NICK FURY: Let's just say I've been looking forward to this day. The day when all the Avengers finally got together as a team. But I wasn't looking forward to seeing Loki at a computer, Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man standing over him.
"Well if isn't Fury himself," Stark says, obnoxious as always. Captain America and Thor look up and smile, and Loki, well, Loki grunts.
I raise my eyebrow. "Nice to see you too, Stark. Captain, Thor." I nod.
"So what brings you here, Fury?" Captain America asks.
"Well, Captain, it looks like the YAvengers aren't just a group of four anymore." At those words, Bruce Banner, Black Widow, and Hawkeye step into the room, their eyes zeroing in on Loki. "Bruce, Natasha, Clint, I'd like to personally welcome you to the YAvengers Initiative."
THOR: I scan the newcomers, sizing them up. All three seem small and very human at first glance, but I've seen Bruce Banner giant and green and brutal. I've seen the girl take out enemies with backflips, and I've seen the short man hit a far-off target with a single arrow. Hopefully they're still capable of achieving greatness.
"Um, sorry, but who said we were okay with this?" Iron Man says.
"We all did," I say. "We agreed we'd need help with the Fury Awards."
"Not true," Loki says, turning back to his computer screen to continue typing. "I don't need help from any of you. Especially not a short man with a bow and arrow."
Natasha shoots Loki a glare.
"Please excuse my brother," I say. "He lost his manners at birth."
"Yeah, we're happy to have you," Captain America says.
"We simply hope you're up to the challenges ahead," Iron Man says, dropping onto the sofa and lounging back.
"What, you think we can't handle books?" Natasha says with a smirk.
BLACK WIDOW: I fold my arms, surveying the others with a skeptical look. They seem to think that this whole "YA Literature" thing is going to be too difficult for an espionage expert like myself. I turn to Iron Man, raising an eyebrow. "Look, Stark. If I can handle Budapest, I can handle Bardugo."
"You know how I feel about Budapest, Natasha." Hawkeye reples. "No matter about that, though. I agree. How hard can it be?"
"Fine." Iron Man replies. "I guess you can stay."
"But there's one thing I don't understand." Bruce asks. "Why's he here?" He gestures at Loki, who just gives him a firey glare.
"I am here because I am destined to rule this planet!" he shouts.
"He's here," Captain America amends, "because he needs help on his YA novel."
"Oh!" I say. "Writing novels! I've done that a few times. It comes in handy on a long helicopter ride to airdrop into some dictator's compound. How can we be of service?"
CAPTAIN AMERICA: "You write?" I ask. I was starting to like the fact that we had three new members. Thor was slow, Stark simply never shut up about himself, and Loki, well, Loki seemed to be the only one I could agree with sometimes. And he's Loki.
Black Widow gestures at villain. "If he can write, what's so surprising about me writing?"
Loki snorts. "Everything."
"Tell me again," Hawkeye insists, arms crossed, "why Loki is here."
"Long story short, shortie," Stark says. "Loki tried to take over the world. You were there too, I recall, helping him?"
"Enough, Stark." I interrupt.
He raises his eyebrows and leans back. "By all means, Capsicle, you can take it from here."
"After Loki tried taking over the world, the traditional, violent way that all villains take, he settled for another way. Writing. He thought he could write-"
"I do not think, Grandpa. I know," Loki says coldly.
"Yes, okay. Loki *knows*," I correct myself with an eye roll, "that the world can be persuaded with a well-written book. And after writing said book, he received rejection after rejection and proceeded to blow up several bookstores."
"One. My brother only destroyed one, Captain," Thor says.
I sigh. I hated being interrupted. "Yes, well, in the end, we've decided to, er, help him."
Stark leans closer to the new three. "Actually, keep him occupied."
"I see," Hawkeye says. "I think I like the idea. What else will we be doing?"
"In short, saving the world one word at a time," Thor says dramatically. I laugh.
"I like that idea." I say. Hawkeye just stares.
LOKI: I snort. I'm not saving the world. I'm burning it down and making myself a crown from its ashes.
These three new Avengers... By Me, we don't need any more. I don't need any more. Between Captain America's daily difficulties switching off his alarm clock, Iron Man's gold membership card with Aveno, and Thor's habit of shattering all the coffee mugs, I've learned one thing--three Avengers is enough.
Though the girl human is rather good looking. Well, when I take over the world, they can be... minions. Or I can put an extra cushion in their prison cells--no, no, that would be overly gracious. Well, maybe Hawkeye can have the cushion. He could be my pet. Every supervillain needs a pet.
"We were doing just find overthrowing mankind before you got here," I grumble.
"You mean protecting," Captain America says.
The girl--I think Fury said his name was Natalie or something--walks up to me. I quickly log out of my super villains social networking site, on which I'd posted a picture of my breakfast (English muffin with evil jam) and a status update about... these new humans.
"We're here to protect everyone from you," Natalie says.
"Believe me, he's not that hard of a task," Iron Man says.
I narrow my eyes. "You're hair looks different today." The perfect insult. Iron Man touches his hair with wide-eyes. There is something a little different about him. Can't really put my finger on it...
