Author's Note: At long last, I manage to get my shit together and crank out a chapter for this. Sorry for the delay, there's been a LOT of stuff that came up. (Namely some very sickly rescue kittens.) Enjoy!

"Oh, shit," Sam gasped, ducking low and covering his head with his hands as gunfire echoed loud in the stairwell. "Clint, I think we got company!"

"Yeah, I noticed."

"We've got no cover out here," Sam said through gritted teeth, pressing himself in against the wall as the guards tried to shoot him through the railing from a few floors below.

"Noticed that too, thanks," the archer replied with a wry grin."Let's get some cover, then, shall we?"

Clint turned and sprinted the last few steps onto the nearest platform, running onto the fifth floor with a motion for Sam to follow. Muttering a curse, he darted up the stairs after Clint, trying to keep his head low. He followed the man through the door and slammed it shut behind him, glancing around for something to prop against it and keep it closed.


He glanced back over his shoulder to find Clint hiding behind a desk, waving him over. The space they'd ducked into looked like some kind of communications hub, with a little maze of desks set up in a room wallpapered by blue screens that served as the only source of light. He was quick to run to the archer's side, sliding in behind the desk.

"What's the plan?"

"Get me shit to throw."

"Like what?"

"Anything. The heavier the better!"

Sam peeked up over the desk, spotting a central table with some office supplies as Clint yanked open a desk drawer behind him, and Sam scampered to sweep a few staplers, a couple heavy-duty tape dispensers, a hole punch, and an old pencil sharpener into his grip before stumbling back to where the archer was hiding.

"Dude, I hope you know what you're doing, cause they have guns."

"And you've got a deadshot," the man grinned.

Sam didn't get a chance to reply, the echo of gunfire punching through the steel door sending them both ducking behind the desk.

A second later the guards were flooding the room, and Sam shot a look at Clint.

The man simply gave him a grin, hefting one of the tape dispensers in his hand, and whipped up onto his knees to launch it across the room.

There was a rather satisfying thud from somewhere off behind them as Clint ducked back under the desk, and one of the guards yelped out a curse as someone shot the computer monitor on the desk above them.

Sam grabbed one of the paperweights that Clint had managed to dig out of the desk, lobbing it at a guard who was trying to skirt the edge of the room and get around behind them. The man ducked Sam's throw, floundering to re-aim his gun, and Clint dropped the young man to the floor with a well-aimed computer keyboard.

Clint took out two of the other guards shortly after, one with the other tape dispenser, and one with a water bottle. Then he retreated under the desk to paw through his remaining projectiles.

"How many more?" Clint asked him, testing the weight of a computer mouse before discarding it.

Sam peeked up over the top of the desk, glancing around.

"Two, far corner. One under the desk to the left. Another five over by the far door, but they don't look armed," he reported, ducking back behind the desk once more.

Clint took one of the staplers, half-pressed it down and forced it back up so that it jammed, and then fiddled for a second with the spring release.

"Two in the corner...?"


"Got it."

The man rocked up onto his knees, taking a second to aim as the men shouted and pointed and the ones with guns scrambled to redirect them, and then he let the stapler fly.

It hit one of the young men standing in the corner in the face, the force of the blow un-jamming the staple and triggering the spring-release, which whipped the bar of the stapler open into the other man's temple, dropping them both.

Sam turned to give Clint an open-mouthed, incredulous look, and found the other man already digging for another projectile.

"What," he shrugged with a troublemaking grin, "you thought I was only good with arrows?"

Sam simply blinked in surprise as Clint lobbed another stapler with deadly accuracy, slamming one of the armed men in the forehead and knocking him out.

"Dude, remind me never to piss you off."

The archer snorted in amusement.

"I'll be sure to do that. How's it look behind us?"

Sam peeked over the desk once more, and was quick to duck down when he heard something hit the wood right beside him.

"Looks clear."

Clint nodded, testing the weight of the hole-punch.

"Make a run for the door on my signal. I'll clear these morons out, you keep looking for Wanda."

"Got it."

Sam took a slow breath, preparing himself, and Clint held up five fingers, ticking them down.





Sam ran.

Scott panted, dragging himself up another flight of stairs after Captain America.

The man was already half a flight ahead of him, mid-fight with a pair of guards, but Scott didn't bother rushing to help. Two punches and a well timed-dodge later, the guards lay unconscious on the steps, and Steve was jogging up another story, not even slightly winded.

Scott stumbled up another three steps before he paused for a moment, leaning heavily on the banister to gasp for breath. God, he was out of shape.

Steve had been taking out the people sent to stop them with ease, leaving Scott in the freaking dust as he scrambled to simply keep up with the man.

