And Though We Stumble
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Thank you all for your patience, your encouraging reviews, and the favs, and follows. I really appreciate it! Thank you all, and sorry for the update. I had this chapter written than lost it somewhere, so I finally sat down and found it. Hope you enjoy!
THE VOTES ARE IN AND THE WINNER IS: Hawkeye!
PAIRING: Eventually Hawkeye/Buffy (with Captain/Buffy friendship) Pepperony, NatashaBruce, DarcyOz, Jesse?, ThorJane(maybe)
“And Though We Stumble”In No Man’s Land. Back in the World War I, it was a piece of land that set between the enemies. Flat, bare land littered with the bodies of the bold who dared to rise from the trenches and charge the enemy. Someone would say they were foolish…others would say they were brave. I feel like that bold soldier, standing in the middle of the war zone, possibly to be struck down by ally or foe. I just wonder which one is going to kill me…
It happened too fast.
It was a violent blur where she could only watch on in horror, as the jagged white jaws buried themselves into Oz’s sides and lifted him off the ground. Panic, shock and fear burned in Oz’s gaze as his mouth opened in a cry shout that was lost in the loud thunder that rumbled overhead. Lizzie felt a wave of numb rush through her veins, then it hit her hard. Her mouth stretch in a scream, “OZ!”
Out of the corner of her eye, she caught Jesse whose face was etched by horror and fear, go to rush forward.
But it was too late.
The wolf tossed Oz into the air, his limbs flailing around like a rag doll as he soared several yards before his body slammed violently into a large rock. Lizzie could hear the sickeningly thud as his head hit the rock, and saw the trickle of blood stand out against the dull lifeless color of night. Her heart was pounding in her chest, and she started forward when a loud growl stopped her short. Her green gaze met the feral, savage yellow eyes that peered at her menacingly and she swallowed thickly.
Fear rippled across her skin, but the anger boiling in her stomach overrode that. Her spine straightened and she told Jesse, “Go to Oz.”
Jesse looked at her then the wolf, his brows furrowed angrily. “But--” he began.
“Go. He’s after me, not you,” Lizzie stated, a sad tilt to her lips. “I’m sorry,” she told him.
“I know,” Jesse replied, before rushing around the wolf to his friend. The wolf paid him little heed, keeping its amber gaze firmly locked on Lizzie.
“You made a mistake,” Lizzie told the wolf, standing her ground as it lumbered forward. “You can come after me, any day of the week. I’ve fought things like you before. Been there down that, even got the neat t-shirt to prove it…but when you come after those I care about?” Her lips curled upward in a snarl. She knew the wolf understood her, there was intelligence flickering in the feral beast’s eyes. “It is really pissing me off!”
The wolf let out a loud growl before leaping towards her. Lizzie ran forward, dropping to the ground and slid underneath the wolf as it soared over her. She rolled to her feet, her eyes flickering around for what she could use as a weapon as the wolf landed. Lizzie gave a noise of frustration when she saw nothing, and the wolf whipped around, its ivory teeth glistening as lightning flashed above.
Rain, in a heavy curtain started to fall down all around them. The wolf dashed at her again, it’s jaws wide to rip into her. She backpedaled quickly, falling backwards to the ground. Bringing up her feet, she planted them against the wolf’s chest as it landed down on her and she kicked out, her muscles burning with strain. The wolf flew over her head, and landed with a thud against the ground. Lizzie rolled over onto her stomach, and fought against the slick ground to stand up.
The wolf recovered faster than she thought it would, and it pounced on her. It paws slammed down into her back, knocking all the wind out of her. Her body slammed into the mud, and she desperately pressed her hands into the ground, trying to find leverage to push herself up. But the rain had turned the ground into one big muddle puddles, and she slipped. Her heart was thundering in her chest as warm breath flooded across her back, and she heard the growl in her ear like thunder in the night. No…no…I can’t die like this! Not now!
She thought, her green eyes wide staring out as she struggled against the giant wolf.
The wolf leaned down, it’s lips curling back revealing its long row of teeth and it prepared to snap the blonde’s neck when suddenly it’s ears twitched. It froze, and cocked its head to the side listening to something beyond the thunder before it let out an aggravated growl then flinched before leaping off the blond. Lizzie immediately sprang to her feet, and eagerly sucked in air as she stared at the wolf in confusion.
The wolf gave her one last dark look before disappearing into the shadows as if it never had existed. Lizzie stared a moment longer, her brows furrowed in confusion. “What the hell?” She whispered out.
