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Can I Help, Since I'm Here

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He’s being over-anxious again.

“I know, I know,” Kate says impatiently into the phone. “‘One drop can destroy a whole city,’ you told me that already. What do you mean—I am too taking this seriously!” She looks up into the clear night sky, eyes the rooftop terrace above her, and reaches into her quiver for a grappling hook arrow. “Listen, Clint, I have a shot, I’ve gotta go.”

Without waiting for a good-bye, she hangs up and fits her phone into its leg pouch. She lines up the shot, takes it, and watches the hook catch on the railing. With a tug on the line, she flies up into the air, pushes off against the side of the building, flips gracefully onto the balcony, and promptly crashes headfirst into a shadowed figure, someone jumping down onto the terrace from the roof at exactly the same time.

“Ow!” the other person exclaims. Kate rolls over into a sitting position and clutches her pounding head, trying to get her bearings. With her other hand, she reaches for her bow, but when she looks up, she realizes that she recognizes said shadowed figure.

“Hawkeye?” the other girl says.

Kate nods, then replies, “I want to say...Rock?”

The other girl narrows her eyes. “It’s Quake.”

“Right! I knew that.” Well, she knows her real name, anyway: Daisy Johnson, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. They’ve never really run in the same circles—Kate’s been with some iteration or other of the Young Avengers since that fateful night when Susan’s wedding got held up by a group of gunmen, and Daisy is S.H.I.E.L.D. through and through. But she’s one of the good guys, and that’s enough for now.

Kate pushes herself off the floor and reaches out an arm to help Daisy up. “So sorry about that. Are you okay?”

“I’ll be fine.” Daisy takes her hand and stands up. “What are you doing here, anyway?”

“I’m on a mission,” Kate says. Daisy gives her a Well, duh look, and she adds, “The other Hawkeye called me and told me that these guys Blindside and Commanda had stolen this omega compound thing from S.H.I.E.L.D. and that it needed to be retrieved because it would be a complete disaster if it fell into the wrong hands. He’d retrieve it himself, but he’s in—”

“Paris?” Daisy interrupts.

She’s taken aback for a second. “How’d you know?”

“Who do you think sent me?”

“Oh, I see.” Kate laughs and shakes her head. “Our respective mentors really need to work on their communication skills.”

“Hey!” Daisy protests. “Mockingbird’s not my mentor; we’re just friends.”

Katie puts her hand on Daisy’s shoulder. “Oh, sweetie. I know that line. I practically invented that line.”

Daisy scowls.

 

 

This was supposed to be a simple mission. Daisy knows how to make herself invisible—she was trained by the best—and her powers will always get her out of a jam as a last resort. She didn’t prepare for a team-up, especially not with an Avenger. Not that she has anything against Avengers. They do good work, they’re just a little flashy for her tastes. She’s definitely not bitter that they never invited her to join.

Kate Bishop sits down against the outer wall of the building, takes the quiver off her back, opens it up, and starts going through it.

“What are you doing?” Daisy asks, trying not to get impatient. She really wants to get inside and get this over with.

“I’m sorting my arrows.”

“Shouldn’t you have done that before you got here?”

Kate sighs dramatically. “Everyone’s a critic.” She looks up at her. “I did do it before I got here. I’m just double-checking.”

“Fine.” Daisy looks around at the empty suburban streets. “In the meantime, let’s compare intel.”

“Okay.” Kate starts counting the arrows in each section of her quiver with long, nimble fingers. She’s off in her own world, and Daisy is feeling unreasonably annoyed about that for someone who was looking forward to a solo mission.

She clears her throat. “You know the deal with Blindside and Commanda?”

“He’s got a suit that delivers a neurotoxin that makes you go blind, she’s got a magic headdress that gives her powers, they’re both assholes, and a single drop of that compound they stole can obliterate an entire city.”

“That’s what I hear,” Daisy agrees.

Kate finishes her sorting and stands up, finally looking at her. “So, I got this antidote from Reed Richards that’s supposed to neutralize the neurotoxin and I infused a few arrows with it, so that if I hit the right spot on his gauntlets, it should ruin the power of his suit and remove the threat completely.”

