Two days later, the morning was quiet, calm, not a cloud in the sky. Ellie knew, she'd looked. She'd woken up early, not of her own will, but finding herself unable to go back to sleep, she'd sat on her cot and watched the sky till she couldn't stand the sun's glare anymore. Someone had brought a little breakfast for her. She nibbled, but left it mostly untouched. Eventually, she got up, straighten out her room and changed. Agent Hill had been able to get some new clothes for her. Nothing special, a pair of nice brown pants, a blue shirt and a coat. More traveling clothes than anything else, but Ellie was flattered that she'd taken the time to do that. She looked around the room; in truth, it looked as though she'd never been there. She'd finished up the rest of the paintings she'd started, even though some of them were not as spot on as she'd like them to be and given them to their intended owners. Her favorite one had been a rendition of the S.H.I.E.L.D. icon she'd given to Director Fury. Simple enough, but she'd given it enough detail to make the eagle seem more alive, like a bird ready to strike. Fury had given her a genuine thank you and from what she could gather, a very rare, happy smile.
Around noon, Clint came for her, letting her know it was time to go. She nodded and followed him out to where one of the Helicarior's many quintets had been waiting. There, she said said her good-byes to Agent Hill, thanking her once again for the clothes, Director Fury, thanking him for allowing her to stay on the Helicarrior and Agent Coulson, for just everything in general. None of the good-byes were that long- if Ellie had to guess, she supposed S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents were never overly emotional- but they were nice all the same. She followed Clint into the Quinjet and gave everyone one last wave before sitting down.
The trip was short but uncomfortably silent. Barely a word was said between Clint and Ellie, apart from the usual "you cold back there" comment. It was all right though, to be honest. All Ellie could think of was what was to come. What would Asgard be like? What would happen when she got there? Would she even be welcomed by this King Odin? Thor had told her not to worry, but after everything that happened, Ellie wondered if maybe Thor was trying to be gentle with her on purpose.
They landed on a military airfield and after meeting up with Natasha, drove to central park. Again, the ride was fairly silent. Ellie spent most of the time looking out the window at the view, a part of her knowing she would never see it again.
"You scared?" Natasha's voice finally broke through the silence.
Ellie swallowed. "Yeah."
"Don't blame you," She said, pulling into a paved drive through central park. She flashed a badge at a near-by policeman and he waved them through.
"You're gonna be fine, kid," Clint said. "You survived being with Loki, you can survive this."
"I hope so," Ellie though. She smiled at Clint. "Yeah," she said. "I guess I can."
It was a gorgeous day to be in central park. Clear sky, perfect weather, only the slightest nip in the air, nothing strong. Ellie walked with Clint and Natasha to their destination. She stayed close to Clint , noticing a large brown parcel tucked safely under his left arm, but ultimately dismissed it, guessing it was something for Thor. Eventually, the others arrived. Tony and Bruce pulled up soon after, followed by Steve. Little more than a hello was said to anyone. The air grew tense as an armored truck arrived. Clint put a hand of Ellie's shoulder.
"It's okay," he said.
Thor immersed from the back, his hand wrapped tightly around a long metal chain. Ellie's heart stopped.
Loki immersed, his wrists in strong metal chains and a strange muzzle over his mouth. He moved slowly, refusing to look up as Thor pulled him along, eventually letting him go to walk on his own. From the corner of her eye, Ellie could see Selvig immerse from the front. He made eye contact with her, smiling before going to the back to claim something. She could tell he hadn't fully recovered yet.
Clint motioned for her to follow as the group moved towards a designated spot in the park. Only once did Loki look at her. With his mouth sealed, it left only his eyes free to speak. Even in them, there was something there, something appeared at the sight of her. A glowing want, a passionate desire… and something Ellie could not recognize. He lifted his hand slightly, his intention to touch her clear, but Clint stood to guard Ellie and Thor pulled him back.
"Hands to yourself," Stark spoke up, moving in front of Loki. "You try that again, I cut off your hand."
Loki glared violently. He looked back at Ellie once before Thor pushed him along. Ellie shivered a little but Clint motioned for her to keep going.
