Bitter Welcome

Summary:
June 06, 2014: There's gonna be hotheads in the old Triskelion tonight. (Language warning.)

Triskelion, NYC

S.H.I.E.L.D. Headquarters


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
None


Months down the road and things have all come full circle. Once more the Triskelion's halls are filled with the rhythmic and authoritative sound of SHIELD-issued boot heels drumming out their old beat. Special Agent Hill strides forward with a sense of absolute purpose, a bag slung over one shoulder and a datapad occupying the other hand. Those to stop and salute are almost systematically ignored, she already has too much occupying her thoughts to step back and pay attention to the trivial matters surrounding her.

A muttered "Thought I was done walking around this shithole" is breathed out while she pauses to pinch the bridge of her nose, feeling the onset of a caffeine headache progressively nudging its way toward full-on migraine. Her transfer has come with a lot of reading. A LOT of reading. It would seem that the ground-pounders have been keeping busy.

This probably means that she has a lot more work waiting for her.

*

Why should Hill be any different than any one else?

Natasha's boots are a helluva lot lighter in sound than Hill's, because she's very much learned the value of walking softly and carrying a big stick. Or, in her case, a wrist zat. It has the same effect.

As she sees the other agent pause, she slows her steps, approaching. "Well, look what the cat dragged back in," she says mildly. "Nice vacation?"

Vacation. Right. Do those actually exist?

*

Ouch. At least his return could be considered 'First Class' on a 'jet. Jumping out from his spot in the co-seat, Barton lands a little hard, and is back to limping, or rather.. favouring one leg over the other. (That always sounds a little better. 'Favouring'.)

"Yeah, yeah, I know. At least I've got something for my efforts," is grumbled to May. Other than intel, yes. He's got a little box that affixes to a belt and is built of plastic and gem… and more excitingly? Activated from a remote location by an unknown person or persons.

Heading up the elevator now, Barton's punched the buttons and looks up… looks anywhere but the door. "You know, I though these things had music? When did that go?"

When the elevator doors open, the occupants are let out on one of the many administrative floors. Clint looks one way, then the other… and sets off.

*

Agent May follows Barton from the jet she'd used to extract the archer. She's long since learned to tolerate his seemingly incessant chatter so the grumble is ignored and the question about the lack of elevator music goes unanswered. Of course, despite 'favouring' that one leg, he is apparently not planning on going to Medical.

Typical.

With a mild eyeroll, May follows Barton out of the elevator and down the hall. If he tries to shrug off a trip to Medical, she WILL drag him there by his ear. Eventually. If Romanoff doesn't do it first.

*

"Oh. Romanova," Maria deadpans upon seeing the resident Russkie Redhead. "You're exactly what I didn't need to see tonight. I trust you've been topping off the jetpack that you keep joyriding about in. We've got Tri-City residents swearing that Superman's installed running lights on his ass, no thanks to you."

When the elevator chimes just a bit further down the hall Maria glances back to it, as though searching for an easy excuse to get away from Natasha. Instead she's greeted by the sight of two more of their higher ranking agents. "Barton." Gees, the guy looks like hell tonight. A thin, humorless smirk edges across her face as she inquires "The one that got away?" May, on the other hand… It's kind of like initiating conversation with a brick. Both don't have much to say and tend to be somewhat abrasive. Eye contact is established, held. "He didn't give you too much trouble on the ride home, did he? I hear he's been having some problems staying focused."

*

"Oh, didn't you hear?" Romanova replies, "He did get running lights on his ass. Of course, it's because he was dipped in a vat of radioactive goo, but hey." No word of a lie, actually. Except, okay, maybe he didn't glow. Caused one helluvan explosion, though. And the Russian tracks pretty much everything that has super attached to it in the public's consciousness or the intelligence world's speculation. "At least, I've been around pulling my weight."

She turns around, glancing as Barton and May approach. Barton's limp isn't missed. "Okay," she says, eying them both. "What happened?"

*

The farther into the building Clint gets, the more he looks… determined to 'get it over with' so he can go home and grab some take-out and spend the rest of his Friday night… okay, pretty much alone. With a movie, perhaps. Thai and beer. And a movie. (If it weren't for the fact he's pretty much -seen- all the movies on NetFlix up until this past month…!)

