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Battle of Sokovia

By Ashley-Rae Ridsdel-Brown

Action / Romance

Chapter 23

PIETRO

We slipped into a side room and kept quite so we didn't get thrown off the jet. Once we arrived there would be nothing either Natasha or Steve could do to send us back. Wanda walked to the front and kept their attention on her. I heard her asking Natasha about the agents she'd been interrogating, apparently they hadn't let anything slip yet. I turned to Blake and saw she was staring at the wall like it had just insulted her.

"You good?" I asked waving my hand in front of her face. She snapped her attention back and shook her head.

"I thought Chris having my blood was bad enough but this third party, why would they take it? How would they even know?" she leant her head back against the wall and closed her eyes "I'd like one day where absolutely nothing bad happens, just one."

"I don't think that's in the cards for us." I said sitting next to her and resting my chin on her head. She sighed heavily and start ringing her hands together but I folded my fingers around hers to stop her. "We'll get it out of him one way or another."

"I just want this to be over." she said moving her head so she could see me "I think we deserve a break."

I laughed quietly "Whenever and wherever you want."

We felt the jet dip slightly and knew we were moments away from landing. Blake grabbed a long pole from the wall and slipped off her jacket to wrap it round the top. I wondered what she was doing until she hitched it under her arm and pulled herself to her feet leaning onto it. She gave me a quick smile and made her way into the loading bay. I followed her in and Wanda moved to our side. There was a slight jolt and the jets engines died. Natasha turned round in her seat and stared at us. I saw Blake tense and I braced myself as Steve got to his feet.

"It was my idea." said Wanda stepping in front of us "I told them to come." Steve looked at us in a disapproving way. Blake turned to Natasha and opened her mouth to speak but she didn't get the words out.

"You know what, I don't even wanna know." said Natasha holding up her hands and I saw a twinkle of humour in her eyes. Steve turned to her disbelieving and she shrugged. "What you didn't expect that, come on Cap." She hit a button to her right and the ramp opened behind us. Wanda followed her outside as Steve came to a stop in front of us.

"This isn't going to work if you pull stunts like this all the time." he said looking between us.

"It won't happen again." said Blake pushing herself up on her crutch

Steve clapped her on the shoulder "I hope you're right." he said looking away and walking out of the jet.

"Phew. That could have gone a lot worse." she said taking my hand

"I don't think we've heard the last of it." I said thinking of her earlier 'bite you in the ass' comment. I was sure it would. I helped her down the ramp and we emerged in a clearing. The jet took up the entire space and I was impressed Natasha managed to land it in such a small area. Through the trees we could see agents milling around a white tent. Wanda beckoned to us and we walked over to it.

"He's stable now. You can go in." said one of the agents pointing inside. Blake looked both angry and nervous at the same time, I gave her a reassuring smile and pushed open the cover. Inside was a young man strapped to a chair, his hands bound with ties in front of him. He lifted his head as we entered and I could see how beat up he was, I almost felt bad for him until he smirked at Blake.

"Still alive I see." he said looking her up and down slowly. I shifted my shoulders agitatedly and gripped her hand tighter. "And this must be the boyfriend." he said nodding at me looking disappointed. I glared at him and resisted the urge to walk out. I noted that through all the swelling and bruises he was good looking, that didn't make me feel any better.

"What's it to you." I said in a cold voice clenching my jaw

He laughed then and smiled at me. I could feel Blake's arm trembling next to me as he spoke "I thought she was moving up in the world. But I guess if she's with you...well you can't have everything. Good thing you're fast Maximoff cos you don't really have much else going for you. And what the hell happened to your hair?" Blake's nails dug into my hand as it went ridged. Chris seemed to have noticed he'd hit a nerve because he continued with a smirk "Oh but Blake, how's your sister, I hope you didn't blow her up too."

