Say hello to the final part of the head to head arc! finally we can see the ripple affects of this arc. I'm excited to see what you all think of this chapter and what comes next! Enjoy!
And for regular updates and a fun community to hang out in, remember to join the discord! discord . gg / 5UKBwMAnJw (spaces removed)
0=change focus to a different character
00=scene change (no matter how big or small)
F000=this means that we move back to the next avengers time.
P000= No this is not poo. it's moving back to the past.
Chapter 18: Head to Head. FINAL PART
I swear to God. If James does anything like that again- oh wait. I can fly right now. Francis grinned to himself as he shrunk and started flying. Not as gracefully as Pym would, but still flying. But James was still falling. Luckily, his previous yelling had caught the Avengers attention below.
Francis looked back down and as he flew passed the threshold, he realized that the holes MODOC made in the floor were closing up. A sound like a hoarse short yell came from behind him. He turned around to look and felt his heart drop as he saw James stopped in midair, eyes closed and looked to be struggling to breath like he got the wind knocked out of him. A cable had wrapped itself around his waist and was rapidly pulling him upward. Francis tried to change direction, but his lack of experience flying made it difficult to do so quickly.
A blur of green flew by him. Widow was jumping up to catch him. Francis was just managing to follow her hole was closing fast. Before she could get through, a concrete bar slammed through the middle of the hole, blocking her though she did leave a dent in it before falling back down. The hole closed before Francis reached it and he punched the ceiling.
"No! Damn it! Not again!" He yelled. He'd said he'd watch his back. He'd already lost his friend once.
"Francis, come down here, we need a new game plan," Cap called from below. Francis stayed there a minute. He could try to blow a hole in the top, but he didn't know how thick the concrete was. Nor was he even sure they'd still be there.
"Hawkeye!" Pym called up to him, trying to get him to fly back down like Cap had. He shook his head, putting himself back into the mindset he had when he'd lead the scavengers. He's going to get James back. They were going to help him.
"We have to find them," He said as soon as he'd landed and grown back to size.
"We will, but not by trying to smash our way up there. There's no guarantee they'll still be up there when we do. We'll all just get separated again. With MODOC on his side the only way we can beat Rogue is together," Cap said. Francis reluctantly nodded in agreement. Going this alone is how he got caught in the first place.
"Agreed. Let us defeat this foe swiftly. I grow tired of these games," ThorWidow agreed, standing in a way that didn't put much pressure on his leg or the hip where he'd been shot. Francis looked passed them at MODOC. The body fell with them. They could end this, but then... what happens to James? He just goes back to being buried in his own mind.
Steve was worried about James, a lot more than he was showing. His future son is in a lose lose situation here. He's stuck with Rogue again, the parasite steeling his life. MODOC helped Rogue get James back. He also poses a major threat to everyone and his team is at a disadvantage. Cap could end their partnership right now and save a lot of people too. He moved towards MODOCS body.
"Let's secure his body and remove the stone," Cap said, feeling his heart hurt at what this meant.
"What about James?" Francis asked. Cap paused at his question, hand hovering over the stone. He looked back at the two young avengers. Both concerned for their friend. He felt for them. They knew the young man a lot better than he did and they both knew what removing the stone meant. He opened his mouth to answer, but was cut off by laughter.
"Never thought I'd see the day the Avengers were so incompetent! Your hesitancy will cost you dearly!" MODOCs face appeared on the wall again. At the same time, some cables rose up and knocked Cap back. He skid across the floor, but stayed upright. He can thank Tony's armor for that.
"Don't let MODOC get his body!" Cap ordered, powering up the repulsers on Tony's suit. They can't lose this chance. However, it was too late. Concrete rose from the ground underneath the body, lifting it into the air. He fired a repulser blast at the body as it began moving away. More concrete rose, blocking the repulser blasts as well as some arrows that Francis had fired. The floor beneath them shook for only a moment before bursting upward, knocking them all in random directions. Steve hit the wall rather hard, then fell to the floor. That didn't feel great. He concurred with Hawkeyes earlier statement of being glad this wasn't his body. Before they could even get back up, MODOC's body was moved between them. The wall behind them opened up as the body passed through, then closed quickly.
Cap picked himself off the floor and stared at the wall MODOCs body had gone through. He'd not only lost his son, but also the means to end this chaos happening.
"I pray Tony's team is graced with more success," Thor stated. Cap only nodded in response. Francis let out a frustrated noise, drawing their attention to him.
"Sorry, Captain, That was everyone's chance to go back to normal and I made you hesitate," He said. Steve shook his head.
