Author note: Well, how are you all enjoying it so far?
Disclaimer: I own not but the plot… no gods and no Hawkeye unfortunately.
Clint POV – still flashback
I couldn’t help but grunt as the wood smacked into my back, causing me to stumble slightly and causing Alex to laugh. He was good with swords but I was better, I knew but I was still healing, my body still aching from the fall in that cave.
“You’re getting faster Clint; I have only hit you three times today. Good, you have some skill and soon I won’t be able to hit you at all.” Alex states as he holds his hand up for me to take.
I cast him a pained smile before grasping his wrist and instantly steadying myself as he yanked me up too fast. Alex along with a few others were a complete enigma to me, they weren’t like the regular circus folk and unlike my last… they were different, this family was magical and I felt somewhat inadequate in being part of their family.
“Sorry, I forget how light you are.” He chuckles out as he steadied me.
“I’m not light, you’re unusually strong.” I tease back, watching as his body stiffened ever so slowly before relaxing just as fast.
“One more round and then we will move onto blades again, you’re good with that too. Whoever taught you was good, but your aim can be adjusted.” He explains, shifting his posture and the wooden sword in his hand.
“Who taught you?” I ask causing him to smile wide.
“My grandfather was white; he was an excellent swordsman and taught me before he passed. I practised nearly every day till I was able to do this in my sleep.” He replies fondly, eyes misted slightly in remembrance. “You?”
I stiffened as I grasped my own wooden sword, my jaw clenching as I remembered Jacques. I let out a harsh sigh before forcing my body to relax. “I was taught by a man named Jacques; I was orphaned as a child and found myself in the care of a circus. He took me under his wing when he saw I had talent but… that was another life.” I grit out, my face pinched in pain.
Thankfully I didn’t have to explain anymore, his eyes turning hard before nodding. Everyone knew that I was from a hard life, that I had been in a circus before and something bad had happened. Everyone didn’t ask for more information than what I was willing to give, not after Bluebell raised her voice at them when they first tried to pry and I slipped into the flash back of my brother… no Clint not now.
I had been welcomed though, allowed to stay and this is where I had been for the past month. I had helped where I could, feeding the animals, helping cook with Lore and then practised in the afternoon with Alex. I still didn’t have a show and frankly I didn’t want to, I was happy just being a part of Bluebells, watching as she awed the crowed with her bow.
“Oomph.” I grunt out as I felt the wood smack across my shoulder blades sending me tumbling to the ground.
“Pay attention, you were daydreaming again.” Alex laughs before striking which I easily blocked.
I swept his feet out from under him, while striking. It didn’t work as I wanted, the man had unusual balance but he stumbled forward, using the momentum to hoist myself up, spinning before slamming the butt into his back between his shoulder blades. He fell with a loud thump as he gasped.
“Okay, done… done…” He wheezes out, forcing himself to slowly breathe in and out to gather his breath back.
I chuckle and held out my hand to help him up, “there I finally got you down though my ribs ache much worse now.” I groan out as the adrenaline faded, bringing the pain back to the forefront of my mind.
A soft laugh filled the ring causing my heart to thump wildly in my chest, it was Bluebell’s laugh. I had finally come to admit to myself that I was madly in love with her, how could I not? She saved my life, but she was a kind woman, so very caring and honourable.
“I see Clint that you have finally taken down Alex.” She laughs softly from the door, her eyes radiating pride.
“That he did, fast as well, he is getting better; healing well.” Alex states loudly, smacking me on the back in a friendly gesture. It took me a week to adjust to that without striking out.
“Good, may I steal him from you Alex. There is something I wish to talk to Clint about.” Isa states still with a warm smile, but I couldn’t help but worry about what she wished to speak with me about.
“Good luck Clint.” Alex chuckles before making his way out the ring.
“Come Clint, I have something for you.” Isa replies happily, holding out her hand for me to take. I hesitantly grasped it, before tensing as she slips behind me and covers my eyes.
