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Prologue Part Two
December 4, 1996
There was nothing special about James Alec Ivanoff. Nothing. Zero, zilch, nada, zip.
James lived in Novi Grad, the capital of Sokovia. He was a scientist for the Novi Grad Police Department, or the NGPD. He lived in an apartment next to his long-time crush Petra Maximoff. He was the god-father to Petra’s three-year-old twins, Pietro and Wanda. He hadn’t seen his twin sister Rorie in years. He had never met his four-year-old niece Ashline Ivanoff.
James was going about his regular day, waking up, heating up leftovers from dinner last night, dropping Pietro and Wanda at the bus stop, walking to work, and reviewing the case file from the previous day.
“Hi James.” One of his co workers, Willow, said as soon as he set his stuff down. “Hi Will.” He responded as he unpacked his bag, pulling out the folder from the previous day.
“Boss has something new for you to look at.” Willow said and handed him a file. “Another riot?” He asked as he skimmed the page. “Two dead, four injured, six missing.” Willow replied.
James looked up and saw his boss standing in the doorway. “May I have a word?”
James exchanged a look with Willow and she gave him a thumbs up. He shrugged and stood up, following Calden out of the room. “You wouldn’t happen to know a little girl, would you?” Calden asked.
“I-I don’t think so.” He said, confused. “Well, there’s one who wants to see you.” Calden opened the door and James froze.
A small brunette girl sat on the bench with a small satchel. Her crystal eyes, like her mother’s, flicked across the room. When she saw James, her eyes lit up. She immediately stood up and walked towards him.
“Daddy?” She asked. “Daddy?” He echoed, confused. “Yea.” The girl smiled. “My name’s Ash.” She said.
“My mum, Rorie, said you’re my Dad. She dropped me off here and said I’d be visiting you for a long time.”
“Wait, Rorie Ivanoff daughter?” He asked. So this is Ash? He thought, his chest swelling with happiness and pride. Ror must be so proud.
“Mum gave me a note to give you.” Ash held up a folded piece of paper, a glittery heart sticker on the corner. “I put the sticker on.” She added.
James opened the paper and felt himself tense. Oh, Rorie. He thought. Tell me you’re alright.
I know this must be sudden, you probably must be wondering why Ash is calling you Dad. And I’ve kept the truth from you long enough. Now I need to tell you.
After Ash was born, her blood samples were sent to S.H.I.E.L.D. They classified her as an 0-8-4 with alien DNA, too unstable to be left in the outside world.
She is no longer safe with me, so that’s why I’m sending her to you. You and I will be the only people who know this Ashline Ivanoff is my Ashline Ivanoff. She will not be safe anywhere else but with you in Novi Grad.
I know this must seem unfair, but this must be done. And I know how lonely you’ve been after Alexandra died. If S.H.I.E.L.D. gets their hands on her, they will kill her.
I love you brother. Ash thinks you are her father, and by all means, don’t tell her you aren’t. You probably want to know who her father is. His name is…
James eyes widened, looking down at Ash. Her bright blue eyes were shining. How could a girl as young and sweet and innocent be his daughter? He thought. Oh Rorie, what have you done? He looked back down at the paper.
You’ve only known one side of him. You don’t know him the way I do. I love him. Do not judge her for his mistakes.
James crumpled up the paper up and shoved it in his pocket. Ash stared at him with those blue eyes of hers. “Come on, Ash. I’ll take you home and we’ll get lunch later.”
Ash smiled and he took her hand.
She was like an echo of her father. James knew that she wasn’t the same person as him, but he couldn’t shake off the feeling of unease.