chapter sixteen

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16 x need a hero

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[ Megan's POV ]

The Hulk was on fire. Not literally (unlike a whole lot of the people the Avengers and I were facing), but he was doing some serious damage. Natasha was hovering around him, and I could've sworn I glimpsed Clint in the rafters (how in the world he got there, I had no idea). Pietro was a blur that occasionally crossed my periphery, Wanda was a burst of red legitimately annihilating those with Extremis-enhancement; Sam was flying above us despite close quarters, frequently throwing down explosive devices, and Thor and Vision were off somewhere I couldn't see.

I had been reliably informed that Tony and Rhodey were off trying to stop Layne Killian from leaving the premises - that is, Bucky had shouted said information to me before punching a man straight in the face. With his metal arm.

I'd laughed so hard at the shocked look on the poor man's face that Bucky had had to handle a man who tried to come at me from behind. I was still laughing when Bucky cut off the poor man's air; the only thing that really stopped me from falling to the floor in a heap of giggling tears was when a man with a gun got his weapon too close to Bucky's head. Then I actually came to my senses, and promptly launched the man backwards with a violent telekinetic shove.

There was no telling where he went, but hey, he was away from us, so I figured that was good enough.

"Fast question," Bucky said, snatching up a gun off the ground before shooting me a curious look. "Are you aware your eyes are gold?"

I hummed absently, one shoulder rising and falling in a shrug. "That would explain why they sort of burn."

He stared at me for as long as he could before shoving the butt of his gun into someone's chest. I could see his chest rise and fall in a sigh before he seemed to shrug; "You and Steve . . . I swear . . ."

Before I could ask him what in the world he was talking about, I got caught up in dealing with a new band of AIM agents, and my attention became concentrated. At the same time, so did the light in my hands, and well- the result was pretty impressive. I mowed down several of the agents single-handedly before something new caught my attention.

Pietro had been off doing his own thing for a while now, just a blur anywhere I looked, but this time . . . this time he was still. This time he was staring down a man who, I just at that moment realized, had been appearing and reappearing spontaneously.

It took me a moment to put the pieces together in my head, but once I did, I swore. Though I had a whole lot of faith in what Pietro could do, I didn't exactly think today was a good day to see what power would win in that kind of show down.

I forced a path for myself to make it over to him, shoving people aside left and right, only pausing in my absent-minded pushing to slide under a passing red white and blue shield. When I reached Pietro, a metallic man with swords for arms passed in front of me, and I swore again, throwing up an arm to block the blow he was attempting to deliver.

"It's rude to interrupt people," I growled, shoving him away from me and shooting him a fiery look, preparing to either block again, or be the one to deliver the next punch.

His metallic face twitched into a sneer, and even though he was metal, I was pretty sure he was rolling his eyes. "You really think I care about what's rude?"

"I mean, I'm not exactly asking," I pointed out before ducking under another sword-arm and slamming a white-hot fist into his abdomen.

The impact literally made noise. I got the briefest glimpse of an indent on his chest (which was smoldering) before he was lunging at me again. This time I let him go right through me, and turned my head just in time to see him stumble. A smirk lifted one side of my mouth; "Intangibility's a beautiful thing," I crooned, before shoving him onto his face and again focusing on Pietro.

It was going about as well as I expected, which is to say that Pietro was practically running in circles, and this other guy was teleporting every which way. I had just placed my hands on my hips, and practically tilted my head to a total ninety-degree angle, when the teleporting guy abruptly reappeared smack in front of Pietro-

"Oh no," I barely got out, before there was a loud thud, and then he was bleeding, and I could feel my throat closing up, and a scream of denial tore itself from my throat.

Pietro was down. I was seeing red, and I wasn't sure if it was the blood that was seeping out from his side, or the tinge that I was suddenly seeing the world through out of total anger.

My first response was to go for Pietro, to see if he was okay, to put myself between him and the threat-

Except it didn't exactly go as I wanted. See, instead of just reaching him and going to check his pulse, I reached him, and suddenly the teleporter had both my arm, and Pietro's, and with a sudden (and nauseating) feeling, I was abruptly outside, under the sun, in the desert with a bleeding and unconscious Pietro.

The teleporter had already disappeared.

I went from furious to terrified in half a second flat. A quick look at our surroundings confirmed one of my biggest fears: we were out in the middle of the desert, the building not even remotely in sight. There was nothing.

Hovering over Pietro, I pressed my fingertips to his neck, biting my tongue to try and keep from crying. He was bleeding so much, too much, and I felt like I was shaking, and I was afraid- But he had a pulse.

My next thought was the earpiece. I'd stowed it away, so surely . . . I checked my pocket, fumbling fingers digging around, but to no avail. It must've fallen out, I thought, before outright screaming in frustrating, shoving my hair forcefully out of my face and blinking tears out of my eyes as I looked down at Pietro.

Unconscious.

Bleeding.

He was so still. Oddly still. Still in a way that made me uncomfortable, because from the time I'd first seen him, he hadn't stopped moving. He wasn't supposed to be like this . . .

I racked my brain for options, desperate. I could try to fly with him, but there was no telling what that would do to him with his injury, and there was no telling how long it would take me to rediscover the facility. I could fly on my own, but again, who knew how far away I was, and I didn't want to just leave him here-

There was only one option left. I knew it was a bad one; I knew it was a last resort. I knew it was risking a lot, but I did it anyway. Something that I hadn't done in so long, because I'd never needed to worry about things like being normal . . .

I forced my body to stop fluctuating. It took a lot of concentration, and effort, but I got it to stop switching between indestructible and intangible; I became a physically normal person. And I gave a mental cry for help as loud as I could possibly muster, hoping and wishing that Wanda would catch up on it, that she would realize something was wrong, that she would somehow find me, out here, in the middle of nowhere-

Nothing went my way.

I'd been normal for only a few seconds when the teleporter appeared again, but he was too fast for me to defend, and this time he returned us smack in the middle of the fight, a sinister look in his eyes before he was out of my reach again. I realized too late that I was still in a normal state, still willing Wanda to come after her brother and I.

Searing pain tore through my stomach, and I looked down with wide eyes, shock taking over my body as I recognized a metallic weapon protruding from me. A feeble "Ow," was on my lips with a whimpered breath, and I could hear background noise, could hear Wanda's voice in my head telling me to hold on, but all the noises were fading . . . my vision was getting sharper . . .

I didn't go out with a whimper.

I went out with a bang that tore down any enemy within several feet of me, before darkness took hold of my mind and dragged me down.

The last thing I remembered was seeing Wanda's face, the worry in her eyes, and thinking that at least I saved Pietro.

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