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Steve's eyes couldn't help but land on the glowing stone on Brenna's chest. "So that's it, huh?" He asked with a crooked grin.

"The sun opal from Asgard," Brenna clarified proudly. Then, not wanting to sound too full of herself, she gestured graciously to Thor, "that is, which this man found for me." Thor nodded once, an amused smile on his face.

Just then, Natasha came by, her expression tense. She managed to shoot Brenna a grin. "Hey, told you that would look good," she complimented, gesturing to the dress. She then quickly whispered something to Steve, as subtly as possible. But somehow, Brenna could hear her words. "You shouldn't be here, you're getting looks," she'd told him.

"It's the kid's first birthday in six years," Steve muttered in response, "I couldn't just say no."

Brenna searched the faces of those around her; no one else even noticed this quiet exchange of words. She squinted at them as they walked away from the crowds.

• • •

The moon was high as secondary acquaintances of Tony's began to leave. His closer friends stayed for a while longer, including Steve, Natasha, Sam, and a few others. Tony was entertaining a small group while Brenna slipped away to find Steve and Natasha, who were still missing.

Brenna found them on one of the lower floors of the tower, making their way down. They talked in hushed voices, frequently looking over their shoulders as they rushed.

"So you think this Winter Soldier, this ghost story, is their secret weapon?" The captain asked.

Brenna did her best to follow from a distance, covering her glowing sun opal with both hands. She used her newly-discovered enhanced hearing to listen in on their conversation as she slowly trailed them all the way down to the first floor.

"Wouldn't it make sense?" Natasha asked as she and Steve stopped at the exit of the building, "I mean, he isn't just killing random people; he going after him victims in a very strategic manner."

Steve sigh in stress. "Great," he muttered, "so HYDRA has a hit-man."

Brenna felt adrenaline begin to rush through her viens. Whatever was going on sounded super intense and dangerous. And, for some reason, she wanted to be a part if it. She'd read up about HYRDA; they were a huge issue during WWII. But hearing that the cult still existing was chilling.

Ever since Tony had told her about the Avengers, she'd wanted to be one. In fact, it was her main reason for beginning lessons with Natasha. Though, she had yet to tell anyone that that was her end goal.

She watched them exit the building just as something crashed outside. Brenna rushed out to see what was going on. She found Steve and Natasha both in a running fight, being attacked by a masked man. With wide eyes, she raced after the three.

Brenna didn't exactly have to sneak around, though. The few people that were out were busy running from the intensifying battle. But before long, Cap managed to tear off the mystery man's metal arm. Within an instant, the man was gone, as if he'd just vanished.

"I told you," Natasha huffed as she helped the tired captain to her car not to far from where they were, "you shouldn't have come."

Brenna watched them disapear into a black sports car and race away. She let out a deep breath and finally looked around her. The roads were destroyed, concrete was torn up; what kind of man could physically do that?

She began by investigating the patch of sidewalk where the metal arm was severed. Shards of silver littered the ground. Brenna picked the biggest one up, fitting it in her palm perfectly. It was still warm from the friction of breaking.

Looking up at the Avengers tower, she told herself, "I'll be home before the morning." Then, she took off in the direction the masked man had gone.

• • •

Brenna spent almost three hours searching before she managed to find him. Or rather, he found her. She'd been following her instinct through the city, watching the number of people out and about dwindle as the night peaked. Ready to turn back and give up, Brenna changed directions to go home.

But when she did, Brenna felt her feet fly out from under her. Her body flew backwards down an ally, slamming hard against a wall. The pain made her wish she'd worn thicker clothes; she would surely be all scraped up from the unforgiving concrete. Her thoughts changed quickly as something pressed her throat into the wall, keeping her from escaping, and from breathing.

Brenna struggled as her eyes focused on a black-masked face staring down at hers. He towered over her like a menacing mountain. "Why are you following me?" His low voice demanded.

Scratching at what she realized was a strong forearm on her neck, Brenna trying to speak. However, only a few strained squeaks escaped her lips. She found herself immediately regretting her decision to track this man. But to her surprise, he lessened the pressure on her throat.

Brenna took a deep, shuddering breath. Her hands relaxed, resting more gently on the arm holding her in place as she let her lungs fill blissfully with air. She let her eyes search his. By the quick flash of a passing vehicle's head lights, she could see that they were a vibrant blue color. There was anger in them, a firey indirect rage. But deep down, she saw fear and confusion. And it made Brenna feel more curious than intimidated.

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