She awoke with a silent scream, sweat dampening her nightshirt and causing the hair that escaped her ponytail to stick to her neck and face. Looking around the unfamiliar room she realized it didn’t cause her the panic it did when she first moved to the building. Leaning across the bed, she flicked on the bedside lamp, stifling a scream at seeing him sitting against the wall.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, not really caring if he answered or not, as she climbed out of bed and headed towards the attached bathroom.
“You know why.”
“Always with the cryptic shit. If I knew why, I wouldn’t have asked,” she replied, stepping back into the doorway for a moment. She took a good look at him and noticed he hasn’t changed one bit since the last time she saw him.
Of course he hasn’t you twit.
When she didn’t get a response, she stepped back into the bathroom and closed the door, knowing that it wouldn’t keep him out, but hoping he’d take it for what it is. She looked in the mirror, noticing the dark circles that usually laid underneath her eyes, were starting to fade. She smiled thinking that maybe she would be able to finish her job and go home. She missed her friends. She missed her father. She was tired of not being able to step outside this building. She was tired of feeling like a prisoner. Shaking her head at where her thoughts were heading, Bella turned the cold water knob on at the sink and proceeded to splash her face with it, reveling in the way the coldness soothed her nerves and washed away not only the sweat that still lingered, but the tension that came with her dream.
Drying her face and hands, she looked towards the bathroom door and was surprised that he didn’t try to enter. Reaching for the handle, she paused, taking a deep breath to prepare herself for what she was sure would be an unpleasant conversation.
Squaring her shoulders, she pulled the door open and walked into her bedroom, scowling at the added presence. Looking towards her first visitor, she narrowed her eyes and growled. “You tattled?”
“I didn’t-” he began only to be cut off by an irate Bella.
“Sure you didn’t,” she answered snidely. Waving her hand in the doctor’s direction, “then why is he here?”
“Isabella,” the doctor answered softly, “I came on my own. No one called for me. I was in the lab when the heart monitors in your room sent a distress signal.”
“What heart monitor? I don’t see one and I certainly would remember being hooked up to one.”
“We’ve been over this before. This room is equipped with a more advanced system. There wouldn’t be any wires or machines in here with you. Between that system and the A.I. Mr. Stark built in to this building, there is no need.”
She nodded, but still looked around the room warily. “Well, as you can see Dr. Banner, I’m fine. Just a bad dream. I would like to go back to sleep so I can finish my mission in the morning and go home.”
Dr. Banner narrowed his eyes and sighed before nodding his head in agreement. “Alright. I’ll leave you to it, but I would like to talk to you in the morning, maybe join you for breakfast?”
Waving him off and murmuring an “ok,” she climbed back into her bed. Dr. Banner took that as his dismissal and made his leave but not before she shocked him.
“Oh, and tell my Uncle,” she sneered, “that I don’t appreciate him holding me captive.”
Dr. Banner was still mulling over that parting shot when he literally bumped into Tony.
“How is she?” he asked falling into step with the doctor, only to remain standing when Bruce sagged into the nearest chair.
Removing his glasses and rubbing a hand over his face, he answered his friend without looking up.
“About the same, I would venture. We didn’t talk much. She’s still having hallucinations, but she seems stronger, emotionally. The circles under her eyes have practically disappeared, but her lucid moments are becoming more frequent. She had another one as I was leaving her room tonight.” He paused thinking back over their interaction and her words, trying to see if maybe she really was coming back to them. He was brought out of his musings when Tony released an inpatient sigh.
“And? What was it this time?” he demanded, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning against the wall directly across from the seated doctor.
Bruce looked up at his friend, shaking his head and answered with a smirk. “She said that she doesn’t appreciate you holding her captive.”
Tony didn’t blink for a moment, thinking on what this could mean. Smiling, he clapped his hands. “Good. This is good. We will keep her locked in there then.”
“Tony, do you really think that is a good idea?”
“You said so yourself that her lucid moments are coming more frequently. This is working.”
Bruce sighed, rubbing his temples. “I know what I said, but she still believes that she is on a mission. We can’t keep her locked in that room every day. I’m not a psychiatrist, Tony. I can only help her so much and thats if she lets me talk to her.”
In a rare moment of seriousness, Tony looked at his friend, his best friend if he was being honest with himself, catching his gaze and spoke. “She is the only family I have left. You are the only one I trust to be near her, to talk to her. I am asking nicely. Help her.”
“That technically wasn’t a question,” Bruce snarkily replied.