I wanted to punch him to shut him up but before I could even move Blake had released my hand and driven her crutch into his throat. His eyes went wide with shock as he struggled to breath. A few of the agents came running forward but didn't dare interfere and I could see why, the look in her eyes could have scorched the entire forest. She didn't even seem to notice she was standing on her injured leg.

I could see her chest rise and fall rapidly as she looked daggers at him. "That wasn't very nice." she snarled pressing the pole harder into his wind pipe and he started to turn purple. She lowered her voice "I wouldn't piss me off, I've had a rough few days and I really need an outlet." she said in a dangerous tone. He tried to sputter out words but she didn't let him go, panic rose in my chest as I wondered if she might actually suffocate him. "What?" she asked leaning closer "Are you volunteering?" He tried to shake his head but I could see his eyes rolling back into his head becoming unfocused.

"Blake!" I shouted and she whipped round "You're killing him." Her eyes darted back to him and she saw what she'd done. In a second her tense shoulders dropped and she stumbled backwards letting her crutch fall to the floor. Chris coughed violently holding his throat.

"You crazy bitch!" he yelled the moment he had breath. Her nostrils flared and she moved forward again but I grabbed her and ran outside. I sped right past the jet and set her down. Even that hyped up on adrenaline she couldn't run back to the tent on her ankle.

She gripped my arms tightly steadying her breath and looked back across the clearing. I followed her gaze and saw Wanda, Natasha and Steve staring over at us. They didn't approach since neither of us seemed to be in immediate danger but I shook my head at Wanda anyway and turned back to Blake. The fury in her eyes sputtered out and she pulled me into a hug.

I stroked her hair feeling her rapid breathing against my chest. "What was all that about?" I asked as she moved back to rest against a tree.

Angry tears shone in her eyes and I wondered if I'd said the wrong thing. She pointed back at the tent "That thing, that is not Chris. They did something to him or-" she trailed off and looked at me "The boy I knew was nothing like that."

Something clicked into place as I watched her face, something deep and painful seemed to be rising to the surface. She almost looked betrayed. I felt sick as I spoke again.

"You loved him didn't you?" I asked feeling ice drop into my stomach. I didn't want to ask that question and couldn't bear to hear the answer but the look she gave me said it all. She was quiet for a moment then put her head in her hands.

"We were kids, I don't know what I felt." she said

I crouched down next to her but she turned away from me. I hated that it all made so much sense now. I tried to think of what to say but nothing came to my mind. From the tent I heard the sound of Chris's strangled laugher float over to us. Something hot writhed in my chest as I thought of her with the man I'd just met. She'd said he wasn't like that before so there was more proof that Hydra turned even the best of people into monsters.

"You don't have to go back in there." I said sitting in front of her so she had to look at me. "We can handle it."

She dug her hands into the dirt around the tree and finally met my gaze. "I'm sorry, I just can't be in the same room as him. Everything he does makes me sick."

"You shouldn't have to." I said pulling her hands out of the ground and brushing the earth from her fingers. "It'll probably be easier for them if you're not there as well. They can ask difficult questions, things you might not want to hear."

She nodded and wrapped her fingers around mine "Don't let him get in your head, he's just trying to piss us off."

I smiled in an offhand way. "I won't." That was a lie. He'd already said something that was turning over in the back of my mind. But I guess if she's with you...well you can't have everything. That had always been one of my fears. That one day someone would turn around and remind her she could do so much better than me. On some level I agreed with him, my family was broken and I came from a place void of wealth and stability. I'd lived most of my life with only one other person who loved me so I found it hard to trust people. Blake had grown up the exact opposite, surrounded by family and always having a home to go back to. I must have let something show on my face because she gave me a concerned look.

"I know that face, what did he say?"

I got to my feet and pulled her up with me. "It doesn't matter." I said moving toward the jet "Are you alright to stay here while they question him?"

I felt her grab my arm and come to a stop in front of me. She raised an eyebrow at me and folded her arms "If you let him in, he wins. Don't give him the advantage." she said and I rolled my eyes.

