terribly sad. She stood, excusing herself, and leaving the building. She watched in silence as the repair crews cleaned up the rubble of the East Building. He'd damaged the road as well, and the air was thick with the smell of tar as they repaved the places he'd smashed to bits.

"I wasn't expecting it to end up like this." she said as she heard the door open, expecting Steve. Instead, Natasha leaned against the side of the building beside her.

"People are afraid of what they don't understand." Natasha said. "Like me with commitment. Or Steve with the internet." she said dryly, and Danielle smiled.

"What's going to happen?"

Natasha sighed. "The others, the ones not from here, like Wajid and them, or the Amazonians, they'll probably end up going home. I know I would."

"Why don't you?" Danielle asked. "You're Russian."

"There's a place for me here, now." Natasha said simply. "Not to mention I have a price on my head back home, but still. I'd stick here even if there wasn't."

"We could hide. Hide in plain sight, just pretend we're normal." Danielle said.

"Could you see Steve sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day?" Natasha asked, and again Danielle smiled. "Not to mention they're going to out us all if we try and run."

"We can't win."

"Don't have the numbers." Natasha said. "But we've got the power."

Danielle looked over at her, her brows raised.

"I don't think so."

"Any war can be won with the right elements." Natasha said evenly.

"We can't rebel against America. You know who I'm with right?" Danielle said.

"He's a man that stands for freedom, not oppression. It's his thing. This country used to stand for that." Natasha explained.

"I know." Danielle said. "It doesn't seem to be that way." she sighed, thinking, and then her eyes lit up.

"What if we went into hiding-" Danielle said, and Natasha opened her mouth to argue, but Danielle put her hand up. "And there's some sort of reason for us to come back."

Natasha's mouth curved into a smile. "Make them remember why they need us?"


Natasha grabbed her arm and pulled her back inside. She tugged her in front of the TV and shut it off. "Tell them what you just said."

Danielle repeated herself. She watched as everyone realized what a good idea it was. Steve caught her eye, smiling wildly.

"We just need a bad guy. And a helluva show." Clint said. "True performance art, I'm thinking."

"Bad guy?" Danielle said, sitting on the corner of the couch. "What about the Amazons? Nobody really knows who they are, what they can do."

"That's a good idea." Natasha said. The Amazons were with Kiara in the lab, the only of the superhumans that weren't present in the training room.

"I don't know, after the Bruce incident, I doubt they'll be too trusting of us." Hakim said. Ana smiled knowingly.

"The other guy will listen to me, for sure. Radi. The brooding one, not the one Cap had it out with. The other guy." Ana said to Hakim.

"Why would he do that?" Natasha said.

"Oh. 'Cause I fucked him." Ana said, taking a sip from her water bottle. Danielle laughed, and smacked her hand over her mouth. "What? He's gorgeous." Ana said in defense.

"He has pointed teeth and demon eyes." Hakim said, laughing. She smacked him with the back of her hand.

"What I'm saying is I can convince them." Ana said, running her hand through her curls. "I can explain how it would benefit them. That's all they're really worried about."

"I thought the brooding one was with the other girl, Carmen." Clint said.

"No, Carmen plays for the other team, amigo." Ana said.

"What does that mean, like she's a threat?" Steve asked, looking up at Danielle. She smiled, patting him on the shoulder.

"She likes other women, honey." Danielle said.

"Ah." he said, looking slightly embarrassed.

"It's a good idea." Kailei spoke up."We're willing to do it." she indicated the other Hawaiians.

"Us too." Dey said. "The more of us they see uniting together, the safer we all will be."

"Together, then." Steve said.

That evening, the superhumans were transferred to another SHIELD facility, and underground one near Chicago. Fury had commanded all other SHIELD operatives to stay in New York. The few exceptions joined them to the underground bunker. Clint, Natasha, Kiara, Maria Hill, and a small group of elite agents he deemed 'trustworthy.' He wanted no more leaks.

The underground facility was the size of a football field, and lit just as brightly. The ceiling was exposed bedrock, with huge industrial lights hanging from it.

"We use this mainly for intensive secret training." Nick explained as they stepped out of the elevator. "But it will suit us fine as even the President doesn't know it's exact location."

"Lot's of space for moving around." Una said, shifting her bag on her shoulder.

"Rehearsal." Clint replied.

"All the most high tech training equipment, if needed." Nick said as the group walked down the middle of the huge room. "Sleeping quarters through those doors, as well as, of course, a lab fully stocked." he said to Kiara. She silently headed towards the door. She hadn't spoken much since Bruce had left. Danielle glanced at Sam, who watched Kiara go with concern knotted on his forehead.

"This is going to be your home for the next couple of weeks, until we have everything sorted." Nick said. "We need this operation to go as smoothly as possible, and it'll take a lot of work. There's a lot of factors. All of you are individuals that have a lot to work on together. You need to start seeing yourself as a team, and not as separate entities."

Steve looked around at the group. "What, Stark doesn't want to join the fun?"

"Stark didn't want to 'bunk' with all you, and since he has no physical mutations of any kind, he think's he's free from ridicule. I suppose that's his choice, but we all know he's not much of a team player anyways. And without Bruce here-"

"Bruce is here." a voice said from behind them. He looked exhausted, but walked through the elevator doors with a bag on his back. The room fell silent, and he sighed. "I'm sorry." he said, his voice cracking.

"No, it's good you're here." Steve finally spoke up. "We'll need your help."

The Amazons were the only ones who eyed him warily. "Just...nobody shock me, alright?" Bruce said. "Point me to the lab."

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