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Budapest is chapter seven. Avengers events from chapter ten on.
Summary: what happens in Clint’s recovery room after Natasha’s cognative recalibration before Steve comes a’knockin’.
She wiped his brow free of sweat, again. His face twisted and contorted. He laughed manically before groaning in pain and drifting back out of consciousness.
“Clint, you’re going to be alright.”
“You know that?” he said through gritted teeth. “Is that what you know?” She put a soothing hand on his restrained arm. He felt hot to the touch, his muscles hard and strained. “I got…I gotta go in though. I gotta flush him out.”
He struggled again. She wondered if this is what it was like, watching her struggle through all the brain washing, remaking, and reverting. His eyes darted around the room, looking for something that wasn’t there.
“We don’t have that long, it’s going to take time.”
“I—I don’t understand. Have you ever had someone take your brain and play? Pull you out and send something else in?” He took a shaky breath, “do you know what it’s like to be unmade?”
“You know that I do.”
He sipped the water she gave him. Here she was, taking care of him again when he almost just killed her. If Loki didn’t kill him, surely the guilt would. “Why am I back? How did you get him out?”
“Cognitive recalibration,” she said smoothly. His head hurt, he couldn’t think through the words. She must have sensed this, because she added, “I hit you really hard in the head.”
She unbuckled the restraints, rubbing and moving his wrists where there were bruises from his struggles. Her hands felt soft and steady. He wanted more of her, to know every inch of her was unharmed. To kiss away the bruises he surely caused.
“Tasha…How many agents?”
“Don’t,” she said firmly. “Don’t do that to yourself, Clint. This is Loki. This is monsters and magic and nothing we were ever trained for.”
He sighed, “Loki, he got away?”
“Yeah, I don’t suppose you know where?”
“I didn’t need to know. I didn’t ask. He’s gonna make his play soon though. Today.”
“We’ve got to stop him.”
“Yeah? Who’s we?” he said, the bitter undertones were apparent, but she wasn’t going to let him give up.
“I don’t know. Who’s ever left.”
“Well, if I put an arrow in his eye socket, I’d sleep better I suppose.”
She smiled and kissed the back of his hand, “Now you sound like you.”
“But you don’t,” his eyebrows furrowed. “You’re a spy, not a solider. Now you want to wade into war? Why? What did Loki do to you?”
“He didn’t—I just…” she looked away, trying to avoid an answer, or trying to find one. He wasn’t sure.
“Natasha,” he threaded his fingers through hers.
“I’ve been compromised,” she said steadily, as if the words were heavy and unbalanced. “I got red in my ledger; I’d like to wipe it out.”
He looked at her. To anyone but him, she was a battle hardened woman who’d seen a particularly bad day, but he could see past that. The way she clung to his hand, but still couldn’t bring herself to touch him anymore. The way her eyes jumped and her muscles twitched at ever pop and groan of the ship. She’d lost control of the one thing she felt safe with: him. And they both knew that Loki’s control over him wasn’t just going to go away without a trace. There would be scars, lasting effects. He could still hurt her. But there was something else, something he didn’t know about.
He reached up and brushed away a lock of hair falling over her face, “What happened to you, Tash?”
“I told you, I’ve been co—“
“No. What happened?”
She sighed, she if there was one thing she knew she could be certain about, it was Clint’s stubbornness. She’d have to tell him eventually, or he’d learn during debriefing. “Loki wanted to—Banner—well the Hulk…” She shivered a little, he stroked her back, “Every time I’ve been about to die, I’ve had control. Even when you were about to kill me, it was my actions that decided. But there’s no reasoning with the Hulk, no outsmarting, no out maneuvering. Just his anger towards you. He was so close, Clint,” she looked at him, her eyes were a torrent of fear and frustration, “I could feel the air from the swipes of his hands.”
She let out one choked sob before she tried to, unsuccessfully, steady her breathing and stop the tears. He brushed them away, “you’re here, Nat. you beat him, and you got away. You saved me. You escaped him. You escaped Loki. Shhh,” he kissed her forehead gently. She flinched at the contact.
“Sorry,” she apologized when she saw the despair in her partner’s eyes at the reaction. But he understood. She knew better than anyone what could be lurking in his mind, fresh out of the clutches of mind control.
“It’s alright, the only thing in here is me.” He smiled softly and pretended to rap on his head like a door, “Knock, knock anyone home? Hello, Mr. Barton we’d like to—Fuck off, you bastards. Can’t you read the ‘No Soliciting or Mind Control’ sign? Get out of here before I use you for target practice.” She smiled a little, and he kissed her forehead again. “I give you full permission to smash my gourd again if I Loki-out.”
