Avengers’ Isle: Together At Last

AvengersIsle2

Hullo! I totally forgot to post this picture with last week’s episode, made in partnership with myself and writefury! Okay, I confess, all I did was the text. She did all the hard work. 😉 No, I still haven’t seen Age of Ultron. But I did watch one of the trailers again, but with a little twist. XD Okay, back to business. DID YOU NOT LOVE LAST WEEK’S REVEAL? If you need to get caught up, see past posts here.

Tony frowned. He had no idea who this guy was, but he sure didn’t seem like a SHIELD agent. Not that he cared. He was just glad everyone was alive. Well, almost everyone.

He bent down and picked up the red, white, and blue shield reverently. He and Cap hardly ever saw eye-to-eye – scratch that, never – but Cap had been the best man Tony had ever known. And Tony’s last words to the soldier had been angry. How could Cap have been the only one not to make it?

“Tony?” Natasha placed a hand on Tony’s shoulder, startling him out of his thoughts. Loki was untying Thor, and the two were deep in conversation. The others were gathering where Tony was.

“He was a good man,” Tony said, tapping the shield lightly. Natasha nodded in agreement. Banner looked sad. Tony held out his hand and they shook hands. Science buddies back together again. Tony looked over at the guy with the metal arm, Bucky, who was grinning. “What?” Tony asked, frowning. “This isn’t a joke.”

“Not to you,” Bucky said, trying to make his face serious, but his mouth kept twitching. He took the shield from Tony and laid it on the ground. He slammed his metal fist into it, and the sound rang loud through the forest, making the two Asgardians jump in surprise.

“What in the world do you think you’re doing?” Tony snapped, lunging for the shield.

Bucky pulled it out of his reach. They heard approaching footsteps, running at a ridiculous speed. “I thought that would be loud enough to get his attention,” Bucky said, running a finger along the edge of the shield.

Steve Rogers slid to a stop at the edge of the circle. He was barely breathing hard as he looked around. “Well,” he said. “And here I came to rescue Thor.” Then he caught sight of Bucky. “Bucky, I–”

“No time,” Bucky said quietly. “We should get out of here while we’ve got the chance.” He glanced over at Red Skull. “I think he’s gone – for good – but we should bring him with us anyway. And Barton.”

“I want a full report and explanation,” Fury said firmly, staring Bucky down.

“As soon as we’re out of here,” Bucky replied, staring back at him.

They gathered up all of weapons they might need, although Bucky said that the natives would be glad to see them leaving. Bucky picked up Barton, and Thor picked up Red Skull. Bucky led the way through the forest, towards the center of the island.

“So, do you have a boat or something?” Tony asked skeptically, nearly tripping over a tree root.

“Something,” Bucky grunted, barely managing to keep Barton from hitting his head on a tree.

“What kind of something is it?” Tony pestered him.

“You’ll see,” Bucky said. “Unless you keep asking questions.”

Tony shut his mouth and drifted to the back of the line with Thor, Loki, and panting Banner. He couldn’t believe how easy it was for Natasha and Rogers to make it through the thick undergrowth. Even Fury was handling it easily.

They stepped into a huge, empty clearing. Tony gazed around at the circle of green grass, then up at the bright blue sky. “So what now? We wait for a helicopter to pick us up?”

Bucky handed Barton to Steve and pulled a remote looking thing out of his pocket. He pressed a button on it, and right before their eyes, a Quinjet appeared. Tony sighed when he realized it had been cloaked. That was most assuredly cheating.

Bucky turned to Natasha. “It’s all yours.”

Yay! Looks like we’re on our way to a happy ending, finally! But they’re not safe yet… Like for a bag of trail mix, comment for a piece of (late) Tony Stark birthday cake! (It’s not too stale yet…)

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Avengers’ Isle: Cognitive Recalibration

Hullo, everyone! I apologize for missing… two weeks? of posts. BUT… it’s a good thing I did, otherwise, well… this wouldn’t have come. I was planning a completely different plot twist, BUT THIS HAS ME SQUEALING AND SUFFOCATING WITH HAPPINESS. (*wink wink*) Just remember this is an alternate universe, so have of the first Avengers movie hasn’t happened, and neither have Thor 2, Cap 2, and Avengers 2. Just a reminder… Carry on, now. New? Read past posts here.

