Chapter 28

"Those known as The Avengers, as well as a sizeable group of other super humans, have been in hiding now for nearly 2 weeks. Even the government agency they supposedly work with has no record of their location."

Danielle tapped her fingers against Steve's shoulder nervously. They hovered a good dozen miles out from the National Mall, where the attack would be taking place. She stared out at the hazy horizon of Washington DC. The cockpit was silent.

"If they're in hiding, well, they must be hiding something."

The team was suited up, decked out, fully ready. Each person had an individual uniform, some of them familiar, some new and unrecognizable. Of course, the American people would recognize the great star spangled Shield and blue outfit Steve wore. They might not recognize the tank top, skirt, and leggings embellished with flames that Ana wore. The radioactive brothers wore matching grey and red jumpsuits. Hakim wore a high collared dark blue jacket with slim pants, made with material that reflected the light like water. Danielle had an outfit similar to Steve's, only instead of a star in the center of her chest, there was a white Caduceus.

Everyone's demeanor was incredibly calm. The two separate camouflaged aircraft lay in wait.

"If there's one thing this world doesn't need, it's superheroes. We have everyday superheroes. What do we pay taxes for? The military, the police. We don't need freaks."

An alarm at the front of the ship started beeping. The signal had been sent. The creatures were loose.

"Hang tight, guys." Natasha said, moving the ship across the DC sky. "Game faces on."

They moved through the air quickly and reached the mall in minutes.

Natasha disengaged the camouflage moments before she stopped above the National Monument. Danielle peered down at the chaos below, already identifying a good dozen citizens who'd need medical assistance.

The back door opened.

Steve and Danielle walked to the back exit, looking down at the grass and the beasts running around in confusion and anger. Barely missing the pair, Tony launched out of the ship, soaring up the length of the monument and turning, beginning to fire at the creatures.

"Ready?" Steve asked. Danielle nodded up at him. He wrapped an arm around her waist, holding his shield carefully as she squeezed herself against his chest. He dove out, and she squeezed her eyes shut as she felt him flip and then land. He let go of her and they both stood, taking in their surroundings. At the same moment, they darted off in opposite directions, her towards a fallen man near the pool, and him towards a serpent that had cornered a family at a tree.

Hakim went next, as Natasha moved the ship over the reflecting pool. With a great wave, he glided down onto the surface of the reflecting pool, carefully aiming ice spears at the few Asgardian Wolves who turned towards him. Civilians scattered.

Danielle pressed her hands against the man's chest, healing the chest wound. He gasped as he came too, and without a word, she pulled him to his feet, directing him towards the semi circle the Hawaiians had formed near the Lincoln Memorial. Natasha and Clint had finally joined them, and were helping Civilians towards the safe zone.

She looked around at the action. The ground shook as the 5 rock trolls appeared, beaming down from the invisible ship thousands of miles above their head. She saw the Radioactives taking down a wolf, Ana lit the serpent Steve fought with fire, Hakim following, putting out any blaze she left behind. The Amazons rounded on the rock beasts, vines wrapping around the huge layers of rock. She headed towards the next fallen civilian, moving as quick as she could.

Steve jumped in front of another striking serpent, blocking a 14 year old girl from the snake's bite. She shrieked, falling into the grass. He pulled her up, pointing her towards the safety circle.

It seemed so easy, Danielle thought. The whole group was working together seamlessly, countering one another and moving together as a unit, not as separate parts. In the background, she heard police sirens, and saw in the corner of her eye familiar red and blue lights.

And then she jumped as she heard guns going off. Assuming the police were attempting to help, she didn't stop working. One shot sounded close, and she instinctivley looked up, searching for Steve first, and saw him, frozen, staring with his mouth ajar, looking towards one of the rock trolls. She stood, slowly, turning, and Natasha's screaming cut the air like a knife.

Danielle's blood went cold. She turned, running towards the sound. She felt bullets hitting her arm and chest, but it didn't stop her.

She came running around the corner to see Natasha huddled over a body on the ground, and it all clicked. She rushed towards the couple, kneeling.

"It's fine, I'll-" she began, but Natasha moved away and she saw why she'd screamed so much. The bullet had gone right through Clint's forehead. A chill ran up her spine as she realized. It wasn't working.

It wasn't working.

Her breath caught in her throat as she tried to heal him, with no response, repeatedly. She tried again and again, urging the familiar sensation to become stronger, to remember the way he'd looked before. Natasha was screaming louder. The fighting hadn't stopped, it had only been muted.

And then she stopped screaming. She looked over at the barrier the police were constructing, unaware of who they'd hit. They were still firing on the monsters, from behind their car doors. Danielle felt the fearsome rage flowing from Natasha as strongly as if it had been her perfume. A sob caught in Danielle's throat, and she hadn't realized she'd been crying.

"Steve-" she said, turning, looking for him, hoping he'd heard her over the earpiece.

"I see her." he said, running past her and Clint's body. He grabbed Natasha by the waist, and she kicked, grabbing at the air. She screamed louder still, trying to get him off, but was too emotionally compromised to fight. After a moment, she went limp, crying, falling against Steve.

"They killed him," she sobbed. "they did, they killed him."

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