“Morse is down, we’re going to need back-up.” Natasha was busy making her way to her team’s extraction point when that call came over her ear piece. It was pouring and dark and hard to see past the sheets of rain, but she knew the general location of Bobbi’s team. And she needed to be there, no matter how dead tired she was.
“On my way.” She called over the line, glancing about to find her bearings. Being so close to the extraction point, and the rest of her team already there, Coulson picked up on it.
“Romanoff, extraction point Bravo. Now. Team Charlie is on their way to Alpha’s position.” Natasha shook her head, but she knew Phil couldn’t see it. She had to be by Bobbi’s side, that’s all her tired brain could tell her. She started running towards her girlfriend’s position, and in hindsight, running across a wooden plank in pouring rain probably wasn’t her best idea ever. Even if said plank was only three stories in the air, it wasn’t her smartest move. But her brain had shut down when that call had come over their line. So she was distracted, and hit a particularly slippery part of the plank and slid right off. She cursed aloud in Russian as she felt herself slip towards the ground. Now, she knew enough to angle her fall as best as she could to minimize damage, but she hit the ground at an odd angle, and she hit it hard. It knocked the wind out of her, of course it did. The last things she remembered were the searing pain in her hip and Coulson shouting her name over the communications channel.
Natasha somewhat came to with people around her shouting, she couldn’t recognize most of the voices, but she heard Coulson in the background.
“… careful … move her … spinal injury …” She groaned, there was too much going on around her and everything hurt to varying degrees. There was suddenly someone next to her head calling her name, but she was already being dragged under.
“Bobbi.” She moaned before she blacked out again.
The next time Natasha came too, she recognized the heavy haze of drugs in her system and the insistent beeping off to the side. She took stock of herself before even starting to show signs are waking outwardly. Her right leg was stiff, and something was keeping it that way. Said thing felt like it reached up past her waist, but she couldn’t tell without looking. Her hip on that leg throbbed beneath the haze of drugs, as did her groin area. None of that boded well, but she could remember the flash of pain before she had passed out the first time, and that was pretty much the extent of her memory. She ached all over beneath the drugs, and she definitely wasn’t happy about the drugs in general. She let her senses wander to see what else was going on. There was a weight that wasn’t her on a small part of the left side of the bed, and definitely someone else breathing in the room. Also a weird clicking noise every so often, and that was definitely strange enough that she cracked her eyes open to see what it was. It took a moment for her vision to focus, and then she saw Bobbi. And the emotions from before came crashing back. Yet, Bobbi looked mostly fine. With the exception of an arm so obviously in a sling. The weird clicking noise was coming from the pen in her other hand that she was twirling. It took Natasha a moment more to notice that Bobbi was dressed in scrubs, and Natasha could see the thick bandage around her girlfriend’s upper arm.
“I hate it when you do that.” Natasha’s eyes widened and tried to focus on Bobbi’s face.
“Wha?” Natasha asked intelligently. She was having a hard time focusing on her girlfriend’s face, it kept slipping out of her reach.
“Waking up without showing that you’re actually waking up. Normal people have signs, they twitch, their pulse changes. It’s extremely hard to tell when you’re awake unless you want someone to know.” Bobbi nudged Natasha’s uninjured side with her bare foot, which was the weird weight on that side of the bed. She offered Bobbi a lop-sided smile, her muscles weren’t being very cooperative at that moment. Bobbi nudged her side again.
“Wha’ happened?” Natasha slurred, her brow creasing at the sound of her own voice.
“You fell three stories, shattered a hip, broke your pelvis, and your leg in two places. They thought you might’ve had a spinal injury, but by some weird luck you didn’t. But you fucked up your right leg and hip pretty bad.” Natasha nodded, and then tried to angle her head so that she could see that side of her. There was a heavy brace covering her leg and hip and going partially up her waist.
“You’re in a brace right now because they’re not done repairing the damage, but you we
re getting too weak to continue the surgery. After they’re done, you’ll get braces that are less horrifying.” Natasha frowned again, listening to Bobbi and finally noticing the pins that went from the brace and vanished into her skin. She could barely feel them, they had to have her on the good stuff. Bobbi moved her leg off of the bed and scooted her chair forward.