A moan escaped Natasha as she opened her eyes slowly. Her vision came into focus, and her breath caught in her throat. Clint. He stood with two others in the center of the clearing. She was pretty sure that the guy with the red skull was Red Skull, and the other guy looked familiar, although she couldn’t place him. She closed her eyes and did a mental assessment. No broken bones, but her right temple was throbbing and she felt a little woozy. She could feel some dried blood caked on the right side of her face, probably from when she fell. She was tied to a tree, judging from the rough bark.

“Glad you’re awake, Romanoff,” Fury’s voice came from nearby. Natasha opened her eyes and saw that he was tied to a tree near her, Banner on his other side. She turned her head to the right and saw Thor, who was grumbling to himself and tugging on his ropes.

“Barton brought you in,” Banner said, shifting a little in his ropes. “We’re weaponless and outnumbered.”

“And Hulkless?” Natasha asked, lifting an eyebrow. Banner nodded. “This seems like quite a predicament.”

A noise close behind her tree made Natasha try to turn her head unsuccessfully. Something flew into the clearing, straight into Red Skull, knocking him back into a tree. His head hit the bark and he crumpled. Clint leapt into action, an arrow on his bow as his eyes scanned the forest. Natasha gasped as she saw what had hit Red Skull. Roger’s shield. He’s alive.

“I believe you said it would come back to us,” a voice whispered harshly behind her tree.

“I don’t know how he does it!” another voice growled back.

Natasha moaned. Tony and Loki. How had they gotten ahold of Cap’s shield? Barton crept slowly towards them, but with a sudden “oomph” he stumbled to the ground. Bucky stood behind him and relaxed his metal arm, then pulled out a knife and made his way over to Natasha. “He’ll be okay in a minute,” Bucky said. “Cognitive recalibration.”

“Don’t you dare,” Tony said, stepping out and trying to look angry as Bucky approached, but he really looked freaked out. Bucky rolled his eyes and used the knife to start sawing at the ropes.

“You could untie your other friends,” Bucky suggested casually.

Tony looked at him in surprise, then looked behind him. Loki moved into view and shrugged. Natasha frowned at them. “Where’d you get the shield?”

“We found it buried in the sand close to the water,” Tony said, moving over to work on Fury’s ropes with a knife Bucky gave him. “We used it to fight off the walking trees.” He shuddered.

“The what?” Banner said, frowning.

“Mechanical,” Bucky said. “And I put the shield there. You guys really should have left a guard, you know.”

Fury looked just as surprised as Natasha felt. “Why are you helping us?” Fury asked suspiciously.

Bucky straightened as Natasha’ ropes fell away. “SHIELD Agent James Buchanan Barnes, at your service,” he said, bowing.

Yay for the fifteenth Avengers’ Isle post!!! *throws confetti* You know the drill! Like if you want a piece of Avengers’ Isle birthday cake, comment to see Bucky’s SHIELD badge…

Avengers’ Isle: Coming Alive

‘Ello, ev’ryone. In spite of the protests I received from some of you last week, I decided to go ahead and skip Steve and move on to Loki and Tony. I’m sure you won’t mind… If you’re new, I suggest you check out past posts here.

Tony opened his eyes slowly, blinking away sand. If only the dream was true. If only he was back at home, with Pepper and a steak. Or even a Big Mac.

Instead, he was here with Loki and sand. Natasha was a big plus, but…

He sat up. Where was Natasha? He scrambled to his feet, accidentally kicking Loki’s arm as he stood. Loki flew up, ready to tackle Tony, who threw his arms up and scrambled backwards. Loki took a deep breath. “Has no one ever told you not to suddenly wake a sleeping Asgardian?”

Tony ran a hand through his sand-filled hair. “I thought that was just Thor. I now know better. It was completely an accident. Have you seen Natasha?”

Loki rubbed his forehead. “I have not. She may have simply gone for a walk.”

Tony shook his head. “Not after everything that happened.” Although she might be just trying to make them nervous. But she would be crazy if she was doing that. “We should check in the forest, make sure she’s not laying around somewhere, unconscious.”

Loki looked at him skeptically. “Last time we went in the forest, you came out unconscious.”

Tony nodded. “Exactly. Let’s go.”

Tony was pretty sure Loki didn’t follow his reasoning, but he wasn’t sure he understood it himself, so he didn’t bother to explain. They had only gone a little ways when they found a small spot of blood on the forest floor. Loki bent down, studying the leaves. “It seems she was fighting someone.”

Something tapped Tony’s shoulder, and he spun around, distracted. He didn’t see anything, but there was a suspicious looking vine hanging down. He reached out slowly, slowly, and grabbed it. Suddenly it yanked him up off his feet. “Help!” he yelped, grabbing onto a nearby branch for dear life.

