Good day! I'm really uploading this to make myself to finish it - I'm really rather bad at self-motivation =/
Do tell me if you enjoyed it though, I haven't decided upon how much the film's story will change. It's likely only to be small tweaks.
The woman walked through the squalid streets, the cold, pollution- laden gusts of wind making her wounds sting and her eyes narrow. She stepped around a puddle, half filled with waterlogged rubbish, and shook her head. 'Why would anyone choose to live here? Especially someone who could have so much better?' she wondered. It was incomprehensible to her, especially now that she was used to the sterile facilities of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The grey, roiling sky had given way to a misty drizzle, and the tops of the skyscrapers were wreathed in wispy cloud. Agent Maria Hill checked her directions, then splashed along the alleyway some way before ducking into a doorway, pushing open the rusty steel door with a scrape of metal on concrete. Wincing a little, she made her way inside into the basement of what was once a block of flats – a bare, concrete car park. It seemed now lifeless and deserted, but she could see by the filthy blankets and newspapers lying along the walls that it had once been a squat of some sort. She cleared her throat, loudly. The air was still, apart from the slow drip and trickle of water.
"Come for me?" said a male voice, resignedly. Agent Hill's eyes widened slightly, a jolt of surprise breaking through her schooled features. 'He sounds surprisingly young' she thought, before she regained control.
"My superior would like to speak with you. We have a proposition," she said, after a moments' pause.
"And why would I want to speak to Nick Fury?" asked the voice. Some reaction must have shown on her features, for he continued, "Oh, I can tell a S.H.I.E.L.D agent a mile away, even in civvies." She squinted, trying to make out where it was he was. His voice echoed around the car park making it hard to pin down his location. The only illumination came from the doorway behind her, casting long shadows from the thick pillars which disappeared into a pool of blackness at the far end of the room.
"Just hear us out," she said. "There's evidence of-"
"I don't want Fury to blackmail me into doing his dirty work!" he said, raising his voice. At this, a shadow stirred at the back of the room. Hill could just make out the silhouette of a man, leaning against the back wall.
"No blackmail, no coercion, nothing," she promised. "Mr. Fury wouldn't be doing this if he didn't feel he needed you, and if you come with us he can tell you all about it."
"You tell me. Here and now. I'm not meeting that bastard again if I can't help it."
"You know I can't do that."
"Then I can't help you."
She took a deep breath. "However, I can give you a general idea. At great risk to my current employment prospects, of course."
"I'd appreciate it."
"War with demigod race over ancient artefact, Earth in danger. Succinct enough?"
There was silence for a few moments. "Indeed. If you don't mind, I'll need some time to think about this."
"Of course. There's more though. A little bit, at any rate."
"I'm intrigued. Do go on."
She smiled. "It's not that exciting. The scheme you're being invited to is made up of people with... talents. Talents we're all going to need if we're to survive."
"Talents like mine?"
"More or less. Talents natural or supernatural; it doesn't matter. As long as they're useful."
"Useful?" She could hear the amusement in his voice. "I wouldn't exactly call my 'talent', as you call it, useful."
"That's not my call to make," she said firmly. "Mr Fury thinks you're useful, I'm just the messenger."
"That's true enough," he said, letting out a long breath.
She checked the luminous face of her watch. "Okay, I'm going to take a taxi back to the airport. If you're not there in half an hour's time, that's it. No second chances."
There was a chuckle. "Ahh, how I've missed S.H.I.E.L.D. My life hasn't been the same without a generous helping of tough guy clichés. Don't worry, I don't usually take long to make up my mind."
Hill turned to go, her footsteps echoing in the empty space. She paused at the door. "I'm putting my ass on the line here, so I'd like to keep this quiet. I'm sure you appreciate that."
"I do appreciate it. Especially the part about your ass."
She rolled her eyes. "Just don't spread this."
"Of course. I wasn't born yesterday, Ms Hill."
Mr Lynch waited until he heard the squeal of the door closing, then put his head in his hands with a groan. His anger at Nick Fury still burned bright in the front of his mind, vying to take control. He gritted his teeth, forcing the dull metallic burn to the back of his mind. It wasn't a fact he liked to remember, but it was true; Matthew Lynch had felt the happiest, the most fulfilled when he had been helping people, when he felt like he had made a difference.
Nick Fury was a whole different story. It would be best if Lynch could keep out of his way, for the wellbeing of both of them. However much he raged against it though, in the back of Lynch's mind, his decision was already made.
