Very exceptionally late, so I do hope you see this, Anon! Here’s part one, just shy of 5800 words so watch for the cut!
Purple Fog 1/?
A strange purple fog rolled in to surround the city last night, cutting off Staten Island and Rockaway Park, as well as parts of Queens and Manhattan. All communications beyond the fog have been cut off, though services in unaffected areas seem stable for the time being. Citizens are urged to stay home wherever possible and to not attempt to leave the city, as there has been no determination of how safe it is to cross the fog. All flights have been grounded, train, subway, and ferry travel has been suspended, and barricades have been erected at the bridges to prevent crossing. For the moment, the fog’s position seems stable, and we will be bringing you updates as they are available.
“Is this true?” Steve asked, holding his tablet up with the news video frozen on the screen. It was barely five in the morning, but it looked like Tony had been up for hours. Judging by the shirt Steve was pretty sure he’d been wearing the night before, he might not have even gone to sleep in the first place. “The communications, I mean. Have you been able to get anything in or out?” he clarified when Tony just gave him a blank look.
Tony set his stylus down and leaned back in his chair, rubbing a hand tiredly across his face. “While I’m flattered that you think so highly of my abilities, it’s true. Vision and Wanda were outside of the city when the fog rolled in, and I haven’t been able to raise them. I also haven’t been able to get through by satellite, HAM radio, or tin cans with strings.” He scratched at his chin, tension radiating in his body, and then threw himself away from his desk and gestured roughly at the multiple tablets, laptops, and the projection above the surface.
Steve set his own tablet down with the others and braced his hands on the desk to look everything over. He was in his running clothes, but he hadn’t made it out the door before Friday had alerted him to the news. “Why didn’t you wake me up?” he asked, twisting to look at Tony over his shoulder.
“I didn’t have anything to tell you, and there was nothing you could do.” Tony stepped up next to him, tapping his fingers on the desk. “It looked like you needed the sleep.”
Steve looked up at him sharply, but there was no judgment in Tony’s voice. Between the hunt for Bucky and tracking down and rooting out Hydra, none of them had gotten a lot of sleep lately. Steve’s sleep had been terrorized by nightmares, and even the serum couldn’t quite keep up with his insomnia. Apparently he hadn’t been hiding it as well as he’d thought. He straightened up, and made a wide gesture to the table and all the electronics scattered across the surface.
“What have you been able to figure out?”
“I’ve sent a dozen drones into the fog. They’ve all continued to transmit for a few minutes before the signal is lost, but they haven’t transmitted anything useful. Mostly just fog. I sent one of the suits directly up above the city, but the fog just goes up, and up, and… up.” He pointed his finger toward the ceiling, and then shrugged and let his hand fall down to his side. “I couldn’t get around it, or over it, or through it.”
Rubbing the place between his eyebrows, Steve said, “I guess we’re not going to Lagos.”
“Once they realize they can’t contact us, if they haven’t already, Vision and Wanda will make sure the Nigerian authorities know that you won’t be there to back them up. They’ll do whatever they would have done if there wasn’t a team of superheroes running around.”
Closing his eyes, Steve turned his head marginally away from Tony and emptied his lungs with a soft noise. Tony went still next to him, and then made a similar noise of frustration. He stepped away from the table, running his hand through his already messy, greasy hair again.
“You didn’t tell the Nigerian authorities?” he guessed. “Did you contact the US embassy in Nigeria? Does anyone other than us know you were planning an action in Lagos today?”
“We cleared our flight plan,” Steve offered, knowing it was a measly defense. “Tony, there wasn’t time. We just got this information the day before yesterday, and if we’d involved the politicians –”
Tony cut his hand roughly through the air, breath coming out as a disbelieving laugh. “Steve! You can’t just.” He stopped, planted his fist on his hip, and then muscled into Steve’s personal space to force him to look up.
Steve tried not to look belligerent or confrontational as he straightened up and turned so they were face to face, but it was difficult when he knew he was in the wrong, for as much as he was in the wrong for the right reasons. It was no different than when he’d taken off after the 107th, knowing that he was going against orders, but just as sure that it was the right thing to do. Tony let him decide how he was going to arrange his body, and Steve forced himself to relax his hands down by his sides and keep his chin down, but he couldn’t stop his teeth from clenching.
