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Chapter 2

As soon as the elevator doors closed Lex turned and faced Phil. "What happened to Clint? Is he okay?"
Lex had the same level of security clearance as her brother so Phil was free to spill. "Early this morning about 3 or 4 the Tesseract started acting up, misbehaving. As you know the Tesseract is a gate or portal of some sort to other worlds. The portal opened and Thor's brother came through, Loki. Your brother tried to fight him off, but Loki used some sort of mind control over him," Phil paused, taking a glance at the younger Barton. "Clint is perfectly fine physically, but as far as we know he's playing for the other team so he's a threat. That's why we needed you back. Not only did Fury mark you as an Avenger, but also you're the only one that can fill the gap that Clint left in the Agency."
"…Ok, I'm in," She had no choice, she had to go back. She knew this would happen as much as she denied it. She knew that her fresh start wouldn't last for long. And now that Tony knew, any chance of going back to that life was gone. She knew she wouldn't be able to face him when the time came.
"Good. Once we get on the jet I'll give you the same files I gave Stark. It has everything you need to know when it comes to what we're up against," With that, the two stepped out of the elevator on the first floor. 25 minutes laterthey were walking up to the quinjet.
Once Lex stepped inside she noticed there was someone already there. He turned and faced them and greeted them with a polite smile. "I'm guessing you're Agent Phil Couslon?" Phil nodded, a smile plastered on his face. The well muscled man turned and faced Lex. "And you are?" Phil went to answer for her, but she spit it out first.
"Agent Alexis Barton. Nice to you meet you, Captain," He gave her a genuine smile and shook her hand, then shook Phil's. Phil looked like a kid in a candy store, he couldn't have looked more excited.
"Like wise."
During the rest of the flight most communication between the three was small talk. Most time Steve and Lex where talking about and looking over the files they had received from Coulson. Lex internally cringed several times reading through her file. Tony was going to hate her. After she graduated and got her Masters Degree her brother brought her into S.H.I.E.L.D.. If it wasn't for that she probably would have a PhD by now. From there on she trained with her brother and later Natasha Romanoff once she became a part of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Both her and her brother had taken up archery when they were young and became expert marksmen. Their combat skills were some of the best in the agency. After a little over 10 years with S.H.I. . she left the agency a year ago after the outcome of a mission left her broken in many to many ways to fix. Natasha was the one who hooked her up with the job with Tony. She figured it would be the best place for her, seeing that she could keep close to the action, but not be directly involved in it.
After a while Steve spoke up. "So, this Dr. Banner was trying to replicate the serum they used on me?"
"A lot of people were," Phil said, walking towards him. "You were the world's first super hero."
"Dr. Banner thought gamma radiation might hold the key to unlocking Erkine's original formula," Lex chimed in as she looked up from the files and at Steve. He was extremely good looking for a man that had been on ice for nearly 70 years.
"Didn't really go his way, did it?"
"Not so much," This time it was Coulson who answered. "When he's not that thing, though, that guys like a Stephen Hawkings." Steve looked at Lex with a confused expression.
Lex chuckled. "He's like a really smart person." Steve nodded in understanding. After that Lex turned back to the information in front of her. Coulson started an embarrassing conversation with Steve, which she couldn't help but laugh at, as they stood by the mouth of the cockpit. She smiled as she remembered when her brother had taught her how to fly one of these jets.
"I just hope I'm the man for the job," She heard Steve state modestly.
"Oh, you are. Absolutely," Coulson said quickly. "We made some modifications to the uniform. I had a little design input," he said proudly, a smile firmly planted on his face. Lex looked up at the two men as their conversation went on.
"The uniform? Aren't the stars and stripes a little old-fashion?" Steve looked at Lex for this one.
"With everything that has happened and is about to happen," Lex lifted up the device holding all the most recent events, "I think people might just need a little old-fashion, Cap."
"Get Agent Barton and the Captain's gear," Coulson ordered. They had just landed on the aircraft carrier that S.H.I.E.L.D. was currently using as their headquarters. The crew did as Coulson asked and grabbed their belongs as the stepped off the jet.
Lex smiled as she saw a familiar face approach. Her smile was returned by the red haired woman. "Well look what the cat dragged back to S.H.I.E.L.D.,"
"It's good to see you to, Agent Romanoff," Lex embraced the Russian as she got closer. "It's been way to long."
"I know! Last time I saw you was almost a year ago. You and Tony were flirting and bonding over his Iron Man suit," The red head teased.
"We weren't flirting!"
