A/N: I am so sorry you guys! This chapter took way to long to get out here, but life decided to start moving like a freight train and tried leaving my ass behind, so there was a lot of running to catch up and sadly writing was one of the things that got left behind for a while there! But here it is, finally! The next chapter! I hope you all enjoy it and thank you all for being so lovely and patient! Reading your reviews has been so wonderful and encouraging and I can't thank you enough!


Ditching the Avengers

When Tony first called the team in to check on this mess, Clint hadn't really known what to expect. The Cap was still away on his third mission since joining Shield after his big welcome to the future road trip across the U.S., and Thor was who knows where in backass end of nowhere space dealing with his evil little bitch of a brother. Bruce was present, but then, also, Bruce, and whereas Clint had grown to appreciate the Hulk, (especially after seeing the footage of him throwing Loki around like a ragdoll, that had made Clint's year,), Hulk was more one of those, "in case of emergency" options rather than everyday mission, and that just left him and Nat to pick up the call. Which normally, Clint was a-okay with, he could not ask for a better or more badass partner, but when it's Tony Stark who is calling something in, the man with an ego that could fill up an entire skyscraper (and had because what else could you call Stark tower?), well. Let's just say Clint would've liked to have a few more heavy hitters with them.

When Stark then told them that there was a new player in New York, and that it was potentially some version of Red Skull (because seriously with that face what else could you be playing at? Even if it wasn't the Nazi bastard himself through some kind of wibbly wobbly timey wimey weirdness, (which in a world with Norse gods, 95 year old science experiments who still looked to be in their early 30's, portals to other worlds, and more, things like this started to seem more and more likely), then it could still be, and more likely was, a copycat playing into Red Skull's likeness to emulate the psycho for his own sick schemes), well. Clint had certainly seen stranger. At this point the only thing that he thought could possibly surprise him was if this Red Skull look alike was actually some do-gooder superhero from an alternate dimension where none of them existed, because surely if things got to that far, Clint must have lost his marbles somewhere along the way. Probably in Budapest, honestly. Though the invasion of New York was definitely a hearty contender…

So when Tony said he had set up a meeting with at the very least someone with connections to the impostor, if not the man himself, Clint was wary. Because if that didn't scream "It's a trap!" louder than Admiral Ackbar, Clint wasn't sure what would. When Nat asked how he had set that up and Tony started to clam up, Clint started to have a bad feeling about all of it. When Tony admitted the communication had been passed along through kids, Clint was ready to punch Stark in the face and kick him where the sun don't shine till his grandkids were feeling it, because they were little kids, goddamnit Tony! When Tony backpedaled and said he had placed 24/7 security subtly around the Orphanage to protect the little tikes, created a subprogram in JARVIS to constantly double and triple check that no suspicious individuals got into any type of range to those kids, and had quadruple checked each and every employee and volunteer that had ever had anything to do with the orphanage, Clint settled for breaking his nose.

If there was one damn rule that Clint never broke, and never fucking would for all he might sometimes play fast and loose with the rules(cough, bringing in a deadly enemy assassin instead of killing her as ordered, cough), it was never put innocents in danger if you can damn well help it. Especially if they're kids. Having the kids call up the one damn person you're trying to protect them from for a fucking meet and greet with the local superheroes and law enforcement was a fucking moronic idea, even if you took precautions about it. It gave the bad guys way too much motivation to hurt the kids, and Clint would not stand for that. Especially with the reminder of Lila and Cooper at home. They were three and five respectively, and it horrified him to imagine them living on the streets, much less in the situation these kids were, in contact with someone donning a similar mask to Red fucking Skull!

Now, having just met the Red Skull look alike, (who was just a kid as well, what the hell), Clint was even more unsure of what to think. Clint was willing to admit the kid was skilled. The way he dodged their fire so easily couldn't mean anything less than some very professional, possibly Nat level training. Which was really scary and sad at the same time, given Nats history, and what that could mean for the kid. Not that they were aiming to really hurt the kid. No matter how long the kid had been doing this, (and holy shit, the 'this' involved was actually something decent for once!. For all his standoffish-ness, Clint could still hear the honesty and passion with which he had spoken about helping people, and seriously, how often did that happen in his career?), he was still just a kid. And well, Clint had enough on his conscious without having to add hurting a kid along with all the other bullshit that came along with all this to that list.

So shooting the kid didn't really appeal to him, but the way the kid was moving for the window he didn't really have much of a choice if he wanted to stop him from going off and getting himself killed. Again, apparently, if the kid's word was anything to go off of. But as Clint had previously noted, the kid was good, and dodging the arrows barely slowed him down as he leapt up cargo containers, diving out the open window. Three stories up. Fucking hell, the kid must have a death wish.

Quickly, Clint swung from the warehouses support beams down to the cargo containers, leaping across them to reach the window the kid had dived out of. Luckily the kid hadn't disappeared entirely before he could get there, but if Clint didn't do something to catch up soon, he'd most likely lose the kid entirely. The kid definitely had lots of practice doing this. As Clint watched, the kid dove off a warehouse roof shooting his grapple out mid-air, not even pausing to worry if his grapple would actually anchor on something. As if Clint needed any confirmation that the kid had a death wish, that would be evidence enough.

Fortunately, Clint wasn't alone, and Iron Man could fly at jet like speeds;the Kid wouldn't be able to run for too much longer, even if Clint got left behind.

