The rest of that vacation was terrible. I remember arguing a lot and the constant fear of loss. Especially grandma was upset every time I brought up the subject: me joining the Avengers and going to America and a whole lot more of places. She was so afraid I was going to hurt myself. She believed that I could live the simple life and find a husband, get a dog and buy a house.
But in the end they let me go. I explained how important it was to me to do something of use. My grandmother cried the whole time I packed my bag. She embraced me one more time and gave me the book about the Norse Gods and told me never to lose it.
My earphones just broke and I couldn’t listen to music anymore. So I got to stare around on the plane. It was my first time on an airplane and I was scared as hell. Every little turbulence felt like a crash. My average heartrate was 150 right now.
The woman next to me seemed to be scared too, clutching her seat with her hands. I wanted to comfort her a little, so started the conversation.
“Your first time on the plane too?” I asked.
She looked up and smiled shyly.
“No… actually, I take this flight quite a lot of times. I don’t know what has come over me, but I don’t feel at ease…”
A pin dropped in my brains and I realized that I was having a bad influence on my surroundings… again.
Now that I looked better: everybody in the plane was tensed. It was I who did that: that stupid aura of mine. I didn’t always have it under control.
I breathed in and out five times, closed my eyes and tried to break the aura. After fifteen minutes or so I could see everybody relax more, but I was still scared.
My gifts, they were weird. It had something to do with emotions and dreams and fear. I was glad I could control it and ‘turn it off’.
That’s why I had a lot of friends in middle school: I got to see the bright side of me being different and I made my aura work as an omen on my environment. But as a kid I changed peoples moods without even realizing it.
After S.H.I.E.L.D. contacted me for the first time that summer holiday I learned all this. I became superconscious about my gifts and started training them more efficiently. But in the end: everything was just an illusion. I created only illusions. The animals I made to prank people were just images, the visions I give someone are fake and based on emotions.
The plane started to descend. The flight was almost done and land was coming closer. The lady next to me started packing her stuff, so I did the same. My new life was about to begin.
“Grandma, please be fair with me and say I can go without you being left here depressed.”
She looked at me for a really long time and nodded slightly. In the middle of the table lay all kinds of papers: a contract and a flight ticket to New York. At the head of the table sat granddad. His head rested on his folded hands and the look on his face said it all. He had made up his mind.
“You think you can fix them?” she asked, “because that’s what the contract says: bringing the team spirit up and bonding the Avengers as a unit without spills. Joining combat if necessary and living with the team 7 on 7, 24 hours a day. These people… they are involved in big dramas, Dakota…”
“I know. I can do this, grandma. You said it yourself: I have this aura around me. I bring people together.”
“Yes. When you are in the room and you’re happy everybody is happy. When you have a bad day, everybody is moody. Not anymore lately since the tips S.H.I.E.L.D. gave you…”
I almost jumped of my chair. She just admitted I had a good point.
“When you have nightmares Dakota, the whole neighborhood has a bad night of sleeping.”
Granddad interrupted her.
“On the other hand… when my good friend died many years ago and I couldn’t sleep, Dakota joined me in bed and I had never slept so well in my whole life.”
I couldn’t remember, but it sounded like something I would do as a toddler. Whenever I joined grandfather fishing he caught twice as much fish as usual. On every school trip I walked in front taking the spirits higher and at the zoo the lions and zebras put up a show for me.
That was what S.H.I.E.L.D. wanted from me, though it was just a little aspect of my gifts. They wanted me to bring the team back together and now it was even more urgent than any other given moment, because Stark announced a reunion. The Winter Soldier was given Amnesty and became an American citizen again, same with Scarlet Witch and the others. They were pardoned and the governments almost begged them to come back. Something was going on. I had to go.
I entered the terminal and felt a little overwhelmed. There was a man waiting for me with my name on a chalkboard. I walked towards him. He saw me coming with my two suitcases and smiled politely.
“Hello Miss Laufs. Shall I take your suitcases?”
I felt his reluctance at the sight of the two suitcases, so I handed him one and told him I would carry the other. His smile showed me his surprise.
The car was not a normal car. Yes, it was, but no it wasn’t. Everything looked expensive in the inside and the windows were bulletproof.
The ride took only about an hour, but it seemed much less. I asked if I could open a window and then leaned outside to look around. New York. The buildings were overwhelming, the crowd moved like a flock of birds and the cars made a lot of noise. Stark’s Tower came in sight. I got exited, because this is what I had been waiting for my whole life: for something miraculous to happen and bring me to ultimate happiness.
I was guided inside by four bodyguards. The hallway was big and people didn’t rush here, like the outside world did, but walked resolute but calm. The driver handed my suitcases to a porter and I was told they would be brought to my temporal chamber. Right now Stark wanted to meet me in person. He was waiting for me in his lobby at the top floor.
I had a jet lack and was overwhelmed, but I didn’t resist and followed the bodyguards to the elevator. I didn’t dare to tell them I was awfully scared of elevators, so I took the blow and finally arrived at the top floor.
The hallway was nothing in comparison with the lobby. It was open and only separated by glass where the lab was. At the other glass wall was a meeting room. Also I saw a bar, a lounge, a magnificent terrace and the skyline of New York.
One of the body guards gave me a gentle push forwards, wished me good luck and close the elevator.
My journey was over. Now I was about
to meet the Avengers.