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).
art by Imaan (insteadofdeath)
Fandral peered down over the side of the building, one foot raised on the ledge, wind playing with his blond hair.
Erik Selvig chuckled inside the strange suit which he had said protected him from the lingering radiation in the air. “Your friends look very out of place,” the scientist noted.
Thor smiled. “And you would look very out of place at our home, my friend.”
Erik nodded then focused on the technology he had brought with him. He was gathering some kind of information while they waited for the three Midgardians to search the Stark Tower which towered above the rest of the buildings like a long-forgotten landmark. It had survived remarkably well in the middle of all the destruction.
Sif stood by Thor’s side, searching the skyline then looking to their right; Loki was pacing the rooftop, appearing agitated.
“What troubles you, brother?” Thor called out to him.
“Lower your voice!” Loki hissed then looked around. “We are standing here, out in the open; that troubles me.”
“There is no danger within miles!” Volstagg announced. “No food, either,” his voice dropped to a mutter.
“I did not promise you food during this journey,” Thor reminded the bulky warrior. “I do love Midgardian food, though. It’s a pity we cannot partake in it on its fullest.”
Volstagg merely grunted in disapproval and walked off to the other side to make sure once again that they were alone. Loki cast him a look then continued pacing.
Hogun watched it all unfold, sitting on top of some structure, weapon in his lap. The dark eyes followed Loki’s progress from one spot to another in wry amusement. When Loki passed him a moment later, the Trickster shot him a gloomy look and resumed his endless journey, constantly moving his eyes over the landscape, seeking for trouble.
“He’s making me nervous,” Erik commented then focused on his work again.
“Loki, please,” Thor pleaded. “No harm will come to you.”
Loki sneered at his words and continued to prowl.
Fandral let out a small chuckle then suddenly cut it off – at the same time as Hogun raised his head and became very still. “Did you feel that?” Fandral asked. He leaned slightly away from the edge yet remained as he was, looking back and forth between buildings. The sun was climbing up, giving them more light.
“I felt it,” Hogun agreed, sliding off his seat, shifting his hold on the handle of the morning star.
Loki had also stopped, standing rigid, face frozen. He turned back towards Thor with an accusation on his lips but Thor had no time for that; he whirled around, raising Mjolnir and tried to see if there was an enemy approaching. “I cannot see anything.”
Erik peered up from his work then quickly begun to pack it away. “The kind you cannot see is the one you should beware,” he said and Thor wondered if he was citing some old Midgardian wisdom.
“We have the high ground; it must show itself before an attack,” Thor decided.
“As soon as it comes from around one of those other buildings,” Sif put a dent on his plan. “It will give us very little time to react.”
Thor swung Mjolnir, making his decision; he took off to the air, soaring higher above the tall building, getting a better look at their surroundings. He distantly heard Loki shout insults at him for compromising their position but if there was an enemy to be fought, Thor would not hide.
He saw it a few streets down; one of the mecha, yet this was slightly darker in color and bigger as far as he could tell, almost half the time taller than the average machines they had seen. The remaining windows shook around it, some of them falling apart and crashing down to the empty street. The side of the machine brushed against a side of the building and it began to bow and crumble, giving in under the pressure, huge pieces falling at the mecha’s feet as it continued steadily towards them.
Thor was tempted to strike it, to give it a taste of his lightning, yet he knew better than to do that. He had been counter-struck too often for his tastes and would not give his enemy a weapon to use against himself.
“Protect Erik Selvig!” he called down to the others.
The mecha was moving closer, its head slightly raised, watching Thor as he floated in the air. Brandishing the hammer, Thor prepared to strike, for no mechanic being could withstand the might of Mjolnir –
It charged forward while he was preparing himself, moving its body smoothly between buildings, the tail appearing as an extension of its spine. Thor watched the mecha, alarmed by this sudden change of pace. Then the machine jumped slightly, turning its side forward – and tackled the building Thor’s friends were still standing on.