Slowing up, a deep breath is taken, and Barton rolls his eyes and bobs his head, lips pressed before, "Ha.. ha.. I get it.."
Hill's comment to May about his abilities, however? That gets something of a "Oh, hey.." in complaint. "Nothing wrong with my focus, thank you."

There are a few new scrapes and bruises to the archer as well, but nothing -too- bad. Seems the 'favouring' is the worst of it. (Other than the dust and dirt.) "Me? Oh.. got dropped onto the set of Sharknado, I think. But darker and dirtier. I think it was Sharknado reimagined." His mission was a SHIELD sanctioned mission… part of Ellis Island went dark and there had to be an investigation. Guess who was the investigator? "Oh.. and Tash. About that other thing? Your instincts were right. Gonna make sure it's followed up on."

*

May simply returns Hill's stare and nod, then her eyes cut toward Barton as the brunette asks if he was trouble on the trip back from the extraction. "No worse than four year old on pixie sticks playing with a car's stereo buttons." Honestly, though, coming from May that means he was practically an angel on the ride back.

Unlike Barton, May's uniform is pristine. She was clearly only the taxi driver for the archer's little 'investigation'.

*

"Great, good to hear that the local man of steel is being a team player. I'll be sure to send him a thank-you card on behalf of everyone here," Hill replies to Natasha while glancing back down to the dataslate in her hand. "God knows the city could always use another nightlight."

Pulling her own weight?

Hill's attention snaps back up to Natasha, she's probably quite familiar with the expression now coming into play. "By that count you must be light as a feather, Romanova. I seem to recall you being partly responsible for an explosion at the New York harbor and being more responsible for several hundred thousand dollars' worth of equipment stolen right out from beneath you and Barton east of Metropolis. Go find a couple of burgers and try again."

Back to Barton, she says "Glad to see your mind's still as sharp as ever" once he 'gets' it. "I wish I could say as much for your track record last month. 'Introduction of infectious spores to SHIELD headquarters,' 'destruction of a quarter city block in Manhattan,' 'aiding and harboring a rogue AI,'" she reads off from the dataslate in hand. "I'm especially fond of 'allowed a known fugitive to escape. -Twice.- Once while under full containment right here in Wonderland. And - just going on a hunch here, the cast from 'Sharknado' got away from you, as well. Truly you are the standard by which all other agents are to be judged. Your gold star is in the mail."

Suddenly Hill stops herself, the dataslate falling heavily to her side as she stares at the three assembled. "This place is turning into a goddamn zoo! At least May's been keeping busy with interrogations, heaven forbid someone here come back with something -useful- once in a while! The repair bills for this facility alone have skyrocketed by eight hundred percent in the last -three weeks.- I've got a tower of reports for special equipment requisitions and something about some gene-confused -thug- getting hauled in for a chance to play 'see what I found in the gutter' at work day. Does anyone here have anything -positive- for me to come home to, anything at all!"

*

"Like to have seen you do better," Romanova snarks in reply to Hill. The brunette might be one of the best spies of her generation, but Romanova's been doing it a helluva lot longer than her. And she knows that bull-in-china-shop disposition the other agent sports is about is useful in most of the situations she finds herself in. Outside of chasing a patch-eyed-albino halfway around the city and back.

She glances to Hawk, as he gives her the other heads up. Her ears rise faintly. "Yeah. Figures. I knew they were being way too quiet." She doesn't bother to explain. There's nothing she cares to explain.

*

Barton casts a side glance towards May, a sotto, "Not helping," coming from the man.

Still, in the list of 'accusations', Clint is more than happy to offer defense. "'Aiding and harbouring a rogue AI'? No. I pulled a resource from the CIA that I figured would be helpful for us to figure out what the hell was going on over there and how much their R&D guys were kicking our asses." Ahem. "And I had nothing to do with her leaving here. I was flat on my back in the Infirmary." Which… probably doesn't help his case. But! It gives him some deniability in terms of screwing up.

Though, Hill's tirade does have one result. The little box that Clint is now in possession of… a plastic box with gems in it? It's stuffed deep into his pocket, to be dropped off to R&D at the next possible moment. After all, who wants to have a box that is controlled by person or persons unknown? We do! (Not.) "I.. uh.. should make a quick side trip." Barton thumbs his hand in the direction of the elevator again, "Forgot to do something.."

