A/N: Ugh! Finally! I finished this chapter a few days ago but was still too busy to upload then forgot when I had time the other day so finally here it is, but it is a little short in my terms. Definitely information filled, little more sight into Elaina's past for those who enjoy that. And more imortantly...more hawkeye, of course XD so here you guys are
Chapter 6- Secrets
It completely stumped her why he would worry about her so much. He knew what she could do, what she had done, so to be worried seemed...well, it seemed unnecessary. However, that is what Elaina thought, she had no clue what Clint's reasons were for doing just about anything. All her life men had confused her with the way they acted and she had never been able to understand them Clint was certainly no exception. She had a plan, though, she just hope it would work. It was an hour or so after noon, which meant most of S.H.I.E.L.D's agents were back traversing the halls to get where ever they were needed for a new shift. Elaina usually spent her different shifts either working with the computers on the bridge or preparing new agents for duty. When she had free time she spent it in the training room honing her already near-perfect skills because she was convinced she was never good enough. Her once-focused intentions swayed and sent her walking down into the lower levels of the Helicarrier. She didn't notice where she was walking until she found herself standing in the infamous detention level.
The dimly-lit level of the Helicarrier gave off the sense it should have: evil. The specialized glass and steel cell in which the mischievous god had been held in had been replaced after he had sent Thor barreling toward the hard ground below in it. Elaina looked around, having the sense that she shouldn't be here, but she was plastered to the floor by the horrid thoughts she associated with this place. The scene played like a movie in front of her eyes before she shut it out of her mind completely. Loki could be worlds away, but she wasn't about to let a memory of him, and things he had done, ruin her day.
"Why are you torturing your mind down here?" the voice came from the far end of the otherwise silent room.
Elaina followed the voice to see Steve leaning in the doorway, she looked back at the cell.
"I didn't mean to come down here, I was looking..." she caught herself. "Well, I have no clue where I was actually going."
"Really?" Steve said with a smile.
Elaina laughed, "I'm getting old, can't even remember what I was doing," she joked.
"I know how you feel," Steve said.
"You're not that old, Steve," Elaina said reassuringly.
"No, just out of time."
"Out of time," Elaina agreed. "So why are you down here?"
"I was walking back to my room, I saw you walking down here and I got curious," he replied.
"Oh, not worried about me are you?"
Steve chuckled, "Are you joking? I'm pretty sure you can more than handle yourself, Elaina. I was just wondering why you would come down here."
Elaina smiled, "Thank you, at least someone is treating me like I can fend for myself."
"You do seem to be a magnet for danger, though."
"I gotta get going," Elaina said kindly, turning away from the cell.
Her boots rang on the metal walkway as she exited the level, hoping to get away from the dark thoughts of the place.
Now that Elaina realized she had no clue how to find Clint she realized how large the Helicarrier really was. Each corridor led to an even longer hallway and each door led to a corridor, it was an endless cycle of walking. It wasn't as f she were lost, because she wasn't, it was just because she had no clue where to start. She supposed she could have started with the rafters, not like she could have gotten up there without Bruce knowing about it. She walked aimlessly, delving deeper and deeper into the Helicarrier's interior where hardly anyone was. Her footsteps started to bounce off the walls magnifying sharply down the hallway she was walking through.
"Elaina!" the simple call became a roar as the sound waves bounced back and forth in the narrow passage.
She smiled, stopping and turning around to face the origin of the echoing call. Walking back a few steps she used her agile reflexes to slide down the thin railing of the tall staircase she had come up moments before. At the end of the rail she dropped to her feet in front of Clint.
"Bruce said you were looking for me," he said, completely nonchalant about her stunt.
"I am, well, I was," she replied.
"You walk fast," Clint stated. "I didn't think I'd ever catch you."
"Force of habit, sorry."
"No, it's fine, so what did you want to see me for?"
"I wanted to propose a deal."
"Oh no..." he replied with a smile. "Okay, go on."
"It sounds stupid, trying to bribe you, but it seems to be my only option. I'm glad you're concerned about me, but since I was sixteen people have been treating me like at any moment I'm going to shatter into a million pieces. That changed when I became an assassin, people finally treated me like an actual threat and now I'm back to that fragile teenager image. It's making me nervous, when people worry so much I feel like I'm going to get shot," Elaina said. "I don't want to feel that way whenever I'm around you."
"I'm sorry I come off as that, alright, what's the deal," he said shifting his stance.
"The deal is you stop worrying about me so much-"
"I don't think I can just-"
"Let me finish," Elaina said. "If you stop openly worrying about me then, for every day it takes us to get to New Mexico, I'll tell you something I've never told anyone about me."
"And how do you know I'll agree to this?"
"Because, I know you're curious about me. I can see it, Clint, I read people."
There was a pause between the two.
"Before I say yes, which I'm sure you read off me like a book, I want to know how you think I can stop worrying about you."
