Disclaimer: I do not own/get money from Marvel's The Avengers or J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter. I just like playing in their sand boxes.
Runaway Bob's Wacky Adventure Land
The standard size combat suit that the kid was wearing was sagging off his body. The bottom of the pants was rolled up to the ankles of the short soldier. This told him that the outfit was borrowed. That didn't make him feel much better, but at least it wasn't his government that was training kid soldiers again. His black hair looked like a crow's nest and Clint was just close enough to see the sadness in his too green eyes. The age that he saw lingering there was what drew Clint to the boy. He knew that look intimately. The kid had the eyes of a soldier who had been put through the meat grinder. His eyes were centuries older than his body and if Clint didn't know better he would have thought he was staring through a window to the past.
The kid was standing next to Coulson and two unknowns. The tall black man next to him stood like a policeman, but was scanning the area around like a paranoid bodyguard. If anything the other unknown man looked even more dangerous, but mostly because if the kid had the eyes of someone who had been put through a meat grinder than the man had the body. The scars went from looking years old to just scabbed over and most were deep. Clint had rarely seen someone so scared. Often times it was POWs that had the scars like this, but this man's scars were too varied in age to give a good impression on Clint. It didn't help that Clint couldn't quite place an age on him. The man could have been anywhere from thirty's to sixty's.
Though it was the way that the scarred man's hand rested on the boy's shoulder that made Clint want to put an arrow through his eye.
It was a tactic that Clint had seen many times before, and it had even been tried on him once. The handlers would act as guardians and even parental figures to the subject, causing an instinctive loyalty and family bond. This would cause the subject to see his duty more like a family obligation and be less inclined to betray the family later on.
It made Clint sick. The government was tricking kids into loving people who only saw them as the job - as expendable tools.
It was a minute later that Coulson waved him over. Coulson apparently thought he had spent enough time observing the new comers to get a good first impression.
"Hawkeye, I would like to introduce you to our tag-a-longs for this mission. They are joining us from across the pond. The British government has asked for our help with a little training." Clint could almost hear the grimace in his voice. Coulson turned back to the three unknowns. "This is Hawkeye, our resident sniper and lookout."
The black bodyguard started sizing him up. Clint watched his eyes trace over his shorter body, cataloging it. From the slight relax in posture Clint got the impression that the bodyguard thought he would be able to take Clint. He was wrong, but Clint knew better than to correct that misconception. People assumed that just because his specialty was long distance it meant that he wasn't as good at close quarter combat. When they attacked they would find out that wasn't the case at all.
The scarred man looked far more welcoming. He even smiled a little and held out his hand for a shake. Clint didn't take him up on it. The hand soon retreated.
The kid was the only one who looked uninterested. His eyes were scanning the surrounding area, in a similar manner to his bodyguard, having only spent a moment categorizing Clint and moving on. Clint was starting to get more and more flash backs to his younger self.
"This is Wolf," Coulson pointed to the scarred man, "King," the black bodyguard, "and Bolt." He nodded to the uninterested teen. As the kid pushed his hand through his hair Clint got a glimpse of how he got his name and wanted to shot something something again - preferably his two handlers. "This will be a closed mission, which means codenames only. I am Lynchpin." The teen looked a little interested in that, but seemed to be zoning out a little. Clint saw him rub the scar more than once.
"I'll take Bolt with me." Hawkeye quickly stated. Coulson looked a little surprised at that, but nodded. The kids handlers looked a little put out, but seemed to accept it quickly after the look he gave them. In fact, the only person who disagreed was the kid.
"I don't think that's the best idea." Bolt looked at him again.
"From your body type and posture I'd say you are a close combat fighter. That's fine. However, that is not all you need to know if you want to succeed. Your handlers and instructors have probably emphasized that to the detriment of other skills. You can learn from me if you give it a shot." Clint turned around and headed to the helicopter standing by. "You coming?"
A few seconds later the kid followed him, seemingly after getting approval from his handlers.
