The smell of antiseptic and bleach flooded my nostrils as I
stepped into the hospital room and made a beeline for the plastic chair next to
my dad’s bed.
“They have news.” I look over my shoulder to see a scrub-clad Bruce standing in the doorway.
Bruce sighs and rubs his forehead. “Broken jaw, broken foot, head injury that needed seven stitches, and he’s lost a lot of blood. He’ll be in here anywhere from three weeks to a month. Could be worse.”
I nod grimly. “It always could be.”
“Any ideas on why he’s in such good shape?”
“Loki’s toying with him. With us. Kidnapped him, got us to go all the way to Russia to get him back, and injured him enough to make him down but not out.”
Bruce nods slowly. “I see your point. I’ll got tell the others you’re okay, what you just said, and about Tony’s condition.”
“Don’t make them worry, okay? And can you discreetly check up on Clint? I want to know he’s okay after that thing with Loki.”
Bruce nods with a small, slightly annoying, almost knowing smirk on his face. He turns to leave, but pauses at the door to look back at me, smirk still plastered on his face.
“…nothing.” With that he turns and goes towards the waiting room.
I’m left staring at the door in confusion. But I decide whatever, he’s a scientist, he’s allowed to be weird.
I turn my attention back to eldest engineer in the room, sinking back into the uncomfortable by his bedside and grabbing his hand gently.
My dad has bandages wrapped around his head, preventing harm to his jaw. I laugh slightly when I realize they had to shave most of his hair to stitch the head injury and boy, is he going to be mad. He also has a cast from about halfway down his calf to his toes, most likely setting his foot. Needles and tubes protrude from both arms, mainly the one farthest from me. One I can see is an IV drip, another I can assume is morphine, and one I’m pretty sure is a catheter.
I jump and see Bruce standing in the doorway again, this time with tray of coffees in hand and five other people behind him.
“Hi. Come on in.”
He does, going to stand on my dad’s other side, handing me one of the coffees along the way.
“How is the health of the Man of Iron?” Thor spooks everybody by speaking in a much more quiet tone than his usual boom, albeit still a normal voice level for everybody else.
“He’s sedated right now, just to let the morphine kick in and the IV to hydrate his system. Doctors say he should be waking up anytime now.”
I nod as I take a sip of my coffee and then instantly gag because you’d really think hospitals would be more, well, hospitable towards worried loved ones.
Clint sees my expression and laughs, drawing my attention towards him. I quickly look him over to make sure he’s okay.
All in one piece? Check.
Adorable smirk? Check.
Eyes twinkling? Check.
“Taylor?” Bruce is looking at me funny.
“What? Sorry.” I say as I try and return my cheeks to my natural skin tone.
“Are you feeling okay? Your face looks a little red.”
“Just humor me and let me check for a fever.”
I nod and he crouches slightly to put a hand on my forehead. As soon as I see his eyes, though, I can see his concern is simply a façade for the knowing amusement shining in his eyes. I freeze because oh my god how much does he know?!
I twitch an eyebrow in question and Bruce responds by jerking his head towards Clint and nodding almost invisibly.
I duck my head slightly as Bruce grins and pats my shoulder as he stands.
“You’re fine, it must just be your skin recovering from the cold.”
I open my mouth to change the subject, but a rustling sound coming from the hospital bed does that just fine.
I look over to see my dad’s eyes fluttering slightly.
“Dad?” I whisper softly, “Can your hear me?”
“T…T’yl’r?” His words are slurred by medicine, but I understand what he needs. I close the gap between me and the bed as I take his hand once more.
“I’m here. Can you open your eyes? The team really wants to see you.”
My dad obliges and looks around the room at the six other people now huddled around his bedside. “Nice of you…to gather…’round my deathbed.”
“Ha, ha, Dad, you aren’t dying, it’s just a few broken bones.”
“It feels like I’m dying!”
“You say that every single time you’re in a hospital. I promise you, you aren’t getting rid of us that easy.”
“My head is cold. Why is my head cold? I-“ I watch as my dad pats his head and laugh at the look of abject horror that spreads across his face.
“They had to,” gasp “do head surgery,” snort “because you were bleeding.”
“But…” I’m thrown into a new round of giggles at his pout.
“Don’t worry, it’ll grow back, awesome as before.”
“It better. Hey, I’m hungry, can someone go get me food?”
I sit back in the chair as Bruce and the team tread out of the room in search of food.
Three agonizing, overly-annoying Tony filled weeks later, I’m walking back into that hospital room to slap a beanie onto my dad’s now fuzzy head and then leading the way down the hall to sign the discharge papers.
“Any news on the Loki situation?”
“I’ve narrowed his locations down to a few favorite hiding places of his. London seems to be a hotspot right now.”
“What is it with Loki and Europe? First Germany, then Paris, then Moscow, now London?”
“It’s kind of the European equivalent of New York.”
He just shrugs as we walk towards the awaiting car.
The car ride is silent until the mini T.V. is turned on to show a live news broadcast, showing footage similar to that of the Manhattan attack.
Except Manhattan was years ago and not even news companies’ use footage that old.
And the fact that I can see Big Ben.
“Happy, get us home. Now.”
“Are we sure?”
“No, Cap, we’re not. We didn’t just watch the London Eye glow blue and then explode.”
“Sarcasm not appreciated.”
“But it was needed.”
“Guys! Focus! London is at stake here!” Dad cuts in, the focused one for once.
“Do we have the go ahead from Fury?”
“What part of London is at stake did you not understand? I don’t know about you guys, but I’m going to London whether Fury wants me to or not.”
Steve sighs and looks around the room, seeing my words mirrored on every face in the room, and knows he is outnumbered.
“Suit up, then. I’ll get a jet.”
The occupants of the room scatter as suits are unfolded, knives are sharpened, and guns are loaded and holstered.
I was just snapping my bow case closed and holstering my knife when Steve came in, somehow suited up, and told us the jet was ready. I shouldered my suit pack and quiver and followed Clint out the door.
Once seated (but not comfortable) in the jet, I grab a StarkPad to look over battle plans and the enemy’s specs. We don’t have a battle plan, since nobody liked the ‘I have a plan: attack’ strategy, so we’re (read: Captain) thinking one up on the battlefield.
We do that a lot.
Natasha and Clint have us flying due east at Mach 3, so the flight is supposed to take about two hours, which means two hours to sit and wait and try really hard not to freak out about the fact that I’m two hours away from the battle of my life.
Trying not to freak out. Keyword: trying.
My dad must have noticed my face, because he sat down next to me and distracted me using the oldest trick in his book: debating Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics.
One hour forty-nine minutes later (but who’s counting?), dad and I are just starting to debate the possibility of Terminator becoming reality when Natasha informs us that we are approaching our destination and we need to get suited up.
Dad helps me up as our suits assemble around us, casing us in the oh-so-familiar feel of metal and holoscreens. I watch as Steve straps in his shield, Thor calls his hammer, Bruce’s eyes flash green, and my dad squares his shoulders. Battle of my life? Here I come.
The ramp lowers.
It’s show time.