Actions

Work Header

But Not Yet

Work Text:

Clint has a nice bathtub, Kate is willing to admit that much. It actually takes her by surprise, because she expects the circus brat to have a standard shower and not much else.

But his tub is the only luxurious clue that the man is actually rich. It probably actually beats her own, and Kate uses that as an excuse to call first dibs after each and every team-up.

His shower is pretty great, too. Its shower head is designed to hit each and every archer muscle just right, and Kate is pretty sure she could stand there and let it massage away all of her aches and pains.

He complains about her using up all the soap and hot water, and Kate wonders how his face would look if she just blurted out with the suggestion that they share.

~

When the attack begins, they split up.

Of course they do. It's Ultron, and they are both Avengers. Whatever partnership they have takes a backseat to the job they have to do.

So she makes her stand with her team, and he makes his stand with his.

~

In the end, neither of their stands amount to anything at all.

Kate isn't admitting to being afraid, not in the middle of the fight. She isn't admitting to having lost the war already, but she knows that she's in over her head with this.

Worse, she knows that the Avengers are in over their heads. The news reports show that, quite obviously, and Kate winces with each blow that comes close to Clint's head.

His team is taking care of him, she tells herself, no matter what the news reports are showing. He has Black Widow, Captain America, Mockingbird, and Iron Man to watch his back. He has Thor.

She's almost relieved when they have to stop using technology all together. No more news reports. No more battle footage.

 

~

Tommy and Eli are with them, in the beginning. But two months in, Kate, Teddy, Eli, and America are the only members of Kate's team left.

By the third month, there's only three of them left.

They aren't the first Young Avengers casualties, and the memory of Cassie is so sharp that it burns. She wants nothing more than to be allowed to throw the fit that she had thrown then, to run away and pretend that she will never be a hero again.

She wants to have the luxury of quitting.

But there are rumors of other casualties, from Clint's team, that keep trickling in off the street. She doesn't have the luxury of being the kind of selfish that she would like to be.

~

Five months in, Kate's on food run duty, she's resorting to using a crossbow, and the store owner tells her that Iron Man is no more.

Nine months in, Kate's sifting through the remains of a drug store looking for first aid supplies. A crowed of people that she's never met watch her warily from across the street, and she ends up taking them supplies.

Ultron's army could be watching. But there's a baby, conceived before anyone knew just how terrible it would be to bring him into the world, and he has wounds that need treated.

If she dies, she'll die a hero, Kate reasons.

"Just like Captain America did," the parents tell her.

A year in, Kate and America are all that's left, and when America asks her, "What do you think's happened to the other Avengers?" she hears the silent why haven't they fixed this and she has no answers to give.

~

Kate doesn't see America die. She doesn't even know that she's dead.

"There's a band of resistance on the West Coast that could use my help," America tells Kate one day. "Everyone's banded together here, but maybe what we need is to be more spread out."

"I'll come with you," Kate offers.

"Not this time, Rich Girl," America says, and there's not enough animosity in that voice for Kate's liking.

She wishes it was still there. She wishes for a lot of things.

~

A day after America leaves, Kate makes her way to Bed-Stuy.

It looks different, and Kate doesn't even know why she notices that quite so much. It's not as though Manhattan looks anything at all like what it used to, but she's gotten used to that by now.

Clint's apartment building and the old neighborhood that has never properly been hers is a stronger punch in the gut than anything's she's seen so far.

She doesn't let herself consider what that is, because there's too much to do.

~

If there is any upside to anything that has happened, it's that Kate has learned skills that she's pretty sure she never would have learned otherwise.

She's kneeling on a cold floor, listening to the howl of the wind blowing the snow around outside the apartment window, sewing up a wound with a needle that she hopes really has been sterilized.

That's when she hears Clint's voice for the first time.

"Hey, Katie-Kate."

She finishes the stitch before she lets herself react.

~

She doesn't plan on throwing himself into his arms. She doesn't plan on kissing him - not even once, let alone the multiple kisses that she can't seem to stop.

She doesn't plan on saying, "I thought you were dead."

She doesn't plan on running her fingers through the scruff that has long since become a beard.

She doesn't plan on feeling so relieved when his fingers run through her hair and he says, "I prayed that you weren't."

She doesn't plan on taking his hand and tugging him towards the bedroom.

But if the war has taught her nothing else, it's taught her to seize the moment.

~

It's just as cold in his bedroom as it is outside. They bury themselves in the covers as they peel each others' clothes off, trying to keep warm.

Only the parts joined together manage to stay warm. Clint's mouth travels along other parts, and the hot breath only reminds Kate how very cold it is.

They've got it better than most, though, so Kate doesn't complain. Instead, she digs her nails tightly into his back and urges him not to stop.

~

"Thought I'd lost you, Hawkeye."

"Not yet, Hawkeye."

His fingers trail her cheek in the dark and his beard brushes against the back of her neck. "I remember when you used to smell like my soap."

She remembers it too, but they don't have time for that kind of nostalgia for very long.

The world's still losing a war, after all, and the Hawkeyes have work to do.