Loki yanked on his feet, breaking the vine, and they tumbled into a heap on the forest floor. They scrambled to their feet and dashed madly for the beach.

“What. Was. That?” Tony panted, gazing back at the forest. He froze. One of the trees was moving, coming towards them, like a human slogging through thick, waist-high mud. Another tree started moving, then another.

Loki grabbed Tony’s arm. “I think we should run,” he said calmly.

“I wish I had an axe,” Tony groaned. He stumbled back through the sand and felt his heel hit something hard as it sank into the wet sand. “Hey! Maybe there’s something here. Maybe it’s an axe, or a blowtorch, or something…” He fell to his knees and started digging frantically through the sand.

“The current would prevent anything useful from landing here. We need to–” Loki stopped. Tony slowly pulled his hand away from the object as a wave fully uncovered it. Loki sucked in a breath. “Is that…”

Tony’s voice was quiet. “Cap’s shield.”

Thanks to erinkenobi2893 and sarahtps for both contributing ideas to the post unintentionally. 😉 Like to get a bag of trail mix, comment for shawarma.

Avengers’ Isle: Tic Tac Toe

Hello, everyone! Again, I apologize for not posting a part last week. Time keeps seeming to run away from me. I guess you can expect an Avengers’ Isle post every other week now… but we’ll see.

Red Skull threw aside the stick he was writing in the dirt with, making Banner wince. “Tell no one,” he growled at the guy with the metal arm. Banner was pretty sure the guy’s name was Bucky, but he wasn’t sure. Red Skull wiped out whatever they’d been writing for the past half-hour and motioned for Bucky to follow him out of the clearing. Apparently Red Skull didn’t like being beaten by his minions in tic tac toe.

Banner glanced around. There were still a few natives. Thor was still unconscious, and Fury was leaning his head back against the tree as he slept. How could he sleep?

“Quit staring at me.”

Banner looked away, uncomfortable. So maybe Fury wasn’t asleep. But his one eye was closed, and the other still covered by the eyepatch. “Sorry. I thought you were sleeping.”

Fury opened his eye and looked over at Banner. “You make a habit of watching people while they sleep?”

Banner shook his head. A grunt somewhere in the forest drew his attention away from the director. Two more natives entered the clearing, carrying an unconscious Natasha Romanoff.

“Good,” Fury said, leaning his head back against the tree as the natives tied Natasha to the tree next to Thor.

“Good?” Banner asked. He frowned at Fury. “It’s good that half of the Avengers are tied to trees now?”

“No,” Fury said without opening his eyes. “Good that she’s alive.”

Thor stirred a little and moaned quietly, but didn’t wake up. Banner felt like moaning himself. If he wasn’t in such an uncomfortable position, he’d fall asleep in a heartbeat. He wished this was all over, that he was back in India, working and not hurting anybody, or being hurt.

Red Skull stepped back into the clearing, followed by Bucky. “Well, I trust you two have been resting well, correct?” he asked.

Banner looked over at Fury, who didn’t move. He shrugged. “Not exactly.”

Red Skull sighed and motioned to the clearing. “I’ve been as hospitable as possible.” His eyes went to a spot behind them. “The job’s been done?” he asked.

“Yes,” someone said.

Fury’s eyes popped open. Banner frowned. For once he looked surprised, even shocked. “You’re…”

A guy with brown hair stepped into their view. Banner had no clue who he was, but Fury apparently knew him from the expression on his face. “Miss me?” he asked.

Fury’s eye closed. “Barton.”

Like to wake up Natasha and Thor, comment to start shaking some sense into Hawkeye…

TCWT April 2015 Blog Chain: Hello, Ms. Romanoff

My first time doing the Teens Can Write, Too blog chain… and I’m late. *sigh* Somehow I read that I was to post on the 16th, and I was really supposed to post on the 6th. I take complete responsibility. I was originally planning on doing a letter to fictional couples in general, since I couldn’t think of one in particular, and then… BAM. The Age of Ultron TV spot reminded me of one… and I went ahead and started over. 😛

Dear my beloved friend,

Hello, Ms. Romanoff. Look, I know you have trouble, surrounded by five guys, not to mention all those other SHIELD agents, but please. Could you just settle on one guy? I know you probably never took Tony seriously, of course. I *cough* haven’t watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but from what I’ve heard, there’s a little romance between you and Steve. And then in The Avengers… don’t you remember? Loki saying all the stuff about love and “you bargain for one man” and “KNEEL” and all that nonsense? You wouldn’t even have come in if Clint hadn’t been compromised.

