Chapter 37 - An Untimely Reunion

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I pace the compound in my suit, waiting for something...anything to happen. A word from Dad, a broadcast from Peter, but nothing comes through. Uncle Rhodey is in the living area dealing with General Ross about our new found threat. Bruce stays in his lab and thinks everything over. But I stay mobile, I need to. My need to keep walking pays off when I see him. A beard covers most of his face now but nevertheless, it's him. 

"Cap." I breathe out with a touch of a smile. His stone cold face soon warms up with a smile as he walks over to me with open arms. We quickly embrace each other in silence, both of us grinning like idiots. But once we separate, I slap him hard across the face. 

"That's for lying to me and leaving the team," I say with the tiniest of glares.

"I know," he replies. "And I'm sorry."

 I simply nod and walk over to Natasha, a bright smile quickly gracing my face. She wraps her arms around me tightly and I return the gesture.

"You've grown up so much," she whispers.

"I'm still me, Nat, don't worry," I whisper in return. 

We both break the embrace and I guide them to where Uncle Rhodey and the General are talking. Steve and the General exchange a few words before the conversation is ended on a very tense note. Many hugs are passed around after that, including one between me and my long lost best friend.

"I'm so sorry for everything that happened," I whisper to her.

"Don't be. It was my decision." Wanda says with a reassuring smile. 

I nod and look over at Vision. He holds onto his wound in pain and the stone seems to shine brighter then it did before. But then I notice he's looking at Wanda and it instantly clicks.

"You fell in love...didn't you?" I ask. Wanda nods but fear quickly fills her eyes.

"Thanos wants the stone in his head. I'm worried I might lose him," she explains.

"Well, I can't promise he won't get it. But I can promise I will try my best to stop it." I say. 

Wanda only nods.

From there we all talk about what we were going to do with the stone in Vision's head. All of our ideas resulted in the death of our team member, but Steve and Wanda were having none of it. I, on the other hand, grew to be very frustrated.

"So what if we lose one person, Steve? That's one person compared to the trillions of others. Once we know they're safe then we can figure out how to bring Vision back." I state angrily. 

"We don't trade lives, Erin." He says. "This isn't HYDRA. This is the Avengers and we do things differently."

"The way I see it, it's one or the other."

"There is always another way."

"You better hope on your star-spangled ass you're right." I sigh. 

"Steve's right, Erin. We may have a choice." Bruce says while walking closer to Vision. "His mind is made up of a complex construct of overlays. Tony, the stone, Jarvis, me."

"And all of them are mixed together. They're learning from each other." I say, following Bruce's logic quickly. 

"You're saying Vision isn't just the stone?" Wanda asks.

"I'm saying if we take out the stone we have a lot left of Vision." Bruce answers.

"Which means we don't trade lives," I whisper while looking over at Cap. 

"Can we do that?" Natasha asks.

"Not me and not here," Bruce says.

The look on Steve's face says it all. We need to go where the world won't find us. We need to go to Wakanda. 

__________________

As soon as the jet entered the Wakandan atmosphere, a wave of pain hit me like a truck. Whereas I would usually stand while the jet flies, this time I had no choice but to sit down. My vision goes in and out of blurriness and a fire erupts in my head.

"Erin," Natasha says while kneeling in front of me. "are you okay?" 

I shake my head slowly and curl farther into myself. 

"How long until we land, Rogers?" Natasha asks with worry in her voice. 

"We're landing now," he says.

Natasha sighs a little and stays by my side, making sure that I don't pass out from the pain. I hear the jet land and an uncontrollable sigh of relief echoes from my lips. With the help of Natasha and Steve, I walk off the jet to see T'Challa patiently waiting for us.

"Ubhuti wam," I say, close to a whisper. (My brother) 

"Usisi wam," he says. (My sister.) 

T'Challa quickly takes me from Natasha and Steve's arms, replacing theirs with his. I lean against him for support as all three of them slightly glare at each other. A silent sigh escapes my lips. Eventually, the tenseness fades and T'Challa exchanges formalities. Bruce suddenly bows in front of T'Challa and the look of shock on his face sends me into a weak fit of laughter.

"We don't do that here," T'Challa reassures, leaving Bruce five shades of pink from embarrassment. 

With some help from T'Challa, we all begin to walk into the palace while discussing the fight that was coming for us. I was so distracted by the conversation and the pain, I didn't recognize the pair of arms that were now around me. Turning around quickly, I weakly blast the figure away from me. Once I look up, however, I see James standing only a few steps away from me, his signature smirk on his face. 

"Long time no see, doll," he says. I chuckle softly and stumble into his non-vibranium arm as he gives me a hug. 

"It's good to see you, Barnes," I say while gently pulling away, still leaning against him. 

"You've grown up so much," he states. 

"Well, time does that to you," I say with a smirk. 

"C'mon you two. Let's get inside." Steve says with a smile, not a hint of jealousy left on his face. 

With some help from Barnes, we make it to Shuri's lab. Just as he left, Shuri came in with a syringe and instantly injected me.

"What the hell was that?" I ask her while rubbing the sore spot.

"It's a liquified form of what was in those beads the last time you visited. It eradicates the pain so that you can fight," she says with a smile, the serum quickly starting to take effect. 

"Enkosi." I say as I stand a little straighter. Shuri simply nods before starting her work on Vision. 

By the time my powers had fully been restored, trouble came right behind it. Multiple triangular shaped ships either landed on Wakanda's border or was turned into ash by its forcefield. 

"It's too late." Vision says. "We have to destroy the stone now."

Natasha and Wanda quickly reprimand him for his words and sit him back down on the table.

"Wanda as soon as they get that stone out of his head..." I say to her.

"I'll take care of it. Trust me," she says with a reassuring smile. 

"Erin, you're with me." T'Challa says as a few Dora Milajie follow him. I do as he says but instead of standing behind him, I stand beside him.

"Evacuate the city. Engage all defences." T'Challa orders before stopping and pointing at Steve. "And get this man a shield." 


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