“So why the hell were you running, in the rain, on a narrow path, in the complete opposite direction of your extraction point?” Bobbi leaned in, and Natasha could tell, even through the drugs, that Bobbi knew the answer to that question.
“Said you went down. Had to get to you.” She talked slow so she could get the words out without slurring too badly. Bobbi sighed and shook her head.
“I was shot, but it’s minor. I’m the one on my feet, and you’re not. Bullet passed through my upper arm, on the edge. I went down because it stunned the shit out of me.” Bobbi rolled her eyes and set the pen she had been continuing to twirl to pick up Tasha’s hand.
“Was scared.” The redhead said quietly, turning her head away. The drugs were making her say these things, that was all. Not that they weren’t true, but that was beside the point. Out of the corner of her eye, Natasha could see Bobbi pause and then squeeze her hand.
“I came to when Coulson was screaming your name over the line. Argued my way into heading to your position with everyone else, Coulson was afraid you had gotten caught in a firefight and you weren’t responding, so he had all three teams looking for you. Clint’s team got to you first, and he said he thought you were dead for a moment, laying all twisted on the ground in your own blood. We got there with medical, your femur was a compound fracture and you were losing blood fast. We had no idea what other injuries you had, but you were out cold. You were so lucky, Tash. Everything else is minor, scrapes and bruises.” Natasha turned her head back just in time to see Bobbi lift Natasha’s hand up and press a kiss to her knuckles. Natasha shifted her hands and let her head loll to the side, she was definitely on the good drugs.
“Go back to sleep, when you wake up next you’ll be in a better leg brace.” Bobbi said, patting Natasha’s arm. She blinked owlishly at her girlfriend, but decided to take the advice. She closed her eyes, fighting the drugs had been exhausting anyway.
The next two times Natasha awoke, she wasn’t able to stay awake longer than a few moments. She could feel the pain all long her hip and leg under the drugs, but her mind was so clouded it was hard to focus and she slipped right under again. The third time she was able to push past the haze she could hear shouting just outside the door. Her hip and pelvis were on fire and she whimpered. It wasn’t just under the drugs, the pain was right there and she couldn’t even block it, it was right there and it hurt so much. Another whimper followed by a moan. The shouting outside died down and she heard someone approaching. Natasha cracked her eyes open to see Bobbi’s face.
“Hurts,” her voice was garbled and whiny. The shouting picked up outside and Bobbi crouched by her bed, eye-level with Natasha.
“I know, we’re trying to fix it. Coulson’s going to fix it, it’ll be alright.” Bobbi picked up her hand and held it. The shouting outside kicked up a notch and Natasha whined, she didn’t like it. “Shh.” Bobbi soothed, reaching up and resting her hand on Natasha’s forehead. She stroked her thumb against Tasha’s skin and it felt so good. The shouting suddenly stopped and she could definitely hear Tony Stark’s voice.
“Tony?” She murmured, watching Bobbi carefully.
“Yeah, he’s been in and out. The whole team has.” Bobbi said, still stroking Natasha’s forehead. The redhead hummed at the touch, it was making things slightly better. She heard Bruce’s voice add to the confusion and she frowned. Tony and Bruce ganging up on someone was bad. But Bruce would make the pain stop, she knew he would.
“Bruce.” She moaned, her voice slurring. She couldn’t form the words she wanted, it was hard enough to focus on Bobbi’s face. She managed to look past her girlfriend’s face to see Bruce stalking into the room, looking angry. But not green, which was good.
“She’s awake?” He asked, and his face swam out of focus. She could see Bobbi turn to him.
“Yeah, I hope you fixed the problem. Because I don’t know how much more pain she can take.” She heard Bobbi answer and she whined, it was true. The pain was unbearable, and coming from her, that was something.
“Tony’s working on the source, but I managed to get what she needs.” Bruce’s blurry shape moved off to the side and was doing something with her IV. There was an odd noise, and it took her a minute to realize it came from her.
