Facing Your Own Demons

To Decide

Bruce had barely even touched the content's of the folder. He couldn't bring himself to do it, as cowardly as that sounded in his head. The Hulk wasn't afraid, but he sensed Bruce becoming anxious and panicky. Bruce had to breathe. He just had to breathe.

He really couldn't understand it. He had gone over bits of the data before when he was trying to develop a cure. Why was this time so scary? It was terrifying him to the point where he felt he couldn't breathe. How was he suppose to do this? How was he suppose to save Natasha if he couldn't even touch the freaking folder?!

The large, thick lead lined door abruptly swung open, momentarily distracting Banner from his current panic. Two male and two female agent's entered. One held some kind of weird iron band. Instantly, Bruce's panic started right up again. The two women stayed in the back, the two men approached Bruce. Bruce didn't make a move, he just watched as they etched closer. One of the men grasped his Bruce's arm tightly and shoved the iron ban onto it. Bruce winced as the small device moved and partially embedded itself into his skin. I sunk deeper and deeper until it caused pain and extreme discomfort.

"Просто так понятно," started the man who had just placed the device on Bruce's arm, "это устройство имеет полный литр адреналина в нем. Если вы попытаетесь или делать все, что будет активировать ее, и она," said the agent, pointing to someone Bruce had failed to notice. The two woman in the back had been restraining someone. Natasha. The man roughly grabbed Bruce's shoulder to make sure that he was paying attention.

Bruce looked to Natasha for help. "He says that there's adrenaline in that thing. He says if you try anything they'll inject it into you." Bruce gulped.

"не пострадает. Понять?" The man said sharply. Natasha translated.

"He's asking if you understand," said Natasha. Bruce nodded.

"Учитель даровал тебе восемьдесят четыре часа." At this line Natasha's eyes grew a little. She was shaken harshly as a reminder to speak.

"He says we have four days to finish." The man then let go of Banner and called for the other's, leaving Natasha in the room with Bruce. Now he knew the full consequences. He did something wrong he would hurt Natasha. Or worse, but Bruce didn't think he could handle thinking the ladder.

Natasha sauntered slowly into towards Banner. She was nervous about being stuck with him in a enclosed space in general, but with the little Hulk-out bracelet the gave him, well that made it all worse. Though if she were to think about it logically, she figured they wouldn't just kill her. She didn't think it was just coincidence that Strucker wanted her and Bruce. She didn't know exactly why yet, but she figured Bruce just might be able to help her figure that out.

Natasha glanced over and saw a certain manila folder. It looked completely untouched upon a desk. There was little furniture in the room, barely noticeable placed in the corner's that it was. There was a chair and desk with a work lamp placed upon it in the back right corner. There was a cot in the opposite corner and that was about it.

"What do they want you to find?" Asked Natasha, speaking for the first time. Bruce shrugged. Though to Natasha it seemed like more of a shudder.

"I'm not sure. They've only given me small detail's. Very vague. Apparently their Master think's that it's lacking something or has something in it that was missed," answered Bruce. Natasha nodded and slowly paced towards the desk.

"There has to be more to this, we're just skipping over it somehow," said Natasha while brushing her fingers over the cream folder. "To be honest I'm not actually sure where to start."

"Well, let's look at the evidence," suggested Banner. Natasha had to contemplate that for a moment.

"It just got me thinking. Gali-Someone that I..used to know, kept saying things about Strucker like 'He's seen enough' and 'whole and end of his universe'. It seemed suspicious only I'm not seeing a direct theme here." They both stayed silent for a minute, trying to ponder over all of the things they had heard in the time that they had been here. Natasha sighed. It seemed nearly pointless.

"If we don't figure this out in time-" "Time," Banner said suddenly, cutting Natasha off. Natasha cocked her head. Banner explained.

"Time. It's the one thing that we've kept hearing over and over again. How old is this Baron Strucker?" Asked Bruce.

"Oh god, um, 60 plus years, why?"

