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The One with the Truth

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After Natasha posted all of S.H.I.E.L.D's and Hydra's files online.

After the almost year it took to make them all a team again, Bucky and Sam included. 

That's when the crazies started coming out.

The government had been quick to take down what information they could but that didn't stop some people. Some people used the small window they had to access the sensitive files concerning the so called 'superheroes', and decided they would cause trouble and take them down. Some people chose to be the villains.

The debriefing was simple: A man named Adam Jenkins in Oregon was performing experiments on people 'for the sake of science' and offering to pay $5,000 to anyone willing to participate. Jenkins didn't have a science degree or a medical license. So far no one had survived. And he never stayed in one place long enough for the police to catch him. Which was why the Avengers had been asked to help.

The problem was less simple: Bruce was passing out vaccines in Eritrea. Clint and Natasha were on a plane coming back from Maldives with intel on Hydra sleeper agents in North America. Steve and Bucky were on an assignment for Fury in a non disclosed location for a classified reason.

With most of the team gone, it meant that it was just Sam, Tony, and Agent Hill. Well, them and the toddler she was holding.

"Are we going to talk about the kid? Or is he just here to scare me?" Tony asked.

"Our relations with Asgard has greatly improved in the last two years. We believed it had to do with the decision Thor made to give up the throne in order to protect earth. However, it has been revealed that it was not Odin who was on the throne but Loki. Thor was forced to fight him," She took the child off her hip and set him on the table, along with the giant hammer he was holding. "and it is your mission to figure out how to undo the magic."

"You're kidding. We have to babysit a god?" Tony asked in horror.

"You don't know how to counteract the magic?" Sam gathered up the child.

"Not yet." She said with a pointed look to Tony. "Pepper is already setting up a play-pin in your lab, Stark. Dr. Foster and her assistant are on their way to help you. Wilson and I will be working with the police. Thankfully, S.H.I.E.L.D didn't have any files on Wilson, so he will be our best bet in catching Jenkins."

"And by best bet, you mean bait, don't you?" Agent Hill didn't give a response.

Once he was finally able to start working on finding a cure, it didn't take long to get several experiments going. Tony could do science all day long, and with Bruce's help they were nearly unstoppable. But that was only with science, and they were dealing with magic. Magic didn't follow the basic laws of nature and everything else that the world more or else agreed too. Magic just did its own thing and that made it way harder to nail down a cure. The fact that Tony didn't exactly work well with children didn't help. Thankfully, Thor was as happy a kid as he was an adult - when he was being held. At first Tony had refused to hold the toddler, that was until Thor put his hammer on Tony's foot and proceeded to ignore him for an hour. Tony was forced to listen to Bruce laughing at him through the video conference while he tried to bribe Thor. Finally, Pepper came to his rescue - after she laughed at him too.

"I would run as many tests as you can on bodily fluid." Bruce advised. 

"What do you suggest? Put him in a sauna and collect his sweat? I guess I could probably make him cry." 

"Yes, sir, because making the god of thunder upset couldn't possibly go wrong." Jarvis intervened. Though Pepper was clearly not going to let Tony anywhere near him. Thor was probably harder to kill than earth children, but if anyone could screw this up, it would be Tony.

The police knew a guy, who was in contact with someone, who could get messages from a homeless network about when Jenkins was looking for participants for his 'studies'. Now all that was left to do was wait.

"You know, having been second in command of S.H.I.E.L.D for years, I've grown accustomed to there not being secrets."

"Really? No secrets? At S.H.I.E.L.D?" Agent Hill rolled her eyes at his sarcastic tone.

"What I mean is that I know everything about the people who I work with. But you are keeping secrets. I've read all your field reports and I've interviewed people you've worked with and for someone so set on making people talk it out, you hardly talk about you. There's a casual remark here and there, just enough to get someone to open up. I worked with you in DC because our chips were down and Rogers trusted you. I let you be apart of the team more because Romanov trusted you. What I mean is that if you have skeletons in your closet that are going to bring down not just this operation, but this team then you and I are going to have some serious issues." 

"Well that escalated uncomfortably." Sam said before taking his tablet into the other room to watch Netflix.