"You ever ride in a helicopter before?" Clint asked while hopping in and nodding to the pilot. The kid shook his head, but hopped in after Clint anyway. "First rule: Don't fall out. Dead bodies take paperwork and I already have way too much. Put these on." Clint handed the kid a pair of headphones. Putting on one himself soon after. "This will be a short flight. We will be landing on a rooftop close to the target from there we will roof jump until we are right next to it. We will arrive first. It is our job if get a lay of the land. Spot lookouts and guards. We are the eyes on this mission which means we have one of the most important jobs. If we screw up and miss something then our teammates could walk into a trap." Hawkeye waved at pilot who started the helicopter and took off.
Bolt didn't look nervous at all and Clint could see he even relaxed a little once the wind started flowing through the air. Clint could understand that feeling - he had always felt more at home in the air than on the ground.
It only took about five minutes to reach the target rooftop.
Clint took off the headphones and jumped out, bracing his legs. He turned turned back to the helicopter and to direct Bolt on the correct way to do it without injury only to find that the younger boy was already standing behind him - ready. He flipped on his comm-pack and nodded to Bolt to do the same. The kid flipped the switch on his suit and followed Hawkeye.
Clint quickly moved to the edge of the roof and paused before he jumped. He looked at the width between the building and back to Bolt. The boy's legs could be a determent in this part of the mission. They had scouted a little beforehand so Clint knew the exact route to take. However, the route had been organized based on his specific abilities, there was no telling if Bolt would be able to pull off all the jumps. Clint mentally shrugged off the worry, Bolt was a fully trained operative, he should be able to take care of himself.
"Keep up." Clint started running and didn't slow down. He gave a short hesitation after the first jump to make sure he made it before continuing on. The kid could either keep up or not. Clint would have preferred the latter, the less people he had to keep track of the better and he always tended to be distracted with kids on the field. The route he was taking was rough, but mostly straight. The kid was following quickly behind him. Clint didn't expect any different, but he had hoped.
"So, been doing this long?" Bolt asked quietly.
"Yes." Clint jumped over a balcony fence and started climbing a fire escape. It was quiet a little longer before the kid spoke again.
"I know that look in your eyes. The urge to protect me, to keep me safe off of the battlefield. You're thinking that I'm not trained enough to be on the mission and that I'm just a little kid that is in over his head. You shouldn't and I'm not."
Clint sighed a little. It was almost like a miniature Hawkeye was behind him.
"Kid, you don't have a clue what I'm thinking. You should be focusing on the mission and not worrying about me. Think about the job and only the job. We'll all be better off." Clint paused his running for a second on warmed up a little, the last jump was the biggest. "Don't fall." Clint took a running leap and slid to a stop on the next rooftop.
He immediately turned around and nodded to the kid. He watched with baited breath as the kid took in the jump and hyped himself up. This was the largest jump of the entire route, everything was downhill after this.
He couldn't help that his heart started beating a little faster when the kid jumped.
Clint couldn't stop the skip that happened.
Clint immediately ran and slid to the edge of the rooftop.
The kid's jump was too short. There was no way that he would make it to the edge of the building.
His heart was almost in his throat as he threw out his arm and tried to grab onto the kid. He calculated the trajectory of the boy quickly in his head. His heart fell. The kid wouldn't even make it to his arm.
He turned his head a little - he didn't want to look.
The hand that grabbed his arm caused his head to swivel back to the boy in disbelief. His hand clutched it unconsciously and he was pulling the kid up before he knew what was going on. The burn of the muscles in his arm as he pulled the boy to him was the only thing that was keeping him grounded.
When his back hit the gravel of the roof and the kid's weight lay on top of him, he allowed himself a sigh of relief. Bolt shouldn't have been able to make his hand, but Clint wasn't complaining.
"You okay kid?"
"Y-yeah. I-I think s-s-so." The kid jumped up quickly and shook off. "My name's Bolt."
"I just saved your life, I can call you whatever I want." Clint pushed himself to his feet and forced his heart's beating back into it's normal rhythm "You're lucky this is our stop." Clint crouched, pulled Bolt down, and walked to the edge of the rooftop.
