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An Arrow Can Only Be Shot Forward (Unless it's a Boomerang Arrow)

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”Clint, boomerang arrow . Why?”

 

Clint looked up from where he was fiddling with the eponymous boomerang arrow. He signed, grinning, “Kate, I think I figured out how to fix the boomerang arrow!” He waved the arrow around by the shaft.

 

Kate, having learned from the last time(s) there were boomerang arrows around backed away a (possibly) safe distance (read, an arms length away). She signed back, “Clint wear your hearing aids, F-F-S.”

 

Clint frowned, “Can't. Stark has them because I keep hearing this high pitched squealing.”

 

Kate stared at him, unamused, “Dot. Dot. Dot. Like, maybe the squeal of a metal tire rim against wooden floors?”

 

Clint stared, then squinted, “Did you just sign ‘Dot. Dot. Dot.’?”

 

“That's what you focus on, not the fact Lucky’s been chewing on a tire rim?! T-E-T-N-U-S!!!” Kate threw up her hands in defeat.

 

Clint gesticulated back, “I thought that was a random but specific example! Nat does that a lot!”

 

Now, the thing is, the Hawkeyes are remarkably remarkably human. When your normal standard is machines, robots, super-powered individuals (of various varieties) and Gods and Creatures of Legend and Myth, not to mention plain old aliens, the fact that they're just human is easily forgotten. By which, you should understand that they are prone to forgetting nearby hazards such as (but not limited to): a one-eyed dog dragging around its latest chew toy (a SUVs metal tire rim, slightly rusted),  a half-full coffee cup (cold and from last night) precariously placed on the edge of Clint's fletching bench, and most importantly a half fiddled with boomerang arrow.

 

Which brings us to the salient event: Kate signs sloppily and wildly to which Clint reacts by signing back sloppily, and in doing so waves the boomerang arrow right in front of Lucky, who for all his intelligence is still just a dog, and who then leaps for the arrow. Kate reacts by trying to catch Lucky by the collar (ineffectively), but they all still end up knocking into a surprised Clint (still holding a boomerang arrow). They all go falling back, and instead of landing on Clint's fletching bench, they land in well-manicured gardens.

 

(Elsewhere, in a rather worn apartment in BedStuy a mug of coffee spins and falls to the floor, shattering. There is no one there to mourn the loss.)


 

Kate would like to have it formally On Record that she Stuck the Landing, thank you very much. A perfect front tuck and roll, textbook if anything. Kate wants this On Record because it is Quantifiable Proof that she is the Better Hawkeye, and it is Irrefutable. Mainly because while Clint also Stuck the Landing, he did so in a topiary. A very nice topiary, but still. It has A Hawkeye stuck in it and that is Problematic. (It also has a Lucky stuck in the topiary, but that’s less of a problem because the dog gets himself unstuck after a bit of wriggling. Clint, however, does not.)

 

Kate is thankful Clint can’t see her, because it means she can keep up a running commentary while extracting Hawkeye from a shrub and not get any lip back, “F-F-S, Hawkeye, can you ever not do things like this? First with the War and the dead, then the dog, and the building, and the whole Bros thing, and then the kids, and more kids, and the War and more dead - do I have to go on? I mean, honestly, where’s the Hawkeye who bluffed a God? Where’s that Hawkeye?” She planted her foot on the body of the shrub and tugged backwards, hands fisted in Clint’s tactical vest, “Though, the Time with Santa was awesome- we took out Santa . He is plausibly a villain, and we just roasted him . Definitely ranks on the list of escapades. Why don’t we have more of those adventures?” She pauses to reset her foot more securely, “And another thing - we are cutting you off from the pizza when we get back, oh my Gods. We will invest in cooking classes and exercise proper nutrition -”

 

Kate would like to preemptively deny any and all accusations that she squeaked when Clint finally was removed from the shrub.  She would also like to deny that she shrieked at the mass of well dressed people staring at them from the gravel path. Neither of those two events happened. At all. There is no evidence, you cannot prove anything. There are not witnesses.

The crowd of people don’t count.