Thor was uncomfortably good at handling 'mew mew' as Darcy affectionately called Mjölnir. It had started out innocently enough. It was the next day when Clint and Natasha arrived back at the tower. They were informed that Jane and Darcy were visiting and Clint raced to surprise Darcy. She had gifted him a special arrow as a joke - instead of a typical point or like one of his trick arrows, this one had a tiny suction cup on the end. And now whenever the opportunity presented itself, he shot it at her to stick on her glasses. Which was exactly the idea when he fired it across the room from the air vent but before it could stick Thor had thrown the hammer at it, effectively stopping its trajectory. He then called the hammer back to him before launching it at Clint's hiding place. He barely dodged out of the way in time, but Thor must have realized the shot had come from him because he pinned him as soon as Clint entered the lab. Jane took it as a good sign that the magic hadn't affected his ability to wield the Asgardian weapon.

She was more here for Thor but had come with a few testing ideas, which included running a series of tests on Thor's hair. Pepper had managed to pull only a few strands before he got fussy, so then they were having to play hot potato with the toddler - every thirty minutes he was gladly passed to a new pair of unsuspecting hands that would gather a few more strands before he moved on. Tony still refused to play the part of babysitter and Natasha was really just there to laugh at Clint who had been forced into the circle when they formed it around him. 

"You'd think being a demi god he'd know another trick." Clint muttered when Pepper informed him the same thing had happened to Tony. Tony hadn't even been sympathetic, he laughed right along with everyone else. 

When he wasn't busy holding a fusing child Clint was firing arrows at Natasha, seeing how long it would take to annoy her. He used to play to see how close he could get before she flinched, but after he singed her hair and he was the one flinching he had to find a new game. He even created a trick arrow specifically for it so he could keep reusing the same one. Now, their personal best was twenty six hours and fifteen minutes, but this time he wouldn't risk drinking anything.

The injection was unexpected. It felt warm under his skin, like he could track its movement throughout his body.

"What the hell, man?" Sam asked Jenkins. "This is a consultation. I never agreed to whatever the crap it is you're doing. Which translates to not being okay with needles." He felt it reach his stomach and he thought he might puke.

"You think I'm that stupid. No, this is how it's going to work. I ask the questions and you answer them." There was only radio silence from the comm hidden deep in his ear, so he nodded. He felt it move down his left side. "You are working for the police, aren't you?"

"Yes, but officially I'm with the Avengers. Wait, why the hell did I tell you that?"

"Aw, yes. My truth drug. You like it, no? I think the military will be quiet impressed. Maybe so much so that they'll sweep the names of the deceased under the rug like the garbage they were. See, I didn't want to kill them. The only people that would allow me to test on them were poor quality. I asked them if they would be able to keep my serum a secret and they informed me they would be looking for the highest bidder. And I couldn't have any competition, so they had to go. So, what about you? Can you keep my serum a secret?"

"No. And you're lying. That doesn't even make any sense. If it worked the first time there's no reason to keep trying it on more people. Except, even as stupid as that story was, I know you're lying. It's like a white hot pain in my gut. That's what the problem is, isn't? I have to tell the truth sure, the military would love that, but I can tell when you're lying and they can't have their POW calling their bluffs. That's why you're wracking up bodies. You can't get the serum right. You can't get one without the other." Jenkins pulled a gun out from under his desk.

"It'll just take a few more tweaks." He said cocking it. "I'm actually doing you a favor by ending it this way. If I don't kill you then the drug will. It's another one of the kinks I can't seem to work out." He smirked and Sam knew he wasn't lying.

The police burst into the room. Agent Hill in the lead, "How long?" She demanded.

He only grinned in response as he was being taken away. Sam had no doubt that he would be set up to continue working for the military. 

"Let's get back to the tower. Maybe Stark can whip something up. I'll call Bruce on the way and see if he can't come home to help. And in the mean time, maybe you and I can have that chat."

Sam was about to tell her exactly what he thought she could do before the sound of gunfire rang out from outside. It seemed Hydra had found out about the drug and in the process of trying to obtain Jenkins, an original S.H.I.E.L.D agent thought it was best to kill him instead of letting him go. Which anyone still alive and on the side of good, could agree that was smart thinking, except now all of Hydra was after Sam because he had the only remaining sample. He kind of understood now how Steve must feel. He and Agent Hill needed to get to the the air strip and onto the quinjet. But first they had to get out of the damn office building.