"That plus injuries during mission's," said Banner, starting to pace. "And the symbol, the rose and the hour-glass makes perfect sense. "

"Um, hey, are you going to let me in on any of this or not?" Inquired Natasha, sounding somewhat more amused that annoyed.

"Oh, right. The rose's and willow tree's were used in ancient hieroglyphics for the word 'Immortal'. The hour-glass representing time. And that mixed with everyone talking about age and end and late."

"Time is the answer. Galina briefly mentioned Strucker being sick," Natasha exclaimed. Bruce couldn't help but grin at figuring it out.

"Time as in the Baron's clock. A cure a freeze is what he want's me to find," Bruce concluded, nervously.

(24 hours earlier inside the NYC S.H.I.E.L.D base)

"What do you mean 'dissapeared?!'" Raged Tony, "people don't just vanish, Fury!" Fury grunted lowly.

"I don't like it any more than you do, Stark. The jet went off the grid approximately three hours ago. It didn't show at the designated landing site and we couldn't track it using S.H.I.E.L.D correspondence," explained the Director.

"S.H.I.E.L.D jet's don't just go missing, Director. Even if there was a crash we'd hear about it," added Clint, bitterly. Natasha was missing so was Bruce. Two of his friends. Hell, two out of the five of his only friends. The more he heard about the incident, the more he doubted it was some odd coincidence.

"You think there's some kind of dirty deal going on, or a mole inside S.H.I.E.L.D?" Inquired Steve. Clint shrugged.

"It's possible." Everyone stayed silent for a moment as they watched Fury's expression fill with, well, fury. Fury himself didn't want to think that there was a spy scurrying throughout the walls of the S.H.I.E.L.D constructs like a traitorous rat. After finding H.Y.D.R.A agent's hidden with in the ranks of S.H.I.E.L.D, Fury didn't know what else to expect.

"Who was managing the plane?" Asked Stark. More like demanded. Tony wasn't very pleased with his favorite, and only, science bro suddenly going missing under unknown and unlikely circumstances.

"Agent's Quin Darren, Elijah Whuit and Simon Pyke," Fury listed quickly.

"Agent Pyke. He and Natasha have a history," muttered Clint.

"'Scuse me?" Asked Tony, not fully hearing what Clint had said from the other end of the round table.

"Pyke, he's a pilot whose been hitting on Natasha for years. They were in rehabilitation together," explained Clint. Rehabilitation, a word that could be depicted in several different ways. With injury, emotional destruction, personal transformation. Steve guess for Natasha it would have been the last one or maybe all three. He knew that Natasha used to work for the Russian's as a mercenary. He didn't think of it in a negative way, against her at least. Cap rarely ever thought anything negative against her.

"What kind of rehabilitation?" Steve finally asked.

"At S.H.I.E.L.D, rehabilitation is a type of training, more or less, that re-trains member's coming on from different agency's," answered Fury in a very matter-of-fact tone.

"Where was this Agent Pyke guy from?" Asked Tony, wanting to wrap this up. The sooner they found the two missing Avenger's the better.

"Originally, he transferred over from a some small, elite group in Germany," said Clint before Fury could.

"Where exactly in Germany?" Asked Steve almost bitterly. Fury caught it.

"Right outside Berlin."

"That's where H.Y.D.R.A started," Steve practically sneered. None of them exactly knew the soldier to be this snide about anything. Fury placed his hands down on the table, leaning in close.

"What exactly are you implying, Captain?" Fury questioned, harshly.

"He had history with Natasha, he had an opportunity, H.Y.D.R.A just happens to be involved in some kind of deal that involves Bruce's experiment."

"Project: Gamma pulse?" Tony practically gasped.

"But what about motive?" Fury pointed back.

"I'm telling you. Something doesn't sit right with me about this guy, Director."

"Me either," muttered Clint, who had been silent for a while.

"I'll look into it," said Fury after a brief moment, "until we find more evidence you're all dismissed."

I'm basing this somewhat on a Avengers comic AU. Still based mainly on the movies, but I changed a few things, like the total fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. I followed a comic universe to where Hydra didn't completely destroy them, just weakened S.H.I.E.L.D to a small, more elite and intimate group.

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