The building creaked in protest at the impact, dust puffing into the early morning air, glass shattering and concrete breaking. The entire structure began to fall over, weight carrying pillars giving in, floors collapsing on each other and Thor watched in horror as the others tried to hold onto something.
With a cry of outrage he attached, aiming for the mecha’s head, yet it ducked at the last moment, diving against the lower half of the building and Thor went crashing through walls until his momentum stopped and he found himself being crushed between the floor and ceiling as the building kept falling on top of him. He couldn’t hear the others, didn’t know whether they had found safety; all was covered by the thunderous sound of the elements being crushed and he grasped Mjolnir tighter, starting to fight his way through.
By the time he emerged from the midst of stone and concrete, most of the building had collapsed. Pieces were still coming down through the dust that floated everywhere, blocking his nose and making breathing highly unpleasant. Thor stepped forward then begun to swing Mjolnir over his head, allowing the wind to push the dust away and give him a clearer view.
He spotted movement and rushed over, finding Sif’s shield and soon the warrior herself, trapped under a piece of rock. He lifted it off her then looked for the others. A bruised Volstagg soon appeared, helping an injured Hogun along. Thor acknowledged them then looked around still, finally catching a hint of gold and green, hurrying over. He found both Loki and Fandral, covered in dust. “You are well?”
“We are alive,” Fandral agreed with a rough voice.
“Where is Erik Selvig?” Thor asked.
Loki pointed. Thor followed the gesture and saw a glimpse of a man amongst broken pillars. He wasn’t moving and Thor could tell he was gone before he reached him. “I tried protecting him but his mortal form was slow and weak,” Fandral said in an apologetic voice.”
“We barely survived. He never had a chance,” Loki added with venom in his voice.
Thor growled, unhappy with this, unable to just accept the loss yet as he looked at the old man’s bloodied face he knew it to be true; he had left them alone, arrogantly trying to attack the beast when all the mecha needed to do was destroy the building – something they were known to do very well – and then simply wait. Thor couldn’t have helped them all even if he tried.
The stones trembled on the ground and he heard the thundering steps resume. The building lurched and shifted, a piece of a wall sliding to the ground with a deafening sound. The mecha emerged, towering above them, its dark metal unscathed and gleaming.
Fandral and Loki were on their feet by the time the mecha looked down at them, letting out a grating, metallic growl.
“Prepare for battle!” Thor roared. “Our friend shall not go unavenged!”
The mecha responded by trying to step on them. Loki and Fandral dove to one side while Thor went the other way, rolling on the ground then back to his feet, swinging and releasing Mjolnir at the beast. It hit and was then pushed back as a slash of energy appeared on the hard, dark skin. Thor would not give in so easily, however; he had made a dent on these things before and he would do it again.
Above him the mechanical creature stopped then bowed forward slightly, its tail slowly moving from side to side through the air. Its chest seemed to heave and then open, like a hatch, and something dropped out of it, sleek and dark, falling on top of a crushed mound of the building, remaining there on all fours.
This shape was very human-like, not much bigger either. It raised its bowed head, shining eyes regarding Thor, then its body unfolded and it stood there like a miniature mecha, clawed feet digging into the crushed stone, fingers curling and uncurling almost restlessly.
“Is this a new trick?” Fandral asked.
Thor just shifted the hammer in his hand and waited.
The small mecha’s hand twitched, just slightly, and the bigger one came back to life, moving towards the others, its tail cutting through another building and sending pieces of it tumbling down. Thor heard Sif call out, saw them taking cover, realizing they might be more gravely injured from the fall than he had realized earlier. “Loki, take Fandral and help them. I shall deal with this one and join you shortly.”
The other two left and the mini-mecha cocked its head slightly, then something like a long, curved blade seemed to emerge from its arm, extending past the tips of its fingers. A weapon no doubt.
Thor smiled and charged. He was done waiting. He struck out yet his opponent moved to the side, narrowly missing Mjolnir’s power. It moved behind him, cutting through his cape with the blade. Thor turned with a yell, almost catching it again as the mini-mecha bowed down.