"Not your fault. I was worried about him too," Cap assured the young archer. "With any luck, the extra time MODOC just bought himself works more in our favor. It gives us extra time to figure out how to help James." He smiled at them, wanting to give the two some hope for their friend. He didn't know if they would be able to help James today, but if they had the chance, they would take it.
"Disastrous plan, Tony!" Hawkeye yelled as he ran. Spikes were shooting out every corner and barely missing them as they went by.
"I don't recall you offering a better one!" Tony responded, trying to keep up. Clint saw their exit start to close off. So was the way behind them. Then, like something out of a Star Wars movie, the walls started closing in, attempting to burry and encase them. He pushed against it with some struggle. He could hear the others doing the same. He was holding it back as well as he could, but he wasn't sure of Thor's strength and what it could do.
"Let's see how strong this body really is!" He yelled as he pushed hard against the concrete in his hands. MODOCs laughing assaulted his ears. If he could he'd punch the giant baby head. Then, it all retracted. The holographic screen with MODOC's face disappeared. As much of a relief as it was, that couldn't be good.
"Ow..." HulkFalcon muttered.
"Everyone okay?" Falcon asked as he helped up his own body.
"Yeah. I'm taking credit for that," Clint said with a smile. He couldn't resist.
"You can have the credit. There's only one reason MODOC would stop his attack," the body swapped billionaire said, bringing Clint back to the matter at hand.
"He got his body exactly where he wants it," Falcon said. After what they saw earlier. That was not a good thing.
"We've got to keep moving," Tony said, brushing himself off. He looked a little pale. Clint realized that, while he'd basically gotten an upgrade by switching bodies with Thor, an immortal Asgardian who wasn't easy to wound, Tony had gotten a downgrade. In Clints body, he didn't have his armor. He wasn't as protected. That was probably as close as the man had come to death since they'd all gotten back together. He was still Tony Stark and Clint had every bit of faith in his abilities, but he was also human.
"I'll go first. Thors body can take a better hit if we get ambushed again," Hawkeye stated, walking ahead of them.
"Alright, just keep an eye out," Tony agreed.
Rogue could not stop the grin that appeared on his face at the sight of James being pulled up from his little stunt. How he thought that would work when the literal tricarrier is on his side temporarily is beyond him. Maybe using James' skills in this situation wouldn't have been as useful as he previously thought. James was giving Rogue a death glare. He seemed to be having trouble breathing. Good, that'll make it hard for him to fight back.
"What did you think that would accomplish, Rogers?" He asked the other.
"It got my friend away from you. That's good enough for me," James replied with some wheezing, the cord slowly lowering him to the ground. When it was a few feet off the ground, it unwound itself and made him fall the last bit to the floor. He landed with an oof. He looked like hell. Rogue approached him and offered a hand up. James gave him a look and swatted it away before attempted to get up himself. It took him several tries to.
"You aways gotta do things the hard way, don't you?" Rogue rolled his eyes.
"You're one to talk," James retorted, catching his breath. Rogue gave him a minute. He'd just gone through a lot to get ahold of his other half. He wasn't gonna risk him keeling over because he didn't let him rest a second. Besides, he didn't want to have to carry him.
"Yeah, sure I am, now hurry up and catch your breath. I don't have all day Rogers," Rogue said. MODOCs head had disappeared from the wall. He wasn't sure where the giant baby went, but he had a feeling he'd find out soon.
"We're stuck thousands of feet in the air with no current way to get off this thing and SHIELD and the damn ship on your side. You've got plenty of time," James shot back. Rogue looked at him blankly.
"Okay, I'm done waiting then. Let's go," Rogue steps up and grabs his arm, purposefully aiming for the injured one. James grunted in pain from the rough treatment as Rogue yanked him forward. He didn't care. He considered it punishment for causing him problems in the first place. After a few steps James planted his feet. He was fighting him. Of course he was. Rogue turned to glare at him. To his surprise, James landed a punch on him. Not a strong one by any means, but it did sting a little. Rogue rubbed his jaw and tightened his grip on his other half's arm. "The hell did you think that would accomplish?"
"Nothing. That was for shooting Thor," James replied, wincing a bit as he did. Rogue's grip was making him uncomfortable, but he was clearly trying not to show it. He shook his head.
"You people and avenging shit. Just move on already," Rogue said in annoyance. He paused as a headache started up.
"I have what I need. Come to the main lab on the lower levels. My plan is coming to fruition," MODOC told him and then the headache subsided. Rogue grit his teeth. He hated that. James was staring at him.
"That was MODOC wasn't it, wasn't it?" He said, giving Rogue a weary look.
