chapter eleven

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11 x group effort

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Everybody met in the room that, reportedly, Stark threw parties in. It was kind of ironic to me, because instead of being dressed up all fancy-like, everyone was suited up in their superhero costumes. (Maybe costumes wasn't the right word, but you know what I mean.)

Despite the fact that I kind of wanted to giggle at Steve's spangly, tight-fighting costume, I kind of felt left out. Because I did not have a costume. Granted, I had had time to change into something more comfortable than a dress (and reclaim my leather jacket, thank you very much) but I still felt oddly out of place.

It kind of helped me feel better given that Pietro was only wearing a jogging sweater, and he wasn't quick to leave my side at any time, so that was nice.

"You think AIM is behind this," Clint repeated, giving Tony a look that suggested he thought the genius had gone nuts. "Didn't they disassemble once you killed their founder?"

"Disassemble, no," Tony shook his head, still decked in the suit. "Go into hiding however . . . big yes."

"You've just been ignoring them this whole time?" Steve asked, giving Tony an incredulous look.

"Hydra was our focal point," Tony defended. "I didn't have time for side projects. Plus then Ultron . . ."

"We're not talking about Ultron," Bruce interrupted, before anyone else could jump in. "Now is not a good time to get into the topic of Ultron."

"He's not wrong," Sam muttered.

From the looks on the rest of the Avengers' faces, they looked like they were more than willing to gang up on Tony, but no one made any move to. I made a mental note to ask about whatever 'Ultron,' was later.

At the moment I really wanted to ask who the green and red guy with the cape was, but ah . . .

"AIM being behind this might actually make sense," Natasha mused, leaning back in her chair. Her sharp green eyes shot toward Steve. "Remember that information we dug up on the Inhumans?"

Steve nodded slowly. "They were paid by an unnamed organization. Could've been AIM."

"Or a cover for AIM," Natasha agreed with a nod. "Either way, your theory's plausible, Tony."

"Thank you," Tony grinned.

"Now that we have come to this conclusion," the green and red man said, looking at me for a moment, "I believe the best course of action is tracking AIM."

"Shouldn't be that hard to do," Bucky muttered. "They destroyed Stark's power source. I'd guess they left behind some evidence."

"But why take out the Tower?" Clint asked. "You got any new weapons we should know about, Stark?"

"The most logical assumption would be that the Avengers are here."

Everyone turned to look at the green and red man, but when I did, I realized he was looking at Wanda. When I diverted my attention, I realized her eyes were glowing that odd red color, and had gone out of focus. My brow furrowed, and I brushed Pietro's arm to get his attention. "What is your sister-" I started to ask, before Wanda spoke.

"There is a team of intruders coming in through the lobby now," she abruptly announced, her face turning hard as she looked to everyone else. "Most of them are these Inhumans which you mentioned, Natasha. As Megan and I faced earlier."

Pietro bristled at that, and I could feel him shift closer to me.

"Are they from AIM?" Sam asked as he adjusted his goggles back over his eyes.

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