And now the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailers hint at a relationship between you and Dr. Banner. Really? Please tell me you’re not going to fall in love with Thor in Thor 3. Seriously. You switching around from guy to guy is really, really annoying! You really should just pick one and settle down. While still working for SHIELD and the Avengers, of course.

I hope you will seriously take this into consideration. Also, please note that I am fully a Clintasha supporter. Just sayin’.

Yours truly,

Bri

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6thhttp://www.theworldofthewriter.wordpress.com/ (*cough* 16th…)

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10thhttps://erinkenobi2893.wordpress.com/ (Hey, if you liked my letter… she wrote one to Pepperony and Peggy and Steve! 😉 )

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16thhttp://www.juliathewritergirl.wordpress.com/ (*cough* And me, too!)

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and https://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)

Are you doing the chain? Which couple would you want to write a letter to? And, most importantly, who do you ship Natasha with? 😀

Avengers’ Isle: Bird Call

I apologize for not posting an Avengers’ Isle episode last week. I plead life. I also apologize that this section is short, but I must admit, it ends quite well. 🙂

Natasha walked quietly into the forest, avoiding overhanging branches and twigs on the ground. The complete silence around her was making her more edgy than usual, and the dim not-quite-morning light didn’t help. Calm down, she told herself. Nothing was going to happen. Tony was wrong. They were alone.

She knew that was a lie. In fact, she embraced the truth. After all, not being alone was better than strange arrows just randomly flying through the air.

The sound of a bird call made her freeze. It wouldn’t be out of place… except that there had been absolutely no sign of birds on the entire island.

Another bird call echoed through the silent forest, sending a chill down Natasha’s spine. She shouldn’t have wandered into the forest alone. She should have waited for Tony and Loki to wake up. Fun how she wouldn’t mind having Loki by her side right now.

A twig cracked nearby. Natasha began to move slowly back towards the camp. Hopefully there weren’t any more dart shooting people out there. She picked up her pace, moving faster. More twigs cracked, heading in her direction.

Natasha whirled and took off at a dead run, dodging trees and bushes and overhanging plant growth. Footsteps pounded behind her, and she risked a glance behind her.

A tree root seemed to reach out and grab her ankle, sending her flying through the air and thudding to the ground. She could barely see Loki and Tony sleeping on the beach through the trees. She opened her mouth to scream, but a hand clamped over her mouth. She felt a tiny prick on her arm and then went limp.

Mwahaha… A like gets you Fury’s spare eyepatch, a comment gets you Coulson’s vintage Captain America trading cards.

Avengers’ Isle: Not Alone

Hi, everyone! Did you like how last week’s post ended? Thought so… 😉 This weeks may not seem to end on much of a cliffhanger, but I’m pretty sure you guys will be looking forward to next week’s post…

Also, I metioned to writefury in a comment that I will post extra episodes when I reach certain milestones. There are a few you can help with: 10 reviews on Amazon, 50 sales, and 200 followers on here… New? Read past episodes here.

Tony slowly opened his eyes. It took a second for everything to focus, but when it did…

He yelped and began to scramble backwards. Natasha pulled back, just as surprised and embarrassed. Loki wasn’t even trying to hide his smirk. “What were you doing?” Tony exclaimed.

Natasha pushed a stray strand of hair behind her ear, sighing in frustration. “It’s called ‘leaning down to inspect the odd welt on Tony’s neck’.” She made a face. “Loki wouldn’t do it.”

Loki snorted. “Of course not. Look what happened.”

At Natasha’s words, Tony reached up and felt the side of his neck. He shuddered as his fingers found the mosquito-bite-like bump. “What happened?” he asked.

“You and Loki went into the forest, and apparently you got poisoned, by a bug or a dart or something. We don’t know,” Natasha said. “You just collapsed, and then Loki brought you back here.” She smirked. “He carried you in his arms, too.”

Tony shot a look at Loki, who avoided his gaze. “Might I suggest that we don’t talk about any of this?”

Natasha nodded wholeheartedly. “What happens on this island, stays on this island.”

Tony smirked and was about to make a snide Vegas-themed comment when Natasha tensed. She turned towards the forest, listening.

The mood immediately darkened. Loki turned in that direction, too. Tony hadn’t heard anything, but clearly both of his companions had. The noise wasn’t repeated, and Natasha relaxed slightly. She turned back to Tony and opened her mouth to speak. There was a whizzing sound and a thud as an arrow burrowed into the sand next to Tony.