The Captain was a one-man army, and Scott was here for little more than moral support as he trailed in his boot-steps.

He took a moment to rest his head against the cool metal of the railing and take a few heaving breaths.

The stairs themselves were beating the crap out of him, and he was pretty sure that the other man wasn't even sweating.

From around the turn in the stairwell he could hear the creak of a door opening. There were the shouts of a couple more guards, followed quickly by a few heavy thuds, and then nothing but the easy pace of Steve's boots tapping up the steps.

Scott looked up, letting his head loll back as he heard the footsteps on the stairs above him, making their way up to the next level, and forced himself to start moving again with a groan.

How in the hell was that guy even real?!

Oh, he was gonna need an aspirin after this...

There was nowhere for Wanda to hide.

The man didn't immediately shoot, however, and she staggered a few paces back, watching Ross closely as her powers sparked at her fingertips, trying to conjure a shield around herself. Her back hit the wall before she could go very far, and Wanda cowered back against it, the slightest hint of red coloring the air in front of her.

Nowhere near enough to deflect a bullet.

Ross stared her down unflinchingly, and despite the cloying red in the air around her, his gun didn't waver.

For a while neither of them moved as emergency lights flashed and distant sirens echoed through the halls, the man expressionless as he stared at her through the sights of his handgun, and her trying to coax enough of her powers into play to try and defend herself as her chest heaved in panic. He was blocking the hallway that she needed to get through, the one that led to the rest of the floor, and the stairs were too far to simply make a run for it. She'd be dead before she got more than a step or two.

She was trapped.

The man moved slightly and Wanda jolted in fright, her nerves wound to the point of snapping. Ross shifted his weight from one foot to the other, making a little adjustment to his grip on the gun before nodding at her.

"Hands up. Above your head."

Wanda didn't dare disobey, raising her trembling arms up on either side of her head, hating how exposed the action made her feel.

"On your knees," the man ordered quietly, and Wanda sank to the ground, her hands falling to clasp behind her bowed head. Her next inhale was shaky with fright, and she blinked hard to keep the tears from welling in her eyes as she heard the man take a few slow paces toward her. She could feel the hum of her powers in the air around her, weak and wavering and sparking like embers. Useless.

"Whatever you're doing with your powers...stop," the man ordered firmly, and Wanda sobbed in a sharp breath as she tried to claw the little wisps of scarlet back into herself.

However, her powers were reacting to her fright, and her control was flimsy at best through the drug haze. She couldn't gather them back.

Wanda went tense with terror as Ross took a sharp step closer, bringing the muzzle of the gun about a foot from her head.


"I'm trying, please," she begged, feeling tears spill over her cheeks as she closed her eyes and ducked her head a bit further. She didn't dare try to grab the gun and wrestle it from his grip. The drugs were slowing her down, making her clumsy and weak. Such an action would only wind up with her getting shot.

"You've got three seconds."

"I'm- I'm trying! They won't-...I can't make it stop!" she sobbed, her panic burning white-hot in her chest, pulsing from her core to fuel the scarlet haze around her as she curled into herself.

"Yes, you can. Take a deep breath and focus," the man instructed bluntly.

Wanda gasped in a sharp breath, willing her powers back with all her might, acutely aware of the gun pointed at her head. It took a few jagged gulps of air for her to even her breathing out to something steady, and another few for her to refocus her attention from the gun to her powers.

Her second attempt at reeling them in was mildly more successful, and she let out a little sob of relief as the scarlet wisps began to coil back against her.

Her three seconds were long since up, but the man was still standing patiently with his gun trained on her, his body stiff with wary tension.

"Good," he muttered. "Now I want you to listen very closely to what I'm about to tell you, because if you don't follow my instructions exactly-"

The sound of footsteps approaching in the stairwell caused them both to tense, Ross shifting a step to the side so he had a clear line of shot. The man's eyes didn't leave her for a second, however, not even as the door burst open and Sam stepped into the hall, letting out a long curse in surprise when he spotted the two of them.

"Sam!" Wanda whimpered in fright as the general slowly turned to glance at the man.

"Get on your knees, Wilson," Ross growled, "or I'll put a bullet through her skull."

Sam looked between her and Ross, panic registering on his face for a split second before he forced his expression back to neutral and raised his hands in submission.

"All right, man. Whatever you say," Sam said slowly, lowering himself to a knee. "I'm down. See? I'm down. You can get that gun away from her."

But Ross didn't budge.

Wanda swallowed hard as Ross took a pace back, the weapon trained unerringly on her despite the man focusing on Sam. The General re-positioned himself between the two of them, too far for either to make a grab for his weapon.