"I'm not, he didn't say anything I didn't know already." Her face fell and I started to walk away

"Pietro." The way she said my name made me stop and I turned to look at her. She was staring after me with such a pained expression on her face I couldn't help but walk back over to her. She caught her breath as she tried to speak and a tear slid down her cheek. I wiped it away knowing she really knew what was bothering me.

"I've tried to be the man you deserve." I said feeling the doubts I'd been pushing away for months rise to the surface "But I just can't."

"What do you mean?" she asked me placing her hand on my face

I shook it away impatiently "Come on Blake we both know there are people out there better for you. You shouldn't be with someone like me. You deserve more." I didn't mean to say that, it just came out. I felt like someone had punched me in the gut as she dropped her hand and stepped away looking hurt.

"Are you kidding me?"

"Blake I didn't mean-" I said trying to back track

"Then why did you say it?"

"I..." I couldn't think, I wanted to take it back but couldn't get the words out

"You don't wanna be with me is that it?" she asked turning her body away from me.

"What? No of course I do" I said grabbing her elbow "I meant...damn it Blake look at me."

She span round and wrenched her arm from my grip, the motion made a lump catch in my throat as she took a step back.

"If there are people out there 'better' for me you must have someone in mind already, did I get too boring and you wanna pawn me off on them?" How could she possibly think that, just the thought of her with someone else made me want to punch something.

"Don't put words in my mouth I didn't say that!"

"Well what is it then!"

"I...I don't deserve you!" I yelled

She paused and looked up at me finally "Why?" she breathed out

"You know damn well why." I said trying to stay calm

"After everything we've been through you think something as small as where we come from or how we grew up would make the slightest bit of difference to me?" she said throwing her arms up "It doesn't matter, you're the one that it bothers. I...I couldn't be prouder of you." I heard her voice crack and she ran her hand through her hair letting it fall in a curtain down her back. I knew she only did that when she was stressed or upset.

I stepped forward trying to pull her into a hug but she shrugged me away "You think we don't deserve each other? That's bullshit. You don't deserve someone's love; you earn it. And we've both proved time and time again that we have."

She stopped to catch her breath and I saw her shoulders relax slightly. She stepped forward and poked me in the chest and I looked down surprised "Pietro you should know by now that I'm with you till the end, even if that happens to be tomorrow."

I felt guilt rise in me as I looked at her determined face. I'd made my problem bigger by assuming she thought the same. Now it was unbearably clear she would never think any less of me because I had a darker past than hers.

I stooped down to kiss her and felt a little smug knowing I'd taken her by surprise yet again. She smiled under my lips and stood up on her toes to reach me.

"I'm sorry." I said as she broke away for breath

"Don't be sorry just don't think like that again ok?" she asked and I nodded "Oh and just to clear things up-" she said reaching up and running her hands through my hair "I like your hair and you have plenty more than your speed going for you, Chris was just being an ass."

"Thanks" I smiled "Good to know."

She pulled away to sit back on the jet's ramp and pointed to the tent where Wanda was standing "You should probably get in there."

I nodded grudgingly "Are you going to tell your sister I was being an idiot." I asked smirking down at her.

She pondered for a moment "Nah, it'll be our secret. You owe me one though." I laughed imagining what she'd ask me to do. A split second later I stood by Wanda's side.

"Everything alright?" she asked squinting back over at Blake "What was all the shouting about?"

"Misunderstanding." I said moving to join the others in the tent.

Chris was staring at Natasha a hungry look in his eyes. It wasn't something I ever wanted to see. She didn't seem fazed by the attention though. "Where is the blood?" she asked him stopping in front of his chair. I moved to the side of the tent to keep out of view. I had no doubt Chris would love to play with my head more if he got the chance. Wanda leaned against my shoulder and I could see she looked nauseated by the grin on Chris's face.

"I told you already I don't know. "

"Well who took it?" asked Steve impatiently

I noticed a tiny flicker of anger in Chris's face as he replied "I don't know, I lost it."

