Author's Note: Hello, wonderful readers, and welcome to the sequel of Silver Ashes! If you haven't read that, I strongly uggest you do, because half of this probably won't make sense without it. Seriously. It's short enough (it's bascially just a prequel to this story), but lots of stuff is explained and shit happens.

Anyway, here we are! This story is post-Avengers-movie, so it'll all be my original work. And there will actually be some real Steve/Samantha stuff in here :D I'm quite excited.

New characters, new villains, new plot lines. It'll all happen. I sincerely hope you read, enjoy, and review! Please leave a comment, telling me what you think of this story - or just letting me know you're reading it. I'd love it if all you did was drop me a line, saying "I read Silver Ashes and now I'm here to check out the sequel!"

Let me know in a review if you know who Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne are ;) They'll become important, later in the story. I don't own the Avengers or anything related - just Sam, my OC.


Sam Silverman's POV

Life was not to be sitting in hot amorphic leisure in my backyard idly writing or not writing, as the spirit moved me. It was, instead, running madly, in a crowded schedule, in a squirrel cage of busy people. Working, living, dancing, dreaming, talking, kissing — singing, laughing, learning.

Sylvia Plath

It's a weird thing, starting a new journal. It's almost like beginning the entire adventure anew. I can run my fingers through the fresh, clean pages of this book, and I can marvel at the crisp, clean smell. But I can't predict what things will come to light in these pages, even though I know the ending.

This is the second Avengers journal to pass through my hands. The first one was written by me, Steve Rogers (Captain America) and the lovely Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man. We illustrated our war against Loki with words, recounting every moment as truthfully as we could. Nothing was left out — not a single thought, not a single emotion. Even the things we wanted to keep hidden forever, the things we were ashamed or embarrassed of, were written in the pages of that journal.

That's why now, I have no idea to expect. It's a new book, depicting a new story; a new journey. Our second adventure. And I'm thinking that this time, maybe the rest of the Avengers might want to have some sort of say in the way we write this down.

The name's Samantha Silverman, but people call me Sam. You probably haven't heard of me, but I bet you've heard of Masquerade, the Avenger. You know, the blonde girl with the Venetian masquerade mask and purple-and-black suit? The one who fought against Loki? The new kid to join the Avengers? Yeah, that's Masquerade. I mean — that's me.

My origins are long and complicated. Okay, that's a lie. Basically my dad went a little crazy, tried to replicate Captain America's super soldier serum, failed, but injected me with his concoction anyway. I gained control over the four elements: earth, wind, fire and air. Although, I guess "control" isn't the best word for it. I had no control whatsoever. Because of that, Director Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D basically kidnapped me to get me away from the general population. I was a threat; I'm still a threat, although my control is better.

Point is, Fury forced me to join the Avengers. And so here I am, recording our excursions and battles in a tiny brown leather journal.

I like this recording stuff. It makes me feel a bit less insane. As if someone's actually reading this, wanting to know what really goes on behind the scenes of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

A lot of stuff has happened since now and the time this story starts. People have changed; lives have been drastically altered. And yet here I am, ready to record every gruesome tale. It's important that the truth gets written down, before someone messes with it and warps our words.

I'm not quite sure where to start. Technically, nothing important happened until that fateful day in July. But the story starts a few months before that, right after our battle in Manhattan with Loki.

I was only 17 back then — I still went to high school and lived with my mom and brother. I had friends, and tests to study for. Being Masquerade wasn't a full-time job for me. Actually, it wasn't even a part-time job. There were no threats; I didn't need to be a costumed super-heroine.

That didn't mean I couldn't keep in contact with my fellow Avengers, though — Tony and Steve especially. I had grown close to both of them; they were like my adopted family. Ever since my dad injected me with that serum, I had been seriously missing a fatherly influence in my life. Mom kicked him out of the home, and when the government found out what he did to me, they put a restraining order on him.

Tony stepped in and took over the position of "dad", although he was a terrible one. And he didn't exactly "step in", either – not literally. Like, he wasn't living in my home, helping Mom cook dinner. But Tony and I are two very similar people, so he made sure we kept in touch. We exchanged emails every day and even had a few video chats, like tween girls. Sometimes I'd skip Friday at school to hop on a train down to Manhattan; I'd spend Saturday with Tony in the city; and then I'd ride home on Sunday. It took a full day to ride from Chicago to New York City, where both Steve and Tony lived, but it was worth it.

It was harder for me to keep in touch with Steve. We had grown closer than Tony and I; Steve had been the hero that was there for me when I was breaking down, back during the fight with Loki. He was like a brother, and I honestly felt really safe around him. It's a weird thing to admit, but it's true.

Since Steve was from the forties, he hadn't yet figured out how to use a computer. Thus, we couldn't exchange emails. Instead, Steve would come down to Chicago by train and stay at a nearby hotel; I'd spend my after-school hours with him, walking around the city and talking. It was a lot more personal than what I was doing with Tony, and slowly, the awkward silences between Steve and I began to disappear as our conversations became easier. I legitimately began to enjoy the time I spent with Steve; I would look forward to his visits to town.