There was nowhere for either of them to run. The stairwell door behind Sam opened outward, and Ross would easily be able to shoot him before he could get up and get the door open.

Wanda probably wouldn't even make it to her feet before Ross put her down like a dog.

Sam's gaze flickered from Ross to her, and the worry in his eyes did nothing for her confidence levels.

They were both well and truly trapped.

"All right," Ross said slowly, sparing a glance down the gun's sights at Wanda before turning his attention back to Sam. "Let me explain to you both how this is going to work."

"Come on, man," Sam said quietly. "You know what they're gonna do to her if you stuff her back in that cell."

Wanda saw a muscle in Ross' jaw tense.

"She doesn't deserve that," Sam murmured. "She didn't deserve any of this."

Ross gave no indication of moving, but neither did he threaten to shoot, and Wanda watched in horror as Sam slowly lowered his hands.

"Please," he whispered. "She's just a kid."

"She's dangerous," Ross replied, devoid of emotion. Like he was reading from a script.

"She's not trying to hurt anyone."

Ross gave Wanda a glance, his eyes lingering on the red haze in the air around her.

"She can't control her powers."

"It's a shield," Sam pleaded. "You've got a gun pointed at her head - she's scared."

"You're all wanted criminals."

"They want to lobotomize her."

Ross had no argument for that, and Wanda about choked on her own heart when Sam slowly got to his feet, his hands up to either side of his head, palms out.

Ross slowly moved so he stood behind her as Sam took a step toward them, and another frightened, burning sob caught in Wanda's throat as she felt the cold press of steel against the back of her head.

"You know that what they're trying to do to her isn't regulation, General," Sam said, voice soft. "You know that it goes against every basic right a person's got, to treat 'em like that."

"Sam!" she begged as the man took a step closer.

He was going to get her killed!

Her powers began to act up again in her panic, threading around her as if trying to hide her away, and she felt Ross stiffen.

"It's okay, Wanda," Sam soothed, creeping another pace closer. "Just stay calm."

"Get back on your knees, Wilson."

"I can't do that, Sir."


"I can't just stand aside and let these hopped up loonies from the UN cut up her brain 'cause they're afraid of her." He took another slow step forward, his gaze narrowing slightly. "And I don't think you're going to, either."

Wanda jolted in terror as a gunshot went off alongside her head with a deafening crack. The ping of metal a second later accompanied a bullet casing hitting the floor by her knee.

Between Sam's feet, a neat hole was punched in the floor. A warning shot.

Wanda sobbed in a breath in terror, curling in on herself as she felt the heat from the gun barrel returning to hover at the back of her neck.

"Sam!" she cried as the man took another step toward them, his hands still held up and his gaze locked on Ross.

The man was going to kill them, didn't Sam understand that?!

"I'm not joking, Wilson," Ross growled. "Back on your knees, or she dies."

"It's okay, Wanda," Sam soothed again, daring to take another step toward them as he stared Ross down. "He's not going to hurt you."

"You so sure about that?" the General bit out from behind her.

"Pretty sure. Executing unarmed prisoners seems a bit beneath you."

Sam took another step forward, and Ross pressed the gun a bit more firmly against the back of her head.

"Last warning, Wilson."

Sam hesitated at that, uncertainty flashing in his expression.

"General..." Sam pleaded, but the other man was having none of it.

"On. Your. Knees," Ross bit out, and Wanda watched, trembling, as Sam lowered himself to the ground once more.

"Please don't do this," Sam murmured. "Throw my ass back in a cell if you want, but please, let her go."

"You've got a lot of nerve, asking me to break the law for you."

"What they want do to her is against the law, too. It's just a matter of which one you'd rather pick. I've been told that you're a good man, General," Sam pleaded, his gaze unwavering. "Please don't let me have heard wrong."

Wanda glanced up at Ross through the messy fall of her hair and swallowed hard when she saw a split second of sadness cross his face. It hardened again barely a heartbeat later, and Wanda cringed as the man turned a cool gaze on her.

"You do exactly what I tell you, and nobody gets shot. You understand?"

She nodded, the motion jerky with fright, and she went rigid as she felt the barrel of the gun prod her once more.

"On your feet, Maximoff," Ross ordered softly. "Turn around and put out your hands."

Wanda struggled to her feet, staggering a little as the drugs pulled at her brain, and turned slowly to face him with her wrists offered out, arms trembling.

It took a lot more effort than it should have not to cower back from the gun as Ross leveled it at her forehead. Wanda looked back at him in terror, feeling the weight of tears welling along her bottom lashes as she stared down her death.

