Funny how just in one moment
Everything could be turned upside down
Wish I could turn back time
to when you were still around
-Memories by EarlyRise
Footsteps echoed in the night. The two men stood on the rooftop. One leaned over the railing to stare across the water. The other stood quietly behind before whispering, "Hello."
The one on the railing let out a sigh and watched as his breath froze in the air. There wasn't any dignified response to give at this point. Not when there were only twenty minutes left. All that his ears heard was the tick tock tick tock of his mind's clock. Time was slipping away now and he wouldn't be able to grab it back.
The second man gripped the metal rod in his hand tightly. "This is what you humans call the end isn't it? What do you believe will happen when you pass on?" His raspy voice betrayed the slight emotion that quivered in his stony heart. Despite what all may have thought, he was no murderer. It was why he took prisoners rather than killing off for mere sport.
"Not quite sure. Twenty years ago I would have said I'd go to heaven. Now I'm not so sure." Clint gripped the railing tightly between his hands. "It's too red now. I'd like to think I'd go to heaven, but all that's waiting for me is hell." Cars passed underneath the building going along their way. None of them even suspected that they were being watched. People always were like that weren't they? One day everything was fine, the next it all fell apart.
"You changed that as well, you know? Before I was able to blind myself to say I was a part of 'the good side'. Is there even such a thing anymore?" Clint gave a choked laugh. "But now I don't know what I am. It's all a blur. I can't even convince myself that one side is good anymore." His eyes trailed back to the man behind him. The Asgardean prince stood there with a sympathetic look on his face.
"The scepter brings truth. It allows us to see both sides of the argument, but it's up to us and only us to decide what is right and what is wrong. You have to decide what you believe now." Loki replied serenely. He stepped up to the buildings edge and let the wind run through his wispy hair.
"What will you do? Will you join me for the war, the final war?" Loki finally posed the question. Surprisingly, Clint didn't immediately reject the idea. He didn't even reject the presence of the man that had done so much to harm him. Instead a forlorn look entered his eyes. The final war, was it? It sounded strangely like the war to end all wars and history only told what had happened with that.
Clint stared at his callused hands in thought. He could join the man. The idea didn't entirely revile him. A part of him was mistrustful of the so called god. The control the staff had over him had been lifted, but Loki obviously wasn't averse to using it. "Take your time to think about it. I'll return to talk to you later." Loki pushed off the railing and headed back towards the building. He lifted his staff into the air before slamming the hilt on the ground.
A swirling blue portal opened before him. Loki cast one last look back at Clint before stepping into the vortex and leaving the hawk alone once more. Clint let out a sharp exhale as he stared out over the city. The flashing lights of the night life danced before his eyes. The world just kept on swirling by with or without him.
"Agent Barton, are you there?" Agent Coulson's voice sounded in his earpiece reminding him of one of the reasons he didn't trust S.H.I.E.L.D. They were a manipulative bunch. From long before Coulson's supposed death, they had already planned for something of the sort to happen. That was why the little group was called the Avengers after all. What else was there to avenge? The world hadn't even been lost yet so there was nothing gone.
Clint chuckled silently. He clearly wasn't important enough to avenge. Even Tony and Natasha hadn't felt strongly enough for him to work past their differences. He was really worth that little.
"I'm here, Coulson. What is it?" Hawkeye turned away from the city and began the slow descent down the coiling staircase. They wouldn't ever call him unless they needed him for duty. It was a silent understanding between them.
"We just got a transmission from Thor. Loki has escaped from Asgard. We're gathering the Avengers back up to deal with the threat. We don't know what he wants yet so stay on your guard." His partner's worried voice communicated a lot to Clint. Coulson was afraid that he'd be attacked by Loki again since he was the weak link.
"Ah. I know." Clint responded without even thinking. Only moments later did he realize his mistake.
"What? How do you know this? We only received the communication a few minutes ago. Oh no... You haven't met with him already have you? What were you thinking, Barton? Get over here. Now." It was strange hearing Coulson commanding him to do anything. Normally the complacent man asked and people did as he wanted because he was friendly. It was a darker side Clint wasn't sure that he liked.
"I'll be there soon." Clint replied.