The target of the mission was a rather boring looking warehouse in the middle of a bunch of boring warehouses. Which wasn't great for scenery, but made for a good inconspicuous hiding place for illegal activities. Clint had seen many like it in his time. Clint grabbed a pair of binoculars from his bag and handed them to Bolt. He hadn't needed them in awhile, but it was always good to come prepared.
"Start from the left side and go around. The building is large enough for a 15 minute route, which means we will be looking for 20 to make sure that we haven't missed any guards. There are scouts on three other roofs surrounding the building. We will call out the ones we spot over the comms. The scouts have their own closed circuit comm. At the end of the 20 minutes I will give the final count to Lynchpin as well as all the placements. He will tell us who to take out and when. After that, the infiltration team will head in. It is our job to provide backup and spot incoming hostiles. If you see something important you either tell me or you shout it over the comm. It you have only seconds to give a warning, don't tell me, tell the people that are going to get shot. This job is all about responsibility. You up for it?" Clint asked with a hard look in his eye. He couldn't afford for any weak links on this team. There was a reason he worked better alone than with a group, the responsibility got to him. However, Clint was sometimes more use to S.H.I.E.L.D as a scout than a spy.
"I can do it." Bolt said with youthful arrogance. Clint shook his head, but turned back to the target. He would look out for the kid, but the mission needed his full attention.
Harry panted as he leaned against the short wall of the rooftop.
He tried not to look at the body bags that the cleanup crew were zipping up a few feet away from him. Harry tried not to think about just how much the mission had gone to hell and how much he misjudged the man who saved his life more than once that night. A shadow fell over him and a pair of legs blocked his view of the body bags.
"You alive down there kid?" Hawkeye rested his head on the tip of a large bow that he was carrying.
Harry remembered how he had scoffed at the weapon when Hawkeye had pulled it out and started giggling. That weapon had saved his life at least three times that night and he had dismissed it as a medieval toy. From the way that Hawkeye was staring at him Harry must have let a few manic giggles escape him, yet he couldn't find it in himself to care. He was too tired.
"Come on kid, up you get." Hawkeye held out a hand for Harry to grab and pulled him up.
"Sorry, Hawkeye." Harry said as he stared at the six body bags on the rooftop. "I didn't do my job."
"The mission is over kid. You can call me Clint, Clint Barton." He didn't hold out his hand for an introduction, which made sense because once you saved the life of somebody and they saved yours it didn't really matter what your names were. Clint pushed on Harry's shoulders and turned his head away from the body bags. "And you did just fine, kid."
"I didn't. I could have been better. People got hurt and I..."
"Let me just stop you right there kid. People will always get hurt. Even if everyone does their job perfect people can still get hurt. Seeing as no one on our side died because you missed something, call it a good night and forget about it." Clint pushed Harry to the ladder to start climbing down.
"There were people though...they snuck up behind us and you were doing your job so well and I just...I missed..." Harry listlessly looked at the night skyline of the American city that he had been in for a total of five hours and had already killed someone in. Harry turned away from the depressing thought and climbed down.
"Kid, what is your specialty?"
"Close quarter combat."
"How many times have you played scout on a mission?"
"Just this once."
"So why on Earth do you suddenly think you're an expert at it. I've been doing this job for more than a decade and I still miss things. Stop feeling guilty and start enjoying yourself. So what the mission went FUBAR, that's what mission's tend to do and seeing as no one good died put this is the victory pile and move on."
Harry rubbed his eyes a little and jumped the remaining distance to the ground of the alley. Hawkeye quickly followed him.
"You saved my life tonight." Harry said a little out of it.
"Well, not to brag or anything, but that's kind of my job description." Hawkeye started pushing his shoulders again.
Harry rubbed his eyes again. Watching the battle had been a little like trying to find an exploding snitch in a pile of exploding snitches. There were too many things to look at and Harry didn't know how Hawkeye managed to know exactly who to hit and he never once missed.
"I'm sorry I didn't see those guys quicker." Harry said his mind still on the body bags that littered the roof.