 

Of course this is all moot by the fact that Clint climbs back to his feet, smiles broadly, and exclaims, “Hello!” The crowd stares back blankly, a few awkwardly smiling back. The general atmosphere is uncomfortable as the group stares and Clint (plus Kate who fails to take over about the time Clint starts beaming because that always promises shenanigans , for which she will never forgive herself ) stare back. When it becomes clearly apparent that Clint isn’t going to do squat to salvage the situation, Kate steps forth to offer, “We’re Hawkeye. Sorry about your topiary.”

 

This does not stop the strange and uncomfortable looks pointed their way; a man with a massive, dark, curly wig addresses the (slightly, it’s really not much, but still) less ornately dressed man next to him, “ Qu'est ce qu'elle dit ?”

 

The second man stiffly clears his throat, before responding, “Je vous demande pardon, Majesté, je ne le sais pas. Ça ressemble à ... Anglais?

 

For once in her life Kate is thankful to the sodden sack of shit that is her biological father for forcing her to take French lessons. She turns to Clint and signs, “Aw, flèche Boomerang, non .”

 


 

In all fairness, the subsequent chase was less of a premeditated and agreed upon event and more of a ‘ Oh-look-one-of-those-tiny-fluffy-rat-dogs-just-started-barking-at-Lucky-and-then-took-off-Oh-hells-Lucky-chased-the-damn-dog-come-back-dog-oh-shit-they’ve-sent-mens-after-us-oh-Gods-run-for-your-life-catch-that-dog-not-the-other-one-shit-twat-dodge-zig-zag-serpentine-jump-run-run-reindeer-Clint-this-is-not-the-time-to-sign-Christmas-songs-aggggggghk!’ (The last bit was from toppling into a fountain. Everyone has those days, okay. No judgement.)

 

Though honestly, the full 5 minute chase was delightfully full of highlights - trampling on the back of ladies dresses (who in their right mind had a cape built into their dress?!) and jerking them backwards or straight to the floor, yelling (lots of French, Kate was learning lots of curses and was looking forward to the next opportune moment to use them), toppling some poor person headfirst through a door in a highly mirrored hall, and knocking over a latrine and the unfortunate soul perched on said latrine. It also became increasingly apparent, during these 5 minutes, that they were in fact in Versailles . America had taken Kate once, and certain things sort of stuck with you. Like the amount of gold. And the highly mirrored hall. (Not the latrines. Those were new old.)

 

Of course, none of this really registered until about the time both Hawkeyes and dogs were cornered in a particularly elaborate bedroom, complete with guardrail. While it was ever increasingly apparent that the uniformed men were not well trained soldiers and either Clint or Kate could probably take them blindfolded and without coffee, these sort of altercations tended not to happen in historic monuments without a Good Reason. Or a Billy or Wanda or Strange On Hand, in that order of preference. Which would have been all well and good, had some enterprising fool not taken their cornering as an opportunity to whack both Hawkeyes over the head with something heavy. (Kate would like to have it on record that her last coherent thought was, “How Rude.” This is, somehow, Incredibly Historically Important and Need to Be Recorded for Posterity.)

 


 

Kate wakes up in a Cloud of Perfume and Lace. No, like literally. She is being sprayed down by perfume and the lace frills on the ladies spraying her down tickled her nose enough to wake her in annoyance.

 

“Hey, hey - what -” She struggles up off the divan, suddenly in a only shift over her undergarments, only to have a sweet cake stuffed into her mouth by one of the many hands in the cloud surrounding her. It’s delightfully cakey, and chocolatey, but too much for her cake-hole and difficult to chew and swallow politely. By then it was entirely too late and she was half in some Gods Cursed contraption, some thing with lacing being yanked on and another apparatus that looked more like it belonged in a dungeon than in the ornate room Kate was presently in.

 

“Wait, what - hang on, that’s not - oh come on, ack - ow, what is this?!” Another strong tug of the lacing thing and Kate yelped harder. “Torture is not legal under the Geneva Convention you know!”