~x~

Hood had a plan for this. Honestly, he did! He was just hoping it would actually work.

Jason knew meeting with Stark meant he'd potentially be running from a weaponized flying hunk of metal that could go mach something speeds, (who the fuck cares what mach it actually got to- if it goes mach anything that thing's going to catch you) He knew this! So he looked for what he could possibly beat the suit at, and found stealth and maneuverability had... Potential.

Not much of course, especially with two super spy/assassin whatevers along for the hunt as well, but fuck it. It's what he had, and if he could outpace the spysassins then he had that much more of a chance of actually pulling this off.

And so it was with that somewhat in mind, (though 'fuck, fuck FUCK! That was entirely too close! Fuck!' was a much more prevalent thought at the time) that Hood threw himself out a window approximately three stories up. The few seconds before his grapple anchored on the next building and his death defying fall became a swing, the world, the shouts of his pursuers, his adrenaline fueled thoughts, everything but the pounding beat of his heart in his ears melted away.

And then as the line pulled tight, the world zoomed back into focus in a snap.

Iron man was flying out the window Hood had just exited before Hood even fired his second grapple, and was quickly gaining by the third. Something needed to change. Moving at the last possible second, Hood dodged into a narrow alleyway to his left, an arrow whizzing by as he did, and Iron man cursing loudly as he flew past. Knowing he only had a few seconds out of sight as Stark readjusted and with the two spysassins with no line of sight on him, Hood dived through the window of another warehouse making up the wall on his right.

Swiftly ducking his way into the labyrinth of shipping containers inside, Hood lost himself in the maze built up two and three containers high around him. Having the time to actually plan this escape was fast becoming a blessing, as Hood counted three crates, turn right, two, left turn, one, left, four right, winding his way through to a side door hidden by the bulk of the metal containers around him. Ducking low and close as the roar of Iron Man's thrusters entered the building, Hood paused. It wouldn't do for the others to see him leave the warehouse now, better to wait and lure them into the labyrinth of metal inside the building and lose them there. But surely that wouldn't actually work, not with two super spies. At least one would stay outside and watch the exits, right? Still Hood needed to get out of here, it wouldn't surprise him one bit if Stark had infrared in that visor of his, and eventually Stark would get lucky and look the right direction at the right time and see his heat signature. Better to take his chances then, and hope the spysassins hadn't made it around yet to be to see his exit.

Another blessing of an escape plan, and some WD40, as Hood eased the door open just enough for his large build to slip by, the metal door didn't make a sound. Unfortunately for him, just as he was slipping out into the next alley, Black Widow turned the corner right into him.

Diving under her first kick, Hood spun around delivering one of his own. She quickly ducked it turning the motion into a spin kick, knocking his remaining foot out from under him. Hitting the ground almost knocked the breath out of him, but Hood had just enough wits about him he was able to kick Widow's gun away as she stood to shoot, leaping upright as he did and turning down another alley. Listening as Widow called through her comms where he was, which was just lovely, honestly! Hood broke into a sprint, Widow in hot pursuit, and surely her two friends not too far behind.

Leaping up Hood grabbed and pulled himself onto the first landing of the fire escape to his left where warehouses melted into run down apartments. Sprinting up the remaining steps to the roof Widow opened fire, and clangs of metal as bullets hit brick wall and fire escape rang loudly in his ears, but luckily just missed him. As quickly as Hood's feet were pounding across the apartments roof, he was leaping off, swinging away on his grapple.

Letting about two blocks fly by before he landed, he made his way to the ground. As he walked down the side streets between buildings, meandering closer and closer to the noise of people, he shed bits and pieces of his costume. Hiding them in nooks and crannies he would come back to later, he slyly exchanged them for a new shirt and jacket, hiding his hair and face under a New York Yankees cap. It wouldn't make him invisible, but hopefully it would change his appearance just enough the Avengers would skip over him as he blended in with the growing crowd around him.

As he heard the roar of Iron Man's thrusters draw closer and closer it looked like he would be able to put that to the test. Casually, Jason slipped into the theatre lessons Alfred had once taught him when he was still living at Wayne Manor, changing the gait of his walk, the posture of his back, and drumming a random beat on his thighs like he was just another civilian, and gawking like all the rest as Iron Man flew over head.

His heart was thrumming so loudly in his ears it was all he could hear as he waited for Stark to look he fill and move on. It was all he could do to keep breathing steady, deep breaths as he waited. In, one, two, three, out, one, two, three. Again and again, until finally Iron Man turned and left, searching further down the road, the two spies lagging behind him.

He'd done it.

Letting out a breath of pure relief, Jason closed his eyes for a moment and just let himself relax. He'd done it, he'd actually escaped two super spies, and some of the best pieces of technology created in this world as created by Tony Stark. Before the incredulous giggles at that thought could completely take over, Jason decided to head back to his current base. It looked like he had some things to think about given what he'd learned from that little meet'n'greet, and he'd rather figure those things out sooner than later.

The Avengers not being aware of Project Insight for one was a very unsettling thought. That Project could not be allowed to get off the ground, and it looked like he was going to be alone in dealing with the fucker if these so called superheroes couldn't get their shit together. The fact that he'd had to tell them about it didn't give him confidence in them either, though he would totally attest to Widow being a more than competent fighter; he was going to have soo many bruises in the morning-he wasn't looking forward to it.

But that could wait, for now he just wanted to collapse onto a nice bed and sleep.