The End of the Beginning

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Chapter 16 - Rachel Stark

"Son of a gun." I look up at Steve, who is looking up at the sky. I follow his gaze.

"O my god is that... It's Tony!" I scream.

"He's not slowing down!" Thor says, swinging his hammer to start to fly. Just as he is about to take off, the Hulk jumps up and catches Tony. He slowly slides down the building with Tony is his arms. When he reaches the ground, he tosses Tony on to it. Thor, Steve, and I run over to where Tony was laying. Steve kneels down and pries the mask off of Tony's face. He checks his pulse. Nothing. He looks at me with pain in his eyes. I break again. I don't know if I can recover this time. This was a shattering blow. I start to bawl again. The hulk roars in what seems to be pain. Then, I hear a sharp intake of breath.

"What the hell?" Tony asks. I start to giggle through my tears out of pure joy. "What just happened? Please tell me nobody kissed me."

"We won." Steve says with a lopsided smile on his face.

"Alright. Hey. Alright. Good job, guys. Let's just not come in tomorrow. Let's just take a day. Have you ever tried shawarma? There's a shawarma joint about two blocks from here. I don't know what it is, but I wanna try it." Steve and I chuckle. Thor just looks up to the top of Stark Towers.

"We're not finished yet." Thor says. Tony puts his head back on the pavement in pain and fatigue.

"Then shawarma after." Tony says.

We all get up to the top of the building. We all stand around an unconscious Loki in defensive-looking stances. He starts to come to and starts to crawl up the steps. He turns around and sees all of us.

"If it's all the same to you, I'll have that drink now." Loki says with a smug look on his face.

"You are coming in to S.H.I.E.L.D. for a few days to get your physics assessed and then you will be off with Thor to get your actual punishment." I say with a slight smirk.

Right now, we are at the sendoff. Loki and Thor are headed back to Asgard. Steve and I are heading back to our apartments. Nat and Clint are probably going to go back to Budapest or something. Tony and Bruce are going to go back to Stark Towers to do science things. But we have to see them off first. We are all pretty much standing in pairs. Just watching with attentive eyes as Loki and Thor grab onto the Tesseract. I give Thor a quick wave and he nods back in acknowledgment. He twists the handle and off they go. I turn towards Steve.

"I am really going to miss that Demigod." I say with misty eyes.

"Loki? Are you crazy?" he jokes. I lightly punch him in the shoulder.

"Ha-ha, very funny." I say.

"I hate to interrupt a moment but... I would like to say goodbye to my sister." Tony says. I give him a smile and practically throw myself onto him.

"I'm going to miss you little girl." Tony says. I swear, he still sees me as a little girl. And I love it. Even though we aren't that close...

"I'm going to miss you too." I release him from the hug. "What are you going to do with yourself now?" I ask.

"Well, Bruce and I will do some science. I'll probably redo my building. And make some adjustments to my suit." He says with a giddy smile. "What are you guys planning on doing?" he asks.

"Well we will probably be going back to S.H.I.E.L.D. Fury said something about D.C. so, maybe next year? I'm not for certain yet. But one thing I do want to do right now is to go see mom and dad. I really miss them." I say. At this point Steve went to go say his goodbyes to Nat and Bruce. "I might also show Steve some of dad's research. It might interest him to know."

"Good luck with that. I love ya sis." Tony says walking away with a small wave.

"Love ya Ton. Have fun with your goals!" I say. I quickly say goodbye to everybody else and watch them leave. Now it is just down to Steve and I.

"So that was fun." He says. I pull him into a hug without explanation. He is stunned for a moment then hugs back. "Rach, what's up?" he asks.

"You're so great, you know that?" I say.

"Well, I try to be." He says kind of cockily.

"Ha-ha. Are you ready to go home? I'm tired and hungry." I say, breaking away from the hug.

"Okay, I'll make you some... hmm... pasta when we get home then?" he says.

"I would love that." I say. I follow him over to his bike. Yes, I know, Steve got a bike! It is a real beaut. He hands me a helmet.

"Steve, are you kidding me? I've survived and alien invasion and you are one of the safest drivers I've ever known!" I exclaim, chuckling a little.

"Hey, it's not me I worry about. I worry about others." He says chuckling as well.

"Fine, but if this helmet 'accidentally' falls off the top of Stark towers, its Tony's fault." He chuckles and gestures for me to get onto the bike and as soon as I am on, he takes off.

This is the part about my job that I love. I love the uncertainty of it all. That any second I could get called in and might have to stare death in the face. I love the fact that the job leaves me hanging. Life would be so boring without the surprises that are thrown at us. But I also love the relaxing part. I love relaxing with my best friend.

A/N: Hey guys! Sorry for the insanely short chapter! The Avengers is over! I am happy and sad at the same time. I enjoyed writing it but I can't wait to write my own stuff and get to the Winter Soldier. Keep on reading!

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