"Bolt, you have to remember that I would have been on that rooftop alone if you hadn't been there and most likely would have been in much worse condition." Hawkeye pulled his sleeve a little and Harry suddenly realized that they weren't going back to the target or headquarters.
"Where are we going?"
"You seem like you could use a little break and I am going to give it to you. Don't worry about it." Hawkeye turned another corner and Harry followed him. They were about halfway down the street when Hawkeye turned to the side of a building and pressed on a keypad beside the door. Harry barely had a second to think before he was pushed through the open door into a rather spacious hallway and then pushed through another door that Hawkeye opened at the end.
"What is this place?" Harry asked.
"Oh, well. I have little nests like this stationed throughout the city. You never know when you need a safe place to crash." He rummaged around in a drawer and Harry could see him pulling out some clothes. "Here this should fit." Harry grabbed onto the pants and jumper that he was given. "I know it is a little old, but it should be warm enough and pretty comfortable. I can't stand to stay in mission gear after..." Hawkeye trailed off, but Harry understood. "You can use the bathroom, but then we are going out."
"You have something in mind?" Harry asked confused.
"Oh yeah, the perfect place for snot-nosed brats like you." Hawkeye poked him in the side.
"You are very different than how you were during the mission, Hawkeye."
"I told you, the mission is over I am not Hawkeye anymore, I am Clint Barton. Hawkeye is made of serious things. Hawkeye has the lives of men hanging on his ability to do his job. Hawkeye kills people for a living. Clint is not Hawkeye. Clint likes fast cars and easy women. Clint likes classical music and art galleries. Clint worries about paying the bills on time. What about you, Bolt?" Clint said while pulling off his shirt.
"Harry. My name is Harry - just Harry." Harry said softly and then rushed into the bathroom for a quick shower and change.
It was almost 15 minutes later when he came out fully dressed with wet hair.
"There you are. Let's go." Clint grabbed his arm and pulled him out of the room and down the hall to a staircase. Harry was dragged through another door into a car park and then lead down the row to a black Mercedes. "Jump in." Clint sat down in the driver's chair and adjusted the seat a little.
"Where are we going again?" Harry asked while sitting down.
"Someplace that every kid needs to go to." Clint pulled out of the parking lot and sped off down the road. Harry would have been a little worried at the speed if he hadn't just watched Clint kill a couple dozen men.
"I'm not a kid." Harry said as he stared at the lights flashing by.
"Yeah well, it's a place that adults need to go to every once in a while too." Clint sped up a little. Harry remained quiet for the rest of the trip.
The lights of the city flashed by the window. Harry could make out some of the street names and landmarks. He could stop his mind from memorizing them just in case he needed to go back the way he came without Clint's help.
Harry forced himself away from the window to look at his companion. The agent from the mission seemed almost invisible beneath the personality of the man.
As the minutes passed by he could see the tension draining from the other man's body and allowed his to do the same. He could do with some relaxing after the week that he had.
Harry closed his eyes and rested his head against the window - adrenaline draining from his body.
"We're here." The words and the abrupt stop caused Harry to flinch awake.
Runaway Bob's Wacky Adventure Land was not the place that Harry expected Clint to pull into. The building had a giant, colorful sign on it that was turned off. This indicated to Harry that it might be closed, but Clint didn't seem to care. Clint got out of the car and waved for Harry to follow.
"What is this place?" Harry asked while Clint walked up to the fenced in miniature golfing area.
"It's like a Chucky Cheese or whatever the British equivalent of that is. You know, an arcade with carnival games, bumper cars and stuff. It's tons of fun. Come on." Clint grabbed the edge of the fence and pulled himself over. Harry looked on, shocked.
"Are you breaking into a miniature golf park?" Harry was baffled.
"Yes, we are. Now get over here, or will I have to drag you?" The look in his eyes made Harry think that he wasn't exaggerating so Harry quickly grabbed the side of the fence and jumped over.
"What are we doing here?"