“Easy, Tasha. Give it a minute.” Bobbi soothed, her thumb back to stroking Natasha’s skin. Natasha blinked at Bobbi in confusion, and then it hit her. The cool rush of drugs hitting her system, and burying the pain under a haze of warmth. She hummed at that and her eyelids fluttered before closing.
“If Coulson doesn’t kill that doctor, I’m going to.” She heard Bobbi say right before she completely slipped under.
The following time Natasha awoke and pushed past the haze of drugs, she didn’t find Bobbi at her side. Instead there was Bruce, but that was okay. She liked Bruce. He seemed absorbed in his tablet, and she shifted on the bed. She didn’t want to bother him but she was incredibly thirsty. Bruce must have noticed because he set the tablet aside and leaned in.
“Hey,” she murmured, glad her voice was sounding slightly clearer. Bruce smiled at her.
“Hey.” He returned. He reached over and held out a cup with a straw and Natasha smiled at him and sucked down the entire contents. She wasn’t even sorry, she had been ridiculously thirsty.
“Thanks,” she hummed, leaning back. It took her a moment for formulate her thoughts, but she finally did. “So what’s the verdict, doc?” she asked, turning her head and grinning at him.
“I know Bobbi gave you the list of your injuries, and the second surgery went well. A few pins holding things together, but that’s the extent of the second surgery. You’re in for some physical therapy, though. We’ll be able to take you home in a few days, where you’ll be on bed rest and a wheelchair.” Natasha wrinkled her nose at that. “Don’t make that face, you’re the one who decided to fall three stories in the rain.” He chided and she childishly stuck her tongue out at him.
“What was all that before?” She asked, yawning. She could vaguely remember the shouting and the anger, but she didn’t understand it. And putting two and two together at that moment was hard enough.
“They switched your doctor and he didn’t believe the dosage you need for medication. He used normal doses and your body burned through it too fast. Pretty sure Tony and Coulson got him fired.” Natasha stared blankly at Bruce and sighed. She absolutely hated when that happened, and it happened more often than it should. She shifted on the bed and pointedly ignored the pain that was bubbling beneath the surface.
“How long is a few days exactly?” She finally asked, eying the brace on her hip and leg. At least she was never sentenced with casts, she healed too quickly for them. Braces she could sneak out of if she really needed to, but she could tell now that she wouldn’t be making a break for it any time soon. Bone healing was intense and considering she had broken pretty much everything on that side, being mobile was out of the question. As much as she hated wheelchairs, she saw the necessity.
“Two, at the very least. Possibly three. We want to make sure you’re not healing wrong. Which is a real possibility.” Bruce told her and she grimaced. She didn’t like the news, of course. Natasha hated medical, hated being trapped there, and to top it off she couldn’t even walk. It was going to make her unnaturally grumpy, she could see it now. “You were lucky, Natasha. It could have been so much worse, you could have damaged your spine or cracked your skull, or countless other injuries that are more serious than your current state.” Bruce patted her on the hand and stood, turning to leave. Natasha knew his words were true but that really didn’t ease the frustration she was harboring. She huffed and closed her eyes, at least she had enough drugs in her system that she could probably sleep through most of her stay there.
She didn’t have time to really fall asleep before someone else was sitting in the chair by the bed, and she cracked her eyes open, fully intent to glare at whoever it was. But it was Bobbi, and her glare died down before it even got started.
“I was hoping you weren’t going to keep looking at me like that.” Bobbi said conversationally, setting a paper bag on the table next to the bed. “Besides, I brought a peace offering. Bruce noticed me sneaking it in, but didn’t say anything.” Bobbi reached into the bag and pulled out what Natasha knew was a cheeseburger. Her stomach growled and Bobbi just laughed. “Yeah, I kind of assumed that. You’ve been out of it for three days, they finally dialed back the drugs enough that you’re not a zombie.” Bobbi handed over the cheeseburger and pulled out one of her own. Natasha didn’t waste time, she tore into the burger and sighed in contentment. “As long as I don’t get caught, I’ll keep smuggling food in. Steve wants me to bring things he’s cooked, I think you’ll be set for a while.” Natasha smiled at her girlfriend. The redhead devoured the burger in record time before handing back the wrapper to Bobbi.