“Well, it’s all you’re going to get from me.”
“Alright. I’ll see what I can do. She’s agreed to talk to me in the morning. Why don’t you go back upstairs and inform the rest of the team. I’m going to do a little research and sleep in my office tonight.”
Tony didn’t miss the double meaning, but wasn’t sure if he could make nice with the Captain at the moment. He still blamed him for Bella being in this condition. Shaking his head, he made his way to the elevator, knowing that once he reached the top floor, everyone would be there waiting for answer.
The next morning found Tony in Dr. Banner’s office arguing about the upcoming visit with Bella.
“I want to come in there with you.”
“I don’t think that is a good idea, Stark.”
“Why not? We need to shock her, you said so yourself a few minutes ago. Who would be more shocking than I?” he asked, placing an open hand on his chest.
“Nope. Not up for discussion. I’m coming in there with you.”
“So are we,” came the voice of his daughter’s boyfriend.
Tony turned and glared at the assembled group. “I don’t think so. You,” he said walking up to the Captain and poking his chest, “are the last person I want near her.”
The Cap didn’t move, just stared stoically down at Tony. “We have every right to try to help her as you and Dr. Banner. We aren’t asking permission.”
“Tony,” Bruce began, walking to his friends side and grabbing his attention. “If we are going for shock value, he would be our best bet. She thinks he died. Maybe if she sees him it will snap her out of wherever she is in her mind and bring her back to us.”
Tony sighed dropping his hand to his side. “Fine. We’ll try it.” It was all he said before leaving the room.
Bruce looked at the group of people that came to help Bella. “Well, we better catch up to him before he does something-”
Bruce rolled his eyes but silently agreed with each assessment. Waving them out of the room, he knew that when Tony felt trapped, he did everything he could, made anything he could, that would help him out of the situation. The problem here is that Bella is trapped in her own mind. There isn’t anything he could do or make that will bring her back if she didn’t want to be brought back.
When they made it to the door of Bella’s room, they were all slightly surprised to see Tony still outside.
“Oh please,” he said. “I wouldn’t go in there without the good doctor.” He looked behind the team for said doctor. “So, what’s the plan, Double G?”
“Double G?” Barton asked what everyone was wondering.
Tony rolled his eyes and spoke to them like they were children. “Green Giant.”
Sighing, Bruce pushed his way to the front and stopped at the door. “Tony and I will go in first. Every ten minutes, I want one of you to join us.” Looking at Steve last, “I want you to be the last to come in.”
The Cap nodded and leaned against the wall watching as Dr. Banner and Tony went into the room.
Bella woke that morning feeling agitated. She could feel that something was going to happen today, but couldn’t figure out if it was going to be good or bad.
All the more reason to finish this mission and get the hell out of dodge.
After getting out of bed and finishing her morning routine, she sat in the lone arm chair in the room, remembering that the Doctor wanted to eat breakfast with her. As she looked around the room she was thrilled to see that he didn’t come back after last night.
She was just about to get up and leave the room when her door opened and Dr. banner walked in. She narrowed her eyes at him when she saw he brought someone with him.
“I didn’t realized we were having a party today, Dr. Banner, or I would have dressed up.”
“I apologize for the inconvenience. Mr. Stark just wanted to check up on your work, see how your mission was coming along.” He took her attitude in stride. Afterall, he is best friends with the Man of Snark himself.
Sighing, she sat back down and waved them towards her bed. “There’s not much to tell. I am almost done infiltrating their computer servers. I should have the last bug in place this morning and then S.H.I.E.L.D. will be able to remotely access their servers at anytime.”
Stark’s heart clenched. She was remembering the last mission she did before her breakdown. Shaking his head, he mused out loud. “I’m sure Fury will be thrilled with your progress. You sure you don’t want to work for me? I’ll pay you more and we have better uniforms,” he said gesturing towards his band t-shirt and jeans.
Bella scoffed. “I’ll pass, Mr. Stark.”
Just as she turned to ask Bruce a question, the door opened and Hawkeye walked in. Bruce saw the small flicker of recognition in her eyes before she slammed her blank face into place.
“Agent Barton. What are you doing here?” she demanded.
Clint looked at her and grimaced. She wasn’t back yet, which means he has to play into her charade. “Director Fury sent me to check on your progress and to ‘offer’ my assistance.”
They were all taken back as she snarled at him. “Well, tell Fury that I have it handled. I don’t need or want assistance.”
Clint nodded and pretended to send a text while stepping back towards the door only to stop when she spoke again.
