Coulson took a peek into his phone and checked the time taken for his team to return. For some reason, the local PD could not enter the building but even if they entered, it would not have been any problem. It took everyone a total of 13 minutes to return with five villains pressed against each other and floating in the air, knocked out cold. Some worse than others, especially Kraven. The state of his team wasn't anything great and remarkable either. Aside from Steve and Nik, the remaining three were injured and bruised quite a bit. Especially Dan and Ava. "Guys, meet Agent Brad, he'll take the villains into custody." Coulson introduced an old man in a formal suit. Nodding at Coulson, Nik let the villains on the ground as the bald agent took out five shots of tranquilizer and injected them into the villains.
"The last thing we need is for them to wake up untimely." Acknowledging the presence of the team that took down the villains, Agent signaled five vans as elite agents armed to the boot jumped out and took each of the villains with a small of team medical staff tagging alongside. "The bas.e.m.e.nts are specifically guarded," the field agent looked at Coulson, "And this Captain from the precinct turned out to be tactful, instead of snooping into his order, he steered clear from the bas.e.m.e.nt. We should still hurry. The exit is currently unchecked, so you have a window of," looking at his watch, Agent Brad sighed, "eight minutes."
Taking his leave, Coulson looked at his team and gazed at Iron Fist, "How long will it take to heal yourself and others?" Coulson leaned back on the van, "I really don't mean to sound ungrateful... but you were actually supposed to be our... medic."
"Bones take a day for self-healing but I can treat others after an hour of rest. Sorry," He shook his head and slowly walked up to the van. "Uh... shotgun," a voice instantly froze Iron Fist in his tracks as the blonde youth slowly turned back, gazing at the grinning youth who looked normal once again. Dark hair and violet, slightly mischievous pair of eyes.
"Is that really the main" Before Ava could complain, Nik placed his hand on her bloodied lips, silencing her. "Hush, now," Nik smiled, his hands glowing green as Ava found her wounds closing at a greater speed. While she could be considered to have a semblance of self-regeneration, it was nowhere near enough to treat her wounds in moments but Nik somehow did. Without waiting for her questioning, Nik looked at Captain and inquired, "Can you drive?"
"I can," he nodded.
As Nik snickered and passed by Cindy, he made sure to playfully spank her perky bottoms, which had slight tears and a stream of blood. Just like Ava, Cindy, too, had greater speed of healing than ordinary humans but Nik made sure to let a considerable amount of his life energy seep into her body at once which began healing her. "Of course, I haven't forgotten about you," Nik spoke rather loudly, drawing a strange green rune midair and sending it towards Danny which stuck against the pitch-black dragon tattoo on his chest, healing him at an exponential rate. And it was then both Cindy and Ava realized that Nik didn't have to specifically touch them to heal them.
So did the others.
"I hate you!" Ava shouted, walking into the back of the van while Cindy squeaked in surprise and followed behind, crimson following her cheeks, too.
"I better get... driving," Steve muttered, "I just got my license a month back, so, it's always nice to have practice."
"Oh, Captain, you should rest," Coulson smiled awkwardly, "I'll drive. We barely have three minutes left."
As the team buckled in and Coulson drove out of the parking lot in the bas.e.m.e.nt, they let out a collective sigh. Meanwhile, on the steering wheel, Coulson switched on the radio as old school punk music began playing on the front speakers. "You know, the fact that you said you control space and then show that you can heal, have a symbiote connected to yourself are things I can easily write off. For real. I am that cool. If I have kids, even they would think I'm 'that' cool. Heck, Fury thinks I am that cool... but you could always help those in need without all the sass."
"Where's the fun in that?" Nik inquired with a shake of his head, "Sure, I distribute safety rubbers to teenagers and leave without dropping my name. I'm that noble. But you seriously can't believe how 'your' team needs to be more like a team. I saw them fight. They were more savage than villains, oh, I couldn't actually see Captain fighting so I don't know about him."
"You saw them? Just that? Didn't help them?" Phil furrowed his brows as Nik shrugged.
"Tell me if this sounds familiar. Ego boosted by self-actualization due to various factors such as power or the fact that one is different and better from the beginning."
"Sounds like me," Coulson muttered, "when I joined Shield."
"And would you like Fury to save your ass every time you make a mistake or screwed up. Or would you rather suffer the consequences yourself."
"I get it," Phil smiled, "But you are a kid, just like them. You should be more... you know... just"
"That's the word. One of them. Reckless, I meant," Phil turned towards the opposite direction of the commotion, taking a longer route to the safe house.
"Eh, you know, that's an extremely dangerous line of thought. To generalize someone based on age. But then again, if I am faced with a six-year-old killer, I would think of him as a cute kid, too," Nik traced his chin, "unless he is dragging the skull of a fellow kindergartener"
"I understand," Phil smiled forcibly, changing the direction of the conversation, "Anyway, do I get to know why you are in the possession of a symbiote?"
"Probably not," Nik smiled as he continued, "Wow, I miss the back seats, now."
"I am that boring?"