 

Not that it helped any, all the women kept fluttering like so many silk-clothed butterflies, except one who sharply rapped Kate on the wrist with a fan, “Mademoiselle, eef you keep wreeggling wee weel neveer get you drezzed en tiime to meet with zee King.” The lady paused, “ Marie, laisse ses vêtements seuls. Le pourpre n'est pas votre couleur, et vous êtes entièrement trop gros.”

 

Kate caught that, “OI, MARIE, GET OUT OF MY COSTUME!” She twisted hard away from the woman with the pins and the triangular piece of cloth, only to get caught by a woman who pulled a mass of (still, thankfully purple) cloth over her head and then stuck with one of the pins. “ Fils de Pute!”

 

“Oh, you speeak ze French? Tres bien!”

 

“Non, non, non my French is horrible!” Another cake was thrust into her mouth. “Where is my belt?!” It wasn’t with her jumpsuit; Nat was going to kill her for losing her utility belt, especially with a taser in Versailles. Old Versailles. Pre-World War Versailles. Carnie Gods above, what if someone set it off? Talk about a security nightmare!

 

“Ze, ceinture , comment dites-vous….? Ze ceinture , eet weel bee reeturned lateer. For now, ze clothes. Quelle scandale, une fille qui court dans un pantalon!”

 

Truth be told, the subsequent attempts to run away were often thwarted by liberal application of cake to face, which Kate did attempt to protest, “Eating cake is going to get people dead!” Or sharp swats by the lady with the fan, whom everyone paid attention to, and was also the only one who seemed to know some English, however accented, and also seemed to be some ancestor of Nat or Director Hill because She Always Got Her Way. Only, instead of Her Way being World Domination and Complete Authority of Humanity As We Know It, her way was decidedly getting Kate into a massive purple outfit covered in embroidery and sparkled more than a debutante coming out party. Did Kate fail to mention it was hard to walk? It was hard to walk. The draping at the back did not help, not to mention the massive panniers and her hair . Kate was going to have a Time getting her hair Sorted back home, she could already tell.

 

The only plus side was that Kate found at least 45 different places to hide weapons in her monstrosity of an outfit, not counting the hair. Maybe Nat was right about ball gowns being walking armories? It didn’t really matter at present, because she was without her belt, bow, and quiver, but Thoughts, Kate was Having Them. If she could just get her weapons and belt, she and Clint could break out of this place and make a run for it with adequate protection.

 


 

The room they are herded to is by any modern standard lavish, almost to the point of distaste. The rest of the ladies wait outside, but Kate is pushed through the doors and almost entirely into Clint. Which is good, because at least he’s not causing a Disaster somewhere where Kate can’t keep an eye on him , but sucks, because he doesn’t have her stuff, which included their back up bows and quivers . It also sucks, because the whole place seems to be wanting to blind people with wealth. Every available solid surface is decorated in bright gold, and the walls and furniture are draped in damask, brocade, and velvet. Including, and certainly not limited to, both Hawkeyes, who are positively chafing under their sartorial gifts .

 

“No wonder they all lost their heads,” Kate signs to Clint, who per usual, isn’t really paying attention.

 

“This has to be the best detention cell I’ve ever been in!” Clint signs excitedly to Kate, from where he’s been examining the massive painting mounted on the wall. The far corner, filled with 3 guards, a priest, and a nun, dissolves into whispers, and Kate breaks out her (admittedly rusty) French with her best glare from his side, “Il n'est pas un magicien diabolique, il est sourd.”

 

This does not abate the whispers, but given that they are no longer talking about trying them for witchcraft, probably , Kate lets them be. Also because Clint is signing to her about guard patterns and she needs to pay attention - Clint keeps throwing in commentary about how sloppy the fortifications are and it’s hard to parse where the actual information is and where the commentary is due to the lack of punctuation and intonation.