Ross, however, was hesitating. His expression seemed troubled, unsure. Like he was having a fight inside his head and wasn't certain whether he was winning or losing.

After a long second the man glanced away, spitting a curse, and when he looked back up at her his gaze was practically haunted. Wanda shied back a little, her eyes locked on the barrel of the gun in fright, but to her surprise the man lowered it a fraction.

She darted her gaze up to him, meeting his stare for a long second in pleading.

Ross let out a slow breath, his eyes slipping closed and his jaw tensing as he tilted his head a touch in resignation.

When he opened his eyes again, they were soft with an emotion that she couldn't name.

"One time," the man said stiffly, slowly lowering the gun to his side. "Just this one time, I will let you walk away. Only because you look like my daughter."

Wanda hardly dared to breathe.

"Now get out of here. Both of you," he said, voice rough. "Before I have to shoot you."

For a second Wanda could only stare in shock, but Sam was already scrambling to his feet, and he caught her wrist on the way by, tugging her along as he broke into a run. Wanda staggered after him as best she could, her head whirling at the sudden shift in scenery, but Sam had a firm hold of her and didn't let her fall.

When she cast a glance back over her shoulder, all she could see was General Ross standing in the middle of the hall, his gun pointed at the floor between his feet, and an expression somewhere between confusion and regret on his face as he stared into nothing.

She didn't have time to dwell on it, however, because Sam was ducking into a doorway, dragging her after him. Wanda could only follow him as he cut through a deserted room and ran through another doorway, keeping a pace that she could only just barely keep up with. A second later the man stopped up short and Wanda crashed right into his back, sending them both staggering forward a pace into what looked like the main control room.

Wanda peeked around Sam's shoulder to see what had made him stop like that and froze in fright as she saw movement from the far side of the room.

"Shit," Sam muttered as a trio of guards straightened up from whatever they were examining to shout in surprise, pointing at them. "I got these three, Wanda. Get to the jet, through the door on the left."

She opened her mouth to protest, but Sam had already caught her shoulders and given her a very pointed shove in the right direction, and Wanda obediently fled as Sam rounded on the guards with his fists up.

The three young men weren't armed. Sam could take them no problem, and she couldn't afford to be a distraction to him. As much as she hated to leave him on his own, she knew that it was safer for both of them right now if she just ran.

For a long moment, Wanda could hear the grunts and dull thud of thrown blows from behind her, overlaid by the sharp, offbeat staccato of her feet hitting the floor as she half ran, half stumbled through a second set of rooms, the awful ringing of the prison alarms increasing in volume as she got nearer to the landing bay. Whatever shot Steve had given her to wake her up was starting to wear off, and the drug haze was pulling at her mind once more, slowing her actions and thoughts.

It took her a while to realize that she was hearing two sets of footsteps.

Wanda slowed her pace a little, glancing back over her shoulder, and about choked on her heart when she saw one of the guards running after her, apparently having slipped past Sam. She turned and bolted for the hall, aware that the sound of the man following behind her was very quickly getting closer.

She couldn't outrun him.

In desperation, Wanda put all her focus into summoning her powers to her hands, staggering to a stop as she did, before whirling around to throw it at the guard with all her might.

Wanda managed to knock the man's feet out from under him, and turned to flee again before she even heard him hit the ground.

As she ran out into the hall the blaring of the alarms increased in volume, and she covered her ears with a wince as she ran. The sound was sharp and loud, feeling like it was stabbing into her head with every shrill screech. The flash of lights was not helping matters either, making her dizzy as her brain tried to process it and dilate her eyes accordingly.

On top of that, the damn drugs were still slowing her down, making her clumsy, and on already unsteady legs it was a disastrous combination. Wanda stumbled, staggering against the wall for balance as her knees buckled. For a moment she simply stood and caught her breath, gritting her teeth against the beginnings of a wicked headache as the alarms pounded in her ears.

It was as if everything here was out to cause her pain.

Wanda took a deep breath to clear her mind, her cheek pressed to the cold metal as she tried to push herself upright once more. She had to move, she could hear the guard closing in behind her.

Unfortunately she only managed to stagger back to her feet and turn around by the time the young man caught up.

She flung a hand out toward him, sending him staggering backwards in fright, but her powers arced harmlessly off her fingertips and dissipated in the air. The blaring noise from the alarms was piercing into her head like a knife, shattering her concentration.

Unfortunately, the guard seemed to realize this as well.

"Not so tough after all, are you?" he taunted in a trembling voice, edging closer to her. It was all bravado - she could see the terror shining in his eyes. "Not so tough without your magic tricks to protect you. Hard to concentrate with all the flashing lights and sirens, is it? You can't hurt me out here."

