They'd been out of the Facility for almost a year now. A year on the run; a year of just trying to survive. Thank God she hadn't been eating for two or breastfeeding anymore. That would have been a pain. The little girl wrapped tightly in her arms giggles as the clouds press dew into her cheeks. 'Have to get her better flying clothes,' the young woman thinks when she notices how red the three-year-old's nose is.
"Mamma," the little girl squeals as her hands score the condensed liquid on either side of them. There are trails of the fresh water trailing down their faces, falling from their skin, and dampening their clothes. "Mamma, cold!" Her small body shivers from the cold but there is nothing she can do about it. The clouds give them cover; the civilians down on the ground can't see a flying kid. It might not be weird in some parts of the world, where they have the Avengers to protect then.
She has no one but herself and the wit the Facility imparted on her. Her training has kept them alive for a year, but winter is coming and even she cannot protect them both.
They've been flying for hours now and the youngster is getting squirmy. Her muscles are cramping and there's too much water dragging her down. "Calm down," the young woman says before she bites her lip. She can't keep calling her daughter by her experiment assignment, and she needs to come up with a name for herself as well. For the past year, they'd been alone; they can't do that anymore. So she reaches deep inside her mind and choses a name, at least for herself. She'd seen the files of all of the Avengers, learned their strengths and their weaknesses. She'd taken a shining to the Black Widow; loved the stealth and sympathized with her backstory. Both trapped from a young age, forced to do what they needed to survive. And once it wasn't just her to care for her anymore, there was more at stake.
They've survived on less, but her daughter is getting bigger and needs more than the average human to stay alive. She needs a stable environment to grow up in.
"Mamma, land!" the little girl squeaks, pointing at what looked to be a large city. "Land! Land!" She tries, but the three-year-old can't really pronounce her 'l' yet so it sounds more like, "yand! Yand!"
Lighting down on a brownstone rooftop at the edge of the city, the young woman smiles.
Maybe, finally, they'll be free.
Three weeks later…
They've been living in an abandoned, set surprisingly beautifully furbished apartment. There's electricity and running water. And heat. Blessed heat. Snows been falling, making Elena squeal.
Yes, she's named her daughter Elena, meaning light in Latin, which is what she is. The light in the eighteen-year-old's life. The young woman, herself, takes on the name Talia, which makes her feel close to the woman she admired back in her days at the Facility.
"Mamma, up," Elena demands as she reaches out her arms. Talia rolls and picks her up.
"You're getting so big, 'Lena," the scarlet haired woman grunts, pretending that the brunette in her is too heavy. The child squeals, giggling and grabbing at the front of her mother's shirt.
The clothes in the apartment don't really fit, and the men's shirts are like dresses on Elena, but they are happy. For the first time in Talia's life, there is no running. No killing. No hacking…
Well, the last one's a lie. She'd found a modern computer and, from there, had hacked into the Facility's files. Files on both her and her daughter, along with a Project called Firebreather, which has something to do with the rock she'd picked up. Apparently, it would be hatching into some sort of lizard any day now. She also learns that the scientists are following them. Trying and failing to track down the missing experiments.
So life went on. Until one day, the egg hatched.
"Crack," Elena mumbles, poking at the strange football-shaped rock Talia had managed to steal. "Mama, look," she grabs the bottom of the large T-shirt her mom is wearing. It's got the Captain America shield on it and a big 'A' on the back. "Mommy, crack." She pokes at the rock again, watching with fascination as it began to rock back and forth.
"'Lena," Talia grabs her daughter's arm; "'Lena, get back." She's read the files about Project Firebreather, about the prototype she'd stolen. The egg rocks back and forth, more cracks appearing on the surface. Elena tries to escape her mother's grasp to touch the strange shaking rock.
Suddenly, there's a loud pop and the egg breaks in half, spilling embryonic fluids onto the pristine wooden floor. Out falls a strange lizard-like creature with fiery red and orange scales, long orange whiskers, and bright azure eyes. It's about the size of a house cat, with lanky limbs, sprawled out around it.
"Mamma, pretty," Elena is straining against her mother's hold.
"Elena, let me it cleared up, first, okay," Talia instructs. She goes over to where the towels are kept and smiles. There are still some fluffy white linens, enough of them so that laundry isn't needed for a while. Grabbing an armload, the young woman sets them down by the creature, and goes to the kitchen to grab a large bowl of warm water.
"Let's get you cleaned up," she says softly to the creature, touching soft scales. At her touch, the small lizard looks up at her almost owlishly. It burps and a small flash of flame jets out, almost setting the nearby coffee table on fire. Elena giggles and walks over on unsteady let, trying to use her tiny wings to balance her out. Stating that she wants to help, she grabs a towel and looks at the lizard with determination.
A month after the egg hatches, they have found yet another routine.
Elena insists they name the dragon Zuko— "after the man who spits fire on the TV, Mommy." Elena loves having a pet, cuddle buddy, and someone else besides her mom to chase around the apartment. Talia teaches Zuko the basic pet commands, but adds a few of her own.
Everything seems to be perfect. Elena starts branching, leaping from one surface to another, testing out her wings/ Zuka has grown to be the size of a Great Dane and is only getting bigger.
Talia sighs and leans against the doorway, smiling tiredly. Elena is tucked under the covers of the bed, Zuko curled up beside her. They've become the best of friends in the short span of a few weeks; the lizard's telepathy helps a lot too.
He also tore up a large teddy bear stuffed under the bed, unearthing a plethora of cash. Apparently, he can smell money and rare gems. So it makes groceries so much easier now that they have money. And Talia can buy new clothes, and little toys for Elena, even some chew toys for Zuko. But the chew toys are nothing but charred plastic within a few days.
It's not perfect, but it's like nothing Talia has ever dreamed of for herself and for her daughter. They have a pet, a home, and money to sustain them.
"Hey, Cap," Steve feels Natasha poke his shoulder. Having just gotten back from a mission, Captain America is kind enough to give the Black Widow a place to stay the night. It's been eighteen years since they took down the compromised S.H.I.E.L.D. and rebuilt a new one. With only the Avengers, Agent Maria Hill, and Nick Fury were in on this new version. Loki, Thor's trickster god of a brother, had even turned to the good side, playing for the Avengers and not against. Well, he still gets up to his usual tricks, but they aren't deadly they're funny.
Ever since Fury paired them together, Steve and Natasha had been getting closer. Not exactly in a relationship, but as close as lovers could be, they hid their love life from their friends.
So it's kinda odd when Natasha pull on Steve's sleeve and points silently to the window of Steve's apartment facing them. "Someone's in the apartment." Unless it's an injured Fury or one of their friends planning a surprise party, there is no reason for the lights to be on. And then, Natasha notices a shadow pass by the window. "Steve, someone's in there."
Natasha and Steve don't need words to communicate. After so many years as partners, speech isn't really necessary. So when Steve motions for her to go in the front entrance, she nods and pulls out a gun, throwing him his shield.
It only takes Steve to scale a minute to scale the fire escape and open the window. He can see Natasha on the other side, glancing from him to the shadow in the corner of the room. Motioning for her to go forward, he leads the way into the hallway toward the master bedroom, where the only light is. Bursting into the room, Natasha raises her guns over the edge of Steve's shield when suddenly an unfamiliar voice cries, "Protect!"
NotesSo this is my first venture in Avengers territory. The idea just struck me after watching Captain America: the Winter Soldier and I had to put pen to paper. Please review and tell me if you liked it. This chapter is unbeta'd and I already started writing the next one! Can't wait to hear what you guys have to say!
This is a Romangers story! You will see why in a few chapters.