Notes: So readers of Ekphrasis know that I love Liz and Bruce, green scientist lovers. But there's another Avenger I think Liz would be perfect for. Because canon Liz was brave, protective of other people, and more than a little reckless with a studied disregard for her personal safety. As evidenced by the multiple times she confronted aliens who could have been murderous, aliens she knew were murderous, humans she knew were murderous, and repeatedly went haring off on her own or with very little backup in order to figure things out about murderous aliens/humans/etc. And that Liz? Would get along with Steve Rogers like a house on fire. Which they would then run into. To rescue people. Or puppies. Or pictures of people and puppies. So here's one way they could have met. And yes, it does involve multiple buildings on fire.


~x~

When it started, Liz's first thought was that it was the invasion her once-future, now ex-husband had warned her about. That all her sacrifices, that Alex's life, hadn't been enough to stop the Antarians from coming for Earth. Her second thought was that she had to be wrong, because if those murderous blue creatures were what Antarians really looked like, then she was deeply regretting every moment of sexual and romantic contact between her and an Antarian hybrid.

Her third thought wasn't so much a thought as it was an action, albeit an action backed by the conscious decision to stop thinking, to not weigh risk and reward, to not think about the FBI or the friends she's been protecting since she was sixteen-years-old, to just do until either she's dead or this invasion, whoever they are, is stopped.

She steps out of the doorway she'd instinctively huddled in with two strangers when the hole opened up and unleashed hell onto the city, and walks into the middle of the street. She stares up at the sky, baring her teeth at the nearest alien, and raises her arms. Some of the alien weapons have already struck this street, leaving trailing power lines and a sparking generator from the corner store. The electricity flows out of all of them, crackling against her skin and into her veins until her hair is dancing in invisible currents and her eyes are no longer brown.

She throws her hands out and the electricity, controlled and concentrated, knocks two of the alien crafts out of the sky, blowing smoking holes in the pilot's bodies. She smells ozone and tastes copper and feels more alive than she has since well before her relationship with Max imploded with a whimper instead of a bang. The two strangers she'd shared a doorway with start cheering and Liz grins, vibrating with excitement and terror and enough electricity to send sparks jumping between her fingers.

If there's ever going to be a moment when her own alien powers can be accepted by the general public, it definitely involves her using them to fight off an invasion by other aliens.

If she survives this, maybe it will even keep the FBI off her back.

They seem to be on the edges of the action so she waves at her new fans and then sprints down the street toward the larger clusters of aliens, wondering if she can channel enough electricity to take down one of those giant whale looking things.

Her inner scientist and her sixteen-year-old self—whom she can now admit fell in love with Max partly because he was an alien and how amazing and unbelievable and thrilling that was—are both freaking out in the most excited possible way because there are flying alien spaceships that look like whales falling out of the sky and even with her level of alien encounters she still kind of can't believe she lives in a world where this is possible.

She makes it through several blocks and only gets knocked down once, not by an alien weapon, but by some debris she doesn't manage to blast apart all the way. There are enough downed power lines and exposed wires for her to draw fuel from, and she feels like she's doing a public service—preventing fires and accidental electrocutions.

She's close to the epicenter, a trail of alien bodies behind her, when she runs into a police cordon. Her throat tightens with fear at the sight of their guns, far stronger than the low-key constant terror from the invading aliens. At least her fear of guns can be talked about with her therapist, unlike most of her issues. Although she imagines a lot of people will be talking about aliens with their therapists if Earth survives this.

The closest officer is trying to shoo her back in the other direction when one of the smaller flying crafts swoops down and she sends it crashing into the sidewalk with a bright green blast from her left hand. The officer gapes before visibly getting a hold of himself. "You're with them? Go ahead through, we'll keep holding the line for evacuees."

Liz wonders what 'them' she's supposed to be a part of, but doesn't argue. She'd much rather have the police on her side than shooting at her. And despite their seeming support, the back of her neck itches until she's a street away from the men with uniforms and guns.

