How the fuck do you move on from someone? Like, actually think about them only when you need something from them? Like, you know, acquaintances do. You see, there are some conversations on my Whatsapp that I haven’t deleted in a year and half. That kind of shit takes up a lot of memory on […]
It was your usual morning. The kind of morning where you don’t want to get up from your bed, but just lay there and enjoy the warmth of the bed seeping through as you’re fully awake and still trying to hold on to the last vestiges of sleep.
This was the kind of morning that she woke up to everyday since she got to this terrible world. The only good thing in this metal fortress were the memory foam beds that Tony had installed. She checked her phone before she even looked at anything else, noticing once again that there was no signal on either of her networks and her location on Maps was still “Unavailable”.
Grumbling about stupid superheroes and their stupid training sessions, she found herself limping to the washroom only to realise she was already late for today’s combat training with the Widow herself. Angry at having missed the opportunity to drown herself in coffee, and enjoy a decent bath to soothe her overworked muscles she stomped her way to the elevator yelling, “J.A.R.V.I.S, what the fuck happened to my alarm? And please get me to the 19th level before Nat shows up with her Widow bites here.”
The ever so polite A.I buzzed to life as the elevator doors opened, “Ma’am, last night you very specifically told me not to wake you up and said ‘you would shove a pipe down my nasally throat’ if I tried to wake you up.” She groaned when she remembered how drunk she’d gotten last night and how things had gotten very out of hand with Jay before she’d rushed back to her cabin to throw up. Ignoring her moan of embarrassment , J.A.R.V.I.S continued, “And it isn’t Miss Romanoff who’s waiting in the training room, it’s Captain Rogers.”
That got her attention. By the time she reached level 19, she was eager to get to the training room, face to face with Rogers, training be damned, he was going to give her some answers whether he liked it or not. If it had been 2 weeks back, she’d have run all the way to ask him about the progress, to beg him for more details on anything that’d indicate that the mission was going accordingly. But she’d learnt now that running around the tower only got her treated like a kid who was just bouncing for answers and not like an equal that they would share valuable information with. As she strode confidently and turned the last corner, she got a view of the man himself. In his drawstring sweatpants and loose grey t-shirt with bedraggled hair and a coffee in his hand, he looked more like someone who’d been forcefully pushed out of their bed than an enthused trainer set to educate her in battle strategy.
She cleared her throat loudly as she walked in. He smiled at her brightly putting his coffee down near one of the huge mirrors outside of the mat in the training room. She had always felt at home here, in this room, with its wide space and half of the room’s walls covered with mirrors. Nothing else mattered when she trained here, with her mind set on one thing, to figure out this mess that she was in and also be able to protect herself when the time called for it. Focusing entirely on just her body and the moves she’d been learning these past few weeks provided a clarity to her mind that she couldn’t really find anywhere else in a building filled with gadgets and gizmos that could probably make the Elon Musk from her world cry like a baby.
“Ah, Zoe. Good morning, you’re 12 minutes late. Did you sleep well?” His voice was never judgemental, but always cool and professional when he spoke to anyone he didn’t know very well. He opened doors for people walking behind him and said please and thank you so many times it sometimes made her ears hurt, he was a gentleman through and through. He’d always call women he didn’t know quite well as ‘Ma’am’ and the fact that he’d taken to calling her by her name now, made her wonder if he really deserved the angry lashing she’d had in store for him which combined with the queasiness and pain in her head, that she supposed was from the hangover, was only going to make her scream at him more.
“Cut the bullshit, Rogers. When am I going back home?” She knew this was rude and she was at their stronghold for fucks sake, they could throw her and Jay out if they so much as pleased but waiting around only made her more antsy. His polite morning demeanour disappeared in an instant and with his calm Captain America facade in place, he said,”Get in position, Agent. We’re not here to chatter. Arms up. You’ll play defense today. Block in whatever manner you can. No offense, you won’t be needing wraps and gloves.”
