Chapter 20

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Current events
I spent the next few weeks getting to know the rest of the Avengers in the facility. That didn't include Thor or Loki or any of the space people.
Clint was especially nice to me, because he had kind of gone through this before with Natasha. He trusted me enough to actually let me shoot his bow at one point. He said that if I stayed, he'd teach me how to hit the bullseye every time.
I liked hanging out most with Banner, Stark, and Peter. Mostly though because they didn't really talk that much, they just focused on their work. And Peter was just the nicest person I had ever met, so naturally I liked to stick close to him.
And I moved out of my hospital room about a week after I got there, and into a bedroom on the "Super Soldier" floor. It housed Steve and Winter, and had a living room and kitchen and everything.
   My bedroom was pretty plain, it had no furniture yet, except for a whole queen size bed. Three of the walls were horizontal oak wood planks, and one side was just a giant window. Also, a small potted tree was in the corner next to the window.
   Stark said that he'd give me some money and have Steve or someone take me to a furniture store to get some furniture I liked for my room if my stay ended up being permanent.
   Other than the science people and Clint, I didn't really socialize that much with the others. I tried to stay away from the people that brought me here, but Winter and Steve kept trying to talk to me. I humored Winter a bit, but I kind of just gave Steve the silent treatment because I didn't see the need to talk to him.
   He kept trying to put his hand on my shoulder and tried to reassure me that everything was alright, and if I needed anyone, I could always talk to him or Natasha or Bucky.  But I just nodded and turned away.
   To be perfectly honest, I preferred the weird looks that I got from Natasha to people actually coming to talk to me.
   Exactly twenty two days after I arrived at Avengers tower, everyone was called into a meeting. I was working with Clint in the gym on footwork and speed when Tony's voice  came over the loud speaker.
Hey Legolas, Mini Metal Girl, get to the conference room on my floor ASAP.
   I guess Mini Metal Girl was his nickname for me now. Clint and I headed up to the floor Tony stayed at.
   "Hey kiddo, just so you know, Fury can be intense. Now, I don't know why he called a meeting, but let me give you some advice. If at all possible, don't show any deep level of emotion ever, because he makes snap judgements that stay with him for a very long time. Just be cool," he said, patting me on the back.
   "Got it, Legolas. Does Tony have nicknames for everyone?" I asked him. I was comfortable around Clint. I think it's because he reminded me of an older, male version of Clara.
   "Oh yeah. Get used to it. No matter how much you hate that name, it will stay with you forever." He separated each syllable of forever.
   When we entered the conference room, we were the last ones there, except for Fury. Clint sat across the room between Tony and Natasha, and the only other chair in the room was in between Steve and Wanda.
   Eventually, Fury sauntered into the conference room, with his bald head and his eye patch. Tony has already hooked up a computer to a projection system hidden somewhere in the ceiling. While Fury typed to the computer, he asked, "How's everyone doing today?"
   "I'm doing great, Nick. Why do you ask?" Tony responded. Fury looked up, annoyed.
   "I was being polite."
   Tony raised his hands in submission.
   "Anyway," Fury started, "The reason I am here today is not to get to know you all better. I'm here because you all need to get to know our little Summer Soldier here." He nodded to me, and I kept my face neutral, just like Clint told me to. Fury pulled up his document on the wall, and any muttering stopped to read it.
   It was my file.
   My HYDRA file.
   It had all the basic info like my gender and age, and my position in their armada. But then it had a few things that I didn't know, like my clearance level ( 3 out of 10 ), and how many energy milliamps it would take to kill me, which was 40,000.
   I'm going to be honest, I thought it would be more than that. Before I could get anymore info, Fury scrolled down to a completely different page labeled GENETICS.
   And that's where I perked up, and he noticed, which was not a good sign. But Fury just had the headline on the screen, so we couldn't actually see any information.
   "Now, only three people in this room know what's on this page," he said.
   "Who?" I asked. "I don't even know what's on that page."
   "You," Fury snapped, "Are supposed to be quiet! The adults are talking." I rolled my eyes.
   "But to answer your question, those three people are me, Ms. Romanoff, and Mr. Rogers."
   I looked at Steve and Natasha, making it obvious that I was annoyed with them. I tried not to take it personally though, I wouldn't tell me either. I turned my focus back to the screen, eager to know who was on it.
   "Well show us what's on it," Tony said, obviously not caring. "I'm dying of anticipation."
   Fury nodded and scrolled down to where it listed my parents' names.