Wanda backed up another pace, trying to summon her powers to her fingers. Working her telekinesis at a distance, however, was still difficult, especially with the noise, and she couldn't seem to condense it enough to knock the man's feet out from beneath him again. If she could get close to him she could possibly grab hold of his mind, leave him dazed on the floor, but that also put her highly at risk.

Especially if her concentration broke.

She was still debating what to do when her next step back knocked her spine into the wall, and Wanda went rigid, realizing she'd been cornered. This fact wasn't lost on the guard, either.

"Gotcha," he muttered, darting a few steps closer with a fist reeled back.

He threw a punch at her and Wanda cringed back against the wall, braced for pain, but there was a sharp blur of movement and a metallic clang before the swing connected, and the next thing she knew someone was standing between her and the young man, his punch caught mid-motion in a shiny metal fist. The guard had a split second to look panicked before he was thrown into a wall, the force of the blow knocking him out.

The Winter Soldier turned to her a heartbeat later with a little grin, offering her his flesh hand.

"Figured I owed you one after that save at the airport. Good to see you, doll."

"Bucky!" she practically sobbed in relief.

"At your service."

Wanda felt a grin spreading across her face despite herself, and reached to take his hand.

He helped her back on her feet, catching an arm around her side to steady her, and began walking down the hallway to the landing bay with her in tow.

"You stopped the super soldiers?" she asked him weakly, having to raise her voice to be heard over the alarms, and Bucky nodded.

"Yeah. It's a long story, so it'll have to wait, but the world is safe. That's all that matters, right?"

She nodded again, letting the man take a bit more of her weight as her legs wobbled beneath her, threatening to give out.

"Easy there, kid," Bucky said worriedly, slowing his pace. "Don't let me rush you, you've been through a lot."

"I'm fine," she said softly. "Just want to be out of here."

"Yeah, I'll bet. Here, hold tight."

The next thing she knew the man had simply scooped her up into his arms, and she was left blinking at her surroundings dazedly as he carried her toward the jet like she weighed nothing, moving at a jog.

"Is that a different arm...?" she asked belatedly, feeling his chuckle reverberate up through his chest.

"Yeah, it is. Let's just say we have a very wealthy and powerful friend in Wakanda who felt rather guilty about trying to kill me the other week."

"No," she said questioningly, glancing up at Bucky in disbelief.

"Yep. King kitty-cat himself. We've got a safehouse there until this whole mess blows over."

"How on earth did you manage that?"

"Guilt is a very powerful motivator when put upon the head of a just man."

"I'm too drugged to untangle riddles," she protested lightly, and Bucky laughed.

"All you need to know is that he's promised us protection, and we're getting you out of this awful place," he explained gently. "We're gonna make sure these creeps never get their hands on you again."

Wanda offered the man a little smile, letting her head fall to rest against his chest as the sway of his running made her dizzy.

The hallway passed in a blur, and Wanda only really started paying attention again when the walls opened up and out, widening into an enormous hangar. Sitting in the center was a sleek black jet, the loading ramp leading up to a side door on the rather large craft.

Bucky didn't even break stride as he jogged up the ramp, only slowing once he'd ducked through the doors, moving to set her down in one of the seats.

"Sit tight, we'll be out of here soon," Bucky reassured her with a tight smile, and Wanda nodded, watching the man as he moved away to check his radio.

The seat was barely padded, but it was still better than the cold cement floor of her cell, and Wanda allowed herself a second to relax into it. She closed her eyes and let out a slow breath, trying to calm her still-pounding heart. The others would likely catch up with them soon, and Bucky was probably checking on their location now, but that didn't quell the little curl of worry that was writhing low in her belly.

They were far from being in the clear yet.

"I got the goods," a familiar voice called, and Wanda glanced up sharply as she heard footsteps echoing on the metal ramp. A second later she caught a glimpse of red hair, and let out a breath in surprised relief as a familiar face came in to view.

Natasha ducked into the jet, wearing Sam's Kevlar vest and practically falling out of it, with her arms full of gear: she had Clint's bow and quiver slipped over her shoulder, Wanda's jacket and Scott's suit folded over one arm with the Ant Man helmet in her hand, and with Sam's wings tucked under the other arm, his goggles on her head.

"Bastards were trying to take Sam's wings apart - he's gonna be pissed about that. Everything else looks like it's prettymuch in one piece, though I think they took some of Wanda's jewelry."

The assassin dumped the gear onto one of the benches, letting Bucky help her get herself untangled, before turning to Wanda with a raised eyebrow.

"Geez, you look like hell."

"Good to see you too," Wanda said, a weak little half-smile playing at her lips.

