telaryn: (Clintasha by Fraction)
[personal profile] telaryn
Title: Got Your Back
Author: [ profile] telaryn
Word Count: 1757
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe
Characters: Clint Barton/Natasha Romanoff
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: None
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit obtained.
Summary: Clint cares for a drugged and hallucinating Natasha after an op goes wrong.
Author's Note: Written for [ profile] hc_bingo's Round 6, for the prompt "hallucinations", as requested by [ profile] hannasus.

Clint didn’t throw the satt-phone across the room, but it was a near thing. ”I am doing the best I can, Agent Barton. You have to trust that.” He knew Coulson was offering what comfort and reassurance he could, but thirty-six hours to extraction was a lifetime with Natasha in this state.

We screwed the pooch and all its puppies on this one, he thought, pressing both fists to his eyes and digging deep for what little energy he had left. Twenty-seven minutes out of contact with his partner, and what should have been a simple bait and switch had turned into a full-blown international incident. ”If you weren’t already working off the books, the government would be disavowing both of you on this one.” had been Coulson’s assessment of the rapidly building fallout.

Something hit the floor in the bedroom with a resounding thud. Swearing violently, Clint was on his feet and moving in an instant.

He had no way of determining what sort of poisonous cocktail the mark had put into Natasha’s veins during those twenty-seven minutes. If he did, Coulson might have been able to let him know if sedating his partner was an option or not. <”Easy…easy…”> he said in Russian, skidding to a stop just inside the door and raising his hands.

Natasha had made a try for the drawer in the bedside table while he was distracted. She’d ended up on her butt on the floor, half-on and half-off the bed, but the arm that was still on the bed ended in a hand gripping one of her Glocks. <”Where am I?”> she demanded. Her green eyes were glassy, and there was no hint anywhere in her expression that she knew who Clint was.

I’m going to have to restrain her, Clint thought, his heart sinking. <”Prague,”> he said, praying his Russian would hold out. <”Safe house. Please Natasha – put the gun down.”> He took a careful step towards her as she tried to shift into a better position and the world rocked around her.

<”This is a test, isn’t it?”> Her pale skin was shining with a thick sheen of sweat. She rolled herself onto her knees, readjusting her aim on Clint as she moved. <”Madame believes I’ve gone soft, that I’ve lost my way.”>

She raised a shaking hand to wipe at her eyes, and Clint took his shot – closing the distance between them in a single leap. His hand slammed down on her wrist, pushing the Glock into the mattress a breath before she fired. Digging his thumb into the pressure point on her wrist, Clint forced her hand open, then reached across with his free hand to grab the weapon and throw it as far away from them as he could.

Natasha clawed for him with her free hand, but the angle was bad. Clint caught her wrist and threw himself off the bed, using his momentum to maneuver her into what he prayed was a secure hold. <”It’s not a test,”> he managed; trying to catch his breath as she struggled weakly against his grip. <”You’ve been drugged. Madame is dead and I am not your enemy”>

He realized in the silence that followed his outburst that she’d gone quiet. Braced for it to be some kind of trick, he shifted just enough to be able to press two fingers to the side of her neck. Her pulse was strong, but still much too fast for his liking. There’s got to be something I can do to help her, he thought, feeling a fresh rush of guilt at their situation. <”If I let you up, will you behave?”> he asked, easing more of his weight off her.

She was quiet long enough that Clint was actually tensing to move and see if she was conscious. A soft noise that could have been assent finally reached his ears. “Don’t make me regret this,” he muttered in English, shifting the rest of the way off her.

Natasha immediately rolled onto her side, her body curling into a tight ball. “Nat?” Clint asked, lightly gripping her shoulder. “Natasha?”

She was crying openly now, her body starting to shake with the force of her sobs. Swearing again, softly this time, Clint laid down on the floor next to his partner – spooning his body around her. “I’m so sorry,” he said, slipping an arm around her waist and pulling her in as tight and close as he could. “Tash I swear – I never figured they would be able to cut us off for that long.”

Her sobs grew even louder. Clint buried his face in her hair, praying as hard as he’d ever prayed in his life for a way to ease his partner’s suffering…a way to end her nightmares once and for all.
Natasha hadn’t meant to kill him. She’d known what was at stake, after all, if he died, but she’d also known the minute the tiny needle stung her flesh how much trouble she was in. Then he’d smiled at her, holding her close and speaking of things he planned on doing to her once she was fully enslaved by the drugs he’d given her.

