by Lilian Colby
The truth is revealed.
I have no idea how the serpent society got all of these weapons, but it certainly made this fight more complicated. I just hope that Reuben doesn’t get any ideas of coming down here. She needs to give herself a break. I don’t think that anyone has endured more stress than she has. I should have fought for her. It would have been the best thing for her. Just then, I got thrown through a wall.
“Tony! Get your head in the game!” Called cap.
I need to stop worrying about Reuben, she’s safe. She’s at the tower.
“Sir, Reuben has just left the tower.” Jarvis announced to me.
“What? Where is she going?”
“It appears she is going to you.”
“You need to stop her Jarvis.”
“She has already left, sir. I am unable to do anything.”
“Guys, whatever you do protect Reuben! I don’t know what she’s thinking but she’s coming.” Just after I said that, I saw something out of the corner of my eye, and then a crash. How in the hell did she get here so quickly? The tower is eight blocks away.
The suit fit quite nicely, actually. It was comfortably fitting on me, and not incredibly tight. I would have jumped up and down for joy, but when I jumped up I didn’t come back down.
“Jesus H Christ, I levitating!”
This must be a newly developed power. All that connecting with the tesseract, I would certainly hope I got an upgrade or two. Hmm, I wonder. How the hell does this work? Thor seems to do it just fine…. I thrust myself forward and into the wall I went.
“Ow, that felt great.”
Well, how do I go down? Just think down? As I thought down, the higher got. I need that sprite for guidance. I just gave myself a little push off the wall and through my door I went.
“Oh, son of a-”
This more frustrating beyond compare. Okay, one step at a time. Slowly but surely, I went down the hall. Then, all o a sudden, I went like the speed of light through the living room window and over the streets of new york.
“Holy sweet baby jesus!” I screamed aloud. It was as if the tesseract took over my body with a mind of it’s own. Over the city I went, and then I began going down at a sharp incline towards some weird guy with a snake head. I crashed right into him, did a few flips and turns in the air, and landed on my feet with my right knee bent, left left straight, left arm in the air, and my right hand dragging on the ground. That’s a good way to get road rash. Now that I was back in control, my boxing instincts came into play. Viper was staring straight at me, as if she couldn’t believe her eyes.
“Oh, you were demoted quite a bit, weren’t you? Don’t worry, you’ll get there soon enough.” I said mockingly.
“You should be dead.” She said furiously.
“Oh, trust me, I was. And now, I’m angry.” I said in such an inferior voice, I was shocked myself.
Viper came straight at me, and then I let my boxing skills shine. Left hook, double fist uppercut, and to finish it off, I turned to my right, with my right foot up and kicked her in the right side of her face, and crouched and turned and tripped her on to her back. I then jumped up a little off my left knee and punched her in the throat. I stood and took a few steps back, satisfied that i knocked her out cold. Then I noticed two others, aiming their guns at me. I ducked at the exact right moment and instead of shooting me, they shot each other.
“Hahaha, that was fun.” I said smiling.
“Rue, where did you get that?” Asked Dad.
“I think S.H.I.E.L.D. has a plan for me.”
“S.H.I.E.L.D. gave that to you?”
“Birthday gift.” I air quoted. “I think they just used it as an excuse telling me to get back to work….”
“You’re not going back to work anytime soon.” Dad told me.
“Yeah… about that… I’m scheduled to work a shift from eight in the morning on Saturday.”
“What? For S.H.I.E.L.D?”
“No no no, for the fire department.”
“Reuben, I’m not so sure that it’s a very good idea for you to go to work so soon.” Said James.
“I’ll be fine! I just whipped those guys in half the time, I think I can handle some fire. Besides, I have taken on this responsibility and I’m going to live up to it, whether you approve or not.”
I decided to ride in the Avenjet since my first flight didn’t go very well. Everyone was rambling on about average things that superheroes would talk about I guess. I was in my old world, thinking about everything that could go wrong that did in the past month. My mother was dead, I almost died, and James DID die. I know that my life is never going to be normal or the same again. I mean, my little brother now has to grow up without a mother. The thing is, Ryan has no idea that Mom is dead. I haven’t had the guts to tell him, and that’s not fair. However; If I do tell him, I have no idea how he will interpret it. I know that I can’t have Jackson do it, and I know this is something that can’t be said via telephone or video. I was just so deep in my thoughts, I didn’t realize James was talking to me.
“Reuben?” James said my name questioningly.
“Hm, yeah? Sorry, I was having a deep conversation with myself.”