Daisy’s impressed. “That’s a good backup plan,” she says. “I got some antidote, too. Picked it up from Spider-Man.” She pats her pocket, where she’s stored a few of the pills he gave her. “Hopefully, we won’t need it. I disabled the security system, so with any luck, this will be a quick in-and-out mission.”

“Why bother?” Kate asks, putting a hand on her hip. “We can take these clowns.”

“I didn’t say we can’t, but the mission is to recover the omega compound, and any distractions could potentially put that at risk.”

“So you’re saying we should just let them go?”

“What do the words ‘a single drop can obliterate an entire city’ mean to you? We need to have priorities.”

“Fine, but if Clint gets mad that they’re still running around free, you’re the one who’s going to answer to him.”

“Deal.” She’s not afraid of Barton. And Bobbi will agree with her, she’s sure.

“I still don’t understand how they got their wires crossed enough to send us on the same mission,” Kate says.

She has a thought, but it’s kind of ridiculous. On the other hand, Bobbi and Clint are kind of ridiculous people. And Bobbi’s been telling her she needs to spend more time having fun and less time on missions—right before sending her off on a mission. That’s suspicious, right?

“Do you think they’re trying to set us up?” Daisy says.

Kate frowns, a wrinkle appearing in her forehead. “What, like it’s a trap?”

“No, I mean romantically.”

“Uh,” Kate says.

“This seems to be a weird kind of way to introduce people, though.” Although, now that she thinks about it, crashing into each other on a mission was how the Hawkeye-Mockingbird duo first met, so maybe their scales for that sort of thing are calibrated differently than normal people’s.

“Well, I’m...mostly straight. I mean—don’t get me wrong, I’m totally flattered—”

“No, I wasn’t trying to hit on you, you doof.”

“There is one girl, but she’s one of my best friends and I wouldn’t want to ruin that—oh!” she says, as Daisy’s words sink in. “No, of course not.”

Daisy shakes her head. “How did you even get that from what I was saying?”

“Well, there’s no need to be mean about it,” Kate says, slinging her quiver over her back and turning towards the door.

I’m not being mean!”

Kate looks back at her over her shoulder. “You’re shouting. That’s kind of mean.”

Daisy presses her fist against her mouth to keep from saying anything else. This girl.

They walk over to the door, and Kate slides a bobby pin out of her hair. She closes her eyes in concentration as she plays with the lock, getting it open in under a minute.

“Not bad,” Daisy says. Credit where credit is due.

Kate opens the door and gestures for Daisy to go inside. “Ladies first.”

“Great.” They go inside and walk slowly down a steep staircase, letting their eyes get used to the actual dark, without the moon and the stars and the street lights. Once they reach the bottom, a hallway leads them to a large room with a checkered tile floor and several round poseur tables around the room. The sides of the room are lined with wall shelves and cabinets.

Daisy turns to Kate. “Keep an eye out, okay? I’m going to check the cabinets.”

The drawers are full of odds and ends, including some very expensive jewels and expensive-looking artifacts, and it doesn’t take long for her to find what she’s looking for. The bottle is made of some sort of clear insulated engineered glass-like material, with a green liquid inside, and the label is full of hazard symbols and warnings, with the word “OMEGA” in block letters.

“Here it is,” Daisy says, picking up the bottle and putting it down on top of the cabinet.

“Mission accomplished, I guess.” Kate scrunches up her nose. “Uh, which of us is going to carry it?”

Daisy starts to open her mouth, but she’s cut off by Kate saying, “Dibs, not it!”

“‘Dibs, not it?’” Daisy repeats. “Are you sure you’re legally an adult?”

Kate rolls her eyes. “Ugh, sorry I’m not a baby boomer on the inside, not all of us were director of S.H.I.E.L.D. when we were twelve.”

“I was nineteen, for your—”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“—information,” she finishes, although she’s not sure why she’s bothering. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”

And then the lights turn on.

