Another morning at Union Community Hospital.
"How are you feeling today, Tommy?"
The young child whimpered nervously as his doctor came in, his shying expression not going unnoticed. His doctor merely smiled, gently reaching for his shoulder and laying her hand to rest there for a moment. The boy raised those weeping eyes of green, looked up to the woman above him and blushed brightly. He had been expecting a cruel and disfigured man after hearing the nurse say; "Doctor Richards will be in shortly."
However, the person who actually arrived at his doorway was certainly not a man, nor did they bring with them an unsettling presence. Rather, the child's doctor turned out to be a lovely woman, who's emerald eyes brought nothing but pure kindness and sincerity.
She spoke sweetly, her motherly voice bringing the boy to relax and welcome her company.
"I'm your doctor, Miss. Richards," she introduced, extending out her hand.
For a moment the boy inspected the gesture curiously, his hands never reaching out to her's. Richards only smiled, removing her hand from his shoulder and stood up straight, glancing through the files that her nurse had left on the counter. Quickly surveying the information and concluded that her patient was suffering from a mild viral infection, nothing serious.
Turning her attention to the mother, Richards explained the situation clearly, avoiding the Latin vocabulary often articulated by doctors as a language barrier.
"Your son has a mild viral infection," Richards informed, handing the mother a packet of instructions. "He will be fine within a week or so. No medications can cure a viral infection, but I have prescribed some pain killers and lose dose sleeping pills if he requires them to get a night's rest."
"Thank you so much," his mother replied, glancing down to her son in relief.
Richards waved off the gratitude with ease, collecting her things and reaching for the door handle.
"It's my pleasure, Mrs. Stevens." Her eyes dropped to the boy, "I hope you feel better, young man."
Just as she was about to leave, the mother called out asking about the price of their visit and directions to the payment center.
Richards stopped, curtly turned in her black heels and dismissed the mother's concerns.
"This hospital declines payment ma'am."
Richards upheld her parent's beliefs, everyone is deserving of a medical treatment, since inheriting the company all those years ago. Never once has she ever charged a patient for using the hospital's services. While the boy's mother wept openly in disbelief, Richards continued her rounds, eventually returning to her office for lunch. As she sat in peace, an open patient folder on her desk, Richards' phone suddenly rang.
"Miss. Richards?" She couldn't recognize the voice, though it definitely belonged to a man.
"This is an urgent matter, you're services are needed at once. Can you assist us?"
Puzzlement befall her features, she inquired for further information, but none was given.
"This can't be discussed on the phone, but we have someone in critical condition and he won't survive without your involvement."
Nothing else needed to be said, Richards agreed.
Packing her medical bag quickly, grabbing a few personal belongings, Richards departed from her hospital. Surprised to find a limo already waiting for her, a man clad in simple black opened the door and escorted her inside. They exchanged no words, but once within the limo and seated beside another female of similar dress, Richards sought answers.
"Who are you?" She began with the most logical of them all.
The woman smiled, removing her thick glasses and extended a hand. "Agent Hill, pleasure to meet you."
Richards copied the gesture, "I would introduce myself but you seem to already know enough about me."
Hill laughed, "Yes. We do."
"We?" Richards' brow rose curiously. "I suspect I'm not being kidnapped and I had no prior knowledge of this meeting, so...am I safe in assuming this operation is the work of a government nature?"
Nothing could easily get past this woman of medicine.
Her company, the brunette haired woman, began explaining the situation as the car drove off.
"I work for a company named S.H.E.I.L.D and we are in the business of dealing with very dangerous individuals. One of our fine agents was injured last night during a mission and we are unable to bring them into stabilization." She confessed, her eyes falling to the floor. "I believe you might already known them."
Richards blinked, her long lashes gracing the tops of her cheeks. "Who?"
* * *
"Loki must be found at once!" Odin roared, his voice booming across the Asguardian building. "He has escaped our guards!"
Before the King of Asgard were his finest warriors, including a maiden by the name Sif, all of them awaiting his orders. They bowed, offering their services to the throne of Asgard with free will and loyalty. All but...Thor, the son of Odin and adoptive brother to the man in question, Loki.
"Father," Thor broke the rumbles of his Odin's echoing voice. "Allow me to capture him."
Frigga, mother to Thor and foster mother to Loki, raised her brows in rejection of the very idea.
"No, Thor!" She opposed, although Odin lifted his hand, demanding silence.
"You wish to volunteer yourself to this task?" Odin questioned.
Thor nodded, pledging himself to the assignment. The guilt weighing on his shoulders was beginning to cause discomfort and everyone knew this was rightfully placed emotion; Thor had allowed Loki to escape the confines of Asgard. Despite knowing the depth of Loki's crimes against his own people and those of Midgard, Thor still believed in his heart that Loki could change, alter his evil ways. Return to being the brother that Thor had known before this collapse of relations.
"The burden lies with me, father." Thor would not have anyone else go in his place. "I shall return Loki to Asgard and..."
Odin interjected, "No"
Thor's eyes of blue widened, his brow furrowing in confusion. "Father?"
"Loki is no longer welcomed on Asgard," Odin explained, lowering himself to the throne. "Loki shall be punished for his crimes and Thor, you shall be the one who carries out my request."
Awaiting his father's command, Thor dropped himself to the floor and bowed, the loyal hammer Miljnor at his side.
"Loki is to be murdered, sentenced to death for his treason and acts of insanity on Midgard. You must protect Midgard from his touch, and once you've captured Loki, deliver his punishment."
The words spoken from All-Father dropped even more weight to Thor's shoulders, forbidding him from standing. For a moment he merely remained transfixed on the mission he was now assigned to carry forth.
* * *
"Good tidings, Heimdall." Thor rose his hammer in a manner of respect for the weary Gatekeeper. "I shall return soon."
"Be safe," Heimdall warned, opening the portal to Midgard.
The son of Odin, rightful heir to the Asguardian throne was once again journeying to Midgard and this time, he had a mission sentenced by the King.
* * *
The colliding impact of dropping to Midgard was unwelcome, but as Thor gazed up, observing the area in which he landed, a smile graced his lips.
Awaiting his arrival was an agent from S.H.E.I.L.D and together the two were brought back to headquarters. Upon his entering the building, familiar voices and environments greeting him, Thor was eager to reunite with his friends, the Avengers.
"Friends!" The massive man cheered, swooping Captain America, Dr. Bruce Banner, Black Widow, and Hawkeye within his arms. "It is good to see you all!"
Thor's brilliant smile faded as he realized the missing presence of Tony and suddenly grew confused at the sight of another agent now in the group.
"Who is she?" He pointed across the room to Anastasia. This question was soon followed by, "And where is Metal-Man? I wish to see him!"
As Thor demanded answers, it was Steve who replied with sorrowful eyes, his head downcast.
"Tony was attacked last night during a mission. He refused back-up and by the time he made it back to base, his vitals were already damaged severally. He's..."
These words unsettled the Asguardian, the meanings lost through a broken language system.
"Where is he?" Thor growled, approaching Steve with narrowed eyes.
Captain American frowned, "He's in the infirmary."