A/N: You'll never guess, but—I haven't permanently abandoned this story! No way, right? I can hardly believe it myself, but I'm determined to finish, some way, somehow. Here's the next chapter; more to come. Thanks to y'all who have stuck with it despite hiccups :D You guys are awesome.
Clint looked around behind for a second to make sure she was talking about HIM. "What, just now?" he blurted, not sure what to make of that.
Wanda had started hyperventilating. "Oh my gosh," she got to her feet and put a hand on her head, "oh my gosh, I did it. I really did it. Oh, my gosh." Her eyes were wild as she met Clint's for a moment. "I could bring back Pietro," she barely whispered. "And those people who died in Sokovia. Our parents-"
"Look," Clint's face had gone pale, "that's all well and great, but maybe we should talk about that later 'cause if we don't get out of here soon, we're gonna be toast."
"You were already toast!" she exclaimed, shaking. Her eyes were wide and flaming red. "You were dead. You were dead-dead!"
"Yeah-well-" Clint sounded a little overwhelmed, but he got to his feet, gesturing toward himself and then to her, "I'm not now, and neither of us knows what's going on, so let's-figure it out and save the day together, all right?"
Wanda looked down at the ground. "Is it wrong, what I did?" she whispered in a terrified voice.
"Look at me."
She did. Clint wasn't a very flashy or formidable figure standing in front of her. He looked like he was on the same page as her, uncertain but determined to do everything he could to get through this. His blue eyes were gentle and caring.
"Whatever's going on-whatever you did, whatever happened-it's over now, okay?" he said softly. "We can figure it out later. These guys need our help," he gestured around them, bewilderedly, since he apparently had no idea how the entire battle had begun. Wanda noticed he wasn't even wearing his mission suit—just his old farm clothes. He still had the expression he wore before a fight, though. "Where's my bow?" he muttered, finding it under a pile of rubble. He pulled it out, nocking five arrows to the string at once, and turned back to her. "Good chat?" he smirked hopefully.
Wanda took a shuddery breath, raised her eyes, and nodded. "Yeah. Good chat. Just like last time. Thanks, Old Man." She gulped, wondering if now would be the only time she'd have the guts to tell him about the boy she'd just killed in her vengeance, or if it would be a secret she carried forever.
"Alright then," Clint grinned determinedly, turning to face the skies. "Here goes nothing."
The battle had progressed from bad to worse upon the collapse of the Tower.
Civilians ran, bleeding and screaming, in all directions.
The Hulk had broken free and was trashing anything and everything he could get his hands on. It was nightmarish, the sheer number of buildings he was destroying in minutes. Ant-Man had somehow grown to the size of a four-story building and was attempting to take him on, so far without success. Rhodes flew in circles around the jet with Sharon in it, Bucky and Cap, Sam, and Natasha were nowhere to be seen, and Clint had ran right into the center of it.
Wanda's heart thudded in her chest.
Her fingers twitched at her sides.
She could fix this.
Slowly, a breath stole its way from her lungs, time appearing to slow as she exhaled. Gathering power.
Surely, she could. She could fix all of it.
She fell forward, eyes closed, and suddenly all the noise around her vanished.
Time stood still.
The Spiderling came first. She focused on him, hovering above his timeline before picking seconds before she tore him apart, wrenching him back into the present.
Everything returned and she stood, gasping, over the battlefield as a shocked-looking Peter stared back at her. She blinked, taking a huge breath, before returning again.
Back in the world with no time, she found the Hulk. "Sleep," she planted the command in his head, watching only from a dreamy distance as he fell to the ground with a crash, leaving the shocked Giant-Man swaying over him.
Another person who was dead, body lying crushed in the remains of the Tower, came to her.
She pulled her back as well, not even stopping to see the startled Maria Hill standing before her in reality before she plunged her way into one civilian's timeline after another, glancing over them, choosing one, drawing them up, saving them. It was easier every time—she didn't even have to stop between each one.
She was growing more and more powerful. Nothing could stop her. She saw Stark, rocketing his way back to help with the fight. She slammed him (in his suit) against a brick wall without lifting a finger. Ant-Man went to the ground, the Wasp's wings were torn off of her suit and she was lowered unharmed. She forced down Rhodes and the quinjet, landing them on the ground, decapitating them. Tearing apart their weapons with only a surge of thought.
Then she felt her power surge halfway across the world. Into Sokovia. Timelines went back into the battle with Ultron. She hovered mentally above the wreckage, even though her body was still in New York by the remains of the Tower.
She was looking for Pietro.
Rhodey had just slammed into Clint, forcing him to the ground just as Clint pulled out one of his arrows with the expanding tips. He ground it, porcupine quill-style, into the tiny crack between Rhodey's helmet and the rest of his suit, forcing him to let go before a shock temporarily rendered his suit useless.
"So," Clint pulled himself, breathlessly, to his feet, "remind me what we're fighting over, again?"
"How did you just break my suit?!" Rhodey seethed, aiming his guns in Clint's direction.
"You actually gonna shoot those?"
Rhodey flinched visibly, then fired.
Clint hit the ground face-forward with a loud groan, his leg having been hit clear to the bone.
Through a haze of pain, he rolled himself over quickly enough to pull another arrow at Rhodey, but the War Machine had already been swept off by Stark.
Clearly, the both of them thought a hit to the leg was enough to incapacitate him. Boy, were they wrong. Clint swallowed back a lump of bile that threatened to come up. He literally could remember being on the porch upstate. Painting the steps. He was even wearing the same clothes he had been, which implied his confusion wasn't all that crazy.
He wasn't sure what Wanda was talking about when she said he had died, but; what the heck could have happened to make all the Avengers go crazy against each other like this?! Rhodey, his sparring pal Rhodey, good man Rhodey had just shot his bad leg out from under him.
He'd suffered worse betrayals before, but surely, there was a better explanation for this than, 'you died'.
Then he heard Wanda screaming.
His response was instant, dragging himself upright, only to collapse in a fire of agony when he attempted to move his leg.
"Wanda?!" he called out, struggling to see through a haze of dust and smoke from the destroyed buildings around him. He assumed she was right where he'd left her, but right now, where he'd left her was nowhere to be seen.
A fluttery red–and-gold being floated down beside him.
He rolled over with a groan, finding himself face-to-face with the desperately guilty face of Vision. "What'd you do to her?" he immediately accused, trying to get his breath.
"I did nothing," Vision's voice was barely above a whisper. "She—she is destroying herself. She won't listen to me."
Clint stared at him for half a second, absorbing this information. Behind them, the Hulk and Ant-Man crashed to the ground. In fact—it seemed that—everything was crashing to the ground. "Get me to her!" he shouted to the android above the noise.
Pepper groaned, trying to get to her feet in the rubble that coated the roads and sidewalks. What had happened? Had she fainted? That thought alone made her worried, and then she looked up and saw the Tower completely gone. "Wha—!" she struggled to keep from hyperventilating.
Then a long, slender metal arm came up under her throat, fingers pressing bruises deeply into her skin and collarbone.