“Steve, we can’t keep doing this,” Tony insisted softly. He had his head angled slightly downward so he was looking up at Steve through his lashes. Steve had always been weak for his eyes, and he half sure that Tony knew it. “We can’t keep just stomping around the world like we own it. Whatever stores of goodwill we had built up from New York have run dry. We can’t trade our name anymore, Steve, we have to play by the rules.”
Taking a sharp step backwards, Steve said, “You? You’re the one telling me to play by the rules and not go stomping around the world like you own it? The man who ‘privatized world peace’ and mouthed off to a congressional hearing about it?”
Tony’s hands came up and his lips pursed into a tight line, but his eyes widened rather than narrowing. “And where did that get me?” he demanded harshly, and then visibly forced himself to calm down. “I think we all know the answer to that. Neither of us is a lone wolf anymore, Steve, we’ve got people who depend on us in a very real way. When it was just one eccentric billionaire in a flying suit doing most of the damage to ‘the bad guys’ and getting good results? That was one thing – I’m not saying that how I handled those first years was right or wrong, and to be honest, I probably would do all the same damn things if I had the opportunity to go back. But now we’re a team, and some of us have abilities that scare the living daylights out of the rest of the population, and all of us have caused collateral damage to property and lives on the wrong side of the line. Someday soon, someone is going to wonder if the damage we cause doesn’t exceed the damage we do, and Steve, I promise you that it will not work out well for us.”
“I’m not just going to sit back and do nothing while Hydra is still out there,” Steve said. His hands clenched slowly into fists by his side and he tried to remind himself that he and Tony were a team. They were even friends most of the time.
“You mean you’re not just going to sit back while Bucky is still out there,” Tony corrected.
“I have never put Bucky ahead of a mission to root out Hydra,” Steve said through his teeth. “I don’t think you have much room to talk about collateral damage, or not looping in the proper authorities.” As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he regret them, but couldn’t pull them back.
Tony jolted. His teeth clenched twice, making his temple pulse in time with the movement of his jaw. “Don’t you think that Sokovia is a reason why we should be having this conversation, and not a reason why you should be running around like the law doesn’t touch you?”
“I’m sorry, Tony. I shouldn’t have said that,” Steve said through a breath. He’d admitted a long time ago that Ultron wasn’t solely Tony’s fault, and they’d talked it to death. Steve was the one who’d pushed the hardest for not running off to do solo work anymore, that everyone on the team needed to know what everyone else was planning so they didn’t have another Sokovia. The team had known what he was planning, he just hadn’t thought it was necessary to tell any of the politicians, who take a month just deciding what color pen they wanted on the paperwork. Most of the time, they were in and out before anyone even realized that they’d been in the country.
“The bureaucracy is a pain in the ass,” Tony finished for him with a nod of understanding. His stomach expanded in a rush as he drew in a deep breath. He let it out, seeming to shrink at the same time. Steve kept his hands at his side instead of reaching out to grip Tony’s shoulder. If anyone looked like they needed sleep, it was him. Before he could decide whether or not to send Tony off to bed, Tony reached up to grab the back of his neck with both hands and squeezed. “It’s a moot point now. Hopefully Wanda and Vision will realize that they need to tell someone about the bioweapon, and we’ll get back to this conversation after we figure out what this fog is and how to get rid of it. Truce for now?”
Steve took his extended his hand and squeezed it firmly. “One crisis at a time,” he agreed.
A beep from the desk interrupted whatever Tony would have said in reply. He let go of Steve’s hand and turned to the desk, sorting through the various tablets and laptops until he found the one that was beeping. He frowned as his dexterous fingers worked at the display, zooming in several times. He hummed, and his lower lip disappeared between his teeth. Steve wanted to know what he’d found, but he also didn’t want to interrupt him. As much as they fought, as much history as they had between them, Steve couldn’t shake how cute Tony was when he was deep in thought.
“There are eddies…” Tony muttered
Steve waited a moment to see if he was going to continue, and then prompted, “Yes?”
Tony twitched as if he’d forgotten he wasn’t alone. “There are eddies,” he repeated. “In the fog. I have a few dozen drones out scanning the fog from this side. Friday, is Rhodey up from his nap?”
“Indeed, sir,” Friday answered readily. “I’ve taken the liberty of sending him the information and he says that he’ll be up in a few minutes.”
“Why are these eddies important?” Steve asked, moving so he could look over Tony’s shoulder. The screen showed a map of the city with the fog outlined in red, and everything outside of it shaded purple. Several blue blips flashed serenely on screen at seemingly random points around the city. “Wouldn’t it be normal for air currents to cause eddies in a fog bank?”
