Hullo, everyone! It’s been coming for a while (and been delayed at least a month), but sadly, this is the last episode of Avengers’ Isle! 😦 Well, let’s see how this thing ends… For past Avengers’ Isle posts, click here.
“I want a full explanation,” Fury said.
Steve sighed and settled into a seat on the Quinjet. Bucky sat down next to him, and the others found places to sit or stand. Natasha was in the pilot’s seat, and she had reluctantly agreed to let Tony be her co-pilot. Somehow Thor and Bucky had managed to shove Red Skull’s limp form into an overhead compartment. Agent Barton was latched into one of the seats, his head lolling to the side since he was still unconscious. All Steve wanted to do was talk to Bucky, but that wouldn’t be possible until Fury’s fierce interrogation was over.
Bucky rolled his eyes towards Steve, who struggled to hide his smile. “Would you like an info dump, Director?” he asked politely.
Fury scowled. “How come I don’t know about you, if you really are an agent?”
“Agent Coulson is the one who picked me up. I don’t know why he wouldn’t tell you.” Bucky shrugged. “It wasn’t in my job description to question his decisions.”
Fury’s eyes lit up in understanding. “Ah, so you’re his consultant. Now everything makes sense.”
“Hey, I’m the Consultant,” Tony protested, twisting around.
Natasha smacked him. “Pay attention.”
Fury rolled his eyes. “Tony, you’re the consultant that nobody wants to consult.”
Thor leaned forward in his seat. “I do not understand.”
Fury sighed. “We needed someone unofficial to use on missions where we needed to do things… not quite by the rules. Coulson said he had a consultant he could use. For security reasons, I never met the agent, and Coulson never told me about him. Coulson was our go-between.”
Steve thought of the agent. Sadness welled up as he realized that he’d probably never get to sign those antique Captain America cards. They were probably at the bottom of the ocean.
But if Loki could survive after being in a glass nearly-unbreakable prison in the Helicarrier, surely Agent Coulson and the others could have made it out. Right?
“Why did my magic not work?” Loki asked, breaking his silence. He’d been surprisingly cooperative, but Steve couldn’t help but be wary of him. It was only about a week since the incident in Germany.
Bucky shrugged. “I’m not technology expert, but he used some sort of force field… thing… to protect the island.”
Thor leaned forward. “So now that we are not in the clutches of the island, I will be able to call Mjolnir again?”
“Not while we’re on the jet!” Natasha yelled.
They landed in New York, right on top of Stark Tower, in spite of Tony’s grumbling. Thor called for his hammer, Tony yelled to JARVIS, and Steve helped Bucky drag Hawkeye out of the jet. Fury contacted SHIELD headquarters – made easier by JARVIS – and smiled after a little bit of talking. Steve couldn’t hear what was said, but he assumed it was good news. They headed down through the tower to ground level, where another quinjet landed. Steve was pleased when he saw Agent Coulson from the helicarrier. He gave Fury a warm smile and a handshake. “I’m glad to see you’re alive, sir.”
“You as well,” Fury said, the edge of his mouth turning up slightly. Then he looked solemn once more. “Hill?”
Coulson nodded. “Alive as ever.”
Controlled chaos ensued as several agents removed Red Skull. Thor convinced Loki of their need to return to Asgard, and after a last farewell (and a surprisingly emotional goodbye between Loki and Tony), they departed. Agent Barton finally regained consciousness, and although he was a little woozy, he got onto the quinjet, with help from Natasha . Fury and Coulson joined them, although Coulson reminded Bucky that he would need to report later. Dr. Banner looked lost, until Tony invited him inside to his lab.
That left only Steve and Bucky. Steve looked at his old friend, so different now. “Want to walk to my apartment with me?” Steve asked.
Bucky nodded, and they strode off down the familiar unfamiliar streets. They walked in silence, but not uncomfortable silence. They paused several times to look at what might have been familiar places. They reached Steve’s apartment too soon, and Steve lingered out front with Bucky.
“Coffee sometime?” Bucky asked. Steve could only nod as emotion welled in his throat. His friend reached over and grasped his shoulder.
“On the beach…” Steve swallowed. Dry throat. “The trail mix… was that you?”
Bucky nodded, and his lips twitched in a smiled. “I kind of stole it from the Director.”
Steve felt a smile come out in spite of himself. And then he was laughing. Soon Bucky was laughing too. Somehow, they managed to stop, and Steve blinked at his old friend. Just like old times.
And that, my friends is the end. If you’d like to cry, I have plenty of Kleenex, and if you want to bash me over the head, I also have frying pans. And apples, if anyone would like those. (Not you, Maximus!) Thoughts? Questions? Senseless blabbering? Comment away!