ByRyan Busenius, writer at

Natasha picked up Loki's sceptor and held it up to the tessaract exactly how Dr. Selvig told her to. "I can close it." She said. "Does anybody copy?" Cap came on to the comms. "Do it!" "No wait!" They heard Tony say. "I got a nuke comin in, its gonna blow in less than a minute." Tony hit the bottom of the missile and latched on to it. "And I know just where to put it." The nuke is quickly approaching the city with Stark attached to the bottom. It comes speeding in between buildings as Tony starts to push it up. They come speeding up to Stark tower, which is half destroyed from the current battle with the Chitauri. He raises the nuke using every bit of power on the thrusters he can. Screaming next to the tower he manages to get the nuke almost completely parallel to it. Just when it seemed like he had it on its way to the portal, the nuke clips the side of Stark tower tearing one of the tail fins off.

Tony fell towards the ground but caught himself mid air. The nuke continued going up for a moment and then began spinning out of control. Black Widow, acting quickly, thrust the sceptor into the tessaract. "Stark get Selvig out of here now!" She said as she leapt from the roof. Tony came zooming to the roof and grabbed Dr. Selvig and began speeding away from the city. Thor grabbed Cap and flew off immediately. Hulk picked himself up out of the rubble he was under and began sprinting towards the tower. The Chitauri started shooting him as he was running, but nothing was stopping the Hulk as he launched himself into the air. Natasha, quickly approaching the ground, calls out on the comms. "Clint where are you?!" "I'm stuck in the office building on 39th." He said. The nuke still spiraling out of control continued to come closer to impact. Hulk slams into the side of Stark tower, catching Black Widow. They come scraping down the side of the tower and as soon as Hulk's feet hit the ground he was sprinting again, this time away from the city. Thor landed just outside the city with Cap. They watched as he nuke spun all over the sky. "We're coming to get you!" Natasha yelled over the comms. "No!" Hawkeye responded. "Get out of the city now!" The nuke stalled mid air for a split second and began spiraling towards the ground. "NO! I'm not leaving you!" Natasha said. But Hulk was already hurdling towards the edge of the city. Thor started to spin his hammer and took off, flying toward the city where Hawkeye was. Tony landed next to Cap and set Selvig on the ground. "Where's he going?!" He shouted at Cap. He motioned his hand to tell Tony to be quiet, pressing his hand to his ear to listen. "It's okay Natasha...... Goodbye."

The nuke impacted the ground and exploded into a mushroom cloud. Steve, Tony and Dr. Selvig turned covering their eyes. They looked back to see building that once stood tall turning to dust. To see the city they were supposed to protect being destroyed. Thor was propelled out of the air and away, losing his hammer. The explosion threw Hulk and Black Widow into the air. Hulk wrapped her up tightly in his arms as they were flying through the air until they landed hard in the water. Steve and Tony looked at each other in awe. They looked back to the city seeing the destruction that had been done. After the fire had finished spreading all that was left was rubble, flames, and murdered civilians. Fury called in over the comms. "Get back to the helicarrier... It's over." Iron Man grabbed Captain America and Dr. Selvig and started off towards the helicarrier.

They got back on board after what seemed like the longest flight of their lives and met Fury on the bridge. "What the hell was that?!" Tony yelled at Fury. "The council took over and fired the missile." "And you couldn't stop them?" Cap added. "We could have saved the city if you kept that damn nuke from firing! we lost Hawkeye and thousands more!" "I am very well aware of what we have lost!" Fury shouted back. "It was not my decision to fire a nuclear missile at New York City! I did everything that I could have done!" The three stood in silence for a moment. "What's the status of the rest of the team?" Fury asked. "Thor took off toward the city right before the nuke went off." Tony said. "Nobody knows where he ended up." Cap added, "And Hulk and Natasha were still running from the blast. I'm not sure if they made it." Agent Hill came running in, "Sir we've got a stress beacon coming from the Hudson just outside the city." Steve looked up, astonished "That's gotta be Natasha!" Fury looked at the screen showing the beacon's location. "Hill, send a rescue team in there now! Bring them back."

Bruce had made the transformation back from the Hulk and was floating in the water unconscious. Natasha, struggling to maintain consciousness, was treading water next to him with the beacon in her hand. "Hang on Bruce." She said faintly. "They're coming." She grabbed his hand. A quinjet came swooping down over the water and four men in wetsuits jumped down and began to hook the two up to harnesses. The crew raised everyone back into the quinjet and took off towards the helicarrier.

