Battle of Sokovia

By Ashley-Rae Ridsdel-Brown

Action / Romance

Chapter 21

BLAKE

I decided to not to do it straight away, I still felt seriously ill and needed to rest. People stopped by throughout the day to see me. They reassured me I'd be out soon with hugs and kind words though I hoped I didn't have to stay here long, I wanted my own bed and my own clothes.

Pietro stayed with me for hours. I kept telling him he could go but he wouldn't leave my side. Even through his sarcastic remarks and joking I could tell he was really shaken up because he reacted to every slight movement I made. I hadn't seen him truly frightened since I'd met him, well at least until the last few days. I didn't like having that effect on someone and it didn't seem right on him. When I told him to leave me and run my sister out of harm's way he'd looked on the verge of tears, if it had been me in his place with Wanda in my charge I don't know if I could been strong enough that call and leave him.

The first time I got up I realised my ankle was badly injured, since I was in bed it didn't hurt so much but I'd tried to stand on it a few times and nearly fallen over. They'd shown me the fragment they pulled out of my foot and it had made my stomach turn. My head wound didn't hurt so much as make my brain foggy, sometimes I found it hard to focus and felt my thoughts slip in and out. No doubt being struck on the head and having lost so much blood hadn't helped my predicament.

The doctors came by around lunch and pushed a tray of food onto my table. Pietro got up and perched next to me on the bed.

"Mmm nice." he said prodding the food. It didn't look appetising at all, just a boring sandwich and jello.

"You want it? " I said pushing it towards him and he wrinkled his nose.

"I've got better taste than that." he said kissing the top of my head "I'll be right back."

"And where are you going Mr?" I asked confused since he'd refused to leave my side all day

"To get you something that won't taste like cardboard." he said getting up to leave.

"I knew I kept you around for some reason."

"Very funny." Pietro turned just before he reached the door "Love you." he said giving me a small wink. My stomach flipped, it got me every time.

"What was that?"

He was by my side in an instant. "You heard me" he said grinning and leaning down to press his lips roughly against mine. A second later he was gone. I wished he wouldn't do that it caught me off guard so much I had to catch my breath for a moment. Though I guess I didn't really mind.

I leant back on my pillows and let out a huge sigh. Even though I felt like I'd been hit by a truck I still had bundles of energy which I was wasting it sat in bed. I swung my legs off the edge and winced as my ankle hit the railing. It wasn't that far to the bedside chair so I lowered myself onto it trying to avoid touching my right ankle to the floor.

My t-shirt was crumpled but at least clean, Wanda had brought me a change of clothes earlier. I pushed the sleeves up to my elbows and noticed a faint purple bruise in the crook of arm, but wasn't like a bump or a graze. It was like a puncture wound. Someone had recently inserted a needle into my arm, and I knew none of the doctors had in that particular spot since my IV's had gone into my hand. Trying to keep calm I gripped the chair arms and tried to focus.

Chris's face loomed in front on my vision and I wondered how the hell he could have lived and taken that much of my blood. I was tempted to find out right now but it would be stupid of me to do it without people around, I'd only be endangering myself more.

The doors banged open and Pietro sauntered back into the room his arms full of snacks. "What did you raid the whole kitchen?" I said laughing as he dumped it all onto my bed

"Only on this floor." he replied and sat on the bed dangling one leg over the side and stretching the other out down the length of the mattress. He offered me a hand to pull myself up and I slipped back onto the bed leaning my back against his chest. I grabbed a few packets and passed one to him over my head.

"I can't wait to get out of here, its driving me insane." I said throwing a crisp into my mouth and staring round at the mundane ward. Everything was the same dull grey as if all colour had been sucked from the room.

"You'll be out in a few days. What do you want to do first?" he asked smirking at me.

"I can think of a few things." I replied as he free hand ran down my thigh

He'd just leaned down when the phone rang. "Perfect timing." I groaned as reached over and grabbed my cell.

"Hello?" I turned my head back to look at him. A moment later he met my gaze holding his hand over the mouthpiece.

"It's your parents."

"Put it on speaker"

"Blake, sweetie are you there?" It was my Mom and she sounded worried. I could hear Bennett's voice nagging in the background

"Yeah Mom, it's me."

She sighed loudly "Oh thank god your alright. We thought the worst. No Bennett in a minute, yes it's her. Sorry honey I'm back. Who answered the phone? I didn't recognise the accent."

I smiled at Pietro awkwardly like I'd been caught out doing something I shouldn't, because technically I hadn't told my parents about us yet. Not that I didn't want to it was just life on base rarely left the confines of its walls. It was a habit you got into working for Shield and being an Avenger.

"That was Pietro, he's-"

"The young man who saved your sister?" finished my Mom before I could get the words out. I heard Bennett giggle in the background, clearly Pietro had a fan.

"Yes that's him."

"Tell him thank you won't you?"

