Warnings/Notes: WIP, Crossover/AU. This is probably set after The Avengers, but trying to avoid getting totally Jossed, so I'll withhold a firm decision till May. This takes place after my story, The House of Keebler.
Character(s): Methos, Loki, Nick Fury, Clint Barton, Natasha Romanov, Charlotte Sparrow
Summary: Methos doesn't believe in fairy tales – or gods.
Methos sat hunched in a chair next to their bed, where Charlotte lay, looking as if she'd been carved from marble. Blood red lips were the only colour, vivid against the pallor of her skin. The wound at her throat had finally healed, but she was still comatose, whatever Loki had done to her interfering with the normal healing ability of an Immortal. If he hadn't still been able to feel her Immortal presence around him, he would have thought she was dead. He heard footsteps coming down the hall, but didn't acknowledge whoever it was that had entered.
"I came as swiftly as I was able," Thor said as he came to stand next to Methos. "I bring healing stones."
Methos just nodded, not really believing that the stones would work. It was far too easy. Thor held out his palm, two grey stones laying there. Making a fist around them, he held his hand over Charlotte, crushing them into a powder that shimmered like faerie dust as it drifted out in a cloud. But before the healing particles could fall upon her, they turned as black as coal, before disappearing from sight.
Thor sighed, looking stricken. "I am sorry, Methos. I had hoped that the stones would counteract whatever evil my brother has wrought."
"You tried," was all he said.
"I will contact my people to see if there is any knowledge to be had on this affliction."
Finally looking up at Thor, Methos said, "It's probably some kind of poison."
"That would be like Loki." Thor reached out, brushing Charlotte's hand with his. "Do not lose hope, Methos. If my brother wished her dead, she would be so. He has some other fate in mind."
Methos laughed harshly. "That isn't very reassuring."
He nodded, having no words of comfort to offer. "I shall return soon."
People swirled around the room after Thor left, but Methos ignored them all. He held out little hope that the God of Thunder would find a cure on Asgard, but all steps had to be taken before reaching the inevitable outcome. In the end, he'd have no choice but to do what Loki wanted. The question was: would SHIELD let him? That was definitely not a given. A hand on his shoulder pulled Methos from his grim thoughts.
"Doc," Clint Barton said, squeezing his shoulder, trying to get his attention.
"Sorry." He rubbed at his eyes.
Barton shrugged. "You have things on your mind." He looked down at Charlotte. "Chopper's here to evac her to HQ."
Methos surged up off the chair. "Absolutely not! The last place Charlotte would want to be is in some faceless hospital room."
Barton glanced at Agent Natasha Romanov, who had accompanied him. It was clear that they'd come expecting resistance. "It's not like she's being locked up in a cell. C'mon, Doc, there's people there that care about her; about you. She'll be better off in the hospital, where she can be monitored."
"You really think there's anything in your mortal world that can help her?" Methos demanded.
"Do you know for sure there isn't?" Natasha countered.
"She's right. And it's more secure; how do we know Loki won't try something else?"
"And what you're so very carefully not saying is that I don't have a choice when it comes right down to it, do I?" Methos practically snarled the words.
"No, but the Colonel wanted you to appreciate the wisdom in taking Ms. Sparrow to headquarters for yourself," Natasha answered unapologetically. "Let's not waste any more time."
Shoulders slumping, Methos just nodded mutely as Agent Romanov signaled a medical team that had been waiting by the door.
Barton put an arm around Methos' shoulders. "Let's go, Doc."
They'd taken blood, tissue samples, performed every sort of scan known, had hooked her up to monitors that beeped and chirped, but nothing had changed, nothing was found to give them even the slightest hint of what was wrong, let alone a cure. Barton had been right though; they did care. Charlotte was one of theirs, even if her service had happened long before almost every member of SHIELD had been born, but that connection, it was there, tangible. In the intervening hours since she'd been brought here, people Methos didn't even know had come by to see how he was doing, if there'd been any change in her condition. He'd found it oddly comforting.
"I never thought I'd have to do the bedside vigil again," Nick Fury said quietly next to Methos. The SHIELD director looked through the glass, into the room beyond, and the woman who lay there.
Looking at him, Methos asked, "Again?"
"1942." He rubbed at his one eye with a fingertip. "There was a scientist in Spain, forced to work for HYDRA. An extraction mission was planned, and orders were to send Charlotte in by herself; she could speak fluent Spanish, blend in, and most importantly, could navigate a small boat along the coastline, getting in and out again unseen."
"It was a trap. She was captured, tortured, experimented on." His voice was level, constrained, but there was no doubt in Methos' mind that Fury was reliving the anger and the fear of those days. "The officer in charge was an Immortal, one of Schmidt's lieutenants. They used captured Immortals as Guinea pigs in their quest to create a super race."
Methos' hands curled into fists, feeling sick. "She never told me."
Fury snorted. "She wouldn't, would she?" He took a deep breath. "After we got her out, it seemed as if she kept moving farther into her past. Thought Standish was a child again, and nothing he could say would reassure her that he was safe. By the time we got her back to England, she was catatonic; I sat at her bedside for days."
"I have been in this place more times than I can count; a wife, a child, a lover. But this, this was not a part of the deal." Grimacing, Methos shook his head. "Avoid sharp objects, keep your head on your shoulders and live forever. There was no clause for aliens with delusions of godhood!"
Fury nodded. "Thor isn't going to find any miracle antidote on Asgard, you know that."
"We need a plan, Doctor Adamson, a plan for when that bastard comes calling again – and he will be back. What are you going to do?"
"Whatever he wants," Methos said baldly. There was no point in trying to deceive Fury into thinking he wouldn't do whatever Loki wanted to save Charlotte. "Is there going to be a problem with that?"
Laughing, Fury waved a hand at Methos. "That's what I like about you, Doctor, you don't screw around." He cocked an eyebrow. "You think I'm going to try and stop you?"
"The thought had crossed my mind." Though said evenly, there was an edge to his words.
"That woman in there, she was part of my team, and I failed her." Stabbing a finger at the glass, he looked grim. "I didn't like the idea of her going in alone, but I didn't fight hard enough to stop it. She paid for that; but not again, Methos, not this time. This time, it's going to be different."
It was icy cold, the snow falling so thickly, she could barely see the towering trees that surrounded her. They were not much more than dark shadows, leaning over her like sentinels, imprisoning her in the gloom. Shivering, she pulled the fur lined cloak around herself more tightly, drawing her face deeper into the hood. Turning in place, trying to decide which way to walk, she saw nothing that gave her even an inkling. All was snow and shadows, her only companion the wind as it swirled snowflakes around her. Could that be her answer then? Yes, she would let the wind guide her, following it to its destination. Perhaps it might be hers as well.
Note: The healing stones are from a deleted scene in 'Thor'.
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