After a week, Carter was finally out of the wheelchair and walking about. Rather slowly, but still walking.
She walked into the kitchen to find Thor raiding the pantry and Tony ordering pizza. "Hey," she greeted with a smile.
"Carter!" Thor grinned and hugged the girl.
She laughed, "Hi Thor, what are you up to?"
"I am in pursuit of a snack, but it seems the buns of honey are nowhere to found." He sighed forlornly, "Alas, I shall find something else to snack on."
Carter nodded, "Okay then, you have fun." She turned and sat down at the table with Tony.
"Yes, six pizzas, two large cheese, two large pepperoni, and two extra large meat lovers pizzas." He said, obviously repeating himself to the man on the phone.
These people and their pizza. Carter shook her head.
Tony rattled off the address to the pizza guy then, out of habit, held the phone away from his ear as the person on the other end of the line either freaked out or questioned the validity of the order. "Yes, Stark Tower. I'm Tony Stark, bring me pizza."
Laynie shook her head as she walked by, following Pepper into the dining room to help set the table for the incoming pizza feast.
After that was finished, Thor, Clint, Tony and Natasha played a match of Wii Bowling with Bruce watching. Natasha won by a lot, putting shame to her partner and his highscore. When the doorbell rang, signaling the arrival of their pizza, everyone except Pepper, Carter and Laynie dashed into the living room to prepare for the oncoming food.
"I've got two large cheese, two large pepperoni, and two extra large meat lovers pizzas for Tony Stark."
"That's ours," Pepper said with a smile.
"Could I carry these in for you ma'am?"
"Of course, thank you." Pepper led the pizza man, Laynie, and Carter to the dining room, and the pizzas were laid out across the large table. Without so much as a glance, Pepper smacked her boyfriend's hand away from the boxes before pulling out her checkbook. "What do I owe you?"
The man smiled, then swiftly grabbed a steak knife from the table.
Pepper screamed as he swiped at her, luckily managing to slap the knife away with her checkbook.
Each of the Avengers sprang into action. Natasha and Steve both leaped over the table. Natasha kicked the knife out of his hand, and Steve kicked the back of his right knee, putting him on the floor.
Tony's first response was to grab Pepper, and they both looked on with wide eyes.
"That's a dirty pizza man!" Tony shouted, feeling both betrayed and violated.
Laynie let out an uneasy laugh, and there was a split second of silence before more black-clad men, exactly like the ones in Costco, came running into the door, left wide open after the pizza man.
Carter and Laynie stuck close together as the men poured into the room. They both tried to run from the room, but didn't end up very far before being cut off by a large man. He was about to lunge at them, but was stopped by a bullet to his stomach.
Carter looked behind her and saw Natasha with one of her many guns.
"It's imperative that-" Natasha was stopped by a man attacking her from behind. She took hold of his fist and flipped him, then pressing her foot into his neck until he lost consciousness. "Get out of here!" she shouted.
Suddenly, Iron Man shot through the house, grabbing both girls, crashing through the window and into the New York City night. He landed on a building across the street, setting the girls down and shielding them from bullets. The faceplate was lifted to reveal Tony's face.
"Why are they here? What are they after?"
"I don't know!" they both cried.
"There has to be something! What's something you both know in common about your parents' missions?"
They thought hard, asking each other about a few things. Things they probably shouldn't have known about.
"There's nothing, Tony," Laynie sighed. She wrapped her arms around herself, and something fell out of her sweater's pocket. She reached down for it, and found the battered usb drive she'd put in that pocket over a week ago. "Oh my gosh," she said, staring at the small device.
Tony grabbed it from her without a second thought, flipping open a port on his left arm and putting it in. "Jarvis, download and examine data."
"I would not recommend that, Sir. This drive contains harmful files that could potentially compromise my systems. The file must be opened on a more protected computer."
Tony swore under his breath, stashing the drive in the port. "You two stay here, lay down and don't move a muscle, we'll take care of this."
Without another word, he took off.
Both girls shared a quick look, but then laid down on the rooftop of the building, hiding behind the ledge. They peeked their eyes out over the ledge and watched Stark Tower. They could see all of the Avengers fighting their attackers.
Carter growled, "I sure wish we knew what was going on."
"I think it's my fault that they're here. I opened that file on my mom's laptop."
"I bet that's what our parents died for. Some stupid intelligence."
That thought hadn't occurred to Laynie yet. She laid her head down on her hands, having seen enough of the fighting. "I bet it is."
Hours later, SHIELD had come and gone, the perimeter had been secured, and those of the Avengers who got through without an injury were cleaning up the apartment. That made Natasha, Clint, Pepper, Thor and the girls. Steve had been hit on the head pretty hard, Bruce was still trying to calm down, and Tony had a couple of ribs badly bruised before he was able to get in his suit.
"Guys, I'll have that cleaned tomorrow, please just go to bed," Tony begged for the millionth time. He was laying across the couch with an icepack over his ribcage and a bit of tissue on a split lip.
"It's okay Tony," Laynie said quietly. "What did you do with the usb?"
"Jarvis is running an analysis on it downstairs. Heavily encrypted file, tried to take over the computer six times already."
Laynie nodded, putting another piece of drywall in a trash bag. "Thanks, you guys, for watching out for us. We'd be dead by now if not for you."
"Quit thanking us," Tony whined. He shifted on the couch and grabbed the icepack as it almost slipped off him.
"Really, girls, you're no problem," Pepper insisted.
Carter smiled, "I would say thank you too. But, I feel Laynie has probably done it enough for both of us."
The room was silent after that, other than the rustling of plastic bags and the clink of glass hitting glass.
"Excuse me, there's an incoming call from Director Fury," JARVIS announced.
Tony groaned, and Pepper rolled her eyes, walking to get her phone to take the call. "Hello?" Pepper bit her lip as the man spoke, nodding to herself. "Alright. Yes sir, they will be there." Pepper raised an eyebrow. "We'll all be there." She put the phone back down and sat on the arm of the couch behind Tony. The whole room watched her expectantly. "Fury wants us all in a meeting on the Helicarrier tomorrow, first thing."
Tony just groaned again. "Really?"
"Yes, really," Pepper said. "It's about the usb and also about the girls' living situations."
"Oh, that's fun," Carter scoffed.
Instead of opting for sarcasm like her friend, Laynie's heart dropped to her stomach. She had been anticipating further information on living with her father, but hadn't truly been able to prepare herself for the news.
Pepper looked at the watch on her wrist. "It's getting late, we should all get to bed."
Everyone agreed, and with that, the girls went to bed anxiously awaiting the next day.