Quantum Conundrum 1

Stark Tower shot up in an explosion of light, the energy emitted created a low rumble that tensely drummed within each Avenger's gut. Captain America squinted to see a rift opening up in the sky. A blue light morphed into a spectrum of colors as the Tessaract tore through time and space. Soon, a dark, inky abyss loomed over the city like an open window and the Chitauri flew through the rip quickly, screeching their war cry.

The Avengers gathered at the ground level of the city, huddling into a circle taking in a full 360 of their situation. And boy… were they ever in trouble. One Chitauri let out a screeching howl; its haunting echoes left chills sliding down Clint's spine. A whale like creature, a spiny and rigid creature, weaved up and down slamming down into sky rises uncontrollably. The civilian masses screamed hysterically as steel and glass fell from the sky. The streets were smoky, squad cars flipped, ash fell from the sky like a winter snowfall.

The battle progressed quickly there on out. Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor quickly dispersed to evacuate the civilians. Meanwhile, Hawkeye took out Chitauri from the roof, while Bruce Banner transformed back into the Hulk, destroyed one of the Chitauri monsters, and then went after Loki, tossing him like a ragdoll throughout Stark's penthouse. Romanoff hijacked a hover mobile and made her way to separate power from the Tessaract.

Meanwhile in the Helicarrier, Fury was having the time of his life trying to stop his superiors from attempting to end the invasion by launching a nuclear missile at Manhattan, much to his ire they launched away. The missile flew across the sky, ready to take out the biggest financial capital in the world. Iron Man intercepted the missile and took it into the gaping hole in the sky, toward the Chitauri mother ship. He knew he was probably going to die, even before the missile exploded. He watched in vague wonder as the detonation destroyed the invaders' lead ship. Back on earth, the rest of the Avengers felt the crushing ambivalence, the relief of the Chitauri dropping dead at their feet, and the abject horror of seeing Iron Man's sacrifice. The backlash of force sent Stark flying backwards, however Stark's suit ran out of power and he fell back through the portal unconscious.

Natasha swore as she saw a blue light envelope Stark and he phased through his suit; the Hulk caught both before either he or the suit touched the ground.

"Tin Man not moving." Hulk prodded the suit his thick green finger gently lifting up Iron Man's arm only for it to flop back down again, for unknown reasons Thor ripped off the mask. Surprisingly, Tony's face was underneath the metal faceplate. Confused, Captain America looked at the man Hulk had just set next to Stark; it was as if he was staring at a clone of the prone man.

Both this stranger and Stark had identical faces, down to the weary stress lines and dark circles caused by insomnia. However, this man lacked the familiar warm glow of Tony's power generator, his beard was more of a stubble and less the sharp clean lines of a business man. The man's brow twitched and eyes slithered open revealing those same hazel-gray orbs, only diluted from mental trauma. Those eyes slide closed as the other slipped back into unconsciousness. Captain America asked Thor to look after the other, while they figured out what to do.

Captain's focus shifted back towards Iron Man, his hand hovered above his mouth, but no air met his hand. He ripped off a piece of Tony's collar, he couldn't check for a pulse due the armor. He needed to apologize, for those things he said back at the Helicarrier, he was being selfish when he said those things. No pulse treading along his fingers, and he sat back on his haunches and looked dismayed, tears glistening but unshed. Hulk looked at Rogers, then Thor, who looked away in anguish, Bruce's cries echoed around his head as he roared sorrowfully, startling even the dead out of their slumber.

The other sat up in a jolt, looking around confused and terrified. At the sight of himself, he looked ready to faint, not really sure if it was real.

"Resuscitation…." A very British voice slurred, the three turned to look at the very British Tony Stark. "W-what?" Steve could only mutter. "Resuscitate him, you fools…" his slur was less pronounced as he began to become aware of his surroundings. Of course, how could he have been such an idiot!? SHEILD has been teaching all their agents about medical techniques.

