As it had on a few other occasions in Hawkeye’s short life, time did him the favour of slowing down. He looked upon the silver longsword that was in the process of hurtling down, and the intention in his brother’s eyes.
Then there was a dark flash of metal in Elletra’s hand – and there was intention there too, and both figures reached for each other with the promise of death between them.
And in the stillness and slowness of that moment, she looked at him just long enough to say, This is the only way to win.
And she was going to do it, too, because it was what had to be done. Because it was the right thing to do.
Damn the right thing.
Hawkeye dropped his sword and threw himself forwards, taking her down in a full-body tackle. There was a blossom of pain like nothing he’d ever felt before, and it pierced his entire body, and the ground sent another wave of fire through him. And somehow, through that, he rolled to his knees, and his hand reached for a gun that slid into his palm.