Biological Mother: Romanoff, Natasha Alianovna

Biological Father: Barnes, James Buchanan

   I debated on whether or not I should run. It would definitely be easier than sitting in here. I chose to ask one question, in the flattest voice possible.
  "That's a bit complicated Ms..." Fury hesitates as he tried to think of what to call me. "Summer. It was actually Mr. Barnes that did this. See, HYDRA had become so desperate to get another soldier like him, they resorted to stealing from the infamous Red Room. The Winter Soldier stole some reproductive cells taken from Ms. Romanoff to fuse his own with them in a surrogate. We don't know who that surrogate was, only that she is now deceased."
   I looked across the room toward my father, checking for signs that he knew. He had obviously known, he wasn't even surprised, he was just ashamed.
   "Auriana, what do you think about all of this?" Steve asked me sympathetically.
   I stayed silent, not trusting my voice to be steady.
   "Are you mad?" Natasha asked, I heard a hint of emotion in her voice, as did the rest of the room, because they all furrowed their eyebrows.
   And that's when I chose to bolt. I sprinted out  of the room and towards the stairwell. Down and around the staircase I went. I knew someone was chasing me, but I couldn't tell exactly how many people because of our footsteps echoing through the walls.
   I rammed the first floor door and sprinted through the lobby. Out the door, into the sunlight, and to the left I ran, into the nearest alleyway. On and on I ran, almost five miles of alleyways.
   When I finally stopped, I didn't even know where I was. I was in an alleyway that looked like every other damn alleyway.
   When I stopped, the footsteps behind me stopped as well. Heavy breaths became more prominent as my follower approached me.
   "Are you mad?" The voice asked. It was Winter's voice. I didn't face him, because I didn't know what I was going to see in his eyes.
   "Are you mad? You know, that it was me?"
   I didn't respond right away. In fact, we stood there for almost two minutes of silence.
   "I'm not mad that it was you,"I mumbled.
   He huffed out another heavy breath. "Then why did you run?"
   The last time I really cried was when I was six years old and I broke my foot. I had teared up plenty of times since then, and I had come dangerously close to letting a tear fall, but nothing had escaped my eyes since the day  my ankle shattered.
   This was one of the times that threatened to overwhelm me. And I was scared that if I turned around, I'd crack.
   "I'm not mad that it was you. I'm mad that it had to be the Winter Soldier." I started walking again, and waved for him to follow. He did.
   "I never thought I would actually be wrong about something like this. I assumed my parents were dead, or or or didn't care." My voice was breaking and I was starting to stutter.
   "But now I have two parents that are alive and not only well, but they're Avengers. And they probably do care about me because they care about everyone else."
   Winter stopped me by grabbing my shoulder. "But why is that a bad thing? You know it's true that both of us care about you," I averted my eyes when he tried to meet them until he grabbed my chin with his flesh hand and made me look at him.
   "I understand why you're upset. You didn't know. I didn't even know until Canada, Auri. It hit me like a train when Steve told me. You have no idea how scared and worried I was when you were shot and losing blood," he started shedding tears. I didn't even care that he called me Auri.
   "Look, you haven't been my daughter for that long, but I've been watching you train with Clint and hang out with that Parker kid. You're good, and I love you, because you're my daughter."
   I had no idea how to respond, because it was the kindest and most heartwarming thing I'd ever heard.
   "I'm mad because I am a sled dog," I whispered. He sighed and pulled me into a hug, and my hands rested on his chest.
   "I'm sorry, doll. Hey, how bout we go back to the tower. And we can talk to Natasha, and maybe we can get some more information from Fury."He broke the hug and extended his arms, hands still on my shoulders.
   I nodded and we walked the five miles back to the tower with his metal arm around my shoulder.
   I still wasn't sure about this, but Winter was someone I could connect with, related or not. Maybe, just maybe, this wouldn't be so terrible.

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