A Vision of a Rose

By Audra Barrella

Romance / Action

Recruited

Gunshots rang out next to my head as I ran. I went into an alley and grabbed my gun, my back pressed flat against the wall as I waited for a break in firing to return fire.

"Oh, why did I leave my bow and arrow behind? I'm better with that than a gun," I thought to myself.

"You are under arrest," a voice called. "Come out with your hands up!"

I shook my head silently, though I knew they couldn't see it. "I'm not going to jail for trying to help the hungry children find food and shelter. I'm helping and you're not. I've got to get back to the shelter without them following me."

Hearing footsteps, I silently darted down the alley, putting my gun back in the holster at my side. I spun around as I heard someone drop down behind me.

Before I could react, the person, male by his build yanked me into an abandoned building and put a finger to his lips.

Without thinking, I nodded, ducking down as the police ran down the alley. I pressed against the wall as they looked inside the broken window, the man ducking into the shadows.

After a few tense minutes, the man got to his feet. "Clear," he said.

I stepped forward. "Who are you?" I asked.

"Just a man," the man replied. "A man who's seen what you've done, and admires you for it. You're pretty young. Why do you do it?"

I shrugged my shoulders. "I've been raised to help others," I answer. "I'm a bit down on my luck right now, but I'm not going to let others suffer when I can help."

"How about I strike you a deal?" the man offered.

I crossed my arms, tilting my head to the side slightly. "What kind of deal are we talking about?" I said hesitantly.

"A deal to help you out," the man said. "I know a guy, looking for someone like you with your level of passion. He can give you and the ones you help a place to stay, warm meals, new and clean clothes." He gestured to my attire, run-down jeans, a black t-shirt that has been sewed back together many times when it ripped, and a jacket worn thin from constant use. "All you need to do is to continue what you do."

"What's the catch?" I said. "Someone just doesn't do this with so little in return."

"'So little'?" repeated the man. "You've risked your life to save others, defended them, took care of them like they were yours while keeping up your own health. That's not a small feat."

I scratched the back of my head, not really a big fan of change. "I need time to think about it," I said.

"You can find me here," the man said, stepping back into the shadows.

I nodded and turned to leave. "Thank you for helping me," I said, a hand on the doorknob.

"You're welcome, Rose," the man said.

My eyes widen and I spun around, but the man was suddenly gone. "How did he know my name?" I whispered.

I shook my head and walked out of the building.

It was a long walk back to the shelter, but when I got there, everyone was gone.

"Hello? Anyone?" I called as I walked inside. I went to my space and found my arrows and knife, putting them on. "Clare? Jen? Mandy?"

"You're trespassing," a voice said behind me.

Before I could react, I was knocked out.


My head was throbbing when I slowly woke up. I was in a metal cell, all my weapons gone. I sat up slowly as I heard voices.

"I don't care who she is," a voice said. "She's on the radar and we have to watch her!"

"Come on, Fury, I would know if she had any kind of powers," another voice said. This one was familiar to me. "It's stupid to have her on watch."

"Then tell me about all those times she's messed with stuff," the first voice, Fury, said. "Stolen food and clothes, snuck past guards, assaulted them if she had to."

"She was threatened!" the said voice protested. "Come on, if you had guards charging at you, wouldn't you fight back?"

"Not the way she did," responded Fury sternly. "Go in there and talk to her."

"Me!?" the second voice said. "I don't think that's a good idea!"

"You said you knew her, correctly?" Fury asked. Without a response, he continued, "That is an order, Agent Barton. Now get what we need to know!"

"Barton?" I thought as I heard Fury's footsteps walk away. "He couldn't mean the one I know! It's impossible! Not my brother, Barton!"

I looked up as the cell door opened and I gasped. "Clint," I whispered, getting to my feet. I sat back down as I got a headache, putting a hand to my head.

"Easy now, Rosie," Clint replied as he walked to me. He sat down next to me. "You've grown, but you're not how you use to be."

"After Mom and Dad died and you left, stuff went downhill," I said. "Dropped out of college, got laid off of job after job, tried to sell what I could to get a little bit of money."

"You could've contacted me," Clint said. "I would've helped you."

"But it helped me see that there are others who need help," I said. "I've been helping them. We've been sticking together."

"Except when you returned and everyone was gone," Clint said. "That was S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fault. They scared them away."

"Why?" I said.

"That I don't know," Clint said.

There was a pause between us and I broke it by saying, "Don't you need to like ask me questions or something so your boss doesn't get mad at you?"

"About your 'powers'," Clint answered, doing air quotes around "powers." "But I've never seen you use them."

"Haven't needed to," I replied. "I started to realize them after you left."

"What?" Clint said, startled.

I nodded. "Three powers: shape-shifting," I turned into a dog and back into a human again, "time control," I froze time and moved to my brother's other side, letting time go again, "and magic." I lit a fire in my hand and put it out quickly. "But I can't control them well. Only when I do it quickly for a short amount of time can I control it. If I have to fight with it, the powers are unsustainable. Lethal consequences."

Clint looked down for a moment, processing what I just told him. Then he looked up at him, his blue eyes meeting my green ones.

Despite it being a long time ago, I still saw him as a young boy when I looked into his eyes, the teenager that would keep kids from bullying me, the protective and caring guy that held me in his arms at our parent's funeral, tears running down his face but not making a sound, the responsible young man that would take care of me before he left without communications.

"Stay with me," he said. "I know people who can help you here. Become an agent. And once you can control your powers, then you can use them to help people."

I frowned. "Are you sure?" I said. "I could end up hurting everyone here, including you."

Clint nodded. "I'm sure," he replied. He pulled me into a hug. "Sister."

I bite my lip, feeling tears well up into my eyes: it had been so long since I last heard him say that. I returned his hug, trying with all my might not to start crying. "Brother," I mumbled.


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