Promises

Chapter 4

The SHIELD offices in New York were not as big and impressive as the ones in DC. Just a good dozen floors that took up the main Government Building downtown. They shared the immense skyscraper with offices for the FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, Armed Forces, and various other government organizations.

A towncar met Steve, Danielle, and Bruce at Stark Tower. Danielle got increasingly more nervous as they made their way towards the building. She rubbed her knees, looking out the car window, her mind flooded with repetitive worrisome thoughts. She began trying to find some source information for her next article, but her phone screen made her oddly dizzy.

Bruce was fiddling with someone on his iPad, and Steve glanced over.

"Theorizing what the chemical compound side effects might cause." Bruce said. "Been bouncing some ideas off these guys in Spain. The mixture I used on her was a dulled down serum similar to yours, only with some nano-technology. They've used a similar one on mice, with good looking results, only mice don't have the same will humans do."

"What do you mean?" Danielle asked.

"Look at the few cases of superhumans we've seen. Their powers are effective, yes, but when other people are involved, they change. Look at Karla Sofen, who SHIELD had to deal with a few years back. She can control others with her mind. She can displace her powers to effect others."

"So you're suggesting...I can heal other people?" she whispered.

"If the serum was potent enough, I think so. But we'll test the theory in the lab. We're here." he nodded out the window, and Danielle looked up at the glimmering building.

The first floor of SHIELD looked unlike any other government building she'd seen. Instead of the usual dingy work spaces, everything looked brand new, the highest technology available, most of which had shining Stark Logos on them. She followed Bruce and Steve to the second floor, and recognized the same stark white lab that Bruce had. A pretty young girl with dreadlocks caught sight of them, and looked so thrilled that they'd arrived.

"Dr. Banner! It's so nice to see you again!" she gushed, shaking his hand eagerly, and moving on to Danielle's and then Steve's. "I'm Kiara Taylor, I couldn't contain myself when I got your email last night, are you ready to get this show on the road?"

With a graceful sweep of his fingers, Banner pushed all the data from his iPad onto the screens in the room, and flicked through it as he began talking.

"Her blood shows an unusual high amount of nuetrophils, which, as you know, is common for patients with luekemia. However, these are regenerating at twice the normal rate. And they're also not Lymphocytes. Every normal fluctuating level in the body, blood pressure, gluclose, adrenaline, et cetera, is completely level."

"What is he talking about?" she whispered to Steve.

"No idea." he replied.

"Her body heals instinctual, not as a willfull act." he said.

"Could it be possible she could trigger or manipulate normal body processes? Like her metabolism, heart rate?" Kiara asked.

"I'm not sure. There's also a theory, which my associates working in Spain, think she might be able to heal other people."

"Her body healed under extreme distress though, correct?" she asked, pulling out something from a drawer. It was a small white box with lots of wires sticking out of it. She began to circle Danielle, placing small sticky ends on her skin, connecting back to the white box.

"Radiation levels?" he asked.

"Totally normal." she said, looking at the readout.

"That's good. That means she probably can't be triggered like me." Bruce said.

"Maybe she can, though. Just like normal humans can show examples of superhuman strength when under extreme circumstances. Maybe subnormal humans can trigger their own powers."

"Like in battle." Steve said, and she looked at him with wide eyes.

"Exactly!" she said. "He gets it!"

"Subnormal?" I asked, feeling slightly embarrassed. "Is that what I am now?"

She didn't seem to hear me. She'd picked up a clipboard and was scribbling something on it.

"We'll just need to evoke an emotional response." Kiara said.

"Steve, come here." Bruce said. Bruce lifted up the sleeve on Steve's shirt, and sliced him across the bicep with a scalpel. Blood began seeping out of the wound. Steve hissed, grabbing his arm, and looking at the blood on his hands.

"What the hell?" Danielle said, looking in horror at Bruce. She crossed the room quickly, looking at the cut. It definitely needs stitches.

"Try." Steve said. "It's okay."

She looked up at him with wide eyes, shaking her head.

"I can't, it's impossible."

"So am I, remember?" he said. "Be impossible."

She touched his arm gently. She tried to remember what it felt like when her own sliced wrist reformed. She shut her eyes, concentrating. She opened them a moment later.

Blood still dripped from his arm.

"Heal me!" he said, his voice suddenly authoritative. Panic seeped into her stomach, and she shut her eyes, focusing more.

How did his arm look before? Gorgeous, sculpted, hard as rock-

She heard Kiara gasp. She opened her eyes.

His arm looked like it should, only marked with quickly drying blood. She stepped back, looking up at him in astonishment.

"You did that." she said.

"No, you did, Danielle." he said, smiling.

"Incredible." Banner said. "We need to check her DNA. I think it's just mutated enough to work like this. How do you feel, tired?"

She shook her head.

"I feel fine. Same." she said quietly. "Don't cut him again. You scared me." she said to Bruce.

"That was the point." he said. "With practice, you won't need to be scared."

"What else can she do?" Kiara said eagerly, and for the first time since this had happened, Danielle felt irritated. In fact, she felt a little angry.

"I'm not a circus trick." Danielle snapped. "I'm not-"

"Stay calm." Steve said, backing away slightly. He was looking at her funny. She looked at herself in the reflective surface of a chrome machine, and saw her eyes glowing. The liquid sunshine they'd put in her veins was seeping out, she could feel the heat behind them.

She took a breath, and her eyes dimmed to their usual deep brown.

"What's happening to me?" she whispered at them.


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