a study in murphy’s law ; barton + hill


“Who’s arguing?” Clint stares back at her with a neutral expression, although there’s the briefest of seconds where the corner of his mouth twitches in something close to amusement.  She isn’t wrong.  The problem with being thoroughly and completely human is that he’s made more than his fair share of trips to medical for one reason or another.

A gunshot wound here, a turned ankle there.

As they set off into the crowd and people start pressing in close to them any humor he’s still been holding onto starts to dwindle.  He sticks close to Maria, walking only half a step behind her on her left.

There’s an itch under his skin to reach for one of the weapons he has on him.  The knife or the gun – he isn’t picky.  He can’t of course but that doesn’t mean the urge isn’t there.  He at least has enough height and weight on him that he isn’t easily jostled by any of the people running into him.

It’s easy enough to push them away with a well-placed elbow.

Seeing the officers with their riot gear settles an anxious knot in his stomach.  Generally riot gear doesn’t make for peaceful endings.  Odds are pretty good that this situation is going to turn south real damn fast.

Clint meets Maria’s gaze again and nods once.  Getting found out in this kind of volatile climate certainly isn’t going to do them any favors.

“So, what’s the plan now?” he mutters, stepping in closer to her.

The swell of the crowd pushes them more toward the officers than she’d like. Clint has the better vantage point, but Maria’s reading the subtle shifts as if it’s the tide, threading their path through it in a line parallel to the united front against the protesters. She can feel him just off her elbow, close but not so much as to be overbearing ( just a presence that’s mildly comforting in the sense that she has someone watching her six- someone she doesn’t have to think twice about trusting ).

There’s a side street that’s feeding the mass of people with a steady trickle of latecomers, more like a tributary to a river, and she can see that the shops along the pockmarked pavement haven’t bothered to close despite the commotion. Maria hangs a left, steps into his line of sight in an effort to signal their sudden shift in direction. It’s quieter once they pass the corner where the buildings form a slight shield to the raucousness occurring just half a block up. Only drifting snatches of conversation from those hustling toward it with their pots and pans and flags can reach them, and Maria notes with a small measure of alarm that several people are carrying ( or wearing ) helmets, empty bottles and rags, armfuls of fireworks- an indication that the peacefulness ( if one could consider it such ) of the demonstration might not be long for this world.

“Working on it,” she returns, tipping her head slightly to look up at him once they’ve come clear of the mass. There’s a small shop several yards up and on the right, a large mounted television drawing the attention of several older men who are otherwise unconcerned with what’s going on around them. A soccer game. Of course.


A nod in that direction- he’ll follow her eyline and make the connection. They just need somewhere to lay low until the front moves and they can slip past. “There.” The men occupying the front part of the shop ( it’s unclear exactly what it is- a cafe? Bar? Restaurant? ) are spilling out into the street, sitting atop metal folding chairs or hovering near the threshold. They all yell good naturedly in unison, which might mean they’ll be more accepting of a few quiet foreigners who want to sit in the corner?

At least, she hopes so.


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