 

They both get jolted out of their collusion on how to break out of the worst defended prison in the world, oh my Gods, this is going to be a cakewalk by the sudden stillness of the cadre to their right. The whole bunch have bowed, and our intrepid Hawkeyes spin around to face the same man with the largest curliest wig known to the rest of humanity. The man next to him is completely different from before, but the lady whom was getting Kate dressed is there, and Kate Loses All Hope. Of What, Precisely, is uncertain, but She Loses it and Loses it Hard. (There is no way, her subconscious supplies, that this isn’t going to end in an explosion. It’s the way these Things always End. It’s practically a Law of the Universe, or barring that, a Law of Hawkeye-hood. Hawkeye-ism? Hawkeye being? Hawkeye Existence? Watchful Eyes of Luck and Fortune, apparently she does need to take that higher level philosophy class, even though it’s not required for her major. )

 


 

It takes a long moment, but the gentleman previously established to be a King, gestured at the stools placed by the table. “Pleaze, sit sit.” A second gesture and servants bustled in bringing a steaming teapot and small cakes and other such items. Just as quickly as they came, they were gone, though Kate didn’t notice because Clint was wearing his gleeful evil smile and the last time he had done that was before the dog chase and Kate could only presume that meant he was aiming for Socially Unacceptable Awkwardness in the name of …. Science? General Chaos? A Larger Plan that Kate wasn’t Yet Aware of? Kate stares at a point somewhere around the woman’s shoulder, her wits slipping past her. Lucky panted at her heels, freshly cleaned and neck sparkling with a diamond collar that looked like it belonged on a Queen rather than a dog. Still it was comforting to have her dog. At least the dog didn’t fail to follow species conventional rules at random, unlike someone else .

 

She only comes to when she notices everyone staring. The King takes a pointed, yet condescending sip of his drink, nonchalant. Clint’s still smiling that slightly manic smile and Kate feels the despair begin eating at her again.

 

The gentleman who is not the King clears his throat, “Monsieur, Mademoiselle, youu aree iin ze prezenze of Hiis Majeesty, ze Kiing Louis XV. Hiis Majeesty haz zome queztiionz for youu, and wee wouuld greeatly appreciiate eef youu wouuld anzer zem. Comprenez vous?”

 

Kate exchanges a pointed glance with Clint, who just grins harder and Kate can feel her lifespan shorten dramatically. The man continued, “ I aam le Duc du Fronsac*, and I weel translate for youu aand foor ze King aas weel.” He shuffled his legs on his stool, “ Youu mustt eemaginee zhat yourr … appeerrance in ze garrden waz …. Uuneexpeected. We eexamiineed yourr appareil , whiich waz perfecctly cleear in zhat youu aree Engliz, zhough what zhis appareil eez, wee aree not zurre. What wee wouuld likee too knoow eez whaat youu aree dooing ‘eree in ourr beloved Versailles.”

 

Kate stares at the delicate teapot, and then into her still full cup of chocolate. She could drown Clint in that much chocolate right? Nat said something about only needing three inches, but Kate had been concussed and wasn’t sure if that was the minimum length of a stilletto knife to kill a man or the amount of water to drown a man. Clint waves frantically to get her attention. Kate Has So Many Regrets.

 

“So we’re from the future! Not that frogs need to know exactly when from, they don’t even have heliocentrism down as a scientific fact!

 

“Greetings, Your Majesty, Duke, Madame. I am Katherine Bishop. My… mentor, Monsieur Clinton Barton, says that we are not from here and that this has been an unfortunate event caused by Science practiced by those uneducated in its practice.” Kate speaks carefully - Bruce and Jane have both regularly give seminars and review seminars on Time Paradoxes and How to Avoid Causing Them, Kate has religiously attended and taken notes okay. She is Prepared.

 

She lets Duc du Fronsac translate, listen, then respond, “Wee arre preepareed too acceept zhis, yourr appareil makeez eet verry oobvioouz zhat youu ‘aave ze, ‘oow doo youu zay… eet eez cleaar youu aree noot off zhis … timee.”

 

Kate groans internally, “Monsieur Barton and I are very glad that you have … extended us such faith over such … unbelievable news.”

