chapter thirteen

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13 x introducing agent

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Coughing, I reached out, hoping that someone - anyone - would be nearby. My fingertips brushed the smooth texture of a shirt, and once I realized it was a person, I grabbed them, careful not to squeeze too hard.

In a few words, I was terrified.

Not because of the fact that someone had just attacked the Tower (though I probably should've been more scared of that) but because I couldn't see anything.

The arm I had a hold on moved then, shifting to wrap around my waist and lift me off the ground. "Megan?" It was Pietro, and he was coughing just as much as I was. "Are you all right?"

"Can't see," I breathed, waving a hand in front of my face to no avail. Smoke was everywhere . . . and I could feel heat from where the explosion had come. "Other than that . . . I'm good. Are you? All in one piece?"

"Yeah, yeah," he agreed. "I think . . ." he turned me, and I squinted at this new direction, "I think the smoke is clearing over there."

Before I could make any comment, he'd scooped me up and broken into a dead run. Within seconds we were standing on the outskirts of the smoke, where I swallowed several huge gulps of air before looking through watery eyes at Pietro. His eyes were as red as mine felt, but the color was returning to a normal white quickly. He looked down at me for a split second, before surveying the smoke in concern.

We were outside the Tower now, I realized. Streetlights shone down on us, Pietro and I standing together, both vaguely stunned. Thankfully, the Tower was still standing. Not so great was the fact that the thick smoke was slow to disappear.

"Pietro," I whispered, my voice scratchy.

"Mm?" He didn't look at me, but he didn't let go of my waist, either.

"You think they're okay?" I asked, legitimate fear spiking my heart rate then.

He hesitated, and I watched as his jaw clenched before he looked down at me. His brow scrunched some in the middle then, before he suddenly relaxed, a small smile tugging at one side of his mouth. "Wanda says they are fine. We were on the opposite side of the blast of them- they are getting in Stark's jet, evacuating." He paused, canting his head as though he was listening to some unseen voice (and I realized then that he probably was), before; "He initiated shut down protocols."

"If they're getting in the jet, what are we supposed to do?" I asked, chewing on my bottom lip. I didn't feel too great about the idea of the rest of the team up and running off . . . then again, I didn't have much of a choice. I was just grateful they were okay, at that point. "Where are they even going?"

Before Pietro could answer, an SUV came to a stop behind us. At first, I was mentally readying myself for a fight (do you blame me?) but then the darkened window rolled down, and a man with dark blue eyes peered out at me, an oddly friendly smile on his face.

"Sorry if I'm interrupting, but you two wouldn't happen to be the 'ball of light,' and 'silver-haired idiot,' would you?" he asked, arching a brow.

Pietro and I exchanged a look, neither of us moving to answer.

When the man realized we weren't going to answer him, he cracked a wider smile and adjusted his suit, reaching in his pocket and presenting a silver badge. "My name is Phil Coulson. I'm the director of SHIELD. Tony Stark contacted me once the power came back on in his building, asking for back up, because of an explosive." He withdrew his badge and his smile faded slightly as he made a face, "Then he called me again, to tell me you two had been on the wrong side of that explosion. I got your real names out of Captain Rogers. Pietro and Megan, right?"

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