Though with the arc reactor dead, Stark would only have moments to live until the shrapnel pieces would enter his heart, and they decided to make a command decision. "Thor!" The blonde god raised Mjolnir above his head, asking All-Father to let his brother in arms live. Lightening descended down on Stark, his body jerking with electricity. The arc reactor blinked into a lively blue light lite the man's chest, seconds later, Stark gasped and sputtered.

"No one kissed me, right?" Tony's eyes were bright and glazed seemingly coming out of a nap. Glancing around sporadically, probably looking for any signs of success, "did we win?" Captain America smirked and nodded briefly, his hand urging to smack Tony senseless.

The other had begun to get agitated as he looked upon his surroundings, he was asking out loud expecting answers, though no one answered him. Unaware of the new presence, Stark proceeded to ramble about the delicacies of shwarma and trying new things.

"Where the bloody hell am I? Where is Watson? Watson!" It was a low husky tone that struck Tony out of his mild shwarma obsession.

"And you are…" his head turning to look at the random interlude on his brain train. Hazel crashed into hazel, mouths dropped and they both mutter simultaneously, "Are you real?" both recognizing the face that was there before them. Thor briefly mentioned he was going to retrieve his brother from the rooftops before swinging his hammer at the sky. Sherlock in all this insanity managed to ignore how the man flew without contraptions—if focuses were better suited to his current objective, interrogation.

Barton stared absently at the two looking at each other with varying faces of shock. "Certainly, this has got to be the weirdest thing you've ever seen." Barton deadpanned, and for some odd reason Rogers handed him ten dollars, "yep."

Thor returned with Erik Selvig, Natasha, and Loki. All stood near the Stark landing site when they saw the duo doing mirroring gestures and facial expressions exactly.

Thor looked to Loki, to see if this was his trickery. The person in question stared at the duo in muted amazement. "A doppelganger, this is new." Despite his amusement, he had a confounded countenance. If Loki was surprised, this must not have been his doing. Thor looked back at the duo who were currently looking at him. "Hey Thunderbolt, hey Reindeer Games, how's it going?" Loki rolled his eyes, and Thor was interrupted by Starks clone.

"Thunderbolt? Reindeer Games? What names are those, surely you can think of something a little wittier than that? We share the same face; I pray it is the same in the account of our brains." Tony blushed and scowled darkly. Rogers and the now de-Hulked Bruce laughed heartily. Loki smiled even, turning to his brother and muttering "I like him." Thor just smacked the back of his brother's head and sighed.

Eventually, he answered Iron Man's question, "I am well, son of Stark. But, pray tell, why are there two of you? I am certain this is none of my brother's sorcery." Stormy blue eyes glanced back at the vibrant blue-green, who in return rolled his eyes. "Not everything is my fault, Odinson." He quipped.

"That's what I'd like to know...Maybe some side effect of falling through the wormhole? Fury is not going to like this…" Captain America shifted uncomfortably in his still crouched position. He moved to stand before there was a static noise in his head set.

"I'm not going to like what?" Fury's voice rang through their intercom, and startled Stark and Rogers. Their strange new acquaintance gapped at the two holding their ears, blubbering.

"My good god, gentlemen, what on earth has gotten into you…" He said, thinking the two had lost their minds, instead he sees Tony pull out a small plastic piece from his ear his eyes widened extraordinarily. "By George, what is this contraption!?" He pawed and swiped Tony's earpiece. "Hey—!" he clawed for his ear piece back as the stranger fiddled with the earpiece. "I swear to god, if you lick that…" he growled as the other man held the bud closer to his mouth. The man looked unashamed.

"Holmes. Sherlock Holmes." The man bowed slightly at the waist, then extending is hand almost begrudgingly, if he was anything like Stark he was most likely eccentric to an extreme.


"My name, you halfwit…my god, everyone here seems to have dulled hearing" Holmes paused looking around; he barely recognized the newly constructed music hall he read about in the New York papers. "Judging by Carnegie Hall built late last year looking aged to a significant degree…and the intricacy of your inventions, pray tell, what is the year?" Rogers looked on sympathetically.

Hawkeye coughed and spoke clearly as possible. "2012." Hazel-gray eyes were wide as saucers.

"Oh dear…"