They stared at the arrow in silence for a second. “Clint,” Natasha breathed. She whirled to face Loki, her nose inches from his face. “What–”

“I have no control over him now,” Loki said evenly, not even flinching. “My magic is gone.”

Natasha growled, and Tony thought about how glad he was that he wasn’t on the receiving end of her fury. “How do we know that for sure? You’re a liar.”

Loki shrugged, a smirk crossing his face. “Do you think that I would be on this island if I still had my magic.” Natasha hesitated, then made a grumpy face and stepped back. “Besides,” Loki continued, “it’s most likely not Hawkeye. I believe his plane went down with the helicarrier. And if he was shooting at you, he would have hit his mark.”

Tony looked over at the arrow. “One thing’s for sure. We’re definitely not alone.”

A like lets you keep the arrow, a comment lets you find the archer… (in a couple weeks, of course)

Avengers’ Isle: Common Sense

Hello, everyone! I’m so grateful for all of your amazing comments! I’m amazed by how much everyone likes this. And it’s good to know that you’re liking the cliffhangers too…

New? Check out past episodes.

Why did guys always have to be so difficult? Natasha growled and tightened her ponytail band. She hated wearing her hair up, but on this dumb island, it was practically necessary.

“But how are we going to eat?” Tony protested. Loki stood to the side, trying to look superior but not able to hide his own concern. “It there’s no food, we’ll – we’ll die!”

Natasha huffed. “I didn’t say there wasn’t any food. I said that I couldn’t find anything. No fish, no birds, no animals.”

“And how is that different?” Tony asked, crossing his arms.

Natasha put her hands on her hips. “Because, genius, there are other things to eat besides meat.” She waved towards the forest. “There’s always plants and things.”

Tony made a face. “Not my food of choice, but if that’s all there is, then let’s get started.” He began to walk towards the forest.

“Good,” Natasha said drily. “Let us know if you find anything poisonous.”

Tony stopped and retraced his steps. “So… maybe not. But can’t we try to find something we recognize?”

Natasha shrugged. “I went through a lot of the surrounding area, but I didn’t see a single plant that looked familiar. Not a single plant. You’d think there would at least be a palm tree or something… but nothing.”

Tony shivered, rubbing his arms. “This is really weird. I don’t like it.”

“You don’t have to like it,” Natasha pointed out. “You just have to deal with it.”

“There’s magic at play here.” Loki’s voice was low. They both turned to him. He waved his hand dismissively. “No, my magic has not come back. I’m just using common sense.”

Tony glared at him. “Are you saying we don’t have common sense?”

Loki tilted his head and gave a small smile. “It does seem to be greatly lacking.”

Tony clenched his fists and stepped up to the Asgardian. “I swear, I–”

Natasha growled and stepped in between them. They were worse than Maximus and Flynn Rider. And she was Rapunzel, trying to keep them from killing each other. Except she certainly was not as patient, naïve, or cheerful. And she hated dresses. “Why don’t you two go look through the forest and see if there’s anything you recognize. Maybe there’s an Asgardian plant or something. Just don’t kill each other or anything.”

The two grumbled their way into the forest, and Natasha closed her eyes and tilted her head back, inhaling deeply. The salty ocean scent smelled pretty good. The only noise was the lapping of the water on the beach. Silence at last. Who knew being on a deserted island could actually be peaceful?

She did a few little things, like gathering more twigs for firewood and – she couldn’t help herself – making a tiny sandcastle. She sighed. Hawkeye would’ve made a sand tower next to her castle. She couldn’t help but wonder if he was okay.

A foot appeared out of nowhere, smushing her sandcastle unknowingly. Natasha leapt to her feet. Loki was fighting back a frown, trying to keep his face neutral. He held Tony in his arms, but set him down in front of Natasha.

The billionaire didn’t move.

A like gets you a hug from Thor, a comment gets you a group hug from all of the Avengers. (Harsh comments get you a “hug” from the Hulk…)

Avengers’ Isle: Breakfast Time

Oh, you poor, poor people. I hate to leave you hanging, but… no, actually I don’t. I enjoy it. This is probably going to happen a lot. 😛 Hang on tight! Things are about to get crazier.

