Alex woke up, feeling a little sore, but otherwise okay.
Using her gifts had never drained her of her powers that much before. She had created earthquakes and hurricanes and stopped volcanoes from erupting and tsunamis from washing over whole villages, but that had been effortless in comparison to what she had down. Holding herself in the air with the Helicarrier's weight threatening to crush her as she kept it in the air, it was something she had never done before.
Though she definitely would have to attempt it again in the future, train herself to be able to hold more weight in case she needed to something similar again.
She climbed to her feet, noting that she was still wearing her suit with all the weapons still attached, and slowly made her way out of her room. Alex felt weak, so she took her time in moving. There was going to be a battle. She could feel it in her bones. She always could, all the way from when she was just a girl married to a tyrant in Sparta. Athena told her it was her warrior spirit awakening, blood lust rising within her to prepare her for what was to come, but Alex, then Helen, knew that it wasn't blood lust that created that sinking feeling in her chest.
It was dread.
When she was more sure of herself, she sped up, from walking to jogging, and then from jogging to running, and then from running to sprinting until she reached the detainment room she'd left him in. She told herself that if it had been Natasha in Clint's place, that her desperation to get back to her would have been the same, but she knew that it wasn't actually the same.
Despite that need to be in that room, seeing that he was okay, she still hesitated outside the door.
"Why am I back?" Alex heard him say from inside. Tasha must still be with him. "How did you get him out?"
Alex opened the door quietly, but his eyes still lapsed on to her within seconds.
"Cognitive re-calibration," Alex said, moving into the room, a timid smile on her face. She probably looked like she'd been to the Underworld and back, because she sure felt that way. Alex actually felt like she had battled Cerberus and had tossed into the River Styx and hit over the head by the oar of the boatman, but that felt a tad dramatic. Alex sat down by his legs, before she continued, a smirk on her face that mirrored the same one on Natasha's. "I hit you really hard on the head."
"Thanks." He replied, a smile on his face.
Natasha slipped out of the room, giving them some privacy, hoping that they'd come to their senses and admit they had feelings for each other. Alex just smiled at him, as she undid his restraints. His wrists were a little raw from where he had fought the cuffs, but he barely seemed to notice when her fingers brushed over the tender skin.
His focus was solely on her.
"Alex...how many agents did I-" Clint started, but he was cut off by Alex hastily clamping her hand over his mouth.
The blame game never helped anything, and she wasn't going to let him sink into that never-ending black hole of guilt and shame. That was one pit that he would never find his way out of if she let him fall into it.
"Don't. Don't do that to yourself, Clint. This is Loki. This is monsters and magic and nothing you were ever trained for." Alex said, taking her hand away from his mouth, but kept her eyes locked on his. They were silent for a while, both not knowing where they stood after Loki had left the boundaries of their relationship up in the air, both knowing they wanted something more, but both doubting the other did too.
"Loki. Did he get away?" Clint asked, breaking the silence.
"Yeah. I don't suppose you know where." Alex said, rather than asked.
Clint shook his head as a reply.
"I didn't need to know," He said, watching Alex stand and walk away, leaving their moment behind her as she often did. Clint swung his legs around, so his feet were touching the floor, and grabbed the glass of water Natasha had poured him before she left the room. "I didn't ask. He's going to make his play soon, though. Today."
"We got to stop him." Alex said quickly, turning round to face him again.
"Yeah? Who's "we"?" Clint asked, looking over at her, scepticism written all over his face.
"I don't know. Whoever's left." She replied, throwing her hands up in the air.
"Well, if I put an arrow through Loki's eye socket, I would sleep better, I suppose." Clint joked, bringing a smile to Alex's face.
She moved back over to the bed, and sat down beside him, her eyes not straying from his face.
"Now you sound like you." She said.