“Uh, alright. We’re at the tower.”
“Okie dokie.” I say like a child. I let James go ahead of me, since I had never been on the Avenjet before and had no clue as to where I was going. I went to my room and put my normal clothes back on, and opened the door.
"Well, time to face my birthday gifts.’ I said aloud.
“You say that like it’s a bad thing.” Steve said, standing at my door.
“I’m not one who is keen on receiving, more of just giving.” I say with a half smile.
“You know, you’re a surprisingly responsible person for your age. Your as responsible as I am.”
“Well, when you’re the daughter of someone like Tony Stark, you have to be responsible. Whatever I do reflects off Tony, and I don’t want to mess up and have him disappointed in me.”
“You’re just a kid, Reuben. If you mess up, it’s understandable. You’ve been an adult for too long.”
“In case you’ve forgotten, Steve, I am an adult now. I am eighteen years old, which means that every responsibility that could ever happen is happening.”
“There is a reason why there is a teen at the end of eighteen. Though you are considered an adult, it doesn’t mean you have to act like you’re thirty years old. Reuben, your Dad is now there for you. If you mess up, it doesn’t reflect off of his image, but yours.”
“Well that certainly makes me feel better.” I say with a sarcastic tone.
“Reuben, in case YOU have forgotten, you are still a teenager. You have a right to act your age at some point in your life, and the opportunity is now. I think you should take this opportunity and live your life to the fullest.”
After that, Steve walked away. I think he did that to get me thinking. By now it was 7:30, and by the time i got through all my presents it was probably going to be ten! The thing is, I had no idea how to act. I’ve always acted like I was older, never my age. Although I have the mind of a genius, so that could possibly have something to do with it. I picked up one of my presents and took a seat in it’s place. It was a moderately sized present, rectangular and slim. It was from-
Before I could finish my thought, I heard a knock at my door, and looked up to see Uncle Rhodie standing in the doorway.
“Uncle Rhodie!” I say like I’m a child and my reflexes kick in, springing me up from the bed a towards him. I hugged him, and he hugged me back, picking me up off the ground a few inches.
“Hey, princess. How’re you doing? I heard that some big stuff has happened this month.”
“You know what, I’m actually doing fine.”
“Are you sure? I know that you don’t like letting your emotions show, but someone can only keep so many feelings bottled up.”
“I’m fine Uncle Rhodie! I really am! Now if everyone would stop making it about me I would appreciate it.”
“Ah, so you’ve been taken victim of being the centerpiece of the dinner table, huh?”
“So you’re sure that you’re okay? I mean, being used to fight against your own friends and father can traumatize someone pretty badly.”
I pulled myself out of his hug, and gave him the most confused look I could muster.
“You don’t remember?”
Just then, Dad walked around the corner.
“Dad, what aren’t you telling me? What happened after that night?”
"I think we need to have a meeting…” Dad said.
How could he not have told me about that? Did he just figure that I already knew? I have no idea what he thought. Maybe he knew I didn’t want to remember, and just wanted to protect me by not telling me what happened. I was sitting in a kitchen chair at the end of the table, with my knees to my chest, my left arm tucked in between my stomach and thighs, holding my right elbow. I had my hand up to my mouth, with my knuckles pressed to my lips, anticipating everyone to walk into the kitchen. I still can’t believe this. I was turned against my own team, with me being the only one on the team not knowing what happened. Well, this is something that I should have expected from Red Skull, with how twisted he was. That scientist must have given him a little too much of that serum, because it went to his head without a doubt. After what seemed like ages, everyone came into the kitchen. They all came in at the same time too. What, were they making a game plan in case something went wrong? Were they afraid that I would go ballistic or something? Dad sat at the other end of the table, and took a deep breath.
"Reuben, what do you remember from that night we got you?”
“I remember almost dying, then that orb went inside of me and gave me enough strength to defeat Skull. Then ripping out the arch reactor from the armour and punching him is the face. I also remember that he killed James, and I brought him back to life.”
"Is that it?” asked Steve.
Steve gave Dad a look and nodded at him, as if signalling Dad to tell me something horrible.
Dad took a deep breath and cleared his throat, and tried to say my name, but his voice cracked. He cleared his throat again.
"Reuben, Red Skull didn’t kill James.”
“No. No, no, no…”
“Rue, you killed James.”
"What?” James said, shocked. He obviously knew as much as I did.
