One round-trip each. No mistakes. No do-overs. Be careful. Look out for each other. This is the fight of our lives. Whatever it takes. Steve Rogers
ours passed since the moment Natasha Romanoff slipped from the grasp of her daughter and plummeted to the bitter cold slab of rock at the bottom of Vormirs mountain. Tony and Banner were in the lab working on a makeshift gaunlet to hold the stones. After they succeeded, everyone proceeded to argue over who would take on the possible fatal task of snapping half the universe back to existance. Clint had seperated from the group to stay with Aria, whom had hidden herself away in her room since she returned from Vormir. Clint had known Aria the longest among the group, having met her shortly after Natasha joined SHIELD. Aria had looked up to Clint like a father over the years having never known who her birth parents were.
That was until two years ago, when the young mutant returned to the compound after having disappeared three years prior. Tony was doing a slew of tests to get more information on how to disable and hopefully remove the HYDRA based chip in her mind without killing her. When he ran the blood work, he made a startling discovery, one that would change their lives forever. Tony Stak was none other than Arias biological father. At first the discovery had upset her, wondering if Tony had known all these years and simply neglected to tell her. But in time she realized of all people, Aria was the one person Tony had always been honest with, and she knew deeo down he had not lied about this either.
Since then they grew even closer, catching up on lost time from the prior three years she had been missing, and bonding in a way they hadn't before. After a lot of research together they did manage to find information on who her mother was, but the woman unfortunately died in Russia during childbirth. Tony barely remember her, a woman he had only had a brief relationship with back in his younger and far less intelligient party days. Playboy was certainly a fitting title then and one he wore proudly, but he was different now, he had truly become a better person over the years and Aria had been there for all of it.
Natasha was glad Aria finally got answers to her families past after so long, something not even the widow herself had been able to uncover. She knew her mother had been killed by Dreykov, a woman who refused to give her up and fought till the very end for her daughter. Her father remained a mystery, but at least one puzzle was now solved and she could not be happier for her daughter.
Of course she couldn't be happy anymore, lying in a bloody heap at the bottom of the cliff. There was no emotion, no smile, no anger, only nothingness to surrounding her body. Aria had lost the one person who meant the most to her, the woman who saved her from the Red Room all those years ago.
Aria wrapped her arms tightly around her stomach which had been aching for hours now. There wasn't much the girl had been able to do but stare at the wall of her room, watching the scene of Natashas hand slipping over and over and over again. It was like a movie playing in her mind much like her nightmares, but this time she was awake, and this time the reel never stopped spinning on the metal gears of his mind. Clint sat down on the bed next to her, placing a light hand upon her shoulder.
"Come on kiddo... please talk to me.." Aria only shook her head, pinching her eyes closed to lock away the fresh batch of tears that threatened to overun. "Aria..." Clint knew she was hurting, knew he could not force her to open up. Natasha was his friend, his best friend, she was everything to him. Their relationship was unique, not in a way that they were a couple, but in a way that they were comletely inseperable. It was like half his soul had been ripped out of him leaving a gapping hole behind. If he felt this way, he could not even remotely imagine how broken Aria felt, having been the one Natasha had raised since she was only five years old.
Aria suddenly felt a heavy pit in her stomach, one so strong it cause her to inhale sharply, her eyes snapping open. Clint gazed at her in concern, knowing by her reaction that something was wrong. Something beyond Nat. "What is it, what do you feel..?" He had known her long enough, he knew her reactions, her "feelings", and this one seemed far worse than ones in the past. Whatever it was, it was bad. Before the girl could even reply, everything around them exploded, causing them both to be thrown from the bed and into the wall. As they hit the ground Aria tried to reach out and grab Clint, but the floor collapsed beneath him and her scream was sucked away far below.
Flickering eye lids, a faint struggled cough, a garbled groan of pain. Everything was dark, dust filled the air, and a soft glowing of orange could be seen reflecting against the ceiling, if that was even the ceiling anymore. Aria tried to blink herself into focus and take in what had just happened. Her grief had made her vulnerable, and she didn't have time to react, didn't have time to erect a barrier, didn't have time..... CLINT. Where was he? She now struggled to push herself up, desperate to find any sign of him. A soft cry of pain pushed past pale petals as it felt like needles were shooting up her arm. A strained turn of her head revealed a chunk of concrete has crushed her arm. Focus was far from anything she could reach, limiting her ability to access her powers. Red hazed across her vision, crimson liquid dripping down from a nasty gash on her head.