Pepper had gone to a meeting for Stark Industries. Clint was still trapped, but had given up with outlasting Natasha and instead was enjoying an I Spy book. Natasha was holding it open for him four feet away, because he saw better from a distance. Jane was in the middle of running more tests. They had made a little progress. Usually, when people ran test on hair it was concentrated on the root portion, but, like all the other tests they had done, the roots came back perfectly normal. It was the part of Thor's hair that had been exposed to the magic that was giving them all kinds of new data. Tony had never felt more stupid in his whole life.

"At least we know that Loki's magic isn't doing anything to him on the inside." Bruce said.

"Wait. Loki? That son of a bitch is still alive?" Jane asked slamming down a beaker.

"Uh, yea. Didn't they say that when they called?" Tony moved to cover Thor's view of Jane. He would definitely be the type of kid to feed of others emotions.

"Agent Hill just told us it had involved magic. She didn't say who or why." Darcy clarified as she bounced with Thor.

"It's because he's a coward, isn't it? He couldn't defeat Thor when he was normal. He made him vulnerable so he could kill him easier."

"He didn't do it to kill him." Clint spoke up. "I mean, don't get me wrong - I hate the guy. Like a lot. But I've also seen him kill people without an ounce of hesitation and if he wanted to kill Thor he would have. Instead he just made it so he couldn't fight him and sent him to a place that he knew he'd be taken care of. If he wanted him dead, he wouldn't have let him leave Asgard." He shrugged.

"Hill said he had taken over and Thor was forced to challenge him for the throne. I guess, technically, if Thor lost the battle, Loki would win the throne. He just went about in a way that didn't involve Thor dying - like Barton said." Tony summed up for them.

Bruce was about to comment when he got the call from Agent Hill. In the next moment Tony had a quinjet heading to pick Bruce up, and Natasha was on the phone with Fury calmly demanding that he notify Steve and Bucky of the situation - now. Within an hour, they received conformation that they would be on their way back in three days tops.

There had been Sam, Agent Hill, two loyal S.H.I.E.L.D agents, and five from the police department before Hydra had shown up. Now there was only Sam and Agent Hill. They were two towns over from where they needed to be, and the town they were stuck in wasn't big enough for them to be able to out run Hydra. Agent Hill had ditched both their phones almost immediately, and they managed to steal and ditch six cars before choosing to hike through the dense woods. After walking all night, they reached a motel on the outskirts of the next town and decided to hide out until sunset.

"So this truth drug, do you have to answer the questions?"

"Yes. Apparently." Sam grumbled as he settled on one of the beds. 


"Okay. Look." He sat up to glare at her. "I am a loyal guy and I would never do anything to put my team at risk. We all have our crosses to bare and Lord knows we have a list of traumatic experiences a mile long. But I got my shit together, okay? I got my shit together and I don't need you treating me like a criminal. Because, the way I see it, all this is your fault. And I am so sick of S.H.I.E.L.D and Hydra. And I swear if I wasn't best friends with the embodiment of a giant puppy I would seriously be considering walking away after all this. Because I got my shit together and I don't need more shit from the likes of you. Now, I''m tired and I'm going to sleep. You decide what damn questions are so important that you need answers to and know that for every one you ask - I'm getting closer to my limit." And then Sam rolled over and went to sleep.

From the time Mr. Banner had relayed the information from Agent Hill, Jarvis had managed to hack into Mr. Wilson's forgotten comm and kept track of their movements. He did not inform the team about the argument, going on the assumption that Mr. Wilson had handled the situation quite well. When he received conformation that Captain Rogers and Sergeant Barnes would be returning he decided to finish inputing Mr. Stark's tracking algorithm and agreed to let everyone know when the quinjet in New Zealand was on its way back. 

Mr. Stark had three quinjets. One was with the boys per request of Former Director Fury, the one Agent Barton and Agent Romanov had come back on had been sent to retrieve Mr. Banner, and the last was the one taken by Agent Hill and Mr. Wilson. However, it seemed that Hydra had determined their best course of action would be to destroy that one. 