My heart sank. I let out a small whimper and put my hand over my mouth and walked out as quickly as I could. I felt the tears running down my cheeks and hand, still covering my mouth. I went into my room, closing and locked the doors behind me. I went into the bathroom, flicked on the light, and turned the shower on. With my clothes still on, I went in and sat on the floor, letting the water rain down on me, soaking me and my clothes. I didn’t even care, I couldn’t. I just found out that I killed James, which is something that I still haven’t fully processed. I wanted my Mom. If there was anything in the world that I could ask for, it would be my Mom. I just missed her so much, and I think the fact that I can’t talk to her or ever feel her touch again was finally catching up me. I didn’t think it possible, but within the past month, my life has fallen to pieces. I knew that the picture would shatter at some point, but I never thought that it would happen so soon or quickly. I just sat in the shower and bawled. I bawled until no my tears would come out, and then just cried out. At least I was in the shower. By the time I got out, two hours passed by. I finally decided to get out and change into dry clothes. I just changed into my bright coral pink Under Armour shorts and black spaghetti strap tank top. I put on my AC/DC Highway to Hell record and crawled into my bed. As I pulled up the cover, one of the presents fell over, and I heard glass break. I got up and picked up the present and read who i was from. Just my luck, it was from James. Just when I thought I was done crying, I felt a tear go down my cheek. I wiped it away, and slowly unwrapped the present. It was a picture frame, with a picture of James and Kyle in it. The glass plate that covered the photo was broken up, and I put the frame on my desk. I proceeded to move all of my present from the end of my bed to the floor by my desk. I then went back to my bed and buried myself under my covers. It was time to go to sleep. Today has been a long day. It was Five O’clock when I went to bed, and I was in such a dead sleep, I felt like I was dead.
This was going to be hard. Having to tell your daughter that she killed someone is something any parent should have to go through.
“We need to ask her what she remembers before we tell her anything. Then, we tell her.” Said Steve.
“I’ll do it.” I heard myself announce.
“Are you sure, Tony? I mean-”
“She’s my daughter, I should be the one tell her.” I told Steve.
“Alright, well what if she leaves? What do we do then?” asked Natasha.
“We let her handle it. Usually, if she leaves a conversation suddenly, she means that she needs to process what she’s been told.” I said.
“Okay, well I think we should go in now.” Said Steve.
We walked in, and Reuben was sitting at the end of the table with her knees pulled up to her chest, with the knuckles of her right hand pressed to her mouth. I decided to sit at the other end of the table, since I’m the one who’s going to be talking. Everyone found a seat, and I looked at reuben.
“Reuben, what do you remember from that night we got you?”
“I remember almost dying, then that orb went inside of me and gave me enough strength to defeat Skull. Then ripping out the arch reactor from the armour and punching him is the face. I also remember that he killed James, and I brought him back to life.” she said.
“Is that it?” asked Steve.
Steve gave me a look and nodded at me, as if he was giving me reassurance. I took a deep breath and cleared my throat, and tried to say her name, but my voice cracked. I cleared my throat again.
“Reuben, Red Skull didn’t kill James.”
"No. No, no, no…” She started saying quietly to herself.
“Rue, you killed James.”
“What?” James said, shocked.
Reuben let out a small sob and covered her mouth and walked out. I looked down at the table to my hands, then looked to James.
“You don’t remember what happened?” I asked.
“I remembered that I died, but not that Reuben killed me!!” James said, raising his voice. He walked out angry to what I assumed was his room.
“I should go make sure he’s okay.” Kyle said, walking out after James.
“Well this went well.” Said Natasha.
“Yeah, we’ve got one kid sad and depressed and another kid angry.” said Clint.
“I don’t know if we should tell Reuben anything else. I don’t really know if she will be able to handle that in top of the fact that she killed one of her friends…” I said.
“If she wants to know the full truth, then we’ll tell her, but do it when she thinks she’s ready, not when we think she’s ready. I don’t think that Reuben appreciates how many things that we’ve been keeping from her.” Said Steve.
“I’m not mad at Reuben. I can’t be mad at her. I’m mad at everyone who knew.” I say while sitting at the foot of my bed with my hands on the back of my head.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. Dad made me promise. The thing is, I think they were considering you both. I think they wanted you and Reuben to have a good friendship, and if either one of you knew, that it might have affected it.” Said Kyle.
“I’m worried about Reuben. She’s been nothing but tears lately. She really hasn’t had that much time to be happy. I want to check on her, but I’m just worried that’ll make it even worse.”
“I think you should just sleep on this a give yourself time to process. I know you, and I know that you will be an idiot and make a hasty decision on something and regret it later.” Said Kyle.