"Come on, we've got to go," Rogue stated, ignoring his question and continued to drag James with him. He'll have to get some hand cuffs or something along the way.
"What?" Tony said into their comms. He didn't want to believe what they just heard.
"We lost James. MODOC and Rogue are working together and MODOC helped separate us from James. We can only assume Rogue has him now," Cap repeated. Tony could hear the concern in his voice.
"He pulled more of his self sacrificing bullshit trying to get me and him away from Rogue and it backfired," Francis said. He sounded more angry at himself than James though.
"Not now Francis," Pym chided him. Tony let out a breath and shared a look with Falcon and Hawkeye.
"Hulk smash Rogue then," HulkFalcon spoke up, punching his fists together.
"You'd hurt James then too. Remember that kid has to go back to his body at some point," Falcon pointed out.
"Oh… yeah," Hulk had clearly not thought of this.
"If MODOC and Rogue are working together, then MODOC will want him close for whatever he's planning. If what James told us is accurate, then Rogue wouldn't have a choice in the matter. We find MODOC, we find James and the mind stone. We can sort this whole thing out," Tony told them, reasoning his way through this. They had to end this soon.
"He also shot Thor," Pym added after the silence lasted a moment.
"'Twas a graze and I am fine. I believe it was more of a warning shot," Thor clarified. Rogue had never shot anyone before, so why start now? 'I'm not there to hold him back' James' earlier words echoed in his head. If that's the case, Rogue could be a bigger threat right now than he thought.
"At least it's not your body," Hawkeye said, trying to sound lighter than his face showed.
"If it was the bullet wouldn't have grazed me," Thor retorted. Tony pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Boys, not the point here," Widow interjected. "And I've checked it, I'll be fine when we switch back."
"Good. Be careful and if you find them, don't engage until we meet up. We don't need any more injures while we're in the wrong body," Tony replied and kept moving.
The old genius sighed with relief as he landed the ship back home. He'd been concerned that something would happen in transit. He was paranoid before Ultron, but since his kids went missing, his paranoia has gotten worse. Now he's always expecting the other shoe to drop. But this went relatively well, all things considered. He glanced back at Azari, checking that he was still there. Both he and Torrun were asleep. Torunn was sitting next to him, her hands clutching her sword as she slept. It'll be straight to Doctor Henry for Azari, then he'll have to contact Vision to fill him in and in the mean time search for both the time portal and Jason and his sisters mother. He's got a lot of long nights ahead of him.
"Tony?" Torunns voice brought him out of his thoughts once more. He'd been starring in the peace. Starring at them. Torunn's eyes were open in a groggy manner. She never was a morning person. "Why have we stopped?"
"We're home," He replied, standing up and stretching. He offered her a hand and she took it, standing up. She clearly hadn't been wearing her seatbelt. Not that she entirely needed it. "You sleep well?"
"Better than I have in a while. I believe the feeling of the engine has something to do with that," Torrun stated as she glanced back at Azari. "That place...it really took a lot out of him Tony. I'm worried about him."
"I don't think I'll ever stop worrying about him," Tony said with a sigh, his eyes watching the rise and fall of Azari's chest.
"I wish he could be at peace like this for as long as he needs to," Torunn said. Tony nodded with agreement.
"Unfortunately, he needs to get checked out and I need to contact Vision," He replied and rubbed a hand over his face. "Can you take him to Henry?" She nodded.
"Aye. I'll wake him in a few minutes and take him there," she said, retaking her seat next to the sleeping Wakandan boy. Tony watched them a moment before nodding. He exited the ship, noting the makeshift garage had a light out. He'll have to get that working again. Maybe he'll save it for when the rest of the team are back. He reached one of the elevators. He felt more like taking the stairs today, but they haven't quite finished those. His world seemed to blur from being lost in thought as he made his way to the lab. He was on autopilot. He barely registered when he sat down and began setting up a secure connection to Vision. It wasn't until he had Vision's face on a hologram in front of him that he came out of it.
"Tony. Is everything alright? You're a week early in your call. It is lucky that you caught me at this time," Vision asked. It was good to hear from him. Even as an android, Vision is still the only friend from his Avengers days he has left.
"I'm fine. A lot has happened since we last spoke," The knight said as he rubbed his face. Vision mimicked concern.
"The children?" The android questioned.
"For starters, the information you gave me was solid. Thanks to it, we found Azari. He's in some bad shape, but he's getting help. He's been home over a week and already he's been improving," Tony said, momentary relief flooding his chest as he remembered the day they brought Azari home. Vision smiled.
"That's wonderful news Tony," the Android stated, then paused. "What of James and Hawkeye? Were they anywhere in the vicinity?"