Sam woke screaming with Riley's name on his lips. It wouldn't be anything out of the ordinary, except he had gotten used to the sound proof bedrooms of the tower and to not being looked at like Agent Hill was looking at him now. He got up to grab a class of water.

"Mr. Wilson." Came the british voice that shouldn't be there.

"What the hell?" Sam spun around, eyes wide, expecting Tony to be coming in through the roof or something. He had set Agent Hill on edge.

"I've patched in through your comm." Jarvis informed him. "Unfortunately, I need to inform you that the jet you are heading for has been found and destroyed." Sam relayed the message. 

"When can Stark send another one?" She asked.

"It's no good. We can't do that."

"Why not? He's got two more."

"Yea, but right now Hydra is just after us. They see Stark's jet taking off with us, the first place they're gonna look is the tower. And right now there is a helpless toddler and his girlfriend there who don't need to be added to the list of things Hydra wants." Sam explained like she was two. "I think this drug is effecting my emotions. Jarvis, aren't I usually more calm than this?"

"Affirmative, sir."

"Great. So then what do you suggest we do?" Agent Hill asked.

"Drive. Unless miss second in command of S.H.I.E.L.D is to good to go on a road trip?"

"I avoid them when at all possible." She sighed. "They're still expecting us to be headed for the jet, so we grab a car out front and head in the opposite direction. Jarvis must be blocking the signal from the comm or else they would've found us by now. We'll leave it here and let them find it at dark. We'll have to switch cars before than though."

"Screw that. Jarvis is are only form of communication with the team. Plus he can tell us were we need to go to get on a major road. I vote we keep the comm and just grab a car and go." Sam raised his left hand. "And Steve would vote the same because its smart. And Barnes would vote with Steve. And Tony would vote for Jarvis too. So that's four against three. And Bruce hates conflict so I win."

"This isn't a democracy."

"Like hell it's not. They don't want you, they want me, because I was the bait because I listened to you. So get your agent ass in the car, or so help me, I will leave you."

"Is that how you handled your operations in the field?"

"It was a democracy. Riley and I voted on just about everything. And fuck. You." Sam stormed out. Agent Hill swore and followed him.

He must have slept all day, because the sun was already beginning to set. There weren't many options in the way of cars at the motel. He doubted many people traveled in the middle of the week. There were some old clunkers that wouldn't stand up to a car chase, but he knew that there was close to zero chance of them having an alarm system. There was a mid 90's camry that was maroon. It was in a worse condition then the white, early 2000's, impala, but the car seat in the newer one's backseat kept Sam from taking it. It was bad enough he had to steal a car, he wasn't going to take one from a family on top of it. Agent Hill hadn't offered any contributing thoughts. Though at this point if she had've said take the maroon car he would've take the white one just to spite her. That's probably not true. But she was testing her luck when she didn't get into the car until after it was running. Jarvis gave out simple directions to get them out of town and towards the highway. It would be a while before it would be safe to stop and eat. Sam thought about checking the glove box for some granola bars, but that would involve speaking to Agent Hill and that wasn't happening. If he could help it.

"I'm sorry about the comment I made back there. It was a low blow and it shouldn't have happened." She looked at him as she spoke, but as soon as she was done she focused out the window.

They drove past three in the morning, before he broke the silence and asked if she was hungry. They stopped at a 24/7 diner. There were two other occupied tables besides them. The music was lively enough so you didn't fall asleep in your food, but nothing that Sam recognized. They both ordered coffee and he got a double patty cheeseburger with homestyle fries and she got a BLT on toast 'without the bacon'. Sam couldn't help raising his eyebrow in surprise. 

"I'm a vegetarian." She explained. 

"I tried that once."

"It didn't stick?" She asked with a small smile.

"When I joined the air force I decided to cut out all the toxic things: caffeine, sugar, gluten, meat. My roommate, Riley, he was a vegetarian which was the main reason it got added to the list. Turns out I needed the protein though. And once I got out, all the other things were just easier to accept and moderate instead of completely cutting out." She nodded in understanding.