 

“In any case, this stuck up dickwad took the boomerang arrow and that’s gonna cause problems. Tell them that under no circumstances are they to touch it. Hell, they shouldn’t even breathe on it. They’re gonna blow something up and then Nat will glare and Steve will do his disappointed face and Tony will cackle and Tony isn’t allowed to cackle. He sounds deranged.

 

“Monsieur Barton would like to express his… concern over the technology that made us arrive here. He believes it is still in your possession and that it could pose a great risk to the empire of France and her people due to its dangerousness.”

 

The Duc frowns, and relays that to the King, who whispers back in less urgent tones. “‘ees Majeesty wouuld liike to say zhat zhere ees no need too woorree, ourr finezt scieentific minds aree handeling yourr teechnologee. ‘ee eez verry eenterezted een zhe taalking deevice.”

 

Kate and Clint both went deadly still at the same time. They’d been messing with their phones? Had the unauthorized opening attempts set off the security measures? “Aww, phone noo. I just took new photos of Lucky on that! How else am I supposed to rig the SHIELD cutest pet lottery?

 

“Ze fleche , zhat eez an eenterezting deezign, non? Noo onne caan geet eet too woork.” He put down the fine bone china on the low table, then picked up the teapot and gestured at Kate in the universally understood language of ‘ shall I pour you some more?’  This must have been one of those situations Nat talked about, where you have to understand that your captor ( thinks , but that’s only ever true in Nat’s case) has you in a corner and you have to comply in order to (hopefully) get more information out of them. Carefully, she leans forward to let the Duc fill her cup, trying not to let the way the Duc and King watch her chest un-nerve her.

 

The Lady interrupts, “Mademoiselle, doo noot bee soo aalarmed. Wee aree seemplee eenterested een yourr knoowledgee.” That in fact, does not help the alarm, but rather alarms Kate further. No one is ever “just interested” in knowledge, not unless they had ulterior motives.

 

The Duc continues as if he does not note Kate’s stillness or the vicious edge to Clint’s unfaltering grin. “Le Madame eez correct. Wee arre simplee … curious, non? ‘armless.”

 

Kate cannot bite her tongue any longer, “You know what they say about curiosity.” And there’s the famous Hawkeye need to talk. Lucky, from beside her barks.

 

The King rejoiners, “Aah, but ze satisfaction, az you say, it brings ze cat back.” He waves off the Duc, “Youu steel havee not spoken of ze waay youu  arrived ‘eere.”

 

The Duc looks (falsely, the frou-frou futz-stick isn’t even trying to fake well) appalled, “Majjesty! Zhey were jjust abouut too saay, oui? Teel uz, ze eventz zhat led youu ‘eere?”

 

Clint smiles harder and Kate can feel a migraine building - Clint only ever looks so delighted when he has Plans. Last time he looked like that he punched a Doombot in the face. With a boxing glove arrow. “Well, what do they want to know?” Clint pauses, then lights up like Tony at Christmas, “Katie-Kate, my favoritest Hawkeye, help me Do the Thing?”  He then clearly signals for “Just remember if we’re caught, I’m deaf and you don’t speak English.”

 

Kate signs back, “Clint, we’re already caught, you are deaf, and we both speak English! She pauses, “And I don’t think that plan works when people already know all three of those things!”

 

Clint signs back, suspiciously gleeful, “Which is why they’ll never suspect! How ludacris do you think we can get? How many ‘Yeah!’ references do you think I can fit in?”

 

“Clint, this is not what Nat meant when she said to give interrogators hell . They could cut our heads off! And ‘Yeah!’ is by Usher!”

 

“Eez zhere a prroblem?” La Madame taps her fan against her knee.

 

“No, there’s no problem! None at all. There’s just… a lot that happened. And neither of us … agrees when to start.”

 

“Zhen just start. ‘ees Majjesty eez verry buizee, afterr alll.”

 

“Oh come on Kate!” Clint signs. “When else are we going to get a chance to jerk around a King ? T’Challa won’t even blink an eye anymore!

 

“Monsieur Barton is in full agreement with this. We just need a moment to agree on the start?”

 

“But of courze.” The King sat back on his armchair and nibbled at a small cake.