Tony scratched his head, yawning. It was too early to be awake. Natasha was crazy. How could she look so chipper, this early in the morning? And how in the world did she look like she’d just spent an hour doing her hair and make-up, when he knew for a fact that she had no make-up and had just woken up five minutes ago? At least Loki looked just as sleepy as he did. He would’ve laughed at how tangled Loki’s hair was, but he probably looked just as bad, if not worse.

Natasha sat down next to them, running her hands through her red hair. “Okay, we need to find some food. Loki, any chance you can use your magic to–”

“No,” Loki said, frowning. “I have already tried. My magic is not working.” He frowned over at his scepter. His Glow Stick of Destiny, Tony thought with a smile as he remembered the nickname. It certainly wasn’t glowing anymore. Tony figured that was good.

Natasha frowned. “That doesn’t make sense. Why not?”

Loki shrugged. “I do not know. It has not worked since we got here. Otherwise I would most certainly be somewhere else.” He gave Tony a glare.

Tony faked an innocent look. “Why would you want to leave our wonderful company?”

Natasha growled. “If you two so much as look at each other wrong, you’ll be tied to separate trees until your attitudes are straightened out. Got it?” Both men fell silent immediately. “Good. Now, my guns are useless, and we don’t know what kinds of animals and things are on this island.” She glanced at Loki’s scepter. “Anyone tried spearfishing?”

Banner didn’t know what time it was when he woke up, but the sun was just peering over the horizon. Fury was stirring what was leftover of their fire. He tossed a prepackaged bag of trail mix to Banner. “Here. That is probably all you’ll find for breakfast. I haven’t been able to find much else.”

Banner frowned. “Where did you get this?” he asked as he opened it.

“I like to be prepared,” Fury said as if that explained it.

Banner shrugged and dug in. The trail mix tasted good, since he hadn’t eaten much. “Have you seen any wildlife or anything?” Banner asked. He wasn’t too scared, but, honestly, he didn’t exactly want to hulk out on this tiny island.

Fury shook his head. “Nothing. No natives, either.”

Hopefully there weren’t any. Nothing like island natives with blow darts to stir things up. And bring out the Hulk.

I apologize for the short episode, but I honestly didn’t have much time to write this week. Longer post next week!

A like gets you a piece of pi, a comment gets you a virtual pie…

At The Amusement Park

This fanfic is really long (although I wrote it in one sitting) but I didn’t want to split it up, so here it is, all in one post! Oh, the humor, oh, the feels… Let me know what you think! And check out the newly updated Novella page – I’ve finished covers for several of my stories!

“Come on, Steve. You’re always so serious. You need this,” Natasha urged. “It’ll help you lighten up.”

Steve frowned. “But really, an amusement park? Why not somewhere more fun?”

Natasha shrugged. “Well, all of us are going. And I can’t think of anywhere more fun than an amusement park.”

Steve continued to protest, but eventually the other Avengers sided with Natasha, and there was no way he could resist all of them. He agreed. Clint and Thor both whooped and raced down the hall to gather everything they’d need. Before long, they were all shoved into a spare SHIELD van and were en route to the amusement park.

Steve gazed out the window as they drove up to the front gate of the amusement park, noticing the signs for the day’s special attractions, ranging from different games to a water ski demo. Clint stood up through the sunroof, shielding his eyes with his hand as he looked around. “Ah!” he cried triumphantly. “The first ride is the Ferris wheel!”

Tony shoved Clint’s leg, nearly making him topple over. “No way. Do you see the Raptor? That is the first ride.”

Clint growled. “How could I not see that dumb roller coaster?”

Natasha pulled the car up to the admissions booth. “How many?” the man asked.

She snorted. “Six adults. Unless you’re going by actions, then we’ve got a couple of kids in here.”

“FUNNEL CAKES!” Clint yelled from the sunroof. The admissions guy looked up at him and then nodded in agreement with Natasha. She rolled her eyes.

They drove through the huge parking lot trying to find a space. With Clint’s help from the sunroof, they were able to find one fairly close. People were flooding the place.

Natasha didn’t let anyone leave the car until she verified that their cell phones were on and she could track them with her own phone. “Have fun, Captain,” she called as she and Clint raced to the Ferris wheel. Steve stood there, feeling lost and not knowing where to go. Thor came up and stood next to him as Banner wandered off to find a quiet place to watch the commotion.

“I do not know where to begin, either,” Thor said, frowning.

Tony stepped between them, grabbing their arms. “Come on, we can go ride the Raptor. You guys will enjoy that.”