"I can honestly say I miss chicken the most. Fried chicken smells like the best thing in the world. No matter where I am, if I smell fried chicken my stomach instantly growls." They settled into silence again when the food came. As Sam watched her eat her sandwich, with her pinky fingers out, and looking like it was the best thing in the world. He realized he sometimes forgot she was actually a human being. He had worked with her for almost a year now, and this was the first time he could ever remember seeing her eat. It seemed he wasn't the only one keeping themselves locked away.

"I'll make you a deal. An exchange. I'll answer one of your questions, accommodatingly, if you truthfully answer one of mine. And it won't be anything to cause a security breach or something like that."

"And everything is confidential?"

"Yes. Jarvis says nothing we say will be stored or shared. Shake on it?" And they shook.

They continued their meal in silence. Now that the offer to gain information was on the table, the remaining tension had vanished. They paid for the meal, in cash. Then they headed down the road to a hotel to change out cars. According to Jarvis it would take two days to get to New York. They didn't have much money between the two of them. Any safe houses that might've helped would more than likely be compromised at this point. It looked like they were going to have to do a straight shot or be at risk.

It wasn't until they were back on the road, with Agent Hill now behind the wheel, that she decide to ask her first question.

"You were out. You had a life made. Do you regret getting involved in the hero business?"

"Sometimes. Sometimes were kicking ass and taking names and it suddenly hits me that I could die doing this. Someone could make the wrong move and we could lose someone so easily. But I don't do it to be a hero, I don't even do it because it's the right thing to do, it's more that I need to be there to watch their backs. To make sure they get back up again. They're so busy protecting everyone else, they need someone to protect them - sometimes, someone has to protect them from themselves." He fiddled with his hands. "When's the last time you took a vacation?"

"It's been a few years." She lied, her mouth twisted into a deprecating smile. Sam let that one slide, only feeling mild discomfort.

It's quiet for few short moments before Sam felt the warm feeling under his skin start to move again and he lurched forward in his seat. Agent Hill pulled over immediately and he lost his lunch on the side of the road when he felt it move down his right leg. He's barely able to pull himself upright and back fully into the car, suddenly feeling like death.

"You okay?"

"No." He croaked and she passed him a peppermint from the cup holder and told him to 'go ahead and get some sleep'. He's conked out in less than five minutes.

Sam woke up at two in the afternoon feeling like he'd been hit by a truck. He insisted on taking over driving so that Agent Hill could get some rest, but she confessed she didn't usually sleep more than four hours a night. He's not really surprised, but managed to convince her by telling her she can ask a couple of questions as long as he's behind the wheel. She beat around the bush for an hour, talking about a TV show she was already 'like a season behind on and at least on the jet I could've had wifi' and complains like Sam's pretty sure a normal girl would. She certainly sounded a lot like him when he didn't have access to Netflix. He finally broke down and asked her what the damn show was. He might've let out a manly shriek when she answered Grey's Anatomy and she may have gaped at him when he talked like he personally knew Meredith and 'you are so Christina how did I never see that' and that definitely startled a snort out of her. It was the best thing he'd heard in a long time.

"So Grey's Anatomy, that's your poisoning?"

"Yea. I mean, I guess. To be honest there was this girl in the Air Force that watched it religiously in the rec room. Riley and I were waiting for a game to come on and caught the last twenty minutes of one. I couldn't even tell you what one it was now, but someone was crying and it was dramatic. We had been away from family long enough that it was just bad enough that we were trying to figure out what was going on without asking. Finally, Riley just asks her and she gets this huge smile and just tells us everything that we'd missed so far." He couldn't help laughing. "We ended up missing our game, but came back the next week to watch it with her and it kinda became our thing until we were deployed." He trailed off. He didn't tell her about how he started watching it from the beginning when it was put online. Or how he cried like a baby when he watched George die. He's man enough to admit to himself that he'll never watch it before season six again. 

"You sound like you really liked the Air Force."

"Yea. I was really lucky." He knew she knew what he meant. "Alright. My turn for a question." He checked his mirrors to switch lanes and cursed loudly when he saw the non discript black vehicle quickly approaching. He knew it was Hydra. He'd had the DC car chase on repeat in his nightmares in the months that followed. "Jarvis I need a new route. Now." He slammed on the gas and hoped he could gain enough momentum to offset the collision he's sure was coming. 

