Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Fandom: The Avengers (MCU)
Era: Post-Avengers movie
Genre: Action, drama
Rating: M / FRM
Characters: Bruce Banner (Hulk), Clint Barton (Hawkeye), Jane Foster, Nick Fury, Happy Hogan, J.A.R.V.I.S., Loki, Pepper Potts, James “Rhodey” Rhodes (War Machine), Steve Rogers (Captain America), Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow), Lady Sif and the Warriors Three (Fandral, Hogun and Volstagg), Tony Stark (Iron Man), Thor
(Brief/smaller appearances: Odin, Maria Hill, Darcy Lewis, The Other, Benjamin “Benny” Pollack, Erik Selvig, Jasper Sitwell, Claire Wise.)
Pairings: Happy/Pepper, Jane/Thor. Mentions of: Benny/Claire, Pepper/Tony
Summary: Iron Man never fell back through the portal. The Avengers must deal with the loss of their comrade and move on – until Earth once again comes under an attack from the Chitauri and their new-found weapons that decimate everything in their path with unmatched power and intellect. As cities and nations collapse around their decreasing resistance, the heroes of Earth must find a way to defeat their enemy before there is nothing left to avenge.
Work in progress.
Written for: Apocalypse Big Bang, Round One (apocalypsebang at LiveJournal)
Art: Imaan (insteadofdeath at dA/DW/LJ)
Warnings: Graphic description of torture, major character death, apocalypse & invasion themes (including but not limited to: mass destruction, terrorism, holocaust, death, violence and gore), brain-washing & mind-control, language (including some remarks that could be seen as racist). Serious spoilers for the ending of The Avengers (and other random spoilers for the rest of the movies in the Avengers cinematic universe).
They had traveled to a faraway world to help settle a dispute between two warring nations. A peace had been brokered and Thor was anxious to return home to Asgard with his friends; a feast of success would await them upon their arrival and they all had marvelous stories to tell. The Lady Sif and Warriors Three had once again proven themselves worthy allies yet Thor thought of others as well – his fellow Avengers in Midgard.
Perhaps once the festivities were done he would speak to his father and return to Earth once more, to meet his newest allies and perhaps enjoy the simpler life of Jane Foster whom he missed.
As a familiar sight finally greeted their eyes, he felt a sense of calm; with the Bifrost still broken, traveling between realms was harder and time-consuming. He longed to bathe before the feast, to wash the grime from his skin and feel like a man reborn. Yet all that was merely an old routine; nothing compared to the unexpected joys of Midgard.
“Do not look so glum!” Volstagg slapped him hard on the back. “We shall feast tonight and regale everyone with our latest feats!” He marched off, his mighty axe slung over one shoulder.
Hogun followed him like a silent shadow, giving Thor a brief nod.
Fandral, who no doubt planned on amazing several Asgardian ladies tonight with beautiful stones he had brought with him, smiled and hurried after the others.
Sif was the only one who remained, sword on her side, shield strapped to her back. “You are thinking of Midgard,” she mused.
“Aye,” Thor admitted. “It has been too long since I traveled there.”
“We need you here as well – in Asgard,” she insisted.
Thor shook his head. “You have many mighty warriors here and the Realms are peaceful. Should there be a danger, I shall of course return, but Midgard needs me.”
Sif sighed, looking displeased by this but not enough to protest. Those looks had been more frequent after the Chitauri attempted to invade Earth and Thor united his power alongside the champions of Midgard. He had more reasons to return to the Middle Realm now than he’d had after his exile there – and Sif knew this.
“Perhaps you will join me,” Thor offered. Perhaps if Sif saw what he did, she would understand.
“It is not my place there,” she objected.
“But you would be welcomed.”
Sif opened her mouth to speak then closed it, looking past Thor. He followed her gaze, finding Heimdall standing there, his face grim with concern; that was always a poor omen.
“Heimdall,” Thor greeted the gatekeeper.
“Thor Odinson,” Heimdall bowed his head. “I have a need to speak with you.”
Thor knew better than to assume this could take place after his bath. The shadows of concern on Heimdall’s face pierced a deep fear into his heart and he followed the man back to his observatory. “What concerns you?” Thor asked once they were alone; Sif had fallen back, knowing Heimdall would have stated clearly if this was for her ears as well.
“Midgard has come under an attack,” the gatekeeper announced gravely. “The Chitauri forces have traveled across space and are bringing a war upon the human race.”
Thor blinked, unable to believe it, then his fingers squeezed around the handle of Mjolnir. “How dare they?! Was one defeat not enough for them?”
“They have found new weapons,” Heimdall spoke. “Something the Midgardians cannot defeat.”
“Nothing I have ever seen before. They remind me of the Destroyer, yet they do not require a spirit within them; strange machines that are bringing the humans to their knees.”
Thor could no longer stand still, pacing back and forth, Mjolnir heavy in his hand. “How long ago did the attack begin?”
