"You need to get out of there, Barton. The place is about to blow."
"Oh really, Phil? I didn't notice." I retorted, rounding a corner where I'd last seen a flash of red.
"Don't be a smartass, birdbrain, or I'll send an armed squad to come and collect you." Phil hissed over the comm. I chuckled and was thrown to the side suddenly when the building quaked roughly and dust started to fall through the shutters. I regained my step easily enough and broke into a jog.
"Barton, abort mission or you die."
"If I die then so does she; we're in the same building." I mumbled, rounding a corner once more, only to be faced with a hall that lead to a door that was slightly ajar. "Wait, scratch that."
"Barton, we can get her another time. Abort mission!" Phil's voice was growing angry now and rising with each word.
"You know that's not going to happen." I wrenched the door open, faced with the edge of a forest. The building quaked again, and I bolted out of the door and into the darkness of the surrounding trees.
"She's not on the radar anymore, abort mission. Acknowledge?" I continued walking through the bush, silent as the grave, listening for any snap of a twig or rustle of a leaf. She couldn't have disappeared that fast, but now that I think about it, this was the Black Widow, the most dangerous woman in all of Russia and possibly the world. If she wanted to disappear, then disappear she would.
"Fuck…" I cursed to myself, eyes darting everywhere. It was getting dark out, and the building was bound to explode any minute now.
"Barton, acknowledge?" Phil was being persistent, and I felt like I could punch him in the face right now.
"Will you shut up?" I growled, pulling out an arrow and notching it into the bow, peering through the scope and watching.
"Fine. Have fun dying, see you on the other side."
"Maybe." I ripped the comm out of my ear, throwing it to the ground and continuing the hunt. The building was shaking now and I could here screams in the distance, and it made things slightly harder to concentrate on. How could I let her get away! She was my target, and now she's out of sight.
Wait, what was that?
I couldn't be sure I'd heard it, but I ran to where my instincts told me to. I sniffed the air and caught a whiff of her sweet perfume. Smirking to myself, I crept to where my nose led me, and through my scope, I caught a flash of red, and was instantly running.
She was fast; faster then me, for sure, and her agility gave her an advantage as we raced almost silently through the forest. The building was still in sight, and more then once she threw a glance over her shoulder at the smouldering place. I still had a smirk on my mouth as I gained onto her, the cold air hitting my face harshly as my breathing got heavier.
And then she stopped, and turned to face me with her own evil smirk playing on her lips. She nodded to me, took a step back, and in a blink, she was gone.
I skidded to a halt, slinging my bow onto my shoulder and sliding the arrow back into place in its quiver. I treaded cautiously over the ground, until I found a small tunnel that pummelled to the earth below. I growled to myself, considering where it led and that she'd be waiting, but all throughs evaded my mind when there was a deafening bang and the building was blowing into smithereens.
I took a deep breath and threw my body into the tunnel, sliding down the soft dirt. The tunnel shook from the explosion and the dirt began to seep through the ground above me and fall onto my face, until I was thrown harshly out of the tunnel and rolling to my feet in an instant. My bow and arrow was already drawn and aimed at the redhead who had her gun pointed at my forehead on the other side of the small underground cave.
Her blue dress was stained with dirt, blood and sweat and her hair was a bloody veil around her face as she held the gun up with a steady hand. Her stockings were torn from around her legs, and she had already discarded her shoes in the corner of the room.
We stood like that, weapons at the ready in case one of us made the wrong move. I took this opportunity to scan the room from my peripheral vision, noticing a second dark tunnel on the opposite side from the first that most likely lead to freedom.
She raised an eyebrow, challenging me with a grin playing around the edges of her mouth.
"You made this yourself?" I asked, glancing around the cave quickly.
"Always need a backup plan when I'm being followed."
This was the first time I'd heard her speak within the week I'd been following and studying her. Her voice was almost broken, and slight rumble that was sweet and drenched in danger, with a slight Russian accent giving her away.