Eventually, they reached their destination, a small section of Central Park overlooking a calm lake. The day was crisp, though Ellie felt overly warm. She didn't say anything as Bruce helped Professor Selvig with the tesseract, watching him and Thor share a quiet good-bye. Eventually, though, an even heavier silence fell over the group and she felt six pairs of eyes turn to her. She took a deep breath.
Her good-byes between Steve and Natasha were quick, with a good-luck wish and hug shared between each.
"Make sure Clint stays safe, okay?" She asked Natasha. The woman nodded.
"You have my word."
Her good-byes with Bruce and Tony were a little longer. Bruce gave her a final check over and a long hug. Ellie wondered if perhaps he was giving a longer hug for the both of them. She gave him two kisses, one on each cheek.
"One for you," She said. "And one for the big guy."
Bruce turned a light shade of pink.
Tony spent a good minute gushing over Ellie playfully, trying to lighten the mood. It worked a little, but after a minute, it wore thin. Tony gave Ellie a small, but heavy brown leather book bag with her initials burned into it. He told her it was something for the road, but not to open it till she reached Asgard. She hugged him back, thanking him for the burger before hand… and for saving her life. Him and all the Avengers.
Her eyes then fell upon Clint. Steve cleared his throat.
"Come on," he said, softly, motioning for the other Avengers to move away… a little further back at least. Thor even lead Loki away a little. Tony raised and eyebrow at this but followed all the same.
"'Casablanca', much?" He mumbled to Steve. Steve, much to Tony's surprise, seemed to understand.
"Dorothy saying good-bye to the Scarecrow."
Tony wasn't sure what he was more impressed with; The perfection of the reference or the fact that Steve had watched "Casablanca" on his own.
Clint and Ellie simply stared at each other for a minute, both to uncertain to speak. Clint placed the large parcel he was carrying on the ground and stuffed his hands in his pockets. More to delay time than anything else. She came up to him though and, trying to keep her hand from shaking, offered it to him. Clint grinned sadly, knocking it away playfully and putting his arms around her in a tight hug. Ellie reciprocated.
"I hate that I dragged you into this," Said Clint, holding her close. "But I'm glad we met."
"Yeah," Ellie bit her tongue to choke back the tears. She didn't wanna argue with him. Not now. He'd been one of the reasons she'd survived in that horrible place, wether he wanted to admit it or not. Clint gave her another tight hug before stepping back. He leaned down and picked up the parcel, holding it out to her.
"Go ahead," he said.
Ellie took it. For as large as it was, it seemed pretty light. She opened the package… nearly dropping it at the shock, but she recovered quickly and just stared.
The bow was, quite literally, just right for her. Made of, from what she could tell, study, yet light plastic or thin metal. There was a design on it, very lightly carved, making it her own. There was a small quiver as well, filled with arrows. She looked up at him, shaking her head a little as the tears came.
"It was made for you," Clint said quickly, his voice sturdy though it sounded on a verge of cracking. "I had it crafted to fit your hands. It's no good to me or anyone else at S.H.I.E.L.D. Take it," he said. "And practice there. That's the only requirement for having it. You practice every day, if not as often as you can." Clint's eyes darted to Loki. "And if he comes near you, you use it and plug him in the eye."
Ellie thought it was too nice a gift for her. She thought she didn't deserve it. But she threw her arms around Clint, crying freely now. She didn't want to leave her home, her world. Clint had been her lifeline in that darkened place… and now she didn't even have-
A warm hand fell on her shoulder. She sniffed and looked behind her. Steve was there.
"It's time." He said.
Ellie managed a nod and wiped her eyes. She placed the quiver over her shoulder and held the bow tightly. She gave Clint one last hug and walked over to where Thor and Loki were standing.
"Hold tight to me, Miss Ellie," Thor said. "You will be safe."
Ellie tightly clung to Thor's arm, fearful of what would happen next. She looked back at the five figures standing there, all of them looking at her with strong eyes. Her grip tightened around Thor's arm. She had to be strong, she had to find a way to make it.
If not for herself, then for them.
She closed her eyes, a wave of noise and energy rushed over her.
And they were gone.