“Whoops!” A young girl, no older than fourteen, hurriedly exclaims, twisting a strawberry blond lock nervously around her finger. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!”
“Oh…” you belatedly fight against yourself to shout the foul oath on the tip of your tongue. Your sparkling eyes glaze over the humongous stack of reports handed to you by your colleagues, half of it drenched to the tips with sticky tan coffee that’s pouring out of your simple mug.
Pages upon pages of neatly typed words, and now some of them are wiped off the mark. You mentally chide yourself not to scream at the girl—as she hasn’t done anything wrong—but no doubt you’ll pay the price for it later on.
“It’s all right, it’s fine, I didn’t really need that stack of papers anyway.” You force out the last genuine smile in your body, while mentally swallowing down obscenities.
“You sure?” she anxiously asks, clasping her hands together. No doubt she wouldn’t want to anger the girl that might as well balance S.H.I.E.L.D on top of her head. Oh, and come to think of it, you might be so angry that you might refuse to work any longer!
One curt nod from you is all the reassurance she needs, and she guiltlessly skips to her tiny workplace, already typing shamelessly to her friends via chat, on her paper thin laptop.
You exhale in relief, and forcefully turn towards the dripping stack of work now increasingly growing, as worker upon worker goes by and stacks a manuscript on your desk. You’ve got a lot of work to do. With a quick twist of your right hand, you snatch a handful of towels that’s innocently sitting on the side of your file cabinet, and begin to sop up the mess with agonizingly slow pace. (Due to the fact that you have to be extremely careful not to knock over the skyscraper piles growing like beanstalks on your desk).
When the mess is cleared away—for the moment—you throw yourself into your squeaky desk chair, blowing a straggly strand of hair out of your face.
It’s not as if I have a choice, you think to yourself resentfully, as you take the tip top manuscript off the countless sheaves of paper lining your desks. In bold, yet neatly inked font, is a requirement for a new laptop, slim as a wood leaf, but must be evergreen in all corners. Keyboard symbols drawn in rusted gold ink, touchscreen sensitive, of course.
As you begin your tedious work cycle again, you try and block out the mental scream that’s been building up in your head for years. You had snagged a job at S.H.I.E.L.D by pure chance-due to someone slipping that you had a work of a prodigy in the arts.
And everyone always knows that prodigies are picked quite quickly by the elite.
You were sent by streaming underwater jet (yes, underwater jet) to S.H.I.E.L.D’s main headquarters in the middle of nowhere, and ordered to start designing contraptions and such for the program.
At first, you were an equal to everyone in the office, a girl who had equal talents to everyone around her. But your advanced skills preceded you, and propelled you into a reputation that you didn’t know you had, until it was too late.
To your unfortunate luck, your coworkers were such lazy procrastinators, they would just kick up their heels and relax while sipping a cup of coffee, plopping the day’s work onto your desk. You, on the other hand, can’t afford to rest.
Being the sharpest tack in the glass headquarters takes its tolls; and unfortunately, that toll is as high as the Taipei 101. All your colleagues took your innovative mind for granted, stating that they couldn’t possibly dream up of genius designs, and put their work directly on your hands.
And if your boss finds out…well, you think sarcastically to yourself as you refill your mug with coffee. Would he want to change this unfair system?
Your boss wasn’t one for the resting type-in fact, he would proudly declare to anyone who’s about, that his designing office was the first in all of S.H.I.E.L.D’s networks.
He’s one to talk.
The reason that his branch of design was number one is because of you. Almost every single piece of technology that S.H.I.E.L.D had ever created was in your designs. You are the one to first sketch, then make a prototype drawing, and sent them back to their workers. They then ship the drawings to the engineering department. If they approve of the design, the department would then make a miniscule prototype-not to scale, of course-and if it’s sufficient enough for you-after your coworkers give you the prototype-, S.H.I.E.L.D immediately patents it.
Now this isn’t to say that there aren’t other artists that make the government program itself. Nukes, explosives, and guns…no, those you left to the pyromaniacs that are miles away from you-thankfully. But where simplicity, artistic skill, and efficiency is involved, almost all the time you created it.
The infamous Helicarrier, with its camouflaging glass surfaces, gigantic whirring blades, and complex inner system that nearly went haywire after the Avengers’ recent battle? Your idea.