HAWKEYE: Ever since walking in here, I've felt kinda weird. A little too much in the spotlight I guess. Especially since Loki's been looking at me like the way I look at my targets before I shoot. Or maybe he just wants to stuff me and set me on his shelf as a Collectors item.
"So, mission of the day is to stop Antler Man here from embarrassing himself big time by messing up the world, and then trying to rule over the ruins of a perfectly good civilization? That I can do." Besides, there's no way I'd back down from a chance to show up Loki. Not after him showing me up big time, by turning me into his slave. I shudder. That wasn't exactly my finest hour.
Iron Man snorts. "Behold, Legolas speaks."
Natasha rolls her eyes. Whereas Loki just looks disgusted, "You ignorant humans, as if I'm not aware you're really trying to prove what a great fool I am."
"How are we doing that exactly?" Captain asks.
Loki waves his hands at all the failed attempts to query. "Oh please, can you not see it?"
"See what brother?" Thor has the nerve to ask.
"THAT YOU THINK BY TURNING ME INTO SOMETHING I'M NOT, IT WILL MAKE THE PUNY HUMANS LIKE ME MORE. THEREFORE RUINING THE ILLUSION THAT I AM THE MOST POWERFUL AND THEY MUST LISTEN TO ME. BECAUSE BY CHANGING MY APPEARANCE, MEANS I REALLY HAVE TO CHANGE AND THEN EVERYTHING IS RUINED." Loki's face looks it's about to burst into flames. Can't deny I'd be sorry if it did.
HULK: I’ve been pretty quiet during the discussion. I’ve only questioned why Loki is here. I mean, come on. The guy’s brain is a bagful of cats. Even after we saved the world and recovered the Tessaract, I think you can smell crazy on Loki.
But Fury asked me to come in. I figure I’ll take the low-key approach to this new mission. Hopefully The Other Guy will agree.
Black Widow looks at me. “And we’re sure Dr. Banner can handle –”
“Of course he can’t,” Loki says. “How long since, how do you put it – oh yes. How long since your last incident?"
Puny god. “I’m fine,” I say. “I took Natasha’s suggestion and I do yoga now. Maybe you should join me, Loki? Learning to control your anger is always a good thing.”
Loki sniffs. “I’m always in control.”
Iron Man and I exchange looks.
“So,” I say. “Last time Fury wanted me to –”
“Swallow the Tessaract,” Iron Man puts in. He jabs my shoulder with a pencil. “Still nothing? Hm.”
Captain America gives Iron Man the look.
“Track the Tessaract because it emitted Gamma rays,” I finish. “Will we do the same with the Fury Awards?”
“’Emitted’?” Loki snorts. “Does anyone else know what he’s talking about?”
“I do,” says Iron Man. “Not that we’d expect you to understand, god of, what is it? Cluelessness?"
"God of awesomeness!" Loki yells.
I sigh. This is going to be an interesting mission.
IRON MAN: And that's my cue.
"Okay, okay. Let's all calm down a minute. Especially as it's, what, a whole half hour since anyone complimented my hair?"
More Avengers means more eye-rolling, but perhaps they're just trying to take in the stunning beauty from more angles?
It doesn't bother me, either way: I'm more than used to it from Pepper.
"Man of Iron, if you have something to say, then say it." Thor's on the defensive, as usual. I think he forgets sometimes that Loki's a dangerous psychopath. "We are somewhat occupied here."
"Yeah, yeah. I get it. Whatever. But I've got an announcement to make too." I wait until they're all looking at me (finally): "JARVIS? You ready?"
"At your service, as always." I'm hoping for a reaction from the newbies when they hear the voice of my AI, but they've clearly been schooled in 'disappointing impassivity' as they just look around.
"Right. Roll it." I grin as the new suit assembles around me. When it's done, I leave the mask up a minute. "New suit! You like it?"
"It looks exactly the same as the old one," says the Capsicle. "And it still runs on electricity."
I bristle. "It is not the same as the old one. We've stabilised the thrusters, improved internal cushioning, and doubled the precision of the lasers. And it's got an e-reader. I call it the Bookstark." I hoped that feature would interest them -- they're always going on about books -- but they're shaking their heads and turning away." Hey, guys? Where are you going?"
"Not everything is about you, you know," says Loki, who alone hasn't left. He still looks a little emotionally battered.
What do you mean? Of course it is. "Uh, dude, last time I looked, you were the one aiming for domination of the world. I'm just trying to bring more fabulous into it. And e-readers."
You've read through to the end - congrats! Give yourself a pat on the back. The original YAvengers - Stephanie, Amanda, and Hafsah, would like to thank you all for reading, supporting, and commenting on our blog since day one. As for those who applied to be one of the YAvengers four newest members - thank you, thank you, thank you for your interest.
Now. Please welcome our newest members:
As Iron Man: Miriam Joy
As Hulk: Cait
As Black Widow: Elyse
As Hawkeye: Hannah
Read more about them by clicking on the Who We Are page above.