"Seriously, what the fuck have they been doing to you guys?" Natasha asked, moving over to card her fingers through Wanda's hair, pushing the messy strands back from her face as she looked her over in concern.

"Romanoff, we got incoming," Bucky muttered, leaning to peek around the doorway. Wanda blinked up at the assassin in worry, and the woman returned her gaze with a tense grin.

"Sit tight," Natasha told her, giving her shoulders a little squeeze before stepping back. "We've got this."

"The others," she protested lightly, and Bucky shot her a reassuring smile, patting the radio on his hip.

"Steve's on his way, Lang in tow. They just caught up to Barton and Wilson. We're to expect them in five minutes or less."

"You ever have Sharon get us that code for opening the top doors? We won't be going far without that," Natasha said, leaning around the corner to take a few shots into the landing bay with her Widow's bites before ducking back out of sight.

"She'll be relaying it in two minutes. Said that Van Dyne almost had her through the backup security, but there were a few unanticipated safety measures put into place since our tip off," Bucky shrugged, loading what looked like a mini cannon with a bunch of little metal balls. "We clear of friendlies?"

"Field clear."


Bucky stepped into the doorway, launching the cannon's load out across the platform, and Wanda peeked out the window in time to see the little balls scatter and kick up electrical arcs between one another, forming a taser net that shocked anyone caught in the crossfire.

The sound of the electricity made her flinch, her fingers darting to her throat in a second of blind panic, but the collar didn't go off, and she forced her trembling hand back to her lap as she took a deep breath.

Scott had turned it off. She was okay.

"Ten for ten," Bucky smirked, blowing imaginary smoke from the top of the cannon as Natasha gave him a look that was half fond and half exasperated.

"Scatter shot doesn't count," she informed him dryly.

"Yeah it does."

"It's cheap."

"A kill is a kill."

"Don't give me that shit, I'm only counting it as one."

"There are ten people lying face-down out there, Romanoff, I expect credit for all ten."

"Not gonna happen, Barnes. I'm still in the lead."


"A lead is a lead," she mocked him with a sarcastic little shrug, but before Bucky could reply the both of them were sent ducking for cover as someone outside began shooting again, bullets clanging deafeningly off the ship.

"You missed one!" Natasha shouted to Bucky.

"He was on your watch!"

"Like hell!"

The two ducked around the doorway simultaneously, each from the opposite side, and shot out onto the landing pad.

"Mine," Natasha said before Bucky could open his mouth.

"It was not!"

"That is my Widow's bite on his chest!"

"You're blind."

The crackle of the radio on Bucky's hip silenced the two, and Barnes snatched it up.

"What's up, Steve?"

"Heading your way, gonna need some cover. Please try not to stun any of us accidentally."

"Better shot than you are," the two assassins muttered sourly at the same time, and Steve's laugh crackled through the radio as they gave one another a glare.

"Play nice, kids. We'll be there in about a minute."

"Roger, Rogers." Bucky grinned before hooking the radio back over his belt. Wanda watched the man as he loaded a hand gun with stun shot before moving toward the door of the jet, tossing a glance over his shoulder at the red-haired assassin. "I believe we're at forty-two, thirty-two?"

"Thirty-two," Natasha growled, "thirty-three."

"You do not get to count the sleeping guard."

"He wasn't asleep. If I hadn't gotten him, he would have shot you."



Another bullet pinged off the side of the ship, and both assassins perked.


Wanda couldn't help a breathy laugh as the two crowded one another in the doorway, trying to get a shot in. She peeked out the window to see where they were shooting at and caught a glimpse of a guard behind a crate, his gun the only thing poking up over the top of the wood as he fired blindly in their direction. He was low enough behind his box to be out of the line of fire from the pair of assassins; both of their shots going over his head. However, he had all of his attention focused forward.

Wanda heaved a breath in relief as the landing bay doors burst open and Steve jogged in, Sam on his heels and Clint right behind him, Scott bringing up the exhausted rear. The Captain punched out the hiding guard on the way by, leaving the man to sprawl over the crate, unconscious.

A moment later the rest of the team were heading up the ramp.

"We got those codes yet?" Steve asked as he ducked onto the jet, throwing a grin at her as the others followed on his tail.

"Waiting to hear from Sharon," Bucky relayed. "Should be any minute now."

"Wanda," Clint breathed in relief, slipping past Steve and crossing to her side to grab her close in a hug. "Jesus, kid, you scared me half to death. Where were you?"

"You sent me to the wrong floor," she accused gently, the corner of her mouth quirked in a weak attempt at humor, and the man hung his head with a sigh.

"Yeah...I'm an idiot. Are you okay?"