The nearly indestructible Tesseract holder, that firmly and cautiously contained the cube in midair, so it wouldn’t detonate? Courtesy of yours truly.
The inescapable circular cage that the troublesome Loki Laufeyson, Norse God of Mischief, was once imprisoned in? Not capable without your quick thinking.
Over half of S.H.I.E.L.D’s crisp outfits, furniture, and secretive underground interiors? Check, check, check; all of them are of your mind and creative spurring.
Unfortunately, those ideas are your colleagues officially. The back and forth exchange of work from the people in the office is all the communication you ever have with them.
All they can find out in their idiotic minds are that you are the girl who does everyone’s work as a service; why do all the difficult jobs designing while you can just send them over to the girl next door? Exactly.
As much as you want and desire to break free of your titanium locked prison in S.H.I.E.L.D, you know you cannot. Almost every designed and technologically innovative machine or substance comes from you now.
If you leave, every worker in the office would be startled into submission in real attempt at their job, and it wouldn’t be pretty after a few years’ rest. S.H.I.E.L.D wouldn’t exactly be advanced for the next couple of decades, not in a long time.
If you drop out of the program now, S.H.I.E.L.D may as well be knocking stones together without your help. Heck, if you stretched your surprising large influence to its maximum limit, not even the Avengers would be grouped if you left.
You allow your frame to be rocked by a single shiver; without your art, to quite literally put the quote, the earth would just be ‘eh’. Or it could also be thrown into a chaotic tumult where no one could stop evil forces from coming.
Is it any wonder that you’re obliged to choose the former option?
In S.H.I.E.L.D’s book, nothing is what it seems to be. ‘Obliged’ isn’t a sense of obedience. Obliged is equal to deciding whether or not there be near-apocalyptic equations.
And even that’s wildly not to scale for, say, if another crazy person decides to rule the Earth and crush it to bits, instead of making it their possessive domain.
The fate of humanity and the world resting in one’s palms, and you’re thinking of quitting your job, and losing the hope of millions?
But for such a crucial job, you’d think you should be treated with some respect. Nada. S.H.I.E.L.D’s got respect for field agents, the highest branches of helpers-the nervy Agent Coulson, for example-and of course, the best of the best for the Avengers. But most probably because the Avengers together would have enough power to blow S.H.I.E.L.D up in a second’s passing.
Why should an overruling government care about one single employer that’s working for them?
That’s fueling all their technology and needs?
And who’s frustrated to her wit’s end?
With the destiny of the earth’s future on her shoulders?
That’s right. Nothing.
Exactly what you get a second after you resentfully think this thought to yourself. A fierce slamming of hard skin meeting tabletop nearly upends your freshly filled mug of coffee, jerking your legs against the desk so that the sheaves of papers tremble.
You immediately snap your attention to the person in front of you, the one and only, grand title of Designing and Engineering. In other words, your boss. And he certainly doesn’t seem happy now.
“Miss ______________________,” he barks out harshly, waving a hand over the stacks of paper patiently lining your wobbling desk. “What on earth is all this rubbish?”
His grey slush eyes find the now yellowing stack of coffee stained papers off the corner of your desk. In that instant, you know you’re dead before you can open your mouth in defense.
So you give the truth as best as you can, even though you know you’re in for it.
“I spilled coffee over a part of my work-a mistake, a grave one, I know now. As for the extra sheets of paper, that’s a silly little misunderstanding.” You fib and lace your fingers together delicately, folding them on the top of your desk.
“I’ve rather overslept today and didn’t keep track of my records, so I have yesterday night’s and today’s work to finish on.” You cleanly announce, straightening your posture so you sit absolutely upright. Even while he’s about to blow, your boss can still spot slumping shoulders.
Your superior doesn’t blink. He doesn’t even ask of your welfare and being, which to anyone else, would be necessary, since you were awake to three o’clock in the morning, working furiously to complete all your coworkers’ orders on time.
And he knows you’ve been relentlessly giving your all to your work, since he spotted you in the exact same position in the office night and day. But he doesn’t give a care in the world.
“I don’t have time for your petty excuses, Miss ___________________.” And in one sweep of his hand, he shoves off nearly a fourth of your hard won drawings near the coffee stained spot on your desk. Immediately, some of them soak up parchment color splotches, ruining the meticulous details on every contraption, others curdle up at the edges, and still others turn to sludge in the now cold liquid.