Tony dragged them through the maze of rides, games, and concession stands. Somehow they ended up with nachos and drinks on the way to the rollercoaster. Steve found that the nachos didn’t taste quite as bad as they looked. Suddenly, Thor stuck his arm out and stopped them. “Look,” he said, pointing.

Steve and Tony glanced to where he was pointing. A man held a giant hammer with a long handle. An amusement park employee stood next to him, pointing to the tall, lit-up board. The man stepped up to a big button and swung the hammer down. The board lit up halfway and the man sighed in disappointment.

“Yeah, it just a stupid hammer strength game meant to waste your money,” Tony grumbled, looking disgruntled. Steve figured that he’d tried the game before and lost.

He glanced back at Thor and paused. There was a gleam in the Asgardian’s eyes. “Uh, Thor…” Steve began.

“Do not worry, I will not break it,” Thor announced as he headed over to the booth.

Ten minutes later, they were once again on their way to the Raptor, now with a giant stuffed panda in tow. “What are we going to do with this dumb thing?” Tony growled, trying to see around the bear. Thor had elected him to carry it.

“Do not insult my bear,” Thor said, happily sipping his drink.

Tony rolled his eyes, looking disgusted. Steve shot him a warning look and he kept his mouth closed.

It didn’t take them much longer to reach the Raptor. Steve gazed up at the ride as they got in line. Thor insisted on the panda occupying the seat next to him. He apparently didn’t trust the “mortal’s flimsy safe lockers” to keep his prize safe. Tony rolled his eyes yet again. “Which means you’ll be stuck with me,” he said to Steve. He grinned. “I didn’t exactly want to sit next to Thor anyway. He’d probably be yelling in excitement and whack me in the face, and I’d prefer to stay conscious during the ride.”

Steve gave him a smile as they took their places on the ride. Tony sat down next to him and pulled down the bar across their chests. “I had to pay for the bear to ride,” Tony grumbled. Steve gripped the bar tightly. This thing was a lot more open than the rides he was used to. Thor sat down in front of them, resituating the panda before pulling down the bar. Steve could see that he kept a tight hold on the stuffed animal, just in case. Steve could hardly see around the bear’s giant head.

The ride started to move, and Steve couldn’t help but grip the bar tighter. The roller coaster cars started to climb upward, and Thor pointed down at something below. “Look!” he yelled.

Tony rolled his eyes. “Don’t listen to him. It’s best not to look down.” He glanced sideways at Steve.

“I’ve been on a roller coaster before,” Steve told him. And ziplined onto the back of a train.

After ages of climbing, they reached the peak. There was a pause, and then the cars raced down. The color drained from Steve’s face at the sickening feeling of falling…

“Right now I’m in the middle of nowhere. If I wait any longer a lot of people are gonna die. Peggy, this is my choice.” He opened his compass with the picture of her and set it on the plane’s controls as he started to make the plane go down.

“Peggy…”

“I’m here.”

“I’m gonna need a rain check on that dance.”

She gave a choking half-sob. “All right. A week next Saturday at The Stork Club.”

“You’ve got it.”

“Eight o’clock on the dot. Don’t you dare be late. Understood?”

The ground drew nearer. “You know, I still don’t know how to dance.”

“I’ll show you how. Just be there.”

“We’ll have the band play something slow. I’d hate to step on your…”

———

“Captain?” Tony shook the other man, worry building up. Steve was clenching the bar on the roller coaster car, staring straight ahead, his eyes glazed. A terrified look was frozen on his face. Tony shook the super soldier again. “Rogers!”

Thor stepped out of the car in front of them, holding the panda. “What is wrong?”

Tony moaned and ran ah and through his hair. “I don’t know for sure. I shouldn’t have made him come.”

Thor looked to the impatient waiting people. “We should move him.”

They managed to peel his fingers off the bar and drag him to a nearby bench. “What shall we do?” Thor asked, setting the panda down next to Steve.

Tony frowned down at Steve. “You text the others, I’ll get some water and see if I can get him to snap out of it.” Thor nodded and pulled out his phone.

———

Natasha glared at a grubby-looking man who got too close to her stash. She was guarding the prizes she and Clint had won while Clint rode the bumper cars. Needless to say their time in the shooting gallery had been well spent.

She had a good view of the bumper cars from her position. She needed to remind Clint to take it easy. He’d already give two people whiplash, and one of them was an adorable little girl.

Her phone buzzed and she pulled it out. A text from Thor. She frowned and opened it.

Distress! Trouble, by large metal hill. Come immediately!

