chapter one

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01 x mad dash

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It hadn't been a distress signal so much as, well, a scream.

It was the kind of scream that broke hearts, alerted others of danger, and caused every single super hero within four blocks to come running.

The only problem was, the scream had not been one of distress, or fear, but pain. Pain that had started in her head, and built and grown and spread so dangerously from there that she felt as though she would rather die than continue to endure it.

They found her in the middle of the street, small hands woven into short, dark hair, bent over on her knees, sobbing her heart out as she trembled. It was Tony who did the assessment (because his suit made him good for that) and he was stunned to find the girl was giving off a heat signature so high that the only reading he received was a flashing 'ERROR.'

When Steve tried to approach, Tony stuck out one metal hand, stopping the captain in his tracks. "Don't. She's volatile."

"She's in pain," Steve argued.

Other Avengers were arriving on the scene. Even Hulk was there, though he seemed more confused than concerned as he towered a block away from the other heroes, taking a few lumbering steps around the area, but not getting closer.

"She does appear unwell, Stark," Thor agreed. He was tense at Stark's other side, watching the girl with sky blue eyes filled with sympathy. He recognized she couldn't have been any older than the twins . . . and she looked like she was experiencing a hell none of them could understand.

Tony turned to check on the twin's location, and was relieved to find Wanda's eyes were not glowing red. Though once he realized the implication of that, he turned his full attention to her, bypassing Natasha to reach her. "You're not doing anything," he pointed out in a nearly accusatory tone.

She turned flashing, dark eyes toward him, her lips thinning into a line. "I cannot," she admitted. "Her mind is inaccessible. There is nothing there for me to reach."

"How?" Pietro asked, though his question went ignored.

What no one but Clint seemed to notice was that Pietro seemed to get more anxious the longer the girl sat there. The master marksman couldn't help but notice the way Pietro's electric gaze had locked onto the girl; despite his fidgeting (to nearly pacing) his eyes never left the girl.

"We need to get her out of the street," Steve said then, approaching the girl until he was a foot away. Even from there he could feel a rise in the temperature; it was nothing like a sauna, more like searing heat that made him break into a sweat at his mere proximity. He took a small step back at the realization, and as he did so, the girl looked up.

Her eyes were blazing gold, sweat on her brow, her sharp, delicate features etched in pain. "Don't," she breathed heavily, straining to speak, "touch me. Don't."

That was all she got out before passing out all together, slumping over onto her side as though she had become a rag doll, her eyes rolling shut. Steve was too stunned by her sudden shift into unconsciousness to realize that the heat she had been giving off was now fading. Before he could inform the other Avengers that it was fine, that she was approachable now, Pietro was there, hefting her up faster than anyone else could see. When he stopped moving so quickly, his face screamed determination, and he locked eyes with Clint. "She is not all right," he stated. He looked past the archer to his sister. "She had an episode . . . like you."

Before anyone could say anything to Pietro, to calm him, to tell him what to do, he was gone in a blur of blue, and the girl with him.

Tony and Steve exchanged a look as Wanda sighed quietly. When Thor looked to Clint, he merely shrugged. "Kid's not a complete idiot," Clint stated, sliding his bow over one shoulder. He waved Wanda after him; "C'mon, kiddo. If I'm guessing right, your brother took her back to the Tower. Best we head over."

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