Your boss smiles viciously. “There, don’t you feel better? You’ve gotten a load of work off your hands-I’ve relieved you from some of your duty. I believe a thank you is in motion.”
“Thank you,” you automatically reply, eyes fixated on the stack of drawings that you spent almost the whole night on. You bow slightly towards the heartless man, showing your bland respects. His smirk only becomes more pronounced as he looks upon your helpless state.
“That’s right. I see you’re attempting to learn your manners-it was about time you started,” he calls out behind his back as he turns around.
In his eyes, he has only kindly reprimanded a stupid girl to keep her in check. But in reality, he has no earthly idea what he has started.
As soon as he walks out of the office, several flames spark up like firecrackers in your pupils, as if someone’s struck a flint-and-steel in your eyes. It’s as if a phoenix died in blood instead of fire; the rage in your eyes can’t be contained.
But the instant they appear in your eyes, your cool head calms them down. You can’t go about like this, you can’t afford to lose your temper.
And so mechanically, like an obedient automaton, you set out straight for sketching.
However, inside the silence of your head, your overly stressed brain sends out little electronic waves of tension and anger, violently slashed with ruby red and eye-watering purple, as if your thoughts themselves are bruised as much as your heart.
About a couple hundred miles away, another person is stressing out and is trying desperately to control his temper, but under completely different circumstances.
That is not to say that the task is any less difficult, considering the unbelievably stupid actions that his comrades are participating in now.
“Come on, come on! You can do it!” a cocky—if not a touch sarcastic—voice declares from one of the Tower’s many rooms. Turning around the whitewashed corner, one can find the source of the voice in a matter of seconds.
He’s an average height man with scraggly dark beard stubble dotting all over his lower face and the edge of his chin. What’s unusual about this man is not his casual outfit (faded jeans, sneakers, and simple patterned T-shirt), nor his lack of manners despite his rich surroundings, but that at the center of his shirt, at his chest, a glowing blue core pulses from evergreen to iceberg blue from time to time. The more strange fact is, no one seems to really notice.
“Stark, don’t you think this has gone a touch too stupid-” a female’s voice chips in, only the slightest edge of Russian judging by her statement. This one is a lithe young woman in a tightly fitted black jumpsuit, with fiery red curls tumbling down her head as she crosses her arms.
Deadpan pours from her eyes, most obviously trying to get her colleagues out of another mess. From the looks of things, this isn’t her first time trying.
“Nat, Thor hasn’t gone on this many Poptarts since he raided the supermarkets two months ago due to major sales. Besides, you never know when this sort of thing might happen again.” The man next to her chuckles to himself.
He has a kindly face, marked delicately with healed battle scars and supports a tousled brown, slightly cropped buzzcut, with a black quiver and bow—that would make Katniss Everdeen’s Mockingjay gear look like a child’s daydreams—to match his fitted midnight dark tunic and pants.
“Your sense of humor never fails to amaze me, Agent Barton.” Natasha cuts through, turning her kill-me-now-with-this-idiocy look on the male partner sitting near her.
“Why are we doing this again?” The wide chested, yet tall male sitting across from the inseparable duo curiously asks. On first glance, he seems as if he is an average muscled man in his early twenties, but on second glance, he’s much more.
His blue eyes are the eyes of a naïve child, ironically while going along with a stocky build that would make girls salivate over him until they dehydrated themselves. His dirty blonde hair, a bit wavy at the crest of his head, shakes from side to side as Steve Rogers/Captain America looks on at the eccentric sight.
“I’ll tell you why, Steve.” The green-eyed, dark-haired older man next to him replies, looking over the rim of his silver glasses. Strangely, everyone in the room seems to edge away from him as he says these words, although he seems like a well-educated middle aged professor. “It’s because Tony bribes us with stuff we love, hacks it all up on his credit cards, and makes us drool all over it. The aftermath he orders J.A.R.V.I.S to record as future blackmail.”
Tony Stark, the infamous billionaire, playboy, philatropenrist—aka Iron Man himself—raises his hands in mocking surrender.
“Guilty as charged, Banner.” He snickers approvingly.
“Oof msthre…” a rumbling voice announces, with an unusual muffling noise in the back of his throat. Tony’s eyes light up in anticipation as he watches a blond haired, large chested man with a titanium armor not of this world.
