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things i can't say out loud

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Kate’s rolled back to her shitty apartment from Clint Barton’s again, groggy and bruised. She’s smothered in band-aids, and America feels annoyed and futile and like kicking things. Some of the things are the people that hurt Kate; some of the things are Clint Barton; some of the things are Kate herself. America doesn’t have a monopoly, once she gets this mad.

When she finally gets her key in the lock and registers America’s presence, Kate grins, blood on her teeth, pushes dirty hair out of her face with grazed knuckles, graceless and tired, and America sighs.

“I thought you’d be gone,” Kate slurs, spilling a step or two, and America thought she’d be too, but, hey. The universe is her playground, she’s been running since she was old enough to know that running was more fun than any of the more stationary options, but she likes this one, the place with this Kate Bishop, who has no sense of self-preservation and kisses like a thunderstorm.

She makes America want to come back, want to stay, and she’s still struggling with those feelings, with that desire. America’s been deliberately lost for so long that she’s not sure she’s ready to be found; especially by someone who doesn’t even know that they’ve done it.

For now, though, there’s this: unceremoniously stripping Kate and shoving her into bed, kissing the broken skin of her cheek: “sleep, dumbass”.

Kate smiles, sleepy and fond and crooked, and does. And America doesn’t move, and panics.