"You can worry about me all you want, tell whomever, just make sure I don't hear about it," Elaina said starting to walk away.
"When does this deal start?" Clint asked.
The sun was starting its decent through the many layers of clouds when Elaina returned to the bridge. She checked the computer once more before heading back to her room where she laid out on her bed staring at the ceiling. It wasn't long before she gave into her exhaustion and found herself asleep. Once she had fallen into that dark void of semi-consciousness she remembered why she had always had trouble sleeping, why New Mexico didn't only mean good things to her.
Politics had never interested her, the cut-throat business was even more dangerous than the profession she would take up. She stood in the corner of the medium-sized room packed with people who stood around chatting with one another. Her eyes were on the young woman at the front of the room that looked like a slightly-older version of herself. The finely-dressed woman, who appeared to be in her early twenties, sat behind a long table alongside two men dressed in pressed, black suits.
"We will begin the discussion in five minutes, I repeat: five minutes, please have your questions ready. Thank you," the person on the microphone had a shaky, unsure voice.
In minutes she knew why, a loud crack silenced the room in a split second and the woman at the table fell from her seat. Time seemed to slow around her as she realized that loud crack had been gunfire; she ran from the corner of the room to the front, the meeting falling to chaos. She knelt down beside the woman, who she saw bleeding horribly.
"Maria," she said softly, tears sliding down her face.
"Lana," the woman replied. "What-what are you doing here?"
More gunfire filled the room causing more screams of panic to erupt from the crowd trying to get out.
"Please, Maria, you have to stay awake. You're going to be alright, okay? You're going to be fine," she said as she put pressure on Maria's wound.
Another shot rang out and she felt searing pain between her shoulders. Seconds later she blacked out, worried only for Maria's life.
Elaina sat up with a sharp gasp, suddenly back in her room, back somewhere safe. Trails from tears laced down her face where she had been crying in her sleep. That memory -or so she thought- had been barred from her mind for a long time, but now it had come back to haunt her. That day had to have been the single, worst day of her life and the reason why Thor wasn't her forethought of New Mexico. She looked out of the window to see that she had slept through the night and well into the next day. She was glad, though, because she was no longer tired like before and the throbbing in her head had subsided significantly. Swinging her legs over the side of the bed she pulled on her boots and did up her hair in a messy, high-ponytail. The bridge was already busy with normal traffic of the morning, with the many agents dressed in their navy uniforms checking the computers. Some carried manila folders filled with papers to Fury -who stood at his usual spot by the flat screen computers slightly to the back of the bridge- before moving away empty handed. Elaina stood at the back by the glass-topped table with the S.H.I.E.L.D emblem and watched the normal buzz unfold. She could immediately pick out new agents; they would move around nervously with hands held near their bodies and frantic eyes that tried not to make contact with senior officers or Fury. One of her fine points, like she had so welcomely informed Clint, was reading people whether it be by body language or speech. That was probably why the archer interested her from the first day she met him, she had trouble reading him and she had never before had trouble reading someone. Natasha was just as intriguing for the same reason, but on a different level because she had opened up to Elaina, Clint, however, she knew near nothing about.
After a small meal Elaina wandered back to the bridge feeling not at all like herself. That nightmare had been real and it had jarred her inside, the feeling of loss overwhelmed her. She once again checked the activity around the farm, which was minimal. No one had come or gone and there was hardly any movement around the place that was both concerning and relieving. She stared blankly at the screen, blocking out everything around her, the screams from her memory echoed through her head. Enraged, she stood up and walked forcibly to the table at the back of the bridge where she had been earlier. In a day and a half they would be at New Mexico, she had to find a way to move away from the past if she wanted to focus on the present. She would be vital to the success of the mission, but if she could not deliver she would be putting the Avengers in danger once more, this time with higher stakes and more consequence. Her own safety was one thing, the safety of those who trusted her to guide them away from unknown danger that only she knew was something drastically different.
"Elaina? Are you feeling okay?" the voice brought her from her thoughts.
"You know, its getting very disturbing how you can find me so easily," she said smiling.
"It's not that hard to find anyone on this ship."
"Except for you," Elaina added.
"Except for me," Clint agreed.
"So, what do you want to know?" Elaina asked in a less-than-serious tone.
"You don't have to tell me anything you don't want to, I'll respect that."
"You didn't do this just to 'bribe' me...did you?" he said more than asked.
"Am I that transparent?" Elaina asked with a weak, self-mocking smile.
"No, I've been in a similar situation," Clint replied.
Elaina shifted in her seat, but was not at all uncomfortable in this situation.
"The only way I'm going to be able to move past the memories that keep haunting me is to tell someone and you're the only one I trust enough to tell," Elaina said.
"I'm glad you trust me so much, but I'm not a therapist, I don't know how to handle this."
"I don't need a therapist, I just need someone who understands."
"Okay, so have you told anyone why you became an assassin?"
"No, but do you really want to know that?"