“First, your premise is wrong from the start, because this isn’t a normal fog. Ergo, there is no ‘normal’ at all. We can’t expect it to behave in any way based on how suspended water vapor would,” Tony said distractedly. He made a flicking motion with the tablet and the map appeared on the projected screen. “Second, even if it were just a normal fog, the eddies would move with the air currents. These seem to be staying in the same place.”
“And that’s weird,” Steve said.
Tony glanced up from the tablet he was clicking away on. “That’s weird,” he confirmed.
As Steve watched, another blue blip popped up, and then a second. The longer he watched the map, the more frustrated he became. He checked his watch – he should have been getting on the quinjet in another five minutes, fresh back from his morning run with just enough time to get into the shower. Now, because of some kind of God-only-knows-what kind of supernatural mist, Hydra might be able to get away with a bioweapon, Wanda was stuck out of the city with only Vision to keep an eye on her, and they had no idea where the threat was even coming from. Honestly, they had no idea if it even was a threat, though Steve couldn’t think of any benign reason to cut the city off from the rest of the country.
“Could this be going on everywhere?” Steve asked, breaking into Tony’s muttered monologue. His stomach gave an unsteady jerk as he imagined the panic if every major city in the country – or the world – had been similarly sealed off. With no one knowing if the rest of the world was similarly isolated, it would be pandemonium, and that wasn’t even touching on maintaining infrastructure, and more mundane emergencies like someone in need of a Life Flight.
Tony’s eyes flickered over to him. His expression went grim, and Steve guessed that he’d already thought through that possibility a long time ago. He didn’t say anything, but Steve got the message – there was no one way they could possibly know. Steve felt the hairs on his arms stand upright. If they were about to be invaded, there was no better way for it to be done: isolate all the major population centers and pick them off one at a time while they had no chance to call for backup or even warn other areas.
“Even if there’s nothing with big teeth waiting to chomp our faces off, just maintaining order in the city is going to be a problem,” Tony said. “Most people haven’t gotten out of bed yet, but as soon as everyone realizes what’s happening, we’re going to have riots in the streets.”
“Have we been in contact with local authorities?” Steve asked anxiously, realizing that it should have been one of his first damn questions instead of fighting over past mistakes and pouting over his canceled mission.
Tony nodded briefly. “Rhodey was on the line with the police commissioner earlier this morning, but they don’t know anything more than we do. They’ve been quietly getting officers out of bed and have roused what few military personnel are in the city that they could get their hands on. I touched base with the mayor’s office about…” He leaned over to check the time on one of the laptops. “Ninety minutes ago. Personnel are being deployed in a perimeter one block from the fog all around, and buildings outside of the perimeter are being evacuated, just in case the fog moves. So far the authorities have it handled, but they’ll reach out to us if they need us on the streets.”
Steve nodded. He wished Tony would have woken him up so he could have at least been involved in dealing with the authorities, but everything seemed to have been taken care of without him just fine. Before he could think of anything else to ask, Rhodey walked in. He was wearing a faded MIT t-shirt, a pair of blue pajama pants, and he was yawning behind his hand as he shouldered the door open.
“Do you have the energy readings?” he mumbled without acknowledging anyone. If Steve didn’t know better, he’d think Rhodey was sleep walking. Rhodey took a cautious sip from his USAF mug, and then blinked at Steve for several long seconds. “Hi,” he said finally.
“Rhodey,” Steve greeted. “I take it you didn’t get much sleep last night.”
“None last night at all,” he confirmed, holding the mug close to his face and breathing in the steam. “By the time I was getting ready to turn in, we got the first report of this mess.” He gestured to the table with his free hand. “I grabbed about forty-five after we hit a wall with the readings.”
“We used to pull all-nighters and still to make it to our eight a.m. class all the time, you baby,” Tony teased.
Steve was irrationally jealous by the change in Tony’s body language as soon as Rhodey had walked in. He was instantly more relaxed and opened, making Steve realize just how much he and Tony still had to go before they were back to being friends – if they’d ever really been friends in the first place. Steve wasn’t sure anymore. There was always just so much tension between them, and every time Steve thought they were getting to a good place, something went wrong and one or both of them did something the other just couldn’t see past.
“Yeah, yeah,” Rhodey grumbled. “The joys of being nineteen.” He yawned again, and then shook himself and opened his eyes wide as if that might trick his head into thinking he was more awake. He took a long pull from his mug, and then set it down out of harm’s way and reached for the tablet in Tony’s hands.