Blue eyes moves towards his 'partner', and Clint gives a sober nod in acknowledgment. Nothing else need be said at the moment.

*

May could truly not care less what Hill thinks of her, and she proves it by crossing her arms and looking unimpressed by the tirade about recent events. She's NOT a spy like the other two. Covert crap is not her job. And while she might still be blaming herself for that mess with Thurman escaping and Coulson nearly getting crushed in an elevator by a falling android, Hill had BETTER know better than to try and take her to task for it.

*

"You just might get that chance if you keep screwing up, Romanova," Hill counters. Of course Nat's better at the field work, that's why she's out there and Maria isn't. She knows as much. She's also not about to give the other woman a whole lot of credit. Not here, not now. Maybe after she's had a chance to unwind and knock back a couple of stiff drinks. Maybe.

She still doesn't care for Natasha, and trusts her just as far as she could slam-dunk Russia's vintage super soldierette.

The exchange between Nat and Clint finally catches her interest, one brow hooking upward as she eyes the pair. "Anything you'd care to share with the rest of the class, or would you lovebirds prefer some privacy?"

Nope, it's back to Barton again. "So instead you thought you'd lend them all a hand and kick our asses -for- them. As I recall you were solely responsible for bringing those disease-riddled visitors into my tidy little hive, Barton, malfunctions and all. When you have a moment Coulson may wish to have some words with you regarding the failsafes our elevators are equipped with."

Then the archer tries to excuse himself. Hill's open hand darts outward to the side, nearly smacking someone else in the face as they try to slip by without getting noticed. "Sure, why not! Let's all have a five minute recess, get some fresh air. It's probably cleaner than the recycled crap they've got in here these days. -Forty percent- under quarantine, Barton. Forty!"

Truth of the matter is that May's getting off quite light in this go-around. Hill's got the reports, she knows the score. Of course, there's reasons why everyone present is still actively serving within the Division. Fury's railed on her every bit as much for her own screw-ups, and will happily continue to do so. But, unpleasant things roll downhill. Some are just better at dodging than others.

Point in May's favor, in fact. With a weary sigh Maria looks back to the most silent one of the four. "Make sure that he doesn't get sidetracked running his little errand." Oh, and because she knows May's good for it, "And make sure the infirmary is second on his list of tourist traps, if not sooner."

*

"You'll find out when you need to," Romanova tells Hill sweetly, smiling as she does. Oh, the joy of having a higher security clearance than the so-called Assistant Director. That and a sadistic streak.

Truthfully, she's avoided the tirades Hill's been subjected to, probably because she's got at least half a dozen other cases she's working on, and they're simmering along just fine, thankyoukindly. She's not going to waste cycles dwelling on the tantrums of a petty dictator-in-the-making.

*

Barton opens his mouth to say something, then shuts it again… and opens… and shuts… he'd suffered from that zombie plague thing too, and it wasn't a certainty that he was going to survive it. He did, thankfully.. and offhand, he can't even recall a 'good to see you, Agent Barton'. Other than from the usual suspects.

Taking a deep breath to keep from saying too much more, as anything he says can and will be used against him, Clint mutters, "I'm pretty sure I can find my way. I do work here."

With a glance and a quick quirked smile in 'Tash's direction, Barton takes another deep breath and turns to head back towards the elevators. "Good thing they've got failsafes that work." Okay, probably uncalled for, but! "You coming, May? Couple of stops. Hope you don't find it too boring. Pretty sure you might not."

*

Melinda May nods once to Hill then steps after Barton, her mouth quirking up on just one side into a faint and very brief smirk. "Just waiting on you, Barton." Romanoff gets a more respectful nod than Hill did, possibly including a silent promise to make sure Barton doesn't shirk on stopping by Medical.

*

"Or I could just get Barton drunk and find out before the night's through," Hill effortlessly dismisses Natasha. Tough skin on this woman, though the slight is most definitely noticed, and will be remembered.

Here would be one of the reasons why she can't stand Natasha. One of several. Of many.

As her attention drifts back to the dataslate, she adds "I'd hope so, Barton, though I can't be too certain that you won't pick up another stray or two along the way."

Yeah, she's done with these three. Plenty more people left within the Triskelion that she has to yell at tonight.


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