Boys shouldn’t play with weapons; she’d snapped his neck purely on instinct.

The world had gone strange on her soon after – jagged and hard-edged, tinged in blood-soaked colors; Alice down a scarier rabbit hole than she suspected even Lewis Carroll had envisioned. If she concentrated, Nat could remember reaching the stairwell that was supposed to be her escape route. She remembered calling out for Clint before her feet went out from under her and she tumbled down what could have been a flight of stairs, or just as easily a hole in the fabric of the universe.

Waking up on a hardwood floor in a rundown apartment, with her head pillowed on Clint’s chest, told Natasha at least that part of her nightmare tangle of memories was true. She had reached out for Clint and he’d come for her. They were together and – hopefully – safe, so the rest was probably best filed away and forgotten, if Clint and SHIELD would let her take that path.

“How do you feel?” Clint’s arms tightened around her. His voice was soft and thick with sleep; the hand that stroked her hair was clumsy.

Natasha swallowed and whimpered – trying to curl in on herself as pain lit up her world. Clint was alert in an instant, slipping out from under her and lowering her to the pillows they’d been using.

His brow was furrowed, his expression concerned as he brushed her hair aside and checked her throat. “Somebody got a piece of you.”

She sighed, searching her memory and finding nothing that would account for the bruises he obviously saw. “I don’t know,” she said carefully, meeting his eyes. “I don’t remember much after…” An image of snapping the mark’s neck flashed bright and hot in her mind again, and she winced. “I didn’t mean to kill him, Clint. I lost control.”

Something dark and dangerous was crouched just behind her partner’s storm-colored eyes. “You don’t want to know what I would have done to him.” His fingers combed her hair back again – the gesture sure and strong this time. “Any clue what he gave you?”

Nat shook her head. They would likely never know. “You could take a blood sample.”

“No way to preserve it or guarantee chain of custody.” He chewed on his lower lip for a few moments, then said, "We should probably push fluids. That’s a safe bet, right?”

Now she nodded. “I feel pretty dehydrated,” she managed. Not to mention water or tea would ease the still-lingering feeling of her voice being dragged over rocks and broken glass every time she spoke.

“Okay,” Clint agreed. “We’ll start with water while I put some tea on. Then if you feel up to it I can try and find some soup or something.” He rolled gracefully to his knees; Natasha couldn’t help appreciating the sight. “You feel up to moving to the bed? I can probably pick you up…”

She smiled. “Just make sure I don’t embarrass myself, okay?”

Moving was much harder than it should have been. Every ache, pain or injury that flared into life as she clawed her way up onto the mattress was a reminder that hours of her life were lost – likely forever.

“How angry is Coulson?” she asked, looking up into Clint’s eyes again as he helped her settle. Her partner’s expression went cold.

“Fuck him,” he growled, leaning down to grab one of the pillows and busying himself arranging it under her head. “Fuck all of them.”

“So…really angry,” she said. He started to get to his feet, and she grabbed his wrist. “Clint…”

“They want to lay this at anyone’s feet,” he said fiercely, “they can start with whoever didn’t figure out you were walking into a trap.” His eyes dropped briefly. “They can lay it on me.”

You? “Clint,” she said again, pulling on his arm until he took a seat on the edge of the bed. “You came for me. I would have died without you being there. None of this is your fault.”

He was quiet long enough that she began to panic. “Twenty-seven minutes, Nat,” he said at last. When he met her eyes again, she saw the heavy burden of guilt he was carrying. “I died a million times trying to figure out where you were, what had happened, but you were out of contact for twenty-seven minutes. That’s on me.”

He still read her better than anyone ever had; with a single glance, he picked up on what she was thinking. “You want to fight me on this, do it later,” he said gently, reaching out and caressing her cheek. “We’re about twenty hours from extraction at this point; I’d like to keep the focus on getting you back on your feet.”

It was a sign of how beat up and broken she felt that Natasha couldn’t muster the energy to argue with him. <”I’m in your hands,”> she said in Russian.

Clint groaned. “No Russian. Please.” Off her look he grinned ruefully. “It’s been an interesting time so far.” His thumb began stroking the soft skin on the underside of her wrist. “For example,” he said, jerking his chin towards her other arm, “the marks on that wrist are my attempt to stop you from shooting me.”

Leaning down, he kissed her forehead. “I’ll get your water.”


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September 2015

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