Natasha had clearly noticed it too "Now why don't I believe you." she turned back to Steve "I think someone got too noisy with their little game and your 'Boss' didn't like that." she finished turning back to Chris "I think you were a loose end, needed tying off." Chris gritted his teeth but didn't answer, he might as well have though. "Yep, junior here messed up. Got the stash blown up and pissed off some mighty important people."

I grinned at Wanda. She had him.

"So the question is" she said stepping back and crossing her arms "Why does Hydra need enhanced blood if it already had enhanced working for them?"

Chris looked up slowly then and smirked "Who said we were Hydra?"

There was silence in the room and Steve spoke "We have your agents from the Hydra base, Blake said-"

"Blake said" Chris whined in a mock childish voice "I never actually said I worked for Hydra, some people just read into this way too much."

Natasha's gaze became icy "Then who do you work for?"

"The boss."

"He's just wasting time." I said moving into the light "He doesn't know anything."

Chris gave me a sad smile "If only you knew Slick, it would turn your hair..well not white I guess but you get the idea."

"Enough." said Wanda in a low voice "Tell us what you know or I'll turn that pretty little head inside out."

He raised his eyebrows noticing her for the first time, I didn't like the way his face lit up. "Well hello there." he said sitting up straighter. She ignored him and twisted her fingers in the air. Curling tendrils of red energy seeped from her hands and Chris's eyes widened in awe. "Amazing."

"Not when it comes into contact with your skin." she said calmly. I could see her game. Chris didn't know Wanda's powers wouldn't work on him. "What is your worst fear Chris? Because whatever it is, you'll soon be right in the middle of it." I saw him shift in his seat so he was further away from us. Wanda's magic crept towards him wrapping round the legs of his chair and he started to strain against his bonds.

It had nearly reached his neck when he yelled out "Fine! Just stop this!" she dropped her hands smiling at Natasha. My sister could be extremely scary when she wanted to be.

"Fine." he said again moving his eyes back to Natasha and Steve "Me, The boss, all the others, we're not Hydra, it's an easy cover, makes sure you go after them and not us. Most of us are enhanced in one way or another. We needed that blood to make us stronger." Steve's brow furrowed and he looked down at Chris.

"What do you mean stronger?"

"The blood we were collecting, it was meant to mix with ours." Natasha looked back at us in alarm "The blood hold the key, unlimited power supply for all enhanced. The boss and his followers, they wanted samples from the best of the best. The blood of an Avenger seemed ironic, especially when it's was Blake's. She blew up the rest so it's fitting they use hers."

"And now they have it?" I asked not wanting to know the answer.

"Every enhanced infused with Blake's blood will have her powers on top of their own." he said starting to laugh.

"Why? Why would they do that?" asked Wanda

"To strip away the false idols, those who call themselves enhanced and don't even know the meaning of the word. They're coming for you next!" His laugh was becoming louder and louder "But I should tell you." he said struggling against the ties "I might have taken a bit of Blake's blood before they took it all." The plastic snapped and his hands were free.

I stepped in front of Wanda as a loud bang rent the air. I glanced down at my chest almost expecting to see blood but there was nothing. I looked up and saw Natasha standing poised in front of Chris her gun inches away from his head. He stood frozen for a moment as the blood trickled down his forehead and then crumpled to the ground.

"Romanoff?" said Steve stepping forward. Natasha blinked once and put her gun away.

"Let's get back to base, there's nothing more here." I watched her walk out of the tent like nothing had happened and drew in a shaky breath. Wanda grabbed my hand as she looked down at Chris's body. At least he'd stopped laughing.

"Guys what's going on!" I could hear yelling outside and I dashed out to see Blake sprinting across the clearing "Pietro!" she slammed into me "Is everyone Ok?" she asked checking me over feverishly

"We are but Chris he's..." I couldn't finish. I didn't want to cause her anymore pain.

"Dead?" I paused for a moment then nodded. The faintest glimmer of a smile crossed her face "Good." she said simply


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