"Clint!" Aria called out, her voice cracking from the dryness of the dirt she had inhaled. There were so many sounds around her, water rushing, fire burning, and... skittering?? Breathes quickened as worry washed over here. Where the hell was he, he couldn't be dead, not after Nat. She tried to focus on the concrete, tried to move it from her arm so she could look for him, but the strain was too much on her compromised body.
"Hey I got you!" A voice sounded from behind, before a familiar face appeared in view. Scott wasted no time working to remove the chunk of cold rock off her arm. He warned it would hurt like hell, but she didn't care. She had to find Clint, had to find the others, had to find her dad. Scott seemed to have no idea what happened. Bruce had managed to do the snap and everything was quiet for a moment before all hell broke loose. Teeth gritted firmly, a stifled cry as he managed to lift the rock off her. Aria managed to get to her feet with his help and looked around for Clint.
Rhodey and Bruce climbed out from some rubble and Arias eyes widened at the sight of Bruces arm. He shook his head when he saw her, assuring he would be ok. The gauntlet was powerful and this was expected. It was a miracle he survived it's power. Aria kept her arm close to her, the bones clearly having been crushed by the concrete. The pain barely bothered her as her mind was on far more important things.
After they managed to find Clint and Rocket, Scott used his particle disks to shrink them therefor small enough to hold in his own hand before going giant. The irony for Ant Man to be the size of a twenty story building always amused the girl, but at the moment, she was greatlful for the technology. When they got to the surface, they were greeted with hoards of alien creatures, and the purple raisin stood there ready to wage war and destroy them all. Injured or not, Aria would fight, and she would not go down without taking at least a hundred of them with her.
Hundreds on either side charged for each other and the battle became a bloodied war. Heroes from all sides of the galaxy fighting side by side to defeat the great evil that threatened them. The young mutant managed to clear her head enough to focus on the scene before her before moving forward to eliminate her targets one by one. She utilized her abilites as her arm gave her limited physical range, and focused on anything that got too close. The snap of bones echoed around her as her mind pinpointed each creature and shattered their neck and spine from within, killing them instantly. The battle went on, blood spilling on both sides of the field. The fight was only interupted by a rocketing of missles from above. The girls focus immdiately changed, errecting a barrier above her to protect her from the blasts. Using that much power above her, her sides became vulnerable and she was eventually throw by one missle that landed to close to her.
Everything was quiet, the strained hum of chaos around her as her ears tried to regain their function. It didn't end, the fighting, the creatures, everything continued on raging against each other for what could be forever. Aria finally caught sight of her father, and eyes widened at the site of him going head to head with Thanos. "Dad.." Anger seethed within her, and she pushed forward again taking out creatures as she went and trying to make her to help him.
Tony paused. Thanos lifted a hand. Aria froze in fear. This was the end. She closed her eyes.
Blue hues emerged. Nothing had changed. They were alive. But how? Why? Thanos appeared confused, and a sickening jolt hit Aria as she caught sight of her father, his raised armored hand.... and the stones. "No...."
"I... am.... Iron Man."
The quietness began to spread, one by one the creatures dusting into nothingness. Tony took a stumbled step forward. Aria ran harder than she ever had in her life. When she dropped down to her knees beside him, he was leaned against a large boulder, half his body burned beyond healing. Arias eyes filled with tears as she placed her good hand against her cheek shaking her head.
"Dad... dad please.. You're gonna be ok... You have to be. You have to be..." Salted streams now streaked down her dusty cheeks, Tony gazing into her eyes with both love and pain. Tony Stark, the man who the world once thought nothing of but a spoiled rich kid, giving his life to save that very world. The ultimate sacrifice. Aria knew of the one path that could succeed, the one in fourteen million. Stephan Strange knew Tony would die in this moment, yet let it come to pass. Could fate be this cruel? Could the timeline be so certainly set in stone?
Aria intertwined her fingers within his own and nodded, trying to fight back the tears once more. "It's ok... We're gonna be ok... I love you Dad... I love you." The light in his eyes faded as the final breathe slipped past his burnt lips. The blue glow of the arc reactor dimmed, he has falling limp out of her own. Blue hues vanished once more behind closed lids as the girls head dropped. Her mother was gone only hours before, and now she had lost her father too. She could feel her heart break over the defeaning silence that surrounding her. There was no speaking, no movements, nothing. Only quiet sorrow as they watched Tony Stark fade away.
Whatever it takes... Did Steve know? Did he know it would take so much?