“You made a mistake coming here, girls,” says a woman’s voice with a French accent. Daisy looks around, but the acoustics in the room are such so that the voice seems to be coming from everywhere at once, and she can’t see anyone.

A man in a black armored suit—Blindside—emerges from a darkened hallway. “It’s the last mistake they’ll ever make.”

Another light turns on behind them, and Commanda—presumably—in a green costume and purple headpiece, leaps over the side of a balustrade and floats down towards them. “You know,” she says, “you two bicker very loudly. If I weren’t already going to kill you, I’d do it just to get you to be quiet.”

“Shows what you know,” Kate snaps. “Even killing me won’t get me to be quiet.”

Daisy and Kate line up back to back, so that they each have their eyes on both opponents. As they get into fighting positions, Daisy shoots Kate a look. “Looks like you’re getting your wish.”

She’s surprised when Kate responds with a radiant smile, her eyes shining with exhilaration. “Let’s show them who we are, then.”

Kate’s enthusiasm is contagious, and Daisy feels the familiar rush of adrenaline that comes before a fight. She turns back to her opponents, ready to kick some ass. Blindside rushes them, but she drops him easily with a quick slash of the arm while evading his gauntlets. Out of the corner of her eye, she can see Kate setting up her shot with the antidote arrow, when out of nowhere, a flying brick-shaped flying drone goes right into Kate’s back, knocking her off balance and sending the shot into the ceiling.

With Kate lying at her feet, Daisy focuses her power on the drone that attacked her, trying to destroy it from the inside before it can cause more damage. She can sense its mechanical workings, and she’s concentrating on accelerating some of the parts to break it down, when all of a sudden, Blindside jumps to his feet and reaches for her. Kate pushes her out of the way, scuffling with Blindside for a second before kicking him across the room, and it’s not until Kate lets out a gasp that Daisy realizes that Blindside was about to get her with the neurotoxin, and Kate took her place and got hit with it instead.

“Hawkeye!” she cries out.

“I’m hit,” Kate says. She turns her face towards Daisy, her blue eyes clouded over, the toxin having taken effect immediately. Her lip trembles as she reaches her hand out in Daisy’s direction. “All my antidote is in my arrows, I didn’t think—”

“I’ve got you,” Daisy says resolutely, reaching out a hand to grasp Kate’s. Kate squeezes and nods, wordless. Meanwhile, Commanda’s got a whole team of drones aimed at the two of them. Daisy focuses her powers just enough to knock that horribly ostentatious headpiece off of her head, and, thankfully, the drones clatter to the floor.

Quickly, she reaches into her pocket for a pill, which she immediately puts into Kate’s mouth. Kate whimpers, but she closes her mouth around the pill instinctively and swallows.

There’s a flurry of green and purple, and she sees that Commanda’s going for her headpiece. Daisy drops Kate’s arm and moves to block her, but Commanda hits harder than expected—apparently, there’s power in her gauntlets as well. Daisy grits her teeth, pushing down the pain in her side where Commanda made contact, and goes on the offensive. She manages to get a knee into Commanda’s gut, making her double over.

A hissing sound on the other side of the room and a quick glance shows that Kate’s gotten her vision back and has completed her part by taking out Blindside’s gauntlets. Daisy’s still got her hands full with Comanda, though, so she doesn’t stop to check, instead trusting Kate to take care of the situation.

Commanda puts up a decent fight, but without her headpiece, she’s simply no match for Daisy’s training and powers, and it doesn’t take long to subdue her. Daisy keeps her knee in Commanda’s back as she ties her up, the thief spitting and cursing at her the entire time. Meanwhile, Kate’s restrained Blindside with a mesh net arrow, and she takes extra line out of a pocket on her quiver to tie up his hands and feet.

Once both villains are bound securely, Daisy goes over to the cabinet, plucks the bottle of omega compound off the top, and sticks it into her backpack.

“Should we both wait here for the cops?” Kate asks.

“Not the cops,” Daisy says. “This is their property we’re trespassing on. I can get a S.H.I.E.L.D. cleanup team here in five minutes, though.”

Commanda hisses from where she’s sitting on the floor. “I’m going to sue your skin off.”

