"Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future." — H. G. Wells, The Time Machine
(Image Credit: Mark Gee)
"Nope, like, I’m not going with you. Nope, like I’m staying with HYDRA."
She tossed the bullet away, the metal clinking slightly as it bounced across the floor. With small movements she managed to patch him up, wiping her bloody hands on a clean rag.
"That should hold you together."
"Planning on letting more agents go while you’re at it?"
He sat up slowly, wrapping an arm around the area while the other supported him in his sitting position. His other persona had luckily quieted down since, and now he could think more clearly without it barking orders every 30 seconds, though he’d lost enough blood to be out of it for a while.
"Thanks. …But I’m serious. HYDRA doesn’t deserve an agent like you. It takes a lot to be brutal. It takes more to choose to be merciful."
"Just catching that bit, are ya?" The girl snorted slightly, moving away to look for something to munch on. "But yeah, seventy. Almost. I think. Time is so confusing right now."
"Can’t blame me for being slow, I haven’t been able to catch up on a lot of things recently." He scratched at the back of his neck, heaving a quiet groan. "Tell me about it. Time’s always been weird to me. So, time travel, is it?"
"Exactly. Totally taking advice from the not exactly old lady." Her lips twitched in a cocky grin. "Exactly like that."
"We make an interesting pair, y’know? And- wait a second, how the hell are you seventy years old?”
"Nope," she replied, popping the p.
Sarah bent over him, giving the wound a quick once over. “I’m going to have to pull it out, so-” Without another warning, she pulled the bullet out, covering the wound with a rag.
"What d’you mean ‘nope’? I’m not just gonna-"
He really should’ve been expecting the next part, but it was still so sudden that he yelped again, although less loudly than before. He put a hand against his forehead, shielding his eyes from view.
"…Ow. You’d think that I’d be used to this by now."
Steve looked at him and then away as his blue eyes fell to the ground in an almost instant manner as he sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. He knew that he had hurt Clint indirectly but he knew that this was something he needed to say, that he needed to clear up with the man as he bit down on his own lip.
" When you were under Loki’s powers, it showed me what kind of damage that you were capable of and to be frank.." he trailed off almost immediately.
" …….and I don’t know if I can trust someone who can deal that kind of damage…" he looked at him.
" You’re my friend Clint, and teammate, but you never tell anyone what is going inside that head of yours."
Part of him was angry, but the other part understood completely - prior to the helicarrier incident, all other agents ever thought of him was that he was a really good shot. And then he’d taken down SHIELD’s entire flying base of operations with about three extremely well-placed arrows. The fact that he was even considered an Avenger at all said even more, but he was only on this team because he was one of the few people that could keep up with the others.
"I usually don’t cause that much damage, Cap. That was an exception. I’m a sniper, and that’s all there is to it otherwise."
Sebastian glanced at Steve, was unable to meet his eyes, and settled instead for staring at the floor.
"We’ve all got secrets. Some of us have more than others."
"No. I’m staying."
She grimaced at the wound. “I need alcohol to disinfect it, then I’m going to dig it out.” Sarah reached for the remnants of a beer she’d started the night before, pouring some onto the injury. “It’s gonna sting.”
"No, you’re n-"
He yelped in surprise and pain, falling onto his back. It took him more than a few seconds to ungrit his teeth and unclench his fists, releasing a breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding.
"You couldn’t have warned me before?" He hissed, all dizziness replaced by painful awareness.
"Excuse you. I am almost seventy."
"Then I revise my statement and I’m right."
"Alright, so I’m taking advice from a senior who looks like a kid."
❝ What mission? ❞
"I’m here to take a look around. Nothing else. I swear it."
It was at least partially true - he was trying to find the last few SHIELD bases that weren’t infiltrated by HYDRA. The last thing he expected was someone to find him out here.
"Don’t worry about me, Barton, I’m a damn good liar."
She moved to retrieve the emergency kit they were required to keep on all missions before kneeling by him. “Let me see,” she muttered softly.
"It’s a little ironic, don’t you think? Mom cofounded SHIELD, and my old man, well, we know that story."
"I mean it. I have ways to get off the radar…I’ve done it more times than I can count."
He pulled his hand away from his chest, wincing slightly as he did. The emergency definitely wouldn’t patch up the wound completely - it would if he’d been cut rather than shot, so all it would do was patch it up enough so that he could get help somewhere. He would run, all right, but his version of “running” was a lot faster and alien technology-induced than most people.
"If you think about it that way, then yes. But you’re…doing what you think is right. Which…is what they did."