I'm not exactly the sort of person you'd envision being a superhero.

In fact, I didn't even really consider myself to be one.

I stood at the extremely anticlimactic height of five feet, and I was as scrawny as they come.

I didn't even burst out suddenly with awesome moves, like Natasha. I couldn't handle any sort of weapon. Sure, I could fire a gun and throw knives and stuff, but my health made it tough for me to be able to do this for long. Nobody knew when I'd abruptly stop being able to breathe and have to drop my gun and gasp for air.

In fact, I wasn't aware of the reason for the phone call I got. I was sitting there in my kitchen after having put a loaf of bread in the oven, and I was reading The Importance of Being Earnest. My cell phone started to buzz - I always kept it on vibrate and I didn't have a house phone - and I picked it up and mumbled absently, "Hello?"

"Ms. James?"


"Nick Fury here. I'm calling to ask if you'd like to join the Avengers."

"Um, I don't have any political views - and I've got bread in the oven. Good - "

"Ms. James, it's not a movement, and it doesn't have anything to do with the government."

"You mean you're not a second Red Tea Party, or whatever that thing calls itself?" I asked wryly, peeping into the oven with a frustrated sigh.

"No, I'm not. The Avengers is a group that SHIELD calls together when - "

"Shield? A talking shield?" I quipped.

Fury sighed. "No. SHIELD is an organization that - "

"Nope. Sorry. Not interested. Thanks for the call." I hung up and hurried to get the bread out of the oven.

But as soon as the loaf was lying out on the counter, the phone rang again.

With a frustrated sigh, I threw down the oven mitts and answered the phone with an angry twitch of my thumb. "Hello?"

"Ms. James, you have five minutes to get your a** out here with your bags before I order my men to open fire."

"Mr. Fury, you have five minutes to get your a** in here and explain yourself before I open fire," I mimicked him. I didn't like people who tried to threaten me.

"Ms. James, this is not a joke."

"D*** right it isn't!" I retorted.

That was when one of his men put a bullet through one of my lovely, golden-brown loaves. "Oh, you're asking for it, Mr. Fury!" I yelled, not really in the direction of the phone. "All right, Mr. Fury," I hissed into the phone, "I'm coming out. But I'll need about seven minutes to pack."

"Women," I heard distinctly on the other end of the line.

"Excuse me?!" I gasped. "Sexist!" But I wasn't wasting any time. Apparently, I was going to get shot down if I didn't obey right away, so I ran back to my room and threw some clothes together in a bag along with some FOOD! and then I got my - well, I got outside as fast as I could.

I threw my bag down on the ground huffily and crossed my arms. "Mr. Fury!"

"There's no need to shout. I'm right here." Came a voice behind my shoulder.

"Wagh!" I whirled and lost my balance. As soon as I had regained it, I glared at him, my dark eyes taking in his dark face. He had a patch over one eye and the other stared back at me with an inscrutable expression.

I snapped, "Well?" Then I felt a stabbing pain in my chest which meant that I wouldn't be able to breathe for awhile. I felt my eyes widen and my breath barely wheeze out through my chapped lips.

"Are you all right, Ms. James." Nick Fury's tone was not inquiring at all.

"Just - peachy." I hissed, then instantly doubled over, kneeling to the ground and gasping for air.


"No!" The word was wrenched from me. "I - " I knew I needed to stop talking or I'd need to cough. Unfortunately, it was too late. I needed to cough, but to cough, I needed air, and to have air, I needed to breathe, and to breathe, I needed this horrible, horrible stabbing pain to go away.

Finally, I forced myself to do the one thing I knew would end my breathing bout, although it would cost me a good deal. I steeled myself and took one deep, sharp, fast breath.

The pain was excruciating, but finally I could breathe again, if only shallowly. I coughed several times and croaked, "Water."

Fury, without the slightest sign of sympathy, handed me a glass of water which I drained gratefully.

Then I stood and looked around. "Hey, where's my bag?"

"In the truck," Fury said in a clipped tone, "which is where you should be."

I glared. "Oh, I'm so sorry that my excruciating pain was inconveniencing you. I do apologize."

Fury's lips twitched - or maybe I just imagined it. "I can do without the sarcasm, Ms. James."

"Yeah, well I can do without the threats and the pain and the kidnapping." I muttered. I lifted my chin. "Do you really think you can get away with this? My family will go straight to the police."

"Family?" Fury's one eye plainly showed that he would have liked to roll said object. "I've done my research, Ms. James. You have no family. The truck, Ms. James."

I swallowed and obediently walked to the truck and clambered in gracelessly.