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The Ant and the Boot

Natasha's Play.

When she turned to me I quickly looked away. I didn't want to look into those unreadable eyes or regard the features of that soft, proud face. But those eyes the color of sea foam lingered on me for a moment, and when I looked away my eyes fell upon the soft folds of her white dress and delicate bare toes. Unbidden my mind wandered, remembering idly how long it had been since I had laid hands on a woman's flesh.

What sorcery was this, that such a stunning creature walked upon such base mortals?

Once this was finished, perhaps I would change her and keep her as a pet. Yes, I doubted her eyes would be so unreadable once overtaken by the power of the Tesseract. Mortal women could, perhaps, make good pets. I knew that Thor had taken such a woman while he was here.
The door opened again on the air craft, admitting the squabbling mortals who pushed my brother forward.

“Unhand me!” he boomed, throwing off the soldier. Growling he turned, enraged, looking about him.

He stopped moving suddenly, his thrashing turning still as his eyes fell upon the soft young girl. He had always been more peaceable around woman. I glanced to Natasha, thinking through all I knew of her. Yes, that was her game: use the girl as a way to subdue Thor, perhaps even to keep me and the others in check. The mortal warriors would not injure a maiden of their own kind.

My suspicions were confirmed when Natasha ordered Thor to sit down at the other side of the girl. My brother sat, eyes regarding her questioningly. He wouldn't fight me over her.

She looked up at him, and for a moment I could see the nervousness in her eyes. I didn't mean to watch the glance that she and my brother gave each other, but I saw it anyway. I could see that he saw, too, that she was lovely. And she, like any mortal, could see the godhood adorning his broad shoulders, strength emanating from him like rolling waves.

Jealousy stabbed at my heart, filling my eyes with green envy. Despite knowing that my brother had already chosen a human pet, I could still see the significance of the looks in their eyes. Again my brother would steal from me something I had chosen as mine.

I would change her into my own just to spite him now, even if I didn't find her intriguing or beautiful. This cycle of him tearing everything that I desired from my fingertips would end.
“How long is the cute blonde going to be with us?” Stark asked, tearing my eyes from my brother's face. He was looking at Natasha, who didn't turn to look at him.

“Until we find time to return her home, unless she's able to help us in some way,” she replied coldly. “Dove, do you have a job?”

“Only part time.”

“If you do well today you might have one.”

The girl nodded. Stark looked from her to Natasha and back at her again, his eyes looking her over in that piggish human way.

“I want one, Agent Romanov,” he said.

“No.”

“How about as an assistant?”

“No.”

Stark's mouth twitched, though he didn't seem too bothered. The girl, Dove, lifted her eyes, watching him. He glanced at her again then paused, leaning forward on his knees an examining her.

“I've met you,” he said, tilting his head. “Press conference? Party? One night stand?”

“Party,” she laughed. I looked away from her before I could take notice of her smile. “At the Stark Expo a month ago, when you visited London for a weapons demonstration.”

He raised his eyebrows. “That's a shame, I didn't like any of those guys. Which one of them are you related to?”

“None, only my half brother is related. My mother is the escort and ex-wife of Luthor Blackwell. I just tagged along for the fireworks.”

Stark's mouth twitched again in that annoying way, his mustache shifting over his lips.

“Hmm. Luthor Blackwell. He's British, right? Blonde? A real prick?”

“Sounds like him.”

Stark thought for a moment, then blinked.

“Isn't his escort that Russian woman, the widow of Philippe Richelieu, the techno guy?” he asked.

“Madame Anastasia Kuznetsov, yes, Richelieu was her third husband.”

Stark laughed, clapping her hands.

“So [i]you're[/i] a Kuznetsov,” he said, grinning. He stoked his goatee, squinting, then pointed at her.

“Sure that there wasn't a one night stand?”

“Positive. I think I would remember spending my evening with the great Tony Stark. And I take my father's name, not my mother's. My mother's side has never liked me much because I was born American.”

“And is your father is another millionaire?”

“You sound very condescending of millionaires.”

“Of course I am. They should have billions, like me.”

Dove laughed. “No, my father wasn't as successful as my mother's other husbands. He worked for the government, died in duty.”

“A soldier,” Captain said, nodding.

“Not quite. More he was an agent, so a soldier in a suit, I think. I never knew my father, so I don't really know.”

“Like Agent Romanov over here?” Stark asked, gesturing.

“Sort of. Agent James Lancaster.”

I noticed Natasha glance back, but look forward again before anyone else noticed. I saw surprise in her features. Hmm. Interesting.

I didn't want to listen to them anymore. I didn't want to listen to this girl and her stories, nor Stark and his disgusting, priggish attempts to woo women. I leaned back in the seat, closing my eyes.

[i]I would destroy them. I would tear their world from their fingers, just like Odin and Thor had ripped away mine.[/i]

With a low, throbbing hum, the aircraft prepared to land.

[center]***[/center]

I forgot about my shoes when I got off the plane. I was jostled between Stark and Thor, while Captain America, Natasha, and the two guards surrounded Loki. I shifted uncomfortably, glancing around the hanger we had landed on. It was like a flying island, or rather a flying military base. I looked down at the ground, noticing a symbol emblazoned into the concrete featuring a bald eagle.

A military base. That's exactly what it was.

A hand patted me comfortingly on the shoulder. I looked up at Tony Stark, who smiled then looked away.

“This look like your typical field trip?” he asked.

“Not even a little bit,” I replied. He barked out a laugh. Even though he acted so nonchalant and confident, I began to wonder if he was as uneasy here as I was. Probably not, since if he wanted to leave he could just strap on his suit and fly home.

As we walked to the doors, a plain, unassuming man of medium hight, build, and age came out to meet us. He greeted Natasha, gave Thor and Loki a significant glance, and smiled at Captain America. Lastly he glanced at me, then turned back to Natasha.

“Who's that?”

“Useful,” she replied, giving him a significant look. Make sure that the Asgardian finds his quarters. Also see if you can find some clothes for the girl, it's hard to work in dresses.”

“You think she'll really be useful?”

“She's Dove Lancaster.”

The man blinked then nodded. He then left, flashing me a reassuring smile before turning to leave while I stood bewildered.

“Come with me, please,” he said to Thor, nodding. Thor looked around questioningly but agreed.

“Hey, get me a coffee while you're at it, Coulson!” Stark called after him. “Two sugars.”

Agent Coulson made no response, disappearing into the building and down a hallway with the giant Asgardian following behind him.

Natasha nodded, face still neutral as she turned on her heel to face me.

“I'm going to escort Loki the rest of the way with my men,” she said calmly, “You should see Director Fury about a room and debriefing. I'll join you for the debriefing part. Stark, I want you to...”

She cut off abruptly, closing her mouth and seeming to reconsider her decision. Then she turned on her heel, facing Captain America. He came to attention at once, probably old instinct.

“Captain, I want you to escort her.”

“Yes, ma'am,” he nodded, relaxing. He patted my shoulder lightly, never really looking at my face but always forward, to his next goal.

“Follow me, I'll take you to the director.”

I followed, but glanced back before entering the doors. I caught a flash of Stark's toothless smile, Natasha's cold, unchanging mask –

And the forest green of Loki, gazing directly into mine, a soft, confident smile upon his lips.

Notes

Thanks for reading! I would love to hear what you think (also I'm fueled by comments), so please leave me some comments in the comments section with your thoughts.

Have a great day, and see you in the next chapter!

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