"Take the off ramp. He can reroute while we move. We need to get lost and get out. They'll be slower on foot. Find a mall or a movie theatre. Somewhere crowded."

"Crowded? It's three thirty on a Thursday. Where in fucking Wyoming. There's nothing in Wyoming." He was so panicking. So he humored her and took the next off ramp, all the while picking up speed. Jarvis gave him quick jilted instructions once they hit a town. Turn right now. Keep going straight. Sharp right again. Agent Hill watched out for the car through the back window, but they were both blindsided when it comes out of nowhere, rammed into the side of them, and Sam had to jump the median. Sharp left. He had to run a red light. Almost lost his shit when he thought he'd have to speed in a school zone. Another sharp right took them to the entrance to a casino. Jarvis then instructed them to a parking garage, which was actually pretty great. Still in the middle of nowhere, but great. "Thank you Jarvis." No windows. Hardly any lights. Jarvis guided them from through the casino to a second car garage. And they were almost home free until three agents clearly not caring about looking undercover came bursting through the exact doors they were heading too. Luckily, they had just enough time to duck into a self-dispense drink station before being made. However, it didn't mean that the agents weren't still heading right for them.

"Kiss me. Public displays of affection make people uncomfortable." Sam's brain short-circuited. "What's the problem? Do you want them to find us?"

"The problem is," he said as he leaned back, now actually seriously considering it, "if I kissed you, I don't think I'd be able to stop. Shit." It was the drug. It was totally the drug. And he couldn't kiss her.

The Hydra agents honestly considered killing Agent Hill right there in the casino until Sam helpfully pointed out she had been second in command of S.H.E.I.L.D and then they roughly knocked both of them out. It hadn't really been what he was expecting. The last thing he was aware of was Jarvis letting him know help had been notified.

Sam woke up in only what he could really think of as a 'torture chair' with his hands handcuffed behind him. He had no clue where Agent Hill was. With the adrenaline having worn off, he was barely able to make the necessary lean over before puking. It came with shocking clarity that he could feel the sickly warm sensation completely from the neck down. 

"I wanted you to know we found your comm. Very clever. Of course, we destroyed it and I wanted to personally assure you that you are so far removed off the radar that your team won't find you." 

"Where is she?"

"I'm sorry, who?"

"You know who." It's hard to glare at the man when Sam was too busy trying to contain his stomach acid.

"She's busy. Now, don't bother getting up. You'll just feel a light pinch." He jabbed Sam with a needle, filling several vials at once until Sam was sure the vein was going to collapse. He gave out before his arm did.

The next time Sam came too, he's throwing up blood and Agent Hill had joined him in the room.

"When'd you get here?" It wasn't really the question he wanted to ask.

"No clocks." She glared at him through the eye that wasn't swollen shut. He felt like she wasn't angry, but more like barely holding it together. He wanted to apologize. Knew it's all his fault. For all he blamed her for the beginning part, he's the one who got them stuck in the end.

"It's still my turn for a question right?" He tried for a grin through the pain, but not really sure if it worked. He watched her scoff and took it as 'yes, please distract me'. "When we get out of this, do you want to watch the episode of Grey's we missed?" She only gave a sharp nod, but the corners of her mouth tilted up.

They both knew that there was no way they weren't being watched. On the other hand, Sam was fucking tired of their bullshit and kind of felt like being a little shit. Steve was totally rubbing off on him. 

"So help's on the way. Would feel a lot better if Barnes were leading the attack, but Tony's flare should suffice." She quirked her eyebrow at him.

"You don't think they hopped on the jet and are on their way to meet everyone outside wherever the hell we are?"

"No. I mean, they're on a mission. Clint will stay and Nat will come with Tony and Bruce. That's strategic. That's what you'd do." He watched her face morph, but didn't really understand the emotions that shifted in her eyes.

"I would never expect any of your team to sit it out. I'm sorry if I made you think differently. I think you're a great addition to the team. I just," she sighs. "I'm not good with these things. I care about the team, you included. And I was worried. I went about things the wrong way, but I thought that if I simply told you that you could talk to me, rather than making it seem like you didn't have an option, then you would continue to keep everything bottled up. I can honestly tell you I had no idea that Jenkins was working on a truth drug or that you would be in danger." There was no white hot pain, she was telling the truth. 