"I'll be better once we're out of here."

"That's my girl," he chuckled, mussing up her hair affectionately. "Sit tight, I have people to snipe."

The radio at Bucky's hip hissed with static, giving a little click before a feminine voice came on.

"Steve, you there?"

"Yeah, we're all here," Bucky responded. "You have that code for us?"

"Just about, but you need someone to punch it in at the control booth - I can't access it remotely."

"You got my wings back? I got that covered," Sam grinned, beginning to dig through their recovered gear for his jet pack.

"You've got half your wings back," Natasha corrected him. "They were in the middle of scrapping them when I got there."

"Sonofabitch..." he sighed, holding the machinery up with a frown.

"They might still glide?" she offered, and Sam sent her a little pout.

"I guess I'll make due," he said, shrugging the harness over his shoulders. "You find Redwing?"

"Got left back at Leipzig. Stark's got it."

"Fucking hell."

"I'll steal it back for your birthday," she promised with a wink as she helped him fasten himself into the wings.

"Thank you. We would both appreciate it. Last thing I need is Tony fiddling with Redwing...he'll probably add cup-holders or something dumb like that and call it an upgrade..."

Natasha snorted a little in amusement, hauling a strap tight as Sam fiddled with one of the controls on the jet pack.

"Good to go," she reassured him, clapping a hand on his shoulder before stepping back.

"Radio," Bucky offered, holding out his device to Sam, and the man was quick to clip it onto his belt.

"Am I clear?" Sam asked, shifting his weight from foot to foot in a little hopping motion as he prepared to run.

"If you're quick," Clint muttered, sighting along the shaft of an arrow. "You've got about thirty seconds. Starting..."

The arrow left his hand with a hiss, and a second later a concussive blast sent a shockwave across the room.


Sam was out the door in a flash, leaping over boxes like they weren't even there as he bolted for the control tower and scrambled up the short ladder like a squirrel.

Steve watched him for a long second, making sure that the man got to his destination safely before adjusting the channel on his radio and pressing the button down.

"Sharon, you guys have those codes for us?"

"Almost through," was the crackling reply. "They caught us trying to hack in - apparently the prison alarms also alerts site security - and they've been throwing more firewalls at us. They're not hard, they're just...time consuming."

"Estimate?" Steve asked, glancing out over the landing platform as Clint took out another cluster of guards.

"About ten more seconds," a second voice called through the line, and Scott let out a happy squeak. "As long as I can beat their I.T. guy's next lock-out attempt...HA! Got it! I'm in!"

"Get ready to punch these in," Sharon ordered, and Steve waved at Sam in the control booth, getting the other man's thumbs-up to show that he was listening.

"All right, we're good."

"Eight. Five. Seven. One. Six. Six. Four. Zero. Three. One. Zero. Six. Two. Seven. Nine. Zero to open, then star to lock."

A grating creak from overhead marked the code's success, and Clint let out a whoop, turning to high-five Scott as sunlight began to stream in from the slowly opening doors above. The archer whirled around and shot another concussive arrow out onto the landing pad, knocking the few approaching guards down so that Sam could glide back to the ship safely, before ducking back out of the doorway to give the man room to land.

"Thanks, Sharon. I owe you one. Again," Steve grinned as Sam touched down safely.

"Love you, Hope!" Scott called before Steve released his hold on the talk button, and a quiet laugh came from whoever was on the other line with Sharon.

"Still gonna kick your ass for getting arrested again, Lang. Love you."

"Call me when you all arrive," Sharon demanded, and then the line went dead.

"Brace yourselves, ladies and gentlemen," Steve ordered. "We're taking off the second those doors are all the way open."

"Um...better make that quick," Natasha muttered, peeking out of the jet again. "We got company."

"How many?" Bucky asked, groping for his stun cannon.

"Five now, more behind them. Likely to be more after that, one is sounding the al-"

The rest of her sentence was cut off by a screeching siren wail, warning lights beginning to flash in the hangar bay, and Wanda hissed in pain as she covered her ears.

"Someone shut that up!" Clint called, a hand over one ear and the other ear pressed to his shoulder as he reached for Wanda, drawing her close as if to shield her from the noise.

"Aim for the control box on the wall," Scott shouted. "That should fry their whole PA system."

"Got it," Natasha muttered, her expression steely as she moved to the doorway. Two bullet shots later, the sound cut off, and everyone heaved a breath in relief. No sooner had Scott opened his mouth to make a smart comment, however, when another round of gunfire pinged off the side of their jet and sent everyone ducking for cover.

"Who's got stun shot?" Steve asked, glancing around as everyone checked their weapons.

"Got about three," Sam muttered, checking his belt.

