Alternate Magic @aaliseliza
Chapter 15

Since narrowly escaping the goon squad earlier that afternoon, Hermione and Lila hadn't seen them again. Unfortunately, neither had Hermione heard from Natasha or Clint. To prevent exposing her own paranoia, Hermione pointedly kept Lila engaged throughout each museum and historical attraction they two of them visited. As the evening wore on, Hermione's concern deepened, but she refused to show it.

Presuming their hotel room was compromised, Hermione took the time to call several five-star hotels across the D.C. Metropolitan area and made multiple reservations using the stolen credit card she'd swiped from the first thug earlier that morning. She couldn't prevent the grin, which appeared on her face from knowing how much those cancelation fees would cost, especially considering she'd made at least two reservations for nearly two weeks long a piece.

"Auntie Mia," Lila said tugging on Hermione's shirt. "I'm sleepy."

"I know sweetheart. We're going to the hotel right now," Hermione answered, before flagging down a taxi to take them to a run of the mill hotel. Once in their room, Lila washed up, and was asleep seconds after she crawled under the covers. Hermione stayed awake until she could finish setting up proximity wards and alarms to prevent anyone from surprising them during their stay. One, in particular, would tell her if anyone lingered in the corridor unnecessarily long.

Despite not realizing when she fell asleep[, it felt all too soon that sunlight was streaming through the curtains, waking Hermione up. Rousing Lila, Hermione sent her off to the restroom before getting ready herself. It was moments after Lila had finished putting on her shoes when Hermione felt the wards alert go off.

"Lila, I need you to hide behind that bed and cover your head," Hermione said, gesturing towards the bed furthest from the door. "Make yourself as small as possible, alright?"

As Lila scrambled to listen, Hermione placed herself in the direct path of the door at the same distance. She didn't flinch as the door was kicked off it's hinges to reveal a hulking masked man with stringy black hair.

"What do you want?" Hermione demanded raising her wand threateningly at the intruder. It took her a moment to recognize the foreign speech he responded in. Knowing he'd try to avoid any spell she sent directly at him, Hermione cast two spells, each with different trajectories. Sure enough, the trespasser dodged the first only to stagger into the pathway of the second, which hit its mark.

"What did you do to me?" He gasped in English.

"Relax," Hermione scoffed at his panicked question. "It's a translation spell."

"I speak English."

"Next time lead with it,' Hermione said dismissively. "Why are you breaking into my room?"

"You're to come with me."

"Pass."

"Agreement is not required," the man said, pulling out a black firearm, which drew Hermione's gaze. The sheer lack of emotion on his face was unnerving. Even the Death Eaters Hermione had fought against showed some form of feeling even if it was sadism.

She waited too long. Obviously frustrated the man fired at her, forcing Hermione to throw herself towards Lila's hiding place. Glancing at where she'd been standing, Hermione saw a tranquillizer dart imbedded in the window. Lila scrambled towards her, and once in her arms, Hermione blasted a hole into the floor, plummeting both girls through the ceiling into the room below.

Staggering to her feet, Hermione urged Lila towards the door and down the corridor. She ushered Lila into the stairwell, recalling the wall of windows from their arrival.

"Alright…alright," Hermione said breathlessly. "I need you to hug me as tight as you can. Don't let go. Take a deep breath, and close your eyes. Okay?"

Lila nodded silently into Hermione's abdomen as the witch studied the parking lot outside. Taking her own deep breath, she spun on the spot, and the two reappeared in the parking lot. Hermione reflexively began searching Lila for any injuries even as the girl stared at Hermione in utter fascination.

"Are you Minerva McGonagall?"

The innocent question broke the tension and sent Hermione into a peal of laughter.

"No sweetheart," Hermione answered, before grinning, "She was my favorite professor though. Now let's see if we can get ahold of your dad."

Hermione summoned her Patronus and began speaking, "Bring Clint Barton to me, regardless of my loc—"

She was interrupted as their masked attacker emerged from the hotel and fired in their direction.

"Lila run," Hermione ordered, giving the girl a slight push. Panicking, the witch tried summoning the gun out of his hand, but he managed to grab it securely within seconds. Then he shot at her again, forcing her to dodge the tranquilizer dart again. Frustrated, Hermione tried a stunning spell, but all of her attacks only seemed to provoke him further.

Throwing a slicing hex at his wrist, which held the firearm, she turned to follow Lila. Hermione felt triumphant when she heard a Russian curse followed by the sound of a gun clattering. The two girls were heading towards a series of parked cars to hide behind them when one suddenly exploded in front of them. Hermione barely had enough time to grab Lila in a protective embrace before they were thrown backwards from the backlash of the explosion.

Shrieking in pain as her back was shredded by the pavement while the two skidded to a stop, Hermione had managed to keep Lila on her chest. The world tilted as their attacker calmly walked towards the two and Hermione recognized she was now wandless.

"Lila," she said groggily. "I need you to run."

"No!" Lila argued, clutching tighter to Hermione even as the witch started pushing her up. "Auntie Mia."

"Lila go!" Hermione bellowed, through coughs. Thankfully, the girl finally started running, and the masked man seemed uninterested in pursuing her. Hermione struggled to roll onto her stomach, and realized trying to rise was even more painful.

"Hey buddy!"

An arrow flew at the masked entity, distracting him from his quarry. Hermione, however, only saw black boots stepping over her towards the assailant.

"Alright Mia?" Clint asked from over his shoulder.

"Never better," Hermione wheezed as Clint shot another arrow, which didn't dissuade the masked man.

"Take your time," he said as he transferred his bow into its staff version. Were Hermione more cognizant, she would have stared in fascination at the intricate fight occurring just feet from her. Unfortunately, just as Hermione was prepared to rise again, Clint collided with her, sliding both of them several more feet.

"Tag," Clint groaned. "You're turn."

"BOMBARDA!"

"Lila?" Clint asked, turning to look in the direction the voice of his youngest child had initialized, even as the ground at the feet of their assailant exploded. "Mia….please tell me you cast that spell."

"Wish I could," Hermione answered as the two struggled to their feet. Lila stood staring at Hermione's wand, which was in her hand, in absolute rapture.

"Lila, I'm going to need that back."

"You said she didn't have magic!"

"She doesn't."

"Really?" Clint demanded, gesturing towards the gaping hole in the concrete. "That sure as hell looks like magic too me."

"Daddy did you see my magic?!" Lila asked excitedly, clearly oblivious to the argument between Clint and Hermione.

"I saw the results," Clint answered, picking Lila up, despite the pain he was enduring. "I'd better still have a house." Hermione rolled her eyes as she followed Clint away from the destruction. Eventually, he put Lila in the back seat of a black SUV, while Hermione climbed into the passenger seat.

"Alright, so who was that?"

"How should I know?" Hermione demanded. "Haven't you been in touch with Natasha?"

"She managed to get a message to me. Fury's gone," Clint said, glancing at Lila through the rearview mirror. "After that she went underground, and apparently Steve's on the run. Hydra's infiltrated SHIELD."

"Hydra?"

"Crazy Nazi party from World War II," Clint answered. "No one good."

"Where's Laura and Connor?"

"Safe house. We're going there now," Clint said.

"No. You can't take me," Hermione disagreed. "I'll find Steve and Natasha. I'm not going to put Laura and the kids in danger."

"Oh, but I'm expendable?" Clint asked, even as Hermione rolled her eyes. "How are you going to find him?"

"Familial magic," Hermione answered

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