She doesn't get much of a chance to enjoy the relief before she is knocked through a wall into a burning building by the sideswipe of one of those damn small flying crafts. Her chest burns, aching from the blow and the desperate need for oxygen that she just can't seem to breathe in. The flying craft swings back around and drops one of its passengers through the wall, a looming blue menace with a weapon she's not sure she can dodge.

This is it. The short, traumatic, entirely too alien-filled life of Liz Parker is going to end on the bottom floor of a burning skyscraper at the hands of an alien footsoldier. She doesn't even know if this is the invasion she was warned about, or another one entirely. She still can't breathe and her hands twitch futilely as she tries to summon the electric current buzzing in her veins. She turns her head as the alien raises its gun, not particularly interested in watching her own death.

But death isn't quite ready for her. Instead she sees a blur of another person tackling the alien and finally sucks in enough smoke-laced air to let out a coughing laugh of relief.

Liz manages to pull herself to her feet just as another alien jumps through the hole in the wall, and she takes great pleasure in lighting it up with streams of electricity from both of her hands. Take that, you giant blue dick, she thinks with a tired grin as its twitching body falls to the ground. Aliens will probably be involved in her death, she's pretty sure that's inevitable at this point, but it's not going to be today if she can help it.

She looks up from the smoldering and incredibly foul smelling alien corpse at her feet, intending to say thank you to whoever helped her. The words never quite make it out of her mouth, her jaw hanging loose as she sees Captain fucking America staring back at her.

She knows superheroes are a thing in her world, kind of. Alex loved Captain America, not the comics, but the histories and biographies, and later the media and propaganda analyses because of his very secret dream of being a guerrilla journalist/hacker. Everyone knows about Tony Stark, redefining superheroes for the modern age. And you can't live in New York without being aware of the two monster-men who destroyed half of Harlem a few years ago. Not to mention her own past experiences with aliens and special government units and things beyond normal human understanding.

Point being, the strange and superhuman is not exactly new for her. But holy shit that is Captain America, now smiling crookedly at her obvious shock, and not even an alien invasion could have prepared her for that.

Damn, Alex did not ever mention how incredibly hot the man was in any of his—admittedly entertaining and informative—rants on the subject of the man standing in front of her like a sculpture of human perfection in red, white, and blue. Assuming of course that this is the same man, which would make him the best looking nonagenarian she's ever seen. She's never once felt patriotic in her life, honestly kind of the opposite given the persecution she's faced at the hands of her own government, but she thinks Captain America, whoever he is, might just change her mind.

"Um, hi," she says, with a belated wave and smile. "Thanks for the alien ass-kicking, life-saving assistance."

He grins at her, the ash smeared on one side of his face only enhancing the effect of his jaw line on her long ignored libido. "You're welcome. Are you another of SHIELD's secrets?"

She frowns, glancing at the shield on his arm and then back at his face, appreciating the intense blue of his eyes. "No? I don't know what that means. Your shield has secrets? Is it like, a robot shield?"

He laughs at that, a surprised kind of sound that makes her smile. He looks like the kind of person who needs to laugh more often. "No, different SHIELD. Not important right now. You planning to keep fighting?"

She nods, smile shifting into something fierce as she wiggles spark-coated fingers at him. "Until they're dead or I am."

His answering smile is equally fierce and more than a little grim. "Welcome to the team, then. Let's move."

A team. The concept is somewhere between terrifying and nerve-wracking, but she's pretty sure it's impossible to say no to Captain America so she follows him out of the building and towards the heart of the invading army. This is it. The short, traumatic, entirely too alien-filled life of Liz Parker, lived entirely in the shadows, is about to enter the public eye under the bright lights of alien spaceships.

She allows herself to appreciate the Captain's ass before turning her attention to the closest alien. If she can survive her outing, maybe she can wrangle a date with a superhero out of the deal.

Who knows? Maybe she'll be a superhero if they win.