“Do I get cuddles now?” Natasha asked, sticking out her tongue.
“I’m going to pretend that the drugs just made you ask that. And not yet, Bruce would kill me. He actually lectured me about that, no climbing into bed with you. But when you’re out of here, there will be so much cuddling.” Bobbi said after polishing off her own burger and setting the wrappers back in the bag. She wiped her hands on her pants and scooped up Natasha’s hand. “Few days and I can take you home. But then you need to face physical therapy.” Bobbi stuck her tongue out at Natasha in revenge for earlier.
“I’ve been through PT before, it’s nothing new.” Natasha said, smirking arrogantly. Bobbi just rolled her eyes at her girlfriend.
“Not like this, you haven’t. There’s metal holding your hip and leg together, Tash. Yeah, you’ll be back on your feet eventually, but they’re telling us it’ll be a few months before you’ll be able to go back to being you.” Bobbi patted her good leg and Natasha frowned.
“A few weeks, you mean.” She corrected the blond and Bobbi shook her head.
“Three months, minimum. And PT for all of it. Bruce and Tony are decking out a corner of the gym so you don’t have to leave the Tower, the therapist will come to you.” Natasha grimaced.
“I still say a few weeks. A month, tops.” Natasha shifted on the bed, glancing down at the brace.
“Bruce and Steve lectured me, you’re not doing anything stupid. You and I live together and sleep together and Coulson gave me leave. I’ve got desk work. You’re not escaping this, it’s your own damn fault.” Bobbi lifted her legs and propped them on the bed. Natasha chewed on her bottom lip for moment. She’d be able to escape Bobbi eventually.
“How are we managing a wheel in our flat, though?” She asked after a moment. The floors in the Tower weren’t exactly made to be handicap accessible.
“Stark fixed it, I haven’t ask how yet. I hope we don’t get home and the place is all torn apart.” Bobbi shifted her feet on the bed and Natasha rolled her eyes. “Look, Bruce said they weren’t going to start you on PT for about two weeks, you’ll have time to adjust and everything.” Bobbi patted her arm and Natasha just made a grumpy noise in response. “Mhm. You’ll be fine.” Natasha yawned at Bobbi and stuck her tongue out again. “Go to sleep.” Bobbi said, nudging the redhead with her foot.
The next three days were spent in absolute boredom. Natasha wasn’t allowed out of bed, she wasn’t allowed to take the brace off, she wasn’t allowed to remove any of the tubing or sticky pads. So many things she wasn’t allowed to do and it was driving her insane. Still, her girlfriend made good on her promise and each meal was smuggled in. Bruce stopped trying to push the disgusting hospital food on her, and Steve often sent either food or baked goods along with whatever Bobbi smuggled in. So that made it somewhat better. And most of the time Natasha slept, because the drugs still made her drowsy and uncoordinated. Then it finally came the day she was to be discharged and she was absolutely ecstatic. Yeah, she’d be confined to a wheelchair, but it still meant mobility. The brace was changed out for a lighter one, thankfully. And it had some range of movement, which made Natasha happy. She sure as hell couldn’t walk with it, but she’d manage.
About midday her girlfriend finally arrived with a backpack and a wheelchair, and Natasha just flashed her a smirk. Bobbi smirked back and deposited the backpack on the bed.
“So I don’t know if Bruce explained, but the brace does come off. And no, that doesn’t mean you can ditch it. It means you get to wear actual clothes and makes it easier for you to wash up.” Bobbi opened the backpack as she spoke and plopped fresh clothes on Natasha’s lap. Actual clothes. Hell, her own clothes. Natasha was extremely pleased. With Bobbi’s help Natasha managed to get dressed, and the redhead swore clothes had never felt so good. It was even nicer because all the tubes and other bullshit was gone, and between her and Bobbi they managed to get her into the wheelchair. It was a bit awkward.
“I hope we get better at that.” Bobbi said, leaning against the side of the wheelchair. The movement had hurt like hell to Natasha, and she refrained from comment so that she could manage the pain silently. After a few moments, Natasha spoke.