"I'm sorry I couldn't keep you safe."

"I'm a big girl. I don't need you to keep me safe. Just next time, listen to me, okay?"

"Yes, ma'am." 

The the guy with the needle came back in and took more blood. It was becoming quite possible that the drug wasn't going to be the thing that killed Sam. He's not really sure why they're keeping Agent Hill alive, but from the leer the guy gave her, he didn't want to think about it. Sam didn't know why, but he had a sinking filling that when the warm sensation under his skin moved upward to fill up his head it would be the end. He had no clue what time it was, so he had no way of estimating when that might happen. Agent Hill looked like she was trying to stay awake. He took the time to look her over fully. Half her face was swollen and turning awful colors in the harsh lighting. She's covered in shallow cuts and she kept her arm pulled as close as possible to her left side. He doubted that they hesitated at all to break bones. 

He didn't black out this time, still coherent when the needle was removed. He expected him to leave again, but instead he slammed Agent Hill's chair against the wall and exchanged the vials of blood for a chair of his own. He faced the back to Sam and straddled it, resting his arms along the top. 

"I'm not going to pretend like I have the time to know who you are." Sam's gut began to burn. "I know you're an Avenger because you told Jenkins when we were monitoring him. If you didn't have what we wanted pumping through you, I would've shot you back at his office. I still plan to. But for now let's figure out how this drug works. Tell me your name." Sam thought he was going to puke again from the pain. Agent Hill snorted at the silence. "You think something's funny?" He started to get up.

"Yeah. Actually I do. I think your face is pretty damn funny." She told him. He back handed her, hard.

"What are you doing?" Sam barely resisted screaming at her.

"You said you fought because," She was punched in the gut. She gritted her teeth but didn't back down. "Because, you thought they needed someone to protect them, even from themselves. Let me protect you from yourself." She was about to say more before the sound of a commotion came from outside the room.

"Maybe you should worry about protecting yourself." The Hydra agent yelled before he shot her in the gut and then left to go help in the fight. Sam watched in shock as blood gushed from her torso. She let out a wet chuckle.

"It's okay. It is. But you know." She choked and Sam couldn't get to her. "I never even got to ask you what I really wanted to know. But I think." She sucked in a shallow breath.

"Just shut up. Please. Just hold on. They're here. Just hold on." Sam pleaded with her.

She gave him that same self-deprecating smile. "You and Riley. You were in love with him. You were you dating, weren't you? When." She couldn't talk around the blood.

"No, we didn’t date. Technically he wasn’t an ex-boyfriend. But he was an ex-something, an ex-maybe. An ex-almost. I lost him before I could find out. I always thought there would be a better time to bring it up. And then one day, suddenly, a better time was taken away." He couldn't help comparing how helpless he had been that day with Riley to now. He was losing another almost, another maybe. It was too much. He felt the warm begin to move and he passed out with an apology on his lips.

Steve and Bucky had gotten back early. On the flight back Jarvis filled them in on Sam and Agent Hill. Steve had been frustrated that they hadn't just used the other quinjet. The tower had the best security system ever created. Bucky and Natasha had personally broken in every way they knew how until it was finally impossible. Thor would've been safe and they didn't know how long they had to find Sam's cure. They didn't even really know if there was a cure, 'but they sure as hell couldn't find one without him, why does he have to be so damn diplomatic'. Bucky had raised his eyebrows at that.

When they landed they both went immediately to the lab. Everyone was there. Finding the cure for Thor had come to a grinding holt. None of the test had really amounted to anything. Natasha filled them in more on Thor and why he was the way he was. Steve was glad he wasn't in any pain, but it was clear his concern for Sam was the pressing issue. He talked with the scientist about possible cures which was what they had been hypothesizing after giving up on the magic.

"Wait." Bucky interrupted the discussion. "You said the only results that came back were all dealing with external rather than internal, right?"

"Yea. But don't hurt yourself trying to think about it." Tony said blatantly. Bucky gave him a sharp look before walking out.