“Oz! Oz! Come on, man, wake up!” Jesse’s voice cut through the thunder and Lizzie’s head snapped towards him. He was knelt down beside Oz, shaking the other man slightly as he pleaded with him to wake up. Putting one foot in front of the other, Lizzie stumbled towards him, her entire body trembling from head to toe. When she got beside him, she collapsed to her knees staring down into Oz’s pale face. His eyes were closed, his face was relaxed almost as if he were asleep, but she knew he was not.
“Is…is he…” She couldn’t even get the word out.
“No. No,” Jesse shook his head. “He has a pulse…he just won’t wake up.”
“We…we need to get him to the hospital…” The sight of blood along the sides of his ribs, staining his white shirt made her suddenly weak. It wasn’t her blood, or that of her attackers. It was Oz’s. It was her friend’s and a wave of panic washed over her.
“We can’t,” Jesse pointed out, his jaw trembling as he fought not to shed the tears clinging to his eyelashes. “If we go, we’ll be seen by cameras and as soon as that happens…your bad guys will come after us,” he shot her a look.
Lizzie swallowed thickly, feeling helpless and guilty. He was right. They were her bad guys, not theirs. She had pulled them into this, she had gotten them hurt. Just like her mother. “We have to do something,” she breathed out, her eyes fluttering as the rain drops crashed down onto her face.
“Don’t you think that I know that!” Jesse demanded, fiercely. “For god’s sake, his my best friend! I know that he needs help! I just don’t…” His breath caught and he looked down, trying to contain his emotions. He closed his eyes and drew in a sharp, shaky breath.
“There’s gotta be somewhere.” Lizzie looked up scanning all around them. “Somewhere we can go, that we would be safe…”
Jesse’s eyes snapped open as a thought occurred to him. “There might be one place…I don‘t know if it‘s still there. He could have found it ages ago, but just maybe…” He reached down into his pocket and produced a cellphone. He flipped it open, but Lizzie caught his hand.
“What are you doing?” Lizzie stared at him.
“Calling back up,” Jesse replied simply.
“But they’ll have our phones bugged,” she pointed out.
“Not mine,” Jesse stated with certainty.
“How can you be so sure?” Lizzie asked.
“Because my father built it,” Jesse told her. “You asked us to trust you, and we did…now, trust
me,” he said, looking her straight in the eyes.
Lizzie studied him for a long moment, before releasing his hand and nodded. “Okay…okay…I trust you,” she said, lightly, feeling her stomach twist slightly. She had no reason not to trust them, and right now, she couldn’t afford to be picky with her allies.
The All-Father made a desperate decision. He called his surviving wolf home, and sighed deeply. He wanted the girl gone, the implications of her existence weren’t lost on him, but when the girl’s vein in destiny’s plan disappeared…so had his sons. And as much as he wanted to preserve destiny and fate, he cared about his sons’ more.
“Father?” Loki’s voice drew him back into the present.
“Yes…yes, the feast,” Odin nodded. “I want nothing to go wrong for Thor’s coronation.”
There was a flash of brief annoyance in Loki’s gaze, that worried him only for a moment, but Odin brushed it off. Loki and Thor were very competitive, and he knew that sometimes Loki felt like a shadow in his older brother’s wake, but that didn’t make Loki any less important. He just hoped his youngest knew that. Odin smiled patting Loki on the shoulder, “Have I told you how proud I am of you?”
Loki looked slightly surprised by the sudden change in subject, then his signature smirk
appeared. “Not lately, but I am all ears,” he told his father, with a teasing tone. However deep down inside Loki, he did not believe his father’s words. How could he? All his life everyone chose Thor, never Loki. Why would that change now?
The All-Father chuckled lightly. He would suffer the girl’s existence a while longer. Just until he was certain his boys would be okay…then he would end her and restore the world back to the way it was.
Lizzie slung her computer bag over her shoulder, as Jesse set about making a makeshift gunnery with tree limbs and the sleeping bag and blankets. “Where do we go now?” She asked.
“I had a friend drop off a vehicle and some money in a town…roughly…that way,” Jesse pointed.
“Roughly?” Lizzie gave him a look.
“Yep,” Jesse nodded, finishing the gurney.
Lizzie opened her mouth when suddenly she heard a noise. It was a low hum that raked through her ears with a painful tingle, like when one hit their funny bone. She reached up messing with her ears and Jesse paused, sending her a look. “What’s wrong with you?” He asked.