“Home, now?” She asked hopefully, looking up at Bobbi.
“Yeah, I’m cleared to take you home. Steve brought his car, we thought it might be easier to get you into it since it’s higher up. And your new wheelchair is waiting at the Tower for us. Stark got a hold of it, though. Who knows what he did to it, he wouldn’t let us see. I’m going to quietly murder him if it flies or shoots things.” Bobbi told her, positioning herself behind the chair to push. Natasha just grinned up at her girlfriend. This much activity had worn her out, but she was so excited to get home and rest in their space that she was forcing herself to stay awake. The ride out to the car was simple enough, really. This time Bobbi and Steve moved Natasha, and the redhead grit her teeth the entire time. And then she yawned once in the car.
Natasha hadn’t meant to drift off in the car, but evidently she had because she woke up in her and Bobbi’s bed with her girlfriend resting her head on Natasha’s chest. The redhead wrinkled her nose and shifted uncomfortably, her leg was bothering her more than usual. Probably all of the movement, but she needed to shift. And it unintentionally woke Bobbi.
“Sorry.” Natasha said shifting away a little.
“It’s fine, I didn’t mean to fall asleep. How are you feeling?” Bobbi sat up and surveyed her girlfriend.
“I just needed to move, I was getting stiff.” Natasha said, pulling herself up into a seated position. “And I need to pee.” She added, frowning. Bobbi smirked and climbed out of the bed. The redhead finally noticed the sleek wheelchair off to the side and rolled her eyes. It wasn’t gaudy or ostentatious, but it was a little too sleek and finished than the usual wheelchairs Natasha had to deal with. It was a lot less painful getting in a wheelchair than earlier, and without much fuss she was able to go to the bathroom. Not alone, of course. But it was her girlfriend, so it was less weird than if it had been Steve.
The rest of the day was almost normal by Natasha’s standards, minus the whole wheelchair bound thing. But she could accept it because she knew it was a temporary thing.
The next week passed pretty uneventfully, Natasha only tried to sneak out of her brace twice. And both times she was quickly caught. By the end of the week, though, she was gnashing her teeth with the enforced rest. The start of the second week she got to meet her physical therapist, who happened to be a woman two inches shorter than Natasha. But Bruce and Tony had handpicked her, Natasha knew that. So obviously the woman was capable, and didn’t back down when Natasha tried a power play. She got some simple things she could do before she started PT, which at least gave her something to do. The end of week two saw the brace off, but she was still stuck in the damned wheelchair. And Bobbi had taken to using JARVIS to keep an eye on her, should she try anything that Bobbi labeled stupid. And then there was physical therapy and the first week of that she was absolutely exhausted. She ate, slept and did PT and that was her entire life for the third week.
“Go ‘way.” Natasha mumbled, shoving at the person who had appeared next to the couch. She was exhausted and tired and sore and she had zero intention of moving. She knew she should take a shower since she had only just come from therapy, but she was too damn sore to even think about it. She felt the couch dip next to her, and she finally cracked her eyes open to glare at the person.
“You stink. Here.” Bobbi shoved a bowl of ice cream at her and Natasha winkled her nose. Still, she wasn’t about to turn down ice cream. She ate it slowly, closing her eyes. It was good, it was her favorite kind. She felt Bobbi lean against her good side. “You are the absolute grumpiest person after PT. I don’t think anyone has ever had the guts to tell Captain America to fuck off. In four different languages.” Bobbi’s tone held a heavy amount of amusement and Natasha just shoved at her girlfriend half-heartedly. “You know if you didn’t insist on doubling everything Regina told you to do, she wouldn’t be in so much pain.” Natasha just grunted at that, of course she was going to double everything her physical therapist had her do. She wanted to be walking again. She finished her ice cream and handed the bowl back, half-curling on the couch and intending to nap. She felt Bobbi drape a blanket over her and she was out.
