Part One: Battle of Sokovia
Avengers Tower, City of New York: 1.34 am
I rolled over in bed and squashed the pillow into a more comfortable position, it didn't help I still couldn't fall asleep. I'd been on duty all day on my feet and hadn't slept much the night before, by all records I should be passed out by now. I jumped up and pulled open the curtains to look out of the window.
The city that never sleeps, they'd got that right. New York spread out before me in a vast expanse of skyscrapers and blazing street lights. No matter what time of day it was always bright outside, the amber glow lit up my room and cast dark shadows into every corner. I didn't think I'd ever get used to it. Coming from Long Island to here had been a shock, the first thing I noticed was the complete lack of green. Apart from Central Park there were barely any trees here. It was worth it though, I'd gotten into Shield..or what was left of it any way.
I trusted the people I worked with and that was enough. Floors above my head was home to the greatest team I'd ever met. The Avengers. Though admittedly some of them were a little larger than life, they were all good people. When I arrived they'd thrown me into the enhanced training programme with agents Barton and Romanoff. Those two were like part of the same unit, when they fought together it was seamless. That was what I was here for, to make myself as strong as them so I could go out in the field and protect people. I wasn't the only one but I'd certainly risen in the ranks in such a small amount of time that I stood out.
Maria Hill had re-stationed me and a few others into the Stark tower the day after Ultron's attack. Even if he had gotten what he needed this facility still needed protection. We were stationed in the visitors wing closest to the doors so that if anyone did try to get in, robot and civilian alike, we could take care of it.
What felt like months ago now I'd been approached by agents in my home town. Apparently I'd drawn attention to myself with my abilities and they'd given me a choice, join shield and train to be an agent or live my life tagged on the index. I'd chosen to fight with them, I'd seen the news, I knew what was happening out there and I wanted to help. Those were the decisions that got me here, now my mentors were out on mission and I was still stuck in this tower hoping against hope they would come back.
Suddenly I heard the sound of approaching engines and lent out of the window. Looking up I saw the quinjet land on the top floor. They were back. I squinted but couldn't see who got off the jet, though I knew it wasn't enough to be the whole team. Flicking on my light I turned on my pc out of habit and tried to access our inner servers but there was nothing, of course there wasn't, Ultron had wiped everything.
A few minutes later there came a knock at my door that made me jump out of my skin. The hall light clicked on before I could open the door and someone spoke up.
“Blake? You in there?” It was Clint
I flung the door open and let out a sigh of relief until I saw his expression.
“Sir, what is it? Did everyone get back OK?”
He shook his head “Its Nat, Ultron has her.”
I caught hold of the door frame for support and saw his face echo my concern. “What can I do?” I asked feeling helpless
“I need your radio, for parts. In case she tries to reach us via the old school coms.”
I grabbed it right away and handed it to him “Anything else? Did you get Dr Cho's cradle?”
“Yeah, Stark has it upstairs. I'd stay out for the moment him and Banner are working.”
“Got it Sir.” I said as he walked down the hall
“Hey Blake for the last time, I told you it's Clint.” he said rounding the corner
“Yes Si-Clint.” I said closing the door and leaning my back against it. For a few minutes I just stared at the wall. What if Nat was dead, that would be a hard hit for the whole team as well as me. I'd really come to care about her. As an agent I knew I shouldn't become emotionally attached to people but I did anyway, it made me something more than a mindless assassin. I had faith that Black Widow wouldn't go easy on whoever was trying to take her out. But Clint had said Ultron had taken her, that meant she was bait for the rest of us. Hopefully she was still alive, we just didn't know where.
I decided to get out of the room, maybe I'd find someone who knew what was going on. Maria Hill was usually around the top floors, if I could find her I'd get some useful info. I got dressed into my uniform and quietly closed my door behind me.
The building was quiet apart from a distant murmur of voices from the entrance hall. I stopped short of the doors and poked my head round the wall. Three figures were coming through it. One very tall man and two slightly smaller people standing very close together. They must have had a card to get in otherwise the sensors would have gone off already. The taller man stopped and turned his head in my direction before changing his stance so that he covered the two behind him.
"Who's there?" he said and I recognised the voice. I stepped out with my hands up so he didn't launch his shield at me.
"It's me Captain." I said walking into the light
Steve's shoulders relaxed and he lowered his arm "Deveraux what are you doing up?"
"Barton needed something and I was already awake. What's going on?" I said trying to see the figures behind him.
"I don't know, we just got back. Where's Stark?" he asked
"He's upstairs in the lab with Banner-" I didn't get to finish before he nodded and punched the button to the elevator.
"Ok you should get back to your room. Come on you two." he gestured to the others to get in as the doors opened. Light spilled out into the hall as the figures passed me.
I noticed one was a woman, she had long wavy brown hair which was tucked behind her ears. She gave me a quick glance as she got into the elevator with Steve.
The other of the two looked over his shoulder at me as he followed her. He was tall with light hair, I couldn't tell in the semi darkness but it looked white with hints of brown. Though he didn't seem old enough to have white hair, he must have been roughly the same age as me. I moved aside as he sauntered passed and he grinned down at me. As the light hit his face I caught sight of a pair of bright blue eyes.
As the doors closed on his back I had a last glimpse of the woman staring out at me with unfocused eyes. It was unnerving because she still seemed to be looking at me, not like when someone is staring off into space and looks straight through you. I shivered as I watched the lift slide upwards. It was quiet in the hall now I was alone and a soft breeze blew dead leaves through the smashed windows right up to my feet. Deciding to take Steve's advice I started to walk back to my room. I couldn't shake the image of the two in the hall. Why were they here and why now. Also, who the hell were they? Not that I could tell from such a small encounter but they didn't seem like a threat and Steve obviously knew them.