"Real mature, Tony. He was just clarifying." Steve defend his boyfriend. He was about to go after him before Bucky quickly reappeared carrying a bucket of water. He didn't even hesitate as he dumbed the entire contents onto Thor and Clint. In the next instant a normal size Thor appeared.

"He's been a kid for how long and nobody thought to bathe him?" Bucky asked the room. Tony decided this was the most stupid he had ever felt. 

Thor was quickly partially covered by the child blanket Pepper had given him to sleep with. He thank everyone for their hard work and had almost attempted to hug Bucky as a show of gratitude, but he insisted Thor use his hands to keep the blanket in place. Jane went with him to his floor to get clothes. 

Natasha let out an uncontrolled laugh at Clint's mortified face. He was drenched and his foot was still pinned by the hammer. Soon everyone else couldn't help but join in with her laughter. Eventually, way further down the road, Clint thought he might laugh too. Finally, when Thor came back he quickly removed the weapon with many apologies and Clint raced to the restroom.

They were all about to go up to the common room to eat a late lunch when Jarvis urgently alerted them with 'Mr. Wilson and Agent Hill have just been captured by Hydra agents in Wyoming'. Clint showed up alarmed, 'Shit! There's nothing in Wyoming'. They had only just gathered all their weapons together when Jarvis lost the comm's signal.

Tony was able to tap into the security system at the casino. After following Hydra back to their vehicle, Jarvis used the few traffic/security cameras there were to track the license plate. The problem was that while the casino had more than enough security, other than a couple of businesses in the small town that surrounded it and any immediate traffic lights, it was basically just a highway. A highway with no cameras. 

When that didn't working, Natasha, using the topographical map that they usually used to track the comms, had Jarvis use the last triangulated area Sam had been before the comm was destroyed. Putting him about half way on the one hundred and sixteen mile, empty, stretch of highway between Casper and Buffalo. She turned the topographical map from two dimensional to three dimensional and had Jarvis create a model of the car, moving in the right direction to the last spot Sam had been. Steve suggested they use the time stamp from the casino to when the comm cut out to figure out the speed the car had been moving.

"Judging by how fast they were going we could estimate if they were nearing their destination or were still on the move when the comm was destroyed." They all watched as the model car left the parking garage quickly gaining speed but seemed to keep an even speed once on the highway.

"They don't seem to be in a hurry." Bruce comments.

"You have to think, the butt of a gun to the head would knock a normal person out for more or less half an hour. Especially because if they didn't want to take them alive they would've just shot them on the spot. And If the drive was going to be longer than that, then they would have tranquilized them. So say they're going eighty miles an hour on the highway. Right Jarvis?" Bucky doubled checked he was right. "Eighty miles an hour for half an hour, that would put them on this side of the half way mark."

"Which means that we're probably looking for a road around there for them to get off the highway." Natasha said.

"There's four options." Tony said while running through calculations on another screen. "And they're almost certainly underground. Two of the roads are from old drilling rigs. And two lead to abandon mines. However, based on everything said I'm willing to bet the farm that it's this one."

It had been an hour since they were taken. If they were wrong, there was a chance they would alert Hydra to their presence. They voted. Bucky led the attack.

 The drug didn't kill Sam, but it did put him into a coma. Agent Hill died on the way back to the tower.

It took Bruce and Tony working forty-eight hours non stop to isolate the cure. 

By that time, Natasha had successfully brought Agent Hill back to life twice. Once before her operation and once after. When she had survived the minimal sentence of ICU, she insisted she and Sam be put in the same room.

It took Sam a week to wake up. The drug had caused a double kidney infection and severely irritated the lining of his stomach. However, his recovery time was nowhere near as long as Agent Hill's. Not only had she lost a lot off blood, the bullet had nicked her lung and Hydra had broken several more bones then she had let on when she chose to stand up for Sam.

"Jarvis, can you please project, nice and big, Netflix, please. I think Agent Hill and I could use some Grey's Anatomy to make ourselves feel better." Sam requested after everyone had left for the day.

"Start on season six though. I don't feel like blubbering. And," She looked over at Sam. "for fuck's sake Sam, I think you can call me Maria." He almost caught sight of her grin before she looked away, and he maybe responded in kind.