"If that's not flirting then I don't know what is," Natasha always loved to tease Lex, she was like a younger sister to her. There was this chemistry between Tony and Lex that was made obvious whenever the two were in the same room. Maybe Lex couldn't see it and maybe Tony couldn't either, but she certainly could.
"Anyways…," Lex said, trying to change the subject, "Agent Romanoff, Captain Rodgers," Lex introduced her two teammates.
"Ma'am," Steve greeted her like the solider he was.
"Hi," Was all that Natasha said before switching her attention to Coulson. "They need you on the bridge. They're starting the face-trace."
"See you there," Coulson nodding and headed to where he was needed.
With Coulson gone the three began to walk, making conversation. "It was quite the buzz around here, finding you in the ice. I thought Coulson would swoon," Natasha smirked as she heard the laughter of Lex next to her.
"Oh he did. You should have see him on the way here," Lex continued to laugh. "Sorry 'bout that, Cap."
"Did he ask you to sign his Captain America trading cards yet?" Natasha continued at her fellow agent's expense.
"Trading cards?" The Captain raised an eyebrow in question.
"They're vintage. He's very proud," Lex informed him with a smile.
Up ahead of them they saw a man stumbling around, looking lost. "Dr. Banner," Steve called, grabbing the scientist's attention. He had recognized him from his profile. Dr. Banner walked over to the group and stuck out his hand for Steve to shake.
"Yeah, hi," Dr. Banner looked over Steve. "They told me you'd be coming," He then turned to Lex. "Alexis Barton i'm guessing," he shook her hand as well.
"You guessed right. It's a pleasure to meet you," Lex was happy to meet new scientists, especially one of Bruce Banner's caliber.
"Word is, you can find the cube," Steve stated.
"Is that the only world on me?" Bruce fittled with his hands anxiously.
"The only word we care about," Lex answered for both her and Steve. She looked at Steve who gave her a nod.
"It must be strange for you, all of this." Bruce looked at Steve and motioned to all the technology around him.
"Well, this is actually kinda familiar," Steve, being a solider and all, just felt as if this was a more modernized version of what he was used to.
"You guys might want to step inside in a minute," Natasha interrupted. "It's gonna get a little hard to breath." Then came the rushing water and the robust sound of moving metal and equipment. Both men had an obvious look of a mixture of confusion, curiosity and fascination on their faces.
"Is this a submarine?" Captain Rodger and Bruce headed to the edge of the vessel. Lex turned to Natasha with a look of amusement on her face. She remembered her first time witnessing the flight of this amazing machine. She was absolutely amazed by the mechanics put into it.
"Really? They want me in a submerged, pressurized, metal container?" Bruce's voice laced with humor. As they finally reached the edge, they saw the turbines surface and start up. They quickly realized this was no submarine. The vessel began to rise out of the water, causing the two men to step back from the edge, leaving Bruce looking like he was on the brink of laughter. "No, no. This is much worse."
As the crew scurried to get all of the equipment secured to the deck, the four Avengers headed inside. Natasha took the lead as Lex fell back with the two men. She turned to Bruce. "I adore you're work, Dr. Banner," He stopped her before she could continue.
"Please, call me Bruce."
"Well, I may just be a mechanical engineer, but-"
"You're an engineer? It seems like that's an understatement. By what I read about you, you seem extremely intelligent. Graduating from the top of your class at MIT and all. Maybe you could help me locate the Tesseract," He gave her a shy smile as they continued to walk.
"Wow. Well, it's nice to know that someone found more interest in my brain than my um… occupation." Lex was never recognized for her smarts usually. The only person who had seen her as an engineer and not an assassin was Tony, but that was only because he didn't know. In that way she was similar to Bruce it seemed. People focused more on their unique set of skills rather than their intelligence.
"If you can look past the other guy than I can look past the fact that you were an assassin." They both chuckled. It was nice to have someone who understood you to some degree. "Why did you leave anyway? Usually people who work for S.H.I.E.L.D. are in it till the end. You just up and left."
The smile on her face quickly disappeared, now replaced with a blank expression. It wasn't something she liked to talk about. As a matter of fact the whole situation still hurt to think about.
The clouds were so dark they were almost black and rain threatened to fall, but yet here they were, in a cemetery on this dreadful day. Lex stood behind the crowd of people, all of whom were wearing black. She was wearing black as well; a black dress. What other color would you wear to a funeral? All she could do was stare at the closed casket that was the center of attention.
Taking a life was nothing new to her, but taking his life was probably the hardest thing she'd ever had to do. It was an order, an order in which she agreed with unfortunately. He betrayed the whole agency, but more so he betrayed her. Her best friend betrayed her. But with this life could she really expect anything less? This is why you can't have feelings in this business. You'll only get hurt. Lex had to learn that the hard way. As an unwanted tear rolled down her cheek she heard someone approach from behind.