"Mom you're on speaker, we can both hear you." I laughed

"Oh, sorry. Wait your Dad wants a word." There was a pause and a crackle at the other end then my Dads voice spoke up

"How's my girl doing? You're not hurt are you?"

"I'll live, all patched up." I said not wanting to elaborate

"Well, what did the doctors say?" he asked pushing for more information

I groaned "Everything's fine Dad, it was just a close call that's all. Pietro got me back in time, I'll be ok."

"What did I say, that's my lucky clover always beating the odds." He chuckled and I glanced at Pietro.

"Clover?" he mouthed at me silently with an amused grin on his face. Great more teasing ammunition he didn't need. I waved it away embarrassed.

My Dad had been calling me that every since I was little, it was kind of a long story. Let's just say when I was born they didn't expect me to live this long, or even through the night. He stayed with me the whole time keeping an eye on me until I got better. Clearly I made it through alright and with my bright green eyes Dad had decided it was a fitting name.

"Thanks Dad, look I've gotta go soon but is Ben there? I wanna talk to her." I heard him pass the phone over and say a quick goodbye, then my sister began jabbering at the other end before I could even get a word in. I let her ramble for a while amused by the grin on Pietro's face.

"-so I'm glad you're not dead. Also when you come home I painted your room bright yellow. Oh and I borrowed your shoes but I can't find them. Is that tall guy your boyfriend? Ha there's a cat chasing a bird outside. EW! It ate it. I saw you on the TV and my friends-" I cut her off before she could run out of air.

"Wow breath Ben, jeez you could talk for a living. Yeah I'm fine. Why did you paint my room you know I hate yellow. Oh if you lost the shoes I think you lost then you have to re-paint the entire house. Just saying." I loved my sister so much but she was as impulsive as me and my Dad, always acting without thinking. Pietro took a drink of water from my glass and coughed. Bennett heard and piped up again.

"Who was that?"

"It's just Pietro, back to my room."

"So he is your boyfriend!" she yelled excitedly down the phone and I held it at arm's length. My Mom yelled equally as loud telling her not to shout. She apologised and came back to the phone. "Hey Pietro" she said and he looked up at the sound of his name "Sorry I screamed in your ear yesterday." she continued in a quieter tone "Thanks for helping my sister, she's super annoying but-" she sniffed and trailed off.

He looked surprised she was talking to him but shifted so he could hear better and picked up the phone "Bennett? It's alright, everything's fine. And your sister... she's doing great." I could see the hurt of the lie in his face as he tried to reassure her. She coughed and spoke up.

"Good. And I was gonna say if you're ever an idiot to her I'll get really mad, like go completely red and everything." I started to laugh at the astonished look on his face.

"What can I say, she takes after me."

"I can see that." he said "I'll can't promise anything Bennett but I'll try not to be an idiot."

"Right" she said "But it's OK if you slip up a bit, she's an idiot too."

"Hey you little-"

"Gotta go bye!" The line went dead before I could continue and Pietro put the phone back on the side chuckling. I shuffled round and rested my head on his shoulder.

"What do you think the odds are my parents know about us now?" I said and he looked at me with raised eyebrows. "Yeah, they know don't they." I sighed and pulled the bedding up over my legs and chest. He wrapped his arms round me so I felt like falling asleep but he shook me slightly.

"Hey you no nodding off. Doctors orders." I blinked a few times and sat up, his face fell and paused to look at my hands."You know, you don't have to do this" he said and I heard a note of uncertainly in his voice.

I knew what he was referring to, I'd wondered how long I could put off this conversation "What kind of agent would I be if I let Hydra get away with more human experimentation?"

"A live one." he said painfully

"Hey" I twisted round and put my hand round his neck "I told you I'm not going anywhere."

"You didn't see how bad it was Blake, we thought you were dead. You almost died in my arms." I took in a deep breath knowing how that would have felt. After my nightmares of his death I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

"Its harsh but there's going to be dangers and consequences in everything we do. I'll get hurt, so will you. You got me help this time but it won't always be like that. It can't stop us from doing our job."

"Doesn't mean we have to like it." he said seriously

"If it's any consolation, I hate it. I wish I'd never got this ability, but if it helps us find Chris, I don't really have a choice."

He gave me a strange look, one I'd never seen before "Who is Chris?" he asked and my face dropped

"I barely know anymore. We were..friends when we were kids. It's been years, I didn't even recognise him. He's...changed." I said in a cold voice.

"He must have been close to you if he has this much effect on you" he said gesturing to me

"It's not important Pietro, drop it." I didn't want to talk about it, least of all with him.

"Clearly it is." He said giving me a stony look

"We dated a few times that's all."

"Right, that's all." he said leaning back on the pillows.

"What's wrong?" I asked confused. We didn't fight often anymore; never really, but this seemed like it was on the way to an argument "Why are you so wound up?"

I saw him grit his teeth slightly "Seems like your judgement just goes out the window when this guy is involved."

"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked getting annoyed

"I mean you nearly blew yourself up to stop him, and now you're ready to die to bring him down."