“I’m not an expert in thermonuclear astrophysics, but this energy looks a little bit familiar,” Rhodey said after trying the eye opening trick for a few minutes and stifling his yawns. He and Tony exchanged meaningful glances.
Deciding for the hundredth time that he was going to take some classes just so he could keep up with the geniuses on his team, Steve asked, “What?”
“These ‘eddies’ might be portals,” Tony said. He tapped his fingers on the back of his tablet while Steve’s eyes shot back to the map. If it was an invasion, the portals would be perfectly laid out to funnel ground troops throughout the city in minutes. They would be overrun right out the gate.
“I’m going to fly one of the drones into the center of one,” Tony decided, exchanging his tablet for a HUD eyepiece.
“I’ll get on the phone with the mayor and police commissioner,” Steve said. “Send me a copy of that map – I’ll see if we can get bodies in place to cover them.”
“It’s going to stretch resources,” Rhodey warned. “There’s already thirty seven of them that we’ve found. We can set some drones to hover over the area, but the police are already going to have their hands full just handling the scared civilians.”
Steve dug his cellphone out of his pocket and tugged his earbuds out by the jack. “We don’t have a choice. If this is a set up for an attack, the only chance we have of stopping it is to turn those portals into choke points and take out the invaders as they come in.”
Rhodey nodded grimly and tapped his fingers across the tablet. Steve checked his email, and then gave Rhodey a thumbs up as soon as he had the attachment. His fingers itched to start dialing, but he needed to see what the drone came up with before he started a tactical conversation with law enforcement.
The map on the projection minimized and a video of a drone’s camera took its place. Tony had turned a smaller tablet sideways and held it between his hands like a game controller as he steered one of the drones around the corner of a building and over the heads of three police officers in riot gear standing in the way of a red sedan. The sound wasn’t on, so Steve couldn’t hear what they were saying, but it was easily to tell that tempers were already running hot as the driver stepped out of the car and gave the officers the middle finger.
Leaving the scene behind, the drone swerved around a streetlight and then came to a stop in front of a wall of purple fog. There had been grainy footage of the fog on the news report, but it wasn’t anything like seeing it through the drone’s high resolution camera. It didn’t look like fog so much as smoke pressing up against a glass wall. It reminded Steve uncomfortably of clouds of gas in a glass enclosure and his spine straightened reflexively as he watched the drone swing slowly back and forth. On Tony’s screen, a barely detectible swirl was highlighted in green. He watched it for several seconds, and then eased the drone closer once it was apparent that it wasn’t going to move.
Wisps of lavender brushed over the camera for a few seconds, but then it was completely surrounded in walls of the stuff. Tony’s hands were tight on the tablet, but he made smooth, easy adjustments to follow the center of the eddy as it drilled deeper into the fog.
“This is as far as any of the drones have gotten,” Tony said distractedly, eyes glued to the screen. He angled the tablet down slightly, and then made a gentle curve toward the right. Abruptly the fog disappeared and the camera reported a bright afternoon sky through alien foliage before it went dark. NO SIGNAL appeared in flashing red over the black window. Tony hissed at the screen and tapped his fingers across the tablet, but it didn’t come back up.
“That didn’t look like New York,” Rhodey said after a moment while they all absorbed the new information. “Not even sure that looked like earth.”
Tony made a noise of agreement, but said, “Let’s not jump to conclusions though. That could have been some kind of weird theme park, or the set of a movie for all we know. Friday, run the images through a search and see if you can get a read on that tree, or pick up any background details we missed that might tell us where that portal went. In the meantime, I’m going to need a drone through every one of those portals to see if they all go to the same place.”
“Sure thing, boss,” she replied immediately, and then one of the tablet screens split into dozens of smaller windows as the drones took off for the portals.
“I’ll get on the line the mayor,” Steve said, opening his contacts on his way back to his own office.
“He’s a kid, Tony,” Steve hissed. Over Tony’s shoulder, Spiderman watched them avidly through the luminous eyes of the suit Tony had just happened to have on hand. “What were you thinking?”
“This kid gets up to just as much do-gooding as we do, but he does it on his own. I’ve been watching him for months, and I, for one, would rather him under our wing where we can protect him, than running off on his own. I caught him shooting webs into the fog, Steve. Trust me, he’s going in with or without us, and I would rather it be with us.”