Thor, Norse God of Thunder, would most definitely look intimidating—if not for the shockingly large number of Poptarts stuffed in his mouth.
Why Poptarts? Better not to ask.
“Doesn’t anyone besides Agent Romanoff think that this idea is the essence of pure idiocy?” a slick, oily voice declares, and everyone swivels around in their seats to glare at a raven haired man in impressive dark forest green and gold gilded armor, who has a look of complete disdain on his pale stretched face.
His eyes are Arctic blue, so strikingly bold that one narrow would pierce any glare to pieces, and his midnight ash cape trails behind him silently.
In other words: Loki Laufeyson, Norse God of Mischief, adoptive brother of Thor, and basically an impossibly arrogant prick.
“I’m surprised my brother even agreed to this lunatic deal in the first place.” He quietly announces, his disdainfully lidded eyes only gaining repulse when everyone begins to stare at him.
“Nothing doing, Reindeer Games.” Stark scoffs, waving a dismissive hand. “Thor’s amazingly close to beating his record for how many Poptarts he can stuff in his mouth. I’d think you’d like to get a try at that, won’t you?”
“Ydo bueslurrised.” Thor puts in, which no one pays any attention to.
“If you think I’m stupid enough to attempt at such foolish behavior, I’m surprised you can even walk around this Tower and find your way to the main hall.” Loki, God of Mischief shoots Tony with one of his signature death glares.
“That’s probably because the bar’s exceedingly and coincidentally close to the elevator.” Hawkeye smirks, fingering the handle of his simple, yet elegant bow.
“Hmm, wonder how that happened?” Natasha Romanoff, alias Black Widow, groans, and slams her head down on the tabletop frustratingly. Her red curls shake like crisp autumn leaves.
“Hey!” Tony complains. “Pepper made me put the bar there, because she didn’t approve of me putting it only in my room!”
“Your room?” Steve’s eyes widen at this. “You were planning to put the bar in your room?”
“Dear Lord…that wouldn’t have been pretty. Imagine Stark drunk and raving every single day.” Banner guffaws.
“And add to the fact that he’s a wisecracking git.” Romanoff murmurs underneath her breath, earning a proper flipping off from Tony.
“Actually, it wouldn’t be that different.” Loki muses to himself, dodging the vodka bottle that Tony chucks at him with graceful ease.
“You, shut up. You, lighten up. You, keep going.” The billionaire orders, pointing an accusatory finger at Loki, Natasha, and at Thor, who amazingly seems to hold the enormous amount of poptarts in his mouth. And the impossible fact that he's still stuffing himself? So mindblowing it seems next to a wonder.
“What’s the number at again?” Steve asks, his baby blue eyes sparking an innocent curiosity of a child’s that’s extremely disproportionate to his burly size.
“I lost track at fifty-four.” Clint supplies, eyeing the poptart box with interest, as if he’s calculating how fast he can nail the box to the wall with one of his arrows.
“Nah, it was more than eighty-five.” Tony shakes his head in disagreement.
“Couldn’t have been more than a hundred though…” Dr. Banner runs a tired hand through his dark locks.
“You’d be surprised at what my brother can do.” Murmurs the God of Mischief, eyeing Thor’s bulging mouth with disgust written all over his face.
“Well, let’s say the number is at least over ninety. Now, if he can just get to…” Iron Man muses, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.
“AGENTS!” A thundering voice booms out over the Tower, that makes all the Avengers jump in unison, and Thor’s eyes widen and he chokes.
He’s so surprised, in fact, he spews out every single Poptart in his mouth with the speed of a machine gun.
Now, it might seem like a pretty hilarious moment by reading it, but the event itself is as deadly as homicidal maniac opening fire without warning.
“Duck and cover!” Hawkeye shouts, tumbling to the ground in a flash, as each Poptart sails out of the God of Thunder’s mouth like a missile from a sub.
“I told you this was a bad idea!” Natasha yells, jumping out of harm’s way as a lone Poptart sails past her cheek, leaving a scratch mark as thin as a sewing string in its path.
“It wasn’t my idea!” Barton insists as he snaps his bow back, arrow ready to fly, but his face changes from courageous to distraught as he realizes his high-tech quiver is empty.