 

“Okay, obviously we have to start with the the carnival. There was a carnival that was coming down, and word of mouth had let me know. So we had to check it out. It was a pretty poor carnival, let me tell you; it takes a Carnie to know a good carnival from a bad one.”

 

“A traveling entertainment group came by our… town. We are the primary law-keepers of our town, and because of the size we had to supervise the event.”

 

“Bien sûr. One must enforce the law, especially during such times.” The Duc nodded. Okay, so they were definitely still in the clear for beheading. No one was meeting a guillotine today. Unless guillotines weren’t invented yet? When were guillotines invented? Kate cut herself off. She still had Clint Wrangling to complete.

 

“The duck shooting stall was okay though, perfectly fine for civilians. Obviously, you and I were smoking the place out. Then I noticed the Dagger-thrower giving me the Stink Eye.Totally full on, no remorse, no blinking. Every Carnie knows you don’t go Full on Stink Eye unless you want to start Something. So he started it, got up in my face and said I was a pathetic sharpshooter and that I was a Disgrace.”

 

“There was a bit of trouble by the target shooting booth.” If Kate wasn’t completely and utterly sure Clint was making this up on the fly, she almost would have believed it.

 

The King interjected, “Quite ze lot of gesturez for a bit of trouuble?”

 

“Your Majesty, if I believed you needed the … finer points of what occurred to start the trouble, then I would most certainly tell you. However, if you must know, one man had too much ale and called another man’s mother - ” Kate spread her hands and did her best to project innocence.

 

The King winced, “Ah, in zat caze, continuee.”

 

“Oh, are you going off script? In which case, King Lou here is a total lackwit. Ruining the monarchy and all that. Has no one told him eating cake is going to get people killed? Heads will roll. Oh, hey, bread pun!”

 

“It seems that at some point during that trouble, there was a sinkhole.” Kate pauses and considers the blank faces. “When the ground suddenly collapses.”

 

Enlightenment dawns. “Ah, que horrible .” Madame exclaims.

 

“Since we were trying to quell the fight, we fell as well. There was a secret laboratory, and the fight hadn’t stopped - drunkards, you know - and we were pushed into something which brought us here. That’s all we know.”

 

The Duc only sighs. “Zis doez not address ‘oow youu got here. Buut timeez muzt ‘ave chaanged foor woomeen to bee offeecerz of ze law. Arre zer noo otheer men?”

 

Clint was suitably offended. “Kate, tell Dick du Fondlesac to go jump in a flaming barricade if he thinks we know how the hell a boomerang arrow works. And while you’re at it, inform that sleezeball of a King to quit staring at you chest.”  

 

“Did you just call him Dick of Fondlesac?”

 

“I don’t really remember his actual name… And he’s being a dick.”

 

“That doesn’t make things better!”

 

The Madame interrupts, “Eet doees noot seem az eef youu knoow of ze deetailz beehind ze eevent. Purrhhaps zhen wee shhouuld deescuz zhis, zhen deecide, non?”

 

The King rises, “Zhis eez ze bezt plan. Youu may await Ouur verrdict wherreverr youu pleaz.” The nobles sweep out of the room, the King with the Madame in emerald trailing after and the Duc bowing out after.

 

Clint squints after them. “Boo, I didn’t even get to punch out Dick of Fiddlestick.” Lucky barks, seemingly in agreement. Kate sighs.

 


 

“Mademoiselle Bis’op, bonjour.”

 

Kate would like to Update the Record in order to categorically deny that a flamboyant man in heels on marble floor snuck up on her ever. It did not happen, there are less witnesses than with the garden. Of course, her stupid trained debutante muscles flex and she sinks into something vaguely resembling a curtsey. Though, she’s glad the King is here and not elsewhere, because Clint is currently climbing the outside of the palace after they’ve successfully eavesdropped on some guards about where their stuff is. “Bonjour, Your Majesty.”

 

“Ah, please, rize.” He extends his hand and grasps her fingertips, holding them a waist height away from their bodies. “I am verry glad zhat I fouund youu. Wee deed noot geet muuch chaance too speak beefore. Tell me, wwheere aree youu frrom?”

