The next few days were filled with further training and preparation for the upcoming attack. Stark worked with Falcon and Agent Hill to create some ‘toys’ as Tony called them that could match the power of Loki’s cyborgs. Beth’s suit had been re-deigned to her taste. Her top stayed the same but her bottoms were now tight red pants. She wore knee-high boots that gave her traction when kicking off from the ground.
Fury also had a few surprises up his sleeve. He called the Avengers into the command center one afternoon and made and announcement.
“I just received word that an old friend will be joining us for this mission” Fury said with a rare smile on his face, “For those who haven’t met him yet, I’d like to introduce you to James Buckanan Barnes or Bucky”
A man with short brown hair and a silver arm walked through the doors of the center. Steve immediately left Beth’s side and walked towards Bucky.
“Buck! Why didn’t you tell me buddy?” Steve asked giving Bucky a slap on the back. Beth had read about Bucky in Fury’s files and knew all about Steve and Bucky’s past.
“Oh you know, protocol and stuff” Bucky said brushing it off. “Thanks for having me on this team everyone”
The team greeted Bucky and then dispersed, doing their little projects. Beth left Steve and Bucky so they could have some guy time and went to the lab. She felt most comfortable around Dr. Banner and Tony, even though Stark could get annoying after a while. At least he didn’t look at her like she murdered someone like Natasha.
A few hours later a commotion on the deck made everyone stop what they were doing to see what was happening. Beth’s eyes widened when she saw Thor joined on the deck with three other people.
“I’d like everyone to meet Jane Foster, Darcy Lewis and Erik Selvig.” Thor announced in his commanding voice. Beth immediately took a liking to the two women. Darcy was a few years older than her and always made smart remarks. Jane Foster was funny as well but a softer side. Beth could tell she had some fire in her too, how else would she be able to pull off what she did in London?
Beth had a nice time with the girls that afternoon. They relaxed on the deck of the carrier, sunning themselves and enjoying girl talk. Darcy had found three lounge chairs somewhere and had suggested they soak up the sun before they had to start working. Beth and Jane had been slightly more hesitant than Darcy to reveal their cover ups but eventually did. Jane’s bikini was a modest top and bottoms. Darcy of course was the most daring; her bandeau and bottom left little to the imagination and she undid her top when she was on her stomach. Beth’s felt a little better about her halter top after seeing Darcy’s.
“Darcy, what would Ian think?” Jane said in a motherly way. Darcy was getting quite a few looks from the ship’s personnel.
“Oh we have an understanding” Darcy replied, “I can dress however I like and he can ogle the girls he sees on his cruise” Beth laughed along with Jane.
“So how are you and Cap Beth?” Jane asked politely.
Darcy spit out her juice she just took a sip from, “PARDON?”
Beth laughed, “What’s the matter Darcy?”
The girl’s mouth was open in shock, “You and Wonderboy are together?? I haven’t seen any PDA at all! Even Thor and Janey here can’t keep their hands off each other”
Beth laughed again, “Sorry I guess! We’re both not big on public displays of affection that’s all”
Darcy shook her head, “Man, if I had a guy with those muscles…” Beth shifted uncomfortably in her seat. Darcy continued seriously, “How are his abs? 6 pack, 12??” She and Jane leaned in curiously.
Beth laughed and made a motion of keeping her lips sealed and the girls squealed and begged for details.
“So you had a good day?” Steve asked when they were getting into bed that night.
Beth nodded and cuddled in closer to him, “it was nice to have some girl time. How was Bucky?”
“It was really nice to see him” Steve replied, “He seems to like you too” He added. Beth and Bucky too the turn for dishwashing that night and had time to talk.
“Good” Beth said. After a few moments she turned to look up at Steve, “Do you…I mean are you expecting any more from me…” She asked trailing off.
Steve sat up in bed and looked at Beth in the eyes, “Of course I’m not! I’m happy with the way things are going, what made you get the impression it wasn’t?”
Beth looked down at the bed embarrassed, “Well people have been making little jokes saying you haven’t gotten any, and then Darcy-“
Steve tilted Beth’s chin up gently, “Ignore them. My opinion is the only one that matters and I’m saying everything is great. We move at a pace that both of us are comfortable with” He kissed her forehead, “OK?” Beth nodded and kissed his lips. She fell asleep to the rhythmic sounds of his heart.
BEEP BEEP BEEP
What felt like minutes of sleep had been hours before Steve and Beth were startled awake by a loud siren that echoed through the carrier.
“What is that?” Beth asked in a daze, tripping over sheets while she crawled out of bed.
Captain America and Ms. Wonder are requested at the control room. Suit up. A robotic voice said over an intercom in their bedroom.
Beth and Steve looked at each other once and then suited up in a flash before running out of their room towards the control room.
Director Fury addressed the Avengers exactly two minutes later, “There has been an attack in Washington and it has all the makings of being Loki. Jet over there and contain the situation.”
“Why Washington? Did any of our readings say he’d be there?” Ms. Wonder asked once they were in the jet.
Iron Man shook his iron head, “Not one.”
“More importantly, why is he attacking just a week before the wormhole is supposed to hit Dubai?” Dr. Banner asked.
“We can think about this later, we’re here” Captain America commanded. Ms. Wonder slipped on her eye mask; a black one that just rimmed her eyes and blinked back the sun. It was time to fight.
"We need to contain the northeast corner NOW!” Captain America shouted through the coms.
Ms. Wonder flew through the sky and look in the direction he was talking about. She was about to touch down on the ground but then a sound distracted her. A faint call for help from below made Ms. Wonder fly downwards and touch ground in an alleyway. A young woman with dark brown hair in disarray was crumpled on the ground underneath a large piece of cement.
“Hang on, I’ve got you” Ms. Wonder called. She summoned some inner strength and pushed up on one side of the cement. Within moments the woman was free.
Ms. Wonder bent down and patted the woman’s arm, “It’s ok, you’re free now. Are you hurt?”
The woman got up slowly and stood beside Ms. Wonder, “I’m ok love, it’s you who will be hurting soon enough. “
The last thing she remembered was the woman transform into a man of medium height with slicked back black hair…and a helmet with horns.