"Oh, nothing like that. You are like a... cool dad," Nik coughed, "But when you know that that majority of the party is somewhere else, you just kind of want to be present there. I can probably change seats with Danny as we speak. As long as he isn't wearing a seatbelt..." furrowing his brows, Nik closed his eyes and then opened them only to sigh. "He is wearing it. But they all are awfully quiet, so calling shotgun was better after all."
"Really?" Phil looked a bit surprised, "I wonder why Captain is silent. He actually enjoys chatting with young ones. The fact that he is so much older than us, even I am young compared to him," Coulson let out a soft chuckle at the end of his words.
"Anyways, I just tagged with the ride to see the look on their faces as they prepare their reports and now that they all are healed, they can't push it back. So... step on the gas, the quicker we reach, the better." Nik smiled widely, he simply enjoyed team missions.
"Hah!" Tony snickered, "California does suit me better!" he stated as he popped open a bottle of expensive champagne that went amazingly well with pepperoni pizza. He didn't know why, it just did. Opening the wall wide smart screen, Nik began browsing through the international collection of shows, enjoying the break from setting up his workshop. As he thought previously, New York wasn't meeting his needs when he constantly felt the need to upgrade his tech under a cautionary stare of a single eye.
His vacation house, however, was equipped with old school tech that almost made all of Shield's spyware redundant and the tech he did keep was extremely safe from being breached. Jarvis, Tony's A.I. for example. Shield simply did not have that level of sophisticated technology to breach through Jarvis that kept on changing its own protective measures by tiny margins on a daily basis. Like usual, he was in a dark-grey tank top with the middle of his chest glowing bluish, his arc reactor. "Pepper?" Tony inquired while accepting the call as Pepper's face emerged on the screen, her facial expression anything but pleased.
"What is this?" She demanded, pressing a stack of papers against the camera as Tony chuckled and leaned back, "Your promotion. I'll remain a hidden partner while you get to work full time. For more pay."
"You just can't make me everybody's boss!" Pepper pulled the papers back and shouted, astounded, more than anything.
"Of course, I can. I just did," Tony mumbled, "Listen, Potts. I really needed to step off. You will bring a fresh set of eyes to the industry. And, well, I would bring a fresh set of armors. Win-win!"
"This is not win-win" before Pepper could complete, Tony cut off the call and poured himself the beverage with a wide smile. "Vacation house, Extremis on the verge of completion, boy! Everything is coming up Stark!"
"Captain and Coulson are taking a lot of time," Cindy mumbled as Ava continued to prepare her report. It was agonizing. "How did you have a Symbiote?" Ava inquired after a period of silence, "You said that you destroyed the two symbiotes. Were you lying?" She looked towards Nik as the remaining two also focused on the conversation. "I didn't lie. Those two symbiotes are most certainly eradicated."
"Then what about you? Since when can you heal people? Did the spider give you the same ability?" Cindy spoke up, clearly more than willing to understand why the same spider that bit her only gave her webs while Nik could do so many things other than producing webs itself.
"The spider? No." Nik rubbed his nose, "The spider only augmented certain aspects of mine. In reality, you can consider me something of a sorcerer."
"I've only heard of a single sorcerer," Danny looked at Nik, "I accidentally met him in my place of training. He called himself Doctor Strange."
"I met him a few days back," Nik snickered, "Anyway, what I mean to say is that the manipulation of space is my usual go-to strategy for troubles. Now let me ask you something," Nik looked at Cindy, "Why the hell would you cover your fists in webbing instead of webbing up Vulture's wings? Even if he could cut through them, it would at least bring him on the ground for a few moments."
"I..." Cindy looked away, clearly embarrassed, "This is what I turned to while training under Natasha... oh, and, Natasha is my instructor. She's"
"I know who she is. Redhead," Nik smiled, "And what can I say, you just need more practice, I guess."
"You were free enough to watch?" Ava furrowed her brows as Nik nodded, "Yeah, I wanted to help but it seems like you guys had everything in control. After all... you didn't 'play'." Ava coughed softly and looked down, hiding her embarrassed expression.
"Anyway, I've had my enjoyment," Nik waved at the group, "I'm going home. Be sure to call me if you have more assignments you need help with."
"Wait!" Cindy called out hurriedly and inquired, "Why don't you just join us?"
"Heh, what?" Nik chuckled and shook his head, "Cause I don't want to work under Fury." With that, Nik vanished.
Meanwhile, within the meeting room of the safe house, Steve smiled sadly, "I would have never believed Jackal... but it is true, right? It all started because of me, right? From that war," he looked up, matching Coulson's gaze as Phil nodded.
"Government has always been funded by major enterprises and due to a blunder in war, we needed a hero. An actual one. You are the most privy to the method in which you were enhanced but that wasn't all. After your unfortunate freezing, Howard Stark faced a lot of opposition. His proposition of building Shield made the funding enterprises copy some secrets and create a face for their own protection. A villain for each superhero so that the companies never run out of business."
"And we turned out to be a major promotional scheme," Steve completed Coulson's sentence before standing up, "I would be quitting the initiative but please... try and protect the kids from this secret. Unlike me, they are actually doing more good. It was nice working with you, Phil."
"It was my honor, Captain," Phil smiled sadly.