"Azari said they were both there, but that both had been taken somewhere else. For Francis, it wasn't that long ago. We'd just missed him," Tony paused and shook his head. "We do know where they are though. Do you remember what the Avengers dealt with in terms of the infinity stones?"
"I recall what you told me of them," Vision responded, but waited for Tony to continue.
"Yes, we dealt with one in particular, the time stone. Well, I figured out some of what happened in that chaos, because all four of us and some robots got sucked back in time by the stone," Tony proceeded to fill Vision in on his adventure in the chaotic past. He told him of the headaches. The memories and finally, of Pym. He'd repeated the events so many times at this point, both to himself and to his team, but it didn't make him worry any less about what all this means.
"Oh dear, that is troubling. I should return. You will be needing all the help you can get-"
"Vision... if you chose to return I won't stop you... but you're the only one we have out there fighting on the front lines right now. I love those kids and I'll find them. I don't want to leave the people of Europe down a man,"
"Actually, the people here have learned well enough how to take care of these robots. I have also met several gifted people here who's powers have come in handy. I believe they will be fine without me," Vision replied with his version of a smile. "I will be returning home." Tony nodded.
"Very well then. I'll prepare for your arrival. I should check your software while you're here. It's been some time since I've been able to assure your systems are running properly."
"Agreed, I believe I am due for an upgrade," the Android nodded. Tony gave a smile himself to his old friend.
"I'll see you in a few days. Be careful coming back Vision."
(~Third Person POV~)
Ant-Bot came back online when his sensors showed no one else was in the vicinity. It had attached itself to the side of the ship. A thin shell slid back, revealing the red of his eyes. It paused a moment once more to do a scan. No life forms on this floor. A small antenna came out of its head.
"We should start heading back. We found more resources and I don't think we want the others to come out after us," Jack said from somewhere on his left. Scott shook his head. He'd been hoping to hear back from Ant-bot by now. But, Jack was right. They'd found most of the supplies and they'd lost contact several hours earlier. If they didn't head back now and re-establish contact, Stinger will actually send out the cavalry. He doesn't want that to happen. Still. He glanced at Wasp. She'd been rather quiet since they'd seen Stark get on that ship. She only nodded to him.
"You're right, let's head back," Scott said. The others of their small scavenging group rejoined them. Two had donkeys and carts full of the supplies they'd found. A bit old school, but it made supply runs easier and tech of that size would only get them found by the bots. Several minutes after they'd begun moving, a small device on Scott's hip began beeping. He snatched it off his hip and stared at it intensely. His face portrayed his initial shock, then his confusion, then his resolve. He could feel Wasps eyes on him.
"What is it?" She asked.
"It's Ant-bot, his signal is back online," Scott replied with a frown. "You'll never believe where they went."
"Where?" Wasp asked before Jack could.
"Ultra City." It felt like silence fell around him at those words. If they had questions before, now they have a million more.
"Ah you finally join us," MODOC said as they entered the lab. His face was on a holographic screen this time. Looking around, Rogue saw several things taking place. SHIELD agents were entering. Several were surrounding MODOCs body that was on a table. Some were connecting cables and some were typing on computers. He pushed James to a corner where he could keep an eye on him.
"Yeah, I'm here. What is all this?" He asked.
"This is what I need. I am going to use the resources in this lab to transfer my consciousness back into my body," MODOC answered. Rogue looked at the holographic screen and felt annoyance bubble up in him.
"You do realize how stupid that would be right?" He pointed out. If looks could kill, James would have no body to return to. "I mean, you ARE the tricarrier. You are in the best possible position to beat them. They are at a disadvantage. Why would you want to get back into your body now?"
"I hate it, but he has a point," James spoke up behind him. Rogue gave him a 'shut up' look.
"My body was not made to house a computer inside it. It cannot be sustained like this. I can continue to control the tricarrier from here but I must return to my body without reversing the affects on the Avengers," MODOC answered, clearly annoyed from having to explain this. Rogue shook his head. Tactically, it was a stupid move. He could just drop the Avengers out of the tricarrier or smash them flat and then get back in his body having succeeded in ending them. But if the idiot wanted to get himself killed then fine by him. He already had what he wanted.
"Still stupid, but it's your funeral," Rogue stated. He observed the room as more SHIELD agents came in. Most of them focused on MODOCs body, but there was hardly any guards here. There weren't enough guards in here. Only those necessary to complete the transfer. He's either an even bigger idiot that Rogue initially thought or he stretched himself too thin. Either way, the Avengers will probably win this fight. He needs an exit strategy. As soon as James is back in his body he'll need to get out of there and the sooner the better. Maybe he can take advantage of any chaos left over that he can slip away.