Week four saw her a hell of a lot more alert, and week five passed without much fuss. Halfway through week six she graduated out of the wheelchair and onto a walker. It still sucked, but it was improvement. She managed to escape their bedroom all of one time without the walker before JARVIS was back to baby-sitting her. Really, being as used to physical activity as she was, the forced rest was highly infuriating. Still, Bobbi was always there. And that was a definite comfort. Even when she was nasty to her girlfriend, the blond just took it in stride. One night found then cuddling on bed, Natasha resting her healing side.
“I’m sorry I’ve been such an asshole.” Natasha said suddenly, and she felt Bobbi shake her head.
“We all understand, it’s fine. Though I’m sure Barton will have some creative revenge if he ever finds out what you called him in Swedish.” Natasha smirked and pressed against Bobbi.
“Eh, he’ll be fine.” She said, sighing. At least she was comfortable, for once. She felt a hand trade the surgery scar along her hip.
“Tash.” Bobbi’s tone of voice cause her to shift to turn over to face the blond. Something was up with that tone. “Please be more careful. I know you have the more dangerous job, but please be more careful. You might be a meta-human but that doesn’t mean I don’t worry.” Bobbi voice was soft and Natasha just leaned weird and pressed her lips to Bobbi’s.
“I’m normally careful. I just got scared when they said you went down. I worry about you because you’re not enhanced.” Natasha said after she pulled away. She couldn’t lay on her bad side but she could twist a little to place her hand over Bobbi’s. “We’re going to be fine, it shouldn’t be too long now before I’m back to work.” She assured her girlfriend. Bobbi just sighed.
“You are progressing faster than Bruce expected, but I think that’s because you’re just pushing yourself too much.” The blond remarked, splaying her fingers wide against Natasha’s hip.
“I want to get back to normal as fast as possible, that’s all.” The redhead’s comment was nonchalant, but punctuated by a yawn.
“Let’s just sleep.” Bobbi said, and Natasha felt her yawn as well.
Another two weeks found Natasha on her feet mostly unaided, and that pleased the redhead greatly. Yeah, she was using a cane, but it was such a vast improvement that she convinced Bobbi to take them both out to lunch. It was so refreshing to be outside and walking with just her cane that she almost felt giddy.
“You look like a kid going to the zoo.” Bobbi commented when they climbed in the blond’s car to head out.
“Maybe because that’s how I feel.” Natasha replied. Yeah, her leg and hip were still stiff, and probably wouldn’t support her weight well enough for anything past a sedate walk, but damn if she didn’t feel amazing about it.
“It’s a good look on you.” Bobbi cracked, and Natasha turned to glare at her girlfriend. “We’re just going down a few blocks to eat lunch. You look like you won the lottery.” Natasha just stuck her tongue out.
“You haven’t been wheelchair bound and then stuck with a walker for over eight weeks.” Natasha said, turning to look sullenly out the window.
“No, but it felt like I was. You’re an awful patient. Stubborn, unruly, angry.” Bobbi glanced over to stick her tongue out at Natasha and the redhead just snorted.
“You would be worse.” Natasha said. The rest of the ride to the restaurant was silent. Their lunch was uneventful, filled with the usual sniping comments and Bobbi’s weird jokes.
Finally, after a little over nine weeks, Natasha was cleared to walk on her own. She was still grounded work-wise, she needed to build up her strength again, but it was such a welcome relief. Tony even threw a party, though he called it something along the lines of We’re All Less Likely To Die From Tasha Party. Natasha sn0rted at the awful name, but went anyway. It was nice and relaxing, and she thoroughly enjoyed herself and exhausted herself. She still didn’t have her usual stamina, and ended up passing out on the communal couch. She woke up to Steve carting her into her and Bobbi’s bedroom.
“Put me down.” She wiggled in her teammates grasp until he deposited her on the bed, Bobbi trailing in after him. Natasha yawned and scooted half-heartedly under the covers until Bobbi joined her.
“Told you we’d be fine.” Natasha said as Bobbi crawled into the bed with her.
“I never doubted it.” The blond responded, wrapping her arms around Natasha. The redhead hummed a content noise and curled up against her girlfriend. She also made a silent vow to never fall off of a building or plank ever again.