 

“Ah, from what you would know as the colonies, Your Majesty.”

 

“Ze coloniez? Zer aree verry manyy of zhem; wwheech one?” The King strolled slowly, as if the herd of courtiers trailing behind him weren’t there.

 

“Mmm, a British colony Majesty. I’m quite sure the details thereof aren’t in your interest.”

 

“Aaaah, but zhere youu arre wrrong. Eef ze coloniez ‘ave such beautiez such as youu, zhen I believee eet eez verry much myy eenterest to knoww.” His gaze flicked over the front of Kate again, and she immediately wished she could punch him in the face. Repeatedly. With a knife. Through each eye socket.

 

The King was (unfortunately) saved from grievous bodily injury and Kate from having her head chopped off for causing said grievous bodily injury by the admittedly questionably executed call of a peacock, and screaming. Plus French cursing for good measure.

 

Kate, taking her cue, dove through the windows, just in time to slam on top of the carriage racing past. Lucky barked at her from within the cab of the carriage, clearly alarmed as she forced her way through the too tiny window - she could hear the damned panniers ripping and breaking, but she could not care less, this is why her normal jumpsuit was formfitting for Lucks sake.

 

Clearly, Clint had done his job well for once, with their gear neatly stowed on the plush seat. The Arrow Alarm was already up and pulsing with the activated alarm, so she ignored it in favor of undoing the transdimensional pouch with her spare bow and quiver. She checked out the window, then pulled Lucky to the floor and crouched over him, just in time to weather the massive crash through the gate.

 

Just in time for a volley of gunshot to punch into the back of the carriage. Kate leaned out to yell at Clint, praying he had taken the time to put in his spare hearing aids, “Hawkeye, can we get this thing moving a little faster?” She then leaned back and sent off three energy arrows into the chests of the pursuing mounted guards. They fall off, foundering the men behind them and sending horses skittering and careening into a mosh pit of panic and trampling, but there’s still pursuing guards coming up fast which can only mean one thing. She bangs twice on the roof, “Clint, I’ve got a Plan.”

 

She vaguely hears Clint swear, and call back “Hawkeye, your Plans suck!” as the carriage bumps and jolts and outright races through the bumps and twists of the path.

 

Kate straightens her posture and thinks of the Battle of the Nile, of the Orient and the 10 minutes of confusion. She pulls back her bow, lets the burn of her muscles thrum and churn and get hotter and hotter as it builds up potential energy, until the skin on the side of her face is probably really truely burned. Then she carefully aims, and with the exhale lets go. For once, the boomerang arrow aims true.

 

The Resultant Explosion sends a shockwave through the chasing men, leaving the only noise the shake and rattle of the carriage. Clint slows the lathered horses, working his jaw against the ringing in his ears, “Kate, why do we always have explosions. I’m already deaf, this is going to leave me more deaf.”

 

Kate climbs out of the carriage cab window again to slip in beside Clint on the driver’s seat. “Maybe we need to step up on offering The Good Stuff to your Carnie Gods?” The Alarm buzzed faintly in her hand, indicating that they were headed up on the extraction point.

 

“Do you think they’ll like scones? Or will they need something more?”

 

Kate shrugged, “Who knows. Wanna empirically test it?”

 

Clint grimaces, “The Neighborhood Association will have to sign off on it.”

 

So that’s a no then. That’s fine, cause She’s Hawkeye, and the Rules Don’t Really Apply to Hawkeyes for Some Unknown Reason. Murphy’s Law or something, they’ll figure it out eventually. Until then maybe being Kate Bishop, Hawkeye and Going On (Strictly Ill-Advised) (Mis) Adventures with (and without) her fellow Hawkeye would be enough.

 


 

Afterwards:

 

“Princess, I have never seen you look so fancy.” America whistled lowly from the portal. “What do I have to do to get me some Fancy Clothes like that.”

 

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU MIGHT HAVE BLOWN UP VERSAILLES?!” Steve bellowed from the distance.

 

“Eh, it’s a long story….” said Hawkeye.