"How'd I know I'd find you here?" Lex turned around and was met by the only man in this world that she still trusted with her life. He was dressed in a black suit and tie, fitting in perfectly with everyone else. She had trusted the man that now lay in that casket 50 feet away too, but that was a choice that she didn't regret up until the day she took his life. "You shouldn't be here."
"Well, I do a lot of things I shouldn't do, don't I?" She turned away from him and back to the crowd of people. "I can't do this anymore, Clint," She had said this many times before, but now she was sure it would be the last.
"Lexi-" She cut him off before he could even start.
"I'm serious, Clint," He came up next to her and she looked at him with her water brimmed eyes. "I killed my best friend. I killed Adam."
"He was a double agent, Lexi. He was playing for the other team," Clint wished he could have taken the shot instead of her, but he wasn't there when it happened. He was half way across the world. "You did your job. You did what you were told to do. He put himself S.H.I.E.L.D.'s hit list, not you."
"I know, but-" She choked. She couldn't finish that sentence. She couldn't hold it in anymore. She began to sob and Clint, without hesitation, took his little sister in his arms, trying his best to comfort her.
"It's gonna be okay, Lexi. I promise."
From that day forward, Clint was only person she allowed herself to care about. Well, that was until she met Tony.
"It's a long story." She stated blatantly. She didn't want to talk about it.
"That's fine. Some other time then," Once again the scientist gave her a shy smile, but this one seemed a bit more comfortable. They continued to follow Natasha through a pair of automatic doors. Once the doors open they were hit with a burst of cool air and a wall of chatter. All you could see outside the glass wall was the ocean and the clouds that were now eye level. Man, she missed this place. As a matter of fact, she used to run this place when she wasn't on a mission and Fury wasn't around. She missed being one of the top dogs in S.H.I.E.L.D..
Steve and Bruce wandered away from her to take in the sight of the awe inspiring control room. "We're at level, sir," Agent Hill informed Fury. Lex remembered Hill from her time in S.H.I.E.L.D., but never thought she would make it to Fury's right hand alongside Coulson.
"Good. Let's vanish."
Lex turned her attention to the owner of the familiar voice, Director Nick Fury himself. He turned to face his half way completed team. His eyes, well, eye landed on Lex and his infamous sideways smirk appeared. "Agent Alexis Barton. Its nice to see you again. I wasn't sure you'd rise to the occasion."
"Well, Coulson knew the right buttons to push," She gave him a fake smile that she used many times while under the order of S.H.I.E.L.D..
"I'm assuming those buttons were the mentioning of the loss of the other Agent Barton," Fury wasn't one to feel bad for people, but he did feel for the younger sibling. He had worked with the Barton siblings on many, many occasions. He got to witness their bond first hand. They were the best team he had.
"You know I'd do anything for him," She stated simply. Fury outreached a hand for her to shake and she respectfully shook it.
"I know," Fury admired her loyalty. He shifted his attention to Steve and Bruce, "Gentlemen." Fury went to walk past Steve, but Steve stuck his hand in his pocket and pulled out a ten dollar bill absent mindedly. He handed it to Fury and walked past him. Strange. Must have been some kind of inside thing between the two. Fury kept walking till he got to Bruce. "Doctor, thank you for coming," Fury stuck out his hand for Dr. Banner just as he did Lex.
Bruce hesitated for a moment before finally taking his hand. "Thanks for asking nicely." He looked at the ground and then back up at the man that dragged him back to a life he wished to have no part in. "So, how long am I staying?"
"Once we get out hands on the Tesseract, you're in the wind."
Bruce nodded as he walked a little past Fury. "Where are you with that?"
"We're sweeping every wirelessly accessible camera on the plant," Coulson announce. Lex walked over to one of the computer designated agents. They were going over everything and anything that had any link to Clint. Its perpose was to seek any possible locates as to where he might be. "Cell phones, laptops. If its connected to a satellite its eyes and ears for us."
Lex swiped side ways on the screen, seeing all of the locations they had cleared already. "That's still not going to find them in time," Natasha come up next to her and placed a comforting hand on the younger Barton's shoulder.
"You have to narrow your field," Dr. Banner declared. "How many spectrometers do you have access to?"
"How many are there?" Fury crossed his arms.
"Call every lab you know. Tell them to put the spectrometers on the roof and calibrate them for gamma rays," Bruce tugged off his coat. "I'll rough out a tracking algorithm, basic cluster recognition," Bruce starting speaking in a language in which only Lex probably understood. "At least we could rule out a few places," Fury nodded. "Do you have somewhere for me to work?"
