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Summary: “You two are the only people that know what was really missing in the intel that led to…” They all shifted uncomfortably, even Coulson. Natasha’s jaw just tightened. Clint could practically hear her teeth grinding. “That led to Agent Romanoff being compromised,” he finished. “Agent Coulson and I have personally examined every link in this chain, and these are the weakest links,” he tossed two file folders at each of them. “I’ll send someone to escort you to the interrogation rooms in a couple hours.
Relates back to chapter 2.
The room felt stifling, he was good at waiting, but he never liked it. She sat expressionless beside him, she didn’t know if she was excited or nervous. They desperately wanted to hold hands, but there were too many eyes in the room.
“Now, I realize you two could both probably shut off the security system and kill them both in the bat of an eyelash, but I trust you not to. Which is honestly a stupid fucking idea, but they’ll be hell to pay if you do,” The director looked at them sternly. Somehow his one eye seemed to be more effective at scaring the shit out of people than if he had two. The partners just nodded tightly. Clint had no doubt Natasha was already thinking of all the ways she could kill the suspects. He was. “You two are the only people that know what was really missing in the intel that led to…” They all shifted uncomfortably, even Coulson. Natasha’s jaw just tightened. Clint could practically hear her teeth grinding. “That led to Agent Romanoff being compromised,” he finished. “Agent Coulson and I have personally examined every link in this chain, and these are the weakest links,” he tossed two file folders at each of them. “I’ll send someone to escort you to the interrogation rooms in a couple hours, give you time to prepare,” he looked at the stern woman when he said that, there was a hint of sympathy in his eye. The man beside her opened his mouth to protest but before he could utter a word Fury cut him off, “Did I ask for your opinion, Barton? You need to calm the fuck down before you go in there, so go and prepare. Dismissed.” Clint put his kicked dog feelings aside and left with a blank face, but his knuckles were white around the curled file folders.
The S.H.I.E.L.D. reconnaissance teams held agents lives in their hands. They were the people that gathered schematics, itinerary, and any other information regarding the mission’s objective an operative would need. They were as respected as the operatives themselves, their roles were equally as important. The team that had been sent to Milan to had been picked apart for weeks. There were two of them with stories that didn’t quite fit, and possible motives. Richard Copet: A former MI6 agent who had a cousin aligned with the mark’s political party and had been radio quiet for 26 minutes during the building recon operation. The other was Nadia Link: A former soviet jewel and art thief who had a knack for finding weak spots in security. Nothing about her rang any bells; she was squeaky clean except for what the mark had said about his “Russian friends.” Something about her just didn’t sit right with Fury or Coulson.
“You don’t have to do this, Nat,” he said reaching for her hand, “I can take care of it, I’ll get them.”
“I’m not a fucking damsel in distress,” she said bitterly but threaded her fingers with his all the same. “I need to do this.”
“We’ll make them pay.”
“I’m pretty sure Fury has an afternoon set away personally to make them pay. I’m not worried about how they pay.”
“After what they did to you? I’d drag out their suffering for weeks,” He was seething with rage. His grey eyes looked like violent oceans.
She let go of his hand, “You’re too angry to do this properly. You’re going to lose control.”
“Of course I’m fucking angry. I want whoever this bastard is to pay for what happened.”
“I’m less concerned about the payment and more concerned about why it happened. If you bring all this rage in there you’re going to blow the whole thing.”
There was a knock on the door and Maria Hill peaked her head in, “Barton, it’s go time.”
He stood up and stalked off, fists balled ready to fight. Natasha sat quietly sipping her tea.
“YOU CAN’T KILL ME, FURY WILL HAVE YOU THROWN IN ANTARTICA!”
“Worse things could happen,” he shrugged, his hand tightening around Richard Copet’s neck. “Worse things did happen. So why don’t you tell me why you fucking sabotaged the intel and maybe I’ll let you freeze your pathetic balls off on an ice cube for the rest of your days.”
Richard was turning an alarming shade of purple, trying to choke out words under the hawk’s crushing talons. His feet kicked in the air against the wall, trying to get leverage to push himself out of the grasp. His vision was being dotted with black. Suddenly he was flying face first at the table. He heard his cheekbone snap and felt the spike of pain a moment later as a hand pulled his head back so hard he was going to have a bald patch.
“I didn’t do anything. I swear!” He pleaded, “ My radio broke. I discovered it later when I realized I wasn’t getting any feedback. I’d never cross S.H.I.E.L.D.!”
“Even for family?” Clint growled against his ear before letting the other man’s hair go and brushing the strands he’d pulled loose from his palm.
“I haven’t spoken to Dyreen in years.”
“But you knew she had ties with the Party.”
“Yes! I reported it!”
“So you’re a snitch even against your own blood for a little pay bump? I wonder what your price is Richard. It’s easy to fake radio problems, you’d know that. Those MI6 boys are big fans of signal jammers.”
“I left MI6 twenty years ago!”
“You still have pals there, we checked.”
“I’m sure you do too, agent,” he sighed. His cheek was starting to swell profusely.
“I don’t. I don’t have friends, Rich. I have a partner, who happens to be the only person I care about this on this damned planet,” he walked behind the captive and put his hands firmly on his shoulders and leaned close to his ear, “And whoever was involved with her getting hurt is going to pay with their life.”
He left without another word, leaving Richard to swell and stew in his agony.
He took a minute to compose himself before going into the room that held Nadia.
“Afternoon,” he greeted in Russian.
“Agent Barton,” she said sourly.
“I’m not going to dick around, Nadia.” He sat in the chair opposite to her, leaning It back against the wall, feet on the table, “I know it was your job to survey his room.”
“I did. The glass one inch thick plate. I wrote it in my report. Someone changed it.”