“So we lock him in a holding cell somewhere. He’s sixteen!” He turned to Natasha for support, but belatedly realized that she was probably not his best ally on the matter. She just hiked an eyebrow at him and shrugged one shoulder. Rhodey was unreadable behind the War Machine face mask, but his body was angled toward Tony, head tilted slightly. Tony just snorted incredulously, the sound translating weirdly through Iron Man’s vocal processor, and crossed his arms over his chest.
“I’ve seen the kid’s work,” Natasha said after a moment of tense silence. “He’s good. And Stark’s right – he’s a lone operator and he’s more likely to get himself hurt without back up. With his strength, there’s no holding cell in the city that’s going to hold him.”
“He’s sixteen,” Steve stressed again.
“I was younger than that when I started,” she replied, nonplussed. Tilting her head slightly to look over at the eager Peter Parker as he tumbled around in his new suit, tossing webs out, she said, “He’s strong. Physically, I mean. Maybe stronger than you.”
“Either he comes with us where we can keep an eye on him,” Tony said, “Or we try to convince him to stay here and ‘hold the fort’ where he will be on the front line if anything does come through those portals, or – more likely – he’ll just follow us on his own and maybe not make it to the other side. It’s as simple as that.”
Steve made a frustrated noise against the back of his throat and watched Peter for a few seconds as he shot a web up to the top of a streetlight and spun around it like he was a tetherball on a playground. Steve had known boys – men – like Peter, who lied about their age so they could enlist and ended up crouched in the mud with the rest of them, covered in mud so they were unrecognizable from the men standing next to them, exactly as scared, and exactly as brave as the men in their twenties.
“I don’t like this,” Steve said finally, but he knew Tony was right. Wanda had barely been eighteen when she was recruited, and Peter was exactly the kind of kid of who would have found his way into the War one way or another, just like Steve had been. Having him run around as a wild card was a far worse option than having him where Steve could order him to put his head down. He met Tony’s eyes and nodded reluctantly.
Tony snapped the faceplate of his helmet down without another word and gestured Peter over. When Peter didn’t see the gesture, he said, “Underoos! Pay attention, kid.”
Peter let go of the streetlight, landed almost silently in his soft boots, and eagerly jogged over to stand at Tony’s side. He waved at them. “Hi, guys! This is so exciting, I can’t even believe I’m just standing here right now. Mr. Stark, this suit is amazing. Wow, Black Widow, can I just shake your hand? I mean, if that’s okay, if not, it’s totally cool, I definitely don’t have any kind of crush on you at all – shit, I did not just say that,” he finished to himself, tucking his body part way behind Iron Man’s side and covering his masked face with one hand.
Already regretting his capitulation, Steve took a moment with his eyes closed to just draw in breath. “Spiderman,” Steve said patiently, “This is not a field trip. You will stick to my side like glue and follow instructions, or I will ground you. Got it?”
Even through the mask, he could almost see Peter’s grin. Natasha covered her mouth with the back of her hand, and there were suspicious noises coming from Rhodey’s suit. Steve didn’t quite smack himself on the forehead, but it was a close thing.
“I mean that you will have your ass on the ground and you won’t be doing anything but watching from the sidelines. Better?”
“Sure thing, Mom,” Peter chirped, and then winced and covered his face with both hands. “Why am I like this?” he asked desperately. “I just called Captain America mom, what is wrong with me?”
Deciding to ignore the kid’s breakdown, Steve put a hand to his ear and asked, “Sam, what’s your twenty?”
“Flying over the East River,” he answered readily. “Looks like there’s purple fog starting to form on the water. Manhattan is going to be cut off soon.”
Over the last twenty-four hours, the fog had been creeping very slowly but steadily inwards, swallowing a few more city blocks of Manhattan, Queens, and Bronx, as well as West Brighton. JFK had been abandoned and the barricades had been moved to the interior side of Belt Parkway in the south of the city. They were no closer to figuring out where the fog had come from, or where the portals led. Tony had been able to get a drone to come back through one of the eddies late the night before. It seemed unharmed, though its memory had been wiped clean.
Sam swooped overhead and landed a few meters away, his wings folding neatly across his back as he started walking. “Found him,” he said, and then knelt on the ground and opened what looked like a cosmetics case. His lips twisted in distaste and he jerked his hand away from the lid of the box as soon as it was open.
Ants poured out in a volcano of smooth carapaces, all shapes and sizes. Behind Steve, Peter jerked back several startled steps. “What the hell?” he squeaked.