"How'd you know?" I took a step forward, and her eyes narrowed and she clicked the bullet into place, her finger on the trigger. I froze, aiming my arrow at her throat in the same form of threat.
"Interesting choice in weapon." She changed the subject, jutting her chin towards my bow. "But I thought we were in the twenty first century here?"
I chuckled. "Nice attempt in trying to insult me, most people do until they see how I use it."
"Will I get to see?"
I paused, confused by her question. "Perhaps."
She raised her eyebrow. "Killing me isn't going to show me."
"Maybe I'm not going to kill you."
The floor began to rumble beneath our feet, and we both lowered our weapons as our eyes darted around the small space. Dirt began to seep through the walls and the rumbling became more violent, sending us wobbling around trying to stay on our feet.
"There's a second explosion!"
I dived towards her, grabbing her by the waist and bringing her to the ground with me, shielding her body with my own as the walls crashed around us. Rock and dirt began to fall dangerously close to our bodies. The taste and smell of damp earth rose to my mouth and nose, and I buried my face in her hair to escape the choking stench.
By the time the explosion has subsided, we were panting for fresh air and unable to see around us as dust and dirt hung heavy in the air. I heaved myself off her body, squinting and backing into the wall, shrugging off my jacket and wrapping in around my face. She stumbled off the floor, instantly searching for her gun and holstering it by her thigh again.
"Shit!" she hissed, walking over to the tunnel made for exiting out of. It had caved in, completely covered by rocks and lumps of earth. The one we entered was also barred, and she kicked a rock in frustration, coughing and squinting.
"Here." I unwrapped the jacket from around my face and tore it in half, throwing her the fabric, which she caught easily and wrapped around her own face. I put mine back in place and walked over to the barred exit.
I began removing bits of rock and earth from the barrier, but whenever one was removed, more and more seemed to bar its way.
"It's no use. We're trapped."
"Oh, really?" she sneered, leaning against the wall.
"Hey, no need to be rude."
"Shut up. Could this get any worse? I'm stuck here with the man who tried to kill me with his medieval weapon in a place I can hardly see or breath in."
"Things could be worse." I sat down, removing my quiver from my back and placing it next to my bow. I'm going to need to give them both a good cleaning where this is over.
She sighed and sat down on the wall opposite me, her short blue dress now totally ruined from the explosion. She pulled out a dagger from a hidden sheath on her back, and began twirling it between her fingers and sending me a warning glance.
"How do you suppose we're to get out of here?"
I shrugged. "The agency I work for will track me down soon enough and eventually get us out." I mumbled, and notice her stiffen slightly.
I raised an eyebrow. "Yeah, us."
"So your not going to kill me?"
I paused again, actually thinking this time.
"Well, you are a threat." She stopped twirling her blade in her hand. "And you've gotten onto our radar in a bad way. And you kill without mercy. Good, innocent people, all dead because of you. Your uncontrollable."
She stood up in an instant and was in front of me with the blade of her dagger pressed to my throat. I remained neutral, ignoring the sting as she pressed a little too hard and blood trickled down my throat slowly.
"And I'd be willing to do it again." She hissed, kneeling in front of me with a poisonous glare on her face.
"I know." I said calmly. "But…"
She blinked twice, raising an eyebrow.
"But you don't remember it, don't you?" I knew I was pushing my luck right now, and that she could easily press that knife through my throat harder and slice it open easily.
When she didn't do either, I continued. "You go out, you kill, and then you go back to the facility you work for. They take you to the Red Room, and they rid of all your memories and weave false ones into your mind instead. You don't remember what they do to you, you see them as your fathers. But really, it's their fault that you are on our radar, and therefore, I cannot find it in myself to kill you for something you have no control over."
The knife was no longer pressed against my throat, and I finally was able to breath again and wipe the small trails of blood away. I ripped the jacket off my face, the dust and dirt had finally sunk to the ground enough for us to breath. She stood facing me, eyes pointing daggers my way as she ripped the jacket away from her own face.
"Sentiment." She scoffed, sheathing her dagger, which still had my blood on the blade. "I kill men like you."