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"Remember the attack in New York, when we first met?"

Steve nodded, his head resting on Hazel's lap as she looked up at the dark starred sky.

"I was actually trying to be recruited," she chuckled, cringing at the thought.


She nodded, looking down at him. "I didn't want to be noticed, but I was tired of living on the streets. I knew they were recruiting people, even not for fighting. But I got rejected every time, because I didn't have much experience. There was no hope for me. That's why you were my favorite superhero since I had first heard about you."

Steve jumped up, turning his body towards Hazel as he grabbed her hands. "Oh my god," he managed to mutter, his lips trembling as he squeezed his grip on her.

"I know," she chuckled, removing a hand from his grip to caress his cheek.

"Why didn't you tell me before?" he asked, nuzzling again on her lap.

Hazel shrugged. "I guess I didn't like that part of me."

"There's a lot of things you don't like about yourself," he stated looking up, his eyes gaining the same brightness of the stars.

Hazel tried to say something, but got stopped by the sound of their phones going off simultaneously. They both stood up and walked inside, reaching the living room where everyone was already gathering.

"Friday located Marnikov. He's apparently been taken by Hydra, but not as a prisoner."

Wanda twitched. "We should have killed him when we had the chance."

"Would have you?" Hazel snapped, her eyebrows furrowing as she turned towards the witch. She looked back, guilt clear in her eyes.

"Woah, let's be calm here. It's just a patrol, we don't need to fight. So, only Clint and Natasha are coming with me," Tony said, his fingers tapping the tablet as he observed the details on the screen.

"Hazel, I think you need some time off. Bruce and Steve will come with you to make sure everything's alright, but-"

"What do you mean? I'm perfectly fine!" she exclaimed, her arms raising in the air.

"We surely hope so, but you've been enhanced for the second time and, if what Marnikov said is true, you three shouldn't be in the same room. Come on, it'll be fun."

Hazel rolled her eyes and stomped out of the room with a groan.

"You sure it's ok if I go with them?" Bruce asked once she left, playing with the hems of his shirt.

"You know what's up with her more than anyone else. And Steve will be there if something happens."

Bruce shook his head, removing his glasses. "You know no one can help me if I transform."

"No, no one can," Tony walked around the room and placed a hand on Steve's shoulder, looking at him sympathetically. "He's coming to protect Hazel."


"Sir, he's waiting for you."

Marnikov nodded slowly, standing up from the cot to follow Pole and Turner out of the room. The Hydra base where he was staying was exactly the way he had imagined. They had been so concentrated on an efficient high tech that they didn't bother making comfortable rooms for guests. Although he still had to make sure he actually was a guest and not a prisoner.

When he reached the boss' room, Pole and Turner stood by the entrance to allow only him to enter. The room was particularly dark but he recognized the shape of a tall figure sitting on the desk, even if his features weren't recognizable.

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