"Crap...I'm down to lethals," Clint muttered, thumbing through his arrows.

"Widows bites are running low, too," Natasha reported.

Wanda glanced down at her palms as the others relayed similar information, twitching her fingers slightly as she summoned a few crimson sparks to dart across her skin.

Taking a deep breath, she poured her focus into bringing her powers to the surface, watching them seep up from her hands like smoke.

She could help.

She could do this.

"Steve, they're getting closer," Natasha cautioned. "I really don't like going into gunfights when I'm just throwing punches."

"Sam, take out the nearest ones. Scott, check that box in the back for additional ammo," Steve ordered. "We're gonna have to play this carefully."

Wanda took a slow breath, gathering her nerve as she clenched her hands into fists around the wisps of red, snuffing them out. The others quieted as she slowly got to her feet, turning to face them.

"I can block them," Wanda offered, glancing up to meet Steve's gaze.

Before the Captain could reply, however, she felt a hand come to rest on her shoulder.

"You sure, kid?" Clint asked. "Don't strain yourself trying anything if you're still all drugged to hell..."

"I think I've got this," she said softly. "Just give me a moment."

The sharp ping of bullets on metal continued to echo through their little jet, and Wanda frowned down at her hands, willing her powers to come back to the surface as she took long, slow breaths. The drugs were still there, but now they were more of a nuisance than a crippling effect. It was hard, but her focus was finally kicking in. She could concentrate through them.

The red wisps that darted between her fingers began to condense and take shape this time, and Wanda stepped closer to the door as she finally managed to coax her magic up to full power.

One of the guards was standing at the edge of the landing pad, emptying round after round into the side of their jet, and with a firm flick of her wrist she tore the gun from his hands and sent it flying. A wave of her hand pushed him back, scarlet blooming on his chest as her powers carried out her will, and she shoved him into a group of his buddies that were hiding behind a crate, disorienting them all for a long few seconds.

The next sweep of her hand knocked over some boxes and stacked equipment, sending the guards that had been using that as cover scrambling for a new hiding spot. Another wave of her hands had the doors to the lower levels of the prison warping on their hinges, preventing anyone else from entering the launch pad area.

"We're just over three quarters open," Bucky called from the front. "We'll be lifting off soon."

Wanda swept a small cluster of guards off their feet, sending them scampering for cover as they cried out in fear, and she leaned back against the doorway to catch her breath for a second as they all tried to collect themselves for another rush.

"Wanda, on your right," Sam warned sharply, and she whirled to see a man setting up a rocket launcher, aimed directly at their jet. She took a deep breath, closing her eyes and calling her powers to her hands with all her might.

Even behind her eyelids, she could see the brilliant flare of scarlet that bloomed in her palm.

She grabbed the machine away from the guard, hoisting it into the air carefully, and glanced up to see that the doors above them were almost completely open, showing a crystal blue sky.

With a flick of her wrist, she sent the machine spiraling up out of the prison and into the ocean, tossing the man backwards into his companions a second later.

Her powers were coming back to her more easily now, especially with the fresh air to clear her head and the sirens no longer pounding in her ears, and Wanda swept a hand over the landing pad, knocking all the guards off their feet as they tried to make one final rush for them.

A few bullets ricocheted off the side of the jet, and with another wave of her hand, Wanda had walled off the landing pad with a force field.

"Hell yeah!" Scott cheered, and she allowed herself a smile as the man made a face and a few rude gestures at the guards from behind the safety of her shield.

"We can fit! Takeoff in three," Bucky called, and Clint stepped close to secure an arm around Wanda's middle, letting her work her powers as he braced them both to make sure she didn't fall.


Scott turned to go to a seat, patting his backside at the guards before moving away from the door, and Natasha hid a smirk behind her hand.

"One," Bucky called, followed by Steve ordering everyone to hold on tight, and then the wind kicked up. Wanda squinted as her hair was tossed about her head, whipping into her face and eyes.


Wanda let her force field fall as they took off, dragging the door of the craft shut with a wave of her hand, and the jet rose in a whir of engines, propelling them clear of the prison walls.

Bucky took exactly two seconds to turn them in the right direction, and then they were rocketing off as fast as the engines would carry them.

Through the window, Wanda could see the dark blob of the Raft quickly vanishing in the background, leaving nothing but miles and miles of open ocean in their wake.

Finally, they were free.

Author's Note: If you like this story, and you're in the Breath of the Wild fandom, go check out the story I'm editing/co-authoring with ZeroTech: "Calamity Link." (AKA, the other writing project that's been taking over my life.)

About two more chapters of this to go. Please drop me a review! I love hearing from you all!