"I know what you're doing," James interrupted his thoughts. He's not even in his head but he still insists on talking. At least he was keeping his voice low. "You're trying to find a way out of here. To run once I'm back with you. You won't make it out, Rogue."
"Shut up, Rogers. I don't need your opinion," Rogue hissed at him. It wasn't helping him think.
"No. I'm not wrong here Rogue. This room alone would be hard to get out of. One way in and out. With SHEILD agents and the Avengers how do you expect to make it out that door?" James pointed out. He was right, it'd be a long shot of all long shots to get out of here. He had to try though.
"Maybe I'll shoot your mom again and I won't miss? How about that?" Rogue replied, annoyed by his interruptions.
"Then we'd both be in trouble," James retorted.
"Then how about I aim for Pym? The bug is so annoying it'd be a favor to humanity," Rogue snapped back with a smirk. That seemed to piss him off even more.
"Touch him again and-"
"And what? What will you do Rogers? Oh yeah, you'll punch me. You can't do anything, so stop talking like you could," Rogue shut him down. James was clearly still pissed, but stayed quiet after that. Looks like he still had some form of influence over him. Good. Now he can focus on coming up with a plan.
Finally he didn't have to play babysitter anymore. James being around had been a pain in his ass, but he'd learned something. The programming continued to have an affect on him outside the body. He couldn't tell the Avengers much, which worked out well. Pym stayed in the drivers seat most of the time, but it was the subtle things he'd influenced that seemed to really keep things in check. He observed through Pym eyes for now. They're trying to find MODOCs body and they may have just found a break through.
Cap motioned for them to get against the wall. SHIELD agents passed by them, some carrying cables. It felt like everyone was holding their breath. They passed without incident and he waited a moment.
"We should follow them," Widow stated, speaking her mind.
"Agreed, tread lightly," Cap said. He lead the way, trying to be as quiet as he could in the armor and keep a good distance.
"Wonder what those cables are for.." Francis whispered.
"Transferring something probably. Looks like something big at that," Pym whispered back. Transferring what though? Guess they'll find out.
"Shh," Thor quieted them as they followed. Stealth was key there. They followed the SHIELD agents through the confusing halls, somehow without interference from MODOC. He didn't think that was a good thing. Finally the agents stopped outside a door. Caps group hid around a corner, waiting for confirmation. As the door opened, he could see MODOCs body inside. It was on a table. SHIELD agents surrounded him and seemed to be working on something. He didn't see Rogue or James before the doors shut again, but that didn't mean they weren't there.
"Tony, we found them. Sending you our location now," Cap informed the other half of his team.
"Got it. Can you see what they're doing?" Tony asked.
"I only got a glimpse. MODOC was on a table and the agents in the room were doing something on holo computers around him, but that's all I could see," Cap informed him.
"We saw some agents carrying serious power cables earlier," Clint mentioned.
"Transfer cables," Falcon corrected.
"We did too. He's probably trying to get back into his body. He can't use the mindstone outside of it, so he needs another way," Pym theorized.
"That makes the most sense. We'll hang tight here until you join us and keep you informed on any changes we see," Cap said.
"Roger that. Hard to believe anyone would want to get back in that body," Tony stated before the comms went silent.
"Given that it's a giant baby head that has little to no use of his limbs, I don't get why he'd want back in it either," Francis agreed quietly. Pym chuckled a little at the giant baby head comment.
The download was taking a while to start up. In that time, Rogue had commandeered a pair of handcuffs from one of the agents. James did fight him when he tried to put them on, but given his condition, it didn't take much more than grabbing his injured shoulder to get him to freeze long enough to snap them on him. He didn't say anything after, just glared at him. Rogue ignored him, opting to instead focus on his plan. He had an idea. Whether it would work or not would have to be a toss up, but it was something. He reached up to his comm and gave the static twice signal.
Pym felt his leg bounce a little as his group waited in silence. He did not like the silence. Nothing was happening. The doors hadn't opened. No new SHIELD agents had entered or exited since the ones they followed here had. No one was talking. It was more nerve racking then when the layout was changing around them.
Francis let out a small breath of impatience next to him, but he looked more content than Pym did to just sit there. Finally, after a few minutes, Pym opened his mouth to start some kind of whispered conversation. But he didn't get a word out. Two static bursts in quick succession came over the comms. The Avengers looked at each other. Was that Rogue again? Or were the comms just acting... acting up? He suddenly felt really tired. A yawn came on and he closed his eyes for only a moment...
