chapter twenty three

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23 x endgame

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[ Third Person POV ]

"A big bowl of crazy-flakes, Megan? Really now?" Tony had asked instead of actually offering immediate help (which he should have done).

"Are you bickering with her?" Clint had asked, giving Tony a highly annoyed look that was impossible to miss, even with the Iron Man suit on.

Tony chose to ignore Clint, especially when Megan came back with, "Are you going to be useful, Stark, or shall I do this my way?"

"For the sake of my sanity please do not try and handle this your way," Tony said. "All right, first, you're going to flip that really, really big switch. Do you see it?"

"Yeah, yeah. I see it."

"Good. Start there. Then we'll keep going." Tony could see things from the technical point of view, and he had JARVIS talking to him (though he'd told JARVIS to stay off the comm Megan was on). It was a good deal, despite their back-and-forth bickering on the sidelines.

He could see Pietro bouncing up and down (and all around), and though in any normal situation, he would've found it funny, now he was just concerned. The speedster was nervous in a way he'd never seen before. Not that he blamed Pietro, but . . . Megan had this.

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[ Buckingham Palace ]

Between Skye and Thor, Steve was confident that they had the mutant situation under control. Skye had already knocked half of them into unconsciousness within the first few minutes of even being there, and between her stunning power and Thor's mighty hammer, they were doing brilliantly.

He'd even seen Sam on the sidelines talking with Coulson, each of them looking over the huge gun Coulson had brought. Sam had long since emptied out all of his weapons, and was more than a little jealous of the fact that Coulson didn't need ammo.

Wanda and Vision had even retired. Once Wanda and Coulson had both taken out the remaining Extremis agents, she had gone to see the royal family with Vision. Steve supposed that maybe she was trying to calm them (that's what he would've done, at least) but he honestly had no idea.

Steve watched on as Skye and Thor took down the last mutant together, a smile pulling at his lips. It only grew as the duo turned and high-fived, both evidently thrilled.

"Your hammer- is freaking incredible," Skye informed Thor, smiling from ear to ear. "Though it would've been cooler if you'd done the lightning . . . thing . . . I get why you didn't, I mean we are inside."

Thor laughed jovially, flipping the hammer in his hand as he looked down at Skye. "Thank you, Lady Skye. I was quite impressed by your powers. You would do well in a battle against any Asgardian, I think."

Skye flushed bright pink, still beaming. "Really? Wow- I mean- thank you."

Everyone else made their way over to the two of them then, Coulson waving several SHIELD agents that had been standing by over as well. He spoke to them lower than Steve could hear before joining the group, and once they parted Steve watched the several agents going about their business, putting specialized cuffs on the fallen AIM associates and carting them off by different means.

Steve nodded toward them when Coulson approached. "What're you going to do with them?"

Coulson shrugged. "Give them options. I'd prefer not to imprison them, but if they're bent on destruction . . . we'll do what needs to be done."

Steve looked at Coulson for a long moment before nodding. He trusted Coulson's judgement, though he didn't feel the need to vocalize that. He turned to the rest of his team then, missing only Wanda and Vision, whom he was fairly confident he could collect later. "You did well," he told Sam and Thor before looking to Skye and offering a smile. "And you as well, Miss Skye. I hope our paths cross again sometime soon."

"We'll try to make it happen in better circumstances," Coulson smiled.

"Thank you for your help, Director," Steve said, offering a hand. He and Coulson shook hands, each smiling slightly. "It was an honor."

"And a pleasure," Coulson chuckled. He nodded to Skye then. "If you're ready, we need to head out. The Bus is waiting."

Skye hesitated, smiling up at Thor, before sighing loudly and nodding. "Yeah, okay. It was great meeting you guys," she said, eyeing Thor specifically (who gave a little bow) before heading after Coulson. "C'mon, AC. Let's hit the road."

The three men watched as Skye and Coulson and all of the other SHIELD agents left, and it was Sam who spoke first. "Man, she was totally into you," he said, looking to Thor. He shook his head, readjusting one of his gloves. "Everyone is into you."

Steve suppressed a laugh, shaking his head to himself and heading out the same way SHIELD had gone. "Let's find Vision and Wanda and head toward the Eye. We need to see how the others are doing."

"Sounds like a plan to me," Sam said. "Finally get to use these wings that I've been wearing."

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[ Megan's POV ]

I'd done countless things that made absolutely no sense to me with this highly dangerous death ray, with Tony snarking in my ear, and I wasn't sure if the machine was going to implode, or if I was.

Stark was even better at pushing buttons than I was, and I was pressing physical buttons. That is, right up until I got to the part where I was supposed to screw with wires. That was the difficult part.

"Are you sure I'm supposed to disconnect this wire?" I asked Tony, pressing a finger to my earpiece again despite the fact that I really didn't need to.

"Yes," Tony insisted. "After you disconnect that one, you disconnect the one three to the left of it . . . and then it should shut off." He paused, his next words coming out all in one rush of a breath. "Or possibly blow up but we can't be certain."

I had already disconnected the first one that he told me to, and it was immediately after that that I just froze. "Billionaire who said that I got this say what?"

"Are you mocking me?"

"Tony Stark! You are changing the subject!" I shouted, twisting to stomp toward the glass nearest to their position, glaring down at the red and gold that was his suit. "And I am up here with a death ray! DID YOU NEED TO BE REMINDED OF THAT?"

Except before Stark could answer (or maybe he did and I just didn't notice), there was a knocking on the glass behind me. I whirled initially out of sheer confusion, legitimately thinking there might be a bird that was dumb enough to fly into the ferris wheel. Saying I was surprised to see Pietro clinging to the side of the ferris wheel was a drastic understatement.

The cheeky smile on his face, however, was not surprising.

I crossed the carriage quickly and reached straight through the glass, grabbing on his arm and yanking him straight through and inside. He beamed down at me, but his jitteriness was evident in the way he messed with his hair, checked my face, gave me not one but three up and down assessments, before I reached out and grabbed his hand.

He slowed somewhat, electric eyes focusing in on me and softening. "You are okay?"

"I'm good," I assured him, raking my fingers through my hair and risking a glance at the death ray. "Just . . . one second, okay?" I asked, side-stepping him to go and disconnect the final wire. I did it fast, before I could second guess it, and shifted to indestructible a millisecond after the moment.

It was then that a loud, steady beeping began. I felt my heart-rate pick up as soon as it started, and Pietro was by my side in an instant, his fingers lacing through mine as he looked between me and the machine. "This beeping . . . is it good?"

"Twenty eight seconds," Stark's voice said in my ear. I yanked the earpiece out after that and pocketed it, looking up at Pietro, trying to slow my breathing.

I forced a smile to my lips, leaning into him and relaxing when he wrapped an arm around me. My smile turned authentic when he pressed a kiss to the top of my head, and I looked up at him, sighing quietly.

"Meg?" he asked again, raising a brow.

I forced a breathy laugh. "I guess we're about to find out."

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