She bristled, “I’m not one of your stupid agents,” but she raised herself into a defensive stance before Steve launched himself at her. Punches and kicks flew at her, she dodged as Nat had taught her, dropped and rolled to the side, but he kept coming. She knew he was taking it easy on her, she could see the way he was holding back from hitting her too hard. She probably could have done better if she hadn’t been so blinded by her anger. “And I will not be treated like one. You told me 2 weeks ago that there was some progress and the only answers I ever get from you lot is, ‘we’re figuring it out, kid’,” She ducked as a kick almost landed on her right cheek and continued, “But that’s it, I’ve had it, I can’t sim-“, a punch to her gut cut her short and his breathy “Pay attention, kid” only got her more wound up. “Stop calling me a kid. Stop. I can’t do this anymore.” And just as she threw down her defense, and before Steve could stop, his body barrelled into her, making her loose her footing and fly back from the force of his attack into a punching bag 2 meters behind. The moment she landed on the mat on her forearm she heard the sickening crunch of her bone breaking. Before she could even register the pain, he was already pulling her up and apologising a thousand words per minute. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I didn’t realise you meant ‘can’t do this anymore’ as the training, I thought you were just sick of everything that’s been happening, darn it! I’m sorry, I-” She pulled herself away from his grasp and biting down on the pain from her arm, she let loose everything that had been building up inside her for the past six weeks, “No. NO. I did mean I was sick of everything that’s been happening and I am sick of it. I’m done being here in your stupid world, where you treat me like one of your goddamned guinea pigs just because we stumbled from a different fucking universe. And all because your resident witch decided to take a merry fucking subconscious stroll and bring us to a world where we would otherwise have never set foot in. We didn’t ask for it, damn it! I don’t want to train everyday like my life depends on it.”
“Your life does depend -” He tried to interject, to make her see sense, but she was raining down all her anger and misery in one go that she barely even stopped to listen to him. “You tell me that I’m not going to be stuck here for long, then why do I need to learn to defend myself against villains and goons I’d never likely face back in my world?” She didn’t look like she was waiting for an answer but instead of Steve, it was Natasha who gave her an answer as she strode into the room. “I don’t believed that the world you come from doesn’t have any dangers that you could use some protection from. As far as I’ve heard, you’re not from a Utopian world and that means, you could always be attacked.”
“Oh, please Natasha. Spare me your overworked spy brain rantings. I don’t care about any of this. I want to go home and I want to see my mother. I want my old life back. And if you really want to be helpful and ‘protect’ me, just find a way to get me back to my world. I’m sick of your superhero business.” And with that she turned her back and before Steve or Natasha could get a word out she marched a few steps out of the training room and crumbled to the ground from the pain shooting up not just from her arm but also from her leg, which she figured she’d probably twisted as she fell during the training session.
Her almost cool exit had turned pathetic and before she started crying from the pain, she felt a pair of warm arms lift her up. Thinking it was either Steve or Nat and she knew she couldn’t deal with anymore humiliation, she tried to slap the hands away only to turn around and, “Jay! What even?” She could see Steve in the back looking ready to rush towards her if she looked like she needed any help but she focused solely on Jay as he replied, “I was on my way to train with Widow now, and when I saw you fall down and you didn’t get up, I knew you’d finally had that fight with Cap and knew you wouldn’t want him carrying you to Dr.Banner’s lab to fix you up in case you needed fixing up.” He was looking at her as if asking her to disagree with anything he’d said and when she didn’t and just mumbled for him to carry her to the lab, she wondered how she’d thought it was a curse that it was him who’d been dragged into this world with her. With a quick movement and gently not jostling her broken arm, he picked her up in his arms and she threw her good arm around his neck for support. “Hey, Jay?” he looked down at her, “Yeah?”
With pain clouding her mind and slowly dozing off she asked him,”Do you think we’ll ever get home?” She only remembered seeing him smile sadly at her and his whispered words of “I hope we do, love. I hope we do.” was lost on her as she drifted off.
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