Natasha frowned and waved in Clint’s direction. He caught her eye and managed to get out before the round was over. “What’s up?” he asked. She showed him the text and he checked his own phone. “He sent it to me, too. So he finally figured out how to send texts to multiple people.”

Natasha rolled her eyes. “What do you think he meant by ‘large metal hill’?” She scanned the surrounding area.

“The Ferris wheel?” Clint joked.

She elbowed him. “Help me carry the prizes. We’re heading to the roller coaster.”

———

Tony paced next to the bench, occasionally glancing over at Steve. The younger – older? – man still had a terrified, glazed expression. It worried him, but he didn’t know what to do. Thor had sat down on the bench, sound asleep with a smile, one arm around the motionless captain and the other around the stupid stuffed panda. The panda’s staring eyes taunted him with the same glazed look as Steve had.

“Tony?”

He turned to see Natasha and Clint approaching, each with an armful of stuffed animals and who knew what else. They stopped next to him and set them down. “What’s going on?” Natasha asked, surveying the scene. She frowned. “Did you text us with Thor’s phone? Is this a joke?”

Tony opened his mouth but was interrupted by Bruce joining them. “What’s up? Wait, he’s asleep. Tony, did you—”

Tony threw his hands up in the air. “I didn’t do it. At least, I didn’t send the text. I mean, it’s my fault, I guess, but – ugh…” He groaned and ran his hand through his hair. Why was he so frazzled? It was just Steve, after all. Steve, whom he argued with and insulted and teased. Why did he care so much?

Natasha’s frown deepened, and she grabbed him by the shoulders, forcing him to look her in the eye. “Tony. What. Is. Wrong?”

Tony ground his teeth. He would not show weakness, would not break down. Not here. Not now. He nodded to the bench. “Steve. He’s… zoned out. Has been ever since the roller coaster.”

Bruce and Clint hurried over to Steve, waking up Thor in the process. Natasha gave Tony a murderous glare. “What kind of idiot are you? Didn’t you think that a roller coaster might be a trigger?” She stormed over to the bench. Tony felt insuppressible guilt rising in his chest. It was his fault, after all. Why had he been so dumb? His shoulders slumped as he turned and walked away.

———

Steve’s eyes began to focus more as the others talked to him encouragingly. Finally he blinked and gazed around. He groaned and rubbed his forehead as he caught sight of the roller coaster and remembered. “I think I should stay off roller coasters for a while.”

Natasha smiled and stood up. “He’ll be fine. What happened?”

Steve closed his eyes. “I-I guess going down that fast reminded me of… you know”

No one spoke for a second, just letting the silence hang awkwardly before Thor reached over and patted Steve’s knee. “I do not know about all of you, but I believe I have had enough excitement for today.”

Bruce nodded. “We should head back to the tower.”

Steve looked around and then frowned. “But where’s Stark?”

Natasha grimaced. “I may or may not have told him off. He’s probably being his usual grumpy self and waiting for us in the van.”

Tony wasn’t at the van. Natasha tried to call him, and the sound of Black Sabbath’s Iron Man nearly burst their eardrums. They quickly found Tony’s cell phone stuffed into the glove box.

Natasha groaned and rested her head on the steering wheel. “Maybe I was too hard on him.”

Steve opened his door. “I’ll be back in a minute.” No one questioned him or protested ash he hurried back into the park.

———

Funny how he knew Tony better than the others. He found him in the stands of the water ski demo that was going on, right where Steve had thought he would be. The billionaire was staring but not seeing, and he certainly didn’t hear Steve coming. He nearly jumped out of his skin when Steve sat down next to him.

“It wasn’t your fault,” Steve said quietly, staring out at the water skiers.

Tony shrugged it off. “No one said it was.”

Steve turned towards Tony, his gaze piercing him through. “Apparently Nat did. I blame myself for things a lot. The tired look on my mom’s face, her death, the death of innocents during the war. But, in the end, it’s not always my fault – it’s just a passing of life. Something that has to – needs to – happen.”

Tony turned to face him, the faintest of smiles tickling his face. “Thanks.”

Steve slapped his knee and stood up. “Ready to head back to meet with the others?”

Tony shrugged. “If we must. I’d sure like a—” Steve sighed. “—snowcone, though,” Tony finished.

Steve smiled. “I think we just might be able to arrange that. We should get ones for the others, too.”

Tony laughed. “Hey, it’s my treat, and you’re the only one who gave me a pick-me-up. They skipped the counseling session, they go without snowcones.” And the two of them laughed as they headed towards the snowcone stand.