It was my eighteenth birthday, I think, when both Steve and Tony visited Chicago. Clint Barton (known as Hawkeye to the public) tagged along too. I hadn't really gotten to know many of the Avengers during my brief stay with them (Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black Widow, was just too . . . distant; Thor was literally too distant, being on another planet and all; and in all honesty Doctor Bruce Banner scared the crap out of me), but Clint and I had our moments. He liked tea. I liked tea. We went on tea dates every now and then. And that was the extent of our relationship.

Anyway, the three guys all decided to come down to Chicago on my birthday. Brilliant, I know. It had been on June 13th, a Wednesday, and I had school. But after a lot of (not very nice) persuading from Tony, I agreed to skip school to go out on the town with them.

Naturally, the first thing we did was make a stop at a tea shop. Clint and I both got "organic cream of earl grey", while Tony went around asking for whichever tea had the most caffeine in it. While Clint was trying to help him, Steve pulled me aside.

"I, uh, got you a birthday present," he said awkward, scratching the back of his neck. I had noticed that it was a habit of his, to scratch the back of his neck whenever he was nervous.


"Here," Steve shoved a bundle into my hands hurriedly, as if ashamed to be handing me something. I opened up a brown bag to reveal a small 12-inch stuffy; it was a golden-yellow color with four legs and a very droopy tail.

"Oh my god," I gasped, my jaw practically hitting the floor. "This is . . . this is Simba. From The Lion King."

"Uh, yeah," Steve shifted his weight from foot to foot.

"It's so cute!" I squealed, bouncing up and down. Back during the Loki war, I had monologued to Steve about The Lion King, comparing my life to the classic Disney movie. Apparently, he had listened enough to go out and buy me an actual stuffy.

"Thank you thank you thank you," I threw my arms are the man, hugging him. He reluctantly returned the hug, muttering out a "glad you like it".

I pulled back, stuffing the stuffy (excuse the pun) back in the bag and beaming up at Steve. "I was also wondering," he scratched the back of his neck again, "if you maybe wanted to come stay at my place for a week or something in the summer? Like, with me? A vacation?" he said it as if it was a question.

I laughed at his awkwardness. "Well, you always come here. It's probably time I check out your apartment in Brooklyn." He nodded. "And I really would like to get out of this city during the summer. So sure. I'd love to."

"Love to what?" Tony suddenly asked, appearing behind Steve.

And thus, their rivalry continued.

Of course after hearing I was going to stay at Steve's for a week, Tony had insisted I stay at his place for two weeks. To balance things out, I had struck a deal with the two men — I would spend one week at Steve's, two at Tony's, and then one more at Steve's. I was spending my entire month of July away from home, in New York City.

The week with Steve had gone wonderfully. S.H.I.E.L.D had gotten him an apartment in Brooklyn, and I had found boxes and boxes of gadgets and technology, shoved in the back corner of his closet. I spent the first two days at his place setting up the flat-screen television and PlayStation3 (he wasn't quite yet ready for a computer). Although I had taught Steve the basics of the television and the remote, we hadn't even attempted the PS3 yet.

It wasn't hard for him, though. He may have been from the forties, but he was a twenty-one-year-old with the kind of brain these electronics were geared towards. Once he had wrapped his mind around the idea of a TV and the remote, the rest had been easy.

We spent our days in the apartment, cooking random meals and hanging out. Steve and I talked and laughed about everything and nothing; it was a nice feeling. And since I was a history geek, he could tell me as many stories about the past as he wanted and I would never get bored.

We watched The Lion King on the third night, curled up together on the love seat with a blanket, a store-bought bag of popcorn (I hadn't set up the microwave yet), my Simba stuffy, and more pillows than I could count. Since that night, I had caught him re-watching the Disney movie — three times.

The next two weeks had been spent at Tony's. They had been different, to say the least. We had similar personalities and they clashed completely. I don't think I've ever fought with someone so much as I did with Tony, and yet, still enjoy his company.

The first week, we had gone for a drive down the coast with Pepper. I didn't really get along with her very well, but she was a nice enough person. The drive had been a real eye-opener (and no, I'm not just talking about the time we got lost in Florida and almost drove into a swamp). I got to drive half the time, which was fun.

The next week was spent back in Stark Tower, just enjoying the busy city of New York. Clint dropped by every day, and our tea-runs and four-in-the-morning chats came to be the usual. Natasha even made an appearance once, although I didn't get to talk to her.

This, my dear friends, is what the Avengers did in their spare time.

It was a Sunday, I think, when I had packed up to leave for Steve's again. I was actually pretty excited to get back there; I had promised to teach him how to use the PS3 this week. Besides, I missed our long talks.