“And tell Romanoff the same thing. There is no need for her to come in here as well.”
Clint looked to Bruce for direction and after receiving a nod of approval, he left, pulling Natasha to the side and explaining the situation.
Steve kept his stance, but heard everything Clint whispered to his partner, only looking to them when he called his name.
“It’s up to you now.”
Steve nodded and moved to the door. Gripping the handle, he took a deep breath, opened the door and stepped into the room. He felt the tension that filled the air almost as if it were a tangible thing. Looking around, he noticed that Bella was in the bedroom and based on the closed door, knew she must be in the bathroom.
He made his way over to where Bruce and Tony were standing talking in hushed whispers. They looked at him and he grimaced at the pain he saw reflected in both their eyes. Just as he was about to ask what they wanted him to do, the bathroom door opened and he heard the voice that has become his calming force.
“Steve?” she whispered in shock.
He turned towards her and was immediately alarmed at the color fading from her face and the way her body began to sag. He caught her right before she hit the floor and carried her to her bed, ignoring the cursing and other equally unflattering words coming from Stark.
Standing back up and he stood next to her, becoming alarmed when she didn’t open her eyes after a few minutes, but instead started to thrash around on the bed and scream. He didn’t know what to do for her, other than hold her hand and wait for her to wake back up. Just as he went to reach for said hand, Tony was suddenly next to him, gripping his arm.
“What do you think you are doing?”
“I’m going to give her comfort. Hold her hand. Let her know that I am here.”
“The fuck you are. You’ve caused enough damage,” he snarled.
“Get over it, Stark. I didn’t cause this, not directly. I went with her to Forks because she wanted me to meet her father. How was I supposed to know that her ex and his family would come back while we were there?”
At this point, both of the men in Bella’s life were nose to nose, only to be pulled apart by Clint and Natasha, while Bruce looked over his ‘patient’.
“Guys, this isn’t helping Bella. Both of you need to back off.”
Neither heard the Black Widow and continued to glare, only looking away when a blood curdling scream took their attention. Both rushed to the bed as the thrashing got worse. Bruce cleared his throat.
“She seems to be reliving a nightmare. I think we’ve done enough damage for today. I’ll give her a sedative and we will all leave her be for the day.”
Bella was cuddled up to Steve in the Quintjet. She finally convinced him to go home with her to meet her dad. Or it should be said that he finally convinced her to introduce him to her father. Either way, she was so happy it was disgusting.
She giggled remembering the faces her uncle would make at them.
“What’s so funny, sweetheart?” Steve asked, kissing her temple and pulling her closer.
“I was just remembering Uncle Tony gagging at us, at our relationship.”
Steve smiled at her. She might remember that, but he could remember the nods of approval that would follow after she turned her head. It took months to get her to smile. A year to get her to enjoy hanging out with the team and agree to training. Another year and she completed her first mission and asked him out on a date. Six months later, here they were, heading to Forks to meet the parents.
They were both pulled from their thoughts as the gate to the jet descended. They looked to each and laughed before holding hands and leaving the jet. Bella was surprised that they landed behind her childhood home.
“I didn’t realize there was enough room back here to land that thing.”
“We took the small one,” he shrugged as they watched it fly away.
She rolled her eyes. “The small one. Of course. Why didn’t I think of that,” she mused as she turned towards the back of the house and began walking that way.
She squealed in surprise and then giggled as Steve tossed her over his shoulder and sprinted to the back door before setting her on her feet again. Once she got her bearings, she shoved him and laughed at his mock hurt.
“What was that for?” he asked.
“I could have walked.”
Steve wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled him into his body. “Yes. You could have. But I like feeling your body on mine,” he whispered in her ear, before kissing her.
Bella wrapped her arms around his neck and tugged him closer, demanding more from their kiss. They were both lost in the feel of each other when the back door was pulled open and her father made his presence known.
“Care to remove your tongue from my daughter’s mouth so we can meet properly?”
Both jumped apart and were blushing at being caught making out. Steve cleared his throat and offered his hand to his girl’s father.
“Steve Rogers. It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir.”
Charlie looked at Steve and his hand for a minute before reaching out and grasping the offered hand with his own.
“Call me Chief, son.”
“Dad!” Bella exclaimed.
“Right, just fooling with you, Steve. Call me Charlie.”
Steve nodded. “Thank you, sir. Charlie,” he corrected himself.