"I mean now, Hawkeye." Clint flinched. Whenever Coulson referred to him as Hawkeye it meant that he was mad. It was the same thing when Natasha called him by his full name. It made him not want to head back to the hovercraft just yet. A frown creased the man's face. He'd have to face it eventually though and stewing over it wouldn't help.
Clint stepped down the last step and headed towards the exit of the tower. He turned the handle and walked out into the busy streets. "Duly noted. It should take me fifteen minutes tops to return." Clint quickly merged into the crowd as he snaked his way through the streets.
The thing about crowds was how they always had a flow. People naturally moved to keep the flow of people moving strongly. You just had to figure out which currents were strongest and run with them. Clint headed straight into the fray and tracked after a bustling hoard of college students.
In a few minutes he split away from the group and headed down towards the pier. It didn't take as much energy to keep afloat so unless they were in emergency procedures, the hovercraft was stationed on the water.
He ran in and out of the flickering lights until he reached the waterside. His eyes lit with confusion as he saw four armed patrols standing outside the hatch. It wasn't peculiar to see one or two patrols, but four was something special. Were they expecting an attack of some sort?
He stepped out into the wooden dock and ambled slowly towards them. He saw the guards whispering amongst themselves before one of them cocked his gun and aimed it at Clint. Clint stopped abruptly as he stared at the muzzle of the gun. "What do you think you're doing?" He demanded coldly, "It's Barton."
"That's exactly why I'm doing this, sir." The man replied hesitantly. It almost sounded as if he was afraid of the hawk. "I'm under orders to have you contained upon sight, sir. Please don't resist." The black clad soldier stepped towards Clint with his finger on the trigger.
"I demand to know why I'm being... arrested." The word sounded vile on his tongue. If he was asked to explain why he thought it sounded disgusting, he wouldn't be able to say. It was just a negative term, wasn't it?
"For being under suspicion of working with Loki in his escape from Asgard." The man replied solemnly. He seemed to be gaining confidence as he approached the 'hero'.
"You've got to be joking." Clint said with a frown. What was he supposed to do now? Let himself be tossed in jail for who knew how long for them to perform psych evaluations? After going through nearly six months of psychological rehabilitation, Clint was not excited for more.
If he ran it would be like confirming his guilt, but he was the hawk. Birds weren't meant to be caged up in boxes. They were supposed to be free. He was not going to get his wings clipped. Not now, not ever.
"Do I look like the joking type?" The man replied calmly. He stepped towards Clint with his gun raised and said, "Hold still."
The man slowly neared and thoughts cycled quickly through Clint's head. He had to make a choice soon. Different scenarios ran through his mind as he sorted through all the possibilities of what he could do. There were just too many scenarios and too many outcomes; no logical choice was in sight. Screw it, he wasn't going to get captured. Not by S.H.I.E.L.D. or anyone no matter how ever so kindly they put it.
As the muzzle neared him, Clint grabbed it and swung it out of the soldier's grasp. Guns weren't exactly his style, but it would have to do for now. His fingers curled around the slightly warm metal as he pulled the trigger.
All S.H.I.E.L.D. units were equipped with the same basic protection gear. Bullet proof vests, fake blood pouches to give the appearance of a mortal wound, ect. What really mattered was Clint knew that none of them would die if he fired. He'd just be buying himself a bit of time that was all. Right?
Bullets whizzed over his head as he dropped to the ground. The wood creaked beneath the sudden pressure as he rolled off to the side. He felt the ground drop beneath him as he tumbled down into the water. He held his breath as he submerged himself. His eyes burned as he looked around for where to go.
Shots entered the water and Clint knew he had to make a choice and go with it. He let the gun drop out of his hands and descend into the water as he swamp underneath the pier. Forty seconds had now passed. It already seemed like a lifetime. Air filled his lungs as he finally pulled up from the salty water. He bobbed underneath the wood and shook the water out of his ears.
"Shoot. I guess they were right. Call Fury. He's going to need to know about this. Ugh." The voice of the same soldier that had just fired at him a moment ago sounded just above him. So did this mean he was on the run now? Dang that wasn't good.
EDIT: If you are reading this, note that I decided to go back to the beginning of the story and fix mistakes in my character. My speedy writing made me realize that important character traits were not present in all chapters so I went back to fix them all. If you are a previous reader and you see this: I will be continuing to update this story, but it will be slower because I want to fix all the previous chapters before I go full speed ahead. Thank you for reading!