Two flying ants broke off from the swarm. There was a pop of air pressure, a brief flash of light, and a pungent burning scent filled the air as two people seemed to just appear out of thin air.
“Mr. Lang, Ms. Pym. Thank you for joining us.” Steve did his best to ignore the swarms of ants milling around his feet and reached out a hand. The ants moved smoothly out of the way as Steve’s weight shifted.
Scott grabbed Steve’s hand between both of his and pumped their arms excitedly up and down. “It’s an honor,” he babbled. “I am standing in the middle of the street with Captain America and… wow, all of you.”
“I know, right?” Peter piped up.
Hope reached over and helpfully dragged Scott’s hands away from Steve’s. “I know,” she said indulgently when he turned to continue his excited monologue in more of a whisper. “I know, very exciting.” Nudging him out of the way, she held a hand out. “I’m guessing you haven’t had any better luck with this fog than we have,” she said, shaking Steve’s hand firmly and then exchanging grips with Natasha.
“Not so much, no,” Tony confirmed. “We appreciate you sending over your data.”
She nodded, and then gestured back at the fog. “Do you know what we’re going to find on the other side of that?”
“We’ve sent almost fifty drones in,” Rhodey said, opening his faceplate with a tap to the side of his helmet. “So far they’ve all gone to the same place, but we have no idea where it is. We haven’t been able to identify any of the vegetation, and we’ve only seen weird alien trees, so no other landmarks.”
“This could be a one way trip,” Steve said.
Scott’s excited shifting stopped all at once, and Hope nodded slowly. She looked back over her shoulder, and then turned back to Steve. “We know.”
Steve was still reluctant to take them all through the portal. If they couldn’t get back the city would be left virtual defenseless, but there was no way to predict what they might find on the other side, and no way for whoever went in to call for backup. With the fog slowly creeping in closer and the city complete isolated from the rest of the country, they were going to start running into even more problems than the mysterious mist. People were already beginning to panic, and with the city under siege and no way to predict how the power grid would continue to operate, food and medical care were going to become a concern. Between the two of them, Steve and Tony had decided that the best way out might be through. They needed to get to the other side of the fog and shut it down if they had any chance of freeing the city while there was still a city left to free.
“Iron Man is going to lead the way, and we’re going to keep in physical contact with each other. Put your hands on the person in front of you and follow exactly where they go. We have no idea what will happen to you if you step into the fog. War Machine will be in the middle of the line. In case the portal shifts at all, he’ll be able to redirect anyone behind him. Spiderman, you’re right behind Iron Man. Everyone else fall in, I’ll bring up the rear.”
He waved, and watched critically as Tony carefully lined himself up in front of the portal, and everyone else lined up behind him. Tony twisted and made a gesture with one hand over his shoulder. After a moment of chatter, Peter jogged back down the line. He gave Steve a jaunty salute, said, “Don’t kill me, it’s Tony’s idea,” and shot a sticky string of webbing at Steve’s belt.
Steve jolted back, but before he could say anything, Peter had tied him to the back of Sam’s belt, and then repeated the process all the way up the line, ducking nervously and politely asking Natasha and Hope’s permission before webbing them together. Holding the last web in his hand, he leapt nimbly up to Tony’s shoulders and tucked himself neatly to Iron Man’s spine so he looked like a creepy backpack more than anything else.
“This stuff is never going to come off, is it?” Sam complained in an undertone, poking at the web with one finger and having to yank hard to get himself free of it.
“Better than never coming out of the fog,” Rhodey said.
“Welcome everyone to the Iron Man Express, please hold onto the person in front of you, make the appropriate choo-choo noises, and try not to get tangled in your webs. And we’re off!” Tony called cheerfully over the comm.
Between Sam and Rhodey, Scott obligingly pumped one arm and said, “Choo-choo!”
And to think, Steve had been worried about taking the actual child along on a highly dangerous mission. Iron Man extended one arm carefully into the fog, shuffled slightly to the right, and then moved confidently forward, pulling Natasha in after him. They disappeared into the fog bank two steps in, but the line between Natasha and Hope remained taut, and there was no screaming.
Think on the bright side, Rogers, Steve told himself. At least there’s no screaming.
Sam followed Scott into the fog, and Steve forged in after him. The world closed off behind him, the city sounds immediately silenced as the fog wrapped chilly fingers around Steve’s limbs and drew him further inward.