“Shh, I’m going to lead you. It’s a surprise.” She murmurs softly; before pushing me forward slightly to get me to move. I complied, forcing my instincts to relax; letting her vanilla and forest scent to surround me.
The longer we walked the more curious I got, but the more I trusted her. Unlike the last time someone did this to me I was shoved into things, tripped and kicked things. She led me safely, not once did I run into something or stumble.
“We are here.” She states excitedly before removing her hands. I opened my eyes slowly, letting them adjust to the light before taking in the surroundings. We were in the forest, or just on the edge, a place I have only been to once before when Lore sent me to fetch her for supper.
“Oh.” I fumble out as my eyes land on a quiver but it was the bow that left me speechless.
“It is a little feminine I know, but it is a carving I know well. It is for you.” Bluebell informs hesitantly, worriedly.
But… but I didn’t care, I couldn’t care; she had made me a bow. It reached just past my hip, the underlying wood a deeper brown than that of the carving. I couldn’t help but admire her skill as I gently picked the bow up and ran my thumb across the leaf pattern.
“I, I don’t understand.” I state causing her to blush slightly.
“I made it, for you. I saw how sad you were when you broke your bow and I thought… It is a gift, a courtship gift.” She explains, her voice wavering at first and then stronger at the end. I was shocked, very much so she wished to court me?
“Do you not accept? Is it an inadequate gift? Among my culture, it is the man who seeks the fathers hand for a bridal agreement or courtship. But I had thought me doing so would be acceptable here, is the bow not enough to prove my skills to be an acceptable candidate?” She continues, making me frown as I tried to understand her words. I the past month, I had noticed more and more about Isibel, her true self and not Isabella, her mask.
I knew she was not of here, of this state or country, her speech was too odd and yet she spoke in perfect English. Her mannerisms were not of here as well and now she presents me with a courtship gift?
“I don’t know what to say, I do not understand.” I explain causing her face to twist in pain before she dashed off, telling me to wait in the process.
I did as she asked, my chest aching as the image of her sadness etched in my mind. I shook it away, focusing back on the bow. It was perfectly balanced, the strong tight enough for me to drawback without too much effort but enough to not cause the arrow to fall. The thick of the leaves bloomed out from the center of the bow, and down the edge into flowers. It was feminine but I loved it none the less, no one had made me such a gift before.
“What is it? Isa, where are you taking me?” Lore’s voice echoed in confusion before stepping out of the tree line. Her eyes lit up as she saw me, before frowning as she glanced at the bow.
“I cannot explain, he does not understand!” She cries out in desperation, pointing to me and then to the bow. I watched as Lore soothed her before making her way to my side as Bluebell stayed rooted in her spot.
“Tell me what she said; I cannot make sense of her right now.” She asks, I let out a sigh of frustration before beginning my explanation.
“She said she made me this, this gift as a courtship gift? She went on to explain about her culture and I just couldn’t understand, why me?” I explain briefly but I knew by the way her eyes lit up I knew she understood. I felt like an idiot but, why would she wish to court me?
“Isibel, come here love. Here on our world, in this country or well for his culture, you do not need to offer a gift for courtship. Here you ask one on an evening out or in the case if Clint would ask you to be his girl. IT is by no means in the way you must wed, it can lead to that but there is no fear that you need to prove that you are a suitable wife.” She explains and I finally – finally – caught onto what Lore was saying.
“Why? Why me?” I ask causing Bluebells eyes to snap to mine.
“Love, you need to tell him everything, truthfully if you wish to be together.” Lore states before disappearing back into the woods and towards the Circus.
“Explain what?” I ask softly as I pull Isibel into my arms softly, placing the bow down before doing so.
“We must sit, it’s a long story.” She whispers tugging me to a fallen tree.
“I can wait till you are ready.” I tell her honestly as I saw her struggle with the words. It was true, I could wait but now, now all my questions will be answered.
Author Note: Okay, so this was different then what I wanted to happen, but I hope you are enjoying it so far.