Chapter 12

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Every time the flights attendants came around and asked if we wanted food or drinks, both Winter and I declined, out of paranoia that they had poisoned it. We didn't sleep, we didn't talk. It was hours upon hours of silence.
About two hours away from landing I did go to the bathroom. I figured that Winter couldn't run away here as opposed to on the ground. When I got into the bathroom, I stopped to look at myself in the mirror.
My brown hair was in total disarray. My eyes were bloodshot from the lack of sleep. When was the last time I slept? I don't even know, and I'm to tired to try and think it out.
I did my business in the bathroom and adjusted my jacket and gloves again. I came out, sat down again, and we stayed in silence for the rest of the flight.

Two hours later

The plane was down and ready for passengers to get off. Winter and I were the last ones. We didn't waste any time in the airport, we got out of there as discreetly and fast as we possibly could.
We called a cab and the driver asked us where to go.
"Just ten miles straight please," I said in an attempted cheerful tone. I don't think the driver cared, but Winter looked at me as if I had just told the guy to drive off of a bridge. I shrugged and checked my phone. Sam had finally responded.
Great. Should be there by Monday or Tuesday.
Tuesday would work if nothing happened today that would get us in trouble. We couldn't afford to be in the same place for more than three days at a time.
The driver was getting close to the ten mile mark and asked us where we wanted off.
"Just let us off the next place you can." I pulled the money pouch out of my bag and grabbed the money we needed to pay the driver. He let us off at the next intersection and drove off.
After he left we just kinda stood there, not knowing what to do until I saw an Asian restaurant. I grabbed Winter's flesh arm with my metal one and dragged him in.
"What are you doing?" He asked through clenched teeth.
"I'm not acting suspicious, now order something."
We both ordered some kind of noodle dish. We sat in the corner of the store so we could see everyone that went in or out of the store. Neither of us knew how to use chopsticks, or at least couldn't use chopsticks very well. We probably wasted ten minutes trying to get a bite of food. When Winter got so frustrated he broke his chopsticks, it was probably the first time I had laughed since before Clara died.
We eventually gave up and threw our food away. We called another cab outside and went another ten miles up the road.
That time when we got off, we went inside a pizza joint and we both ate an entire pizza. We were insanely hungry because we ate nothing on the flight.
Our next cab ride was also uneventful, and I was starting to think that we were going to be okay until the driver took an unexpected turn into an alleyway.
Winter and I made an eye contact decision to not do anything until the cab stopped. And when it did, the driver, who had a very stocky build, turned around with a gun in his hand.
"So soldiers, which one of you is going to die first?" He smiled a smug smile as he cocked his pistol.
Just as he was about to pull the trigger I screamed, "YOU!" And I blocked the barrel with my metal hand when it went off. Winter lunges forward and held the man in a headlock from behind the drivers seat. I crushed the gun and got out of the car. I walked over to the drivers side and ripped to door off the hinge.
He was struggling and trying to reach Winter from the headlock.
"How many people know our location?" I demanded. He said nothing, but that was probably because he couldn't breath. I signaled for Winter to loosen his hold. He did.
The man gasped for air and continued to try and escape until I struck him across the face with my metal hand. I actually knocked one of his teeth out; I didn't think I had punched him that hard.
The man bit down on his tooth, and he didn't spit it out.
"How many?" I repeated. The man shook his head before he stopped struggling. In fact, he stopped moving. And he stopped breathing.
"Winter release him," I said. He did so, and the man slumped in the seat. His head fell forward to hit the horn. I grabbed his shirt to pull him back and checked his vitals.
He was dead.
"Why were you holding him so hard?" I asked Winter. He got out of the car and came up behind me.
"I wasn't choking him. I only had him in a headlock, that shouldn't have killed him." He shoved me out of the way and opened the man's mouth.
"Did you knock his tooth out?" He asked.
"Yeah, why?"
"That explains it."
"What?"
Winter put his metal hand in the guy's mouth and they came out with some kind of foam. "Cyanide."
He wiped his fingers on the guy's jacket and grabbed my flesh hand with his.
"Come on, we have to move."
We ran the rest of the way to the coordinates that I typed in. When we got there, we were in a neighborhood. Out in the suburbs. It kind of reminded me of the one where Clara and I killed Rivers Curtis and his family.
Winter and I picked a house that didn't have any lights on, and we climbed to the second story. I opened a window, nobody. I waved him in.
"Go see if there's an alarm system," he told me. I nodded and searched the house. There was no alarm system that was activated.
"NOTHING!" I yelled. I went back upstairs and found Winter pulling down the ladder to the attic.
"We'll stay here for the next few days until the rest of the team gets here," he said. The ladder creaked as we climbed up it.
When we flicked on the light switch, it was obvious that whoever lived in this house did not use that attic. There were boxes and dust everywhere. There was an artificial Christmas tree in the corner. I pulled up the ladder and closed the hatch.
I pulled out my phone and typed out a message.
We just got here. We had some trouble, get here fast.
Immediately, Steve responded.
What happened?
Winter typed back.
Long story. We'll tell you when you get here.
Sam sent a message.
I also got held up. Are you sure this is going to work Auri?
I typed:
Don't call me Auri. Also, we just have to get back to New York and then HYDRA won't dare attack when all the Avengers are. You killed the people who attacked you right?
He typed back:
Yes.
That ended the conversation.
I put my phone back in my pocket and took off my gloves. My hand reflected some of the evening light coming through a small window at the far end of the room. Winter and I sat under that so as not to be seen.
Silence.
"You can sleep if you want," Winter said to me. When I narrowed my eyes, he reassured me, "Don't worry, I won't run away. If I was going to do that, I would have a long time ago. Besides, everyone's meeting here, why would I run away from the meeting spot?"
I nodded and closed my eyes. It took awhile, but eventually I fell into a light sleep. I could hear everything, but I was getting rest. Winter didn't move until the owners of the house came home.
I opened my eyes when the garage started opening. I sprang up and turned off the light. By now it was nighttime, so it took a bit of time for my eyes to adjust. Winter held his finger up to his mouth, signaling for quiet. We stayed still for maybe half an hour before we started to relax a bit.
We came back to sit under the window again, and I gave Winter my last protein bar. He pushed it away, telling me I needed it. So, I split it in half and I gave one half to him. We touched the halves together as if the say cheers, and bit down.
Again, we sat in silence for that night, and we would wake each other up every hour for watch shifts, not that we needed them. Kids were sleeping upstairs, and any bumps they hear would be from the closet.

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