“It might as well be!” Tony hollers as he ducks under the countertop to avoid any speeding snacks. “And your stupid arrows won’t be much use here, Mockingjay!”
“Hark who’s talking, I distinctly remember you were the one who rounded us all up!” Captain America barks out, sheltering the back of his head protectively. “And at least he’s not the one who’s gotten us into this whole mess!”
And the constant shouting and accusation go on. And on. And ON. Loki rolls his startling blue eyes exasperatedly, so much that one could hear them from a hundred leagues away. The Avengers may be Earth’s mightiest heroes, but they have an outstandingly large lack of logic.
For the son of Odin, how do these people work together? The devilish rouge thinks to himself while safely taking shelter behind a large sofa. Even I cannot figure out how they get along, and that may be saying something, since I know quite a lot.
When the barrage is over—hopefully—the Avengers cautiously creep out of their hiding places, wary to do so. Their eyes scan the room, and dilate widely in mixed emotions when they see the last person they would want to meet in this state.
“How the hell did he get in here without permission?” Tony coughs out, spitting a random Poptart out of his mouth and hacking up a considerable amount of phlegm.
“I believe he just walked towards the elevator and found his way up here judging from all the noise, sir.” J.A.R.V.I.S, Tony Stark’s obedient, faithful—and at times extremely sarcastic—home system/AI announces in his sophisticated and monotone British accent.
“Remind me to suspend all admittance to S.H.I.E.L.D agents,” Stark groans, slowly getting to his feet and cricking his neck painfully. “Or anyone else that I just happen to know and are at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“That would be mostly everyone you meet, sir.”
“Avengers.” Nick Fury, feared leader of S.H.I.E.L.D in his frightening robes and gloves growls, fixing a steely glare with his one good eye. The moody eye patch and scar marked across his serious face does nothing to lighten the mood. “This is what you do to spend your free time?”
“I would like you to note that I am not involved in this situation at all, thank you very much.” Loki helpfully adds in, shuffling away from the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D lazily, but is caught at the scruff of the neck at the last minute.
“Not so fast, Loki. You think that just because you thought this was idiotic you’re getting out of this one? Not likely.”
“Hmm, and since when did I ever say I was in the Avengers?” he asks coolly, cockily raising a thinly branching eyebrow. “I specifically heard you naming the earth’s mightiest heroes, not one benevolent prince that’s in no ways involved with the stupidity of his colleagues.”
Fury releases the Norse God forcefully, choosing instead to vent his anger on the unlucky group that are the Avengers. Besides, he would rather make a choice to blow his top than to negotiate the slimeball’s cunning loopholes.
Barton swears underneath his breath as Nick Fury turns on the group of superheroes, while Natasha gazes up at the Director with no kind of emotion at all. Steve doesn’t blink, nor does Banner or Thor, but Tony seems the most eager to get out of the place.
Loki strolls out of the room, humming to himself as the force of Fury’s shout vibrates the walls of Stark Tower, making the dust shake from the pristine ceiling. His disturbing smile, in nanoseconds, turns into a bored scowl. In all retrospect, he really should not be in the building at all, as the last time he had been here was when he caused a Chitauri invasion on Manhattan.
Dull. That’s the word for his life now. What had he done through the past few years? Made millions of people scream and run for his lives from his actions. Struck a deal with Chitauri and caused chaos everywhere he went.
And where is this feared being now? Cooped up in a tiny tower like hens, accompanied with the people that tried to kill him. Though it was in fact quite amusing to watch the pathetic group known as ‘The Avengers’ bicker and shout amongst themselves.
Not to mention the fact that he enjoyed ticking them off with pranks—which is just an elaborate way of saying that Loki tricks them all the time.
But it’s quite boring to be shut up in a skyscraper tower for more than five months straight. He can’t do anything about it, of course. If he ever so much tries to step over the entrance hall, S.H.I.E.L.D. will knock him down flat with sixty bullets.
Or that irritating AI J.A.R.V.I.S. might alert the puny Midguardians and his one imbecile of a brother. Or if worse comes to worse, they’ll send in the Hulk.
The God of Mischief winces at the thought, and rubs his shoulder tentatively. The pain in his ribs—courtesy of being thrown around on the cement like a paper doll—still hasn’t ebbed out fully.
Yes, nothing has changed from that event.
Well…nothing much has changed….yet.