SPOILERS FOR "THE AVENGERS"! There. You've been warned.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters of "Mission: Impossible"-they belong to Paramount. Also don't own the "Avengers", they are property of the awesome Stan Lee, Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios.
Author's Note: Apparently, oneshots become multichaps when awesome reviewers and readers favorite things, alert things, and then ask me if I'm gonna keep going. This is for everybody who was asking for a sequel to "Brothers In Arms"-you don't have to read that one first unless you really want to. Had this been an actual sequel, "Brothers In Arms" would've happened sometime between the helicarrier assault and Hawkeye, Black Widow and Cap hopping a Quinjet to Manhattan. While Tony accuses them of going for takeout, I doubt they'd have gone all the way to Seattle to get it!
BLAM. . BLAM.
Ten-year old William Brandt, "Will" to all his friends, carefully set the smoking pistol down and uncovered his ears. He looked up at his father expectantly. Donald Brandt was grinning from ear to ear. It was infectious, and Will found himself grinning goofily back. He loved days like this. Dad worked the late shift tonight at the precinct, and so the afternoon was Dad time. Yesterday they'd finished the treehouse in the backyard. Today, against Laura Brandt's better judgment, they were at the shooting range. Dad was in uniform, his shiny gold badge on his chest and the BALTIMORE POLICE DEPARTMENT patch on his sleeve. Will was proud of his dad. All the guys thought it was awesome that his dad was a cop.
Even more awesome that he let him shoot a gun. A real one. Not a BB gun, but an actual Sig Sauer handgun. With real bullets, not rubber ones. "Reel it in," Will commanded, and Don laughed.
"No patience," Don's partner of just three days, Patrick McConnell, chuckled. "Just like his old man."
"Says the guy who has to pace the bullpen while his computer loads in the morning," Don countered with a laugh.
"Damn thing's a dinosaur," Pat muttered under his breath to Will, and Will smiled. "Come on already Don, I wanna see if he's as good as you say." Having just transferred from Norfolk, all anyone at the precinct could talk about was Donald Brandt's son and his uncanny aim.
"Better," Don said proudly, ruffling Will's hair. "He's better." Will glowed as his dad pressed the button that brought the paper target up to the ledge. He rolled up the sleeves on his red t-shirt and rocked back on his sneaker heels. Will didn't need to look. He ducked under his father's arm and into the stall next door.
Don pointed at the target. Patrick studied the black silhouette.
He laughed. "One hit?" he asked Don, nodding at the round hole in the target's head.
"Six," Don corrected.
Patrick's smile faded. "What?"
Don tapped the hole in the paper as he counted. "One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six."
Will hadn't missed. He'd put the next five shots in the first hole.
"Jesus, Mary and Joseph," Patrick breathed. He looked at Don. "I've never seen anybody with that good a shot. Have you?"
Don shrugged. "Just one other," he said.
Patrick raised an eyebrow. "Who's that? Annie Oakley?"
Don only smiled and jerked a thumb at the stall next door. Patrick frowned as he leaned around the divider. Will was standing next to an identical figure in a black shirt and jeans. The boy held a compound bow and a quiver of arrows, and was taking aim at a target on the back wall. Patrick watched in silence as the boy nocked an arrow, took a deep breath, exhaled, and let the arrow fly-and it buried itself neatly in a cluster of arrows around the target's heart.
"Holy Christ, Don, there's two of them?" Patrick's jaw dropped as Will's twin brother Clint, older by all of two minutes, set the bow down and turned around. The boys were identical, right down to their father's blue eyes, the owly cowlick and their grins at the look on their father's partner's face.
And, apparently...their aim. "So when they talk about your son and his aim at the office...which one are they bragging about?" Patrick questioned, dumbfounded.
Don grinned as he put his arms around their shoulders. "That's my boys," he said proudly, and both boys smiled.
NEW MEXICO-PRESENT DAY
He was bored.
The glowing blue box known as the Tesseract spouted blue wispy flames and sucked the electricity periodically from the underground chamber. Something was definitely happening , but since Selvig didn't have a clue what was going on, and the artifact hadn't exploded, grown, shrunk, or started singing, SHIELD Agent Clint Barton was wary, but mostly….bored.
This felt like a short straw assignment to him. "Here, Hawkeye, watch this blue box and make sure no little green men pop out," he muttered quietly under his breath as he rested his head on his arms on the railing. His gun rested at his hip as he looked down from the catwalk above the lab.
Clint had been here for almost a month while Dr. Erik Selvig, a renowned physicist, poked and prodded the Tesseract. At first, he'd stayed at ground level, casting a suspicious glance at every lab tech that was given clearance on Phase 2, every SHIELD scientist that came in to assist the brilliant doctor with his tests on the shiny blue Norse cube. That had lasted all of a week or so, and then he'd retreated to a perch above the lab on the catwalk. He could see everything, read the lips of everyone in the room, every glance…and he wasn't much of a people person, anyway. There was one tech in particular that he'd heard call him, "creepy." He'd taken it as a compliment.