What was left of the Avengers sat around the table in the briefing room. Natasha sat on the far end of the table, a blanket wrapped around her. Bruce sat right next to her with a blanket over his shoulders as well. Tony stood next to the window looking down on the clouds. Steve sat on the opposite end of the table from Natasha and Bruce. They all sat there staring off into space. All of the mourning the loss of their friend, and the loss of the thousands of civilians whose lives were lost. Natasha broke the silence, "So what now?" Nobody responded at first. Cap finally replied to her, "I don't know Natasha, Fury is talking to the council now. I assume we'll get our orders soon." "Our orders?" Tony said angrily. "There are no more orders to give. We lost. The city was destroyed. There's nothing left to do!" Cap leaned forward, "What about the rest of the world? We might have closed the portal but hundreds of those things still made it through and out of the city. And God knows how many more are still on the other side of that wormhole just waiting for another chance to attack. There is still a war to fight Stark." "I've told you before. We are not soldiers! I'm not here to fight Fury's battles!" "Is that what New York was to you?" Cap said getting angrier, "A meaningless battle? We might not be soldiers but we are the only ones capable of protecting these people." "Yeah, we did a great job at that." Tony said sarcastically. Cap stood up, "What the hell is your problem?! We did everything we could and we bought time for thousands to make it out of the city!" "And hundreds of thousands more died because I wasn't strong enough!" Tony yelled, his eyes starting to tear up, "I was the one guiding the nuke! I was the one who was supposed to get it away from the city!" The room was silent. Tony turned to face the window again, putting his back to the others. "I should have been able to but i couldn't. Maybe if I had been able to Clint would still be here." Natasha stood up and walked next to Tony, "This isn't your fault Tony." She put her hand on his shoulder. "None of us could have stopped this. We had no idea it would turn out like this." Tony looked over at her, "It shouldn't have." Cap sat back down, "But it did. And there's nothing we can do to change it."

"You shouldn't have fired the nuke!" Fury yelled at the moniters, the members of the council on each one. "My team was handling it, they were containing the situation!" One of the council members responded, "They would not have lasted. The situation was worsening by the minute. We had no choice but to launch that missile." "Well in doing so you killed over half a million people, including one of the best agents S.H.I.E.L.D. has ever seen." "We apologize for the loss of your men director Fury. But we did what was necessary to protect the rest of the world. Not just Manhattan." The councilman responded. "And what about the rest of the world councilman? There are still aliens spreading across the rest of the globe causing chaos everywhere they go." The head councilwoman looked at Fury, "You still have a team, director Fury. Use them. Track down the remainder of these invaders and wipe them out." Fury stood there in silence. "And what of the madman behind the invasion?" Another councilman asked. "Where is Loki?" Fury looked down, "He hasn't been seen since before the battle ended. His last known location was inside of Stark tower so we assume he's KIA." "And what of his brother, Thor?" He's still MIA. Hopefully he'll make it back to us soon." "What about the tessaract?" He said to Fury. "My best scientists are searching for it as we speak. When we find it, you'll be the first to know." Fury shut down the monitors and left the room.

Fury walked into the briefing room where the Avengers sat around the table. They all stared at him as he walked in. "Dr. Banner, our scientists could use a hand in finding the tessaract when you've recovered." Bruce nodded his head, acknowledging him. At that moment, Thor walked in, "You might have more trouble with that than you had originally hoped." Cap stood up looking at him and Fury turned to face him. "What do you mean by that?" Tony asked. Thor set his hammer down on the long metal table. "Just before that missile exploded and I was thrown out of the city, I saw the flash of what appeared to be the bifrost. It surrounded your tower and was gone a moment later. I returned to the city afterwards and Loki and the tessaract were nowhere to be found." "How do you know they weren't just vaporized by the blast?" Cap asked. "Because I know my brother." Thor responded. "And he is not defeated so easily. And with his army still being out there, I fear there is much worse still to come."

"You did good, boy." The voice echoed across the asteroid. Loki kneeling below a floating chair, sceptor in hand. The one in the chair still with his back to Loki, holding the tessaract in his hand. "You managed to destroy one city, but the planet still has to be taken. This group of humans has proved to be too much for you to handle on your own." Loki looked up, "No, I can handle the Avengers. Just give me more time." The chair turned to face Loki. "Do not interrupt me!" He stood from the chair. Loki jerked his head back down. "You will not face them on your own again. Next time you will have my daughters to assist you." Loki raised his upper body, now sitting straight up on one knee. "Daughters?" He said confused. "Yes, Gamora and Nebula will be going with you on your next trip to Earth." Loki saw two women walking towards him. One of them, green and carrying two swords on the sides of her legs. The other, blue with blasters that wrapped around her wrists. The blue one spoke, "So you're Loki? I'm not impressed." The other one rolled her eyes. "Silence Nebula! You and Gamora will be assisting him in the capture of Earth." Loki stood. "Thank you, Thanos." Gamora and Nebula walked behind Loki. Thanos sat back down in his chair, and it began to float away. Loki turned to face the daughters. Gamora spoke. "So when do we start?" Loki smiled and walked in between them. There was a flash of light around them and they were gone.


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