“That’s very cute phrasing,” Kate responds, unfazed. “Did you come up with it yourself?”

Meanwhile, Daisy makes the call. When she’s done, she and Kate sit down on the floor across from the villains and wait for the cleanup crew.

“Who the hell are the two of you, anyway?” Blindside demands, spitting blood in her direction.

They answer together:

“We’re—”

“—S.H.I.E.L.D.”

“—the Young Avengers.”

Daisy and Kate look at each other, and Daisy shrugs. “We’re the next generation of people handing your ass to you, is who we are.”

 

 

“Thanks for taking the hit for me,” Daisy says to Kate, once everyone is gone.

Kate looks surprised. “Of course.”

 

 

Two days later, they’re standing outside Clint and Bobbi’s apartment, with the omega compound in a pouch looped around Daisy’s belt, because even self-important S.H.I.E.L.D. agents know that ‘dibs’ is sacred. Kate rings the doorbell.

There’s a crashing sound from inside the apartment, and then Clint’s voice calls out, “Who is it?”

“It’s Kate!” she shouts back.

Daisy raises her eyebrows at her.

“And Daisy!” she adds.

The lock jiggles, and Clint’s muffled voice says, “Did you say ‘and Dai—” He stops in the middle of the sentence as he opens the door and sees the two of them. He looks kind of a mess in lounge shorts and an inside-out T-shirt, but he seems comfortable, and she's seen him worse. “Well, this is a surprise. Bobbi! Come see who’s at the door!”

“What is it with you two and shouting across the house?” Daisy says to her in an undertone.

Bobbi comes over, in an oversized shirt and smudged makeup, holding a bowl of cereal. “Oh! You’re...both here. Come on in!”

Kate and Daisy follow them into the apartment, which has an open suitcase on the floor and clothing all over the couch.

“Sorry about the mess,” Bobbi says. “Let’s move to the kitchen.”

She sets her cereal down on the kitchen counter and turns to them.

“So...you’re both here,” she repeats.

“Yep,” Daisy says, “and we have a joint present for the two of you.” She reaches into her pouch and pulls out the bottle of the omega compound, holding it out towards them.

“Oh.” Clint takes the bottle and turns to Bobbi. “Well, what do we do with this?”

Kate crosses her arms. “Uh, thank us?”

Ignoring her, Bobbi shrugs. “I guess we call it a draw and go out to pancakes,” she says to Clint.

“Call what a draw?” Daisy asks, her eyebrows drawing together.

Bobbi and Clint look at each other and then away, avoiding Kate and Daisy’s glares.

“Um,” Clint says.

“We...” Bobbi starts, and then continues quickly, “may-have-bet-each-other-fifteen-dollars-on-which-of you-would-recover-the-compound-first.”

There’s a beat of silence.

“I’m going to murder you in your sleep,” Kate says to Clint.

At the same time, Daisy says to Bobbi, “You are so dead.”

Bobbi tilts her head to the side. “Does this mean you’re not coming with us to brunch?”

“Oh.” Kate pauses, putting on hold the righteous tirade she was about to let loose. “Hmmm.”

“Kate,” Daisy says, giving her a reproachful look.

She knows, she knows. But, “Pancakes!”

“They used us!”

“But...”

“Lied to us!”

“Brunch!” Kate says, weakly.

Daisy sighs. “You’re just as bad as they are.” She turns away.

Kate reaches out and touches Daisy’s arm. “Hey, Johnson.”

Daisy turns, and Kate pulls her in, wrapping her free hand around the back of Daisy’s neck and runs it through her hair, and then she kisses her. It takes a second for Daisy to respond, but she does, kissing her back with enthusiasm. Her lips are warm, and the short curls of her hair are silky and soft, and Kate is discovering that she really enjoys kissing girls. Especially this one.

She gives Daisy a final peck on the lips, before pulling back and saying in a low voice, “The phrase you’re looking for is, ‘set us up.’”

Bobbi and Clint are staring, and Daisy laughs and links her arm into Kate’s.

“So, pancakes?”