thirty-three.

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𝟑𝟑

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𝟑𝟑.| 𝐏𝐑𝐎𝐓𝐄𝐂𝐓.

𝐇𝐈𝐒 𝐌𝐈𝐍𝐃 𝐖𝐀𝐒 𝐅𝐎𝐆𝐆𝐘, 𝐀𝐍𝐃 𝐇𝐄 𝐂𝐎𝐔𝐋𝐃𝐍'𝐓 𝐃𝐈𝐒𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐆𝐔𝐈𝐒𝐇 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐃𝐈𝐅𝐅𝐄𝐑𝐄𝐍𝐂𝐄 𝐁𝐄𝐓𝐖𝐄𝐄𝐍 𝐇𝐈𝐒 𝐎𝐖𝐍 𝐓𝐇𝐎𝐔𝐆𝐇𝐓𝐒 𝐀𝐍𝐃 𝐓𝐇𝐎𝐒𝐄 𝐓𝐇𝐀𝐓 𝐇𝐄 𝐇𝐀𝐃 𝐀𝐁𝐎𝐔𝐓 𝐖𝐇𝐀𝐓 𝐇𝐘𝐃𝐑𝐀 𝐇𝐀𝐃 𝐃𝐎𝐍𝐄 𝐓𝐎 𝐇𝐈𝐌. There were things that he knew, and there were things that he wanted to fix. He knew that he was either going to have to find a way to go against what HYDRA had done to his mind, and what they had planted him to do, but he knew that it was going to take a lot more than will power to beat what they were attempting to do. James Stark was a man who knew how to work around the mind, but he didn't know what they had done to him, so he knew that it was going to be difficult to break it.

James decided to ditch the meeting with Ross, knowing very well that he was going to give them the ultimatum of whether they do what the rest of the world wants them to do, or they quit. He also knew that if he was in the same room as Charlotte Rogers, something bad could've happened and he didn't need the rest of the heroes knowing that there was something wrong with him. That there was something going on with his mind and that he wasn't the James Stark that they all knew and cared about, and that was the truth. He wasn't the same as he had been before. He was changed, and not just the Executioner.

He was a ticking time bomb that was able to flip like a switch. There were so many things that could've gone wrong as he was in the midst of the other heroes, and he felt as if everyone would be much better if he left. If he had packed whatever he could and leave, in order to protect all of those that he loved and cared about. Charlotte Rogers was his friend and he didn't want to have to harm her in any way, shape or form. There were so many things that he wanted to do, and he knew that he had to do whatever it was that he could to make sure that all of the other Avengers were safe.

No matter where it was that they were.

A heavy sigh left his lips as he stood behind a balcony, staring off over the training sessions that Steve Rogers was leading with the troops. His lips were pressed together as he stared off over the others, not even realizing that Natasha was slowly approaching him. She didn't know what it was that he was doing, because James wasn't the type of person to skip out on mandatory meetings; especially with the type of meeting that it was that they were called for. Natasha had known James for such a long time, and she knew when something was bothering him, and she could tell that there was something wrong. She wanted to know what it was that was going on with him, and she wanted to know then and there.

"James?" Natasha questioned as she approached the man.

James glimpsed over his shoulder to the woman, giving her a small smile as he stared at her. He knew that she was questioning everything that he was going through. Just by the look on her face, she could tell that there was something on her mind, and he knew that he was going to have to lie through his teeth. He was never the best liar when it came to her, and he knew that he was going to be telling ehr the second lie of the day

"Nat," James replied to her as he rested a hand on his hip. "How was the meeting?"

"Good, but it was missing a few key players," Natasha reminded him as she quirked an eyebrow at him. She stared at him for a few seconds, before taking a place at his side. "Why didn't you attend the meeting? You knew that it was important for you to be there, and yet, you skipped it. Usually, that's not your style." She quirked her eyebrow at him. "What's going on?"

There it was. The question that James wasn't ready to lie to her about, knowing that it wasn't going to be what she wanted to hear. There was no way for him to tell her that he wasn't the same man that he was before his mission to the HYDRA base, and everything that had happened to him. There were so many things that he could've told her, things that were the truth, but he couldn't. James couldn't tell Natasha the truth, because if he did, then she would've been involved and everything would've been different. Everything would change.

"I just couldn't go to the meeting," James replied to her with a slight shrug. "I figured that the man was going to give us all an ultimatum and I'm not the type of man to sit through those types of meetings, and you know that."

"Yes, I do," Natasha replied to him as she stepped to him, closing the space as she caressed his face with her hands. "James, the two of us have been through so much, and I thought that we were at the point in our relationship that we could tell each other anything." She stared at him for a few seconds, before she shook her head. "We are, aren't we?"

They were, but James didn't want to make her feel as if they weren't in the same spot as they had been for a while. The two of them had been in a relationship for a few months and he wanted to make sure that she knew that she was important to him. That he cared more about her than he had ever cared about anyone else in his life. Natasha was a key person in his life, and lying to her hurt him. It made him feel as if he was lying to himself. He couldn't bear to hurt Natasha, and he knew that if she ever found out what it was that he was lying about, she would never forgive him.

But that was something that he knew he had to risk, in order to protect her.

James gave her a smile as he leaned down and pressed a kiss against her forehead, before he pulled away, "Of course, we are," James replied to her as he stared down at her. "And I would never change anything about our relationship because it means so much to me." He stared at her for a few seconds, before he gave her a smile. "I would do anything to make sure that you were safe, just know that, alright?"

Natasha furrowed her brows at him, and before she could say anything else, James pressed his lips against her's. It was enough for him to distract her from the truth, but he knew that she would continue looking for what it was that was changing the man that she cared so deeply about. And he knew that he was going to have to act fast before she got to that point.

Executioner's Song ━━ 𝐍. 𝐑𝐎𝐌𝐀𝐍𝐎𝐅𝐅.Where stories live. Discover now