“Yeah, okay. Can you just go and make sure that reuben doesn’t do anything stupid as well?”
"Yeah, I can try.”
When I finally woke up after what seemed like years of sleep, it was 6 AM. I got out of bed, and took my record off the turntable and put it back in safe storage. I couldn’t really remember much of last night. The only thing that is obvious to me is that I killed James. ME. I know it wasn’t really me, though. I mean, it was my body, but I wasn’t myself. I was being mind controlled by Modok. I just can’t expect James to forgive me. I walked to my closet and found clothes that were damp sitting in front of it. I have no idea why they were like this, but I put them in my hamper, and went into my closet. I dug out a pair of my hollister boot cut jeans and my Greenbow Fire Dept. shirt. I went into the bathroom and flicks on the light. I turned on the shower and let it run for a bit out of habit waiting for the water to heat up like I would back home. I opened up the medicine cabinet and grabbed my toothbrush and paste. I brushed my teeth and swished around some mouthwash and got into the shower. After I felt at least a little better, I got out of the shower and put on my clothes. I ran a brush through my snowflake white hair and put it into a ponytail with my bangs in it. I went back into my armoire and grabbed a pair of socks that were black and put on my neon yellow and grey nikes and went to the kitchen. Thankfully, no one was in there so I just made up some toast and a glass of orange juice. There’s my breakfast, I guess. By the time finished eating, it was 7. I went back into my room and went onto my computer to check my facebook. Torie was on, so I figured I’d talk to her for a while. I left at 7:30 because I figured traffic was going to be a bit tight, and got to the station by 7:50. I hope they don’t mind me being early to work all the time, because it’s probably going to happen a lot. I pulled into the lot where we are supposed to park, and drove to the far corner. Just as I pulled in, the guys were just getting off shift. Mikey, one of the guys who were getting off shift, noticed it was me and decided to pay me a visit. He let out a whistle of what I assumed was impression.
"That is a nice ride. ‘66 Impala?”
“Ah, so you know your cars well. It’s a ‘67 with a 407 engine.”
“Damn, I bet she cost you a pretty penny.”
“Three hundred dollars. But she wasn’t like this from the start. Just a skeleton from a junk yard. In total it was about thirty five hundred.”
“It’s a shame how these beautiful cars are treated. It really is a nice looking car. I better let you go so you aren’t late.”
“Haha, thanks. I’ll see you later.”
I walked into the station, ignoring the bitter chilled air to find just about everyone I met the first time.
“Hey Reuben! Over here!” Called out Mathew.
I walked over and he glanced at my shirt.
“Nice shirt, but I think it’s time we give you one of our own.” He handed me a shirt that said New York Fire Department on it. I guess it was official that I’m on the department.
“I hope I don’t violate the dress code. The department was on was a volunteer department, so we never really worked shifts.”
"Well, we don’t actually have a dress code. You just have to wear a department shirt, and then nothing else matters. Really, when you’re wearing gear you have to wear breathable clothing.”
“Exactly. Okay, jeans and a fire shirt equals good enough. So, what are we doing now?”
“Washing the trucks, the guys just got back from a fire.” Said Luke.
“Right. Wash the trucks after every fire. That’s what we used to do down in Greenbow. Gotta look presentable.”
“Exactly.” Said Mathew.
Well, I can tell this most certainly shouldn’t be a very long shift.But on the other hand, the new guy is a black cloud, so fires left and right. That’s okay, anything to get my mind off last night.
I can’t imagine how Rue feels at this time. I told her that she killed someone that she lives with. And that wasn’t even half of it. She not only killed James, but took out the whole team. She went up against all of us and defeated each and every one. Rue is stronger than the whole team, which makes it a bittersweet situation. She is very good to have on our team and not against us, but what if something like that happens again? Except worse. If Reuben wanted to, she could kill the Avengers. She could probably take on Thanos, not that I would ever let that happen. God, she’s just a kid! She’s just a kid, and she’s gone through more than anyone should have to. She lost her mother, and I know how she feels. Except she still has me, and that isn’t going to change. She just needs something to make her feel like a normal kid again. Maybe if we went on a road trip, it would help her. I remember how she always loved going to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. The last time we went, she was learning how to surf…. That’s it! We’ll go to Myrtle Beach and learn how to surf. Just like when she was a kid. Except we would have the team with us as well. We have learned from experience never to split up too far for too long. This should hopefully work out well, because Reuben doesn’t deserve to have this much stress or go through all of this alone