“It has not been long but the enemy is advancing quickly,” Heimdall told him. “If you wish to join your Avengers, you must make that decision quickly.”
Thor nodded grimly and swung the hammer in his hand, taking off into the air, flying out towards Odin’s palace. He would have words with his father.
Odin’s rooms were silent when Thor entered. Distant sounds could be heard from the Hall, echoing along the massive hallways, yet when he closed to door of his father’s room, it all disappeared. Odin was alone, seated in a chair, staring out a window. He must have known Thor was coming – and why.
“Father,” Thor greeted hastily. “Midgard is in danger. We must go for their aid.”
The Allfather was silent for a long time, testing Thor’s patience. Heimdall’s concern had sparked Thor’s own, making him wonder just how many of the Chitauri there were, and how much havoc they were wreaking on his beloved Midgard.
“Earth is lost,” Odin finally replied in the solemn voice Thor had gotten used to after they thought they had lost Loki.
Thor’s concern sparked anger and defiance. “Earth has not been lost yet. Its champions will defend it to their deaths!”
“And how do you know they have not yet fallen?”
“If they have, I will avenge them all,” Thor vowed, yet he would not believe it; the noble Captain, the mighty Hulk, the far-sighted Hawkeye and clever Black Widow; they could out-match this enemy as they had before, yet they needed his help – and they would have it. “I will go to Midgard,” Thor spoke louder. “And if Earth is truly lost… then I shall die defending it.”
Odin let out a heavy sigh. “I cannot keep you from going,” he said, “but know this, Odinson: if the Earth falls and its champions with it, it is only a matter of time before the Chitauri turn their eyes on another prize. Asgard may yet need you. Do not throw away your life in a war that is but a taste of what is to come.”
“It is my decision, father,” Thor replied. “I am the protector of Earth, and I have neglected my duty. If I can stop it, Midgard shall be saved and our enemies beaten, no matter of the weapons they wield this time.”
His father nodded, knowing him well enough to not fight. Thor had defied him before and this was for a nobler reason than any of their prior arguments.
He strode out, breathing hard, dread twisting his insides. How bad was it that his father deemed Earth lost before the fight had even ended? Was this new weapon of the Chitauri truly so mighty that the Allfather dreaded for the safety of Asgard?
All the more reason for Thor to stop them before it came to that.
He stopped and turned his head to see Sif and the Warriors Three advancing.
“Is it true that Midgard is being attacked by the enemy you once defeated?” Fandral asked.
Thor nodded solemnly. “Had we come back earlier, I may have been there to prevent it…”
“It is not your fault,” Sif reassured him. “You have other duties –”
“I am going to Midgard,” Thor interrupted her. “You will not stop me. My father thinks Earth has already been lost but I refuse to believe this until I have done my all to defend the Middle Realm.”
Volstagg nodded along then tore a last strip of meat from a bone he was holding; clearly he had already made it to the feast before Sif sought them out to meet Thor. “And we shall come with you.”
“My friends,” Thor started.
“Our minds are made up,” Fandral smiled tensely. “This enemy seems formidable and we have stood by your side before. We will join you to defend the Realm you love so much.”
Hogun nodded his approval between them. Had he found a reason to object, he would have spoken up, but his silence bore all the marks of agreement.
“We should go,” Sif added, taking a small step forward. “The rumors promised nothing good and Heimdall and Allfather must have told you more than we already know.”
Thor nodded his head, smiling at the four warriors. His confidence was lifting. “We shall go. However, there is something I need to take there with us.”
Loki glanced up as the door of his prison was opened. The darkness flooded with light and it was as if life pumped through him again instead of cold, dark nothingness. He knew not whom to expect yet he was still surprised to find his brother at the door, flanked by his warrior friends.
“Have you come to mock me?” Loki asked.
“Nay, brother,” Thor shook his head sadly. “There is something I require of you.” Lady Sif and the Warriors Three looked ill at ease, as if they had not expected this nor liked the plan now that it was unfolding, whatever it was.
“Require?” Loki’s mouth twitched. “I do not understand.”
“We are returning to Midgard, to battle the Chitauri that are at war with the humans. You will come with us and assist us in defeating the enemy you first brought to their doorstep.”
That was unexpected. The Chitauri had found their way back to Earth? And for what purpose? The Tesseract was safely locked away by Odin, so there was nothing left for them on Earth.
Other than revenge.
“And what if I do not desire to partake on your little trip?” he asked carefully. Loki was not about to place himself in the hands of the Chitauri; even if the defeat had not been entirely his fault, he doubted the Chitauri would see it that way. They had lost the Tesseract and would hold Loki responsible to this.
“It was not a request,” Thor’s voice was filled with steel which he usually reserved for anyone but Loki. He was serious and Loki doubted there was anything he could do to refuse the man he used to call brother.
He got up to his feet and followed the five of them out into the brilliantly beautiful day. That he felt sick in the stomach had nothing to do with the relief of finally tasting freedom again.
to be continued…