Song used: Gunpowder
and Lead by Miranda Lambert
As soon as my feet are safely back on the landing platform, I am bombarded with worried Avengers and all the accompanying questions.
"I'm okay! I swear-yes, Cap, no, Bruce, I didn't-well excuse me! I-"
"Jeez, guys, let her breathe." My dad says, landing with a chuckle behind me. "And I'm alive, by the way, thanks for asking. Really feeling the love."
"Admit it, Stark," Natasha snorts, "You’d do the same in our position."
"Touché." My dad just shrugs, both affirming Natasha's suspicions and giving the disassembly bots, currently removing his shoulder plates, more room to work.
Once both of our suits are off and safely stored away, we follow the team inside-
-only to be greeted by one angry pirate of a Director.
Twice in one day? How bad is our luck?
My dad huffs in annoyance, I keep my thoughts to myself for once.
"Hello Director. Anything we can help you -or S.H.I.E.L.D- with?"
"'Cause, if you haven't noticed," my dad grumbles under his breath, "we're kinda-ow!"
I retract my still-booted foot from where it had just made contact with my dad's shin, never once taking my eyes of the Director.
"If you're quite done, Stark, maybe one of you would like to explain what the heck that stunt with missile was?"
Thankfully, Bruce interjects before any comments can be made about the 'stunt' comment - not a stunt, heroism, thank you very much.
"I've been running some tests based off the video feed and size reading Jarvis collected while the alarms were going off, and it's not of Earthly origin.
Meaning it's not a Stark weapon, I think as I release a breath I didn't know I'd been holding, thank God.
“So you’re saying, Doctor Banner, that that was a Zygone weapon pointed at the base for all of the Avengers?”
Bruce swallows and his eyes darken before replying. “Yes Director.”
“Well then.” He turns his attention back to the rest of us, “You all know the drill. Complete combat readiness, 24/7. Sleep with your weapons. S.H.I.E.L.D. is working on the next pinpointed location, we’ll fly you out ASAP. Prepare yourselves for war.”
Cue yet another dramatic exit.
I turn back to the team, my expression probably a mirror of the shock evident on every face in the room – sans Natasha and Clint – and give a weary sigh.
“I don’t know about you guys, but my first order of business is a long, hot, shower. Then a nap. Don’t wake me up unless there’s another explosive headed our way.”
Nobody justifies that with a reply as I walk down the hall towards my room, probably because they’re thinking the same thing.
Forty-five minutes later, I’m sitting on my bed, muscles loosened, once again wearing yoga pants and a loose t-shirt, this one depicting an old band of some sort. I am, however, taking Fury’s advice to heart, because I’m holding a four-inch-long, polished silver, black-and-pearl hilted dagger. Never let it be said I don’t follow orders.
My radio is playing softly in the background, and my mind immediately picks out the lyrics.
I'm going' home, gonna load my shotgun
Wait by the door and light a cigarette
If he wants a fight well now he's got one
And he ain't seen me crazy yet.
He slapped my face and he shook me like a rag doll
Don't that sound like a real man?
I'm going to show him what a little girls are made of
Gunpowder and lead!
My laugh is bitter and bitten, because it’s ironic, isn’t it? The world just slapped me and shook me, and no, it hasn’t seen me crazy yet, but it’s about to. My shotgun is loaded, and I –
“Miss Stark, your father says to pack your bags and meet him and the others on the roof, Fury has found the next location and you depart by jet in ten minutes.”
I jump up instantly, running around gathering clothes as I reply to the AI.
“Of course, Jarvis. Can you condense the suit to pack form and have it waiting downstairs?”
I should probably explain – my suit folds into backpack, sort of like the Mark V, but mine looks more like a backpack than a suitcase.
I end up picking out an olive green t-shirt, black capris, and picking my boots up of the floor, and once I stick my knife in my boot (just in case), I’m dashing for the elevator.
I step out onto the topmost floor to see everyone in gear and ready to go and Natasha and Steve – not Clint – in the jet and already looking impatient.
I pick up my pack and hoist it onto my shoulders, waiting to secure all the other straps until we’re on the plane, I’m going to take it right back off anyways.
The jet’s boosters drown out any conversation to be had, so everyone is silent until we board said jet.
Once on board and in the air, Bruce plants himself in a corner with his research and noise-canceling headphones, my dad shoots me an anxious glance, to which I reassure him I’ll be fine, before he too buries himself in research, and Thor is nowhere to be seen, leaving only Clint and I to interact between ourselves.
I’ll admit this makes me a little uncomfortable, for reasons I really don’t know.
“So, uh, where are we headed?”
“Ah…I’ve always wanted to go there, but not like this.”
“You gonna stick to one word answers this entire conversation?”
I snort and redirect the conversation, because that train wasn’t going anywhere soon.
“Hey, when we get back, can you teach me how to shoot? I’ve got close range covered,” I nod to my dagger, “but I need long range, and guns aren’t my thing. Oh, and I should get combat training too, but I can ask Natasha if you-“
My words are cut off by a calloused hand suddenly blanketing my mouth, my eyes widen at Clint with my ‘what the HECK?’ face on.
“Sorry, but you were rambling.” He explains as he draws his hand back.
“To answer your question, yes I can teach you how to shoot, and I can teach you hand-to-hand combat as well, I’m less of a challenge than Natasha.”
“Thank you so much! I–“
“Attention all passengers,” Natasha’s voice echoes out of the speakers, “We will be landing in about two minutes, please secure all belongings and buckle in if turbulence bothers you.”
Seeing as an aversion to turbulence would make my job impossible, I stand and lift my pack once again, this time securing it over my shoulders, buckling it across my chest and stomach, and adjusting all straps to make sure my suit is safe.
I then watch as last minute papers are gathered and bow cases shut, bracing myself against the slight jolt of hitting the ground.
Soon we taxi in and eventually stop, and we all stand as the ramp lowers.
The streets of Paris await.