'Now you use the static twice rule' Hawk thought as he gently removed Pym from the controls. He reached up and pretended to scratch his head as he grabbed the Avengers comm from his ear. It took him a second to switch it out for the one in his pocket. Then he pretended to adjust his glasses to put it in. He gave a quick double tap to alert Rogue to the switch before lowering his hand. The Avengers, too focused on staying alert and watching the door, hadn't seemed to notice. Francis, however, was looking at him.
"You okay Pym? You look sick," he asked in a whisper. His tone held a line of suspicion underneath it. Hawk mustered up a small smile. He hated having this kid in his body.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I just got dizzy again for a second," He didn't necessarily lie, but it wasn't the whole truth. "It passed fast, so I'm fine now." Francis glanced at his leg for some reason, then nodded.
"Alright, we'll get me checked out when this is all over. Just be careful," He replied. Hawk nodded. Static bursts came in on his comm as the two fell silent again. 'I have a plan...' he translated the first part as it came. He had to resist the urge to groan at this.
In the silence that now enveloped them, Francis was able to go over events in his head. He thought back to James' behavior towards Pym. He'd been weary of being around him. He was happy but there'd been something else there. Pym experiencing the dizzy spells Francis began having when they boarded. Then there was James' apology. He didn't have time to dwell on it before, but he mulled over some of the wording. 'If I had listened, we wouldn't be in the mess you and I are in in the first place.' He specifically used the words 'you and I', disregarding everyone else around them. It felt like a hint. He knew James knew what he'd been feeling like. Those words... Does that mean that he's in the same situation as James?
It had to be. He didn't remember coming here. He didn't know what happened after his memory blanks. Hulk had said he hurt someone when he was chasing him through the streets. He did remember that vaguely. Rogue mocked him for his memory blank and also didn't seem surprised to see him here. He felt a pit settle in his stomach as he pieced things together. He looked back at Pym. Before their conversation, Pym had been fidgety and bouncing his leg, something that usually happened on stake outs or times when it was too quiet with him. Francis had asked if he was okay not because he looked sick, but because his leg had stopped bouncing out of nowhere. He was holding oddly still and looked more bored. If what he pieced together was right, then that wasn't Pym sitting next to him.
Question is, who is it? And when they switch back, what should he do about it?
"Finally, made it," his fathers voice sounded behind him, drawing him out of his thoughts. He looked back at Tony's group as they joined them.
"Glad you could join us," Widow said.
"You guys ready to end this?" Tony asked.
"As we'll ever be," Francis answered him, standing up and moving to Hawkeyes side. He glanced at Pym as he stood up as well.
"Let's get back to our bodies and get James back," Pym said, smiling a little.
"If we can help James, we will, but our focus has to be on the mind stone," Cap said, sounding only somewhat resigned about the situation. There couldn't be any hesitation this time. They couldn't live like this and they couldn't risk MODOC finding other ways back into his body. It has to end here and now, regardless of the outcome for James. He let Pym keep his hope, if that was Pym, but by now Francis knew the truth. They had no idea how to keep James separate from Rogue and win this.
Also, just to be on the safe side, he nudged his body swapped father. When he had his attention, he whispered quickly.
"Keep an eye on me." He gave a little nod towards Pym, hoping his father would understand. Pym joined them and Francis, to keep up appearances, gave him his signature smirk.
"Alright team, let's do this. Hawkeye, which arrow is the exploding one?" Tony asked Clint. His younger father gave Francis a look that he heard him. Then he just reached over and plucked the desired arrow from the quiver on Tony's back.
'Here we go,' Francis thought.
MODOC began the download a moment ago. With his plan conveyed to Hawk, Rogue had nothing left to do than to sit back and watch the agents in the room work. Any time now he expected to have the Avengers barreling in with guns blazing. They'll probably be tripping over themselves trying to get MODOCS body. It'll be the perfect time…
Static bursts that could only be from Hawk came in on his comm. He translated the message and smirked. Grabbing James arm, he forced him to get up from his sitting position.
"Ow," James said as he was pulled up. "What?" He hissed at him.
"Incoming, stay out of my way. Got that?" Rogue whispered to him. James didn't get the chance to reply. An explosion rocked the room from the front. Rogue held firm to James' arm so he wouldn't fall over. The Avengers poured in as the smoke cleared.
"Avengers, stop MODOCs transfer!" Cap commanded, leading the charge. "We can't let him get control of the Mind Stone!" The agents started firing, but as Rogue predicted, there wasn't enough of them here. SHIELD was going down easy. The outer guards were already taken out. He allowed himself to smirk when TonyHawkeye lunged for MODOCS body and got punched away by a giant concrete fist. That'll leave at least some bruised ribs for Hawkeye to deal with if they succeed.