I'd almost made it back to the visitors wing when I heard loud shouting from the floors above echoing down the staircase. It got louder and louder and I thought I could hear Tony and Steve yelling at one another. I looked up at the top floor through the window and saw something fly directly into the lab. A second later a thundercloud opened right up above the lap and lightening struck the tower.
I took the stairs two at a time and almost made it to the lab when a huge explosion shook the entire building. I grabbed the wall for support and nearly fell over.
"What the hell was that?" said someone to my right. I twisted round and came face to face with Clint. He'd just stumbled out of the coms rooms into my path.
"The cradle? It came from the lab." I said getting to my feet.
"Wait here. Do not go in until I come out OK?" he said before taking off. I nodded and backed away down the hall.
Something moved in the room Clint had just vacated and I saw a body on the ground covered in glass. The panel above their heads was shattered and I wondered if they fallen through it. I froze wondering who it was but a second later there was a blur of colour and they were gone.
Maybe I'd imagined it, either way something was not right. I reached back and pulled out my gun. If I couldn't go in, I'd at least stop anything from getting out. The entrance to the stairs' was the only exit on this floor so I covered it watching for anything or anyone I didn't know.
Straining my ears I picked up a soft voice from the lab. I recognised it. They sounded English, but one I knew came from England. After a moments more confusion it clicked. Jarvis, Tony's interface. But Ultron destroyed him, how could he be up there? The more I listened the more confused I became, someone up there was trying to convince the others they weren't a threat. There came another voice I didn't recognise, this time female, maybe Russian, I couldn't tell. And then there was silence.
I held my breath waiting for more but I only caught the sounds of heavy footsteps descending the stairs. I trained my gun on the door to the lab when a huge body came through it taking up the entire space. I almost backed away until I noticed the hammer in their grasp.
"Lady Blake?" said Thor looking at me taken aback "What are you-"
"Hey kid lower the gun." said Clint rushing in behind Thor and holding up his hands "Everything's fine."
"What happened up there?" I said letting out the breath I'd been holding in and pointing to the ceiling. "What was the explosion?"
"That was my doing." said Thor looking ever so slightly pleased with himself.
"You blew up?" I asked confused
"No no I- Barton please explain." he said clapping Clint on the arm "I must speak with The Vision." he walked passed me out onto the terrace and I stared after him.
"The what?" I asked Clint utterly lost. He smiled and filled me in. By the end of the very rushed chat I didn't know if I felt more or less reassured. "So he's..a robot with superpowers?"
"No an android..with superpowers." said Clint towing me along after him to the supply room.
"Well that clears it up thanks." I said watching him pull out his uniform "Wait where are you going?"
"We found Nat, she sent me a message. She's fine, for now." he said when my eyes widened "Just trapped."
"Are you going to get her?"
"Yeah me and the team. Ultron is held up in Strucker's old base. Can you grab some coms? Get seven, we'll need them." he said pointing to the room across the hall and I went to grab them while he got changed. I closed the cupboard door and heard someone move in the room behind me.
Turning I saw the two from the elevator. The woman was staring out the window at something and I realised for the first time how pretty she was with her heart shaped face and green eyes. Maybe she'd been the one to speak earlier, the voice I hadn't recognised.
My lips parted slightly as I noticed the man. He was pulling on a t-shirt over his muscled torso, the material hugged his arms and chest so tightly that I wondered how he could still move it in. Though most of our gear was top of the range so it was probably very comfortable. I found myself staring at the way his arms and shoulders moved under the fabric, usually only a reaction Steve or Thor could get out of me. He straighten up and reached back into the closet for something. Luckily he hadn't heard me so I left as quietly as I came in.
"So Strucker's base, any idea where that is?" I asked Clint handing him the coms and leaning against door frame
"Sokovia." he replied notching his quiver onto his back
"Sokovia? Where the hell is that?" I said, it sounded like something from a movie I watched when I was a kid. Someone chuckled behind me and I looked over my shoulder. It was the guy from earlier though now he was fully clothed. The woman was close to his side sporting red leather jacket. I straightened up and stepped back so I stood next to Clint.
"Blake, this is Pietro and Wanda." he said "They're actually from Sokovia."
It took a moment for their names to click into place. I knew where I'd heard them now, from the file Hill had showed me after the Avengers went radio silent a few days back.
"The Maximoff's?" I said warily.
The girl raised her chin slightly at the name and the guy leant against the wall looking at me. Now that I knew they were related I could see the similarities in their faces. The high cheekbones, full mouths and deep-set round eyes. It wasn't just their features that looked similar, both carried dark looks about their faces. I could tell something terrible had happened to them, something more than was in their files. That being said I couldn't take my eyes of the man whose own were fixed on my face.
"Yeah." said Clint coughing pointedly and my eyes snapped back to his "They've decided to help."
"Right, good." I said feeling awkward "When are you leaving?"
"Now." he said pulling out his bow "Tell Hill and the others what happened. And no you can't come." he said before I'd even got the words out "You're needed here."
"Fine." I said then remembered he was still my commanding officer not just my friend "Yes Sir." he flinched at the formality knowing he'd pissed me off. I didn't want him to think was mad at him though so I added "Just please find Nat."
"You got it." he said as I made to leave. I turned just as I reached the door.
"Be careful." I said to him then glanced at the twins. They didn't look hostile, maybe just a little overwhelmed with what was going on. "All of you."
"Always am." said Clint but I barely heard him as Pietro gave me a crooked smile.