A/N: Just a quick note about this story – I’m writing this as part of the August Fic-A-Day challenge, so each ‘chapter’ will be on the shorter side. That may change once August is over with, though. :) Also, big, big, big thanks to kerrykhat! Aside from keeping my neuroticism in check, the Tasha line is all hers!
“We have a reconnaissance assignment. In downtown Los Angeles.”
This took Barton by surprise. Coulson could see it on the marksman's face as he gave Coulson a sideways glance, his bow lowering a notch or two in the process.
He couldn’t blame the guy. A man of Barton’s talents was not usually assigned to places like LA, let alone for a simple recon mission.
But then, this was no ordinary time. Recent developments had, to say the least, put S.H.I.E.L.D. on its ear. The abrupt and inexplicable implosion of a Southern Californian town had a way of doing that.
That had really galled the Director, Coulson knew. They had been aware of the slayer situation for quite some time now. Thanks to the Initiative debacle, however, no one had been allowed to interfere in the affairs of the slayer or Sunnydale under any
Even in the face of this unprecedented catastrophic event – coupled with multiple reports that all indicated the slayers’ numbers had grown exponentially – the top brass remained quiet, effectively tying Fury’s hands.
Then Stark called, and everything changed. Suddenly, they had an opportunity to bring both Stark and the slayers into the fold with minimal effort on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s part.
It was far from perfect, though. There were multiple variables, the biggest being Stark and the slayers themselves.
That was where he and Barton came in.
Coulson cleared his throat.
“We’re following a group of refugees from Sunnydale,” he explained. “Based on our intel, there are approximately two dozen, mostly female, between the ages of 15 and 23—”
“I’m being sent to watch a bunch of teenage girls?” Barton snorted.
Coulson raised an eyebrow. “—who, from all accounts, are mystical warriors, each with the strength of ten men and an instinctual fighting ability that allows them to take down various demons and other supernatural creatures,” he continued. “Technically, our assignment is strictly to monitor. We are not to engage unless absolutely necessary.”
Barton groaned. “So I am
a babysitter,” he replied. He shot Coulson a dark look. “Please tell me you aren’t going to tell Tasha about this.”
Coulson suppressed a grin. He was tempted to let the man swing in the wind a little longer, but they didn't have the time. Fury had spoken with Stark less than an hour ago – which meant Coulson and Barton should have been in LA two days ago.
"Would it help if I said that Iron Man will be there, and that there’s a very likely possibility he'll piss off these dozen or so super-powered teenagers?”
In the blink of an eye, Barton let his arrow fly, the shaft easily hitting its mark with pinpoint accuracy. In another blink, he had his bow collapsed and on his back.
“I’m in,” he announced. As he began to walk toward the rooftop door, he looked over his shoulder with a faint scowl. “Why didn’t you just say that in the first place?”
Coulson shrugged. “This way was more fun.”