It's been a long time, but here is the penultimate chapter!



Chapter 5

News travels fast on the Helicarrier. Coulson is dead, Thor is M.I.A (despite my best efforts), and now so is the Hulk. Marvellous. To top it all off, we don't know where Loki is. The gun Coulson had took care of that!

Bottom line: we're in trouble.

Or are we? Coulson was on good terms with everyone here, so this mission has become a whole lot more personal.

Did Loki know Coulson meant so much to these people? Did he want them to band together like this? Because that's exactly what's happening here. I can see it in the Captain's stony expression, in Stark's fever-bright brown eyes as they try and keep their emotions in check.

"Very sentimental, for you," Magnus sneers. I grin at him until he stops.

"Anyway, the human was dead, and it was just the rocket fuel the rest of us needed."

I don't need to tell them that, at that moment, I was so thirsty, I almost licked the fresh blood off Coulson's trading-cards.

I also felt a little left out; it was childish of me, but Coulson seemed like a nice guy. A bit of a goof, yes, but devoted to his job. I still almost wish I knew him better.

But I still feel the pang of shame – in another time, in another place, I probably would have killed him, too.

"Go on, Miss Taylor," Frederickson says, encouragingly.

"Tony, the clever boy,had figured out where Loki was hosting what was to be his final act. I found out that day that he and Loki had one thing in common."

"And what's that?" Frederickson asks, trying not to smile.

"Simple. They're both utter narcissists."

Just when I thought this wild ride couldn't get any wilder, there's now a giant beam of light poking a hole into New York's sky. Here they come, descending like wasps from a nest. Shrieking alien wasps…riding space whales.

"You're all seeing those things, too, right?" With donated blood roaring in my ears, I'm flying high.

Cap, meanwhile, is in his element, giving out orders. Protect the humans against those Chitauri things. Yeah, yeah, like we didn't already figure that part out.

I'm sick at the thought of tasting alien blood, but at least I'm useful.

Civilians are screaming, and there's near-constant explosions. This? This is Loki getting his heart's desire? We could really use a rage monster; he could smash those creatures to nothing. So where is he?

My eyesight has sharpened, along with my teeth. Through all the havoc, Loki is surveying all from Stark's tower. Oh, but I am so ready to kill him now; we all are, especially Clint Barton.

How long will it take me to reach Loki up there? How am I going to get there?

I can't fly like Iron Man. I don't have an indestructable weapon. Just teeth.

With a sigh, I throw myself unto the breech. It takes my dodging the first five or six of their bullet-beams for the Chitauri to realise I am no ordinary civilian. Then it's too late for them.

I break bones, I rip, I tear through armour and soft alien throats alike; their blood tastes as good as it looks, but it fills my waiting mouth all the same. I don't care what the humans make of me, I never have.

They're safer with me around, for once. Just for today.

"So, tell me, Miss Taylor." I believe Agent Frederickson has lost all professionalism, and is eager to get to the happy ending. "Did you get to Loki?"

I grin. "It took Romanoff's cunning to give me the inspiration, but, yes. It proved very effective."

"For the record," Magnus still sounds as bored as ever. "Tell us what that was."

"I...hitched a Chitauri ride, Agent Magnus.

"Come, noble steed," I whisper to my dead Chitauri companion. It stinks of blood and their leathery skin, like bog-water and burnt hair, or as close to it as I can describe. "To Stark Tower."

This machine is sensitive to every shift of my hand and weight-distribution. Fast as hell, too. When I'm close enough, I throw myself out and roll as soon as I hit the balcony floor. Brushing off glass and debris, I cringe as my steed crashes somewhere away from here.

Now, at last, it's my turn.

Then the Hulk makes his entrance.

Have you seen Infinity War yet? I. Am. Still Reeling. Hurry up, and save them, Captain Marvel!