Hawkeye and the Lost Phoenix
Chapter Two: Nightmares and Memories
'Your plan makes no sense.' Clint muttered, clutching his beer.
Ham rubbed his face in frustration.
'What don't you understand? We find the package with the info on this "Phoenix" dude, then we get the fuck out.'
'I get that,' Clint snapped, 'what I don't understand, is why we need to find this "Phoenix". What is he to either of our agencies?'
Ham pulled out a manila folder and threw it on the table. A few photos slipped out and Clint reached out for the documents. They were information on persons of interest and copies of historical documents, some seeming to be in some Asian languages. The words that stood out were "weapon", "extremely dangerous" and "undetermined threat".
'So we're looking at another mutant?' Clint asked. Ham nodded.
'That's what we're thinking.' Ham took another sip from his glass. 'Either that or we have another alien-god situation. We know that SHIELD usually deals with this stuff but seeing the sensitive nature of the situation, our combined efforts are needed.'
'Sensitive?' Clint asked.
'Read the packet.'
After the pair finished their drinks, they went their own ways, a copy of each item in the folder, scanned and saved in his hard drive. The way back to his apartment was a path second nature to him now, avoiding who he needed to avoid, easier each time he hurried along it.
'Mr Hawkeye?' called Mo, seconds after he walked through to his room. Clint groaned loudly before turning to the energetic boy. Mo just smiled and handed him an old phone. A call was connected with an unknown caller. Clint raised an eyebrow but Mo just shrugged.
There was no immediate response, just a raspy breath.
'Hello?' He repeated.
'Clint?' whispered the voice from the other side.
'Natasha? What are you doing calling me?' Clint growled.
'I just needed to know you're alright. It's been months!'
He wasn't sure what to do with that confession. Ever since New York and Loki, she had been worried about him. The calls had stopped and emails were the only form of communication they had, that is, until the phone call.
'I replied to your email two nights ago.'
'Yes but I need some live confirmation.'
'What? Don't trust Fury?' Clint laughed.
'It's not that... I haven't even spoken to the director in a while. They say he's locked himself away, trying to perfect the Avengers.'
'You know who I mean.'
There was silence as Clint thought about what that would mean. If Fury was attempting to perfect the Avengers, something big must be coming.
'Yeah, Natasha?' he sighed.
'Are you sure you're okay?'
Clint heard someone call Natasha from her end, then her panicked cursing.
'Who's that 'Tasha?'
'Um, the Captain. I have to go...'
'Wait. "Captain"? As in Rogers? Steve Rogers'
The line went dead and Clint wasn't sure whether to laugh or frown. Rogers was a good guy and Clint knew that he would treat a woman right. What he wasn't sure about was if Natasha should be that woman.
In all the years he had known her, Natasha was never one to wait for a gentleman. If he was being honest, Clint felt a bit worried for Rogers. Even though he knew the Captain could handle his own, he also knew that Natasha could be stubborn in the worst ways at the worst of times.
Night came quickly and sleep overcame his senses easily.
There was fire. Worse still was the over whelming smell of petrol. Clint tried to reach out to the others but no matter how he tried he couldn't reach them. The piercing screams of his mother then of metal against metal pierced through his core. He tried to find them, anyone; anything but it was too dark.
Suddenly he was struggling against invisible strings. His muscles were being forced in to unnatural positions. Clint tried to pull against them but it was no use, he had no control. He knew something was wrong but he could do nothing against his restraints.
His vision came back as his arrow flew. His arrow sailed through the air, imbedding it's self in the chest of another. His mother? Clint ran and went to the woman's side. What he saw confused him. His mother had been dead for so many years. He slowly brushed the woman's hair back to see that it hadn't been his mother that he had shot. Instead it had been Natasha.
'No, no, no, no.' He gasped as her face slacked, her eyes taking the glazed sheen of death. The mocking laughter he remembered vividly as the cackling of Loki ripped through the silence. He shot up and aimed arrow after arrow at the figure in the distance. The cackling continued as he closed in. The eerie fog he had only just noticed cleared, and in the place of where Loki should have been was Barney. As his brother collapsed, Clint became aware of the other bodies around them; his mother, his father, Natasha, Barbra, the list continued. He looked down at his hands to find them caked in blood. Clint let out an anguished cry before falling back into the depths below.
Clint jolted upright. He was tangled in his sheets on his cot. He raised a hand tentatively and found it free of blood. Sweat trickled down is bare skin and he shivered. The dream had been frequenting his nights as a constant reminder of his past and the future that may be coming his way. The only difference this time were the flames of fire that seemed to be licking at his skin throughout the night.
Realising that sleep wasn't an option, Clint reached for the folder that Hamilton had given him. There were case reports on various people. They looked like patients or perhaps test subject. Three of the five were accompanied with either a sketch of a photograph of the person. The other two had limited information, only their last suspected location. He moved on to the pictures of ancient artefacts. Clint assumed that most of them were Chinese, probably spanning across multiple dynasties. There were also multiple pictures and references to ancient Greece which he found surprising. The translation and notes accompanying them were filled with scientific jargon which Clint dismissed almost immediately. He continued skimming through the documents, writing notes every so often. By the time the sun was high in the sky, he was finished, with an idea of what they needed to find.
From what Clint could gather, the "Phoenix" was supposedly an individual who was chosen by the gods and raised to essentially be either a protector or weapon. There was evidence of this warrior in both the east and the west but never at the same time, which fuelled the belief that the Phoenix was the same person re-incarnated when needed. That would be where the myth and its name would tie together in the west. It seemed in the myths of both the east and west, that the Phoenix was close to indestructible and could influence the elements. It was also believed that it was trained in all forms of hand to hand and weapons combat. The main disputed points was whether or not the warrior had a human form and could change or was only one or the other; bird or human.
What SHIELD and UNDER seemed to want with the Phoenix was information. UNDER, the United Nations of Defence, Enforcements and Research agency was a little known agency which was primarily known for information recovery. In the past, UNDER had been ridiculed for its Mythology department which research what was once thought as fairytales, but, especially since the discovery of Teseract and Thor, UNDER had slowly been building its reputation and its information was beginning to be highly sort after. SHIELD's interest into the Phoenix didn't exactly surprise Clint but it did raise some suspicion, especially because UNDER was allowing them to be involved in the operation.
The burn phone that he had purchased the night before buzzed and Clint opened the message.
Meet @ the place ASAP. Ham