“I…I’m not sure,” she answered, her nose wrinkling in confusion as she shook her head, and stuck her fingers in her ears in an attempt to make the sensation stop. “I have this…buzzing in my ear,” she tried to explain. “But I have no idea…” That’s when she saw it. A flare of red stemming from the bumper of the van, and she reached out. She plucked the piece of metal off the van and stared down at it in confusion. “What is this?” She asked, holding open her palm and showing it Jesse.
Jesse’s face paled. “That…” he picked it up and dropped it to the ground before promptly stomping on it. “That is our reason to get out of here,” he stated, seriously. “Like now.”
“Explainy,” she told him.
“It was a bug meant to track us,” Jesse stated, leaning into the van, shoving everything that could possibly lead anyone to them into his duffel bag. He tossed it out to Lizzie, who was beginning to realize that Jesse seemed unusually used to these kinds of situations.
“And you know this how?” She raised an eyebrow, slinging the duffel bag over her shoulder with ease.
“Because my dad is a technology nut,” Jesse answered, jumping out of the van and knelt down to lift Daniel. He set him down on the gurney, and grabbed the front end. “We need to move.”
Lizzie looked like she wanted to ask more, but filed her questions away for later. “Lead on,” she nodded, grabbing the other end and lifted Daniel off the ground. The two set off through the rainstorm, not once looking back.
“We just lost the trace on the bug,” Clint stated. It had been a split second decision when the blond had been firing down at him, to shoot a the bug at the van. She had been a fierce tiny little thing, with a piercing green gaze. If circumstances had been different, he could think of a few other ways of getting to know her.
Coulson’s expression pinched, but a reluctant admiration filled his eyes. “They’re good,” Coulson murmured. “Send our men to the last recorded location. Scout it out, see where they went. I want their names, their address, the name of their first dog yesterday.”
Clint nodded. “Understood, sir.”
Tony sat tinkering.
Tinkering it was he did. It was what he was best at when emotions got too much. So he sat in his lab tinkering and half listening to the phone call that Pepper was having. The red head had been stunned by the caller, and had yet to tell him who it was. Pepper finished the call and walked over to him, a slightly hesitant look on her face.
“Who was that?” He inquired, messing around with his tools trying to play that he wasn’t really interested.
Pepper smiled lightly, able to see right through him. One of the reason that he loved her so much. “That…was your son,” Pepper told him gently.
Tony immediately sprang from his seat. “Jesse? Little Jesse?” His conversation with Fury in the back of his mind and his stomach twisted. Why had he called Pepper? Why couldn’t he just once come to Tony for his problems? “Is he okay? Is he hurt?”
“He’s fine,” Pepper assured him. “He just needed a car, and some cash. That van of his broke down again."
“I told him that van was a piece of junk,” Tony stated after a moment, his words coming out too fast belying his worry. “I offered to upgrade it for him. Told him I could even make it fly if he wanted…he shot me down. Like always.”
Pepper sent him a sympathetic smile. “He’ll come around, Tony. You know he will,” she told him, reaching out and holding his arm.
“Really? Cause it’s been fourteen years since I’ve been in his life and there hasn’t been any of this ‘coming around’ as you say,” Tony snorted, looking down. It was one night stand with Jesse’s mom, and it was only when the woman needed money did she finally reveal Jesse’s existence. It was awkward. Jesse who didn’t want a father to replace the one he had always known, and Tony who was unsure of how to even be a father. Looking back now, Tony had many regrets and he wished he knew how to make up for them. “He calls you. He texts you. All I get is a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’…maybe a post card every once in a while,” Tony couldn’t help sound like a petulant child. He was a little jealous that Pepper had always been better with Jesse than him, but he was mostly grateful. Without her, he didn’t think Jesse would even put up with showing up every other holiday.
“He will,” Pepper said, leaning up on her tippy toes and pressed a kiss to his cheek. “You just have to be patient. His step-father’s and mother’s deaths hit him hard. He cares about you more than either of you realize. He’ll see it one day, and so will you.”
Tony stared down at her, wondering how it got so lucky to have such a perfect woman in his life. “I hope you’re right,” he said softly, leaning his forehead against hers. “I hope you’re right.”
Somewhere deep underground…HYDRA stirred.
END OF CHAPTER! Hope you enjoyed! Rrs are appreciated. :D