Summary: Series - You’re an old colleague of Natasha’s who finds herself face to face with the Winter Soldier on the wrong end of an Avengers’ op. Chapter – Natasha gives you a reality check and the team argues about your place among them.
Word Count: 1465
Author’s Note: Soooo I tried for like 3 days to not leave you like this on this part, but alas, I must leave you here, and pick it up in part 11 because I’m a devious b. I’m super excited about 11 and 12 though, so I will be itching to post 11… but I also don’t have much free time this weekend… so we’ll see.
Note about tags: I didn’t have time to respond to all the more recent notes yet (I will I promise! I adore and appreciate you all so so much!!), but I really wanted to get this out before my busy weekend hiatus. I THINK I got everyone, but if I missed you, please shoot me an ask and I’ll definitely catch it for 11.
You woke to the sound of slightly raised voices down the hall, but you couldn’t be bothered to care. Rolling over with a groan, all you could think about was the hangover raging through your skull. You pinched your eyes closed trying to shut out the memories from the previous night. Bucky.
The volume of the argument increased slightly as Natasha opened the door to enter your room. She handed you some Aspirin and a sports drink and you gratefully gulped them down while she eased onto the bed beside you.
“I didn’t know spiders liked to cuddle,” you teased. She smiled at you, but it was half-hearted, which was alarming.
“Have fun last night?” She quizzed.
“Mhmm” you hummed, taking another sip.
“It looked like you and Barnes were having fun, but he seems moodier than ever this morning, so what did you do?”
Niara: You wouldn’t believe the miserable night I had last night, Zeke.
Zeke rolls his eyes. Miserable in the arms of your lover? Doubt it, you looked like you thoroughly enjoy the way he f*cks you, he thinks nastily. He tunes her out until he hears Ivory’s name.
Niara: And poor Allison has to deal with that! Deal with a woman making passes at her husband! Can you believe Ivory never told Angelina Nico Holmes was her baby Daddy? Angelina would never have hired her as Nico’s personal assistant had she known! Devious b*tch.
Zeke shocked: How do you know Ivory Malcolm has a child with Nico?
Niara snaps: Didn’t you hear a word I just said? Allison found out day before yesterday when Ivory sent her a bunch of nasty text messages! Talking about she was f*cking Nico. Then Nico decides to confess to Allie that Ivory was actually the mother of his child he never knew about! Allie was furious! So we went over there to her house to confront her.
Zeke alarmed: You and Allison confronted her? What? Why?
Niara: Why? Because of the principle of it, that’s why! Oh, she was so nasty to Allie! Spoke to her all kinds of way! And she’s pregnant with Nico’s baby AGAIN. My heart is breaking for Allie, but then again, now she can take Nico to the cleaners when she divorces him. She’ll be as rich as Angelina probably.
Zeke gets off the treadmill in a daze.
Zeke: Did you say Ivory is pregnant?
Allison: Yes. That’s what she said, and so proud to be having Nico’s baby again, the skank.
Zeke quietly: It’s not Nico’s baby.
Niara confused: How do you know? Ohhh…you work with her too, that’s right! Is she fu*cking someone else at the office?
When we first learned that Nick was the one that killed Burns in the chaos that was Scotland, my mind went spinning as to when precisely in the book Nick did that. Because from my memory, he was with Kelly almost the whole time or we were following behind a solo Nick. I know that Abi plans ahead with her plots, so she knew what she was writing when she wrote those scenes. She knew what was happening outside of frame to be revealed later.
So, I went to Ball & Chain to find which scenes the murder happened between. This is what I’ve decided:
Right after Nick and Zane talked to Burns, the next scene is Nick accosting Ty and Kelly in the great hall.
Nick practically pounced on Ty and Kelly as they were making their way through the great hall toward the kitchen stairs. His sudden appearance damn near kicked Ty’s instakill into action.
“What’d you find?” Nick demanded.
Ty examined him with a growing hint of apprehension. He was as taut as a bowstring, and Ty could tell the next person to pass in front of Nick’s target area was going to seriously take one for the team. “Did you do violence to anyone?”
“Only in my mind,” Nick growled. “What did you find?”
- Ball & Chain (p. 167).
That. That right there is Ty knowing Nick. Knowing Nick extremely well and knowing what Nick is like when he is strung out from doing something lethal. Nick, as we learned in C&B, also knows Ty would see through him, so he growled a lie and changed the subject. Nick deflected.
Kelly held up the laptop. “It’s password protected. We’re going to let Zane take a stab at it.”
Nick stared at him incredulously. “Take a stab at it? Really?”
Kelly blinked. “Oh. Oh, that was an unintentional pun. That was bad form, I’m sorry.”
Nick just shook his head.
- Ball & Chain (p. 167).
Then Nick got Kelly sidetracked by pointing out a pun. Got Kelly to not examine Nick too closely and instead examine what he himself was saying.
Ty snorted, though, feeling guilty for doing it. “We were heading for the meat locker to get Milton’s phone, see what we could pull off it,” he told Nick. “What’d Burns have to say?”
“Milton was one of his.”
Ty’s blood seemed to run a little colder. “Seriously?”
Nick nodded curtly. “Garrett made me leave before I heard anything else.”
Ty could imagine why Zane had kicked Nick out if he’d been half as wound up in there as he was now.
- Ball & Chain (p. 167).
Ty once again muses over how Nick is acting differently. With Nick bringing up the what as said in the Burns conversation, Ty is left to conclude that that is what “wound up” Nick and nothing else. Ty knows Nick is not fond of Burns and isn’t always rational about him. (This is Ty’s perspective, not the correct perspective as we know now…but at that time in the series, we assumed Ty was right. Unreliable third person narrator here.)
“Okay,” he said carefully. He and Kelly shared a glance. Ty’s eyes drifted down to Kelly’s little bag of medical tricks, still slung over his shoulder. Kelly gave him an almost imperceptible nod. “You two go see what you can do with the phone, I’ll take the laptop to Zane, see if he can get past the security on it.”
- Ball & Chain (pp. 167-168).
Nick acting this way caused Ty to reassess what they were all about to do next, and Ty decided to send Kelly away with Nick to deal with the phone issue, and Ty was going to take the laptop to Zane. That way they all got some TLC, with Nick possibly getting some chemical assistance.
“That really the best use of our time right now?” Nick asked.
Ty came up short, frowning at Nick. “You got something better to do?”
Nick snorted and turned to stalk off toward the kitchen stairs.
- Ball & Chain (pp. 168).
Nick then decided that stirring up a “I know better than you” spat between them was best in order
make sure Ty wanted to distance himself from Nick fairly quickly before
Ty sniffs out that Nick is hiding something. So, Nick continued his “grrrr, argh, get off my lawn” behavior to ensure Ty didn’t look too closely at him, which was working. In fact, Ty got a bit “I out rank you, sergeant” there.
Ty hissed at Kelly and pointed to his bag as Kelly handed off the laptop. “Sedate the fuck out of him if he goes off the rails.”
Kelly snorted and gave him a smart salute, then jogged after Nick.
“Holy shit,” Ty whispered to himself before turning and going off to find Zane.
- Ball & Chain (pp. 168).
Thus, leaving Ty overwhelmed by his best friend’s behavior but not exploring it too deeply, and Nick away from Ty’s all-seeing psychological abilities and into Kelly’s arms who Nick could charm away from the truth.