"Steve, it's—" Natasha's voice shakes as she grabs his arm.
"I know," he interrupts her. Staring up at them with malicious intent is his childhood friend, his metal arm holding Talia hostage. Her green eyes are shining with tears, looking up at the duo with a hint of pleading. "We've got to help her." He looks at Natasha with worried eyes. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"Okay." Steve shrugs and jumps out of the jet, slamming his shield into the metal-armed soldier's face, making him lose his grip of the girl. "Go!" he shouts over his shoulder at Talia, spinning back around just in time to block another hit with his shield.
"I'm not leaving you!" the girl screams as she shakes her herself off, leaping into the air, and preforms a perfect roundhouse kick to the soldier's ribs. The steel inner lining of her boots makes the metal-armed solider wince, which gives Captain America time to bash him over the head with his shield. "Well, what are you waiting for?" Talia cries. "Kill him!" The winged girl is in the air again, ready to protect the captain.
Instead of listening to Talia, he kneels beside the unconscious man and picks him up. Noticing the horror in the young woman's eyes, he explains. "He used to be my best friend. We're gonna take him to SHIELD and get him back." Natasha is standing on the ramp of the now landed quinjet, a pair off indescribable handcuffs ready to be used. They put the man in cuffs and lay him on the floor. Talia is shaking near the entrance, watching the duo work with wide, scared eyes.
"He's got three broken ribs, and he'll have a hell of a concussion when he wakes up," Natasha informs the captain as she stares at the med-scanner.
"He'll be okay," Steve says, almost to himself as he brushes hair from his friend's closed eyes.
Talia stands off by herself, brushing her hands over her wings, checking for bruises or fractures. Some of her feathers on the left side are missing, but, all in all, she is intact.
The muscles in her shoulder that power her wings are strained, but it's not the most painful thing she's experienced.
The young redhead fingers the USB in one of the many hidden pockets in her suit. Once they get back to SHIELD, she'll hand over the fire and hide from Metal-Arm or, as the Seekers like to refer to him as, the Master. Hopefully, the Avengers will see how dangerous he is and confine him. On the other hand, they have accepted the trickster god Loki, into their group and he was the reason they built New New York after the famed battle.
"You alright?" Steve comes up behind her, looking down at her hand. Following his gaze, she notices that the fingernails of her empty hand have cut into her skin, creating little red crescents that are slowly beading with blood.
"I…" she looks up at him, biting into the soft flesh of her pink lips. "I guess being back just shook me up."
"I know what you mean," the Captain answers. Both of them look over at the unconscious solider, but for very different reasons. Her with fear, him with hopeful relief.
After what seems like forever, the quinjet lands back at the Avengers' Tower. Natasha helps Steve load Metal-Arm onto a stretcher and Steve calls out, "JARVIS, please tell Banner to prep the Isolation Chamber. Also, have the kids bring down Elena and Zuko to the den." The AI chirps a response and the trio set off to the IC, Steve pushing the stretcher.
On the way, Talia break off from their group, going to the lab Tony has allowed her access to. It's one of his hardly used labs with almost no equipment and nothing that can compromise the Avengers, should Talia turn on them, which she won't.
Locking herself in the lab, she plugs the USB in. The file she loads up first is her own. Something in the corner of the screen blinks.
Lineage! Lineage! Lineage!
Her hands tremble as she reaches for the mouse. Finally, she'll be able to see where she comes from. With the click of a button, she'll have a family… parents! Grandparents for Elena!
There's a distinct click of a mouse and Talia's part is splayed before her. Her parents are…
"You think he'll be okay?" Steve asks, hovering over Bruce's shoulder. The quiet scientist glowers at the nervous hero, taking a deep breath to calm himself down.
"Look, Captain, his physical state is fine." Bruce puts a reassuring hand on the man's shoulder. "His mental state, on the other hand, I'm not so sure about."
"We'll keep him in the Isolation Chamber until his mental state is better." Natasha comes up behind the red, white, and blue hero. "Don't worry, Cap, we'll help him heal."
Bruce smiles at the two of them, watching as Steve relaxes under Natasha's hold on him. How they haven't "officially" gotten together is a mystery to him. "You guys should go rest; I got him."
The redhead nods and pulls Steve behind her. He looks down at their intertwined hands, a small smile on his face. Natasha doesn't seem to notice, but the grip on his hand tightens just a little bit more. They walk into the common room to find Clint in the rafters fixing an arrow, Thor almost buried in Pop-Tart boxes, and Stark nowhere to be found. The younger, junior agents are munching on popcorn and watching Saturday morning cartoons. As the two agents make their way over to the breakfast bar, the theme song for My Little Pony blasts through the speakers, making everyone but the three-year-old groan.
"She is cute," Thor mutters, "but I cannot take any more of those infernal singing ponies!" He takes another Pop-Tart and shoves it into his mouth, spewing crumbs everywhere.
"Father, I insist we change the channel!" one of the junior members, Toruun, complains from her lace next to Elena.
"Aw, come on," Francis rolls his eyes, "just let the kid watch one more episode. You can watch what you want next." The young teen pouts back at him but says nothing. Elena just giggles and pulls on her braid, waiting until she leans down to kiss her on the cheek. Ten-year-old Piper sticks her tongue out at Francis and goes back to watching.
"Where's Talia?" Steve asks, looking around.
"She's in her lab, Captain," JARVIS says. "She seems to be having some sort of… breakdown, sir." Steve nods and, followed by the Russian spy, makes his way down to the small lab Tony had graciously given to the newest agent. She's not a genius, but apparently, having things to fiddle with keep the girl busy.
Since the blond solider is the captain of the team, he has access to most of the floors and restricted areas. So as the two agents walk into the lab, they can hear sobbing in the corner. There's something on the screen but Steve is more concerned with the redhead crouching in the corner, knees pulled to her chin, hair hanging in front of her like a curtain. Natasha breaks away to investigate the screen. Her eyes widen when she sees what's there.
"Talia, what's wrong?" the red, white, and blue hero asks, putting a hand on her shoulder. Instead of getting a response, the man suddenly finds his arms full of the young woman. She clutches his shirt in her firsts and buries her face in his neck. "Um…" His eyes zoom in on
Natasha's when he hears her gasp. "Nat, what the hell is on that screen?"
"Talia's lineage…" her eyes are full of tears. "Steve, her parents."
The girl in question squirms out of his hold and goes to stand in front of the screen. Her mind is still reeling from the information she's seen.
"So…" his eyebrows furrow in confusion. "If we read the file, we can find her parents." He looks between the two redheads, still confused. "Why do you look so shocked?" He aims the question at Natasha but Talia is the one who answers.
"Don't you get it?!" the smaller redhead shouts as she glares at him. It's almost makes him look he's seeing what could be a younger Natasha, but with the different colored eyes. The color of her eyes is the same as those that look back at him every day. His mouth opens and closes like a fish as a light bulb seems to go off in his head.
"You… Nat… what?" And for the first time since Natasha's known him, Captain America faint.
Yet another chapter. So, obviously both Steve and Nat are shocked to find out who Talia's parents are. They also now have Bucky in their custody! Don't worry, he'll wake up soon and we'll see Talia face her fears while Steve faces his broken best friend. Please don't forget to check out my other stories and there's a poll going on for I have Kissed Thee a Thousand Times, the Romangers' Kiss Meme story. And don't forget to review this story either; I'd love to hear what you think. Can you guess who Talia's parents are... if it isn't obvious?