Director Fury had caught him one day up on the catwalk and chewed his ass. "Your job is to keep a close eye on that cube and everyone in this room."
"This is a close eye," he'd argued. After a couple times of this, Fury seemed to have given up pestering him.
For the first three weeks, nothing had happened. The box sat in its cradle and pulsated blue. There were days when Clint wished something would pop out of it. At least then he'd have something to shoot.
Tonight, the Tesseract was "misbehaving." That's what Selvig called it. It threatened to overload their circuits. Selvig ordered the power turned off, plunging the room into darkness. It took half a second for Clint's eyes to adjust to the eerie blue glow. And then the Tesseract glowed bright, and the lights all came back on. Selvig had spoken to Agent Phil Coulson, and Coulson had ordered a precautionary evac from the Project Dark Energy base. They didn't know how powerful the Tesseract was, and Coulson didn't want to chance any unnecessary casualties. Clint heard helicopters and humvees periodically from outside. He could also hear the calm evacuation orders over the intercom, but he was assigned to the Cube, and that's where he'd stay until ordered otherwise.
He saw Fury come into the lab, but made no effort to look busy. He wanted me to keep an eye on things...I'm keeping eyes on things. He saw Fury ask Selvig where he was, and grinned at Selvig's answer. "The Hawk? Up in his nest." He jerked a thumb up at Clint, and Fury's eyes-or rather, eye- connected with him. Looks half pissed, Clint noted, hiding a smile. His superior didn't appreciate that particular joke. Fury stood below him and crossed his arms over his black turtleneck and coat as he motioned for Clint to join them on the ground. Clint reached up, grabbing hold of a rappelling rope and swinging a leg over the railing. He rappelled down and landed easily in front of Fury. "You're supposed to be keeping an eye on the Tesseract," Fury berated him, yet again.
"I see better from a distance," Clint told him, yet again. Fury had hired him as a sniper for a reason. Apparently he'd forgotten. He followed Fury over to the blue cube. "If there's any tampering, it's coming from the other side," Clint informed his boss.
"The other side?" Fury clarified, and Clint nodded.
"Well, this thing is an interstellar door, right?" When Fury nodded, Clint tossed a thumb at the Tesseract. "So….doors open both ways…"
And then the cube exploded, shooting tendrils of what Clint thought looked like lightning into the room as the light shot into the ceiling, then banked across the ceiling up to the platform. It expanded, and grew, swirling into a circle. The light grew so bright Clint wished he was carrying his SHIELD issue sunglasses, and then imploded.
A figure knelt on the platform. Dark robes. Wild hair. He held a long gold staff in one hand. And when he looked up at Fury and the rest of the room's occupants…he smiled.
Not a "we come in peace" smile, Clint thought as he stood, his fingers twitching over his pistol. Man do I wish I had my bow on me...
"Sir!" Fury's voice boomed from next to him. "Put down the spear."
Yeah, right, Clint thought. Like that's gonna work. His muscles tensed, and he shoved Fury out of the way before the first burst of blue-lightning, maybe?-came shooting towards the director. He threw himself over Fury, one eye on the man on the platform. Except this was no man. Agent Hall had just fired four shots at the guy-and they almost seemed to bounce off. And when he leapt off the platform and drove his glowing staff into the chest of one of the agents, Clint knew there was something seriously wrong about this guy. He fired four shots and didn't get a single hit-that was highly unusual. He never missed. But he knew he'd hit him it was just….nothing happened. Like the guy was bulletproof or something.
Suddenly, he was right in front of him. Clint threw his arm back for a punch, but whoever this was snatched his arm out of the air and bent it backwards. Clint cried out in surprise. "You have heart," the being said to him with a snakelike hiss. "I can use that."
The instant the point of the glowing staff touched his chest, Clint felt something wedge its way inside him. A hissing voice with a touch of ice and frost. "It is useless to fight," the voice hissed as it wrapped itself around his mind. It physically hurt. Clint gasped from the shock. His mind raced, wishing he could reach for his gun, but unable to make his fingers move. "I am Loki of Asgard. You are mine to rule," the hiss continued, sending icy tendrils up and down his spine. Clint felt the ice permeate his memories as the being dug through them, pulling files on SHIELD, on Fury...on Natasha...and his family. One image flitted across his mind, and he tried to shove it out of Loki's path. The icy voice chuckled. "You have no secrets from me, Agent Barton. I know everything about you. Including that you have a brother...and that you feel more for your partner than you readily admit..."
Clint wanted to scream in protest, to swear, to cuss Loki out, to gain back his mind. But the icy hiss shoved Clint Barton to the wayside, into a corner of his mind where he could only watch in agony as new images filled his subconscious.
It felt like hours, but it had been mere seconds. Clint was gone...
Author's Note: Constructive criticism is usually warranted and always appreciated. PS: I've seen "The Avengers" three times, but that doesn't mean I have it memorized. So some things will be skewed, and I didn't want to wait until the DVD came out to fine tune this. Things might be a little out of order, dialogue might be a little odd. This is fanfic, not the screenplay. Just bear with me. Hope you enjoy!