“I don’t want to have to though.”
“I know, and you won’t. With you here, I can fight anything.”
“That was stupid,” she smiled.
“I know,” he smiled back, “but it’s true.”
“I should kick your ass, Barton.”
“Why’s that, Mrs. Barton?”
“Worrying me, making me feel like a real girl, being so repulsively romantic.”
“So I get a pass for almost killing you?” he said, crestfallen.
“We went over this,” she picked up his hand, bringing it to the exposed skin of her collarbone, “I’m okay. You beat him. I know you wouldn’t do anything to hurt me,” she slipped his hand under her suit, placing it above her heart. He could feel it beating strongly. He looked at her eyes, there was something he rarely saw in them, softness. “I’m faster, but you’re stronger. You could have beaten me, Clint. You didn’t.”
“The last thing I remember is him asking about you, and fighting against it so hard I blacked out,” he pulled his hand away. “I don’t remember that.”
“You and I both know that you don’t just give up. Shit, you could probably kill half a special ops team in your sleep.”
“You beat him off. You saved me, and look,” she turned his face towards hers, “I’m alright.”
He gave her a look, trying to point out the fact that less than ten minutes ago she too had been telling him of her compromising feelings. She let out a small laugh.
“Well okay, I’m kind of alright. We’ll get there. But you didn’t hurt me, you wont hurt me, you would never hurt me.”
His hand slowly reached up and pulled the zipper of her jacket down until the jacket cleaved in two. His hand gently slid up her soft ribs resting under the curve of her simple black bra. There was a deep bruise forming there, “I did that though, didn’t I?”
“Loki did that.” She shrugged the jacket off her shoulders; his hand traced a mark on her arm, “You didn’t do these things, Loki did these things.”
“He was using me though!”
“Exactly, Clint!” she stood up abruptly, standing in front of him. Her belt slung low on her broad hips, her black leather pants hugging them so deliciously close. The deep V of her bra holding her breasts firmly in place. If he hadn’t been so upset, he’d have ripped the rest of her clothes off. Instead she reached to unzip his vest. “He did everything, you are responsible for nothing. He can’t hurt you or me anymore.” She pushed it off his shoulders, “we’re here now, and everything is okay. We’re together again. Fuck Loki, fuck Fury, fuck New Mexico, and fuck ‘indefinite.’ We’re back, it’s okay, Clint.” She kissed him gently, her fingers worked their way under his shirt and she pushed it up his torso, he helped her pull it over his head. “Remember, for better or for worse, till death do us part, all that shit? Remember, Clint?”
“I remember, Tasha,” he sighed.
She stood back and unclicked her custom buckle, it fell away and she undid the buttons and zipper of her pants. He wondered how something so tight could possibly just slide off of her like they did.
“There are many things you do to me,” she said as she straddled his lap, she picked up his left hand and put it on her hip, the other she slid between her thighs so he could feel the wet heat emanating from her. “Hurting me is note one of them.” His thumb on her hip hooked under the thin strap of her panties, “Remember this?”
“I remember,” he said, he kissed her softly.
She kissed down his neck, across the bruises she’d put there. And some she hadn’t. They were deep and older. Her fingers traced them gently. She kissed each one. He thought his brain would cease functioning as she undid his zipper with her teeth. She pulled his half hard cock out his pants and smiled at him ruefully before taking it in her mouth.
He let out a low moan, his hands threaded through her silky hair as she worked him. He wanted more, he hadn’t even let himself imagine her like this the whole time they were apart. He wanted more of her. “Please, Nat,” he begged. She pulled off of him with a pop, artfully licking her lips tidy. He pulled her close, tasting himself on her mouth. She pushed him back on the bed gently, crawling on top and positioning herself in a fluid movement. He slid into her, eliciting a gasp from each of them.
It was full of need and passion. Hands grasped at every inch of each other, making sure they were still real, still alive. Mouths hungry on hot skin. They knew the rooms weren’t sound proof. Clint had a perfect dental impression of her teeth and he was sure a perfect sound wave of her moan etched into his shoulder bone by the time they both came.
She cleaned herself up first, before ushering him off to the bathroom, “we have to get back out there.”
She cracked the door, hoping to not leave the room smelling of sex. She was lost in thought when Steve popped into the doorway looking a little frantic.
“Time to go!”
“I’ll tell you on the way. Can you fly one of those jets?”
The bathroom door opened, and Steve’s body tightened as Clint entered the room, “I can.”
She looked to the Captain, yes, she nodded, he was on their team. He nodded back, he trusted her.
“You got a suit?”
“Then suit up.”