“Why would they do that?” He mused.
“You’re the operative, I’m just the inspection crew, you figure it out,” she spat.
“He mentioned Russian friends.”
“There are a lot of Russians, if I recall you’re a fan of switching our allegiance.”
“So you’re still a fan of the home country?”
“No. But I’m not a fan of this one either.”
“Then why’d you join S.H.I.E.L.D?”
“Because when you’re caught breaking into the president’s vault at Fort Knox you really don’t have too many options,” her words were dripping with resentment.
“You don’t sound too happy about your new job.”
“I am the best thief in the fucking world and I’m stuck doing bullshit recon missions for a one eyed madman.”
“So you want to do more?”
“Of course I do, you dumb bastard!”
He kicked the table hard enough to send her flying backwards, pinned to the wall with a table jammed between her probably broken ribs.
“So you think you’ll get a spot on the team if you make a spot?” he leaned over the table, staring into her eyes. It’s hard to tell which of them is angrier.
“Operatives die all the time, you should know that,” she replied through her teeth.
“You should know that I could kill you without a second thought right now.”
“But you won’t, because then you’ll never know if it was really me or not.”
He gave the table a shove and she let out a breathless yelp as it further caved her ribcage in. He walked out.
Hill sat in the windowless hallway, “Done?”
“I hope Fury kills both of those bastards,” he said storming off.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” she called down the hallway after him.
She found Natasha where she’d been when Clint left.
“I’m surprised Barton left anything left for you.”
“I am too honestly,” she said flatly. She’d always liked Hill. She was tenacious and ruthless. In another life they would have been close friends.
“He’s all yours,” the lithe woman said as she handed Natasha an icepack and punched a code in the door.
When she opened the door and she saw the man sitting behind his own eye swollen shut, she knew why. She handed it to him and sat down.
“I feel a little insulted that you’re going to try good cop, bad cop on me.” He pressed the icepack gently to his face.
“I’m not. That was from Hill.”
He gulped, a nervous laugh escaped his throat, “You can’t fuck me up more than Barton did.”
“You know I can.”
He fidgeted nervously. She just watched his eyes as he tried to shift out of hers.
“What happened in those 26 dead air minutes?” She asked simply.
“Nothing. I told Coulson, Fury, and that maniac partner of yours the same thing.”
“And you’re going to tell me the truth.”
“It is the truth!”
She didn’t respond. She just watched him. Minutes ticked by, and she sat completely motionless, just staring. A thought crossed his mind that they should have called her Hawkeye. He shifted nervously. Minutes turned to hours, and she still just watched him. He tried to get a reaction out of her, but she just waited for him to answer. Some time long after the ice pack had melted and he’d started crying out of frustration, he simply whimpered out, “I turned my radio off.”
“To be with Dyreen,” she continued for him.
“How did you know?”
“You regularly send each other love letters under false names. I’m really disappointed you didn’t even tell her to get a P.O. box in a different city, it was too easy to find. That’s just sloppy.”
“So you believe me?” his eyes pleaded with the unamused woman.
“Oh thank fucking Christ, Barton was going to kill me!” he collapsed into his chair.
“He still might,” she said as she left the room.
Nadia’s table had been pushed back in place, and she was seated calmly at it, trying not to breath to hard against her broke ribs.
“So how long were you in the Blue Room?” Natasha said before she even sat down.
Nadia smiled a super villain smirk, “10 years.”
“You did a good job faking your resume but you missed something.”
“What was that?”
“You only stole the second most expensive piece from the Kremlin.”
“You caught me,” she shrugged painfully, but still with that smile that was making Natasha’s skin crawl. “Had to make it look I like I hit all the best places. Well I did, but you know.”
“So they sent you?”
“You didn’t think you could just leave did you? You’d the Blues are better at infiltration anyways,” she said pridefully, like being from the thief guild was better than being from the assassins guild. To Natasha it was like saying cockroach is better than a centipede, but she didn’t let her disgust show.
“They really went through all this trouble to kill me?”
“You were their star pupil, Natalia. It looks bad when you switch teams without consequence.”
“It’s Natasha now.”
“They know they can penetrate, that we can penetrate even S.H.I.E.L.D. now. You will never be able to hide. We will kill Fury. His lapdog. We will kill the Hawk in front of you. And we wont be kind enough to give you Death. No, you’re still too useful. It shouldn’t be too hard to get Natalia back. A little TLC with Barnes and you’ll be back in Red heaven.”
“Those are some pretty cute plans, thanks for the heads up.”
She raised a gun and pointed it straight at Nadia’s head.
“Killing me isn’t going to make them go away,” she said with a smirk.
“I know,” Natasha replied evenly before pulling the trigger and watching red bloom in the previously spotless room as the chair and the body fell backwards. “It was just fun.”
She tucked her gun back into her holster and walked to Fury’s office.
“I shot her.”
“Didn’t I tell you not to kill them?”
“She was working for a Red Room side program called the Blue Room. You better start checking your agents more carefully,” she turned to leave.
He sighed, “If you disobey an order like that again I’ll—“
“I know, sir.”
She walked back to her room, her head was a blur of emotions. Relief, fear, anger.
Clint sat on the bed, clearly still upset, he jumped up to meet her.
“Blah blah blah Russian double agent. I shot her in the head.”
“He’s okay with it.”
“Why couldn’t I have helped?”
“Wasn’t your score to settle, Clint. I can handle my own battles.”
He looked sheepish and she could tell he was trying to think of a way to defend himself. She sighed and kissed him gently, “But thank you for trying to protect me.”
“So now what happens?”
“We should probably both move, they might be watching us.”
“We could move in together…cause of you know…the being married thing.. and safety reasons of course.” He tried to hide the smile.
She smiled back, “I suppose.”
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