"But you don't. You wanted to get out of all of this. Now you want to wade into a war. Why? What did Loki do to you?" Clint asked her, hoping that answer was the one that he thought it was. That she wanted to get back at Loki for what he did to him, because she loved him, because she'd been forced to attack him and she'd hated that. He scrutinised her face, and was surprised to find she looked more open than she normally was. Usually she was closed off, never letting emotion play on her face, never showed a weakness. Yet here she sat, and for the first time since he'd met her and fallen in love with her (though he wouldn't go shouting that around) she looked vulnerable.
"He didn't. I just..." Alex's sentence trailed off as she found no words for why she wanted to beat Loki. She knew it was because of Clint, but she didn't want to say so. Not directly to him. She ripped her eyes from him, and looked at her hands. In her brawl with Barton, her knuckles had ripped and bled, now they were healed again. She stared at the new skin, trying to avoid answering Clint.
"Alex." He whispered softly. He wanted an answer.
"I've been compromised. For seventy years since I helped start this organization, no one has ever found my weakness. Within three days, Loki found it," Alex said, in a quiet voice. She didn't like admitting this, but she felt like she had to. "I've spent centuries on this planet. I've watched friends grow old and die, I've left lovers all over the globe, going back to find them with families, I've seen the rise and fall of empires and leaders, but I'd never been in love before...well twice. Loki's threatened to take that away from me. He's going to find out firsthand just how annoyingly stubborn I am."
She looked up at him, and cracked a half-hearted smile, before she let her emotionless mask take over again, closing herself off, in case he takes the subtle admission of love in her explanation badly and rejects her.
"I love you too, Alex." Clint replied, a grin on his face that made her let a smile back onto her face.
"Good. I would start to worry about you if you didn't," She joked, pressing her lips on his cheek, leaving them both disappointed. Alex licked her lips afterwards, and her face scrunched up, making Clint laugh, because of how comical it was. "Ew, sweat. Go wash up."
"Yes ma'am." He said, laughing as he stood and walked into the little bathroom that connected to the room, and turned on the sink.
Alex smiled to herself, almost not noticing Natasha walk back in, thinking she had given them enough time for admissions of love and kisses. Natasha's eyes scrutinised Alex's face, noting her grin, and a smile spread on her own face.
"You two finally come to your senses and told each other how you feel?" Natasha asked, a smirk removing the smile from her face. Alex looked up at the red head and shrugged her shoulders, trying to act casual.
"Maybe, maybe not. You tell me, Romanoff. I trained you to be able to tell these sort of things, didn't I?" Alex smirked back at her, standing up and playfully squaring off against her.
"Congratulations to the happy couple. I assume this news goes no further than these walls." Natasha said, rather than asked.
"While assumptions are usually a minor cause of death, you would assume correct in this instance." Alex replied, looking over at Clint for confirmation, who nodded.
"We'll reevaluate the decision once we've dealt with Loki." Clint said, wiping a wet cloth across his face.
The door opened, cutting off their conversation, as both women looked expectantly at the new arrival.
Steve stood there, kitted out in his Captain America uniform.
"Time to go."
"Go where?" Alex asked him.
"I'll tell you on the way. Can you fly one of those jets?" Steve asked.
Alex didn't answer, waiting a second for Clint to answer as she knew he would.
"I can." He walked back into the room, his eyes on Steve.
Steve glanced at Clint for a brief second, before he turned his head back to Alex and Natasha, who nodded, confirming that he was back to his old self and back on the right side. Steve looked back at Clint.
"You got a suit?" He asked.
Clint wiped his hands dry on one of the oddly soft hand towels that S.H.I.E.L.D. provides, and his eyes flickered to Alex for a second, before settling back on Steve.
"Then suit up." Steve ordered, before turning and walking out of the room.
"Why can't all my conversations with Steve be that quick and to the point?" Alex asked, mostly to herself, but it made Clint and Natasha laugh. "Well, Hawkeye, you need to suit up. I need to go get your bow from where it was discarded in our death match, and we'll meet at the Quinjet hanger in half an hour."