"Agent Romanoff, could you show Dr. Banner to his laboratory, please?" Natasha moved form her place next to Lex over to the doctor, walking past him to lead the way.
"You're gonna love it, Doc. We got all the toys." Natasha led Dr. Banner out of the room and Lex went to follow, figuring if she could do anything at the moment it would be helping Bruce.
"Yes, sir?" Lex faced Fury, his expression unreadable. She was nearly through the door when she was forced to turn and walk back towards her once again boss.
"You're a smart girl," he stated stepping closer. "What would be something that Loki would have to get his hands on in order to aid his mission of using the Tesseract?"
Lex thought for a moment, letting all the possible elements and tools run throughout her mind. "You said that after Loki came through the portal it collapsed in on its self, right?" Fury nodded, leading Lex to confirm her theory. "Then that would probably be what his focus would be on; keeping it from collapsing."
"What would he need to do that?"
"Iridium. Its found in meteorites and forms anti-protons. It's a stabling agent and will keep the portal from collapsing in on its self. It's extremely rare and hard to get a hold of, but knowing Clint he'll be able to find it." She had urged S.H.I.E.L.D. to use it when they first gained the Tesseract, but they refused to listen, not believe the portal would ever open. That was another reason why she left S.H.I.E.L.D.; no matter how much you tried to help, if it wasn't what they wanted they ignored you. Now look whats happened.
"We got a hit. A 67% match. Wait, cross match 79%," This got all their attention.
"Location?" Coulson asked, walking up behind the agent to look over his shoulder at the screen.
"Stuttgart, Germany. 28 Konigstrasse. He's not exactly hiding," he replied. Before Fury could give an order Lex gave a few of her own.
"Cross reference Loki's location with any labs or facilities containing iridium. With any luck that's where Clint will be." Lex gave the order and turned back to Fury, now awaiting his.
"You heard her," Fury boomed, making sure everyone knew what to do. He then turned to Steve. "Captain, you're up, but you are not to leave until we can confirm or deny that there is any of that iridium in the area. If there is, you'll be giving Agent Barton here a ride. So both of you, suit up." With that the two where off.
If Lex was lucky her suit be in the same spot where she left it. She turned the corner and quickly walked down the hall to the first door on the left. She punched in the code and opened her eye wide to allow a retina scan that allowed entrance to the room. She smiled as the door opened. She entered the small dimly lit room. It was just as she left it. There where 3 units in there that held uniforms. The one to the left was Natasha's, which had been cleared out because she was already suited up. The next one, the one in the middle, was her's. Last, but not least, was Clint's on the right, looking just as she remembered it. She made her way across the room and came face to face with the uniform she swore she would never wear again. She looked next to the uniform and there was a black rectangular case. She opened it and was met by her favorite choice of weapon; her recurve bow with custom high end military grade arrows; the same as her brother's. She quickly changed into her gear and picked up the bow and her quiver of arrows, slinging the quiver across her back and holding the pristine bow in her hands. She slid her 3 finger glove on and her arm-guard. She didn't realize how much she missed her gear.
"Agent Barton, do you copy?" She heard Coulson through her ear piece.
"I hear you, Coulson."
"They found a location within a few miles of Loki's that contains that element you were talking about. Meet Natasha and Rodgers at the quinjet." Lex took a deep breath before she set off for the jet. This would be her first mission back, yet she wasn't if she was excited for it or just anxious to see her brother.
Exactly two minutes later she met up with Steve and Natasha at the entrance of the quinjet. Steve looked over Lex as she approached. When he first met her she was all casual, street attire. Now it was all black just like Natasha. Lex's suit actually looked exactly like Natasha's except there were no sleeves like her brother's. He assumed it was to make sure that it was certain that her marksmanship skills weren't restricted.
"It's been a while, hasn't it?" Natasha smiled at the returning agent.
"Hell yeah. I'm surprised it still fits." She chuckled. The skin tight suit was meant to fit perfectly and after a year of being hung up it still did. It felt like a second skin.
"You mind being my co-pilot on this one?" Natasha asked as she started to head into the jet.
"You sure its a good idea letting her fly that thing? I meant it has been a while." Steve joked. Lex looked at the super solider. He was cute and the fact that he just tried cracking a joke made him that much cuter. Unfortunately as much as she would love to give that a try, all her attention and heart was set on a certain genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.
"I promise, Rodgers, I won't let a pretty face like yours be the victim of any serious injuries," smiling, all three Avengers entered the quinjet and set off for their locations in Germany.



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