chapter eight {edited}

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i'm pretty sure every muscle i possess is shredded into itty bitty pieces

saturday, july 18
s.h.i.e.l.d. helicarrier
third person pov

Natasha watched as Stiles paused at the door to the conference room. He took a deep breath and his knuckles went white from the death grip he had on the handle.

She could see the tight arch of his back and knew the tense anger that Stiles felt. Nat felt it too.

After another moment, Natasha exchanged a worried look with Clint, but before either of them could say something, Stiles turned the handle and threw open the door.

The hinges screamed as the door bounced off the wall and Stiles marched into the room.

"What the hell are you doing?" He accused. Stiles didn't shout, but his voice wavered with the rage that simpered beneath his skin.

When no one answered, Stiles repeated the question and slammed his hands down onto the table.

Tony and Steve looked shocked in the face of Stiles' intensity. They tried to look to Natasha and Clint for explanation, but both agents wore blank expressions, as helpful as a couple granite statues.

Silence stretched in the wake of Stiles' question before the teenager spoke again, "Cause to me it looks like you're sitting on your asses doing absolutely nothing."

He sucked in a breath and looked down at the table where his hands shook almost imperceptibly.

"My uncle is dead."

Tony clasped his hands and answered sympathetically, "I'm sorry about that, Kid, but there's nothing we can do."

Stiles lifted his head and met Tony's eyes. His hands clenched into fists.

"You're right," he muttered, defeated. Stiles' gaze went sharp, angry. "You didn't do anything."

Stiles turned to Steve and let out a scornful chuckle. "You didn't even sign his cards."

The American hero looked guiltily at the glass table, then down at his lap, anywhere except for Stiles.

"You know," Stiles said, voice even as he straightened and took a step back from the table, "My uncle believed in you."

He clasped his hands behind his back and looked from Tony to Steve to Nat and finally Clint.

"All of you." Stiles emphasized. "Hell, he believed in me when I was nothing but a scrawny kid crashing on his couch after I ran away from home."

Stiles continued, "He thought that S.H.I.E.L.D. finally had a brilliant idea, an initiative that could be the best program on this planet. The Avengers.

"He watched as people were hand selected.  He watched each of you. He believed that people like you could save the world. He died with those beliefs. For them."

Stiles walked to the wall of screens and turned one of them on. Tony and Steve stared at the delicately designed A.

"The Avengers have the potential to save everyone," Stiles spoke, "but how much loss will it take to push you into action?"

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