Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. I wrote this ages ago so obviously you will have to roll back the continuity in your head when reading this. R/R.
The arrow leaves my bow, taking only half a second to hit the target. It wasn't a perfect hit. I knew it wouldn't be when I let go of the string. It has to be perfect. I'm not going to accept anything less than that. I draw another arrow from the quiver and level the bow at the target once again. It's almost perfect as I squint my eyes slightly to try and improve my aim. The string goes back tight and I hold it there for a second so I can make sure to get it right. I let the string go and watch. Perfect bullseye. It's all in the wrist.
Perfect. I can't think of a more meaningless word. Life's not perfect, the world's not perfect, and people are definitely not perfect. So why are we so obsessed with perfection? I mean everywhere you look more people are going on diets, getting more plastic surgery, working more hours so they can spend more on crap they don't need. Everybody wants the perfect life. I think it's incredibly stupid. We could be doing so much more for the world but instead we waste our time with meaningless standards. I really hate it.
Perfect. Yeah, most people think I have the perfect life. They see my father's money, the house in the Hamptons, the ritzy private school uniform, they see all that and wish their lives could be perfect like mine. They're wasting their time. My life was never perfect. I know that. Sure maybe it felt that way but not after . . . not after that day in the park. No, nothing was perfect after that. Maybe that's why Captain America didn't want to train us. Life's not perfect and neither are people. Mistakes come with a high price in this business. Maybe he knows all this more than he'd like to admit.
I draw back the string again and let another arrow fly. Perfect again. I have high standards for myself. It's a given considering the environment I was raised in. It's useless to expect perfection though. It's almost even useless to expect good sometimes let alone perfect. I guess that's what really gets under my skin. Sure people may not be perfect but at least they could try being good. Maybe it's a lost cause. I bet Mom felt that way sometimes. I know I did after that day in the park. You try to do the right thing and the people you help just end up taking advantage of you. I think anybody else would've given up after what happened to me. I'm not anybody else. Hawkeye doesn't quit.
Another arrow flies through the air but it never hits its target. Something, or rather someone, intercepts it. Tommy stands there with a grin on his face as he turns the arrow over in his hand. You'd never know that he's the new kid on the block. The way he acts, it's like we've been putting up with him our whole lives.
"Faster than a speeding arrow," says Tommy, "Betcha I'm more powerful than a train too." I roll my eyes, not in the mood to humor Billy's evil twin.
"Maybe you should test that theory," I tell him. I blink and he's suddenly in front of me holding out my arrow like some kind of peace offering.
"Is that yuppie talk for 'go jump in front of a train'? he asks me.
"Something like that," I assure him, "To what do I owe your company?"
"I'm bored," announces Tommy, "Nobody else seemed to be doing anything better."
"Is that Jersey talk for 'I missed being around you'?" I inquire.
Tommy grins, a mischievous glint dancing in his eyes. We've played this game off and on for the past couple of weeks. I still can't tell where it's going. Like most things involving Tommy, it's the journey that counts. Things don't have to really go anywhere, they just have to go.
"Something like that," assures Tommy.
I roll my eyes again and reload the arrow he handed back to me. He's gone again but this time he's behind me now. I don't like people being behind me, for obvious reasons.
"Don't stay there," I order him.
Tommy characteristically ignores me. I can almost fell his breath on my neck. I try to concentrate on my aim. I feel the draft on my neck and my grip on the bowstring slips. The arrow goes way off, barely even hitting the target at all.
"I told you to move," I hiss.
I know it's not his fault. Nobody knows that I got mugged in Central Park. Hell, that's only the half of the story I want people to know. Only my therapist knows the whole, unadulterated truth. So no, I shouldn't be mad at Tommy but people aren't perfect.
"You gonna make me?" dares Tommy as he gets closer to me.
Bad move, speedy. I didn't take all those self-defense classes for nothing. I turn and stop my hand mere inches from his throat, letting him know that I could definitely kick his ass anytime I want to.
"Pretty quick," he admits with a nod, "Really, you're good."
I look him in the eye. He thinks he's perfect. He thinks he's invincible, untouchable. I've seen his type before. Half the boys at school are his type. I learned the lesson the hard way though. Nobody's invincible, not by a long shot.
"Thanks," I tell him, "Really though, move." I turn and pick up the bow but I see him standing in front of me in a matter of seconds.
"All the training in the world isn't going to save you," says Tommy, "Some day, someone will get lucky."
"Same goes for you," I remind him.
"That's why I run," he says simply.
"I'm not a runner," I tell him, "I'm a fighter."
"And that is what makes you so damn incredible," states Tommy in a casual tone.
I blink for a few seconds, unsure of what to say to him. For once, Tommy seems like he's actually genuine. I'm not sure how exactly I should handle that.
"Thank you," I tell him.
"I just say what I think," says Tommy with a shrug as he walks towards the door, "I'm going out to eat. You wanna tag along?"
"Sure," I tell him as I walk over to the target and pull out the arrows. I yank out the shot that I fumbled and stare at the arrow. Life is never perfect but a dinner with Tommy works good enough for me.