"Don't be so dramatic. I'm not going to die." I said and he raised his eyebrows at me "I just know what I need to do." I almost shouted "I have a duty to my team-"

"Duty? What about your family? What about me and Wanda?" That stopped me. Didn't he know I thought about them in everything I did.

"You are my family-"

"Blake, I'm the last person to tell you to slow down but I'm talking about your life here, make sure this is the right thing to do."

"It is."

He ran his hands through his hair frustrated and I thought he was going to get up and leave but he just placed them on my face and looked into my eyes. "Maybe it is, but it is not worth risking your life over. Please don't do this." I had a retort ready but it faltered as I looked at him.

"I have to stop him." I said simply and he released my face

"Why? Why is it your responsibility?"

"Because he targeted me and my family. You don't think given the right opportunity he won't do it again? This place is our home, I have to protect it. Hydra is everything that's wrong with the world and it has to stop!"

My head throbbed again and I steadied myself on the bed but before I could fall forwards, he grabbed me hard and pulled me into a hug. "When are you going to stop being so heroic?" he muttered into my hair and I smiled

"That's my line." I said pulling back. He gave me a half amused half sad smile and I reached up to push the hair back from his face. "Don't worry so much, you'll get wrinkles."

"Me? Never." he grinned

Wanda opened the door at the end of the ward and let the doctor in before her. She followed him to my bed and came and perched on the edge of the chair next to us.

"You all set?" she asked and I nodded before I met Pietro's gaze. He still looked like he wanted to disagree and run me out of there the first chance he got but I knew he wouldn't. The stakes were too high. My safety verses every positional causality Hydra had lined up, there was no match.

Wanda spoke again "Is it alright if I come with you?" I looked confused "I mean in your head, maybe I can help."

I smiled down at her and nodded again "Thanks."

The doctor fiddled with a few dials on my monitor then stood at the end of my bed holding a note pad. I kind of wished he'd leave but that wouldn't fly, not here. I took a seat next to Pietro with my legs swung over the bed. I grabbed his hand and held it in both of mine taking comfort in the familiar motion, at least I had him to steady me. Wanda stood up in front of me and placed her hands either side of my temples. "When you're ready." she said giving me a small smile.

I shook my shoulders and stared straight ahead. "Here goes nothing."

I felt the pull in the back of my skull and opened my eyes. There was dust everywhere, it filled the air and my lungs making it impossible to see more than a few feet. It was really hot, I could hear faint crackling in the far room and sensed a fire. Panicking I made to get up, at once pain shot down my leg and I fell back to the ground. My head stung but not as bad as I'd thought. I heard something shift to my left and reached for my gun but it wasn't there. Parts of the ceiling were still coming down but I was trapped under too much debris to move.

Suddenly someone moved in the corner of my eye and something slam into my head. I screamed out loud and he clapped his hand over my mouth "That was for my arm you ungrateful bitch." said Chris looming over me.

I heard Pietro yell my name from far away but I couldn't focus to respond. Hot liquid was dripping into my mouth and I spat it out trying to move away. He grabbed my leg and dug his nails into my ankle making my want to throw up. "You're not going anywhere until I get what I came for." Chris inserted something sharp into my arm and I tried to pull it back.

"If you stop struggling I'll stop this." he said and smashed the rock into my head again. My vision went black for a second as I lost consciousness. I tried to keep my eyes open but I was getting so tired. "Oops my bad you might be losing too much blood. I'm sure you'll be fine."

I could hear Wanda's voice calling to me but I couldn't call back. "The boss will be so glad I got your blood out of all the rest. It would have been so much easier to take you back to Sanctuary whole, but we could never get near you. Someone might notice if an Avenger suddenly went missing." His voice was getting quieter as Wanda's got louder "It was nice catching up, but I gotta run." I heard him struggle to his feet. The last thing I felt was a sharp pain in my side as he stepped over me on the way to the door.

I slipped into blackness and could hear the woman's voice again "Wake up! Come on Blake open your eyes!"

A faint pressure on my hand began to get tighter and tighter and I snapped my eyes open to find Pietro's fingers digging into my hand. I slouched back against him as a hot sticky substance drip onto my cheek and into my mouth. He lifted my head up as the doctor pushed his way in.

"She's fine. She only re-opened the cut." he sighed as he assessed the damage

"Told you." I said and fell against Wanda as she stepped forward to hug me. She gave me a worried look and tried to coax me down onto the bed.

"No no wait, I can't sleep." I said shaking my head and another drop of blood landed on my lip. Pietro grabbed a cloth from the side and held it to my forehead.

"Blake please lay down." he pleaded. I laughed and then felt confused as to why I'd done it, maybe I had lost a bit too much blood.

Pietro got to his feet and crouched down in front of me putting his hands on my shoulders to keep me upright "What did you see?" I tried to think, mostly I remembered pain. But some detail came back to me and I grabbed his hand again.

"Pietro, I know where he is."


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