MODOC laughed. Metal blades had risen from the ground and were circling the table at a rapid speed, keeping both MODOC and the agents running the download safe.
"I still have more than enough power to keep your pathetic team at bay!" And he was right. MODOC pulled out all the stops. Wires, stone men, stone tentacles the works. If he still didn't think that MODOC should've just dropped them out of the helicarrier when he had the chance, Rogue would be impressed.
Rogue's attention was drawn to the side by Francis. He was making his way around the table, steering clear of the metal. MODOC was focused on the Avengers so he didn't notice. He glanced near him and saw Pym was... wait... That's Hawk. Looks like he'd decided to stay in control after their little chat. Good, then he can rely on his help. Hawk made eye contact with him and gave a small nod. He'd take care of Francis or at least keep him away.
"WHY ARE YOU STANDING THERE! STOP THEM!" MODOC yelled in his mind, making him grab his head as the pain shot through him. That's it, he's shooting the giant baby head the next chance he got. Once MODOC's voice stopped ringing in his head, he heard Tony yelling to his team.
"…Avengers! Stop trying to fight like the body you're in! Fight like yourself!"
"Really?" One of them yelled from somewhere Rogue wasn't paying attention too. As the Avengers followed Tony's advice, Rogue got out his gun and waited for an opening. He wasn't going to shoot yet.
"Where do you think that idea came from?" 'Pym' said.
"You.. you want them to win don't you?" James stated more than asked.
"What makes you say that?" Rogue asked rhetorically as he took in the situation. Calculating his next move.
"You aren't firing. Despite MODOC just yelling at you," he replied. Rogue looked back at him. His other half was leaning against the wall. He wasn't looking too good. Rogue looked back at the Avengers. They were doing pretty good now that they'd figured out how they were going to fight. He needed a target. He couldn't shoot HulkWidow, that wouldn't end well for anyone. HawkeyeThor was an Asguardian. CapIronman had literal armor. ThorWidow, TonyHawkeye and… well if he shot HulkFalcon now the giant would kill him if they managed to swap bodies back. So that just left Thor and Tony… and the opportunity to hurt the old man and piss off both James and Francis was too good to pass up.
"STOP THEM!" MODOC yelled both in his mind and out loud. At the same time HulkFalcon came down with his wings on the spinning concrete, managing to actually destroy them. He must've hit a weak spot with those wings.
"No, I'm just looking for the right target," Rogue told James with a smirk. Tony grabbed an electric power coupling, using it to destroy a concrete hand headed for him. Then he turned to MODOC.
"Say goodbye to your stone MODOC!" Tony said, preparing to use it on the mind stone. Rogue, quick as a flash, aimed and fired. The Helicarrier shook and caused Tony to lose his balance momentarily, making the bullet strike him in the shoulder. He grinned as he heard him yell from the pain and watched him fall back from the shock. He didn't think the bullet was a through and through. The action seemed to make everyone freeze a moment, as if they just now noticed Rogues presence.
"No..." James whispered behind him.
While the Avengers had made an entrance, Francis focused on being stealthy. He used the fact that the focus was on them to his advantage. His goal was to find James. He spotted him in a corner. There were some supplies by him and Rogue that hid them a bit. James was leaning against the wall, handcuffed, and really didn't look okay. He was more focused on James than Rogue. That is, until the gunshot. Francis watched Tony fall, everyone froze and felt time slowdown. That wasn't just Tony, that was his fathers body.
'Please be okay' He thought, turning to glare at Rogue. Time snapped back into place and Rogue started firing again, aiming for the Avengers. Francis booked it for James while Rogue was focused on them.
"Hawkeye, look out!" Pym warned behind him. One of his stingers nearly hit him as it passed in front, halting Francis' advance. The stinger hit an agent that had been getting up, but Francis didn't move after the agent went down. Pym could've easily fired the stinger behind him or not as close to him. He looked back at 'Pym' and smiled.
"Thanks Pym," He said and then pretended to look behind him. He drew an arrow and loosed it. The arrow landed behind Pym. Oddly enough, at the same time a cable did attempt to go for Pyms feet. The arrow activated, sticking the cable in goop. Not-so-coincidentally, Pyms legs were also caught in the resulting goop.
"Hey! Francis you hit me with that too!" 'Pym' called to him, notably not calling him by his nickname. This served to further confirm what he suspected. Francis was already shrinking and flying towards James again.