The whole meeting had taken less than five minutes, yet she still felt drained. The S.H.I.E.L.D jeep went over a bump, jolting her out of her reverie. She rubbed her eyes, staring out of the window at the grey, rolling countryside flickering by. She felt a feeling of slight emptiness and loneliness, a feeling she'd noticed more since he'd joined S.H.I.E.L.D. It was almost natural maybe, with such an organisation that was by definition as secretive as hers. She glanced forwards – the tight-lipped driver stared back, icy eyes fixed on her in the rear view mirror. The soldier in the passenger seat was somehow also managing to glare at her, from the reflection in the windscreen. No welcome there, obviously. She rested her head on the window and closed her eyes, letting the gentle vibrations lull her into a shallow sleep.
Twenty minutes later, feeling more exhausted than before, she watched as hedgerows gave way to dual carriageways and roundabouts as the jeep wound its way towards the terminal. It slowed to a stop in the mostly deserted taxi rank, the soldier vaulting from the passenger side into the spitting rain. Hill got out more sedately, making her way over the pedestrian crossing with the soldier on her heels. She passed the line of bus stops, then-
"That's some taxi."
She whirled around, the soldier going for his pistol beneath his jacket. "It's OK," she said to the soldier, who didn't relax his death grip on the butt of his gun. Lynch stood up from one of the bus shelters and approached them slowly, giving her a first chance to get a look at him. She raised an eyebrow, surprised – he looked almost exactly like she imagined a stereotypical hobo to look.
"The job's got its perks," she said, forcing herself to relax. "You were right, you didn't take long to decide."
"I know." He stuck out his hand, lowering it slightly for her comparative height deficiency. "Even though we already know who we are, I think we should do it the formal way. Matthew Lynch, pleased to meet you."
They shook. "Likewise," she said, leading the way into the airport. "I read your file, and don't remember looking so..." she paused, trying to find a word that wouldn't offend, "-emaciated."
"Emaciated!" He laughed, running his hand through his long hair, evidently trying to straighten out some of the tangles. "I'm not emaciated. Thin maybe, but not emaciated. That implies I'm going to keel over and die any time now." His hand got stuck, so he gave up.
"I do hope not," she said, checking her watch again.
"You tell me, you read my file. Must have taken you a while. No doubt your lot kept me under surveillance, so you probably know the state of my health better than I do."
"At S.H.I.E.L.D, they're not very fond of report writing," she said perfunctorily.
He sucked in a breath in mock shock, inadvertently emphasising his sunken cheeks. "Huh, and there was I thinking Fury would want to remind himself in intimate detail how he stabbed me in the back. You learn new things everyday."
They stepped out through the doors, having been ushered past the lines of tourists at security by a nervous-looking official. The wind whipped their words away, and for a time they were too busy holding onto their coats to speak. The soldier and driver from the jeep hurried them along the tarmac towards a small jet which had just taxied in. As they approached, the door opened and stairs were unfolded, clanging to the ground just as Lynch and Hill arrived. Lynch made his way up the stairs and through the door into the plane – here, Hill had to bite back a smirk, as he almost had to bend double to fit inside. She on the other hand only had to bow her head.
"Bloody planes," he complained, making his way down the aisle.
"Sit anywhere," Hill said, picking up the bag that was waiting for her in an open luggage compartment and fishing out some paperwork. He shrugged out of his dark trenchcoat – Hill thought it might have once been brown, but it was too stained with dirt and age to tell – and sat down. She dropped the files into his lap. "This is the team you'll be working with. Director Fury will be able to tell you your role in the team. Until we arrive, I suggest you study their profiles."
"Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk, Captain America. Not a bad haul," he muttered. "Captain America? Isn't he a bit old for this stuff? I thought he'd be enjoying a nice quiet retirement in Greece somewhere by now," he said to Hill.
She rolled her eyes, not even looking up from her papers. "Read the file."
The plane journey continued in this vein, Matt skimming the thick file over the next hour and a half. The 'Fasten Seatbelts' sign flicked on and the plane nosed down through the clouds just as he finished reading about Black Widow and Hawkeye's mission in Budapest. He closed the file with a snap and stared out of the window at the glittering sea, trying to suppress a feeling of trepidation. He simply couldn't get rid of the feeling that he was jumping from the pan straight into the fire.