The sound of a cell phone ringing had the Russian general patting his pockets. He listened for a few minutes, the expression on his face was one of utter disbelief.
“How did you get this number?” He demanded.
Listening again, his face got pale and he started to sweat. He walked over and put the phone where I could hold it against my ear with shoulder. Hard to hold a phone with your hands tied behind your back.
“What? I’m working here.” I demanded. “This idiot’s giving me everything.”
The calm cool voice of my handler, Phil Coulson, came over the airwaves.
“Barton’s been compromised.”
How could such horrendous news come from such a tiny device. When I answered my voice was just a controlled as Coulson’s.
“Let me wrap things up here.”
“Your ride will be waiting.”
I indicated for the general to take the phone. In less than five minutes I’m snagging my shoes and calling Coulson with the general’s phone. Two Neanderthals and one old fat general … No match for a Red Room trained spy.
“Coulson, where’s my ride?” I looked around outside the deserted warehouse.
“Natasha, I need you to do something else … go somewhere else.” I hear the hesitation in Coulson’s voice.
“I need you pick up Banner on your way back to the Heli-carrier.”
“I promise we’ll be in a better place to go after him by the time you get here.”
“Make sure you are.”
I snapped the phone shut as my ride settled on the grass. We were soon touching down outside a small Indian town where Bruce Banner was doctoring the town’s poor population. I was met by a ground squad who must have been warned I was not a happy spider. The sit-rep was short and sweet, and I was soon facing one of my greatest fears. An opponent I had no chance of defeating.
Lucky for me it only took some conversation and a phone call to Coulson to get Banner on the jet. Even in my present temper, I had no desire for a confrontation with Banner’s rage monster.
Once airborne, I changed into my tac suit and watched what little video was salvaged from the Pegasus installation. By the time we hit the deck, my temper was almost the color of my hair. The hallways cleared as I made my way to Fury’s office. Once I deal with the one-eyed bastard, I’d find whoever took my Hawk, and make him very sorry.
“I thought you said it was milk run? Something to keep him occupied until I got back from a mission which any idiot could have completed. You did not need my skill set to break down one old general reliving his glory days.” I hissed.
Fury sighed deeply and allowed his shoulders to slump.
“He did it to protect me. He distracted the Asgardian we now know is Loki, which kept Loki from putting me under his thrall. Barton did me the favor of shooting me in the vest instead of in my good eye. He purposely missed Maria, so he wasn’t totally under Loki’s control. He was fighting, but Loki wasn’t giving him any wiggle room.”
“You’re going to owe us BIG after I get him back, and there won’t be any using him as your scapegoat to keep your ass out of the fire.” I headed for door to find Coulson.
“As if I’ll ever clear that ledger.” I heard him grumble.
I think they all forget I am almost as enhanced as Steve Rogers … That’s why I know a lot of things people don’t think I hear. I finally find Coulson playing patty cake with Stark, Captain America, Banner and Thor. Rogers and Stark are having a dick waving contest with Stark pushing all Rogers buttons. Rogers giving tit for tat throwing Howard in Tony’s face. Apparently the good Captain only knew the public Howard Stark … He never met the mean drunk Tony knew.
I want to knock all their heads together, but I can see the bigger picture. End of civilization as we know it vs. getting Clint back. Hawk would bust my chops if I didn’t help save the world first. Maybe a taste of my Widow’s Bites will shrivel a few dicks, and get them back on point.
Stuttgart only garnered us Loki, and after my conversation with the Asgardian prince, I was even more desperate to get my Hawk back. Loki wanted us all in one place, and even though I warned Fury Loki let us capture him, they all acted surprised when Hawkeye took down the Heli-carrier. The man has a mind like a steel trap, and no one knows the inside Fury’s baby better than Barton.
When I finally come face to face with his blank face and beautiful eyes buried under the blue thrall of the Mind Stone, I was determined this stranger will become my Hawk once more … Even if I have to leave him broken and bleeding on the deck plates. No royal alien brat gets to use him as a chew toy.
Enthralled eyes blaze with fury at my resistance. He doesn’t pull his punches and neither do I. Fists, feet, knives, and when I thought my neck would snap from his pull on my hair, I latch onto his arm with my teeth. His reaction gives me an opening to bounce his head off the steel rail. He steps back and shakes like a dog shedding water. I see that sickening blue color leech from his eyes.
“Nat?” He looks so lost.
Before Loki could regain control of my Hawk, I leave him unconscious, bruised and bleeding on the deck.
No one takes what’s mine, and leaves me with an empty shell.
~ Fini ~