“As much fun as this is, can we move indoors, please?” Bella asked as she shoved her way past her father and boyfriend and went into the living room, taking a seat on the couch. Moments later she was joined by two of the most important men in her life. Charlie sat in his recliner and Steve sat next to her, taking her hand firmly in his.
They spent the day catching up and were just sitting down for dinner when there was a knock at the door. Bella called over her shoulder for the both of them to start eating while making her way to the door. Pulling it open she couldn’t hold back the gasp at seeing the last people she ever expected to see again.
Hearing the gasp, Steve made his way to her side, followed right after by Charlie. Before he could ask Bella what was going on, Charlie shoved his way in front of them.
“What the hell are you doing here?”
“Hi, Charlie! It’s so good to see you again!” The short pixie like girl exclaimed excitedly.
“Don’t ‘hi, Charlie’ me. What are you doing here? If I have to ask again, its going to be at the end of my shot gun!”
“We’ve just moved back. Esme missed the small town feel of Forks. She hated living in L.A.”
The male with her just continued to stare at Bella, not saying anything. Steve looked from him to Bella, waiting for her to come out of her daze at seeing her ex again, and when she did, he couldn’t help the chuckle that came out.
“What. The. Fuck!” she yelled.
“Love, that is not appropriate language-”
“Shut the fuck up, Edward. I’ll talk however the fuck I want. Now, what is the real reason you are here?”
“Bella,” Alice tried to interrupt.
“No. Steve and my father already know the truth. Vampires. Werewolves. Superheroes. All real. Now, get on with why you’re are here so I can get back to my dinner.” She rolled her eyes and wrapped her arms around my waist. A movement that did not go unnoticed by her ex. He growled but stopped as his ‘sister’ seemed to be having one of her visions. Steve started to get a bad feeling about the situation, so he made sure to slip his hand into his pocket and press a few buttons on his phone. He knew the rest of the team would be here in minutes, especially since Tony refused not to follow and be their backup incase something happened.
And something did happen. In the seconds it took for Edward to see Alice’s thoughts, her vision of what was to come, he lunged forward and quickly snapped the Chiefs neck. Steve was stuck on shocked for a second too long and that was all it took for Edward to get his mouth and teeth on his arm.
Alice snapped out of her vision when Bella screamed. She pulled her brother off of him and just as Steve fell to the ground in agony, they took off through the forest. The last thing Steve remembered was Bella’s crumpled body, holding her dad’s head in her lap, while keeping at least one hand on him.
*End of Dream*
Just as Bruce was leaving to get the sedative, Bella sat up and looked frantically through the room until her eyes rested on Steve’s.
“You’re alive,” she whispered, crawling to the side of the bed he was standing near and reaching her hand out, to touch him to make sure he was real and not just another figment of her imagination. It’s bad enough that she see’s her father every once in awhile, she didn’t think she could handle making up Steve as well.
“I’m alive,” he agreed just as softly.
“How? I mean, Edward bit you. I saw you fall and I felt your heart stop beating,” she asked, while her hands continued to roam his body.
“The serum,” he shrugged. “Apparently, their venom doesn’t have the same affect on my body as it would yours. The serum fought it off, but it shut my system down to do so.”
“That’s all you have to say? You’ve been a head case for the past two months!” Tony shouted at her.
“What do you want me to say or do, Uncle Tony?! Want me to breakdown again? It’s bad enough I lost that much time. I missed my father’s funeral! I believed my boyfriend was dead! I can’t go into it right now or I’ll break again!”
Tony made his way to her side when he saw the tears she’d been trying to hold back begin to fall. Shoving Steve out of the way and pulling her in for a hug, he held her while she cried.
“I’m sorry, Dizzy. It’s,” he cleared his throat, trying to dislodge the lump that formed there. “It’s just been a long, hellish two months.”
She couldn’t help but giggle at the nickname he called her. He hasn’t called her that since she was a child and would always fall down in front of him.
When she pulled back, Tony held her face between his rough and callused hands, wiping the tears away with his thumbs. “Better?” he asked.
At her nod, he smirked. “Good. Now tell Uncle Tony what he can do to make you happy again?”
“I need you to build me some toys. And a suit.” She looked around at the people who have become her family in the last two years and smiled at each in turn. She elaborated when she noticed their confused expressions. “Toys that will cut and burn through granite like skin.” She watched as what she had planned dawned on all their faces.
“Why?” Natasha asked, with a glint in her eye.
“We, my lethal Black Widow, are going hunting,” she answered with a smirk of her own. “Vampire hunting.”