Reflections

Niko wasn’t blaming anyone in particular for not packing snacks, though if he were, he would add that the someone he would blame always brought snacks, and - as he didn’t care for being hexed, he’d say that someone didn’t weigh more than a 12 year old girl. Since Sam wanted some solo time with his dad’s gear, it was a good a time as any to make a supply run into town.

Once outside the compound, he bounced on his toes and stretched out one shoulder and then the other, a smile crossing his face. He missed big open spaces like this, like there were in Berlin. New York was of course fun to run through itself, not that this wasn’t New York, but this was such a different New York it was like a new state all together.

From his first few steps, he could feel the pressure building inside his ears, but he knew better than to yawn to pop them, Theo wasn’t the only one averse to swallowing insects. Besides, if he ran fast enough, he’d hear the familiar rumble followed by silence which let him know he hit ‘breakneck’ in regards to speed. It also meant that he’d pass the small town nearby and have to loop back to it, but he had a good run going on, and like that science guy on TV said - an object in motion likes to stay in motion, until of course his hunger reminded him of why the trip in the first place. Skidding to a stop like a hockey player on ice, he reversed and headed back into the main part of town at a slower pace.

The town of Sainsbury itself was small, nestled in between dairy farms and wide open spaces. It had little shops with quirky names like Wooden it Be Nice. It had one corner bar which boasted karaoke on Saturdays, the Brews Brothers. Despite there being everything and nothing all at once, it reminded him a bit of Berlin, and it felt more like home than the City. It was the Fast Ticket Grocer that got his attention, as did the check out girl he’d insist was checking him out. He gave her a smile with a head nod, and was about to break out a hair toss when she reached for her phone, and he noticed her expression wasn’t exactly the glance he was hoping for. Catching a look at himself in the reflection of the window he could see why. Apparently rough housing with murder-bots, getting shot at and having a large wet- bar fall on you makes you look a bit scruffy, bright blue splotches had dried to black stains on the arms of his shirt, and it dawned on him as his battered reflection stared back at him that they potentially could have gotten hurt, hurt bad.

Theo, he always worried about Theo. He hadn’t forgotten that just -- he wasn’t sure how long ago, time was different for him than everyone else - just a bit ago she’d completely slipped into his Aunt Wanda’s personality as easily as she’d slipped into the wimple she was so concerned about losing. And granted - that was Theo, she did things like that from time to time, it didn’t ease his worry any, and his father’s words about watching out for her weighed heavily on his mind.

Thorson, demi-god Thorson - he was knocked cold, what if it had been Sam or T’Chantem that took a hit like that? Sure, Sam stopped an SUV with a freaking door that he ripped off an armored truck and T’Chantem - he managed to look completely unscuffed even after the fight. “I could kill you and have finger sandwiches” look to him, if the Prince of Wakunda ate finger sandwiches that is, which Theo had taught him was a fancy way of saying PB & J with no crust, but what if the Hulkbuster had turned on them?

Finally he thought about tiny Ghost Spider Girl -and about how she wasn’t even old enough to embarrassingly sing karaoke at the Brews Brothers on a Saturday night. If she had gotten seriously hurt -- He leaned his forehead against the cool glass of the frozen food window letting out a sigh.

The checkout girl gave him another wary look, so before she had the opportunity to - he assumed - call for police from the back room he zipped around the store, did some light food shopping, left a bit of cash on the counter and was back on his way to the compound sooner than she made it to the edge of the end cap.

Back at the compound he put the one bag of groceries (hard to carry at super speeds) away, and headed back up to check on Sam, finding the son of the First Avenger decked out in uniform already training hard. Niko nodded his head, feeling the weight of the team settle around his shoulders. He knew what he had to do.

He made another PB&J then hid the damn uniforms.

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