Up in his nest, Hawkeye looks down the arrow shaft, watching his next target. String pulled taught, a quick release of his fingers sends the projectile flying. Just as his name states, he hits dead center, the eyes of a hawk.
Watching from her mat, Black Widow crouches, waiting to pounce. She has taken no prisoners before, and she doesn’t plan to let this one live either. They are always so quick to leap, instead of taking the time to just watch. This one is no different. She is able to follow the projected movements, perfectly sidestepping his jab, kicking her opponent behind the knee. Her opponent hits the mat face first. This is the fifth time they tried that move.
“You know, Einstein said ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’”
Their paths crossed many times due to their careers, but they never conversed; assassins rarely do. Of course, people talk and rumors fly, so even though they weren’t personally acquainted, they knew each other’s reputation.
Things get exaggerated though, so when he was first brought in, no one trusted him. He had to earn the trust and respect of his fellow agents. Not that he cared of course, ‘cause he didn’t, unless you count Phil, his handler.
Now, here he was, two years after being brought in, being asked to ‘neutralize’ the one assassin he had always admired.
He watched her from his nest; bow unstrung. He’d been there for hours but the urge to move never overcame him. She had been wooing her newest target, a man of great monetary value, but no brains. She had finally come to the killing part of the evening. Quick as a flash, an arrow sprung from his hands, flew through the air and landed just centimeters in the wall above her head.
She quickly rolled off the bed, getting dressed in a crouched position.
‘Whoever it is, they missed,’ she thought. That is until she looked at what almost hit her, an arrow.
‘Hawkeye. And the Hawkeye never misses. But, why would he give me a warning shot? He would have to be nested somewhere higher than this building to get that shot off, but the nearest one is miles away.
Another shot came through, this one hitting at almost eye level, a level where she wouldn’t have to expose much skin. Attached to the shaft of the arrow was a folded piece of paper. Reaching up she quickly ripped the paper from the arrow and began to read.
“Black Widow, I have been sent to kill you. However, I’m not sure that should be my mission. By the time you read this and attempt to escape I will be at the door. There will be no escape, whether I kill you or not is still to be determined. ——–Hawkeye”
She cursed a blue streak standing up and headed towards the door. Right as she went to turn the handle it moved on its own. The door opened to reveal a man in black, a vest with multiple tools and night vision goggles. She also noticed the gun pointed at her chest.
A light chuckle left her mouth at the sight. She was under no impressions that he couldn’t and wouldn’t shoot her if she tried to escape so; she decided to try talking as a distraction instead.
“Never would have thought the great Hawkeye would choose to use a gun.”
“Works great in close quarters, and looks better than walking around with an arrow held aloft. Got laughed at once for it; though the guy never laughed again.”
“Would have taken you for a throwing knives person, more old school like your bow.”
“I’ll leave the knife work to you.”
“Such a gentlemen. Weren’t you supposed to be killing me?”
“I was, but I have a better idea. I know you want to escape, to clean a little red from your ledger.”
She interrupts, “how do you know that?”
“Because I am like you. I too have led a hard life, been an assassin, killed for money, not because I wanted to but because I had to in order to survive. The agency I work for gives me the opportunity to clean a little red out of my ledger every mission. I think that you are looking for a saving and I’m here to provide it; even though it goes against my current mission. Besides, I’d love to spar with you and it not be a life or death reason.”
“I don’t need your help being saved.”
“You don’t really get a choice, I was just being nice. You can either come with me, or I can kill you.”
They face off in the boxing ring. Their partnership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. They are always there to catch one another. If one is compromised, the other is a safe harbor for them to come back to. They make plans as they circle each other for dinner later on. Hawkeye still projects his moves and Black Widow is still the only one who can see them.
He crouches in an air vent, peeking in on their rooms.
She sits beneath him, throwing knives.
It’s a weird partnership, but one that works for them. And it all started with one mission.