He suddenly felt pain cut through his leg and found the clawed fingers digging into his thigh, the arm with the blade coming up towards his stomach. Thor slammed his hammer against the side of the creature, sending it tumbling to the side. He went after it as it rolled back to its feet then charged. It slammed against him, almost as if to an embrace and Thor struck it, hard as he could, feeling the metal bend slightly yet not enough.
Something like a chuckle reached Thor’s ears and then he felt a pain slash through his side as the mini-mecha’s blade sunk in, tearing through his armor with brutal force. With an effort he tore the creature off him, doubling in pain. The blade retracted, dripping with his blood, disappearing back to its forearm and the mini-mecha stood still in front of him, as if gloating.
“We are not done yet,” Thor vowed, grasping for Mjolnir which he had dropped while fighting to free himself of the deadly embrace. The ground trembled and suddenly the giant mecha was back, standing over them both. Thor briefly wondered where Sif and the Warriors Three were – then something was dumped on the ground between him and his opponent. “Loki!” he hissed. His brother was unconscious yet alive, his chest still moving, color on his face.
Thor moved to stand straight, to attack, before an impossible weight landed on top if him. He looked up at the mecha, its weight crushing him, the ground breaking beneath his body. The miniature one moved then, bowing down to grab Loki by the front of his clothes, lifting him up slightly then dragging him along as it began to walk away. Thor struggled to breathe, to gain leverage, his injuries paining him yet he could not let them take Loki.
His world blackened steadily and then he felt no more, the taste of blood in his mouth mixing with the bitterness of defeat.
Loki came to with pain radiating all over his body, yet he was alive.
He recalled the mecha approaching and throwing itself against the tall building they had taken as their poorly chosen vantage point. The building had doubled and fallen, taking them with it. Erik Selvig had been dead before he hit the ground, most likely.
It served Thor right, to have his pet being crushed like an ant while Thor presumed to fend off this enemy on his own, leaving the rest of them to survive the outcome. On the ground the mecha had come at them again. Hogun had been too badly hurt to battle and the rest of them were not much better. Loki had held off the creature as long as he could, his magic weakening him and finally he told the others to go and hide in an already collapsed building, should the creature think them gone or dead.
He had not calculated the odds that the mecha would grab him, throw him through another building and then, apparently, bring him along.
When he awoke he could not see the others – only the small mecha-like creature that had emerged from the bigger one standing over him. Its giant version hovered behind it, like a tower, still as only a machine could be.
Loki tried raising himself, knowing he needed to escape. From the mecha it was only a short way to the Chitauri and their threats were still fresh in his mind after all this time. Their terms had been clear and although the defeat had not been his alone, he knew they would not see it his way.
“You understand you failed your task, Loki Layfeyson,” the mini-mecha suddenly spoke.
Loki froze. He hadn’t known the mecha were capable of speech, or perhaps it was only the small one. No mouth moved as it spoke but the sound clearly came from the creature of dark metal. “My quarrel is not with you,” Loki offered.
“The Other gave you very specific instructions,” the mecha went on, coming forward, bending down on one knee next to him, staring at Loki’s face with eyes that were no eyes at all, just glowing windows to nothing. “Your punishment will be severe when I deliver you to him.”
“There is no need for that. Whatever he is giving you, I can make a better offer,” Loki promised.
“What he is giving me is orders,” the mecha noted, the distorted voice carrying an undertone of annoyance.
“So you are nothing but a servant,” Loki kept on prodding.
“You do not understand what I am – nor do you need to.” Above them, a hum approached. Loki had no delusions it wasn’t one of the alien ships. He thought of trying magic, to teleport himself anywhere but here, but the small mecha grabbed him by the throat and straightened up, holding him in the air. “How… ironic,” it mused, tilting its head as the Chitauri ship emerged from the clouds above them.
Loki’s eyes widened slightly in new-found realization and gutting fear.
to be continued…