"Sorry, Pym! I'll have to let you out of that in a second!" He called back. He noticed James had a look on his face. He looked pissed and like he had a plan. He'd adjusted his stance behind Rogue and was glaring at the back of his head. Francis also noticed that none of the Avengers could get to Tony and Tony couldn't get to them either. Rogue was keeping them pinned down. He needed to stop firing so they can help Tony. And Rogue needed to be distracted for whatever James had planned. Flying up to him, Francis took a small arrow from his quiver, a little amazed that it shrunk with him, and stabbed it onto the back of his neck. He flew back a little too quickly and spun in the air.
He heard the gunshots stop before he saw the result of his work. He had barely stabilized in the air. Apparently his arrows didn't quite hold the same punch as when they were bigger. If it had Rogue would've immediately been on the ground, but he was till standing. It looked like he was finding it hard to move.
James needed to take this opportunity while he could. With Rogue there, the Avengers didn't stand a chance. He'd done whatever it took to keep them from switching back. MODOC was pulling his strings, whether he admitted it or not. As Rogue continued to take aim and fire at the Avengers, James carefully pushed off the wall and adjusted his stance. He didn't want Rogue to notice him doing this.
Once he was sure he could stand firm where he was, he glanced at Rogue again. His hands were handcuffed and he was injured. If this went bad he might not make it. He only had one shot at this. As Rogue kept them at bay and Tony stayed on the ground, James spotted something glowing and small approaching Rogue. Hawkeye? It passed by Rogues neck before flying in the opposite direction.
The next moment, Rogue was frozen in place. He was gritting his teeth and gripping the gun hard in one hand. The other was slowly moving towards his neck. James adjusted his stance again, noting that Thor had gone to retrieve Tony, who was, thankfully, awake. This was going to take more out of him once he did it, but he needed to stop Rogue. If he had the chance, he needed them to know. Rogues hand made it to the back of his neck. He heard a slight crunch as he did and suddenly he sucked in a breath. Thor was still dragging Tony back to a more covered area behind the table. Rogue raised the gun again after another deep breath.
It was now or never. James quickly kicked the back of Rogues knee as hard as he could. As expected, his knees buckled quickly, forcing him to the ground. The gun clattered across the floor as he had to catch himself. James focused more on Rogue than the gun. He himself had just barely managed to stay upright after doing that. His chest hurt from the movement.
"You okay?" The voice came from his right. He glanced over and saw Py-Francis flying there. That's still weird.
"I think I have some cracked ribs, but I'll be fine," He mumbled. Rogue was moving again, pushing himself up.
"JAMES!" Was all Rogue got out before James went to kick him again, this time aiming for the stomach. He landed one solid kick before Rogue grabbed his foot and pushed towards him, forcing James to hop back on one foot. He fell with one more push, landing hard and aggravating his injuries.
"James!" He heard Pym yell. His vision swam for a second. He noticed Pym looked like he was stuck to the floor. He was pulling on his legs, firing in some direction when he could. Rogue was sitting up now, a firm grip on his leg. James felt the hand cuffs loosen behind his back.
"I am DONE with you, Rogers!" Rogue said, anger in his voice. James glared at him. Behind him, he saw Francis again.
"But I'm not done with you," James replied. Francis grew at that moment, slamming his arms onto Rogues hand holding his foot. It forced him to let go. James scooted himself back a ways from them and pushed himself up with a grunt. The the handcuffs were still attached to one of his wrists, but the other was free. He imagined Hawkeye had something to do with that. He rubbed his free wrist and heard more fighting sounds. He'd been so focused on his own injuries and stopping Rogue, he hadn't even noticed when several new agents had entered the room. The Avengers were running out of time. He spotted FalconCap nearest to him.
"Falcon! I need the shield!" He yelled. Falcon hit an agent with it before tossing the shield his way. James caught it, stumbling a second. "Get to the stone! Hawkeye and I will keep Rogue busy!" He knew what this meant. He knew he'd be stuck in his hell again. But he also knew that if much more time was waisted, then MODOC could get back to his body and things would be over, for everyone. He couldn't match Rogue in hand to hand, not like this, but the shield could help keep him busy.
He raised the shield and ran towards Rogue. Francis was putting up a good fight with him, but he couldn't handle him alone in Pyms body. Rogue blocked one of Francis' punches. James brought the shield down. Rogue brought up his arm with his shield gauntlet to protect himself. That's exactly what James wanted. He couldn't activate the shield in time. Caps shield hit the gauntlet in a specific area. And as it did a bright light came from their left. It stopped James from being able to see after a second.
Then he felt like he was floating.
Hehehe. sooo mostly final part. We see the true ending with the beginning of the next chapter. Stay tuned to find out what happens and if Rogue can somehow get out of this situation.
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~May 28, 2022~