"Yes, it's not something a child says they want to be when they grow up, there's usually a reason."
Of course he would pick the one thing that hurts to tell, she thought.
She was glad for it, though, it was the first thing she wanted to move past before New Mexico.
Sitting back in the chair Elaina started to tell him about the worst day of her life.
"I had a sister four years my senior that was the best thing in my life. She was my best friend and was there for me through every bad day to every triumph. After our parents ran out on us when I was fourteen she was the only person I ever trusted, the only one I felt I could rely on without it ending in disappointment.
"When she was twenty she decided to go into politics, I warned her against it, but it was what made her happy. She was going against this man that everyone seemed to love, but the group he supported were corrupt turncoats. All she wanted was for people to know who they were supporting, she never liked playing dirty, only honestly. Some dirt on them surfaced, she found it and played it against them, or was going to. Somehow they got wind of it. A press conference was held in New Mexico a few weeks later, I usually never went to them, but she begged me and I caved. Five minutes before they started talking she was assassinated. The assassin was skilled, he covered it by, one, not taking the head shot, and, two, he kept shooting into the crowd to make it seem like a random shooting. He targeted the first people to respond and help, one of which was myself. I was looking over my sister when I was shot in the back of my shoulder and passed out. I woke up hours later in the hospital; the doctors said they tried to save her, but couldn't.
"Not long after that I started training for the chance of revenge, slowly turning my body into a functioning weapon, hoping I would be able to do the only thing that mattered anymore: kill the person who took my sister from me. A year after her death I had tracked down the assassin, a hired gun, and was moving in on him. Since it was my first it was a little sloppy, I took some hard hits, but I managed to kill him. The agency I worked for before S.H.I.E.L.D took interest and by the time I turned eighteen they had employed me. How I got here is a completely different story I don't want to tell now because of its length."
When Elaina finished and looked back at Clint she saw him looking at her with a somber expression, one that had taken a complete change from earlier.
"Elaina, I'm sorry, I had no idea-"
"You told me I didn't have to tell you something I didn't want to, I wouldn't have told you if it bothered me," she replied.
"No, I'm sorry about your sister, I know what it's like to lose a sibling."
"Not many people do and thanks, Clint, it means a lot, you listening to me."
"You would have done the same."
Curiosity was eating away at Elaina, but she dared not open old wounds, especially with Clint.
Hours later the five Avengers and Elaina stood at the back of the bridge looking around awkwardly.
"Anyone know why we're here?" Tony asked in a feeble attempt to break the silence.
The other five shook their heads without another word which seemed to amuse Tony. Elaina had a feeling it had something to do with the new mission, but with Fury she could never be sure. Minutes later, the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D walked in the middle of their group without a single hint as to why they were there.
"You all know why you're here," Fury said.
"Uh...actually we don't," Tony said after looking around at everyone standing there.
Fury gave an accusing look at the billionaire before Clint cut in.
"He's telling the truth, sir," Clint said casting a side-glance at Fury.
The Director's eyes fell on Elaina, making her shift uncomfortably.
"You didn't tell them, Miss Barton?" Fury asked.
"I wasn't aware I was supposed to, sir, I apologize."
That made her feel horrible that she had actually failed to obey indirect orders when those were always the easiest for her to follow.
"Don't worry too much about it, we're here now," Fury said to Elaina before turning to the rest standing there.
"What Miss Barton was going to tell you was that we found the good Doctor a couple days ago. In case you hadn't noticed, we are now heading inland, toward New Mexico, but we can't take the carrier all the way in. I'm going to need Stark, Agent Romanoff, Captain Rogers, and both Agents Barton on this job."
Elaina and Clint both gave short scoffs at his abbreviation of their names.
"Our objective, Director?" Steve asked.
"Your objective is to bring back that psychotic excuse of a scientist so he knows who he's been testing the patience of."
Elaina could tell how much Fury was becoming frustrated with trying to keep up with Durov and she didn't blame him, it wasn't an easy task for anyone. In a few hours it wouldn't matter anyway, Elaina would make sure he didn't see the light of day until he was a crippled old man. Her aged, bitter hatred for him was progressively rising up once again inside her after lying dormant for years. Soon, old wounds would be reopened, old wars would be waged again, and the Avengers would be caught in the crossfire; no one was escaping New Mexico unscathed.
A/N: my attempt at foreshadowing/cliff hanger haven't done one in a while so little rusty on that. Anyway hope you enjoyed, hope it answered some questions you guys had. And just a little more info for you guys: I do not have a sibling, didn't ever long for one anyway..so why do I give most my characters siblings? I...haven't...a clue. Anywho, since it is now winter break I am going to have more time to type so more chapters should come soon. O and another thing: what I did with Hawkeye and Elaina, yes a little cheesy, but I wanted her to tell him something about her past and put some comic book references in there so that's the only way I could, I am not proud of that, but thats how it turned out. Point being, no need to inform me of it I already know haha :)