"I have found in my many years of service that the best cure to a mission gone wrong is a little bit of harmless fun. Of course, when harmless isn't possible than harmful can do, but I think you a little young for that yet." Clint walked to the side of the building and pulled out a set of lock picks.
"I'm not a kid." Harry said indignantly. He hadn't been a kid in a very long while. Clint looked back at him for a second before continuing to pick the lock.
"Maybe not, but you do look like the sort of person who needs to learn to enjoy the little things." Clint smiled as the door lock gave a click and swung open. He seemed to fumble around inside for a few seconds before the light went on and his hand appeared to pull Harry inside.
Harry paused for a second as the lights washed over him. Flashing lights lit up a hundred different machine all making noises and moving - he forced his adrenaline rush away again.
"I've never seen anything like this before." Harry was so caught up in amazement that he didn't notice the dark look the crossed Hawkeye's face. "My cousin had a birthday party at one of these places before, but I didn't get to go." Harry turned back to Clint. His eyes were lit up and for once Harry was looking the exact age he was. "Can I?"
"Of course. Run wild." Clint leaned against the way as Harry sped through the machines. Harry stopped in front of several before coming to a set of short lanes with balls and circles at the end of the lanes.
"What exactly is skee ball?"
It was almost an hour later that found Harry and Clint at the fake shooting gallery having a competition. Harry was losing. The game let out a loud dinging noise and Clint did a victory dance.
"This isn't fair, your job is marksmanship."
"You're just a sore loser." Clint said while jumping over the counter to grab a large stuffed elephant from the wall. "I think I'll just take this, but since I'm such a good sport I think I'll let you have it." Clint grinned for a second and threw the elephant at Harry. "There we go. The night is now complete, you have been pummeled with a stuffed animal. Much better than anything your handlers could do." Clint said leaning against the counter. Harry looked at him surprised.
"You mentioned that earlier, what are you talking about? What handlers?" Harry was surprised when Clint's face got serious all of a sudden.
"Wolf and King, they are your handler's aren't they?"
"What? No. I mean, not really...okay...sort of, but it's not what you think." Harry pushed the elephant to the side and stood up.
"Really? So what am I missing?" Clint asked leaning his chin on his hand. Harry blushed a little. He had never thought of Remus and Kingsley as handlers, over protective bodyguards, sure, but not handlers.
"It's not what you think. There are circumstances that you can't understand. They don't want me to learn this stuff, it's just...there isn't much of a choice." Harry said looking down a little. Voldemort had made sure of that.
"Oh? Let me give you a piece of ancient advice." Clint jumped over the counter and pushed up Harry's chin so he was looking at him. "There will always be wars. And because there are always wars, there are always going to be soldiers. For as long as there are soldiers there are going to be people trying to make a bigger and better soldier. And.." Clint paused and looked Harry straight in the eye. "There is always a choice." Clint bent and picked up the elephant from the floor then gave it to Harry. "To remember."
"Remember what?" Harry asked confused, but Clint had already turned away. He grabbed something out of his pocket that Harry couldn't see and started to turn off the lights in the room.
"Come on, I best get you back before we start an international incident." Clint pushed Harry out the front door of the building and Harry got a glimpse of what he held in his hand. Clint pushed the key into the door lock and turned.
"Wait. You had the key this whole time?" Harry looked at him surprised. "That means... Do you own this store?" Harry asked shocked.
Clint nodded at Harry and started pushing him back to the car.
"So why did we break in? Why do you own that place at all? It's not exactly the store I would picture you owning." Harry said while getting in slowly. He wasn't all that excited to go back.
"To help me remember." Clint said.
"To enjoy the little things. To remember that sometimes it's okay not to have the world on your shoulders. Sometimes it's okay to just be a kid."
AN: Cool. So. This story is happening. It will probably be drabble-like things where Harry meets all of the Avengers/supporting cast. Whatever. We'll see.
The bug has bit,
PS. Have you noticed that the Review button is getting ever more obnoxious. It is giant and very blue now, is it? I swear the next thing you know it will take up half a page and you won't be able to read the rest of the story without reviewing. Meh. Rant done.
Revised - 10/14/2012