Tony, though, had a surprise for me first.

"It's your belated birthday present," he said proudly, leading me downstairs to the garage of Stark Tower. We stepped into the large basement as he flicked on a light, revealing my gift.

"Oh my God, Tony. You didn't."

"I did!"



"Honesty, you shouldn't have."

"Aw, c'mon, Sam. It's just a late birthday present."

"No, really. You shouldn't have."

"Oh, no need to thank me."

My jaw was on the floor ad my eyes were practically falling out of my head as I gazed at my gift.

It was a car. But that wasn't it — it was a neon green car.

In short, it was hideous and conspicuous and I hated it.

"This car," Tony said, "is a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. Its maximum speed is 267 mph, and it can go from 0-60 mph in 2.4 seconds. It's the fastest car in the world."

"Tony, I'm freaking 18 years old. I do not need a car that goes this fast. Period."

"Aw, c'mon. You're Masquerade. After that stunt you pulled with the gas tanker," he referred to the time I drove a petrol truck down a street to blow up some aliens, "I decided you should be the designated driver for the Avengers."

I rolled my eyes. "You're not actually telling me you bought this hideous green thing for me," I grumbled.

"Wait, what?" he shook his head, looking surprised. "Of course not!" he snapped. "It's for Pepper."

I breathed a sigh of relief, just as Tony grabbed my wrist and dragged me around to the other side of the car. "This one's for you."

It was the exact same car model, except even worse — hot pink.

"ARGHHHH," I turned and banged my head against the roof of Pepper's new car. "Tony, return this ugly piece of crap as soon as you can. I DON'T WANT IT."

"Way to put it nicely," he crossed his arms over his chest.

"Seriously, go spend the money on something useful. Like orphans, or something. I don't need this car," I turned on my heel and headed back to the doorway, where I had dropped my duffle bag full of stuff. "Thanks and all, but I'm okay. Really."

Tony stuck his tongue out at me as I lugged my stuff over to my actual car, a crappy little silver Ford Focus parked in the back of the garage. I was just chucking my stuff in the back when JARVIS's polite voice crackled to life over the loudspeaker in the ceiling.

"Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne have arrived to see you, Mr. Stark. Pepper has directed them downstairs."

"You sure you have to go back to Uncle Sam's?" Tony whined, ignoring JARVIS. "He's as interesting as a pile of dust. All he talks about is his life as a soldier."

I sighed, opening the driver-side car door and leaning against it. "Tony. We've gone over this. I like history. He is history. You should give him a chance; he's a nice guy, once you stop acting like such an ass around him."

"Screw history. You should study science in university. I'm a science guy, you know, and I'm doing way better in life than Rogers is."

I glared. "You weren't dragged out of your time and dropped here."

"My time is here."

"Smart-ass," I grinned crookedly. "And you know I'm hopeless with science. Besides, I'm not studying either in university — I'm going to be an English major."

"All the way on the other side of the country."

"Hey, it's not my fault that the university with the courses I was looking for is in Washington State!"

I heard footsteps on the stairs leading to the garage, and cocked my head to the side. "Who're Hank and Janet?" I asked, as Tony ran a hand through his hair.

"Hank Pym and his wife Janet are friends of mine," Tony shrugged.

"You have friends?"

"Ha, ha," he narrowed his eyes at me. "I invited them here today to have a few drinks, maybe do some fun science-y stuff. Hank Pym has a mind rivaled only by mine, Bruce Banner's, and Reed Richards'. So while you and Cap sit around collecting dust and talking about the past, Hank and I will be using science to better the future."

I had the urge to bang my head against my car again. "Who's Reed Richards?" I asked instead.

"Ever heard of the Fantastic Four?"

Our conversation was interrupted by two people, walking into the garage. The man — Hank Pym, I assumed — had a mop of blonde hair on his head, and a strong jaw. Janet Van Dyne was a short, petit woman with black hair in a pixie cut. They smiled and said hello to Tony enthusiastically, nodding to me politely.

"I'm Samantha Silverman," I introduced myself, and the couple responded with their own names, reaching forward to shake my hand. "I'm practically Tony's daughter," I couldn't help but add, snickering.

"Hardly. You don't like science," he shot back.

"Oh, drop it, will you?" I said, but I was laughing as I said a quick goodbye to everyone. "I'll see you later, okay, Tony? Let's keep doing the pen pal-email thing."

"Yeah, yeah," he waved me away, instead turning towards his new entertainment. I shook my head, smiling as I got behind the wheel of my car and backing out of the garage.

And just by leaving Tony's house, I managed to kick-start the entire adventure. I revved my engine, speeding away down the street towards Brooklyn. I had no idea what I was getting in to.

. . . And neither did Hank or Janet.

A/N: Anyway, thanks for reading my beginning! It's not the greatest; it's basically set-up. But please leave a review, and as always, AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!

- Alexa Blaze